- This column started out to be about Charles K. Johnson
of Lancaster, California, who died last month at the age 76. Johnson had
served as the president of the Flat Earth Society since 1972. "If
Earth were a ball spinning in space, there would be no up or down,"
he once told Newsweek. His New York Times obit said Johnson
looked at scientists
as "witch doctor" hoaxters trying to put science in the place
of religion. Despite the hollow-earth theory being almost
at, most people to whom I read the "witch doctor" quote said
they agreed with it. Coming off a debate with Martin Cannon that included
some discussion about the religious component of many of the mind-control
speakers out on the circuit, I thought Mr. Johnson, a
provided a good example of one of my points. Without affirming or
his religious beliefs, the passing of this unique individual and with it
virtually the entire "hollow earth" perspective should
as a great loss.
- Then I suffered another great loss with the death of
Ron Bonds, the head of Illuminet Press and the publisher of two
of my books,
Maury Island UFO and Popular Alienation. Ron died by some mysterious means
still not fully understood, perhaps involving food poisoning. Stunned by
the news for days, I finally wrote this note to Timothy Beckley, who was
prominent among the people circulating the news:
- "Tim, I hope I'm not too late in sending a note
about Ron Bonds. Like Jim Keith, I regarded Ron as a close friend and have
been grieving his passing since I heard the news. Also as with Keith, I
am more than a little alarmed at the circumstances. I have been assured
that none of Ron's friends or relatives believe he died as a result of
a "conspiracy", but it seems clear that it was the result of
food poisoning. Keith, as you recall, had an innocuous blood clot.
- I am perfectly willing to accept these mundane
but I am also duty bound to point out the pattern of coincidence in that
neither had their full four score on this earth. We have seen this pattern
in the deaths of many UFO researchers; with witnesses to the
among scientists connected to SDI research; elsewhere. And the people most
interested in doing a full investigation, and not just accepting the word
of hospital and police authorities, for the most part do not have the means
to conduct one.
- Having said all of that, I want to acknowledge the great
role Ron Bonds played in keeping alternative publishing alive in America.
He doesn't need a conspiracy theory about his passing to make him
figure in the conspiracy research community and the information
Ron saw and understood the vast body of writing and knowledge that was
for the most part ignored and marginalized by the newsstands and publishing
houses, and he shaped a career for himself that brought it to more people.
Hey, he published two of my books--Popular Alienation and the current one,
Maury Island UFO! That gained him sainthood right there, that and the
fact that he was more dependable in paying royalties than anyone else in
the small press. Ron also published the late, great Kerry Thornley, Oswald
pal and founder Discordian; he brought John Keel back into full focus to
a new generation and a newer one now with the Mothman movie coming up;
great writers like G. J. Krupey, X. Sharks DeSpot and Matt Love would have
never been published without Ron; "Arch Conspirator" Len Bracken
first appeared for many people in the Gemstone anthology Ron published;
and, of course, he had a long and very successful partnership with my
old bud Jim Keith. Ron Bonds really was a hub of this world, and he will
be missed on more than just the personal level, where he is missed very
- Since then, I have learned many details about Ron's death
but nothing that lifts it out of the fog. He died of massive
of the colin. It is still not certain if the hemorrage had anything to
do with food poisoning. An autopsy was performed; there was no bleeding
ulcer; there is still no official cause of death on a death certificate.
Ron was sent to Grady Hospital in Atlanta, not nearby DeKalb
because it has the best trauma unit. It may take another eight weeks to
get Dr. Henninger, the Fulton County coroner, to issue an official death
record. An inevstigation of the food Ron ate the previous week is under
way, but it is unclear if if other patrons of the Mexican restaurant he
patronized became ill. Ron's wife did become briefly ill also after the
Mexican meal, but that passed quickly.
- All I really know is that I lost another friend and the
alternative press lost another great talent; in fact, it lost a pillar
of its existence. Without a real investigation, nobody knows, and it is
of course utterly contradictory to examine conspiracy in everything and
not to consider it in the lives and deaths of people like Ron.
- At the Dylan concert last week, listening for words from
the bard that would give the circumstances of Ron' death an additional
resonance. They came in the songs "Desolation Row":
- "The only sound that's left After the ambulances
go Is Ciderella sweeping up in Desolation Row..."
- Ron's widow Nancy has now inherited a great business
responsibility. Although she has stopped the IllumiNet web site, she told
me that she will continue processing book orders, individual ones
to the distrubutors, and that IllumiNet will stumble along until
arrangements can be made. Perhaps some shadow of Ron's great publishing
effort will remain--I'd love to take it over myself!--but it's like with
Jim Keith and Charles Johnson: when they're gone, they're gone, and the
earth wobbles less now because the spin they put on it is gone as
- Kenn Thomas Steamshovel Press
- Here's a review of my speaking schedule at the moment.
The next one is this coming weekend. I hope readers in the Chicago area
will take a look and consider coming:
- NEW SCIENCE & ANCIENT WISDOM, May 5-6,
2001; A three-day
gala event in Kempton, Illinois. Guest Speakers David Hatcher Childress:
Atlantis, Ancient Technology & the New Millennium; Christopher Dunn:
The Giza Power Plant, Latest Discoveries; Kenn Thomas: On the Trail of
the Octopus; Acharya S.: Ancient Mystery Schools and the Christ Conspiracy;
Jerry Smith: Tesla Beam Weapons and HAARP; and more discussion between
speakers. The conference will be held at the Adventures Unlimited building
at One Adventure Place in downtown Kempton, Illinois. The One Adventure
Place building houses the Adventures Unlimited Bookstore/Cafe as well as
the catalog sales division and the conference center. Across the street
is the Peppermill Restaurant and Sgt. Pepper's & Grill. Kempton is
located in northern Illinois about 65 miles from Chicago's major airports.
Cost of the Complete Conference: $90 before April 25, 2001, $100
Motels can be found in the nearby towns of Dwight, Kankakee and Pontiac,
Illinois. Call your favorite motel chain for their nearest location in
this area. Call for more information: World Explorers Club Tel:
or Fax: 815-253-6300 or Adventures Unlimited at Tel: 815-253-6390.
- NORTHWEST UFO/PARANORMAL CONFERENCE, May 25-28, 2001:
Seattle, Washington Memorial Day weekend. Doubletree - Seatac, Seattle
Airport. Come Join us for an "Out of this World" Vacation! UFOs,
Bigfoot, Egyptian Lore, Nostradamus, Ancient Manuscripts, Near
Archaeology, Disclosure, New Technologies.
- Speakers in order of appearance: Peter
Anderson, Lloyd Pye, Karena Bryan, Dr. Melvin Morse, Jose Escamilla, Kenn
Thomas, Glenn Kimball, John Hogue, Michael Tsarion, Michael Cremo, Pamela
Stonebrooke, Dr. Heather Harder, Peter Gersten, Dr. Roger Leir, Dr. Nick
Begich. Featuring a Jazz Singing performance by Pamela Stonebrooke (as
heard on Coast to Coast bumper music) and local Northwest group. Quichua
Mashis - authentic music from the Andes.
- ...and if you plan way far ahead, I also will
in the fall at:
- The 38th Annual National UFO Conference, NUFOC, Austin,
Texas, September 14 - 16 2001. Famous Writers / Researchers Present New
Evidence of UFO Reality, Special Events & Workshops; Focus On Balancing
Encounters Research and Experiencer Therapy, After-Dark Saucer Culture
Film-Fest featuring UFO movies, documentaries, film trailers, television
shows and commercials with Special Guests! To be added to the conference
update e-list, please send email to: NUFOC@ELFIS.NET .
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