A couple are from around 1976, and another from 2002 or so when I was in contact with Bob regarding permissions for material to be included in my book The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture.
What immediately jumps out is the character of Joseph Malik, who is at least a hat tip to Discordian Society founder, Greg Hill, as among Hill’s various Discordian personas was Mad Malik, an apparent member of the Bavarian Illuminati, as depicted in this Illuminati business card from the late-60s/early-70s.
In Illuminatus!, Joseph Malik is an underground magazine editor who has uncovered an apparent Illuminati plot, as documented in a number of written exchanges between Malik and someone named Pat.
The evolution of much of the Illuminati mythos depicted in Illuminatus! was initially inspired by Jim Garrison’s JFK assassination investigation of all things, which makes all of this even more convoluted, so bear with me. For those unfamiliar with Big Jim, he was the New Orleans District Attorney during the 1960s and the lead character played by Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s JFK. As fickle fate would have it, Discordian co-founder Kerry Thornley was identified by Garrison as being involved in the JFK assassination plot, which of course led to a lot of chaos in Thornley’s life (Hail Eris!) in the years to come, a topic I first broached in The Prankster and the Conspiracy and which will be the main theme in my forthcoming book Caught In The Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and Garrison’s JFK Investigation coming soon from Feral House.
During the course of Garrison’s investigation, one of his unofficial investigators (otherwise known as the “Irregulars”) was a fellow named Allan Chapman who subscribed to the theory that JFK’s assassination had been orchestrated by (you guessed it!) the Bavarian Illuminati. After catching wind of Chapman’s Illuminati-JFK assassination theory, Thornley initiated—along with the support of some of his fellow Discordian Society pranksters—what became known as Operation Mindfuck (OM), a campaign designed to screw with Garrison’s head by sending out spurious announcements suggesting that he (Kerry) was an agent of the Illuminati. Among the culprits who helped perpetrate Operation Mindfuck was none other than RAW. As Kerry later noted:
Wilson and I founded the Anarchist Bavarian Illuminati to give Jim Garrison a hard time, one of whose supporters believed that the Illuminati owned all the major TV networks, the Conspiring Bavarian Seers (CBS), the Ancient Bavarian Conspiracy (ABC) and the Nefarious Bavarian Conspirators (NBC).
—Kerry Thornley, Dreadlock Recollections
I suspect that the “Illuminati Project Memos” on pages 14, 15, 16 and 20 were actually exchanges between Wilson and Thornley during the period the two were conducting Illuminati research, and that Wilson inserted these exchanges into the Illuminatus! narrative. This research led both Thornley and Wilson to compose the infamous letter and answer that appeared in the April ’69 issue of Playboy.
On page 21, Peter Jackson tells Saul Goodman that the missing Malik—through his magazine, Confrontation—was attempting to re-open an investigation into the MLK and Kennedy brother assassinations, which is exactly what Kerry Thornley was attempting to do around the time of the publication of Illuminatus!
Thornley, as well, had been an underground magazine editor during the 1960s, so it can be further conjectured that Malik was a composite character based on Thornley and Greg Hill.
NOTE: After taking another gander at Illuminatus!, I noticed that the first “Project Illuminati Memo” was dated 7/23, the date of RAW’s otherworldly experience with certain denizens from Sirius as well as being the beginning of the Dog Days of Sirius.
Although yellowing and frayed, this almost now forty year old classic—published in the Year of Our Goddess 1975—continues to evoke a sense of wonderment ever since that immortal day back in the summer of ‘84 when I happened upon this “fairy tale for paranoids” during the wee, weird hours while passing by Bart’s Books in Ojai, California—as the spirit of Krishnamurti hovered nearby. (As a sidebar, an early and part-time Discordian named Alan Kishbaugh is now a high ranking muckety-muck with the Krishnamurti Foundation in Ojai. Kishbaugh’s Discordian handle back in the day was “The Earl of Nines,” a title concocted as an effort to combat the chaos unleashed by The Law of Fives.)
As has been the honor system policy at Bart’s all these years, when the store is closed you can still buy books lining the outside shelves and toss money for them through a slot in the door, which explains my reference to “wee, weird hours.” Envision me then, a long haired reprobate, toking on the herb superb as I stumbled upon—in my intoxicated haze—this weirdo cover of the One-Eyed Pyramid with a dolphin swimming over it and such. Which takes us to the present…
So—as I reintroduce myself to Illuminatus! by way of the RAWillumination.net group reading—I plan to point out the many Discordian references I’ll encounter along the way, the first of which happens immediately in the dedication page to none other than Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. (And if you don’t know who these dudes are by now, just start poking around here at Historia Discordia and all will be revealed!)
The next Discordian reference occurs on the first page of the opening chapter, an introductory quotation that is lifted directly from some obscure religious (or irreligious) tract called The Honest Book of Truth by an equally obscure character named “Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.”:
The Purple Sage opened his mouth and moved his tongue and so spake to them and he said:
The Earth quakes and the Heavens rattle; the beasts of nature flock together and the nations of men flock apart; volcanoes usher up heat while elsewhere water becomes ice and melts; and then on other days it just rains.
Indeed do many things come to pass.
—Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.,
“The Book of Predictions.” The Honest Book of Truth
Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, despite the misspelling in Illuminatus! of Khayyam as “Khayaam,” and more commonly seen as just “Lord Omar,” was, of course, Kerry Thornley’s Discordian name—or at least one of them, with the K.S.C. standing for Keeper of the Sacred Chao. As for The Honest Book of Truth, it has been commonly held over the years that no such book actually existed, because all that anyone had ever seen of it were short quotations from either Illuminatus! or the Principia Discordia.
During a conversation with RAW once, I asked him what he thought of Thornley’s writings, and he stated unequivocally that the best thing Kerry had written was The Honest Book of Truth. Of course, sometimes I’d wonder if RAW was pulling my leg about certain things, so I filed this anecdote away in my memory banks for future pondering. Later, after having acquired the Discordian Archives, I one day happened upon a most amazing discovery: none other than The Honest Book of Truth, which is 15 pages in length and includes “The Book of Uterus,” “The Book of Explanations,” “The Book of Predictions,” “The Book of Advice,” “The Book of Gooks,” and “The Gospel According to Fred.”
The Honest Book of Truth will appear in its entirety in the forthcoming book compilation, Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society.
Here’s more info from the press release for the group reading:
The ostensible subject of the book is the Illuminati, an alleged secret society that seeks to control the world and is still the subject of many conspiracy theories. Many of the book’s protagonists are either battling the Illuminati or struggling to figure out what is really going on.
The work makes liberal use of Discordianism, a tongue-in-cheek religion devoted to worship of the Greek goddess Eris, who was blamed for starting the Trojan War, and of the Kabbalah, an esoteric mystical system that began as part of Judaism. The text also reflects the authors’ strong interesting anarchism and libertarianism.
Readers of the RAWIllumination.net website will participate in an online discussion of the book beginning on Feb. 24. The discussion will proceed at a pace of 10 pages a week, to give readers time to untangle many of the esoteric references and meanings in the text. The slow pace also will allow time for readers who missed the initial announcement to get caught up and participate. The standard paperback edition has 805 pages, so the discussion is expected to take well over a year.
Each week, an entry on a 10-page section of the book will be posted on the website’s blog, and readers will be invited to weigh in using the comments.
If you’ve never read The Illuminatus! Trilogy, this is a fine opportunity to get in on this underground classic of subversion.
As one character in the book, Epicene Wildblood, puts it while reviewing Illuminatus! in Illuminatus!, it’s “a fairy tale for paranoids.”
For some reason, this story has always resonated with me and, in many ways, I find it one of the more memorable things that Kerry wrote. While it has no date on it, my guess is that Kerry composed it in the early to mid-70s.
Enjoy this bike ride down memory lane.
To begin my story with anything but The Man on the Bicycle is by now nearly unthinkable to me.
The Man on the Bicycle probably had what by 1942 standards was long hair. He was certainly bearded fully—I remember that much clearly.
My mother says he always wore swimming trunks and carried somehow along with him a butterfly net.
Every morning and every evening of the Los Angeles summer. Up one way and down the other along the boulevard (Hoover Street).
The Man on the Bicycle had a deep sun tan and his hair was like burnished gold. Undoubtedly. Or maybe not. But he certainly seemed a superbly impressive phenomena to my four-year-old mind.
Even passing on a daily basis he managed to surpass in my eyes the occasional canvas-covered trucks of soldiers. And they waved. The Man on the Bicycle probably never gave us more than a passing, casual glance. But there were many soldiers in those days.
That Man on the Bicycle—he was one of a kind.
“If you depend on radios and record players for your music, you owe your soul to the power company.”
—The Secret Teachings of Paul Beihl
As Thornley told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution at the time, “I have a friend in jail who was a tattoo artist. He got into drawing pastels, and he drew a picture of Manson and sent it to him. And Manson wrote him back, and then he asked Manson to write me.”
Charles Manson responded by sending Thornley a Christmas postcard of sorts. The card was a folded-up piece of paper featuring a sketch by Manson of a dark-haired Santa Claus on the “front” with hand-written rants ranging from God to Buddha to Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys on the other “sides” of the postcard.
During this period, one of Thornley’s Little Five Points friends from Atlanta, a young lady known as Molly, who Thornley characterized as “little brown-haired Molly,” traveled to Los Angeles where she was brutally attacked and sexually assaulted.
According to Kerry’s friend, Chris Wilhoite, “Molly had a mental breakdown over that and ended up in a public asylum. She wrote Kerry, asking for help and we Xeroxed the Manson Xmas card and raffled off the original to free Molly.”
Thornley made up flyers, as was his wheelhouse, and contacted local press to announce he had an authentic Christmas card from Charles Manson and would be raffling off tickets to win the Manson postcard for $5 a pop. As Thornley stated on some of the flyers, “So we Friends of Molly Moonie Rainstar, a slightly schizoid but very warm and wonderful young Discordian lady in her late teens, are raffling off my Manson letter. According to all I have been able to learn on short notice, any letter from Manson is worth at least $850.00 to collectors. Some have auctioned for tens of thousands.”
Molly was soon released and brought back home to Atlanta due to Thornley’s fundraising efforts. Thornley thus declared, “Charles Manson, by the way, has been appointed Superintendent of Sunday Schools in the Discordian Society.”
As Wilhoite recalls of Molly, “She turned out to be a handful and I remember babysitting her during a dissociative episode. Kerry eventually managed to reconcile her with her mum in Maine, so we sent her home…”
And Charlie bless us, everyone.
In 1962, Marine Corps Pvt. Kerry W. Thornley (and Discordian Society co-founder with Greg Hill) finished writing his first novel based on a friend and fellow Marine buddy, Lee Harvey Oswald, who strangely ended up defecting to the U.S.S.R. in the middle of the Cold War.
Little did Thornley know that his former friend, Oswald, who he used as a template for his main character Johnny Shellburn in his oh-so-hot-new-first novel, The Idle Warriors, would soon become the most-hated-man-in-America, unbelievably accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy. As a founder of Discordianism, perhaps a young Kerry should have expected some turn-about-is-fnord-play from his sweetheart Eris, the Goddess of Discord, in this matter.
Through the book’s fictional Oswald-based character Johnny Shellburn, The Idle Warriors gives a rare and first-hand insight into the mind of the man who allegedly committed the most infamous crime of the 20th Century.
The Idle Warriors is Thornley’s fictional book written about Lee Harvey Oswald before the John F. Kennedy Assassination, making the work the only unique and pre-assassination artifact completely free of later events and their subsequent biases regarding Oswald and the JFK Assassination. Unfortunately, after the events on 11/22/63 in Dallas, Texas and the subsequent Warren Commission investigation which ended-up hauling Thornley into testify about his personal relationship with Oswald in the Marines and included interest of Thornley’s own pre-Assassination writings about America’s First Lone Nut Assassin, the original type-written manuscript was somehow lost by Kerry Thornley to his eternal dismay.
Believed by Thornley himself and others to be forever misplaced and forgotten, a copy of the The Idle Warriors‘ original manuscript was miraculously rediscovered and rescued from the National Archives in the early 1990s by an unlikely pair of fellows attending a Dairy Queen Christmas-time franchisee convention in Washington, DC, who happened to have a side-interest in JFK Assassination lore, research, and materials.
Thornley gave his a copy of The Idle Warriors manuscript to the Warren Commission as background information to Oswald’s life and motives, and it languished as an obscure evidence item in the National Archives. Originally submitted as exposition to his testimony, the manuscript by Thornley had mostly been forgotten. Over the years, Thornley came to misplace his only other copy of The Idle Warriors and came to believe he had lost all copies of the manuscript.
By some Discordian Xmas miracle, the Dairy Queen franchisee amateur researchers requested, and were oddly granted, special permission by the National Archives to deconstruct the Warren Commission’s copy of the manuscript page-by-page and allowed to photocopy Thornley’s type-written The Idle Warriors pages.
Eventually this photocopy was handed over to infamous conspiracy and innovator publisher Ron Bonds of IllumiNet Press who immediately published The Idle Warriors, in conjunction with Kerry Thornley with a new introduction by Best Evidence author David S. Lifton, in 1991 under the IllumiNet Press imprint, launching the Ron Bonds conspiracy publishing empire.
The only book about Oswald before the JFK Assassination was finally published. Hail Eris and Dairy Queen dip cones!
Here’s your Christmas miracle fnord excerpt from The Idle Warriors:
Gregory H. Hill
Many people collect stamps. Some people collect coins, a few collect antique bottles, others shoe laces, bottle caps, yellow pencils, and endless array of miscellaneous items worth absolutely nothing (except, of course, to those who ardently collect them).
I collect belly-button lint.
Before you put this down and go back to your television, read on. It really is quite a fascinating hobby–if you like that sort of thing. Honest!–it is! Well… maybe, but it’s still fascinating. Why, believe it or not, I’ve belly-button lints from all over the world: Spain, France, China, Canada, even USSR. Indeed, I even have lints from some very famous people, too. One of my most valuable is a small wad of plaid lint from an eccentric Scotch clan-leader over 300 years old (the lint, not the man). My favorite is a piece of red lint from Khrushchev’s great gram-pa. I received that one just before I was lucky enough to possess a hunk of green lint from an old Irishman (drunken) I met one night in the gutter facing Barney’s Bar and Grill. Another priceless possession of mine is a pillow stuffed with lint of all shapes, sizes and colors from just plain people.
A novice just can’t realize the thrill and joy obtained from the experience of discovering a piece of belly-button lint once proudly worn by General George Washington just before he met Martha.
All in all, I have about 23,000 different specimens, ranging from one st up to and including a ball almost one and one half inches across, fished from King Farouk’s bath tub. These, I keep mounted in glass covered wall plaques starting in the entrance hall of my home, going through the living room, dining room, through my den and ending in my bedroom. The less interesting ones I keep in my wife’s bedroom (she’s a very understanding woman) and the poor ones I keep in a box in the garage. As soon as it gets about another 7 pounds in it, I think I’ll stuff a mattress.
As far as practical uses, I have already mentioned pillows and mattresses. Well, there is an infinite source of objects that lints can be substituted for if you have a practical mind. Some of my friends are soaking them in formaldehyde and using them as moth balls. Do you have noisy neighbors? Why, just stuff some in your ears and eliminate the noise (or better yet, send a box them next door and eliminate the neighbors). Actually, you can do almost anything with this wondrous material if you have the imagination &/or the nerve.
However, I think I should warn you about using lints for practical purposes instead of keeping them. Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats the grandeur of collecting–especially collecting such an important item as belly-button lint. What could be more satisfying than surprising your house guests by showing them a mounted board or row of glass cases containing hundreds of lints! Doesn’t it sound wonderful!!! It is almost a sure bet that they will never bother you again.
Now that I have undoubtedly sold you completely on the art of collecting belly-button lints, your first reaction is probably: where would an ordinary person like yourself obtain old and rare lints?
Damn good question.