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February 18: This Day In Discordian History

Marquee for the RAW Meme-Orial, February 18, 2007. Courtesy of Tim Cridland.
On February 18, 2007, I had the privilege of attending what was dubbed The Robert Anton Wilson Cosmic Meme-Orial held at the Coconut Grove Ballroom in Santa Cruz, CA, the town where RAW lived the last couple decades of his life.

At the time, Louise Lacey was visiting Santa Cruz, so on the way I picked her up and gave her a lift to the event, which was located right off the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk where I’d spent so many days of my youth and teenage years. So it was nostalgic in that sense, conjuring up memories of days gone by, and also a sense of fond nostalgia about RAW’s influence on all of us Discordians attending the event. In many ways this day signaled the end of an era, although those in the crowd did not dwell on the maudlin, but to the contrary came and celebrated and laughed and lifted a glass (or two) to RAW’s passing into the land of We Know Not What.

RAW’s box of ashes, topped by the Golden Apple, February 18, 2007.
Courtesy of Tim Cridland.
As we entered the ballroom, RAW’s ashes were on display in a wooden box that was appropriately topped off with a Golden Apple. Louise stopped in her tracks and did a double take, recognizing it as the very same Golden Apple she’d given RAW a few years earlier at the premiere of the Maybe Logic documentary at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz back on July 23 of 2003. (July 23rd being a holy Discordian date that celebrates the rising of the star Sirius and RAW’s encounter with otherworldly entities. Maybe.) Outside during intermission, RAW had stepped out to have a cig when Louise presented him with said Golden Apple and recalled that he was completely enchanted with the gift, and couldn’t take his eyes off it as he cradled it in his hands. This was the last time that Louise saw him.

During the Meme-Orial, many took to the stage with their RAW remembrances, including his daughter, Christina, who shared his last message:

“I no longer claim to know anything, but I still have some persistent suspicions. My greatest suspicion holds that all my suspicions may prove wrong. Intelligence recognizes that nothing now seems impossible. Have a good, hearty laugh and do not dare to mourn me.”

The zine movement, in all its nostalgic glory. Left to right: Adam Gorightly, Tim Cridland, Kenn Thomas and Greg Bishop at the RAW Meme-Orial, February 18, 2007.
Courtesy of Tim Cridland.
The event was attended by my good friends Kenn Thomas of Steamshovel Press fame, The Excluded Middle’s Greg Bishop and Tim Cridland (aka Zamora The Torture King), who all, in one way or another, were touched by RAW’s work. Coming of age during the late-80s zine movement, it seemed RAW was a unifying force binding us all together, not only because he had penned such mind bending classics as Illuminatus! and Cosmic Trigger, but due as well to his optimistic and open minded outlook which seemed an inspiring path to follow.

To this end, Greg recalled how his life was literally saved when—during a period of deep depression—he fortunately discovered RAW’s writings about the loser and winner scripts, and immediately took them to head and heart, turning his world around.

Synchronicities were often abundant during personal interactions with RAW, as Kenn Thomas recalled:

“The twenty-three coincidences came up twice when RAW visited me in St. Louis way back in 1978. We were talking about it at lunch one day when the number we were given at the pizza place to wait for our order was 2323. Later, I took him to a radio interview in the nearby burb of Clayton, MO—near where George Noory does his show these days—and I pointed out that the name of the building where the radio station was located must have some mystical significance. It was called the Sevens Building. “Maybe,” he said, “and maybe so does that” and he pointed the top of the tall building across the street which had a large “23” marking its street address. RAW tells some version of this story on one of his videos, saying that the incident reflected a koan ‘Who is the Master who makes the grass green?’”

Poster for the RAW Meme-Orial.
Any decent memorial—as all good Irishmen and Discordians know—has a well stocked bar to which I soon made passage. After securing an ice cold Anchor Steam—and taking a long cool drawl thereof—I worked my way back through the crowd, in the process bumping into R.U. Sirius of Mondo 2000 fame. Though no meaningful words were exchanged between us during the course of our passage, we shared that knowing nod that only RAW initiates know, clinking our bottle necks together, a toast in cosmic unison, as each of us then continued moving through the crowd.

The next RAW initiate I encountered was his long time friend, Scott Apel, who spent a lot of time with Bob during his final days. Scott mentioned that, at one point, RAW had handed him a copy of The Prankster and The Conspiracy and said, “If you want to know what really happened with the early Discordian scene, read this book!”—which was a wonderful anecdote to hear.

There are some very cool clips from the RAW Meme-Orial at this YouTube playlist:

RAW’s ashes being tossed to the sea, and to Eris, February 18, 2007.
Courtesy of Tim Cridland.
Included is a stirring rendition of Auld Lasagna, as well as the procession where we were all given kazoos and such to blow upon and make mad music as we marched out to the beach to watch RAW’s ashes scattered to the sea, and to Eris.

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More On The Kabouters, Operation Mindfuck and the Lemuel P. Grant Influence Lodge

The Kabouters article in question.
When researching the roots of Discordianism, I’ve found that one rabbit hole inevitably leads down another and so it’s best to just keep on burrowing.

Such is the case of our last post about an article on the Kabouters that Lord Omar (aka Kerry Thornley) co-opted and redistributed (via kopyleft) under the auspices of the Ancient Seers of Bavaria, all of this part of Operation Mindfuck (OM), the Discordian Society’s covert campaign to illuminate the masses.

While reviewing the Kabouters article in question, I noticed that in the right margin Thornley wrote: “Stolen for you by the Erisian Liberation Front of the Lemuel P. Grant Lodge” which I figured was just some vague reference that popped out of Lord Omar’s pineal gland to confuse us all the more.

Kerry Thornley's Paranoid Flash Illuminator zine, July 1970. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Kerry Thornley's Paranoid Flash Illuminator zine, June 1970. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Afterwards — in the same section of the Discordian Archives where I’d discovered the Kabouters article — I came across a couple copies of Thornley’s Discordian newsletter The Paranoid Flash Illuminator, one of which stated: “Lemuel P. Grant Influence Lodge grows rapidly on both fronts presently active, E.L.F. and the Uncle Remus Chapter of the Black Lotus Society…” and that “…Operation Mindfuck is gathering momentus…”

Of course, none of this helped clarify what the Lemuel P. Grant Lodge actually was until I read through the next copy of Paranoid Flash Illuminator, which elaborated further:

In case you were wondering, Lemuel P. Grant Lodge of the Bavarian Illuminati is named after its founder: “At 327 St. Paul Avenue SE stands what remains of a house which survived the burning of Atlanta only to be consumed 100 years later by the ravages of neglect. It was built in 1858 by Col. L.P. Grant…When General William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces put the torch to Atlanta on November 14, 1864, they left the engineer’s mansion unscathed despite that fact that it had been used as a Confederate hospital because paraphernalia used in Masonic rituals had been found inside. They had instructions not to harm the homes of Masons.

Kerry Thornley during his Sacred Mind Ashram period in Atlanta, 1972. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
All of which suggests a Freemasonsic conspiracy of epic proportions that continues to this very day!

Although it’s sometimes near impossible to separate fact from fiction with much Discordian Society propaganda, the Sacred Mind Ashram referred to later in the above newsletter was an actual concept that Kerry and his wife Cara entertained during the period they lived in Atlanta in the early-70s. However, this idea of a “hip school for little kids” apparently never progressed beyond the concept stage.

As for the Good Vibe Machine, I have no idea what that actually was, though it would have made a great name for a 1960s sex toy.

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Greg Hill’s Discordian Newsletter: The Greater Poop

From the late-60s through the early-70s, Greg Hill published a newsletter called The Greater Poop aka The Greater Metropolitan Yorba Linda Herald-News-Sun-Tribune-Journal-Dispatch-Post and San Francisco Discordian Society Bulletin and Intergalactic Report & Pope Poop, a networking tool of sorts where Hill kept his fellow Popes and Momes informed about new initiates, cabals, projects and other current Discordian doings.

The early issues were a one page long sheet that was folded four times and mailed. The first few issues composed in long hand and later issues typed, often including hand drawn illustrations by Malaclypse himself.

Back (mailer) side of Issue #29 of The Greater Poop.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Front side of Issue #1 (archive copy) of The Greater Poop. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.

As The Greater Poop evolved, it sometimes encompassed several pages, such as Issue #30, a ten page monstrosity that we’ve have posted here in its entirety.

This issue includes an announcement of the printing of the 4th Edition of the Principia Discordia and the official rescinding of the 1st thru 3rd Editions… along with the rest of reality.

The Greater Poop #30, July/August 1970












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The Origins of “Historia Discordia”: A Flashback Review of The Prankster and the Conspiracy

Back in 2004, Brian Doherty of Reason Magazine reviewed The Prankster and the Conspiracy (Amazon Kindle, Paperback) and titled his review “Historia Discordia,” a title that, with Brian’s consent, I’ve decided to use for this website, as well as the forthcoming book Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society coming soon from RVP Publishers.

Reprinted with permission, here’s Brian’s article from Reason Magazine:

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Apocalypse: A Trade Journal For Doom Prophets

Apocalypse: A Trade Journal for Doom Prophets, cover, 1960. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Among the many curiosities discovered in the Discordian Archives is what appears to be the first collaboration between Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, predating Principia Discordia by five years, which, of course, corresponds to the Discordian Law of Fives. (Hail Eris!)

In 1960 — following Thornley’s Marine Corps discharge — he returned to Whittier, California and reunited with Hill at that time and the two produced a humor zine called Apocalypse: A Trade Journal For Doom Prophets.

Hill and Thornley published only one issue of Apocalypse, mainly because no one else, besides them, found it the least bit humorous. As Thornley later noted: “Things we thought were funny, nobody else did.”

Apocalypse: A Trade Journal For Doom Prophets will appear in its entirety in the forthcoming Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society available soon from RVP Publishers.