Conspiracy Theories

Collecting Discord

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Adam Gorightly's blog Historia Discordia is devoted to the Discordians, a gang of anti-authoritarian pranksters who, among other activities, seeded the press of the 1960s and '70s with hoax articles blaming the Illuminati for the world's evils. Gorightly has posted a trove of ephemera from the Discordians' glory days, ranging from a membership card in the John Dillinger Died for You Society to a 1970 Playboy story.

The Playboy piece is unsigned but was probably written by Robert Anton Wilson and/or Robert Shea, two Discordians who were editors at the magazine and who would later produce the cult novel Illuminatus! The article claims that a libertarian "corporate commune" called "Mad Dog, Inc." plans "to buy a small town," where it will "endorse gambling, saloons, prostitution, marijuana, dueling, spitting in public, lascivious carriage, cohabitation and every other wholesome vice known to modern man." All untrue, but who knows how many readers thought otherwise? —Jesse Walker