Charlie was brainwashed by MK/Ultra technicians while in prison and then released into Haight-Ashbury while being monitored by a CIA-connected free health clinic. The clinic was mostly collecting data on the synthetic mind-altering drugs flooding into Haight-Ashbury, much of which was courtesy of CIA-connected underground chemists. The CIA was curious to find out how their new analogues were affecting kids, and which ones were most useful in manufacturing violence, which turned out to be speed. So speed ended up in much of the so-called LSD.
The clinic helped assemble a hippie-chick harem composed entirely of vulnerable runaways to serve Charlie, while Charlie’s probation officer, who strangely had only one parolee (Charlie), helped Charlie obtain a school bus for transporting the harem to Los Angeles, something that should have been a parole violation.
While in prison Charlie had been told to read Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People), Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard and the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. He converted to Hubbard’s Scientology religion and learned how to use an e-meter to get inside people’s deepest fears and desires so as to better manipulate them.
He made friends with Dennis Wilson and moved his harem into Wilson’s house. Wilson introduced him to rock producer Terry Melcher, who turned Charlie down for a record deal, pissing Charlie off immensely.
After Charlie and his sidekick Bobby B. tortured and killed Gary Hinman over a drug deal gone sour, Charlie decided to foment some copycat murders to get Bobby off the hook. He sent his crew to Melcher’s house to kill him, not realizing Melcher had moved out and the pregnant Sharon Tate moved in.
The CIA-connected Weather Underground terrorist organization immediately branded Manson a counterculture hero for the bloody and senseless Tate-LaBianca murders, a tag they also imposed on another MK/Ultra robot, Sirhan Sirhan, the patsy for the RFK assassination.
Ed Sanders and Paul Krassner investigated the murders. Krassner was invited into a bathtub with naked Squeaky Fromme but the usually randy Krassner declined and soon dropped the investigation. “You’re not afraid of me, are you?” asked the disappointed Fromme.
In 1975, Fromme came face-to-face with then-President Gerald Ford, ostensibly to discuss the plight of the California redwoods while dressed in a red robe and armed with a Colt M1911 .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. The pistol’s magazine was loaded with four rounds, but no round was in the chamber. After Fromme produced the gun from under her robe and pulled the trigger, she was immediately restrained by Secret Service agent Larry Buendorf. While being handcuffed she mumbled on camera “it didn’t go off.” She was so poorly prepared Squeaky didn’t know how to operate the weapon. Ford’s demise would have elevated Nelson Rockefeller to the White House.
Six years later, Ronald Reagan was the target for a similar MK/Ultra-style assassination, one that would have elevated George H. W. Bush to the White House. The robot assassin was the son of an oil company executive close with the Bush family for decades, starting in Midlands, TX, favorite landing spot for rich Easterners seeking to cash in on the oil boom.
The Hinckleys were donors to various Bush political campaigns over the years and at one point, the two clans seemed to have shared the same lawyer. Neil Bush, son of the vice president, had been scheduled to have dinner with Hinckley’s brother, Scott, the day after the shooting.
Sanders wrote a book implicating the Manson murders with a vast satanic network led by the Process Church of Final Judgment, a Scientology spinoff created in England. Soon a “Satanic Panic” infested deep state research culminating in the Tin Foil Hat Q-Anon movement.
The panic emanated initially out of the Presidio daycare center in San Francisco when four children were discovered with a sexually transmitted disease. Dozens more claimed memories of witnessing ritual ceremonies. A worker at the center (who’d previously been a Baptist minister) was convicted of lewd behavior involving ten children. The daycare center caught fire and was demolished. None of the children attendees were willing to set foot in the building, such was their trauma.
MK/Ultra investigations spread quickly from the Presidio to Boys Town, the most famous Catholic orphanage in America located outside Omaha, a city with the most documented cases of multiple personality disorder, as well as the highest percentage of CIA employees outside Langley, most posted to the nearby Strategic Air Command Canter, a site Bush W. flew to for refuge on 9/11.
Toddlers with no father figure (like Oswald or Manson) were considered prize targets for the mind experiments because programmers could so easily assume a father figure just by interrupting the abuse and providing some empathy. Interestingly, Manson had resided briefly in Boys Town before spending most of the rest of his life in reform school and prison, where he was always easy prey to programmers.
The satanic panic was a carefully-planned deflection away from the CIA’s MH/Chaos operations originally designed to destroy the peaceful counterculture movement by branding it as violent.
Steve Jenkins: All in all, I am of the opinion this is a great post. I do take some exception to a few things however. Manson, did get a recording contract and did produce an album. It can be heard if one puts an effort into finding it online.
While Melcher did not produce it as near as I can tell, a highly regarded group of folks played a roll, starting with the .studio where it was recorded. Several Southern California heavy hitters on the Rock scene used this very same recoding studio.
Second, one can find many instances that raise serious questions about the argument that the Manson Clan were sent to Ciello Drive to kill Melcher. Tom O’Neil spends a great deal of time on this significant detail which was a key motive used by VB during the trial of the Manson Clan. If one looks at YouTube video interviews of Tex Watson he clearly states that Manson directed him to go to Terry Melcher’s “old” house and kill everyone there.
If words mean what they say, this is an indication that both Manson and Watson knew Melcher no longer lived there at the time of the murders. This would of course back up O’Neils claim that the group was not sent there to kill Melcher in revenge for his lack of a recoding deal as claimed by VB during the trial.
As for how successful Manson’s album would or would not have been, it’s a matter of great debate. I personally have listened to a reasonable amount of Manson’s music and I am personally not a fan. Others who have achieved considerable success in the music Industry have a different view than I. The Beach Boys released a Manson song on once of their albums. They changed the name and did not credit him, but it is his song. Others have released songs by Manson as well…well known bands. The album itself was being finalized in the fall of 1969 and was not released until after Manson’s arrest. It’s difficult to calculate how much Manson’s Notoriety affected the promotion of this album.
The important stuff are his connections to CIA ops. I believe Dennis may have taken him to Terry’s to make the introduction. Whether he was targeting the house or targeting Terry doesn’t real matter in the long run.
If one really wants to understand what went on who was being targeted is pretty significant in terms of understanding. Manson is far more than two nights in early August of 1969. A focus on the murders that took place then as opposed to a bigger picture reduces the likelihood of developing an understanding of what Project Manson was really about and why it went off the rails. If one looks, one can find what might be best called the fingerprints of Intelligence dating back almost a decade before the killings at Cielo Drive.
Here’s a little detail few know about. I once tried to get an interview with Wavy about Manson. He said, “No Manson interviews.”
Wavy has been in my crosshairs for some time now. He married Bob Dylan’s first significant girlfriend. He is easily as important a subject of study as Manson.
Check out the Lyman family.
Yes, I grew up in the Boston Area. Lyman opens many windows for me. I used to regularly park my car very close to Fort Hill…the central location of the Lyman Family. Lyman intersects with Manson all over the place. Manson’s writing has appeared in Avatar, the Fort Hill publication. Linda Kasabian, key witness vs the Manson’s and who did no jail time lived at Fort Hill before moving to LA. Her husband lived at the Hog Farm at the time of the killings. The Hog Farm, the Spahn Ranch, and Fort Hill share remarkable similarities.
After becoming editor of High Times, I was able to hire writers on deep state machinations, something not being done by anyone else in the media, aside from fanzines, of which there were many. Painfully, I discovered the famous writers were digging rabbit holes. Nobody was trying to unveil the operatives inside the counterculture media. I sadly published highly dubious stories by the likes of Robert Anton Wilson, Paul Krassner, Alex Constantine and others.
Aside from that I was flooded with Tin Foil Hat submissions. My most prominent researcher was Dick Russell, a former writer to media powerhouses TV Guide and Sports Illustrated. Dick had spent years investigating the CIA regarding the JFK assassination and had scored major interviews with Angelton and other CIA bigwigs. The only other journalist to have such a relationship is Ron Rosenbaum, a leading disinfo operator who helped demolish the reputation of Danny Casolaro. Dick focussed his investigation on Richard Case Nagell, reportedly a double agent inside the Stasi who was tasked with the mission of killing Oswald. Instead, Nagell fired a round inside a bank in order to get himself put into jail.
Nagell had a lot of inside info on CIA ops and wrote highly entertaining letters. He kept people on the hook for decades anticipating some huge breakthrough that never arrived. I guess you know every year the CIA floated a new breakthrough, all of which turned out to be misdirections: KGB did it, Cuba did it, the mob did it, the driver did it, LBJ did it, etc. Nagell’s rabbit hole was called H.L. Hunt did it.
Dick did a book with Jesse Ventura. His work is meticulously well-researched and much higher caliber than Ron Rosenbaum. More recently, he made an anti-Trump website, and has appeared at JFK assassination events run by the completely quacky Judyth Vary Baker. Dick lives in the secretive Lyman compound in Los Angles. The family seems very, very wealthy.
I have been paying a great deal of attention to Dick Russell for a while now. Your input here has been very helpful as it is consistent with my current thoughts on several folks I have looked up to in the past. I admit to having been fooled more then twice. I propose a conference call with Mark Mueller and Roy Johnson and myself. We all work together. I have been researching this exact topic for the last year or so and I have widened my lense considerably including potential links to the Boston Strangler and many many other seemingly unrelated events that I now believe are related. Note how many forwards Russell has written in Kennedy assassin books….note who has published most of these. Look at how closely he has intersected with two potential national candidates…Ventura….Kennedy. Thanks again for your input…you have added to my knowledge particularly about Russell who I once really looked up to.
Can’t do conference calls or interviews. But I have put everything I know into this website, and you should check it out in detail. I could never figure out why my once-famous career got throttled, mostly by the lawyer who stole High Times, who turned out to be connected to Chip Berlet, AJ Weberman and Ron Rosenbaum. I assume they were all MH/Chaos. You might enjoy my Youtube playlist Everything You Know is Twisted. I’m basically retired and tired of jockeying with agents of disinfo, most of whom have no idea they have been led into a rabbit hole. You can’t do deep state research without being blanketed by them.
There are a lot of vibe trails, good and bad, but the fun vibe is the best. It’s a delicate trail, easily lost. Sometimes it can disappear for decades. As legend goes, Neal Cassady surfed the hum of a gear-shift, scouted the fun vibe and gave it to the Beat Crew. The Pranksters got the trail from Cassady and shared it with Jerry Garcia, Timothy Leary and the Beatles. Some people dream about being a rock star, but I always dreamed of being a Merry Prankster and riding Furthur’s top deck with Cassady at the helm.
In 1997, High Times began advertising the ﬁrst Hemp World’s Fair in Oregon, just a few miles from where Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs and the Merry Pranksters were living. Our hope was to combine forces with the best vibe scouts we could ﬁnd, hold a sacred ceremony and ﬁnd the center of the true fun vibe.
Early in the spring, I ﬂew out to Oregon and met Ken Babbs and the owner of a possible 15-acre site. Well, the site looked good and plans were going great. The focal point of the event was going to be a silent meditation on Sunday from dawn until noon, followed by an OM. Babbs gave the event its name (WHEE!).
But we hit a glitch as the Pranksters unexpectedly pulled out.
“We have to do a July tour in Europe for our record company,” said Babbs sadly over the phone. But I still had Stephen Gaskin, Paul Krassner, John Trudell, Dennis Peron and a bunch of other good scouts. It was too late to call WHEE! off. The truth, however, would emerge at 4:20 pm on opening day as the Pranksters intended to play a prank on me all along.
After months of preparations, I arrived to start construction. Although the main stage was built and water and power lines had been dug for some booths and kitchens, it was really just a barren ﬁeld with a two-stories of twisted metal, rotten wood and garbage piled in the center. About 40 people were camped around the property. Zero and Roberto rode into camp with me.
Just looking at the pile of garbage made me dizzy. The Oregon sun was blazing. The only shade was a grove of pine trees way over in the parking lot. I knew the crew would melt down quick unless they got a steady supply of food and water. Fortunately, Sun Dog Kitchen was on site, straight from the nearby Rainbow Gathering.
I entered the Sun Dog camp and immediately caught sight of some freshly born pups. “Aww, puppies,” I said lurching forward. Like a fearless Zen master, the mom darted out from a picnic table and sunk two teeth into my Levis at the knee. “Damn,” I said, “You just ruined my best rainbow-stripe jeans.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking what a bad omen this is. After I customize my jeans, I tend to get overly attached to them.
“I ﬁngered the hole and noticed the strike was surgical, not a mark on my ﬂesh. The Sun Dog crew jumped out of the corners to get between me and the angry mom.
“There’s no dogs… supposed to be here,” I snarled.
Roberto appeared. “I have a dog,” he said wistfully. “Look, there’re dogs all over the place.” As he swept his hand across the horizon, I noticed three or four more dogs scampering about.
Lee, Stevie D’s straw boss, let me know he was vexed by the mission of preparing 3,000 free meals over the next week.
“Whatta ya need, Lee?” I said. “Give me a wish list.”
I walked out into the ﬁeld and called council. Mostly young brothers came, many of whom seemed to be from One Love Zion Train, a tour group sponsored by Universal Life Church of One Love. They handed me an envelope ﬁlled with ﬂyers and propaganda on their noble quest to scout the vibe all summer.
“Come on, boys,” I shouted. “We’re on a sacred mission to build hippie Disneyland! And we only got six days to do it!”
“What do you want us to do?” asked ﬁve voices and 40 faces.
“First, we gotta get rid of that pile of trash!” In a matter of seconds 80 hands hit the garbage pile.”
“Come on Stoney,” I said walking toward the rented Ford pickup. “We gotta make a supply run. Where’s that wish list?”
Before the day was through, Stoney and I visited every discount center in Eugene, and that Ford had with enough food and drink for 50 people for three days, along with every other type of supplies we might need, including 20 pairs of work gloves and a precious erase board and ﬁve ﬂuorescent erase markers.
At sundown, after we made it back to the site, the garbage pile was half gone. A gorgeous sunset cloud formation appeared over the stage, while behind us, an almost full moon rose over the mountains. A dozen geese ﬂew past in V formation. “Squawk, squawk,” said Alpha Goose as they whooshed toward the sunset. I felt their bird energy as they scouted their vibe trail. Sun Dog blew the conch for dinner. We circled up, held hands and did an OM, followed by everyone throwing their hands in the air and yelling, “Whee!”
We believe in doing what is right and respecting others, with no judgments or dogma, only true love and respect for all living beings. All faiths are connected to the One and the One is connected to us. The train is an ongoing experience for the caravaners of voluntarily spreading the unity love vibrations that make this the 30th anniversary of the Summer of Love.”
I was sitting in the back of an RV parked next to the stage reading a flyer created by a large tribe of volunteers who arrived first on site. The radios arrived late, so it was hard to get the crews properly coordinated. So far, we had 14 members of Sun Dog and 73 other assorted volunteers on site, two dozen of whom were part of the Zion Love Train.
Garrick Beck rolled in, set up his tipi and split. Garrick, Plunker and John Buffalo were hired as crew chiefs on the Temple Dragon Crew (TDC), which was supposed to handle people problems inside the venue and protect the ceremonial spaces. I tried to encourage them to arrive early by saying whoever rolled in and started work first would be security crew chief. That turned out to be a big mistake. Three days before the other two, Buffalo reported in.
Hippie security is a little-known art form that has been evolving inside the counterculture for over 40 years. Groups like the Diggers in Haight-Ashbury were among the earliest proponents of this art form. Whenever anything bad would happen on the streets of the Haight, local residents would try to handle the problem using nonviolent persuasion. For example, if some brother disrespected a sister, that person would suddenly ﬁnd himself surrounded by people wanting to discuss, in a quiet, rational manner, why the brother felt it was okay to be disrespectful. The fact no one would resort to anger or violence would usually throw the perpetrator so off-guard that he’d end up analyzing and apologizing for his inappropriate behavior. Techniques of nonviolent communication were eventually perfected even further by the Merry Pranksters, who knew how to “create a movie,” pull a person into that movie and alter the perceptual frame of reference of a situation to their own beneﬁt.
Many professional security guards rely on telepathic hostility and thinly veiled threats of physical harm to enforce rules. But hippie security never resorts to hints of violence. Every security situation is unique and negotiable. Over the past 30 years, the Rainbow Family Gathering has been a superb training ground for people interested in studying nonviolent security techniques. The Shanti Sena (peace eyes) is the name that has evolved for this group. The subculture emerged out of Vortex, an event actually created secretly by the governor of Oregon to lure protesters away from Portland by allowing them to hold a free rock festival in the woods far from any cities. The event was so successful, the governor came out to help with clean up and thank all the hippies. He ended up in a giant OM circle and was apparently never quite the same again. And neither were many other participants in the OM for they were soon planning an even bigger gathering to be held in Colorado. They landed near Strawberry Lake close to the Continental Divide.
Plunker and Amazin’ Dave are the leaders of the Rainbow Shanti Sena. Both are Vietnam vets, except Plunker came from the backwoods of Montana, and Dave’s family are big-wigs in Texas close to the Bush family. Dave and Plunker have been hard-wired together since Vortex. For decades Dave served as Rainbow’s FBI-liason and assisted their investigation into the murders of two women who attempted to hitch-hike to the West Virginia gathering. That case dragged on for years and took many twists and turns before the man convicted ended up being exonerated.
The strangest thing happened on the day the radios arrived and were turned on for the first time. We were getting massive interference and had to call in the radio rental company to try and fix the problem. The engineer they sent out did a sweep and found a transmitter inside the front-right hubcap on my RV. I assumed it was a low-jack-type device, but after the event was over, I asked the owner and she assured me her RV did not have a GPS transmitter.
Amazin’ Dave showed up and I hired him on the spot. He moved into the Mission Control RV with me to handle the late-night problems while I was asleep. Six22 was handling the boo-boos. His cat Ganja moved into the RV with me and Dave.
By the end of the day, the garbage pile was gone and the fence was ready to go up.
The professional, licensed-and-bonded company we hired for 24-hour security had rolled in and set up on the 15th. I explained we had our own internal security crew. I wanted the professional crew to work the perimeter and guard the fence, but I didn’t want them to deal with people. That was for TDC. If we had serious problems, we could always call in the professional security guards. But I was conﬁdent TDC could handle the job.
However, during the night, the professionals suddenly packed up and left without so much as an explanation. I stayed up all night at the front gate without a single security guard on duty, feeling like Michael Corleone at the hospital in The Godfather.
John Buffalo arrived early in the morning and I explained the situation. “I’m making you crew chief of TDC, and you have to coordinate all security,” I told him.”
Meanwhile, Diego’s bus rolled in to set up the Gypsy Village, and Felipe’s bus rolled in to set up Family Village. The site map had changed drastically already, so I drew the current map on the erase board and discussed possible locations. Both crews picked new sites and started putting up tents and tarps. The Gypsies brought a huge circus tent for workshops and seminars.
We had a fence crew, sign painting crew, vendor staking crew, carpenter crew, ﬁre pit crew, kitchen crew, Gypsy crew, tipi circle crew, stage crew and Family Village crew all working feverishly by mid-afternoon.
The biggest change in the map came when I staked a huge area overlooking a small pond as Doggie Village. There were supposed to be about 50 vendors on that very spot, and I was already wondering how I was going to explain this to people who had paid for those booths.
The vendors started arriving early in the day, and most were shocked to ﬁnd the site map wasn’t the same anymore. Beth, who had been recently hired as vending director of the Hemp Expo, was greeting vendors as they rolled in. Poor Beth was engulfed by hysteria. I could identify with her situation and tried to help. The most remarkable thing about the whole event was how Beth kept her head and never melted down once.
Most of the vendors were actually quite nice and friendly and easy to deal with once the new site was explained. However, we had a few problem cases, like the Babylon vendor, who was selling Pepsi and hot dogs out of an RV with a generator. I put him in Bus Village, where he belonged. He happily took that spot, but by the end of the day, he tore down the fence separating Bus Village from the site and demanded to be moved inside. Garrick moved him to the Gypsy camp, but the Gypsy crew exploded after he turned on his generator. The fumes were blowing right into the Casbah Tea House. So we moved him again, this time right next to our beautiful ﬁre pit, where his exhaust blew into the amphitheater. Even so, he kept complaining about all the money he was losing.
“Nobody wants your Babylon food,” I said ﬁnally. “Why don’t you go solar and sell organic food, or better yet, pack up and leave?” Of course, he was making plenty of money and had no intention of leaving.
Around this time, most of the High Times staff were arriving for the ﬁrst time, and there was tremendous confusion between the property owner, the Rainbows and the newly arrived HT staff. This was my fault for not holding an orientation meeting, but everyone was working so hard, I didn’t want them to stop. Some people continued to be confused because the site had changed from the original map. There were over 30 radios on site, plus a large number of CB units, and Thursday was the day of radio screaming. If the slightest problem came up, meltdowns would start yelling on the radio.
Plunker saw me starting to melt down, came in, led a silent meditation circle, and we went back to work. Plunker had taken charge of the ﬁre pit. Fire was a real hazard, due to a lot of dry straw on the ground. Plunker led the response to the Great Wyoming Rainbow Gathering Fire, when several thousand Rainbows stomped out a three-acre blaze which had topped the trees and threatened to destroy an entire national forest.
The ﬁnal ﬁre pit was heart-shaped, facing the Gypsy stage, with four rows of amphitheater seating carved out of the mound of earth displaced to make the pit. It was so beautifully constructed I almost burst into tears just looking at it. Felipe came down from Family Village to lead a service and sanctify us with sage as we lit the ceremonial ﬂame at sundown.
That night, the vendor crew stayed up until 3 A.M. leading convoys of vendors into the site, making sure their vehicles were parked safely.
On opening day, the medical crew that had agreed to work the event did not show. Another crew, led by midwife Daphne Singingtree, came in on an hour’s notice. Daphne had been lobbying hard for the job for three months, so I was happy to see her roll in with an entire medical team.
Cathy Baker and her mom Judy had arrived to take charge of the money. She was jumping around with a big knot on her third eye, all frantic, unable to make clear decisions. I’d already lost my voice from having to talk to large crowds for six days, so I tried to stay low-key and not let her energy penetrate me. She spent most of her time asking people what I was doing wrong so she could demonstrate her power and influence over me. She never asked me what needed to be done. But Cathy was surprised to discover the hardest working staffers were volunteers and loyal to me. “Why do you listen to him?” Cathy would ask them. She’d been trained by the lawyer who stole High Times to mistrust my motives.
“Listen,” I said softly, “I’ve got an important mission for you. I want you to go to Sun Dog, pour yourself some fresh lemonade and wait until I get there.”
Neither Cathy nor her mom stayed for the Sunday ceremony (the whole point of the event). They ended up vastly overpaying most of the volunteer crew, and then stiffed the property owner. He had invited them into his home because he wanted a meeting without me present. But he didn’t realize the scope of their imperial standards. Judy was so upset by having to sit on a stained chair in a filthy house she departed the site without giving him the $5,000 he was still owed.
Commander Gorman had taken over the mic at Mission Control. Early in the day a few people ran up on him with requests over the radio he didn’t feel like dealing with just that second. In retaliation, they changed the name of his post to Mission Impossible. The new name stuck for the remainder of the event.
The parking lots were in chaos, but inside the fence was peaceful hippie heaven, with lots of good food at low prices. The stage was even running close to schedule. The 420 Show with the Cannabis Cup Band rocked and was the main event of the day. Engineer Charlie sculpted a wonderful sound. A crew meeting was scheduled for 11 P.M., just after the main stage closed.
Since I could barely talk above a whisper, Garrick was crew chief on the meeting. I drew a map on the erase board to show how the site had changed and where the new ﬁre lanes were. Then all hell broke loose. Everyone was pissed about the problems in the parking lots (which were being operated under the supervision of the property owner), and the lack of laminates for free food. For about an hour there was a lot of hot air, but no solutions. Then Gideon spoke.
Gideon is not the sort of brother who does a lot of talking at council. Although he’s a big bear of a man, he scouts a very mellow vibe. But Gideon was all ﬁred up, like Crazy Horse talking to the Lakota warriors before the Custer ﬁght. He laid out a plan and offered to hold down the night gate himself. Then he led the crew in a chant of “Break even, break even.”
I drove into camp around 8 A.M., having spent the night at the Ramada Inn. Gideon was still on the gate, a big wad of cash in his fanny pack. I parked and walked around camp, moving signs to their proper locations, stocking the info booth that hadn’t quite happened yet and checking the ﬁre lanes.
While I walked TDC on the backline, I pulled up on a huge spotted male dog, who could have been cast as White Fang in a Jack London movie. The dog held a long stare on my eyes, and I stared back while I reached for my radio mike.”
“Mission Impossible, we got a big Alpha off its leash.”
“This is Doggie Village, what’s your twenty?”
“Between Doggie Village and Gypsy tent.”
“We’ll pick up the dog.”
“Ten-four. Over and out.”
It was amazing how fast the radio could ﬁx things. It was like a magic wand that made energy clouds appear like so many tornados.
Later that day, I got a big surprise when Ken Kesey and the Pranksters, all wearing green masks, pulled up in front of Mission Impossible in a white Cadillac convertible. Babbs jumped out of the back seat and showed me his watch.
“Look,” he said triumphantly, “it’s exactly 4:20!”
“Commander Gorman, get this crew on stage immediately!” I shouted.
“Ten-four,” said Peter.
Babbs handed me a green hemp scarf with rainbow stripes. It had two holes cut for my eyes.
There was a lot of noise and chaos. Everybody was pressing toward us because they wanted to meet the Pranksters. But I had a telepathic moment with Babbs, when time slowed and the background faded. He spoke to me in a silent way only Kenmasters know how to do.
“If you put on this magic mask,” he said, “you’ll become invisible.”
A ﬂock of geese ﬂew overhead and burst our bubble. Everything sped up and got crazy again. Next thing I knew, I was on stage wearing the mask, being introduced by Fantuzzi as Phoenix 420.
“One week ago, I fell asleep in the back of a car after a party,” I said. “When I woke up, the car was parked in the center of this ﬁeld. Only it didn’t look like this. There was no hippie Disneyland. There was only a two-story pile of twisted metal, wood and garbage. And forty hungry, homeless hippies! And the next day we were a hundred homeless hippies! And we built this New Jerusalem! I guess they wanted me to say this because I was one of the crew who worked so hard! So let’s hear it for the crews, who worked for free!… In case you don’t know, WHEE’s name came from Ken Babbs. He’s one of the Merry Pranksters, the greatest vibe scouts of our time. The Merry Pranksters couldn’t be here because of some Babylonian record-company tour. But we do have the Green Vipers, so let’s have a warm welcome for the Green Vipers!”
And out walked Kesey, Babbs, Mountain Girl and their crew.
Meanwhile, I melted into the crowd to explore my newfound invisibility.
Just then the strangest thing happened. I began reading auras for the ﬁrst time in my life. The overwhelming majority of people at the event were radiating happy vibrations. But there was a very small minority with darker emanations. Instead of walking around the site, I found myself seated on the ground in a hidden spot with a clear view of the kids’ playground. I was convinced an evil force was watching the children, and I began paying close attention to a tall, middle-aged man with a military haircut who was hanging out at a vending booth next to Family Village. He was watching kids playing on the swing sets and jungle gyms we’d erected. I noticed the man did not have a wristband, indicating he had not paid to enter the venue. I decided to work my best Temple Dragon magic on him, so I walked up with a big smile on my face.
“Howdy, brother,” I said, “are we having fun yet?” He eyed me suspiciously and gave no comment.
“Hey, where’s your wristband?” I continued. “Everybody’s got to have a wristband.”
He smirked but said nothing.”
“I’ve got some extra wristbands if you need one,” I continued, reaching into my purple hemp fanny pack. “You should put one on so security doesn’t kick you out. If you can’t afford to pay the admission fee, that’s no problem, I’ll give you a wristband anyway. But if you can make a donation, we’d really appreciate it because we didn’t break even on this event. In fact, we’ve lost thousands of dollars. So if you could afford a small donation, we’d really appreciate it.”
“I don’t haf any money,” he said with a thick German accent.
“No problem,” I said putting the band on his wrist. “Why not just open your wallet and show me? And if it’s empty, then you don’t have to pay anything.”
There was a long pause and I watched him take mental notes on my Temple Dragon belt, with its radio, ﬂashlight, medical supplies and various Batman-like emergency tools. He knew he was dealing with someone who could call in reinforcements. Although I was all smiles and happiness, inside I was beaming telepathic messages that I knew what he was all about and I could read his mind like a book. Rather than show me his wallet, he reached in his pocket, pulled out a wad of cash and handed me a 20.
“Gee, thanks,” I said.
Just then Felipe walked by and I made a big deal of introducing him to the stranger. But he abruptly broke off from us and walked away without telling us his name.
“There’s something funny about him,” I said. “He’s been staring at the kids and I don’t like his vibes.”
Felipe nodded his head and agreed he seemed a bit out-of-place. We began spreading word among the TDC to keep an eye on him. But he must have known something was up because he left the site within an hour and never came back.
By 8 A.M. it was apparent Sunday was going to go into the high 90s with high humidity. A silent meditation was planned for the main meadow. We made a supply run for ice, water, soda and coolers. As we passed Family Village, the “no smoking of any kind” zone, Felipe, the ceremony crew chief, emerged.
“We better postpone that ceremony until sundown,” I said. “Otherwise people will be fainting out there. We also need a pole for people to circle around.”
“I’ll work on that,” said Felipe.
On the way back to Mission Impossible, I changed the daily event sign at the entrance to read: “OM at Sunset.”
I rode the TDC vibe for the rest of the day, cruising in Gideon’s golf cart. “This is more fun than golﬁng,” I told everyone. I found two kids at Family Village who wanted to see their mom at Doggie Village. “Wanna go for a ride? Only if Felipe says OK.”
I took the back ﬁre lane so they had a great view of the pond on one side and the dog run on the other. All sorts of dogs came out to greet us as we cruised past, some staked and some running free. When we got to the corner, I noticed the big Alpha I’d seen on the trail, all fenced in tight by himself with a sign reading “Doggie Jail.” “Why is that doggie in jail?” “Because he’s not a nice doggie.” “Can we go inside Doggie Village now?” “Yes, here’s your mommy.”
As I drove off, I heard the kids shouting, “Mommy, there’s been a mistake, this is not a bad doggie!”
“Mission Impossible, we got a jailbreak at Doggie Village. Two dangerous suspects from Family Village, about four feet high, just tore down the walls of Doggie Jail.”
But that Alpha walked out so meek and gentle and grateful to those kids, that the Doggie Village crew never put him back in Doggie Jail again. Isn’t it funny how adults can learn from kids?
Mission Impossible called me on the radio to tell me that a Krishna crew wanted to come into camp for free. I drove to the gate to greet them and make sure they were comfortable. “Be sure and catch the OM at sunset,” I told them.
Backstage, there was the typical moment of confusion because I always insist the ceremonies be as spontaneous as possible, with lots of improvisation and no script. Naturally, this drives the tech-heads up a wall! And the ceremony crew gets blamed for ruining the clockwork machinery of their rock show.
But because it was Sunday, the stage manager Alvin gladly powered up the wireless so Felipe could scout the vibe by the sacred Peace Pole that had been hastily erected. An old, well-traveled pole it was, with lots of carvings and a purple quartz crystal on top. Gaskin, Plunker and many others started to form the circle, but the circle got confused because there were too many people for just one circle in such a small space.
A Japanese monk jumped on the line and began spiraling it toward the center. Everyone got involved in the spiral hand-dance. When it ended, everyone was holding hands. A call went out for the crew to come to the pole. Gaskin and I walked slowly to the pole and were actually the ﬁrst to get there. I hugged the pole while the entire 300-person crew hugged me. Tear ducts burst open in every eye, like waves in a sports stadium. My heart opened and I sobbed with joy from the telepathic energy.
Then came the WHEE! OM. “Whee cranked the vibe,” I said while hugging Gaskin.
Late that night, I was getting weird vibes from Plunker who began shadowing me around the site keeping me under surveillance. A large group of the working crew were his associates from Rainbow, and some of them had obviously developed a negative attitude on me. I was being portrayed by some as an exploiter of Rainbow. Apparently, by not anointing alpha Plunker as TDC team leader had been a blunder as there was a lot of ego-jockeying going on. Plunker seemed convinced I was planning to flee the site with the cash. At least I heard him muttering something to that effect to his amigos. This evil intuition on his part could only be due to the fact Plunker handles the cash collected at Rainbow. He could never figure out where the money came and went to because he was watching me and what Plunker never understood about me is I never touched the money at any of my events, or even took any money beyond my High Times salary and travel, room and board during the event. The most common cause for getting fired at High Times was getting caught stealing, and it happened frequently, but the lawyer who stole High Times could never fire me for stealing because I never touched the money, although he had investigators digging into my financial situation to make sure, something he once confided in me. So Michael Kennedy had to look for other reasons to get rid of me. He ghosted my attempt to seek his assistance in mounting a religious rights case to the Supreme Court even though Constitutional Law was his specialty and began spreading the story I was a wanna-be cult leader.
I was on a sacred mission of peace and had no interest in enrichment beyond the satisfaction of attempting to hand down peace culture to the next generation.
Babbs came out to the Ramada to meet the clean-up crew. Zero, Tammy, Donna Eagle, Alvin, Edison, G. Moses and me. We held a playful ceremony upon his arrival and Babbs was so honored he made up a little song on the spot just for the crew’s pleasure.
When is it all right to be too tight?
I can think of one extraordinary night when it was all right to be too tight.
I was so drunk
I couldn’t even stand up.
I fell asleep on the riverbank.
The cops came and arrested everybody else and they never got me. So it was all right to be too tight.
But you still… can’t… roll… the joints… too tight.
“Thank you, thank you,” said Babbs. “That was a spontaneous song I’ve been practicing for the last twenty-two years and this was the ﬁrst time I’ve had a chance to sing it. I want to thank you for lasting through the whole thing.”
After the song, I ﬁlled Babbs in on the baby girl that had been born in the pine trees at 2:22 Monday morning.
“There was a cry in the woods of ‘help me, help me,’ and TDC came running fast ’cause we thought a sister was being raped. Her cousin was with her and said, ‘Calm down, everybody. Jamie’s just having a baby.’ The cousin caught the baby coming out, and was assisted by a former EMT medic named Sunray. The baby was named Cassady Sunﬂower Phoenix. The cord was tied with Amazin’ Dave’s hemp twine. Garrick was on the scene. I rolled up just as the baby popped out and interviewed everyone involved. Daphne Singingtree was there, too. It was a real warrior birth. That child might be a great leader some day.”
“It just shows to go you that when things happen, they come into a lot of minds at the same time,” said Babbs.
Babbs wanted drink, but the crew kept feeding him water and pizza. “Don’t end up like Jack,” I said. “Don’t melt down and stay melted. Big Sur, that was his best book. He could’ve called it Big Meltdown.”
“Kerouac, Ginsberg, they died relatively young,” said Babbs. “It’d be great if they were still around. Cassady was unique. All the factions of the Beat crew revolved around Cassady because he knew what they were all talking about. They all strove to be like Cassady. You know what it was? Cassady really dealt on the lag. The one-thirtieth of a second between when you think of something and when you say it. He was always trying to beat the lag. So what he said had to do with what was happening right then. That was Cassady’s thing. And he was always working on it as an artist. And at a certain point he knew that’s what he was doing. But it was such a dangerous thing because speed freaks would try to emulate him, to be rapping all the time, but they weren’t talking about anything, whereas Cassady was really talking about something. He was the true Avatar. The True Seeker of the Vibe.”
“Then the crew introduced Babbs to Cassady the dog, the same dog the kids had busted out of Doggie Jail.
“He was abandoned on the site,” said Six22. “He’s my dog now.”
The evening turned into a fun ceremony while Babbs relayed details of staying on the vibe trail. I caught on right away it was wrong to say “we crank the vibe.” The vibe cranks itself. You have to be humble when you scout the vibe. Babbs put this information across in such a gentle manner everyone knew it was truly so.
“Hail the fun vibe,” said the crew.
“I pulled a prank with the Merry Pranksters,” I said to Babbs, falling to my knees. “Can I be a Merry Prankster, too?”
“Sure,” said Babbs. “Let’s go out in the moonlight and do the induction right now!”
Since the Ramada was located inside a freeway cloverleaf complex, the crew was reluctant to set foot off motel property, but Babbs led us through some bushes and we unexpectedly popped out on a river bank near a rose garden.
“Everyone take a big whiff,” said Babbs, while pointing at the rose blossoms with a large speckled hawk feather. The feather shimmered and sparkled in the moonlight.
I got sleepy right away and lay down on a grassy knoll. The full moon had an orange glow around it, with psychedelic trails busting out all over. There was a roar of thunder and a cloud of dust, and Furthur, the original psychedelic bus, pulled up with Ken Kesey at the wheel. Babbs led the crew up the back ladder to some seats on the roof. The bus blasted off toward Interstate 5, and actually left the ground and ﬂew into a dark, angry twister that looked about ready to touch ground and create all sorts of havoc.
When the black smoke cleared, the bus was cruising through a hundred miles of hempﬁelds on both sides of the road. The plants were lush with birds of all colors and descriptions which ﬂew up to us in great ﬂocks and sang about how much fun it was to live in a hempﬁeld, with endless food in all directions.
Furthur stopped on a cliff overlooking a lake with a view of the sunrise. There was a bonﬁre party going on. Krassner and Gaskin were there. So was Patti Smith talking to Bob Dylan. Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Joan Baez and the Tin Man were having a conversation with Jack Herer! But the most amazing thing was that all four Beatles were listening to Neal Cassady, who was hanging onto a gearshift knob with one end in the ﬁre. And Cassady was talking about scouting the vibe!”
I found myself walking between Kesey and Babbs, headed straight for the ﬁre. “We noticed this with Cassady,” whispered Kesey. “The gearshift is the chord. The crew harmonizes because everyone is on the same gearshift chord.”
Kesey stopped and turned to me as if to say something really important. “Strong pot without a message is just a buzz. If you take cocaine, you’ll often pick up a real bad vibe because it’s traveling through those hands. Real nice dope, there’s nothing wrong with it… doesn’t have to be strong. You can tell how important it is by how much energy is raised to ﬁght it.”
“Is this when I get inducted?” I asked.
“Don’t you know?” laughed Cassady, slapping me on the chest. “You’ve always been a Merry Prankster in your heart.”
Everyone laughed because I had what I’d wanted all along and never even knew it. I also felt embarrassed because I’d been so overly caught up with the money situation during the event, just trying to break even somehow. I felt if the event lost too much money, I’d end up losing my job at High Times. But now I instinctively understood if you want to hold a true counterculture ceremony, admission must always be free.
Next thing I knew, I was asleep on the riverbank near the rose bush, almost alone, only the dog Cassady watching over me. On the way back to the Ramada, I found a large speckled hawk feather, and it remains in my straw cowboy hat to this day.”
If you doubt any of this, just watch the video replay:
The Cannabis Cup has a center of gravity, and I can feel it. The crew and I are sitting down to breakfast at the Barbizon Palace across the the street from Amsterdam’s Central Station. If anything were to happen to us, this event would certainly spin into instant chaos. In fact, it already has, since we’ve just discovered the annual Sinterklaas parade is shutting down the city tomorrow exactly when we’re supposed to be launching a fleet of buses from the front of the Victoria Hotel.
“No battle plan survives first contact with friction,” I mutter as I survey the $45 breakfast served in a room with no windows and really bad feng shui. I knew it was going to be difficult surviving the recent collapse of the dollar versus the euro, but I didn’t realize the Dutch version of Santa Claus was going to sabotage us. How would we get our attendees to the expo on the outskirts of the city if the smoker-friendly buses couldn’t get through? The 20th Cup hadn’t even officially started and already we’d slammed into a major clog.
THE FUNCTION OF CEREMONIES
Everything is made from energy and energy travels in waves. Some like to define human energy through channels they dub “chakras,” but I like to define telepathy as being psychic gravity because even though people can’t see it, touch it or hear it, everyone knows it’s there because they feel it every time they walk up stairs. You can’t see, touch nor hear telepathy, but you feel its impact during ceremonies. The bigger the ceremony, the stronger the telepathy. Telepathy comes in flavors so a peace circle and a panic-stricken mob produce much different states of mind.
The science of affecting telepathy is called “magic.” Energies can harmonize, repel or remain neutral. The mind is a complex system with many facets but the integration has a center of gravity. When your psyche loses its center, confusion arises. Societies have a center of gravity and so do ceremonies.
All ceremonies run on magic. Most family ceremonies are designed to amplify empathy, and the center is revealed by the seating arrangement at the ceremonial feast. Ceremonies are the best defense against depression, but they can also be triggers for breakdowns because positive energy attracts negativity. So while ceremonies can create harmony, they can also expose dissonance and create flame-outs, burnouts and meltdowns. The counterculture learned to deal with dissonance, friction, fog and clogs in a somewhat kinder, gentler fashion, something known as “staying in the flow.” A true master of ceremonies can drain energy off an antagonist.
Clogs are the natural enemy of energy. Friction can slow things down, but clogs result when movement stops. Depression is a psychic clog. It’s perfectly okay to have unhappy feelings, but that becomes a problem if you can’t move on to more positive ground. The most important thing Stephen Gaskin taught me is that enlightenment is not like ringing a bell or climbing a mountain. “It’s not like you get somewhere and stay there forever,” explained Gaskin. “Nobody is enlightened all the time.” Ceremonies can lead people to a positive place, but nobody can stay positive forever.
Fog is like friction in that it slows down movement, but different in that it’s not based on dissonance, unexpected snafus or communication breakdowns but self-delusion, similar to being love-struck or paralyzed with fear. Fog creates bliss bunnies who can’t fix problems because they don’t see them. In moderation, cannabis enhances empathy and harmonization, but in excess, it produces fog.
I didn’t start my journalism career seeking to evolve into an expert on magic and religion, but once I created the Cannabis Cup, I couldn’t help but investigate that history. The word “cannabis” came down to us from the Scythians, who built the road linking Europe with China and India. “Ma,” “magi,” “magic” and “marijuana” all stem from the Chinese word for cannabis, and this history has mostly been eradicated, but enough traces remain to conclude Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity were all born as cannabis cults, a tradition that also runs through Pythagoras, the Oracle at Delphi, and Socrates (who was assassinated by the state for the crime of “corrupting the youth”).
Many revelations regarding magic were revealed to me through my organizing ceremonies around cannabis for decades, starting in 1967 and continuing to the present. My sensitivity to telepathic energy became enhanced as a result, and this was especially so through the Cannabis Cup.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CUP
I had no idea what I was getting into when I created the Cannabis Cup. I thought I might help bring attention to the importance of breeding quality cannabis seeds. When the event started in 1987, there were only a handful of cannabis-seed merchants around the world. Now there are thousands. The first Cup was attended by me, a photographer and a former grower, Dr. Indoors. Three seed companies entered: two Dutch, one American. The entire event was a two-day affair; there wasn’t even an awards show. It was so under-funded that I refused to attend the next four Cups, also run on shoestring budgets. When I heard the publisher was trying to kill the event, saying I was using company funds so me and my friends could get a junket, a different member of my staff was sent. During this time, the Dutch laws regarding seed companies kept shifting, and we were never sure which were actually willing to enter until days before the event. One year all the seed companies dropped out and it turned into a coffeeshop crawl. All the entries were low-grade, the sort of commercial fare offered at tourist traps.
So I decided to return for the 6th Cup, and also opened the event to tourists. Fifty Americans bought tickets. The first 420 ceremony took place and the silver cups handcrafted by Robin “The Hammer” Ludwig appeared.
The next Cup included the world’s first Hemp Expo, which quickly inspired similar events all over Europe as hemp became closely tied with the green movement.
The 8th Cup was the first to fully engage the issue of spiritual rights for cannabis users. Alex Grey, the world’s most celebrated psychedelic artist, created the official art, and Stephen Gaskin, who had petitioned the Supreme Court for cannabis spiritual rights, delivered the first 420 address at the expo.
Gray and Gaskin were two of the most enlightened people I knew, and along with Garrick Beck from the Rainbow Family, they created an interpretation of the Rig Veda’s Soma ritual for the opening ceremony. Garrick brought over the Rainbow Gypsy Theater to stage an Alice in Wonderland production for the awards show that included dancers, singers, drummers, along with stage and costume designers, all happening on a scale I couldn’t have imagined five years earlier. The production budget had ballooned to the point there was a concerted effort to kill the Cup immediately afterward because it cost so much, but I was able to save the event by licensing it to the tour operator. Mike Esterson and I had developed a good working relationship and Esterson sensed untapped value. He agreed to allow me to continue directing the ceremonies and even covered the expenses for my volunteer video crew so I could also keep documenting the evolution of the event. I believed the ceremonies were historically important.
For the 10th Cup, I created the Counterculture Hall of Fame, and Bob Marley became the first inductee. Rita Marley flew in from Jamaica to help celebrate. At the end of the awards show, Rita invited the winners up onstage. She grabbed a red display box containing the Sensi Seeds entries, and threw samples into the crowd. A giant freestyle jam spontaneously broke out, one that included dueling raps from rival coffeeshop managers. All the winners ended up dancing together on stage. I had an epiphany as Rita convinced me of the importance of improvisation. From that year forth, we ended the awards with the winners dancing on stage as the performers improvised.
The 16th Cup was dubbed the Conspiracy Cup and there was a lot of that going on inside the company, most fomented to remove me from the magazine and events I’d created. It was certainly obvious to the staff the lawyer Michael Kennedy despised me and he kept hiring new publishers in the hope one might fire me. Most of publishers he hired, however, felt my leadership had been driving the profits, and Kennedy’s obsession with having me removed made little sense from a business perspective. But eventually Kennedy found his stooge in Mike Edison, a bottom-feeder known for cranking out dozens of fetish porn novels while playing drums for G.G. Allin, whose trademark was defecating on stage.
The problem was always that sales would sink immediately after my demotion, and pressure from the other majority share owners would force Kennedy to put me back in the saddle so the golden eggs might return. Kennedy ran the company like an intelligence operation and much later I would discover why.
Staffers sympathetic to my vision were purged, while Kennedy stuffed the ranks with offspring selected from his connections in New York society, the rungs of which he’d been steadily climbing for decades through the determined efforts of his wife, who’d gained access through a carefully cultivated friendship with Ivana Trump. The Trumps spent a summer renting the Kennedy guest house inside the Yale enclave in the Hamptons. It was the summer Ivanka was born. Later, although inexperienced in divorce, Kennedy would convince Ivana to dispute Roy Cohn’s iron-clad prenup, for which he was undoubtedly paid a small fortune.
“I knew the 15th Cup, initially dubbed the “Peace” Cup in my promotional campaign, might not turn out so peaceful after all after I received a letter from Holland’s Queen of Hashish regarding a two-page feature in the December issue. Melting under the photographer’s lights, some samples looked like caramel, others like chocolate. The article, “Bubble All the Way” by Kyle Kushman provoked the ire of Mila Jansen, who was not mentioned although the process used to create the hash was based on something she invented.
“What a nasty piece of mistake,” wrote Mila angrily. “I cannot say stop publishing an enthusiastic article about bags that are a copy of my invention, that’s okay. What I would like is maybe an article on how since 1995, my inventions (the Pollinator and Ice-o-lator) have helped win 11 out of 21 Cannabis Cup hash prizes.”
At the time, hash judging was not a strong suit for Americans. Despite its popularity in Europe, hash had remained largely unexplored on this side of the Atlantic. American judges arrived jet-lagged and culture-shocked, and if you threw in a couple hits of Dutch water-hash you threatened to provoke a major meltdown. The antidote was drinking a glass of water while hanging onto the table with pressed fingertips. Nederbubble could be as high as 99.8% resin and despite being frighteningly strong, it was unexpectedly mild to taste. Although introduced by Nevil in 1988, water-hash didn’t appear en masse at the Cup until 1994.
Ten years earlier, Wernard Bruning of Positronic Seed Company, had sent a photo of one of his greenhouses to the Ask Ed column in High Times. Bruning had earlier founded Amsterdam’s first coffeehouse (Dutch code for weed shop) in 1973 (the now-defunct Mellow Yellow). He partnered with original Provo Kees Hoekert to re-create the Lowland Seed Company, founded in 1969 by Hoekert and Jasper Grootveld, which originally sold sprouted seedlings for home growing. In 1985, Bruning founded the nation’s biggest non-profit grow-store, seed/clone distribution center, Positronics. Eventually, he pivoted to medical marijuana and added a weekly newspaper Soft Secrets to his weed empire. Although he sold it in 1994, Soft Secrets became the largest cannabis publication in the world with a circulation over a million and published in seven countries.
Bruning had learned about sinsemilla after a trip to the East Coast and eventually brought over Ed Holloway to help build and run a greenhouse. Rosenthal made contact with Bruning after receiving a picture of the greenhouse. He informed Bruning about a grower named Sam the Skunkman in Santa Cruz. At the time, Bruning was working with an American living in Amsterdam who had the best connection in town for temple balls from Nepal. His name was Michael “Rich” Taylor. Bruning says he paid the airline tickets for both Rosenthal and Sam to visit Amsterdam in order to make suggestions for the operations. Bruning only wanted one of them to be hired as consultant, and the team picked Sam. At the time, none of them knew the mysterious Skunkman had recently been arrested and charged with cannabis cultivation in Santa Cruz, but had bailed out and fled the country, departing with 250,000 seeds. Sam’s partnership with Bruning was short-lived, however, as Bruning grew alarmed by the scope of Sam’s vision. Sam set up Cultivators Choice Seed Company as his replacement for Sacred Seeds.
Sam eventually secured a monopoly on production of medical marijuana in Holland under the name HortaPharm B.V., an agreement that required certification from the DEA. Several official DEA plaques were posted in Sam’s high-tech office and grow center created in 1990.
Some wondered how Sam built such an elaborate and professional operation so quickly after having allegedly arrived penniless, speculating he might have been supporting himself through an illegal operation. The real money at the time was smuggling weed into Germany where it reaped twice the price. Right after Bruning ended the partnership, his greenhouses were busted, the first grow busts in Holland’s history, which was convenient for Sam if he was launching his own distribution system.
In 1986, I penned the story that launched a thousand grow ops: The Man Who Would be King of Cannabis. The next year, I created the Cannabis Cup. The event didn’t evolve past a magazine dinner party/cover story for the first five years, but even so, it swiftly established a global standard for cannabis, as well as a center-of-gravity on developments in cannabis and hemp. The Cup also drove a horde of stoner tourists to the Netherlands duringThanksgiving week, when the Dutch celebrate the arrival of Sinterklaas (who rides a white horse), and Zwarte Piet, a boy in blackface dressed in Moorish attire (who carries a birch switch for punishing bad children, and bag of candy for rewarding good ones).
In 1987, John Gallardin of Rockford, IL, invented the Motorized Master Sifter, and began advertising in Sensimilla Tips, a trade magazine for cannabis cultivators. Growers had recently become aware of the benefits of sifting shake on screens in order to harvest trichomes. Wily growers discovered they could shake resin off frozen buds before selling them, and it didn’t seem to affect the weight nor appearance. In other words: endless free head-stash for any grower.
The main difference between 1986 and 1987 was the sudden appearance of screens mounted on wood frames, not just on all the tables at Cannabis Castle, but in grow ops all across the globe. The higher the micron number on the screen, the wider the gap. A 36-micron screen might produce a precious golden powder, while a 100-micron screen captured more green. The Master Sifter used a steel screen in place of silk or nylon screen because it was designed for sifting very large quantities of shake.
“Don’t discard those valuable leaves before removing the bare essence of your growing efforts,” wrote Gallardin. “The Motorized Master Sifter separates the glands without using your hands. Glands are sifted through a stainless steel filter and collected on a gathering tray. Electronic vibration does the work. Hand crafted mahogany with polyurethane finish for long life. Deluxe model with timer & light: $199.95.”
In 1989, the DEA launched a sweeping nationwide raid on High Times advertisers. It was an attempt to shut down the indoor grow industry, including the Seed Bank and High Times. But High Times was protected by the First Amendment and Nevil remained safe from extradition in Holland.
In 1990, Nevil tried to slip back into Australia to visit relatives, but was arrested at the behest of the DEA, who demanded his deportation to New Orleans. Nevil was held in jail for 11 months before he was able to secure bail and disappear. Nobody knew where he went, except for a few trusted friends. He simply sold the Seed Bank to Ben Dronkers under an agreement that allowed him to move back into Cannabis Castle to continue running the Seed Bank in secret while making other alliances.
In 1994, Mila Jansen invented a tumbler for dry sifting and named it the Pollinator. It was a modified dryer with heater removed. Robert Clark had recently shifted from smoking dry sift to smoking water-hash as it had a higher purity rate and unpressed powder could be harsh on the throat. Clark coined the phrase “if it doesn’t bubble, it’s not worth the trouble,” and spread the mantra around the Cup while allowing sips of his bubbly hash from his pipe. Interest in water hash at the Cup exploded.
In 1997, Reinhard Delph arrived at the Cup with a recently patented Ice-Cold Extractor, a five-gallon conical stainless steel vessel with paper filter that deployed pressurized air bubbles to separate resin heads. The next year, Delph signed an agreement with Mila, who created a water-hash extraction device using a modified washing machine. Mila sewed four screens into two bags to create the first water-hash bag-system. (In 2000 Delph filed for an improved patent on his water-hash device.)
In June of 1998, Clark released “Hashish,” which included a description of the Aqua-X-Tractor, a PVC water-hash device allegedly invented by “Baba Bob.” No mention of Nevil, Mila nor Delph. Along with the earlier ad placed in High Times by his partner Sadhu Sam, these efforts seemed designed to establish grandfather rights on water-hash extraction. Meanwhile, Fritz Chess of Eden Labs in California had also been experimenting with extraction devices between 1993 and 1996.
Marcus Richardson attended the Cannabis Cup in 1999 from British Columbia, and approached Mila about distributing the Ice-O-Lator in Canada, an offer she rejected. So Richardson modified her system by adding several additional smaller micron-sized bags with a pressing screen to wick moisture from the resin. He began wholesaling his “Bubble Bags,” while changing his name to Bubbleman.
Richardson’s product was as good as his instinct for branding. But his two distributors, Fresh Headies and Crystal Mountain, were quickly taken to court by Delph. Richardson settled out-of-court, agreeing to pay royalties. Over the years, Bubbleman became famous, and Delph faded away and died a forgotten man in 2017. After his death, Delph’s family filed litigation to shore up their water-hash patent.
Nevil eventually partnered with Howard Marks and Scott Blakey to create Mr. Nice Seeds. Blakey was the first insider to post extensively on these matters online using a forum on the Mr. Nice website under the name Shantibaba. He remains one of the few reliable narrators in this drama and his story is best told from his own words:
Howard Marks (Mr Nice) and I (Shantibaba) met during the late 1990’s while I was living and working in Holland. A few years previously (1994), I had set up the Greenhouse Seed Company [for Arjan Roskum]. Coincidentally, at the same time, Howard was released from a lengthy imprisonment in the USA. During the next few years, we became very good friends and with the success of my breeding work and help from Nevil, Howard and I discussed the possibility of working together. We decided to start a seed company. Nevil and I were already working together on various seed projects.
In 1998, when Nevil co-owned the Greenhouse coffeeshop in the Red Light Area, and I co-owned and worked with the Greenhouse Seed Company, we decided to do our best at the High Times Cannabis Cup. Until then, Nevil and I, operating as individuals, had won almost every prize for cannabis breeding. On behalf of Greenhouse, we blitzed the 1998 Cup, winning every prize other than that awarded for clothing. We came first and second in the overall Cup. I did not particularly like the event so decided to retire from it that year.
Coincidentally my relationship with my Dutch partner [Arjan] deteriorated. As a result, I sold my interest in the Greenhouse Seed Company and, as a sole trader, set up Mr Nice Seedbank (MNS), which has always been and remains a Dutch company. Shortly afterward, Nevil also left Greenhouse. MNS never entrusted plants to non-growers, including our ex-Dutch partners. Inevitably, confusion results when different companies use the same names for different sub-species, so MNS renamed them all. Seed companies’ most valuable assets are the original mother and father plants, which take many years to collect and select. MNS uses a collection of both Nevil and Shantibaba’s plants, the most pedigreed cannabis plants ever bred.
In 1999, Dutch law changed and no longer permitted the production of seeds. Due to the Gedogen law. however, selling seed imported from another country remained legal. We wanted to fulfill our project without breaking any laws. Accordingly, MNS moved its growing operations to Switzerland, where the law permits growing cannabis for seed production.
Nevil remained in Holland and continued to produce seeds and refine breeding techniques. Howard pursued his agenda by writing articles, books, and doing stand-up shows. I established Gene Bank Technology in the Swiss canton of Ticino, producing strains and seeds for other companies, as well as furthering the use of cannabis as a medicine and producing unique flower essential oils for the cosmetic industry.
All went well, with Ticino eventually playing host to the legally permitted establishment of over seventy growing shops and countless farms producing seeds. The Swiss authorities regularly inspected the premises and the activities taking place, tenaciously collecting any taxes due.
Then suddenly, in 2003, without any hint of a warning, a Ticino-based Prosecutor launched Operation Indoor, an avalanche of arrests, closures and headlines. The Ticino authorities seized GBT, shut it down, and imprisoned scores of innocent people. To this day, a state of confusion exists in Switzerland as cantons interpret Swiss law whichever way the local politicians want. I received a two-year term of imprisonment in Ticino. (However, I still have all the mother and father plants.)
The Six Day War
On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike against the Egyptian Air Force demolishing its entire fleet while parked on the tarmac, insuring air supremacy for the duration of a short war.
The Syrians were the real problem as they were plotting a shut-down of water to the Sea of Galilee, a plot uncovered by a Mossad agent high in Syrian secret services. To save Israel, the heights had to be seized. But seizing the heights insured a war with all Israel’s neighbors, a war Israel might not win (unless Israel eliminated the Egyptian Air Force from the equation). These factors became a matter of highest national importance. The Mossad agent inside the Syrian secret services had been uncovered and hanged. The Egyptians were fomenting a plot of their own, one also penetrated by Mossad. So Israel launched attacks on multiple fronts simultaneously, taking the Arabs by surprise.
An American eavesdropping (spy) ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, was unfortunately parked near the coast of the Sinai that day and without warning or notification was attacked by Israeli fighter-planes and torpedo-boats, who conducted an all-out effort to sink the boat. The 294 crew fought valiantly and heroically for hours and although 34 of the crew perished, the Liberty did not sink. Communication between the Liberty and the Pentagon was heavily jammed until long after the smoke cleared. Since the Liberty was collecting transmissions to-and-from everyone in the area, perhaps something was transmitted that required erasure. Long afterwards, Israel paid over $13 million to survivors and their families, in three payouts involving a decade of litigation.
After the Six-day war, a fund-raising campaign to support Israel’s defenses flourished globally. Israel knew the Arabs would seek retribution someday. Every possible revenue stream was milked, and that included enlisting counterculture Jews dealing red Lebanese hash produced in the Bekka Valley. Some of this involved prominent rabbis in New York City known to have young bohemians in their flock.
According to video testimony provided by Joe Barton, Tom Forcade became involved with a Mossad agent moving red leb out of Beirut, but the agent sadly ended up committing suicide. Barton was a leader in the biggest hippie commune in downtown Manhattan, a commune with a connection to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love in Laguna Beach, CA, the infamous “hippie mafia” moving the majority of LSD around the world. The network was comprised of peace-loving, blue-class hippies like Barton, and led by the charismatic John Griggs, a former gang leader who believed world peace would manifest if enough people dropped acid. His entire gang joined the mission after one dose and everyone tossed their revolvers into a ravine, never to walk armed again. Barton met Forcade shortly after Tom appeared in New York, and before he started High Times. In fact, he remembers the day Tom got the idea for the magazine.
After Timothy Leary was evicted from the Mellon estate in upstate New York, and lost the support of Mellon heir Billy Hitchcock, he fled to Grigg’s tipi near Laguna Beach, which exposed the secret leader of the hippie mafia to intense scrutiny because Leary had just been declared the most dangerous man in America by President Richard Nixon. Also riding Leary’s coat-tails along with law enforcement was the mysterious Ron Stark, who claimed access to more of the essential LSD precursor than anyone thought existed. It would be used to flood the world with Orange Sunshine.
Griggs was suddenly poisoned by an experimental substance provided by the chemist working with Stark. He died in a hospital in the presence of his wife shortly after arriving at the Emergency Room in the morning after a night of agony.
Stark expanded the Brotherhood network into Europe. But someone dropped a dime causing Stark to be discovered in the Grand Hotel Baglioni in Bologna with his family.
The police search uncovered an American passport in the name of Mr. Abbott issued from the American Embassy in London. There was also an international driving license issued in Paris. Telexes and telegrams flowed between Bologna, London and Washington. The man was identified as the long-lost Ronald Stark….Among Stark’s contacts was Imam Musa Sadr, who possessed control over a section of the Shi-ite branch of the Moslem faith and boasted a personal army of 1,000 men. The area controlled by the Imam was said to include training camps used by the Palestine Liberation Organization. (Condensed from The Brotherhood of Eternal Love by Tendler and May.)
Jailed for weeks, Stark convinced a judge he worked for the CIA by exposing a terrorist assassination plot involving Germany’s Red Brigade. He was released and disappeared like a snow devil in a winter storm.
There was a lawyer who swooped in with Leary named Michael Kennedy and he was running a Communist network called The Weather Underground. Kennedy’s chief agents of chaos were Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, and they led a life of privilege while underground before coming out of the cold and getting university jobs with tenure and pensions. While their rag-tag collection of impoverished college drop-outs lived in great privation, Dohrn and Ayers relaxed in a deluxe Marin County houseboat, dining regularly at the most expensive restaurants in the area. The Weather Underground never seriously threatened the combined might of US police and armed forces but that didn’t stop them from declaring war on America. They told clueless teenage recruits it was okay to shoot police on sight. They instantly became the FBI’s most wanted and got massive media exposure far beyond any threat they actually posed. Their pathetic troops could have easily been annihilated by any special forces squad and every cell had been penetrated by FBI informants. Instead of taking down the network, the FBI disappeared the files, wiping the slate clean.
After Kennedy died, NORML created a lifetime achievement award in his honor, and strangely enough Dohrn, who had never done anything for legalization, was the first recipient. She had, however, promoted group sex, violence against police, and expressed admiration for Charlie Manson’s crew for having the guts to “stab pigs.” She’d engaged in the most outrageously violent rhetoric, and never expressed any remorse for the bombings or killings or friendly contact with agents of enemy countries.
Dohrn and Kennedy were avowed Communists allegedly working on a World Communist Revolution and they were responsible for bombing a San Francisco police station on February 15, 1970. Their shrapnel pipe bomb caused the death of Officer Brian V. McDonnell two days later. There was enough evidence to indict Kennedy and Dohrn, but somehow they escaped prosecution.
This bizarre award is a stain NORML can never remove until NORML admits Kennedy defrauded them while stealing High Times in order to enrich himself. Despite these crimes, Kennedy always remained protected by NORML founder Keith Stroup, who had gone straight from the University of Illinois to work in Senator Everett Dirkson’s office. Dirkson was the most powerful Republican in Congress at the time. From that post Stroup moved into Nader’s Raiders, recruits fresh out of law school selected from the ranks of children of the super rich. The Raiders got out in front of the counterculture revolution by creating consumer protection litigation that also paid well when they won their cases. Nader ended up on the cover of Time magazine several times, a rise to leftwing influencer so rapid it can only be attributed to some hidden hand of power.
The Yippies were created on December 31, 1967. Paul Krassner provided the name and Abbie Hoffman, Anita Hoffman, Nancy Kurshan, and Jerry Rubin attended the ceremony. Krassner had founded the most influential counterculture publication, The Realist, as a satire magazine in 1958.
Krassner had performed a violin solo at Carnegie Hall at age six. He would later say he had been brainwashed by constant practicing and never had anything close to a normal childhood. Inspired by Lennie Bruce, he launched a career in show business as a comic who carried a violin.
In 1962, Krassner interviewed a doctor who performed illegal abortions. The Realist soon became an abortion referral service. One day a mysterious character showed up at The Realist and soon became a co-conspirator with Krassner. He called himself Rev. George von Hilsheimer. Apparently, before launching his own religion, von Hilsheimer had been posted to military intelligence in Berlin.
Hilsheimer convinced Krassner to fund an experimental school to the tune of around $50 a month, and deployed the magazine to recruit students and staff. His first attempt (Camp Summerlane, Rosman, North Carolina) ended with the entire camp fleeing in terror from gunshots and explosions instigated by the local townspeople, who’d been enraged by rumors of nude swimming in the lake. Or maybe it was the inclusion of one girl who was half-black on the student roster. The town attack took place on July 11, 1963.
There were a few schools through the decades, up and down the East Coast, but in 1973, Hilsheimer was arrested by Volusia County deputy sheriffs and charged with practicing medicine without a license at his Green Valley School for emotionally disturbed children in Orange City, Florida. The charges were dropped after a raid of the property was deemed improper by the state attorney’s office. So Hilsheimer skipped (just like Ayers and Dohrn).
Meanwhile, kids from the school have come forth over the years with tales of hypnosis, forced injections, electroshock, psychic dreaming, sex with adults, rampant drug use and other weirdness.
Krassner and one of his favorite contributors, Robert Anton Wilson, launched fake news in 1967, inspired by Kerry Thornley, who had been stationed at the secret U-2 base in Atsugi, Japan, alongside Oswald.
You can tell by the photo Thornley was a flower child influenced by the Beats, Merry Pranksters and Maynard G. Krebs, among others. But after his Warren Commission testimony (which “proved” Oswald was a Communist), Thornley attended at a spook-infested summer camp in Colorado popular with the Koch family, co-founders of the conspiracy-mongering John Birch Society. And upon graduation of that program, he moved to California to become chummy with Johnny Roselli (one of JFK’s assassins.) Thornley then moved to Atlanta and commenced a long correspondence with Wilson during a time Wilson was letters editor of Playboy magazine, the first and perhaps only national magazine to interview DA Jim Garrison. Garrison was a rare public official with balls enough to go up against the CIA.
Wilson was heavily influenced by Thornley’s tales of secret societies running the world, a cosmology that bore similarities to the suddenly popular Morning of the Magicians, a text published in France in 1960, but released in America in 1963. One online reviewer sums the book up thusly: “Medieval alchemists producing atomic bombs and atomic fusion; the Nazi movement inspired by memory/dreams of Atlantis; the Earth is hollow and we live on the inside; the Moon, Mars and Jupiter and the stars are made of ice; and three Moons have crashed into Earth, producing great evolutionary jumps and de-evolutionary lapses, like “Gypsies, Negroes and Jews.”
Thornley wrote a similar opus to launch Discordianism, a goof religion. The opus was published in the style of an underground fanzine, a confusing mix of parody rituals, little-known Illuminati facts tossed with horror fantasies plucked out of Edward Plunkett and H.P. Lovecraft, who’d invented terrifying tales of monstrous conspiracies at the beginning of the century. Horror fantasy held a magnetic attraction in the LSD-fueled Sixties, and the higher people got, the harder it became to discern facts from fantasies, especially when so many fantasies revolved around the JFK assassination. It seems possible counterintelligence realized the Kennedy assassination could best be concealed by wrapping it inside stories of magic powers and alien visitations.
Mae Brussell came from a wealthy family, graduated from Stanford and Berkeley, and her father was a prominent rabbi in Los Angeles. She purchased all volumes of the Warren Commission as soon as available and launched a career as a radio host examining holes in the official story. Later, her research appeared in the Realist, and attracted the attention of John Lennon, who donated money to help publish her book. Much of her work involved Operation Paperclip and the MK/Ultra and Nazi connections to Kennedy’s assassination.
In 1977, after publishing Illuminatus!, Robert Anton Wilson was interviewed in Conspiracy Digest about the JFK assassination, the Illuminati, Aleister Crowley, UFOs and other issues. Brussell wrote a scathing response accusing Wilson, John Lilly and Timothy Leary of being CIA stooges leading the youth into a fake drug-addled utopian fantasy involving space travel. “Ask Leary or Wilson anything practical about today’s miseries and they change the subject,” she wrote. Wilson responded by denying he was a CIA dupe, insisting he was “a high official of the agency since July 23, 1973.”
One of the primary precepts of Discordianism was never believe anything about anything, and Wilson never wavered from his roll as a Prankster-deceiver. In hindsight, however, most of the nonsense people believe today about the Illuminati has roots in his fantasy trilogy, and his work shows little evidence of scholarly research into the history of the Illuminati. Wilson believed the-eye-in-the-pyramid was an Illuminati invention and ridiculed the suggestion the society could have been a Jesuit penetration of freemasonry.
Actually that is certainly one of many valid possible explanations, not something to be ridiculed. According to Wilson, the Illuminati were “good guys” fighting against royalty and religion, and not some devious intelligence operation deploying ends-justify-the-means morality. Wilson introduced the idea that the number 23 was an Illuminati concept (it never was) and usually insisted the society had died out shortly after being founded. He believed Oswald shot Kennedy and Garrison’s investigation was a fraud.
Wilson’s biggest contribution to Discordianism was called Operation Mindfuck or OM, and involved disturbing a person’s reality matrix with some mind-blowing conspiracy information and then trailing off into some make-believe maze of confusion. Life as zen koan wherein any sufficiently ambiguous answer works for any question whatsoever. If you ever got really high on psychedelics and had friends fuck with your head, you’ll recognize the sadistic underpinnings of Operation Mindfuck, and how it runs contrary to real investigations into conspiracies.
Within a few years, however, Antony Sutton published a factual book revealing how Yale University’s Order of Skull & Bones deploys remarkably similar rituals as the original Illuminati, and the Boners have successfully penetrated the upper levels of the CIA, investment banks and military industrial complex. Prescott Bush was a Boner and also acted as Hitler’s banker on Wall Street to the point of being chastised for trading with the enemy after the war. The society was created prior to the Civil War by the cousin of the heir of the American opium cartel (Russell & Co.) after visiting Southern Germany, and based off a secret fraternity he’d been inducted into while there. After establishing Bones, he became the biggest financial backer of John Brown, the terrorist who sparked the Civil War’s armed confrontation. No, this is not some Operation Mindfuck going down, just some simple truths that most people have yet to comprehend.
Brussell, in the meantime, was not up on Sutton’s research. Instead she began making outrageous claims, connecting dots that probably didn’t connect, accusing almost every celebrity death of being orchestrated by the CIA for some nefarious purpose, much the same way every school shooting is instantly branded a fake event by today’s Tin Foil Hat Patrol. Brussell claimed there were immense assassination plots to derail youth culture and even claimed Charles Manson was a Manchurian Candidate under hypnotic control. That was one of her wildest theories, and one that may actually have been true, although it would take decades for any solid evidence to emerge.
When Krassner began checking out her evidence of a Manson-law enforcement connection for a potential book on Manson, Krassner claimed it didn’t add up. He suffered a paranoid meltdown at his dentist’s office and departed the plains of conspiracy theory forever.
Meanwhile, Karl Koch was the son of a right-wing publisher in Germany, and he began rebelling against his dad as a teen. Karl had an early interest in computers as well as a fascination with the Illuminatus! Trilogy, claiming to have read the book 30 times. Karl may have been Wilson’s biggest fan and the two met briefly at a hacker convention. Karl was especially taken with the magic number 23 and seems to have swallowed Wilson’s imaginative suggestion that George Washington could have been assassinated and replaced by Adam Weishaupt, something based solely on a slight resemblance between the two men and the fact the eye-in-the-triangle appears on US currency (even though Weishaupt never used that symbol). Of course it was all OM and Karl got mindfucked.
Despite operating with only a primitive Commodore 64, Karl successfully penetrated a number of military-industrial websites around the world and sold passwords and other information to the KGB to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, a connection established by his cocaine dealers. Most of the money he earned from hacking flowed back into the dealers’ hands. Karl descended into a paranoid cocaine-induced psychosis for a while. Meantime the German authorities offered up a hacker’s amnesty in order to crack the subculture and Karl took the offer, but was soon found in a forest, burnt to a crisp. Strangely, his death was ruled a suicide, but a more likely explanation is the drug dealers killed him in retaliation for going state’s evidence.
Karl died on May 23, 1989.
The Peace Cup
When planning an important ceremony, better tweak the vibes as correctly as possible going in; otherwise they’ll get more unraveled as the event progresses. The theme for the Cup was “peace,” but I wondered if peace would prevail after the outbreak of a silent war over water-hash rights.
A mind-boggling 27 coffeeshops and 17 seed companies had entered, so I knew changes had to be made in how strains were judged. How could anyone possibly be expected to judge 27 types of cannabis and 25 types of hash in four days? Also, since judges have to purchase samples from the shops, just buying a gram of each sample would necessitate spending over $600. The solution? A celebrity pre-tasting. The plan was to collect the coffeeshop weed samples, bring them to a private dinner party, and have eight experts narrow the ﬁeld of 27 strains down to a manageable number.
In the past, relatively small amounts were distributed at 420 ceremonies, banquets and other special events, while the celebrity judges received samples direct from seed merchants at the traditional kickoff dinner. But the new strategy called for a new packaging concept. Our Dutch liaison purchased 27 glass jars, each of which held 60 grams of pot. At its peak, mounted on a tiered pedestal, this became the most glorious display of quality herb I’d ever seen.
Coffeeshop owners saw this pyramid of cannabis power when they came to register their strains, and they were amazed as well. It was fascinating to watch them crack open jars, take whiffs and make cryptic comments in Dutch. Some years are better than others; last year, for example, was… disappointing. But this year’s crop easily exhibited the best quality I’d ever seen! Even Derry from Barney’s Breakfast Bar, last year’s winner, was intimidated. “I thought I had a chance,” he said. “Now I wonder.” Derry was especially rocked by Tweede Kamer’s entry, New York City Diesel, grown by Soma.
After the coffeeshop owners departed, and the strains were photographed and entered into the Temple Dragon logs, I removed all names from the 27 jars, replacing them with letters. I had one jar left over after “Z,” which happened to be New York City Diesel. It got an umlaut “Ë.
Needless to say, the Cup video crew somehow found time in their hectic schedule to sample some strains. New York City Diesel had an overpowering ruby red grapefruit aroma unlike anything else. This jar became the most poached item on the table. There were several Nederbubble hashes that looked spectacular: Daisy Cutter from Bushdoctor, Blueberry Ice from the Noon, and Scooby Snaxx from Katsu. But most spectacular was the Jelly Hash from De Dampkring, concocted out of two of Soma’s favorite organic strains. Deep chocolate in color, it snapped apart when stretched, and light showed through when a slab was held to a window. It was the most super-pure hash I’d ever seen. Was this Soma’s breakout year? Previously, he’d only won a few minor awards. By the end of the ﬁrst day, the video crew already had a mantra: “It’s all about the Jelly!”
This would be a good place to interject that Nederbubble was not universally admired as the ultimate cannabis experience. Some compared it to whiskey versus wine; “I can’t be smoking water hash,” said one breeder. “I’d never get anything done. It’s too strong.” “I like the taste of imported hash better,” said a coffeeshop owner. In the past, we’d often separated Nederhash and imported hash into two categories; this year they were lumped together, uncomfortable bedfellows, as we would soon discover.
The following day, we photographed and videotaped the seed strains. These were divided into two categories: indica and sativa-dominant. Judging of these strains was reserved for celebrity judges.
I was especially impressed by Sage from THSeeds. Run by two American refugees, THSeeds has been vying for an award since the 9th Cup, always bringing in a remarkable plant but never scoring a trophy. Would this be a winning year for them? The competition in the sativa category was intense, with a large number of Hazes, the most difﬁcult and time-consuming strain to grow. The tour operator suddenly began having hot ﬂashes over the appearance of so much weed in one place. At the eleventh hour, he was struck by a premonition the banquet was going to get busted. I chalked it up to paranoia from excessive Nederbubble testing. But clearly, I was the one on Nederbubble, as every jar contained twice the 30-gram legal limit for personal-use cannabis possession in Holland. Even coffeeshops are only allowed to have 500 grams on hand at any time. Break the 500-gram rule and the police will yank your license. Forget about personal possession—we were carrying over three times the legal limit for a coffeeshop! No wonder Mike was worried.
“Get rid of two-thirds of the weed,” he cautioned. “There’s a new government in town, and the narc squads have been doing hit-and-runs on coffeeshops. There’s a clampdown going on.”
“Are you crazy?” I said. “The celebrity judges need as much as possible for the pre-test. We’ve never had any problems with the cops in Amsterdam.” Well, not exactly. At the 7th Cup, we were booked into the exclusive Okura Hotel. We’d heard Cheech and Chong had thrown a ﬁlm wrap party there in the ’70s, and assumed the hotel was cool with pot. But management called the police about “unauthorized pot-smoking” stinking up the hotel. I was asked to distribute a letter requesting that judges conﬁne their toking to the Pax Party House across the street. Privately, I told everyone to keep a towel under the door, open a window, and keep it cool, the usual tricks mastered in college dorms across America. The head of the local precinct ended up visiting the expo at the Pax, and must have picked up on our burgeoning effort to spiritualize cannabis use. I got the impression he approved of us—or at least liked us—because he ended up cooling out the Okura staff, who wanted us ejected from the premises ASAP. It had remained my sole confrontation with the authorities while throwing the town’s biggest annual pot party for the previous 14 years.
Meanwhile, my hotel room was transformed into a video-editing studio, and every spare second was spent trying to edit the video presentation for the opening ceremonies. We’d missed videotaping one or two hash varieties that had arrived late. They’d been tossed into a bag with the already-videotaped hash, so I laid all the hash on the ﬂoor in alphabetical order, and tried to match the video clips to the samples to ﬁgure out which ones were missing. Rather than pack up the hash and hide it, I left the samples on the ﬂoor and put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door before we hustled off to the pre-test dinner.
I wasn’t a big pot-smoker when I came to High Times. Not that I would ever turn down a free hit, but I never went out of my way to acquire marijuana, and it never became a major part of my life—not until I started working at High Times.
In 1969, when I was in high school, we thought of ourselves as members of “the movement.” We marched against the war in Vietnam, smoked marijuana, rejected establishment religions, and experimented with new ideas in spirituality. Many of us thought our movement was destined to take over the world. But where did this movement come from? Initially, I assumed it originated with European bohemian culture, but the more I investigated the history of the modern counterculture, the more convinced I became Europe was not the source.
Peace culture is probably as old as time, but our counterculture version began forming in New Orleans, which was established as a French colony by John Law in 1717. The colony was supposed to generate proﬁts for rich investors in France, but obviously didn’t produce quickly enough. Three years later, Law was run out of France, and immigrants who had joined his get-rich-quick scheme survived only through the help of the local Choctaw Indians.
Very quickly, a focal point for slaves, Indians, and nonconformists appeared in the city. Originally named Place des Negres, it was soon renamed Congo Square. It was the only place in North America where blacks, whites, and Native Americans could congregate and hold ceremonies—a cultural autonomous zone. Mainstream European culture had long been dominated by fundamentalist thinking, a mindset that creates crusades, inquisitions, and blind obedience to male authority ﬁgures. But Congo Square allowed for natural ceremonies to emerge. When a cultural autonomous zone is created, peace culture spontaneously erupts. Native American activist and poet John Trudell calls this “all tribes culture”; I call it “the counterculture.” The Hopis call the saviors of the earth, “Rainbow Warriors.”
Although African tribal culture played the dominant role at Congo Square, Native American culture provided a huge element as well, still in evidence at Mardi Gras today. Congo Square spawned jazz, which spawned rock’n’roll. The culture traveled up the Mississippi to Chicago, where white guys like Mezz Mezzrow got involved. Mezz was heavily persecuted because he married a black woman and created the ﬁrst mixed-race jazz band. His book Really the Blues is a masterpiece, one of the most under appreciated works of American literature. Once the culture landed in New York, it inspired the rise of the beatniks. It jumped over to San Francisco and help create the hippies.
Wherever you find this culture, you will find improvisational ceremonies, marijuana (or some similar mind-expanding sacrament), and an absence of bigotry. The counterculture fosters spontaneity and improvisation—not dogmas. That’s why counterculture people look and talk different. We are free to customize our culture on the spot, because our Bible is written in our hearts. When Louis Armstrong shaped and deﬁned the solo, he was grooving in that ceremonial space that invites spontaneous creation. Just like when Grandmaster Theodore invented scratching, or when Willie Will of the Rockwell Crew invented the head-spin. They were channeling improvisational energy. Corporate mainstream culture does not create such astonishing cultural innovation.
The more I studied the counterculture, the more I realized our goal was not to create a religion, write a book, establish dogmatic rules of behavior, or create elaborate chains of command under centralized control. The goal was to create temporary autonomous zones where improvisational ritual could take place. All we had to do was hold the ceremony and allow the vibration to emerge.
Most people know 420 started in Marin County, California with the Waldos. But the Cannabis Cup was the ﬁrst international event to embrace the 420 concept wholeheartedly, and played a major role in spreading 420 ceremonies around the world. It seemed like peak moments of improvisational ritual began emerging at every Cup, especially at the 420 moments, although you never really knew when or where the vibes might suddenly jump off. Some people had full-blown spiritual epiphanies at the event.
It wasn’t until the 8th Cup that I started trying to educate the media about the rituals that were spontaneously emerging at my ceremonies. All the press ever wanted to know was , “How can you judge so many strains in four days?” Morley Safer and a 60 Minutes crew came. At the press conference, we unveiled a portrait of Cannabia by Alex Grey, and Stephen Gaskin spoke about his experiences in jail and the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear his religious-rights argument. I explained how soma, the central sacrament of the Rig Veda, was actually cannabis. Safer didn’t attend our little show, but the 60 Minutes crew ﬁlmed it. The next day I learned my scheduled one-on-one interview with Safer had been canceled. Needless to say, no mention of counterculture spirituality appeared when the segment aired. I now realize my interview with Safer had been cancelled by Michael Kennedy, who was close friends with Shana Alexander as both spent their summers in the Boner enclave in Wainscott, NY.
One of my favorite characters appeared at the 8th Cup (also called “The Rainbow Cup,” because Rainbow Gathering veteran Garrick Beck directed the ceremonies). Despite the freezing temperatures, a character arrived dressed like a sadhu from the Himalayas, barefoot and robed. But every time some signiﬁcant improvisational moment occurred, I noticed this mysterious sadhu was right there in the thick of it. I never saw anyone get so connected with the vibe so fast, before or since.
In an attempt to force the press to deal with counterculture spirituality, I established the Counterculture Hall of Fame at the 10th Cup. By honoring spiritual leaders of the culture, I also hoped to define the culture, as well as channel energy on a righteous vibe, not high-holy or bliss-ninny vibe, but truly righteous. The ﬁrst inductee was Bob Marley, and his widow, Rita, made an unexpected surprise appearance. We’d already created the Cannabis Cup Band to provide a musical backdrop for the ceremonies. Rita was so impressed with the band that when she heard them at soundcheck, she gave me a look of amazement and asked, “Who ARE these guys?” She’d never seen so many white guys cranking reggae. The band had a couple ringers from Jamaica, including a close friend of Bob’s, Ras Menelik,” who’d been Marley’s official Rastarfarian priest.
Rita closed the awards show by singing “One Draw” with the band, and she invited the winners to come up and dance on stage during the song. It was an amazing moment, and ever since, the winners were invited on stage and danced at the end. That’s how our ceremony grew. We waited for peak improvisational moments to emerge, and when they did, they got incorporated into the ceremonies.
After inducting Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs into the totally sexist men’s counterculture Hall of Fame, we finally got around to inducting a woman, Ina May Gaskin, at the Goddess Cup , where the bliss factor hit a peak. The bonding and heavy support vibrations left many helpless and teary-eyed. Patti Smith provided an inspirational performance many felt was the highlight of the event. Later, I was crushed to discover French activist Michka felt cheated because a video spoof of Survivor called “Cannabis Castaways” had upstaged the goddess vibration at the kickoff dinner. Instead of presenting a documentary celebrating the Goddess, I screened a campy MTV-style reality show. I hope we made up for it with our Ina May Gaskin induction later in the week. Ina May created the modern midwife movement, and her popular classic Spiritual Midwifery remains a most enlightening birth book.
When Krassner, founder of the counterculture press, was inducted the following year, I dropped the network-TV concept and concentrated on making a serious documentary detailing Krassner’s contributions to the counterculture. It was a breakout year for the Cup’s video productions, which were becoming more and more important to setting the vibes for the event. But I wouldn’t uncover Krassner’s bizarre intel connection for decades.
For the 15th Cup, I wanted to channel Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. I tried hard to get Joan to attend and made tons of overtures to Dylan (although we were never actually sure if he got any). Later on, after reading Dylan’s brilliant memoirs (Chronicles, Vol.1), I’d learn about Dylan’s rage against being turned into any sort of counterculture spokesperson.
Joan’s cousin, Peter Baez, a California medical-marijuana activist, did attend, however. Larry Sloman, who had dogged Dylan and Baez during the historic Rolling Thunder tour in 1975, agreed to give a seminar. I picked up the new edition of Sloman’s account of the tour, On the Road with Bob Dylan, and was mesmerized to ﬁnd a peak ritual moment happened during a sunrise ceremony presided over by a Native American named Chief Rolling Thunder. It was clear from the book Dylan had an understanding of counterculture spirituality, and had even painted his face like a Native American warrior during the tour. He also wrote a song about pot called “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” If you multiply those numbers together, you get 420. How cosmic is that? I intended to play the song every night at the Melkweg, just to see if anything major would jump off afterwards.
After the pre-test, we started packing for the trip back to the editing studio (my hotel room). It was very late, and I wondered where we were going to ﬁnd a cab. One of the Amnesia crew had a vehicle parked outside: essentially a three-wheeled motorcycle with a ﬂat-bed pickup on the back. He insisted on taking us home—“Ride like a real Amsterdammer!” After we loaded the equipment and weed, there was only room for three of us. I heard some comments like “not exactly street-legal.” Wouldn’t that be funny, I thought, if we got stopped and they searched our bags? We still had over a thousand grams of weed, earmarked for the display case, the kickoff dinner, photo shoots, and Pax 420 ceremonies.
It turned into a hair-raising ride, on some bike trails, some trolley tracks, and even some real roads, but we made it back to the hotel without incident. The crew helped carry the bags up to my room on the second ﬂoor. When we stepped off the elevator, we were hit by an overpowering aroma of cannabis. “Somebody must be toking up big-time,” I said. But as we got closer to my room, we realized the smell actually emanated from within. Even worse, the “Do Not Disturb” sign had been removed, indicating penetration into our sacred Temple Dragon lair.
It appeared the night staff had changed the sheets on my bed and left a fruit bowl, so I assumed they overlooked the enormously stinky piles of hash on the ﬂoor. I turned on my computer and we started viewing tape, comforted by the knowledge that tomorrow all this weed and hash would be transported to the Pax Party House, where the ﬁnest samples were going to be placed into a display case for all the judges to see.
Some ten minutes later, I heard a noise at the door and the words, “Amsterdam Police, get on the ﬂoor!”
I didn’t even look up, assuming it was one of the crew playing a joke. I was thinking, “That’s not funny.” Then I looked up and saw a policewoman, quickly followed by what appeared to be a SWAT team. I hit the ﬂoor, and my hands were cuffed behind my back.
They pulled each of us out of the room separately. I was escorted through the lobby, which was thankfully empty, except for a dozen more police. Who did they think I was, Pablo Escobar? I was placed in the back of a police car and driven across town and put into a cell by myself. Naturally, I just wanted to get a call in to the High Times attorney in New York, but that was not Dutch policy. “No phone calls,” they told me. Someone predicted I would remain in jail for the remainder of the weekend, meaning I was going to miss the Cup kickoff banquet as well as the ofﬁcial opening festivities.”
“The cell was freezing. I napped for a few hours, but woke up cold and couldn’t get back to sleep. In the morning, I was unexpectedly loaded into a van and taken to a different station in what appeared to be the most exclusive part of old-money Amsterdam. My handcuffs were removed, and I found myself in a corner ofﬁce on a high ﬂoor, where I met the top drugs cop, who turned out to be a warm and gentle guy. All my Cup documents, the codes to the pre-test, my video-shoot schedules, copies of High Times, a copy of my book Adventures in the Counterculture, and other Cup-related documents were spread out on his desk. We shook hands; he noted mine was somewhat clammy.
“I had a rough night,” I shrugged.
After examining my papers and discovering who I was, this policeman decided to release me, against the advice of the prosecutor who’d wanted us held all weekend—provided I signed a confession to possessing the three kilos of pot and hash. He explained I would likely have to pay a ﬁne in a few months to clear things up.
It’s not allowed to have this much cannabis in your possession,” he explained. “But I can see you are a nice guy, and your event should go on.”
Several hours later, I found myself outside, breathing fresh air and feeling the awesome beauty of freedom, and was reunited with two crew members, both of whom were completely off the hook, thanks to my signed confession. The police returned all my essential documents. It was almost 4:20, and we’d blown an entire day’s shooting schedule. Worse, we’d just gone from the weed kings of Amsterdam to absolutely weedless! Even our personal stash had been conﬁscated. The product and glass video shoots we were supposed to have executed this day would be jettisoned like heavy bricks on a long march. It would be a struggle to catch up, since we had multi-camera shoots in twin locations to arrange for the next ﬁve days, and presentation videos that had to be edited for each event.
“Don’t tell anyone about this,” I murmured as we rode the trolley back to the Leidseplein. “Knowledge of this could cause widespread discomfort and wreck the vibes. We must act like nothing happened, like we overslept or something.”
We went back to the hotel room, which was emanating fearful vibes, and found the videotapes intact and my computer still functioning. Next to the computer was a huge slab of Jelly Hash—no doubt mistaken for a melted chocolate bar.
Then I noticed 30 Scooby Snaxx laminates. The room started emanating a lot less trauma after hits on Jelly and Scooby! In 15 seconds I went from feeling like I had to check out of the hotel immediately to feeling like staying. There simply wasn’t time to relocate anyway. I had an hour to edit the video presentation for the kickoff dinner, which was supposed to include the results of the pre-test. In my haste, I listed Morning Glory ﬁrst and New York City Diesel second, because Morning Glory had the most overall votes. Later, Kyle would suggest that Diesel should have been number-one, because it received the most ﬁrst-place votes.”
“By the time we got to the Pax, the kickoff dinner was starting and it was time to roll video. Of course, Mike Esterson wanted weed, lots of weed, since everyone was pressing him for samples. Reluctantly, I explained in conﬁdence what had happened. When I told Mike where I’d spent the night, his face went white. I had to eat crow too, about how stupid I’d been not taking his advice.
Fortunately, he had the seed-company samples, which had been stashed at another hotel. It was enough to satisfy the celebrities, but not the crew, most of whom were mystiﬁed. “Where’s the weed and hash?” It became the crew mantra, because they found so little available during the event. Only four people in the room knew why. I spent the night handing out Scooby Snaxx here and there, trying to stretch the little stash I had.
The three hash judges, Jorge Cervantes, Freedom Fighter of the Year Shawn Heller, and the winner of the 420tours contest, were supposed to get samples at the dinner. Mike got on a cell phone to round up some hash, but the samples didn’t arrive for 24 hours.
Other than that glitch, the Cup went off without any further incident. Mila had her confrontation with Kyle at the Pax. De La Soul, Fishbone, Defari, and many other hip-hop acts performed great sets, and everyone remarked how the crowd was the most polite and well-mannered ever. The peak improvisational moment came when the Cannabis Cup Band took the stage and introduced Article Dan from Trinidad, who made up a song on the spot titled “Your Time, My Time,” and dedicated it to High Times and the Cup. For the rest of the event, one could hear judges singing those lyrics in coffeeshops around the city. “My time, your time, my time high! Who’s really high? I’m really high!” Article Dan’s performance, along with all the other highlights of the Cup’s entire history, was released on the ﬁrst Cannabis Cup DVD.
The day after the awards show, I went to the traditional 420 ceremony at the winning coffeeshop, which this year was Barney’s. Soma burst into the room like a man on a mission. He’d just purchased $200 worth of the winning Old Church hash. He threw it on the table with disdain. He sat down and loaded a bong with a slab of Jelly. He held another slab in his hand and worked it into a ball as he sang love and praises for his Jelly, which sells for three times more than any other hash in Amsterdam. Then he turned his attention to the Old Church hash. “If Helen Keller and her two blind sisters were the hash judges, they could not….”
Bluebird had given a similar speech after failing to capture a hash prize at the 8th Cup. For many years thereafter, the Bluebird refused to enter the event, even though they clearly had some of the best hash in Amsterdam. By some karmic coincidence, someone mentioned that the Bluebird had just gotten hit by a narc squad. Soma looked stricken. He stopped his rant, pulled out a cell phone and called Harry to make sure he was OK. And he was. Whew. “Hey, I agree with you,” I told Soma. “Americans can’t judge hash. The Jelly was the best hash. It deserved the Cup in my opinion. I’ll tell you what; they gave me a Cup at the awards show. I’ll give my Cup to De Dampkring in recognition of the Jelly.”
Soma whipped out his cell phone and called Paul at De Dampkring, so I could repeat those words to him. However, I neglected to tell them that particular Cup, which was supposed to end up on my ﬁreplace mantle, had been stolen from the backstage area the night of the awards show, so it was probably going to take a while to deliver on the promise.
Later that night, I told Arjan from the Green House what had happened. “You are making a big mistake,” he said. “First of all, that hash from the Old Church was sold to them by the Rokerij [owned by Arjan’s brother-in-law]. It’s called Christmas Butter, and only six kilos a year are produced. It is my personal favorite hash.”
Suddenly, there I was again, smack in the middle of the biggest, longest running competition between two cannabis titans: Arjan of the Green House and Paul of De Dampkring. These two had been vying for the Cannabis Cup for years—although De Dampkring did drop out for three years because they got tired of having to spend so much promotion money to compete. We’d changed some rules to make the contest more fair, and as a result they came back into the fold. The Cup wasn’t the same without Paul and Arjan battling it out. But my mind was already plotting a new ceremony. Medieval silversmith Robin “The Hammer” Ludwig had to forge a Cup on Overlook Mountain, on the winter solstice, near where Bob Dylan bought his ﬁrst house and lived for many years, an area rich in counterculture vibrations, holy ground for peace culture. I needed to deliver this Cup to De Dampkring , and hope it brought enough positive energy to clear the air, because the 15th Cup… It really was all about the Jelly.
Why is the Canadian government persecuting him, why does the media ignore him, and where is the American Cancer Society when you need them?
From the time he was 12 years old, Rick Simpson just wanted a job so he could make some money. He was smart enough to get by in school without having to open a book, so education wasn’t something he took very seriously. After getting in trouble for supplying his ninth-grade teacher with a case of beer as a Christmas present, he dropped out rather than face the consequences from school administrators.
At age 16, he went to work in the steel mills in Ontario, Canada. Two years later, he moved back to his hometown in Spring Hill, Nova Scotia, and got married. Before long, he had a job maintaining boilers for All Saints’ Hospital. Then his cousin was diagnosed with cancer. “They found a little bump on his rib cage and cut him open,” Simpson says. “He went from 200 pounds down to about 130. In 1972, we were having a drink and he collapsed right in front of me. I knew damn well it had to be the cancer coming back. They gave him six months to live, and he made it through three. I was 22 years old and didn’t know anyone who had died from cancer. He was down to about 50 pounds when he died on November 18, 1972. I used to shave him, and it was like trying to shave a skeleton.”
Two years after his cousin died, Simpson was listening to his car radio when he heard the results of a medical study at the University of Virginia claiming that THC reduced brain tumors in mice. “I stopped my car and just stared at the radio,” Simpson recalls. “At the time, I didn’t smoke pot or anything, although most of my friends did. The guy on the radio was laughing like a fool. Like this was all a big joke. I never heard anything more about it, so I thought it must be a joke.”
It was no joke. The Medical College of Virginia had been funded by the National Institutes of Health to find evidence that marijuana damaged the human immune system. Imagine their surprise when the results came back indicating the opposite: Instead of hastening the death of mice implanted with brain cancer, marijuana dramatically slowed the growth of their tumors and extended their lives. The DEA quickly shut down this promising research.
According to Jack Herer, two years later, President Gerald Ford would put an end to all public cannabis research and grant exclusive rights to major pharmaceutical companies to develop synthetic THC.
Fast-forward to December 1997: Simpson had been working at the hospital for 25 years and was covering asbestos on the boiler pipes with duct tape. He was using an aerosol spray that allowed the tape to stick to the asbestos. He didn’t realize, however, that this spray was capable of causing a temporary nervous-system shutdown if the fumes were inhaled too deeply. And that’s exactly what happened.
“Luckily for me, the boilers were shut off, or I would have been burnt to nothing,” he says. “I fell backwards off the ladder and struck my head on a steel loading ring. Of course, I don’t remember any of that. When I came to, I was hung up in the pipes by the side of the boiler.” Simpson slowly made his way back to his office and fumbled around for over an hour trying to call for help, but he couldn’t even make the phone work. Finally, another engineer showed up for his shift and took Simpson to the emergency room. When asked his name, Simpson had no response. He was taken to the trauma center and put on oxygen. “It felt like my head was going to explode,” he says. “I remember it looked like people were moving funny—they were kind of jerky. I told the doctor, and he just kind of shook his head.”
After three hours in the trauma center, the sensation went away and Simpson was told to go home. He doesn’t remember much about the next few days, including the drive home, but somehow he made it. When his next scheduled shift came up on Christmas Eve, Simpson reported for work even though he was still feeling woozy. At around 10 p.m. that night, while still at work, Simpson’s head began ringing. The ringing got louder and louder. By 3 a.m., he was back in the emergency room seeking treatment. When the nurse checked his blood pressure, she was so alarmed that she immediately gave him a pill and called a doctor. The ringing never went away. “At lower levels, it’s about 93 decibels,” he says, “which is about the same as having a lawn mower running in your living room. I became very short-tempered. They tried every possible drug, but nothing worked. It got so bad I wanted to shoot myself.”
Within a year, Simpson was having trouble remembering anything because he was taking 1,000 milligrams of Tegretol a day. Reading was out of the question, because by the time he got to the end of a sentence, he’d already forgotten what the sentence was about. Then, one day, he watched an episode of Dr. David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things, Canada’s longest-running documentary series.
The episode was about the enormous promise of marijuana as a medicine. “I went right back to my doctor and asked if marijuana would help,” Simpson recalls. “Of course, he told me it was bad for the lungs and still under study. So I went out and got some pot and tried it, and it worked better than anything they were giving me. So I went back again and asked for a prescription, but they still wouldn’t give it to me.”
By 2001, Simpson was a chemical zombie from all the drugs he’d been taking. But he was still determined to get legal medical access to marijuana, so he asked his doctor: “What would you think if I took the plant and made an essential oil, and then ingested the oil rather than smoked it?”
The doctor agreed that this would be a more medicinal way to take it, but still refused to write a prescription allowing Simpson legal access to the plant. A few months later, the doctor informed him that they had tried every possible treatment and nothing had worked, so Simpson was now on his own. He decided to stop taking pharmaceuticals and start eating hemp oil exclusively.
“I didn’t really believe the hemp oil could bring me back the way it did,” he recalls. “But once the system gave up on me, I just continued making oil and taking it on a regular basis. The ringing was still there, but now I could live with it.
Within a few months, people saw the difference. The oil controlled the pain, my blood pressure, and it allowed me to sleep. I lost weight and looked 20 years younger.”
For many years, Simpson had lived with three suspicious spots on his skin—two on his face and one on his chest. “Yes, this looks like skin cancer,” his doctor said upon examining them. In January 2003, the doctor surgically removed the spot near Simpson’s eye and sent it in for a biopsy. A week later, Simpson was sitting at home when he recalled the 1974 news report about THC and cancer.
“I knew I was supposed to go back and get the other two spots removed,” Simpson says. “When I removed the bandage from the spot they had removed, I noticed it looked red and infected, and there was pus coming out of it. That’s when the news report from 30 years earlier kicked in. I looked at the oil and I thought, ‘Well this is full of THC, and I’ve probably got skin cancer.’ I put a little oil on two band-aids and covered the two little bumps. Four days later, I took the band-aids off and both bumps had disappeared.” Within a few weeks, the cancer that had been surgically removed reappeared. So Simpson tried the same treatment and got the same results:
Four days after being treated with hemp oil, the red bump was gone and the skin had completely healed. Obviously, Simpson was overjoyed by this discovery, and he could hardly wait to share this information with his doctor, who had for so long resisted marijuana as a treatment for his head injury. So, after picking up his pathology report, he mentioned to the receptionist (who was also the doctor’s wife) that he had something important to discuss with her husband.
“I treated my skin cancers with hemp oil—” he began. But he’d barely gotten the words “hemp oil” out, he recalls, before the receptionist went ballistic: “The doctor will not go there!” she yelled. “The doctor will not prescribe this!” “I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone,” Simpson says now. “I’d just told her I cured my cancer, and she should have been interested. It was freaky.”
Simpson soon made a visit to his mother’s house. For years, she had suffered from weeping psoriasis. He applied the hemp oil to her infected skin, and within a few weeks the sores were healed and the scales had disappeared. Thus began the long journey of Rick Simpson and his miraculous hemp-oil medicine. The fact that Simpson has always given this oil freely and without any charge has greatly enhanced his already-legendary status.
“In the beginning, a lot of people didn’t want to put the oil on their skin,” he recalls. “In the first year, I treated 50 to 60 people for various skin conditions. The following year, I was treating a man with a melanoma cancer on his left cheekbone. It had been removed five times. It was a nasty-looking thing—you could put your finger right into the hole. I told him I could heal it, but of course he didn’t believe me. Three weeks later, it was completely healed. And that’s when he mentioned to me he had glaucoma. I said, ‘Well, hemp is the best treatment for glaucoma.’ He was the first one to start eating the oil other than me.
At that time, he also had arthritis and had to sleep with a pillow between his knees. About two weeks after taking the oil, he stopped sleeping with a pillow, and his ocular pressure was already way down. When I started giving him the oil, the pressure was around 31 or 32. Last time I checked, it was 13 or 14.”
Once Simpson started giving people the oil to take internally, it was only a matter of time before he tried it with cancer patients. Simpson became increasingly confident of the oil’s healing properties after it was successfully used by several people with internal cancers. Even patients with Stage 4 terminal cancer—people who had been given only weeks to live—were miraculously brought back to health. Not only did the oil heal diabetic ulcers with a topical application, it also cured diabetes and allowed some patients to stop using insulin. Simpson kept treating patients until they got better, but he soon determined that a 60-gram treatment was necessary for serious illnesses.
The oil is eaten as quickly as possible, starting with small doses until a resistance is established. Eating a gram of oil a day can be disorienting, but many adapt rapidly to the pharmacological effects. After Simpson successfully treated a woman with cervical cancer, she visited the local chapter of the Royal Canadian Legion to share her story.
The Legion is a veterans’ organization whose lodges function as unofficial town halls in remote areas of Canada. Rick Dwyer, the bartender at the Legion, was so fascinated by the woman’s story that he asked her to invite Simpson to drop by. “I met Rick in 2005,” Dwyer recalls now. “He told me he could cure skin cancer and diabetic ulcers and other skin diseases. I didn’t believe him, but I could see he was sincere, so I asked if I could go with him to visit some of the people he was treating. So I interviewed his patients, and there was no doubt there was something to what he was doing.”
Before long, Simpson was treating members of Dwyer’s Legion chapter, and the hemp oil continued to show successful results against a variety of chronic illnesses and infections. As a past president of the organization, Dwyer knew the Legion’s mission—to serve veterans and their dependents, promote remembrance, and act in the service of Canada—and he felt strongly that this included a responsibility to share the information about Simpson’s hemp oil with as many people as possible. Dwyer contacted the local public-health authorities and asked them to investigate. He made calls to elected officials.
“Nobody would even come look at the evidence,” Dwyer says. “I told the zone commander, ‘People are suffering, and this stuff works.’ But I just kept running into brick wall after brick wall.” The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had already raided Simpson’s property in 2003, after hearing reports that he was circulating marijuana oil. They seized all the plants in his backyard and confiscated his oil, but no charges were filed. In 2005, Simpson voluntarily returned to the RCMP office to drop off scientific information supporting his treatment, as well as a videotape containing interviews with patients. He made it clear to the RCMP that he intended to keep helping people who had nowhere else to turn.
He continued to get plants to make the oil by working out trades whereby local marijuana farmers brought in their buds and split the oil they generated with Simpson. Most growers use shake to make water hash or oil, but Simpson is adamant that the best colas are necessary for making the best medicine for cancer. He will not make oil from shake unless it’s intended for topical application only. He also prefers indica-dominant plants.
Shortly after Simpson dropped off his video with the RCMP, the Mounties returned and seized 1,620 plants from his backyard. This time he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, cultivation and trafficking. Meanwhile, Dwyer’s father had checked into the hospital with Stage 4 lung cancer. “He also had a bad heart and sugar diabetes,” Dwyer says. “I remember telling him, ‘Dad, don’t take the chemotherapy—if you take it, you’re dead. Go to Rick and get some oil and your chances of survival will be a lot better.’ I remember my father looking at me, and what was he thinking? ‘My son has no medical background.’ Who’s he going to trust? After his first chemotherapy treatment, he swelled up real bad. His legs swelled; his arms were full of fluid. He was suffering horribly. The doctors told us he wasn’t going to make it. He talked to us and said the things a father says to his children when he knows he’s going to die. I just kept thinking about the oil. I knew it worked on skin cancers and diabetic ulcers, but I wasn’t sure it would work internally. So I called Rick and said my dad only had 24 hours to live, 48 at the most. Rick didn’t know if it was too late. I think my dad wanted to die, he was suffering so horribly. It was like he was breathing out of a straw. I had a tube of oil in my pocket, and I remember thinking, ‘I’ll probably get arrested if I give this to him.’ I asked the nurse to give him the oil, but she refused. The doctors didn’t want to be responsible. So I put some oil on a cracker, and my father ate it. Then I left the hospital, and my brothers stayed on the death watch.” When Dwyer returned the next morning, something truly miraculous had taken place: His father had slept soundly for the first time in weeks, and he continued to sleep throughout the day. When he finally woke up, he had a smile on his face. “I thought to myself, ‘My God, he’s got a chance, but I’ve got to get him out of this hospital,’” Dwyer says. An ambulance took his father home, and he continued eating hemp oil for the next few months. “He was breathing better and didn’t want the oxygen anymore. The oil healed two sores on his legs. The fluid went out of his arms and legs. But what really shocked me was that his prostate was shot, and one day he asked the nurse to take out the catheter. She said he’d have to go back to the hospital to have it put back in, and that would hurt like hell. And I looked at him and said, ‘Dad, can you pee?’ And he said, ‘Yes!’ I told the nurse to take it out, and I watched him pee like a racehorse.”
Then something even more remarkable happened: “The nurse came to check his lungs one day and said, ‘Clear as a bell.’” After that, says Dwyer, “I decided to hold a meeting at the Legion and invite the politicians, the police and the media so they could meet the people who had been cured of cancer and other diseases. The meeting was just supposed to look at the evidence so they could draw their own conclusions.”
But on the day that the meeting was scheduled to be held, Maritime Command changed the locks on his Legion chapter’s doors and informed Dwyer that his rights and privileges had been revoked. The Legion hall would remain closed until a new executive committee could be formed. An anonymous phone caller to Dwyer’s wife said ominously: “Tell Rick he’s getting in over his head.” She took the call as a veiled threat and broke down. Dwyer is unable to recount this part of the story without breaking down himself. “I tell [Simpson], ‘There’s many a night when I wish I’d never met you,’” he says, wiping tears from his eyes. “‘I wish you hadn’t shown me what you showed me, because this has been a terrible burden on me’—especially when I meet people with cancer. I try to explain this medicine to them, but people are so close-minded. They talk about swine flu killing people? My God, cancer and diabetes are killing millions across the world.”
Rick Simpson’s trial in September of 2007 was a carefully stage-managed affair. Simpson had obtained 48 sworn affidavits from patients, but the presiding judge decided that no medical testimony would be allowed. “I had people cured of terminal cancer sitting in the court waiting to testify—they wouldn’t let them on the stand! They wouldn’t let me introduce any scientific evidence. I defended myself, and when I cross-examined the Mounties, first thing I did was hold up a copy of an interview I’d given to the Spring Hill Record from September of 2004, one year before I was charged. It was a full-page article detailing everything I was doing. Would a criminal have a full-page article in the newspaper detailing his activities?
Then they brought out their expert. So I said, ‘You are a marijuana expert for the RCMP, correct? What do you know about hemp?’ He said, ‘Nothing, because hemp and marijuana are different plants.’ I got out the book and read the law from 1923, which says nothing about ‘marijuana,’ but does call it ‘Indian hemp.’ So I shredded him—I beat them hands down, even without the medical testimony.” The jury needed only three hours to deliberate. But when Simpson was called back into the courtroom for the verdict, he noticed that the crown prosecutor wasn’t in the room. A witness later told him that the prosecutor was seen departing the jury room right before the jury was brought back into the courtroom. It proceeded to find him guilty on all counts. “So I got in touch with the judge, but he wouldn’t do a damn thing. They can tamper with juries, but not us. Then he called me into the side room before sentencing and said, ‘Rick, the truth of the matter is that the government wants the researchers to bring this out.’ I looked at him and said, ‘If one of your kids was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, what would you be looking for?’ And down went his head. So we go back into the courtroom, and he says: ‘In my 34 years in the legal system, I’ve never seen a case like this. There was no criminal intent.’ He admitted the scientific evidence exists to back up what I was doing. Now, I was facing 12 years in jail, but he gave me a $2,000 fine and didn’t even put me on probation, because he was getting a little bit of conscience. One time I used to be proud to be a Canadian; now that word means nothing to me.”
Thanks to an Internet video titled Run From the Cure, which Simpson produced with filmmaker Christian Laurette, hundreds of thousands of people have been introduced to his hemp-oil treatment. Early on, Jack Herer became one of Simpson’s biggest supporters. “I first heard about Rick five or six years ago,” says Herer. “I didn’t believe him, and I knew all the cancer and THC studies that have been done—rats with all sorts of cancers were 100 percent cured and lived 40 percent longer than rats who had nothing at all.” But when he looked at the human evidence, Herer changed his mind. “Now Rick has treated over a thousand patients—and there are others like him, like Ron Smith in Kentucky, distributing oil to terminal-cancer patients and having similar results. And Rick can’t even come to the United States because of his conviction.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is saved by hemp oil. While the HT photographer was taking pictures for this story, Simpson received word that one of his patients had died after only two days of treatment. Simpson estimates that his success rate with terminal-cancer patients is about 70 percent. “The ones that can’t be saved are usually the ones who’ve had the most chemotherapy and radiation, or wait too long to start the treatment,” he says. “They have to be able to stay alive long enough for the oil to start to work.” In fact, most patients who undergo chemotherapy die from the treatment, not the disease. But because chemotherapy is a multibillion-dollar industry that supports some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, it’s unlikely these corporations will give up this profit stream without a struggle, no matter how many dead bodies pile up.
But the most amazing development in this story took place in April of 2009. Led by Manuel Guzman, a team of biochemists at the School of Biology at Complutense University in Madrid investigated the use of cannabinoids in treating cancer. Although similar investigations have been conducted on lab rats and tissue cultures many times since the original 1974 study in Virginia, this time the researchers used actual cancer patients and analyzed their results with methods used to gauge the progress of chemotherapy treatments. Their findings were published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and are available free online at HYPERLINK “http://www.jci.org/articles/view/37948” http://www.jci.org/articles/view/37948.
The Spanish researchers had two patients suffering from recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a fast-moving brain cancer. Using electron microscopes to analyze brain tissue taken before and after a 26- to 30-day THC treatment, the researchers found that the THC had eliminated cancer cells while protecting the surrounding healthy ones. The psychoactive chemical in marijuana promoted the death of brain-cancer cells by helping them feed on themselves in a process known as autophagy. Strangely, little mention of this groundbreaking study made it into the national news. Instead, the media continues to run gutter-science reports on marijuana’s cancer-causing effects, even though regular users of marijuana continue to have lower cancer rates than non-users.
While working on this story, I got a call from longtime hemp activist Joe Barton, who had been providing free oil to a throat-cancer patient in Woodstock, NY. After Barton delivered 25 grams of oil—nearly half the treatment—his home was raided by an Ulster County drug task force. The police confiscated all of the plants and oil, which ended the treatment prematurely. Six months later, the patient died. “The oil was working,” says Barton. “His neck tumor had gone down, and he was talking normally again.” As a repeat marijuana “offender,” Barton is now facing a 20-year sentence.
Once upon a time there lived a young dragon who loved to protect the weak and he became so popular, people built a temple in his honor to celebrate peace culture, and invited him to live inside. Donations flowed in from all over the empire because most people desire peace on earth, especially the ones who have tasted war. The nice dragon moved into the temple and kept guard on the treasure inside.
Another dragon lived nearby and was devoted to conflict and war. He was not popular. He was greedy. He liked to play people by pretending to be a nice dragon. But he was not nice and had blood on his fangs. But when it was useful, he pretended to support peace, which is how he infiltrated the temple and poisoned the peace dragon. The treasure was soon sold to buy a waterfront house in the Yale enclave in the Hamptons, a waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, a horse farm in Ireland, and an apartment on Billionaires Row in Manhattan overlooking Central Park. The temple transformed into a nest of thieves.
There’s also a labyrinth, race horses with 5-pound ticks, and another savage murder in this story, and it’s not a fairy tale but the real story of what happened to High Times, and how the company was stolen by the secret leader of the terrorist Weather Underground and then run into the ground.
Since I filmed most everything I did while at High Times, and since I have the rights to exploit that footage, I’ve made a feature about a meeting that transpired after the art director got into a pissing war with the son of Tom Forcade’s sister.
At the time, the magazine was the envy of the industry, with the highest sell-through rate and highest paid advertising of any magazine in its class. We had 100,000 paid readers and 55 pages of paid advertising. (When I’d arrived, the magazine had under 20,000 readers.) The advertising, by the way, was the sleaziest stuff possible: Fake pill ads and then fake bud ads. But those rip-off ads brought in a half million a year so the bad dragon loved them.
The magazine was gutted by the bad dragon, but finding out what really happened was a voyage of discovery through the labyrinth.
Fortunately, I filmed the bad dragon in action, including a visit from his co-conspirator, a former military intelligence operative who came to the office to deliver a two-day magic show intended to persuade the impoverished and naive staff that blue skies were ahead.
Check out my 20-part series “The Strategic Meeting.” It plays just like a Christopher Guest mockumentary, but it’s all hilariously true.
Just keep in mind, bad dragons have no empathy and never display any real feelings, just backhanded compliments amid layers of sarcasm. If you look close you might catch the sneers.
When intel wants to lead independent researchers into a rabbit hole, they start by manufacturing a lightning rod. A fake whistleblower. Every major crime committed by the CIA is dominated by a fake whistleblower. Mark Lane is a great example.
The fake whistleblower will get all the headlines. The fake whistleblower will be attacked through staged confrontations. These flame wars only serve to buttress the fake whistleblower’s position at the top of conspiracy mountain. I am reminded greatly of the feud between Mike Ruppert and Chip Berlet.
Ruppert exposed the war games on 9/11 that shielded the hijackings with fake radar blips blanketing the East Coast and then led his followers into Peak Oil, which was a scheme to double oil prices by falsely claiming we were about to run out. He also dug a 9/11 rabbit hole called “Lt. Vreeland.”
Chip Berlet invented the word “conspiracism” and promoted the idea that all people who thought 9/11 might have been an inside job belonged in insane asylums. Berlet was briefly made Washington DC correspondent for High Times due to his connections to Michael Kennedy. Both were tutored in intel ops by Leonard Boudin, whose uncle had founded the American Communist Party with John Reed. Of course Louis and Reed were both spooks, as was Leonard as well as anyone connected to his “Committee on Public Safety.” In this case, protecting “public safety” involved setting off hundreds of bombs and terrorizing America with leftwing violence for over a decade. Shades of 1984 newspeak.
Right after 9/11 the internet was flooded with conspiracy theory. Mostly crackpot info, but the more intellectual element pointed towards the Mossad. The leader of this meme called himself “Sean McBride” and he posted out of the Boston area. He never resorted to the racist language of his acolytes. I spent weeks debating McBride right after the event on a discussion board while getting pounded by haters.
One day, I posted fragments from Chip Berlet and McBride, revealing they were most likely the same person. Berlet was the chief debunker in the media of any Israeli connection to 9/11, a strong defender of Israel and considered an expert on Mossad operations. Berlet was a close associate of both Michael Kennedy and A.J. Weberman. Strangely, McBride went silent for hours. Typically, he was all over my posts. And when he did come back he explained he’d been busy “playing tennis.” Before long, Berlet lost his cushy paycheck from the CIA-connected Ford Foundation. I had to wonder if the two events might have been connected.
Walter Bowart was the first fake whistleblower on MK/Ultra. I have a letter or two from him in the archives. Bowart had a connection with Stephenson, indicating an MI6 component to exposing mind control.
The CIA was all over the LSD explosion and were behind much of the manufacture, distribution and profiteering. Their key operative was Ron Stark. Good luck finding anything real about him. The CIA’s alternative counterculture included Kerry Thornley, who put a smokescreen over the Boners involvement in the JFK hit. Thornley was assisted by Robert Anton Wilson in that regard.
I did podcast interviews with Jan Irvin and Ed Opperman some time ago after getting dumped by High Times. They sought me out and I was unaware of their Tin Foil Hattery. Irvin was involved in shifting Jack Herer away from cannabis and into amanita muscaria, a well-worn trail blazed initially by Gordon Wasson, a VP at JP Morgan. Irvin was greatly assisted in this mission by a pedophile named James Arthur (aka James Dukovic), who committed suicide after his crimes were exposed. Arthur abused some of Herer’s kids. Since Irvin has spent time in mental institutions, it’s possible he got programmed in the process. He’s a raving lunatic on the order of Mark Passio, and obviously those two support each other. In a nutshell, Irvin promotes the idea an Aleister Crowley sex magic cult run by Jews secretly runs the world. You have to pay Irvin to listen to my interview, but I undoubtedly went after McGowan and his theory that the entire counterculture was a CIA op from day one. McGowan was the one who invented the crisis actors rabbit hole.
Along these same lines, you’ll find the phony baloney Opperman Report. I think my interview with Ed got scrubbed. I did my best to call out the real intel operators infesting the counterculture movement. They involve lawyers, like Mark Lane, all members of the Communist-created National Lawyers Guild. On the super dark side of this group stood Michael Kennedy whose radical activities begin while stationed at Ft. Knox, KY, before he was relocated to Berkeley after getting mustered out. He was a secret leader of the terrorist Weather Underground.
I only saw Kennedy scared twice. The first was after he discovered New York magazine was investigating him for a potential cover story. I didn’t know it at the time, but Kennedy was connected to the murder of a San Francisco police officer. It was the first of numerous bombs set off by his unit, although they probably weren’t expecting a fatality, which is why they never took credit. During the planning, Kennedy’s wife was meeting with Bernadine Dohrn, as they had the same gynecologist and appointments were timed to coincide. This is spook ops 101.
Kennedy was terrified this might come out. His trajectory had moved swiftly from jousting with the government in numerous high-profile cases, to living in the Boner enclave in Wainscott and rubbing elbows with billionaires.
Funny thing about Opperman. He hung out with Yippies and Zippies in the early seventies and also knew Lance Taylor, who would later morph into Afrika Bambaataa. Unfortunately, Bambaataa was a pedophile who created a bizarre cult stuffed with Tin Foil Hattery. It’s dangerous to speak out about him because at least one insider who tried to expose the real story ended up getting murdered. Bam was able to get the center of gravity on hip hop for a brief time thanks to Planet Rock, his homage to Kraftwerk. Sadly, I played a crucial role in building up Bam’s reputation.
Towards the end of my Opperman interview, after I realized Ed was a McGowan fan and also supported Alex Jones’ outrageous lies that nobody died at Sandy Hook School….it was all crisis actors…. I cornered and roasted Ed over that issue. I can’t find that interview and it may be behind a paywall or scrubbed. I did make my own copy though. The list of people appearing on the Opperman Report gives a solid map to the Tin Foil Hat Patrol.
This may become my greatest lasting legacy. Far into the future, researchers may untangle intel’s massive campaign to manufacture lightning rods and unmask the network of intel sock puppets supporting ops like Alex Jones.
Kennedy had zero experience with divorce litigation and Trump had a bulletproof Roy Cohn pre-nup. Kennedy began by telling Ivana to claim Donald had raped her against her will during their marriage. That was just the first of a long line of absurdities that back-fired. After it was over many months later, Ivana called Kennedy’s office as she had some questions about the bill he’d submitted.
Ivana and Kennedy’s wife seemed to go from best friends to no longer friends, and a rumor spread Ivana was happy with the final settlement, conveniently hidden behind a non-disclosure agreement.
My analysis in a nutshell is a coalition of East Coast old money and European royalty are working on keeping the status quo, which is why so much blather in our media on the Crown and the Pope as those magic shows require constant promotion to keep their hoodwinks going. All royals of the world are watching closely and most of them are related, so status quo is all in the family.
In order to manage the opposition, they must run all reform movements in secret. When you have a centuries old power structure, the secret police come with the territory, and the most effective leader was Adam Weishaupt, an orphan raised by Jesuits. But in my time, I may have clashed with his second coming in Kennedy, also raised by Jesuits from age 4.
Weishaupt ran the fake opposition against the Vatican during the Enlightenment Era, but upon his death, the church was called in, and he was granted full absolution.
How similar Kennedy received a full military funeral with army brass in attendance after running the terrorist Weather Underground and jousting with the CIA and Pentagon in numerous litigations. In other words, the fake opposition against the government. I submit this is evidence Kennedy began his career as a Vietnam war dissident while working secretly for G2.
Summer 1966. A Beat symposium is held at the University of Illinois where John Cage is artist in residence.
A local Countess who had a long-running affair with John Roselli is the most powerful person in town not connected to the University. Among other holdings, she owns the local newspaper and TV station, and frequently jet-sets off to Europe, LA, and Palm Beach, when not holding court at the Champaign Country Club.
After the Italian Count she lifted out of poverty (to buy her title through marriage) was caught poking his secretary, she fired him. He fled back to Italy to plot his divorce settlement, but ended up with a bullet in the brain courtesy of Handsome Johnny.
Bill Harvey had been the first assassin she’d approached and declined. Roselli did not, however, and did it for free because the Countess had recently bank-rolled his return from Federal prison. Her empire was supervised by a local lawyer who was also the only known conduit to the Chicago mob.
Local teen Joe Sanderson was backpacking around the world. He would eventually become one of two Americans killed fighting for the Salvadorian revolution. David Foster Wallace had just entered classes at Yankee Ridge elementary, in the newly built suburb for the University of Illinois faculty. He would become one of the most celebrated novelists of his generation.
Spokesperson for the newly forged John Birch society, whose odd name was a palindrome, could be seen slinking around campus in trench coat and fedora, from one conspiratorial meeting to the next. He had recently testified before the Warren Commission. His house on West Ohio Street radiated with spooky vibrations, and children were cautioned to keep clear lest they be subjected to a sermon on the dangers of globalization.
A British noble, Sir ThomasWilles Chitty 3rd, had recently arrived in town, intent on taking acid and having sex with the hottest super hottie he could find, on or off campus.
Allen Ginsberg informs the leather-coated, long-haired teens attending the Beat conference that his first psychedelic experience was on glue and this leads to a rush to Lincoln Square to buy glue and then to the barn at the Shirley Farm where they hold their secret beer and wine-fueled ceremonies, only this time with glue, and out pops Only Me, an amazing song, written by 15-year-old Mark Warwick, the first psychedelic anthem I ever heard, a song that urged everyone to “let their minds be free.”
The word “psychedelic” was coined in the mid-fifties in a letter from Humphry Osmond to Aldous Huxley. Osmond gave mescaline to Huxley in LA and Huxley soon wrote The Doors of Perception. Both men began looking for a word to describe their experiences with altered states. The book’s title came from England’s greatest visionary poet.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
Huxley suggested “phanerothyme,” from the Greek words for “to show” and “spirit.”
“To make this mundane world sublime, take half a gram of phanerothyme.”
But Osmond chose “psyche” (for mind or soul) and deloun (for show).
“To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic.”
Osmond announced the new word at the New York Academy of Sciences meeting in 1957. That same year, R. Gordon Wasson, a vice president at JP Morgan, published a photo essay in Life magazine detailing a trip to Mexico to imbibe mushrooms with a Mazatec shaman.
Wasson would go on to publish a ridiculous book claiming Soma of the Rig Veda was a mushroom. This rabbit hole concealed the real identity of Soma, which was cannabis mixed with milk and spices, something known as bhang in India. At the time, Wasson was in close contact with intelligence agent Dr. Andrija Puharich who would soon be arranging seances with the rich and famous. Puharich had been a frequent visitor to Fort Detrick, where the CIA’s MK/Ultra project had originated. He would later become the biggest booster of fake Israeli psychic Uri Geller.
For those teens seeking a mind-altering experience in the early 1960s, Huxley’s book was often the first step. The rock band The Doors took their name from the book. Jim Morrison’s talents were staggering and their psychedelic jams were among the best of the era for evoking a mystical experience. All fueled by the band’s extensive tripping together. When I think of Morrison in the late sixties, I also think of Jean Michel Basquiat in the late eighties. They both died young, but left a massive body of work.
But in 1964, Timothy Leary had captured the center of gravity by publishing The Psychedelic Experience. Sadly the book was a complete mess of no use to anyone and inscrutable to the average teen as Finnegan’s Wake. Really it was just a money grab. Leary lifted ancient material from Tibet, so there wasn’t much original writing to do. The book led people into a rabbit hole and did zero to enhance enlightenment.
Leary’s book was nothing like Huxley’s poetic account of the spiritual effects of mescaline or Osmond’s descriptions of Native American peyote ceremonies, or Wasson’s description of the shamanistic use of magic mushrooms.
Instead Leary guided the youth (including the Beatles) to look east for enlightenment. It’s the same basic hoodwink laid down in The Razor’s Edge by British secret agent Somerset Maugham, who, like Osmond, worked for MI6. One thing about the early history of psychedelic studies is that most of the major players turned out to be secretly working for MI6, the CIA, or both.
The cliche of the bearded yogi living in a cave in the mountains who meditates until he reaches some satori moment and is transported to a permanent state of bliss is total jive. The religions of east and west are equally corrupt, run by oligarchies, and exist mostly to make money and ensnare acolytes. The Buddhists are perhaps the least corrupted (although there are good and bad in all cultures), but all talk of eternal life is complete bunk. Nothing lasts forever. There is no soul, no nirvana. But if you want to get popular fast, tell the people what they want to hear. If you are looking for enlightenment, take Zoroaster’s advice and just be as kind and empathetic in thought, word and deed as you possibly can. But also realize no state of bliss can last forever, and there is no bliss without an opposite: so everyone is vulnerable to spurts of paranoia, rage and jealousy and other states of mind from the dark side.
Westerners are used to looking east for enlightenment because eastern traditions are older and thought to be wiser. The Zoroastrians invented the word “magic,” and were among the first to learn the secrets of higher math, something learned through a study of harmony. They were also the most advanced astronomers and chemists of their time.
During the enlightenment era, secret societies based on eastern mysticism were all the rage and many fraudulent books were conceived purporting to reveal the true secrets of the universe. All these efforts were hoodwinks and money grabs.
Just as the emergence of psychedelics was carefully stage-managed by intelligence agencies, so was the evolution of these occult societies. Aleister Crowley was one of the first to declare himself an advanced yogi with magic powers out of The Razor’s Edge. In fact, it was Maugham who made Crowley famous through a novel titled The Magician. They were both secret agents plying dialectical games to advance secret agendas.
Meanwhile, after Harrison laid down a raga in “She, Said” garage rockers across America began tinkering with eastern scales.
The 13th Floor Elevators were the first to use the word “psychedelic” in an album title in 1966 and had a minor hit with their first single, but never really fully penetrated outside Texas until Lenny Kaye released Nuggets. The Texas bands of the time had a distinctive sound with a lot of fast picking on the fat strings. The cowboy guitarist had been an icon for generations. Texas rock and surf rock shared similarities, but there were no eastern scales in Texas at the time. The first song to reference LSD was released by in 1960 by surf rockers, The Gamblers.
Mark Warwick’s song Only Me is a better example of psychedelic rock than Your Gonna Miss Me. Both songs were written in 1966.
Other songs in this vein also released in 1966 would include East West by Paul Butterfield Blues Band, a jam devised by Mike Bloomfield after his first gig in San Francisco, where he could have bumped into a slew of bands working on defining an emerging genre; and, of course Section 43 by Country Joe and the Fish, ranks high on the list of early psychedelia. The appearance of cheap, portable organs from England and Italy played a major role in crafting a psychedelic ambience, and most of the original psychedelic bands made use of either the Vox or the less expensive Farfisa.
In November of 1966, Bronx-based band Blues Magoos released the album Psychedelic Lollypop, which included the hit song We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet, which rose to #5 on the charts, far higher than anything by the 13th Floor Elevators. Ralph Scala on Vox and lead vocals.
The following year, Strawberry Alarm Clock and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band would form in LA, and H.P. Lovecraft in Chicago, while the Finchley Boys (Warwick’s band) would travel to San Francisco and become adopted by the Cockettes as “the next big thing,” only soon to break apart.
But it was the Cockettes themselves who became the next big thing as they launched glitter rock in a trip to New York City in 1971. Had the Finchleys hung around and gone on that voyage, they might have been as big as the New York Dolls. Glitter would eventually usurp psychedelia as the next big thing, and by the time punk rock appeared, the mystical excesses of acid rock were soundly rejected in favor of a return to more primitive garage rock.
After Peter Fonda gave Lennon and Harrison some Sandoz in LA in 1965, out popped She Said, She Said.
Roger McGuinn and David Crosby of the Byrds were also there tripping. McCartney did not imbibe and left the later session when they were recording the song in a huff, refusing to contribute. In the week that followed their first trip, Lennon and Harrison could not relate to the other two because acid had changed them so profoundly. Although McCartney was the last to drop acid, he was the first to inform the public, which annoyed Lennon and Harrison.
She Said, She Said is an amazing tune that shifts from 4/4 to 3/4 while deploying a sitar scale. The seeds of acid rock were planted in Rubber Soul with a brief sitar solo, used only for its distinctive tone. It was David Crosby who showed Harrison how to play raga scales on an acoustic guitar. He also suggested Harrison check out a dude named Ravi Shankar.
They kicked Fonda out of the party for talking incessantly about his gunshot wound in the stomach and how he was momentarily dead on the operating table from blood loss. Lennon was horrified and when Fonda showed the bullet wound, he said, “You make me feel like I’ve never been born.” Fonda’s talk of death while Lennon was tripping is reminiscent of Leary’s use of the Tibetan Book of the Dead as a tripping manual, something that undoubtedly led to some seriously bad trips. Pushing that sort of dogma on western teens was the equivalent of distributing The Book of Revelation to teens in India as a true road to enlightenment.
Compare the intro to Eight Miles High to the opening moments of Coltrane’s Africa/Brass album, released in 1961. Some critics believe The Byrds wrote the first real psychedelic song. It counterpoints some Texas-style fast picking with an open D played on a 12-string. That chiming D would soon appear over and over in songs like Hey, Joe by the Leaves and Going All the Way by the Squires. Many attributed the sound to Bob Dylan, but Dylan claims it was all the Byrds covering his songs, and he had nothing to do with spreading the chiming D chord.
Southern California is where LSD landed because the film business has long had deep connections to military intelligence. Fonda starred in the first LSD film, The Trip, but there were others in Hollywood getting a supply of LSD-25 from Sandoz chemists who secretly worked under CIA supervision. The real acid guru in California was John Griggs, founder of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and he got the acid by stealing it from the fridge of an LA film producer. Griggs would soon turn up dead and his group swiftly usurped by intel operative Ron Stark.
After I signed the contract handing rights over my script to Harry Belafonte, he slyly grabbed a copy of all my interviews by asking me to provide copies to the Schomberg Library in Harlem. I didn’t realize the library would advertise that fact and lead a parade of researchers, including Jeff Chang, to the treasure trove of early hip hop history. Many decades later, I realized searching my name on the internet mostly turned up links to the Schomberg Library.
I emailed them recently and asked for the return of my transcripts as they hadn’t even given me credit for donating them. After admitting a problem, their lawyer switched gears and claimed they didn’t have my transcripts and from then on, just kept gaslighting me. The day I signed that contract and turned over the transcripts was the day my name and presence disappeared entirely from Beat Street. I got zero recognition upon release and retain little to this day. I got the Morris Levy/Frankie Lymon treatment from Harry Belafonte.
Henry Chalfant was a super cool dude, one of the first photographers to document NYC graffiti. Manny Kirchheimer was the first filmmaker, and his film Stations of the Elevated is online. While I was working on Beat Street, Henry was just completing Style Wars, which was largely the work of Tony Silver. Tony I didn’t like so much. It was Tony’s idea to build Style Wars around Cap.
Belafonte and his crew already had my script, a realistic portrayal of a budding rap group trying to make a record. Slice of life and It also had a Romeo-Juliet style story concerning a South Bronx rapper hooking up with a girl from a privileged background.
But when Belafonte got a sneak preview of Style Wars, everything changed and my script was tossed and they began writing a new one using my characters names, and it was all about Cap, who they renamed Spit.
Cap was never mentioned in my book or my script. But when I asked Phase 2 who were the current kings, Cap was the first name he mentioned. “You have to give him props, because he’s so up,” said Phase.
Graffiti was divided into crews and crews had conflicts that sometimes included dissing each other’s work. Sometimes it involved tag rights, like the conflict between Snake and Snake-1. Snake 1 began adding “king of all snakes” to his tag.
Cap was not the loner they portrayed him as. He was in the Morris Park Crew, some of whom were dust heads. Instead of asking Phase or Tracy about Cap and his crew, Silver focussed on the younger writers in opposing crews building Cap up as the evil villain of graf, dissing the most sacred rules. Some of those kids were scared to death of Cap in real life, but in the film they talked big shit about how somebody was going to cap Cap. I imagine some of that drama could have been coached and encouraged by Tony.
Eventually, Cap was run out of the crew so demonized was he by Style Wars and Beat Street.
Beat Street should have started with the murder of Black Benji and the Ghetto Brothers Peace council.
The opening song should have been “Just Begun” by Jimmy Castor. The sound track should mostly been based on the real street hits, Apache, Mexican, Give it Up or Turnit Loose.
All art and graffiti should have been supervised by Phase and other greats and featured Dondi, Lee, Futura, Zeph, and given cameos to Haring and Samo.
The actors should have been real South Bronx or capable of walking, talking like a real South Bronx teen.
The interiors should have looked like real South Bronx homes, which means the black rappers were more middle class with nice couches covered in plastic, while the Latins more often were under the poverty line with mattresses on the floor.
As a result of these blunders, the film was not very successful. Really it flopped. Christmas theme in July? What happened is it got massive video rental sales. Which was nice as it got me a lot of royalties through the years, although nothing close to what Harry captured.
The Schomberg Library threw a party with Belafonte to celebrate the anniversary one year. I wasn’t invited. That was before I asked for my transcripts back and got snowballed.
Get a copy of “Hip Hop: the Complete Archives” and read the original script that springs right out of the era, one originally being fueled largely by cannabis, and later, by cocaine. Crack, on the other hand, only produced casualties. I’d like to stage a reading of the original script with some of the OGs playing themselves.
Skull and Bones has developed a reputation with some as having a membership that is heavily tilted towards the “Power Elite.” Regarding qualifications for membership, Lanny Davis, writing in the 1968 Yale yearbook, wrote: If the society had a good year, this is what the “ideal” group will consist of:
“A football captain; chairman of the Yale Daily News; a conspicuous radical; a Whiffenpoof (Yale choir); a swimming captain; a notorious drunk with a 94 average; a film-maker; a political columnist; a religious group leader; a chairman of the Lit; a foreigner; a ladies’ man with two motorcycles; an ex-service man; a black, and, if there are enough to go around; a guy nobody else in the group had heard of, ever …”
For much of its history Skull and Bones membership was almost exclusively limited to white Protestant males. Catholics had some success attaining memberships; Jews less so.
Sports was the means by which excluded groups eventually entered Skull and Bones, through its practice of tapping standout athletes. Some star football players were the first Jew (Al Hessberg, class of 1938), and African-American (Levi Jackson, class of 1950, who turned down the invitation).
Yale became coeducational in 1969, yet Skull & Bones remained all-male until 1992. An attempt to tap women for membership by the Bones class of 1971 was opposed by Bones alumni, who dubbed them the “bad club.”
“The issue,”as it came to be called by Bonesmen, was debated for decades. The class of 1991 tapped seven female members for membership in the next year’s class, so alumni changed the locks on the Tomb, and the Boners had to meet at the building of Manuscript Society.
A mail-in vote by members decided 368-320 to permit going co-ed, but a group of alumni led by William F. Buckley obtained a temporary restraining order to block the move. Other alumni, such as John Kerry and R. Inslee Clark, Jr., spoke out in favor of admitting women, and the dispute ended up on The New York Times editorial page. A second vote of alumni in October 1991 agreed to accept the Class of 1992, and the lawsuit was dropped.
One member of the 1991 class wrote to alumni, “Being a part of Bones is often an embarrassment, a source of ridicule and occasionally a good way to lose a friend … Very rarely is the Bones still seen as an honor, and never is it seen to represent the mainstream of Yale.”
When fomenting counterintelligence operations, the initial plans do not stop with the essential deed but stretch far into the future. Influencers and rabbit holes must be created. The clash between influencers will be orchestrated. That is done to divide people into one of two groups, both secretly controlled by counterintelligence. The legends created become “fact” over a few decades, while the real whistleblowers are de-toothed and disappeared.
As the first person to publish a national magazine article on how and why the CIA killed JFK, I became an influencer who needed to be de-toothed and disappeared, which is exactly what happened. Many years ago, a writer from Vice in Brooklyn took me to lunch at Cafe Luxembourg. The editor-in-chief was following my research on JFK and Lincoln assassinations and wanted to do a major expose on my research. Two days later, I was informed the story was off, and that editor had been fired.
When I wrote my first article, I was aware of Bones and their role in the event. Specifically, I knew Bonesman Prescott Bush had misdirected a lot of journalists, as well as at least one film crew. He played a major role in controlling the story from behind the curtain.
My article centered on James Jesus Angleton as primary conspirator, although I assumed he was working with the Dulles and Rockefeller brothers.
I don’t know where I picked it up, but supposedly, Angleton did not pledge to Bones. He would have been class of 1940. But when The Good Shepherd came out about his career, the film made it clear he was a Boner. Now there is no evidence of which society he tapped to, if any. If you have any, please put a link to the evidence, or remain silent.
Angelton was really a Brit at heart, raised in England’s posh schools. He was half Mexican and raised a devout Catholic.
Bones class of 1940 included McGeorge Bundy, who was JFK’s National Security Advisor. He played a key role in getting us into the Vietnam War, something JFK wanted to prevent. His advice to JFK was erratic during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Andrew Orrick was also Bones 1940. He went to Hasting College of Law in San Francisco after graduating, the alma mater of Michael John Kennedy. After running Nixon’s campaign for governor of California, Orrick became administer of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Orrick may have been tapped because he hit the longest home run in Yale baseball history, a record that likely no longer stands.
Towson Hoopes, class of 1944, Under Secretary of the Air Force.
Barry Zorthian, class of 1941, was US press officer in Saigon for 4.5 years, all during the early stages of the war.
John Chafee, class of 1947, Secretary of the Navy.
Charles Whitehouse, class of 1947, ambassador to Laos and Thailand and secret CIA agent.
George Bush was class of 1948. He was running the supply depots used for terror ops inside Cuba. Also a secret CIA agent.
William Sloane Coffin, class of 1949, clergyman and leading anti-war, anti-nuclear activist. Also a secret CIA agent.
John Kerry, founder of Vietnam Vets Against the War, went on to lead the coverup of the Iran-Contra-Cocaine scandal, in which Republicans were able to remove Jimmy Carter, who was pushing renewable energy and world peace. Obviously a secret intelligence operative.
This is just a tiny sampling of the power of Bones, and you can’t ignore the fact they were put in strategic positions on both sides of the war. The possible connection between Angleton, Orrick and Communist lawyer Kennedy (who ran the terrorist Weather Underground network before stealing High Times from the employees and running it into the ground while siphoning profits into his bank account) needs to be examined. It might explain why Kennedy began working to get rid of me right after I published that article about the CIA and Bones killing JFK.