"I guess it started for me when, as a young sci-fi movie fan, I did a fanzine at age 12 to 15... that’s when I learned how relatively cheap and easy it was to self-publish, at least for a small circle of weirdos. Later, after comics went up to 50¢, I started collecting stuff equally weird but much cheaper than comic books: kook literature." - Rev. Ivan Stang
You may know of the Church of the SubGenius, that parody religion that worships the almighty "Bob" and was a fixture of MTV
and Night Flights
back in the day. But do you know of its SECRET ORIGINS? Co-founder Ivan Stang corresponded with hundreds of "mad prophets, crackpots, kooks & true visionaries," from sincere cults to winking charlatans to utter nutjobs to hate groups to independent artists and musicians, with some respected names thrown in, and synthesized them into a half-joking, half-serious celebration of the kook spirit. These days of course the forward-thinking crackpot looking for sheep goes directly to the internet. But while it lasted Stang and co-authors Mike Gunderloy, Waver Forest and Mark Johnston collaborated to document this vanished scene in the legendary book HIGH WEIRDNESS BY MAIL
. (All links within may quickly lead someplace NSFW by the nature of the beast.)The interview with Stang that the above quote was taken from.
Also from that interview:
[Gray Areas magazine]: How did the Church [of the SubGenius] start? How does it get the word out to people?
High Weirdness By Mail
[Ivan Stang]: [...]Real heretics say it started when my partner, Dr. Philo Drummond, discovered that I, too, collected kook literature, and we pooled our resources to create, for mercenary purposes only, the final synthesis of all end-times prophecy, from all crazed religious nuts, true visionaries, science fiction writers and bad monster movies.
(HWBM) is a kind of directory of kooks circa 1988, built up during Stang and friends' hobby of collecting kook literature, a listing of hundreds of addresses that a collector could write to and, either for free for for only a little money, receive some authentic weirdness for their trouble. Some of the addresses are of lone kooks, like Brainbeau (p 160), looking for spread their ideas. Some of the them lead to UFO cults like Unarius (p 50), looking for recruits. Some believe Jesus talks to them personally; whether they're viewed as lone nutters or respected televangelists seems to depend only on resources. Doesn't matter, Ivan Stang includes them both. Some are actual hate groups. Many are independent artists, several of which would subsequently hit it big before a wider audience. There are over 320 pages of addresses in the book, and each of them has a short blurb written about them to warn the reader about what he's in for. Most of the addresses, of course, probably don't work now. Here, in a kind of metapost, I visit some of the entries and find out where they are now, or if they still exist.
There are hundreds
of groups and addresses in the book. My purpose here is only to cover the highlights – the notable, the known, the neglected, the humorous, and the infamous. What the book says about them, what we generally know about them now, and what they are doing today. I leave out addresses, which were a main selling point of the book and many of which are probably wrong by now anyway. If you want more entries or addresses, you can get the book pretty cheap used through Amazon
. It is well worth the twelve-or-so bucks you'll pay.
There have been several attempts at updating the catalog over the years to take into account the internet, but kook links tend to die quickly, and so these pages haven't been of much use, a pitiful shoring attempt against a tsunami of bitrot. The official SubGenius update page for the book is High Weirdness By Web
, which also provides some additional material.
Rev. Ivan Stang is something of a kook himself, though by design. One can tell flipping through High Weirdness By Mail
that much of the form of the SubGeniuses was inspired by all those weird folk who sent him stuff. While it's likely that your idea of what is silly folk belief matches up with Stang's nine times out of ten, sometimes you'll be surprised by who he emphasizes with, and who he derides. I make no claims as to the validity of any views expressed here, by him or anyone else; my job is to document. Sometimes sarcastically, but well....
Disclaimer #2: Author Stang would post sarcastic comments about some of the more evil folk covered, but he still published their addresses, so that folks could laugh at them and cause them to waste money sending out books and catalogs. But wasting money is less of a compelling excuse on the internet, and I don't think my will to make the post objective overcomes my desire to not give these guys exposure. So I've left off links to some of the more hateful surviving groups. "Oops." If you're really interested for some reason you can do what I did and Google them.
There are two major types of sections in the book that a reader can detect: the "true" kooks, and independent and outsider artists of various types. Stang doesn't overtly discriminate between the two, but artists do tend to be treated much more sympathetically. In the age before the internet it was even harder to find an appreciative audience for work outside the mainstream than it is now, and it is possible to interpret Ivan Stang's inclusion of these guys in a book of weirdos as getting the word out. But not all of them are "only" non-traditional artists, and sometimes an artist might appear in the kook sections if he's sufficiently weird, as is the case with Stanislav Szukalski.
Here, then, is a long, long list of notable entries by section:
Death rays. Perpetual motion machines. Nikola Tesla. The Department of Energy, NASA, the CIA and the FDA all lie to us. But these guys know the real
International Flat Earth Research Society
(p 27) – A good one to start off with. Perennial, archetypal kooks who believe the world is flat, beating moon landing deniers by a country mile. They're still around
. If flat-earthers didn't exist, it'd be necessary for news-of-the-weird columnists to invent them.
Inner Portraits by Stanislav Szukalski
(p 29) - Artist and sculptor. Believed there were two races: True Humans and Yetisyn
, half-breeds with Yetis, producing the degenerate urges that plague mankind. Seemed to have died as High Weirdness By Mail was preparing for print; he passed in 1987, while the book's publication year is 1988. Stang talks of him reverently, and his yetisyn were added into the SubGenius backstory. Official website
(p 32) - A long-lived and destructive dogma, the believers of which claiming they can subsist without and food other than air and sunlight. While the idea has been around for quite a while
, the group calling themselves explicitly by that name was founded by Wiley Brooks, who claims to subsist entirely on light and air. An entertaining flyer depicting him as "BREATHMAN" and claiming he can lift 1,000 pounds and sleeps but seven hours a week is reproduced in HWBM
. He was featured on that early 80s predecessor of the Discovery Channel, the program That's Incredible
. Brooks is still alive and currently claims: if you aren't purged of negative energy by December 21 of this year, you will be destroyed. So, you know, get on that. He also But seriously, several people have
died from starvation attempting to live without food according to belief systems like these. Here then is the Breatharian website
, please use responsibly.
(p 36) - Not a kook organization at all but a respected supplier, although one that sells to the general public and which can certainly be put to kook use. Great beyond imagining for science-minded kids. Their website
. They're included in HWBM for their catalog, which is also great.
Joesph Newman Publishing Co.
(p 42) – Stang devotes over a page to this, one of a long, long line of free energy inventors, and takes the tone that this one might be on to something, but also might not. Please allow me to chime in: he's not. "But what of–" He's not. The laws of thermodynamics are a bitch, but they're foundational, and there's too much working science built off of them for there to be much chance of them being wrong. Joesph Newman has a website
, done up in a style I'd call "Early-period Gene Ray." His machine has a Wikipedia page
. He fell afoul of the patent office's standing policy against perpetual motion machines, but he's still trying to sell it.
Before you laugh at these people, note: often, the only real difference between a group you think is strange and one that produces potential Presidents of the United States is critical mass.
(p 48) – A UFO cult from Rio de Janerio. Their newsletter "Universe in Disenchantment" was singled out by Stang for its laughable translation. They still exist and have a website
which itself is pretty badly translated.
(p 50) – This UFO cult will be familiar to anyone who keeps up with Everything Is Terrible. Ruth "Uriel" Norman believed that 33 different kinds of aliens were waiting to welcome us into their federation. She claimed that she and her deceased husband Ernest were reincarnations of many great figures from history. Now she's moved on to her next life too, but the Unarians continue. EIT rundown: Preparation for Landing and Arrival
- All My Unarians
- Interplanetary Confederation Day
. A current website for the group
. Another one
. Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds writes of his experience with the Unarians
. This page
is headed by an incredibly depressing picture of their "Academy of Science," operating out of a retail storefront, like a convenience store. While kooky and spooky and altogether culty, most seem to agree this particular manifestation of the weirdness of man is pretty harmless. Donna Kossy's Kooks Museum had a page on Unarius
Canadian Raelian Movement
(p 53) - Famous UFO cult, with small branches around the world. Their website
offers translations in 38 languages. Their Wikipedia page offers more objective information
. They are the focus of several videos on YouTube, this one has Bill Maher meeting the leader
. As cults go, well, they're sex-positive, but they use it as a recruitment tool. How does it feel, young initiate, to know that pretty girl jumped your bones for the sake of aliens? How would you feel if you were pressured to do the same? They don't actually claim anything supernatural, so they're kind of boring. In 2005 Wired Magazine wrote a couple of pages on them
, mostly neutral. They own the company Clonaid and claim to have cloned humans successfully, but they never produced the clones for examination, and it's thought they made the announcement as a publicity stunt. Mostly harmless.
(p 57) – Stang's summary is one sentence: "Ask about The Story of the Mitchell Sisters
." But you don't have to, because here it is
! In the 19th century little girls fool the creator of Sherlock Holmes regarding the existence of fairies; in the 20th century, they fool publishers as to the existence of flying saucers. It's the 21st now, so parents, please keep tabs on your mischievous daughters.
There's a lot of hate coming from the groups in this section, since as we know Jesus was all about hating people. You might be wondering why groups like the Church of Scientology or the Hare Krishnas aren't here. Well, they probably weren't as apt to send out things free in the mail. But there are still a good number of surviving Christian and quasi-Christian groups here. Because, once a money-grubbing preacher's organization hits a certain minimum size, it tends to metastasize.
Jack Van Impe Ministries
(p 63) – A highly successful televangelist, at least one nice old woman I knew used to listen to this Jesus Quack. It does my heart good to see them listed in close proximity to the likes of Unarius. Of course they're still around
. At this time, their website is sometimes seen to host a banner claiming our pets will be raptured along with the faithful.
Battle Cry of Aggressive Christianity
, Free Love Ministries (p 64) – Among the most strident Christian voices in the book. Nowadays they seem to be better known as the Aggressive Christian Ministry Training Corps. Don't let the organization's name in the heading fool you, this is no friendly bunch of folk but full-on hatemongers. They're organized among military lines, and they were the subject of a recent National Geographic special, "I Escaped A Cult
." Their Wikipedia page is rather frightening.
Stang gives them one of the most negative reviews in the book. Later interviews indicate that one of the groups ridiculed in the book sent him death threats; he called the FBI about it and nothing more became of it, but it's possible it could have been these guys. They have a website, but I'm not going to give them the link. I'm far more afraid of these guys than Muslim terrorists, and they're entirely home-grown. Here's a link you can follow: Donna Kossy's archived Kooks Museum page on them
Peter Popoff Association
(p 64) – A staple of BET, these exploitative producers of Christian radio and television feed off the misery and insecurity of mankind. (Well they all do really, but some are more efficient converters of despair into money than others.) Some cults and jokers may not have made it through the 25 years since HWBM was published, but of course all the commercial Jesus-peddlers did, even Jimmy Swaggart who was publicly humbled more than once. Their website. The Wikipedia page on Popoff's outfit is informative
; he went bankrupt right around time time HWBM was being written after his faith healing claims were exposed as fraudulent by James Randi.
Bible Believers' Evangelistic Association
(p 66) – Carrying on the tradition of Clarence Larkin
, that dispensationalist draftsman of Christ, into the 21st century. The BBEA made, and still make for that matter, flyers and pamphlets with "bible maps," illustrated diagrams of (their idiosyncratic interpretation of) Biblical doctrine. As with Larkin charts, there is something inscrutably cool
about them, making them worth seeking out for art value. Here's a PDF of one
from right off their website
. Nowadays to spread their message they utilize the Lord's most holy of illustration tools, Microsoft PowerPoint. Their CD/pamphlet collections still go for just five bucks each.
Aryan Nations, Church of Jesus Christ Christian
(p 67) - Redundantly-named organization that once sold 13 cassette tapes on that noted piece of Biblical prophecy: the song "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie." Really.
It is possible that there is some confusion in this entry; Stang identifies the organization with the tapes as Aryan Nations, but on the internet I see two churches going by the name "Church of Jesus Christ Christian," one offers tapes, and the other calls themselves Aryan Nations. That one is not composed of pleasant people. You can make a good guess from their name their sympathies lay regarding white supremacy, and their website (link omitted) makes it clear this is no accident. The other is here
, which seems to be a much more low-key site that mostly sells tapes. Either one or the other (or both?) were founded in 1946 by one of the organizers of the Ku Klux Klan. Their Wikipedia page
provides the entertaining fact that a lawsuit brought against them by people they had attacked (literally, attacked
) caused them to lose rights to their name and compound to the people they wronged. I don't know which of the two groups is for realsies, or if they might be connected with each other.
The Watchtower and Awake!, Jehovah's Witnesses
(p 70) - They're still around of course. They rate only four sentences in the book, which notes they had a problem, familiar to millennial groups, of losing members when their given date for the end of the world comes and goes and nothing happens.
The Jumping For Jesus Club International
(p 71) – Group sponsors kids to travel the world, jumping rope for Christ. They're still around, natch
, spreading their double dutch dogma. Well it's another missionary group looking to tell people about Jesus (surely they've all heard it by now), but it's also a way for kids to see the world, which is a legitimate mind expander.
Free Tract Society
(p 72) – If you sent these guys a letter, they'd send you a big box of tracts. They're still around
, they still send out free tracts, and it still doesn't you cost anything. The site notes "This ministry is maintained by the gifts of God's people," so someone else is footing the bill. Note that these guys don't distribute Jack Chick's work. Chick shows up later, don't worry.
More ordinary than the preceding groups, without even the benefit of weirdness to recommend them. Stang calls them pinks
, a derogatory SubGenius term for depressingly normal people.
Jimmy Swaggart Gift Catalog
(p 74) - Stang expresses considerable admiration for Swaggart's delivery style, which seems likely as an inspiration for SubGenius ranters, while dismissing his hateful message. I kind of admire the delivery method of these preacher types myself; say what you want about their beliefs, but when a good fire-and-brimstone type gets going it's difficult to imagine a more authoritative voice. That fact is what makes it so great for spewing satirical weirdness. Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show illustrates this fact
Pat Robertson for President
(p 75) - The entirely of the entry in the book is: "You know what to do." Keep in mind many of the purchasers of this book were SubGeniuses, and often pranksters. I assume whatever it was it was successful.
More Weird Religion
This section is a catch-all for serious religious groups not fitting into previous categories. (For non-serious groups, see further below under Funny Clubs.) It's worth noting that Stang, around 2007, said that he thinks he didn't give some of the Wiccan groups a fair shake; not coincidentally I think, there are now a good number of neo-pagan SubGeniuses.
(The Rosicrucians) (p 78) – This long-lived group has been known to advertise in the backs of magazines. Their website is here
. Stang talks about them in episode 16 of the podcast Out There Radio
. They seem harmless enough; there is a Straight Dope column
on them. In brief: no matter what they say, they aren't the group from the 17th century.
The Church of the SubGenius
(p 80) - It shouldn't come as a surprise that Stang would include the SubGeniuses in High Weirdness By Mail
. It's listed again near the end, and mentioned frequently in footnotes, and shouts out to some SubGenius people in the listings, and uses "Bob" iconography once in a while. A lot of SubGenius collaborators appear to have come from Stang's correspondence from his kook literature hobby.
Warlords of Satan
(p 82) - The address isn't of the group but of someone alerting the world of their activities. Googling now turns up very little, leading me to suspect the group may actually have been a hoax dreamt up during the 80s Satanic panic. I cut Stang some Slack in this area; it was a lot easier to be gullible about these things before the Internet.
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castille-Soap Labels
, All-One-God-Faith (p 87) –
Dr. Emmanuel Bronner died fifteen years ago but the company remains in the hands of his family, and the soap and its labels are still there, sold in health food stores and other places. Covering every available inch of the space on the label is an overflow of tiny print that remains the closest exposure most people will ever have to quality ranting that doesn't come from a preacher. A sample: "Love is like a willful bird, do you want it? It flies away! Yet, when you least expect its bliss, it turns around and it's here to stay! For centuries man struggles, half-asleep, half-living! Small, jealous, bickering with mountains of red tape! To be awakened the night God chose giving His great reward for hard work, the Moral ABC-unity-ecstasy-love evolving man above the ape!" The sentiment isn't bad, but the meter could use a little work. High Weirdness By Web had links to their famous ranty labels, but that link broke. You can find them here, now
It's easy to laugh at the earnestness and the ranty labels, but this page
claims remarkably enlightened employment practices. If these are kooks then maybe I don't want to be normal.
Health and Self-Improvement
Not a lot to write about here.
A Small Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness
, The Remain Intact "ORGAN"ization (p 99) – one man ranting against circumcision. A late-breaking notice informs us that shortly before the book went to print the guy was busted for child pornography, apparently on the basis of a photograph sent out in the newsletter.
Safe Water Foundation
(p 100) – Believes fluoride is poisoning our children. Stang seems credulous on this, but I suppose it's hard to make it through writing a book of hundreds of kooks without falling victim to some of it yourself. Tracking them down is made difficult by the existence of multiple groups going by similar names, some of which being ordinary civic water safety organizations. There certainly are still anti-fluroride groups out there, though.
The SECRET to luck! Your PERSONAL lottery numbers! Get RICH through pyramid and ponzi schemes! An endless topic, Stang includes only a sample.
J. A. Keel
(p 104) – This guy purports to know The Answer to making get-rich-quick-in-mail-order schemes work. "You've tried multi-level
and your 'programs' have died at the second level. What happened to the $50,000 you were supposed to collect?" What indeed. This guy also wrote UFO tracts, including The Mothman Prophecies
, yes the source for the movie, so I guess he found a way to cash in eventually. He died in 2009.
Universal Life Church
(p 107) – Here Stang states these guys got started as a tax dodge, ordaining anyone who sent them three bucks, but the IRS put a stop to that. They'll still around, and their site
looks a lot more respectable now. Get ordained by these folk and perform marriages for your friends! Endless fun at parties!
(p 108) – Claimed to know how to abolish bad luck. His ad lists the "natural names of bad luck": Tormo
, Booka No. 1
and Booka No. 2
. A Google search for "Tormo Kousa Booka"
turns up four hits, all of them random lists of words, so I think it's safe to say that the Professor's legacy doesn't extend online.
Cosmic Hippie Drug-Brother Stuff
Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert
, Venom Press (p 126) – Sent out details by mail on how to get hopped up on frog. His tract is available on the web
. I claim no responsibility for its use. Here's an aside for you. SubGenius priest Dr. Hal did a bit on SubGenius radio program Hour Of Slack
about tracking this toad down in the desert.
(p 130) – Is this a weird place to hide the entry on Discordians? Maybe not. Yes, it's the other random parody religion that existed before Pastafarians! Here's a website
. It has a Donate button, be sure to send money in the only denomination they accept: live crickets. The text of holy book Principa Discordia is on the site
Respectable Weird Publications
(p 134) – Not only are they still around but they're a full-on magazine now
, with a website any everything. Scribd has scans of a number of back issues
of this periodic dissemination of weird news.
The Skeptical Inquirer
(p 145) – The "official journal for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry." My heroes. They're still around, and in fact they can be bought off the magazine racks of chain bookstores, which is more than I can say for most of these guys. Their site
has the text of some of their magazine articles. Stang calls them a wise investment, and I'd tend to agree.
Weekly World News
(p 149) – Yes. THEM
. Back in 1988 they tried to play it straighter, but they were still the irrepressible purveyor of imposible oddities they are today. Now they're a section of the much-less-whimsical, much-more-slimy Sun , unfortunately.
(p 149) – The very same organization that recently reported an Onion story as fact
. Stang describes them as Party-approved, and they're still pretty much a governmental organ. They do have an English language edition, with a website
, just like its Western competitors. Well, maybe not just
like them: a recent article is headlined "Modern Dance Pushes Frontier of Nakedness
Religion vs. Religion
People arguing about which religion is the right one, if any of them are. One of the best things about this section is the entry headings named after monster movies, some of which would be, shall we say, familiar
to fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
(p 152) – A group to help people break away from dependence on organized religion, although their emphasis seemed to be on televangelists. Co-founder Jim Luce discusses his experiences founding the group on the Huffington Post
. From that article: "One woman who soon called us told us an unbelievable story, which turned out to be typical. She was financially unable to give, but was led to believe it was "God's Will" that she keep giving to a TV evangelist." HWBM informs us that when it was printed, FA held seminars that cost $185 a seat, which seems a bit contrary in message, but they also sponsored local support groups. The end of the article uses the past tense when referring to the group so I assume it no longer exists. I wonder what happened. Also-founder Richard Yao ran an old Wordpress blog
has a post
on it claiming fairly breathlessly that it "was cut short and crushed by the Pharaohs of the Religious Right." I don't seem to remember Falwell and company having that
kind of power. Apparently they had their own twelve steps
. If you actually are trying to leave the flock now, the site Leaving Christianity
might have some information of use to you.
Saints Alive In Jesus
(p 154) – Christians complaining that Mormons aren't
Christians. They're still around
. They're also not on speaking terms with Freemasons, and have since picked up an additional bugaboo: Muslims. Mitt Romney's nomination has driven these guys crazy, publishing articles on their site with titles like "Does Mitt Romney Really Believe he will become an actual god?
" and "Mitt Romney: Christian or Cultist?
(p 155) – Newsletter about the creationists' efforts to get their dogma taught in schools. Ha! Ha! Like that could ever happen. (GLARE)
It's difficult to Google for these guys because of their generic name. The group in the book is against
teaching Creationism in school, so any site going by that name that's for that isn't the same guys.
The weird politics sections are a high point of the book. I could have covered every one of these fist-shaking ranters, but I don't want to steal quite that
much of Stang's thunder.
(p 160) – Imagine the kind of mind that would invent that pun. Does it suggest mental trauma to you? If it does you win a prize (see mgmnt), because you're correct! Apparently he suffered a traumatic head injury in World War II, causing him to discard some preconceived notions – such as all the things the important people in the media have told us are essential. With the financial meltdown still looming in everyone's memory, I can't help but think maybe Brainbeau might have had something. Stang identifies him as the source of a variety of small ads in the back of various publications, all addressed to the same P.O. Box. He didn't sell anything; he just wrote to people. He sent them collections of his ads! A fascinating figure. Donny Kossy, former maintainer of the website The Kooks Museum
(Wayback link) and author of Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief kept a page on him
, (p 166) – Bookstore, now an online bookstore
, which appears to mostly sell survivalist, weapons and military manuals. (Although they do carry a book called "Emergency Dentistry Handbook
The Territorial Herald
(p 170) – Some folks declared their house as seceded from the Union and put out a newsletter. It seems like they morphed into The Thought
. They're still around! There's a bunch of other weird stuff on their site too
. (Honestly, at this point I've been working on this post for weeks, and my brain is about dried out. Mr. Show had an episode on this kind of thing. Here was the intro to it
. Go watch that and pretend I said something funny.)
(p 175) – Has it really been so long since Iran-Contra? The world found out about it November 1986. Like Watergate, it threw the kook world into a tizzy, because it made a lot of weird ideas seem a lot more plausible. I think that, ultimately, may be the worst thing about these kinds of scandals; they make us all feel like suckers for thinking our leaders have even an ounce of shame, that they're just using the idea of decorum as a shield to deflect blame. "Of course he'd never do that, he's the President
." Sure he wouldn't; how could you even think
that could happen? That's why we have 9-11 Truthers and people who think the moon landing was faked, you know. (There are no moon landing disbelievers anywhere in the book, by the way, that's a fairly recent brand of lunacy.) There are two groups listed under this heading. Citizen Alert is difficult to Google for, maybe they're related to Public Citizen
. Christic Institute is defunct; it has a Wikipedia page
. The Romero Institute
claims to be its successor.
(p 176) – Not only are they still around, but they're on the magazine shelf of chain bookstores. They have a website, yeah
. They're not particularly forgotten though.
(p 177) – It was a newsletter on shortwave propaganda broadcasts. Four issues survive in PDF form here
, found on this page
. The site has some more information on these broadcasts here
The National Reporter
(p 179) – Formerly called CounterSpy, was basically a watch letter on the activities of the CIA. Has a Wikipedia page under its old name
(p 188) – The word "resistance" here means draft
resistance, as in, if you got picked for military service and didn't want to go. Vietnam pretty much destroyed the will of the average able-bodied citizen to participate in our nation's periodic overseas adventures, but it was close enough in people's memories in the late 80s that some folk prepared for the event they'd get drawn out of the fishbowl. Stand notes that he was saved from the draft by flat feet. If it happened to me it'd probably be something along the lines of gross physical unsuitability. If another legitimate war came along, I wonder if our nation's youth would rouse themselves for the occasion, or has decades of whimsical invasions destroyed their ability to give a damn.
(p 189) – Paul Krassner puts humorous left-wing spin on current events. Sort of like The Daily Show
, except oops, actually
left wing instead of just derided as such by the people targeted. He's still alive and kicking
(NSFW). As the site reminds us, The Realist
published the "Disneyland Memorial Orgy" drawing. The whole run of the newsletter, all 146 issues from 1958 to 2001, is up at www.ep.tc
, readable one huge scan image at a time. As we've seen, the web isn't forever, so get 'em while they last.
Freedom Fighter's Manual by the CIA
, Grove Press, Inc. (p 189) – Claimed to be a copy of a handbook given by the CIA to freedom fighters in Nicaragua. Contained cartoons (not reproduced in HWBM) illustrating helpful things revolutionaries could do, like putting dirt in gas tanks and leaving the water running overnight in public buildings. It has a Wikipedia page
, and Scribd has the whole thing
, including the instructions at the end on how to make a Molotov Cocktail. Needless to say: NSFW, and don't try this at home, or indeed ever. The Wikipedia page links to a page on CNN's site as a source, but the link is dead. Another link leads to Time.com
, but they're talking about an 89-page booklet, and refuse to reveal more than a couple of paragraphs except to subscribers.
Adventures in Subversion
, Anti-Authoritarians Anonymous (p 192) – A collection of posters edited by the group Anti-Authoritarians Anonymous. Many are made up of repurposed advertising. Predates Adbusters by a few years. The two used copies obtainable through Amazon
go for a hundred bucks! I wasn't able to uncover any examples on the internet.
Groups You Love To Hate - But They Hate You Even More
Some sections are hard to write about, being composed mostly of Yet Another UFO Cult. Sections like this, I have to stop myself from including every entry. Reading them back-to-back like this, even with Ivan Stang's sarcastic comments, weighs heavy upon the soul.
Center for Democratic Renewal
(p 196) – That is, except for this one. I'm not sure why they're here because they fight
hate groups and racists. Stang has only good things to say about them. He finishes with "I sure hope these folks have a few good guard dogs around their homes and offices." Unfortunately they closed up shop in 2008
Spire Christian Comics
, Fleming H. Revell Company (p 196) – Publishers of comics reveling in the kinds of apocalyptic visions now familiar to most people as the basis for the Left Behind
books. Indeed reproduced in the pages of HWBM is the cover of a "comic" version of Hal Lindsey's There's A New World Coming
. (Hal Lindsey wrote what could be considered the predecessor of Left Behind
, The Late, Great Planet Earth
.) Check it out, there's a site with PDFs of some of their output
, including There's A New World Coming
! These were the people behind the infamous "Hansi, The Girl Who Loves The Swastika
. Stang doesn't even mention the Archie (yes, that
Archie) titles Spire put out. Spire is too deep of a hole for me to spelunk in any timely fashion. People collect them to this day. Here's a backgrounder on the line
. Here's a single-post blog about the Archie titles in particular
. Here's some more
(p 197) – I warned you it was coming. Stang says nothing here that isn't all too familiar to most of us now, but in case you don't know, let me puncture your enviable state. Jack Chick makes small comic booklets that churches tend to leave around town randomly for people to pick up, as their way of spreading the word about The Lord. But in Chickland, the Pope is the Anti-Christ, Dungeons & Dragons is a gateway to Hell, and rock music is sung by demon worshippers. If this sounds unlikely to you, let me assure you, people who believe these things do exist, and there are actually millions of them. Stang says "These have probably turned more people off
to Jesus than any other publication." Unfortunately, this does not seem to have been the case. But he is right on this point: "These rank right down there with the craziest Nazi UFO rantings, yet to many ignorant racists these are Truth." Here's the site of Chick Publications
, which immediately confirms a pet theory of mine, that the number of smiling faces on a publication or website is directly proportional to the evil of the publisher. Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds on Jack Chick
. Catholic Answers: The Nightmare World of Jack Chick
. The RationalWiki page on Chick
, Church of the Creator (p 198) – Archive.org retains a copy of Racial Loyalty issue #47
. Site The Nizkor Project
has a history of the organization
from the Anti-Defamation League. According to that site: "Since 1973, the Church of the Creator (COTC) has been a virulently anti-Semitic and racist organization that uses the rhetoric of religion as a flimsy camouflage for the promotion of hate. Its founder and longtime leader. the late Ben Klassen, a far- right political activist in the 1960s, gloried in the concept he fervently and frequently proclaimed as his goal: racial holy war." According to this timeline from the Southern Poverty Law Center
, the history of the group is rife with tension and eventually ended in bloodshed.
(p 199) – Remember these guys? It's surprisingly hard! The entirety of my exposure to them in my life was a throw-away joke in an Airplane!
movie, but Stang talks about them as if everyone knows them. According to Wikipedia
they were waning right around the time the book was being published. They're gone now. It was all a bad dream. The Tea Party isn't their unholy zombie revival trying to consume the brain of the United States. Go back to sleep....
Heirs of the Blessing Cassette Tape List
(p 200) – It's a short entry, so I'm going to reproduce it all for the LULZ: "Cheap cassettes with titles like the following: Hitler's UFO Forces
. Soviet Weather War
. The Bible and Arms
. The Rotten 'Roots' of Jesse Jackson
. Christmas is Baal-worship
. The Dangers of Eating Pork
– plus White Power rock and roll! Typical frothing, drooling 'Identity Christianity' hate rants against the Jews."
Delta Press Ltd.
(p 201) – A catalog of things you can buy to show the world how backwards is your brain. Sold T-shirts, bumper stickers and other standardized forms of right-wing cultural ephemera, all with the kinds of symbols and slogans on them you'd expect from that one guy who's always in the coffee shop using the free Wi-Fi, the back of his computer plastered with them. Don't start up a conversation with him; you'll be here for days
. They sold books too. Are they still around? I don't know; the Delta Press I found Googling only sells books, mostly with a military theme. Unenlightened perhaps but not hateful.
National Socialist Movement
(p 201) – As in, neo-Nazis. Sent out pinup photos of Adolf Hitler. A Google search reveals a group by that name still exists and is active, but I have no way of knowing if it's really them. Because of that, I'm not linking to them. (Actually I was debating not linking to them anyway, and am glad for the excuse. Because they're neo-Nazis
and other LaRouche booklets (p 201) – I actually don't know that much about Lyndon LaRouche. Let me go check real quick. (~ time between writing that and the next sentence: two days ~) Huh, that's weird. Lyndon LaRouche is a name I've heard before, but never enough to really know who he is, or care. Once again Wikipedia has the basics
, but it doesn't seem to quite capture the essence of the man when it contains a quote like: "Commentators for The Washington Post and The New York Times have described him as a conspiracy theorist and a political extremist. Some have called him fascist or antisemitic, and a 1979 editorial in the New York Times characterized his movement as a 'cult'. Norman Bailey, formerly with the National Security Council, described LaRouche's staff in 1984 as one of the best private intelligence services in the world, while the Heritage Foundation, a think tank, wrote that he leads 'what may well be one of the strangest political groups in American history.'" Harumph: like the Heritage Foundation has standing to speak on the topic. But it seems to be an accurate call, LaRouche seems to be quite strange, easily strange enough for inclusion in HWBM. Stang mentions them with something like awe. There is one thing keeping your typical Xavier Q. Crackpot from going full-on LaRouche, and that is money
. Kookdom writ large upon the world. He's still alive at the age of 89, and he may be the only person in this entire colon blockage of a post to have his own PAC
, on which site are news headings like "The Experts Agree: Obama is Taking us Straight to Nuclear War" and "LaRouche Denounces "British Propaganda for Babies and Stupid Drunks." His Executive Intelligence Review
publication still sees print, and his organization has a radio show. RationalWiki has a good page on him.
Some folk have commented that his following has some aspects of a cult; they allegedly beat up some number of members of other leftist organizations. Why does anyone listen to this guy?
Front Line News A.L.F. Canada
(p 203) – A.L.F. stands for Animal Liberation Front. More radical than PETA. Images on their site show ninjas cuddling rabbits and puppies. A PDF mission statement flyer
they distribute on their website
states: "The Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.), carries out illegal actions against industries who profit from animal exploitation. These actions most often take the form of liberating live animals (from fur farms, slaughterhouses, etc.) or economic sabotage in the form of property destruction." The same flyer, however, notes that human safety is a priority for them. Well, there they are; as I should hope would be obvious by now, inclusion on this list should by no means imply approval by the author or myself. But Stang notes that at least the cause is just, and so do I.
(p 203) – There are some entries I'd prefer not to echo here, but when Ivan Stang writes "Even my thick skin was ruptured appreciably when I laid eyes on the endless hate diatribes and plans for world conquest by authentic megalomaniac Hillman Holcomb," well, I figure we should listen. Stang goes on for over a page, including several paragraphics of direct quotation. I did web searches on every entry I cover here; the second hit on the one for "christian technocracy" lead to stormfront.org, never a good sign. At least the hits I found mentioned the book was now very hard to find. If you want to know more you're on your own for this one, when I eat something I like to keep it down.
Hate Satire So Close You May Decide There's No Difference
(p 207) – Sells various bits of hate-drenched merchandise, including the tape "Plan For Chaos," which Stang declares with easy hyperbole "perhaps the most disturbing piece of electronic media on the entire planet." With a lead-up like that I couldn't leave this out, even though I have absolutely no desire to experience anything like the audio goatse I imagine this to be. This might have been made with satirical intent. Searching for it on Google is confounded by mixed signals, of a postumous John Wyndam novel with the same title. I don't know if the two are related. The closest match I found was from a e-fanzine
on Jason Scott
's always terrific textfiles.com
– but no, it turns out to be a direct quote of the entry from HWBM. (By the way, if one is looking into the transition from the mail zine scene of the age to the modern internet by way of BBSes, I think textfiles is a fine place to start.)
We've made it through the most soul-defiling parts of the book now. Many of the groups listed here are whimsical parody religions like the SubGeniuses, although with far less attention paid to setting, or books written detailing doctrine, or radio shows advertising the faith. The Pastafarians of 25 years past. Stang is sympathetic with all of these guys. I list what I consider to be the most interesting.
Journal of the Institute of Scientific Santa Clausism
(p 209) – This is included as representative of an entire class of one-joke groups, like the "Church of Beaver Cleaver," the "Association to Save Madonna from Nuclear War," and "The Up Uranus Society." When these groups only spread through the mail they seemed like a big secret, lending them prestige. One of the greatest things the internet did for all of us as a society is juxtapose jokes just like these on a flotilla of sites with web design circa 1993, getting them all the hell out of our systems.
Ladies Against Women
(p 210) – One of the best entries in the book, this organization is a sly, pitch-perfect satire along the lines of Landover Baptist's Betty Bowers. They've been to Phyllis Schlafly rallies and upstaged the star. They sold (sell?) bumper stickers reading things like "ABOLISH THE ENVIRONMENT—IT TAKES UP TOO MUCH SPACE" and "PROTECT THE UNCONCIEVED: SPERMS ARE PEOPLE TOO!" This sadly abbreviated site
might be from them. It seems like they're still around, but mostly off-line. Here's a YouTube video
recording a protest that may be one of their chapters.
International Brotherhood of Old Bastards (IBOB)
– I love the name. High Weirdness By Web identifies this monospaced site
as carrying on for IBOB.
New First Arachnid Church
(p 214) – One of my favorite entries, and one of the few I reprint here in full (words of Stang): "Last remnant of the religion of Great Spiderism. The Great Spider created Himself on a whim, and the universe out of boredom. 'He used to roar with laughter at the wars and break into tears during the famines and plagues.' When you get to heaven, friend, you'll be met by a Huge Black Thing! Believe in Him, or He'll eat you. Send SASE." Unfortunately the First Arachnid Church appears to have disappeared; hopefully they've gone on to a more infested place. Traces of their passing, like molted skin, remain in the comment sections of a dozen disparate websites. This page
on catholiceducation.org seems to take their existence as an indication that "Unfettered spirituality easily leads to unfettered nonsense." Wow. What kind of person would be make insecure due to a religion that worships a giant spider
Shelter Management Textbook
(p 215) – Although in the Funny Clubs section this is a real book, distributed by the Civil Defense folks about how to maintain order in a fallout shelter in the event of nuclear war. You don't have to search your local Office of Civil Defense for it though, it's right here!
, David Reissig, Hitheryon House (p 215) – Stang describes this and other books by Reissig as "Quirky manifestos in a style that's like a combination of H.P. Lovecraft, Poor Richard's Almanac, and the Bible." WANT. Of The Eater Out Of Chaos
Amazon has a single used copy
Nearly everything in this section is wonderful in some way or another. That makes it harder to discuss though, not least of which because I don't want to reproduce that whole part of the book. So, this is only a few arbitrarily selected things. Here we get more to people who would become (or in some cases already were) Ivan Stang's friends and co-conspirators in creating SubGenius art.
Survival Research Videotapes,
Target Video (p 218) – Well you wanted weird art. They sold tapes they made of robots whacking each other and doing weird things – big ol' robots, with maces and big gouts of flame all manner of other accoutrements, set up in parking lots around things like giant Van de Graaff generators, and let them loose to some incomprehensible end. The results were things like this
. And this
. And this. Hamburglar no!
There's a fair bit more on YouTube if you looked for it. They're still around
, Get Stupid
, Journey into the Worlds of Tomorrow
, and (undecipherable title)
, Seth Deitch care of R. Chalfen (p 218) – Works of Dr. Ahmed Fishmonger. Indescribable. Has an extensive section on the SubGenius website
, which I presume reproduce some of his works like Get Stupid, The Empire of Mirage
, The Vanished Nightmare City of the Gods
, 10.-22.-38. Astoria
, Doctor Fishmonger's Armchair Journeys
, and other Very Odd Things. Please take a few moments from your jaded internet journeys and review these bizarre collaged images. I don't think you will be disappointed. Fishmonger also wrote The Ballad of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs
. The name appears to be a pseudonym for Seth Deitch
, brother of underground artist Kim Deitch (who also appears in HWBM) and son to Gene Deitch, animator. (Gene Deitch produced those strangely-animated Czechoslovakian Tom & Jerry cartoons.)
, David Greenberger (p 220) – By turns hilarious and impossibly sad, this magazine, still in print, provides quotes from the inmates of the Duplex Nursing Home. It dampens the levity a bit to recognize that most of these people will probably die in that home, if they haven't already, but I suppose it is a way to remember them. They have a website
, which supplies some quotes, like:
RECIPE: FRENCH TOAST BY BILL LAGASSE
You take a dozen eggs, crack 'em and put 'em in a pan. Half a glass of milk. The slices of bread. The wife is always dependable, nothing she ever does is wrong. Then put it on a hot grill. Wait till it browns, turn it over and cook it on both sides and you got French toast.
KEN EGLIN: That salad is a deadbeat!"
computer programs, Salinon (p 228) – Two programs that strike me, at $99 and $29 respectively, as a tad overpriced for what they did: rearrange phrases randomly. I expect I could probably code up something similar in Python now for free. They were marketed to creative types as a way to jump start inspiration. The current-day over-priced version of this would have to be mind-mapping software. A Google search revealed no place where they are still sold; considering they were on sale in 1988, I expect they're DOS at best. While the software itself may be no more, I note that the telltale traces left by the trademarking of their names persists throughout the web.
– Creator Jim Woodring went on to become a fairly well-known cartoonist and artist. He has a website
and a blog
. This is the guy who created Frank
, the cartoon anthropomorph who has straaange adventures.
Three pages of rantzines, then four
pages labeled "Most Hateful of the Rantzines." Of the seven pages, just a few stand out....
(p 236) – This art 'zine apparently went on for ten years. High Weirdness By Web's link for her succumbed to linkrot, but a bit of Googling revealed that the publisher's name is now Elayne Riggs, she has a blog
, she used to write for ComicMix
, and she and her husband have a site, Soulmate Productions
. She's got Facebook and Twitter accounts too, but I already feel enough like a stalker uncovering the other
Kerry Wendell Thornley
(p 239) – Stang identifies him as "one of the all-time classic ranters," co-author of the Principa Discordia
, and was in the same outfit in the Marines as Lee Harvey Oswald. Life, it seems, destined him for kookdom. He's gone now, but he left behind a long, interesting, spooky memoir
, called Confession to Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK
seems to be a transcript of his testimony before the Warren Commission.
Wigglepig: Meat Market Icons
(p 242) – Horrible disgusting pictures from slaughterhouses and medical journals. I once got exposed to skin disease pictures from medical journals as part of my college job scanning articles to send out over interlibrary loan; that was far more than enough for me, thanks. I made sure to turn Safe Search on "moderate" (yes I am a wimp) and Googled for "wigglepig meat market icons." I only got nine hits. I'm assuming dead and nearly forgotten, maybe for the best.
Less than 100 pages to go! Lots of interesting things on these pages but if I don't make cuts I'll never be finished with this thing. These entries, at least, jumped out at me
. We're through the real kooks now and, though still quite weird, the remaining guys are mostly people and groups Ivan Stang wanted to send shout-outs to.
, Last Gasp Eco-Funnies – Right off the bat we get Weirdo
, founded by R. Crumb! Words of Stang: "Where Heavy Metal
offers fashionable graphics, Weirdo
offers the exact opposite and is really more interesting." Its Wikipedia page
has a list of contributors, many names appearing elsewhere in HWBM. Crumb's website has a small page
on Weirdo, and the comic timeline
on the site has every cover, although at small size. (very
Mystery of the Wolverine Woo-Bait
, Joe Coleman (p 245) – Stang says it's "One of the most grotesque graphic novels ever perpetrated[...]." He also mentions Coleman working on a videotape compilation of "live performances," which include biting heads off of animals. Yeah, statements like that make me feel pink
, so I don't think I'll be jumping off of that particular diving board today. Fantagraphics republished this in 2004
but has sold out. They said: "Like a painted glass that's splintered into a million different pieces, the mystery is a complex story with things happening simultaneously and characters appearing and reappearing in different time periods or contexts than one would expect. Throughout it all, each page is intricately crafted as a seductive and single unit, making this an incredible art object as well as a brilliant comic book."
, Aardvark-Vanaheim (p 249) – A comic created by Bob Burden, it's about a man who read 5,000 comic books in a single sitting and suffered BRAIN DAMAGE, emerging thereafter as The Flaming Carrot! Champion of Justice! Master of Adventure! Dreadnought of Chicanery!
Oh god oh god, it is the funniest thing going. A superhero with no powers except his incredible madness. His costume consists of a six-food-tall carrot "mask" with flame spouting out the top, a utility belt containing things like silly putty and a yo-yo, and green flippers on his feet "in case he has to swim." Women love him, for some unknowable reason. He fights foes like a dead dog (it levitates around, hissing at people and eating mail), an army of Hitler's cloned feet, and Don Whiskerando, an insane hobo who can fly because he hasn't slept in 40 years. Flaming Carrot was a star of the indie comics scene of the late 80s-early 90s. The Tick is great, yes, but it came out long after The Carrot, and he still seems to have a few surviving brain cells. Recently reanimated by Dark Horse Comics, but new issues are sparse. There is an official website
, which among other things now hosts a narrated, visual version of the introduction quoted above. (Bob Burden is often at DragonCon. He's pretty great! He hands out these little scraps of paper with weird secrets printed on them, and asks that you hide them in random places for people to find. That's authentic kook behavior, but in the best possible way!)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
, Warner Books (p 251) – Well, it was 1988. Stang's praise is breathless: "[...]compromising one of the most gripping sagas in comics or any kind of literature!
" Emphasis his. I can't help but think this was just an excuse of his to include something he liked, as there's no need to mail DC $13 for it, you could get the compilation from bookstores for that much. You probably can still get it there, though you can expect to pay more now. (As far as Frank Miller Batman goes, I prefer Year One
, Harvey Pekar (p 253) – Stang: "It took the mainstream fifteen years to notice this one. Always does...." I don't actually know enough about this to say anything you'd find interesting, so I'll leave you with the American Spendor Wikipedia page
, The Toonopedia page
, and The Pekar Project
, Oh, and there was some movie or other about it a few years ago. By the way, Pekar died in 2010; he kept writing his comic up to 2008.
Great Badfilm and Sleaze
SubGenius sacrament holds the viewing of bad movies as a religious experience, a type of "bulldada." It's worth noting that Mystery Science Theater 3000, which did a lot to further the "apprecation" of these movies, began on Minnesota station KTMA in 1988.
Zontar, the Magazine From Venus
, Jan Johnson (p 256) – Named for Larry Buchanan's horrible remake of It Conquered The World. (Larry Buchanan directed MSTed movie Attack Of The The Eye Creatures – "You see folks, they just didn't care" – and
It Conquered The World, with its evil mind-controlling carrot monster and its mad scientist assistant Lee Van Cleef.) The newsletter is gone but its memory is preserved in a website
, which offers issue 9 as a download and claims other issues will be made available later.
The Couch Potatoes
(p 257) – A club devoted to TV watching. It had a newsletter, "The Tuber's Voice." The website The Potato Museum has a page delineating the history of the term "couch potato," and states that it was inspired by the club. It also has an image of the title heading of an issue of the newsletter. Editing, illustrating and publishing the newsletter is listed on a resume on this website
; it might prove to be a good place to look for more information. Also according to the resume, he played accordion for the band "R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders."
Wyvern Web Graphics
(p 257) – Why is this mail order tape place listed? Because it was an early outlet in the United States for anime, or "Japanimation," a term that didn't catch on, thank god. "Japanese animated films comprise a formidable new genre of psychedelia that American cult audiences have only begun to bootleg!" They're still watching them, and they're still bootlegging them, using breathtaking new forms of bootlegging incomprehensible to an 80s fan. Back in 1988 anime, to most American fans, was Akira, Robotech, some dubbed discount tapes like Unico, and a smattering of other things. Sometimes incredibly disturbing things
. Even Ranma 1/2 hadn't yet aired on Japanese television back then.
Incredibly Strange Films
(p 258) – The foremost book on badfilm (Stang's word) is probably The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film
, a book I have not yet had the chance to read. But second place goes to Incredibly Strange Films
, a book of essays on bad movies. You can get it on Amazon, but it's not cheap.... The people who made it have a blog
where they sell books about other strange things they've found.
The Three Stooges Journal
(p 260) – Still around, and apparently still in print! The address has changed since the book was published. You can order back issues
Joe Bob Briggs
(p 262) – He's still around of course, having made a name for himself as "drive-in movie critic." He was a syndicated columnist even then, so you didn't have
to write him. Here's his website
The Cassette Revolution
The compact cassette tape
is probably doomed, in the long run, to be seen as 8-Track 2.0 (or maybe 8-Track as Cassettes 1.0), but at the time it was a watershed, a format that allowed users to record their own material and distribute it. It also allowed the easy creation and distribution of bootlegs, which I'm sure added impetus to the development of the CD format. While it lasted it spawned a thriving community of bands that distributed their works to interested people for little cash. HWBM came out just as Compact Discs began to hit it big, and thus came at a time to capture this scene at its height.
(p 270) – A band that has always had a strong relationship with the SubGeniuses. They're still around
, and still fairly popular. They've become vocal opponents to restrictive intellectual property regimes, which instinctively makes me like
them. They have a fairly nice website that deserves to have your dirty feet track all across it.
WSNS (World Satanic Network System)
(p 273) – Had recordings of the last moments of Jonestown. But this page claims to have the story behind the recording
, as well as other recordings of cultists and cult leaders.
The Swinging Love Corpses
, DRUMMOND care of Wilcox (p 273) – Garage band of SubGenius co-founder Philo Drummond. Still around
, and still SubGeniusy, with all that that implies regarding ingenuity, irreverence, and 90s web design.
(p 274) – Would become another SubGenius regular, at the time of HWBM's publication. His taped rants let to the Puzzling Evidence radio show
, still on the air on KPFA out of Berkeley. They have a podcast
for non-local listeners.
G. G. Allin
(p 281) – A rock star who shat on stage & ate it, regularly punched fans at concerts, and knocked his own teeth out with microphones, all while consuming legendary amounts of drugs. Allin isn't listed himself so much as two newsletters devoted to his phenomenon. Allin died in 1993
of an overdose. Stang doesn't speak for or against, limiting his judgement of the man himself to "[…] definitely one of the most disgusting figures in rock today." Even kook connoisseurs have their limits, I suppose.
Rudeness And The War Between The Sexes
Most of this is porn of some type or other. Hey kids, did you know that once pictures of naked people were actually pretty hard to come by? I skip many things here, not wanting to make the post more NSFW than it already is.
The Films of Russ Meyer on Videotape
, RM Films International (p 286) – It's still around, and they still sell the movies over the internet
, although for more money than you'd expect. Russ Meyer is the infamous auteur behind movies like "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", "Mondo Topless," and "Mudhoneys."
A Lewd Spectacle of Wanton Depravity
(p 292) – The entire entry: "A cassette tape for $6. I won't say any more. Just DO IT." That reminds me of happy times, those wonderful, innocent days before I stumbled upon goatse. Pardon me Rev. Stang if I don't just take your word for it. A Google search suggests that it's actually an experimental musical piece by SubGenius band "Doktors 4 'Bob'." I'd actually be more likely to spring money for it knowing that.
(p 299) – These guys, a bookstore and publisher, released many of the other "controversial" works mentioned in the book, and the name appears in many addresses. Unfortunately the store's Wikipedia page
informs us that they went out of business in 2006. Some of their published titles were picked up by Paladin Press
, back on page 166. The site loompanics.com now appears to be a link farm pretending to be a bookstore. Interestingly, Stang warns the reader to patronize the store "before this company gets shut down" because of the dangerous information they peddled. Well his warning was valid, but it didn't get shut down so much as die of natural causes....
(p 300) – Another seller of "non-traditional" literature, like Loompanics. They appear to still be around today
. To be honest I wouldn't put a great deal of the faith of many in the contents of many of these books; the entries in the "Orgone" section (really sex books) range from the slimy to the despicable, and the entries in the "Parallax" section include books like Extreme Islam: Anti-American Propaganda of Muslim Fundamentalism
, Henry Ford's The International Jew
, the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion
, and Best Witness
, the description to which bends over backwards to claim that the author does not
deny the Holocaust.
, Fireside Books, Simon & Schuster (p 303) – There aren't a lot of mainsteam books or anything in HWBM, but this, a series of sarcastic reviews of roadside highway attractions, made it. I think this site
represents a web presence for it. They have an iOS app for it too
, for $2.99, which I suppose is good... but to get the whole country you have to pay another $5.99.
Lor'D Industries, Ltd.
– They sold machines like "psychic generators" and things like that. Sort of like the alternative
Edmund Scientific. They don't seem to have a web presence, but they might
still be around. This page doesn't make it seem promising though
. "Certificate Of Authority Revoked." Yikes.
(p 310) – The "Outfitters of Popular Culture," their catalog is a treat just to flip through. Yes, they do
still print a catalog! You can get it by signing up here
. Or just can just shop through their website
. And, because it's my post and I can include what I want to: here's a link to the nefarious devil duckie
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
(p 311) – The artist from the hot rod scene of the 60s was still around in 1988. He didn't make it past 2001, though. When he died, a freaky, bug-eyed, tongue-lolling, monster-shaped light went out of the world. You can be sure he went to Hell, but it was the one with hordes of sexy devil girls, and he calls it heaven. Here's the merch site run by his wife
The Great Kook-Finders
The Amazing Colossal Mindblaster
, Remote Control (p 314) – Very little of this publication seems to remain on the web. YouTube has a three-part recorded (off a tape recorder) interview from them with Robert Anton Wilson, which nearly all searches for "Amazing Colossal Mindblaster" turns up: Part 1
– Part 2
– Part 3
, Mike Gunderloy (p 316) – Inspired by kook listings in the SubGenius publication The Stark Fist of Removal
, at its height this magazine published thousands of addresses allowing zines to communicate with each other. More information can be found on the Factsheet Five Wikipedia page
. Some more information can be found on ZineWiki
. Its history is complex, but the last issue was published in 1998. The page at www.factsheet5.org
is linked from the SubGenius High Weirdness By Web page, but only ever had four posts. Gunderloy's booklet "Why Publish?" can be found in PDF form here
Off The Deep End
, Tim Cridland (p 317) – Publisher Tim Cridland appears to have written for website The Hollow Earth Insider
for a while. His name appears in this page about trepanning
. Do you know what trepanning is? You really don't want to. SCHLORP. This may be the same guy, calling himself Zamora.
The Stark Fist of Removal
, SubGenius Foundation (p 320) – Many of the entries in HWBM were originally printed in this, their yearly newsletter. According to Ivan Stang, Mike Gunderloy was inspired to create Factsheet Five by early Stark Fists. It's no longer printed sadly. There are some web versions, this one
dated 2004-2010. Here's an earlier one
(NSFW) that has tons of content, but hasn't been updated since 2002. The web design is circa 1995, right down to the animated GIFs.
, Waves Forest (p 323) – Didn't find anything from this magazine, but Stang calls Forest a "Robin Hood of suppressed data," and devotes several pages at the back of his book to his theories, which are about what you'd expect. Textfiles hosts an incomplete issue
of Forest's "Now What." Here's an article by Forest (apparently reproduced without permisssion) on stopcancer.com
. Forest was (is?) a proponent of "hyper-oxygenation" as a panacea that supposedly cures AIDS and cancer. I hate to think of sufferers who read that and saw it as providing hope, only to be cruelly let down later. It is a sour note on which to end a book of kooks, reminding us that even supposedly-harmless kooky beliefs might seem funny to us, but they can cause real hurt in the world if we let them.
Previously on Metafilter: Stang's Life Cycle of the Martian Peenworm
And we're done! It took me weeks
to compile this thing. Tune in next time when I'll cover The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film
, probably followed in short order by me swallowing broken glass! Buh-bye!