Dick and the Dark Knight Satellite


Well-Known Member
May 24, 2008
I warn you, the link below is to a site that is more than a little...unusual.., so click at your own risk, (the included entry is post 4 in the thread.)


The Black Knight Satellite

by John Emerson

The black knight satellite. I'm not really sure what to make of this story.
I've only seen the most sporadic mention of this thing on the occasional
website. But man, as a long time fan of Philip K. Dick, the first time I heard
about it my eyes sure went wide. Regardless of the truth of the situation, it's
one hell of a tale.

The most cited report of the satellite comes from Disneyland of the Gods, by
John Keel. He reports that in February 1960 the US detected an unknown object in
polar orbit, a feat that neither they or the USSR had been able to accomplish.
As if that wasn't enough, it apparently was several sizes larger than anything
either country would have been able to get off the ground.

And then, the oddness began. HAM operators began to receive strange coded
messages. One person in particular said he managed to decode one of the
transmissions, and it corresponded to a star chart. A star chart which would
have been plotted from earth 13,000 years ago, and focused on the Epsilon Bostes
star system.

On September 3, 1960, seven months after the satellite was first detected by
radar, a tracking camera at Grumman Aircraft Corporation's Long Island factory
took a photograph of it. People on the ground had been occasionally seeing it
for about two weeks at that point. Viewers would make it out as a red glowing
object moving in an east-to-west orbit. Most satellites of the time, according
to what little material I've been able to find on the black knight satellite,
moved from west-to-east. It's speed was also about three times normal. A
committee was formed to examine it, but nothing more was ever made public.

Three years later, Gordon Cooper was launched into space for a 22 orbit
mission. On his final orbit, he reported seeing a glowing green shape ahead of
his capsule, and heading in his direction. It's said that the Muchea tracking
station, in Australia, which Cooper reported this too was also able to pick it
up on radar traveling in an east-to-west orbit. This event was reported by NBC,
but reporters were forbidden to ask Cooper about the event on his landing. The
official explanation is that an electrical malfunction in the capsule had caused
high levels of carbon dioxide, which induced hallucinations.

Creepy, cool, story to be sure. There's two things in particular which are of
particular note to Philip K. Dick. The most obvious is the idea of a satellite
orbiting the earth and sending coded communications to it. One of the theories
Dick had for his experiences was that they had been triggered, or enhanced, by
an extremely ancient and alien satellite. The initial 2-3-74 experience also
began with a very similar color to the first sighting of the black knight, a
reddish pinkish light beamed directly at him.

Phil also mentioned in his exegesis that he considered ten of his novels to
be of particular importance, with the novel valis as the cipher to unlock their
meaning. These ten books, the "meta novel", are Eye in the Sky, Time Out of
Joint, The Man in the High Castle, The Game Players of Titan, Martian Time Slip,
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, UBIK, A Maze of Death and of course
VALIS. I think it's fair to include Radio Free Albemuth in there as well, which
was written after his meta novel statement, and which is in many ways a
retelling of VALIS. What's interesting here is that he wrote the first, Eye in
the Sky, so soon before the black knight sighting. About three or four years
before it was detected by radar. Well, if in fact it was ever there to be

Relevant quotes from valis:

"The satellite," Fat said. "VALIS. Vast Active Living Intel-ligence System.
It fires information down to them?"

"It does more than that," Kevin said. "Under certain circumstances it
controls them. It can override them when it wants to."

"And they're trying to shoot it down?" I said. "With that missile?"

Kevin said, "The early Christians-the real ones-can make you do anything they
want you to do. And see-or not see -anything. That's what I get out of the

"But they're dead," I said. "The picture was set in the present."

"They're dead," Kevin said, "if you believe time is real. Didn't you see the
time dysfunctions?"

Relevant quotes from Radio Free Albemuth:

Since my contact came in most strangely between 3:00 and 4:00 A.M., I
realized that probably a booster satellite, of alien origin, orbited Earth, a
slave communications satellite that had been sent here thousands of years

'What are you doing sitting out on the patio?' Rachel asked me.

'Listening,' I said.

'To what?'

To the voices of the stars,' I said, although more accurately I meant the
voices from the stars. But it was as if the stars themselves spoke, as I sat
there in the chilly dark, alone except for my cat, who was out there out of
custom anyhow; each night Pinky sat on the railing of the patio, communing as I
was but over a longer period of time, over his entire adult life. Seeing him now
I understood that he was picking up information in the night, from the night,
from the pattern of blinks that came by starlight. He was hooked up with the
universe as he sat here now, like myself, gazing upward silently.

The new personality in me had not awakened from a sleep of two millennia; it
had, more accurately speaking, been printed out by the alien satellite,
impressed on me afresh from outside. It was an addition, not a substitution in
place of me but a kind of package identity based on the total knowledge of the
satellite. It was to raise me to the highest level possible in my ability to
cope. The satellite, itself linked to higher life forms, was concerned with my
capacity to live; it or they, the totality of them, had seen me faltering under
the oppression, and their response was reflexive. It amounted to a rational
attempt to give aid to whoever was in touch with them, who was capable of
assimilating their printout. I had been selected for that reason alone. Their
concern was universal. They would have assisted anyone they could reach.

The tragedy lay in their inability to reach the people of our planet.

One odd point that Moyashka had noted which he could not account for was the
fact that the radio signals came only when the source was above Earth's dark or
night side; during the day the signals ceased. Moyashka conjectured that the
so-called Heaviside layer might be involved.

The signals, although short in duration, seemed 'highly information rich'
because of their sophistication and complexity. Curiously, the frequency changed
periodically, a phenomenon found in transmissions seeking to avoid jamming,
Moyashka stated. Further, his team had discovered, entirely by accident, that
animals in their Pul-kovo laboratory underwent slight but regular physical
changes during the time of signal transmission. Their blood volume altered and
their blood pressure readings increased. Provisionally, Moyashka conjectured
that radiation accompanying the radio signals might account for it.

[Ed. Note here the, perhaps slight, similarity in the name of the fictional
scientist who discovered the satellite, Moyashka, and the Australian Muchea
tracking station which picked up Cooper's sighting.]

If the Russians did photograph the ETI satellite, the invader, they would
find it old and pitted. I had been there thousands of years.

The satellite had passed from our world and, with it, the healing rays, like
those of an invisible sun, felt by creatures but unseen and unacknowledged. The
sun with healing in its wings.

Even if the stations in this local region or sector are all overshadowed and
don't light up any longer, it is a sight to remember. With this the satellite
presented us with its final insight into the nature of things: synapses in a
living brain. And the name we give to its functioning, its awareness of itself
and its many parts - ' She smiled at me. 'It's why you saw the figure of
Aphrodite. That's what holds all the trillions of stations into harmony.'

'Yes,' I said, 'it was harmonized, and over such distances. There was no
coercion, only agreement.'

And the coordination of all the transmitting and receiving stations, I
thought, we call Valis: Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Our friend who
cannot die, who lies on this side of the grave and on the other. His love, I
thought, is greater than empires. And unending.

SOURCE: Phildickian Gnosticism

Besides the fact that I didn't see this even in the Wiki references, (though I might have missed it, I dunno, it might even be here, and I apologise if that's so) and that it's interesting, the reason I'm putting this in as a thread is that it brings up a question: Was PKD as crazy as people sometimes think? Or did he just know how to work odd facts he had picked up and only he was likely to know into his own personal mythology? I'm not dissing him by saying I think it's a clever way to promote his own stuff if it was.

And as a corollary, could it be a feasible idea for us to occasionally check the...ah...odder sites, looking for ideas?

I don't usually go for the tin-foil hat and water fluoridation madness (though I do love PKD, go figure). The Black Knight satellite seems to be pretty much nonsense in that regard, much like the black helicopters that came later.

I read in an interview that prior to Scanner Darkly, PKD wrote nearly every novel while on massive amounts of speed (which would also explain the volume of output, sometimes two novels a year in the 60s). Amphetamines make you absolutely mad, so I would put money that he was as crazy as all that. But he was also crazy smart, so there was probably at least an unconscious level of self-promotion in it.
Yes, I credit Divine Invasions, his bio, with making me quit speed, which I had become somewhat dependent on while working 40-50 hours a week and carrying an 18 credit per semester load in college. The story was that Dick told someone he had been walking outside and saw God looking down from the sky on him. I've not done drugs at all since.

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