Overweening Generalist

Saturday, November 23, 2013

JFK, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Six Degrees of Separation and other High Weirdness

Nota bene: The OG doesn't "believe" any of the following, but thinks some of it is plausible, and swears he's not making any of it up...

1. Most of the readers of OG know about Kerry Thornley's tragic-baroque-Erisian life. He knew Oswald and was the only person to write a book that had Oswald in it before Oswald shot JFK - if he did shoot him, and I think he most probably did shoot at him - and then later, after much brain-change, Thornley became convinced he was unknowingly set-up as a Second Oswald. Two JFK assassination researchers had gotten the idea there were "two Oswalds" (see Prof. Popkin's The Second Oswald and Prof. Thompson's Six Seconds In Dallas.) And things just got weirder from there. (See Adam Gorightly's The Prankster and the Conspiracy)

                                           Kerry Wendell Thornley

2. Before Robert Anton Wilson met Kerry Thornley and helped flesh out the new religion of Discordianism, RAW had moved his family from New York to Yellow Springs, Ohio, which had a long tradition of anarchism and free-thought.

3. Arthur Young was a polymath and mystic who reminds me a bit as having a similar caste of mind as Buckminster Fuller. Young designed the Bell Helicopter. He was heavily influenced by Alfred North Whitehead, and was interested from a very early age in a Theory of Everything. "Process" reality and consciousness must be the best way of thinking about the the Big Q. Here's a snippet of his writing:

My first ambition was to have a philosophy of the universe. But once I recognized it should incorporate process and not merely structure, I had no place to go. I didn't have any idea what process should consist of. In fact, I felt sort of out-of-breath, as though I'd climbed up a high mountain and didn't have any of the things that nourish the body. So I decided to take up the problem of designing a workable helicopter, more or less as an exercise in getting practical answers. I allowed myself fifteen years, but it actually took eighteen before I had the thing in production. - p.263, The Roots of Consciousness Jeffrey Mishlove, 1975 edition.

He moved to Berkeley and started the Institute for the Study of Consciousness.

                                                Arthur Young

4. William Avery Hyde was an insurance expert who'd written a book on the subject. He raised three children in Columbus, Ohio, then sent them to Antioch College in Yellow Springs. His youngest child was named Ruth, and she converted to Quakerism there. She said that the mystical aspect of Quakerism, which believed in the possibility of a direct communication between humans the heavens, was very important to her. She was also a free-thinker. Ruth later married Michael Paine, part of the very rich Boston Forbes family, which includes Unistat's current Secretary of State, John Kerry. Michael and Ruth Paine settled in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.



5. Ruth's brother went on to become a doctor and was the family physician of Robert Anton Wilson and his wife and children. (p.31 Cosmic Trigger vol 1) This gives the novelist Wilson two odd connections to the JFK assassination. Meanwhile, in the suburbs of Dallas, Ruth, the peacenik, had been interested in the Russian language since 1957. She went to the home of a friend's and met a man named Lee Harvey Oswald, 23 years old, who had been to Russia and was enjoying being the center of attention in the kitchen as he told stories of Russia. He'd met his wife, Marina, in Russia too. On the day JFK was killed, Ruth Paine gave this sworn affidavit:

I have lived at the above address for about 4 years. My husband, Michael and I had been separated for about a year. In the early winter of 1963, I went to a party in Dallas because I heard that some people would be there who spoke Russian. I was interested in the language. At that party I met Lee Oswald and his Russian wife Marina. About a month later I went to visit them on Neely Street. In May I asked her [Marina] to stay with me because Lee went to New Orleans to look for work. About two weeks later I took Marina to New Orleans to join her husband. Around the end of September I stopped by to see them while I was on vacation. I brought Marina back with me to Irving. He came in 2 weeks, later, but did not stay with his wife and me. Marina's husband would come and spend most of the weekends with his wife. Through my neighbor, we heard there was an opening at the Texas School Book Depository. Lee applied and was accepted. Lee did not spend last weekend there. He came in about 5pm yesterday and spent the night, I was asleep this morning when he left for work. (found on unpaged vii of Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of John F. Kennedy, by Thomas Mallon) Oswald stored his rifle in Ruth Paine's garage.

6. Ruth Paine's husband Michael's mother was Ruth Forbes Paine, the great granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ruth Forbes Paine married the brilliant intellectual/mystic/helicopter designer Arthur Young.

                                                 Ron Rosenbaum

7. In a document declassified in 1977, there was a memo regarding a New Orleans assistant DA named Edward Gillin. On the very day Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby on national TV (November 24th, 1963), Gillin called the FBI and reported a strange encounter he'd had in the summer of 1963 with a man who called himself "Lee Harvey Oswald." Gillin said this skinny dude had come into his office asking about mind-expanding drugs. He'd read a book by Aldous Huxley. "He was looking for a drug that would open his vision, you know, mind expansion," Gillin recalled as per the declassified memo. It seems a mere coincidence that Aldous Huxley died, in Los Angeles, on the same day JFK did. Robert Ranftel, Martin Lee, and Jeff Cohen put forth the idea that Oswald may have done LSD while still in the Marines, before he defected to the Soviet Union, at the U-2 base in Atsugi, Japan, which was a known storage and testing facility for the CIA's Operation Artichoke, which later morphed into MK-ULTRA, the CIA's search for a foolproof truth serum that would make captured spies spill their secrets.  At the time it was common to dose unsuspecting personnel to see who could handle it. Apparently, while at Atsugi, Oswald had had a bummer of a trip on acid. Here's Ranftel, Cohen and Lee: "While Oswald was on guard duty, gunfire was heard. He was found sitting on the ground, more than a little dazed, babbling about seeing things in the bushes..."

But then why would Oswald be walking into the assistant DA's office in 1963 asking about mind-expanding drugs? Did he not know what had happened to him at Atsugi? Could it be that the assistant DA was actually talking to Kerry Thornley, who was using his old Marine pal Oswald's name as a goof? Thornley was known to have inhabited New Orleans around this same time.

Anyway, think of the psychedelic Oswald every time you see a picture of him and his odd smile. (See "Oswald's Ghost," pp.346-347, The Secret Parts of Fortune, by Ron Rosenbaum.)

8. Speaking of Ron Rosenbaum: he filed an article at 11:48PM EST on Nov 21, 49 years, 364 days and a few hours after the assassination, at Slate. He claims another researcher has come up with vital info on Oswald's curious "missing time" in Mexico City just before the assassination. And it involves info withheld from the Warren Commission, poet Octavio Paz's poet-wife, a triple-agent, and, quite possibly, Oswald's motive for shooting at (and maybe hitting) JFK. See HERE.

                                                       Mary Pinchot Meyer
                                               

9. Who was Mary Pinchot Meyer? Well...she was a beautiful, well-educated Washington DC socialite and painter who had been married to Cord Meyer. She was found murdered on a walking path in Georgetown, 11 months after JFK was killed. She had been turned on to LSD by the renegade Harvard professor Dr. Timothy Leary, and Mary (divorced from Cord) had had at least 30 trysts with JFK, and she turned on JFK to acid. They smoked pot, did acid, and screwed. Her ex-husband had worked for a one-world government after WWII, where he'd been injured as a Marine on Guam. After it looked like the World Federalist League had been infiltrated by communists, he quit. Then the ex-Yale man was asked by Allen Dulles (a major force on the Warren Commission) to join the C.I.A, and Cord did, working as a covert operator under Operation Mockingbird, which was about infiltrating foreign and domestic media with anti-Communist propaganda.

Mary's sister Tony married Ben Bradlee, who would later head up the Washington Post. In their circle of friends was James Jesus Angleton, in hindsight one of the most interestingly paranoid of all C.I.A men, ever. Mary had told her good friend Ann Truitt that, if anything ever happened to her (Mary), Ann should go into her painting studio and grab her diary. When Ann found out Mary had been murdered, Ann was living in Japan, so she phoned both Bradlee and Angleton, urging them to obtain the diary for her. Bradlee and Mary's sister Tony showed up the next day at Mary's locked house...but Angleton was already in, rummaging for Mary's diary. He tried to pick the lock on her studio. When Tony and Ben found her diary, they gave it to Angleton. Angleton said he'd burned the diary. In another version he said he gave the diary back to Tony, who burned it in front of Ann Truitt.

Leary says in his book Flashbacks that Mary told him in 1962 that the C.I.A wanted all non-C.I.A experimenters to cease publishing results of their experiments because they wanted LSD knowledge for themselves. Thereafter Leary was harassed and arrested many times, and eventually given 37 years for possession of half a joint. At the height of the Vietnam War, President Nixon called Leary "the most dangerous man in America." At the time the usual sentence was six months.

What was so important about Mary Pinchot Meyer's diary?

10. Angleton was paranoid, and an admirer and friend of Ezra Pound, who thought certain industrialists and bankers made money by starting wars. The act of deep reading of Pound seems isomorphic to me to the quality of mentation, the sort of floridly imaginative style one must bring to the paranoid world Angleton was in. They aren't the same: the deeply disturbing and damaging paranoia of Angleton is hardly of a piece with reading anyone's poetry, no matter how wild and intense. What I'd like to emphasize is the quality of mentation. They seem similar to me in that way.

By the way, D. David Heymann wrote a book on Ezra Pound, one on Jackie Kennedy, and a book called The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club. In this last he quotes Cord Meyer, six weeks from death in 2001, when asked, who do you think killed your ex-wife Mary?

"The same sons of bitches that killed John F. Kennedy."

11. Ever heard of Frigyes Karinthy? He was a Hungarian Jew who died in 1938 and probably invented the idea of Six Degrees of Separation...around 1929? (He may have been influenced by radio man Marconi.) In 1936 he had an operation for a brain tumor, and then wrote an autobiographical book Voyage Around My Skull, which came out a year after he died and was re-released in English in 2008 with an introduction by Oliver Sacks. Karinthy's still popular in Hungary, and his books are marked by science fiction ideas, comedy, play with Jonathan Swift's characters, pacifism, the themes of adolescence and the battle of the sexes. His humor is black and ironic. He espoused Esperanto. He also speculated about Artificial Intelligence long before it was invented.

12. Karinthy's 1929 essay deserves more notice but then again, so does Irish aeronautical engineer J.W. Dunne's An Experiment With Time, from two years earlier, 1927. In addition to the luminaries named HERE, Einstein thought Dunne's ideas were interesting, too. So have many physicists working after John S. Bell's 1964 experiments that suggest non-locality on the quantum level. Bell's experiments suggested that once particles had been involved with each other, they were inseparable, no matter how far the distance...which seemed to violate Einstein's bedrock physical idea that the speed of light was the speed limit in physics and the universe. Arthur Young was interested in Dunne, too:

What really got me involved was Dunne's book An Experiment With Time. Dunne found that sometimes he had dreams that would predict the future. He was an Oxford don; so he devised an experiment to prove this kind of thing. He took his class off into the country for three or four days into an environment that was unfamiliar to them. Then he had them keep a record, both of the incidents that occurred and of the dreams that they had. Finally he took the dreams and incidents and mixed them all up in a box and had someone match the resemblances, to see which dreams resembled which incident. They found that half of the dream resemblances were to future events! (Mishlove, op.cit, p.264)

13. I can understand Nelle Doyle's (prophetic?) concern over JFK's trip to Dallas. But I sometimes wonder about stuff like this: Gore Vidal had for a time lived in a mansion with Jacqueline Bouvier; they shared a step-father, Hugh D. Auchincloss. Jackie later married JFK, and Gore Vidal became friends with JFK. And dig this from a Playboy interview:

Playboy: In this kind of society - with that many guns - do you think that public men can be effectively protected from assassination?

Vidal: No. Anybody can murder a President. Once, sitting next to Jack Kennedy at a horse show, I remarked how easy it would be for someone to shoot him. "Only," I said, "they'd probably miss and hit me." "No great loss," he observed cheerfully and then, beaming at the crowd and trying to appear interested in the horses for Jackie's sake, he told me the plot of an Edgar Wallace thriller called Twenty-Four Hours, in which a British Prime Minister is informed that at midnight he will be assassinated. Scotland Yard takes every precaution: 10 Downing Street is ringed with guards; midnight comes and goes. Then, the telephone rings. Relieved, the Prime Minister picks up the receiver - and is electrocuted. The President chuckled. He often spoke of the risk of assassination, but I doubt if he thought it would ever happen to him. His virtue - and weakness - was his rationality. He had no sense of the irrational in human affairs.

Playboy: Do you?

Vidal: I think so. But then, the artist is always more concerned with the moon's dark side than the man of action is. However, I am not prone to mysticism or Yeatsian magic. Only once have I ever had a - what's the word for it? - presentiment. In 1961 I dreamed, in full color, that I was in the White House with Jackie. Dress soaked with blood, she was sobbing. "What will become of me now?" Yet I don't "believe in" dreams, and I certainly would not believe this dream if someone else told it to me.
-p.273, Views From A Window: Conversations With Gore Vidal

----------------------------------------------------------

In this decayed hole among the mountains
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
It has no windows, and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the rooftree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning.Then a damp gust
Bringing rain

13 comments:

BrentQ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrentQ said...

fascinating stuff! I was pleasantly surprised to log onto facebook today and instead of seeing some former acquaintance's photos of their ugly baby, at the very top was R.U. Sirius sharing a link to your blogpost.

I never really went down the JFK conspiracy rabbit-hole. The amount that's been written on it seems so daunting. But LSD/MK-Ultra angle is one that I don't hear about much. Maybe as a sci-fi fan, mind-controlled assassins seems like the sexiest explanation.

michael said...

Brent-

Mind-controlled assassins trump ugly baby pics! Film at 11!

Brainwashed assassins once seemed too paranoid for me to believe; surely these ideas were stolen from works of fiction? It's all Richard Condon-derived stuff, right? But when I read multiple fat histories of the CIA, I found that they actually wanted that!

Then go ahead and read about Sirhan Sirhan.

I was wondering why this piece was getting so many hits: RU Sirius! Tom Jackson emailed me that RU had tweeted about this article. Wow! I got lucky.

Anonymous said...

What's always amazing to me is the
net that catches so many together in
any investigation of this Dallas
incident.
I don't think that the overt does
bring the major players into the
light, it is one of the features
of the so-called conspiracy that
those actors have worked tirelessly
to keep hidden from sight. Make of
that what you will, every added bit
just makes the nay-sayers look like
fools and tools.

I'm surprised you don't have Henry
Giroux on your heroic list. He
says he's a friend of Zygmunt
Baumann, another insightful one.
(that's a digression BTW, in case
some first timer here is puzzled).

The best followup on Sirhan I ever
saw was the Brit hypnotist who did
a duplication of the RFK event
with Stephen Fry as the victim.
The gun had blanks in it but it
was quite easy to believe that it
could have been done that way.

Vidal is exactly right, the social
contract works well enough enmasse
that we don't live in a continuous
bloodbath,regardless of feelings.
We are far less impulsive than
previous ages, probably because
there are more elders around now.
That's a guess, not a factual data
point.

Eric Wagner said...

Great piece. I saw bits of Kennedy stuff on TV over the past few weeks. It saddened me that I didn't see any intelligent presentation of any theories other than the lone gunman theory. I usually really enjoy Bill Maher's show, but on Nov. 22 he and guest posited psychological reasons why people would favor "conspiracy theories."

Sigh. People work together sometimes. Sometimes they lie about it. They conspire. So it goes.

michael said...

Anon-

I read everything Henry Giroux writes. (He recently published a piece at Bill Moyers's site on the basic illiteracy of the public that I found pretty devastating.) I also appreciate Zygmunt Bauman's takes on the postmodern condition. What I am is LAZY in doing what I'd planned to do from the start: periodically replace one thinker (over there---->) with someone else.

As I was writing to a friend today: my sense of "time" seems to have passed out of currency in the last 15 yrs. There are days when I don't even check my email. And I'm not on FB, Twitter, or any social network. (I did somehow get a Google + thing, I'm not sure how or why, and a guitar student asked me to recommend his skills on Linked In, so I joined just to do that. And then, as I say, I'm lazy.)

I think after JFK security for the Prez got more elaborate and sophisticated. But then...Reagan got shot. Earlier than that, Squeaky the Mansonoid got within a few feet of Gerald Ford and managed to miss. It could be modeled mathematically along chaos: you go for decades w/o an assassination, then, like earthquakes on small astroid impacts: you get clusters of them in small periods of time. I can see two Prezs in a row getting knocked off, but it's all speculation. I don't want anyone shot, I'm just saying there will always be shooters (lone or within a conspiratorial network) who just gotta do it. Or try.

michael said...

Prof Wagner-

Man, you nailed it. It's almost nothing but "Oswald acted alone and if you think others were involved you're a nutty JFK Truther" now.

Then why withhold gvt. docs on it until 2017?

I don't know who did it. I have strong suspicions Oswald was in on it. I have lesser suspicions that he didn't know who he was aligned with. I have only rifled through Bugliosi's 1500 page book. Same with Posner's less-adipose tome. My intuition about Posner has been, since I saw him on TV and in talks: I don't trust him. Anthony Summers's book makes the most sense to me, but I've only read about 1/1000 of all the JFK assassination books. I think RFK, George Wallace and MLK are all very instructive and ought to inform what happened before. I think COINTELPRO and now the NSA, Patriot Act, Iran-Contra, the fact that the Unsitat gummint/FBI only officially admitted that the Mafia existed on Nov.14, 1957...etc, etc, etc....instructive. But I don't KNOW.

I love RAW's riff regarding this: why do all these educated people accept conspiracies/assassinations in other countries and other times, but when you talk about Murrrka? No way! We're special. OR: Thou shalt not think of conspiracies because you might anger the "god" (academic dept. head?)...and aye, besides the comedies, Shakespeare is a MAJOR C-Theorist, eh? But why no mention of it within those frames?

Eric Wagner said...

Years ago when reading a lot of Phil Dick I imagined forming a group of astral projectors to go back and recover the lost library of Alexandria. (Man, I'd forgotten how Phil messed with my head.) I imagined the CIA set up blocking fields to prevent astral projectors from discovering what really happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, as well as the massive shield preventing us from discovering the truth about Antarctica as H. P. Lovecraft had almost done.

Perhaps Oz Fritz and some others might like to form such a team.

Anonymous said...

We're Special all right, but not in
the way most of the herd interprets
the word Special.

The rules of evidence don't get a
free suspension for those who are
on about "conspiracy theorists".
There are far too many loose facts
that don't fit the official story.
What they mean is something you
have to work out for yourself.

PKD was a real piece of work, his
send up of Walnut Creek in The
Golden Man was priceless area
insight. HPL has been vindicated
recently by the Krakens Nest in
archeology and the sighting of
Archeteuthis big cousin in the
wilds around Antarctica.

Who can view a sinkhole event and
experience the right sense of the
strangeness without thinking of
Shudde mell of the Mythos. With no
referent they just live a very
drab and grey existence.

The real horrors continue though
as various powers posture over a
lousy rock in the Far East. That
strikes me as a case of Math
Illiteracy driving policy.

The latest is a flap over 3D
printing, any competent person
can make a machine gun using a
lathe, only a dumbass would make
the investment in the comp and 3D
printer to do so expensively.
Of course people are still trying
to get a grip on 850 year old
tech, so I shouldn't be too amazed.

We haven't had a Nanotech surprise
yet but it won't be long now.

Lazy is good too, far too much
rushing to judgement these days.

michael said...

Eric-

I remember you once wrote about the moods you'd reliably obtain by immersing yourself in PG Wodehouse'w world. You called it a Wodehouse Field Effect, or WC Field Effect. I remember telling that to a friend who liked Wodehouse and he thought it was hilarious...anyway...yea, PKD effects are really strong for me too. When you get an extra surge of adrenaline (modulated by other nice things, like dopamine) going from some event, it tends to burn itself into neural structures of memory far more vividly than "ordinary" experiences/periods.

That's why everyone talks about "Where were you on 9/11 or JFK or when Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction happened..." And you ask people this stuff and they will tell you how they heard, what the weather was like that day, what their general state of health was, how they felt, what they ate, precise data about who they talked to that day, how their lives were disrupted, etc.

For each PKD novel I've read, I have stories (that last for 5-9 days, or as long as it took for me to read the PKD novel. It's WEIRD! It kinda creep me out, really.

Why PKD so strongly? (Other writers have had similar effects, but for me, PKD seems to be The writer most associated with extra-ordinary states. It's as if picking up one of his books has a magickal effect on me.

I think this has to do with his "ordinary man" characters I can identify with (because they're not terribly well-delineated, so I think PKD allows my subconscious brain to "fill in" info about the protagonists?), PLUS the "what is reality now?" aspect that almost all of his books conjur.

No doubt Oz Fritz wd be a good Astral Travel Team Leader back to Dallas and Alexandria. Can I come with?

michael said...

Anon-

I'm having Golden Man sent over; I'm pretty sure I missed that. I lived in Walnut Creek for 3 months earlier this year, so...yea. Thanks for mentioning it.

I really like the idea that we have to work the stories surrounding conspiracy-theory events for ourselves. It's vastly underrated, this notion of trying to make sense for ourselves rather than listening/reading some Expert, and deciding, "Well, he seems well-spoken, I guess he's probably right..." Or "Yep: I'm convinced (Mafia/CIA/Cubans/Russians/Dallas fascists/occult forces led by E. Howard Hunt, etc) really were a bunch of scoundrels...it was Them!"

I favor the model agnosticism in which you very consciously say what your current #1 model is and why. Followed by your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th...and why.

"Sinkhole Experience" seems a good name for a rock band. I see those stories and am flooded by existential dread symptoms. It's enough to make me look forward to the day when I can buy a 3-D printer for $39 at the mall, print out an Invisibility Cloak for $29, and...get lost.

Eric Wagner said...

Wodehouse Conditioning Fields. I may install a few in 2014. I want to read Wodehouse's Code of the Woosters and finish rereading Leave It to Psmith and Psmith in the City.

Yes, you can come along to Alexandria, etc.

I remember the day I learned Phil Dick had died. I felt angry with God for the only time in my life. I knew Phil's books would appear on grocery store shelves in a few months when the film Blade Runner came out and Phil would get success such as he had never had before.

I remember getting turned off by some Phil Dick interviews because of what I perceived as some of his beliefs. Then I'd read another interview and perceive very different beliefs. It seems he would experiment with different belief systems in a different way than Bob Wilson did. It think he metaprogrammed himself in a way that made his writing unique.

Patrick Henry said...

If you want to see how Richard Condon PREDICTED the JFK Assassination read JFK THE FINAL SOLUTION on Amazon or Kindle. For real.