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A Sampling of Discordian Society Phenomena and Cabalablia

Here’s a one-page double-sided flyer Greg Hill put out in June 1970 listing all the different Erisian cabals that had emerged during this juncture in Discordian history, which included RAW’s Adam Weishaupt chapter, Camden Benares’ St. Gulik Iconistary among other such wonders.

Sampling of Discordian Society Phenomena and Cabalablia, Page 00001, June 1970. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Sampling of Discordian Society Phenomena and Cabalablia, Page 00002, June 1970. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

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A Little Bit of Buddhist Wisdom From Ho Chi Zen (aka Kerry Thornley)

Note from Ho Chi Zen (Kerry Thornley), dated July 19, 1971.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

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And now, this important announcement from Mad Malik (aka Greg Hill)

Greg Hill, as Mad Malik, proposing a secure 'spiderweb' network for private communications,
late 1960s/early 1970s. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

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RAW’s Form Letters

Just like Greg Hill, Robert Anton Wilson had a penchant for using form letters, three of which I’ve included here for shits and giggles.

A couple are from around 1976, and another from 2002 or so when I was in contact with Bob regarding permissions for material to be included in my book The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture.

RAW form letter, 1976. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
RAW form letter, 1976. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
RAW form letter, around 2002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
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The Blivet and The Hodge/Podge Transformer

Greg Hill drawings of blivets, 1965, Page 00001. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Greg Hill drawings of blivets, 1965, Page 00002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
The two pages of images presented here called “The Blivit” [sic] were drawn by Greg Hill in 1965 and I would suspect were inspired by issue #93 of Mad magazine from March of that year which has a blivet on the cover.

Mad Magazine #93 with a blivet on the cover. More info on this issue at Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site.
I make this assumption because Hill and Kerry Thornley were big fans of Mad, and in fact credited it as the inspiration for their own one-shot mag Apocalypse: A Trade Journal for Doom Prophets.

And, if you’re wondering what the hell a blivet is, we refer you now to the ever-handy and never-wrong Wikipedia for its entry on blivets.

The Hodge/Podge Transformer from the Principia Discordia. Shown here is Page 00052 of the Sacred PUD (the original Paste-Up Discordia) where Greg Hill's drawing (we assume) has been pasted on with other elements including a quotation from The Honest Book of Truth's 'The Book of Gooks.' Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Significantly to Discordianism, a blivet appears in the Fourth Edition of the Principia Discordia on Page 00052 as part of “The Hodge/Podge Transformer,” and I think it’s safe to assume that “The Hodge/Podge Transformer” was drawn by Greg Hill when compared to his other hand-drawn blivets shown above.

As a side note, there’s a weird online Flash game based on “The Hodge/Podge Transformer,” a demo associated with another game called Ossuary, which itself is based on Discordianism, though the game’s creator doesn’t necessarily want it to be known as “that Discordian game.” Here’s a puzzled review of The Hodge/Podge Transformer game demo which can be played online here.

Hail Eris!

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RAW vs. the Transsexuals?

Letter by RAW to friends about Against The Wall flamewar, June 1978, Page 00001. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
In June of ’79, RAW sent out the following letter regarding a little feud he got into with someone named Angela Douglas in the letters section of the libertarian mag Against The Wall, a copy of which he included with the letter.

As for the Communities Land Trust, no telling who they were—but don’t let that confuse you. Wilson and his fellow Discordians were fond of absconding letterheads, and it was cheaper that way, as well, as much of the stationary RAW used throughout the 70s he no doubt picked up for free, which saved a few bucks here and there, this during a period when he and his family were living from one royalty check to the next.

Anyway, enjoy this war of words provided courtesy of your friendly Discordian documenters.

Letter by RAW to friends about Against The Wall flamewar, June 1978, Page 00002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Letter by RAW to friends about Against The Wall flamewar, June 1978, Page 00003. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

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Chasing Eris: The Krewe of Eris

The following is another draft excerpt from my forthcoming book Chasing Eris. The book documents my worldwide adventure to experience modern Discordian culture, meet its personalities, and discover elusive Erisian mysteries.
Brenton Clutterbuck

Every year in February or March, New Orleans holds its Mardi Gras, an affair of floats and alcohol, where flashing your breasts earns a handful of shiny beads.

Each parade group is called a Krewe, many of which are named after the Greek Gods. Naturally it was the Krewe of Eris that got my attention.

New Orleans was a dead loss for me in trying to find interview subjects. I couldn’t secure any interviews with members of the Krewe. The person listed as the “media spokesperson” of the Eris Solidarity Crew never responded to my requests for interviews or questions other than a four word reply of “not sure if possible.” He did add me to Facebook however, without explaining who he was, then failed to reply to any of my Facebook messages other than to volunteer at one point that he was too busy dealing with an oncoming hurricane to reply to me. It had been now several months since then so I can only assume that he’s preparing very thoroughly.

What Google and email did not provide me with though, the Goddess did. Josh, who I met in San Francisco, was involved with the parade. As he began to tell me about the event I mentioned that I had been trying to get onto someone about it.

“Good luck,” he said, with a tone that implied I’d need it.

“They’re banned now, can’t even do anything,” he told me, “after what happened two years ago.” He’s been coming to Eris marches for seven years, and every year they get shut down, which he describes as tragically awesome.

The parade came to life in 2005 when it was founded by Ms. Lateacha and Lord Willin; previously members of the Krewe du Poux, who felt they had outgrown their previous group. The Krewe is as much about ideology as aesthetic. While other Krewes are prohibitively expensive to join in, or simply closed to new members, Eris is free, open, and the costumes and floats are all made by the participants. The “Eris Song” was written by a musician called JR who also taught would-be band members to play in the weeks leading to the parade.

While all Krewes are required by law to obtain a permit in order to march, the Krewe of Eris have consistently refused to make requests for permits, preferring instead to express their freedom by marching without permission. The parade is seen by many as an actively anti-authoritarian reclamation of space.

This anti-authoritarianism plays in significantly to the reasons I am unable to get an interview with anyone in New Orleans, Josh explains.

“The anarchist movement is closely aligned with—you might as well call it the Anarchist parade. That’s really what it is,” he tells me.

2006 the theme was Noveaux Limbeaux (welcome to Limbo), capturing the uncertainty that pervaded the city in the wake of the floods.

In 2007 the theme was Planet Eris.

In 2008 the theme was “The swarm,” which included many insect costumes and a 15 foot paper mache decomposing dog carcass that emitted smoke.

In 2009 the theme was The Feast of the Appetites.

In 2010 the theme was Desire and Light.

In 2011 the theme was Mutagenesis, a criticism of the recent BP oil spill environmental disaster, and featured a 60 person marching band. Erisians dressed as water creatures whose environment had been disturbed by the incident. It was here that things got loose. Reports go from pure, unprovoked police brutality, to reckless vandalism and disruption from Krewe members. By some accounts, participants were jumping on cars, throwing rubbish bins and painting cocks on things. Users commenting on websites often jumped to the defense of one party or the other. One one page, user Triangletess claims that they have photos of ten cars graffitied, keyed, or that have hoods damaged by stomping. Another, Leeandra saw a group ahead of the parade smashing bottles, setting off car alarms, and smashing bottles in the street.

The police intervened with the traditional NOPD restraint and sensitivity. By the end of the parade many marchers had been arrested, sprayed with pepper spray, hit with batons or tasered. Brass instruments were damaged, by some accounts, on purpose. Twelve people were arrested. One person filming the events had their phone flung from their hand by members of the police. Another blog claimed to witness police trying to bait a young man into attacking them, and when he wouldn’t, hit him with batons anyway. Another source claims that members of the police force were equally appalled with police behavior, including a failure to see to the injuries of an arrested man. The claims on the blogspot page for the legal defense of the twelve individuals arrested add to this that some of their number were beaten so badly they were hospitalized. The police in turn had tires slashed on their cruisers, and one allegedly was hit in the forehead by a brick. Six officers required medical attention.

Josh talked me through the events.

“It almost looked like a protest, everyone started getting up on the cars. I remember we were outside The Marigny, just outside the French Quarter, we we jumping, we were destroying, because we were outside this restaurant, peoples faces were just like (shows expression). There were 300 of us, maybe not 300 maybe like 250 that year, and they’re just destroying the fucking cars, oh my God! Then once we got to the quarter which was about 7 blocks later—I think we had three marching bands that year, but as soon as we got there, like 100 cop cars just like ‘you need to disperse,’ and so they kept kicking them back to the Marigny, and that’s when things escalated. Started setting fires and throwing—lighting garbage cans on fire, and trying to block the streets, and cops have guns and tasers—”

“Push then back to the Marigny?” I asked.

“Yeah, push them back, the parade always starts right on the Marigny, right on the cusp of the train tracks, and they’re trying to push them back—out of the French Quarter, trying to keep the French Quarter—you know, it’s Marti Gras. But things went horribly that year. I had one friend, she got batoned in the head a couple of times, and she was just watching. But every year it got chaotic. It was two years ago. It was rough.”

In 2012, the theme was “The Trickster’s Ball.” In place of a marching band, was recorded music. The band themselves played at a nearby ball instead. Founders Ms. Lateacha and Lord Willin were not involved. The stated aspiration was to be non-violent and non-destructive.

“Last year they went from Marigny but they marched like two blocks and then they went to a safe house real quick,” Josh told me.

The theme of 2013 was Eris Dawns.

Krewe Member Victor Pizzaro, has publicly indicated that the parade may look at applying for a permit in the future.

Four of the twelve individuals arrested faced municipal court. They were supported by the law offices of law offices of Miles W. Swanson. Four of the revelers were given fines and suspended sentences. One, William Watkins III, was given a jail term of 45 days. Two failed to appear at court.

Member Damien Weaver was awaiting an October 20 ruling on if police violated his right to due process by preventing or destroying video evidence. I’ve been unable to find the result of that ruling.

A 2011 Justice Department review of the NOPD following the Krewe of Eris incident found that the NOPD habitually used excessive force.

Article Edited: 28/01/2017.

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Week 2 Illuminatus! Group Reading: Joseph Malik

Greg Hill’s 'Bavarian Illuminati' business card, front. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Greg Hill’s 'Bavarian Illuminati' business card, back. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
As we embark upon Week 2 of the Illuminatus! reading, I will continue my obsessive quest to note any Discordian references I encounter along the way. So away we go…

What immediately jumps out is the character of Joseph Malik, who is at least a hat tip to Discordian Society founder, Greg Hill, as among Hill’s various Discordian personas was Mad Malik, an apparent member of the Bavarian Illuminati, as depicted in this Illuminati business card from the late-60s/early-70s.

In Illuminatus!, Joseph Malik is an underground magazine editor who has uncovered an apparent Illuminati plot, as documented in a number of written exchanges between Malik and someone named Pat.

The evolution of much of the Illuminati mythos depicted in Illuminatus! was initially inspired by Jim Garrison’s JFK assassination investigation of all things, which makes all of this even more convoluted, so bear with me. For those unfamiliar with Big Jim, he was the New Orleans District Attorney during the 1960s and the lead character played by Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s JFK. As fickle fate would have it, Discordian co-founder Kerry Thornley was identified by Garrison as being involved in the JFK assassination plot, which of course led to a lot of chaos in Thornley’s life (Hail Eris!) in the years to come, a topic I first broached in The Prankster and the Conspiracy and which will be the main theme in my forthcoming book Caught In The Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and Garrison’s JFK Investigation coming soon from Feral House.

During the course of Garrison’s investigation, one of his unofficial investigators (otherwise known as the “Irregulars”) was a fellow named Allan Chapman who subscribed to the theory that JFK’s assassination had been orchestrated by (you guessed it!) the Bavarian Illuminati. After catching wind of Chapman’s Illuminati-JFK assassination theory, Thornley initiated—along with the support of some of his fellow Discordian Society pranksters—what became known as Operation Mindfuck (OM), a campaign designed to screw with Garrison’s head by sending out spurious announcements suggesting that he (Kerry) was an agent of the Illuminati. Among the culprits who helped perpetrate Operation Mindfuck was none other than RAW. As Kerry later noted:

Wilson and I founded the Anarchist Bavarian Illuminati to give Jim Garrison a hard time, one of whose supporters believed that the Illuminati owned all the major TV networks, the Conspiring Bavarian Seers (CBS), the Ancient Bavarian Conspiracy (ABC) and the Nefarious Bavarian Conspirators (NBC).
—Kerry Thornley, Dreadlock Recollections

I suspect that the “Illuminati Project Memos” on pages 14, 15, 16 and 20 were actually exchanges between Wilson and Thornley during the period the two were conducting Illuminati research, and that Wilson inserted these exchanges into the Illuminatus! narrative. This research led both Thornley and Wilson to compose the infamous letter and answer that appeared in the April ’69 issue of Playboy.

On page 21, Peter Jackson tells Saul Goodman that the missing Malik—through his magazine, Confrontation—was attempting to re-open an investigation into the MLK and Kennedy brother assassinations, which is exactly what Kerry Thornley was attempting to do around the time of the publication of Illuminatus!

Thornley, as well, had been an underground magazine editor during the 1960s, so it can be further conjectured that Malik was a composite character based on Thornley and Greg Hill.

NOTE: After taking another gander at Illuminatus!, I noticed that the first “Project Illuminati Memo” was dated 7/23, the date of RAW’s otherworldly experience with certain denizens from Sirius as well as being the beginning of the Dog Days of Sirius.

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VIDEO: Kerry Thornley on the Birth of Discordianism

I recently re-discovered a rarely seen video interview with Kerry Thornley from 1992, conducted by our friend Rev. Wyrdsli in the back room of A Cappella Books (in Little Five Points, Atlanta) where Kerry was living at the time.

Below is the first clip in the video series, focusing on the birth of Discordianism as well as RAW’s involvement in the early scene.

Special thanks to my partner in crime Floyd Anderson for editing this and the other clips of the interview that will be released in the days and weeks to come!



VIDEO: Kerry Thornley Discusses Zenarchy and Illuminati Lady
VIDEO: Kerry Thornley on the Birth of Discordianism