By the end of my evening with David Icke my jaw had dropped so far it was no longer in this dimension.
The king of conspiracy theories was “red-pilling” - to use a Matrix reference - around 1,000 of us at the packed-out Southport Theatre and Conference Centre on Saturday April 14.
It was a much-needed wake-up call that brought into focus the apparent random chaos of the world.
Icke suggests there is no randomness and that world leaders and - more importantly - those who run these politicians from behind the scenes are psychopaths and liars trying to edge humanity towards another world war.
He explains the game is fixed, using the analogy of football - with the two sides being the right and left of politics. To ensure the outcome you want, you have to be in control of both sides.
And he tracks this back through American politics, claiming Bush Jnr, Obama, and now Trump - despite flips from Republican to Democrat and back again - are all pushing the same agenda of regime change in the Middle East, something set out as a goal in the early 2000s by a document called The Project for the New American Century.
Icke spends most of his four-hour show bombarding us with facts built up over 30 years of his research and then joins up the dots, showing us how governments are connected to social media (the greatest surveillance technology ever created, he claims), who are connected to multi-billion dollar financiers who are connected to the media giants who are connected to secret societies who are connected to the CIA and weapons technology developers.
The wars in the Middle East start to make sense when he speaks. In Libya, the West arms the rebel groups, waits for Colonel Gadaffi to kick back, and then bombs the hell out of the country to bring about regime change.
Now in Syria, the energetic 65-year-old tells us that another fake reason for war is being introduced in the form of an unproven chemical attack, the only evidence of which he says comes from The White Helmets group, first-responders in terrorist-run areas. But the group is funded by America and has a track record of setting up fake chemical attacks in the past, claims Icke.
And he’s not the only one. There is a growing wave of alternative media growing online painting a similar picture. Icke says Google, Facebook and YouTube are doing their best to silence these channels that offer an alternative view by using algorithms to make sure they are not flagged up prominently in searches.
And that moves us on to one of Icke’s other main thrusts, that we are moving towards the world of 1984 imagined by George Orwell, a post-truth era where freedom of speech is killed off. A world of doublethink (the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct) where war can mean peace, and control can mean freedom.
Icke’s show is uncomfortable to watch at times. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, he doesn’t tell you what governments/media/the establishment wants you to here.
And after lifting the cloud of mainstream thinking, it is a terrifying realisation that all really is not as it seems.
Icke says a war of perception is going on, with that perception being used to control us to such an extent that we did not even raise a collective eyebrow when the latest illegal bombing took place in Syria at the end of last week. We are outraged when children are allegedly killed by Assad but forget we sell weapons to Saudi Arabia that are used to kill thousands of civilians in Yemen.
Icke is a journalist above anything else and pours scorn on the national media for not challenging those in power, for not looking into why the West is hellbent on war.
And this is where the red pill comes in. What is the end game after we’ve destroyed ourselves with nuclear weapons?
Icke believes the final goal of the “hidden hand” is the assimilation of humanity as we know it by artificial intelligence. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But perhaps not so crazy when you consider the late Prof Stephen Hawking also saw AI as a huge threat to humanity.
Icke is currently on his first UK Tour for 20 years and his latest book, Everything You Need To Know But Have Never Been Told, is available online.