Do I still have a bone to pick with Peter Levenda, and if so, why?
At this point I can’t separate personal annoyance (unconscious father/brother issues, etc., etc., you know the drill), from professional interest, so I guess it’s time to address the matter in public, so I can see what shakes loose. I should mention before I do that Levenda and I have had two long conversations in the past that I found highly enjoyable (both are available online, here and here). He is an intelligent, thoughtful, and eloquent individual and until recently we got along fine. Even now, my “bone” with Peter is, I hope, not primarily a personal one but one that pertains to things he is writing and saying that I consider highly questionable, and that, being the way I am, I am going to question.
From a “professional” point of view (the quotes are there because “liminalism” has yet to be officially recognized as a profession), my own researches have caused me to trail my muddy cowboy boots through Levenda’s own, quite fiercely staked, turf, not once but twice in recent months. First, when I began to look into Crowley and the occult’s darker overlaps with organized ritual child abuse; second, in an oddly backwards fashion, when Levenda put himself forward as the new front-man for (what I see as) the UFO Scam Redux, with his Tom deLonge collaboration, Secret Machines. As I hope to show, these two areas of interest–and the disagreements between Levenda and myself–are inextricably intertwined. By comparing his attitudes in both instants, I think it is possible to demonstrate how Levenda is deliberately distorting the truth, both about himself and his subjects.
Regarding the organized ritual abuse of children, this is a subject Levenda seems strangely divided on. On the one hand, he acknowledges that it happens. He can’t actually deny it, since it’s on the sort of records he likes to cite to show how “serious” an investigator he really is (government documents, library records, and so forth). He will admit to The Finders case and (some of) its implications, for example, including the obvious elements of ritual child abuse. But insofar as allowing for a meaningful correlation between occultism and organized child abuse, one that isn’t entirely coincidental, like that between “occultism, unemployment, and bad teeth” (using his own words), Levenda balks and cries witch hunt. And interestingly enough (while consistently denying ever having been an “occultist”), he cites his own insider status in the world of the occult as evidence:
“Further, I have spent a lot of time around occultists, Thelemites, satanists, witches, neo-Nazis, magicians, and even Republicans. I have witnessed all sorts of mayhem, from sexual promiscuity to drug abuse to threats of violence, etc. For me this began about 1968 and has continued in one form or another to this day. I am still in contact today with people I first met in the 1970s, so I have the benefit of having seen them grow and evolve, warts and all. I have never seen any hint of pedophilia in any of the groups I have known, nor in connection with any individual person I have known. I can give you chapter and verse on drug use, sexual partners, overdoses, all sorts of other scandals, etc. but there has been no evidence — not even rumor or gossip — about child abuse. Well, except among the Republicans. (!)”
When I ran this argument by the ex-UK-occultist Nathaniel Harris–who has direct and tragic experience with occult-group child abuse, Harris’ response was straight to the point: “Peter Levenda is either a liar, or he’s a terrible researcher.” (For more on Mr. Harris’ qualifications to comment on this subject, go to his blog.) Personally, I agree with Harris 100%. And I do not think Peter Levenda is a terrible researcher.
Now what if we extend this statement to what is (somewhat) known about NASA, CIA, and military intelligence disinformation programs about UFOS, the overlap with MKULTRA and ritual torture, abuse, and mind control (including staged alien abductions, etc., see Alison Miller, 2011), and juxtapose it with books that purport to deliver the “inside-truth” about aliens among us? In other words, if we factor in all the evidence that narratives of this sort frequently belong to and arise out of a decades-long disinformation program, is it possible to see someone who is selling us this narrative in 2017 as anything other than a) a really bad researcher; or b) a liar? Is there a third option?
I do not think there is. But then I have only read portions of Sekret Machines online, and I am prepared to retract this statement if I discover I was wrong in assuming that all the essential ingredients in deLonge and Levenda’s warmed up disclosure stew are ones we have already seen, a thousand times before, in the short and tawdry history of “Ufology.”
As it happens, today Jason Colavito posted the latest, and most directly critical, in a series of posts about Levenda’s modus operandi as author of the impossible: “Peter Levenda Is Upset with Me. He Also Called Me ‘Arrogant’ and Driven by ‘Personal Resentment.’ Yes, He’s a Full-Fledged Fringe Writer Now!” Despite his penchant for unwieldy titles, Colavito gets to the nub of the Simon-Peter Code in two lines when he writes:
“While Levenda denies being the author [of The Necronomicon], at the very least he is complicit in facilitating and promoting occult fantasies, and he would prefer we ignore that when it isn’t convenient. He is a journalist and historian when he wants mainstream respect, and happily rhapsodizes about the occult when he wants to shape audiences’ beliefs.”
Colavito’s truck with Levenda about Sekret Machines is (I think rightly) with the evidence Levenda refuses to present. My own is more with the evidence he ignores. The two are complementary methodologies, however, because the evidence Levenda ignores is evidence that seriously undermines what little evidence he does present for the reality of inter-dimensional entities zipping around in secret machines. It is evidence that indicates that his own arguments are based on manufactured evidence with the express purpose of seeding just the sorts of narratives which Levenda is happily hocking at his own government-approved fruit and veg stand.
Judging by Levenda’s recent public statement concerning his involvement in this project, he is acutely aware how thinly his credibility is being stretched by hitching his reputation to so disreputable a wagon. It’s my guess this can’t be explained as simple financial opportunism, or even as an ex-intelligence officer following orders for some undisclosed agency. I suspect it has something to do with these things, and that it is quite galling for someone like Levenda to find himself endorsing such obviously substandard goods after all the time he’s put into establishing his reputation as an authority on all things strange and sinister. I also think Levenda is sliding, amphibian-like, back into his primary element, as Simon Levenda, the both admitted and denied (nothing like letting both hemispheres of the brain have their cake and eat it, eh, Simon P?) author of (the fake) Necronomicon, and one of the primary movers and shakers of the occult revival in the 1970s (most specifically the O.T.O. in New York). In other words, after having spent several decades establishing his more austere, scholarly reputation as “Peter Levenda,” author of a series of semi-scholarly works, and amassing a fairly respectable audience cult of his own (which has lately extended its tentacles to Faceborg), he now gets to play Simon again: the wizard and socio-cultural engineer mastermind behind a medium-scale literary hoax. Exactly forty years later, no less (a favored number of Kabbalists, FWIW).
Levenda’s latest move from semi-scholastic researcher to spinner of yarns has been under the guise of, you got it, “truth is still stranger than fiction,” so, hey: a) fiction is a valid way to tell the truth (Lovecraft Code); and b) the truth is that there IS no line between fact and fiction anyway, so let’s get down with the kool kids practicing quantum chaos magickal thinking already, dude, and jump the shark and have some real fun.
The shark, in this admittedly pretzeled metaphor, is both a fake monster/alien/interdimensional entity, summoned by the forces of Simon Magus’ unbridled (but State-sanctioned) imagination, and an all-too real paid operative and professional liar whose job it is to permanently erase the line between fact and falsification and do away with the last vestiges of public discrimination or discernment to ensure the cat is permanently stitched up inside the bag, curiosity and all. All Hail Eris, when Cthulhu calls, etc., etc.This is no easy stunt, and, credit where credit is due, I doubt if anyone could pull this off without some serious facial egg residue. Levenda’s apology-cum-explanation for his current Sekret shark-jumping stunt is as follows:
I know many of you think I have lost my mind, or perhaps my credibility, for having become involved in Tom DeLonge’s Sekret Machines project. .. .
“the UFO Phenomenon represents a point of intersection between science and spirituality [How’s that for an original premise!], between the military and industry [Urm, military-industrial? Complex!], between official statements and popular belief. [I am reasonably sure this is without mentioning how these two feed into each other via works such as Sekret Machines.] It is a field that perhaps more than any other represents the presence of the Other (whether of other beings, other consciousness, other dimensions, other physical laws) in our world and constitutes a challenge to our way of thinking about reality.”
You don’t say. But is this meant to pass as a new hypothesis? Carl Jung, Flying Saucers, 1951? Hello? And Jung was corresponding with Alan Dulles at the time, so, urm, it would seem as though the “Mirage Men” were hard at work even before Kenneth Arnold had his first sighting (if he ever did). So Levenda is trying to explain his interest in UFOs as being “not crazy” and “credible” by restating the idea that UFOs are IMPORTANT–which is presumably precisely why he was picked for the job in the first place: because Levenda, among dodgy quasi-scholarly alternate researchers anyway, has a reputation for being credible, not-crazy, and quite, uh, IMPORTANT. And in case we start to forget it, in all the deLonge-evity, he is at pains to remind his readers at every opportunity that Norman Mailer wrote the foreword to one of his earlier books. My point here is not to be snarky but that Levenda’s credibility is essential to achieving the goals of his latest project, which is to restore some–rightfully lost–credibility to the subject of UFOs before the whole thing fizzles out entirely.
Anyway, I interrupted Simon, uh, Peter. . . .
“People who have had direct experience of the Phenomenon are not waiting for “disclosure.”
Note the quasi-religious framing here. No wonder Levenda quotes Jeffrey Kripal. Do these “canaries” belong to the same choir? With The Super Natural (a book Levenda called “luminous”), Kripal promised us “an apocalypse of thought”; with Sekret Machines, Levenda is claiming “nothing less than a cultural revolution in human consciousness.”
They are waiting, in many cases, for some kind of validation and for a place to “put” that experience within the context of everyday life.”
Urm, so, what: official validation? Let the government (in the form of DeLonge’s, Levenda’s, and Podesta’s insider crew) tell us what we have experienced, sanctify it and turn it into the State Religion? That would validate these “direct experiencers of The Phenomenon,” all right. It would turn them into the original adopters.
“We hope that by taking this subject out of the murky and discredited realm of “what if?” and “who knows?” and into the glaring light of day . . .”
What day? Again the only thing new about the Sekret Machines project, as far as I can tell (and even this remains questionable), is that it comes with some sort of official endorsement. But who in the amorphous audience cult of Ufology besides deLonge and Levenda still believes that official endorsement is worth a damn, when these same officials were almost certainly the inventors of the UFO narrative to begin with?? Ye gods, even The X-Files allowed that interpretation at least once a season.
“. . . that we will be doing them a service. [Is Levenda angling for Nobel prize now?] What we are attempting to demonstrate in these volumes is what our world really looks like if we begin from the assumption that the Phenomenon is real.”
This is interesting to me as only today I wrote something similar about organized ritual abuse. However, the key difference here is that, for all the variables around ORA, it can at least be kept within certain confines as being a human, criminal phenomenon with occultic aspects. The UFO has no such bounds and to say “the Phenomenon is real” is essentially meaningless, when Levenda has not defined what he means by the Phenomenon as yet, unless he simply means objects that fly and haven’t been identified? But no, what he is taking about that is real is “alien contact,” though he can’t define alien for us, or even contact, really, except by stating that all human history and culture is the result of a Cargo Cult of “AC” (no, not that AC, the other one, though I suspect they are roughly equivalent in Simon/Peter’s mythic engineering plan). Levenda is such a stickler for semantics and definitions that I cannot believe he is simply being blindsided by his own religious fervor here. I think he is deliberately obfuscating. I think he is selling snake oil and he knows it.
“If it is real, [if what is real??] if it is an accepted fact, [WHAT??] what does that mean for religion, science, politics, and culture?”
Note there is no mention of psychology or philosophy here. Levenda is only interested in “real world” disciplines. He is arguing for the hard-nature of The Other–maybe because he still hopes to summon Cthulhu from the depths of the collective psyche and have it raise him up to the crown of all? Wait, didn’t I see that scenario in Ghostbusters 2? [Edit, apparently not; I must have been thinking of some other cheesy occult spoof spectacle.]
“Is it possible to review various fields of human endeavor from the perspective that the Phenomenon is an integral and essential component of human experience?”
Yes, but WHAT IS “IT”? (Basically, nothing more radically new than “alien contact.”)
Skipping ahead a bit (Levenda is nothing if not loquacious):
“In our mission we have been aided by those who have a different perspective on the matter: individuals in the government, the military, industry, intelligence, and the like. Scientists and soldiers. Corporate executives and engineers. People with access to information that most of us do not enjoy.”
Trust the Experts. Why? Because the Experts Know And They Would Never Lie to Us; or at least, not to Levenda (being as how he is one of Them, or at least would know the difference between a fib and a fact). Remember this: The Experts Do Not Lie. Tom deLonge’s aim with this project, as he stated plainly to John Podesta in a non-Pizza-related email, is about “changing the cynical views of youth towards government.” What would Levenda have to say about that goal, I wonder?
“We have been very careful in our discussions with them. [That’s good to know!] They did not approach us; we approached them.”
What’s Levenda’s point here? That he and deLonge decided, “Hey, let’s go ask the government the Truth about UFOs,” and the government said, “Hey, these seem like pretty OK guys, let’s tell them!” And then Peter saw that it was good, and said so, and lo, there was a light over all the earth where previously had been darkness.
“There was no offer of faked videos or questionable documents. [Urm… OK.] There were only conversations. Advice. Guidance. And, indeed, some revelations.”
In other words, they spoke to some guys behind the scenes who told them some stuff about UFOs and aliens and they believed them because they seemed pretty sincere and there’s no reason they would lie. And then they wrote a book and now they want us to buy it, and believe it too, because we have their word for it and they are good guys. How is this any different from a dozen previous UFO disclosure scams over the decades? The answer, it isn’t, only that the names are a bit bigger this time. Like when they remake a 70s slasher pic that was done on a shoestring, using big movie stars, a bloated budget and mega-effects, and the whole thing makes you feel sick and depressed over the sheer wastefulness and dearth of imagination involved? Something like that.
“… Creation is ongoing. [Oooh!] It has not stopped. [Aaaah!] What the alchemists were approaching in their philosophy as well as their practice was the dream of modern-day physicists since at least the time of Einstein: a Grand Unified Theory. . . . all of us are products of that initial Big Bang and we are participating in it to this day: not because we want to, but because we are part of it. We are products of that initial moment of Creation.”
Simon Peter is getting out the big guns. He is inviting you, the chaos-magick-quantum wave-particle of all-existence, to step up to the plate and participate in the Grand Unification of all Theories into a Single Simonic Decree. And Upon This Church. . . (Get thee Behind Me, Pedro!)
“In like manner, when we study the Phenomenon we are faced with dozens of different viewpoints. The field runs from outright scorn and skepticism to fervent belief. [Which end is Levenda at?] Experiencers talk about abductions, or sightings, or close encounters, triangles, cigar-shaped craft, saucers, vehicles (or seeming vehicles) that defy physical laws, etc. Like the blind men and the elephant they are all correct, even the skeptics and debunkers. Does that defy logic? [Uh, yeah. It does. And not very elegantly either.] Perhaps. Does it defy intuition, the nagging thought in the back of your mind that there is something to all of this regardless? Sure. We get it. I get it.”
Yeah, but what do we get? Punked again, only now by the pros? Bear in mind that this is the same Levenda who wrote to me just last year: “You know my work. You know the type of documentation, verification, etc. that I do. I don’t write speculative history or conspiracy theory. I investigate, with personal interviews as well as documentation, and report what I find.” Only now apparently his work is about rebooting all of Creation. Word of the Aeon, or what?
“How can we possibly entertain two such opposing ideas at once in the same brain, the same mind? It’s a kind of mental disorder, isn’t it? But it just might be the most important collective mental disorder of all time.”
Compare to this (Levenda, to myself, 2016):
“Jasun, for the love of God, I can’t pursue a question further if it is based on sand! I need a place to stand. It’s not a question of being literal-minded, and I am grateful (and surprised) you admitted you are not. That pretty much sums up this entire correspondence, so I think we have nowhere to go from here.”
If Simon Peter is really sold on the transcendent splendor of mental disorder, why does he start to froth at the mouth when someone disagrees with him in ways he perceives as lacking the correct “training,” rigor, and scientific methodology? How is it that he gets to have it both ways–when it comes to UFOs, there’s no real possibility of understanding the Phenomenon without forsaking logic and taking the plunge into the quantum matrix of fantasy-faction which he is helping to assemble. But when it comes to something like organized ritual abuse within the context of occultism, no, no, a thousand times no, you must provide irrefutable proof before even suggesting the possibility of such a thing! How does Levenda square this circle, exactly?
“The best metaphor for what we are attempting to accomplish with Sekret Machines may be the famous and influential text by Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976). . . .The Sekret Machines project aims to re-create some of that early experience by presenting data in two forms: fiction and non-fiction, or “right brain” and “left brain” approaches, respectively. . . . the two forms together work to tell a deeper story.”
So, with something like the UFO, because it is already a GIVEN that “it” exists as a Phenomenon that cannot be explained using ordinary principles of logic or rationality or human understanding, then, by all means, let us invent stories about it as we are parsing through and analyzing the known data, and then let’s splice the two together as the only way to reach the ultimate truth of the matter, which, evidently, is that there is no ultimate or objective truth anyway, and the UFO (as re-presented via Levenda’s holy split-pea brain-storm) is the final proof of that. It is curious that, according to Levenda, we are looking at a proof that, by its very existence, demolishes the whole notion of proof.
It’s a psychological operation to end all psychological operations! Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain; but gaze, gaze, upon the Wizard in all his splendor.
Regarding Jacque Vallee’s endorsement of the book: this is a fact which Levenda is sure to mention at every opportunity, along with Vallee’s “creds” within the UFO community (what there is of it at this point). This is also the same Jacques Vallee (barring theories of body-snatching) who once wrote the genuine classic, Messengers of Deception, which includes this passage:
“UFOs are real. They are physical devices used to affect human consciousness. They may not be from outer space. Their purpose may be to achieve social changes on this planet, through a belief system that uses systematic manipulation of witnesses and contactees; covert use of various sects and cults; control of the channels through which the alleged ‘space messages’ can make an impact on the public. . . . Visitors from outer space . . . would offer the space effort – and all its attendant industry – a new purpose in life. They would rescue Western civilization from its acute spiritual malaise. They would help transcend political emotions and pave the way for a unification of that enormous economic marketplace: Planet Earth. Take these possibilities into consideration, and you will begin to understand why the idea of life in space is no longer a simple scientific speculation but a social and political issue as well.”
Messengers of Deception was published back in 1979 and was the last in a series of genuinely groundbreaking books by Vallee. He didn’t release another book on UFOs for ten years, and then it was the lackluster Dimensions. In the interim, Vallee seems to have forgotten all about his much darker, more disturbing Messengers thesis (UFOs as related to human occult groups performing social engineering through mass deception techniques), and to be satisfied to rehash the tired old UFO narratives over several more books, none of which (if memory serves) had anything like a truly original thought in them. And let’s not forget that Jacques Vallee is himself a government insider: “a venture capitalist, computer scientist . . . notable for co-developing the first computerized mapping of Mars for NASA and for his work at SRI International on the network information center for the ARPANET.” At this point in time, Vallee’s endorsement of the Levenda-deLonge project is hardly more reassuring than a thumbs up from, uh, John Podesta or Edgar Mitchell. Unless you are Peter Levenda, that is.
Meanwhile, to return to that overlap of sinister force-fields, what does Simon Peter have to say, when it comes to all-too-real-and-sordid sorcery?
“I remember very well the Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria of the 1980s, for instance, when the assumption was made that — since there are such things as occultists and satanists — there must be satanic rituals involving the sacrifice of children. Claims were made that thousands of children were being sacrificed annually in the US alone during satanic rituals by generational satanic cults. There was no evidence for it (there was no evidence for generational satanic cults, either) but that didn’t stop people from making assumptions and wild accusations, ruining innocent people in the process.”
The above summation is at best a gross misrepresentation of facts, at worst, bald-faced lying. Considering Levenda’s extensive researches, there is no excuse for it. His devilishly clever use of scholarly stickler-ism–when it serves his purposes, that is–means that including the word “satanic” gives him a convenient loophole, however, since there is so much room for debate about what the word actually means, and since, strictly speaking, no one has ever been convicted of “satanic ritual abuse,” for the simple reason that neither satanism nor ritual is illegal, only abuse is.
If Levenda wants evidence for the extreme abuse of children, and worse, within the context of occultic rituals that include a “satanic” (devil-worshiping) element, he only needs to refer to various academic sources on the subject such as Sara Scott, Ross E. Cheit, and David Sakheim and Susan Devine’s excellent compendium Out of Darkness. To dismiss the testimonies (some of which are backed by physical evidence) of literally hundreds of victims and/or relatives of victims with a single line about “no evidence”–while elsewhere defending a man like Michael Aquino–pretty much tips Levenda’s hand for anyone with the slightest sensitivity or discernment to see, and reveals that his Tarot deck is numbered.
It’s worth noting that Levenda’s arguments with, or rather attacks on, myself (at the Secret Sun blog, for example) use the very same sort of straw-man tactics he disdains Jason Colavito and others over, for example when he writes: “When pressed, Jasun asked me if I did not believe that there was an international cabal of Satan-worshipping child abusers and I had to tell him no.” This is an effective way to bolster his own position by painting me as Christian-style hysteric and a broad-stroke conspiracy theorist in the style of (his bête noir) Alex Jones. But anyone can go over our exchange, published it its entirety here, and see that I never asked Levenda any such thing. Barring the occasional, deliberately incendiary Faceborg post (and FB brings out the worst in everyone), I am generally quite careful about the use of the word “satanic,” “conspiracy,” or “worldwide,” much less about sticking them all together. This is not a claim I would make without a very large question mark at the end of it.
Now suppose we compare the question of hard evidence for inter-generational cults, and all the rest of what Levenda is dismissing here, with the hard evidence for “alien contact” as anything other than a long-term, human-directed social engineering program dependent on disinformation stunts exactly like Levenda’s latest jaunt? I should state, for the record, that I personally believe there is such a thing as contact with apparently nonhuman entities (though exactly what they are and how nonhuman they are remains to be seen). What I question–and have I think provided ample evidence for the need to do so–is that UFO narratives of the sort Levenda at al. are offering a “modern 21st century reboot” for are anything but a clever obfuscation and exploitation of this deep and troubling psychological question (or “Phenomenon,” if you prefer). Or that what is sorely needed now in the field is not one more tired old reboot, but a thorough debugging and defragging of the whole gnarly system.
Knowing for a fact (as laid out elsewhere) that a human disinformational aspect not only exists but probably goes all the way back to the inception of the “Phenomenon” (early religious engineering programs), demands, of any rigorous researcher, at least an attempt to account for all the evidence this way, namely, as an elaborate, high-level, cultural engineering “hoax” (with serious intent), using psychological methods and technologies that may as yet not be fully understood by us, but most of all depending on human psychology, dissociation, gullibility, and the sheer hopeful predisposition to believe, all of which projects like “The Sekret Necronomicon Code Machine” ruthlessly mine as a necessary fuel source.
And what are we to think when the man selling us these used goods is at the same time scoffing at the reality of something that has been proven and documented to exist, beyond reasonable doubt, something that has caused unimaginable misery and despair to unknown numbers of people, and that, more to the point, does not require nonhuman presences, interdimensional forces, time travelers, or secret machines, but only some very devious, cunning, and destructive criminal networks operating over long periods of time? Consider that, while there is no evidence that claims of organized ritual abuse and mind control are being used as a means to conceal, confuse, or generate some other phenomenon–alien contact, say–there is substantial evidence for the reverse, namely, that the UFO and its many emergent narratives is intimately entangled with organized ritual abuse and mind control, and that it has served as a means to confuse and disorientate victims and plant false memories around it. When all this is factored in, Levenda’s staunch support and avocation of the UFO narrative, and his rather vicious and irrational debunking of the mind control data, begins to seem not incongruous but quite congruous, even complementary; and yes, sinister.
No wonder Levenda is still in damage control over that annoying photo of him standing next to John Podesta. This is from his massive FB screed to Jason Colavito:
“And, yes, that meant we also were linked to the ridiculous claims of Alex Jones and his ilk that there was some kind of blood-drinking cult revealed, high-level functionaries sacrificing children, etc. etc. And now, ironically, you are contributing to the very hysteria you claim to abhor. ‘Satanic Occultists’ indeed!”
High-level functionaries sacrificing children? Whoa, right? How ridiculous is that? Please. Grow the f*** up. And while you’re at it, step this way: I’ve got a way better story to tell you. It’s about Cargo Cults and Cthulhu, you know: real grown-up stuff.
Could this picture possibly be any more off?
Having said all that, I would hate to think Peter Levenda is feeling ganged up on by Ja-souns right now. (Perhaps he was a mutinous Argonaut in a past life?) But them’s the apples; if you spread a lot of shite around, be careful not to stand downwind. Besides the strange recurrence of nominal archetypes, the only “coincidence” that I can see here is that of an author being called out, on more than one front, for his decades-spanning involvement in an elaborate and complex form of literary hoaxing. It’s like an inversion of the Argonaut myth: Simon Peter, through his imitations of divine fiat, has called down the wrath of mortals.
This would appear to be the most nakedly apparent unifying factor currently at play here.