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Robert Preston’s Cover Illustration For Caught in the Crossfire

Caught in the Crossfire:
Kerry Thornley,
Lee Oswald and
the Garrison Investigation

Order The Chaos Now!
Feral House just recently released my latest effort involving the Discordian Archives, Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Feral House, Amazon), which features the fine cover art of Robert Preston.

Sometime back, I became facebook friends with Robert and played a role—as I recall—in inspiring his Lone Nut Series, this after seeing some of Robert’s conspiratorially influenced paintings on facebook.

At that time, I floated the idea that he ought to do some “Lone Nut Trading Cards” and from there Robert put his own spin on the theme in a series of paintings recently on display at the Conspiracy Store in San Diego.

Preston's Lone Nut paintings on display at Ron Patton's Conspiracy Store in San Diego, CA.

Earlier this year—as Caught in the Crossfire was in development—I suggested to Feral House publisher Adam Parfrey a front cover concept featuring a photo of Kerry Thornley (from The Tampa Tribune, February 22nd, 1968) where he’s holding his hand by the side of his face like he was either being swore in before the grand jury or, conversely, trying to brush back bothersome journalists buzzing around him like flies after a trying day of testimony.

The Tampa Tribune, February 22, 1968, Garrison Cites Thornley for perjury.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

I suggested to Parfrey that we take this newspaper image and superimpose smaller images of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jim Garrison into the cover concept, as meanwhile thinking in the back of my mind, it’d be cool to have Robert Preston do the artwork—although I didn’t mention this to Parfrey at the time.

Parfrey shortly after emailed me back and asked if I knew Robert Preston and how would I feel about him illustrating the cover(!), which is just the type of synchronicities I always seem to encounter during the course of book projects, and in particular the Discordian related projects I’ve worked on over the years.

Hail Eris!

Oh, and buy my books!

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Lost Treasure of Eris Revisited

We recently posted some scans from a little Discordian ditty called the Lost Treasure of Eris.

The fellow who sent the scans, Alfred Vitale, was pleased as punch about this, and sent me a few more snapshots of this Erisian wonder, along with these comments:

LOVED the piece on your blog! Finally started Historia Discordia… it is awesome! I will write more in detail at some point soon… it makes me laugh out loud. Nobody in my house knows what Discordianism is… but I’ve tried to share Principia and whatever doctrinal witticisms I could, but they just rolled their eyes. Same thing happened when I gave a talk recently at a high school. 15 kids in the room, but ONE of them decided to go check out Principia online… perhaps a seed planted. But I think your book has made my wife and daughter believe that my lunacy is not so unique now… so thanks 🙂

I had to use my camera phone because the book’s a bit fragile and if I lay it flat it may fall apart. These are a couple of random page shots—not complete pages, but maybe helpful?

The Lost Treasure of Eris,
page on the books publication.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.
The Lost Treasure of Eris,
Eris Training.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.

The Lost Treasure of Eris,
page on Aleister Crowley.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.
The Lost Treasure of Eris,
The Book of Gammy Grogs.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.

book discordianism photo principia discordia writings

An Amazing Discordian Discovery: The Lost Treasure of Eris

The Lost Treasure of Eris,
inside page.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.
The Lost Treasure of Eris,
cover page.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.
The Lost Treasure of Eris,
back page.
Courtesy of Alfred Vitale.
Thanks to Alfred Vitale for sharing these scans of a rare and for the most part unknown Discordian tract entitled The Lost Treasure of Eris: Or How Eris Found Me, and What She Did to Me, When She Found Me !?! published by KALLISTI Productions in 1987 with an introduction by Episcopos BOB Invisibilus Invinsicilus—which seems like an appropriate name for someone introducing a Discordian book due to the fact that darn near ⅓ of the first wave of Discordians were named Bob—and trust me that’s no exaggeration. This early Discordian Bob Cabal included Wilson, Shea, McElroy, Yeager, Newport (and I’m probably forgetting 2 or 3)—not to mention Roger Lovin, whose middle name was Robert. (Bob Dobbs is another story.)

The Lost Treasure of Eris also happens to be dedicated to a number of Bobs—including the aforementioned Wilson and Shea—not to mention a certain someone named Banner. In this case, I assume Episcopos BOB was referring to Bob Banner, former editor and publisher of the late, great conspiracy magazine Critique that during the course of its run would occasionally feature articles by RAW.

The Illuminoids and Critique magazine.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Here’s an excerpt from Jesse Walker’s The United States of Paranoia (Amazon) that talks about Bob Banner and Critique.

The Lost Treasure of Eris dedication page also acknowledges Neil Wilgus, author of The Illuminoids, another must-have book for one’s Illuminati Discordian-library back in the day when the Eye in the Pyramid had suddenly become all the rage.

Den of Discordian Iniquity: Magickal Childe Bookstore, late 1980s.
Alfred informs me that he discovered The Lost Treasure of Eris at the Magickal Childe book store in NYC in the 1980s. If memory serves me correctly, this is where Mark Philip Steele (creator of the Illuminatus! comix) told me he came across a copy of the ultra rare Revisionist Edition of the Principia Discordia (circa ’76.)

So it appears that the Magickal Childe had an affinity for Discordian obscurities such as these.

Alfred and I would like to track down the origins of this strange relic—The Lost Treasure of Eris—that was supposedly first published 10 years or so before its ’87 re-publication. So if you have any info please let us know!

discordianism photo

The Passing of Empress Norton

Widow Norton grave site.
As a follow up to young Clutterbuck’s post on Emperor Norton, I wanted to mention that last spring, St. Mae of treated my wife and I to a tour of the fabled grave site of the Emperor, which is located—as young Clutterbuck mentioned—at one of the many cemeteries located in Colma, California, otherwise known as the “City of the Graves,” the city with more cemeteries per capita than any other in these United States.

The Widow Norton.
During our visit, St. Mae dropped some additional Emperor Norton knowledge on us of which I was previously unawares—that located right beside the Emperor’s grave was the future burial plot of The Widow Norton (aka José Sarria), a famous San Francisco drag queen who’d been instrumental in maintaining the Emperor Norton’s grave site over the years, as well as somehow wedding him along the way.

Also sharing plots adjacent to Emperor Norton and his beloved Empress were four other drag queen comrades of the Widow Norton—some still living, others having shed the mortal coil.

Grave sites of the other cross-dressing colleagues of the Widow Norton.
Shortly after our Emperor Norton grave site visit—in September 2013—I learned of the passing of José Sarria who, I soon discovered, was much more than a mere cross dressing widowed Empress, but also known as the “Rosa Parks of the gay rights movement.”

Read more about Sarria’s passing here.

Sounds like they had a hell of a going away party for the Empress!

Live Like Norton!

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Behold! A fnord of beauty and chaos…

Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society
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discordianism greg hill photo

Photocopy of Greg Hill Photo

There’s not a whole lot of Greg Hill photos extant, so I submit the following, a photocopy of a Greg Hill photo that looks to be from the mid-to-late-70s. In said photo, Greg reminds me of Walt Whitman, for some reason.

A contemplative Malaclypse the Younger.

Photocopy of a mid-to-late 1970s photo of Greg Hill. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
greg hill interview kerry thornley monkey business photo

The CalHi Pranksters

Kerry Thornley’s Senior Class photo, CalHi, 1957.
Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bortin.
In The Prankster and the Conspiracy, Kerry Thornley’s high school friend, Sylvia Bortin, recalled an infamous hoax which occurred in Drama Class at CalHi (Whittier, California).

Apparently the perpetrators — Kerry, Greg Hill and other unnamed cohorts — made a recording of what, at first, appeared to be a regular radio program, with music playing innocently from a radio positioned on the apron of the stage. In actuality, the sounds were projected from a reel-to-reel tape machine hidden backstage. Inserted into the seemingly mundane radio program, our merry pranksters had planted a series of interruptions, made by a newscaster, to the effect that Soviet planes were invading the U.S. and dropping bombs.

Photo of Greg Hill with the CalHi (Sophomore Class) Drama Club in 1957. Greg, who over the years cultivated a fetish for rubber stamps (featured prominently in the Principia Discordia), applied a stamp over his picture in the photo (center, top row).
Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bortin.
As Sylvia recalled:

“Somebody had told me early on that it was a joke, but some of the students didn’t know and got really scared… What made me feel bad was that one of the boys in the class was so scared that he was praying.”