Plucked from the ye olde Untamed Dimensions podcast archives, a Radio GoGo with Adam Gorightly rebroadcast presentation of an illuminating episode covering the many interesting idiosyncrasies and synchronicities of Discordian co-founder Kerry Thornley with guests Allen Greenfield and Synchronos23.
Before proceeding, I thought a short recap was in order.
Roger Robert Lovin was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on May 11, 1941—although there’s conflicting evidence which suggests that his birth name was actually Watlington, and that he later legally changed his name to Lovin. (More on that kink in the thread later…)
According to the bio page of Lovin’s Sci-Fi novel Apostle, he was “a minister of the Gospel at age 16,” although I certainly wouldn’t take Lovin at his word for that—but on the same hand I could totally see him doing the whole Marjoe Gortner teen preacher trip as a young lad growing up in Tennessee.
The first verifiable documentation we have on Lovin dates to 1962 when he was drummed out of Navy for stealing “a television set from a Naval Ammunition Depot in North Charleston, S.C.” Lovin later admitted to assassination researcher Harold Weisberg that he’d been “kicked out of the Navy for a homosexual offense.” Afterwards, Lovin moved to the New Orleans’ French Quarter and cultivated the image of a bohemian renaissance man who—at one time or another—was a performing musician, painter, writer, and all around raconteur. Lovin also claimed to be a soldier of fortune who had smuggled guns into Cuba.
Lovin managed a coffee house/art gallery in the French Quarter where he’d occasionally stage happenings and—as the beatnik scene segued into the hippie era—he adopted all the trappings of the times, growing long hair and dabbling in psychedelics and free love whenever the opportunity availed itself, which as we’ll soon see was frequently and in great abundance.
Lovin was married for roughly three years to a woman named Sandra Bankson, who I really haven’t found out a whole lot about, other than she was employed as a professional dancer.
In-and-around 1964 or 1965, Lovin became friends with Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley and—along with bohemian scene maker Barbara Reid—was one of the early members of the New Orleans’ Discordian Society, and after Hill and Thornley split New Orleans, Lovin became the official head of the Discordian Society’s French Quarter cabal.
Due to his Discordian connections, Lovin came to the attention of Jim Garrison as a potential suspect in his investigation. Lovin passed along some Discordian materials to Garrison via Harold Weisberg and—probably due to this—Garrison came to suspect that the Discordian Society was a CIA front involved in JFK’s assassination!
In 1968, Lovin started the first New Orleans alternative newspaper, The Ungarbled Word, which pretty much brings us up to speed… So away we go!
Jean Marie Stine (then known as Henry Stine, prior to changing gender identity) first encountered Lovin in New Orleans in early 1969. When Lovin learned that Stine was the author of Season of The Witch, he was exuberant with praise for the book, overwhelming Stine with his intensity and charm. A short time later, Stine heard that Lovin was the editor/publisher of The Ungarbled Word and made an appointment to discuss a writing gig.
After arriving at the scheduled time at Lovin’s French Quarter office, Stine was informed by Lovin’s secretary that, although Roger was in, he might be delayed a bit as he was presently ‘busy’ with a young woman there seeking a job. Lovin—the secretary explained—was quite the accomplished pick-up artist who successfully scored with every woman he ever hit on, and—due to the fact he inevitably hit on every attractive woman who crossed his path—it was likely that he and the young lady were having sex in his office at that very moment. An hour later, Lovin came out with the girl on his arm, and afterwards during their meeting confirmed that indeed he’d been doing the ol’ bump-and-grind while Stine waited patiently outside.
One night—while Stine and Lovin were making the rounds of various French Quarter bars—the subject of Jim Garrison came up and Lovin revealed that Garrison and his investigators were trying to build some sort of sketchy case against him using doctored evidence which included a photo that had been touched-up to make Lovin more resemble another suspect in the case.
Oddly enough, this scenario is strikingly similar to what occurred to Kerry Thornley when Harold Weisberg (using Garrison’s official District Attorney stationary) contracted a California artist to touch-up a photo of Thornley to make him more resemble Lee Harvey Oswald and bolster the theory that Thornley was one of the notorious Oswald doubles. When I mentioned this to Stine, she was quite taken aback and insured me that she wasn’t confusing or conflating the Thornley photo touch-up caper with what had occurred to Lovin, and that these were two separate incidents.
Early in 1969, a bookkeeper working for Lovin ran off with The Ungarbled Word proceeds. In order to keep things afloat, Lovin resorted to selling a stake in the paper to a couple of local characters who not long afterwards attempted a hostile take-over. Part of the plan of these interlopers was to install pre-gender-transition Hank Stine as the new editor/publisher, but when Stine clued Lovin into this planned coup, Roger immediately withdrew whatever Ungarbled Word funds were in the bank and along with Stine, and another writer named Alice Ramirez, (author of The Geek), the three high-tailed it out of town, eventually making their way to Los Angeles.
Shortly after arriving in L.A.—as Stine recalled—Lovin was literally starving, and to keep three square meals coming his way each day, he sweet-talked three waitresses (from three different restaurants) into bringing him food. One of the waitresses worked the morning shift; another work the afternoon shift; and a third, the night shift. And so—according to Stine—each brought meals to Lovin at different times—morning, noon and night—and, of course, Lovin would have sex with each of them during their visits.
A couple years later, Stine recalled visiting Lovin at his Hollywood apartment and was amazed to see a large chart Lovin had put up on the wall to keep track of all the women he was seeing, a system devised to schedule his revolving door of lovers. There have been some online estimates that Lovin bedded down somewhere in the area of around two thousand women. However, Jean Marie Stine suspects it was probably a far larger number, more in the range of ten thousand… and we’re not even talking about the under aged ones yet!
If there was ever someone destined to write a 1970s “How To Pick Up Chicks” book, it would have been Lovin. And who knows, he very well might have (under a pseudonym). During his Hollywood days (1969-1973), Lovin worked in the smut industry as an editor for American Arts, which had several different imprints, and it was through one such imprint he published his novel Eleven (1970), which included this cover blurb: “Eleven by Roger Lovin is an unnatural twist on the Lolita syndrome, the story of the love affair between a three-hundred-pound man and an eleven year old girl, a grotesque situation which Lovin handles with understanding…”
At the time—as Stine recalled during our recent interview—none of Lovin’s friends suspected he had a thing for underage girls, and most assumed Eleven was simply just his spin on a taboo subject. Later, it would become evident that the roots of Eleven were much more than a mere fictional flight of fancy and had real world implications.
In 1974, Little, Brown and Company published Lovin’s opus, The Complete Motorcycle Nomad.
Released as a Sports Illustrated selection of the month, it’s still considered by many motorcycle enthusiasts as a classic in the field.
My first inkling of Lovin’s illegal activities came by way of a news clipping (I’d stumbled upon in the Discordian Archives) from the science fiction fanzine Locus, the gist of which stated that Lovin had been arrested on “four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, four counts of aggravated crime against nature, one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, and three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile…” Lovin had been “released on $2,500 bond after being charged Oct.22  with possession of pornography…”
At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these allegations. Nor did I have any other background on Lovin, so it was hard to know how deeply he was really into any of this, or if it was simply an isolated incident of showing pornography to some kids, or perhaps an instance of poor judgment in regards to having sex with an underage girl.
My curiosity about Lovin persisted over the years, and when I’d occasionally stumble upon some item related to him in the Discordian Archives, it would inevitably lead to a web search. About ten years ago or so I happened upon this thread at ancestry.com where a woman—who suspected Lovin was her biological father—was seeking further information on him. The thread (from 2005) consists of around thirty entries, many from people who claimed to have known Lovin, some of whom said he had gone to prison for pedophilia.
A post from someone claiming to be Lovin’s sister (going by the name of “Freewind143”) stated that she and her other family members “were never made aware” of any criminal charges against her brother, and that Roger had been sterile and never fathered any children. Freewind143 noted that he “died in New Orleans on November 1, 1991.” Along with her post, Freewind143 shared a photo of Lovin with two of his sisters. The photo did indeed appear to be Roger Lovin—probably in his mid-to-late 40s—which would have put the timeframe the picture was taken around the mid-to-late 1980s.
My friend Tim Cridland (aka Zamora the Torture King) has been of immense help in untangling this twisted Roger Lovin web… a web which still may have a few tangles in it yet! Tim, like me, possesses an unnatural interest in many odd and arcane tributaries, and the people who inhabit many of these strange lanes, such as the colorful French Quarter characters associated with the New Orleans Discordian Society, including Kerry Thornley, Barbara Reid and Roger Lovin. In his role of Zamora, Tim travels around the world performing feats of wonder, and on his off hours often haunts local libraries and other repositories of ancient knowledge. While in New Orleans last year, Tim was able to lay his hands on some Roger Lovin related news clippings which provided further confirmation that Lovin had indeed been arrested and charged with the crimes mentioned in the Locus article.
According to October 25, 1979 edition of the Baton Rouge States-Times Advocate, “A self-styled preacher and part-time writer has been arrested in a raid at his apartment where thousands of pornographic pictures of young girls were seized….[Police information officer] Gus Krinke said the photographs depicted nude and partially nude girls, sometimes involved in sexual acts. He said most of the girls were runaways, but others came from fatherless homes in New Orleans… police said Lovin’s apartment was equipped with a darkroom enabling the film to be developed and printed there… Some of the girls may have posed for Lovin, officers said, after he convinced their mothers he simply wanted them for models.”
The October 25, 1979 New Orleans Times-Picayune stated that—following Lovin’s arrest—the police were “conducting a massive search for the identities of as many as 500 young girls who are believed to have been intimately involved with a man arrested here for possession of pornography” and that “Lovin may have been involved in a pornography network which stretches across the country… Lovin found many of his subjects by attending young people’s functions… police have proof he lured one of more of his victims away from a recent science fiction convention.” The article went on to state that Lovin was “originally from Tennessee” and “legally changed his name from Watlington to Lovin.”
According to the October 26, 1979 edition of the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
One woman who took his course on “Writing for Kids” at the University of New Orleans, said he was an excellent teacher who never missed class.
“He was a very smooth talker,“ the woman remembered. “he gave the impression of being a very intellectual type person.
“He seemed to be a devil-may-care type of bachelor. But he was very balanced.”
The woman added, however, that it was obvious he wasn’t a run-of-the-mill type of person.
“Some of the things he said were a little strange,” she remembered. “But I wasn’t offended. Some of the older ladies were a little bit offended by his choice of words, but it was never anything serious.”
The former student said she wasn’t shocked when she heard the news, but was surprised that he could lead such a dual life.
“I got friendly with the man,” she said. “He didn’t seem like an absolute pervert. He just wasn’t like that.
“He made it clear several times that he wished he was in bed instead of in class because he had had too much to drink the night before. But he was always there.”
According to Jean Marie Stine, at the time of Lovin’s arrest he lived in an apartment complex at 1112 N. Rampart St., and in a room across the hall lived a friend of Lovin’s who was an illegal arms dealer—which brings legendary Science Fiction author Norman Spinrad briefly into the story. Spinrad—also friends with Lovin—took a cross country trip with him in the mid 1970s, and part of their travels included a stop-over in the French Quarter. It was there that Spinrad was introduced to Lovin’s neighbor (the guy with all the guns) and this fellow took Spinrad for a ride up in the woods where he demonstrated some sort of rocket launcher, which completely blew Spinrad’s mind. Anyway, this same fellow was later raided by the cops for unregistered firearms. During the raid—when Lovin attempted to intervene on behalf of his friend—the officers told him to back off, pushing Roger back into his own apartment, where they observed photos of nude young women (and very young girls) posted on the walls. In short order, the cops got a warrant and raided Lovin’s apartment, leading to his arrest.
To friends, Lovin presented his side of the story that, yes, he’d had sex with underage girls, many that were runaways from broken homes home to whom he’d provided shelter and a warm bed, and without his ‘guidance’ they would have been out on the streets hustling sex for drugs or money. Lovin further insisted that he had taken these wayward youth under his wing with the consent of their parents, who were well aware of his sexual proclivities. During this period, Lovin was passing himself off as a “minister” of some sort, which might have been yet another ploy he used to ingratiate himself with both the parents and their children. Most of these parents were the girl’s mothers, who Lovin presumably charmed with his notorious silver tongue.
Newspaper reports and other accounts I’ve come across alleged that some of the girl’s parents had given Lovin permission to use them as photographic ‘models.’ After Lovin’s arrest, police detectives tracked down a number of these parents and pressured them into signing a criminal complaint against Lovin or face being charged with child endangerment.
Another spin Lovin put on the story was that his arrest had been orchestrated to cover-up a deeper NOLA scandal related to government officials caught having sex with underage boys. The intent of this cover up—according to Lovin—was to create a media distraction while behind the scenes the officials were let off the hook with minor offenses, the details of which were buried in the back pages while Lovin’s arrest was the front page news.
Jean Marie Stine felt there might have been some measure of truth to Lovin’s conspiracy theory. At the time, Stine was living in Baton Rouge and remembered reading the initial news reports about this government-officials-in-bed-with-boys-scandal, but then suddenly it all but disappeared from the front pages and was apparently swept under the rug at the exact time Lovin was facing his own legal kerfuffle.
According to Stine, the story became ever more tangled after Lovin’s trial, which should come as no surprise given Louisiana’s long history of political corruption. As it turns out, Lovin never actually served time in prison, but was in lock-up at the city jail for a period of time awaiting sentencing. According to Stine’s sources, an anonymous Lovin supporter—who suspected that Lovin would probably never make it out the Louisiana prison system in one piece—offered a sizable sum to the judge presiding over the case in the form of a “political contribution.”
The judge—as the story goes—was seeking an office in a higher court, which was apparently an elected position, and ultimately the “contribution” was accepted. These negotiations took place over the course of several months, and in the meantime Lovin’s stay in city jail—while not as bad as prison—was no cake walk, either. In fact, the first few weeks proved to be pretty rough, until one day when he was approached by a member of the Louisiana chapter of the Hell’s Angels. As it turned out, the Angels were big fans of Lovin’s The Complete Motorcycle Nomad and—after discovering that HE was THE “Roger Lovin”— let him know they “had his back” and from that point forward nobody messed with Lovin during the rest of his stint in jail.
When all was said and done, Lovin was granted a suspended sentence, which consisted of something in the area of five years probation. The terms of the probation dictated that he could neither leave New Orleans nor have any contact with juveniles. Lovin managed to stay on the straight and narrow for the court-ordered term, and after his probation ended—somewhere in the mid-to-late 1980s—he started making frequent trips to Belize where he could have sex with underage girls and not worry about the consequences. According to Jean Marie Stine, Lovin eventually ended up living fulltime in Belize and the last she heard was that he’d died sometime in the early 1990s.
A while back, Tim Cridland came across Lovin’s Social Security number on an old FBI memo. When Tim ran it through the online Social Security Death Index, it come up with no results for Roger Lovin… or any one named Watlington, for that matter. Tim hunted for death notices and obits in the Louisiana newspapers—as well as searching local cemetery records—but was unable to find any confirmation of Lovin’s death. The only thing definitive we had in that regard was the statement by “Freewind143” (on the Ancestry.com forum) who claimed that her brother had “died on November 1, 1991.”
However, some of Freewind143’s other comments didn’t quite jibe with the known facts, including her claim that neither she nor other family members were aware of criminal charges. Freewind143 also noted that “Roger Lovin” was her brother’s real name, which contradicts the NOLA newspaper articles that reported Lovin had been born with the last name of Watlington and later legally changed it to Lovin. Lovin first mentioned his name change to Clarence Doucet of the New Orleans Times-Picayune in a January 13, 1974 interview. An October 25, 1979 article in the Times-Picayune confirmed that “Records show Lovin is originally from Tennessee. He had his name legally changed from Watlington to Lovin.”
Given these discrepancies, Tim started entertaining the notion that perhaps Lovin had never actually died. I also began to suspect that Tim might be on to something, and that “Freewind143” may have been intentionally muddying the waters. Going out even further on this limb, the thought entered my mind that maybe Roger Lovin himself was posting as Freewind143!
Freewind143 noted that her brother had been sterile, this in response to the woman on the thread who was trying to figure out if Lovin was her biological father. Assuming Lovin had already changed his name once before, I began to wonder if this was yet another instance of creating a new identity to distance himself from the past, and that Lovin’s move to Belize was also part of this disappearing act.
Like her brother, Freewind143 is a writer, and using the pen name of “Freewind Gingerblaze” has authored three fantasy titles.
Freewind’s books could be considered in Lovin’s literary wheelhouse, as he was an author of one Science Fiction title, Apostle, and had written a couple more Sci-Fi/Fantasy manuscripts that were never published. Could these “Freewind Gingerblaze” titles have been the previously unpublished Lovin novels?
Another web search revealed that Freewind Gingerblaze’s real name is Molly Bressette, formerly Molly Annis Lovin. (On the Ancestry thread, Freewind143 noted that some of her family members call her Ann because her middle name is Annis.)
Of course these findagrave.com entries could have been easily fabricated, but it seems like a lot of effort to go through (concocting an entire family tree) unless someone was really intent on faking their own death. Not that I wouldn’t put it past Mr. Lovin, who always seemed to have something up his sleeve. With all that being said, I’d wager that the name change switcheroo—from Watlington to Lovin—may have been Lovin pulling the leg of reporter Clarence Doucet back in 1974, and later this name change story was repeated (without fact-checking) during the Times-Picayune’s reportage of Lovin’s arrest in the fall of 1979. Just the same, it certainly seems curious that Freewind143—and other Lovin family members—“were never made aware” of her brother’s criminal history.
Thanks again to Tim Cridland for his invaluable contributions to this craziest of all stories. Check out Tim’s Off The Deep End blog for more related madness, including his evolving series on Rev. Raymond Broshears.
Also, check out my interview with Jean Marie Stine about Roger Lovin embedded into this web page below, or, you can listen on your preferred new fangled whatever SoundCloud podcast harvester via my new podcast show called Radio Gogo with Adam Gorightly.
Follow me on SoundCloud, you’ll deliciously regret it!
Also, Millennials, share with your parents via Facebook, Instagram, whatever is hip now, they desperately want to understand what you’re into, so throw them a curve-ball that will not only educate but also confuse them!
And lastly, you can download the Lovin Files (for supporting documentation) here.
Adam returned the favor, and granted me a short interview where—among other things—he explains what drew him to our Discordian Society co-founders.
Hail Eris! All Hail Hypernormality!
or listen at
West Virginia—it should be noted—was a hotbed for high strangeness throughout the 1950s and 60s, first with the famous Flatwoods Monster sighting and then a series of UFO reports occurring in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia during the same period as the fabled Mothman sightings reported by Fortean journalist John Keel in his classic The Mothman Prophecies.
How Thornley latched on to this West Virginia-UFO theory, I’m not quite sure, but by the mid-70s he began to connect man-made Nazi UFOs to the string of political assassinations of the late-60s as documented in an excerpt from a December 6th, 1976 letter sent to Greg Hill:
“The Nazis invented flying saucers during WWII and the assassinations and terrorism seem to have been part of an angry publicity stunt to bring to the world’s attention the engine in the UFOs, which uses no fossil fuels or uranium, but relies on electromagnetic principles to generate cheap, clean energy from the ions in the air or something. Gary Kirstein gave me all the hints I needed to put this thing together years ago, but I did not integrate them.
“See what I mean? It even gets weirder than that—at least more elaborate. But you get the idea. I’m a pawn in some stupid game of conspiracy politics.
“The outfit of Nazis who murdered JFK, MLK, RFK, and Tate were working for is a defense industry security agency called Defense Industrial Security Command (DISC). Hail Eris! An incredible amount of secret society terrorism within the Intelligence Community seems to have been carried out in the name of the Discordian Society.
“…It is possible I have a radio in one of my tooth fillings, installed by the CIA at Atsugi, and that I have dreams which are transmitted to me by the Nazi Shambala. It is also possible that both the CIA and DISC thought they had the transmitters for me and intended to use me, each to trick the other, in an abortive plot to overthrow the government. If this is the case, then I would appear to be a humanoid robot for freedom… You don’t have to believe this, but I am sincere, and it is one of the few premises that explains most of it…”
As for Louise Lacey, she witnessed a couple UFO sightings over the years, the first occurring in Texas as a child, and the second—and most mind-blowing—in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s, as recounted in this audio clip taken from an interview with yours truly.
or if that doesn’t work for you, download the MP3.
I recently came across a UFO incident description with accompanying illustration at Albert Rosales’s very groovy Humanoid and other strange encounters facebook page that looks a helluva lot like whatever it was Louise witnessed. (Hail Eris!)
Here’s the description from Humanoid and other strange encounters:
Laughing humanoids, France 1959
Location. Aubagne Bouches du Rhone France
Date: end of October 1959 Time: 1800
Miss Moulet, 45, was hanging out her washing in the twilight, with her 3 children, when she saw an egg-shaped object descend silently, to hover just above her. Through a wide triangular window in its front, strongly illuminated, she could see about 20 persons, tall, with wavy blond hair and very light skin, wearing white suits and short sleeves. They were smiling or perhaps laughing at her. The air became very cold. After 10-15 minutes the object took off again, disappearing in 2 or 3 seconds, leaving a slight trail.
According to John F. Carr, the following list of Discordian Holidays were part of a non-fiction work entitled How to Have Fun and Be Happy that Camden Benares wrote sensing a strong need for such a work.
Unfortunately, his agent was never able to sell it.
Fun Friday occurs four times each year. In any month that has five Fridays, the fifth Friday is Fun Friday, the symbolic anniversary of the day that Eris decided everyone should have more fun. This holiday is celebrated by doing anything that creates more fun for all.
1-1, Bogey’s Day
This anniversary of the birthday of Humphrey Bogart is celebrated by watching any of the 75 films in which he appeared.
1-5, Carioca Lodge Day
This is the anniversary of the founding of the Discordian Carioca Lodge in Rio de Janiero by the Portuguese Camho family and the Chinese Ho family. It is celebrated by eating Portuguese, Chinese, and Brazilian food, listening to Brazilian music, and watching Brazilian movies.
1-15, St. Afrodite’s Day
This is the day Discordians remember Aphrodite, the Greek goddess who became a Discordian saint when she transformed herself into the black beauty known as St. Afrodite. Celebrations usually include eating soul food and listening to rhythm and blues.
1-23, St. Bobcat’s Day
This is a celebration of the birthday of the son of Fred C. Dobbs and Sara Modrey, the famous Texan Discordian Robert Catman Dobbs, also known as St. Bobcat and the Dealey Lama. St. Bobcat devoted much of his life to aiding unfortunates who joined the Sub Dude cult. Discordians celebrate by saying hello to people named Bob and petting cats.
1-25, Liter Label Lark Day
The repackaging of alcoholic beverages according to the metric system was a Discordian project intended to prevent people from considering consumption of a fifth of liquor to be catma. Discordians who consume alcohol celebrate this day by having one drink. Discordians who don’t consume alcohol celebrate this day with a drink of golden apple juice.
2-2, Renew Old Acquaintances Day
Discordians celebrate this day by sending greeting cards to old acquaintances they haven’t been in touch with lately.
2-5, Dadanova Day
Dadanova is the famous Discordian art movement. The day is celebrated by creating and sharing art.
2-14, St. Heat’s Day
In remembrance of the great love that Valentine Heart and Valentina Heart had for each other, Discordians spend time having fun with those they love.
2-15, Lupercalia Transmogrified
Lupercalia is an ancient Roman holiday concerned with sex and abundance. Discordians are encouraged to develop their own rituals and ceremonies for this holiday.
2-23, Didyme’s Day
This holiday is in memory of the Dogon-Greek oracle who read tarot cards for Eris. Appropriate ceremonies are those which forecast the future or demystify the present. The following poem by Didyme Thelema’s lover, Asklepiades, is usually read aloud:
Didyme plunders me with her beauty.
When I look at her I am wax over fire.
If she’s black, what of it? So are coals.
When kindled, they glow like blooming roses.
3-3, Pass Day
This is the day Discordians pass on the things they don’t want. Special celebrations are held in Pasadena, Pascagoula, Pashkovo, Passaic, and Passo Fundo. Some Discordians pass out free cards which read:
F R E E P A S S
THIS PASS ENTITLES THE BEARER TO PASS BY ANY OPTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AT ANY TIME. GOOD FOREVER OR UNTIL NEXT TUESDAY, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST. COURTESY OF THE DISCORDIAN SOCIETY.
3-5, Self-Esteem Day
On this day any Discordian may award herself or himself any honor, degree, or title that seems appropriate.
3-15, Turkey Vulture Day
Discordians celebrate this day by facing toward Hinckley, Ohio, where the turkey vultures roost, and by listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s recording of “El Condor Pasa.”
3-17, Rex Saxonda Film Day
Discordians celebrate by brushing the film off their teeth and watching any motion picture film. Rex believed that every film had value regardless of content.
3-19, St. Swallow’s Day
This is the time for remembrance of St. Swallow who spent years breeding swallows with homing pigeons. The faithful face Capistrano and swallow five times. There is no requirement as to what is to be swallowed. Some skeptics believe that people who celebrate this day will swallow almost anything.
4-4, Square Day
Discordians celebrate this day by finding fun in the ordinary. Square dancing to Steve Allen’s “Very Square Dance” is encouraged. At least five minutes of television should be watched as part of the celebration.
4-5, Be Kind To Tourists Day
Discordians celebrate this day with random acts of kindness to tourists. Those who find this difficult to do can go some place out of town and pretend to be tourists.
4-15, Break Day
This is the day all Discordians recognize their value and give themselves a well deserved break.
4-29, Duke’s Day
This is Duke Ellington’s birthday, celebrated by listening to, singing along with, or dancing to the music of this American master of music.
5-1, Adam Weishaupt’s Day
This day is the anniversary of Adam Weishaupt’s founding of the Bavarian Illuminati, rumored to be a front organization for promoting Discordianism. Discordians celebrate by eating Bavarian cake and watching traffic until five autos from the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) pass.
5-5, St Gulik’s Day
St. Harvey Gulik, Guardian of the Gentle and Protector of the Harmlessly Weird Ones, is honored on this day. St. Gulik’s familiar was the rabbit so eating a rabbit made from chocolate candy is an appropriate act. Watching the motion picture Harvey, inspired by St. Gulik, is considered an act of devotion.
5-15, Tree Day
Discordian celebrate this day by planting a tree, thinking of five apple trees, or thinking of one apple tree five times.
5-23, Buddha’s Birthday
Although the evidence that Buddha was a Discordian is circumstantial and anecdotal, Discordians celebrate Buddha’s birthday by saying “Happy Birthday, Bud.” Discordians who are especially devout read aloud from Discordian Zen Buddhist texts such as Zen Without Zen Masters, A Handful of Zen, and Riding Buddha’s Bicycle.
5-25, Creation Day
This is the anniversary of the Erisian creation of all chaos. Discordians celebrate this day by chanting the Discordian Taoist truth:
“Creation and creator are one; there is no creator separate from creation.”
6-5, Golden Apple Day
This is the day when each Discordian is entitled to award herself or himself the Golden Apple Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in Discordianism.
6-6, St. Helen’s Day
This is the day that St. Helen of Troy is honored. She apologized to Eris for her unintentional part in the Trojan War and became a Discordian. When last heard from, the reincarnated Helen was working as a waitress at Ships Coffee House where it was said that she had the hips that brought a thousand tips.
6-15, Liberation Day
On this day Discordians remind themselves that their lives are much better since they considered themselves liberated.
6-23, Unknown Saints Day
Since all Discordians are considered saints according to the holy writings of Omar and Malaclypse, this day honors all the Discordians whose names are unknown.
6-25, Know Saints Day
On this day, Discordians honor the other four categories of Discordian saints: living saints, dead saints, fictional saints, and imaginary saints.
7-4, Hodge Podge Lodge Day
This is a celebration of the founding of the first American Discordian lodge by Adam Weishaupt after he fled Bavaria and came to America where he initiated George Washington and later impersonated him. Johnny Appleseed was also initiated by Adam in this lodge. The celebration consists of eating an apple while looking for Discordian symbolism on a one dollar bill.
7-5, Freedom Day
This is the day Discordians celebrate being free of the religious dogma that clogs the pathways of so many brains.
7-7, Mirror Compliment Day
On this day, Discordians look into their mirrors and compliment the mirrors on having the good taste of having such a wonderful, fun-loving owner.
7-14, St. Merde’s Day
This is the day Discordians congratulate themselves on turning the crap of their lives into fertilizer.
7-23, Jack Slack’s Day
Jack Slack is honored this day for his work in guru liberation, liberating gurus from their mistaken beliefs that they are channels for liberation.
8-5, St. Otis the Elevated’s Day
On this day Discordians celebrate the elevation of St. Otis by riding in an Otis elevator.
8-8, St. Pythagoras’s Day
St. Pythagoras was fascinated by the number eight. On this day Discordians do eight things that bring more fun for everyone.
8-15, Theatre Night
On this night, Discordians gather at 8:15 before any theatre that has an 8:30 curtain time and entertain those patrons standing in line until they are admitted.
8-23, Nancy Fancymanner’s Birthday
Nancy is remembered by her great contribution to Discordian style. She was the one who said, “Acquiring Discordian style is a matter of individual chaotic subtlety while being fashionable or trendy is merely a willingness to follow herd instinct.”
8-30, St. Scrivener’s Day
On this day Discordian writers are honored by other Discordians who read aloud from published works.
9-9, Eris’s Birthday
Discordians celebrate Eris’s birthday on this date because no one is certain what the correct day is. Greek food and golden apples are usually served.
9-17, Emperor Norton’s Day
This is the anniversary of the day in 1859 that San Francisco Discordian Joshua Abraham Norton issued a proclamation declaring himself Emperor of the United States. Discordians celebrate by reading aloud the Emperor’s proclamation which is reprinted here.
At the peremptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now, for the past nine years and ten months of San Francisco, California declare and proclaim myself Emperor of the United States, and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in the Musical Hall of this city on the first day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad in our stability and integrity.
Norton I, Emperor of the United States
9-23, Dog Star Day
On this day, Discordians celebrate the existence of Sirius, the Dog Star, legendary home of the Nommos, space travelers who visited this planet before the Trojan War. This holiday may be celebrated in five ways:
- Eating a hot dog
- Looking at a dogwood tree
- Singing any song with dog in the lyrics
- Petting a dog
- Telling shaggy dog stories
9-25, Erotic Terrorism Prevention Day
This day marks the founding of the Erotic Terrorism Protection League by Felix Pendragon. Erotic terrorism is defined as activity related to sex for the purpose of scaring one or more bystanders or observers. On this day Discordians expand their knowledge of sex to protect themselves from erotic terrorism. One method is to read the following poem by Felix Pendragon:
THE ABC’S OF EROTIC
Autoeroticism is sex for one.
Brothels charge money for all sexual fun.
Condoms for safe sex are a must.
Dirty pictures show people in lust.
Exhibitionism is showing it all.
Fetishism is weirdness having a ball.
Genital identification is hard to fake.
Hedonism is sex for pleasure’s sake.
Inhibition is what you can lose.
Jailbait is someone too young to choose.
Kinky people to strange sex aspire.
Libido is a name for sexual desire.
Masturbation remains the safest sex play.
Narcissists love themselves in every way.
Obscenity is in the mind of the beholder.
Puberty comes as a child grows older.
Quckie is sex done in a hurry.
Randy is horny to the point of worry.
Satyr is a male who can’t say no.
Tart is a female ready to go.
Uprighters have sex while they stand.
Voyeurs think sex watching is grand.
Yodeling is much more oral than not.
Zoophiles find animals make them hot.
9-30, Kokomo Dragonland’s Day
This day honors Kokomo Dragonlady, the Indian from Indiana, who promotes the safest sex through her mail order organization, Sex Without Partners. Kokomo claims to be a spiritual and perhaps a physical descendent of Johnny Appleseed. She requests that on this day Discordians plant their seeds in her name.
10-5, Inexpensive Gift Day
On this day devout Discordians show self-appreciation by giving themselves an inexpensive gift.
10-10, Hildegarde’s Night
Bewitching Hildegarde was famous for her on-campus tricks, usually performed at night. Discordians tell stories of the sexual escapades of Hildegarde who was famous on ten campuses and captured the heart of Georgia Tech’s most famous student, George P. Burdette.
10-23, Hugo Troy Tutlege, Jr.’s Birthday
Gift’s are optional on this day because Hugo is the richest Discordian in the world. He is honored for financing the liquor liter label lark, the Discordian Street Theater Extravaganza, the Discordian Players Group Spectacular, and the Weird Oral History Organization (WOHO). In person, Hugo is elusive and a bit of a loner. There is no record of him ever having been seen by two people at the same time. The most common thing said about Hugo is, “Hugo was here. He just left.” This day may not be Hugo’s actual birthday but is derived from his favorite verse of his favorite song, “Chisholm Trail,” namely:
I started up the trail October twenty third
And I throwed my rope in a big cow turd.
Come a ti yi youpy, youpy yea, youpy yea
Come a ti yi youpy, youpy yea.
10-31, Discordian Saints Day
Most Discordians use the day to honor their favorite Discordian saints, including themselves.
11-5, Motion Picture Day
This is the day that Discordians look for both obvious and subtle references to Discordianism in any film they watch.
11-11, St. Yossarian’s Day
Since eleven plus eleven equals twenty two, Yossarian, the military navigator in the book Catch-22 and the film of the same title is honored on this day. When Yossarian realized that war was crazy and that being in a war was driving him insane he became the Discordian Saint of Military Intelligence. Discordians remind themselves on this day that any civilian outranks all military personnel.
11-23, Romance Day
Discordians on this day think romantic thoughts and recall the famous romantic marriage of Zelda Harrington and Felix Pendragon.
11-25, Literary Saints Day
On this day Discordians read aloud incidents of Discordian Saints in fiction and in other works containing fiction disguised as nonfiction.
11-30, Early Lunch Day
This is the day that Discordians eat lunch at 11:30 a.m.
12-1, Rosetta Stone’s Birthday
This is the day Discordians remember St. Rosetta Stone by looking at stones in a rose garden.
12-7, Buddy Darma’s Day
On this day Discordians sing “My Buddy” and look for catma in weird publications.
12-23, Dragon Clan Anniversary Evening
On this evening Discordians recall and celebrate the Dragon Clan’s victory over erotic terrorism forces. Achievements are exaggerated and some lies are told.
12-25, Jay See Fitzdragon’s Birthday
The ideal celebration for this holiday is listening to bootleg recordings of the first Discordian rock band, Jay See and the Disciples of Eris. The rarity of these recordings causes most Discordians to celebrate in some other manner befitting the occasion.
The Watts house became a blend of memorabilia and psychedelia. Antique window glass was decorated with pieces of translucent contact paper, to give it the effect of stained glass, as multicolored sunlight streamed through the strips of dangling paper. An ornately carved wooden mantle clock had the word “NOW” written on a round placard which covered its face. An old-time radio stood in the corner of the dining room, but now instead of playing Amos ‘n Andy and Fibber McGee and Molly, the big old box was tuned into Peter Bergman’s Radio Free Oz, booming music by Ravi Shanker, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Beatles.
With plenty of room for guests to roam around, the Watts house became a psychedelic social club. One frequent visitor was Bud Simco who recalled:
“Kerry was charismatic and had the ability to attract diverse personalities, people who would normally not be associated with each other, except by the force of Kerry’s personality. For example, there were so-called hippie types tripping under the dining room table, holding burning candles in their hands, while right-wing types were holding forth in the kitchen. One such character I recall had never been to Watts before, and showed up wearing a bullet proof vest and armed with a .45. He seemed reasonable enough, in conversation, but he was taking no chances (having never been around hippies before). There were people from all walks of life… including a pilot for the Flying Tiger Airlines, a student from MIT, some swingers, a fashion model, some writers, some SDS student types, and various and sundry others whom I did not know. One of my guests at one particular gathering was a former motorcycle gang member who lost his foot in a motorcycle accident, and his beautiful American Indian wife, who was at the time a co-worker of mine. He had never seen such an assorted group of people in his life, for example, but with his tambourine, magic mushrooms and a Donovan LP loudly playing, asserted his presence along with all the diverse others in one righteous happening. The thing is, everyone was tolerant of the other, regardless of individual inclinations and/or politics. At such an event, many people would never even interact with other groups, in other rooms, although many did. That was the one universal factor re: being present at one of Kerry’s gatherings, either at his home in Watts, or perhaps at one of the original ‘Be-Ins’ at Griffith Park.”
At the Griffith Park Be-In, Kerry Thornley cut a singular swath, equipped with a sign bearing a perfectly surreal statement that seemed to say one thing while also saying something else entirely, just the sort of irreverent psychedelic koan that Kerry became famous for throughout his life. His sign read:
Fellow Discordian Louise Lacey also attended the Griffith Park Be-In. She recalled:
“The weather was perfect. We were all stoned. A single engine plane came and circled, and I thought it was the media, keeping track of us, but then a man all in white dropped down with a parachute and the crowd roared with approval. Later I learned that an old friend of mine from Marin County was the pilot. He got that plane out fast, because it was illegal to parachute within the city limits.
“The Be-In was fascinating because I had never seen such a large collection of freaks. I couldn’t keep from grinning. I was particularly interested because some hard-assed sociologist had said that when you were on LSD you were extremely susceptible to being led. I was watching for people being led.
“I saw a group of people organized into a crack-the-whip game. Twenty or twenty-five people formed and a man with a megaphone was giving them instructions. (Definitely planned.) ‘Move up the hill, move down. Hang on tight. Join with more people.’ I couldn’t tell if anyone was listening or just all having fun. The people at the end of the line were moving so fast they kept being thrown off, tumbling down the hill in the grass, laughing hysterically. Then some of the crack-the-whip people let go of the hands of the people around them and drifted off. The megaphone man yelled more loudly. ‘Hang on, don’t let go.’ More people drifted away. He was screaming now. The group all dropped hands and disappeared in the crowds and the megaphone man was screaming at the top of his amplified voice, ‘Come back! We are playing a game here!’ But the people were gone. I didn’t worry any more about what that sociologist had said.
“Many groups of people were gathered as families of friends. It was the first time I had seen this form of organization. So there were tents, and lean to’s and lots of signs pounded into the dirt, describing one thing or another to identify who the friends were. (This is where Kerry’s sign fit in.) As I didn’t live in LA, I didn’t recognize anyone other than Kerry’s friends, who didn’t stay around his sign, but it didn’t matter. I ‘knew’ the strangers as friends, and we laughed and hugged and shared doobies, and listened to music and I moved on. Nobody got hurt, everyone had a good time (except, I imagine, the man with the megaphone). As the day progressed, I gravitated back to Kerry’s sign and others did, too, and we shared what we have experienced, eventually gathered our stuff and drove home to Kerry’s. A most successful day.”
In March 1967, the Los Angeles Free Press ran an article about how you could get high from smoking banana skins, including instructions on how to prepare the stuff. Kerry decided to give this new craze a go, and in the company of co-conspirator Louise Lacey visited the local Safeway supermarket, as the two of them cleaned out the produce section of their banana supply, then brought home the banana bounty, removed the fruit and baked the inner portions of the skins on cookie sheets just as the Los Angeles Free Press article had instructed.
While this cosmic concoction was cooking, Kerry and Louise went around the Watts neighborhood, ringing door bells and offering skinned bananas to any interested parties. As Louise recalled: “This was a mostly black neighborhood, who knew Kerry, at least by sight, but still they weren’t interested. He explained that it was an experiment, and that no one had messed with the bananas (which were getting brown), but they thanked him and shut the door, again and again, so we gave up.”
Kerry’s friend Becky Glaser remembered walking into Kerry’s house and discovering that every container conceivable was filled with peeled bananas. Becky said she will always remember the wild look in Kerry’s eyes, when she walked in and asked him:
“And what the hell are we gonna do with all these fucking bananas?!”
“Well, I’m urging you all to eat them.”
“And what’s gonna happen if we eat them?”
“I’ll get rid of them!”
“Yeah, but what are you going do with the peels?”
“Aha! That’s the important part!”
As Kerry’s brother, Dick Thornley, remembered: “Kerry enthusiastically invited me over for some Mellow Yellow that night. The invitation came after they had baked it. I recall the stuff was essentially powdered charcoal by the time it came out of the oven. It was nearly impossible to light, let alone smoke.”
The Mellow Yellow craze is now considered an urban legend that was promoted by the Los Angeles Free Press article and Donovan’s groovy tune of the same name. According to the liner notes of Donovan’s Greatest Hits, the rumor you could get high from banana peels was started by Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish.
Whatever the origin of the Mellow Yellow mythos, Louise Lacey remembers that inhaling the banana skins was anything but mellow. As for copping a buzz, the only one who got off on the stuff was Kerry, who after toking down on a Mellow Yellow reefer, proclaimed, “I’m high!” Leave it to Kerry to be the only person in the history of the Mellow Yellow craze to actually get off on the stuff. Of course, this wasn’t out of the ordinary, because—as Becky Glaser recalled—“Kerry got high off of everything.”
Hear the Mellow Yellow story from an interview I conducted with Louise Lacey in 2007. Play below or download the MP3 here.