|Kerry Wendell Thornley (April 17, 1938â€“November 28, 1998) is known as the co-founder (along with childhood friend Greg Hill) of Discordianism, in
which context he is usually known as Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst or simply Lord Omar. He and Hill authored the religion's seminal text Principia
Discordia, Or, How I Found Goddess, And What I Did To Her When I Found Her.
Thornley was highly active in the countercultural publishing scene, writing for a number of underground magazines and newspapers, and self- publishing
many one-page (or broadsheet) newsletters of his own. One such newsletter called Zenarchy was published in the 1960s under the pen name Ho Chi
Zen. "Zenarchy" is described in the introduction of the collected volume as "the social order which springs from meditation," and "A noncombative,
nonparticipatory, no-politics approach to anarchy intended to get the serious student thinking."
Raised Mormon, in adulthood Kerry shifted his ideological focus frequently, in rivalry with any serious countercultural figure of the 1960s. Atheism,
anarchism, objectivism, autarchism (attended Robert LeFevre's Freedom School), neo-paganism, Buddhism, and the memetic inheritor of
Discordianism, the Church of the Subgenius, were all subject to close conceptual scrutiny throughout his life.
1 Military life
3 Later life and death
4 List of pen names and titles
7 External links
Military lifeHaving already been a US Marine Corps reservist for about two years, Thornley had been summoned to active duty in 1958 at age 20, soon after
completing his freshman year at the University of Southern California. According to Principia Discordia, it was around this time that he and Greg Hillâ€”
alias Malaclypse the Younger or Mal-2â€”shared their first Eristic vision in a bowling alley in their hometown of Whittier, California.
In the spring of 1959, Thornley served for a short time in the same radar operator unit as Lee Harvey Oswald at MCAS El Toro in Santa Ana, California.
Both men had shared a common interest in society, culture, literature and politics, and whenever duty placed them together, had discussed such topics
as George Orwell's famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and the philosophy of Marxism, particularly Oswald's interest in the latter.
While aboard a troopship returning to the United States from duty in Japan (some time after the two men parted ways as a result of routine reassignment),
Thornley read of Oswald's autumn 1959 defection to the Soviet Union in the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
1960sReleased from Marine Corps' active duty in September 1960, Thornley relocated with Greg Hill to New Orleans in early 1961. Here he began to write
about his experiences as a peacetime Marine both stateside and in Asia, in a book which used Lee Harvey Oswald as the template for its main character,
Johnny Shellburn. The aspiring novelist viewed Oswald as the metaphorical embodiment of an intelligent peacetime GI: deeply dissatisfied with the
monolithic, totalitarian structure of military life which stood in distressingly sharp contrast to the professed American ideals of individual liberty and free
Epistle to the ParanoidsIn February 1962 , Thornley completed The Idle Warriors, which has the historical distinction of being the only book written about
Lee Harvey Oswald before Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Due to the serendipitous nature of Thornley's choice of literary subject matter, he was called
to testify before the Warren Commission in Washington DC on May 18, 1964. The Commission subpoenaed a copy of the book and stored it in the
National Archives. In 1965, Thornley published another book titled Oswald, generally defending the "Oswald-as-lone-assassin" conclusion of the Warren
Commission, which met with dismal sales. In his later years, Thornley became convinced that Oswald had in truth been a CIA asset whose purpose was
to ferret out suspected Communist sympathizers serving in the Corps.
In January 1968, New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, certain there had been a New Orleans-based conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy,
subpoenaed Thornley to appear before a grand jury once again, questioning him about his relationship with Oswald and his knowledge of other figures
Garrison believed to be connected to the assassination. Garrison charged Thornley with perjury after Thornley denied that he had been in contact with
Oswald in any manner since 1959. The perjury charge was eventually dropped by Garrison's successor Harry Connick, Sr.
Thornley claimed that, during his initial two-year sojourn in New Orleans, he'd had numerous meetings with two mysterious middle-aged men named
"Gary Kirstein" and "Slim Brooks". According to his account, they had detailed discussions on numerous subjects ranging from the mundane to the exotic,
and bordering sometimes on bizarre. Among these was the subject of how one might assassinate President Kennedy, whose beliefs and policies the
aspiring novelist deeply disliked at the time. Later, the former Marine came to believe that "Gary Kirstein" had in reality been senior CIA officer and future
Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, and "Slim Brooks" to have been Jerry Milton Brooks, a member of the 1960s right-wing activist group, "The
Minutemen". Guy Banister, another Minutemen member in New Orleans, had been accused by Garrison of involvement in the assassination and was
connected to Lee Harvey Oswald through the Fair Play for Cuba Committee leaflet. Thornley also claimed that "Kirstein" and Brooks had accurately
predicted Richard M. Nixon's accession to the presidency six years before it happened, as well as anticipating the rise of the 1960s counterculture and the
subsequent emergence of Charles Manson and what became his cult following. This led Thornley to believe that the US government had somehow been
involved, directly or indirectly, in creating and/or supporting these events, personages and phenomena.
In the wake of this period, Thornley came to believe (among many other things) that he had been a subject of the CIA's LSD experiments in the MK-
ULTRA mind-control research program. While skeptics may dismiss as conspiracy theory some of his later notions â€“ such as having been a product of
occult-based Nazi Vril selective breeding programs â€“ his claims regarding participation in such highly-classified US government mind-control programs
and foreknowledge of the John F. Kennedy assassination are consistent with the time period, his residences, and the nature and locations of his military
Later life and deathFor the next 30 years, Thornley traveled and lived all over the United States and was involved in a variety of activities, ranging from
editing underground newspapers to attending graduate school. He spent most of the remainder of his life in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta,
Georgia, During this time he maintained a free series of fliers titled "Out of Order." This single page, double sided Xeroxed periodical was distributed in
the Little Five Points area. Thornley became increasingly paranoid and distrustful in the wake of his experiences during the 1960s, both by his own
accounts and those of personal acquaintances. For a time Thornley wrote a regular column in the zine Factsheet Five, until editor Mike Gunderloy stopped
publishing the magazine. Struggling with illness in his final days, Kerry Thornley died of cardiac arrest in Atlanta on November 28, 1998, a Saturday, at the
age of 60. The following morning, 23 people attended a Buddhist memorial service in his honor. His body had been cremated and the ashes scattered
over the Pacific Ocean. Shortly before his death, Thornley reportedly said he'd felt "like a tired child home from a very wild circus," a reference to a passage
by Greg Hill from Principia Discordia:
â€œ And so it is that we, as men, do not exist until we do; and then it is that we play with our world of existent things, and order and disorder them, and so
it shall be that Non-existence shall take us back from Existence, and that nameless Spirituality shall return to Void, like a tired child home from a very wild
List of pen names and titlesList of pen names and self-awarded titles provided by Kerry himself on the role of Pope of the Discordian Society in an affidavit
to the California School Employees Association (CSEA), on a legal case concerning a member of the society that refused to join the CSEA alleging that
the Discordian religion forbade him from doing so:
co-founder of the Discordian Society and the Legion of Dynamic Discord thereof and co-author of Principia Discordia
Grand Ballyhoo of Egypt of the Orthodox Discordian Society
Kerry Wendell Thornley, JFK Assassin
Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, President of the Fair-Play-for-Switzerland Committee
Reverend Doctor Jesse Sump, Ancient Abbreviated Calif. of California and Sinister Minister of the First Evangelical and Unrepentant Church of No Faith
Ho Chi Zen (the Fifth Dealy Lama)
Purple Sage, Pope
"I further declare that there is no truth whatsoever to the charge that Kerry Wendell Thornley is a ficiticious (sic) identity created by the Warren Commission
for its own mysterious purposes (Vol. XI, pp. 80+, Commission Exhibits and Testimony)"
There are no fnords on this page. Ignore the fnords Goddess Eris tells you too. Always listen to Goddess Eris. Except when you don't.
|The Unofficially-Official Site of Kerry Wendell Thornley