Among the more prodigious correspondents of the 1970s Discordian letter writing circle was a fellow named Stan Jamison (aka Coman Ra – Lt. Colonel, Commanding 1st Intergalactic Confederacy Advance Detail—Planet Shan) who was a rather enigmatic sort in that he didn’t fit the typical mold of what some might consider a Discordian. Of course, using the term “typical” to describe a Discordian is oxymoronic, as there was nothing close to typical about any of the Early Discordians.
The Stan Jamison files. All three and a half inches. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Many have associated the early Discordians with the hippie movement (whatever that actually was) and it can’t be denied that Greg Hill and his fellow travelers were heavily immersed in and influenced by the 1960s counterculture, and were students and practitioners of its myriad forms of expression, including alternative religions, non violent political protest, Anarcho-Libertarianism, and an irreverent sense humor that permeated their colorful network of guerilla ontologists.
Even though he was described, at times, as a semi-fascist right wing kind of guy, Jamison was into what some might consider some pretty hippy dippy type shit himself, and to some degree his interactions with Discordian Society members certainly rubbed off on him in terms of being able to see different sides of an issue and immerse himself in different reality tunnels he might not have normally ventured into or engaged in.
Jamison was a self described “naturopath,” a practitioner of natural healing and out of the box therapies who ran a mailing list dedicated to a wide range of topics such as growing organic sprouts, how to cure cancer via oxidation, and other alternative healing cures.
The Stan Jamison Files: 'Doc Jamison Speaks'
In this circa 1970 memo to Louise Lacey, Greg Hill shared his thoughts about the semi-enigmatic Doc Jamison.
Page 00001 of memo on Doc Jamison from Greg Hill to Louise Lacey, circa 1970. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Page 00002 of memo on Doc Jamison from Greg Hill to Louise Lacey, circa 1970.Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
To this end, Greg Hill’s comment (re Jamison supporting EPP) was emblematic of the sort of out of the box strategic thinking he often showcased in his writings. In this case the notion that Jamison could help promote a left leaning concept like EPP to a right wing audience who under normal circumstances might view EPP as a manifestation of Socialism. In reality, EPP slid more toward the anarchic side of the political scale, i.e. less government, which was the sweet spot where mutual interests between the left and the right sides of the political spectrum could find common ground.
Like his fellow Discordian conspirators, Jamison took part in many of the prank letter writing campaigns referred to as “jakes.” Once such jake was initiated by Discordian Thomas Patrick McNamara (aka Thomas the Gnostic) to The Rag, a counterculture mag out of Austin, Texas.
April 9, 1970: Thomas the Gnostic’s Illuminati letter to The Rag. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Others, of course, soon joined in on the fun, including Jamison with his own Illuminati letter to The Rag that included an honest to goddess pope card for The Rag’s “Illuminati Editor.”
June 10, 1970: Doc Jamison's Illuminati letter to The Rag, page 00001. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
June 10, 1970: Doc Jamison's Illuminati letter to The Rag, page 00002. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
During the late 1960s, Jamison resided in Irwin, California, or—as he called it—“The Free City of Irwin” where I guess he had his own branch of The Universal Life Church (ULC), a non-profit ministry whose headquarters were located in the nearby town of Modesto.
ULC became famous (or infamous, as the case may be) for ordaining ministers for a “free will love offering” and was a huge influence on The Discordian Society. Greg Hill, in fact, became an ordained ULC minister, and in the decades to follow thousands in the U.S. and abroad would receive their minister’s credentials through the organization.
Greg Hill's ULC Minister's card. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
One aspect of ULC that resonated with Greg Hill—and that became part of the Discordian ethos—was the idea that anyone anywhere at any given time could become a holy man or holy woman (a pope or mome.) ULC became popular during the Vietnam War era when many potential draftees from across this great land of ours obtained their very own ministerial credentials in the hopes it would help them steer clear of the war (on religious grounds), a notion that resonated deeply within the Discordian ranks and led to other like-minded correspondences/interactions, one of which was with Archbishop Gordon L. Cruikshank, an anti-gov/anti-tax advocate/militant of a certain stripe who had created his own religious organization called The Life Science Church in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
Page 00001 of Archbishop Gordon L. Cruikshank's March 29, 1970 letter to Stan Jamison.
Page 00002 of Archbishop Gordon L. Cruikshank's March 29, 1970 letter to Stan Jamison.
Greg Hill was also a card carrying member of this outfit. (Of course there was never an alternative religion that Greg Hill met that he didn’t like.)
Greg Hill's Certificate of Ordination from Gordon L. Cruikshank's Life Science Church, Inc.
Another colorful character who came into the orbit of Hill and Jamison was W. John Weilgart, an Austrian philologist/psychoanalyst and the mastermind/madman behind “aUI,” a so-called constructed language or what Weilgart referred to as “the language of space.”
According to Brad Steiger, as a child Weilgart learned about aUI from a literal “little green spaceman” who informed him that this “space language” was used by all sentient beings throughout the cosmos, and that if adopted by humankind it could cure every one of irrational thinking patterns.
Weilgart’s motivation for inventing the language was to create a form of communication based on what he proposed to be universal, basic elements of human thought and expression, and incorporated it into his psychotherapy work.
Jamison forwarded three items to Louise Lacey that included a one page explainer on aUI; a letter about aUI and how it could be used as the official language of Earth People’s Park; and a letter from Weilgart to Jamison and Doc Iggy (aka Greg Hill) that apparently was in response to material The Discordians were circulating about nudes in San Francisco that “were soldiers in the Om United New World Nude Brigade.”
One page explainer on aUI. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Stan Jamison's July 5, 1970 letter to Louise Lacey on aUI. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
July 14, 1970 letter from John Weilgart to Stan Jamison. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Jamison received a couple more letters from Weilgart detailing plans for a summer of 1970 West Coast visit that would be coordinated by Jamison and Hill to include speaking gigs and media appearances not to mention Weilgart trying to wrangle some nudie models for a body painting exhibit dedicated to his space language.
John Weilgart's letter to Stan Jamison. Date unknown. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
July 17, 1970 letter from John Weilgart to Stan Jamison. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
There was more back and forth correspondence, but suffice it to say I could no evidence that this Discordian-Weilgart hook-up ever actually took place, though the vision of voluptuous nudes with aUI body paint shines bright in my mind’s eye.
Doc Jamison's official Declaration of War. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
In his 1986 broadsheet Kultcha Issue #28 entitled “Coman-Ra,” Jamison’s Discordian name, Kerry Thornley wrote:
Since 1970, though, Greg Hill and I both had been receiving from him everything from advice about how to grow organic sprouts to racist newspapers published by White Christians who were armed and quite dangerous. In reply to one of my memos about Kirstein [aka Brother-in-Law] that had fallen into his hands indirectly, he wrote me to say that the tragedy in Dallas [Kennedy's assassination] was plotted by the Secret Order of Thule in such a way as to assure that no cover-up could remain convincing forever. Motive: to make the American public paranoid about their government and mass media. For paranoia, he told me, is a big step in the direction of mental health.
People who become paranoid, Coman-Ra [Stan Jamison] wrote, will not rest until they discover every last shred of truth. Among the devices used to encourage awareness of conspiracy were the many crude Oswald impersonations that occurred just previous to the assassination. Puzzled for more than a decade about exactly that mystery, I had to admit this was the first credible hypothesis to explain it without making the assassins look like idiots. And had they been less than geniuses, there’d have been no cover-up at all.
Coman-Ra further informed me that the conspiracy was constructed in concentric circles, like Chinese boxes, with descending levels, so that only the “man at the center” understood afterwards exactly what had happened. Of course, I could not ignore the possibility that man might have been the person I call Brother-in-law.
What brought the many loose ends in the John Kennedy murder mystery together for me was this realization that it was a maximum complicity crime. Various factions must have been deliberately implicated on a blind-alliance basis, so that once the event occurred, every group of conspirators was startled at evidence of participation by someone besides themselves.
What brought the many loose ends in the John Kennedy murder mystery together for me was this realization that it was a maximum complicity crime. Various factions must have been deliberately implicated on a blind-alliance basis, so that once the event occurred, every group of conspirators was startled at evidence of participation by someone besides themselves.
Like Brother-in-law, Jamison seemed morbidly fascinated with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Both men mentioned in particular little-known aspects of the Third Reich — such as the secret pagan rituals of the SS and the occult beliefs of Hitler’s cohorts. Both repeated a rumor that Nazi rocket scientists discovered energy secrets the oil companies were repressing to this day. And whether either or both were living some kind of macabre hoax or were absolutely fanatical was impossible to decide, since neither man was without humor. For instance, [Jamison] always signed off with: “Love is Alive and Well.”
As might be anticipated, it struck me that perhaps Jamison and Gary Kirstein were the same person, so in 1977 I dropped in on Jamison unexpectedly at his address in Turlock, California. Not only was he not the same man I had conversed with in New Orleans, but it was plain that the spine-chilling ranting in his letters was just a big put-on. That isn’t to say his information about the assassination could not have been valid. A warm, intelligent human being obviously unsympathetic to Fascism, he nevertheless seemed quite versed in secret society politics.
“I come on all hairy like that in my letters,” he told me, “to scare off government agents.”
Stanton Jamison: United States Social Security Death Index
Even though he put out a lot of articles about how to cure cancer with oxidation and live forever by eating wheat germ, it appears (according to the U.S. Social Security Index) that Jamison lived only to the age of 75, dying in California on April 29, 1996, around that same time period (give or take a year or two) that so many of his Discordian brethren likewise cashed in their chips: Thornley in 1998, Camden Benares in 1999, and Greg Hill in 2000.
These letters aren’t dated—nor have I retained carbons of the originals from my end, so I don’t remember specific dates—but as I recall along with my letters I included an article I’d written for Paranoia Magazine that theorized that the Beat Movement and their subsequent Hippie/Yippie offspring—including the Manson Family—may have been part of a grand conspiracy that employed psychedelics as mind control agents (ala MK-ULTRA), all part of a plan designed to influence and undermine the 60s counterculture.
In response, Kerry shot back:
I harbor no conspiracy theories about The Beats, but did hear the rumor, several times, that Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller were behind them. Why, I don’t know. Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) was a lot like Nelson, evidently—an energetic psychopath.
I’m sorry to say I wasn’t impressed with your articles. You seem to have no conception of the effects of LSD, and your picture of Manson is fucked.
Why the CIA introduced acid, I have no idea. But I suspect they hadn’t the faintest notion of what to expect. I knew many people, including my ex-wife and one nuclear physicist, who gave up good defense industry jobs because acid turned them against war. And it certainly doesn’t turn the brain to mush, etc., etc.—quite the opposite!
Manson never held any mysterious power over anyone. That was a myth created by the girl’s attorneys to get them off with a lighter sentence. Read Manson In His Own Words by Eddowes [sic]…One of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read—a very no-bullshit account of what happened.
I suspect there may be some truth to the Oswald/FBI informant theory. I went to the FBI (five or six) times myself in the years after the assassination—exactly why, I don’t know (but suspect mind control may have been involved.) Right after Hoover’s death… I wrote some letters to Clarence Kelley, upon becoming convinced a bunch of local radicals were actually Nazis in drag. It is, however, incomprehensible to me that I would do anything so stupid, except once when I thought FBI agents were setting me up and wanted to cover my ass.
Robert Anton Wilson—whom you mention in connection with Leary (whom I hear was a munitions corporate espionage agent) was my mentor from 1967 until about 1971. I hear he was connected with a Nazi secret society known as MAAGI6 , because it infiltrated MAG-11 (Marine Air Group Eleven) to which both Oswald and I belonged at different times. But the same sources of information held him in great respect as someone who in spite of his affiliation was very independent and a sincere anarchist, etc. Wilson introduced me to the individual anarchists–Proudhon, Warren, Tucker, Spooner, Bersodi, Labadie, etc.
1990s letter from Kerry Thornley to Adam Gorightly, Page 00001.
1990s letter from Kerry Thornley to Adam Gorightly, Page 00002.
1990s letter from Kerry Thornley to Adam Gorightly, Page 00003.
In the above letter, Kerry mentioned sending a letter to FBI director Clarence Kelley about his belief that he was being monitored by some secret society of sorts with connections to US intelligence which indeed was a sort of wild thing to do—sending a rambling letter like that to the Director of the FBI—but hey, we’re talking about Kerry here.
This missive to Kelley is in a batch of Thornley-FOIA documents I’ve collected over the years that I’ll post here at HD sometime in the near future. Kerry also states his belief (or suspicion) that Robert Anton Wilson was an intelligence agency spook or asset, aligned to some Nazi secret society. Make of that what you will!
In response to Kerry’s letter, I evidently brought up the Process Church of the Final Judgment, which—in turn—launched Kerry off on one of his classic conspiratorial screeds in this follow-up letter:
1990s letter from Kerry Thornley to Adam Gorightly on the Process Church, Page 00001.
Page 1 of Kerry’s reply letter recounts a brush he had with the Process Church in New Orleans in 1967 when he’d returned there to appear before Jim Garrison’s Grand Jury looking into the JFK assassination. Weirdly enough, the person who took Kerry by the Process Church headquarters was none other than Slim Brooks, the same shadowy character who he suspected had lured him unwittingly into a JFK assassination conspiracy.
On Page 2, Kerry connects Robert Anton Wilson with The Process, referring to an incident that occurred in 1975 at a place called the Celestial Mansion where Kerry believed that Wilson and a group of clandestine intelligence agents/secret society adepts met with him as part of some sort of debriefing regarding the JFK assassination.
1990s letter from Kerry Thornley to Adam Gorightly on the Process Church, Page 00002.
On or before October 26, 2017, a slew of previously unreleased JFK assassination files are scheduled to hit the streets after being buried away in some Deep State dungeon all these years, part of the Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, identified as “Volume 5,” corresponding—of course—to the Discordian Law of Fives, Hail Eris!
From what I understand, the only thing that could potentially derail this roll-out is President Trump who has the final say—yea or nay—although there’s no indication he’s considering putting the skids on any of this—assuming of course his handlers in the Kremlin are on board and there’s nothing in the files that could potentially cast Mother Russia in a negative light.
From what I’ve been able to piece together, some of these files concern Lee Oswald’s trip to Mexico City in late September 1963, when Oswald—or an Oswald double, or someone going by the name of Oswald, or maybe a rabbit named Oswald—paid a visit to the Soviet and Cuban consulates there.
Some people are saying there may even be sensitive materials in the files related to Mexico, which is another possible reason to keep a lid on them—to appease the Mexican government—though I doubt Trump would give a rat’s ass about any of this wimpy “sensitivity” stuff. And if there’s indeed some dirt linking Mexico to JFK’s assassination, maybe he could even use it to apply leverage to get Mexico to pay for his wall after all! (Don’t ya love it when a plan comes together?)
In things JFK assassination-related, all roads inevitably lead to Discordianism… and Kerry Thornley. (Maybe.) The gist of Jim Garrison’s conspiratorial claims concerning Thornley were to the effect that he was one of the notorious Oswald doubles, and that he (Kerry) met up with his old Marine Corps pal Oswald in Mexico City—and then later in the French Quarter—all part of some diabolical plot designed to frame Oswald as a commie red.
Among the “evidence” Garrison presented to bolster his theory re: Thornley-meeting-Oswald-in-Mexico included a postcard Kerry sent to a French Quarter poet pal named Phil Boatright. Of course, Kerry never denied traveling to Mexico City in early August ‘63, all of which occurred during the same general time frame he traveled from New Orleans to California and then back again to New Orleans during the summer of that year.
Postcard from Kerry Thornley to Phil Boatright, August 1963.
On the way to California, the Greyhound bus carrying Thornley cross country made a piss stop in Texas which led Garrison to conclude that Kerry was the dastardly dude who faked the funky photo of Oswald standing in the courtyard of his Dallas apartment holding the deadly Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in one hand and some dirty commie literature in the other.
This all fed into Garrison’s propinquity theory suggesting that if you’re ever anywhere near anyone in time and space who might have known another someone who might have been involved in something then there was a reasonable reason to believe that you were most likely involved in something that the other people you knew may have also been involved with. Or something like that. (It’s all about connectin’ the dots, dude.)
The most curious document I’ve come across regarding this alleged Oswald-Thornley-Mexico meet-up is one I’ve never actually seen addressed by other researchers—pro or con—which I post below for you to wrap your heads around.
The mysterious 'Murdock Memo.'
Like a number of Thornley-JFK assassination-related documents, the first time I came across this little ditty I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it: was it a fake or the real McCoy? I bring up the possibility of “fake” mainly because there were a number of documents foisted off on Garrison by independent investigators (otherwise known as Grassy Knoll Irregulars), such as the doctored Thornley photos that Harold Weisberg had his hand in, or a couple of spurious letters connected to Fred Crisman which I’ll discuss in a future installments here at Historia Discordia (if I haven’t bored you to tears already). However—in the case of this Murdock Memo—it seems consistent with similar internal FBI documents I’ve seen, and I’d venture to guess it is indeed authentic, which of course doesn’t speak to its accuracy, although I’m sure there are many who would ceremoniously proclaim at first sight: “Checkmate, Thornley! You’re busted, bub!”
The memo is dated November 25, 1963—three days after you know what—based on a tip from Det. J.C. Murdock of the Grand Prairie, Texas P.D. advising “that one Karry [sic] Thornley… has recently been in Mexico and California with Oswald. Secret Service has been notified.”
In 1959, Oswald and Thornley served together at El Toro Marine Base in California, although without going all Wikipedia on you, I don’t recall Oswald ever returning to California after his Marine Corps stint (and subsequent 23 skidoo to Moscow).
The first document in this six page bundle is an internal FBI memo stating that Special Agent Richard K. Harrison conducted an investigation of the Murdock Memo.
“On November 23, 1963, Detective SIMS, Homicide and Robbery Division, Dallas Police Department, advised he had received information from one J.C. MURDOCK, Grand Prairie, Texas, police officer, that one, LARRY [sic] THORNLEY, white male, age 24, address 1824 Dauphine, New Orleans, Louisiana, was a close friend of OSWALD and served with him in the U.S. Marines at the El Toro, California, Marine Base. MURDOCK alleged and that THORNLEY is presently a waiter in New Orleans and has recently been in Old Mexico and California with Oswald.”
Although Special Agent Anderson lays out some pretty specific info ala Detective Murdock—including the misidentification of Kerry as Larry—there’s no indication that any of these allegations were ever confirmed, or to what extent they were followed up on by the Feds. The phrase “Old Mexico” seems a bit out of left field; “Old Mexico,” in some instances, is used as a colloquial term for the former portion of Mexico now incorporated into Southern California, the same geographic area where Thornley and Oswald served together in the Marines, so it all might have been a matter of conflation: Murdock heard something secondhand and then connected it to some other secondhand info and what we’re left with is another among the many confounding head scratchers you’ll discover in the always entertaining Garrison investigation files.
Also, the dates don’t match up from one memo to the other, whatever that suggests. The original Murdock Memo sent out was supposedly on November 25 whereas Special Agent Anderson stated it was composed on November 23, which is not unusual for raw intelligence—not getting names straight or dates exactly right—although it demonstrates the hurried nature of such memos dashed off in the assassination’s aftermath when the wounds were raw and the facts and fictions flying fast and furious across the newswires, teletype machines, and TV screens.
Following the assassination, the FBI and Secret Service questioned Thornley and he was on their radar for awhile—or at least Thornley suspected they were tailing him around New Orleans—and one would think they’d have look into this Murdock Memo matter and put it to rest.
Whatever the case, the memo appears legit, although I wouldn’t have put it past Harold Weisberg to have had a hand in some sort of fuckery of this type (creating a fake document) given his past involvement in the touched up Thornley photo caper.
Besides Weisberg, there were a handful of other Grassy Knoll Irregulars (as the press referred to them) who were tracking the wicked Thornley scent, among them Mark Lane and his comedic cohort Mort Sahl who took a break from his stand-up career to patriotically dedicated himself to Garrison’s freewheeling funfest. Among Thornley’s voluminous writings, he briefly mentioned encountering Sahl when he went in for questioning one day to Garrison’s office. Sahl—upon the first sight of Thornley—turned a ghostly shade of pale and quickly exited the room like he’d just caught a glimpse of the Grim Reaper himself, convinced—as Sahl apparently was—that Thornley was some sort of evil CIA assassin up to no darn good.
Mild mannered crime fighter Mort Sahl with Batgirl in disguise.
The Lane/Sahl tag team is on exhibit in a January 22, 1968 memo documenting an interview with a Mrs. Fenella Farrington who recalled a September (or October) 1963 visit to the Mexican consulate in New Orleans. While waiting to be attended to, a young man came in, inquiring, “What do you have to do to take firearms or a gun into Mexico?”
After JFK’s assassination—on November 25, 1963—FBI agents informed Mrs. Farrington that the squirrelly guy asking about guns in the Mexican Consulate was none other than Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK’s alleged assassin. In this regard, the Lane/Sahl memo suggests that FBI agents pressured Mrs. Farrington to confirm that this gun enthusiast was indeed our boy Lee.
According to the memo, Lane “showed 17 photographs to MRS. FARRINGTON and she selected just 2, one of KERRY THORNLEY and two of LEE HARVEY OSWALD as possibly showing the person whom she had seen in 1963 at the Consulate. She said THORNLEY’s face on the photo appeared more full than the face of the man she had seen…”
The Lane/Sahl tag team interview of Mrs. Fenella Farrington.
The famous doctored photo of evil agent Thornley.
Was this supposed Thornley photo (mentioned above) the same one that Harold Weisberg had doctored (shown to the right) to make Thornley more resemble Oswald?
Just about the time I thought I’d wrapped up this hot mess, another story came across the Internet wires claiming that there may be some Oswald related files missing from the soon to be released (maybe) JFK Assassination Volume 5.
Stay tuned, dear conspiracy comrades, for further developments…
One of the more controversial conspiracy yarns to spin off of Jim Garrison’s JFK assassination loom provided fodder for Edward Haslam’s 1995 Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus: The Story of an Underground Medical Laboratory (1995 First Edition, 2015 Updated Edition).
The first edition of Ed Haslam's mighty tome.
This party got started in the October 1967 Playboy featuring an interview with Jim Garrison:
GARRISON: …and he [Ruby] became the prisoner of the Dallas Police, forced over a year later to beg Earl Warren to take him back to Washington, because he wanted to tell the truth about “Why my act was committed, but it can’t be said here… my life is in danger here.” But Ruby never got to Washington, and he’s joined the long list of witnesses with vital information who have shuffled off this mortal coil.
PLAYBOY: Penn Jones, Norman Mailer and others have charged that Ruby was injected with live cancer cells in order to silence him. Do you agree?
GARRISON: I can’t agree or disagree, since I have no evidence one way or the other. But we have discovered that David Ferrie had a rather curious hobby in addition to his study of cartridge trajectories: cancer research. He filled his apartment with white mice—at one point he had almost 2000, and neighbors complained—wrote a medical treatise on the subject and worked with a number of New Orleans doctors on means of inducing cancer in mice. After the assassination, one of these physicians, Dr. Mary Sherman [an orthopedic surgeon on the staff of Ochsner Clinic at Tulane], was found hacked to death with a kitchen knife in her New Orleans apartment. Her murder is listed as unsolved. Ferrie’s experiments may have been purely theoretical and Dr. Sherman’s death completely unrelated to her association with Ferrie; but I do find it interesting that Jack Ruby died of cancer a few weeks after his conviction for murder had been overruled in appeals court and he was ordered to stand trial outside of Dallas—thus allowing him to speak freely if he so desired. I would also note that there was little hesitancy in killing Lee Harvey Oswald in order to prevent him from talking, so there is no reason to suspect that any more consideration would have been shown Jack Ruby if he had posed a threat to the architects of the conspiracy.
Garrison—as we see—was connecting heavy duty dots, intimating that David Ferrie (one of Big Jim’s key suspects) operated a Super Secret Cancer Research Lab (SSCRL) from his weirdo French Quarter compound (filled from floor to ceiling with hundreds of caged white mice) that somehow was connected to the mysterious death (in July 1964) of Dr. Mary Sherman and also connected to Jack Ruby’s death, well, because Ruby died of cancer. Elementary, dear Watson!
Dr. Mary Sherman
Mary Sherman’s murder was like a scene straight out of one of the weirder episodes of Twin Peaks. Her body (or what was left of it) was stabbed multiple times and then set on fire at her apartment in New Orleans. Sherman’s right arm was damn near completely consumed, including “a portion of the right side of her body extending to the hip,” according to the coroner’s report.
Oddly enough, Sherman’s apartment suffered minimal damage; her bed mattress had been partially destroyed and was smoldering upon discovery. While there was smoke damage to the room, all of the curtains were intact, which was another oddity given the fact that the fire was intense enough to do the number it did on her body.
Photo from the Mary Sherman crime scene.
Haslam’s father, it so happens, was an orthopedic surgeon at Tulane U. and colleague of Dr. Sherman’s. During a sort of deathbed confession, the elder Haslam hinted to his son Ed that there was some kind of nefarious monkey business behind Sherman’s death although Doc Haslam never specifically spilled the exact nature of these beans to his son. These bizarre breadcrumbs—in addition to experiences from Haslam’s youth—propelled him on his literary odyssey.
From this rich tapestry of weirdness, Haslam cobbled together a sort of conspiratorial science fiction detective novel, the components of which coalesced into something that sounds, well, possible—maybe kinda sorta—because it tied together a bunch of disparate threads that had been dangling around in the conspiracy research community over the last several decades and contained enough semi factual elements to lend the story some semblance of truthiness.
Haslam’s theory goes something like this: dastardly David Ferrie had been involved in a clandestine CIA ‘underground laboratory’ (in cahoots with Dr. Sherman), part of a caper to concoct a “cancerous cocktail” (as Haslam so eloquently terms it) that would be used to knock off Fidel Castro. The grand design, according to Haslam’s theory, was that Castro would be slipped a mickey of this cancerous cocktail by his lover and CIA mole, sultry Marita Lorenz, a plot line not entirely outside the realm of reality. As history instructs, the CIA did indeed hatch a number of harebrained schemes to take Castro out of commission; like putting powder in his beard to make it fall out and thus lose face with his followers; or dosing him with LSD right before he delivered a speech which would make it seem like he’d gone off his head—not to mention the old exploding cigar routine you might see in a old Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Sultry Marita Lorenz cozying up to Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
CIA mad scientists even toyed with the idea of rigging up an exploding conch shell for Fidel to encounter while gamboling about the beach. Apparently our boys at The Company had a lot of spare time on their hands to cook up these capers that in the end never really panned out. However—as the story goes—the CIA (according to Haslam’s theory) later employed their cancerous cocktail to poison Jack Ruby because of course they had to stop him from running his mouth about the real reason he’d pumped Lee Harvey Oswald full of hot lead outside the Dallas County Jail.
Haslam speculated that the mastermind behind all of this monkey business was a distinguished physician named Dr Alton Ochsner, former President of the American Cancer Society and President of the Ochsner Medical Center at Tulane University.
According to Haslam’s theory (and make no bones about it, Haslam lays it out in a theoretical fashion), Ochsner directed this cookin’-up-a-cancer-cocktail-caper-to-kill-Castro from his lofty perch at Tulane U., ostensibly providing funding for the Op—or the CIA funneled the funding through him—which Ochsner then passed on to diabolical David Ferrie and his alleged cancer causing cohort, Mary Sherman. All of this gets incredibly murky, once again because it’s primarily speculation on Haslam’s part, cobbled together from different sources of varying merit who seemingly held different pieces of a larger puzzle which Haslam collected, tossed together like a conspiratorial salad, then added his own special dressing (or puzzle pieces or pet theories to keeping mixing metaphors even more) to attempt to tie it all together into a unified field theory overlapping the creation of AIDS with the JFK assassination.
When he wasn’t doing distinguished doctorly stuff, Ochsner had a history of staunch anti-communist activities and was a founding member of The Information Council of America (INCA), an anti-communist propaganda outlet that operated out of New Orleans. Among INCA’s anti-commie efforts included an LP called Self Portrait in Red (YouTube Videos: Part 1 and Part 2) that featured a radio debate pitting Lee Oswald against anti-Castro Cuban Carlos Bringuier.
Self Portrait in Red LP, Side 1
Self Portrait in Red LP, Side 2
In subsequent years, conspiracy sleuths have come to suspect that this LP (the production of which was overseen by Alton Ochsner) was part of a grand plan to set up Oswald before the fact as a commie lone nutter with an itchy trigger finger, along the same lines as what Garrison claimed Kerry Thornley, Discordian co-founder, was up to: basically framing Oswald for the JFK assassination in advance.
During the period Ferrie and Mary were supposedly involved in this cancer cocktail caper, high tech medical gadgetry was being introduced into the cancer research field and placed at medical universities such as Tulane. This included the use of linear particle accelerators that could blast the bejesus out of cancer cells (and monkey viruses, for that matter). While Haslam was never able to produce any tangible evidence to confirm Sherman might have had one of these linear particle dohickeys at her disposal—or that one was ever housed at Tulane—this nonetheless formed the basis for one of the more science fictional aspects of his story: that Mary was monkeying around with one of these things and accidentally blew herself to smithereens.
Haslam even went so far as to speculate that the supposed linear accelerator explosion caused a mutation of the monkey virus they were messing around with and released it into the atmosphere which a decade later led to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic. (That’s fucked up, dude!)
In the aftermath of this cancer cocktail catastrophe, a clean-up crew was called in to cover-up this messy mishap to keep the secret lab under wraps and the New World Order conspiracy humming along. As part of this clean-up cover up, Sherman was stabbed multiple times to make it look like murder, then transported—under cover of darkness—to her apartment where the culprits started a fire to cover their tracks.
If the creation of AIDS (by way of mutating monkey viruses) wasn’t enough conspiratorial fodder to get your head spinning, Haslam took another ponderous leap by linking his story to the polio vaccine, which also plays into current conspiracy theories suggesting that vaccines have all sorts of awful side effects such as causing autism in children.
As Haslam writes in his intro to Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus:
I also noticed that names connected to the polio vaccine were names connected to Mary Sherman and to the investigation of the JFK assassination. I began to suspect that these secrets were somehow intertwined. A web of secrecy surrounding our national health. Interlocking secrets that protected each other. Secrets which presented serious accountability problems for the people in power. I remembered the warning my father had given me. I could see how unwelcome this news would be in many circles.
Haslam’s conspiratorial-everything-in-the-kitchen-sink-theory notwithstanding, he was never able to produce a paper trail connecting David Ferrie and Mary Sherman to cancer experiments. In Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus, Haslam admits that Garrison’s Playboy interview was “the single document we currently have connecting Sherman to Ferrie’s cancer experiments.”
“As intriguing as Haslam’s theories are, he actually offers very little checkable evidence, if you read closely. In his original edition, he seemed to speculate a lot; a few pages later, the speculation would become fact; and he would then pile ‘fact’ upon ‘fact’ to create the impression of something sinister…”
In 2007, Trine Day published a revised edition of Haslam’s mighty tome retitled Dr. Mary’s Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans, and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses (Amazon) are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination, and Emerging Global Epidemics.
The revised edition of Haslam’s mighty tome.
And why a revised version, pray tell? Enter Judy Baker…
Judyth Vary Baker first entered into the JFK assassination fray in the late 1990s with claims she’d been Oswald’s girlfriend and that the two even planned to divorce their respective spouses and tie the knot… until, of course, Jack Ruby’s bullet silenced their steamy romance forever.
In 2000, Baker came to the attention of 60 Minutes who were developing a segment regarding her claims when they came to the conclusion that her story didn’t hold water. Judy afterwards claimed that the reason the episode never aired was because The Man stepped in and shut down production as part of an ongoing conspiracy to keep the truth under wraps. The nerve of ‘em!
It was around this time that Ed Haslam encountered Baker and before you know it, the two were hitched to the hip because, at last (or so it appeared), here was someone who was not only an actual witness to Mary and Ferrie’s super secret lab, but claimed she had worked there, as well! Of course, these claims came many years after the publication of Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus and most sober heads concluded that Baker had simply inserted herself into the story as a means of furthering her claims that she was Oswald’s main squeeze. It wouldn’t be the last time that Baker would insert herself into different JFK assassination scenarios.
Baker—as the story goes—or at least the one she was putting forward, was supposedly some young science student whiz kid, and while in high school was recruited by the CIA to work on this secret cancer cocktail project. In due time, Baker found herself in New Orleans where along the way she met Lee Oswald and it was love at first schtup.
Baker—in her account—portrays Oswald as a do-gooder undercover CIA guy who somehow also got involved in this cancer cocktail caper, and all that business about handing out Fair Play For Cuba pamphlets was just a cover for Oswald’s role in infiltrating communist organizations as a double agent for the good ol US of A.
In 2010, Baker’s Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald hit the shelves, which included in its cast of characters damn near everybody that Garrison ever suspected of being in on the gag, including Ferrie and other usual suspects like Clay Shaw, Guy Bannister, Carlos Marcello, and on and on and on; basically anyone that Garrison even thought he caught a whiff of was included in Baker’s rogue gallery of conspirators.
What initially piqued my interest about Baker’s book were her claims asserting that she’d witnessed Thornley and Oswald together in New Orleans, but after reading those specific passages they came across like a contrived piece of fiction attempting to present itself as fact. As I dug deeper, it soon became apparent that Baker’s timeline for the Thornley/Oswald meetings were inconsistent with the public record and that Thornley had traveled back to California during the timeline Baker alleged that the meetings occurred.
In regard to the Baker’s take on the whole Mary, Ferrie, Monkey theory, she claims that Oswald volunteered to courier the cancer cocktail vials to Mexico City, and once there pass them on to an intermediary who would run them to Cuba where they would be used in the planned attempt to slip Castro a death inducing mickey. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re a commie loving creep), the Cuban intermediary was a no-show, and so Oswald—realizing the cancer cocktail had a short shelf life—took it upon himself to attempt to deliver the goods to Cuba, which of course first meant going to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City to get a passport. This explains (I guess) the reason for Oswald’s appearance there which has always been one of the great mysteries surrounding the JFK assassination: What in the dickens was Oswald up to in Mexico?
While Oswald was waiting to get his transit visa, Hurricane Flora blew into Cuba and beat the shit out of the island and basically foiled his plan to deliver the goods, and so that was as far as the cancer cocktail caper ever got.
After this cancerous cocktail caper went south, the evil CIA plotters who cooked up the plan decided to turn their attention on JFK and instead of using the cancer cocktail to do him in, they figured it would be just as easy to blow his head off. This is where Oswald parted ways with the evil CIA plotters and decided he would foil the plot because, like, it was his patriotic duty, dude.
On that dark day that will live in infamy (November 22, 1963), Oswald was sent to Dealey Plaza as one of the shooters but intentionally missed Kennedy, although other shooters, of course, hit the mark. And there you have it, boys and girls, a JFK assassination theory with more moving parts than Jayne Mansfield on a trampoline with a hula hoop twirling 4th of July sparklers.
More recently, Baker associated herself with the Raphael Cruz-JFK Assassination allegations first floated during the 2016 presidential campaign by “journalist” Wayne Marsden.
None of this passed the smell test because the story dropped at the same time we were knee deep in the GOP Primary featuring Ted Cruz as Trump’s main competition, and to a lesser degree Little Marco Rubio, who—curiously enough—was likewise targeted (surprise!) by Mr. Marsden in another hit piece entitled “Rubio’s coke house, gayish dance troupe, and foam parties” based on dodgy photos that may or may not have been Little Marco, but they kinda sorta looked like him frolicking at a gay Miami bathhouse (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). It was the same deal as the supposed Raphy Cruz photos that may or may not have been him but looked similar enough that they could be used in a similar manner to gin up a story. This gay angle was further reinforced through media reports that Rubio is fond of wearing fashionable Beatles-style boots, another sure sign of his diabolical homosexual and globalist tendencies!
Dirty Little Marco! (Photo from Wayne Madsen’s Pulitzer Prize winning 'Rubio's coke house, gayish dance troupe, and foam parties.')
After Marsden’s article on Cruz broke, long time political dirty trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone (during an appearance on Alex Jones’ Infowars) fanned the flames of this Raphael Cruz dumpster fire in the video below.
At the 1:22 mark, Stone starts laying it on pretty thick: “I had an email last night from Judith Vary Baker. She’s a friend. She also undisputedly was Lee Harvey Oswald’s girlfriend from 1961 to 1963. She knew Raphael Cruz well. She confirms that he was part of Lee Harvey Oswald’s crew…Also, if one will simply do a computer analysis of the facial aspects in the photo, which yes appeared in the National Enquirer, but was released by the Warren Commission with a current photo of Raphael Cruz, it’s a perfect match!”
Soon after, candidate Trump gave the Raphael Cruz-JFK assassination yarn another news dump bump when he regurgitated it to Fox and Friends in his own inimitable word salad way.
“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, I mean, and nobody even brings it up, they don’t even talk about that. That was reported and no one even talks about it, but I think it was horrible, I think it’s absolutely horrible… I mean, what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible!”
Political propaganda for fun and profit.
Around the same time that Raphael Cruz was getting drug through the mud, Judyth Baker posted to her blog about a book of her science fiction stories soon to be released at the time by Trine Day entitled Letters to the Cyborgs that would include a never before seen science fiction story written by her fallen lover Lee Oswald! According to Baker:
“I re-typed Lee’s story so that it could be published, using pink paper for the carbon copies… I fixed many spelling errors, and a few grammar errors, but his dialogue was really good, he had read so much science fiction that he was very familiar with the lingo, and I saw that he had talent But before any thought of such a venture could go beyond that stage, Lee became immersed in infiltrating a plot to kill President John F. Kennedy. And they killed him…”
Curiously enough, when I checked the Trine Day site for further info on Letters to the Cyborgs, I couldn’t find diddly squat about Oswald having a story in the collection, which I thought would’ve been the main angle to market the book—because, really, who the hell cares about Baker’s science fiction? This led me to suspect that Trine Day thought better about repeating such a tenuous claim (that Oswald authored the Sci-Fi story) and omitted it from the book’s promotional material. (But, as usual, I digress… back to Mary, Ferrie and a barrel of monkeys.)
A 2007 review of Dr. Mary’s Monkey in New Orleans Magazine mentions the first researcher to go down this Mary-Ferrie-rabbit hole as Don Lee Keith, who wrote an article on Sherman’s murder for Gambit Magazine entitled “A Matter of Motives.” New Orleans Magazine states that “Keith reconstructed the crime scene in his mind and was the first to smell a conspiracy with a cover-up.“ However, Keith’s “papers reveal NO link between [Sherman and Ferrie], save a document from a local reporter working with Garrison, whose source was… Garrison.”
It eventually dawned on me that the document referred to above was something I might have stumbled upon several years ago when I was researching Kerry Thornley and spending endless hours scouring the National Archives online collection related to Jim Garrison.
The Mary/Ferrie document to which I refer was a (supposed) affidavit composed by a certain Mr. Robert L. Russell (also known as James Alexander II) dated September 27th, 1986. The affidavit states that Mr. Russell attended a meeting with alleged CIA agent Guy Banister and:
“…with other individuals, at which it was decided to murder Jack Ruby…that at this same meeting, Bannister and others decided to call in Dr. Louis J. West to accomplish this murder by means which were to be both undetectable and beyond suspicion of foul play… at that time…. I was known as James Alexander II, a wealthy oil man, and that I was thereby working undercover for Robert F. Kennedy to obtain information regarding President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.”
Page 1 of the Russell Affidavit.
My initial reaction to this affidavit was that it had to be some kind of hoax, or a red herring intended to spread disinformation. I based this on the inclusion of Dr. Louis Jolyon West in the narrative which seemed just a little bit too good to be true—kind of like a conspiracy theorists’ wet dream—mainly because West has so often been linked to a panoply of MK-ULTRA conspiracy theories over the years like some sort of Dr. Evil super-villain in a Marvel comic book series. It’s no secret (as you can read from his wiki page) that West was indeed involved in at least one MK-ULTRA-related project when he injected an elephant with large dose of LSD and accidentally killed the poor creature. But beyond that, his legend grew somewhat ridiculously, I think, mainly because it gave street cred to different supposed MK-ULTRA mind control conspiracy theories that have circulated over the years.
The affidavit states that Russell (under the alias of Alexander) met with Dr. West in New Orleans “during 1964, 1965 and 1966, and at these meetings observed Dr. Mary Sherman” who gave:
“Dr. West several vials of a solution of live cancer cells on at least one occasion… Dr. Sherman knew that West intended to use these cancer cells and other drugs to inject Jack Ruby, then under West’s care at the Dallas County Jail. …Dr. West routinely hypnotized Ruby and gave him sodium pentothal to render him passive and to obtain information from him (Ruby) regarding what he knew of the Kennedy assassination… Dr. West visited Ruby for the last time in December 1968 and at that time gave him a final massive injection of the live cancer cells… Dr. Sherman was beaten to death in early 1967 by an unknown assailant whom she had discovered searching her apartment for papers relating to Dr. West and the cancer injections for Jack Ruby… the assailant then set Sherman’s apartment on fire in order to cover up the murder…”
As you can see, the Russell Affidavit—as I’ll refer to it henceforth—matches up with some of the key details in Haslam’s books; namely that Sherman was part of the plot that killed Ruby with a cancerous cocktail and that David Ferrie was a player in the caper. In the Russell Affidavit, Sherman was killed ostensibly to cover up Ruby’s murder as opposed to Haslam’s even more dramatic version of events suggesting she was fried with a linear particle accelerator in the lab and then secreted back to her apartment and torched. Of course, there’s no mention of Dr. West in Haslam’s account, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the fact that West was still alive at the time of the first edition of Haslam’s book and most likely would have sued for libel if someone claimed he had orchestrated Jack Ruby’s murder.
At the time I stumbled upon the Russell Affidavit, it was admittedly a bit of a head scratcher, and like so many weird conspiratorial tidbits I’ve come across over the years, I filed it away in one of those odd corners of my mind to ponder again at some future date.
Then, while thumbing through Joan Mellen’s A Farewell to Justice a couple years back (page 364 to be exact), I came across a passage in which Mellen states:
“[Garrison] began to write fiction… he produced a brilliant spoof. Innovative in challenging the boundaries of the conventional short story, the piece is in the form of an ‘Affidavit.’ The author’s name is appended is not ‘Jim Garrison,’ but one Robert L. Russell…”
Mellen refers to the affidavit as a “brilliant spoof,” but you can read it for yourself and make up your own mind if that’s actually the case. It certainly doesn’t read like a spoof; or if it was a spoof, then Garrison evidently was spoofing himself because the only other source at the time linking Mary and Ferrie to this cancer conspiracy was Garrison’s 1967 Playboy interview.
Not only wasn’t the Russell Affidavit a spoof, it wasn’t particularly brilliant, either. The only reason I can figure why Mellen offered this puzzling explanation was because she probably didn’t know what to make of it, either—not to mention that on its face the Russell Affidavit seems somewhat problematic if, indeed, Garrison actually authored it, as it only undermines his credibility and presents the possibility that he was intentionally pushing a false narrative.
This inevitably leads us to the next question: Was Ed Haslam’s Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus inspired by Garrison’s “brilliant spoof?”
On September 16, 2006, famed Discordian Louise Lacey, aka Lady L., F.A.B., sent the following letter to Michael E. Brown, the Caltech astronomer who named the dwarf planet “Eris,” thus ushering in the Aeon of Discord.
This was today in Discordian History. And don’t you forget it.
September 16, 2006 letter from Louise Lacey to Michael E. Brown regarding the naming of dwarf planet Eris.
September 15, 2006 San Francisco Chronicle article on Michael E. Brown and the naming of dwarf planet Eris.