I recently received a very generous care package (that synchronistically weighed in at exactly 23lbs) from the fine folks at Illuminated Brew Works, that included some cool swag along with a selection of their top-notch beer adorned with some of the coolest artwork/labels you’ll find on this or any other planet.
My fav among this trove of tasty of whistle-wetter’s was “Your Soul, A UFO” which includes these illuminating words featured below from the renowned academic psychonaut, Dr. Jeffrey Kripal.
Not only does Illuminated Brew Works offer a rotating selection of great beers with ingenious packaging, but they also have their very own Lodge (in the Windy City) where you can be initiated as a club member if you pass through all the required rituals/degrees, which will then earn you a set of wings and a Passport to Magonia. Having already earned a 33rd degree grandmaster rating at several magical orders, the Illuminated Ascended Masters (ASM) at Illuminated Brew Works (IBW) went ahead and awarded yours truly my very own set of wings without ever having to actually cross the Abyss and travel to Chicago and down a pint of Adrenochrome in under 23 seconds.
Whatever the case, I definitely hope to travel to the windy city at some point in the near future to meet up with my illuminated beer enthusiast brethren and sistern.
According to a recent post on RAWillumination, Hilaritas Press at long last, is poised to publish RAW’s Starseed Signals: Link Between Worlds, a book project I worked on for what seemed like dog years (Sirius-ly) when I was involved with the initial publisher who signed onto the project, RVP Press. However, at some point in this cosmic caper, RVP had a falling out with the RAW Trust, and the book deal fell through—as book deals sometimes do—in the wacky world of publishing.
Among the contributions I made to the RVP-never-to-be-version was the following foreword I share with you now (which alas fell by the wayside in the fallout from the aforementioned RVP/RAW Trust kerfuffle) providing my perspective of what you can look forward to when Starseed Signals hits the streets, maybe as soon as July according to my sources on the Dog Star.
So hop aboard this mighty spaceship, ye psychonauts, and away we go…
A Mission to the Stars
Welcome to the future past. This book is a literal time/space capsule, recounting a golden era of possibilities, of searching and experimentation. Starseed Signals chronicles a significant period in the life of Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) as a writer and thinker, charting his explorations into consciousness expansion, knowledge acceleration, life extension, space travel and many other themes that set the stage for his subsequent literary endeavors. In addition, Starseed Signals laid the foundation for RAW’s landmark work Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati, so don’t be surprised if some of the passages in this book seem familiar, to be later lifted and inserted into the Cosmic Trigger narrative.
Starseed Signals was dashed off over a two-week period in early 1975, a burst of energy supplied by the sudden turmoil and controversy surrounding his friendship and collaborations with the infamous Dr. Timothy Leary, who RAW perceived as one of the most brilliant, yet misunderstood minds of not only his generation, but of any.
During this period—as Leary sat caged in prison on trumped up drug charges—he and RAW conceptualized a book project entitled A Periodic Table of Energy, a scientific system of neuro-psychology based on eight evolutionary circuits, or steps, through which humanity progresses, with the latter circuit propelling WoMan to the stars, the ultimate evolution, our union with the infinite and quest for immortality.
To many, now and then, such flights of fancy seem naught but the brain-damaged blatherings of aging hippies who blew their minds one too many times. Or, perhaps, Dr. Leary was too far ahead of his time for his own good. As documented in Starseed Signals—from those long-ago years of 1961-62—Leary conducted an inmate rehabilitation project using LSD therapy which achieved positive results in reducing recidivism in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
Now in this far out year of 2015, LSD research has experienced a renaissance and is once again on the radar of scientists and clinical psychologists as a tool to treat alcoholism and other maladies, including severe cases of autism. That it has taken 50+ years for such “groundbreaking” research to come full circle and again be taken seriously by the scientific community speaks to Dr. Leary’s vision of the future, one in which tools such as LSD can be used to meta-program the human nervous system and ultimately evolve the species.
Just the same, Leary contributed to his own undoing by opening “the doors of perception” too abruptly for some, as the Establishment wasn’t ready for the type of freedom he was peddling: “Turn on, tune in and drop out.” And, frankly, a lot of young heads weren’t ready for it either, although the sensationalized “bummer trip” stories of the period seemed highly exaggerated; all those supposed blown minds who stared at the sun until their eyeballs melted from the sockets; or like Art Linkletter’s daughter jumping out of a tenth story window expecting she could fly. Such hysteria precipitated a Leary backlash as he was portrayed in the media as an acid gobbling mad scientist poised to corrupt an entire nation and generation, and so had to be brought down and made an example of.
Seen through a more rational lens—and in retrospect of nearly half a century gone by—Leary can now be viewed as a transcendent agent of change engaged in the process of accelerating our evolutionary cycle, who ran afoul of the Establishment, yet ultimately triumphed by living life on his own terms.
During the early seventies—as Leary had become ingrained as a household name that would live in infamy—RAW began trying alternative religions on for size, including wicca and magick, and in particular a Crowleyean ritual known as the “Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel,” which he invoked on the momentous date of July 23rd, 1973. In the ritual’s aftermath, RAW encountered what he perceived as an ascended master who instructed him on the significance of the star system Sirius. RAW later discovered that July 23rd is the very day when Sirius rises behind the sun, the fabled Dog days.
During the same period RAW was experiencing “telepathic communications from Sirius”—a number of other writers and psychedelic researchers were entertaining otherworldly encounters, such as science fiction author Philip K. Dick (PKD) who experienced similar communications with certain entities from Sirius as recounted in his semi-autobiographical novel VALIS. Concurrently, British novelist Doris Lessing had began a series of Sci-Fi novels, a departure from her previous books. In the third novel of this series, The Sirian Experiments, Lessing relates a tale with stunning similarities to those of RAW and PKD. It was only later that Wilson, Dick and Lessing discovered they were having these experiences simultaneously, albeit unbeknownst to each other. Meanwhile—during the aforementioned Dog Days of July-August 1973—RAW’s good friend Dr. Leary, then serving time at Folsom, formed a four-person telepathy team, the intent of which was “… to achieve telepathic communication with Higher Intelligence elsewhere in the galaxy.” At the same time Leary received his “Starseed Transmissions,” another psychedelic pioneer, Dr. John Lilly, was having his own series of interstellar communications with a network of entities known as ECCO, “Earth Coincidence Control Office.” It should be further noted that 1973 was a peak year of UFO sightings, so something indeed was in the air.
As these apparent extraterrestrial communications were invading our earth-space, suddenly all contact with Leary broke off as he was held incommunicado amid rumors he’d become a fink for the Feds, ratting out his old counterculture cronies to cut a deal to get himself out of the joint. The hysteria and paranoia of this period is well documented in Starseed Signals, providing the background—the set and setting—for the climate of the times.
At the time of the writing of Starseed Signals, the sixties looked a thousand light years away in the rear-view mirror as the lost idealism of that decade bled over into the early seventies. A hung-over generation awoke one morning to discover President Nixon’s “War on Drugs” in full force, its crosshairs trained on the country’s youth, poor and minorities; draconian drug laws designed, it seemed, to create a prison state of mind, with Dr. Timothy Leary—who Nixon proclaimed “the most dangerous man in America”—serving as the poster boy for all things immoral and indecent.
Early on in Starseed Signals, RAW warns about this Second Coming of the Holy Inquisition, Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” and how it led to Leary’s political persecution. RAW’s pronouncements—which, to the more sober minded in 1975 probably came across as a bit on the paranoid side and seemingly steeped in rhetoric—are now but a cautionary tale come true, as seen in the aftermath of 9/11 with the advent of the Patriot Act, and the countless other resurrections of the “War on Drugs” that are rolled out every decade or so to remind us of the consequences of having too much fun, or being allowed to operate our own brains in the manner we see fit.
Eventually the dust would settle in early 1976 when California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown released Leary from his prison sentence. This, naturally, turned another page in the many lives of Dr. Leary—and RAW, as well. Afterwards, Starseed Signals was jettisoned into deep space as the impetus to publish the book lost steam and relevance amid these happenings. Nonetheless, the historical significance of Starseed Signals as an autobiographical period piece is well worth the price of admission, starting with RAW’s peyote peregrinations of the early sixties all the way to envisioned space explorations in cahoots with Leary, in addition to several other tributaries and trajectories explored along the way.
Join us now on our mission to the stars. Turn on, tune in, turn the page…
Trigger Warning: The following article is at least two degrees removed from Discordianism… but it is confusing as hell, so there’s that.
For those who’ve dipped their toes into conspiratorial lore, Fred Crisman turns up all over the place; first with the Maury Island UFO incident, and then later his alleged role in the JFK assassination, rumored to have been one of the three mystery tramps picked up in Dealey Plaza after the dirty deed went down. You can take a deeper dive into Crisman and the Maury UFO incident at this previous link, part of our startling six-part Raymond Broshears’ series.
As it turns out, Maury Island wasn’t Fred Crisman’s first and only UFO rodeo. Recent sleuthing by intrepid researchers Jeff Suwak and Kirk Nelson (with a little assistance from yours truly) have uncovered Crisman’s possible ties to a UFO channeling group identified as “Service Awareness” that were mentioned in Crisman’s testimony before the Orleans Parish grand jury during the Jim Garrison investigation.
As noted in part two of our Rev. Broshears extravaganza, Garrison suspected (or believed, or pretended to believe) that an assortment of fringe religious groups—or “odd sects” as he called them—had been used as fronts for a sprawling JFK assassination conspiracy; political assassins running around in clerical garb with instruments of death concealed within the flowing folds of their robes!
As stated in the passage above, when a Garrison staffer quizzed him about “Service Awareness,” Crisman claimed he had no involvement with the group. However, “Service Awareness” was a transcription error; it should have read: “Servants of Awareness.” So who the heck were they?
“On Thanksgiving day, 1962 a voice expressing itself as Cosmic Awareness began speaking through a university lecturer and ex-army officer who had been in the Bataan Death March.” 00001
The “university lecturer and ex-army officer” was a fellow named Frank Duby, thereafter referred to as the “Interpreter.” According to Cosmic Awareness newsletter: “…[Duby] began studies in depth psychology at [a] Seattle church through funding given by the CIA…” 00002 and it was this “depth psychology” research that led to the formation of a Servants of Awareness forerunner, the Organization of Awareness.
“After several severe heart attacks, the interpreter, Ralph [Duby], finally transitioned in January 1967… After the passing of their interpreter the Organization of Awareness experienced much upheaval. Financial stress and disagreements over what information should be released led to a splintering of the organization and its eventual collapse.
“Organization of Awareness ended shortly thereafter and Servants of Awareness was founded, with David Worcester as its Interpreter. This incarnation continued for 3 years…David hosted an ‘August Affair’ and at this function the future founders of CAC [Cosmic Awareness Communications] were approached by Paul Shockley, a man who would change their lives. Paul was doing Awareness readings but had no idea how to make them available for the good of all people, so they put their heads together and began to go down a path that would become a powerful force for good in so many lives…”
In 1970, as noted above, Paul Shockley became the lead channeler—or “Interpreter”—for CAC. Around this time, the channelings took on a distinctly darker and more conspiratorial tone, as documented in this channeled message dated December 9, 1976.
When I came across these supposed CIA connections to the Servants of Awareness, I immediately flashed on Fred Crisman, who was never bashful about fostering the legend that he was some sort of super spook involved with UFOs and all manner of paranormal intrigue. So I could totally see Crisman pushing the idea he was a CIA mastermind to impress Servants of Awareness members or gain some standing in the group.
As it turns out, Mellen lifted these Crisman/Servants of Awareness allegations from an article published in the November 1975 issue of Crawdaddy magazine that was attributed to the Assassination Information Bureau (AIB), a clearinghouse for JFK assassination info founded in 1972 by Carl Oglesby, author of The Yankee and Cowboy War.
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, AIB played a pivotal role in petitioning congress to launch the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1976. None of this, however, answers the question of where this provocative information concerning Crisman and the Servants of Awareness originated, but my guess is that it circles back to Garrison and a handful of “Dealey Plaza Irregulars” who were feeding Big Jim leads, which he then threw against the wall to see what would stick.
Aside from those two tantalizing tidbits (the snippet from Crisman’s grand jury testimony and the Crawdaddy article) I’ve thus far been unable to find any other evidence linking Crisman with the Servants of Awareness.
To recap, the first iteration of the Servants of Awareness was known as the “Organization of Awareness,” which was an outgrowth of a “church” in Seattle involved in “depth psychology.” The church, in this instance, was the Center of Integration, founded in 1953 by a fellow named Bob Carr, who carved out a niche for himself as a trance channeler along the lines of Edgar Cayce. In this regard, Carr conducted trance readings for individuals to help cure them of sicknesses, both physical and mental, and provided personal counseling, a sort of psychic life coach. Over time, Carr gained a somewhat sizable following which you can learn more about in God Men Con Men: Pursuit of Truth.
A key figure in the Center of Integration scene was the aforementioned Ralph Duby, who later became the first “Interpreter” of the Organization of Awareness (a forerunner to the Servants of Awareness). Another Center of Integration alumnus, David Worcester, took over the “Interpreter” role after Duby’s death in 1967, and at that time the group splintered into a number of factions, one of which was Servants of Awareness. (If you’ve been able to follow along thus far, I commend you, because it only becomes more confusing from here, Hail Eris!)
Back in 1958, the lead channeler at the Center of Integration, Bob Carr, discovered that—due to the church’s non-profit status—they could obtain free quantities of d-lysergic acid 25 for “research purposes” direct from Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland. This resulted in the acquisition of 100 milligrams of the mighty molecule, which the group then used to great effect during channeling sessions. In the video below, Bob Carr, discusses this period.
LSD channeling sessions appeared to have reached a peak during the Servants of Awareness era (1967-1970), as things got pretty loosey-goosey with David Worcester filling the role as lead “Interpreter.” According to Revelations of Awareness, the Cosmic Awareness newsletter, 10th anniversary edition:
[Worcester] was a very interesting person. He was a good conductor of LSD sessions for many entities, guiding them through the Bardos and death experience ala the Tibetan Book of the Dead. He [would]…switch on the TV news with Walter Cronkite, pull up a stool, light up, and sit before the TV and talk back to Walter Cronkite. David swore the words were being heard by the newscaster as he read the controlled news from his script and that this routine was changing consciousness. As a magician, David took a lot of credit for certain events that occurred on the world scene. He implied, for example that an earthquake in India was the direct result of a fart he let in Olympia while watching the evening news.”
Now, back to Fred Crisman, and what if any interactions he actually had with the Servants of Awareness. Let’s first examine the drug angle. We do know that, according to a police reports, Crisman was arrested on March 19, 1957 for drunk driving and disorderly conduct, at which time it was discovered he was also under the influence of barbiturates. According to his arrest report, Crisman pulled a gun on the arresting officer. Not smart!
Due to this incident, Crisman was fired from his job as the Superintendent of Schools in Elgin, Oregon. 00003 A second arrest occurred in October 1968, when he was arrested for reckless driving and carrying a concealed weapon.
By 1963, Crisman was employed as a substitute teacher at Mount Rainer High School, a time period that would later become the focus of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, who examined Crisman’s alleged role as one of the three mystery tramps apparently up to no good in Dealey Plaza. The HSCA ultimately determined that Crisman had an iron clad alibi for that infamous day, November 22, 1963, when JFK was blown away.
In 1964, Crisman landed a full-time teaching gig at Cascade Union High School in Salem, Oregon, a position that lasted a mere two years before he was fired for “forming a secret student organization… Crisman formed the organization and conducted meetings on school premises without authority.” A subsequent school board ruling stated that the “organization is of such a nature that it should not be condoned or authorized to exist in this district.”
The above news article begs the question: Was Crisman recruiting students at Cascade Union into a secret psychedelic saucer cult otherwise known as The Servants of Awareness? Seems like a stretch, perhaps, but Crisman was evidently up to something shady. But wasn’t he always?
Another possibility is that Crisman was recruiting students into some sort of shadowy conservative-minded cabal, as he was active as a right-wing operative during this period, as documented in his mighty tome Murder of a City, written under the non-de-plume of Jon Gold, a pseudonym Crisman also employed for the talk radio show he hosted on station KAYE in Puyallup, just a stone’s throw from Tacoma.
Murder of a City is a good place to sniff for clues about what Crisman was up to during the Servants of Awareness period (1967-1970). I recently acquired a copy of this oh, so rare book, which I soon discovered was self-published by Crisman and his buddy Harold Dahl of Maury Island saucer fame (or infamy). Or at least that appears to have been the case according to a note I discovered in said book.
Murder of a City is a prism to gain insight into Crisman’s strange universe, covering the timeframe he *might* have interacted with the Servants of Awareness, who were located in Olympia, 30 miles from Tacoma. The basic story presented in Murder of a City is that Crisman returned to his hometown of Tacoma in ‘66 or ‘67ish and was horrified at what had become of his formerly fair city that’d been overtaken by the dreaded “City Manager” system that—according to Crisman—was a racket for local politicians to line their pockets under the guise of “urban renewal.”
Murder of a City comes across as an extended bitch session in grievance politics, reading like spin and projection (i.e. Crisman blaming others for himself being a shady sort of character); an alternative history Crisman most likely concocted to muddy the waters about several seemingly sketchy schemes he’d been involved in with Thomas Beckham.
The spin I’m referring can be detected early on in Murder of a City when Crisman suggests that the fellow who ran the local Tacoma branch of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), was in cahoots with the very same corrupt city officials who—according to Crisman—had made his life a living hell by pushing a “Far Left” agenda that was quickly turning his beloved Tacoma into a Socialist shithole. Crisman, however, fails to mention that the Tacoma BBB had uncovered a slew of fraudulent businesses he had started with his young oddball associate, Tom Beckman. In Murder of a City, Crisman also badmouths a Tacoma News-Times reporter named Edd Jeffers who in the November 1, 1968 edition wrote that:
“In late 1968, Crisman and Thomas Edward Beckham incorporated seven businesses in Olympia according to the police department there.
Among the companies were the Northwest Relief Society, Associated Discount Services, TAB Productions, Inc., Professional Research Bureau and the National Institute of Criminology.”
Murder of a City includes a chapter called “The Big Frame” that may provide a clue as to these claims that Crisman (possibly in cahoots the Servants of Awareness) had been involved in some sort of drug ring.
This “Big Frame” chapter deals with a supposed plot by Crisman’s perceived adversaries: City Manager of Tacoma, David Rowlands, and his cadre of commie confederates that included reporters for the Tacoma News-Times, local law enforcement, and almost all of city government (not to mention the Tacoma Better Business Bureau!) in a scam to set up Crisman and his right wing allies, chief among them a fellow named Marshall Riconosciuto.
Riconosciuto ran a PR firm and had his hand in a number of fly-by-night businesses, one of which entailed the acquisition of a pharmaceutical company (or at least that was Crisman’s account of the story). After acquiring this company—which he renamed Drug Sales West—Riconosciuto mothballed some of the lab equipment that came along with the deal at a warehouse in Tacoma that was subsequently broken into and the lab equipment stolen. This lab equipment—once again according to Crisman—later turned up at a major drug bust, an incident recounted in Murder of a City in which Crisman quotes an article from the Tacoma News-Times concerning a police raid of the “largest amount of LSD that had ever been found on the West Coast.” Unfortunately, Crisman failed to give a date for the drug raid, which makes confirming his claim/article problematic (I haven’t had any luck as of yet), but whatever the case, his position was that this drug raid was part of the “Big Frame,” and that the lab equipment in question had supposedly been used to cook-up this record-breaking haul of LSD.
Crisman, quite naturally, blamed the “Big Frame” on his enemies in city government who were comprised of a contingent of left wingers aided in their efforts by a long-haired hopped-up hippie menace in tandem with the Tacoma chapter of the Black Panthers waging war against a proud faction of Crisman-led right wing zealots whose mission in life was to save Tacoma from the ravages of Socialism, interracial marriage and rampant drug use then sweeping the country!
Below is a photo ripped from the pages of Murder of a City depicting a notorious alleyway where apparently a high volume of drug dealing went on that Crisman (at least according to Crisman) was attempting to expose. What’s peculiar about the photo is that I could find no other mention about this perfidious pool-hall/alleyway mentioned elsewhere in Murder of a City.
Elsewhere in Murder of a City, Crisman claimed that a number of death-threats were made against him by Dave Rowland’s band of thugs, and that on one occasion he was shot at and ran off the road. What’s more, Crisman claimed that the radio station he broadcasted from under his Jon Gold persona had been wiretapped and, in retaliation, Crisman and his cohorts bugged the offices of the City Manager Rowlands as part of an all out war for the soul of the city! That gives you an idea of the tenor and tone of Murder of a City, which can best be described by this observer as a literary “hot mess.”
At the end of the day, I still don’t know what to make of this allegation that Crisman was involved in peddling dope with the Servants of Awareness, and all of these tenuous connections I’ve laid out here ultimately leave us with more questions to ponder than any actual answers.
The search continues…
00001The Sound, the official publication of Cosmic Awareness Communications. Date unknown.
Our last entry recounted Rev. Broshears’ association with Jim Garrison’s investigation, and what Garrison called “Odd Sects” (not to be confused with “odd sex”!) that included a cast of characters scattered not only across JFK assassination lore, but also the funky field of ufology.
Ufology—for those not in the know—is the study of flying saucers, and the spacemen (or spacewomen) who flew in them. As good a place as any to start tugging on this Broshears-UFO thread is with Fred Crisman, who as noted in past installments was (allegedly) one of the three mystery tramps (apparently up to no good) picked up in Dealey Plaza following the JFK’s assassination. But long before Kennedy’s assassination was but a gleam in his eye, Crisman—along with a buddy named Harold Dahl—gained notoriety (or infamy, as the case may be) for their involvement in the Maury Island UFO Incident.
Before traveling back in time to Maury Island, we should acknowledge Kenneth Arnolds’ sighting of “nine gleaming objects” over Mt. Rainer in Washington State on June 24, 1947, an incident that essentially launched the Modern Era of UFOs. An experienced pilot with over 9,000 hours of flight time, Arnold’s sighting added an air of seeming legitimacy to what was considered, at the time, the playing field of crackpots and hoaxers. Not long after his seminal sighting, Arnold became acquainted with Ray Palmer, publisher of the science fiction pulp magazine Amazing Stories, which featured not only the standard sci-fi fare, but also Richard Shaver’s supposedly non-fiction accounts of encounters with diabolical subterranean creatures called Deros who first appeared in his story, “I Remember Lemuria.”
In July of ’47, Palmer received a cigar box filled with “flying saucer fragments” mailed to him from two men in Tacoma, Washington: Fred Crisman and Harold Dahl. Needless to say, Palmer was a tad dubious about these “flying saucer fragments,” as he’d previously corresponded with Crisman a year earlier. At that time, Crisman claimed that during World War II he and another soldier engaged in a firefight with the some Deros in a cavern in Burma at which time his fellow soldier had been shot with a ray gun that left a dime sized hole in his hand. But that wasn’t all: Crisman offered to travel to a cave in Texas to recover some ancient Dero machinery if Palmer was willing to pony up $500 for expenses. Palmer wisely declined Crisman’s come-on. Not sure what to do with the box of “flying saucer fragments,” Palmer enlisted Kenneth Arnold to investigate what would become known in the annals of ufology as the Maury Island Incident.
On July 29, Arnold flew to Tacoma and his first order of business was to find a hotel room for his stay. After calling around to the cheaper hotels and having no luck securing a room, Arnold phoned the most expensive hotel in town, the Winthrop, and was informed by the desk clerk that there was already a room reserved in his name. When Arnold informed the clerk he hadn’t made a reservation—and that it was probably another person by the same name—he was told that the reservation was indeed booked for a Mr. Kenneth Arnold of Boise, Idaho. Later that day, Arnold interviewed Dahl and Crisman, and this was the story they shared…
On June 21, Dahl (a timber salvage worker/harbor patrolman) was out on his boat on the eastern bay of Maury Island along with his teen-age son and dog when “six large donut-shaped machines” appeared in the sky. One of the ships began laboring when another of its companion craft descended and touched the laboring donut ship as if to repair it, after which it “spewed out” molten fragments—later referred to as “slag”—that rained down on Dahl’s workboat, killing his poor pooch and severely scorching his son’s arm. After ejecting slag spew, the craft rejoined its fellow donut ships and zoomed away. Dahl gathered up some of the slag fragments and returned to the harbor to give his supervisor the lowdown. Dahl’s “supervisor” was Fred Crisman.
Uncertain as to the veracity of Crisman and Dahl’s claims, Arnold called in his friend, Captain E.J. Smith (Big Smithy)—a pilot with United Airlines—to assist in the investigation. On the evening of July 30, Arnold received a phone call from UPI reporter Ted Morello, who said he’d received information from some “crackpot” who repeated a full account of Arnold’s investigation up to that point. This led Arnold to suspect his hotel room had been bugged, and that his reservation surreptitiously arranged so that his activities could be monitored. Throughout his investigation, Arnold attempted to keep it on the down-low, and the only ones privy to his activities were Palmer, Big Smithy, Crisman, and Dahl. Because of this, Arnold grew to suspect that Ted Morello had been tipped off by either Crisman or Dahl in an attempt to promote their story. Concerned he was being set up by a couple of confidence men, Arnold placed a call to Air Force Lt. Frank Brown and Captain William Davidson inviting them to join the investigation. The officers accepted Arnold’s invite and flew to Tacoma that same day, but after questioning Crisman and Dahl, they apparently were unimpressed by the men’s story.
Crisman and Dahl invited the Air Force officers to a boat trip to Maury Island, but Brown and Davidson declined, stating they had to return to California early the next morning. As a parting gift, the officers were given a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes filled with slag fragments. Arnold and Big Smithy, however, agreed to the Maury Island trip, which ultimately turned out to be a bust. According to Dahl and Crisman, their “patrol boat” had been severely damaged by the slag that had rained down, but when Arnold and Big Smithy examined the vessel there were no signs it’d been damaged, or recently repaired; nor was there any indication of it actually being a patrol boat, and it appeared totally unseaworthy. Unsurprisingly, Crisman and Dahl were unable to start the engine of the boat, which seemed like a convenient excuse to cancel the outing.
Shortly after take-off from McChord Field in Tacoma—in the early hours of August 1, 1947—the B-52 transporting officers Brown and Davidson caught fire and went down in flames, killing both men. The next afternoon, the Tacoma Times featured a curious headline: SABOTAGE HINTED IN CRASH OF ARMY BOMBER AT KELSO. The article reported that the B-52 “had been sabotaged ‘or shot down’ to prevent shipment of flying disc fragments…” and “that the ill-fated craft had been carrying ‘classified material.’” One can assume that Crisman had a hand in spinning this tale, which—if such was the case—seemed like a tasteless PR stunt. To this end, many suspect that Crisman cooked up the Maury Island caper, the intent of which was to sell it to Ray Palmer and cash in on the sudden saucer-craze sweeping the nation. This would support the theory that Crisman, under an assumed identity, contacted reporter Morello to leak details of Arnold’s investigation, and that Arnold’s hotel room had not actually been bugged—it was simply Crisman (affecting an anonymous identity) repeating conversations he’d had with Arnold.
In the aftermath of the B-52 crash, Ted Morello contacted Arnold and Big Smithy telling them he’d received another phone call from an anonymous tipster who informed him that the B-52 had been shot out of the sky.00001 Morello’s source added that, immediately following the crash, Crisman had been reactivated for military duty and assigned to Alaska, which suggested the Feds swooped in and spirited him away as a means of quashing further Maury Island inquiries.
Before leaving Tacoma, Big Smithy contacted an Army intelligence officer stationed at McChord Field named Major George Sanders, who met with Arnold and Big Smithy and informed them that the B-52 crash had been an accident, and not the result of sabotage.00002 Sanders then drove the men to a local steel mill to show them a smelter which he believed was the source of the supposedly otherworldly slag.
On Arnold’s flight home, the apparent veil of doom hanging over this episode reared its head when he lost power to the engine of his plane. Fortunately, Arnold was able to land safely in Boise, although afterwards he needed a change of undergarments. Shaken by these events, Arnold dropped the Maury Island case, as he felt no conclusive evidence had emerged during his investigation, as well the suspicion that Crisman and Dahl had been trying to pull a fast one.
A few days after Arnold left Tacoma, Crisman and Dahl visited the local FBI office claiming they had no clue about anything related to Maury Island or a saucer sighting there.00003 Crisman and Dahl’s story was that they’d discovered fragments of what they believed might have been flying saucer, then afterwards sent them to a lab at the University of Chicago for analysis. Somewhere along the way—according to Crisman and Dahl—Ray Palmer learned about the slag and contacted them, which in turn led to Kenneth Arnold’s involvement with the case.
The deeper one delves into the Maury Island Incident, the more conflicting stories emerge, which is to be expected when you have an apparent flimflam man like Crisman involved, as demonstrated in this New York Times story from August 10, 1947.
After the dust (or slag) had settled, Project Sign investigators determined that the Maury Island Incident was a hoax, and at one point the Air Force considered filing charges against Crisman and Dahl. Crisman sent a letter to Fate Magazine in January 1950 denying he’d perpetrated a hoax or that he bore any responsibility for the deaths of the two Air Force officers.00004
Contrary to popular legend, Crisman hadn’t actually been spirited away to Alaska immediately following the Maury Island caper, although he had been called up for active duty in the Korean War in 1951 and assigned overseas as a P-51 fighter pilot. According to researcher Mike Sylwester: “[Crisman] suffered a great deal from a premonition he would be killed, and he was reassigned to fly transport flights between Korea and Japan. Eventually, he began to suffer such anxiety that he was hospitalized in Japan. He began to abuse tranquilizers during this period…”00005
In 1953, Crisman separated from the military, leaving with the rank of reserve major. That same year he became a high school teacher in Elgin, Oregon, and then later, in 1956, the Superintendent of Schools in Huntington, Oregon.
Crisman became “involved in the UFO fringe with Frank Stranges and Wayne Aho” in 1958.00006
That same year, in an issue of Ray Palmer’s Flying Saucer magazine, Crisman (using the pseudonym of Eldon Everett) wrote in to the letters section to recount his Maury Island yarn, in addition to other saucer encounters he’d supposedly experienced in the ensuing years. Also in 1958, Crisman was arrested for drunk driving and disorderly conduct, at which time it was discovered he was under the influence of barbiturates. Due to this incident, Crisman was fired from his teaching job. According to Mike Sylwester: ”[Crisman] aggravated this situation [with the police] by making strange remarks, such as that he had a metal plate in his head.” Following his firing from the teaching job, Crisman worked for a couple years at Boeing Aircraft as a “personnel representative.”
In the mid 1960s, Crisman was joined in his flying saucer hobby by the one and only Thomas Edward Beckham, a colorful and criminally inclined character introduced in Part 00002 of this series.
In his testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978, Beckham stated that “Crisman had been a CIA agent and he had worked on a thing called Project Bluebook…”
Crisman claimed it was Harold Dahl who first introduced him to Tom Beckham, which differed from Beckham’s account, who said he was living in Olympia, Washington, in late 1964 when he came across a magazine ad for membership with a “Parapsychology Association” operated by Crisman. Afterwards, Beckham traveled to Tacoma to meet with Crisman and the two men became partners in a wide range of dubious activities. During this same period, Crisman re-entered the teaching profession with a job at Cascade Union High School in Salem, Oregon, a position that lasted only two years before he was fired for “forming a secret student organization… Crisman formed the organization and conducted meetings on school premises without authority.” A school board ruling stated that the “organization is of such a nature that it should not be condoned or authorized to exist in this district.”
After his dismissal from Cascade Union High School, Crisman began a career as what some have described as a right-wing propagandist employed by the Riconosciuto Marketing Agency. Crisman’s job description included speech writing and PR for conservative politicians in the Tacoma area, activities that overlapped with a daily radio show Crisman hosted, using the alias of Jon Gold, on radio station KAYE. At the time—according to certain accounts—Crisman was involved in spreading political propaganda, which he presented as an anti-corruption campaign waged against local government. Crisman’s version of events was later recounted in Murder of a City… Tacoma (1970), authored by Crisman under his Jon Gold pseudonym. The book blurb for Murder of the City… Tacoma reads:
“Fred L. Crisman, known to his radio and television audiences as Jon Gold… born in Tacoma… was swept up in the battle of political philosophy that now rages in that city… Naming himself a Liberal Democrat, he has been classified as a Far Right extremist… He denies being anything but what he is, a sincere man, dedicated to seeing the return of decent, honest, representative government to his home town. His planned broadcasts of political propaganda were never… other than… propaganda. (A) conspiracy… worked to bar him from the airwaves…”
Murder of the City… Tacoma is quite rare, so I haven’t been able as of yet to lay my hands on a copy, but an industrious researcher named Jeff Suwak has been posting about the book here.
One of the players involved in the Murder of a City saga was Crisman’s boss, Marshall Riconosciuto, the father of Michael Riconosciuto (aka “Danger Man”), a scientific whiz kid who referred to Crisman as his “mentor.” In the early 1980s, Riconosciuto was involved with a secret version of the Promis software a la the Inslaw affair, all part of an elaborate conspiracy laid out in The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro.
In the Martinsburg, West Virginia, hotel room where Casolaro allegedly committed suicide in August of 1991, notes were discovered that mentioned “MJ 12—extraterrestrial,” and “Area #51.” The source of Casolaro’s UFO info was Michael Riconosciuto, who also alleged that Fred Crisman had hoaxed the Maury Island Incident to cover up a radioactive liquid metal that had been sprayed over Maury Island by Boeing Aircraft as part of a secret experiment. As previously noted, Crisman worked at Boeing in the late 1950s/early 1960s, and due to this association conspiracy researchers have connected Boeing and Crisman as agents of the dastardly military-industrial complex that also allegedly had a hand in the JFK assassination dance party.
More saucer news! On August 12, 1967, Fred Crisman and Thomas Beckham organized the “First Midwest UFO Conference” in Omaha, Nebraska, although Crisman was a no-show for the event.00007 That same year, Crisman appeared at the “Northwest UFO Space Convention” in Seattle where he recounted the Maury Island Incident and claimed that he possessed photos of the slag spewing donut ships, but for whatever reasons decided not to present them, nor have these photos ever surfaced, if indeed they ever existed (which of course they probably didn’t).
In early 1968, Crisman (using the pseudonym of Fred Lee) wrote to Lucius Farish of the Parapsychology Research Group, stating that, “Mr. Crisman is probably the most informed man in the United States on UFOs and also one of the hardest to find—as the FBI has learned several times!”00008
Researcher Mike Sylwester interviewed Crisman’s son, Fred Lee Crisman, Jr., who informed him that: “In the last weeks of his life, [Fred Crisman] was at home reading a book about alien abductions, and he suddenly passed out because of kidney failure. When he regained consciousness, he was in an intensive care ward, hooked up to a lot of hospital equipment and surrounded by personnel in masks and gowns. For a few moments, [Crisman] wondered if he himself had been abducted on to a spaceship…”00009 Crisman, at one time or another, claimed that the character of David Vincent, portrayed by Roy Thinnes in the ‘60s TV series The Invaders, was based on his life.
Another odd UFO twist in the Crisman saga was his association with a group called the “Servants of Awareness” that nowadays goes by the name “Cosmic Awareness Communications.” According to JFK assassination researcher Joan Mellen: “By 1968 Crisman would be investigated for narcotics activity in connection with… [the] Servants of Awareness.”00010 In the late 1980s, I became aware of this group courtesy of Tim Cridland’s Off The Deep End zine that featured, on occasion, Cosmic Awareness Communications broadsides and advertisements, such as the kooky one below.
Although there’s no evidence that Rev. Broshears ever met Crisman in the flesh, he corresponded, on occasion, with Thomas Beckham. Beckham, Crisman and Broshears were acquaintances of the Reverend (or Dr., depending on how he wished to present himself) Frank Stranges, author of Stranger At The Pentagon, the story of Venusian Captain “Valiant Thor.” According to Stranges, after Val Thor had met with the President and members of the Joint Chiefs, he had a meeting with Stranges at the Pentagon.
Stranges was director of the National Investigations Committee on Unidentified Flying Objects (NICUFO), a group he started after being kicked out of the more well-known and quasi-respectable National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).
In addition to his saucer activities, Stranges was President of the International Theological Seminary of California, which appears basically to have been a diploma mill he cooked up. To this end, Stranges was famous for bestowing titles upon himself, including the prestigious FBI Gold Medal, which in reality was also a totally made up award. Stranges’ supposed association with the FBI drew the ire of the Secretary of NICAP, Richard Hall, who contacted the Feds on April 27, 1962, as documented in the letter below:
According to an FBI memoranda dated May 3, 1962:
“…a review of the enclosed material indicates that allegations against Dr. Stranges pertain to a period in August and October, 1960. In October, 1960, the Seattle Office conducted an investigation concerning Dr. Stranges after information was received that he was implying that he was at that time or previously connected with the FBI. During the investigation no one was located who had actually heard Dr. Stranges make any such allegation although it was generally conceded that he had left a number of people with such an impression. Dr. Stranges is an evangelist. Based on his background, numerous addresses and organizations which he has had and the fact he claims to have talked to an individual from the planet Venus, it appears he may be also something of a confidence man…”
Rev. Broshears hosted a number of UFO events at which Stranges appeared as guest speaker, such as this following promoted in Broshears’ Light and Understanding from November, 1968.
That same year, Stranges assumed leadership of a “religious organization” formerly overseen by Rev. Broshears called The Council of New Age Churches (CNAC). It’s not clear what CNAC was about, but some of Broshears correspondence suggests it never really amounted to much, but was yet another title that Stranges could add to his ever expanding rolodex of fake titles.
Crisman and Beckham likewise ran a number of dicey diploma mills, and it was from one such that Dr. Stranges earned a Ph.D. from the National Institute of Criminology, a title listed on the back cover of The Stranger from the Pentagon.
Although Stranges presented himself as a pseudo law enforcement official, there’s no indication he was ever on the right side of the law, and on many occasions found himself leaning more towards the dark side. In 1972, an aircraft with a bent propeller attempted to take off from Thermal, California. Besides the pilot, the only other person on board was Rev. Stranges. Police found about 400 pounds of marijuana in the plane. Stranges was convicted of attempting to transport an illegal substance and sentenced to eight months in prison and three years probation.
In 1974, Stranges hosted the “8th Annual UFO Space and Science International Convention” in Anaheim, California, advertising William Shatner, astronaut James Irwin, and U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers as featured speakers. All said they had either refused, cancelled, or never heard of Rev. Stranges.
Another of Broshears’ ufological allies was Rev. Robert Short, for whom Broshears organized an event at the Los Altos Public Library chronicled in a July 9, 1968 Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram entitled “Outer Space Chef Tosses Bewildering Salad.” Staff writer Frank Anderson described Short as:
…an outer space chef, [who] cut some green cheese from the moon, mixed it with horse radish and served it up on flying saucers…
Billed as a lecturer of unidentified flying objects, Short confined most of his remarks to communiqués from extra-terrestrial sources which have been published in the Solar Space Letter of his Solar Space Foundation at Joshua Tree.
The audience of 30 persons appeared mystified by it all, for the knowledge by Short flew by faster than the cafeteria line at a tape worms’ convention.
Short was introduced by Rev. Raymond Broshears, pastor of the sponsoring Church of God of Light. After some Hawaiian music, the lecture began with Short telling his audience how outer space beings tune in on earthlings.
It’s done, he said, by means of a resotron, a device that fits on the head like a hair-dryer and immediately translates earthlings thoughts and language into super space intelligence.
Having cleared up this awesome technology, Short read some documents, the substance of which is that the United Nations just isn’t interested in UFOs and “please stop writing to this office.”
Next came the slides. The first one purported to be outer space lights seen through pink clouds—but if you thought it was a slice of liver left too long in the hot sun, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.
This was followed by what appeared to be a human eyeball the day after New Year’s—or an under-fried egg.
Short —perspiring freely in his royal blue turtleneck, dark blue blazer and canary yellow slacks—got the next slide in upside down and backwards. But his apology was wasted—the audience didn’t know the difference…
Pity the poor Martian trying to decode Monday night’s proceedings on his resotron. He’ll think he blew a fuse.
Like a number of UFO contactees, Rev. Short channeled Commander Ashtar and by the mid-1950s (under the non-de-plume of Bill Rose) started an organization called “Ashtar Command” to monetize his otherworldly communications. Rev. Short and his spunky wife Shirley operate the Blue Rose Ministry out of their home in Cornville, Arizona, and publish The Solar Space Newsletter where “You can learn the mystic connection between the Hopi’s, the Pope’s and the UFO’s!” For many years, the Shorts were familiar figures on the flying saucer lecture circuit where the good reverend was usually more than happy (for a free will love offering of around $20 or so) to put on eye shades and perform psychic readings courtesy of Ashtar or Korton or whatever entity was possessing his vocal chords at the time. As my friend Greg Bishop recalled:
At the International UFO Congress in 2004, Bob Short set up a TV tray in the merch room (because he couldn’t afford a table) and gave psychic readings. I gave him $20 and he gave me a $20 performance. He went into a trance and began to spout extreme generalities which could apply to almost anyone. I was not very helpful with any feedback to lead him, so he continued in this vein. It was a fun session, mainly because I just wanted to help him out with a few bucks and see how good he might be. I recorded the session, but mistakenly recorded over it with a bootleg recording of a Hasil Adkins concert.
Thanks to Greg Bishop for assistance with portions of this article, some of which were ripped from the pages of our recently released “A” is for Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees (Available now in a Black & White version or a Full Color version).
I’ve compiled a hot mess of Maury Island files, FOI and otherwise, here.
The most notable Barker-Moseley letter prank was pulled on famed UFO contactee George Adamski with what became known as the Straith Letter Hoax, a party that got started in December 1957 when Barker got his paws on a batch of absconded State Department stationery, and during a weekend of heavy boozing, he and Moseley concocted the Straith Letter out of whole cloth.
The letter in question—signed by the fictitious R.E. Straith, a member of the State Department’s “Cultural Exchange Committee”—informed Adamski that his 1952 encounter with Orthon the Venusian in Desert Center, California, had been confirmed by government officials, and Straith encouraged Adamski to drop by the Cultural Exchange Committee’s D.C. offices whenever he was in town.
Adamski all but wet his pants over this phony State Department endorsement, trotting out the Straith Letter at every opportunity to support his ET contact claims. This prompted an investigation by the real State Department and FBI, who ordered Adamski to stop pimping this cockamamie letter as it was an obvious hoax and there was no such department as the “Cultural Exchange Committee.” Of course this didn’t dissuade Adamski, who claimed that the government was trying to suppress the Straith Letter from the public. But he would not be deterred!
At some point the feds grew to suspect that Barker was the brains behind the Straith Letter, and they questioned both he and Moseley on a number of occasions, although each denied involvement in the caper. Barker—worried that he was going to end up doing hard time in Leavenworth—destroyed the typewriter on which the Straith Letter was composed and buried its remains in wet cement at a construction site in his hometown of Clarksburg, West Virginia. The feds—unable to uncover any tangible evidence linking Barker to the letter—eventually dropped the case, probably viewing it as a rather harmless stunt. Following Barker’s death, Jim Moseley came clean about his involvement with the Straith Letter hoax in a 1985 issue of Saucer Smear.
Another memorable Barker/Moseley prank occurred in 1966 when the two concocted the “Lost Creek, West Virginia, UFO film” which basically consisted of attaching a miniature flying saucer to a fishing pole line and dangling it around. Moseley later used this fake film during college lecture gigs to astound and amaze his audiences, presenting it as authentic UFO footage.
Hail Eris! All Hail the Saucers!
This article was sort of ripped off from a forthcoming book by me and my pal Greg Bishop called ‘A’ is for Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees, which should be available before too damn long. Here’s a video promo for the book…
For some time now I’d been planning a multi-part series on Reverend Raymond Broshears, one of more colorful characters (among a clown car of colorful characters) who careened headfirst into Kerry Thornley, and the Garrison investigation.
A deep dive into Rev. Broshears branches off in a number of directions, including the JFK assassination, UFOs, Discordianism, and “Wandering Bishops”—not to mention Rev. Broshears’ involvement as a gay rights activist in San Francisco in the late 1960s to the early-80s.
The reason I’d been holding off on this series was because I’d discovered, a while back, a Rev. Broshears archive located at the GLBT museum in San Francisco that would no doubt enhance this effort. Finally—in February of this year—I scheduled a visit to the Broshears’ archive, and just prior to my visit was alerted to the following Newsweek article titled “The Most Dangerous Gay Man in America Fought Violence With Violence” by Eric Markowitz, which—as synchronicity would have it—was all about Rev. Broshears! It should be noted that Broshears falls into the category of an “obscure character”—the type of subcultural figure your present author is fond of writing about, but who is so far out of the mainstream that his appearance in Newsweek was about as predictable as Donald Duck becoming President. Markowitz’s article even cites yours truly as a source, quoting Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and the Garrison Investigation. Pick up your copy today before supplies run out!
Anyway, that’s the way the stars sometimes align themselves in a weird and wonderful way when researching Discordianism, and related subcultural currents. Without further ado, let us proceed…
Born Earl Raymond Allen in Centreville Station, Illinois, in 1935, our hero later adopted the last name Broshears (taken from his stepfather)00001 and in time became known to the world as the Rev. Raymond Broshears, or in some circles simply as “Reverend Ray.”
In the mid 1950s, Broshears served as a Navy medical corpsman before being discharged for what he later described as “medical reasons” resulting from a “serious injury to the head causing what was then thought to be a minor brain dysfunction.”00002
In the late 1950s, Broshears graduated from Lee Bible College in Tennessee, and later studied under the fire and brimstone southern Baptist preacher, Billy James Hargis. George Mendenhall of the Bay Area Reporter later discovered that Hargis excommunicated Broshears when he discovered his sexual proclivities. According to Eric Markowitz:
In the early 1960s, Broshears continued traveling and preaching. At that time, in his late 20s, he got involved in the civil rights movement. He joined the Congress of Racial Equality, which fought for desegregation. That fight got him in trouble. In 1965, he participated in a sit-in in Belleville, Illinois, to protest the mistreatment of African-Americans. The details are murky—and the Belleville police department could not locate records related to the incident—but Broshears was arrested for groping a 17-year-old boy. “It wasn’t child molesting or anything like it,” Broshears told a reporter in 1972. “I was arrested for ‘groping a minor.’ He was fully dressed, there was no other physical contact involved.” That boy, however—who was not named in any reports, likely because of his age—was apparently the nephew of Belleville’s mayor…
The incident was a local scandal, and Broshears was sentenced to six months in county jail…When he was released, in December 1965, news had traveled that Broshears was a sex offender, so he bought a ticket, headed west and left everything behind. “I came to San Francisco, the gay mecca,” he would later say, “to become a faggot.”00003
Before planting permanent roots in San Francisco, Broshears spent a couple of years in Long Beach, California, operating a ministry called “The Church of God of Light” that was “involved in helping ‘skid row’ bums, improving conditions in the ghetto, and publishing an outspoken newspaper called The Light and Understanding.”00004
During his Long Beach sojourn, Broshears came up on the radar of JFK assassination sleuths after an appearance on an episode of Tempo, a Los Angeles TV program hosted by Stan Bohrman.
According to an October 16, 1968, internal CIA memo:
“[Broshears] appeared as a last-minute guest on the Stan BOHRMAN television show in Los Angeles in August 1968. The program is in the format of receiving questions from outside telephone callers… In answer to questions from callers, BROSHEARS admitted he was homosexual and that he was a roommate of David FERRIE for a short time in 1965. BROSHEARS stated that FERRIE admitted being involved with the assassins of President KENNEDY and to being in Houston at the time of the assassination with a plane waiting to fly the assassins on a getaway trip, first to South America, then to South Africa. According to Subject, while FERRIE was waiting in Houston, the assassins fled in a light aircraft from Dallas trying to make their escape all the way to Mexico without stopping. The assassins died in a plane crash that afternoon on the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas.
“After the program, BROSHEARS was visited by Mark LANE who urged him to visit GARRISON in New Orleans to make a deposition. Subject spent six days with GARRISON and when he returned to Los Angeles, was again on the Stan BOHRMAN TV show. On this program, Subject discussed his interview with GARRISON stating that he told GARRISON about FERRIE’s work with the CIA and Subject’s first meeting with Clay SHAW who had been identified to Subject as ‘Bert’. BROSHEARS admitted that this was the first time he had disclosed that he knew SHAW. He said he was at first reluctant to become involved in the investigation but after talking to GARRISON, he is convinced GARRISON is leading a fight for ‘JUSTICE’. He accused the CIA, FBI and Secret Service of impeding the progress of the case.
“BROSHEARS admitted to having been taken into custody by Secret Service agents two years ago for threatening the life of President JOHNSON.”
One of Garrison’s investigators, Steve Jaffe, wrote an article for the August 9, 1968, Los Angeles Free Press in which he noted that Broshears’ TV appearance represented “one of significant historical importance.” According to Jaffee:
“Broshears, who has tried to escape harassment by ‘individuals from mysterious sources’ ever since his short association with Ferrie in 1965, told of the role which Ferrie had played in the plot…Since the time of his arrest by incident of his alleged threat on President Johnson (after which he was questioned and released without conviction or sentence) he has had to be in constant touch with Federal offices of the Secret Service and F.B.I. by order of the Federal government. Agents from those organizations have warned him ‘to keep his mouth shut’ or risk being committed to a mental institution…”00005
The aforementioned CIA memo stated that Broshears had been visited by JFK assassination researcher Mark Lane, who urged him “to visit GARRISON in New Orleans to make a deposition.” Apparently Lane and Broshears had been in contact prior to the Tempo television appearance, as documented in this letter dated July 27, 1968:
Suspicious of Garrison’s motives, Broshears was initially reluctant to provide a deposition, but soon received incentive via subpoena that in short order turned around his way of thinking.
Broshears recounted his meeting with Garrison and crew in the August 1968 issue of his self-published newsletter Light and Understanding:
“…I did not wish to go, for the very word ‘Garrison’, left a bad taste in my mouth. He had (according to establishment press) persecuted many of my ‘fellow-beings’, with whom I have great empathy and ties. I feared for my life (which later proved true), for I didn’t trust Garrison or the U.S. government or Clay Shaw’s friends. [Steve] Jaffee arranged to make the trip as secret as possible, which it was. But, now, after having met Jim Garrison, I am convinced that this is one of America’s truly great and sincere people. I trust Jim Garrison with my life. I was overwhelmed at the honesty and the simplicity at the District Attorneys Office. Mr. James Alcock, the assistant D.A. is a real ‘BRAIN’, for after having spent a couple of hours with Alcock, I was convinced, in Light of what I had been told by David [Ferrie], that Garrison had the ‘goods’ on Shaw. Later I met ‘Moo’ Sciambra, a ‘French Quarter resident’ also working on the case. And I met the Chief Investigator, a good cop, Mr. Louis Ivon. Ivon and Alcock are both articulate men, as is Mr. Garrison, whom I later met at his home, he having just had an operation.
“Mr. Garrison was not the ‘bad boogy man’ he has been portrayed to be. And he does not mince words. He says what is to be said, and looks you straight in the eye while he is talking to you…
“While in New Orleans, I ran into old ‘cold flames’ who didn’t seem too pleased to see me. But the most shocking thing that I discovered while there, was the fact that the government had removed almost all trace of my ever having been in that city. But they ‘slipped’ up, and a couple of cards were found in various agencies, and gave light to the fact I was indeed in Orleans and that I had indeed been involved in the ‘underground’ there.
“But things were different now. David had been murdered. Kerry was not in Orleans, but in Tampa, Kerry, you know, the one whos picture was on the cover of Life with Lee Oswalds head super-imposed upon it. Kerry had the little spider like hands and arms and narrow hips, not Oswald, just ask his wife…”
In New Orleans, Garrison and his team took Broshears under their wings, and among those that helped foster the good reverend’s cooperation was none other than Barbara Reid, who was an early member of the Discordian Society, and key witness against Kerry Thornley in Garrison’s investigation. At one time, Reid even claimed she was the Goddess Eris herself! (You can’t make this shit up.)
Among other mind-gobbling allegations, Rev. Broshears informed Garrison’s investigators that David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, Lee Oswald and Kerry Thornley (!) were members of a homicidal-homosexual cabal that conspired to kill Kennedy. According to Broshears, he was introduced to Thornley by Ferrie, and claimed he’d had sex with Kerry, and knew well “his slender hips.”
While it can’t be denied that Thornley indeed possessed slender hips, I’ve seen nothing to suggest he was gay or bisexual, although he was extremely open minded in regards to sexual experimentation.
Here is an excerpt from Broshears August 1968 deposition:
Q. Do you recognize this man in the picture here?
A. That is the man whom David Ferrie constantly referred to as Kerry Thornley.
Q. And this person here?
A. That is Kerry Thornley.
Q. Where did you meet him?
A. At Lafitte’s in Exile. And I don’t know what—he always maintained that he was not a homosexual… David [Ferrie] has told me numerous times that Kerry Thornley maintains he is not a homosexual. But I say he is and I say to the whole world if he is not a homosexual why was he in homosexual bars, why if he is not? And his resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald is rather frightening…
To suggest a resemblance between Oswald and Thornley as “frightening” is a stretch. Unless, of course, Broshears based his observations of this supposed Thornley/Oswald likeness on Harold Weisberg’s set of fabricated photos.
Cafe Lafitte in Exile, it so happens, was a landmark French Quarter bar owned by Tom Caplinger, the father of Grace and Lane Caplinger. Grace and Lane were friends with Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, and it was Lane—according to legend—who helped type the 1st edition of the Principia Discordia after hours at Garrison’s office when she worked there as a secretary in 1965. Her sister Grace later changed her name to Grace Zabriskie after launching an acting career in the late 1970s, and is most famously known for her wonderfully weird role of Sarah Palmer in Twin Peaks.
Although Broshears claimed he encountered Thornley in New Orleans in 1965, this timeline didn’t jibe with the period Thornley actually lived there—from March 1961 until early December 1963. Newsweek reporter Eric Markowitz placed Broshears in lockup at the Belleville County Jail from July through December ‘65 which was the same time Broshears was supposedly in New Orleans hanging out with Ferrie and having sex with Thornley’s “slender hips.”
Researcher David Blackburst interviewed Broshears in the 1970s and discovered further inconsistencies in his story. Although Broshears claimed to have been Ferrie’s roommate, another Ferrie roommate stated that he’d never heard of Broshears. When Blackburst questioned Broshears about the layout of Ferrie’s apartment, he was unable to describe it accurately, and was just as confused about the layout of the streets in the French Quarter. This suggested to Blackburst that Broshears never actually lived there.00006
Broshears claimed that on the night he first met Ferrie, the two men patronized a bar catering to the homosexual community, and it was there that Ferrie introduced Broshears to “one of the wealthiest men in New Orleans” who went by the name of Bert and/or Clara. According to Broshears, Bert/Clara was actually Clay Shaw, Garrison’s chief suspect.
Ferrie allegedly informed Broshears that he had worked as a CIA contract pilot, and that they (the CIA) had blackmailed him with films of “a sixteen year old boy engaged [with Ferrie] in a homosexual act.” This was presumably among the revelations of sexual impropriety that got Ferrie fired from his pilot gig at American Airlines.
Whatever the case, I’ve seen no documentation confirming Ferrie actually worked for the CIA. The initial source for this revelation was Victor Marchetti, a special assistant to CIA Director Richard Helms. Marchetti claimed that a colleague informed him that “Ferrie had been a contract agent… in the early sixties and had been involved in some of the Cuban activities.” Marchetti told author Anthony Summers that “…he observed consternation on the part of then CIA Director Richard Helms and other senior officials when Ferrie’s name was first publicly linked with the assassination in 1967.” Marchetti’s allegations were later contradicted by internal CIA memos, so I guess it’s a case of whom you choose to believe. Trust No One.
At the very least, Ferrie was involved in paramilitary training with anti-Castro Cubans in 1961, an operation either directly or indirectly funded by the CIA and funneled through Guy Banister’s detective agency. (Banister was another supposed plotter in the JFK dust-up.) This hornet’s nest of intelligence agents or assets based in New Orleans (such as Banister) speaks to a nebulous gray area surrounding the Garrison investigation. Garrison and his investigators did indeed stumble upon information pertaining to intelligence agency capers in New Orleans, some of which apparently overlapped with Banister’s op, but to make the leap that these activities were directly related to JFK’s assassination… is indeed a leap, although certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
In the same manner that Barbara Reid was the person most responsible for dragging Kerry Thornley screaming and kicking into the Garrison investigation funhouse, the same can be said of a fellow named Jack Martin (aka Edward Stewart Suggs) in his role of foisting David Ferrie into that very same fray.
Martin, like Reid, had a unique role in Garrison’s mad world; both were “witnesses” and at the same time both worked closely with Garrison’s investigators. Although Reid’s role was absent from Oliver Stone’s JFK, Martin was accorded lofty status, portrayed by Jack Lemmon as a sad sack two-bit private dick who inadvertently stirred up this aforementioned hornet’s nest inhabited by the likes of Ferrie, Banister, Shaw and other sinister and supposed spooks. Or at least that’s how it was romanticized in the film.
Martin first came to the attention of federal authorities just three days after the assassination, on November 25, 1965, when he was interviewed by the New Orleans FBI field office. At this time, Martin informed the feds that he was a private investigator, and had “…developed considerable information about FERRIE… particularly his homosexual tendencies and the fact that he formerly operated the Civil Air Patrol [squadron].”
Martin stated that Ferrie was an amateur hypnotist, and may have and “planted a post-hypnotic suggestion that [Oswald] kill the President.” Martin further alleged that he had visited Ferrie’s apartment and “saw a group of photographs of various Civil Air Patrol cadet groups and in this group he is sure he saw several years ago a photograph of LEE OSWALD as a member of one of the classes… he stated that FERRIE conducted military type drills with rifles… and he recalled that FERRIE claimed to have taught these cadets how to shoot. MARTIN stated that he observed in FERRIE’s home a number of foreign made firearms and it is his opinion that FERRIE could have taught OSWALD how to purchase a foreign made firearm or possibly have purchased the gun that was shown on television…”
In a follow-up FBI interview on 11/27/1963:
“…MARTIN further stated he considered FERRIE to be a completely degenerate person and it was his opinion that FERRIE is capable of any crime. If was for this reason that MARTIN suspected FERRIE of being involved in the killing of President KENNEDY… MARTIN advised that he considered the possibility that FERRIE had taught OSWALD to shoot a rifle and use a telescopic sight, in that he knew FERRIE taught military training to Civil Air Patrol Cadets and OSWALD was a Civil Air Patrol member…”
On November 28, 1963—the day after Martin’s FBI interview—the New Orleans field office reported that their investigation of “allegations against Ferrie stem from Jack S. Martin who was previously confined to the psychiatric ward of Charity Hospital, New Orleans, for a character disorder. Martin is well known to New Orleans office and is considered thoroughly unreliable.”00007
Martin later admitted that his allegations against Ferrie were “a figment of his imagination and that he made up the story after reading the newspapers and watching television.”00008 Martin blamed his false account on what he called “telephonitis” resulting from excessive alcohol intake followed by blabbing on the telephone.
At one time or another, Ferrie and Martin worked as private detectives for attorney G. Wray Gill, most well known for representing mob boss Carlos Marcello, who many have connected to the JFK assassination. Martin from all accounts was a hanger-on, who apparently both Gill and Ferrie considered a pest. In June 1963, at Gill’s direction, Ferrie bounced Martin out of Gill’s office in what was termed an “undiplomatic manner.” This altercation presumably started a beef between the two men which later resulted in Martin’s bout of “telephonitis.”00009
When Garrison launched his investigation in late 1966, Martin once again jumped the David Ferrie shark by trotting out his past claims including the allegation that he saw Oswald in Banister’s office “two or three times” in the company of Ferrie.
During the early stages of Garrison’s probe, Martin was a member of Big Jim’s investigative team, although Garrison and Martin later had a rift over paperwork Martin filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State entitled, “Articles of Incorporation of ‘Garrison-Intelligence-Agency.’” The intent behind these filings (according to a letter Martin sent to Garrison) was to establish an “independent intelligence force… to render and give aid to Jim Garrison, and to otherwise support him in his efforts…otherwise known as ‘Garrison’s Guerrillas’… just as we’ve talked about.”
Martin admitted in his letter that he “kited a couple of checks (cause we were broke) to get these papers filed.” In the upper right hand corner of Martin’s letter, Garrison wrote: “Spoke to J.M. [Jack Martin] 12/3/67. Must be abolished.” Reading between the lines, it can be assumed that Garrison instructed Martin to cease and desist with this Garrison’s Guerillas caper, then further distanced himself from Martin by kicking him off the JFK investigation team.00010
In On The Trail of the Assassins, Garrison described Martin “as a quick-witted and highly observant, if slightly disorganized, private detective.” However, Garrison confided to LIFE Magazine’s Richard Billings that Martin was “an undependable drunk and a totally unreliable witness.”00011
Martin’s view of himself was in a more heroic vein. He once described himself as an “Author, former newspaperman, professional soldier, adventurer, and philosopher.”
Martin, it turns out, had a long and checkered rap sheet that included the charge he was a back-alley abortionist in the early 1950s going by the name of Dr. Suggs. Martin’s criminal history is documented here by Dave Reitzes.
While the preponderance of Martin’s claims were sketchy as all get-out, his allegation that Ferrie and Oswald had been associated in 1955—to one degree or another—is one that stuck. In this regard, Ferrie and Oswald had been in contact on no less than four occasions during the period Ferrie served as Commander of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) squadron in New Orleans. How significant these meetings were, and how well the two men actually knew one another, is a matter of conjecture. A lot of assassination buffs got their panties in a perpetual twist when the photo below surfaced of Ferrie with Oswald and some other CAP cadets during training exercises in 1955.
Whether or not Ferrie was grooming Oswald to become a future assassin, he was indeed one sketchy dude involved in a number of hinky activities. One of these endeavors concerned a group of young men Ferrie organized called—of all crazy things—“Omnipotent.”
The existence of Omnipotent was revealed in a October 30, 1961, FBI memo forwarded to the U.S. Customs Service, and the U. S. Bureau of Narcotics, concerning an informant’s tip that Ferrie had organized a group of young men and had “been holding something over the heads of the boys in this group and…is keeping them doped up with narcotics, liquor and with hypnotism…”
The FBI memo went on to state that “the members of that organization [Omnipotent] had to swear allegiance and obedience to a 19-year-old or 20-year-old boy, and that the purpose of this organization was to train people concerning what they could do in the event of an all out attack against the United States…” Read the Omnipotent memo here!
It may appear I’ve gone a bit far afield with this Martin-Ferrie-Omnipotent rabbit hole, but I felt some background was necessary before launching off into our next Rev. Broshears installment that will feature, once again, Messrs Martin and Ferrie, along with a whole host of other curious characters that have been identified by author Peter Levenda as the “Wandering Bishops.”
Thanks to Carmine Savastano of the Neapolis Media Group for giving me a heads-up about David Ferrie’s Doomsday Cult!
00002 Eric Markowitz, “The Most Dangerous Gay Man in America”, Newsweek, February 2, 2018.
00004 October 16, 1968 CIA memo. FOIA document 1361-500)
00005 Jaffee, Steve. “Ferrie Confessed His Involvement In John Kennedy Assassination Plot. Los Angeles Free Press. August 5, 1968.
00007 Warren Commission Report page 208.
00008 Warren Report Page 202.
00009 Lambert, Patricia; Lambert, Patricia (2000-09-26). False Witness: The Real Story of Jim Garrison’s Investigation and Oliver Stone’s Film JFK (Kindle Locations 5732-5736). M. Evans & Company.
They can be lump free, chunky, or smooth textured. Many of us perform Discordian Rituals without even knowing. Case in point: as a hirsute, dope smoking teen—long before my Discordian Pope-hood—I oft times visited Fresno’s Fashion Fair Mall, and above the urinal in a restroom there (a urinal can double as an irreligious altar) there was a chalk board with chalk on a string that allowed the user to scrawl lewd crudities as opposed to the walls of the stalls, such as “for a good time call…”
Anyway, with said chalk—and without premeditated thought—I wrote “Jesus is pregnant!”
This was Discordian Ritual #1.
Discordian Ritual #2
My second Discordian Ritual occurred once again in magical Fresno when a colleague and I ingested LSD and went out trippin’ into the streets of our fair city. At some point in our adventure, one of us said: “What if we saw a UFO right now, no one would believe us,” which made us laugh somewhat uncontrollably.
After uttering those immortal words, Eris called down a surreal squadron of psychedelic saucers which blew our minds.
This was Discordian Ritual #2—although I didn’t know I was a Discordian Society member at the time.
Discordian Ritual #3
Discordian Ritual #3 was also initiated by psychoactive substances, this time those crazy little mushrooms Eris transported to Earth.
The set-and-setting was out on the beach at Half Moon Bay when the spirit of The Monster Tamer entered my body and gave a blow by blow account of every monster he’d battled and destroyed—from Frankenstein to the Wolfman—to name just a few.
This was Discordian Ritual #3. (You really had to be there.)
Discordian Ritual #4
Discordian Ritual #4 occurred when I lived in an apartment in Clovis, CA, and sculpted a strange bust of a tormented little green creature with pointed ears named GLIB.
When I moved out, I left GLIB in an empty closet alongside a copy of The Book of Mormon, which though I didn’t know it at the time, was a very Discordian thing to do, and may well have lit up the pineal gland of who ever discovered GLIB sharing a closet shelf with Joseph Smith’s holy book.
Discordian Ritual #5
Discordian Ritual #5 actually occurred after I became a Discordian Pope when myself and some friends who didn’t realize they were Discordian Popes—but now understand that they may or may not be—conducted “The Fifth Degree Discordian Initiation Rite” in the parking lot of the fabled Brunswick Shrine bowling alley where Mal and Omar experienced the Revelation of Eris.
So there you have my Five Discordian Rituals.
I could probably name another 23, but not right now fnord.
One of the more curious characters (and when I say character, I mean, yeah, this guy was definitely a character) to emerge from the Oswald/Thornley/Garrison rabbit hole was a oddball named A. Edward Horsey, who somehow finagled his way into the fringes of the Garrison Investigation during the same time frame that Kerry Thornley was up to his ass in it.
This strange saga began on July 8, 1967, when Mr. A. Edward Horsey (of 3330 Virginia Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan) contacted Special Agent V. Lemar Curran of the Detroit FBI Field Office. At this time, Horsey informed the Bureau of his involvement with a group of researchers who were trying to get to the bottom of the JFK assassination. According to Horsey, he and his associates had enlarged frames of the Zapruder film and discovered two men lurking on the Grassy Knoll immediately following the assassination, one of whom held a literal smoking gun that Horsey identified as a CIA operative named Al Grout, a name first connected to the JFK assassination by way of an extremely rare and obscure book entitled, The Plot to Kill JFK.
But that wasn’t all: Horsey had uncovered evidence (or so he said) that another CIA agent named Bill Medina had recruited Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City, all part of a dastardly plot to set Oswald up as the assassination fall guy. Afterwards, the FBI checked with the CIA who denied employing any agents named Al Groat or Bill Medina. (But, of course, that’s what you’d expect ‘Them’ to say!)
Around the time Horsey was sharing his conspiracy theory with the Feds, a book well known to assassination buffs was published called Were We Controlled?, authored by the pseudonymous “Lincoln Lawrence.” Were We Controlled? presented the scenario that Oswald was a sleeper agent (ala The Manchurian Candidate angle) mind controlled by a secret technology called Radio-Hypnotic Intracerebral Control (R.H.I.C.) and Electronic Dissolution of Memory (E.D.O.M.)
Lawrence described R.H.I.C. as the “application of post-hypnotic-suggestion triggered at will by radio transmission. It is a recurring hypnotic state, re-induced automatically at intervals by the same radio control. An individual is placed under hypnosis. This can be done either with his knowledge—or without it by use of narco-hypnosis, which can be brought into play under many guises. He is then programmed to perform certain actions and maintain certain attitudes upon radio signal… an R.H.I.C. controlled person can be processed as Oswald was in Minsk, allowed to travel to any country… and be put to use years later by the application of RHIC controls. In short, like the toy, he can in a sense be ‘wound up’ and made to perform acts without any possibility of the controller being detected… He can be made to perform acts that he will have no memory of ever having carried out. In a manipulated kind of kamikaze operation where the life of the ‘sleeper’ is dispensable, R.H.I.C. processing makes him particularly valuable because if he is detected and caught before he performs the act specified… nothing he says will implicate the group or government which processed and controlled him.”
As for E.D.O.M., “it enables man to juggle with other men’s sense of time… through the use of radio-waves and ultra-sonic signal tones…. It in effect blocks memory of the moment.” According to Were We Controlled?, E.D.O.M. was employed to erase from Oswald’s brain the identities of the assassination conspirators. However, this shadowy group (referred to in Were We Controlled? as—you guessed it—“The Group”) didn’t want to take any chances, so as an extra precaution they brought in another patsy and did the same RHIC-EDOM number on his head. In this second instance, Jack Ruby was mind controlled to kill Oswald.
As for “Lincoln Lawrence”—the pseudonymous author of Were We Controlled? who was “working in liaison with the department of defense”—he was later revealed to be a New York media personality named Art Ford, most well known for his 1950’s television show Art Ford’s Jazz Party.
In 1976, assassination researcher Dick Russell met Art Ford in the NYC offices of Circus magazine. Russell described Ford as a “prominent radio announcer and longtime student of parapsychology with many connections in the publishing world.” However, publisher and UFO scene maker Tim Beckley informed me that Ford’s star had been pretty much faded by the mid-70s and at that time he was eeking out a living writing for Circus, having been relegated to a converted broom closet as his “office.” One of the circumstances that contributed to Ford’s tarnished falling star status was his involvement in the payola scandal of the early-60s.
Beckley recalled that around the time Were We Controlled? was released, Ford was trying to get him interested in a manuscript, but Beckley found Ford a bit too pushy and steered clear. As for Ford’s parapsychology interests, he was part of the Long John Nebel/UFO scene in New York during the 50s and 60s and appeared as a guest speaker at the Big UFO Show there in 1967. During his presentation, Ford claimed to have discovered an ET ray gun at the North Pole that was 100,000 years old! However—to those who had a chance to catch a glimpse of this weapon (such as Beckley)—it looked like a toy gun. During this same period, Ford produced an obscure and now impossible to find film on the Bermuda Triangle.
During their meeting, Ford told Dick Russell that the source for Were We Controlled? was an “intelligence insider” who passed info to him through a middle man, a New York Attorney named Martin J. Schieman, who was most noted for his representation of Mad Magazine in a precedent setting case, Berlin v. E.C. Publications, Inc., which established that parody does not infringe on copyright.
Around the time of the publication of We’re We Controlled?, Schieman was discovered in his office at the Time-Life building with a gun beside him and a bullet through his head, the result of an apparent suicide. However, Ford intimated that Schieman’s death was probably no coincidence and that Ford feared for his own life as well.
“I never met Lawrence,” Ford told [Russell]. “Whoever he was, he was very clever. He covered himself well. The only reason I am sure the man actually existed is, I got a telegram from him and then he managed to reach me by phone. I received payment, in cash, for helping him research his book. The research I did all went to a certain mail drop and was picked up. When he first contacted me, he told me to look into mind control techniques….”
In the introduction to We’re We Controlled?, “Lincoln Lawrence” cites another book which he claimed held the ultimate answer to the JFK assassination:
“We were told quite flatly that there was in existence a report that named three men who concocted a diabolical plot to kill JFK. It was supposed to be fifty-eight pages in length and was circulating in Chicago. We thought that this was a slim lead, but decided that we must find it and read it.
“In view of the fact that we devoted most of our waking hours for three years to this investigation, perhaps it isn’t surprising that we did indeed find that ‘report!’
“Its author, David M. Warren, refers to it as an ‘explosive documentary novel.’ In the early pages appears the claim that it ‘blows the lid off the secrecy surrounding the facts of Kennedy’s assassination.’
“Mr. Warren begins his strange story with these words: ‘Contrary to the findings of the FBI and the Presidential Investigating Commission, there was a plot behind the senseless slaying of President John F. Kennedy…. The killing was not the work of a lone assassin as most people have been led to believe…. A private investigating firm located in New York City have in their possession documented evidence which backs up the charge.
“Mr. Warren’s cast of characters includes two directors of the plot and a third person who was the key man in the plot. The fatal shot was fired by a marksman other than Lee Oswald, and Oswald was merely a dupe used by the key man.
“This odd document ends with a strange statement. In the beginning of his narrative, Warren writes, ‘Part of the mass of evidence unearthed by the private investigators included a diary, a small black book that contained, in shorthand, a detailed account of the plot to assassinate the President…”
Although “Lincoln Lawrence” identified the author of the above mentioned “report” as David M. Warren, for some strange reason he neglected to provide the actual the title of the book—or even the publisher’s name—but simply gave their address as 2715 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL. The title of this “explosive documentary novel” it turns out—drum roll please—was The Plot to Kill JFK.
This is where the Discordian connections first come into play. The Chicago publisher mentioned by Lincoln Lawrence happened to be Novel Books, the very same outfit that published Kerry Thornley’s Oswald. Both Oswald and The Plot to Kill JFK hit the shelves in 1965, two of the earliest JFK assassination themed books. Thornley’s editor at Novel Books was a young lady named Louise Lacey who established a friendship with Kerry and would later be ordained as a Discordian Pope. She’s also a good friend of mine!
Among the rarest of JFK assassination tomes, The Plot to Kill JFK was actually a two-fer—two-paperback-books-in-one—a gimmick publishers used back in the day to market novellas that we’re long enough for a regular sized title. The other book combined with The Plot to Kill JFK was a lusty romance yarn provocatively titled Summer of Want by Jenmary Cady. (Don’t worry, this all will come together shortly… sort of.)
The Plot to Kill JFK featured Al Groat as the trigger man in the caper, the same shadowy individual that A. Edward Horsey had claimed was a CIA agent and part of a Dealey Plaza assassination hit team. Also featured in the book was another supposed CIA agent (that Horsey also identified to the FBI) named Bill Medina.
The Plot to Kill JFK was authored under the apparent pseudonym “David M. Warren” and is considered among the rarest of JFK assassination conspiracy books. In fact—when I first started traveling down this odd avenue—there were zero copies available anywhere on the Net, and one of the few existing copies was located in the special collections at the University of Oregon, part of the personal library of Linus Pauling donated after his death. Not unlike Art Ford, Pauling was a man of many interests, among them the JFK assassination and UFOs!
Unfortunately, The Plot to Kill JFK was unavailable for interlibrary loan, and so on the remote chance that maybe I could connive them into making me a scan, I contacted the U of O Library and was informed that The Plot to Kill JFK had just recently been scanned into their system. and boom, the next thing I knew it landed in my dropbox! Once downloaded into my hot little conspiratorial hands, I immediately dove into The Plot to Kill JFK to get to the bottom of this whole JFK assassination thing.
The Plot to Kill JFK goes something like this: During the McCarthy commie scare era, this industrialist dude named Silas Proctor hired this other guy named Judson P. Starkey who ran an investigative firm with its main function being to flush out commies from private businesses. And so Proctor and this Starkey dude became associates, and after the Red Scare pretty much petered out, Starkey turned his investigation firm into an organization called the America First Society. The America First Society (as the name suggests) wanted to Make America Great Again by not only busting out a can of whoop ass on any commies they came across, but also put minorities in their place and that whole bit, kind of like the KKK meets the John Birch Society with a bit of fascism throw in for good measure.
In a nutshell, Proctor and Starkey were pissed at JFK because they saw him as a globalist do-gooder who loved the coloreds and was in bed with the Reds, so they decided a Dallas dust-up was in order and got this Al Groat guy who had been a sharpshooter in the military to do the dirty work.
The Bill Media character in the book is Oswald’s handler who gets him a job at the Texas School Book Depository under the pretense that he’s recruiting Oswald to be a CIA agent there to prevent JFK’s assassination, when in reality, they were setting-up patsy Oswald to take the blame for the crime of the century!
So that’s the basic premise of The Plot to Kill JFK, and while the book is very rare, I think my description will save you the time of actually reading it, because—in my estimation—it’s pretty cornball. However, if you do want to read it, I’ve uploaded a copy here for your possible reading enjoyment!
If you’ve been crazy enough to follow me this far, here’s where things start to link up to Discordia, and in particular Kerry Thornley and the Garrison Investigation. In December 1967, Harold Weisberg (the main thorn in Thornley’s side in relation to Garrison’s investigation) received a letter from a St. Petersburg, Florida housewife name Helen Hartmann. In her letter, Hartmann describes how she just recently caught the JFK assassination conspiracy bug and heaps lavish praise on Weisberg as being one of the key researchers who opened her eyes to the Warren Report “Whitewash.”
Hartmann also mentioned a St. Petersburg radio show on WLCY-AM hosted by a fellow named Bob Ruark who, in her opinion, was doing important work interviewing different researchers on the JFK assassination beat. To keep him in the loop, Hartmann started transcribing some of these interviews for Weisberg. In a January 17, 1968 letter, Hartmann included a rough transcript of a Florida TV interview with Kerry Thornley, and in this same letter, curiously enough, she asked Weisberg what he knew about Lincoln Lawrence of Were We Controlled? fame, and then goes on to write:
“I heard him [Lawrence] one night on a northern radio station and almost thought I could identify the voice but, unfortunately, conditions were such that the station kept fading away and I could not hear enough of it to be positive. His book is one of those suspected of being subsidized by some agency of the government, as I wrote in my first letter—writing of the possibility of some books being subsidized. In his case, it would have been because he presented such a far-out theory that all other critics would be made to appear ridiculous as well…”
Bear in mind that at the time of its publication, Were We Controlled? was very obscure and went virtually unnoticed, and those who did notice thought it was some sort of disinformation or pseudo science fiction. In the mainstream of JFK assassination research, Were We Controlled? was pretty much dismissed and really didn’t get talked much about until a decade or so later when the likes of Mae Brussell started name dropping it. By the time remote distance mind control started being talked about in the conspiracy research circles of the late 1980s, many were pointing to Were We Controlled? as one of the first books to explore the topic.
Hartmann’s correspondence to Weisberg ran over the course of a year-and-a-half and was quite detailed. She was obviously a hardcore researcher and went into a lot of minutiae back-and-forth regarding the assassination and different evidence that pointed toward a conspiracy. In some of her letters, Hartmann mentioned meeting a researcher named A. Edward Horsey.
In a December 17, 1968 letter to Hartmann, Weisberg writes:
“…There were some strange doings. First a man identifying himself as Horsey called me at home about Thornley and himself, beginning by saying [Thornley] had clobbered me on TV and perhaps should not have. He called me several more times in N.O. [New Orleans], or someone did, the last time leaving a message. When I called back the woman who answered the phone said he’d moved, leaving no forwarding address, about three days earlier—before this call was placed. Meanwhile, he or someone else had phoned my home, found where I was staying, and phoned there. The one who phoned there was impolite, identified himself as Thornley, and declared the alleged intention of ‘getting to the bottom of this.’ Now the man with whom I stayed in N.O. knows something of the story and asked for a number to which I could return the call. The caller refused to give it… Can you explain Horsey to me? This strange behavior?…. How did he get in all this, meet you, etc?… It looks strange…”
In a December 23 response to Weisberg, Hartmann starts her letter saying, “I am a little frightened by all that has been taking place here is to understate. I will start at the beginning and see if I can put things in some kind of order then some sort of picture may emerge…
What proceeds from there is a chaotic (Hail Eris) nine page account detailing her odd interactions with A. Edward Horsey who Hartmann became aware of through a local TV and a radio program Horsey appeared on in early September in which he stated ‘that he was in this area doing some investigations and that he would be leaving to return to Kalamazoo very shortly… A couple weeks later I received a phone call from him and he asked to visit me to talk about the investigation. He said he had been given my name and phone number by a man who lives near where he was staying….”
Soon after, Horsey paid Hartmann a visit and explained that he was involved with a loose knit group of researchers that included Josiah Thompson, author of Six Seconds in Dallas, and noted that: “This ‘group’ had arranged to receive all mail at an address in Houston, Texas in the name of Dr. John Smith.” Horsey mentioned they were using this mail drop because he and his associates had been threatened and harassed by those who wanted to shut down their investigation so they had to keep everything very hush-hush. Horsey also mentioned that he was trying to track down Kerry Thornley (during this period Kerry lived in Tampa.) At a later date, Horsey informed Hartmann that he’d indeed met up with Thornley and was trying to help him with his pending case in the Garrison Investigation.
Hartmann’s letter goes into exhaustive detail concerning the crazy intrigue surrounding Horsey’s visit to St. Petersburg, which you can read here.
The letter includes death threats (from anonymous sources) against both Horsey and Hartmann, all of this on account of Horsey’s claim he had solved the JFK assassination. Throughout the letter, Thornley played a prominent role in Horsey’s “investigation” and communications with other researchers in the field—like Vincent Salandria and Sylvia Meagher—seemed to suggest that Thornley was somehow throwing a monkey wrench into everything and, due to these antics, getting other researchers mad at Horsey. Or at least this is how Horsey portrayed the situation. If the intent of Hartmann’s rambling letter was to confuse the hell out of Weisberg, it no doubt succeeded.
In a letter dated 12/27/68, Weisberg shared this bombshell: “When [JFK assassination researcher] Gary Schoener told me that the call Vincent Salandria was deliberately led to believe was from David Lifton, in which he was asked to undertake Thornley’s defense, was really from Ed Horsey…” which clued Weisberg into the reality that Horsey was most likely spreading disinformation.
On account of these shenanigans, Weisberg decided to call Kerry Thornley to see what the hell was going on with this Horsey character, and Kerry told Weisberg that “He apparently had heard this call was by Horsey, not Lifton. He denied making any of the calls to me, or those to Sylvia Meagher [that] Horsey told me he [Thornley] had made and presumably charged to his phone….”
In subsequent letters, Hartmann informed Weisberg (and other correspondents) that she was now on to Horsey’s game and that he was “poison.” And yes, it was true that Horsey had been placing phony phone calls pretending to be other researchers and doing remarkably good vocal imitations of them, thereby gaining access to information while at the same time spreading disinfo and turning other researchers against each other.
In January 1969—as these curious Horsey revelations were coming to light—the Weisberg/Hartmann correspondence apparently ceased around the same time that Horsey also seems to have fallen off the map.
A few years back—when I first stumbled on the Hartmann/Weisberg correspondence—I didn’t know quite what to make of it all, as Horsey seemed like just one among the many sketchy characters that associated themselves with the Garrison Investigation. Then—a couple years ago—I was contacted by a quite well known conspiracy researcher of the 1990s (now retired) who had mysteriously disappeared from the scene toward the end of that decade. Anyway, this “retired” conspiracy researcher (we’ll call him Commander X) re-emerged from the shadows, albeit briefly, to alert me to Horsey’s connection to The Plot to Kill JFK and quite possibly Were We Controlled? To this end, Commander X voiced his suspicion that the author of both books might very well have been A. Edward Horsey, a theory that indeed makes a certain amount of sense.
Let’s look at the Were We Controlled?/The Plot to Kill JFK parallels. The narrative of both books, although non-fiction, are presented in a novelized form and read like fictional accounts in terms of action and dialogue. Both books feature a shadowy group of conspirators consisting of industrialists and businessmen with right wing affiliations and intelligence agency connections.
The Plot to Kill JFK conspirators were motivated to kill President Kennedy not only because they felt he was soft on Communism, but that he would be bad for big business; whereas the assassination plot in Were We Controlled? was designed to manipulate the New York Stock Exchange and allow the conspirators to profit from their foreknowledge of JFK’s death. In both scenarios, Oswald was set up as the patsy.
When Horsey talked to the FBI, he informed them that Jack Ruby had been acting under a post-hypnotic command when he shot Oswald, which was the exact plotline featured in Were We Controlled? Horsey claimed he’d been harassed and threatened. Similarly, Art Ford aired his suspicions that attorney Martin Schieman had been murdered due to the publication of Were We Controlled? and that Ford said he feared for his life, as well.
Commander X also suspected that Horsey may have been a closet Discordian and that he and Thornley were working in cahoots (ala Operation Mindfuck) to disrupt and spread disinfo among JFK assassination researchers. In response to Commander X, I pooh-poohed this idea, noting that in the hundreds of letters—and reams of Thornley/Garrison Investigation materials I’ve reviewed—not once had I ever come across any communications between Thornley and Horsey or any mention of Horsey by Thornley and I seriously doubt the two ever met. Commander X was also suspicious because Thornley’s book Oswald had been published by the same outfit—Novel Books—that was responsible for The Plot to Kill JFK, hence the possibility there might have been some sort of nefarious link between the two.
Goddess only knows…
But get this: I’m now fairly certain that it was actually Horsey who penned the “Helen Hartmann” letters! The Hartmann/Weisberg correspondence ended around the same time Horsey dropped off the map, and Hartmann—as far as I can tell—was the only one who met Horsey in the flesh or talked to him at any length. A lot of researchers got crazy phone calls from the guy, but no one ever seems to have actually met Horsey.
Although Horsey claimed he was living in Kalamazoo at the time of his St. Petersburg “investigation,” I suspect Kalamazoo was also a snow-job and that he was actually living in St. Petersburg the whole time. In addition, it seems that Horsey fed the FBI a line of BS (which is a crazy thing to do) about living in Kalamazoo, along with all the other bogus information he passed along.
So who the hell is/was A. Edward Horsey? An online search conducted in 2014 indicated that A. Edward Horsey (aka Aubrey Ted Horsey, aka A.E. Ted Horsey, aka Aubrey E. Horsey) was still alive (now in his mid-70s) in St. Petersburg, Florida. Further Internet sleuthing revealed that “A.E. Ted Horsey” was listed as the director of two religious organizations located in Florida.
When I entered the addresses of Horsey’s “churches” into Google Earth Street View, I discovered a couple of normal, though dumpy looking suburban homes, giving the impression that Horsey and his religious affiliations were some sort of scam. At one time, Horsey was using the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, so a couple years back I tried to send him some fan mail there but it bounced back—but who the hell uses AOL anymore?
During a recent online search, I found a link indicating that Horsey had passed on (in 2007) to that big JFK Assassination in the Sky. This news came as a bit of a head scratcher because when I first conducted online searches for Horsey a couple years back all indications seemed to suggest he still alive. Now I don’t know what to think.