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.
Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!”
It just goes to show that—after all these years—people are still cranking out these silly charts.
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.
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.
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)”
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.
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?
“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.)
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.
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.[/caption]
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.
“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
“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!”
—P. T. Barnum, Discordian
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UNDER THE RADAR: Joyous Anarchy
Two New Books by Adam Gorightly
“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.”
The Dangerous Minds last-minute shopping guide for rock snobs, audiophiles & culture vultures
“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!”
ADAM GORIGHTLY INTERVIEW
Author: Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation
“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.”
Victoria’s Reviews > Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society
“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!'”
THE LONE GUN MAN PODCAST EP. 47 ~ ADAM GORIGHTLY INTERVIEW PT. 1 & 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.”
In early 1968, Jim Garrison’s investigators questioned the arresting officers in the case, neither of whom could remember the exact message of the advertisement Kerry posted on the telephone poles. This incident led Garrison to theorize that Kerry had distributed Lee Harvey Oswald’s infamous Fair Play for Cuba propaganda—although Big Jim never actually took the time to determine the exact nature of the advertisements, or to identify who had employed Kerry for this job. In his grand jury testimony, Kerry identified specific individuals he had worked with passing out these advertisement flyers—leads Garrison apparently never pursued. Or if he did, nothing came of them.
It should be noted that Kerry’s arrest for this telephone pole caper occurred a year before Oswald was making his Fair Play For Cuba mischief in New Orleans. Never one to let the facts dissuade him, Garrison later informed Gaeton Fonzi (of the House Select Committee on Assassinations) that: “…police records can be changed and there’s the possibility the arrest was in 1963, which would put it four days after Oswald’s arrest for handing out FPFC leaflets.”
Whatever the case, Garrison (in On The Trail of the Assassins) seemed to be merely jumping the Thornley shark, as it was actually Harold Weisberg who crafted the tenuous theory that Kerry was the individual who picked up Oswald’s Fair Play For Cuba (FPFC) handbills, information purportedly obtained from interviews Weisberg conducted with Douglas Jones—owner of Jones Printing Company in New Orleans—and Jones’ secretary, Myra Silver.
The first problem with this scenario is that Thornley was in California when Weisberg placed him picking up the FPFC handbills, this according to Kerry’s Warren Commission and Orleans Parish Grand Jury testimonies. This was the same timeline that Garrison also endorsed mainly because it dovetailed with his theory that Kerry—in early May of ’63 while on his way to California—stopped over in Texas to fake those funky photos of Oswald holding his trusty Mannlicher-Carcano and then on his way back to NOLA in late August spent a few days in Mexico City on or around the same time that Oswald or someone pretending to be Oswald visited the Russian and Cuban Embassies.
Douglas Jones—in his FBI statement—describes the individual who ordered and later picked up the FPFC handbills as a “husky type person” which was the polar opposite of Kerry Thornley, who—throughout his life—was a long, skinny bean pole of a guy. (Unless he was wearing a fat guy disguise!)
In his unpublished memoir, Mailer’s Tales, Harold Weisberg recalled presenting Douglas Jones and Myra Silver with “about a hundred miscellaneous pictures including several of Oswald.” From these photos, Jones and Silver supposedly selected Kerry Thornley as the individual connected to the FPFC handbills, all part of his recurring role as a purported Oswald double and all around CIA bad guy.
Also in Mailer’s Tale, Weisberg claimed that he had tape recorded his interview with Jones and Silver, and then placed the tape in his files, which was later “…burglarized by a man who had free access to them and who was also working, unknown to me, for David Lifton.” Because of this—Weisberg claimed—it “ended any chance I had of carrying what Jones and Silver told me forward.”
As for the positive identification of Thornley’s photo by Jones and Silver, we must once again rely solely on the word of Harold Weisberg, who admittedly had photos of Kerry Thornley doctored, and who afterwards claimed that his recording of Jones and Silver had been heisted from his files by an unnamed party working under the diabolical direction of dastardly David Lifton!
Read David Lifton’s take on Kerry Thornley and the Garrison Investigation here.
For the whole crazy story check out Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation.