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Roger Lovin: Illuminatus! Group Reading Weeks 18 & 19

Early Discordian Roger Lovin,
photo from his classic book
The Complete Motorcycle Nomad.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
During Saul Goodman’s visit to the Playboy Club in Illuminatus! (Page 173, Week 18)—where he was apparently drugged, abducted and subjected to all sorts of MK-ULTRA-style perversions straight out of A Clockwork Orange—Saul (or Barney Muldoon, or whoever he actually is now) finds himself in a hospital room (Page 189, Week 19) attended to by a doctor who informs him that he’s really Barney and that ‘Saul Goodman’ was actually a dual identity that Barney created to compensate for never being promoted to detective.

The doctor further informs Saul/Barney about certain details of his life, one of which is that his children are named Roger, Kerry and Greg, which is a certain nod to not only the founders of Discordianism—Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley—but also to Roger Lovin, who could be considered the third member of the Holy Trinity of Discordianism that haunted the New Orleans French Quarter during the early 1960s. The Discordian business card below illustrates that Lovin (aka Fang the Unwashed) had a major role in spreading the Discordian Gospel during this period and oversaw the French Quarter Cabal after Thornley and Hill returned to Cali in late 1965.

Discordian Card of Thornley, Lovin, and Hill, 1965. Not a law firm.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

In many ways, Illuminatus! authors Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea seemed to be describing what happened to Kerry Thornley in the following passage:

…A few years ago, you started a game with your wife; she thought it was harmless at first and learned to her sorrow that it wasn’t. The game was, that you pretended to be a detective and, late at night, you would tell her about the important cases you were working on. Gradually, you built up to the most important case of all—the solution to all the assassinations in America during the past decade. They were all the work of a group called the Illuminati, who were surviving top level Nazis that had never been captured…
—Illuminatus!, Page 189

This description of Saul/Barney’s apparent mental deterioration certainly relates to Kerry Thornley. During the late-60s, Kerry—in his writings—often parodied what he considered “paranoid” conspiracy theories, including the various Illuminati conspiracies at which he and RAW had such a high time poking fun. But after going through the Garrison meat grinder, Kerry came out on the other end with his head spun, at first thinking Garrison was totally off his rocker for believing that he (Kerry) was part of an insidious CIA funded homosexual thrill-kill plot (or something of that sort.)

However—as time passed—and Kerry began to reflect on his past (while enhancing those reflections with an occasional dose of LSD!), he started toying around with different theories to explain what had gone down with the JFK assassination, and how this related to his association with Oswald and the other disturbing string of synchronicities that occurred during his time in New Orleans—until eventually certain far-flung theories about Nazis and the Illuminati began to make more and more sense to him. And while he didn’t turn into Barney Muldoon per se, Kerry did develop a more paranoically inclined personality, as opposed to younger years when he was prone to be dismissive of “paranoids.”

Kerry’s growing paranoia (starting in the early-70s) was an outgrowth of his belief that he’d discovered the true assassins of JFK—or at least certain individuals that were involved in a plot to kill JFK, namely Gary Kirstein (aka Brother-in-Law) and Roderick “Slim” Brooks, a couple of shadowy characters Kerry met during the New Orleans period. According to a letter from Greg Hill to RAW dated September 1975, Slim Brooks was also an early member of the Discordian Society and was one of The Chosen Five who received the rare 1st edition of The Principia Discordia of which only five copies were produced (in accordance to the Law of Fives!).

It was long-held and universally believed that most—if not all—of those original sacred Five Copies were lost with the passage of time to mankind; that is until your humble author discovered the only surviving copy—Greg Hill’s personal copy—tucked away in the Discordian Archives for all these years and which now has been re-published, at long last, in the companion volume to this website, Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society (Amazon). So get your copy now before it disappears again!

Hill and Thornley—as Discordian history instructs—moved to New Orleans in 1961, and at some point became friends with Roger Lovin, who Kerry later remembered as “…a dashing, talented and handsome con artist who was too shallow to settle into any one thing. But for years and years after he read the Principia, under his Discordian name of Fang the Unwashed, he consistently and with unswerving devotion to the task excommunicated every new person any of the rest of us initiated into the Discordian Society.”

On his first sojourn in New Orleans, Greg Hill only lived there a few months before moving back to Southern California, but Kerry lived in NOLA (for the most part) over the next three-and-a-half years before relocating to Arlington, Virginia in late 1964.

Sometime in ’64, Hill moved back to The French Quarter, which led to one of the most intense and productive periods in the early evolution of the Discordian Society—1964 and 1965—as documented in several dozens of letters in the Discordian Archives exchanged between Hill and Thornley.

The Early Discordians become famous for their humorous letters, and one of the funniest I’ve come across is this missive dictated by Roger Lovin (aka Fang The Unwashed) dated December 17, 1964, addressed to Greg Hill (aka Malaclypse The Younger), who appears to have been staying with Bob Newport in Chicago at the time.

Letter: From Roger Levin to Greg Hill, December 17, 1964, Page 00001. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Letter: From Roger Levin to Greg Hill, December 17, 1964, Page 00002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

While I’ve shared quite a bit in my books—and on this website—about Hill and Thornley, I’ve been reluctant to tackle Roger Lovin’s Discordian legacy just because it’s a pretty tangled web to attempt to unravel some of the more sordid aspects of his life.

Like Thornley, Lovin became ensnared by the Garrison investigation—although briefly and to a much lesser degree than Thornley. Garrison’s interest in Lovin was partly due to his association with the Discordian Society, which the New Orleans D.A. came to suspect was some sort of CIA front organization that had a hand in orchestrating Kennedy’s assassination. Hail Eris!

Lovin—from the stories I’ve heard—was a man of many talents: a writer, poet, musician—a silver-tongued devil and con man—who operated a French Quarter art gallery during the early-60s. From 1968/69, Lovin published a weekly New Orleans newspaper, The Ungarbled Word, that from time to time ran Discordian recruitment advertisements, in addition to articles by Hill and Thornley, and in particular, an ongoing series by Greg Hill entitled Etcetera Pacifica that gave a monthly run-down of what was happening with the West Coast counterculture scene.

The Ungarbled Word, Revelation of Eris, August 1968. Courtesy of Tim Cridland.
The Ungarbled Word, Zenarchy, August 21, 1968. Courtesy of Tim Cridland.

The Ungarbled Word, Ecetera Pacifica, September 12, 1968. Courtesy of the Tim Cridland.

Lovin later moved out West and worked as the environmental editor for the Los Angeles Free Press from 1969-73, as documented in this article from 1971.

During that same period, Lovin wrote and published pornography, maintaining contact with Greg Hill throughout. I found one letter in the Archives where Lovin offered his services to help Greg publish a mass market edition of Principia Discordia, although nothing ever came of this.

Letter: Roger Lovin to Greg Hill, June 6, 1970. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

For the most part, though, Lovin was pretty much a Mystery Man to me, and the correspondences between he and Hill over the years—while colorful—were few and far between. When I asked some of the Early Discordians about him, they only vaguely remembered the name. At some point, I came across the following clipping which appeared in a 1979 edition of the Science Fiction fanzine Locus and hinted at certain darker aspects associated with Lovin.

Locus zine: Roger Lovin. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

While scouring the web, I came across other information which suggested that Lovin had gone to prison for these activities, although there was conflicting information, which of course can always be expected when the sources are various people posting different accounts to web forums.

Such as in the following link from

At one point in the thread someone claiming to be Lovin’s sister said that the charges against her brother were true, and then posted a photo of herself with Lovin in his later years—after he had been released from prison—and stated that he had died of a heart attack in 1991. The photo indeed looked to be Roger Lovin, however these posts from his alleged sister (which I think legit) were later removed from the thread.

Here’s another related post.

It should be noted that I haven’t seen any of Lovin’s criminal records, and so I can’t definitively confirm any of the charges.

Thanks to Tim Cridland for the scans from The Ungarbled Word.

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RAW on Crowley and Parsons

The above interview of RAW on Aleister Crowley was a real eye opener for me when I initially heard it back in the 90s, as RAW was the first observer (that I recall) who drew a comparison between Crowley’s portrait of Lam and the alien gray illustration on the cover of Whitley Strieber’s Communion (Amazon), which of course suggested that maybe dear old Uncle Al had once upon a time summoned certain entities (of the gray skin Zeta Reticuli variety) onto the earth plane that over the last few decades have been abducting and probing and doing such things that alien grays are wont to do.

Crowley's Lam vs. Strieber's Gray Alien.

The obvious difference between Lam, and Strieber’s alien gray, is the eyes. However, Fortean researcher Regan Lee made a keen observation recently pointing out that if you look above Lam’s eyes you will see alien gray eyes on his forehead, and that once you notice this, it’s impossible NOT to see them.

Lam—as the story goes—was the apparent product of a magick ritual called the Amalantrah Working that Crowley performed way back in 1917. There are even those who suspect that Crowley intentionally opened a Stargate by the practice of such ritual workings which allowed the likes of Lam and other otherworldly entities a passageway onto the earth-plane. It was through a similar Crowleyean ritual that RAW made contact with what he perceived as entities from the star system Sirius—but that’s a rabbit hole we won’t go any further with at the moment.

RAW's article on Aleister Crowley in The Realist, September-October 1971 issue. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
As noted in the Youtube interview, RAW’s interest in Crowley dated back many years, and he in fact first wrote about the Great Beast in 1971 for Paul Krassner’s The Realist.

A noted protégé of Crowley’s was Jack Parsons, a renowned rocket scientist and co-founder of Jet Propulsions Laboratory. In 1946—with the aid of the future founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard—the two men contacted beings not unlike Crowley’s Lam while performing a series of rituals called the Babalon Working in California’s Mojave Desert, a hotbed of UFO activity throughout the early days of UFO sightings.

Around the time that Hubbard and Parsons began the Babalon Working, a lady named Marjorie Cameron showed up at Parsons’ house (also known as The Parsonage), which served as the OTO Agape Lodge headquarters for Southern California, as well as a notorious bohemian hangout and purported drug den. A couple weeks after arriving at The Parsonage, Cameron claimed that she witnessed a silver cigar shaped UFO. To Parsons this incident was a sign that Cameron was the chosen one with whom to conduct the Babalon Working, the intent of which was to create a “child” in the spiritual realms who would be “called down” and directed it into the womb of a female volunteer. When born, this child would incarnate the forces of Babalon and become the Scarlet Woman of Revelations, symbolizing the dawning of the Age of Horus, the coming new age.

Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron.
The Babalon Working ended just before the ‘Great Flying Saucer Flap’ of 1947 when the modern age of UFO sightings began. In this regard, some have suggested that Parsons, Hubbard and Cameron opened a door and something flew in. (Insert creepy organ music here.)

As with Crowley, RAW was also an admirer of Jack Parsons, as can be seen in the following Youtube interview, which is broken up into four parts.

More on Parsons here.

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The RAW-OTO-Illuminati Rabbit Hole

Robert Anton Wilson
Recent conversations with J Fox Sircy have led me down a certain RAW-OTO-Illuminati rabbit hole first mentioned in Cosmic Trigger Volume I, The Final Secret of the Illuminati—page 225, to be exact:

I have now encountered the “real” Head of the “real” Illuminati several times…. The first real Head I met was Rev. Thomas Patrick McNamara of San Francisco. He is a charming and witty person. The second real Head is Robert Shell from Roanoke, Virginia. I haven’t met him in person yet, but we’ve corresponded quite a bit, and he seems charming and witty also. The third real Head is an individual in southern California who shall be nameless and who is neither charming or witty. He threatened to sue me for a put-on letter I had written to an occult journal, Green Egg, in which I had jokingly pretended I was the real Head of the Illuminati. I sent him back a form saying his letter would not program into my computer and would he please resubmit it in Fortran; I haven’t heard back from him since. Another real Head of the Illuminati is a chap called Frater Paragranis, in Switzerland, who registered his to that title in Francis King’s book, Sexuality, Magick and Perversion.

I have also been corresponding for a year now with a 33º freemason in Texas. Part of the time I think he’s the real Real Head of the Illuminati. Part of the time I think that he thinks I’m the Real Head. And part of the time I think he just likes to correspond with professional writers about occult subjects…

Over the years (as RAW notes in Cosmic Trigger) some suggested that he was the Real Head of the Illuminati, which of course RAW would never actually confirm or deny—not because it was either true or false—but because it was more amusing to let people believe whatever they wanted to believe… and it probably didn’t hurt book sales of Illuminatus! either. Whatever the case, around 2003 I posed to RAW this very same question, inquiring if he was indeed the one and only Head of the Illuminati, and his answer, in typical satiric fashion, was “No, I’m the toe.” This wasn’t exactly the response I was looking for, but just the same I asked if he’d appoint me an Illuminati High Priest, to which he didn’t hesitate one second: “You are hereby appointed.” And although this lofty position hasn’t improved my sex life or finances to any measurable degree, you must admit it’s one hell of an honor belonging to a secret order associated with Robert Anton Wilson.

However—due to information shared with me by J Fox Sircy—there is evidence to suggest that RAW (in the previous passage from Cosmic Trigger) may have identified the Head of the Illuminati and the Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) as one and the same person—which hopefully will become more clear to you, dear readers, as you continue on through this post. To this end, certain conspiracy theorists have suggested that OTO grand poobah Aleister Crowley was also a high level Illuminati Master, whatever that actually entails.

As history instructs, a freemason-enthusiast named Theodor Reuss founded the OTO in Germany in 1906, which at its outset was a seemingly mundane mystical order that Crowley later joined in 1912. In short order, Uncle Al finagled his way to the position of Head of the British OTO branch, introducing many new rituals into their ceremonies, including some with a decidedly sexual spin, ooh la la.

Crowley—as he was wont to do—eventually burned his bridges with OTO leadership, who in short order kissed his ass goodbye, in the process stripping Uncle Al of all his illustrious OTO titles, which probably didn’t mean all that much to Crowley anyway. Just to spite his former OTO brethren and sistern, Crowley proclaimed himself the Outer Head of the OTO (OHO), a sort of outcast leader in exile who, in the years to come, would serve as spiritual father to upstart OTO chapters in the US, such as Jack Parsons’ Agape Lodge, active in Los Angeles during the 1940s and early-50s.

Prior his death in 1947, Crowley appointed as his successor (otherwise known in OTO-speak as ‘Caliph’) a fellow named Grady McMurty, a former member of Parson’s Agape Lodge, who would later become good friends with RAW during the period both lived in Berkeley in the early-70s. However, some disputed McMurty’s appointment to Caliph-hood, claiming that they (the people disputing McMurty) were the true Caliph(s), among them British occultist Kenneth Grant, Hermann Metzger (who I suspect was RAW’s correspondent in Switzerland, Frater Paragranis, mentioned in Cosmic Trigger) and Brazilian Marcelo Motta.

Such disputes as these led to seemingly endless internal OTO squabbles throughout the years, as documented in the following editorial by Marcelo Motta from the 1981 edition of The Equinox (Vol. 5, No. 4), in which Motta lists a countercultural rogue’s gallery engaged in unsanctioned OTO pursuits that included such notables as experimental film director Kenneth Anger, Grand Caliph Grady McMurty and, most notably, RAW.

Editorial by Marcelo Motta from the 1981 edition of The Equinox (Vol. 5, No. 4).

Motta’s main bone of contention in regards to RAW related to the above quoted Cosmic Trigger passage about the charming and witty Robert Shell of Roanoke, Virginia, who—according to Motta—granted RAW an “OTO Patent” which allowed RAW to proclaim himself an OHO and, in turn, print his own OHO cards (authorized by Baphomet, no less!) thereby allowing each recipient thereof to likewise proclaim themselves an OHO (in the OTO!) much in the same manner that anyone anywhere anytime could proclaim themselves a Discordian Pope.

An OHO Card.

In fact, these OHO cards greatly resemble the famous Discordian Pope cards we’ve all grown to know and love. And, of course, OTO leadership (or those who claimed to be the true OTO leadership) didn’t dig this one little bit as it allowed the uninitiated (read: the profane!) OHO status while not having jumped through all the required and authorized OTO hoops that are supposed to be passed through to attain such lofty status. (I’m sure RAW was laughing his ass off about all this.) To confuse things even more, RAW (in Cosmic Trigger) seems to have intentionally misidentified the Head of the OHO as the Head of the Illuminati—unless he was privy to certain secret society secrets which confirmed that the Illuminati were, in fact, OTO adepts!

Although unsubstantiated at this point, our crack research staff here at Historia Discordia have heard rumor that—during the period RAW was passing out these OHO cards in the 1970s—the official OTO “patent” had lapsed and, in the interim, he had achieved a high enough OTO rank to make his OHO cards “official.” So, in effect, RAW owned a “patent” that legally permitted him to distribute these cards. It can be further conjectured that the aforementioned Robert Shell of Roanoke, Virginia was the OTO Adept who—through written correspondence—awarded RAW his highest OTO level thus authorizing his “patent,” an offense that purported Caliph Marcelo Motta considered so egregious that he publicly denounced RAW.

And this pleased the Goddess.

UPDATE: While we strive for least 23% accuracy with at least 5% of our posts, I’ve just been informed that the OHO Card discussed above was actually created in the mid 90s by a fellow named David Schlesinger (aka Stone Mirror, the Great and Terrible!) who then shared it with RAW. For further clarification you’ll have to consult your pineal gland.

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Chasing Eris: An Interlude on Copyleft

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


Ⓚ ALL RIGHTS REVERSED: Page 00075 of the Sacred PUD. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Often, in detailing (and perhaps attempting to inflate) the influence of Discordia on the world, I have described Discordia’s concept of Copyleft as the spiritual predecessor to Creative Commons. But how strong is the actual link?

Creative Commons, founded by Lawrence Lessig in 2001 and run by the Creative Commons Foundation is a form of copyright that offers greater flexibility than All Rights Reserved. The loosest form of Creative Commons is Attribution, where one can use the creative work of the author provided attribution is provided as specified. Other more restrictive licenses are No-Derivs (no works may be made by remixing this work), Share-Alike (you can remix, but you must release remixed work under the same license as the source material), and Non-Commercial. Chasing Eris itself is planned to be released under one of these less restrictive licenses, by way of a tribute to the unorthodox copyright methodology of the Principia Discordia.

An unrelated, but well advertised similar license preceding Creative Commons was the GNU General Public License, developed by Richard Stallman in 1989. The contents of Wikipedia for instance, are licensed under this license. The term here evidently comes from a letter Don Hopkins sent to Stallman in 1984/5. Hopkins didn’t write the term himself, instead sticking a sticker onto the letter which read COPYLEFT, and then added his own special terms to the letter:

The material contained in this envelope is Copyleft (L) 1984 by an amoeba named “Tom”. Any violation of this stringent pact with person or persons who are to remain un-named will void the warrantee of every small appliance in your kitchen, and furthermore, you will grow a pimple underneath your fingernail. Breaking the seal shows that you agree to abide by Judith Martin’s guidelines concerning the choosing of fresh flowers to be put on the dining room table.

And so on it went.

I emailed Hopkins to ask him about the origin of the sticker and he replied, “I got the sticker in the dealer’s room of some random east coast science fiction convention (which RMS [Richard Stallman—BC] also frequents).”

That line runs dry, but we can go back further again, to an even earlier manifestation of Copyleft.

Tiny Basic was a dialect of the BASIC programming language designed to function on minimal disc space. The first lines of the source code as released in 1976 by Li-Chen Wang stated ‘@COPYLEFT ALL WRONGS RESERVED’. This appears to be the first use of Copyleft that I can find published, other than the Principia.

So was Li-Chen Wang influenced by the Principia? It seems possible. The project to create Tiny BASIC was proposed in Dr. Dobbs Journal, a journal of the Homebrew Computer Club, a small group of computer hobbyists who began meeting in 1975 around Silicon Valley. This puts him in Northern California around the period that the Principia Discordia was spreading through certain circles in California, and certainly the time that Discordian content was circulating through the zine scene.

The geek/tech crowd have always appeared to be a popular breeding ground for Discordian ideas. This is emphasized in Neophilic Religions; Richard Lloyd Smith III’s 1996 research on early-Internet prevalence of irreligion, where he points to Metacrawler data indicating that Catholic sites outnumbered the Discordians by only 33, a dramatically low number considering the real world prevalence of both (and the Unification Church had LESS results than Discordianism, by the count of both Metacrawler and Hotbot).


* * *

Greg Hill as Mad Malik,
Copywrong Rip Off Write On!,
July 1970, Page 00001.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
In Atlanta I had the privilege of sitting down with some of The MGT., surrounded by a good amount of the Discordian archives. In front of me was a copy of the Loompanics “fourth edition.”

A lot of Greg Hill’s content was included in the files as well. Of particular interest were a number of particular files that bore some relation to copyright.

While there were a number of different newsletters in the mix, one I didn’t get to view directly was The Greater Poop. Fortunately, Gorightly and Gandhi later uploaded a copy for the enjoyment of the world.

The Greater Poop #30, July/August 1970 elaborated, not just on how the Principia was copylefted, but made the point on expressing some of Greg’s ideology behind the choice.

Greg Hill as Mad Malik,
Copywrong Rip Off Write On!,
July 1970, Page 00002.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

Commercial publishers are not likely to be interested in the Principia due, at least, to the counter copyright on it–for, if they had a good seller, then other publishers could print it out from under them. Consequently publication and distribution will have to occur spontaneously, thru the “underground”, as alternative cultures learn to meet their own needs and provide their own services. This non-commercial limitation of the Principia is to provide less limitations is other respects, and it is not an accident. The Principia is not simply a handbook, it is a demonstration.

For the most part rummaging piece by piece through the treasures on the table, it was a case of grabbing, glancing and putting back paper after paper after paper. However sometimes when I’d grab a piece of paper it would look me in the eye and grab me back.

“Oh my gosh,” I said, picking up one handwritten sheet.

“A contract,” said Groucho.

“He drew up a contract. Literally.”

The contract related to the 4th editions afterward. When Mike Hoy of Loompanics decided to publish this edition, he threw in an introduction by Robert Anton Wilson (whose popular Illuminatus! Trilogy brought Discordia to the attention of the counterculture and had made the venture of taking on publication worthwhile) and an afterward by Hill. Hill wrote his afterward in the style of an interview between interviewer ‘Gypsie Skripto’ and several of his alter egos sitting in a post office box together. It was wacky, loony and did a great job of explaining a number of Hill’s creative choices.

The contract, drawn up in October 1978, and I suspect may well be the first legal example of Creative Commons style alternatives to Copyright. The contract states unambiguously that:

[W]henever the Afterword is published by Loompanics it will be accompanied by the following line:

ALL RITES REVERSED (K) Reprint What You Like

This statement being understood that the Afterward is placed in the Public Domain.

The afterward itself is also very revealing in terms of lifting the curtain on the creative process. Mal reveals the sources of many of the bits and pieces used; clips cut from magazines, pieces made by multiple Discordians, so on.

Most of the writing credited to a name is a true person and almost always a different name means a different person. Most of the non-credited, you know, Malaclypse, text is mine although some things credited to either Mal2 or Omar were actually co-written and passed back and forth and rewritten by each of us. The marginalia, dingbats, and pasted in titles and heads and things came from wherever I found them–some of which is original but uncredited Discordian output, like the page head on 12 and other pages which is from a series of satiric memo pads from Our Peoples Underworld Cabal. All page layout is mine and some whole graphics like the Sacred Chao and the Hodge Podge Transformer are mine but mostly I just found stuff and integrated it. Mostly I did concept, say 50% of the writing, 10% of the graphics, all of the layout.

In a further comment (Remember Greg Hill is ALL of the characters in the interview) Greg said the following in regards to the motivation for producing under Copyleft.

Occupant: Eris told Mal2 what to use and where to find it.

Hill: Yeah, in a way that is right. That is why my name does not appear anywhere on the PRINCIPIA and why it was published with a broken copyright — Reprint What You Like. I knew I was taking liberties and didn’t want my intentions to be misunderstood. It was an experiment and was intended to be an underground work and that involves a different set of ethics than commercial work.

Hill wrote other works expanding on his views on Copyright. One such, called “Copywrong Rip Off Write On!”, encourages people to photocopy material regardless of copyright status, and publish under the anonymous banner of the People’s Pirate Press.

If you find in a magazine, book, newspaper, or whatever, a page or so of information that you feel will contribute to the Betterment of Anything, then take it to an offset printer, or Xerox, or whatever, he suggests, and distribute it to whoever you think would dig it.

One gets the impression Hill would have been a fan of the Creative Commons movement—the least restrictive available CC license still requires the provision of attribution, which is something Hill promotes in the article, describing reproduction without attribution as akin to “psychological rape.”

It’s interesting to note that this connection between Discordia and Copyleft is one that developed over time; the first edition Principia Discordia, and in fact a good deal of early Discordian stuff is in fact explicitly copyrighted, both from Hill and from Kerry Thornley.


* * *

It was here that for the longest time the trail went cold, until I met with academic Christian Greer in Amsterdam, asked him about the term Copyleft, and told him how I was looking into the origins of the term (and if the Principia Discordia itself was in fact the mothership!).

When I first met Greer, he wasn’t your everyday academic. He had a rough unshaven face and liberal use of ‘dude,’ ‘man,’ and the occasional ‘dudeman.’ Greer is a trip of deep knowledge and excited speech, and there’s little to do in his presence but grab hold onto a thread of conversation and hold on for dear life.

Lubricated by the sweet nectar of Amsterdam’s pubs, we talked about his research. Greer’s research is mainly built around the study of Discordianism through the examination of primary sources—namely the zines floating around from the glory days of the zine scene. He told me that he had seen the term in various zines. The zine scene then, it seems relatively safe to assume, was one of the big places the term may have found itself reproducing.

“What’s the oldest use of the term you’ve seen,” I asked.

“It was in a Discordian zine,” he tells me. However, for someone who works predominantly with Discordian zines, that’s not surprising, and the mention he saw, like every other mention I’ve seen since the Principia is spelt with C, not the iconic Discordian K.

Still, it opens new grounds for wild speculation and dramatic hyperbole amongst our Discordian brethren, which is always a plus.

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Behold! A fnord of beauty and chaos…

Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society
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Joseph Malik and Pat: Illuminatus! Group Reading Week 16

Letter: Greg Hill to Pat, May 13, 1970, front. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
I really didn’t have much planned for this week’s Illuminatus! group reading until I happened upon a note by Greg Hill in the Archives which caught my attention because it’s addressed to someone named Pat. Having gone through a lot of Hill’s correspondence, I’m usually able to figure out (in most cases) to whom he was corresponding—but in this instance I haven’t a clue.

Letter: Greg Hill to Pat, May 13, 1970, back. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
When I saw the name Pat, I immediately flashed on an enigmatic character by the same name who appears in Illuminatus! in relation to a series of Illuminati memos exchanged between she (or at least I think Pat is a she) and Joseph Malik, editor of Confrontation magazine, a character that is based—to some degree—on both Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. In fact, you can see an upside down Mad Malik stamp on the note, which was Hill’s Bavarian Illuminati persona, further linking this curious little note to Illuminatus!

In Greg’s note to Pat, he encourages him/her to pass it on to BofA, and one can only assume he is referring to Bank of America, who—as synchronicity would have it—later employed Greg for 23 years (Hail Eris!), which we’ll no doubt discuss in more depth at some later date here at Historia Discordia.

Oddly enough, a web search for Joseph Malik, editor of Confrontation magazine, led me to this publication at which appears to be something RAW and Shea probably cooked up prior to the publication of Illuminatus! as a promotional stunt. Here is the magazine’s description:

Published by Confrontation Magazine, New York, 1975. , 15 pages, includes interviews with ‘illuminatus’ authors Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, plus poems by Joe Malik, black & white illustrations, appears to have been the only issue of the magazine ever published First Edition , light spots to covers, pages slightly yellowed at edges otherwise clean, in good+ condition , printed wraps 30 x 22 cm Paperback ISBN: Bookseller Inventory # 53469

An additional Joseph Malik web search left me even more perplexed.

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Now Available! Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society

Historia Discordia:
The Origins of the
Discordian Society
Get Your Copy Now!
The most extensive collection in print documenting the Discordian Society’s wild and wooly legacy, Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society features the unique worldview and wit of such illuminated iconoclasts as Robert Anton Wilson and Discordian founders Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley.

Chronicling Discordianism’s halcyon days, Historia Discordia presents a fun and freewheeling romp through rare photos, holy tracts, art collages, and fnords, many of which appear for the first time in print.

Included among the contents are such chaotic wonders as the 1st edition of Principia Discordia: How The West Was Lost, which no one has really seen for a long, long time—besides a handful of Early Discordians back in the day. Also featured is Kerry Thornley’s The Honest Book of Truth, another rare and hardly seen holy tract that many thought never actually existed.

Here’s what Alan Moore has to say about Historia Discordia:

“Like communication-god Thoth with his yammering ape, like the all-important noise that Count Korzybski assures us must accompany our every signal, no harmony is possible without an acknowledgement and understanding of discord. Born from the bowling-alley epiphanies of Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, its disruptive teachings disseminated through the incendiary writings of Robert Anton Wilson and other Eristic luminaries, the Discordian Society has unexpectedly become a landmark of gleefully aggressive sanity in a chaotic and incoherent world. Through this book, we can all involve ourselves in their gloriously constructive quarrel.”

See the fnords and buy the book at Amazon. Enjoy!

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Ewige Blumenkraft! MEGA POST: Week 15 of the Illuminatus! Group Reading

Eternal Flower Power!: Anti-Illuminati Discordian business card created by Arthur Hlavarty. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
No time to lose, so diving right into The Illuminatus! Trilogy (Amazon) book’s Group Reading.

Let’s fnord! On page 108 (more or less depending on how my ipad kindle reader syncs up with the paperized version), the ’68 Chicago riots were first introduced into the kaleidoscopic Illuminatus! narrative:

…Liberalism, clubbed to death by Chicago’s heroic peace officers.

Surreal street scenes such as these reappear periodically throughout Illuminatus!, as Simon Moon and Hagbard Celine stumble through the teargas madness and good-ol’ fashioned ass whuppins doled out by the Chicago cops during the ’68 Democratic Convention.

There was a sound from the crowd, like a subway opening all its doors with a suck of air, and I saw the police coming, crossing the street to clear the park.

“Here we go again,” I said. “All hail Discordia.”

Scenes such as the above snippet from page 150—where we currently reside in the Illuminatus! reading group timeline—illustrate the autobiographical nature of the series.

Chicago Mayor Daley in a fez.
RAW participated in the ’68 Democratic Convention demonstration, marching (and sometimes running!) shoulder-to-shoulder with counterculture figures such as Ginsberg, Hefner, Mailer and Burroughs. This event no doubt had a profound impact on him, as it did to so many other millions of Americans (either witnessing the confrontation firsthand on the front lines in the streets of Chi-town or viewing the mayhem from their TV screens); a nation outraged by the heavy-handed tactics of Democrat Mayor Daley, who was meanwhile supposedly shouting “Ewige Blumenkraft!” from the convention floor, all part of an apparent Illuminati plot to Immanentize the Eschaton, which can never be a good thing—especially if it’s happening during your lifetime!

Illuminatus! often seems a collection of composite characters sewn together from those Robert Shea and RAW met, and corresponded with, during those heady days of the 60s-and-70s, and in many ways Simon Moon resembles RAW (or at least certain aspects of RAW) as well as others, such as Neil Rust, another of the purported Simon Moon composites who was featured in a recent blog post.

Page 151 introduces ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #16, (for a second time!) as another ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #16 previously appeared on page 146 which could perhaps be chalked up to some sort of mix-up on the part of RAW or Shea or both… or perhaps our heroes did this intentionally for Goddess knows what reasons… or maybe it was a mistake on the part of the Patricia Walsh character… or maybe Pat was intentionally messing with Joe Malik’s mind, although JM didn’t seem to notice the MEMO #16 duplication and I’m starting to think that perhaps I’m the only one who has noticed this anomaly—if this second memo does indeed actually exist—as meanwhile fnords march across the page and my ruminations about all this are making me suspect that I’m the person (what’s my name… Barney Muldoon?) who actually created this second ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #16—although I have no actual memory of creating it which can only mean that I was brainwashed to forget it!

(Now back to our regular “programming…”)

Los Angeles Free Press, July 26, 1968: RFK: Sirhan Blavatsky Capote.
Clipping courtesy the Discordian Archives.
ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #16 (on page 150) concerns a rumor Truman Capote spread claiming that Sirhan Sirhan had been negatively influenced by the writings of Madame Blavatsky—to the point that it blew Sirhan’s mind, which is what he literally (or allegedly) did to RFK—all part of an insidious Illuminati/Communist plot that somehow got mixed up with Madame Blavatsky and Theosophy.

Apparently Capote got hipped to this Blavatsky trip from a couple of John Birch Society members—Anthony Hilder and John Steinbacher—who shortly after RFK’s assassination held a press conference exposing this aforementioned Illuminati-Commie-Madame Blavatsky plot. In subsequent talk show interviews, Hilder created further confusion (Hail Eris!) by alleging that Sirhan was a Eugene McCarthy supporter, which ostensibly connected elements of the political Left to RFK’s assassination.

Previously, Hilder self-published It Comes Up Murder which outlined a vast conspiracy starring Adam Weishaupt in the leading role, who in Bavaria in 1776 organized “the secret and evil cult of the Illuminati in order to wage Satan’s war against Christian civilization.” In due time—according to Hilder—the Illuminati coalesced into the modern International Communist Conspiracy which, in turn, evolved into such evil New World Order fronts as the United Nations and the Council of Foreign Relations. Such worldviews as these became an easy target of Operation Mindfuck as documented in Bavarian Illuminati hoax letters that the Discordian Society sent to leaders of The John Birch Society during this period.

Hilder’s Hens from Conspiracy Con 7.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
As for Hilder, he remains active on the current-day conspiracy research scene appearing at such events as Conspiracy Con held each year in San Jose, CA where you can find him holding court while peddling DVDs along with an occasional Rotisserie chicken or two!

Here’s a current vid of our man Hilder still bustin’ the Illuminati’s chops! Hail Eris! (Editors Note: He makes some good points.)

In The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (1978),
authors William Turner and Jonn Christian suggest that Steinbacher and Hilder’s Illuminati-Commie assassination plot theory was actually a well-orchestrated disinformation campaign designed to create a general theme that stuck in the public mind, whether people accepted the theory or not. According to Turner and Christian, one effect of this Commie-Illuminati disinformation campaign was that it permitted the LAPD to suppress evidence leading in the opposite direction of the true assassin, toward the Far Right of the political spectrum from whence the authors suspected that the assassination plot had been hatched.

All of this, of course, is almost as convoluted as some of the conspiratorial scenarios that Shea and RAW played around with—a case of life imitating art or vice versa, perhaps—as, throughout Illuminatus!, the authors seemed to have been channeling the rampant paranoia that became so prevalent following the almost endless parade of political assassinations that assaulted America in the late-60s.

Hilder and Steinbacher, as it turns out, had been protégés of another famous Bircher named Myron Fagan. Fagan was a prominent player in the McCarthy Era Hollywood blacklisting brigade. Curiously enough, Hilder and a band of brother Birchers had visited the Ambassador Hotel the night before RFK’s assassination, passing out anti-RFK handbills.

This story gets even more curious with the involvement of a fellow named Ed Butler, a former Army intelligence officer who was the person that arranged the Hilder-Steinbacher press conference. Earlier in the 1960s—it so happens—Butler had been based out of New Orleans, LA during the period that future alleged JFK assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was going around handing out pro-Castro leaflets and coming across like some sort of commie symp.

Discordian co-founder Kerry Thornley was also in NOLA during this same period, which is way too much to get into at the moment, but you can find out much more on the topic in my forthcoming book Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and Garrison’s JFK Investigation.

On August 16th, 1963—as Oswald was handing out his leaflets in front of the New Orleans Trade Mart, he was physically confronted by a surly anti-Castro Cuban named Carlos Bringuier—who supposedly just happened on scene—thus inciting a shoving match which a local news camera crew from WSDU-TV also just happened to capture on film. Not long after, WSDU’s sister radio station, WSDU-AM, conducted a live radio debate between Oswald and Bringuier, which was “moderated” by the aforementioned Ed Butler. It’s a small world after all…

In the aftermath of JFK’s assassination, the Oswald/Bringuier radio debate was pressed to vinyl on the recording Self-Portrait In Red, which presented posthumous evidence that Oswald was inspired to blow the proverbial crown from Camelot’s head due to his Marxist affiliations. The organization that produced Self-Portrait In Red was the Information Council of the Americas (INCA), with whom Ed Butler was associated. In retrospect, many now suspect that the Oswald/Bringuier confrontation was staged, the ultimate design of which was to build a false history around Oswald that could later be used against him.

The theory that a red herring Commie-Illuminati-Blavatsky plot was orchestrated to muddy the RFK assassination waters (and divert attention from the Right side of the political spectrum) seems not so far-fetched a notion when one delves deeper into the involvement of the LAPD, who set up a unit named “Special Unit Senator” (SUS) to investigate RFK’s assassination. SUS included in its ranks a couple of former CIA agents named Manny Pena and Hank Hernandez, who are alleged to have destroyed crucial RFK Assassination evidence, including door jambs and ceiling panels containing multiple bullet holes, suggesting that more than one shooter was involved. (Enter Thane Eugene Cesar…) It was SUS who put together the evidence that later formed the basis for the prosecution’s case against Sirhan.

SUS discovered, among Sirhan’s possessions, Healing, the Divine Art (Amazon) by Manly Palmer Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society which was tangentially connected to Blavatsky’s Theosophy, Freemasonry and other mystical schools, and it was alleged that Sirhan attended Hall’s Institute of Reflection in Los Angeles. Among Hall’s clients was Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, which provides another strange twist to this caper, as it was Yorty—following Sirhan’s arrest—who branded Sirhan a commie-influenced occultist who had been brainwashed by Leftist and New Age propaganda.

During the RFK Assassination investigation, Mayor Yorty visited LAPD’s field command post set up near the Ambassador Hotel where the dirty deed had gone down. While rooting around through evidence there, Yorty discovered some Rosicrucian literature and a pair of spiral notebooks belonging to Sirhan which provided alleged evidence that he’d been involved in the occult.

Afterwards, Yorty informed the press that Sirhan was “…a member of numerous Communist organizations, including the Rosicrucians.” When it was pointed out to Yorty that the Rosicrucians were not Communists, he amended his miscue by stating: “It appears that Sirhan Sirhan was a sort of loner who harbored Communist inclinations, favored Communists of all types. He said the U.S. must fall. Indicated that RFK must be assassinated before June 5, 1968.”

As it turns out for us, this was today in RFK Assassination history.

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L5P Memories

A hand-made postcard from Pope Christopher Wilhoite to Kerry Thornley (Grand Ballyhoo of Egypt), stamped 25 APR 1994. Courtesy of Christopher Wilhoite.
In The Prankster and the Conspiracy (Amazon), Chris Wilhoite—a wandering minstrel who made his way to Little Five Points (L5P), Atlanta in the early-90s—remembered how he first became acquainted with Kerry Thornley:

“I had just read the Illuminatus! Trilogy and was pondering what was what when I noticed the pages of a xeroxed novel about Oswald and JFK on the telephone poles in L5P. The last page had the name Kerry Thornley on it. Synchronicity #1. Around the same time, I noticed an unusual/ enigmatic/ groovy looking fellow in tie-died cotton who occasionally strolled through the park with the smile of a Buddha, and somehow I knew there was something special about him. One night, I was playing one of my songs on acoustic guitar in the park and this Buddhaesque being stopped and listened and paid me a compliment. I still didn’t catch his name. A friend had told me more about the mysterious author of the JFK sheets and said he’d written a book called Zenarchy, a name that appealed deeply to me, but I still didn’t match the person with the name.

“Then, one day a friend told me that Kerry Thornley had, in the course of one day, been called by Oliver Stone to be a consultant for the JFK film, (shortly afterward) had dual kidney failure and his landlady flipped a mental cog and kicked everybody out of the boarding house where he lived. So, Kerry needed a place to stay. I immediately volunteered space in my duplex. My friend told me to talk to Kerry, he was in front of A Capella Books, signing and selling his work. Who did I see in front of the store, but the groovy Buddha I had noticed before! I invited him to crash at my pad, and this became the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship.”

Chris bore witness to any number of Kerry’s surrealist pranks, such as one that occurred on Halloween morning of 1993:

I was living in a VW campervan behind a restaurant in L5P. I had just had breakfast and was standing at the corner across from the park, when Kerry comes walking from the far end of the square, wearing a white cloak with a hood and carrying a sign reading “World Will End SOON. Get your tickets NOW!” As he passed down the street, snowflakes (unseasonal for Oct 31 in Atlanta) began to fall right behind Kerry, and as he passed across my field of vision, the snow came in like a curtain drawn by Kerry. My friend Wolf, standing directly behind me said: “Yep, hell just froze over!”

One day, Kerry and Chris were hanging out in front of the Tête-à-Tête Café in L5P with a wooden box full of copies of The Principia Discordia and Zenarchy, which Kerry was selling/giving away. (Buyer: “How much?” Kerry: “How much do you have?” Buyer: “A quarter.” Kerry: “That’s plenty!”) On Kerry’s wooden box was a sign that said: Principia Discordia—much funnier than the bible!

At one point, a Christian zealot happened by, noticed Kerry’s sign and started shouting, “Much funnier than the Bible!? The Bible’s not funny!” In response, a local zealous Marxist—seated behind Kerry and Chris—jumped up and started shouting down the Christian. Kerry, smiling, closed his box and walked away, with Chris following after, exclaiming: ”Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!”