audio book brother-in-law discordianism greg hill interview kerry thornley louise lacey monkey business official business photo robert anton wilson timothy leary ufos writings

Discordianism Meets Ufology (Part 00002)

'Flying Saucers Are Real' button produced by Whittier, California's own Gabriel Green of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America, Inc.
Discordian Society founder Greg Hill remained interested in UFOs over the years, as revealed by clippings on the subject discovered in The Discordian Archives. In this regard, I suspect Hill’s interest was more concerned with the phenomenon’s sociological implications as opposed to any particular belief system (BS) he held in regards to whether UFOs were “real.”

Kerry Thornley, however, claimed that UFOs originated from below West Virginia, a notion he once shared with fellow Discordian Louise Lacey aka Lady L., F.A.B. (Fucking Anarchist Bitch.)

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…”

12/6/76 letter from Thornley to Greg Hill discussing UFOs,
as well as RAW, Leary and Howard Hughes' double.

Early Discordian Louise Lacey.
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.

Listen below,

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.

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Mellow Yellow and the Summer of Love

Kerry Thornley and family circa late-60s or early-70s. Photo courtesy of John F. Carr.
During the psychedelic 60s, Kerry Thornley and his wife Cara lived for a period of time in the former home of his grandparents in the Watts section of Los Angeles.

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.”

Photo of Kerry Thornley in Los Angeles in the company of several young ladies.
Although the development date on the photo is 1970, it was probably shot in 1967.
Photo courtesy of Louise Lacey.

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:

Stamp out quicksand.
Ban LSD.

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.”

Louise Lacey, in the late-60s, during her green period.

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.

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Was Kerry Thornley CIA?

“If they prove
that you are CIA,
demand back pay.”

—Letter from Discordian Society
co-founder Greg Hill to Kerry Thornley
dated February 19th, 1968


It’s long been rumored that Kerry Thornley was a CIA agent, a salvo first fired by Jim Garrison in his February 21st, 1968 press release which stated that Thornley was among a “…number of young men who have been identified as CIA employees, Thornley had a post office box in the federal building across from Banister’s office. Such post office boxes are customarily used by federal employees with clandestine assignments as ‘message drops’ as well as an acceptable excuse for regular visits into a federal building. Another of the young men having such a post office box was Lee Harvey Oswald. What this means is simply that Kerry Thornley and Lee Oswald were both part of the covert federal operation operating in New Orleans….”

Jim Garrison’s February 21, 1968 press release
'identifying' Kerry Thornley as a CIA employee.

Download PDF

During the course of research for The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture (Amazon), I was unable to pin down any tangible evidence supporting these Thornley-CIA allegations and eventually just wrote them off as more of Garrison’s unsupported theories. Thus it came as a bit of a surprise to me when—in 2006—I happened upon Joan Mellen’s Farewell To Justice (Amazon) which stated in its preface:

“Kerry Thornley, the Marine Corps buddy of Lee Harvey Oswald, who told the Warren Commission that Oswald was a Marxist, turned out himself to have been a CIA employee trained, according to a CIA document, in Washington D.C., in chemical and biological warfare…”

At the time, this claim that Thornley was a documented CIA spook came as quite the stunner, and shortly afterwards I shared Mellen’s provocative pronouncement with Thornley’s long time friend, Louise Lacey, whose initial response was a sudden burst of laughter, followed by: “Dear, if Kerry was CIA, I think I would have known.”

“Dear, if Kerry was CIA,
I think I would have known.”

—Louise Lacey

Louise, it should be noted, edited Thornley’s book Oswald for New Classics House back in 1965 and then later worked for Ramparts magazine as research director during Ramparts in-depth investigation of the JFK assassination, the first national magazine that was openly critical of the Warren Report. To this end, Louise worked alongside such notables as David Welsh, Mae Brussell, David Lifton and William Turner, and so when speaking of Thornley and/or the JFK assassination, Louise not only comes to the subject as someone who was a close friend of Thornley’s, but also someone involved very early on in JFK assassination research.

In Spring 2011, while conducting research for Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Amazon), I contacted Joan Mellen on how to go about obtaining a copy of this “CIA document” related to Kerry Thornley. Mellen replied that she’d send me a copy after she had time to recover from a recent medical ailment. Afterwards, I contacted Mellen periodically—on probably a half dozen occasions—but never heard back from her. Mellen, it should be noted, is still standing by her claim that Thornley was a CIA agent as evidenced in this recent interview.

More recently—on the advice of researcher Stu Wexler—I conducted a search of John Armstrong’s JFK assassination files at Baylor University online, where, lo and behold, I came across a copy of the document in question, which I post here for review.

Page 1 of Kerry Thornley's DOD file.

Download All 3 Pages in PDF

In Farewell to Justice, Mellen identified the above as a CIA document and, alternately, as a DOD document. Page one clearly identifies it as a DOD document “translation” which was created as a request to the DOD from the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978. The upper right hand corner of the document is stamped:


Patricia Orr was a researcher for the HSCA and it appears that the document is her translation of Thornley’s service record. The document confirms that Thornley received training in biological and chemical warfare, but how Mellen arrived at the conclusion that this training was conducted by the CIA is unclear. In fact, there’s no mention of the CIA anywhere in the document—unless one is reading deeply between the lines. Well, there are the three last letters of Orr’s first name to consider perhaps.

It should be noted that Thornley received this biological and chemical warfare training at Atsugi Base in Japan which served as a CIA outpost during this period. In this regard, it’s conceivable that Thornley—and other Marines stationed at Atsugi—could have received training from CIA personnel also stationed at the base, but Mellen’s assertion that Thornley was a CIA employee is unsupported by the DOD document. What the thinker thinks, the prover proves…

On page 276 of Farewell To Justice, Mellen writes:

“From the Department of Defense files comes a document placing Thornley as a CIA employee who attended Chemical and Biological Warfare School. Receiving ‘technical instruction’ in Washington, D.C., Thornley moved from ‘confidential’ to ‘secret’ clearance. His course in ‘Atomic, Biological and Chemical Warfare’ ran from June to August 1960, and had begun at Atsugi…”

The term Mellen uses—“technical instruction”—actually appears in Thornley’s service records as “Tech instruct” which was an abbreviation for “Technique of Instruction,” a Marine Corps competition Thornley entered during this period.

According to the author’s page of Oswald, Thornley “…served in the Far East, in the First Marine Aircraft Wing, and distinguished himself again as a public speaker on political/philosophical issues by winning first place in the Wing Technique of Instruction Competition. He was therefore sent to Washington to appear in the finals…”

Photocopy of author's bio page taken from Kerry Thornley's Oswald.

The August 1959 edition of Leatherneck magazine also mentions that the Technique of Instruction competition was scheduled to be held in September 1959 in Washington, DC., which is listed in an entry from page 3 of Thornley’s DOD file:

14 Sep 59
Tech instr
to TAD Wash, DC

While Joan Mellen found Thornley’s visit to Washington, D.C. somehow suspect, his service record—and other supporting documents which I post here—suggest that he was simply attending a Marine Corps public speaking competition, which was certainly nothing unusual for Thornley. According to the author’s bio page in Oswald: “While attending high school in Whittier, California, [Thornley] had won a number of public speaking competitions, including the Voice of Democracy Contest.”

A writeup from Kerry Thornley's 1957 high school yearbook
on his participation in the Voice of Democracy Contest.

According to Joan Mellen, after Thornley received his “technical instruction” in Washington, D.C., in September of ‘59, he was “…moved from ‘confidential’ to ‘secret’ clearance….” This suggested (to Mellen, at least) that Thornley had graduated from Marines Corps Corporal to Secret Agent with the CIA.

It should be noted that “secret” clearance in and of itself is not special or unique and just because Thornley received “secret” clearance doesn’t mean he was a “CIA employee.” As my friend and former Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI) Special Agent, Walter Bosley, recently informed me:

“SECRET is the first level of anything close to serious, but it’s not the big prize level. It’s the first level of stuff that can get someone in big serious trouble if they mishandle it or, God forbid, sell it. There are a lot more personnel with SECRET than with TOP SECRET and beyond, of course, but it’s not insignificant.”

According to Thornley’s DOD file, he was assigned as “Avn Elec oper”, shorthand for Aviation Electronics Operator.

These duties were performed at Atsugi Base from which the U2 flights originated during this period, at the height of the Cold War. I would venture to guess that other enlisted men in Thornley’s unit who performed similar duties also held “secret” clearance.

Kerry Thornley in the Marines.

On page 67 of Farewell to Justice, Mellen endorses Garrison’s theory that the Old Post Office Building in New Orleans (also known as The Customs House) —located “across from Banister’s office”—was some sort of CIA spook central gathering place for, as Garrison described them, a “…number of young men who have been identified as CIA employees….” Garrison erroneously identified these CIA employees as Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald, Thomas Beckham and Jack Martin, among others.

Document produced by Jim Garrison which lists
the young men 'employed by the CIA post office....'

Download PDF

As it turns out, the Old Post Office Building was not exactly “across from Banister’s office” as Garrison described, but in reality a half mile away—or as Mellen more accurately notes in Farewell to Justice—in “close proximity.”

While Oswald was most likely involved in intelligence work during his Marine Corps service and afterwards, the claim that he was a CIA employee has never been conclusively demonstrated. To further suggest that Jack Martin or Thomas Beckham were CIA employees seems based primarily on the many sensational claims made by Beckham and Martin themselves in which I place little, if any, stock. This is not to say that I completely rule out any or all of these theories suggesting that Beckham or Martin might have been CIA agents or connected in some way to the Agency. However, these allegations are just that: theories to which Garrison never produced any substantial supporting evidence.

Lastly—to toss more water on this smoldering fire—I recently stumbled upon the following declassified CIA document (at the National Archives online database) dated January 1968.

Declassified CIA document which lists Thornley’s CIA connections as 'None.'

Given the 1968 date, one can assume that this document was prepared in response to Garrison’s allegation that Kerry Thornley was a CIA agent. In this regard, the document lists Thornley’s CIA connections as “None.”

But, of course, THEY would deny it!

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The Last Days of Malaclypse the Younger: This Day In Discordian History: July 20th, 2000

“And so it is that we, as men, do not exist until we do; and then it is that we play with our world of existent things, and order and disorder them, and so it shall be that non-existence shall take us back from existence and that nameless spirituality shall return to Void, like a tired child home from a very wild circus.” —Principia Discordia, pg 00058

Last known whereabouts of Malaclypse the Younger.
Greg Hill—otherwise known to the world as Malaclypse the Younger—died on July 20th, 2000, spending his final days in Pleasant Hill, California at or near the pin you see on this google map.

The address I used for the web search (of the last known whereabouts of Greg Hill) was actually the residence of a fellow named Allen “Bud” Simco, who was a long time friend of both Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. In fact, Simco served in the same outfit as Lee Harvey Oswald and Thornley at El Toro Marine Base and actually wrote a chapter for Thornley’s book Oswald titled, aptly enough, “Oswald and Thornley.”

Greg Hill’s A History of Everything

Download PDF.

Simco lived right across the street from Greg Hill at the time of Hill’s passing, and during those final days—Simco told me—he was able to look directly across the street and see Greg through his home office window working at his computer on his final project, A History of Everything (Download PDF).

I was first informed of Greg Hills’s passing in an email from Bob Newport, which included a photo of Greg taken just a few days before he died with text below the photo announcing Newport’s successorship of the Norton Cabal Archives. In this regard, Newport was referring to the Discordian Archives later passed on to me, your humble Discordian chronicler, in 2009.

Daily Planet News Flash: Greg Hill and the Norton Cabal Archives.

Below is an excerpted email from Allen Simco regarding Greg Hill’s passing, which gives a good snapshot of Greg in his final days.

Excerpted email from Allen Simco re: Greg Hill’s passing.

Greg Hill’s dear friends and fellow Discordians—Bob Newport and Louise Lacey—each wrote obits for Greg, shared with you here.

Bob Newport’s obit for Greg Hill.
Louise Lacey’s obit for Greg Hill which she sent to the San Francisco Chronicle. At the bottom of the page Louise wrote: 'This was my obit. The papers didn’t carry it. His mother was glad. She didn’t want any acknowledgement because, she said, Greg didn’t.'
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Chart of the Illuminati Conspiracy: Week 56 of Illuminatus! Group Reading

The Illuminatus! Trilogy.
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.)

Version of the 'Chart of the Illuminati Conspiracy'
found in the Discordian Archives, possibly adapted for Illuminatus! on Page 00097.

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.

'Chart of the World Revolution' discovered in the Discordian Archives.

Illuminati buster,
Mrs. Nesta Webster.
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.

East Village Other,
Conspiracy in America.
Walter Bowart toward
the end of his life.
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.

Ishmael Reed.
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, 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


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!”

Chart: The Conspiracy to Rule the World.

It just goes to show that—after all these years—people are still cranking out these silly charts.

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The Emergence of Hassan i Sabbah X: Week 52 of the Illuminatus! Group Reading

Kerry Thornley in the late-60s.
Photo courtesy of
John F. Carr.
Lady L, F.A.B. in the early-70s.
Photo courtesy of
Louise Lacey.
On page 557 of Illuminatus! we are introduced to Hassan i Sabbah X, a character who—it appears—was first conceptualized by Kerry Thornley in this August 1968 letter to fellow Discordian Louise Lacey (aka Lady L., F.A.B.), all of this part of Operation Mindfuck, the Discordian Society’s clandestine conspiracy to illuminate the opposition.

August 7, 1968 letter from Kerry Thornley to Louise Lacey, page 00001.
Courtesy of Louise Lacey.
August 7, 1968 letter from Kerry Thornley to Louise Lacey, page 00002.
Courtesy of Louise Lacey.

Thornley’s vision for the character was that of a “black writer” who chose the name “as a somewhat whimsical put-on, as Hassan i Sabbah was the Moslem heretic who founded the assassins, after which was patterned the Roshaniya (or Illuminated Ones), after which were patterned the Alumbrados of Spain and the Illuminati of Bavaria…”

Hassan i Sabbah X seems a composite of other black radicals based out of the Berkeley/Oakland area of the era, perhaps inspired to a certain degree by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, who became good friends with Louise Lacey when the two worked together at Ramparts Magazine.

Also identified in Thornley’s letter as part of this Discordian-Illuminati conspiracy was Paul Encimer (aka Dr. Confusion) who—among other endeavors—published St. John’s Bread, a late-60s counterculture magazine that featured Thornley’s classic poem, “Illuminati Lady,” as well as other Discordian writings. (Encimer currently resides in Northern California where he is involved in activist causes.)

Thornley—like fellow Discordian Robert Anton Wilson (RAW)—was well versed in Illuminati mythology and the two were picking each other’s brains on the topic during the period.

Note on Playboy stationary from Robert Anton Wilston to Kerry Thornley.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

These Illuminati discourses ultimately manifested in a letter & answer in the April ‘69 Playboy Advisor, which RAW was then editing, and it was actually RAW—with input from Thornley—who composed both the question and answer.

Playboy Advisor Q&A on the Illuminati.

In addition, this Playboy Advisor letter & answer mentioned a Cal Berkeley campus group which identified itself as “The Bavarian Illuminati” and issued press releases on all sorts of weird subjects. Louise Lacey—as it turns out—was part of this Berkeley campus group, although she doesn’t really remember a lot about that scene other than it was a collective of campus anarchists who did indeed disseminate made-up Illuminati stories in the same manner as Thornley, RAW and other Discordian conspirators who engaged in Operation Mindfuck.

Sharon Presley was another member of this Berkeley group. As Presley revealed to Jesse Walker in The United States of Paranoia: “We actually had a recognized student group at Cal called the Bavarian Illuminati… the by-laws were a hoot; obviously no bureaucrat actually read them.”

Perhaps the key event that sent Thornley, RAW and their fellow Discordian colleagues down this Operation Mindfuck-Illuminati rabbit hole was a fellow named Allan Chapman (mentioned in the Playboy Advisor Q & A), one of the many unofficial investigators (also known as The Dealey Plaza Irregulars) who assisted in the Garrison Investigation.

Chapman subscribed to the theory that the Illuminati was behind the JFK assassination conspiracy, and that these very same illumined ones also controlled all the major television networks. As Thornley later noted:

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

Chapman also authored the theory that one of the JFK shooters had hidden inside a Dealey Plaza storm drain. To this end, Garrison later informed the Illuminati-controlled media that the fatal shot was “fired by a man standing in a sewer manhole.”

Photo of the Dealey Plaza sewer hole from the Garrison Investigation files.

According to RAW, these Discordian Society hijinx set a new mythology in motion:

“The Discordian revelations seem to have pressed a magick button. New exposés of the Illuminati began to appear everywhere, in journals ranging from the extreme Right to the ultra-Left. Some of this was definitely not coming from us Discordians. In fact, one article in the Los Angeles Free Press (FREEP) in 1969 consisted of a taped interview with a black phone-caller who claimed to represent the “Black Mass,” an Afro-Discordian conspiracy we had never heard of. He took credit, on behalf of the Black Mass and the Discordians, for all the bombings elsewhere attributed to the Weather Underground.” (Cosmic Trigger, p. 64)

During a 2003 interview with this author, RAW noted that the black Discordian phone caller in the FREEP article identified himself as “Hassan-i-Sabbah X.” Over time, Hassan-i-Sabbah X’s name would appear in a number of Discordian related writings—including Illuminatus!—so, it would appear, the FREEP “Black Mass” article was a Discordian Society prank that may have been perpetrated by Kerry Thornley, although Thornley never admitted a role in this hoax. Whatever the case, the article in question deeply disturbed Greg Hill with its association of Discordianism to terrorist activities.

In a January 24th, 1971 letter to Greg Hill, Thornley wrote: “I’m fairly sure the FREEP interview was the work of Mord (Robert Anton Wilson)—as I see signs of his style and sense of humor in it…” However, it should be noted that Discordian Society member Roger Lovin (aka Fang The Unwashed) worked for the FREEP from 1969-1972, so his name can also be added to the list of suspects who may have perpetrated this ruse—if it was indeed a put-on. A more disturbing explanation is that neither RAW, Thornley or Lovin had anything to do with the “Black Mass” article and like so many other strange occurrences surrounding Kerry Thornley’s life, the answer will forever remain a mystery.

For more insights into Illuminatus!, you can find the group reading page at

book discordianism greg hill louise lacey principia discordia writings

Greyface: Week 29 Illuminatus! Group Reading

On page 291 of Illuminatus! (Amazon), Saul realizes he has been a puppet of The Grayface, which is another nod and wink to Discordianism, namely “The Curse of Greyface” written by Mal-2 (aka Greg Hill) that first appeared in the 4th edition the Principia Discordia.

Curse of Greyface

After reading this passage, Lady L., F.A.B. (aka Louise Lacey) remarked: “The problem in the world today is that the hunch-brains are united.”

Get in on the curse at Illuminatus! Online Reading Group.

A Discordian Flyer mentioning the Curse of Greyface.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
book camden benares discordian timeline discordianism greg hill illuminatus! john f. carr kerry thornley louise lacey principia discordia robert anton wilson robert shea roger lovin writings

Early Discordian Authors In Print As Of 1977

Letter from Camden Benares to Louise Lacey, September 8, 1976. Courtesy of Louise Lacey.
In this 1976 letter to Louise Lacey, Camden Benares reflects on his life as a writer—of both Zen and porn—noting that Zen Without Zen Masters was scheduled for release in the spring of 1977. In addition, Camden mentions a science fiction collaboration in the works between he and his Discordian pal John F. Carr, a book that was finally published in the futuristic faraway year of 2013 and chronicled in my previous post “The Discordian Sci-Fi Series That Almost Never Was.

Camden congratulates Louise on the recent publication of Lunaception, her landmark work on a natural method to conception, using the phases of the moon as a guide, a concept later explored by Tom Robbins in Still Life With Woodpecker.

Camden also floats the idea of putting together a list of Discordian books then in publication. With that theme in mind, here is just such a list, a snap shot in time of books in print by Discordian authors as of 1977.

Early Discordian Authors In Print As Of 1977

Kerry Thornley
New Classics Library, 1965

Principia Discordia
Malaclypse the Younger
Rip Off Press, March 1970
Amazon | Wikipedia

The Sex Magicians
Robert Anton Wilson,
Sheffield House Books, 1973
Wikipedia | PDF

The Complete Motorcycle
Nomad: A Guide To
Machines, Equipment,
People, And Places

Roger Lovin
Little, Brown, 1974
Amazon | 1973 Kirkus Review

The Book of the Breast
Robert Anton Wilson
Playboy Press, 1974
Amazon | Wikipedia

Back In The Sack
Judith Abrahms
Moonrise Press, 1975

Lunaception: A Feminine
Odyssey into Fertility
and Contraception

Louise Lacey
Coward, McCann &
Geoghegan, 1975
Amazon |

Robert Shea and
Robert Anton Wilson
Dell, 1975
Amazon | Wikipedia
Online Reading Group

The Ophidian Conspiracy
John F. Carr
Major Books, 1976

Zen Without Zen Masters
Camden Benares
And/Or Press, 1977




discordianism letters louise lacey robert anton wilson

A Letter From RAW To Lady L

Those Early Discordians were always sending humorous letters to one another, such as this little ditty from Mord Mal (short for Mordecai Malignatus aka RAW) to Lady L (aka Louise Lacey) sometime during the early-70s.

When I asked Louise permission to post it, she gave the A-OK under the proviso that she wanted to emphasize there was never any romantic relationship between she and RAW—or for that matter with any other of her fellow Discordian brethren—and that the letter was most likely meant as some sort of mystifying joke for future generations to ponder.

Letter from Robert Anton Wilson to Louise Lacey, early 1970s.
Courtesy of Louise Lacey from the Discordian Archives.
art discordianism louise lacey robert anton wilson robert newport robert shea

Discordian Artifacts Framed!

Framed Discordian Artifacts. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
A couple years ago or so, I was given Emperor Norton’s gravestone rubbing from an East Coaster named Fred McCann, a young twenty-something fellow who had read my book The Prankster and The Conspiracy and, due partly to it, traveled out to California to interview Early Discordians Louise Lacey and Bob Newport.

Along the way, Fred made a pilgrimage to Emperor Norton’s grave and the rest, as they say, is history.

Afterwards, I got the notion to take said rubbing and combine it with some other Discordian Archives artifacts, which I only finally got around to doing the other day. Anyway, here ‘tis, including the third edition of Principia Discordia, flax notes from both Omar and Mal, not to mention a Hail Eris bumper sticker designed by RAW himself, as well as several fnords!