The Lurid Underground of the Book World

Adam Parfrey Meets the Satanist’s Daughter

Stanton LaVey’s Wild Memories

by Paul Hunt

Adam Parfrey with his beloved dog

The book business is by and large fairly tranquil, interrupted once in a while by some scandalous behavior revealed in a movie star’s biography, or a shocking new novel of life on the seedy streets of Los Angeles. The recent death of popular culture publisher Adam Parfrey has brought out some interesting and lurid memories of Los Angeles’ Bad Boy. Stanton LaVey, grandson of Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, has just published a memoir of his dealings with Adam, titled The Man Who Sold The World- My Times With Adam Parfrey.

Stanton’s memoirs of Adam sort of begin when Adam was visiting Stanton’s mother Zeena in Los Angeles in 1988. Adam was re-issuing Anton LaVey’s book “The Compleat Witch, What to do when Virtue Fails,” with a new title “The Satanic Witch.” He had asked Zeena to write the introduction to the new publication. With Adam visiting Zeena at night they began to do things loudly in all night failed virtue routines, causing Stanton to have to turn the volume all the way up on his television to drown out the sounds of “moaning and creaking of the box springs against my bedroom wall.”  His entertaining article goes on to mention his interaction with other pop culture icons, Boyd Rice, Nick Bougas, Nikolas Schreck, Richard Lamparski, Crispin Glover, Zeena LaVey, Radio Werewolf, and of course his Satanist grandfather Anton. His dealings with Adam Parfrey span years and cover Stanton’s days as a bookseller.

Sometime around 2000 Stanton opened a book shop on the Sunset Strip, just west of Gardner Street, a block from the famous Guitar Center. He called it The ODIUM. Filmmaker John Aes-Nihil, Stanton’s friend, and noted chronicler of the Manson Family, called me to help accumulate some shelving and showcases. John supplied a truckload of video to help stock the shop. Stanton made a deal with Adam to sell “returns” of his Feral House book inventory. The shop was painted and decorated in bright red from floor to ceiling, the main room portraying what a bookstore in Hell would be like. The stock consisted of books, CDs, Video and DVDs on every form of underground Kulture, Satanism, Serial Killers, Charles Manson Family materials, Music, Magick, the strange, the unusual, the esoteric. There was nothing like it in the entire world.

John Aes-Nihil with Debra Tate at the launch of her book on Sharon Tate.  Photo by Julie  Webster

 

Adam Parfrey made an especially interesting presentation there one night. He had returned from a trip to Indonesia and had brought with him posters, books, t-shirts and other memorabilia that glorified Osama Bin Laden. This material he later put into a book called Extreme Islam, which was certainly spot on for the time period. He pointed out in his lecture how the Muslims in Indonesia considered Bin Laden to be a great hero and his support and adulation was huge in that country. Stanton had an off duty LAPD cop and heavy security as a publicity stunt out on the street in front of the shop, but in fact there was a possibility of some Islamic extremists to try something nasty. Think, an American Satanic leaning bookstore scorching the Muslim warrior Bin Laden. Sure to rile the vile in the radical world. The presentation was a big success for Stanton, a packed house, some sales and a boost to Adam’s creds as L.A.’s up and coming troublemaker, even on the international scene.

Adam’s book on Extreme Islam

The thread of history leading up to that moment of time on Sunset Boulevard at The ODIUM is an interesting one. None other than Ted Gunderson, head of the Los Angeles F.B.I. Office, revealed that the CIA and top administration officials had brought Bin Laden to Southern California to raise funds for the Jihadists in Afghanistan as they battled the Soviets. Gunderson was in a meeting that was meant to introduce Bin Laden, under the cover name of “Tim Ossman” (get it – OSS Man) to Southern California law enforcement leaders. The CIA wanted them to know that Bin Laden was “our guy” and to leave him alone in his fund raising to arm the Jihadists. His Al-qaeda group was named by the CIA and meant “the Base”, referring to their database of fighters they had enlisted in their secret war in the mountains of Afghanistan.

We are a long way from that night at The ODIUM, when Adam Parfrey sounded the alarm about “radical Islam”. The United States is still there waging war. We long ago dumped our “friend and surrogate” Bin Laden, making him a boogie man as an excuse to invade Iraq, and finally assassinating him (if you believe the Pentagon’s raid story.) History and time move on. Parfrey is gone, Gunderson is gone (2011), Bin Laden gone, the mighty Soviet Empire is gone, The ODIUM long gone. Only the Pentagon, the very symbol of Satan, and it’s vast armies are still there, bombing hospitals and wedding parties, killing civilians, fighting new enemies and “terrorists” on the same blood-soaked territory many years later. Is this all the intense drama of an ongoing Occult War? Or is the U.S. just stuck in a groove, unable to move as the record spins around the turntable of the Gods, until someone, or something, gives the armature a little flick?

Stanton LaVey’s funny, articulate, lurid article on Adam Parfrey can be read on his website BaphometX.com, click here to enjoy the memories.

Also check out John Aes-Nihil’s site click here.

Stanton LaVey and Paul Hunt.  Photo by Julie Webster

The Mysterious Bookbinder Who Roamed Hollywood Blvd Looking For Tattered Tomes.

Robert G. Cowan:  An Extraordinary Life in the Shadows of History

by

Paul Hunt

The Mysterious Book Binder

Hanging around the old Atlantis Book Shop in Hollywood in the 1970s was the first time I heard about an old bookbinder who came into Hollywood once a week and made the rounds to the book shops and picked up books that needed repair and dropped off the finished books from the previous week. “ Doc” Burroughs, the owner of Atlantis, told me his name was “old man Cowan.” He repaired a lot of books for Atlantis. The repair jobs were always distinctive because Cowan often used wallpaper for end-paper, which was colorful but looked down upon by the rare book dealers who pointed out that wallpaper was usually made from wood pulp and highly acidic.

The reason Cowan had so much business was that he was really reasonable and his repairs were sturdy and lasting. Because he was around doing this he saved thousands of books from being tossed out. Every book dealer runs across books that have a detached cover, or weak hinges, or a missing end paper. A normal book bindery or hand bindery would charge something like $75 on up at that time to do a proper repair. Cowan would do it for $3-$5 dollars on average. He had his own methods to tackle some of the jobs that needed to be completely re-sewn. His technique was similar to that of William Hawley, the orientalist who published “Culture Charts” on Samurai Swords and Japanese language and dealt in books on Japan and China. Hawley lived in a house on a hill in the Silverlake district and it had about 100 steps to get up to it. I went there many times to buy his “Culture Charts” that I sold at the swap meets and military shows. In the basement of the house was a bindery, and he explained how he repaired books without using a sewing frame. I will save the general reader boredom and not go into detail on this.

Mr. Cowan used a similar technique to avoid actually having to sew the books. Between the time that I met Hawley in the early 1970s and the time I met Cowan in the 1980s I had been to UCLA’s bookbinding school for a couple semesters and learned the proper way to bind books. The teacher was the great Margaret Leckie, an internationally recognized rare book binder. Any thoughts I had of becoming a book binder vanished while taking that course. It requires so much time to sew and rebind a book that making a living at it seemed impossible to me. A few of the students were sent to the school by the Getty to learn how to bind and repair books because they had the income to hire and train folks to maintain their massive collections. Unless one can become a master book binder in order to work only on rare and expensive books, it is impossible to make a living repairing $10 and $20 dollar books for book dealers. Although I decided not to pursue the trade of binding, I learned a lot, and by the time I finally met Cowan I had a grateful respect for what he was doing, although at times wincing at the wallpaper he used for end paper.

 

Bill Chase, Manager of Gilbert’s Book Shop

Robert G. Cowan was really a character, a one of a kind man who had done many things in life. I greatly admired him and was very fond of him. I finally met him in the mid-1980’s. I got his phone number from Bill Chase, who was working for me at that time. The glory days of Hollywood Boulevard were almost gone, and shops were closing up or moving to Westwood. Bill Chase had run Gilbert’s Book Shop at Hollywood and Vine. This was formerly known as Satyr books, and was around the corner on Vine Street and I think this was run by Stanley Rose. When Rose moved to Hollywood Blvd next to Musso and Franks, Mr. Gilbert took over the store and later moved around the corner on to Hollywood Blvd. just east of Vine Street.

Gilbert was married to one of Edgar Rice Burroughts daughters, and had an extensive collection of rare Tarzan books. Unfortunately a fire at his home did a lot of damage to his books, including the Tarzan books, and he sent boxes of them to Cowan to repair. Cowan had by then (mid-1980s) stopped his weekly trips to Hollywood Blvd to pick up and drop off books. He was doing that in his 80s, but as he approached 90 years old he would no longer drive, so if you wanted some books repaired you had to find him in his house in the steep hills of Silverlake. When I finally connected with him he was still repairing the damaged books for Gilbert, a time consuming job because many of the books were really badly damaged from the fire and the water used to put out the fire. I could see trying to save some of the rare Burroughs titles but many of the books Gilbert had sent to Cowan were very common books, and not worth fixing. However, it was job security for Cowan, who had a nice bindery set up in the basement of his hillside home.

Robert G. Cowan at work in his bindery, 1985. Photo by Paul Hunt

I was at the Book Castle at the time, and we got in an enormous amount of books. A fair amount of older books would need some of Cowan’s repair expertise, and I tried to take him a box of books every other week. I had solved the “wallpaper” problem, at least for myself. Back in the 1970s I had an antique store with another guy down in the old Ramparts section of Los Angeles. One day I heard about an old bindery that was going out of business, down near 11th and Rampart, and I went over and bought a fair amount of equipment and tools. I also got a few big rolls of printed end papers with a couple of different designs but mainly blue background with tiny little gold fleur de lis, so I dug these out of storage and gave Cowan a bunch of rolls so that he could put on decent end papers on my books. No more wallpaper for me! The drawback, however was that all my repaired books screamed Vive la France!

Robert Cowan with Ted Miller, Manager of Avon Book Shop, Burbank, CA.

Cowan was reasonable in his pricing. He saved a lot of good books that we could sell that would have otherwise been thrown out. I often took my manager Ted Miller with me to see Cowan, he enjoyed talking to a “living legend” as Ted called him. On other occasions I brought along Western Americana collector John Riordan and also Janet Jarvits who had worked at the Arthur Clarke Company, publishers and booksellers of fine Western Americana. Cowan had been one of the authors of the authoritative “Bibliography of California with his father Robert E. Cowan. There is so much that could be said of Robert E., a famous book man who had a book shop in San Francisco before the terrible earthquake and fire of April 1906. Cowan worked with libraries and books all his life, and his son Robert G. followed much of that. The family lived for years on the William Andrews Clark estate, which later became part of U.C.L.A. The Cowans cataloged the books that Clark had purchased, and were actually private librarians.

William Andrews Clark, Jr

On occasion I was RGC’s guest at meetings of the Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners, a fine group of historians, authors, scholars, educators, and collectors of Western Americana and Californiana. These meetings were held at the famous French restaurant on Sunset Blvd., Taix, established in 1927.

At one point in the late-1980s, Mr. Cowan fell down the outside staircase on his way down to work in his bindery. He was in the hospital for a few weeks, and he was sadly confined to a wheel chair after that. Most people in their 90s would just give up and head for the old folks home. Not Cowan. He was a survivor. He hired a lady to come in a few times a week and help him with household chores. The nice lady was from Belize, and she would often fix a great meal for Mr. Cowan and some house guests he would have over for dinner, drinks, and a lot of fascinating book talk. I was privileged to be invited to a few of those dinners and listen to the stories of his legendary father Robert E. Cowan and his pursuit of rare books around the State.

RGC getting award at the Lummis house in L.A.

I went with Cowan to an event at the Lummis house in downtown Los Angeles. Cowan was in a wheel chair then, but he had a great time. He was given an award by a local history organization, and he showed me around the old adobe house. He later gave me a receipt that his father had written up when Lummis purchased $15 worth of books around 1898. The receipt is signed by Lummis (see photo).

 

Above:  Receipt for books sold to Charles Lummis,  1898.

Robert G. Cowan had a life full of fun and excitement. He was born in San Francisco on December 14, 1895. His father’s side was Scotch. His middle name was Granniss, not a name from Scotland, but interesting as to how he got it. His father, Robert E. Cowan, was acquainted with a Col. George Granniss, who worked for Gen. Grant’s Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck. It seems Halleck had been a partner in one of California’s premier law firms, Halleck, Peachy & Billings. They had handled most of the old land cases in early California days. The firm also did business with the Army. So Halleck ordered Col. Granniss out to San Francisco to close up the law firm, send the appropriate papers to the Army, and dispose of the “civilian” papers that the law firm had accumulated. At one of the dinner parties, Mr. Cowan told me that the files were primary source material for many of the important land transactions of the early days. Col. Granniss gave all these files to Cowan’s father, who later sold them to Collis P. Huntington on behalf of the University of California for something like $3,000. This gave Robert E. Cowan enough money to plunge into the book business, and he gratefully put Col. Granniss’ name on his son. In his book, Foibles, Fun, Flukes and Facts, Mr. Cowan referred to himself as “RGC” to differentiate himself from his famous father, Robert E. Cowan.

Robert E. Cowan, Bookseller and Bibliographer. RGC’s esteemed father.

 

RGC’s aforementioned book goes into great detail about his life in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th Century, including the horrible 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. He spins tales of his life in the bay area during the teens, his experiences at school, at work, and outdoors camping with friends. How different things were in those days. Also included in his autobiography is his diary of his days in World War 1, kept in secret against orders. He served overseas in France with a unit that transported artillery shells to the artillery units during many of the crucial battles that led to the end of the war.

RGC’s Autobiography

After the war, RGC returned to the bay area and worked at several jobs, including the Southern Pacific Railroad. His father, meanwhile, was spending half his time in Southern California, working for William Andrews Clark, Jr as a librarian. In 1926, the Clark Memorial Library was finished and Clark wanted Robert E. Cowan full time. He hired his son, our RGC to move down to Los Angeles and work on the library, so the Cowan family moved all their belongings, including Robert E.’s massive collection of books (2 Bekins Vans full) down to the Clark property, where Robert E. had been assigned a house to live in. RGC and his wife found a small house nearby, and this started his odyssey in Los Angeles.

I have jammed this little article with photos, there is not much on the internet about the life and adventures of Robert G. Cowan, and his wide range of interests. How many folks today would start a new business when they are in their 80s? You have to admire him, scurrying up and down Hollywood Blvd. and building a stable business binding and repairing books for all the Hollywood book dealers. He was an authentic California pioneer of the 20th Century. The first person to shake hands with him when he was a child was the flamboyant Emperor Norton. I was probably one of the last to shake Mr. Cowan’s hand before he passed, age about 98.

Using his autobiography and other material as a guide, I compiled a list of all the houses that RGB build or lived in. What I didn’t know during the time that I personally knew him was that he was the architect on several of his houses, and also the contractor on at least two. He also on one occasion showed me photos of a sailboat that he built in his backyard, he still had all the plans and blueprints neatly rolled up in a cupboard. He built the boat entirely by hand, over a period of years, going through an elaborate process to bend the long pieces of lumber to fit the design. This was done by wetting the boards and bending them a little at a time, until just the right bend angle occurred. He said the Cowan family spent many pleasant hours sailing in the Pacific.

Above:  Paul Hunt and Robert Cowan at the Lummis House in the Mid-1980s.

Out of curiosity, I started a google map search, and much to my surprise, most of the houses in Los Angeles and two of the Victorians in San Francisco, were still standing, although slightly altered in some cases. With my partner Julie Webster, and armed with cameras, we set out on a “RGC House Hunting Safari” to find and photograph the existing houses that Cowan occupied. The results are given below, including the San Francisco Houses that are still standing according to Google maps.

Above:  Robert E. Cowan’s house, 321 (now 3229) 20th St., San Francisco, CA.  This is where Robert G. Cowan was born.  These Victorians are still standing.

Above:  867 Treat Ave., San Francisco.  This became father Robert E. Cowan’s residence around 1899 and also the book shop, which was on the ground floor, (known as the basement in those days.).

Above:  1321 South Redondo Blvd., Los Angeles. Robert G. Cowan lived here from 1927-1942.  RGC was the architect.  Note he used the attic for his books and the skylights are visible on the right hand side of the roof.  This house had 3 bedrooms and one bath.  Current value on Zillo is $1,278,000.

Above:  2151 W. 20th St., Los  Angeles, CA.   This is in the Jefferson Park area.  This is where RGC’s father Robert E. Cowan lived after leaving the Andrews Clark Library.  When he died in 1942, RGC sold the Redondo Blvd. house and moved in here.  The house was packed with books.  His father had the habit of buying books and leaving them wrapped up in the original packaging, so RGC had the fun of opening hundreds of these, finding great treasures.  The house was a huge old craftsman (circa 1911) and RGC lived there until 1950.  It has 5 bedrooms and 3 baths.  Zillo value is over $1,200,000.  It is used by studios for filming often.

Above:  5522 Harcross Drive,  Los Angeles, CA.  Windsor Hills area.  RGC was both architect and contractor.  The large attic was for his books. He built this house in 1949 but was only here for a short time, as he and his wife Georgia separated in 1951.  2 bedrooms, 2 baths, current Zillo value  is above $822,000.

Above:  1650 Redcliffe Drive, Los Angeles CA (Silverlake area).  RGC was the architect and contractor.  He had to raise the roof in order to fit in a massive glass front case that came from the Clark estate.  The bindery was entered on the right at street level.  He lived here from 1952 until his death.  The house was last sold in 1994 for $132,000.  The estimated Zillo value today is over $1,533,000.  This is the house that RGC fell down the front stairs, putting him in a wheelchair.

Above:  The Philharmonic Building.   Demolished 1985.

In 1933 RGC became a partner in a Stamp and Coin business, called La Cal Stamp Co. During the depression years stamp collecting was huge. Within a few months, he was the sole owner. RGC did well, the small shop was near 4th and Main. He later moved into a storefront in the magnificent Philharmonic Building at 5th and Olive. I assume he got that shop because William Andrews Clark, Jr founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic Society and built the building. Sadly, it was demolished around 1985 without much outcry. With the coming of WW2, the country became more affluent, and RGC found it harder to buy collections. His lease on the shop was coming due and because of inflation a large rent increase was coming. He decided wisely that it was time to sell his business, and although he does not give a date in his autobiography, it might have been 1942 around the time his father died. His next business venture was buying up small apartment courts. He eventually had 18 units which he said gave him an adequate income, plus exercise as he did the maintenance himself

.

I have not been able to pin down the exact date of death of RGC. His last house was sold in July of 1994, so I am guessing he died in 1993 or early 1994 (year of the Los Angeles earthquake.) This would make him around 98 years old, a ripe old age. I would note that although I never saw him smoke, he did have a couple of shots or a couple glasses of wine most nights.

He lived to see incredible changes in California. He saw the last of the west, two world wars, and the rise of a modern civilization. He was a down to earth gentleman, and I treasure the time we spent together in his bindery or at his dinner parties. I only wish I had met him much earlier, back in the 1970s when he was a mysterious old guy who roamed Hollywood Blvd. Bookshops looking for tattered books to repair. As I discovered, he was so much more than just an old book binder. He was a Veteran, an Architect, a Contractor, a Bibliographer with his father of the great Bibliography of California, a Bookseller, an Author of several books, a Stamp and Coin Dealer, a Real Estate apartment landlord, a Boat Builder, a Sailor, and an owner of a Model T Ford. The most fascinating man I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

Above:  Robert G.  Cowan at about 90 years old.  Photo by Paul Hunt.

Bucks on the Bookshelf Radio Show June 2, 2018

Host Steve Eisenstein and Paul Hunt Discuss Topics Including:

The Mystery Surrounding The Vanishing Erle Stanley Gardner Museum

Gus Hasford, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

Legal Responsibilities of Book Dealers Who Buy From an Estate

Rare Guest Book From Tokyo Medical Conference in 1905

and much more on this 2 hour show.

This show was recorded from WDBF Tune-In radio.  The show is every Saturday 9am-11am Pacific Time.

Click Here to Listen to the show:

 

FBI Targeted Black Independent Bookstores

The Atlantic Magazine Exposes Massive FBI Operation

A major piece in The Atlantic Magazine, by Joshua Clark Davis, has exposed the FBI’s operations against Black and African-American bookstores.  Launched in 1968 by J. Edgar Hoover, the still mainly secret program sent out squads of Feds to snoop on Black-owned book shops, to find out how “extremist” they were.  To read this entire story CLICK HERE.

The FBI played dirty tricks on the Black Panthers and other Black Power groups.  Hoover sent his men to infiltrate the various groups,  One particular book, by Earl Anthony, called “Spitting in the Wind” tells the story of how the FBI blackmailed him to be an informant, and supplied him with drugs (marijuana) instead of pay.  His job was to spy on the Bllack Panthers.

Mr. Anthony, in his book, also relates how the CIA. worked with the FBI to “turn” the Black Power movement to “Pan-Africanism”.  The CIA wanted to re-focus attention of Black Americans from domestic problems and discrimination and push them to be involved in their African Heritage.  This included recruiting young Black men to fight in various CIA sponsored secret wars in Africa.  To this end, Mr. Anthony was sent to Africa to meet various leaders and provide information on the Pan-African movement. Meanwhile, at home in the US, Pan-Africanism was given a boost,  with many festivals and events that diverted attention from the grinding poverty and cultural problems that were being addressed by The Black Panther Party and other domestic self-help organizations.

This book is fairly scarce, as the publisher was driven out  of business by a lawsuit against another book they had published on the Robert F. Kennedy assassination.

New DVD on Paul Laurence Dunbar at Esowon Bookstore

Brand New DVD 118 minutes
$22.95

“Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask” is a documentary on the life and legacy of the first African American to achieve national fame as a writer.Born to former slaves in Dayton, Ohio, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), is best remembered for his poem, We Wear the Mask” and for lines from “Sympathy” that became the title of Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”  A clip of Angelou reciting Dunbar’s poem on the David Frost Show is featured.

Dunbar’s story is also the story of the African American experience around the turn of the century. The man Abolitionist Frederick Douglass called “The most promising young colored man in America” wrote widely published essays critical of Jim Crow Laws, lynching and what was commonly called “The Negro Problem.”
Yet, to earn a living, Dunbar worked as an elevator boy and wrote poems and stories utilizing “Plantation Dialect.” He also composed songs for Broadway that bordered on blackface minstrelsy.
More than 8 years in the making, “Beyond the Mask” received support from Ohio Humanities and major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is a production of the Central Region Humanities Center based at Ohio University.

Hopefully the DVD will stimulate some of the young folks to grab a book and read his poetry and prose.

Thanks for doing business with us.  Now over 30 years its hard to express how much we appreciate your support.  Now more than ever We at EsoWon think the need for an alternative source of knowledge is needed.  Our books represent some of the finest minds in our Nation’s History and Your continued support of our store keeps good books like these in print.

Sincerely,

James, Tom & Sam
and the loyal friends of EsoWon who help us whenever called upon.

Bucks on the Bookshelf Resumes Broadcast Saturday

WBFI Radio Show on Books and Bookselling Resumes Saturday

Saturdays Pacific Time is 10am to Noon. Steve Eisenstein is the host of this great show for all book people.

Steve says

MY GUEST TODAY IS NO ORDINARY “JOE” His name is Joe Corso. His awards are of olympic proportions. He has written 31 books which resulted in 32 awards. Which translates to a 4 time top 100 best selling author. Want to pick his brain I do, so join us for a great interview Saturday November 25th. For some early details Corsobooks.com

We also will be answering several questions we have received while we were off air the past two weeks. PRIZES WILL BE POSSIBLE TODAY. WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US FOR AN
AFTERNOON OF BOOK TALK. got a question or comment give us a call 1 727 498 0459. It is really nice to be back live Saturday’s were not the same without you.
In the second photo we prove our theory. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH SPACE FOR BOOKS!!

No automatic alt text available.

 

Call in Number:   1 727 498 0459. 

Go To www.WDBFRadio.com

 

The Barnes and Noble Censorship Two-Step Dance To Oblivion Starring Milo Yiannopoulos

The Big Book Chain’s Self-Defeating Censorship Throws Huge Chunks of Cash to Their Dreaded Enemy amazon.com

by Paul Hunt

Sometimes you just have to shake your head in disbelief and wonder just how stupid some of the executives at big corporations can be?.  How did these morons ever rise to their positions?  Why do executive boards continue to pick guys to run a book company who have no experience in the book business?  More importantly, why hire a CEO who has no understanding of the field the company is in?

Barnes and Noble has had a series of mis-steps in the last couple of years.  The previous CEO decided that what was needed was for the bookseller to open up restaurants and bars inside their stores. They thought it would be nice to have folks sipping wine and browsing through the stacks.  A bad idea if there ever was one.  The stores are big on children’s books and young adult books, the last thing they need is a bunch of drunks or tipsy fobs populating the aisles.  They have opened several “test” locations but I think that idea will be a wash out.  The executives behind that bold move were canned and a new crowd brought in.  Things have gotten worse.

The flamboyant Milo Yiannopoulos has a new book out, called Dangerous.  Say what you want about this ever fascinating, outrageous self-promoting and offensive author, but he is a popular guy in some quarters. He was so controversial that a big gang of thugs did major damage to U.C. Berkeley do keep him from speaking.  The home of the Free Speech Movement.  Yeah, right.  No more “free speech” in that neighborhood. Enter the big bookseller Barnes and Noble.  Not to be outdone by the Berkeley street gangs, they have refused to stock Milo’s new book “Dangerous”.  This move of censorship opens a big area of discussion, and disgust with B & N.

How many times have we been down this road?  How many Henry Millers have caused crushing censorship?  How many displays in public libraries across the land to make controversial material available?  How many headline-grabbing legal battles?  How many years has the American Bookseller’s Association put on their famous “Banned Book Week” promo?  Booksellers know why.  It’s in our basic bookselling genes to have available the many different ideas of our culture and in fact all political and cultural ideas put out in books.  So B & N won’t stock the book “Dangerous”  They will “order” it for you, but not actually have it on their shelves. This is the big achievement of the new regime at B & N, censorship by refusing to stock a controversial book, in this case, a book called “Dangerous”.

The word in Wall Street circles is that B & N may be up for sale.  Maybe one of the reasons is that they don’t have anyone leading the company who knows a damned thing about selling books, or the ethics of bookselling, or why booksellers and libraries should have books that are not necessarily “popular”.  So who is reaping the benefits of this lunacy?  Amazon, of course.  “Dangerous” has sold over 100,000 copies online, and is a best seller in many parts of the book world.  The cash is flowing into amazon.com coffers.  Does B & N somehow think that people are going to flood into their stores because they are NOT stocking “Dangerous” ?

Meanwhile, that wild and crazy guy Milo, is putting on one of the best promo campaigns you will ever see.  TV appearances, street guerrilla theater in front of the other sad sack in this case, Simon And Schuster publishers, who pulled out of the book deal with Milo and is now being sued, has lost face, and has lost a small fortune.  Simon and Schuster, now owned by CBS, which also owns Pocket Books, Scribner’s Sons and Athenium, seems to have caught the censorship disease first, even before B & N. The drama goes on every day, with Milo on Facebook, Milo in the News, Milo taking shots at B & N for not stocking the book, Milo dancing in the streets of New York with his followers. Sales of his book get better and bigger.

All of a sudden, the financial analysts and bean counters are trying to figure out if B & N stock is worth more than eight bucks a share.  And oh, BTW, amazon.com is selling for over $1,000 per share. Looks like another brick and mortar headed for boot hill, in this case helped along by their own insane doings.

Conspiracy Dudes, Scary Scientology Green Thetans and Murder Above The Bookstore

Verification Failed -Time Has Expired

by Paul Hunt

Kenn Thomas

This latest mini-adventure started with a Facebook posting by Kenn Thomas, an author of various books on my favorite subject, (after Gnosticism}, which would be conspiracy theories and conspiracy facts. For many years I ran a bookshop called Atlantis Books, which specialized in books on various conspiracies throughout history. We also had a huge video library of tapes covering UFOs, Deep State Politics, Ancient Mysteries, Alternative Medicine, and Alt Politics of all kinds. I had sold a lot of Kenn’s books, so when I ran across his FB postings, I decided to follow him.

Jim Keith

In June, he posted something about Jim Keith, one of the great writers of conspiracy titles. I disagree with some of his conclusions but his books are always fascinating, he was an excellent researcher, going to small town newspaper archives across America and really digging into his subjects. Nowdays, with the internet, so-called researchers never crack open a book or look through newspaper archives. If it’s not on the internet, it doesn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of great information on the net, much of it now being monetized by information companies, but it has made many of the “researchers” lazy beyond belief. Most of the so-called “content creation” that is done for websites is just rehashed from other web sources. Most of the big newspapers and media are also into this, and they have a new twist, called “content curation”, meaning they get someone else’s info and “curate” it by adding a few things and then using it as fill on their own news sites and TV. Hey, it saves a lot of money: fire all the reporters and hire some fast typists who are paid by the job. Get the L.A Times (or fill in the blank) into the profit. Who needs a bunch of rowdy reporters jamming up the news room, turning in expense sheets, and causing law suits and controversy. This detracts from the yellow brick road to profit.

Jim Keith would be disgusted with this kind of behavior. If he were alive, that is. He fell off a stage at Burning Man in 1999, and died in the hospital from a knee injury. There’s a lot of information about his strange death, a healthy guy who spent a lot of time blasting the CIA and the Deep State. Check it out on the internet, it’s too long for this discussion, but there was never a proper investigation into his death that satisfied those who watch the murderious activities of the CIA and the Deep State, those wonderful fellows who run torture prisons around the world and “render” (kidnap) their enemies from anywhere in the world and dump them into hidden prisons in Poland.

So when Kenn Thomas posted something about Jim Keith on Facebook back in June this year, it triggered a memory of an interesting story about Keith. I wrote Thomas and said I would write it up and email it to him. He said OK, but never got it, probably went into his spam folder along with the offers of millions of dollars from the former Treasurer of Nigeria. Here’s the story that I sent to Kenn, who is also a fan of Jim Keith. It is not very flattering, but hey, we were all young once, and the late 60s were drugs and rock and roll, right?

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The Magic Door Bookshop, Pomona

One night, a few years ago, around 9 or 10 pm, I stumbled across an amazing book store in Downtown Pomona. I was with a friend and we immediately parked and went into the place, called The Magic Door. I believe it is still up and running, and has a Facebook page.

Dwain Kaiser

I rummaged around and found a couple of Jim Keith books. The owner, Dwain Kaiser, quizzed me about them, and after some chatter he told me that he had known Jim Keith, and had roomed with him when they were in college. He said a bunch of guys rented a big house and shared it to save money while in college.

Jim Keith was assigned to sleep in an upstairs room. At this time (I’m guessing late 60s) Jim was deep into Scientology, and avidly reading all of Hubbard’s work. During one winter, his upstairs room was really cold, there wasn’t any heat in it. Jim started telling everyone that he was having problems sleeping, and that Hubbard had talked and written about an entity, a big blue – green demon Thetan which was visiting Jim almost every night. He was so distrought that he couldn’t sleep in the room anymore.

He convinced the rest of the tenants to let him sleep downstairs, so he carved out a spot where he slept right next to the warm floor heater. All was well until one day Jim raced off to school, leaving his blankets on the heater. They caught fire filling the house with dense smoke. The Fire Department arrived and put out the fire before it consumed the whole house. While there, they also noticed a lot of pot and other drugs laying around, which they relayed to the police.

A short time later, the Narcs raided the house and arrested everyone for drug possession, except for Jim Keith who was gone on a trip. The guys had to hire lawyers and fought the case but ended up being fined, although I don’t remember if Dwain said any of them had to serve any time in jail. Jim Keith kept a low profile and slipped out of the fracas, which he had totally caused by seeing L.Ron Hubbard’s blue – green Thetan demon and moving downstairs to sleep next to the heater.

You could probably get hold of Dwain to verify this, I hope I got it right, just from memory, I didn’t take any notes. Jim Keith’s blue-green demon may have been caused by drug use, or Scientology mind control, or just an excuse to get downstairs to get warm. We’ll never know, although if caused by drug use it would be nice to know exactly which drug, so as to avoid use under any circumstances. Scientology was vehemently against drug use, so I vote for the warm heater scenario. Knowing that Jim loved Burning Man, I submit that into evidence, also.

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Checking back on my email, I sent Kenn the story at 11:31 a.m. on July 2nd. I told him that he could check with Dwain Kaiser at The Magic Door to verify it and maybe embellish it. Little did I realize that gave Kenn Thomas only about 14 hours to contact Dwain. Since Thomas said he never got the email, the point is moot. Dwain Kaiser was brutally shot to death just after midnight on July 3, 2017.

Dwain Kaiser was a really cool guy. I greatly enjoyed my conversation with him. His store was full of good books, and his wife JoAnne was working with him the night I was there. What a damned shame that he was murdered, evidently by a teen-ager who was living with the Kaisers in the apartment above the Bookstore. If the book store closes it will leave a huge hole in the cultural center of Pomona.

It also left me with a weird feeling. Why did all that pop into my mind just before he was killed? If one of us had called him, would it have changed anything? Change the time-track? Prevent the murder? Dwain Kaiser was big into Science Fiction. He would understand what I’m saying.

So Dwain Kaiser has now gone through another Magic Door, the Door of Mystery and entrance into the Spirit World, where he joins his friends, Jim Keith and Jerry Smith, another former Scientologist and Conspiracy writer.   Maybe the three of them will be able to solve the greatest Mystery to face all humans. Please dudes, if you reach a conclusion, let us know.

Jerry Smith, friend of Jim Keith and Conspiracy Writer

I’m posting some important links below, to Dwain’s website (the store is still open for a while), Jerry Smith’s website and other relevant stuff.  May  all your Thetans be pink and fluffy.

Magic Door Facebook Page:  Click Here

Jerry E. Smith Webpage:  Click Here

Kenn Thomas, Steamshovel Press Click Here

Kenn’s book Trumpocalypse Now!: The Triumph of the Conspiracy Spectacle Paperback is available at amazon.com.

Feral House Publisher: Click Here

Feral House still has Jim Keith’s “Octopus” conspiracy book, as well as some Kenn Thomas titles and many other wild and crazy pop culture, alt culture and conspiracy titles.

Incredible Book Find of Rare Thomas Paine Pamphlets

Felix O’Neill Finds Amazing Treasure at Irish Book Auction.  He Will Be Interviewed on Steve Eisenstein’s Radio Show

Owen Felix O’Neill
Irish Rare Book Dealer

Here’s the original email post from Felix to Steve about this amazing find of rare material:

Hi Steve…I hope all is well with you and family ….all is very well here in Ireland…I thought I would share this with you…I attended a Book Auction in a very rural part of Ireland last weekend, and they were selling 35, 0000 volumes of Books…It was to me Book Heaven…miles and miles of books most of the people who came to see them had no idea about the books…and guess what…I struck gold, there was this single book, very well trashed from the late 18th. century missing its covers and with no spine, I saw it before the auction and I all but had a heart attack, the book was in reality a series of 9 Pamphlets gather together into this book, probably in the late 18th. Century, I pick the book up and looked at the front title page, and I smiled, the first Pamphlet was by Thomas Paine and his signature was to the last page, I looked through the book and counted the Pamphlets, I put the book down, I was very excited, I knew what I saw and had. My notes on the Paine Pamphlets below…of the 9 Pamphlets 2 were by Thomas Paine, another 2 were by Wilberforce, on Slavery in 1790 , 1. on The Laws on British Parliament 1788, and 1 on Arts, Sciences, Agriculture, 1790, 2 more were Poets, Alexander Pope, 1780s and the last was on the Birmingham Riots of 1791..what a find I thought to myself, most of the books about 99% were rubbish, 1 % were interesting, my problem was to look for gold among the muck, and this I did, all my years of accumulation of my book knowledge paid off…I bough a few other books, including 1768 Samuel Johnson’s 8 Volume stunning set of Shakespeare Plays. With no internet bids I only spend one thousand dollars for about 50 books, what a steal….Tell you more when we next speak…enjoy the Summer, say hello to all including you lovely wife….Felix
PS. My details Note below on the two Thomas Paine Pamphlets.
1. Letter to the Addressers, on the late Proclamation, by Thomas Paine
 No Publisher’s name on the Title- Page, but the name of  H.D. Symonds to the last page of ads. So it could also be the elusive Publisher J. S. Jordan, (Jeremiah Samuel Jordan), Jeremiah Samuel Jordan published all his Pamphlet on light blue paper, If so, this is the very  rare and non existence,1st. Edition of “Letter to the Addressers, on the late Proclamation”, by Thomas Paine which has forty pages and was published in London by the Publisher J. S. Jordan of No.166, Fleet-street. also in 1792; however, to the best of my knowledge that 1st. Edition does not exist, but I do think, (more research) this Pamphlet of 42 pages including title-page and the last ad page, bring this Pamphlet to 42 pages is by, Jeremiah Samuel Jordan, he was the Publisher of most of Thomas Paine’s works at the time, as was  H.D. Symonds in Paternoster Row also of London, H.D. Symonds ads would appear on the back page of the Pamphlets by J. S. Jordan, that was normal, they were both friends.
The Printing of Letter to the Addressers, on the late Proclamation, by Thomas Paine, was untaken by both the Publishers Jeremiah Samuel Jordan and H.D. Symonds of London, which would have been the norm at the time, because it would require the printing in excess of 25,000 Pamphlets, a huge job at he time, it also would be one of many other Pamphlets and Books that were printed by both of them. Both printers done other printing for Thomas Paine, both were friends.
Anyway Published in London, in 1792 on very light blue paper by either J. S. Jordan or H.D. Symonds. 1st. Edition thus, original Pamphlet form of 42 pages, very light blue original wrappers within dark green and gold marbled paper wraps as covers. Untrimmed papers which is normal for any Pamphlet or Tract published at the time. Rear very light blue original wrapper with publisher’s advertisements for “Rights of Man” part I and part II,  and other cheap editions of the above works, including the prices by the Publisher’s, H.D. Symonds, in Paternoster Row.
This Pamphlet is Thomas Paine’s reply to the controversy stirred up against both parts of his “Rights of Man” by the “Proclamations and Addresses” in “Corporations and rotten Boroughs” This Pamphlet, in which Paine discusses the reception of the two parts of his Rights of Man and continues his attack on the evils of the English Government, particularly as embodied in the writings and speeches of Mr. Edmund Burke, is essentially a third part of the Rights of Man itself. The late proclamation” refers satirically to the royal proclamation against seditious writings, issued May 21, 1792, and directed particularly against the second part of Paine’s Rights of man. Also this Pamphlet contains the final leaf of advertisements, which is often missing. Thomas Paine corrected the proofs while in Paris and sent them to London for publication to both J. S. Jordan  and H.D. Symonds,  both the Publishers, J. S. Jordan, and H.D. Symonds were prosecuted for publishing this work. “Paine here makes a brazen call for a revolution in England and outlines a plan for calling together a convention for the purpose of reviewing the whole mass of English laws and retaining all worthy ones, while letting the rest drop”
A Pamphlet or Tract is a small booklet or leaflet containing information or arguments about a single subject. A Pamphlet or Tract is also an unbound sheet of paper without a hard-cover or binding It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called aleaflet, or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddled stabled (staples into the spine ) at the crease to make a simple booklet. The pamphlet form of literature has been used for centuries as an economical vehicle for the broad distribution of information. Also due to their low cost and ease of production, Pamphlets have often been used to popularise political or religious ideas. Ephemeral (Pamphlets or Tracts) and to wide array of political or religious perspectives given voice by the format’s ease of production, Pamphlets are prized by many Book Collectors, Research Libraries, Private Institutions such as Universities. Substantial accumulations have been amassed and transferred to ownership of academic Research Libraries around the world. Also Pamphlets or Tracts were printed on scarce paper at the time, so when finished were more often then not used as toilet paper, (toilet paper at the time was non existent,) or also used to start a home fire, so paper Pamphlets or Tracts rarely survived, hence there greater value.
Contemporaneous  notes  hand-written notes to the last blank page, before the final page of ads for other Thomas Paine Books is this, I copied exactly as written….
Line 1.    At Chelmsford Sessions one
Line 2.   Christopher Payne of Saffron Walden
Line 3.    Bookseller was tried for selling
Line 4.    Paine’s Letter to the Addressers
Line 5.    an error in the indictment proved
Line 6.    fatal to the Prosecution and honest
Line 7.    Valiant was acquitted…..
2. Mr Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas by Thomas Paine, 1792
This 1st. Edition, 16 page Pamphlet  was Printed and distributed gratis by the Society for Constitutional Information. The Society for Constitutional Information, which was a British activist group founded in 1780 by Major John Cartwright, to promote parliamentary reform. The Society flourished until 1783, but thereafter made little headway. The organisation actively promoted  Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man” and other radical publications, After the British Government repression and the 1794 Treason Trials in October, in which the leaders were acquitted, the society ceased to meet. The Title-Page has no date but the page after the Title -Page has a printed note
“ At a Meeting of the Society for Constitutional Information, held at the Crown and Anchor, Friday June 15th. 1792. ——Resolve, That Twelve Thousand Copies of Mr. Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas, be printed, for the purpose of being distributed to our Correspondents throughout Great Britain”This very rare Pamphlet has a few Contemporaneous notes hand-written names to the Title -Page, plus Thomas Paine’s name inked in, almost like a signature to the last page, page16, bottom right. The Contemporary hand-written name of John Jones, three times written, as a signature of one,  John Jones, and two dates 1792 and 1799. (maybe Captain John Paul Jones) 1792? and his Son 1799?? A few slight tears but no damage to the text, page 9 and page 10 top centre of the pages.
The 2nd Edition of Mr. Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas by Thomas Paine was published by J. Parsons, London 1792
Major John Cartwright wrote The English Constitution, which outlined his ideas including Government by the people and legal equality which he considered could only be achieved by universal suffrage, the secret ballot and equal electoral districts. He became the main patron of the Radical publisher Thomas Jonathan Wooler, best known for his satirical journal The Black Dwarf, who actively supported Cartwright’s campaigning. Major John Cartwright had sent a copy of The English Constitution to former President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote back to Cartwright in July: “Your age of eighty-four, and mine of eighty-one years, ensure us a speedy meeting. We may then commune at leisure, and more fully, on the good and evil, which in the course of our long lives, we have both witnessed; and in the mean time, I pray you to accept assurances of my high veneration and esteem for your person and character”.
Check out Steve Eisenstein’s “Bucks on the Bookshelf” Radio Show on WDBF Radio:  Click Here for Radio Show
 Saturday 9am-11am Pacific Time
Website of Felix O’Neill, Click Here