By popular demand, and courtesy of VizReport and Graphic Exchange magazine, we have resurrected this bizarre collection of media exposures that, viewed in hindsight, appear to presage the fateful events of September 11th, 2001.
(Originally printed October 2001 in Graphic Exchange magazine with the title “Your New World Order has arrived… and it’s a combo platter.”)
The 9-11 Pre-Echo Gallery
Graphic Exchange: October, 2001; VizReport: March 14, 2006
It’s not unusual for us to recall significant events from our past, but it’s certainly less common (one might even venture to say that it would be remarkable) to recall moments of great impact from our future.
However, that’s exactly what appears to have happened to hundreds–maybe thousands–of people in advance of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. While countless people dreamed of those events in the days prior to their ultimate unfolding, there also exists a catalogue of media products (created in the months prior) that chronicle the story in chilling detail.
Insofar as the arts community is more acutely attuned to imagery than the average citizen, it’s not surprising that they would be more likely to experience and recall pre-cognitive images and themes that might occur to them in sleep or other moments of reverie. It’s also understandable that since their occupation involves the creation of images, that these themes would migrate into their everyday work.
Let’s examine some of the more startling examples of this phenomenon.
Mark that Calendar
It would be easy to assume, especially since the calendar shown here was produced in a primarily Muslim country (Egypt) and the text says something about laying down one’s life for Allah…and the picture shows an aircraft crashing with the NYC skyline in the background…and the month shown is September 2001…that the creators of this art might have had some foreknowledge of the events to come.
This may not be the case — even though the piece was printed in May of that year, several months in advance of 9-11 — because this is far from an isolated instance. Examples of such mysterious insight come from all across the globe.
Granted, most of the other examples didn’t feature quotations extolling martyrdom, but they did come close to exposing the entire plot before it even occurred.
“Live Scenes from New York”
The popular progressive rock band, Dream Theater, released this CD at around the same time as the attacks, but the artwork was put together the previous Spring.
The cover art depicts a literal “Big Apple” in flames, with the Twin Towers prominently displayed in the midst of the fire. The monotone-gray background of the image is so reminiscent of the charred and dusty ruins that we’ve all come to associate with Ground Zero.
The CD was subsequently released with the band’s logo in the central position on the cover, rather than the original controversial image.
Two Twins in One
The artwork for German band Tele Trieste’s 2001 CD (label: Insekt Angelica) was already on the market when the planes struck the WTC and the Pentagon. The design was essentially completed during April and May of 2001. The CD released: June, 2001.
The Twin Towers are central to the theme of the work, as are the two planes, which appear to be on a collision course. The CD contains the recording of a live session from April 7, 2001, but the year is given as 1462.
Later, I found the following… The year 1462 was the birth year of both renowned German cryptographer Johannes Trithemius (speaking of hidden messages) and Louis XII of France. Curiously, it was also the year in which Vlad III of Wallachia (Dracula) was defeated and deposed by the Ottomans. He would rise again to rule for less than a year in 1476, but would die shortly after regaining his Transylvanian throne. It is worthwhile noting that Vlad, despite his infamous proclivity for extreme violence (especially for impaling his victims), was not only a central figure in the crusade against the Islamic Ottoman Empire, but was widely credited with halting the spread of Islam into Europe.
A Highly Explosive Pre-Echo
Meanwhile, back in North America, The Coup was working on their new release, Party Music. Two members of the hip hop team are depicted choreographing the destruction of America’s ultimate symbol of capitalism, the World Trade Center.
The explosions on the towers even appear to be occurring at the same relative positions at which the ill-fated planes would later impact the structures. The cover art would be revised before the CDs were shipped, but the graphics were completed in May and June of 2001.
A Sombre View
This ad was placed in Canadian industry publication Graphic Exchange by a stock photo agency. While the aim was to invite people to recover from the use of poor photographic stock imagery, the eventual context in which it would be viewed lends it a definite air of prescience.
One anguished reader wrote the publisher to complain about the ad, which seemed to be callously using the tragedy to sell photographic images, and only later realised that the issue pre-dated 9-11 by months.
The publisher is still spooked by the odd timing and the particular choice of image, which, like the background of the Dream Theatre CD art, is so gray and sombre.
It’s not odd that the WTC structures would be featured in so many images because they were among the most photographed buildings in the world. However, the range of images created during this timeframe uniquely tend to have either explosive or ‘memorialistic’ themes.
A Cartoon Becomes Less Funny
This is an animation frame from Men in Black: The Series — Episode 50.
Columbia Pictures’ own website carries the following plot outline:
50. The Breaking News Syndrome
Agent X has taken the liberty of inviting an interstellar version of the show COPS to come and film him in action. Zed takes back X’s liberties, and assigns the camera crew to film Agent Kay instead. Meanwhile, Drekk’s back on Earth, and he’s ready for his close up as well.
The summary neglects to mention that a battle takes place atop Building 2 of the WTC, during which parts of the building are destroyed. Agent J surprises Drekk (the villain) with a water cannon and Drekk is blown off the building by the water. When the camera crew asks Agent J why he initially appeared on the wrong building, he casually responds, “Really, I was on the right building. It’s a little sneak attack manoeuvre I like to call 9-1-1.”
Episode first aired: May 12, 2001
The Remote Guidance Plot
One of the most shocking pre-echoes, for me, was the pilot episode of the short-lived X-Files spin-off; The Lone Gunmen. The storyline reveals a plot to fly a commercial jetliner into the World Trade Center. Although I do agree that remote control was used in the actual attack, I don’t necessarily subscribe to every aspect of the plot as scripted.
The show outline was written in late 2000 and the actual pilot first took to the air, so to speak, on March 4, 2001, on the Fox Television Network. (Video link temporarily lost, but now restored.)
This excerpt is herewith included under the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act as an integral and newsworthy aspect of our examination of this incredible pre-cognitive phenomenon.
But… How can this be?
As is evident from many of the 9-11 sites I’ve explored on the Web, some people would obviously prefer to believe that there’s a massive media conspiracy to cover up its own involvement in this nefarious work with one hand, while rubbing our noses in it with the other. Conspiracies obviously do exist, but the examples provided here may not be evidence of one.
However, these images may be proof of something else entirely.