How Richard Nixon, L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology tie into Twin Peaks


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How Richard Nixon, L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology tie into Twin Peaks.

Wall Street Journal: How Richard Nixon, L. Ron Hubbard and Conspiracy Theories Tie Into ‘Twin Peaks’

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By Michael Calia
Oct 20, 2016 4:00 pm ET

New episodes of “Twin Peaks” won’t air on Showtime until next year, but series co-creator Mark Frost‘s new novel, “The Secret History of Twin Peaks,” published earlier this week, should give the cult series’ fans more than enough to chew over in the meantime.

The book, which Frost wrote while series co-creator David Lynch was directing new episodes, isn’t a classically constructed novel. Rather, it takes the form of a case file in which an FBI agent picks over an exhaustive dossier compiled by a mysterious character called “The Archivist,” who tries to hone in on why Twin Peaks, Wash., has been the home to bizarre occurrences over the years. “I wanted it to be more than just a book,” says Frost, 62. “I wanted it to be an experience.”

In Frost’s vision, the mythology of “Twin Peaks” stretches far beyond that eerie, wooded patch of the Pacific Northwest, tying in UFOs and secret societies, as well as historical figures like Lewis and Clark, Jet Propulsion Laboratory co-founder and occultist Jack Parsons, and Richard Nixon. As much as Frost added to the mythology, though, the author took care to stop the dossier’s narrative right around when the original incarnation of the show concluded in 1991.

“To go further at this point would intrude in areas that might give stuff away about the series,” Frost says.

Edited from an interview:


L. Ron Hubbard comes up, too. In Hollywood, is it as tough to take a shot at Scientology these days?

No, I think the bubble has kind of been burst. Remember years ago, there was a famous incident, they left a rattlesnake in somebody’s mailbox. It’s a classic cult. I think Alex Gibney‘s film ["Going Clear"] completely took the cover off, and the Laurence Wright book. To me, he was the latest iteration of that theme we start from the very beginning of the book. He’s conspiratorial, he’s secretive, he claims to have mysteries when really all he’s doing is creating a vaccuum into which he can pull power. He was obviously a sociopath himself. So, I felt, thematically, it was a really good fit. I have a friend that works at [Jet Propulsion Laboratory], so I learned about the Jack Parsons story years ago, and I thought this was a really good chapter to bring ["Twin Peaks" character and novel protagonist] Doug Milford into. It’s the bridge between Project Blue Book and Richard Nixon, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. All of it is part and parcel of that strain of conspiratorial thinking and paranoid power grabbing, so that felt like a natural progression in the American history we recounted here.


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