<1> The latest incarnation of
the vampire - in the conspiracy theories of David Icke -
reveals the critical, revolutionary heart of the vampire legend.
Discourse on the vampire appears above all to provide a
structure of dissent, a metaphorical means of representing and
soliciting critiques of the social order. The Anunnaki
form of the vampire - in its immersion in the constellation of
contemporary conspiracy theories, in its reflection on global
capitalism, and in its blurring of historical and fictional
narratives - has moved this structure of dissent from the cloak
of darkness to the light of day.
<2> Considered by some to be the reigning conspiracy
theorist in the US,
David Icke (who is British)
formulates his theories of a worldwide, age-old conspiracy
around an extraterrestrial race of beings called the
Anunnaki. Self-styled the "most controversial author and
speaker in the world," David Icke has been subject to
much ridicule but has nonetheless become an industry, publishing
eleven books, producing video and audiotapes, embarking on a
worldwide lecture circuit, and creating a website that allegedly
attracts 10,000 visitors a day (Canadian Par. 13).
A former soccer player from a
working-class family, Icke became a household name in the
UK as a national sports and news reporter for the BBC and as the
spokesperson for the Green Party ("About" Par. 7-8). Starting a
full-time writing career in the early 1990s, Icke began
with New Age inspired works like Truth Vibrations (1991),
which combines accounts of his self transformation with
psychically-imparted warnings on the imminent destruction of the
earth, from there moving towards conventional conspiracy
theories, and finally, beginning with his 1999 book
The Biggest Secret, focusing
his conspiracy theories around the Anunnaki and their
nefarious involvement in human history.
<3> The Anunnaki, whose name is Sumerian, meaning
"those who from Heaven to Earth Came" (Icke 5), refer to
reptilian race that originated
from the legendary planet known as Nibiru (Planet
X), or the place of the crossing, which has a 3,600
year elliptical orbit that takes it between Jupiter and Mars and
then out into space (5). For the past 450,000 years, according
to Icke, the Anunnaki have been ruling earth in
different guises and from different dimensions. Through genetic
engineering, the Anunnaki have manipulated the evolution of
humans as a slave race.
"The Anunnaki created bloodlines
to rule humanity on their behalf," he writes, "and these …
are the families still in control of the world to this day"
The interbreeding of the rich and
powerful (primarily, for Icke, the
European aristocracy and the
Eastern Establishment of the US) is not done for reasons of
snobbery but rather,
"to hold a genetic structure
that gives them certain abilities, especially the ability to
’shape-shift’ and manifest in other forms" (9).
Working with these crossbreeds are
full-blooded Anunnaki, some physically present on earth,
others influencing individuals and events psychically from what
Icke calls "the lower fourth dimension" (25).
Forming a "Brotherhood" or
secret society network, the
Anunnaki have effectively "hijacked the planet" (46).
<4> The recurring motif in the discourse on the
Anunnaki is vampirism. In fact, so strong is this component
in their depiction that it’s safe to say that Icke’s work
represents one of the most recent developments in the discourse
of the vampire.
"While vampire beliefs are
varied," writes James Craig Holte, "certain elements of the
vampire myth are consistent. The most important are the
inability to experience death, the importance of blood, and
the sexual connection between vampire and victim" (246).
Other structural similarities
between the traditional vampire and the Anunnaki include
shape-shifting, hypnotism, and links to secret societies. After
establishing the Anunnaki as a manifestation of the vampire,
we’ll unpack the implications of this figure, using the tools of
a Marxist critical practice.
<5> The Anunnaki, like traditional vampires, enjoy
eternal or extenuated life spans. Icke claims that,
dimensional reptilians wear their human bodies like a genetic
overcoat and when one body dies the same reptilian ’moves house’
to another body and continues the Agenda into another
One type of creature Icke describes is a
reptilian "inside" a human physical body;
"it seems that … the Anunnaki
need to occupy a very reptilian dominated genetic stream to
do this, hence certain bloodlines always end up in the
positions of power. Other less pure crossbreed
human-reptilians are those bodies which are possessed by a
reptilian consciousness from the fourth dimension and these
are people who psychics see as essentially human, but
’overshadowed’ by a reptilian" (46).
Crossbreeding to infuse reptilian
genetics into human bloodlines, the Anunnaki gain the means to
defy death, as we conceive it.
<6> In respect to blood drinking, Icke is very clear: The
Anunnaki drink blood, which they need in order to exist in this
dimension and hold a human form (288). Embedded in this need
lies another parallel between the Anunnaki and the figure of the
vampire - the power to shape-shift (from reptilian to human form
for the Anunnaki, and usually from vampire form to that of bat
or even mist for the traditional vampire). But the Anunnaki also
feed off fear, aggression, and other negative emotions. Thus,
while blood is needed as a vital life force, the Anunnaki are
also addicted to "adrenalchrome," a hormone released in the
human body during periods of extreme terror (290, 331). Rather
than sucking the blood directly from the necks of their victims,
the Anunnaki apparently slash the throats of their victims from
left to right and consume the blood out of goblets (303). Icke
claims that the origin of the vampire stories are the blood
drinking and "energy sucking" rituals of the Anunnaki (26).
"In India," he writes, "it was
called soma and in Greece it was ambrosia, some researchers
suggest. This was said to be the nectar of the gods and it
was - the reptilian gods who are genetic blood drinkers"
<7> In the sexual connection
between slayer and victim, the Anunnaki also share another
similarity with the traditional vampire. However, depictions of
the Anunnaki by Icke contain none of the erotic allure and
seductiveness that distinguish many vampire texts. Instead, the
sexual bond between the Anunnaki and their victims is
characterized by violence - rape, murder, and Satanic ritual.
"Satanism at its core is about
the manipulation and theft of another person’s energy and
consciousness," writes Icke, who states that "sex is so
common in Satanic ritual because at the moment of orgasm,
the body explodes with energy which the Satanists and the
reptiles can capture and absorb" (295).
For Icke, of course, the demons
honored or appeased by satanic sex rituals are none other than
the reptilian Anunnaki (34). Sex is also a fundamental tool of
the Anunnaki mind control program and, more prosaically, it
figures prominently as a means of blackmail. The picture that
emerges is one involving vast networks of sexual abuse and
ritual murder - graphic accounts of satanic practices at the
playgrounds for world leaders, such as
the Bohemian Grove, a
2,700 acre compound north of San Francisco - mass graves for
victims drained of their blood and libidinal energies - and the
cultivation of sexual crimes to create an energy field that
nourishes these rapacious ETs.
<8> There are other shared traits between the traditional
vampire and the Anunnaki, for example, the role of
societies. One of Icke’s chief contributions to the discourse on
the vampire lies in his immersion of this figure into a vast web
of clandestine organizations, from ancient mystery schools and
cults like the
Brotherhood of the Snake to the
Knights Templar and the Masonic Order, from global entities like
the UN, the
Trilateral Commission, and the
Council on Foreign
Relations to drug cartels, satanic churches, and the
Nobility. A keystone in this architecture of conspiracy is the
Order of Draco, which conjures up the most famous of all
vampires - Count Dracula - and underscores his demonic,
draconian, and reptilian associations.
"According to Laurence Gardner,
the name Dracula means ’Son of Dracul’ and was inspired by
Prince Vlad III of Transylvania-Wallachia, a chancellor of
the Court of the Dragon in the 15th century. This prince’s
father was called Dracul within the Court" (56).
network of secret societies, of which the Order of Draco is
but a single manifestation, the Anunnaki highlight the
conspiratorial dimension of all vampires. Finally, the
Anunnaki share with the traditional vampire the capacity to
hypnotize: Icke writes that reptilian bloodlines,
ability to produce an extremely powerful hypnotic stare,
just like a snake hypnotizing its prey and this is the
origin of giving someone the ’evil eye’" (42).
<9> Icke’s paradigm displays
more than the vitality, persistence, and adaptive qualities of
the vampire legend. His theories reveal the dissident energies
contained already in the vampire legacy.
<10> To begin with, Icke’s work represents a major fusion
of the vampire cult and the field of conspiracy theories.
Richard Hofstadter, in his famous essay "The Paranoid Style in
American Politics" (1963) claims that the,
"distinguishing thing about the
paranoid style is not that its exponents see conspiracies or
plots here and there in history, but that they regard a
’vast’ … conspiracy as the motive force in historical
events. History is a conspiracy" (29).
Conspiracies, even when they’re not
construed as vast, over-arching plots, however, have an
internal, integrative logic. In other words, there is a momentum
in conspiracy theories to pull in all other theories, and
finally to arrive at a state in which everything is connected.
Part of Icke’s popularity lies in his ability to integrate most
contemporary American conspiracy theories into one over-arching
framework. Situated squarely in the center of this design is the
ancient figure of the vampire. Thus, the vampire (or, more
specifically, the Anunnaki Vampire) has colonized the field of
conspiracy theories - government-sponsored alien cover-ups, the
New World Order, suspicious deaths, the
suppressed research, the intrigues of the CIA, and the list goes
<11> From a Marxist perspective, of course, this
development is more than just a formal or aesthetic innovation,
for many of the conspiracy theories now circulating in the
cultural medium of the US contain, at their core, critical,
dissenting, and rebellious points of view (encompassing both
extreme right and left) that are articulated in opposition to
the social, political, and cultural status quo. While Hofstadter
claims that the US has no monopoly on conspiracism, other
scholars like Peter Knight hold that conspiracy theories hold an
indispensable place in American ideology formation, and that
"conspiracy theories can be read
in part as panicked responses to the increasing
multiculturalism and globalization of the present" (5).
Revolutionary or reactionary,
however, these theories are inimical to the governing elite and
represent a tradition of oppositional practice. As Knight puts
"conspiracy theory has become
the lingua franca of a countercultural opposition that
encompasses a vast spectrum of political thinking from the
committed to the casual" (6-7).
<12> An initial difficulty in
seeing the vampire as a symbol of the ruling class - capitalist
or otherwise - lies in the diverse variations taken on by
vampires in different places and times. As Brian Frost puts it,
"the vampire is a polymorphic
phenomenon with a host of disparate guises to its credit"
Among the various legendary "guises"
of the vampire inventoried by Frost are spirit vampires, astral
vampires, psychic vampires, animal vampires, and real-life
vampires who are,
"sadistic criminals … urged on
by a physical craving for blood" (15).
Complicating the picture is the fact
that Bram Stoker’s character of Count Dracula, who for many
encapsulates the aristocratic ethos of the vampire,
"lacks precisely what makes a
man ’noble’: servants. Dracula stoops to driving the
carriage, cooking the meals, making the beds, cleaning the
castle" (Moretti 90).
Furthermore, in some of the earliest
European vampire legends, the undead feed off the living members
of their own families (Murgoci 18), which at first glance
mitigates the social-class dynamic often conjured up in the
image of aristocratic vampires draining the lifeblood of their
<13> There is, nevertheless, a critical and even radical
dimension to the figure of the vampire, who, as a parasite,
circulates as a political metaphor. The word vampire has from
the start been used in oppositional literature as a symbol of an
exploiting class, government, industry, or institution. A
"after the introduction of the
word ’vampire’ in an English publication in 1732, (an
account of the investigation of Arnold Paul in Serbia) … a
serious utilization of the vampire as a political metaphor
occurred in Observations on the Revolution of 1688 (…
published in 1741)"
which identified foreign
investors as "’Vampires of the Publick’" (Melton 538).
Only "a few years later, in
1764, Voltaire, in his Philosophical Dictionary," refers to
"vampires" as "’stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business
who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight’"
<14> But it was Marx who
first suggested that the vampire can be interpreted as a
metaphor of capitalism and who also implied a method for this
interpretation. In volume one of Capital (1867), he writes that,
"capital is dead labour, which,
vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives
the more, the more labour it sucks" (342).
Extrapolating on this analogy,
Franco Moretti provides a reading of Bram Stoker’s Dracula,
"If the vampire is a metaphor
for capital, then Stoker’s vampire, who is of 1897, must be
the capital of 1897" (92).
Accordingly, Moretti sees Count
Dracula as the expression or figure of monopoly capitalism,
which, to the 19th century bourgeoisie, could not be recognized
as an emerging force but only as a relic of the past displaced
into the present (93). Whether or not one agrees with Moretti’s
reading of the Count, it is his method that’s of most value. As
Rob Latham pus it,
"Moretti stresses that, while
the vampire is a perfect general image for the basic
mechanism of capitalist development, individual vampire
texts illuminate specifically the historical phases of
capitalism in which they are produced" (129).
<15> Applying Moretti’s
method, we can perceive the Anunnaki as metaphorical of the
unique forms capitalism has taken by the 21st century.
Certainly, Anunnaki vampires embody the market for genetic
engineering as well as space exploration. These dimensions, in
fact, are projected back into the origins of Anunnaki control
over earth and its resources: travel from another planet, interdimensional traffic, and a crossbreeding agenda coterminous
with the evolution of the human race. Anunnaki vampires also
control finance, which was undergoing a tremendous
transformation and development during the time when Icke was
writing that, of all the spheres of Anunnaki domination, "the
most important … in terms of control, is banking" (207).
Electronic banking, credit, and the
demediation of stock exchange through on-line trading are some
of the key elements in the recent development of the finance
industry (Castells 152-53). But we can go deeper than this kind
of analysis, and discover in the discourse on the Anunnaki
examples of remarkable changes, not in select markets, but
rather in the very structure of the economy.
<16> In this, more significant sense, the Anunnaki are
linked to present-day capitalism through their association with
global control. Icke consistently depicts these alien
bloodsuckers as monopolizing world leadership positions in
government, finance, religion, and the media. In this sense,
Anunnaki vampires represent a demonized expression of the unique
form capitalism has taken during the very period in which Icke’s
theories were formulated, published, and popularized. The late
1990s issued in - for the first time in history - a global
economy, defined by Manuel Castells as,
"an economy whose core
components have the institutional, organizational, and
technological capacity to work as a unit in real time, or in
chosen time, on a planetary scale" (102).
"this is a new brand of
capitalism, technologically, organizationally, and
institutionally distinct" (160-61).
<17> The forces spearheading
this change derive in part from key industries, notably
information technology - centering on the Internet - finance,
and biotechnology (Castells 161). Other contributing factors in
the formation of the global economy are government policies that
restructured capitalism through laws deregulating and
liberalizing economic activity (148). The global economy has, of
course, catapulted the scale of capitalism;
"for the first time in history
the whole planet is capitalist or dependent on its
connection to global capitalist networks" (160-61).
However, as Castells points out, the
"is not a planetary economy …
because it does not embrace all economic processes in the
planet, it does not include all territories, and it does not
include all people in its workings, although it does affect
directly or indirectly the livelihood of all humankind"
Thus the global economy is
significant, not only for it inclusivity, but also for its
significant and shifting exclusions, marginalizations, and
hidden bypasses fraught through its great grid or network of
<18> Anunnaki vampires are perfectly suited to, and a
perfect representation of, a global economy in the scope of
their engagement and their profile in emergent industries, but
there are other ways as well. This is because their secret
agenda has always already been the creation of a one-world
government - a New World Order - bypassing nations and creating
a system or web from which there is no escape. The
Order figures prominently in conspiracy theories and in
literature such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). But during the millenium and start of the 21st century, demonstrations against globalism have been on the rise, responding to rapid
developments in transnationalism.
Another aspect of the Anunnaki
relevant here is their multicultural image. The Anunnaki have
been written retroactively into all mythological systems, making
them true transnationals. For example, they people the pages of
the Indian Vedas, Babylonian myths, as well as the books of
Bible, and they are at the heart of
cults worldwide. Moreover, they are literally seeded into the
human genome through the Anunnaki engineering of the race,
interbreeding alien genetics into all peoples, symbolized, for
example in Genesis, as the saliva
Jehovah mixes with clay to
form the first man.
<19> Not surprisingly, Anunnaki narratives have a lot to
say in terms of the location, construction, and commodification
of the self. Unlike traditional vampires who feed solely off a
victim’s blood or soul, the Anunnaki thrive off of negative
energies such as fear and aggression. These ETs drain
individuals of their sense of wellbeing through the manipulation
and absorption of libidinal energies and - ultimately - the
theft of consciousness and agency. On the one hand, the location
of the self that the Anunnaki attack seems closely linked to
consumerist notions. For example, New Age self-actualization
products as well as the market for energy drinks - even
caffeine-enhanced water - not to mention designer drugs - are
only a few of the new industries catering profitably to the very
malady Icke derives from Anunnaki domination.
And, of course, Icke’s works
themselves represent a (profitable) venture in a multi-million
dollar market for conspiracy theories in American popular
culture. On the other hand, discourse on the Anunnaki is not
necessarily complicit with the capitalist system that produces
such effects. A current line of cultural theory,
"has alleged that the modalities
of consumer culture - and the forms of subjectivity they
enable - do not necessarily integrate seamlessly into the
capitalist society which has mobilized them but may instead
be potentially subversive of its purposes"
The consumption of Icke’s works - in
fact, the growing market for conspiracism in the US - would seem
to be a case in point here, disseminating and perpetuating an
oppositional worldview, a "hermeneutics of suspicion," while
contributing to the accumulation of capital.
<20> Another revealing dimension of Anunnaki vampires
lies in their collective depiction; unlike many accounts of the
vampire, Icke’s theories do not revolve around distinct Anunnaki
individuals but rather focuses on them as a class or group; in
this sense the Anunnaki do not convey the same individualistic
focus so often encountered in vampire narratives. Even Anunnaki
forms of consciousness are best described as a "groupthink"
mentality. On this, Icke writes that,
"the reptilians seek … to
influence everyone by stimulating the behavioral patterns of
the reptile region of the brain:
lack of compassion
a need for ritual" (46)
Symbolic of contemporary capitalism,
this collective depiction of the Anunnaki reflects the rise of
networks, and their decentering development, which have
instrumentally caused - and are themselves produced by - the new
global economy. The network supersedes the individual as the
subject of the vampire narrative. Here Castells, speaking on the
network society of global economics, is instructive:
"For the first time in history,
the basic unit of economic organization is not a subject, be
it individual (such as the entrepreneur …) or collective
(such as the capitalist class, the corporation, the state)"
"the unit is the network, made
up of a variety of subjects and organizations, relentlessly
modified as networks adapt" (214).
<21> In their networked,
post-subjective form of the vampire, the Anunnaki are
metaphorical of the precise trajectory assumed by contemporary
capitalism. Network is the same term Icke uses to describe the
reptilian base of operations today, writing,
"after thousands of years of
evolution, the reptilian network is now a vast and often
unfathomable web of interconnecting secret societies,
businesses, political parties, security agencies,
owners, and so on" (259).
Discourse on the Anunnaki vampire
is in step with broader trends in American conspiracy
theories, themselves responses to ideological crises
associated with post-modernism and the growth of a network
society. Writing on conspiracy theories in the postwar US,
Timothy Melley points out that,
"the term ’conspiracy’ rarely
signifies a small, secret plot any more. Instead, it
frequently refers to the workings of a large organization,
technology, or system, a powerful and obscure entity so
dispersed that it is the very antithesis of the traditional
Melley argues that conspiracy theories in
the US have historically been an ideological means of
validating individualism. And this new, impersonal breed of
conspiracism reflects anxiety over the loss of individuality
and agency and stands as both "an acknowledgment, and
rejection, of postmodern subjectivity" (65).
<22> Perhaps most revealing
of all is the dissolution of the boundary between fantasy and
reality - the presentation of the vampire as an historical agent
rather than a fictional character. Deeply ironic and radical,
this slippage of fact and fantasy drives the vampire legacy much
closer to its critical core. If the traditional vampire
articulates dissent, it also distorts the representation of real
relations, which are displaced into the realm of the imaginary.
In the form of the Anunnaki, however, vampires have
infiltrated the field of conspiracy theories, spilling from the
page onto the pavement, as it were. Moving from metaphor to a
kind of mimesis of the grotesque, the vampire legacy
shape-shifts - its implicit charge evolving into an explosive