The 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is arguably the most controversial book of all time.
Nicknamed the ‘Bible of teenage angst’, the classic novel, which is frequently labeled immoral by different groups, has been banned in various parts of America over the decades. From 1961-1982 it was the most censored book in libraries and high schools across the US. School principals have branded it communist propaganda and teachers have been fired for assigning it to students.
But the main controversy, and indeed the most common reason for it being banned, was that it either directly inspired or was associated with some of the most infamous crimes of the 20th Century.
Presidential assassins and would-be Presidential assassins, stalkers and murderers of film stars and music icons are among the known deranged individuals who were obsessed with Salinger’s book, which many claim to be an assassination trigger device.
The murderers, stalkers and their victims and targets, who are all either confirmed or rumored to be part of the The Catcher in the Rye mystery, include John Lennon, Ronald Reagan, Robert John Bardo, Lee Harvey Oswald, Bobby Kennedy, Madonna, Martin Luther King, Mark David Chapman, Jack Ruby, Rebecca Schaeffer, Jodie Foster, JFK, John Hinckley Junior, James Earl Ray and Sirhan Sirhan.
The allegation pointed at Salinger is that he craftily implanted coded messages into the book that act as post-hypnotic suggestions or mind control triggers. In turn, these enable the CIA handlers to activate Manchurian Candidates for planned assassinations.
Many believe the novel was part of the CIA’s extensive mind control program MK-Ultra and that while future assassins are being brainwashed they are forced to read the book over and over until it is embedded in their minds.
These ideas and others have been covered in pop culture, especially in the 1997 film Conspiracy Theory, in which Mel Gibson’s character carries a copy of Salinger’s book with him at all times. The cleverly-written film, which at first appears to be a lightweight romantic comedy co-starring rom-com queen Julia Roberts, becomes more intense as the story progresses and it’s revealed Mel Gibson’s character is entwined with the CIA and is a mind control victim of the agency’s MK-Ultra program.
Salinger’s book co-stars along with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts in the movie Conspiracy Theory.
Season three of the TV series Criminal Minds features an episode called Limelight in which the character of David Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna, mentions having once interviewed serial killer Ted Bundy who told him, “If you wanna stop people from becoming like me, don’t burn Catcher in the Rye.”
An episode of the animated TV series South Park also covers the mind control theory in a humorous way when one of the show’s young characters reads the book then picks up a knife and starts saying, “Kill John Lennon, kill John Lennon.” The boy is disappointed when his father informs him the former Beatle was assassinated years earlier.
But seriously, can The Catcher in the Rye really wake MK-Ultra sleeper assassins from their slumber?
“A substitute teacher out on Long Island was dropped from his job for fighting with a student. A few weeks later, he returned to the classroom, shot the student, unsuccessfully, held the class hostage and then shot himself. Successfully. This fact caught my eye: last sentence, Times; A neighbor described him as a nice boy – always reading Catcher in the Rye. The nitwit, Chapman, who shot John Lennon said he did it because he wanted to draw the attention of the world to The Catcher in the Rye and the reading of the book would be his defense. And young Hinckley, the whiz kid who shot Reagan and his press secretary, said if you want my defense all you have to do is read Catcher in the Rye.” –Monologue delivered by Will Smith in the film Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
It must be noted the idea that assassination codes are buried deep in Salinger’s book is one of the oldest conspiracy theories around and has often been explored over the decades. In fact, many readers familiar with Catcher conspiracies may think all the theories have already been proven to be false and there’s no need to drag them up yet again.
However, given what we’ve unearthed in compiling this book (The Orphan Conspiracies) thus far – especially the unique revelations on the history of mind control, the effectiveness of subliminal messages, the latest scientific studies on the brain, the Americanized Nazis in Project Paperclip and the recently declassified documents on real-life Manchurian Candidates – we believe some of the theories swirling about Salinger’s classic deserve another look.
“I shoot people in this hat.” – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Introducing…the Catcher criminals
The mother of all Catcher incidents is probably Mark David Chapman’s assassination of John Lennon on December 8, 1980. As widely reported, and as mentioned in chapters 21 and 23, the killer stood over the ex-Beatle’s corpse after shooting him and patiently read a copy of Salinger’s classic while waiting for police to arrive and arrest him.
Not long before the murder, Chapman had wanted to change his name to the novel’s narrator and anti-hero Holden Caulfield – so enamored was he with this fictitious character; inside the very copy of the book Chapman had purchased on the day of the murder, police found he’d written, “To Holden Caulfield, From Holden Caulfield, This is my statement”; and during the court case that followed, Chapman read a passage from the novel when addressing the judge and jury during his sentencing.
In the FBI’s Vault the following is mentioned under the file Attempted Assassination of President Ronald Reagan: “On March 31, 1981, John W. Hinckley, Jr., shot President Ronald Reagan and several others in a failed assassination attempt. The FBI conducted an extensive investigation, named REAGAT.”
The moments after Reagan was shot and wounded (above) and the offender Hinckley (below).
Just like Mark David Chapman, Hinckley did not attempt to flee the crime site and seemed content to be arrested. After the assassination attempt, which besides wounding President Reagan also left White House Press Secretary James Brady permanently disabled, detectives found a copy of The Catcher in the Rye on a coffee table in Hinckley’s hotel room.
Before the attempt on Reagan’s life, Hinckley had relentlessly stalked actress Jodie Foster for a number of years. He reportedly became obsessed with the Hollywood star after first seeing her in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver. Even to this day, more than three decades later, Foster has hardly ever spoken of the incident and has been known to walk out of interviews when Hinckley’s name, or the Reagan assassination attempt, is mentioned.
The shooter, whose full name was John Warnock Hinckley Jr. (maintaining the three-name lone gunman theme), tried to assassinate Reagan because he said he thought that would impress Jodie Foster. It was later revealed that during his stay in the Washington D.C. psychiatric hospital St. Elizabeths, Hinckley had exchanged letters with serial killer Ted Bundy and sought the address of mass murderer Charles Manson.
Now alone with Seventeen, Naylor stared intently at the young blonde operative. She was as motionless as a statue, staring right through him. She’d been like this for the past couple of minutes, but she didn’t know that. Her eyes had glazed over and she was in some kind of trance. She held a copy of the novel, The Catcher in the Rye. –The Ninth Orphan
Another Catcher fan was Robert John Bardo, yet another three-name assassin, who murdered American actress and model Rebecca Schaeffer on July 18, 1989. Like Mark David Chapman, Bardo was carrying a copy of Salinger’s book on him at the scene of the crime.
Robert John Bardo and his victim Rebecca Schaeffer.
The one-time stalker of Madonna and child actress Samantha Smith, Bardo stalked Schaeffer before finding her alone at her home in Los Angeles. He shot the star of My Sister Sam TV series in the chest then threw his red paperback copy of the book onto the roof of a nearby building as he fled.
As for JFK’s killer Lee Harvey Oswald, The Catcher in the Rye was found in a raid on his Dallas, Texas apartment after the assassination. His other books included George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Although unconfirmed, it has been claimed by a few sources that Oswald was very keen on Salinger’s novel, which apparently was his favorite.
Criminals not officially acknowledged but rumored in conspiracy circles to have been directly influenced by Catcher include RFK’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan, Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer Jack Ruby, Martin Luther King’s murderer James Earl Ray, cult leader and killer Charles Manson, the Washington Sniper John Allen Muhammad, Jonestown founder Jim Jones, the Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo, the unidentified Zodiac Killer, the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, serial killer Ted Bundy and the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.
The Washington Sniper…a rumored devotee of Catcher.
Even if none of these killers were inspired by Salinger’s novel, the list of murderers and other criminals whose possession of, or obsession with, the book has been proven is surprisingly lengthy and throws up a thousand unanswered questions.
Isn’t it also possible, probable or even highly likely other criminals have been inspired by The Catcher in the Rye? How many assassins disposed of their copies after committing murders or other crimes – as Robert John Bardo tried to do? Maybe others were as obsessed with the book as Mark David Chapman was, but subsequent investigations failed to uncover those details? After all, not every criminal keeps a diary or records of their personal library of reading material.
As one book reviewer wrote on Amazon.com in a review of Salinger’s classic: “There may be countless other criminals and stalkers who have identified with the book’s main character, Holden Caulfield.”
Minutes earlier, Naylor had hypnotized Seventeen using the MK-Ultra voice commands he’d recently received from Langley. For years, he’d wanted to have his way with Seventeen. Receiving the orphans’ MK-Ultra codes had presented him with the perfect opportunity. It was perfect because she would never remember a thing. The copy of The Catcher in the Rye he’d given her was all part of the mind control program. The book acted as an additional control mechanism to activate hypnotism triggers in the brain. –The Ninth Orphan
A literary psy-op?
In The Ninth Orphan, Nine and his fellow orphans have a triggering device which happens to be the names of all the planets in the solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. When the orphans hear or read those words in precisely that order, they immediately fall into a hypnotized state as a result of their MK-Ultra programming. That’s all their handlers have to do to gain total control of their charges and force them to do anything, even kill.
This phrasing technique we included in our novel was based on declassified CIA documents, as well as published research on hypnotism, revealing how mind control has been shown to work. It’s only one of many techniques used, but one that crops up again and again in the documented evidence of successful mind control experiments.
Accepting for a moment that Catcher is such a triggering device, it would likely set off MK-Ultra subjects by having carefully phrased words in strategic parts of the book. Nobody outside of the sleeper assassins and their intelligence agency handlers would be able to recognize such phrases as being abnormal, especially if crafted by such a skillful writer as Salinger.
Richard Condon’s 1959 classic novel The Manchurian Candidate uses only one card, the Queen of Hearts, out of an entire deck of cards as a triggering device for activating the mind control programs in the story’s main characters. If the mind controlled subjects are shown a deck of cards, card by card, they’re hypnotized simply because the Queen of Hearts happens to be in the deck. Keep in mind there are 52 cards in a deck, so about 98% of cards in the deck aren’t related to the mind control program at all.
Similarly, 98% of Salinger’s book would simply be literature and probably have nothing to do with nefarious intelligence agency programs like MK-Ultra. It wouldn’t have upset the flow of the novel if Salinger, or perhaps his publishing house editor, had inserted a few brief triggering devices, or phrases, at the behest of the CIA or FBI or other such agency.
If the novel contains mind control triggers there are two obvious possibilities regarding exactly who inserted them.
One is that Salinger didn’t deliberately insert such triggers in Catcher and had no knowledge his book would be used for mind control. Instead, it was simply used by intelligence agencies, without his permission, as a triggering device to prompt chosen subjects to kill. This would likely have been achieved during the brainwashing process of subjects by repeating certain sentences from the book over and over. It may also be true that the likes of the CIA simply selected the novel as the perfect story to brainwash lone gunmen given its themes of alienation and angst.
The second possibility is that Salinger knowingly inserted mind control phrases into the novel and worked in collusion with high ranking officials in the US intelligence community. Following this theme Salinger along with his advisors, or controllers perhaps, planted excerpts of neurolinguistic writing designed to speak to an assassin’s brain.
How could any ordinary writer achieve that? Such a question assumes Salinger was an ordinary writer…
Fearing Isabelle was beginning to see his real self, Nine turned his back on her and looked down at the copy of The Catcher in the Rye he held. –The Ninth Orphan
The author’s secretive life
The man himself…J.D. Salinger (1950).
J.D. Salinger was by all accounts a recluse and, of all the 20th Century’s masters of literature, he’s probably the one least is known about. This is due in part to his extreme desire for privacy. A good example of this was the reported act of painting his forest cabin in camouflage colors so nobody could find him!
Despite living until 2010, some 59 years after The Catcher in the Rye was first published and became a phenomenal worldwide bestseller, he never published another novel.
Salinger’s last published work, the short story collection Hapworth 16, 1924, came out in 1965. From that point on he continued to write, but his writing remained for his eyes only. Calls from his millions of fans eager to read more of his works apparently fell on deaf ears.
Besides being reclusive, many have labeled him eccentric and even mean-spirited. There are numerous colorful stories about him. These include him regularly drinking his own urine, becoming enraged whenever his infant children cried, being a hypochondriac, telling one of his wives never to disturb him “unless the house is burning down”, exploring Dianetics (later renamed Scientology) and meeting its founder L. Ron Hubbard,and having his photo removed from all his books’ jackets.
However, what many conspiracy theorists believe holds the key in the whole mystery surrounding Catcher is Salinger’s life before he wrote the book. During and immediately after World War 2 to be precise.
And like many subjects in this book, the controversies linked to Salinger’s masterpiece appear to lead directly back to the Nazis.
What few of Salinger’s fans ever fully comprehend is the man’s extensive military and intelligence employment history. Employment that included working for the OSS – the forerunner to the CIA – on highly classified projects in Europe post-WW2.
According to the 1988 unauthorized biography In Search of J.D. Salinger, by Ian Hamilton, Salinger worked for the Defense Intelligence during WW2 and served with the Counter Intelligence Corps. His main duties, Hamilton wrote, involved interrogating captured Nazis.
And on September 3, 2013, The Telegraph ran an article headlined JD Salinger’s five unpublished titles revealed, and how Second World War shaped his thinking. According to the article, one of Salinger’s unpublished books is “about his time interrogating prisoners of war when he served working in the counter-intelligence division”. That book, incidentally, has the revealing title, A Counterintelligence Agent’s Diary.
Equally intriguing is another unpublished Salinger book titled A World War II Love Story, which according to the same article claims is “based on his brief marriage to Sylvia, a Nazi collaborator, just after the war”.
Ian Hamilton’s In Search of J.D. Salinger also mentions that as the war came to a close Salinger was an active participant in the deNazification of Germany.
Now let’s think about that word for a moment…deNazification.
That word could very well mean Salinger was actively involved in the genesis of Project Paperclip, that clandestine program we detailed in chapter 12, which involved smuggling hundreds of Nazis into America and using them to progress the US intelligence and scientific sectors. After all, declassified files have since revealed that much of America’s (and the Soviet Union’s) efforts in deNazifying Europe in truth amounted to gathering up all the Nazi regime’s incredible scientific technologies, not to mention its scientists.
Salinger (left) with fellow counter-intelligence officers after the Normandy invasion.
In fact, some researchers have gone as far as saying the process was more of a reNazification than a deNazification. Or, put another way, fascism continued, stronger than ever, but in another form and leaping across oceans to far-away countries like America.
As we’ve shown in earlier chapters through declassified documents and mainstream media reports, some of the Paperclip Nazi scientists squirreled into the US after WW2 were charged with developing America’s earliest attempts at mind control. This was due to the fact that the Nazis had made tremendous progress in the science of the mind – primarily because of the horrific experiments they conducted on live prisoners during the Holocaust.
Declassified documents also prove these Americanized Nazis had a major influence on the intelligence community in the West post-WW2, especially with US mind control programs which had fascist science written all over them.
Given Salinger’s top-secret wartime experiences, some conspiracy theorists have connected the dots. They assert that he planted mind control triggers in The Catcher in the Rye using the advanced knowledge he was exposed to in his dealings with Nazi scientists. This theory suggests the book was written in such a way that it could be used in MK-Ultra and the CIA’s earlier mind control projects such as Project Artichoke.
These are wild theories indeed. However, given what we now know (and are still learning) about how advanced Nazi mind technologies were, and how much they shaped the modern US intelligence community, these theories should not be wholly dismissed.
Whatever the case, the actual reason for Salinger’s reclusiveness may have been because of what he knew, or what he had been forced to do, in this so-called deNazification process after WW2. This idea is potentially supported by Hamilton’s biography, which argues that Salinger had post-traumatic stress disorder due to wartime activities that left him a forever disturbed individual.
A reclusive J.D. Salinger in later years.
Seventeen frowned when she noticed the top button of her blouse was undone. Her gaze strayed to the copy of The Catcher in the Rye on her lap. The orphan had no recollection of picking up the book at any stage. In fact, she’d never even read it. All she knew about the novel was it had been found on the men behind the assassination and attempted assassination of John Lennon and Ronald Reagan respectively, and its author, J.D. Salinger, had significant ties to the CIA. –The Ninth Orphan
More on the man who killed John Lennon
Mark David Chapman and that book…inseparable.
On February 9, 1981, The New York Times ran an article stating Mark David Chapman was preparing to plead insanity at the upcoming trial in which he was accused of murdering John Lennon. The article mentions Chapman had developed an unhealthy “obsession” with Catcher and “in a handwritten statement delivered to The New York Times last week, Mr. Chapman” had “urged everyone to read the novel, a copy of which was in his possession when he was arrested”.
Chapman had apparently told the NY Times that reading the book would “help many to understand what has happened”.
The newspaper also reported that the accused’s statement ended with: “My wish is for all of you to someday read ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ All of my efforts will now be devoted toward this goal, for this extraordinary book holds many answers. My true hope is that in wanting to find these answers you will read ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ Thank you.”
The accused’s statement was signed “Mark David Chapman – The Catcher in the Rye.”
During the trial that followed, Chapman continued to promote the book. At times he would open up a copy and begin reading intently for all to see the book’s cover. On other occasions he would stand up excitedly and shout to everyone in the court, imploring them to read the novel.
It also came out during the court case that shortly before the assassination Chapman would sit in his room chanting the mantra, “THE PHONY MUST DIE SAYS THE CATCHER IN THE RYE!” as well as “JOHN LENNON MUST DIE SAYS THE CATCHER IN THE RYE!”
These phrases are eerily similar to Sirhan Sirhan’s documented diary entries in which he repeatedly wrote “RFK MUST DIE!”
Another parallel is that the word phony in the aforementioned mantra was borrowed from Catcher, once again indicating that Chapman’s murder of Lennon was somehow inspired by the book.
There is also an urban legend which says John Lennon himself was in the middle of reading the novel the week he was killed. There’s no solid evidence to confirm this, and if Yoko Ono knows, she isn’t saying.
John Lennon…rumored to be reading Catcher.
What can be confirmed is Mark David Chapman’s ties with World Vision. As mentioned in chapter 23, it’s a little known fact that Chapman was a former World Vision employee and children’s counsellor who worked in refugee camps all over the world.Contrary to media reports, he was by all accounts formerly a good citizen who exhibited no signs of mental illness.
As some researchers have speculated,Chapman may have been drugged by CIA agents and forced into their MK-Ultra program while doing aid work for World Vision in Beirut. Some conspiracy theories claim this MK-Ultra program included setting up mind control triggers by repeating certain sentences from Catcher for long, sustained periods.
But that’s not where the World Vision link to Salinger’s novel, or its deadly aftermath, ends…
The Hinckley-Bush-Reagan connection
Surprisingly, World Vision crops up again with Reagan’s attempted assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., whose father, John Warnock Hinckley, Sr., was president of World Vision United States.
The gunman’s father was also a multi-millionaire Texas oilman and President and Chairman of the independent oil and gas exploration firm Vanderbilt Energy Corporation. Considering he belonged to such a wealthy and prominent family, it seems rather odd that John Hinckley, Jr. was always portrayed by the media as some kind of vagabond who did nothing but stalk Jodie Foster and read Catcher all day.
What was also rarely if ever reported was that Hinckley Sr. was a major financial contributor to the failed 1980 Presidential campaign of the Vice President, George H. W. Bush, the man who would have become President sooner had Reagan been killed in the assassination attempt.
But the Bush-Hinckley family ties don’t end there. Oh no, not by a long shot…
Hinckley’s older brother, Scott, had a dinner date scheduled at the home of Neil Bush, the Vice President’s son, the day after the assassination attempt on Reagan. A March 31, 1981 news headline by Associated Press confirmed this: Bush Son Had Dinner Plans With Hinckley Brother Before Shooting.
George H.W. Bush’s other son, George W. Bush, also admitted to journalists that he may have had dealings with Scott Hinckley who was Vice-President of Vanderbilt Energy, but could not remember either way.
Obviously this is all very circumstantial, but then again…What are the odds that the family of the convicted shooter of the President were intimately tied to the Vice President’s family and were also Texas oil tycoons who part-financed the Vice President’s unsuccessful presidential campaign against the President?
And why were so few of these facts ever reported by the mainstream media?
George Bush Senior and Junior…discussing the Bush-Hinckley family ties maybe?
Some conspiracy theorists have asked if John Warnock Hinckley Jr.’s actions mirror the plot of Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate?And if so, was The Catcher in the Rye used to transmit the appropriate assassination triggers?
In the book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, published in 2004 by Progressive Press, Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin imply that at least the former may have been the case.
Tarpley and Chaitkin state, “For Bush, the vice presidency was not an end in itself, but merely another stage in the ascent towards the pinnacle of the federal bureaucracy, the White House. With the help of his Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones network, Bush had now reached the point where but a single human life stood between him and the presidency … In the midst of the Bush-Baker cabal’s relentless drive to seize control over the Reagan administration, John Warnock Hinckley Jr. carried out his attempt to assassinate President Reagan”.
The writers continue by asking whether Hinckley was “part of a conspiracy, domestic or international? Not more than five hours after the attempt to kill Reagan, on the basis of the most fragmentary early reports, before Hinckley had been properly questioned, and before a full investigation had been carried out, a group of cabinet officers chaired by George Bush had ruled out a priori any conspiracy”.
And ever since, all levels of the US Government, from the White House and FBI down, have maintained that there was no conspiracy involved in the assassination attempt on President Reagan.
When one journalist put all these seemingly connected events to the White House, Bush spokeswoman Shirley M. Green replied on March 31, 1981 that it was all just “Bizarre happenstance, a weird coincidence.”
It’s also worth noting that none of the Bush family, not the Vice President or Neil Bush or George W. Bush, was ever questioned by the FBI regarding their string of connections with the Hinckley family. If a formal FBI investigation was conducted, you would assume interviewing Vice President Bush and his sons would have been a logical starting point.
Maybe the eighth grade pupil at Alice Deal Junior High School, in Washington D.C., accurately summarized the assassination attempt best when responding to a task set all the students the day after the assassination attempt. Asked to express their views on the incident, the pupil told teachers, “It is a plot by Vice President Bush to get into power. If Bush becomes President, the CIA would be in charge of the country.”
Perhaps the young Hinckley also accurately summarized the whole incident. Scribbled notes found in his cell during a random search described a political conspiracy involving either the Left or the Right and orchestrated to attempt to assassinate the President. Unfortunately, this potential evidence was never brought up in the court case.
Reporting on the trial, the media fixated on three points: Hinckley’s stalking of Jodie Foster, the defense team’s promotion of the insanity argument, and the fact that the first thing detectives saw when they busted in to Hinckley’s hotel room after the shooting was his copy of The Catcher in the Rye.
Formerly banned, now required reading
These days, Catcher is ‘required reading’ in most high school English courses in the US and throughout much of the Western world. This despite the fact it has been banned by various schools and libraries, and criticized by numerous parent and teacher groups as being immoral literature due to its use of profanity and themes of excessive rebellion and alienation.
The fact it’s now required reading has inspired some conspiracy theorists – most probably of the Tinfoil Hat variety – to envisage a grand conspiracy in which mind control is being conducted on a mass scale in order to corrupt, pacify or otherwise control today’s youth.
Reclusive Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose took part in an online chat on December 12, 2008 on the GNR fan community site. When a fan asked him about a song he’d written called Catcher N’ The Rye on GNR’s new album Chinese Democracy, Axl’s responses seem to indicate he believed the theory that the novel can incite violent acts when read by certain individuals.
“For me,” he said, “the song is inspired by what’s referred to sometimes as Holden Caulfield Syndrome …I feel there’s a possibility that how the writing is structured with the thinking of the main character could somehow re-program, for lack of a better word, some who may be a bit more vulnerable, with a skewed way of thinking.”
Axl also mentioned he felt that the novel is “utter garbage” and said he agrees “wholeheartedly that it should be discontinued as required reading in schools”.
This young lady may disagree with Axl’s comments.
Nine finished reading The Catcher in the Rye and put it back on the tabletop.–The Orphan Factory
The argument against the Catcher conspiracy
We concede that we and others may be reading too much into the murders that some connect with Salinger’s classic novel. It could be argued that, at best, those murders are only loosely related to Catcher for it was, after all, a critically acclaimed masterpiece and one of the biggest selling books of the 20th Century.
Given its worldwide popularity, the fact that the book was found in the possession of a few killers – a handful at most – could just be pure coincidence.
Today, if some new Presidential assassin or serial killer had a copy of The Da Vinci Code or a Harry Potter book in their possession, would anyone blink? And even though religious books such as the Bible, the Qur’an (Koran) and the Torah have inspired innumerable assassins, madmen and terrorists – some well known, some not – surely that doesn’t mean there are insidious mind control programs infused in their writings?
What about Mark David Chapman? we hear you ask.
Yes, the man was completely obsessed with the book, but then again so, too, were countless other (normal) young people around the world in the decades following its publication. Many commented they felt as if Holden Caulfield was voicing their own inner reality and the angers and frustrations they felt in their own lives. And for those who are insane, as Chapman appeared to end up, a work as brilliantly and intensely written as Salinger’s novel was bound to reach the darkest corners of their brains, encouraging those individuals take the story too literally, or out of context, or both.
People who are mentally ill often obsess over all kinds of artworks – such as Michael Jackson’s music, Stanley Kubrick’s movies or Andy Warhol’s paintings – believing there are dark messages embedded in those works, instructing them to kill. It’s simply a case of criminal minds latching on to warped ideas and dark concepts in popular culture. And certainly Catcher is not the only novel to inspire murders, and it won’t be the last.
As Aidan Doyle wrote on December 16, 2003 in a Salon.com article entitled When books kill: “A copy of ‘The Turner Diaries’ was found in Timothy McVeigh’s car when he was arrested.
The novel was written by a leader of the National Alliance and tells the story of a white supremacist group that overthrows the government and subsequently eradicates nonwhites as well as race traitors. The narrator destroys FBI headquarters by detonating a truck loaded with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. McVeigh used a similar mechanism to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.”
The same article also mentions it’s not just books that have inspired killings. “A $246 million lawsuit was lodged against the makers of the game Grand Theft Auto III by the families of two people shot by teenagers allegedly inspired by the game. Such movies as ‘Natural Born Killers,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Money Train’ have routinely been accused of inspiring copycat crimes.”
Natural Born Killers also blamed for copycat crimes.
It has been estimated more than 100,000,000 people have read Catcher. With only a few crazy incidents attributed to it, you could reasonably argue this is not a bad record and certainly isn’t enough to justify outlandish conspiracy theories.
As mentioned, the alleged conspiracy surrounding The Catcher in the Rye has already been studied ad nauseam and the general consensus by experts is that it is a mere coincidence that these criminals committed such horrific crimes after reading the book.
But how many of the so-called experts know about MK-Ultra and the highly documented history of mind control? And how many are aware of the intelligence community’s experiments proving Manchurian Candidates are indeed possible?
We’re certainly not implying we are experts, but it’s a fact that most who have analyzed Catcher conspiracy theories have been authorities in either literature or criminology with highly specific knowledge in their chosen fields. Perhaps to more accurately assess this subject a prerequisite would be to have a broader knowledge of such topics as the way intelligence agencies operate, the dark history of assassinations and suspicious lone gunmen, and Project Paperclip’s Americanized Nazis as well as understanding how advanced the science of mind control really is.
We ain’t saying Catcher is definitely a mind control mechanism for those who have been brainwashed by intelligence agencies. But at the very least, the book had an accidental and unintended influence on some of the most heinous and high profile crimes of the 20th Century. And to us that seems very convenient or coincidental or suspicious – take your pick.
Just like any good story, maybe there’s a few facts hidden within the fiction and a healthy dose of fiction buried amongst the facts. Perhaps J.D. Salinger never bothered to publicly comment on the crimes associated with his book as he liked the mystery that surrounded it.
And on that note let’s allow the man himself have the final word…
“It’s partly true, too, but it isn’t all true,” Salinger wrote in The Catcher in the Rye. “People always think something’s all true.”
Read more in The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy – available now via Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Orphan-Conspiracies-Conspiracy-Theories-ebook/dp/B00J4MPFT6/
A book that’s for the common people.
Happy reading! –James & Lance