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C2C, JFK & The Cosmic Trigger Play: A Historia Discordia Triple Whammy

Ewige Blumenkraft: Kerry Thornley. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
November 22nd commemorates a lot of things here at Historia Discordia, including the date we first launched this site—on JFK Assassination Day, no less!—an event forever after ingrained in Discordian mythology. And although we would never be so bold as to suggest that Eris had a five fingered hand in orchestrating the Killing of the King, it nonetheless appears that in some way or another our Goddess of Perpetual Chaos was responsible for the torrent of high weirdness that engulfed Kerry Thornley’s life after meeting Lee Harvey Oswald in the Marines, then afterwards encountering a couple of shadowy JFK assassination conspirators in New Orleans. If that wasn’t enough, Jim Garrison claimed that Thornley was a CIA agent who masqueraded as Lee Oswald and also pronged Oswald’s wife, Marina. For more on this mind-blowing caper check out Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and the Garrison Investigation.

Discordianism—for good or ill—will be forever linked to this dark day in American history. Like a chaos magician reaching down into his top hat-rabbit hole, the Discordian-JFK Assassination landscape is inhabited by Playboy magazine bunny ears, Ozzie Rabbit (Oswald’s nickname), Echo and the Bunnymen (see JMR Higgs’ KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money), a certain pooka named Harvey (“How are you, Mr. Wilson?”)  as well as Bugs Bunny’s role as a Discordian Society patron saint. I could explain all of these Discordian-Bunny-JFK assassination associations, but that would be like trying to explain a complicated joke disguised as a religion.

Oliver Senton as
Robert Anton Wilson
in the Cosmic Trigger Play.
11/22 is one of those magic, yet chaotic dates on the Discordian Calendar when the Eristic (as well as Aneristic forces!) come together to perform a triple whammy of sorts, and this year is no exception as Daisy Eris Campbell premieres her much anticipated Cosmic Trigger Play on this very day (11/22) in Liverpool, England at the Camp and Furnace, which looks like a very cool venue where I plan to hoist a pint or two and then slip into a Liverpudian accent.

To complete this Erisian Triple Whammy (the first anniversary of the Historia Discordia website coinciding with the premiere of the Cosmic Trigger Play), I’ll be a guest on Coast To Coast AM with weekend host Richard Syrett to discuss Caught in the Crossfire. And to confuse matters even more (Hail Eris!), my C2C interview—although slated for November 22rd—won’t actually air until the 3rd hour of the program, the witching hour, midnight 11/23. Appearing in the 3rd hour of C2C seems apropos in that it relates to the theories of that late great conspiracy sleuth James Shelby Downard who proposed that JFK’s assassination was orchestrated by high level Freemasons to occur along the 33rd degree latitude as a part of a death ritual ceremony known as The Killing of the King with the numbers 3 and 33 repeated throughout.

James Shelby Downard in the early-90s.
Photo by Adam Parfrey.
In Masonry there are the three mystical steps or degrees: The Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. The third degree of Master Mason pertains to symbolic Death and Resurrection and the ceremonial Killing of the King. To this end, 11/22 (11 + 22=33) signifies (maybe) a Masonic triple whammy, as 33 is the highest degree in Freemasonry. Dealey Plaza—situated near the Trinity River—was the site for the first Masonic temple in Dallas. Kennedy’s ill-fated motorcade was just about to pass through the Triple Underpass when three shots rang out, wounding Kennedy twice and Texas Governor John Connally once.

Photographic comparison of the
Old Man Tramp (on left) and E. Howard Hunt.
The 3rd Degree of Freemasonry tells the legend of three “unworthy craftsman”—Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum—who murdered Hiram Abiff, the architect of Solomon’s Temple. Similarly, three tramps were arrested in Dealey Plaza, then afterwards released. One of the tramps was later identified as E. Howard Hunt, who Kerry Thornley later came to suspect as being one of his MK-ULTRA handlers.

On the afternoon 11/23, I’ll be speaking at the Find The Others Conferestival, along with other such illuminaries as Robert Temple (author of The Sirius Mystery), Daisy Eris Campbell, John Higgs and Robin Ince.

The number 23—as sumbutnotall of you may be aware—is yet another holy Discordian number (2+3=5) which in turns relates to the Discordian Law of Fives, so I think we should have all our bases covered. And although I might have taken the steam out of my so-called Discordian Triple Whammy by not actually appearing on C2C on 11/22, I will be on Clyde Lewis’ Ground Zero Radio on 11/21, although for me it will actually be 11/22 (at the illustrious hour of 4am!) calling in from my hotel room in Liverpool, which further illustrates the quantum mechanical nature of the universe where I can travel back in time from the future to appear on a radio show in the past!

And, of course, 11/21 also has its place inDiscordianism as 1+1+2+1=5!

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New Book Release in Paperback and Kindle! Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation by Adam Gorightly

Now Available:
Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation by
Adam Gorightly.

Order The Chaos Now!

Caught In the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation is now available through both Amazon (Paperback, Kindle) and our publisher Feral House, who has set up a page for the book
which will include occasional excerpts, such as the chapter “A Homosexual Thrill Kill?” (Not that there’s anything fnord with that!)

Feral House also has an article on the book The Kerry Thornley Mindfuck.

Here’s the description of the book:

Kerry Thornley never imagined that after starting a spoof religion in the 1950s dedicated to the worship Eris—the Greek Goddess of Chaos and Discord—that such an irreverent yet light-hearted endeavor would unleash, in the years to come, a torrent of actual chaos into his life and turn his world upside down.

In 1959, Thornley served in the Marines with Lee Harvey Oswald and was actually writing a novel based on Oswald three years before JFK’s assassination. These connections would later cause New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison to suspect that Thornley was one of the notorious Oswald doubles and part of a JFK assassination plot. Initially, Thornley denied these allegations, but later came to believe that he’d been used as an unwitting pawn in a conspiracy that ran far deeper than the JFK assassination and may also have included the RFK and MLK assassinations, as well as the disturbing specter of government sponsored mind control.

Order The Chaos Now!

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Caught In The Crossfire: Triangulating On Your Brain Soon!

AP photo of Kerry Thornley during the Jim Garrison investigation.
Slated soon for publication from Feral House is my long awaited epic, Caught In The Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and the Garrison Investigation, a topic I first broached ten years ago or so in The Prankster and the Conspiracy (Amazon).

Several years after the release of The Prankster, your humble reporter stumbled upon a wealth of new information related to Kerry Thornley and the Jim Garrison case which, in turn, led to an ever-deeper examination of this seemingly never-ending rabbit hole that encompassed such a large and troubling part of Kerry Thornley’s life. (And mine, as well!)

Caught in the Crossfire, Pre-Order from
Amazon Today
You can order an advanced copy of Caught In The Crossfire at Amazon and be the first one on your block to know the complete, mind-blowing story!

On a related note, I share with you now a Historia Discordia Exclusive snipped from Rev. Wyrdsli’s seminal 1992 video interview with Thornley at A Cappella Books, wherein Kerry discusses many of the strange and intimate details that will further emerge, and be expanded upon, in Caught In The Crossfire.

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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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‘Working Class Hero Magazine’ Interview With Kerry Thornley

Back somewhere in the mid-90s, my pal Matt Lutz of Working Class Hero Magazine conducted this wonderful interview with Kerry Thornley.

Kerry Thornley holding a harmonica, Berkeley, California, mid-80s.
(Photo courtesy of Louise Lacey)

I’ve lost touch with Matt over the years, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind us reviving it here.
Adam Gorightly

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Kerry Prankster: CIA, LSD, JFK

New York Press cover feature box on Kerry Thornley, June 19-25, 1991 edition. Clipping courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Jonathan Vankin’s chapter on Kerry Thornley in Conspiracies, Cover-ups and Crimes was one of the main motivating factors that launched me on this strange voyage of chronicling Kerry’s life.

At the time, Vankin noted that he was considering writing Thornley’s biography, a notion that excited me immensely, as Vankin’s portrayal of Kerry in Conspiracies, Cover-ups and Crimes only whet my appetite for further revelations of one of the most curious characters to inhabit the counterculture and JFK assassination research scene of the 60s and 70s.

Of course, Vankin never got around to writing Thornley’s biography, so by the early 2000s I took it upon myself to dive down that particular rabbit hole, a journey which amazingly enough is still ongoing. I eventually pulled my research together in my biography of Thornley, The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture, currently still available in all those various formats we read now. Hail Eris!

Here’s a fascinating article discussing Vankin’s coverage of Thornley from 1991 by John Strausbaugh, then-contributor and editor of The New York Press, then later host of the The New York Times’s “Weekend Explorer” podcast. This was a turning-point in Kerry’s life as IllumiNet Press was starting to publish Kerry’s works in a serious format, and subsequent coverage of Thornley, his works, and his story was being picked-up by earnest media types.

New York Press feature on Kerry Thornley, June 19-25, 1991 edition, Page 00001.
Clipping courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
New York Press feature on Kerry Thornley, June 19-25, 1991 edition, Page 00002.
Clipping courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
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Week 7: Illuminatus Group Reading: Kerry Thornley

Get your fnord on with the Illuminatus! Reading Group.
My comments on Week 7 of the Illuminatus! group reading will deal primarily with Kerry Thornley’s influence on Illuminatus! and, conversely, how some of the Illuminatus! characters began to manifest themselves in his life—the imaginary manifesting as real—at least from Kerry’s perspective.

By the time Illuminatus! was published in 1975, Kerry began suffering severe bouts of delusional paranoia along with his growing belief that the shadowy character he’d met in New Orleans in the early-60s (referred to as “Brother-In-Law”) was actually legendary CIA spook E. Howard Hunt, and that Hunt had manipulated Kerry to later set him up as an unwitting dupe in JFK’s assassination. During this period, Kerry began to suspect that he’d also been a victim of MK-ULTRA mind control, that Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) was involved in a plot to deprogram him, and that Illuminatus! was at the root of a lot of the high weirdness then going down in his life. As RAW told me in The Prankster and the Conspiracy:

“(Kerry) had the impression that I came to Atlanta more than once and that I had given him LSD and had removed the programming the Navy had put into him when he was in the Marines—and that I was one of his CIA handlers.”

When RAW informed Kerry that he didn’t remember any of this taking place, Kerry said that was because they had brainwashed him (RAW), too. Because of these suspicions, the two eventually ceased communication because as RAW later explained:

”It’s hard to communicate with somebody when he thinks you’re a diabolical mind-control agent and you’re convinced that he’s a little bit paranoid.”

On page 69, the character of Atlanta Hope is introduced, leader of God’s Lightning, a group who are opposed (at least on the surface) to all things fun and immoral. Atlanta Hope has always reminded me as a sort of Anita Bryant type: a seeming Miss All America goody two-shoes who, in reality, is willing to sleep her way to the top of the Illuminati pyramid while using the trappings of Christian fundamentalism to further her own duplicitous ambitions.

Kerry came to believe that the Atlanta Hope character was actually modeled after a woman he knew in Atlanta, Georgia named Mary Jo Padgett who belonged to a group of Quakers that provided ministry and group counseling sessions. At the time, Kerry sought counsel through this group and, in time, came to believe that they had been infiltrated by the intelligence community. Mary Jo Padgett, Kerry surmised, was:

“…an extremely high-level intelligence community dirty work organizer for elements of the Southern Rim (military-industrial complex) of the ruling class, including very probably the Dupont family. I believe these elements have been conducting a virtual reign of terror in this area for some years, not to mention corruption of the various levels of government, and that they must have been involved rather deeply in the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr…. I’m rather strongly convinced that the Illuminatus! character, Atlanta Hope, is based substantially on Mary Jo Padgett…”

Letter: Kerry Thornley to Greg Hill, 1976. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

Back in 1966, Kerry was editing the libertarian newsletter, The Innovator, which had published an article entitled “Postman Against the State” dealing with various non-governmental postal systems throughout history that had functioned more effectively than government operated systems. As the “Playboy Forum” was then receiving a slew of complaints from readers about snooping on the part of the U.S. Postal Service, Kerry persuaded The Innovator’s publisher to send a copy of the “Postman Against the State” issue to Playboy. RAW—then an associate editor at Playboy—received this issue of The Innovator and, in turn, responded to Kerry, which initiated a longstanding correspondence between the two.

Kerry and RAW discussed, among other things, the American Letter Mail Company operated in New England in the mid 1800s by the individualist anarchist, Lysander Spooner. The American Letter Mail Company, at the time, offered cheaper postage rates than the U.S. Postal Service, gave more deliveries per day, and earned a profit to boot. Spooner was finally put out of business when Congress made it illegal to deliver a first class letter for profit. Both Kerry and RAW agreed that the U.S. Postal Service was once again ripe for change, and the concept Spooner had spawned one hundred years earlier was the direction the current mail system should go.

Thornley later described his correspondence with RAW as “one of the longest, most intense, most stimulating, rewarding, enriching, enlightening—and certainly the most unusual—of my entire life.”

As RAW noted in Cosmic Trigger:

“We began writing long letters to each other… astonished at how totally our political philosophies agreed—we were both opposed to every form of violence or coercion against individuals, whether practiced by governments or by people who claimed to be revolutionaries. We were equally disenchanted with the organized Right and the organized Left while still remaining Utopians, without a visible Utopia to believe in.”

During this period, Kerry was promoting the idea of “floating ocean utopias” where Anarcho-Libertarians—such as he fancied himself—could live high and free on the sea. This is a concept that RAW and Shea entertain in Illuminatus! embodied by the character of Hagbard Celine and his golden submarine, the Lief Erickson, which first emerges on page 71.

Celine—like many other Illuminatus! characters—seems a composite of much of the idealism after which Kerry aspired during those heady days of the 60s: the dream of living on the high seas—like swashbuckling Captain Celine—free of governments and any limitations on the individual, devoted to pursuing true freedom and sensual pleasures while engaged in a battle to free men’s minds.

'The Gypsies of the Sulu Sea,' Kerry Thornley’s short article on 'aqua-libertarians'
from Ocean Living magazine, 1968. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
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Letters: Robert Shea and Greg Hill: ‘We are definitely dealing with volatile materials.’

Discordian Guerrilla Ontology advert for the release of The Illuminatus! Trilogy.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Several posts ago, we presented a letter from Robert Shea to Discordian co-founder Greg Hill concerning the Illuminatus! book cover art proofs that proved quite interesting with some great background insights into that effort before the release of the book.

After the release of Illuminatus!: The Eye in the Pyramid, co-author Shea and Hill continued their correspondence through the fall of 1975, attached below for your reading pleasure. Shea is referenced and signs as “Josh” in two of these letters acknowledging his Discordian nom de plume “Josh the Dill.”

From this exchange, we learn some interesting tidbits about the publication of Illuminatus!, such as the book’s publisher, Dell, initially printed only 75,000 copies of The Eye in the Pyramid. We also gain some insights into how the book was being received and what efforts were being made by Shea and his co-author Robert Anton Wilson to market the book via radio interviews.

In the November 11, 1975 letter from Hill to Shea, Hill enclosed a copy of the fake Illuminatus! review he and Wilson had been working on under the name of Mordecai Zwack and were sending out to various newspapers like The New York Times as a part of their ongoing “Operation Mindfuck.”

This exchange of letters also contains an extensive discussion and analysis of Discordian co-founder Kerry Thornley’s recent-at-the-time state of mind, his growing paranoia, and his theories regarding his involvement in the JFK Assassination, including Thornley’s experiences with the mysterious “Brother-in-Law” Gary Kirstein. Shea and Hill’s take on Thornley and what he was personally going through around this time is quite revealing in context of what this whole era of realization would eventually mean for Thornley and his life in the years to come.

Also of note is Shea’s response to various Illuminati “true believers” during his promotional radio interviews leading him to confide to Hill, “We are definitely dealing with volatile materials.”

Indeed, Hail Eris! Enjoy.

Letters: Robert Shea and Greg Hill, Fall 1975

Letter: Robert Shea to Greg Hill, October 1, 1975, Page 00001. Courtesy of from the Discordian Archives.
Letter: Greg Hill to Robert Shea, November 11, 1975, Page 00001. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.


Letter: Greg Hill to Robert Shea, November 11, 1975, Page 00002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Letter: Greg Hill to Robert Shea, November 11, 1975, Page 00003. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.


Letter: Robert Shea to Greg Hill, November 22, 1975, Page 00001. Courtesy of from the Discordian Archives.
Letter: Robert Shea to Greg Hill, November 22, 1975, Page 00002. Courtesy of from the Discordian Archives.

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Week 5 of the Illuminatus! Group Reading

Get your fnord on with the Illuminatus! Reading Group.
Here’s my thoughts on Week 5 of the Illuminatus! group reading…

On Page 45, a haunting specter from Kerry Thornley’s past is summoned in this passage:

(Back at the Grassy Knoll, Howard Hunt’s picture is being snapped and will later turn up in the files of New Orleans D.A. Jim “The Jolly Green Giant” Garrison: not that Garrison ever came within light years of the real truth…)

For those unfamiliar with Thornley’s strange journey down the JFK assassination rabbit hole, I’ll refer them to a previous Historia Discordia post:

JFK Assassination Day and Discordianism by Adam Gorightly.

How E. Howard Hunt fits into Thornley’s JFK assassination odyssey dates back to the period in the early-60s when he was living in New Orleans and met a shadowy character referred to as “Brother-In-Law.” Kerry later grew to suspect that “Brother-in-Law” was actually the legendary aforementioned CIA spook, E. Howard Hunt, and that Hunt had manipulated Kerry into the role of a potential JFK assassination patsy had the Lee Harvey Oswald setup gone awry.

The Dealey Plaza 'Old Man Tramp,' left,
and E. Howard Hunt, right.
As for photos of Hunt in Dealey Plaza that later turned up in Jim Garrison’s files, Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson were no doubt referring to the photos of the infamous Three Tramps that were picked up by the Dallas Police right after the assassination and then subsequently released, one of whom was dubbed the Old Man Tramp that many suspect was actually Hunt in disguise. Garrison contended that the Three Tramps were trigger men in the assassination, and Garrison actually showed the Tramp photos for the first time to a national TV audience on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show on January 31, 1968. During this period, Kerry Thornley became one of Garrison’s suspects in the case. In this regard, Kerry found himself in a somewhat awkward position, that of being a target of the underground press, as over the years he had written for such publications as the L.A. Free Press who now embraced Garrison as a counterculture hero, and so accepted the Garrison party line that Kerry was somehow involved in a JFK assassination conspiracy. This irony did not go unnoticed by RAW, who encountered a media blackout when trying to address Kerry’s case. As RAW later explained:

Newspaper photo of
Kerry Thornley, 1968.
In ’67 or ’68, most of the underground press was publishing a lot of stuff pro-Jim Garrison, and this included Kerry’s role in the assassination. And I had lots of contacts in the underground press, so I started sending out articles defending Kerry, which nobody would print, because the underground press was behind Garrison and the official corporate media was totally anti-Garrison—I was trying to send the message to the wrong place.

On Page 50, Saul Goodman and Barney Muldoon examine three alternatives to explain the apparent Illuminati plot they’ve uncovered:

(1) It is all true, exactly as the memos suggest; (2) it is partly true, and partly false; (3) it is all false, and there is no secret society that has endured from 1090 A.D. to the present.

In a previous post, I commented how Illuminatus! is a mental exercise of sorts in trying to distinguish what is true and what is false in the book. In their quest to bust the Illuminati, Goodman and Muldoon arrive at the theory that the clues they’ve uncovered suggest the same thing: that the reality of the Illuminati is both true and false. And perhaps that’s the final secret of Illuminatus! (maybe): that it’s partly true and partly false and it’s ultimately up to the reader to decide for themselves which parts are true and which are false—so it becomes a different reality tunnel for each reader/experiencer.

As I previously noted, the Teenset article was a perfect example of this, a real article in a real magazine, featuring a mix of fact and fiction, credited to a certain Sandra Glass, who never really existed to begin with and was actually Bob Shea in drag (and probably to some extent, RAW) making modern myths out of conspiratorial legends and pop culture influences while smoking a fair measure of pot for inspiration, one would imagine.

In Week 4, the “Illuminati Project: Memo #7” quotes The Roger Spark article “Daley Linked With Illuminati” which was another real article in a real newsletter (originating from the Chicago neighborhood, Roger’s Park) written by an anonymous author who once again was either Shea or RAW or both. This was during the time frame both Shea and RAW worked for Playboy magazine in Chicago, so I imagine one or both lived in or near Roger’s Park.

The Roger Spark piece contained a lot of the same information as the Teenset article, repeating the spurious rumor that Mayor Daley had shouted “Ewige Blumenkraft!” at the 1968 Democratic Convention, all part of Bavarian Illuminati shenanigans.

Photocopy of The Roger Spark Vol 2, No. 2 linking Daley with the Illuminati, Page 00001. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Photocopy of The Roger Spark Vol 2, No. 9 linking Daley with the Illuminati, Page 00002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.


Photocopy of The Roger Spark Vol 2, No. 9 linking Daley with the Illuminati, Page 00003. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Photocopy of The Roger Spark Vol 2, No. 9 linking Daley with the Illuminati, Page 00004. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

brother-in-law camden benares discordian timeline discordianism greg hill jfk jim garrison kerry thornley lee harvey oswald robert anton wilson warren commission

The Discordian Timeline of Chaos – Kerry Wendell Thornley

April 17, 1938: Kerry Thornley is born in Los Angeles to Kenneth and Helen Thornley.

1956: Kerry Thornley meets Greg Hill and Bob Newport while attending California High School (CalHi) in East Whittier, California.

Kerry Thornley: An award winning high school student who had no idea of the conspiratorial madness that would await him in 1976!

1957: Kerry Graduates from CalHi.

1958: Kerry attends the University of Southern California as a journalism student. That same year, Kerry and Greg Hill form the Discordian Society.

1959: Kerry enlists in the Marine Corps and meets Lee Harvey Oswald and Bud Simco. Begins work on The Idle Warriors (Paperback). Oswald is dishonorably discharged from the Marines and defects to Russia.

1960: Kerry is discharged from the Marines and returns to Los Angeles.

1961: Kerry and Greg Hill move to New Orleans, where they meet Slim Brooks and Gary Kirstein, aka “Brother-in-law.”

June 1962: Oswald returns to the U.S. from Russia.

November 1963: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

December 1963: Kerry moves to Alexandria, Virginia, and works as a doorman at the Shirlington House.

Spring 1964: Kerry testifies before the Warren Commission.

April 1965: Kerry’s book, Oswald (Paperback), is published by New Classics House.

December 1965: Kerry marries Cara Leach at Wayfarer’s Chapel near Palos Verdes, California.

Late 1965 through early 1966: Kerry begins experimenting with psychedelics. Meets Camden Benares.

1967: Kerry helps organize and participates in the first Griffith Park Human Be-In. Begins correspondence with Robert Anton Wilson.

Late 1967: Kerry and Cara move to Tampa, Florida. Jim Garrison launches his Kennedy assassination probe.

January 1968: Kerry is served with a subpoena to testify before the New Orleans grand jury in Jim Garrison’s investigation.

Later in 1968: Operation Mindfuck begins.

1969: Greg Hill creates the Joshua Norton Cabal. Kerry’s son Kreg Thornley is born.

1970: Perjury charges against Kerry in the Garrison investigation are dropped.

Late 1971: Cara and Kerry separate.

1973: Kerry’s memories of “Brother-in-law” come flooding back, and he suspects he was part of a Kennedy assassination conspiracy.

Not only the definitive, but only, biography of Kerry Wendell Thornley by Adam Gorightly, The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture
1975-1977: Kerry’s paranoia intensifies. He now suspects that Robert Anton Wilson is his CIA controller and part of a clandestine assassination bureau.

1980s: Kerry lives the life of a vagabond, hitchhiking from coast-to-coast. Most of his time is spent in Florida or Atlanta, with occasional trips to the West Coast.

1986-1987: Kerry begins circulating The Dreadlock Recollections (recounting his unwitting participation in a JFK assassination conspiracy) via samizdat format.

1991: Kerry starts experiencing kidney problems.

1992: Kerry is interviewed by Oliver Stone, who is researching his forthcoming movie, JFK. Kerry appears on A Current Affair (YouTube: Part 1, Part 2).

November 28, 1998: Kerry dies from complications related to Wegner’s granulomatosis disease.