Tuesday, April 30, 2019


A couple of days ago, on 4-28-19, Doug Gibson of Plan Nine Crunch posted a rather thoughtful review of my latest book BELA LUGOSI AND THE MONOGRAM NINE (written in collaboration with Gary D. Rhodes). A few paragraphs follow....

Since we heard about this a year or so ago, we Bela Lugosi super-fans have been -- at times impatiently -- waiting for the release of "Bela Lugosi and the Monogram 9," (BearManorMedia, 2019), a collection of essays from academics Gary D. Rhodes (who's written more than several books on Lugosi) and Robert Guffey, on the series of features Lugosi made for the poverty-row studio during the first half of the 1940s.

That's a handful of a paragraph/sentence, so what to make of this collection, ranging from "Invisible Ghost" to "Return of the Ape Man"? Short answer: I liked it a lot. However, and this is important for the casual Lugosi fan -- these are not production histories/movie reviews of the films. The 10 essays, two are reserved for "Invisible Ghost," are artistic criticism and analysis. Some of it's deep; you may want to Google individuals such as the surrealist Andre Breton and the eccentric but talented artist Stanislav Szukalski. Their philosophies relate with some of these two-week productions [...].

The Monogram 9 were for the most part remarkable achievements given budgets and time constraints. Their legacies were fueled by an iconic, charismatic star and directors forced to rely on their first instincts to create a finished film within a two-week period. Monogram profit margins were tiny; no allowances were given for wasted time and money. It's a credit to Rhodes and Guffey that these films have been rewarded with a bit of scholarship that took far longer to create than the films being discussed.

To read Gibson's entire review, click HERE

Monday, April 29, 2019

Robert Crumb: Thought Criminal!

Pro-censorship Fundamentalists have now set their rifle sights on the "thought crimes" of artist Robert Crumb. What follow are choice excerpts from Brian Doherty's REASON MAGAZINE article (available in the May 2019 issue) entitled "Cancel Culture Comes for Counterculture Comics":

[E]vents in the comics world last year served notice that the social-justice re-evaluation currently sweeping comedy, film, and literature has arrived at the doorstep of free-thinking comics. In September, at the Small Press Expo's Ignatz Awards ceremony in Bethesda, Maryland, Crumb's successor generation of alt artists let the 75-year-old have it with both barrels. 
While presenting the award for Outstanding Artist, the cartoonist Ben Passmore, who is black, asserted that "comics is changing…and it's not an accident." He lamented the continued industry presence of "creeps" and "apologists," then called out the godfather [Robert Crumb] by name: "Shit's not going to change on its own. You gotta keep on being annoying about it.…A while ago someone like R. Crumb would be 'Outstanding.'"
The room erupted with both "ooohs" and booing. "A little while ago there'd be no boos," Passmore responded. "I wouldn't be up here, real talk, and yo—fuck that dude." The crowd burst into applause.
The brief against Crumb is both specific to his famous idiosyncrasies and generally familiar to our modern culture of outrage archeology. His art has trafficked in crude racial and anti-Semitic stereotypes, expressed an open sense of misogyny, and included depictions of incest and rape. Crumb's comics are "seriously problematic because of the pain and harm caused by perpetuating images of racial stereotypes and sexual violence," the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) explained last year when removing Crumb's name from one of its exhibit rooms.
Such talk alarms Gary Groth, co-founder of Fantagraphics, the premiere American publisher of quality adult comics, including a 17-volume series of The Complete Crumb Comics. "The spontaneity and vehemence" of the backlash, Groth says, "surprised me—and I guess what also disheartened me was, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people booing Crumb are not familiar with his work.…This visceral dislike of him has no basis in understanding who Crumb is, his place in comics history, his contribution to the form."
Key to the misunderstanding is Crumb's willingness to probe human darkness, including his own, and his sheer maniacal delight in transgression. (Crumb's own explanation for one of his more notorious incest-related strips was, "I was just being a punk.") The Ignatz Awards crowd, Groth worries, "will not tolerate that kind of expression, and I think that's disturbing. Cartooning has a long history of being transgressive and controversial and pushing boundaries, and now we have a generation very much opposed to that, who want to censure fellow artists from doing work they don't approve of—even though they are able to do what they are doing and want to do precisely because of trailblazing on the part of artists they now abominate."
To read Doherty's entire article, click HERE.

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Earlier today I received my contributor copies for BLACK DANDY #3, a handsome collection of ten stellar short stories by ten extremely peculiar writers. My contribution, "The Detective with the Glass Gun" (6,000 words), is the lead story of the latest volume, which is subtitled "Fiction for the Fearless." 

A Cryptoscatological Factoid: "The Detective with the Glass Gun" was partially inspired by Frank Zappa's song "A Token of My Extreme" from his 1979 masterpiece JOE'S GARAGE. You can hear that song below:

For those not yet in the know, BLACK DANDY is a New Zealand based literary journal dedicated to "excellence in magic realism, surrealism, and the otherwise strange," according to the magazine's mission statement.

How excellent? How magical? How realistic? How surreal? How strange? 

Simply read "The Detective with the Glass Gun" and find out! To purchase a copy of BLACK DANDY #3, click HERE!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Clint Margrave's "The Impassable Road to Redemption"

Today's recommended reading: "The Impassable Road to Redemption" by my colleague Clint Margrave. What follows is a choice excerpt:

Is this what progressives imagine constitutes social justice these days? Willful ignorance and an insistence that everything a person is or will ever be can be gleaned from their very worst moment? Should a gang member be allowed to change? Should a drug addict be allowed to clean up? Should a drunk be allowed to get sober? If it were just the poetry community, I might have chalked this allergy to personal progress up to the usual performative melodrama. But it isn’t. It’s something infecting our whole culture. Not only is no one allowed to change for the better anymore, no one is even allowed to be understood, much less forgiven [...].
In a NYMag essay entitled "America’s New Religions," Andrew Sullivan likens this new zealotry to the old religious impulse, which manifests itself in our political movements today, whether in the cult that surrounds Donald Trump or in the "woke" social justice groups, both of which he says behave in the same way as religions do:
Like early modern Christians, they punish heresy by banishing sinners from society or coercing them to public demonstration of shame and provide an avenue for redemption in the form of a thorough public confession of sin…
But the avenue for redemption is full of roadblocks these days. Public confessions or apologies hardly ever lead to forgiveness, and almost always lead to a second round of shaming, if not banishment. Zealots are never satisfied with just an apology. No matter how small the infraction, a public apology almost always leads to further punishment. Think of the recent controversy over actor Liam Neeson’s admittance that he’d entertained violent and potentially racist thoughts after a close friend of his was raped by a black assailant. Here was a “sinner” trying to atone for his “sins” by denouncing his own vengeful impulses (and alluding to his own instability at the time), and still people were calling for the end of his film career.
What is most troubling about all this is how it freezes public discourse. You cannot change anything in society if you cannot first speak truthfully about it. The dirty laundry must be aired, not hidden in the closet, if you really want to get the stench out. But in an era in which people are canceled for the slightest infraction, it’s much more prudent to just keep your mouth shut. This kind of intimidation threatens our social contract. If we cannot atone for our mistakes in the past and speak truthfully about our human flaws, how can we ever make progress?
Sometimes, I wonder if the sadistic champions of cancel culture care at all about fixing society’s problems, much less bringing about real social justice. Some of the loudest, most powerful people benefit from this outrage. There is no doubt that cancel culture effects social change, only the effect is destructive. There may be ideological fights worth having, but they are ultimately ineffective when fueled by tribal hatreds rather than compassion and good faith. It’s easy to shame others, but much harder to take an honest look at ourselves.
To read the entire article, simply click HERE.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Geraldine Belkin's "Manly P. Hall: The Murdered Mystic"

Easter Sunday is as good a day as any to contemplate the life and work of the "Master of the Mysteries" himself, Manly Palmer Hall (1901-1990).

At the International Theosophical History Conference in London, England, on the 21st of September, 2014, Geraldine Belkin presented a lecture entitled "Manly P. Hall: The Murdered Mystic" (the entirety of which can be seen below). As Belkin notes at the end of her presentation, much of her information is based on Louis Sahagun's 2008 biography Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall. For those not familiar with Hall's life and work, Belkin's lecture is a good introduction.

At several points during this lecture (as well as in the title itself, of course), Belkin insists Hall was murdered. On July 5th, 2003, I interviewed Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, the Bishop of the first Gnostic Church in America and a longtime Hall associate. This interview appeared in Paranoia Magazine #34 (Winter 2004) under the title "The Suppressed Teachings of Gnosticism." At one point during the interview, I decided to ask Hoeller about this persistent rumor regarding Hall's death:

RG: This is all secondary rumor, but I was talking to somebody who’d talked to his widow, and what he heard was that there was some question as to Manly P. Hall being murdered. Do you know anything about that?

SH: Well, of course, that became his widow’s contention after a certain time. What happened was that a few years prior to his death (he died a few months short of 90 years old), maybe two or three years before his death, Mrs. Hall introduced an individual into his inner-circle, and basically forced this man onto Mr. Hall. This man’s name was Daniel Fritz. Mr. Hall was very old and very feeble. He was still lecturing and so forth, but other than that he didn’t really have the strength to deal with these things very forcefully, as he might have earlier. So this man, and a couple of his associates, acquired more and more power in the society, and basically after [Hall’s] death took over the Philosophical Research Society. It was Mrs. Hall who brought Daniel Fritz in and championed him all that time and basically forced him on Manly Hall, but then after Mr. Hall’s death she turned – probably felt guilty about what happened – and then started going around spreading the rumor that Daniel Fritz had killed Mr. Hall. Well, if you want to hear the complete story I can tell you how it happened.

Mrs. Hall – on a Labor Day weekend I seem to recall, or some holiday weekend – wanted to go and visit her sister in San Luis Obispo and she wanted to take Mr. Hall with her. Mr. Hall was feeble and old and a very heavy man, he didn’t walk very well, so they wheeled him into a van, and with Daniel Fritz driving they started out on the road. Well, they got as far as Santa Barbara and Mr. Hall started feeling very ill and he said, “You know, guys,” and these were his words I understand, “I’m not gonna make it if I go any further, I’ve got to get back home.” So they managed to understand that apparently, and then Mrs. Hall took some taxi or something, some other form of transportation from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo, and Daniel Fritz drove Mr. Hall home and he put him to bed, and by the following morning Mr. Hall passed away in bed.

There is no evidence of anything else having happened, but Mrs. Hall claimed that Daniel Fritz smothered him with a pillow or something. How would she know? She was a few hundred miles away from there to begin with. So I think that part was nonsense. Mr. Hall was going to die anyhow. It was only a matter of time, and not that much time after that Daniel Fritz would have come by his power anyhow. It would have been grand foolishness on his part to try anything else. But then she ended up suing her husband’s organization for money. She behaved in such an insane fashion in the court that the judge ordered her silenced and only her lawyer could speak.

While Hall was alive she would come to the Society about two times a year, on Christmas for the Christmas party and for Mr. Hall’s birthday party. She had an obsession with some mythology that she developed about a tomb or a vault in Virginia somewhere near Washington, D.C. and that in this vault were the documents of Francis Bacon and things of that sort. She talked about it from the 1930s until the 1980s, and finally after Mr. Hall’s death (it was written up in the L.A. Times) some of her followers broke into the vault [during an archaeological dig] and they found nothing. [Laughs]

RG: Right. And Manly P. Hall was about 90 when he died, so it’s logical to assume that he died of natural causes.

SH: Yeah, there is no reason to think otherwise. I know this on fairly good authority, as far as the L.A. police is concerned, the case is closed. There is no investigation going on.

RG: So it actually did go to a trial?

SH: No, but I think Mrs. Hall and possibly some of her followers made some charges of possible foul play with the Homicide Division. And they looked into it and said there’s no evidence.

RG: And what happened to Daniel Fritz?

SH: Daniel Fritz is now dead. First, let’s say his dishonesties and financial false dealings were unmasked by, primarily, Obadiah Harris (who is now the head of the Society) and at that time he was told they wouldn’t file any charges against him if he left. So he left. A few years later, I think four or five years later, he died of cancer.

RG: So you were still working at PRS at this time?

SH: Oh yes, I was there during all of this time. I never took any active part in anything. I just did my lectures and left. That way I managed to survive all of these situations [laughs] by just staying at a certain level of activity.

"Manly P. Hall: The Murdered Mystic"
by Geraldine Belkin

Saturday, April 20, 2019

San Diego: Spy City

CHAMELEO readers will have no trouble recognizing the significance of the following 3-14-19 MASSPRIVATEL article entitled "San Diego Has Been Turned Into a Massive Chinese-Style Public Surveillance Network (Updated)":

"Can you imagine a city in the United States secretly creating a Chinese-style public surveillance network that can identify everyone? Can you imagine that same city secretly creating a Chinese-style public watchlisting network?

"Well imagine no more because it has already happened.

"When I wrote about 'covert facial recognition street lights coming to a city near you' last year, I never would have dreamt that my article would become a reality so quickly.

"A recent article in the San Diego Reader reveals how a hacker discovered emails between the Port of San Diego and BriefCam. The emails revealed that law enforcement is secretly using a network of 400 facial recognition surveillance cameras to identify everyone. (Click here to view a map of where all 3,200 spying street lights are located.)

"Last year, BriefCam announced a 'breakthrough' in real-time facial recognition surveillance.

"'Robust multi-camera search capabilities identify men, women, children and vehicles with speed and precision, using 25 classes and attributes, face recognition, appearance similarity, color, size, speed, path, direction, and dwell time.'

"According to another article, the City of San Diego is using GE's CityIQ street lights to listen to everyone.

"In 2017, civil rights advocates sent a letter to the mayor and city council asking the city not to install GE's streetlights.
"'Devices capable of monitoring and recording residents invade privacy, chill free speech, and disparately impact communities of color.'

"But as the article revealed, San Diego ignored the public's concerns and secretly installed 3200 spying GE streetlights.

"GE's spying streetlights have effectively 'turned the city into a stealthy laboratory for infrastructure-embedded intelligence collecting with devices regularly used by the DEA, ICE and other security agencies.' (To learn more about San Diego's spying streetlights click here.)"

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Super Soldier for the Wars of the Future

From Bill Bostock's 4-4-19 Business Insider article entitled "A Russian Defense Ministry Report Claims Its Elite Soldiers Can Crash Computers With Their Minds and Read Documents Inside a Safe After Mastering Telepathy from Dolphins":

"Elite Russian soldiers can crash computers, treat wounded troops, and read foreign-language documents locked inside a safe using the power of their minds, a report in the Defense Ministry's official magazine claims. 

"Using 'parapsychology,' a catch-all term for any psychic ability, soldiers can detect ambushes, burn crystals, eavesdrop, and disrupt radio waves, according to a report by reserve colonel Nikolai Poroskov

"The techniques were developed over a long period staring in the 1980s Soviet Union, by studying telepathy in dolphins, the report said. It also claimed soldiers can now communicate with the dolphins. 

"The article, entitled 'Super Soldier for the Wars of the Future,' was swiftly scorned by experts. But its appearance in the February edition of the Russian defense ministry's Armeisky Sbornik (Army Collection) magazine is nonetheless remarkable.  

"The report says: 'With an effort of thought, you can, for example, shoot down computer programs, burn crystals in generators, eavesdrop on a conversation, or break television and radio programs and communications.'

"'Those capable of metacontact can, for example, conduct nonverbal interrogations. They can see through the captured soldier: who this person is, their strong and weak sides, and whether they're open to recruitment.'

"Soldiers could even 'read a document in a safe even if it was in a foreign language we don't know,' the report said. 

"Soldiers have also been trained in 'psychic countermeasures,' the report said — techniques which help soldiers stay strong during interrogations from telepaths in rival armies." 

To read Bostock's entire article, click HERE.

New York Times: "Why It's Easy for a Bounty Hunter to Find You"

From Geoffrey Starks' 4-2-19 New York Times article entitled "Why It's So Easy for a Bounty Hunter to Find You":

"When you signed up for cellphone service, I bet you didn’t expect that your exact location could be sold to anyone for a few hundred dollars. The truth is, your wireless carrier tracks you everywhere you go, whether you like it or not. When used appropriately, this tracking shouldn’t be a problem: location information allows emergency services to find you when you need them most. 

"But wireless carriers have been selling our data in ways that allows it to be resold for potentially dangerous purposes. For instance, stalkers and abusive domestic partners have used location data to track, threaten and attack victims. This industrywide practice facilitates 'pay to track' schemes that appear to violate the law and Federal Communications Commission rules.

"Companies are collecting and profiting from our private data in hidden ways that leave us vulnerable. As you carry your phone, your wireless carrier records its location so calls and texts can reach you. And you can't opt out of sharing location data with your carrier, as you can with a mobile application. Your carrier needs this data to deliver service. But, according to recent news reports, this real-time phone location data has long been available to entities beyond your wireless carrier, for a price. In one alarming example, reported by Vice, a bounty hunter was able to pay to track a user’s location on a map accurate to within a few feet. In another case, a sheriff in Missouri used location data provided by carriers to inappropriately track a judge.

"In other words, an ability that seems to come right out of a spy movie is now apparently available to just about anybody with your phone number and some cash. The pay-to-track industry has grown in the shadows, outside of the public eye and away from the watch of regulators."

To read Starks' entire article, click HERE.

Misguided Spying and "New Zealand's Watergate Moment"

From Suzie Dawson's 3-15-19 Consortium News report entitled "Misguided Spying and the New Zealand Massacre":

"Now that the bodies of 49 innocent human beings are lying in a Christchurch, New Zealand, morgue — gunned down by a heavily armed terrorist — New Zealand media are asking the obvious questions: why didn’t our intelligence agencies know there were xenophobic, murderous, white supremacists on the loose in Christchurch?
"Questions are being asked of the nation’s security services in the wake of a mass shooting described as ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days,' Stuff.co.nz reports and quotes a University of Waikato professor of international law, Alexander Gillespie, as saying: 'If it’s a cell we need to ask why weren’t they detected, because that’s why we have security services and it may be that those services have been looking under the wrong rocks.'

"According to the same article, in response to the terrorist attack, 'A crisis meeting of national security agencies was held at Police National Headquarters in Wellington after the shooting.'

"In the NZ Herald, veteran intelligence reporter David Fisher asked many pertinent questions in an opinion piece titled 'Christchurch massacre – what did we miss and who missed it?'

"'We need answers,' says Fisher. 'The NZSIS [New Zealand’s equivalent of the FBI] – and its electronic counterpart, the Government Communications Security Bureau – have more funding than ever, and almost double the staff numbers they had six years ago. They also now have the most powerful legislation they have ever had.'

"We know thanks to the findings of an inquiry by the State Services Commission last December that as many as a dozen government agencies, including the NZ Police, were too busy squandering their resources spying on NGOs such as Greenpeace NZ; political parties such as the New Zealand Green Party and then-Internet Party aligned Mana Movement, as well as on anti-TPP protesters and activists such as myself.

"As if that weren’t egregious enough, they were even spying on Christchurch earthquake insurance claimants and historical victims of institutional state child abuse.

"An ex-cabinet minister and now chief executive of Greenpeace New Zealand, Russel Norman called it 'New Zealand’s Watergate moment.'"

To read Dawson's entire article, click HERE.

Pig Zombies

From Nell Greenfieldboyce's 4-17-19 National Public Radio report entitled "Scientists Restore Some Function In The Brains Of Dead Pigs":

"The brains of dead pigs have been somewhat revived by scientists hours after the animals were killed in a slaughterhouse.
"The Yale University research team is careful to say that none of the brains regained the kind of organized electrical activity associated with consciousness or awareness. Still, the experiment described Wednesday in the journal Nature showed that a surprising amount of cellular function was either preserved or restored.
"The implications of this study have staggered ethicists, as they contemplate how this research should move forward and how it fits into the current understanding of what separates the living from the dead.
"'It was mind-blowing,' says Nita Farahany, who studies the ethics of emerging technologies at Duke Law School. 'My initial reaction was pretty shocked. It's a groundbreaking discovery, but it also really fundamentally changes a lot of what the existing beliefs are in neuroscience about the irreversible loss of brain function once there is deprivation of oxygen to the brain.'
"The brain is extremely sensitive to a lack of oxygen and shuts down quickly. But researchers have long known that viable cells can be removed from post-mortem brains hours after death, says Nenad Sestan, a neuroscientist at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn."
To read the entire article, click HERE.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Newfound Footage of Bela Lugosi!

MEMO FROM THE DEPT. OF CRYPTOSCATOLOGICAL SYNCHRONICITY: Only a few days after the publication of BELA LUGOSI AND THE MONOGRAM NINE (written by Gary D. Rhodes and Yours Truly), KTTV in Los Angeles chose to release--from deep within its archives--newfound footage of Bela Lugosi shot in 1955 during the actor's voluntary stay in a Norwalk mental hospital where he was being treated for a serious drug addiction.

If you want to read Hal Eisner's 4-18-19 FOX 11 report entitled "Bela Lugosi, the One They Call Count Dracula" (which includes this never-before-seen footage), simply click HERE.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

U.S. Navy UFO

From Jasper Hamill's 4-18-19 Metro article entitled "The U.S. Navy Secretly Designed a Super-fast Futuristic Aircraft Resembling a UFO, Documents Reveal":

"The U.S. Navy has been granted a patent for an advanced aircraft which resembles a flying saucer UFO. 

"Military inventors filed plans for a highly unusual flying machine which uses an ‘inertial mass reduction device’ to travel at ‘extreme speeds’. 

"What that means is that the aircraft uses complex technology to reduce its mass and thereby lessen inertia (an object’s resistance to motion) so it can zoom along at high velocities. 

"The patent is highly complex and describes methods of reducing the mass of an aircraft using various techniques including the generation of gravity waves, which were first detected in 2016 after being produced when two black holes collided.

"‘It is possible to reduce the inertial mass and hence the gravitational mass, of a system/object in motion, by an abrupt perturbation of the non-linear background of local spacetime,’ the patent says. 

"The craft described in the patent features a cavity wall filled with gas, which is then made to vibrate using powerful electromagnetic waves."

This then creates a vacuum around the craft, allowing it to propel itself at high speeds. 

The UFO-style ship can be used in water, air or even space.

To read Hamill's entire article, click HERE.