I think I remember reading that Icke's descent into conspiracy theory land was prefaced by a mental breakdown. There is truly every chance that he has a non-diagnosed but serious mental illness. Anyway, I always thought this little essay by Warren Ellis on the man was very insightful (written, Jesus, almost 20 years ago? Is that even possible? OhdearGodhowoldamIohnoohnothiscannotbehowisthisevenpossibleIwanttogobackpleasepleasepleasesomebodygivemebackmyyouthwheredidmylifegoarrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhh):
Most Americans won't know David Icke, but he was a household name in Britain for many years. He started out as a soccer player, and became a successful and popular sports commentator and presenter for BBC television. In the late Eighties, he quit television to become a radical Christian activist with some highly unorthodox reviews. There were some thoroughly surreal press opportunities in which Icke displayed himself and his family wearing turquoise shell-suits. Turquoise was apparently the colour of love. You can imagine what the British press made of this. By the mid-Nineties, however, Icke had changed colour. He was immersed in black ops, dark secrets and the Bad World, becoming possibly the most spectacularly imaginative conspiracy theorist in the English-speaking world.
He is now an impassioned writer, self-publisher and public speaker, travelling the world to spread his message. His message is, essentially, that the world is ruled by reptilian Things disguised as our royalty and ruling class.
He's entirely lucid, often (intentionally) quite funny, very passionate, and plainly missing some essential mental wiring. His circle of fellow travellers in his personal Bad World seems to be largely made up of people who present themselves with delusions that fit into his awful worldview. Arizona Wilder, for instance, who claims to have been forced into a role of Satanic Meat Whore for ex-President George Bush and made to conduct human sacrifices for him and his lizardy friends. This is a person who seems to need, at the very least, a bit of a lie-down. Icke, however, recorded a three-hour long interview with her which he has published on videotape at his own expense and sells in the back of his books and on his website, http://www.davidicke.com. There is an essential piece of this obviously quite decent man's brain that is missing; the Quality Control function that allows most of us to cross the street when badly deluded people walk towards us waving a matchbox shouting "Do you want to see my bomb?"
I can ridicule the people whose stories he promotes and otherwise grants the oxygen of publicity to. But Icke himself I cannot mock. He produces the most bizarre of theories, easily dismissed. But he believes them. This isn't someone with a long and shameful history of, it might be alleged, extreme gullibility and reliance on things that don't exist, like serial religioso Whitley Strieber.
This is a man whose absolute belief in the hidden world he documents must make his life burn. This is a man who constantly braves humiliation and deportation to communicate his message of horror – that we are ruled by things that eat and rape us. Everywhere he looks, he must see evidence of this. Everything he sees must remind him that this world is not ours and just around that corner something truly disgusting is happening to somebody and no-one else knows but him.
Mad or not, David Icke must be in Hell.
May 8, 2000