Confessions of Augustine of Hippo

Saint Augustine became the Roman-appointed Bishop of Algeria around the year 387. He remains one of the most influential figures in the development of the Roman Catholic Church, and left over five million words in print. Since Augustine was raised on the classics and converted to Manichaeism after his education, I was interested in translating some his autobiography into modern English. I found his writings tainted by propaganda, and his philosophy a regression from some Gnostics that preceded, but highly readable once you remove the clouds of dogma and boil the narrative down to its essence.

In my youth, I hated school, and I hated the fact school was forced on me. I would not study unless forced, otherwise I would never have become educated. No one does well when forced, even if the intentions are good. My teachers didn’t care what I did with this knowledge they were imparting, except to fulfill our earthly desires. Every addiction is its own punishment.

Why did I hate Greek and love Latin? The Greek lessons were boring, yet, I confess I still read and write in Greek thanks to those lessons. I was forced to learn about the wanderings of Aeneas, and I wept over Dido’s love-stricken suicide. I wept when I read, “seeking by the sword a stroke and wound extreme.” I was seeking a worse extreme, as I was seeking one night stands at the time. It is madness to believe satiating earthly desires leads to a higher form of enlightenment, but some believe that.

Why did I hate Greek, and why was Homer so bitter to my boyish taste? Latin was easy, but Greek was a bitch.

I told many lies to my tutor, my masters, my parents, just for the fun of lying. I stole from my parent’s cellar and table, just to win favor with other boys. I cheated for advancement. I picked fights and sought arguments. Sins such as this are transferred from tutors and masters, from nuts and balls and sparrows, to magistrates and kings, to gold and manors and slaves, just as the whip displaces the cane.

But even then, I lived and felt in my heart some small trace of that mysterious Unity from whence I came. I learned to delight in truth and hated deception. I had an excellent memory, was gifted with speech, soothed by friendship, and avoided ignorance.

But I will now call to mind my past foulness, and the carnal corruption of my soul. What was it I desired but to love and be loved? But love overtook me and this was not the love of mind and friendship because I had lost the clear brightness of love in a fog of lustfulness.

Thanks to my parent’s wealth, when I turned 16, I took a year off from school, and was living at home. One day my father caught me at the baths and saw me in action at my wildest. He told my mother and she grew worried. Yes, I walked on the wild side and wallowed in the mire therein, as if it were a bed of spices and precious ointments.

I stole for the love of stealing, not caring what I stole. There was a pear tree near our vineyard laden with unripe fruit. Late one night we took huge loads, not even for eating but just to fling to the pigs.

I went to Carthage, which is where I got involved with theater, especially tragedies. What is this miserable madness, desiring to be made sad while beholding tragical things one would likely never suffer? For nine years, from my 19th year until my 28th, I was seduced and seducing, deceived and deceiving, by the sciences that they call liberal, here proud, there superstitious, but everywhere arrogant. Hunting the emptiness of fame, the follies of applause, the intemperance of desires.

I carried food to the priests, that they might forge us Angels and Gods, by whom we might be cleansed.

In those years, I taught rhetoric. When I was entering to win a theatrical prize, some wizard asked me what I would pay to win. “Though the garland be of imperishable gold, I will not suffer a fly be killed for me to gain it,” was my retort. This wizard wanted to make a sacrifice of something living, that he might invite devils to favor me.

Those impostors they call Mathematicians, I consulted them without scruple. They did not employ sacrifices nor pray to divinations, as they had no use for either. Any and all wholesome advice they always labored to destroy, blaming every issue on Mars did this, or Saturn did that, or Venus is in retrograde.

In my 29th year, there came to Carthage a certain Bishop of the Manichees, Faustus by name, a great snare of the devil, and many were entangled by him, through the lure of his smooth tongue, and widespread recognition of his wisdom. He was skilled in the liberal sciences and could tell you when an eclipse was going to happen, and his calculations were always correct, but Faustus didn’t know anything about Thy Word, by Whom Thou madest these things which are numbered, or that of Thy wisdom there is no number.

The Big Bhang

For centuries cannabis’ complex relationship with the early days of Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judism, Christianity, and Islam has been shrouded in mystery. This story starts on the banks of the Dnieper River, near the world’s shallowest sea, (the Sea of Azov) in the Ukraine, around 4,000 BC. Recent evidence suggests that it was here that the horse was first domesticated, and it is here that cannabis spirituality emerges from pre-history, for there is a possible connection between the first riders and the early use of hemp to make rope. Today, this culture is known as “Sredny Stog,” after the Ukrainian village near where some of the best artifacts have been uncovered.

In fact, early use of the horse may be the primary reason why cannabis spread out of Russia and through Europe, the Middle East, China and India, writes Chris Bennett in Cannabis and the Soma Solutions. “With the spread of cannabis, came a religious cosmology often based around the plant itself. The late Archaeologist Andrew Sherratt referred to the discovery of a 5,500 year old smoking-cup which may be the oldest existing evidence of the use of cannabis for its psychoactive properties.”

Over a few thousand years, the Sredny Stog culture evolved into the “Sakas” or “Scythians,” named after an agricultural tool likely invented for hemp harvesting. Thanks to a Greek historian writing in 430 BC, they have gone down in history as the world’s first documented stoners.

“Hemp grows in Scythia,” wrote Herodotus. “It is very like flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller plant… The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy…”

Although hemp intoxication may have started with flowering tops being thrown on open fires and eventually burned indoors in pottery braziers and metal censers, at some point it evolved into a beverage. “Sherratt was the first to suggest the cannabis-burning braziers eventually went to the way side,” says Bennett, “replaced by a beverage, although he believes that cannabis use continued through this cultural shift. The disappearance of ceramic braziers was followed by the appearance of pottery drinking vessels ornamented with impressions of twisted cord.” Some researchers believe the hemp-like decoration suggests these drinking vessels contained a cannabis-infused drink.

It now appears likely that a cannabis and milk beverage first used in Russia and Europe, spread all the way to China and then returned via India and Afghanistan as a worshipped deity. This beverage set off waves of religious fervor in China, India and the Middle East, where it was known respectively as soma, huma and hoama, before being prohibited by both Catholics and Buddhists. And eventually the identity of the original sacrament of some of the world’s major religions would become so muddied that, until recently, its very identity remained in doubt.

According to Ethnobotanist Christian Ratsch, the ancient pagan culture of Germany honored the Goddess Freya through cannabis: “It was believed that Freya lived as a fertile force in the plant’s feminine flowers and by ingesting them one became influenced by this divine force.” These traditions would have been handed down directly from the Sakas, whose extensive trade routes once stretched from Germany in the West, to China in the East, to Egypt in the South. Had they ever unified, they would have been a dominating empire; instead they remained clustered in nomadic tribes. And little is known for sure because they never developed a written language beyond runes.

Since it’s now indisputable that some of our most respected spiritual traditions once considered cannabis a central part of their culture, continued research will be required to understand how and why all knowledge of the plant’s contributions to the evolution of religion seem to have been systematically hidden or ignored through history.

THE HORSE PEOPLE
Considering they laid down a cultural foundation still evident in myths and rituals today, it’s amazing how obscure the Sakas are to most of their descendants on the planet. In their day, Sakas were immediately recognizable by their distinctive pointed caps, the sort of gear later associated with witches. In Europe, their immediate descendants became known as Goths, Saxons and Juts. Sakas wore a lot of gold, most of which was fashioned into ornate jewelry and armor embellished with fantastic animal motifs, including griffins and other mythical creatures. These images were also tattooed on their arms and shoulders, and some of it bears an eerie resemblance to psychedelic imagery of the Sixties counterculture.

The Sakas were formidable warriors and one of the few cultures that allowed women to fight alongside men. But when not at war, they were famous for being law-abiding and civil. They wore trousers and drank an early version of bhang in ceremonial cups, some of which were fashioned from the skulls of their enemies. Their highly regarded shamans were called “enarees,” which translates as “men-women” or “halfmen.” The enarees spoke with high-pitched voices, wore women’s clothes, and employed cannabis as part of their magical rituals.

The first recorded encounter with the Sakas occured when the Persian King Darius invaded their lands in 514 BC. Since they built no cities or temples, and lived in covered wagons pulled by oxen, the Sakas simply withdrew as a Persian army of 700,000 advanced into their territory. Darius repeatedly tried to force battle but the Sakas just kept withdrawing. Finally, Darius sent an envoy to the Saka chief and received the following message: “There is nothing new or strange in what we do. We follow our mode of life in peaceful times. We have neither towns nor cultivated lands in these parts which might induce us, through fear of their being ravaged, to be in any hurry to fight you. But if you must needs come to blows with us speedily, look about you, and behold our fathers’ tombs. Attempt to meddle with them and you shall see whether or not we will fight with you.” Eventually, Darius was forced to retreat back to Persia, at which point the Sakas turned around and dogged his every step back home. Darius would never dare invade the Russian steppes again.

There are amazing parallels between the Sakas and the American West. When threatened, they would arrange their four and six-wheeled mobile homes into large circles. They took scalps in battle and hung these grisly souvenirs from their bridles to display their prowess. They had no stirrups but were famous for being able to shoot arrows in rapid fire while riding horseback, a technique that involves holding several arrows with one hand and shooting off the outside of your thumb. They built teepees and used these primarily as cannabis inhalation tents. Unlike the Greeks and Romans, who established vast pantheons of Gods and Goddesses, the Sakas recognized only the sacred energies of earth, sky, sun, moon, fire, water, peace and war. One can only imagine the impact one of their wagon-trains might have had upon arriving at communities unfamiliar with horses, wagons or psychedelic tattoos.

CELTS IN CHINA

Cannabis had a major impact on the development of religion and medicine in China. The ancient Chinese glyph for cannabis is the primordial “Ma,” symbolized in writing by two plants hanging upside down (as if being dried for intoxicating purposes).

Shen Nong was Emperor of China nearly 5,000 years ago. Today, he is venerated as the founder of Chinese agriculture and traditional Chinese medicine. His name translates as the Emperor of the Five Grains. He is believed to have introduced the technique of acupuncture and was the first person in recorded history to scientifically study herbs for medicinal qualities. He also was reportedly the first person to brew tea. Shen Nong classified cannabis as one of the “Superior Elixirs of Immortality” and recommended “chu-ma” (female cannabis) for absentmindedness, constipation, malaria, beri-beri, rheumatism and menstrual cramps.

Two thousand years after the reign of Shen Nong, Taoists in China created the first modern pharmacopoeia. Tao Hongjing re-organized the “Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing,” adding 365 herbs, which brought the total number of known medicines to 730. Interest in medicine was closely guarded by the Taoists, who at time were associated with the highest levels of government and royalty. According to historian Joseph Needham, Yang Hsi attributed the founding of the first major Taoist center to a cannabis-based vision. And in the sixth century, Taoist Wu Shang Pi Yao, recomended two types of cannabis be burned in the ceremonial incense braziers called boshanlus. One branch of Taoism, the Mao Shan, or “Supreme Clarity,” elevated cannabis into a Goddess known as “Ma Ku” or “Miss Hemp.” Miss Hemp was depicted as a beautiful young woman with bird’s claws in place of feet.

However, theories about the origins of hemp intoxication in China are currently being revised because hundreds of caucasian mummies from the Bronze Age have been discovered along the ancient silk road in the Taklamakan Desert in Western China. Some mummies were dressed in Celtic-style Tartan cloth nearly identical to clothing in use in Austria over 3,000 years ago. One of the women was wearing a conical hat, the distinctive emblem of the Sakas. “Archaeologists found a sack of marijuana leaves buried alongside one mummy,” writes Bennett, in reference to a find of two pounds of 2,700 year old female cannabis flowers, “as well as a mortar and pestle that was used for grinding the plant matter.” The mortar and pestle would indicate a soma-like beverage may have been consumed by Sakas in Western China who are believed to have lived there since 1800 BC.

THE RIG VEDA
The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious documents in the world, the old testament of both Hinduism and Buddhism. And there is a central sacrament in the Rig Veda: soma, which is referred to as “the king of the healing plants.” Many researchers throughout history have suggested the obvious: soma is bhang, an intoxicating beverage still widely used in India today, especially at ceremonies honoring Shiva. However, in the 1960s, an amateur historian named R. Gordon Wasson became the first to theorize soma was actually the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Before he retired in 1963, Wasson had been a Vice President at J.P. Morgan, one of the world’s most powerful international banks. His contacts in the publishing world were extensive, and despite having a poor understanding of Sanskrit, Wasson was able to convince many Western historians to accept his mushroom theory. However, Bennett shows without a doubt that Wasson’s theory was seriously flawed. In fact, the Rig Veda clearly describes soma as a greenish-gold plant, not a mushroom. Today, in India, one finds the world’s largest spiritual event, the Kumbeh Mela, which happens every three years. While smoking cannabis and drinking of bhang is widespread in India and at Kumbeh Mela, mushroom use is rare. It is difficult to understand why Wasson and other Western researchers on Vedic culture seem to have had such an intense aversion to recognizing the central role of cannabis in the Rig Veda.

After the Dead Sea Scolls were discovered, they were kept hidden for years and one of the few allowed to see the scrolls would release a book claiming Jesus as a mushroom. Were these attempts to lead people astray from the Christian connection to cannabis?

THE BMAC TEMPLES

Located in the Kara Kum desert in Turkmenistan, near where cannabis is believed to have originated, lies the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, a recently-discovered, football-field-sized temple devoted to the drinking of soma. Dated at 2000 BC, it is the oldest and most elaborate temple devoted to the most influential pre-Biblical sacrament in world history. After remains of cannabis, ephedra, and poppies were discovered in vessels used to prepare the ceremonial drink, Wasson’s forty-year-old mushroom theory should have been forever laid to rest. Unfortunately, the ramifications of these recent findings at Kara Kum have not yet fully penetrated the mainstream, but these discoveries continue to support the hypothesis that a cannabis cult exploded out of the Hindu Kush and spread east to India and west to Iran, sparking cannabis-based religious cultures to blossom in both areas.

ZOROASTRIANISM

Zoroastrianism was the world’s most powerful religion between 500 BC to 650 AC. It had a major influence on the development of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religious faiths. According to historian Mary Boyce, “It has had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith.” Think of Zoroastrianism as the Old Testament of the Old Testament. The Magi who attend the birth of Christ are Zoroastrian Priests. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a central sacrament in Zoroastrian culture, a milk-based intoxicant called haoma. And, according to the Avesta (the Zoroastrian bible), haoma is a tall, fragrant, greenish-gold plant with leaves, stems and fiber, that grows like a weed, heals, and stimulates awareness and sensuality without negative side effects. Later Zoroastrian literature also makes mention of mang, an intoxicating drink long assumed to be the Iranian versions of bhang. Bennett theorizes that the prophet Zarathustra made changes in the official haoma recipe after its use became too widespread. This theory is based on the fact that although haoma appears as a central part of the Avesta, it does not appear in later official text. In fact, over the years many attempts seem to have been made to muddy the waters on haoma’s original identity, which is undoubtedly cannabis-based and related to the Indian soma. Such a change in the haoma recipe is supported by the findings at Kara Kum, where cannabis seems to have been eventually replaced by ephedra and, in some cases, possibly the addition of poppies. Today, most mainstream Zoroastrians recognize only ephedra as being part of the haoma ceremony, just as some renegade sects have always recognized only cannabis.

CHRISTIANS AND JEWS

In February, 2003, Bennett published an article in HIGH TIMES, “Was Jesus a Stoner?” This article looked at evidence of cannabis use as revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Jesus portrayed in these scrolls is a much different figure than the one that described in the Bible of the Catholic Church. Bennett concluded Jesus had been anointed with a sacred oil by John the Baptist and the recipe for this oil could still be found in Exodus 30:23. In Exodus, Moses is instructed by the voice of God—emanating from a burning bush—to mix an oil of myrrh, cinnamon and six pounds of cannabis (“250 shekels of keneh bosem”) mixed into about a gallon and a half of olive oil. “The Greek title ‘Christ’ is the translation of the Jewish term ‘Messiah,'” says Bennett, “which in English becomes ‘the anointed one’ and makes specific reference to the cannabis-based oil described in Exodus. In fact, there is evidence that many of the so-called miracles performed by Jesus and his followers were accounts of actual medical applications of this topical oil.”

According to Bennett, the sacred anointing oil had fallen into disrepute with the Jewish priesthood during the time of Jeremiah, and was not revived until the emergence of John the Baptist. In the hundred years following Jesus’ execution, dozens of Christian sects appeared, many of which were Gnostic, which means they placed an emphasis on knowledge rather than faith. Many Gnostics were also involved with sacramental drug use involving cannabis and mushrooms. This trend peaked with the rapid spread of Manichaeism, a synthesis of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Christianity that eventually became intensely persecuted by all three religions.

Bennett’s theories on the use of cannabis in the Bible received a major boost when one of the foremost scholars in the field, Carl P. Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University, was interviewed by the London Sunday Times agreeing with Bennett. Ruck is most famous for being part of the team that coined the term “entheogen.” “There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” said Ruck. “There is no way that so important a plant as a fiber source for textiles and nutritive oils and one so easy to grow would have gone unnoticed…the mere harvesting of it would have induced an entheogenic reaction.”

Was early Christianity a vegetarian movement like Buddhism?

What is history but a fable agreed upon?

Napoleon got that right. Which is why I don’t trust any of the primary documents from the period, and I’ll tell you why.

After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Romans expelled Jews and Christians and destroyed all the primary documents. The ones we use today are mostly from Jewish scribes writing in Greek, living in Alexandria, home of the world’s largest library thanks to Alexander the Great. But even that library was eventually destroyed. The only reliable documents on the early Christians are the Dead Sea Scrolls, and they tell a different story from Peter and Paul, and are open to interpretation beyond the official story given out so far.

Something heavy went down in old Jerusalem. Christianity is a hybrid culture forged at a crossroads, similar to what happened in Congo Square, New Orleans. From the East came the Zoroastrian tradition (soma :hot milk and cannabis), and later, Buddhism. From the South came the Egyptian tradition (burning of kifi-cannabis incense). From the North came the Scythian tradition (burning of cannabis flowers inside tipis).

But the incredibly important and most overlooked influence came from Pythagoras, who created the tradition of secret societies monopolizing ceremonial magic and mathematics, the bedrock upon which Masonry was built.

But it’s essential to realize Jerusalem was the place where these traditions converged and it was the appearance and spread of Buddhism that was transforming ideas about spirituality. The Christian movement was largely an attempt to incorporate Buddhism into Judaism, a mission Mani was successful in around 250 AD.

The movement started by John the Baptist involved bringing back the holy anointing oil of Moses with a 5-part ritual. Jerusalem was ruled by an oligarchy installed by Roman force and there were 7,000 priests, which included temple guards and intelligence agents. Intrigue and brutality were everywhere.

The temple made considerable profits by charging to slaughter animals and birds for the wealthy, something that had to be done by priests by law.  The movement towards non-violence wanted to put an end to these rituals, and that’s what the scene in the temple overturning the tables was really all about.

The Sermon on the Mount

When Jesus saw the crowds of people, he sat down and his followers came and gathered around him.

Everyone with two good ears, better listen! First, a shout-out to the to the homeless and hungry, the depressed, the distressed, the humble, the crumbled, the merciful and the pure in heart. But a special shout out to the peaceful. Blessed be those who are tortured and killed in the name of peace.

When you’re a peacemaker, they’ll insult and stab you in the back. They’ll lie and say nasty things about you just because you are peaceful. Be glad you are a peaceful because you will be rewarded in heaven. The powers-that-be always disrespect the true prophets. Same as it ever was.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, it cannot be made salty again. Salt is useless if it loses its taste and will be discarded.

The power of your mind shines brighter than the sun in the invisible realms. Your mind is a citadel built on a high hill. So don’t hide your oil lamps, put them on the lamp stand.

Don’t think I have come to destroy the Law of Moses or the teaching of the prophets. I have come not to destroy their teachings but to give full meaning to them. Nothing will disappear from the law.

You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ Any person who commits murder will be judged.’ But I tell thee, don’t even get angry or rage out. Bury all hatchets.

If you get dragged into court, make friends with the priests who run the court. In fact, try to do that before you arrive in court. Otherwise, they might hand you over to the head priest who works for Rome and he will hand you over to some guard, who will throw you in jail, where they’ll beat and torture you as long as they desire.

You have heard it said, ‘Thou shalt not mess around with someone else’s wife or husband.’ But I tell thee if a man looks at a woman with desire, he’s already committed sin in his heart. It was also said, ‘Any man who divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce.’

You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘When thou swearest, it makes the vow stronger. But I tell thee don’t swear. Say only ‘yes’ if you mean ‘yes,’ and only ‘no’ if you mean ‘no.’ If you say more than that, it is from the Evil One.

You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell thee, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. If anyone sues you in court and tries to take your shirt, give them your coat. And if the police walk you a mile, go two. Refuse nothing.

You have heard it said, ‘Love thy neighbor, hate thine enemy.’ But I tell thee, love thine enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. The sun rises for all people, good and bad. Rain falls on those who do right and do wrong. If you love only those who love you, why should you get a reward? Even tax collectors can do that.

When you do something good, don’t do it in front of others so that they will see you doing good. If you do that, you will not be rewarded.
When you give to the homeless, don’t announce it. Don’t be like the hypocrites in the temples or on the streets blowing trumpets and arranging big events. They want everyone to praise them. The truth is, that’s all the reward they’ll get. Give quietly when no one is looking.

When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites that flash their dogma on their sleeve. They want people to see and hear them. The truth is, that’s all the reward they’ll get. Close the door when you pray.

And when you pray, don’t be misguided like the people who don’t know anything about enlightenment. Pray from your heart. Go with the flow.

(Jesus prays)
Blessing be upon the Father and Mother. We pray for peace on earth, same as the peace in heaven. Give us enough bread to survive another day and forgive our sins, as we strive to forgive those who have sinned against us. Don’t tempt us, but keep evil thoughts at bay, and lead us away from temptation.

Don’t flash a lot of bling and don’t buy furs and silk, both can be destroyed by moths or rust. And thieves can break into your house and steal your treasures. Instead, invest in love, something that can’t be destroyed by moths or rust, something thieves can never steal. Make your heart your treasure trove. If you radiate love, you will be full of light.

But if you look at people with an evil eye, you will be full of darkness.

You cannot serve two masters. You will hate one and love the other, or you will be loyal to one and not care about the other. You cannot serve God and worship material things at the same time.

So I tell you, don’t worry about the things that don’t matter. Life is more important than food, drink and clothing, and the body is more important than what you put in it or on it. Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or harbor food. Life is easier when you go downstream.

Look at the hemp in the field. See how it grows. One day it’s alive and the next day it is harvested. You are faithless if you don’t understand this message.

Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ People who are without faith are always worrying.

Don’t be judgmental, allow brothers and sisters some slack.

Why draw attention to some spec in your brother’s eye, when there is a big splinter in your eye? Why say, ‘Let me take that spec out of your eye,’ when you have a bigger splinter in your eye? You are a hypocrite! First, clear your own eye. Then you will be better able to clear someone else’s eye.

(A dog approaches, Jesus pets it.)

Be kinds to your pets. Do not hurt them.

Question authority. Power always corrupts. Investigate and a door will open. Whoever asks will receive. Whoever investigates will find. And whoever continues to knock will have a door opened.

Do any of you have a son? If he asked for bread, would you give him a rock? Or if he asked for a fish, would you give him a snake? Of course not! Do unto others what you would have them to do unto you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.

The road to hell is long and wide, but the correct route is narrow and tricky.

Watch out for false prophets who want to sell the meaning of life. They will come looking like sheep, but are really wolves. You will know them because of the things they do. Good things don’t come from bad people, just as grapes don’t come from thorn bushes, and figs don’t come from thorny weeds. In the same way, good trees produce good fruit, while bad trees produce bad fruit. You will know bad people by their bad deeds.

Some of us will rat out others inside the movement to save themselves. Do not seek vengeance against informers. They are misguided and will get whatever they deserve. Whoever hears these teachings and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not fall because it was built on rock. Whoever hears these teachings of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house. And it fell with an enormous crash.

Everyone with two good ears, better listen!

Origins of Christianity Timeline

All dates are approximate.

BC 4000…  Horses domesticated near the Black Sea; hemp, cannabis and horses linked during the alleged time of Adam and Eve

BC 3100… Sumerians cultivate the Joy Plant (opium poppies) and invent pictographic script, Egyptians soon follow

BC 3000… Narmer unites Egypt becoming first Pharaoh

BC 2000… Vedic Sanskrit spoken

BC 1754… Code of Hammurabi written in Akkadian, improvement on Sumerian script

BC 1500… Eleusinian Mystery cult created in Greece for worshiping the Goddess of Fertility; ritual bathing in the sea at Phaleron; includes theater, spectacle, and at least one sacramental substance, probably cannabis; lesser mystery in Spring, greater mystery in Fall; men, women and children initiated

BC 1336… First documented monotheistic religion created by Akhenaten in Egypt; opium cultivation introduced in Egypt; Moses allegedly departs Egypt for the Promised Land, although Moses is a mythical character and the Jews were never slaves in Egypt, the Moses myth contains many anachronistic elements that indicate the myth was invented at a much later date.

BC 1200… Phoenician script appears; Troy falls; spoken Greek and Sanskrit related

BC 1000… Rig Veda published after thousand years of oral tradition; first references to Soma, elixir made from cannabis, milk and spices

BC 900… The Aramaic language appears across the Fertile Crescent and then subdivides into Syriac which becomes the literary language of Persia for centuries; alleged birth of Krishna

BC 890… First historical reference to a Kingdom of Israel; Old Testament begins as an oral tradition

BC 850… Homer allegedly born

BC 832… Solomon builds his Temple

BC 800… Phoenician alphabet brought to Greece by Cadmus and becomes first written language in Europe; Mahabharata published in India

BC 776… Olympic Games begin

BC 753… Rome founded

BC 700… Aramaic script invented, Samaritan script appears to compete against it; Etruscians introduce their alphabet to Rome, which becomes Latin; Old Persian language appears

BC 624… Zoroaster and Buddha allegedly born, both linked to cannabis use and magic

BC 612… Rise of Babylon; Jews enslaved there

BC 589… Anacharsis visits Athens, is inducted into the Eleusinian Mysteries and inspires the Cynics before returning to Scythia where he is executed by his brother for spiritual treason

BC 587… Solomon’s Temple destroyed

BC 559… Cyrus succeeds to Persian throne as first Zoroastrian king and immediately bans slavery in his realm; through military expansion he creates a vast empire that eclipses the Babylonians while Greece and Rome remain uncultured backwaters

BC 539… After 70 years of captivity Jews return to Judea; Cyrus gives them funds to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem on condition they write down their history and laws; Ezra the scribe invents classical Hebrew while Aramaic is made official for Torah

BC 530… Pythagoras is educated by the Zoroastrian Magi and returns to create a secret society based on the mathematics of harmony in music; rediscovery of Pythagoras will later influence the development of secret societies in Europe; Pythagoras adopts the Scythian tradition of “smoke trapping,” burning cannabis inside enclosed spaces using tripods as braziers

BC 521… Darius I is king of Persia, fire temples appear all along the Silk Road to serve cannabis mixed with milk and spices; written Sanskrit appears in India, while Zand, a synthesis of Sanskrit and Old Persian, appears in Iran and becomes language of Zoroaster’s Avesta; in which Soma of the Rig Veda is renamed Haoma.

BC 512… Arabic writing appears, an improvement on Syriac

BC 509… Roman republic created

BC 430…Herodotus publishes The Histories; a collection of stories originally designed as separate performance pieces that include the first mention of Scythian cannabis consumption and fumigation as recreational activity, as well as introducing the Scythian myth of a golden cup sent to earth by god; a myth that will eventually inspire the legend of the holy grail; it will be the first and only mention of the highly influential Scythians who disappear from the historical record along with cannabis for millennia

BC 420… Pericles standardizes the various Homer poems

BC 400… Height of Persian Empire under Darius; Laws of Manu and Ramayana published in Sanskrit; first known Brahmi script, although Brahmi believed to pre-date Sanskrit

BC 399… Stonecutter and philosopher Socrates executed for corrupting the youth, result of a popular play by Aristophanes mistitled “Clouds,” which should be titled “Smoke;” like Pythagoras before him, Socrates fumigates his academy with cannabis; Bhagavad Gita published by Vyasa

BC 390… Rome sacked by Gauls

BC 380… Plato publishes The Republic

BC 336…  Alexander the Great spreads opium use throughout Persia, while defeating Darius III and making Alexandria the world capital with Greek as official language, brings Buddhism back from India; educated by Aristotle, he’ll soon declare himself a god and be poisoned; priests in Egypt invent Coptic writing to compete against Greek; first known written Iliad dates from this period

BC 264… 60-years-war between Rome and Carthage; Maurya Dynasty makes Buddhism state religion in India and initiates free education and free healthcare

BC 165… Meander becomes king of the Greco-Persian Empire and makes Buddhism the state religion.

BC 147… Judea gains independence; some scrolls in Aramaic discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea date to this period

BC 70… Virgil born

BC 63… Roman troops occupy Judea

BC 29… Oldest known Buddhist documents date from this period

BC 20… Herod begins rebuilding Solomon’s temple

BC 1… Zechariah rediscovers Moses’ holy anointing oil, sires John the Baptist while advanced in years; Buddhists begin appearing in the West

18… Calaphas named High Priest by Herod

19… Jews and astrologers expelled from Rome

27… End of republic, Augustus declared emperor after bringing free bread to Rome via Fertile Crescent breadbasket

28… John the Baptist creates a 5-part ceremony that includes consumption of a sacrament, an anointment with oil, and a ritual bath in the Jordan River

30… Alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, an obvious invented story with no believable evidence it ever happened

34… Saul of Tarsus appears in Jerusalem, stoning of Stephen after Sanhedrin trial

41… Imprisonment of Peter

49… Jerusalem Council allows gentile converts, Passover riot in Jerusalem leaves 20,000 dead, Paul accuses Peter of “Judiazing”

50… Paul writes letter to the Thessalonians; cuts his hair, writes another letter to the Thessalonians

54… Philip crucified

56… Letters to the Corinthians attributed to Paul

62… James the Just murdered

63… Simon the Magus lured to Rome and murdered by Peter and Paul, both of whom will soon allegedly die

64…1st letter to Timothy attributed to Paul; Peter is allegedly crucified upside down on Nero’s order after great fire is blamed on Christians

65… Letter to Titus, last letter attributed to Paul who is allegedly beheaded by Nero

67… Linus becomes Bishop of Rome (later all Rome’s bishops will be regarded as Popes, and 30 of the first 31 will die martyrs’ deaths)

70… Destruction of 2nd Temple; Jews scattered to winds by Titus in the 2nd year of Emperor Vespasian’s reign

74… Simon the Zealot crucified

80… Gospel of Matthew composed in Greek

85… Gospel of Luke, The Acts of the Apostles, both written in Greek

90… The Gospel According to John, Revelations also known as the Apocalypse, written in Greek

117… The Roman Empire encompasses 2.5 million square miles, and the city peaks with a population over a million

132… Bar Kokba revolt fails, ending Jewish resistance in Judea, which is renamed Palestine

150… Valentinius narrowly defeated for Bishop of Rome, moves to Alexandria to create his version of Christianity; Ptolemy publishes the Almagest, securing him as heir to Pythagoras; Hegesippus composes Memoranda

170… Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth claims Gospels have been altered, a new translation of the Old Testament by Symmachus the Ebionite

189… Pope Victor expels Eastern churches over controversies regarding Easter versus Passover, and dates of resurrection.

190… First Christian university founded in Alexandria

200… Sign of the cross on forehead widespread

210…Mani born

220…Gospel of Judas written in Coptic in Alexandria

250… Emperor Decius orders first empire-wide persecution of Christians and execution of all bishops, starting with bishop of Rome

258… Valerians massacred

261… Persecution of Christians relaxed

270… Anthony begins monastic movement

274… Mani lured into Persia, skinned alive and decapitated

285… Diocletian, son of a slave, becomes Emperor, rules from Nicomedia, ends 50-year civil war, proclaims himself Jupiter, appoints Maximian to rule West with capital in Milan

299… Sorcerers in Antioch blame Christians for their difficulty in reading the entrails of animals to predict the future

302… Manicheans burned in Alexandria with their scrolls; Eusibius composes Ecclesiastical History

303… State persecution of Christians in Rome recommence with destruction of churches and execution of 1,500 Christians

306… Constantine assumes the throne in the East and stops violence on Christians

312… Constantine sees cross in sun and words “by this sign conquer,” and fashions a battle pendant with a “P” and “X,” first two letters of Christ in Greek (Chi-Rho) above a cross with a red banner with three golden circles; opposing armies soon fear his Labarum

313… Edict of Milan, restoring citizenship to Christians

324… Constantine founds Constantinople in Turkey

325… Council of Nicaea, Jesus and God declared “one substance”

359… Constantinople becomes capitol of unified empire

380… Christianity declared official religion of the empire

383… Theodosuius divides empire in two for his two sons to share

387… Augustine appointed Bishop of Algeria

402… Capitol of Western Empire moved to Ravenna

410… Rome is sacked by Goths

438… Imperial decree sanctions death penalty for all homosexuals

476… Last Roman Emperor in the West deposed by Odoacer

480… Rome’s population has declined to under 100,000

529… Plato’s Academy closed by Justinian, riots in Constantinople will soon take 30,000 lives

537… Justinian deposed Pope Silverius, replaces him with Vigilius

542…. Plague decimates the empire

570… Muhammad born

608… Heraclitus makes Greek official language of Byzantine Empire; first crosses appear but will not become popular on altars until around 1300

610… Qur’an composed as oral tradition

634… Qur’an published, Muslim invasion of the West commences and will continue for 1,200 years

794… Council at Frankfurt

809… Council at Aix-la-Chapelle by Charlemagne

1200…Traveling knight troubadour Wolfram von Eschenbach composes Parzival; after the Scythian myth of Heracles and the golden cup from heaven was introduced all over Europe by Scythian mercenaries hired by Rome, the story gradually evolved into the myth of King Arthur and the holy grail

1207… Rumi born

1300… All mention of opium disappears for 200 years, while cannabis is long forgotten in Western history

1494… Francois Rabelais born; he will be the first in Western history to document the healing powers of cannabis, but must speak in code as the Vatican forbids all talk of cannabis, so he calls it: Pantagruel

1798… Napoleon invades Egypt, discovers Rosetta Stone, and brings back hash, igniting the enlightenment as well as a European craze for all things Egyptian; The English, however, capture the stone and transport it to the British Museum in London where it remains today

Stories from Mount Khajeh

When constructing the ancient temples, location was everything. You had two basic options: a dominating hill overlooking a town or city, or something in the middle of nowhere with splendid views and great feng shui.

Mt. Khajeh is a black basalt plateau rising up on an island in Lake Hamun like a flat-top mushroom. According to the Zoroastrian religion (which pre-dates Judaism, Islam and Christianity), this lake is the birthplace of the true prophet.

Three hundred years before Christ, this was one of the largest temples in existence, although a string of them stretched from Iraq to India, all dispensing the same sacrament. After arriving by ferry at the dock, one might have been greeted by beggars, musicians and a vibrant trading circle, where spices, foods, fabrics, and icons could be obtained. Some might be exchanging their city outfits for the signature psychedelic tunic tied with a simple rainbow-colored hemp rope.

Om circles would be breaking out in groups along the trail as you approached the temple. The walls and temple towers would have been painted with blazing psychedelic frescos similar to today’s graffit art. “I love you” and “we love you” would be heard wafting up and down the footpath, as well as “welcome home, brother.” People who didn’t know each other would be sharing hugs and gifts. The well-healed visitors would be hiding their gold rings and earrings as these would be a badge of oppression. Expensive sandals would seem gaudy and out-of-place, lost in this barefoot army.

Drums and chanting from inside the temple could be heard from a long way off, but nothing prepared one for the explosion of energy once you passed through the arch and confronted the courtyard filled with musicians, chanters, spinners, dancers and performers. If you were lucky, a gigantic OM circle might break out as you arrived. These were scheduled for regular intervals and signaled by playing a ram’s horn.

Everyone at the temple is stoned and drinking soma, which is hot milk with cannabis and cinnamon. It’s available for free inside the temple, although most people leave a temple donation. Many sick people have come for treatment, and the critically ill have their own rooms next to the temple. There’s a free kitchen that runs on donations that feeds those who work for free in the cannabis fields and end up sleeping in the courtyard. They are temple monks and many work harder than slaves keeping this temple running, and refuse all pay as they consider temple work its own reward.

Over the centuries the rich will get control of this temple, and the psychedelic tunics replaced by black robes and real slaves will return. When this happens, only the rich will be allowed access to soma. And eventually, people will forget about the magic plant. Until someone named Moses comes along and speaks with a burning bush. And then the cycle will repeat itself again across the centuries from Moses to John the Baptist. But no matter how much the rich try to crush it, the truth just keeps coming back.

John Surratt is a clue to the Lincoln Assassination

The reason the history books don’t talk much about John Surratt is because his story sheds light on the real Lincoln assassination conspiracy. Surratt was John Wilkes Booth’s closest confident in a plot to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln and spirit him to Richmond to be held for ransom. This plan was supported and probably fomented by The Grey Ghost (Col. John Mosby), who controlled Northern Virgina and parts of Maryland during the Civil War. Large military operations like the kidnapping of a head-of-state run through chains-of-command, and captains like Booth report to colonels like Mosby who report to Supreme Commanders. The kidnap plan involved dozens of secret accomplices, as well as a large cavalry unit, which was massed near the border on the eve of its execution. But since Booth and Surratt were surrounded by double agents, the kidnapping was easily thwarted through a shift in the president’s itinerary. Yet instead of arresting the plotters as one might have expected, the War Department left them all in place.

Surratt fled the country when he learned the kidnap had suddenly turned to murder as he wanted no part of it. He hid first in Canada, then Ireland, then Italy, then Egypt, often seeking refuge inside Catholic churches. Initially, a large award had been issued for his capture and return dead-or-alive, but strangely, as soon as his trail was uncovered in Europe, Stanton rescinded the reward offer. Suddenly, the War Department seemed uninterested in Surratt, although his mother had been swiftly hanged. Eventually, Surratt was captured and brought back to Washington, where he was visited in jail by Charles Dunham posing as Sandford Conover, who offered him immunity if he committed perjury. Surratt declined the offer, went to trial, and the case ended with a hung jury.

Surratt never denied involvement in the kidnap plot, but despite employing every possible trick to convict him, the government was unable to connect Surratt with the murder. This was a civil trial, and not a military tribunal like the one his mother had faced and not so easily manipulated. After Surratt walked free, it opened some minds to the possibility of a cover-up, and some became angry learning that the first woman executed in American history might have been a patsy.


Lincoln assassination Rabbit Holes

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presided over a military tribunal investigating the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the first third of that trial documented horrific crimes fomented by the Confederate Secret Service, crimes of mass extermination involving arson, poisoning of public wells and distribution of smallpox-tainted blankets. The press covered the trial, but all coverage was subject to editing and censorship by Stanton. The North was easily whipped into a frenzy of paranoia. After five years of the worst violence in American history, the nation was already rocked by PTSD, but Lincoln’s murder and trial tweaked the public to new heights of distress.

One problem. It was all lies. A propaganda expert named Charles Dunham paid and coached the parade of witnesses, all in an effort to help convict Jefferson Davis of killing Lincoln (Rabbit Hole #1). Few today realize that tribunal found Davis guilty. Or that it took a hundred years to uncover Dunham’s real name and the extent of his Civil War propaganda ops. During the trial, he’d been known as Sanford Conover, just one of many aliases he employed.

President Andrew Johnson had been a victim of the propaganda, and placed in a paranoid frenzy that left him easily manipulated. But after Mary Surratt was hanged, and Johnson discovered most of the tribunal had wanted her spared, he got angry with Stanton and eventually fired him.

Stanton barricaded himself in his office and refused to step down, while his cohorts in Congress (Ben Wade and Thaddeus Stevens) launched an impeachment trial against Johnson, during which they presented evidence Johnson had been the mastermind behind Lincoln’s assassination (Rabbit Hole #2).

Had Johnson been impeached, Senator Ben Wade would have become president. But Johnson survived by one vote and a Congressional investigation was launched by the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the original trial. It had a predetermined outcome (think Warren Commission or the 9/11 Commission) and could have easily covered up all the perjuries of the initial tribunal if not for a lonely Democrat on the committee, an idealistic youngster named Andy Rogers (left), who amazingly broke down many of the witnesses in front of the press. The head judge on Stanton’s tribunal became so distressed he claimed Conover had been planted by the Confederates to discredit him, an absurd allegation that didn’t fly with the public, so he wrote a widely-distributed pamphlet blaming everything on the Pope, playing up widespread anti-Catholic sentiments in the North (Rabbit Hole #3).

Of course, when publishing their report, the Committee found no problem with the tribunal, and now that trial is considered gospel even though the official story is rife with fabrications. Historians base most research on newspaper articles, not realizing how manipulated the press was. It’s like relying on Pravda to tell you what was going on inside the Soviet Union before it fell. Most modern debate on Lincoln’s assassination has been centered on the relatively inconsequential level of involvement of Dr. Samuel Mudd and Mary Surratt, both of whom were certainly aware of the kidnapping plot, but neither of whom were involved in the murder. It wasn’t until 1938 that an outsider was allowed access to the War Department records and even though the records were purged many times over the decades to remove incriminating evidence, there’s still more than enough to crack the case. And over the years, new information continues to come to light thanks to the army of citizen researchers.

Yet new rabbit holes continue to appear with amazing frequency obviously designed to misdirect and confuse the researchers. And don’t you know, these rabbit holes often appear immediately after some new revelation? But if you avoid falling into the traps, and just deal with the primary documents of the period (most of which are available free online), it becomes clear Stanton, Wade and Stevens plotted Lincoln’s murder and then covered up their involvement.

Same old, same old

Did you know the Internet is awash with documents and photos relating to the Civil War? The History Channel is often called the Hitler Channel due to its unrelenting fascination with all things Nazi, but a similar case could be made for the Internet’s immense fascination with the Civil War.

It makes sense though because while the war freed the slaves, it also created the personal income tax, the draft, and the first nationalized currency. When the smoke cleared, a half billion dollars in shady profits had been captured by the profiteers who exploited the carnage for personal gain.

The evidence to solve the case is freely available, although scattered across dozens of websites, many of which are also rife with disinfo. Like JFK and 9/11, the case has been salted with rabbit holes and every wrong turn leads to a box canyon. The most important evidence is buried under meaningless details parading as important clues, so it’s not that the facts haven’t been revealed, just that nobody is digging them up.

I spent the 150th anniversary year investigating the case not knowing what I would find. Having spent decades investigating the JFK assassination proved invaluable and helped me avoid rabbit holes. I treat disinfo as important information because once you know where they want you to look, you can turn 180 degrees and see where maybe they don’t want you looking. The first people who salt major rabbit holes should be investigated for suspicious relationships and that’s how I solved the Lincoln assassination.

It’s not the definitive book on the subject. I’m sure that tome will follow eventually. But for 160 pages it marshals crucial evidence that has been revealed over the decades, but never promoted nor advertised. There’s a cottage industry designed to lead you away from believing Lincoln’s assassination was an inside job, and very little addressing the now overwhelming evidence that it was, but slowly, the hoodwink is unraveling, just like JFK’s assassination and 9/11’s are.

Stanton and Sherman

On March 28, 1865, Generals Grant and Sherman invited President Abraham Lincoln to a meeting on the River Queen steamer to discuss the coming end of the Civil War. George Healy produced a painting of that conference (left) and titled it The Peacemakers. During this meeting, Lincoln undoubtedly expressed a desire for Southern forgiveness as he planned to allow rebels to return to their seats in Congress provided they signed the loyalty oath. Lincoln wanted to heal the nation from years of bloody war and he knew this mission required kindness and an end to brutality. But this attitude was in opposition to his leaders in Congress, Ben Wade and Thaddeus Stevens, who wanted to punish and pillage the South. Lincoln had just been elected to a second term and was making plans with his generals in the field, circumventing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who’d been ushered into his seat of power four years earlier through his friendship with Senator Wade.

In two weeks Lincoln was assassinated and Stanton took control of the nation through martial law, immediately issuing a blizzard of telegrams and orders, including one to General Sherman: “I FIND EVIDENCE THAT AN ASSASSIN IS ALSO ON YOUR TRACK, AND I BESEECH YOU TO BE MORE HEEDFUL THAN MR. LINCOLN WAS OF SUCH KNOWLEDGE.”
This telegram confirms Stanton’s awareness that a letter written by F. H. Morse of the London Consulate dated March 17th, 1865, had recently been brought to his attention by Secretary of State W. Seward.
“I herewith enclose for your perusal two private letters received this week from “B,” my secret agent in France….He is a business agent of the rebels.” These letters claimed two fully-funded assassins had been dispatched from France, one to kill Seward and the other to kill Sherman.

Shortly after delivering these letters to the War Department, Seward was nearly killed in a carriage accident and gravely injured. He was bed-ridden when the actual assassination attempt was made nine days later. Despite clear warnings of danger, neither Lincoln nor Seward had been protected, and Seward only survived because Lewis Powell’s gun misfired and his knife failed to penetrate the metal brace that had been installed on Seward’s cheek and neck to hold his shattered jaw together. Don’t you find it odd Stanton never shared any knowledge of these letters with Lincoln? And that he lied to Sherman in his telegram, claiming Lincoln had ignored these warnings, when it was Stanton who had actually ignored them?

The night of the assassination, Lincoln had gone to the War Department requesting additional protection as he was having nightmares of his imminent death. Both Stanton and his primary aide Major Eckert are on record refusing to accompany Lincoln to Ford’s theater that night, as both claimed they had late work to do, although both seem to have gone home at their usual hour. Stanton should have been posting armed guards around Lincoln and Seward, but he didn’t.

On April 18, three days after Lincoln’s assassination, General Sherman accepted the surrender of General J.E. Johnston and his terms included a recognition of rights of rebel soldiers as soon as they deposited their arms in a Federal armory and signed the Union loyalty oath. In this matter, Sherman was following the wishes of the slain President. However, Stanton went into a rage when he learned of Sherman’s terms of surrender, and immediately planted stories in Northern papers accusing Sherman of treason. When these papers arrived at Sherman’s camp in North Carolina, his soldiers made a display of burning all copies. Anger among his rank and file was such that a few began to wonder if Sherman might not march to Washington and seize power from Stanton, who was defacto President as he dominated the weak-willed Andrew Johnson. It would take months before Johnson worked up the courage to fire Stanton, and when he finally did, Stanton barricaded himself in his office and launched an impeachment trial against Johnson in a bid to save his status.

This is just one of the dozens of damning threads of information that point to an inside job in Lincoln’s murder, so why is there a cottage industry of so-called experts refusing to allow any hint of Stanton’s involvement in this crime? I suspect it may be because if America realized the truth of Lincoln’s murder, they might also begin to question the murders of JFK, RFK and MLK because those were also inside jobs, and they all have similar cottage industries putting out disinfo to muddy the investigative waters.

Despite the fact eight designated patsies were on trial, and Lincoln not yet buried, Stanton ordered Washington draped in patriotic bunting and requested the two largest armies parade through the city in a victory celebration. The Army of the Potomac marched first. The parade took seven hours and the cavalry alone stretched for seven miles. The next day it was Sherman’s turn. His soldiers were different. They did not have such splendid uniforms. Many were barefoot. They had not done any parading in months. Yet they far out-dazzled the Army of the Potomac with their discipline and energy, and Sherman became the hero of the parade. But when he arrived at the parade stand, where President Johnson and General Grant were seated, he dismounted and made a public display of refusing to shake hands with Stanton. There’s no doubt Sherman was aware of machinations going on at the trial, as his brother-in-law Tom Ewing had been appointed to defend Dr. Samuel Mudd and two others, and was doing a terrific job of shredding the government’s case against them. Ewing managed to save his clients from the gallows, and they all would soon be pardoned by President Johnson once Stanton was disgraced and the impeachment failed. Sherman refused all offers to become President as he considered Washington one of the most corrupt places on earth, and said given a choice between the White House or a prison cell, he’d choose the latter.

“The Big Parade” by Thomas Fleming is a riveting account of these events in a few thousand words, and you can read it here: http://54.201.12.217/content/big-parade