Disneyland has inspired the imagination of countless visitors and fans, but did you know its actually a weapon created by an Ancient Egyptian super-cult in order to attract subterranean chthonic dragon-worms to the surface?
No. Neither did I.
This bizarre claim was made by Sam Kriss on his blog, Idiot Joy Showland. Now, I'm having a hard time figuring out whether he is sincere (and a bit crazy) or simply writing a piece of rather bizarre fiction. In either case, he has created a story which is simply too crazy not to retell.
The original article is extremely long and spans across 3,000 years of history in incredibly precise (if not necessary honest) detail. With this in mind, I can only hope to skim the surface and deliver the main points. Don't worry though, they do not disappoint.
The Cult of Penew-Nekhet
It all starts with an Ancient Egyptian cult known as the Cult of Penew-Nekhet. This group of secretive aristocrats worshiped the mouse, which was commonly seen as a symbol of death and famine in Ancient Egypt. Through idolizing the mouse, the cult was apparently showing a distaste for the generic status quo of Egyptian society at the time. As Kriss explains:
The Cult of Penew-Nekhet could therefore be considered as an incipient Satanism in an era preceding such Manichaean moral divisions: the image of the cat waiting on the mouse indicates a total reversal of the accepted moral order. The focus on imagery and representation over the Real is also significant: in such images the seed of Disneyland’s spectacle can be seen.
Over time, the cult spread to Greece and eventually Rome, while Kriss explains Constantine - the first Christian Emperor - was a practitioner, bringing Penew-Nekhet worship out into public and combining it with the church.
The fall of the Roman Empire once again led to Penew-Nekhet being forced underground, with Charlemagne also keeping the cult alive.
The Cult Gains Power
Throughout the Middle Ages, Kriss claims the cult began to degenerate. As the wealth of the church grew, the rituals of Penew-Nekhet became nothing but spectacle.
This changed when Martin Luther instigated the Protestant Reformation. According to the story, Luther was a cultist who wanted to purge Penew-Nekhet of those cultists who "tended towards debauched Dionysianism rather than the contrived hyperreality of the early rituals."
Having acquired a new Protestant guise, Penew-Nekhet began to infiltrate various organizations, including the trade guilds, Freemasions, United States government, the institutions of the French revolution, and others. Included within its membership were such individuals as: "Viscount Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon (whose coronation deliberately mirrored that of Charlemagne), Benjamin Disraeli, the Rothschilds, Rockefeller, Mussolini, Rudolf Hess."
Eventually, Kriss claims the cult members of Penew-Nekhet orchestrated the First World War in order to instigate a mass slaughter. However, apparently it didn't go exactly to plan. The cult did not expect the Russian Revolution or the rise of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the war was supposed to become stalemated for eternity, when in reality it ended after only 4 years. Kriss takes up the story:
The war, which was meant to be fought to an eternal stalemate, instead sparked a series of unplanned revolutions across the continent, starting with Russia in 1917. This was then followed by a second, yet more ruinous war from 1939, in which Cultists on all sides tried frantically to rein in the destruction to no great effect.
The Creation of Disneyland
Following the Second World War, in 1948, the cult heads met for a secret meeting at Hückeswagen Castle to determine a new direction. All of the minutes from that meeting were destroyed, except one small scrap which read:
…maintien de la stase soviéto-américaine et de planifier W.D.
28: The policy of mass slaughter having failed, it is therefore RESOLVED that the full attentions of the Organisation will be given over to maintaining the Soviet-American stasis and to plan W.D.
28: Die Politik der Massenmord…
The cult then became central to the organization of the Cold War, with President Nixon apparently operating as a reluctant member. It was around this time that Walt Disney began to rise to prominence.
Kriss claims Disney became a member of the cult during his Red Cross service following the First World War. In particular, he states that on his return from France in 1919, Disney began to draw cartoon mice.
Indeed, 1928's Steamboat Willy - the first Mickey Mouse cartoon - was actually a coded history of the cult. Kriss explains:
Mickey Mouse is a destructive outside agent who emerges into the ordered environment of the steamboat and comprehensively reorders it according to his own schematic principle: living animals are rendered inorganic tools, turned into musical instruments, forced by Mickey to play along to a piece of music that simultaneously emerges from them and is extraneous to them. Essentially, Steamboat Willie provides a coded account of the activities of the Cult of Penew-Nekhet since the Christianisation of the Roman Empire.
Disneyland first broke ground in California in 1954, quickly resulting in a park the following year. However, in reality Disneyland is not actually an amusement park as we originally thought. Far from providing fun and freedom to its visitors, it is designed to force them into tightly organized passive routines.
Disneyland was never an interactive ‘park’ in which visitors were free to view the attractions at their own pace, but a show as tightly choreographed as any film. All the rides progress in a strictly linear fashion; the banter of the entertainers is entirely scripted; if you drop a piece of litter in the park an appropriately dressed actor (smocks for Fantasyland, jumpsuits for Tomorrowland) will appear from a hidden doorway and silently tidy it away. The guests are forbidden from reinscribing anything onto the text of Disneyland.
Nazis and Tellurian Dragons
No good conspiracy theory is complete without the Nazis, and this is where they come in. This is also where the story goes completely mental.
Kriss claims one of the chief engineers of Disneyland was German rocket physicist Wernher von Braun, a former member of the Nazi Party and an expert in the occult.
Like many Nazi occultists, von Braun believed there was subterranean life beneath the Earth's crust. More specifically, he believed there were large 'Tellurian dragons' or worms which grew to massive proportions and swum around in the mantle of the planet.
According to Kriss, these dragons and worms have occasionally broken free onto the surface, often acting to inform todays dragon legends. He explains:
Given the ubiquity of dragon-myths across the planet, it is certain that the subterranean worms have, accidentally or not, forced their way into our world. It is not inconceivable that the parting of the Red Sea, the volcanic eruption that obliterated Minoan civilisation, and perhaps even the calamitous 1755 Lisbon earthquake were all precipitated by the Cult of Penew-Nekhet through its various attempts to gain the attention of tellurian monsters.
So, what does this have to do with Disneyland? Well, according to the theory, the dragons respond most to imagination, fantasy, deceit and emotion. This is why the original Penew-Nekhet rituals revolved around the projection of a hyperreality. The author continues:
The fascination with symbolism and the representative was not just a mechanism for maintaining secrecy: the Greek Cultists really believed that they had been transformed into peasants during the grain-burning rituals; the visitors to Disneyland are invited to really believe that they are in the presence of Mickey Mouse.
In this sense, Kriss claims Disneyland is in fact a massive signal beacon and/or weapon which is used to attract the giant underground space dragons. Walt Disney's creation functions as a 'concentrated loci of high emotion,' especially in regards to children who "experience emotional states far more intensely than adults." Kriss concludes:
What is Disneyland? Disneyland is a vast machine for the weaving of fiction and the production of human emotion. It was built away from Hollywood because it was never really part of the entertainment industry. It was always a weapon. It is the weapon. It is a signal-beacon for the underground monsters. They swarm there now, miles underneath southern California (perhaps accounting for the frequent seismological activity there), waiting for the Cult to give them their orders. Now it remains only for the Disneyland weapon to be used.
What The Hell Did I Just Read?
I know. I know. I'm right there with you.
This is certainly one hell of a strange Disney theory. I mean, I was almost believing it, right up to the Nazi underground dragons, that is.
However, before you get too excited, I think I should point out this seems most likely to be a piece of fiction - and a rather good one at that. Kriss appears mostly to be imitating the style, tone and content of some of H.P. Lovecraft's works - most notably the use of ancient cults, obscure texts and subterranean deities/monsters. Even the nature of the narrator - who fears retaliation from unknown forces - matches the tropes of Lovecraftian fiction.
So, we probably shouldn't be taking this too seriously. Unless, of course, I'm part of the conspiracy...