Lemurian Time War


  Lemurian Time War

  The account that follows charts William Burroughs’ involvement in an occult
  time war, and considerably exceeds most accepted conceptions of social and
  historical probability. It is based on ‘sensitive information’ passed to the
  Ccru by an intelligence source whom we have called William Kaye 1. The
  narrative has been partially fictionalized in order to protect this
  individual’s identity.

  Kaye himself admitted that his experiences had made him prone to
  ‘paranoid-chronomaniac hallucination,’ and Ccru continues to find much of his
  tale extremely implausible2. Nevertheless, whilst suspecting that his message
  had been severely compromised by dubious inferences, noise, and disinformation,
  we have become increasingly convinced that he was indeed an ‘insider’ of some
  kind, even if the organization he had penetrated was itself an elaborate hoax,
  or collective delusion. Kaye referred to this organization as ‘The Order,’ or –
  following Burroughs – ‘The Board.’

  When reduced to its basic provocation, Kaye’s claim was this: The Ghost Lemurs
  of Madagascar3 - which he also referred to as the Burroughs Necronomicon – a
  text dating from 1987, had been an exact and decisive influence on the magical
  and military career of one Captain Mission, three centuries previously. Mission
  appears in historical record as a notorious pirate, active in the period around
  1700 AD; he was to become renowned as the founder of the anarchistic colony of
  Libertatia, established on the island of Madagascar. Kaye asserted that he had
  personally encountered clear evidence of Burroughs’ ‘impact upon Mission’ at
  the private library of Peter Vysparov, where Kaye worked most of his life. The
  Vysparov collection, he unswervingly maintained, held an ancient illustrated
  transcript of The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar, inscribed meticulously in
  Mission’s own hand4.

  Kaye assured us that the Board considered the ‘demonstrable time rift’ he was
  describing to be a ‘matter of the gravest concern’. He explained that the
  organization had been born in reaction to a nightmare of time coming apart and
  – to use his exact words - spiraling out of control. To the Board, spirals were
  particularly repugnant symbols of imperfection and volatility. Unlike closed
  loops, spirals always have loose ends. This allows them to spread, making them
  contagious and unpredictable. The Board was counting on Kaye to contain the
  situation. He was assigned the task of terminating the spiral templex5.


  Vysparov had sought out Burroughs because of his evident interest in the
  convergence of sorcery, dreams and fiction. In the immediate postwar years,
  Vysparov had convened the so-called Cthulhu Club to investigate connections
  between the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, mythology, science and magic6, and was
  at stage in the process of formalizing the constitution of Miskatonic Virtual
  University (MVU), a loose aggregation of non-standard theorists whose work
  could broadly be said to have ‘Lovecraftian’ connotations. The interest in
  Lovecraft’s fiction was motivated by its exemplification of the practice of
  hyperstition, a concept had been elaborated and keenly debated since the
  inception of the Cthulhu Club. Loosely defined, the coinage refers to 'fictions
  that make themselves real.'

  Kaye drew Ccru’s attention to Burroughs’s description of viruses in Ah Pook is
  Here: 'And what is a virus? Perhaps simply a pictorial series like Egyptian
  glyphs that makes itself real.’ (AP 102). The papers Kaye left for Ccru
  included a copy of this page of the Ah Pook text, with these two sentences –
  italicized in the original text - heavily underlined. For Kaye, the echo of
  Vysparov’s language was ‘unequivocal evidence’ of the Russian’s influence upon
  Burroughs’s work after 1958. Whether or not this is the case, such passages
  indicate that Burroughs, like Vysparov, was interested in the ‘hyperstitional’
  relations between writing, signs and reality.

  In the hyperstitional model Kaye outlined, fiction is not opposed to the real.
  Rather, reality is understood to be composed of fictions – consistent semiotic
  terrains that condition perceptual, affective and behaviorial responses. Kaye
  considered Burroughs’ work to be ‘exemplary of hyperstitional practice’.
  Burroughs construed writing – and art in general – not aesthetically, but
  functionally, - that is to say, magically, with magic defined as the use of
  signs to produce changes in reality.

  Kaye maintained that it was ‘far from accidental’ that Burroughs’s equation of
  reality and fiction had been most widely embraced only in its negative aspect –
  as a variety of ‘postmodern’ ontological skepticism – rather than in its
  positive sense, as an investigation into the magical powers of incantation and
  manifestation: the efficacy of the virtual. For Kaye, the assimilation of
  Burroughs into textualist postmodernism constituted a deliberate act of
  ‘interpretevist sabotage’, the aim of which was to de-functionalise Burroughs’s
  writings by converting them into aesthetic exercises in style. Far from
  constituting a subversion of representative realism, the postmodern celebration
  of the text without a referent merely consummates a process that representative
  realism had initiated. Representative realism severs writing from any active
  function, surrendering it to the role of reflecting, not intervening in, the
  world. It is a short step to a dimension of pristine textuality, in which the
  existence of a world independent of discourse is denied altogether.

  According to Kaye, the metaphysics of Burroughs’s ‘clearly hyperstitional’
  fictions can be starkly contrasted with those at work in postmodernism. For
  postmodernists, the distinction between real and unreal is not substantive or
  is held not to matter, whereas for practitioners of hyperstition,
  differentiating between ‘degrees of realization’ is crucial. The hyperstitional
  process of entities 'making themselves real' is precisely a passage, a
  transformation, in which potentials – already-active virtualities – realize
  themselves. Writing operates not as a passive representation but as an active
  agent of transformation and a gateway through which entities can emerge. ‘[B]y
  writing a universe, the writer makes such a universe possible.’ (WV 321)

  But these operations do not occur in neutral territory, Kaye was quick to point
  out. Burroughs treats all conditions of existence as results of cosmic
  conflicts between competing intelligence agencies. In making themselves real,
  entities (must) also manufacture realities for themselves: realities whose
  potency often depends upon the stupefaction, subjugation and enslavement of
  populations, and whose existence is in conflict with other ‘reality programs’.
  Burroughs’s fiction deliberately renounces the status of plausible
  representation in order to operate directly upon this plane of magical war.
  Where realism merely reproduces the currently dominant reality program from
  inside, never identifying the existence of the program as such, Burroughs seeks
  to get outside the control codes in order to dismantle and rearrange them.
  Every act of writing is a sorcerous operation, a partisan action in a war where
  multitudes of factual events are guided by the powers of illusion … (WV 253-4).
  Even representative realism participates – albeit unknowingly – in magical war,
  collaborating with the dominant control system by implicitly endorsing its
  claim to be the only possible reality.

  From the controllers’ point of view, Kaye said, ‘it is of course imperative
  that Burroughs is thought of as merely a writer of fiction. That’s why they
  have gone to such lengths to sideline him into a ghetto of literary

                                                            The One God Universe

  Burroughs names the dominant control program One God Universe, or OGU. He wages
  war against the fiction of OGU, which builds its monopolistic dominion upon the
  magical power of the Word: upon programming and illusion. OGU establishes a
  fiction, which operates at the most fatal level of reality, where questions of
  biological destiny and immortality are decided. ‘Religions are weapons’ (WL

  In order to operate effectively, OGU must first of all deny the existence of
  magical war itself. There is only one reality: its own. In writing about
  magical war, Burroughs is thus already initiating an act of war against OGU,
  mainlining contestation into ‘primal unity.’ OGU incorporates all competing
  fictions into its own story (the ultimate metanarrative), reducing alternative
  reality systems to negatively-marked components of its own mythos: other
  reality programs become Evil, associated with the powers of deception and
  delusion. OGU’s power works through fictions that repudiate their own fictional
  status: antifictions and unnonfictions. ‘And that,’ Kaye said, ‘is why fiction
  can be a weapon in the struggle against Control.’

  In OGU, fiction is safely contained by a metaphysical ‘frame,’ prophylactically
  delimiting all contact between the fiction and what is outside it. The magical
  function of words and signs is both condemned as evil and declared to be
  delusory, facilitating a monopoly upon the magical power of language for OGU
  (which of course denies that its own mythos exerts any magical influence,
  presenting it as a simple representation of Truth). But OGU’s confidence that
  fiction has safely been contained means that anti-OGU agents can use fiction as
  a covert line of communication and a secret weapon: ‘he concealed and revealed
  the knowledge in fictional form’ (WV 455).

  This, for Kaye, was ‘a formula for hyperstitional practice.’ Diagrams, maps,
  sets of abstract relations, tactical gambits, are as real in a fiction about a
  fiction about a fiction as they are encountered raw, but subjecting such
  semiotic contraband to multiple embeddings allows a traffic in materials for
  decoding dominant reality that would otherwise be proscribed. Rather than
  acting as transcendental screens, blocking out contact between itself and the
  world, the fiction acts as a Chinese box – a container for sorcerous
  interventions in the world. The frame is both used (for concealment) and broken
  (the fictions potentiate changes in reality).

  Whereas hyperstitional agitation produces a ‘positive unbelief’ – a
  provisionalizing of any reality frame in the name of pragmatic engagement
  rather than epistemological hesitation - OGU feeds on belief. In order to work,
  the story that runs reality has to be believed, which is also to say that the
  existence of a control program determining reality must not be suspected or
  believed. Credulity in the face of the OGU meta-narrative is inevitably coupled
  with a refusal to accept that entities like Control have any substantive
  existence. That’s why, to get out of OGU, a systematic shedding of all beliefs
  is a prerequisite. ‘Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever
  believed in can hope to escape.’ (WL 116) Techniques of escape depend on
  attaining the unbelief of assassin-magician Hassan i Sabbah: nothing is true,
  everything is permitted. Once again, Kaye cautioned that this must be carefully
  distinguished from ‘postmodern relativism.’ Burroughs-Sabbah’s ‘nothing is
  true’ cannot be equated with postmodernism’s ‘nothing is real.’ On the
  contrary: nothing is true because there is no single, authorized version of
  reality – instead, there is a superfluity, an excess, of realities. ‘The
  Adversary’s game plan is to persuade you that he does not exist.’ (WL 12)

                                                                      The Episode

  Kaye’s story began in the summer of 1958, when his employer Peter Vysparov met
  William Burroughs whilst conducting occult investigations in Paris7. As a
  result of this meeting Kaye was himself introduced to Burroughs on December
  23rd of the same year, at Vysparov’s private library in New York.

  It is clear from public documentary material that Burroughs was predominantly
  resident in Paris and London at this time. Ccru found no evidence of any trip
  to the USA, although his biography is not sufficiently comprehensive to rule
  out an excursion to NY with confidence. There is no doubt, however, that
  shortly after the winter of 1958 Burroughs starts writing cryptically of
  visions, ‘paranormal phenomena,’ encountering his double, and working with cut
  up techniques8.

  As Burroughs hunted through the library’s unparalleled collection of rare
  occult works, he made a discovery that involved him in a radical, apparently
  unintelligible disorder of time and identity. The trigger was his encounter
  with a text that he was yet to compose: ‘an old picture book with gilt edged
  lithographs, onion paper over each picture, The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar in
  gold script’ (GLM 30). He could not then have known that Captain Mission had
  taken the very same volume as his guide three centuries previously (already
  describing it as ‘old’).

  Flipping through the pages, Burroughs entered a momentary catatonic trance
  state. He emerged disoriented, and scarcely able to stand. Despite his
  confusion, he was more than willing to describe, with a strange sardonic
  detachment, the anomalous episode9. Twenty-nine years would pass before Kaye
  understood what had occurred.

  Burroughs told Kaye that, during the trance, it felt as though silent
  communication with a ghostly non-human companion had flashed him forward to his
  life as an old man, several decades in the future. Oppressed by ‘a crushing
  sensation of implacable destiny, as if fragments of a frozen time dimension
  were cascading into awareness,’ he ‘remembered’ writing The Ghost Lemurs of
  Madagascar – ‘although it wasn’t writing exactly,’ and his writing implements
  were archaic, belonging to someone else entirely, in another place and time.

  Even after his recovery the sense of oppression persisted, like a ‘new
  dimension of gravity.’ The vision had granted him ‘horrific insight into the
  jail-house mind of the One God.’ He was convinced the knowledge was ‘dangerous’
  and that ‘powerful forces were conspiring against him,’ that the ‘invisible
  brothers are invading present time’ (WV 220). The episode sharpened his already
  vivid impression that the human animal is cruelly caged in time by an alien
  power. Recalling it later he would write ‘Time is a human affliction; not a
  human invention but a prison.’ (GC 16-17)

  Although there is no direct historical evidence supporting Kaye’s description
  of events, the immediate period after the 1958 ‘episode’ provides compelling
  symptomatic evidence of a transformation in Burroughs’s strategies and
  preoccupations during this period . It was then that Burroughs’s writing
  underwent a radical shift in direction, with the introduction of experimental
  techniques whose sole purpose was to escape the bonds of the already-written,
  charting a flight from destiny. Gysin’s role in the discovery of these cut-ups
  and fold ins is well-known, but Kaye’s story accounts for the special urgency
  with which Burroughs began deploying these new methods in late 1958. The
  cut-ups and fold-ins were ‘innovative time-war tactics’, the function of which
  was to subvert the foundations of the prerecorded universe10. ‘Cut the Word
  Lines with scissors or switchblades as preferred ….The Word Lines keep you in
  time…’ (WV 270).

  Burroughs’s adoption of these techniques was, Kaye told Ccru, ‘one of the first
  effects (if one may be permitted to speak in so loose a way) of the
  time-trauma.’ Naturally, Kaye attributes Burroughs’s intense antipathy towards
  prerecording – a persistent theme in his fiction after Naked Lunch – to his
  experiences in the Vysparov library. The ‘cosmic revelation’ in the library
  produced in Burroughs ‘a horror so profound’ that he would dedicate the rest of
  his life to plotting and propagating escape routes from ‘the board rooms and
  torture banks of time’ (NE 33). Much later Burroughs would describe a crushing
  feeling of inevitability, of life being scripted in advance by malign entities:
  ‘the custodians of the future convene. Keepers of the Board Books: Mektoub, it
  is written. And they don’t want it changed.’ (GC 8)

  It was in the immediate aftermath of the episode in the Vysparov library that
  Burroughs exhibited the first signs of an apparently random attachment to
  lemurs, the decisive implications of which took several decades to surface.

  Burroughs was unsure who was running him, like ‘a spy in somebody else’s body
  where nobody knows who is spying on whom’ (WV xxviii). Until the end of his
  life he struggled against the ‘Thing inside him. The Ugly Spirit’ (GC 48),
  remarking that: ‘I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant
  need to escape from possession, from Control.’ (WV 94)

                                                                Escaping Control

  In Burroughs’ mythology, OGU emerges once MU (the Magical Universe) is
  violently overthrown by the forces of monopoly (WL 113). The Magical Universe
  is populated by many gods, eternally in conflict: there is no possibility of
  unitary Truth, since the nature of reality is constantly contested by
  heterogeneous entities whose interests are radically incommensurable. Where
  monotheistic fiction tells of a rebellious secession from the primordial One,
  Burroughs describes the One initiating a war against the Many:

  ‘These were troubled times. There was war in the heavens as the One God
  attempted to exterminate or neutralize the Many Gods and establish an absolute
  seat of power. The priests were aligning themselves on one side or the other.
  Revolution was spreading up from the South, moving from the East and from the
  Western deserts.’ (WL 101)

  OGU is ‘antimagical, authoritarian, dogmatic, the deadly enemy of those who are
  committed to the magical universe, spontaneous, unpredictable, alive. The
  universe they are imposing is controlled, predictable, dead.’ (WL 59) Such a
  universe gives rise to the dreary paradoxes – so familiar to monotheistic
  theology - that necessarily attend omnipotence and omniscience.

  ‘Consider the One God Universe: OGU. The spirit recoils in horror from such a
  deadly impasse. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Because He can do
  everything, He can do nothing, since the act of doing demands opposition. He
  knows everything, so there is nothing for him to learn. He can’t go anywhere,
  since He is already fucking everywhere, like cowshit in Calcutta. … The OGU is
  a prerecorded universe in which He is the recorder.’ (WL 113)

  For Kaye, the superiority of Burroughs’s analysis of power – over ‘trivial’
  ideology critique - consists in its repeated emphasis on the relationship
  between control systems and temporality. Burroughs is emphatic, obsessive:
  ‘[I]n Time any being that is spontaneous and alive will wither and die like an
  old joke.’ (WL 111) ‘A basic impasse of all control machines is this: Control
  needs time in which to exercise control.’ (WV 339) OGU control codings far
  exceed ideological manipulation, amounting to cosmic reality programming,
  because – at the limit – ‘the One God is Time’ (WL 111). The presumption of
  chronological time is written into the organism at the most basic level,
  scripted into its unconsciously performed habituated behaviors:

  ‘Time is that which ends. Time is limited time experienced by a sentient
  creature. Sentient of time, that is - making adjustments to time in terms of
  what Korzybski calls neuro-muscular intention behaviour with respect to the
  environment as a whole ... A plant turns towards the sun, nocturnal animal
  stirs at sun set ... shit, piss, move, eat, fuck, die. Why does Control need
  humans? Control needs time. Control needs human time. Control needs your shit
  piss pain orgasm death.’ (AP 17)

  Power operates most effectively not by persuading the conscious mind, but by
  delimiting in advance what it is possible to experience. By formatting the most
  basic biological processes of the organism in terms of temporality, Control
  ensures that all human experience is of – and in – time. That is why time is a
  ‘prison’ for humans. ‘Man was born in time. He lives and dies in time. Wherever
  he goes he takes time with him and imposes time.’ (GC 17) Korzybski’s defintion
  of man as the 'time-binding animal' has a double sense for Burroughs. On the
  one hand, human beings are binding time for themselves: they ‘can make
  information available over any length of time to other men through writing.'
  (GC 66) On the other hand, humans are binding themselves into time, building
  more of the prison which constrains their affects and perceptions. ‘Korzybski’s
  words took on a horrible new meaning for Burroughs in the library,’ Kaye said,
  ‘he saw what time-binding really was, all the books, already written, time
  bound forever.’

  Since writing customarily operates as the principal means of ‘time-binding’,
  Burroughs reasoned that innovating new writing techniques would unbind time,
  blowing a hole in the OGU ‘pre-sent’, and opening up Space. ‘Cut the Word Lines
  with scissors or switchblades as preferred ….The Word Lines keep you in
  time…Cut the in lines…Make out lines to Space.’ (WV 270) Space has to be
  understood not as empirical extension, still less as a transcendental given,
  but in the most abstract sense, as the zone of unbound potentialities lying
  beyond the purview of the OGU’s already-written.

  ‘You can see that Burroughs’s writing involves the highest possible stakes,’
  Kaye wrote. ‘It does not represent cosmic war: it is already a weapon in that
  war. It is not surprising that the forces ranged against him – the many forces
  ranged against him, you can’t overestimate their influence on this planet –
  sought to neutralize that weapon. It was a matter of the gravest urgency that
  his works be classified as fantasies, experimental dada, anything but that they
  should be recognized as what they are: technologies for altering reality.’

                                                                        The Rift

  For almost thirty years Burroughs had sought to evade the inevitable. Yet
  numerous signs indicate that by the late 1980’s the Control Complex was
  breaking down, redirecting Burroughs’s flight from prerecorded destiny into a
  gulf of unsettled fate that he came to call ‘the Rift.’

  Kaye consistently maintained than any attempt to date Burroughs’s encounter
  with the Rift involved a fundamental misconception. Nevertheless, his own
  account of this ‘episode’ repeatedly stressed the importance of the year 1987,
  a date that marked a period of radical transition: the ‘eye’ of a ‘spiral
  templex.’ It was during this time that the obscure trauma at the Vysparov
  library flooded back with full force, saturating Burroughs’s dreams and
  writings with visions of lemurs, ghosts from the Land of the Dead.

  1987 was the year in which Burroughs visited the Duke University Lemur
  Conservation Center, consolidating an alliance with the non-anthropoid
  primates, or prosimians11. In The Western Lands – which Burroughs was writing
  during this year – he remarks that: ‘At sight of the Black Lemur, with round
  red eyes and a little red tongue protruding, the writer experiences a delight
  that is almost painful.’ (WL 248). Most crucially, it was in 1987 that Omni
  magazine commissioned and published Burroughs’s short story The Ghost Lemurs of
  Madagascar, a text that propelled his entire existence into the Rift of
  Lemurian Time Wars.

  For some time previously Kaye’s suspicions had been aroused by Burroughs’s
  increasingly obsessional attitude to his cats. His devotion to Calico, Fletch,
  Ruski, and Spooner12 exhibited a profound biological response that was the
  exact inversion of his instinctual revulsion for centipedes. His libidinal
  ‘conversion to a cat man’ (WV 506) also tracked and influenced an ever
  deepening disillusionment with the function of human sexuality, orgasm
  addiction, and Venusian conspiracy.
  ‘Cats may be my last living link to a dying species’ (WV 506) Burroughs wrote
  in his essay The Cat Inside. For Kaye it was evident that this intensifying
  attachment to domestic felines was part of a more basic current, typified by an
  intimate familiarization with the ‘cat spirit’ or ‘creature’ who partakes of
  many other species, (including ‘raccoons, ferrets, … skunks’, (CRN 244) and
  numerous varieties of lemurs, such as ‘ring-tailed cat lemurs’ (GC 3), the
  sifaka lemur … mouse lemur (GC 4), and ultimately ‘the gentle deer lemur’ (GC
  18). As initiatory beings, mediumistic familiars, or occult door-keepers these
  animals returned Burroughs to lost Lemurian landscapes, and to his double,
  Captain Mission.

  Kaye was highly dismissive of all critical accounts that treated Mission as a
  literary avatar, ‘as if Burroughs was basically an experimental novelist.’ He
  maintained that the relation between Burroughs and Mission was not that of
  author to character, but rather that of ‘anachronistic contemporaries,’13 bound
  together in a knot of ‘definite yet cognitively distressing facts.’ Of these
  ‘facts’ none was more repugnant to common human rationality than their mutual
  involvement with The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar.

  ‘We offer refuge to all people everywhere who suffer under the tyranny of
  governments’ (CRN 265) declared Mission14. This statement was sufficient to
  awaken the hostile interest of the Powers That Be, although, from the Board’s
  perspective, even Mission’s piratical career was a relatively trivial
  transgression. Their primary concern was ‘a more significant danger’ … Captain
  Mission’s unwholesome concern with lemurs.’ (GLM 28).

  ‘Mission was spending more and more time in the jungle with his lemurs’ (GC 11)
  - the ghosts of a lost continent - slipping into time disturbances and spiral
  patterns. Lemurs became his sleeping and dream companions. He discovered
  through this dead and dying species that the key to escaping control is taking
  the initiative - or the pre-initiative – by interlinking with the Old Ones.
  ‘The Lemur people are older than Homo Sap, much older. They date back one
  hundred sixty million years, to the time when Madagascar split off from the
  mainland of Africa. They might be called psychic amphibians – that is, visible
  only for short periods when they assume a solid form to breathe, but some of
  them can remain in the invisible state for years at a time. Their way of
  thinking and feeling is basically different from ours, not oriented toward time
  and sequence and causality. They find these concepts repugnant and difficult to
  understand.’ (GLM 31).

  The Board conceived Mission’s traffic with lemurs, his experiments in time
  sorcery, and his anachronistic entanglement with Burroughs as a single
  intolerable threat. ‘In a prerecorded and therefore totally predictable
  universe, the blackest sin is to tamper with the prerecording, which could
  result in altering the prerecorded future. Captain Mission was guilty of this
  sin.’ (GLM 27)

  ‘Now more lemurs appear, as in a puzzle.’ (GC 15) Lemurs are denizens of the
  Western Lands, the ‘great red island’ (GC 116) of Madagascar, which Mission
  knew as Western Lemuria15, ‘The Land of The Lemur People’ (NE 98), a Wild West.
  It was on the island of Madagascar that Captain Mission discovered ‘the word
  for “lemur” meant “ghost” in the native language’ (GC 2) - just as the ancient
  Romans spoke of lemures, wraiths, or shades of the dead16.

  In their joint voyage across the ghost continent of Lemuria, interlinked by
  lemurs, Mission and Burroughs find ‘immortality’ through involvement with the
  native populations of unlife. In describing this process, Kaye placed
  particular emphasis on Burroughs 1987 visit to the Duke University Lemur
  Center. It was this colony of lemurs that introduced Burroughs to the West
  Lemurian ‘time pocket’ (GC 15), just as ‘Captain Mission was drifting out
  faster and faster, caught in a vast undertow of time. “Out, and under, and out,
  and out,” a voice repeated in his head.’ (GC 17). If time-travel ever happens,
  it always does.

  He finds himself at the gateway, inside the ‘ancient stone structure’ (GLM 28)
  with the lemur who is ‘his phantom, his Ghost’ (GLM 29), seated at a writing
  table (‘with inkpot, quill, pens, parchment’ (GLM 29). He uses a native drug to
  explore the gateway. Who built it? When? The tale comes to him in a
  time-faulted vision, transmitted in hieroglyphics. He ‘chooses a quill pen’
  (GLM 29).

  It is difficult to describe where the text comes from, but there it is: ‘an old
  illustrated book with gilt edges. The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar’ (GLM 29); ‘an
  old picture book with gilt edged lithographs, onion paper over each picture,
  The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar in gold script’ (GLM 30). The vision echoes or
  overlaps, time-twinning waves where Mission and Burroughs coincide. They copy
  an invocation or summoning, a joint templex innovation that predates the split
  between creation and recording, reaching back ‘before the appearance of man on
  earth, before the beginning of time.’ (GC 15).

  ‘When attached to Africa, Madagascar was the ultimate landmass, sticking out
  like a disorderly tumor cut by a rift of future contours, this long rift like a
  vast indentation, like the cleft that divides the human body.’ (GC 16)

  They feel themselves thrown forward 160 million years as they access the Big
  Picture, a seismic slippage from geological time into transcendental time
  anomaly. The island of Madagascar shears away from the African mainland17,
  whilst - on the other side of time – Western Lemuria drifts back up into the
  present. The Lemurian continentity sinks into the distant future, stranding the
  red island with its marooned lemur people. ‘What is the meaning of 160 million
  years without time? And what does time mean to foraging lemurs?’ (GC 16-17)
  Time crystallizes, as concentric contractions seize the spiral mass. From deep
  in the ages of slow Panic18 they see the ‘People of the Cleft, formulated by
  chaos and accelerated time, flash through a hundred sixty million years to the
  Split. Which side are you on? Too late to change now. Separated by a curtain of
  fire.’ (GLM 31).

  The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar opens out onto the Rift, ‘the split between the
  wild, the timeless, the free, and the tame, the time-bound, the tethered’ (GC
  13) as one side ‘of the rift drifted into enchanted timeless innocence,’ and
  the other ‘moved inexorably toward language, time, tool use, weapon use, war,
  exploitation, and slavery.’ (GC 49)

                                                          Which side are you on?

  As time rigidifies The Board closes in on the Lemur people, on a chance that
  has already passed, a ghost of chance, a chance that is already dead: ‘the
  might-have-beens who had one chance in a billion and lost.’ (GC 18).
  Exterminate the brutes. … ‘Mission knows that a chance that occurs only once in
  a hundred and sixty million years has been lost forever’ (GC 21) and Burroughs
  awakens screaming from dreams of ‘dead lemurs scattered through the settlement
  …’ (GC7)19.

  According to Kaye everyone ‘on the inside’ knew about the bad dreams, certain
  they were coming from a real place. In this, as so much else, Kaye’s
  reconstruction of the 1987 event depended centrally upon The Ghost Lemurs of
  Madagascar, an account he cited as if it were a strictly factual record, even a
  sacred text. He explained that this interpretative stance had been highly
  developed by the Board, since respecting the reality of non-actualities is
  essential when waging war in deeply virtualized environments: in spaces that
  teem with influential abstractions and other ghostly things. Kaye considered
  Bradly Martin, for instance, to be entirely real. He described him as an
  identifiable contemporary individual – working as an agent of ‘the Board’ –
  whose task was to seal the ‘ancient structure’ that provides access to the Rift.
  The Board had long known that the Vysparov library contained an old copy of The
  Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar, which dated itself with the words ‘Now, in 1987’
  (GLM 34). It had been catalogued there since 1789. The text was a
  self-confessed time-abomination, requiring radical correction. It disregarded
  fundamental principles of sequence and causality, openly aligning itself with
  the lemur people.

  What the Board needed was a dead end. Burroughs was an obvious choice, for a
  number of reasons. He was sensitive to transmissions, amenable to misogyny and
  mammal-chauvenism, socially marginalized, and controllable through junk. They
  were confident, Kaye recalled, that the forthcoming 1987 ‘story’ would be ‘lost
  amongst the self-marginalizing fictions of a crumbling junky fag.’
  On the outside it worked as a cover-up, but the Insiders had a still more
  essential task. They had inherited the responsibility for enforcing the Law of
  Time, and of OGU: Defend the integrity of the timeline. This Great Work
  involved horrifying compromises. Kaye cited the hermetic maxim: Strict
  obedience to the Law excuses grave transgressions. ‘They’re speaking of White
  Chronomancy’ he explained, ‘the sealing of runaway time-disturbances within
  closed loops.’20 What Mission had released Burroughs had bound again. That is
  how it seemed to the Board in 1987, with the circle apparently complete.
  Confident that the transcendental closure of time was being achieved, the Board
  appropriated the text as the record of a precognitive intuition, a prophecy
  that could be mined for information. It confirmed their primary imperative and
  basic doctrine, foretelling the ultimate triumph of OGU and the total
  eradication of Lemurian insurgency. Mission had understood this well: ‘No
  quarter, no compromise is possible. This is war to extermination.’ (GC 9)
  It seems never to have occurred to the Board that Burroughs would change the
  ending, that their ‘dead end’ would open a road to the Western Lands21. Things
  that should have been long finished continued to stir. It was as if a
  post-mortem coincidence or unlife influence had vortically re-animated itself.
  A strange doubling occurred. Burroughs entitled it The Ghost of Chance, masking
  the return of the Old Ones in the seemingly innocuous words: ‘People of the
  world are at last returning to their source in spirit, back to the little lemur
  people …’ (GC 54) The Board had no doubt – this was a return to the true horror.
  Yet, Kaye insisted, for those with eyes to see, The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar
  announced its turbular Lemurian destination from the beginning, and its final
  words are ‘lost beneath the waves’ (GLM 34).

  Kaye’s own final words to the Ccru, written on a scrap of paper, upon which he
  had scrawled hurriedly in a spiderish hand that already indicated the tide of
  encroaching insanity, remain consistent with this unsatisfactory conclusion:
  ‘Across the time rift, termination confuses itself with eddies of a latent
  spiral current.’


  1. Ccru first met ‘William Kaye’ on March 20th 1999. He stated at this – our
  first and last face to face encounter - that his purpose in contacting Ccru was
  to ensure that his tale would be ‘protected against the ravages of time.’ The
  irony was not immediately apparent.

  2. We have recorded our comments, doubts, along with details of his story in
  the footnotes to this document.

  3. This story was commissioned and published by Omni Magazine in 1987. The only
  constraint imposed by the magazine was that there should not be too much sex.

  4. Kaye was adamant that the existence of these two texts could not be
  attributed to either coincidence or plagiarism, although his reasoning was at
  times obscure and less than wholly persuasive to the Ccru. Nor has Ccru been
  able to track down examples of Mission’s handwriting, sufficient to provide a
  basis for identification of the manuscript, although Kaye assured us that the
  British Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, and several private collections
  possessed the relevant documents (despite their denials of the fact).

  5. The concept of the ‘spiral templex,’ according to which the rigorous
  analysis of all time anomalies excavates a spiral structure, is fully detailed
  in R.E. Templeton’s Miskatonic lectures on transcendental time-travel. A brief
  overview of this material has been published by Ccru as The Templeton Episode,
  in Digital Hyperstition, Abstract Culture volume 4.

  6. Vysparov’s involvement in Aleistair Crowley’s OTO and Thelemic magick is
  evident from his treatise on Atlantean Black Magic (Kingsport Press, 1949). His
  investigations into the connections between the writings of Crowley and
  Lovecraft seems to have foreshadowed the similarly oriented researches of
  Kenneth Grant, although there is no reason to believe that Grant was in any way
  aware of the Cthulhu Club synthesis.

  7. Kaye insisted, on grounds that he refused to divulge, that this meeting was
  not a chance encounter but had in some way been orchestrated by the Order.

  8. See Burroughs’s letters from January 1959.

  9. Kaye noted that both Vysparov and Burroughs had been mutually forthcoming
  about their respective experiences of a ‘mystico-transcendental nature.’
  Although this openness would seem to run counter to the hermetic spirit of
  occult science, Kaye described it as ‘surprisingly common amongst magicians.’

  10. Burroughs described his production methods - cut-ups and fold-ins - as a
  time-travel technology coded as a passage across decimal magnitudes: ‘I take
  page one and fold it into page one hundred – I insert the resulting composite
  as page ten – When the reader reads page ten he is flashing forwards in time to
  page one hundred and back in time to page one.’ (WV 272).

  11. There are two sub-orders of primates, the anthropoids (consisting of
  monkeys, apes, and humans) and the prosimians, which include madagascan lemurs,
  asian lorises, australian galgoes (or bushbabies), and the tarsiers of the
  Philippines and Indonesia. The prosimians constitute a branch of evolution
  distinct from, and older than, the anthropoids. Outside Madagascar, competition
  from the anthropoids has driven all prosimians into a nocturnal mode of

  12. The extent of Burroughs’s attachment to his feline companions is evidenced
  by his final words, as recorded in his diaries: ‘Nothing is. There is no final
  enough of wisdom, experience – any fucking thing. No Holy Grail. No Final
  Satori, no final solution. Just conflict. Only thing can resolve conflict is
  love, like I felt for Fletch and Ruski, Spooner and Calico. Pure love. What I
  feel for my cats present and past.’ (LW 253).

  13. Ccru was never fully confident as to the exact meaning of this
  pronouncement. Kaye seemed to be suggesting that Mission and Burroughs were the
  same person, caught within the vortex of a mysterious ‘personality interchange’
  that could not be resolved within time.

  14. Burroughs writes of Madagascar providing ‘a vast sanctuary for the lemurs
  and for the delicate spirits that breathe through them …’ (GC 16). This
  convergence of ecological and political refuge fascinated Kaye, who on several
  occasions noted that the number for Refuge in Roget’s Thesaurus is 666. The
  relevance of this point still largely escapes the Ccru.

  15. Puzzling consistencies between rocks, fossils, and animal species found in
  South Asia and Eastern Africa led 19th Century palaeontologists and geologists
  to postulate a lost landmass that once connected the two now separated regions.
  This theory was vigorously supported by E. H. Haeckel (1834-1919), who used it
  to explain the distribution of Lemur-related species throughout Southern
  Africa, South and South-East Asia. On this basis, the English Zoologist Phillip
  L Sclater (1829-1913) named the hypothetical continent Lemuria, or Land of the
  Lemurs. Lemurs are treated as relics, or biological remainders of a
  hypothetical continent: living ghosts of a lost world.

  Haeckel’s theoretical investment in Lemuria, however, went much further than
  this. He proposed that the invented continent was the probable cradle of the
  human race, speculating that it provided a solution to the Darwinian mystery of
  the ‘missing link’ (the absence of immediately pre-human species from the
  fossil record). For Haeckel, Lemuria was the original home of man, the ‘true
  Eden,’ all traces of which had been submerged by its disappearance. He
  considered the biological unity of the human species to have since been lost
  (disintegrating into twelve distinct species).

  As a scientific conjecture Lemuria has been buried by scientific progress. Not
  only have palaeontologists largely dispelled the problem of the missing link
  through additional finds, but the science of Plate Tectonics has also replaced
  the notion of ‘sunken continents’ with that of continental drift.
  Now bypassed by conventional rationality as a scientific fiction or an
  accidental myth, Lemuria sinks into obscure depths once again.
  16. In the late 19th Century Lemuria was eagerly seized upon by occultists, who
  – like their scientific cousins - wove it into elaborate evolutionary and
  racial theories.

  In The Secret Doctrine, a commentary on the Atlantean Book of Dzyan, H.P.
  Blavatsky describes Lemuria as the third in a succession of lost continents. It
  is preceded by Polarea and Hyperborea, and followed by Atlantis (which was
  built from a fragment of Western Lemuria). Atlantis immediately precedes the
  modern world, and two further continents are still to come. According to
  Theosophical orthodoxy, each such ‘continent’ is the geographical aspect of a
  spiritual epoch, providing a home for the series of seven ‘Root Races.’ The
  name of each lost continent is used ambiguously to designate both the core
  territory of the dominant root race of that age, and also for the overall
  distribution of terrestrial landmass during that period (in this latter respect
  it can even be seen as consistent with continental drift, and thus as more
  highly developed than the original scientific conception).

  L. Sprague de Camp describes Blavatsky’s third root race, the ‘ape-like,
  hermaphroditic egg-laying Lemurians, some with four arms and some with an eye
  in the back of their heads, whose downfall was caused by their discovery of
  sex’. There is broad consensus amongst occultists that the rear-eye of the
  Lemurians persists vestigially as the human pineal gland.

  W. Scott Elliot adds that the Lemurians had ‘huge feet, the heels of which
  stuck out so far they could as easily walk backwards as forwards.’ According to
  his account the Lemurians discovered sex during the period of the fourth
  sub-race, interbreeding with beasts and producing the great apes. This behavior
  disgusted the transcendent spirits, or ‘Lhas,’ who were supposed to incarnate
  into the Lemurians, but now refused. The Venusians volunteered to take the
  place of the Lhas, and also taught the Lemurians various secrets (including
  those of metallurgy, weaving and agriculture).

  Rudolf Steiner was also fascinated by the Lemurians, remarking in his Atlantis
  and Lemuria that: ‘This Root-Race as a whole had not yet developed memory.’ The
  ‘Lemurian was a born magician,’ whose body was less solid, plastic, and

  More recently Lemuria has been increasingly merged into Colonel James
  Churchward’s lost pacific continent of Mu, drifting steadily eastwards until
  even parts of modern California have been assimilated to it.

  Although Blavatsky credits Sclater as the source for the name Lemuria, it
  cannot have been lost upon her, or her fellow occultists, that Lemuria was a
  name for the land of the dead, or the Western Lands. The word Lemur is derived
  from Latin lemure, literally: shade of the dead. The Romans conceived the
  lemures as vampire-ghosts, propitiated by a festival in May. In this vein,
  Eliphas Levi writes (in his History of Magic) of ‘Larvae and lemures, shadowy
  images of bodies which have lived and of those which have yet to come, issued
  from these vapours by myriads…’

  17. According to current scientific consensus Burroughs’s figure of 160 million
  years is exaggerated. Burroughs’s geological tale is nevertheless a
  recognizably modern one, with no reference to continental subsidence. With the
  submergence of the Lemuria hypothesis, however, the presence of lemurs on
  Madagascar becomes puzzling. Lemurs are only 55 million years old, whilst
  Madagascar is now thought to have broken away from the African mainland 120
  million years ago.

  18. Burroughs remarks of Mission: ‘He was himself an emissary of Panic, of the
  knowledge that man fears above all else: the truth of his origin.’ (GC 3)

  19. Burroughs drifts out of the White Magical orbit as his lemur commitments
  strengthen – to the Board his support for the cause of Lemur conservation (the
  Lemur Conservation Fund) must have been the final and intolerable provocation.

  20. The physical conception of 'closed time-like curves' invoke a causality
  from the future to make the past what it is. They work to make things come out
  as they must. If this is the only type of time-travel 'allowed' by nature then
  it obviously shouldn't require a law to maintain it (such as the notorious
  'don't kill granny'). The rigorous time-law policies of the Board, however,
  indicate that the problem of ‘time-enforcement’ is actually far more intricate.

  21. ‘The road to the Western Lands is by definition the most dangerous road in
  the world, for it is a journey beyond Death, beyond the basic God standard of
  Fear and Danger. It is the most heavily guarded road in the world, for it gives
  access to the gift that supersedes all other gifts: Immortality.’ (WL 124)

                                                          Burroughs' Works Cited:

  [AP] Ah Pook is Here.
  [CR] Cities of the Red Night. Picador: New York. 1981
  [DF] Dead Fingers Talk. Tandem: London. 1970
  [GC] Ghost of Chance. High Risk Books: New York. 1991
  [GLM] The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar, Apr. 1987 [Omni]. Omni Visions One. Ed.
  Ellen Datlow. Omni Books: North Carolina. 1993
  [LW] Last Words, The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs. Grove Press: New
  York. 2000
  [LWB] Letters of William Buroughs. Viking: New York. 1993
  [NE] Nova Express. Grove Press, inc.: New York.1965 …
  [WL] The Western Lands. Penguin Books: New York. 1988
  [WV] Word Virus: The William S Burroughs Reader. (eds. James Grauerholz and Ira
  Silverberg). Grove Press: New York. 1998