The Illuminati X-FactorThe mind-controlled showbiz celebs

By Richard Leon
February 2010


Weirdness watchers will be only too aware that the occult has seeped into the media mainstream over the last few decades.
The nexus of strangeness that was once high occultism has a history spanning many millennia, but over the 20th century it passed from being the exclusive preserve of (mostly English) eccentrics into a commercial media phenomenon.

The word ‘occult’ itself means anything hidden and sinister – but how hidden is the occult these days, when you can buy pre-written spells and cheery beginners’ guides to magic in almost any high street bookstore?
And just as bookshop shelves were colonised by titles written to flatter teenage witches, primetime television slots were filled with imaginary vampire-slayers and professional ghost-hunters.
The image of the occult became domest­icated and tamed – defanged, as it were. Where the subject once had the power to shock and terrify the uninitiated, now only a vestigial frisson of danger remains.

But recently the conspiracy world has started to redefine the occult, reinventing its darker origins and relocating it in more mundane settings.
The devil hasn’t so much ridden out as moved into fashion, films and pop music. The old imagery of goats, virgins and scrappy chalk pentagrams has been replaced by a subtler and more sophisticated language.
Virgins continue to be abused, but rituals no longer rely on bodily fluids collected from altars in old churches. Spells are no longer chanted or drawn on parchment.
Instead – so the newly minted history goes – rituals are promoted in the media and played out to packed audiences in giant stadia, with international satell­ite coverage for those watching at home. Like millions of other people, you may have taken part in an occult ritual without even realising it…

At the apex of the occult pyramid of new world evil are the Illuminati – less a coven of hammy Victorian ritualists, more a dynastic network devoted to the moral and psych­ological destruction of their victims and the promotion of terror, sociopathic selfishness and bestial sexuality.
Endowed with a finely honed sense of dark irony, the Illuminati particularly enjoy flaunting the very symbols of their control in public to influence the collective unconscious.

A key part of the new conspiranoia is a radical restatement of the Illuminati’s aims, methods and mission statement. Older forteans are likely to have fond memories of the Illuminati’s earlier popular exposure in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy.
Wilson – who was or wasn’t a high-level initiate, depending on whom you ask – portrayed the Illuminati as something like a grim secret society of occult middle managers.
Their recent reinvention is very much darker. Promoted by conspiracists like David Icke, the 21st-century view of the new black magic ties together CIA mind-control methods with both overt and covert military and political operations.
While military and political authorities plan and execute acts of economic and physical terrorism, a public propaganda machine channels distracting, destruct­ive and degrading influences through the fashion world, the music business and the endlessly shiny and disordered lives of Hollywood’s rich and famous.


Claims of Satanic influence in rock music are hardly new.
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page notoriously bought Aleister Crowley’s Boleskine House beside Loch Ness, and the Rolling Stones were promoting “Sympathy for the Devil” through the 1960s and ’70s.
But the recent revival of interest in occult-influenced media has moved the focus away from individual performers and towards an invisible network of handlers, managers, psychiatrists and supporting ‘creatives’. In this new view, celebrities and famous performers are victims of the conspiracy, not its leaders. According to conspiracy investigators, many actors and performers, including almost every famous name in the business, have given up their freedom involuntarily. They now live in a kind of twilight world where their actions are controlled and their media presence is carefully stage-managed to promote Illuminati imagery – and to keep the public focused on consuming it.

The means of control and coercion used by Illuminati handlers are more psychological than physical.
According to Icke, the Illuminati are obsessed with ritual, cold-blooded abuse, territorial possessiveness of resources and people and top-down political and economic power. Icke has walked back from his claims that the Illuminati are literally alien lizard people, morphing into their true form when angry or stressed (see FT129:30–31). His curr­ent view is that the alien lizards live in a nearby dimension and manipul­ate the Earth via their hench-people, aristocratic bloodlines literally wedded to polit­ical and financial privilege and dedicated to personal, political and financial degradation and amorality.
According to one self-proclaimed bloodline member who posts regularly on the David Icke message boards, abuse also condit­ions the next generat­ion of Illuminati bloodline leaders so that they’ll be ready and willing to continue that agenda. The cult is managed internally through a dramatic ethic of ruthless conflict and internal assassination. Only the most predatory individuals survive to reach positions of power and influence, and they can be replaced at any time by a more successful and ruthless competitor.

These occult crime families employ forced prostitution, deliberate mental breakdown, and total psychological control to further their agenda.
Some of the most controversial suggestions come from individuals who claim to be former victims of the mind-control cult, and offer tales of systematic and ritualised pædophilia and sexual abuse, designed to deliberately shatter the minds of victims into compartmentalised and compliant sub-personalities called ‘alters’.

Icke associate Arizona Wilder claims to have been involved in organising ritual abuse for the Illuminati until she left to become a whistle-blower on the conspiracy scene. According to Wilder, abuse is ritualised, symbolic and systematic, and plays a key role in promoting the Illuminati agenda. A similar story is repeated by Cathy O’Brien, who claims to be a victim of a CIA mind-control programme called MONARCH, which was – and supposedly still is – a subunit of the notorious Cold War MK-ULTRA. This programme is a matter of histori­cal record, backed up by offic­ial documents, but in O’Brien’s two books, The Tranceformation of America and Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security, she claims that individuals are deliberately tortured with drugs and other forms of both sexual and psychological abuse until they dissociate into multiple personalities which can then be moulded at will.


So is the music business controlled by inter-dimensional lizards? Apparently so.

Unlike most corporations, the Illuminati have occult skills and arcane knowledge, as well as an advanced understanding of psycho­logy which goes beyond the feeble marketing boosterism of positive thinking and PR. The Illuminati run everything – including the music, TV and movie industries. By incorporating trigger images and developing projects which promote their own form of amorality, the Illum­inati can influence entire populations and promote their reptilian values of systematic abuse, pathological self-centredness and ruthless competition.

This makes celebrities very useful to them. The mark­eting value of celebrity is worth billions, which is why famous names appear on the packaging of everything from breakfast cereals to cars, seducing their followers into buying the officially approved choices of their idols. But less positive occult leverage is also possible. Rather like voodoo dolls, Illuminati magicians and psychiatrists stick psychological pins into their pet celebrities, both for the instant gratification of immediate sadism and because the mass attention focused on celebrities transfers and amplifies the tort­ure for the public at large. If the conditioning starts to slip, as sometimes it does, celebrities can always be sacrificed to create an upwelling of popular emotion that’s immensely useful in ritual magic.

Central to this new form of conspiranoia is the belief that imagination and attention are the most precious of occult commodities. According to conspiracist Matthew Delooze, music festivals and other media events provide opportunities for the harvesting of human energy. In the same way that David Icke’s reptilians bear an interesting resemblance to the lizard people shown in the 1980s sci-fi series V, Delooze’s human-harvesting echoes scenes in the 1970s TV series Quatermass, where aliens compel young people to gather in large groups and then harvest them for food. The Delooze re-imagining assumes that emotional energy is more useful to invisible entities than physical body parts, but the theme of humans as willing prey remains recognisable. Appropriately enough, in the TV series, the most attractive locations for public ritual sacrifice are sacred sites like Stonehenge and Glastonbury, and giant stadia like Wembley.

Delooze believes that music festivals and very public deaths like those of Princess Diana and Michael Jackson are equally valuable.
Glastonbury may be the ultimate feel-good festival, but the existence of a pyramid stage and the presence of ‘ley lines’ sugg­ests that it’s up to no good. This may confuse survivors of the original festival scene, who saw festivals as venues for free expression away from the rigid values of a Cold War culture. It may also surprise survivors of the 1980s and 1990s, who saw festivals and raves as places where ordinary people could escape from work and authoritarianism at none-too legal gatherings; not to mention historians of popular cult­ure, who have traced the lineage that leads to modern-day festivals back to rowdy public fairs and markets, some of which date to mediæval times.

To Delooze-ians this is all part of the plot. Participants think they’re having fun, when really they’re being mind-controlled and manipulated. Mass media promotion of festiv­als and celebrity news traps viewers inside an emotional world where they can be herded from experience to experience like farm animals. Others have suggested that all media content is Illuminati-controlled for maximum occult benefit, whether it’s Live Earth or coverage of Britney Spears’s latest breakdown.


The constant and deliberate reinforcement of occult symbols in the media has the double effect of increasing their impact and also flaunting the controllers’ intent before their unwitting victims. But none of this is entirely secret, and it’s a feature of the new occultism that the signs are visible to those who can interpret them. Conspiracy watchers such as the Pseudo Occult Media blog have become obsessive followers of celebrity news, deconstructing music videos, fashion photos and movies to reveal hidden Illuminati symbols.

Most of this symbolism isn’t obvious to outsiders. Traditional pentagrams and pyramids do occasionally appear, but colours, shapes, corpor­ate logos and other motifs are just as promin­ent and powerful. Even photographic lighting techniques can carry a message: for example, a face in shadow, which emphasises the duality and splitting of dark and light personality elements. Similarly, a monarch butterfly symbol on clothes, graphics or tattoos reinforces the MK-ULTRA MONARCH programme.

Devotees of occult celebrity-spotting argue that not only are celebrities programmed and brainwashed, they’re also cloned and genetically engineered to manifest a pleasing combination of good looks. Illuminati science is decades ahead of our own, so their scientists can create genetic celebrities to order, blessed with a perfect eye-catching combination of sexual charisma and physical attractiveness.

Where conventional fans try to keep up with the relationships and lifestyle fads of their idols, occult-spotters look for evidence of failing programming. The ritual of celebrity rehab is taken as a sure sign that conditioning is breaking down, and reinforcement urgently needed. If the situation is left unattended to, then a famous name might start acting irrationally, perhaps even leading to a public event that reveals their abuse. The ultimate success for spotters would be a tell-all public confess­ion – but this never happens.

Instead, most celebrities are successfully re-conditioned and “Stepforded”. Just like the Stepford Wives in the book and movies of the same name, Stepforded celebrities acquire conventional family values and become pliably robotic. Unlike the movies, this process isn’t limited to women. Any individual who can’t be reprogrammed can always be replaced by a more obedient clone, or sacrificed in public with a faked suicide or assassination.

This may raise a question or two in the minds of sceptics. There’s no evidence that cloning is possible, never mind likely. And sceptics might also wonder how it’s possible to tell the difference between the fashions and access­ories available in any clothing store and official Illuminati-approved mind-control apparel. It doesn’t take an expert knowledge of fashion to see that many of the claimed symbols and images are common to the point of being mundane. Butterfly images and leopard-print fabrics are widespread enough to be clichés in their own right. So how can these be images of mind-control?

The secret seems to be that what celebrit­ies wear is proof of their mind-control, and ordinary women – and sometimes men – copy them to reinforce their own slave status. Sporting a butterfly tattoo or a leopard-print miniskirt might seem like harmless fun, but in fact it shows a willingness to conform and to support the Illuminati agenda of pædophilia and programmed mental destruction. Mind-controlled celebrities are dressed deliberately by minders to display these images, both to reinforce the conditioning of the celebrities themselves, and to symbolise the existence of their conditioning to the rest of us.


For non-believers, this new occult conspiracy theory sounds like paranoid delusion, but conclusively disproving the beliefs of Icke and Delooze turns out to be harder than it might seem, because historical reality is at least as strange as some of the stories being told about it.

The MK-ULTRA programme certainly existed. Documents prove that for nearly two decades the CIA experimented with hypnosis, hallucinogens and other drugs and a pro­cess called “psychic driving”.
Invented by Dr Ewen Cameron, who went on to become the first chairman of the World Psychiatric Assoc­iation, psychic driving used audiotape loops combined with drugs to ‘suggest’ behavioural changes. Cameron eventually developed a more intensive technique called de-patterning, which added electro-convulsive therapy and insulin coma to the noxious mix of psychiatric abuse. Cameron’s interest was in treating schizophrenia; but he experimented freely, with CIA funding, on individuals with relatively minor psychological problems, including mild depression and anxiety.

Cameron’s grisly research and other parts of the MK-ULTRA programme are a matter of historical record, but in 1973 CIA Director Richard M Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed. What’s known about MK-ULTRA is known almost by accident, as a cache of documents, most of which were financial rather than operational, survived the cull because they were kept in a separate location.

Critics of mind-control lore state cate­gorically that there is no evidence of a programme called MONARCH. But when most of the primary sources are no longer available, it becomes impossible to be sure which techniques were used and which weren’t. The MK-ULTRA research seems to have been distinguished by a significant lack of interest in medical or psychiatric ethics. When a professional psychiatrist fries the brains of patients with voltages 30 times higher than those used in conventional ECT, and does this without their consent, it’s not unreasonable to ask just where MK-ULTRA experimenters were willing to draw the line between ethical and unethical behaviour.

More recently, stories of systematic torture and abuse in military prisons have forced the current US administration to appoint a special prosecutor. At the same time, former US officials have admitted that terror threat levels were deliberately manipulated for political reasons. So, from one point of view, it’s clear that the promot­ion of fear and abuse have sometimes been supported at government level. And if you believe Delooze, torture has an occult purpose too. The aim of torture isn’t to acquire intelligence, but to debase its victims, create terror, and, most of all, to focus public attention on the threat of irrational and all-consuming abuse.


The fashion and media worlds are similarly unwholesome. Rumours of sexual favours, not always voluntary, are common in modell­ing, acting and fashion photography. There’s also no doubt that these are inherently risky professions. Creative media can boast a long list of famous names – most recently Michael Jackson and David Carra­dine – who were either murdered or committed suicide, often in bizarre and questionably convincing ways.

But how much of the historical record is conventional decadence and dysfunction, and how much is evidence of organised conspiracy? Conspiracy theories can only flourish when facts are either absent or deliberately ignored. Narrative logic always reflects public hopes and fears, and at the moment the public has plenty to feel fearful of. In the same way that conventional Satanism and the occult were the unnameable night terrors of previous generations, modern anxieties live both in and behind the media. Celebrities are fascinating because they’re envied and need to be brought down from their pedestals; but they also stand in for our idealised image of how life should be, and our fears of how it really is.

And so it should come as no surprise that creative reinterpretations of media influence now abound. During the Bush years, paranoid reality became stranger than fict­ion. But even before then, the traditional Bohemian role of celebrity was becoming redundant. Sex, drugs, and the occasional high profile police bust have become formul­aic waypoints on the path to notoriety, and the only people still shocked by them are likely to be elderly or unusually religious. The rest of the population has moved on, and many people are now wilder in private (and sometimes in public) than the subversive stars of 40 years ago ever were. Morals, as well as becoming laxer, have also become more nakedly exploitative.

So perhaps the biggest clue to the new paranoia is the extent to which distrust of the authorities and the media is endemic. Supposed authority figures such as bankers and politicians have proven themselves to be corrupt at best, and psychotic at worst. It’s not hard to see how movie imagery – from interdimensional fear-eating lizards to robotic spouses and secret societies – can be assembled into a consistent narrative of top-down malevolence and media control. In this view, sacrificial celebrities aren’t special people, or even special victims – they’re just like the rest of us.

Pseudo-occult media blog
David Icke message boards (See especially the Stepford Wives thread in the Symbolism/Mind Control/Subliminal Programming folder)
Matthew Delooze
Vigilant Citizen blog


1 Butterfly tattoos, clothes, belts, hats, and other fashion accessories; proof of mind-control because they refer to the MK-Ultra Project Monarch operation.

2 Black and white checker­boards or lines symbolise duality and good/evil. A more subtle variation on this theme is the stock portrait photo which hides half of a star’s face in shadow.

3 Mirrors and shattered glass represent the way the mind is shattered and mirr­ored during mental torture. Mirrored personalities represent hidden ‘alters’ who can be made to surface at will with appropriate trigger imagery.

4 Big cats, including lions, panthers and tigers, and domestic cats which are usually black or white and spiky rather than fluffy. Leopard-print clothing also qualifies. The message is that fierce pussies suggest animalistic sexual impulses.

5 Hello Kitty toys are a more childish version of the same idea. Interestingly, the Urban Dictionary describes Hello Kitty as a “Japanese mass-casualty weapon… Doctors warn that even low-level exposure may cause a perfectly sound mind to crack.”

6 Birdcages, chains and other symbolism of imprisonment represent physical and psycho­logical bondage in a very literal way.

7 Pink, purple and rainbow colours: it’s hard to see these as sinister, but purple is apparently used to reinforce programming. The rainbow represents psychological splitting.

8 Doll symbolism often appears in fashion shoots to reinforce the mind-controlled nature of a model, who can be posed at will.

9 The Marilyn Monroe look, blonde and classic, is proof that a woman has been ‘Stepforded’ and no longer has any individuality.

10 And finally, photo­graphers, fashion designers and direct­ors sometimes succ­umb to laziness and include more traditional occult symbols such as pentagrams, pyramids (with and without the Eye of Horus), horned animal skulls, and other familiar standards. POP'S ILLUMINATI TOP 10

10 Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams has provided plenty of mat­erial for weird-watchers generally, from his retreat from music into an obsession with conspiracy theories and UFOs (heck, he even grew a Mulder beard straight out of the last X-Files movie) to his bizarre recent ‘comeback’ appearance on The X-Factor. Williams’s strange, wild-eyed performance on the show caused plenty of bemused speculat­ion from the public, but for occult celebrity-spotters, it all made sense – Williams was displaying the classic signs of dissociation they’d seen in many mind-controlled celebs in recent years. And a quick flick through his recent output seemingly confirms their suspicions about his occult leanings: his logo (as seen in the “Sin, Sin, Sin” video) is made up of the letter ‘R’, a quest­ion mark and the all-seeing Eye of Horus; in a recent interview, he talked about having “multiple personalities”; while the video for the song “Radio” even saw him shape-shifting into a Reptilian alien! On the other hand, Robbie’s avowed interest in conspiracy theories saw him posting on the David Icke forums, where debate rages fiercely about his real motivat­ions. So: Illuminati slave, would-be whistleblower or just another pawn in the game? The jury is still out on Robbie.

9 Stephen Gately

Michael Jackson’s high-profile demise wasn’t the only pop star death linked to the occult conspiracy in recent years; Rapper Tupac Shakur is supp­osed to have left a raft of musical clues suggesting that he was murdered by the Illum­inati (or was not dead at all, just hiding from them). But would the masters of the world really stoop to bumping off a one-time member of Boyzone?

Well, maybe. His career was filled with the kind of symbolism that marks out a mind-controlled celeb: For starters, Boyzone – like most manufact­ured boy- or girl-bands had five members – a significant occult number (how many points on a pentagram? Go figure.), and the combo’s logo emphas­ised dark/light duality, as did their explicitly occult get-up of, er, white tops and black trousers. He appeared in a movie called Credo (aka The Devil’s Curse), in which five students tried to summon Belial. And if anyone was in any doubt, it was Gately’s panto and musical roles that revealed the awful truth. Playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz was the first giveaway – having no brains being a coded message for having been MK’d by the Illuminati – while the role of the Childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (penned by Ian Fleming, whose Bond books and their film adapt­ations are chock-full of occult symbolism) is an obvious gloating nod to the pædophilic sex rings run by the Illumin­ati establishment. And Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir just thought he was gay…

8+7 Beyoncé and Jay-Z

There had always been speculat­ion in occult celebrity-spotting circles that Beyoncé was a tool of the Illuminati. Her performance at the 2007 BET Awards was seen as containing symbolism referring to the robot-woman Maria in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, but when her 2008 album I Am Sasha Fierce… was released, the conspiranoiacs nodded sagely to one another. Sasha Fierce wasn’t just a stage alter ego, but could be evidence of “an artist taken over by evil to obtain success”. Songs and videos from the album revealed the struggle between Nice Girl Beyoncé and Evil Robot Beyoncé, while her marri­age the same year to unknowingly possessed Masonic rapper Jay-Z – whose constant flashing of occult symbols in hand gestures had already made him a firm favourite among the cognoscenti – was the esoteric icing on the cake.

If there was an Illuminati version of Hello! Magazine, this would have been their celebrity wedding of the year.

6 Britney Spears

Britney’s bizarre behaviour is legendary tabloid fodder, but her numerous breakdowns, flip-outs and fashion disasters supposedly all tell their own hidden story. A one-time Disney MouseKeteer (MK), Britney was seemingly subjected to mind-control from an early age. Her first tattoo was a butterfly (Monarch programming) and her song titles (“Hit Me Baby” and “I’m a Slave 4 U”) included clear references to her fate. Spears was groomed as the next Illum­inati pop high priestess, a process which clim­axed in a public ritual performed at the MTV awards, in which Madonna (yes, allegedly another MK victim but frankly getting a bit past it) raised Britney to her new level in the evil hierarchy in a perverted lesbian wedd­ing in which groom Madge sported a Worshipful Master’s top hat and sealed the ceremony with a much-reported same-sex kiss.

It didn’t work out though, and rather than replacing the fading Illuminati Queen, Britney wigged out (apparently many stars’ programm­ing starts to fail at around age 30). Things came to a very public head when the malfunct­ioning starbot checked out of rehab, walked into a hair salon and said, “I want my hair shaved off.” The sheared Shears caused a media sensation, but the real story was about more than strange tonsorial decisions: head-shaving is apparently something that many ‘multiples’ have done when trying to escape their programming: “The hair represents the stylists, the handlers and people who are in control of her life and manage her looks.” There was no escape for Bald Britney, though; she may now be a ‘failed’ replacement for Madonna – Lady Gaga is the current Illumin­ati pin-up – but the torture, as Frank Zappa said, never stops…

5 Miley Cyrus

Twins and doubles feature a lot in the mind-controlled celeb mythos – from a fascination with Dr Joseph Mengele’s twin experiments (according to conspiracists, he was both an Illumin­ati controller and a Rothschild, of course!) to a keen interest in pop stars and their alter egos. Miley Cyrus and her ‘alter’ Hannah Montana (as well as being a deadly menace to parents’ wallets) is a classic example, memorably described by the Pseudo Occult Media blog as “The Mind-Controlled Disney Slave from Sirius”.

The TV series Hannah Montana stars Cyrus as a girl who lives a secret double life – an average schoolgirl by day, and the titular, pretty-in-pink (and occult purple) pop star by night. The splitting of Miley is demonstrated by her alter’s name – Hannah is the same backwards as forwards, reminiscent of the constant mirroring we see in pop videos – and by their different hair colours (further dark/light checker­board symbolism). Miley Cyrus’s real name is also signific­ant, recalling ‘Sirius’, the Dog Star, which in turn represents the pentagram of the Masons, while even her father’s middle name – that’s the ‘Ray’ in Billy Ray Cryus – offers up more Masonic Solar symbolism for those in the know.

The fact that Miley/Hannah has often been seen sporting butterfly symbols on her clothes, access­ories and website pretty much clinches it for one blogger: “She is literally (in terms of her MK programming) some form of corporate global Lolita robot” being used to socially engineer teenage girls for their role as Illuminati sex slaves and reptilian breeding stock.

4 Rihanna

Occult celebrity-spotters have noted that most of Rihanna’s recent videos blatantly employ the imagery of black/white checker­boards, one-eye-covered close-ups, as-above-so-below poses (one arm up, one arm down) and all the familiar trappings of bondage and sexual enslavement, but who’d have thought that the infernally catchy song “Umbrella” contained plenty of clues as to Rihanna’s mind-controlled status?

In fact, being “under the umbrella” is just another way of saying “possessed by the Devil”. Rapper Jay-Z’s opening invit­ation to Rihanna isn’t an offer of protect­ion against life’s metaphor­ical lousy weather but could be interpreted as a coded invit­ation for her to join him as one of the ‘chosen’, the secret Illuminist elite who’ll ride out the storms of global recession (rhymes with possession… hmm), while the rest of us are just lizard-fodder for the conspiracy. Other lyrics – including the spooky occult chanting of “ella… ella” and the strange use of the word ‘entity’ seem to suggest that Rihanna is more than happy to be MK’d in return for Illumin­ati ‘protection’.

And there are plenty more clues in the video, where Rihanna appears in both white and black outfits (split into good and evil selves; check the album title – Good Girl Gone Bad), dances with a phallic umbrella and gets sprayed with gushes of CGI water – or, as the Vigilant Citizen website has it: “The liquid hits her a total of 6 times. We then see Rihanna naked, covered in chrome-coloured liquid. Rihanna has been raped by the Devil and covered with his semen.” Eww.

And an equally vigilant poster on YouTube spotted a subliminal image (at 2.46) in which the Devil-sauce-glazed pop star forms the image of Baphomet’s head within a pyramid: “Hair forms the snout, shoulders form the eyes, arms form the horns. Very ‘not cool’ playing with the subconscious minds of viewers like that!” Quite.

3 Simon Cowell

He may not be a pop star himself, but talent show puppet-master Cowell obviously pulls the strings on programmes like the massively successful X-Factor (known to conspiracy-watchers as The Hex Factor and even the The Osiris Factor). He has been criticised by (presumably non-MK’d) artists like Sting as a destructive force against all that is good and spontaneous in music. But could his evil power go beyond manipulating the minds of the British public? Is he a major player in the conspiracy? A reptilian, even? While the David Icke forums were lashed into a state of excitement by a photo of a grinning Cowell riding a jet ski emblazoned with a Masonic symbol, evidence has been patchy at best. Then, news came in that Cowell had chosen this year’s X-Factor winner’s single – and it was none other than Miley Cyrus’s Hannah Montana hit “The Climb”. Case closed.

2 Michael Jackson

The late Michael Jackson was, according to some blogg­ers, a mind-controlled tool of the conspiracy from an early age; his work, they argue, was pepp­ered with references to the New World Order and clues to his conditioning, while his Illuminati miss­ion was to be the poster boy for “narcissism, onanism, androgyny and homosexual pædophilia”. Self-proclaimed former Illuminati lackey Kathleen Sullivan stated that she had “absolutely no doubt” that Jackson was “an MK-ULTRA variety slave… [in] their bizarre ‘system’ of spooks, commercialised pædophilia and more…” Another blog noted that Jacko had a close relationship with a man sometimes described as his ‘personal magic­ian’ and going by the name of Majestic the Magnific­ent (or sometimes the even more revealing Majestik Magnificent – how blatant could this guy be?) and speculated that Majestic may have been more than just a con­juror and probably “some sort of CIA Monarch mind-control handler”…

In the light of his backstory – bred and stage-managed for stardom by the child-abusing Illuminati elite – all Whacko Jacko’s subsequent strange behaviour – from changing his appearance to making his child­ren wear masks and avoid mirrors – becomes explicable in terms of his attempts to break free of his programmers. Musically, this was signalled by his move into Mess­ianic mode – “Earth Song” and the coded tip-off “They Don’t Care About Us” – but Jackson was playing a dangerous game and it was only a matter of time before his handlers moved in, wrecking his career with child abuse alleg­ations. Jackson retreated into Neverland. As one forum poster wrote: “somebody with a sick sense of humour deliberately programmed him to be a living Pinocchio, who’s [sic] one desire in life was to become a ‘real boy’… (Geppetto was a pedo [sic]… talk about another revel­ation of Illum­inati programming in plain sight.) In this case they actually surg­ically cut off Pinocchio’s nose…”

But Jackson’s rebellion against the conspiracy couldn’t succeed; his plan to reveal the Illuminati’s secret agenda to his millions of fans in a comeback tour was cut short, say the occult conspiracists, when he was murdered by his controllers.

1 Lady Gaga

Of all the artists singled out for Illuminati links, none currently gets more column inches and web hits than Lady Gaga. Doyenne of the spark-shooting fembot electro-bra which out-nippled 80s-vintage Madonna, Gaga seems like a factory-made embodiment of the cult of cultiness – a knowing personification of occult symbolism, with one of the oddest and most disturbing personæ in any mainstream creative industry, combining some of the understated Peter Pan creepiness of Michael Jackson, the in-your-face pseudo-fascism of Marilyn Manson, and the shrink-wrapped and battery-farmed sexuality of Rihanna and Beyoncé.

Defenders suggest she’s playing the fame game deliberately, hyping the outrage and milking the scandal, following in an ancient tradition that namechecks Elvis, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

As the self-styled Fame Monster, Gaga claims to have more in common with the glam rock spang­les of David Bowie and Queen, and the glossy but ridicul­ous lifestyles of fashionistas like Donatella Versace, than with secret occult societies and CIA-run mind-control programmes. Videos from early in her career prove that she can sing and perform traditional piano ballads with a strong stage presence, unsupported by fake blood, fake ritual, nudity, or auto-tuned vocals. And she’s not lacking IQ – she claims German mystical poet Rainer Maria Rilke as an influence, and wrote papers about art, relig­ion, and sociology while studying at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts in New York.

And yet, there’s no denying that she’s also the Queen of Weird. In less than a year, she has moved from being an unknown to the conspiracy blogosphere’s favourite pin-up, ticking all of the boxes of alleged symbolic Illuminati give-aways. While many artists suggest and hint, Gaga seems to revel in strangeness, associating herself in her videos and performances with butterflies, bubbles, rainbows, hyper-sexualised dolls, robots, puppets, kittens, slaves, and trained killers. She consistently appears in photos making visual gestures that occult conspiracists interpret as references to the all-seeing eye.

And why was she selected for the Queen’s Royal Command Performance last year? Presumably as one lizard princess being rewarded by another – although in the post-event photos it’s hard not to be struck by the contrast between the red latex-clad Gaga in her mock-demure ironic red evening gown and abused panda eye make-up, and the more conventionally attired real Queen.

The high point for Gaga-watchers was last year’s MTV VMA ceremony, where she was given an extended slot for a performance of her song “Paparazzi” and the undivided attention of a live audience of celebrities and inter­national viewers. The performance, described variously as ‘raunchy’ and ‘gruesome’, culminated in a mock hanging, and her ascent to a glowing light as she was pulled to heaven swinging on the end of a noose, with fake blood dripping down her midriff and over her trademark latex panties. Fans loved it, almost everyone else was scandalised and revolted – not least the nuns at New York’s Convent of the Sacred Heart who had tried to educate Gaga (then known more convent­ionally as Steffani Germanotta) and set her on a path of devout Catholic­ism before she began her creative career.

But anyone over 30 understands that outraging the wrinkl­ies, and especially one’s former teachers, isn’t necessarily the most original artistic statement. Gaga is weird, but are her antics any weirder than the ultra-violence and make-up games of punks and new romant­ics, or the avowed Satanism of heavy metal bands?

Perhaps a more telling criticism is that Gaga is simply a plagiarist, most obviously borrowing much of her look from established icy electro-pop diva Roisin Murphy, garnished with references to other famous fashion stylings. She turns the eccentricity ‘up to 11’ for effect, but her major talent is self-promot­ion and media manipulation, rather than occult self-immolation.

As always with conspiracy theor­ies, lack of hard evidence makes it impossible to settle on a firm interpretation. But for dedicated culture watchers, Gaga’s persona isn’t so much occult as adolescent – attention-seeking, gaudily sexual, and dedicated to shock and awe – making her no different from almost every other headlining mainstream pop act from the last half decade.

Her performances are adult-themed pantomime and vaudeville burlesque – more Punch and Judy than mind-controlled pædophilia. She’s certainly a role model, but only in the Romantic sense that artists are admired, encouraged and rewarded for breaking rules, and for being odd. If she promotes bizarreness, it’s of a very limited and self-conscious kind, dedicated to and delimited by clothes, boys, girls, make-up, accessories, and an entirely mainstream self-abusive angst.