Barbara Reid: Voodoo Practitioner, Discordian Society Member, and Dealey Plaza Irregular (Part 00001)

Discordian Barbara Reid with noted trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

Early Discordian Barbara Reid was a familiar figure in New Orleans bohemia of the 1960s. Known in the French Quarter as “Mother Witch,” she was an avid voodoo practitioner, claiming to have learned the craft from an Orleanian Creole who was a spiritual descendent of Marie Laveau. According to Reid, she was the only Caucasian to whom this knowledge was passed on.00001

Reid worked as a writer and producer for New Orleans television station WDSU and made occasional appearances on local radio, including a 1970 episode of The American Legion Hour on WTIX-AM called “Witches and Metaphysics.” She frequently appeared in newspaper stories, such as a June 1969 Times-Picayune article about Friday the 13th superstitions in which Reid informed the reporter: “I am not a witch, but I’ll show you what a witch can do if you make me out as a kook.”

June 1969 Times-Picayune article about Friday the 13th with Barbara Reid.

A Times-Picayune story from September 1964 concerned the closing of Kerry Thornley’s favorite French Quarter hang-out, The Bourbon House. To mark the event, a mock funeral procession was staged, which—along with jazz band accompaniment—included Barbara Reid in a coffin “…clad in her usual all-black garb and sporting a black beret and cigarette holder.”

September 1964 Times-Picayune article featuring Barbara Reid in a coffin. Her name is misspelled as Reed.

Known for its rag-tag collection of beatniks, poets and jazz music aficionados, many of the Bourbon House regulars—at the urging of Barbara Reid—began staging informal jazz sessions in the early-60s at Larry Borenstein’s art gallery, an institution that would eventually be renamed—and gain international acclaim—as Preservation Hall, the legendary French Quarter music venue still in operation.

Barbara Reid, with daughter on her lap, at Preservation Hall.
Louisiana Music Magazine, Winter 2012.

Preservation Hall officially opened its doors on June 10th, 1961, an enterprise launched by Reid and her partner in the venture, Kenn Mills. These activities—with Reid at the helm—led to a revival of the traditional jazz scene in New Orleans. However, Reid’s participation in the early days of Preservation Hall has been mostly expunged from the historical records due to a falling out she had with Larry Borenstein, the owner of the venue.

Barbara Reid’s campaign poster.

Reid was instrumental in recording many of the local jazz musicians of the era and—according to her husband, Bill Edmiston—helped integrate the two New Orleans musician unions that had previously segregated blacks and whites.

If all that wasn’t enough, Reid was one of the first members of the New Orleans branch of the Discordian Society, claiming at one time or another to be the reincarnation of Goddess Eris herself! Whatever the case, Reid certainly brought a high degree of chaos into Kerry Thornley’s life during the Jim Garrison investigation period when she placed Kerry in the company of Lee Oswald in September of 1963, a couple of months before JFK’s assassination.

Barbara Reid’s Legion of Dynamic Discord certificate issued by Lord Omar K. Ravenhurst, September 1964.
From the House Select Committee on Assassination files, National Archives.

According to Discordian Society co-founder Greg Hill, Barbara Reid was an aspiring politician, pot dealer and former lover of Jim Garrison:

“When Barbara ran for City Council [in 1964], Garrison was absolutely against it and, she told me, repeatedly warned her to stop playing around where she might get hurt. And that, of course, made her all the more anxious to run. I was going to be her Campaign Secretary, but the draft caught up with me and off I went Ft. Polk. When I returned for a day, 8 weeks later, the election was all over with and she placed #3 out of four (not bad, considering). She was pushing for the black vote, and had some kind of lowdown on corruption with the Fed Housing section of the city. She also had the bohemian vote; her posters depicted a caricature of her, all glasses, beret and cigarette holder. It was during this time that she told me that Garrison was an ex-lover of hers and that his warnings to her were as a friend to a friend (though later I got the impression that he was pretty exasperated with her). Like everything else she told me, I didn’t know if I should believe it or not and so, like everything else she did and said, I just enjoyed the circus and didn’t bother believing or disbelieving. I think she said that the affair was sometime ago before Garrison became prominent. She spoke of him with fondness, though annoyed with his not backing her attempted sojourn into city politics.

“I left before Barbara was busted for pot (curiously enough, I felt that the Quarter was being very uncool narc wise, and predicted a giant bust by October—but nobody took me very seriously. I missed the mark by about a month, I think. Many people got it bad, according to what I heard later.). Anyway, she once spoke of not being too concerned with being busted because she ‘could take care of it.’ At the time I wondered if she meant Garrison, but didn’t press the delicate subject…”00002

April 11, 1964 New Orleans States-Item article on Barbara Reid pot bust.

According to the New Orleans States-Item, Reid was arrested on April 10th, 1966 following a six month investigation when narcotics officers seized a large quantity of marijuana from her apartment. Reid—identified as an “unsuccessful candidate last November for District C”—told officers that she was a “den mother” at the Quorum Club, a bohemian coffee house in the French Quarter where she presided over a gaggle of hippie kids. Evidently, the Quorum Club was at the center of this six month investigation. Curiously, Reid’s arrest record for the pot bust identifies her as a “fugitive from Arizona.” These charges were later dropped.

April 10, 1966 Barbara Reid arrest report.

Perhaps what Reid meant by taking “care of it” was that—because of her inside track to Jim Garrison—she could either blackmail or bribe her way out of the charges. Contrary to popular mythology, Garrison was not immune to this type of corruption. In 1970—following a performance by The Grateful Dead at a New Orleans venue called “The Warehouse”—the band’s hotel rooms were raided by police and several members were arrested on drug charges, an incident recounted in their song “Truckin’” and the line: “Busted down on Bourbon Street…”00003 Afterwards, The Grateful Dead tour manager was able to bribe Garrison to take the bust off the records.00004>

In February 1965, Reid was arrested with members of the Hell’s Angels and charged with “bringing the Hell’s Angels to New Orleans.”00005 A February 25th, 1966 New Orleans States-Item article stated that the charges against Reid (identified as “Barbara Reed” in the arrest report) had been dropped, although the four Hell’s Angels “would be held as possible fugitives…”

February 25th, 1966 Times-Picayune article on Hell's Angels and Barbara Reid.

One of Barbara Reid’s more obscure connections involved the Process Church of the Final Judgment, a counterculture cult that emerged in England during the mid-60s of which many dark legends have been spun over the years, first by Ed Sanders in The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion and later by Maury Terry in The Ultimate Evil.

Ed Sanders claimed that The Process Church had a “baleful influence” on Manson and his minions, while Maury Terry alleged that the group was implicated not only in the Tate-LaBianca murders, but the Son of Sam slayings, as well, and that Process Church leadership oversaw a vast Satanic network dealing in drugs, pornography and ritual murder.

In Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, ex-Process member Timothy Wylie paints a more benign portrait, stripping away the conspiratorial legends and revealing a group of sincere searchers ultimately manipulated by their charismatic leader, Mary Ann de Grimston.

In correspondence with this author, Kerry Thornley wrote that he “…first encountered the Process Church in New Orleans in Feb. ’68 when I was there to testify, reluctantly, to the Grand Jury. Barbara Reid, the principal witness against me, and a friend (!) of mine, was said to be ‘up to her ass’ in The Process, which, indeed, maintained a coffee house half a block from Barbara’s apartment. I went over there with Slim (Brooks)… and saw pamphlets about Satan On War and Lucifer on War and Jehovah on War—which I found confusing because I thought Satan and Lucifer were both the same guy, until then, (of course—heh-heh)… A bunch of pale, thin zombies were sitting around in this place. I was telling very funny Garrison stories but nobody was laughing…”

In the next installment we’ll explore Barbara Reid’s involvement with Jim Garrison’s investigation and her role as a Dealey Plaza Irregular.

To read the whole crazy story pick up my book Caught In The Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Amazon) while supplies last!

Thanks to Tim Cridland for unearthing many of the materials used in this post.

 


00001 “Some Recollections On Barbara Reid” by Greg Hill, 1968. (Greg Hill’s Discordian Archives.)

00002 Ibid.

00003 Lesh, Phil, Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead. Little, Brown and Company, 2005.

00004 Classic Albums: The Grateful Dead – Anthem To Beauty, Isis Productions, 1997.

00005 New Orleans magazine, June 2004.

Posted in art, barbara reid, book, discordianism, greg hill, jfk, jim garrison, kerry thornley, lee harvey oswald, letters, music, photo, warren commission, writings | Leave a comment

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Week 59 of Illuminatus! Group Reading: The Pentagon (Part 00001)

The Illuminatus! Trilogy,
'candy apple red' edition by
Dell Trade Paperback,
January 1984. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

 
 
On page 621 of Illuminatus!, Wilhelm—of the diabolical rock super-group, The American Medical Association—states that the “Eater of Souls” is still “imprisoned inside the Pentagon,” an apparent allusion to the March on the Pentagon, the October 21st, 1967 anti-war protest that included an exorcism intended to levitate The Five-Sided Temple in a ritual of cleansing and purification.

Some suggest that the Pentagon actually was levitated on this date, such as the ever reliable Abbie Hoffman in his auto-biography Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture—but who knows what Abbie was smoking that day!

In the early stages of the March on the Pentagon, event organizer David Dillinger—of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (The Mobe)—appointed Yippie rabble rouser Jerry Rubin to lead the march. Rubin, in turn, invited his buddy Abbie Hoffman to join in the fun, as well as such luminaries as Allen Ginsberg and Ed Sanders of The Fugs—and before you knew it this mad cap plan to levitate the Pentagon was set in motion.

Handbill written by Ed Sanders with instructions for the Pentagon levitation, October 21, 1967.

According to Rubin, Abbie Hoffman was the key figure who first came up with the Pentagon levitation bit, and in advance of the protest Abbie paid a site visit to the Pentagon with a two-fold purpose: 1) Drum up media interest in the march, and, 2) calculate how many bodies would be needed to completely encircle, hand-in-hand, the Five-Sided Temple during the course of the exorcism-levitation.

Apparently, Hoffman was fumbling around on the Pentagon grounds with a measuring tape (back in the days when one could actually show up unannounced on the Pentagon grounds) when he was informed by the National Guard to cease and desist and then escorted from the premises. On his way out, Abbie made a formal request for a permit for the proposed Pentagon levitation, which—according to Abbie—would lift the building 300 feet. In response, the military actually granted this surreal permit request with the following stipulations: Abbie and his hairy freaks would only be authorized to elevate the Pentagon a mere three feet off the ground (so as not to damage the foundation!) and that the protesters could not surround the Pentagon, but only gather in front of the building.

In total, 50,000 peaceniks descended on the Pentagon that long ago and very strange day brandishing all the accoutrements of the era: long hair, flowers and peace signs—including Eye-In-The-Pyramid banners which it appears the Yippies adopted as their own esoteric coat of arms during this period.

October 21, 1967 Pentagon Peace Marchers Illuminati Flag.
Above photo and caption lifted from John Steinbacher’s anti-Illuminati tome
Senator Robert Francis Kennedy: The Man, The Mysticism, The Murder
.

In response to this massive influx of anti-war demonstrators, 10,000 military troops were called in to “keep the peace.” One of the most iconic images from this confluence of Eristic vs. Aneristic forces was the photo of the hippie chick sticking a flower into the bayoneted barrel of a rifle poised to blow the smile from her face.

Where have all the flowers gone, anyway?
October 21, 1967: March on the Pentagon Flower Child.

The Pentagon—as we’ve noted countless times here at Historia Discordia—is an integral part of the Discordian mythos, not to mention the V-for-victory peace sign which the Discordians had adopted years prior to it becoming synonymous with the counterculture. So all of these symbols loom large in the Discordian and Illuminatus! (Amazon) iconography and it seemed that a certain amount of cross pollination was going on during this period between the Discordians and Yippies—although the Discordians were largely (Greg Hill in particular) working in a somewhat subliminal and introverted manner as opposed to the Yippies who were right there in your face, taking their theatre to the streets and TV screens of America.

Peace in the Principia Discordia.

The original Sacred Chao image created by Greg Hill circa 1964 incorporating the Pentagon (Aneristic) and Golden Apple (Eristic) in a yin-yang/hodge-podge counter push pull of opposing chaotic forces. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

RAW—as we well know—was out in the streets during the Chicago Democratic Convention demonstrations and witnessed up close and personal the heavy handed tactics of Mayor Daley’s goon squad, a narrative that wove itself in and out of Illuminatus! There’s also a good chance that RAW caught a glimpse of the Yippie “Now” freak flag flown during these demonstrations, which most likely had some influence on his fondness and subsequent use of Eye-In-The-Pyramid imagery and mythology.

Yippie NOW flag flown at the Chicago demonstrations, October 21, 1967.

The counterculture’s use of the Eye-In-The-Pyramid conjured evil spectres in the minds of John Birch Society members like John Steinbacher who authored an anti-Illuminati pamphlet entitled Senator Robert Francis Kennedy: The Man, The Mysticism, The Murder which contended that the founder of the Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, had a profound influence on one Madame Helena Blavatsky of Theosophy fame. Due to this insidious influence, Blavatsky cooked up in her occult cauldron an ideological mix of Communism, Illuminism, and Satanism that insinuated itself into the 60s counterculture and ostensibly motivated Sirhan Sirhan to assassinate RFK. In the assassination’s aftermath—according to conspiratorial legend—Sirhan requested a copy of Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine which sent the heads of conspiracy buffs spinning with the sinister implications this implied.

An unflattering portrait and caption of Madame Blavatsky lifted from
Steinbacher's Senator Robert Francis Kennedy: The Man, The Mysticism, The Murder.

The late, great John Steinbacher reveling
in his trophies and awards.

In Senator Robert Francis Kennedy: The Man, The Mysticism, The Murder, Steinbacher asserts that Blavatsky had penned a murderous tome entitled “Manual for Revolution” as a blueprint for the Communist Revolution which indoctrinated the gullible drug addled dupes of the 60s anti-war movement as part of a plot to bring about a One World Government controlled by Jewish Bankers. The only problem with this theory was that Blavatsky didn’t author “Manual for Revolution”—nor, for that matter, did the book even exist. In addition, Steinbacher claimed that Sirhan had infiltrated a branch of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), all part of a grand design to undermine the 60s counterculture and bring the United States to its knees.

Such speculations were prime fodder for Wilson and Shea who incorporated into Illuminatus! these elements of a vast conspiracy that was playing both ends of the political spectrum against the middle. RAW’s infamous letter and answer in the Playboy Forum was an initial outgrowth of these Illuminati conspiracy influences, later to be expanded upon in Illuminatus!

For more Discordian knowledge as fiction that is fact but fiction contained within Illuminatus!, point your browser to the book’s group reading page at RAWIllumination.net.

Posted in art, audio, book, discordianism, greg hill, illuminati, illuminatus!, photo, rfk, robert anton wilson, robert shea, video, writings | 1 Comment

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SHOUT OUT: Steamshovel Press Winter 2015: The Tyrant’s Foe. The People’s Friend.

Kenn Thomas has released the latest edition of Steamshovel Press as a $2.99 digital download with a dead-on retro zine cover that clearly nods to the Principia Discordia.

Steamshovel Press Winter 2015 Edition.
Grab your copy here.

A great issue on a variety of subjects and with this slick piece of work tucked into it:

“Aside from David Ferrie, there was no other among Jim Garrison’s sordid cast of suspects more colorful than Kerry Wendell Thornley, who not only co-founded the spoof religion Discordianism in 1958, but was also writing a novel, The Idle Warriors, based on Lee Harvey Oswald three years before JFK’s assassination. Garrison claimed that The Idle Warriors—as well as Thornley’s non-fiction work, Oswald—were attempts to set up his old Marine Corps pal prior to the assassination. If that wasn’t enough, Garrison claimed that Thornley was a CIA agent who impersonated Oswald and had an affair with his wife Marina…”

Read more of “Kerry Thornley’s FBI Files” by Adam Gorightly in the latest issue of STEAMSHOVEL PRESS.

Posted in art, discordianism, jfk, jim garrison, kerry thornley, lee harvey oswald, monkey business, official business, principia discordia, writings, zines | Leave a comment

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Greg Hill Gets Letters! (Part 00006) #freeticket

A letter to a “Mr. Greg Hill” received in November 1976 from an unknown correspondent containing one free ticket that was not worth anything—it was just free.

Envelope of a letter from an unknown sender to Greg Hill,
postmarked November 15, 1976 containing a FREE TICKET.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

FREE TICKET! A letter from an unknown sender to Greg Hill,
postmarked November 15, 1976.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

 
Discover Other Postal Erisian Mysteries contained in our
Serial-like chapters of Greg Hill Gets Letters!.

Posted in art, discordianism, greg hill, letters | 1 Comment

fnord

March 2015 Eris of the Month: How the Goddess Appeared to Me by Remy Porter

March 2015 Eris of the Month, 'How the Goddess Appeared To Me' by Remy Porter.

Says Remy:

I had a little accident with a digital photograph, or should I say instead that a digital photograph had an encounter with Eris? If you look closely, you can see her Golden Apple… you may have to look very closely.



Send us your Eris of the Month Club submissions (more info here)
by using the form at the bottom of The MGT. page.

Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

Posted in art, discordianism, eris of the month, official business, photo | 2 Comments

fnord

Chart of the Illuminati Conspiracy: Week 56 of Illuminatus! Group Reading

The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

 
On page 591 of Illuminatus!, the “chart of the Illuminati conspiracy” (previously displayed on page 97) is referenced in relation to Robert Anton Wilson’s Discordian persona of “Mordecai the Foul” who is included among a group of Primus Illuminatus overseeing a vast conspiracy that includes Playboy (where Wilson and Bob Shea worked as editors during the 60s and 70s) and Bank of America where Discordian co-founder Greg Hil (Malaclypse the Younger) was employed from 1977 until his death in July of 2000. (A total of 23 years.)

Version of the 'Chart of the Illuminati Conspiracy'
found in the Discordian Archives, possibly adapted for Illuminatus! on Page 00097.

In Illuminatus!, Joseph Malik describes this chart as “half-accurate and half deceptive” which, of course, was always the Discordian Society’s M.O.—or as the old Discordian saying goes:

“All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.”

It’s unknown exactly who cooked up the “Current Structure of Bavarian Illuminati Conspiracy and the Law of Fives” chart. I suspect Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) had a hand in it, although it may have been a collaboration between RAW, Shea and other Discordian conspirators—including Hill and Thornley—all part of Operation Mindfuck, the Discordian Society’s clandestine campaign to illuminate the opposition.

'Chart of the World Revolution' discovered in the Discordian Archives.

Illuminati buster,
Mrs. Nesta Webster.

It appears that the “Current Structure of Bavarian Illuminati Conspiracy and the Law of Fives” chart was modeled after a “Chart of the World Revolution” which I discovered in the Discordian Archives; a chart that associated Communism with Illuminism, occultism, anarchy, and other diabolical turn of the century movements—the type of stuff Nesta Webster got her panties all in a twist about.

The “Current Structure of Bavarian Illuminati Conspiracy and the Law of Fives” chart first appeared in the June 4th, 1969 edition of the East Village Other (EVO) with no editorial explanation whatsoever. But as EVO catered to dope-smoking drug-dropping degenerate hippie types who entertained conspiratorial ideas from a sometimes satirical and psychedelic viewpoint, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to see such strangeness in its pages.

East Village Other,
Conspiracy in America.

Walter Bowart toward
the end of his life.

Many of the key players at EVO became steeped in the conspiracy culture of the period, such as EVO co-founder and publisher Walter Bowart.

After leaving EVO, Bowart went knee-deep into research about the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program which led to his landmark tome Operation Mind Control (PDF), published by Dell Books in 1978 and—as legend goes—all copies were shortly after bought up by the CIA (or some other unspecified alphabet soup agency) then taken out of circulation and destroyed to suppress the story.

Ishmael Reed.

Another key player at EVO was Ishmael Reed who went on to author Mumbo Jumbo which in many ways resembled Illuminatus! in its unorthodox stylistic approach and depiction of conspiracies run amuck. As Reed wrote in Mumbo Jumbo, “The real history of the world is a history of competing conspiracies.

In the mid-70s, Reed relocated to Berkeley (where RAW was then residing) and taught at UC Berkeley until his retirement in 2005. UC Berkeley—as we’ve noted previously here at Historia Discordia—was home to a campus version of the Bavarian Illuminati that included Discordian Louise Lacey (Lady L., F.A.B.) in its ranks.

In a 1977 interview in Conspiracy Digest, RAW was asked if Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo was an inspiration for Illuminatus!, to which he replied:

“I didn’t read Mumbo Jumbo until about three years after Illuminatus! was finished. The same is true of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. The astonishing resemblances between those three books are coincidence, or synchronicity, or Higher Intelligence (take your pick). I love everything Ishmael Reed writes, and I once sent him an official Discordian certificate making him a Pope in the Legion of Dynamic Discord.”

In an interview from James Draper’s Black Literature Criticism, Reed confirmed this by stating that he “was made an honorary pope by the Savarian Illuminati, for the writing of Mumbo Jumbo…”

As Jesse Walker recently pointed out over at RAWIllumination.net, Reed’s reference to the Savarian Illuminati (as opposed to Bavarian) was probably a case of misremembering the name, or perhaps a typo. Hail Eris!

For more Discordian knowledge as fiction that is fact but fiction contained within Illuminatus!, point your browser to the book’s group reading page at RAWIllumination.net.

 


ADDENDUM: Just as we were going to press—as synchronicity would have it!—I came across the chart below which was posted at a facebook JFK Assassination forum. According to the poster of said post:

“This is something JFK wanted to show everyone (I believe so that we could find our way out of the current deflationary economical situation). I found it online whilst data mining. It explains quite a lot about the leadership we have had since. Please seed!”

Chart: The Conspiracy to Rule the World.

It just goes to show that—after all these years—people are still cranking out these silly charts.

Posted in book, discordian timeline, discordianism, greg hill, illuminati, illuminatus!, interview, jfk, kerry thornley, louise lacey, robert anton wilson, robert shea, writings | 2 Comments

fnord

Semi-Recent Additions to the Discordian Archives: Principia Discordia Editions

What the Russian envelope looked like when it arrived at the Discordian Archives.

Sometimes people send me things here at the Discordian Archives… and sometimes I get around to writing about them. Hence the title “semi-recent” as it’s been several months since I received the items in question—two different versions of Principia Discordia (PD)—one being a Russian translation sent by a chaotic comrade in Russia named Ivan who produced a run of 24 copies. (Why not 23, Ivan?)

The funny thing is, after Ivan stuck this Russian PD in the mail it took forever (like several months, as I recall) to finally land in my mailbox. When I say “funny,” I mean not so much funny “ha-ha” but more funny “strange” in that the envelope in which the Russkie PD was delivered appeared to have been opened along the way by postal inspectors, who no doubt wondered: “What the fuck’s this guy getting from Russia?” and became even more confused (Hail Eris!) when they examined the contents.

A couple of random pages from the Russian translation of Principia Discordia.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

A couple of random pages from the Russian translation of Principia Discordia.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

The other PD edition I recently received came courtesy of a fellow named Christopher who some time back checked out my youtube video concerning the different editions of PD.
Afterwards, Christopher contacted me via email inquiring as to why I’d neglected to mention the red hardcover version published by Revisionist Press in New York in 1976.

There were a couple reasons I hadn’t mentioned this Revisionist Press edition, as the main intent of my video was to list the different PD versions that Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Younger) had been involved with. Nor did I own a copy of this rare Revisionist Press edition, or I probably would have included it in the video.

Revisionist Press edition of Principia Discordia.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

Christopher—as it turned out—owned two copies of the Revisionist Press PD and offered to send me a copy for inclusion in the Discordian Archives—an offer I couldn’t pass up! To return the favor, I sent Christopher a signed copy of Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society. (Get your own copy now while supplies last!)

In 2006, Dr. Jon Swabey posted to livejournal.com that he had just purchased a copy of the Revisionist Press edition from Run For Cover in New York, which during this period had bought up the inventory of the now defunct Revisionist Press who—according to rumor—had been a CIA front.

Not sure how all this CIA business got started, but Mark Philip Steele (creator of the Illuminatus! comix) mentioned to me once that he’d purchased a copy of the Revisionist Press PD in NYC in ’76 and that there was a sign next to the book saying it was produced by the CIA, which of course seems like an obvious joke—but who knows, there might indeed by some truth to the rumor that the Discordian Society was a CIA Front!

I’d always assumed Greg Hill was not involved with Revisionist Press edition, although I’m beginning to suspect that he may have played some role in its production. In 1973, Greg relocated to NYC and was there from 1973-1975 and during this period could’ve hooked up with Revisionist Press and swung a deal to have the PD hardcover version published.

According to the Principia Discordia Wikipedia page:

“Revisionist Press published a red hardcover of the Fourth Edition in 1976, adding a stamp reading “THIS WORK IS A BRIDGE SO MOVE ON THRU” to the right of the golden apple on page 00075. (ISBN 0-685-75085-X)”

Rip Off Press edition cover of Principia Discordia.
Courtesy of the
Discordian Archives.


Wikipedia is correct in stating that the Revisionist Press edition is a reproduction of the 4th edition, which is the most well known version of PD, first published by Rip Off Press in 1970 and later reproduced by Loompanics Unlimited. However, the bit about adding the “bridge” stamp is partly true and partly false. This is where it gets a bit confusing, so try to follow along… Below is page 00075 from the Rip Off Press edition, and as you’ll see there was actually a stamp added to this earlier version, which pre-dated the Revisionist Press edition. I’ve seen about a half dozen copies of the Rip Off Press 4th edition and all of them had a fresh stamp applied by Greg Hill: “This work is a bridge so move on thru.” A minor and totally obscure detail, I admit, but the deeper one digs into the PD history, the more confusing it all becomes.

Page 00075 and inside back cover of Rip Off Press edition of Principia Discordia.
Includes 'This work is a bridge so move on thru' hand-stamped by Greg Hill.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

The confusion with the “bridge” stamp stems from subsequent Loompanics editions. The first Loompanics PD (with a white cover) was published in September 1978 and “This work is a bridge so move on thru” is handwritten in the same spot where the hand stamp had previously been applied, page 00075. The next page is an addition (to the 4th edition) discussing lopsided pineal glands. Handwritten on this new page is “POEE is a bridge from Pisces to Aquarius.”

As a verbal pun sidenote by way of a late-80s Discordian lecture Kerry Thornley gave to a small roomful of folks at Atlanta’s Oxford Two used bookstore, Thornley revealed that POEE is pronounced \ˈpü-ē\ (poo +‎ -y) or, if you can get it, poo-whee! Who knewy?

September 1978 Loompanics edition of Principia Discordia.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

“POEE is a bridge from Pisces to Aquarius” appeared to be a revelatory afterthought by Greg Hill added to the Rip Off Press 4th edition in the form of “This work is a bridge so move on thru.” In addition, “POEE is a bridge from Pisces to Aquarius” was hand written into the subsequent Loompanics edition on a new page (following page 00075.) The origin of “POEE is a bridge from Pisces to Aquarius” was first shared in the memo below addressed to Robert Anton Wilson (aka Mord), Bob Shea (aka Josh) and Tom McNamara (aka Thomas the Gnostic.)

Page 00075 of the 1978 Loompanics edition of the Principia Discordia with additional page on right side with the phrase 'POEE is a bridge from Pisces to Aquarius.'
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

April 23, 1970 letter, the origin of POEE by Greg Hill.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

As a follow-up to the 1978 white covered Loompanics edition, a yellow covered edition was produced in 1980 and on page 00075 “This work is a bridge so move on thru” is not included. So, in essence, the stamp was not added to the previous Revisionist edition—it was already part of the Rip Off Press 4th edition that was reproduced in the Revisionist Press edition.

1980 yellow covered Loompanics edition of Principia Discordia.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

According to information gleaned from the Discordian Archives, Greg Hill supplied the original paste-ups to publisher Michael Hoy during the layout for the 1980 Loompanics edition. These original paste-ups did not include the “bridge” stamp. As previously noted, the stamp was later added to the final printed copies of the Rip Off Press edition00001 after they rolled off the presses.

Page 00075 of the 1980 Loompanics edition of Principia Discordia. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

And the rest is PD history.

 


00001In recent email correspondence, Fred Todd of Rip Off Press informed me (to the best of his recollection) that Rip Off didn’t actually publish the 4th edition, but merely printed it. It can be assumed that the printed copies were picked up by Hill and before distribution he stamped “This is a bridge so move on thru” on page 00075. The copies I’ve seen of the 4th edition, taken from Hill’s own personal stash, also had the two page 5th edition insert added, as well as a Pope Card.

Posted in art, book, discordian timeline, discordianism, greg hill, kerry thornley, letters, principia discordia, writings | 4 Comments

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Julianne Moore, Agent of Chaos?

Recently we posted about Discordian references in the Big Lebowski, and so it should come as no surprise that Julianne Moore—who portrays Maude Lebowski in the film—shared these Erisian thoughts in a recent interview:

“I learned when my mother died five years ago that there is no ‘there’ there. Structure, it’s all imposed. We impose order and narrative on everything in order to understand it. Otherwise, there’s nothing but chaos.” —Hollywood Reporter

This is virtually the same concept that Greg Hill expressed to Kerry Thornley (in a long ago bowling alley) about the true nature of the universe. Thus Discordianism was birthed.

Posted in discordianism, greg hill, interview, kerry thornley | Leave a comment

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Greg Hill Gets Letters (Part 00005)

 
An Irene Dogmatic postcard to Greg Hill, stamped March 7, 1977.
 

Front side of postcard sent to Greg Hill from Irene Dogmatic, during her Wonder Woman phase.

Back side of postcard to Greg Hill from Irene Dogmatic, USPS stamped March 7, 1977.

 
But wait, there are even more Greg Hill Gets Letters!

Posted in discordianism, greg hill, letters, postcards | Leave a comment

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Recent Interviews and Reviews of ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ & ‘Historia Discordia’

 
“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!”
—P. T. Barnum, Discordian

 

 
Grab your copies now!
 
Click these glorious covers to buy and become Enlightened!



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UNDER THE RADAR: Joyous Anarchy
Two New Books by Adam Gorightly

http://artillerymag.com/radar-joyous-anarchy/

“In some sense, Thornley comes across as a martyr to the paranoid cosmic indeterminacy that his faux-mock religion was supposed to worship. Before Oswald ever entered the picture, Discordianism had already been discovered by Thornley and his high school fellow traveler Greg Hill, in a Chaos Theology epiphany at the Friendly Hills Lanes bowling alley in Whittier, California.”

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The Dangerous Minds last-minute shopping guide for rock snobs, audiophiles & culture vultures

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/the_dangerous_minds_last_minute_shopping_guide

“Two great books from Feral House that I could not put down this year were The Essential Mae Brussell: Investigations of Fascism in America and Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation by Adam Gorightly about the man who was Lee Harvey Oswald’s one time army buddy as well as being the co-founder of the joke religion of Discordianism popularized by Robert Anton Wilson. I was already a huge fan of Gorightly’s earlier Thornley bio, The Prankster and the Conspiracy and this expanded book really sucked me in with its twisted plot. Wait, plot? This is a biography!”

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ADAM GORIGHTLY INTERVIEW
Author: Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation

http://garyrevel.com/jfk/gorightly.html

“Adam Gorightly takes us through the looking glass in his new book, Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Feral House Publishers, 2014). Adam accomplishes an uncovering of Kerry which will provide new insight into the JFK assassination and more.”

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Victoria’s Reviews > Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1195021076

Historia Discordia is obviously a labor of love by the editor, Adam Gorightly, who has created a glorious collection of humorous, ludicrous and inspirational letters, essays and ephemera from the founding fathers of Discordianism. Inspirational? Yes! Many of the quips and clever epistles gathered within this colorful and well designed tome are the sort that make one scratch ones head in wonder and awe; ‘Wonder why I never thought of that?’ and
‘What an awesome and polite way of mocking political (or religious) pundits!’”

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THE LONE GUN MAN PODCAST EP. 47 ~ ADAM GORIGHTLY INTERVIEW PT. 1 & PT. 2

https://22novembernetwork.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/tlg-podcast-ep-47-adam-gorightly-interview-pt-1/

https://22novembernetwork.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/tlg-podcast-ep-48-adam-gorightly-pt-2/

“Renowned historian, musician, and author Adam Gorightly joins me on the show this week to talk about his newest book Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald, and the Garrison Investigation.”

Posted in audio, book, discordianism, greg hill, interview, jfk, jim garrison, kerry thornley, official business, warren commission, writings | Leave a comment

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