In essence, this article appears to have been a PR prank Robert Anton Wilson pulled as a pretext to promote Illuminatus! while at the same time taking a pot-shot (pun intended) at members of the Neo-American Church, who—on occasion—RAW was known to tussle with.
This article also mentions a Timothy Leary interview RAW was working on that had yet to be published at the time due to what he referred to as “perfectionist” editors at PLAYBOY. This “Lost Leary Interview” —which has yet to see the literary light of day—was among content included in the RVP-never-to-be-version of Starseed Signals, although I’ve been informed that our friends at Hilaritas Press may include it in their forthcoming iteration of the book.
As for the “acidheads” mentioned in the article, RAW was referring to members of the Neo-American Church, founded by former Leary acolyte Arthur Kleps. It should be noted that if RAW was sincerely interested in suing the Neo-American Church, then said lawsuit would have included his friend, and Discordian Society founder, Greg Hill, who was an affiliate member of that august acidhead outfit as documented in this membership card below. Oh, what a tangled web we acidheads weave!
Kleps was fond of penning polemics to counterculture publications, one of which appeared in the November 14, 1975 edition of The Berkeley Barb with Kleps going on about how the “energy crisis” was a hoax that “fits in with the apocalyptic ideas so popular among the moron supernaturalists and occultists of the Robert Anton Wilson type…”
In response, RAW fired back with the following letter published in the November 21, 1975 edition of The Berkeley Barb:
2 replies on “RAW vs. the Acidheads for… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”
“There were giants in the earth in those days….”
For an informative and sometimes hilarious view of life inside Art Kleps’ Neo-American Church, check out his former lieutenant Jack Call’s memoir:
Just noticed another thing: Greg Hill’s NeoAC membership card bears the Mt. Eden mailing address of William Shyne. Shyne was a deranged dentist and con artist who incorporated his own “Neo-American Church of California,” and poached potential members who thought they were joining Kleps’ organization.
(The Chief Boo Hoo renamed his own sect “The Original Kleptonian Neo-American Church to avoid confusion with both Shyne’s breakaway group, and the so-called “Neo-American Church” of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a mind-control cult that fell apart when founder George Feigley went up the river for multiple counts of statutory rape and child molestation. Shyne himself also got in trouble years before the NeoAC debacle for abusing kids; I’ll be telling his story, along with Kleps’ and various other acidhead-cultist characters’, in my next book.)