posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 09:59 PM
James Shelby Downard has been labelled a "mad genius" who criticized not just "the official story", but the offical way we are all conditioned to
think and reason. King-Kill 33, purportedly by Downard and Michael Hoffman, is often considered one of the foundations of modern occult/secret
society conspiracy theorizing. I remember reading it for the first time when I was 12 or 13 and thinking it was either an elaborate and hilarious
parody or the work of a brilliant madman. It was never convincing, but it was mindtwisting.
The more time has passed, the more I've wondered whether "James Shelby Downard" ever lived. Accounts about his life are sketchy at best, but
that's to be expected given how reclusive and paranoid he was purported to have been. I can't find any documentation of his birth, but again it's
always possible that he changed names, and he was born in an era when record keeping was shoddy anyway. Besides, no one is even sure where he was
born. I find references to an obituary for him, but cannot locate the obituary itself.
I happened to run into Adam Parfrey once at a party we were both attending in Los Angeles, and I said flat out "Hey, man, was James Shelby Downard
even real?" He just said "You know I'm amazed more people don't wonder about that" and changed the subject.
Downard, or whomever used that name, was mesmerizing. At its best, the prose reads like if William S Burroughs wrote The Golden Bough. I just have
to wonder who really wrote the works of James Shelby Downard.
My own view has long been that it was probably a nom de plume for one or more writers with an interest in the esoteric but with no desire to have
their name associated with such experimental and bizarre works. Maybe somebody else out there knows something, though. Secrets, for obvious reasons,
are not easy to keep in the Conspiracy scene. Does anybody have any insight?