Chapter 2:

The Shaver Mystery

I've been involved in the movement investigating UFOs and other unexplained phenomena since I was a teenager back in the Fifties, but from the viewpoint of an occultist, not that of a materialist.


For example, I've always felt that most of the evidence concerning visits to Earth by ancient astronauts can be accounted for by postulating telepathic contact with beings from advanced extraterrestrial societies, and that many close encounters with UFOs involve psychic contact with spiritual beings.

In the Fifties and Sixties, the occultists in the movement were regarded as credulous and unscientific for putting a psychic and spiritual interpretation on much of the evidence; but as the years have passed, more and more investigators of unexplained phenomena have begun to draw similar conclusions from the available data.


However, I myself have always remained part of the "lunatic fringe," because my favorite theory in the whole field is the Shaver Mystery, which has never gained respectability.


Even today, almost everyone in the Ufology and occult communities treats people who believe in it as fools or paranoids. I am neither, but I still take it very seriously, because many of the details in Shaver's writings match my dreams and visions of what seem to be past lives on other worlds.

During World War Two, Ray Palmer, editor of the science-fiction magazine Amazing Stories, received several short novels from an amateur writer named Richard S. Shaver. The stories were rather poorly written, but the idea content so impressed Palmer that he and various ghostwriters polished them up for publication.

When the Shaver stories started appearing in Amazing, the magazine's circulation increased dramatically; some versions of the story say it doubled or tripled. Shaver's writing was a highly complex and imaginative new treatment of a theme that had long been common in science fiction: the concept that we share this planet with the descendants of ancient astronauts who always remain hidden from us, but who use their advanced scientific technology to manipulate us.

Because most of Shaver's literary output - millions of words over more than twenty years - was chaotically organized and was rewritten by many different hands to make it suitable for publication, very few people today have an over-all understanding of his cosmology.


Many occult and unexplained phenomena writers have borrowed from it, usually without identifying it as their source, but no one has yet bothered to publish a coherent synopsis of Shaver's theories in any detail.

Here is a brief summary.


Thousands of years ago, extraterrestrial space travelers visited Earth and established huge underground colonies here. They couldn't live on the surface because solar radiation shortened their lifespan, which was normally measured in centuries. Eventually, the civilization that had planted the colonies became moribund, and contact with the parent worlds became less and less frequent.


Because the underground colonies were cut off from outside supplies, some of the colonists were forced to live permanently on the surface to grow food and obtain the raw materials necessary to sustain life in the underground cities.

Over a long period of time, the "detrimental radiation" of the sun caused the minds of the surface dwellers to degenerate, and eventually they reverted to complete barbarism. However, they did retain enough intelligence to start progressing again, finally achieving human civilization as we read about it in our history books.
During this whole period, the many inhabitants of the underground colonies, which Shaver simply calls "Caves," survived and retained a significant amount of the original knowledge and technology. However, the population of Cave dwellers gradually decreased because of constant shortages of supplies from the surface.


After the surface people forgot completely about the origin and nature of the underground cities, the Cave dwellers started posing as gods and other supernatural beings to coerce surface people into providing them food and other necessities. The Cave people possess machines for generating "Rays" that give them certain kinds of power over surface dwellers.

Some types of Rays can kill or wound people, but others can be used to heal sickness or injury or to slow down the aging process. The Rays can also be used for telepathic communication and to control the thoughts and emotions of others at a distance. They seem to be most effective at close range, but some are powerful enough to have a significant effect on surface people.

The Cave dwellers have used their Ray technology to manipulate surface society throughout history, especially to obtain food and other supplies without the majority of people on Earth being aware of it. A few surface people were in on the plot and acted as agents of the Cave dwellers; these included members of such diverse groups as political rulers, religious leaders, wealthy merchants and traders, smugglers, and pirates.

However, the population in the Caves has decreased steadily over the ages because of continual shortages of raw materials.


Shaver described the current situation in the underground cities as grim and desperate, with the political and social structure in almost complete collapse. Starvation and cannibalism are commonplace, and many of the inhabitants have turned themselves into literal monsters through improper use of the Rays.


These "Deros" have become insane tyrants, and most have deformed their bodies as well, by trying to use the life prolonging Rays to achieve physical immortality.


Because "detrimental radiation from the Sun penetrates even into the Caves", and because many of the Ray machines themselves have deteriorated through ages of constant use and makeshift repairs, the Deros resemble the living dead of legend. The Rays alone aren't enough: to survive, they also have to eat human flesh like ghouls, and drink human blood like vampires.

However, some of the Cave dwellers are still normal: they call themselves "Teros," and often use their Rays to help people on the surface, especially to combat the evil being done by the Deros. However, they aren't militarily strong enough to conquer and destroy the Deros, and the only reason they survive at all is that they sometimes receive help from extraterrestrials who arrive in spaceships.

Unfortunately, these modern space travelers are also incapable of defeating the Deros. According to Shaver, they've been trying for centuries to get some government or other elsewhere in the galaxy to "send in the Marines and clean up Earth," but so far it hasn't happened. Earth is just one small planet in a remote backwater of the universe, and no advanced interstellar civilization has bothered to come here and fight a war to liberate us from the Deros.

Some of Shaver's stories assert that such civilizations still exist, and that "help from the stars" might arrive at any time. Others are pessimistic and say they all fell long ago.


The stories saying that some worlds have retained sufficient technology to permit interstellar travel also make it plain that such cultures are degenerate remnants of once-great civilizations, now fallen into decay. In either case, the Teros fight on, barely holding their own.


They use their Rays to communicate with people like Shaver, hoping that eventually civilization on the surface will develop technologically to the point where we will be able to help them defeat the Deros, but they make it clear this point is far in the future.

The Deros lack the technical knowledge necessary to keep their Ray machines in good repair, so they are no longer able to keep political control of surface society or prevent technological progress. However, the machines they have inherited from ancient times are still far too advanced for our present scientists to duplicate, and they continue to have a great deal of power to manipulate both surface society as a whole and the minds of individuals.

Here is a sample of Shaver's actual writing: an excerpt from Mandark, a two-hundred-thousand word novel, serialized in 1947 and ‘48 in his own mimeographed publication, Shaver Mystery Magazine.


As far as I know, this was not edited or revised by anyone else.

"To all you young idealists there will come a time when all those things you think of Life with your bright, trusting and believing eyes will become dust and slime. A time when you will understand the terrible and stupid horror that life may be, in reality.

"To each of you will come at last an apparition, wearing like Scrooge, his chains, a mask of terror that hides a deep basic stupidity - a dumbness that is deeper than human...

"They have life, those things, just as you have life: but they are not understood and are so terribly feared that men will neither speak of them or write of them openly...

"Always, I too, feared the evil ones, the ignorant, degenerate and cannibalistic ray people who catch and kill us when they can. But they did not catch many of us, for we had some old ray women from the Deep Schools with us, and we were not easy to catch...

"We need men like you to aid us in our constant struggle with the living devils that inhabit much of these underground warrens. But when we try to approach men for this purpose, they fear the whole thing as madness or ghosts or whatever they have been taught...

"Almost immediately upon the visi-screen a scene of utter horror became visible... It was a Hell, with its Devils at work... ‘Do you see them, those things that should not live?'

"I looked in horror upon the things that moved as men move upon the screen of life. They were a thing that could not possibly live except for the protection of the hidden caverns, and the support of the great beneficial rays keeping their degenerate and evil carcasses in motion.

"Dead they must have been but for the supply of super-energy which the ancient generators poured through their bodies forever. These evil people must live on long after they would normally die, to become as undead as they were.


It seems to be this fact that contributes to their evil nature, for the slow decay of their brains is energized by the synthetic electric life-force, and their resultant thought is but the reflection of life upon the stagnating brain tissues..."

As Shaver describes it, only a few people on the surface know about the Caves at all, and they are mostly agents of the Deros.


Some are conscious, willing agents seeking wealth and power; others are mere slaves, whose minds are completely controlled by the Deros' Rays. The only surface people who know the whole truth about the "Hidden World" and are willing to fight the Deros instead of collaborating with them are Shaver and a few of his friends.

When presented as fiction, these ideas aroused only mild interest among the readers of Amazing Stories. However, when Palmer printed letters from Shaver and various readers stating that the theories expounded in the Mystery were literally true, the Shaver Mystery started receiving major attention from the science-fiction community, almost all of it unfavorable.


However, the publicity attracted large numbers of new readers: probably the same people who supported the UFO movement, which started a few years later. The increased circulation did not prevent the publishers of Amazing from firing Palmer after he admitted that he himself accepted the Mystery as fact.


They felt that the long-term success of their magazine depended on support from people who read science fiction regularly, a group that reacted very negatively to claims that the Shaver Mystery was true.

Shaver continued to get his work into print by publishing his own amateur magazine, and quickly attracted what would now be called a "cult following." After Palmer was fired from Amazing, he went into business for himself, publishing books and magazines in the unexplained-phenomena and occult fields.


His magazines included Flying Saucers, Search, and Mystic, which gave some coverage to the Shaver Mystery, and The Hidden World, which was devoted almost entirely to it. They weren't spectacularly successful in attracting readers, but one or another of the titles appeared on newsstands almost continuously until about 1975.

I read Palmer's publications during this period, but rarely discussed them with my friends in the unexplained-phenomena or occult communities. I had assumed from my first contact with the Mystery that Shaver was a medium that received messages from the spirit world, but also a materialist who rationalized his psychic experiences as a physical phenomenon. I interpreted his Teros and Deros as good and evil spirits and his Rays as the psychic powers of both living people and disembodied spirits used to work magic.


Such an interpretation was unacceptable to most UFO investigators, and even to the majority of Shaver's own followers, because they were strict materialists. However, occultists didn't like the Shaver Mystery either; they called it negative and paranoid. People in both groups dismissed Shaver and his supporters as "nuts and crackpots who give all the rest of us a bad reputation."


However, I noticed from the late Sixties on that more and more of Palmer and Shaver's ideas were appearing in books on occultism, conspiracies, and unexplained phenomena. All too often the authors didn't even credit these men as the source.


Recently, years after his death, Palmer has finally begun to get some of the recognition he deserves as a creative, courageous pioneer in all three fields; but Shaver's name is rarely mentioned, except by a few members of his original following in their own small-circulation publications.

I reread much of the Shaver Mystery material during the early Eighties when I was consciously trying to make my breakthrough, and I found that his basic cosmology seemed to fit the total available evidence about the nature of spiritual reality better than any of the traditional cosmologies in religious and occult literature.


It's quite grim and paranoid, but then so is a lot of the raw spiritual evidence that psychics have channeled over the course of history.

Books on Spiritualism and other forms of traditional Western occultism usually portray the astral plane as a rather benign and orderly place, presided over by benevolent deities or advanced human spirits, just as the major religions do. The wicked may be punished there, but the just are rewarded; and above all, the life after death takes place in a stable environment with law and order.

However, many of the spirits I've communicated with over years of mediumistic practice describe the astral plane as an environment almost as harsh as Shaver's Caves. As I said in the last chapter, spirits often appear to be insane, feeble-minded, or child-like; and even those who seem normally intelligent and mature sometimes become mysteriously incoherent during the course of a telepathic conversation, as if something were attacking them or jamming the communication process.

If, as all the religious and occult mythologies claim, the astral plane is really governed by benign gods or other highly-evolved spiritual beings, they do not seem to be doing a very efficient job of helping the dead find stability or happiness there. In fact, the messages that supposedly come from the spiritual entities in charge on the astral plane are among the most confusing and frightening communications that mediums receive.


Many times, I've made contact with entities that say, "I am God," and then go on into ravings as immoral as Hitler's and as incoherent as something you'd expect to hear coming out of a padded cell.

Of course, both the occultists and the religious believers claim that such messages are from demons and other evil or insane spirits, but that doesn't answer the most important question. If the astral plane is under the control of benign forces, why does so much of the observed evidence portray existence there as extremely harsh and unpleasant?

Most of the occultists I discussed this with over the years before I made the breakthrough were not interested in doing serious research into this.


Many put the blame on me:

"You're too political and too concerned with the Earth plane, and this puts you in contact only with the lowest levels of the astral plane.


If you'll stop trying to play scientist, and simply submit your will to the spiritual forces that run the Universe, your mediumistic experiences will become calm and serene and you'll start contacting the really advanced spirits and deities."

My reply usually went something like this:

"Maybe I really am at a lower stage of spiritual development than you are, but if so, then I've got a lot of company.


My personal communications with spirits tell me that the vast majority of the human race is not composed of high-level occultists capable of avoiding the evil spirits on the lower astral and going on to a higher plane of existence.


Instead, when they die, it's very likely they'll join the lost souls calling for help. My sympathies are with them, and I'd like to learn how to help them."

My actual opinion was that both traditional and New Age occultists, and all the believers in organized religion as well, were deluding themselves with false optimism because they were afraid to recognize and fight evil.


However, I rarely said this openly because doing so would only be destructive criticism. I had no alternative to offer; just the vague feeling that there is something terrible going on in the spirit world.

When I finally made the breakthrough, I found out that it is a literal "War in Heaven," a struggle to the death between two political factions of disembodied spirits; and that spirits from one of these factions had telepathically inspired my life-long fascination with the Shaver Mystery. My new knowledge also confirmed my rejection of Shaver's physical, science-fiction-oriented interpretation of the Mystery.


The Caves, the space people, and even the Ray machines do exist, but on the spiritual plane, not the physical plane. Shaver was simply an unconscious medium that received important messages about the nature of spiritual reality from the same group of spirits who are helping me with this book.

And since the Sixties, these spirits have had an ever-increasing subconscious influence on many Ufologists and conspiracy theorists, leading them into hypotheses similar to the Shaver Mystery.


For example, during the Seventies, Jacques Vallee and several other respected UFO researchers virtually stopped searching for evidence that flying saucers were physical objects, and concentrated on studying the effects of the UFO phenomenon on individuals and on society as a whole.


However, treating UFOs as a psychological and sociological phenomenon didn't really explain anything, because the investigators kept finding evidence that UFOs had objective existence. Most cases could be explained as hoaxes, hallucinations, mass-suggestion, or media hype, but not all of them.

Investigators like Vallee kept talking to people who had experienced "close encounters" with UFOs and undergone profound psychological changes as a result. When I and other occultists read these accounts, we saw their similarity to descriptions in our own literature of encounters with spiritual beings, psychic attacks, illumination experiences, etc. Eventually, Vallee and other well-known UFO writers grudgingly began to admit that the UFOs were "real but nonphysical."


This concept will be discussed further in a later chapter.

They also found that their investigations of the effects of UFO encounters on people forced them to consider seriously the idea that unseen forces manipulate the course of human history.


In the Fifties, the mainstream of the UFO investigation movement had ostracized Palmer and Shaver for talking about mind control and secret conspiracies. Twenty years later, many of these same investigators found that they were being drawn down the same path, the one marked "This way lies paranoia."

The next chapter will give some general background information on conspiracy theories.


I will return to the role of the UFO investigators later.

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