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23 Skidoo: Goodbye Robert Anton Wilson

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 11th, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson

My old friend Robert Anton Wilson has died.

I learned of the news from my friends Patrick Huyghe and David Pescovitz. I’m sure someplace, Bucky Fuller, Timothy Leary, Charles Fort, and Robert Anton Wilson are deciding whether it’s time to play supercheckers or Texas hold ‘em.

I corresponded with Robert Anton Wilson (RAW as he sometimes was called) from the 1970s through the early 1990s, until his health and his in-and-out self-exiles moved him near-and-far from many people. In the waning years, like many, I kept in touch via friends of friends, as it were. Wilson had a universe of friends, as was shown by Boing Boing’s pre-death appeal that snatched Wilson from falling off the cliff of poverty as he was dying.

The cover of Cosmic Trigger, a book I remember reading and reading, amazed at the connections Wilson was making.

Had RAW’s writings in the late 1970s impacted me? Well, let me just mention this one piece of my private life. When I married my second wife (now ex-) in 1980, after we both read Cosmic Trigger, we picked (to the strange surprise of our friends and families) a Friday. Why? Because we wanted to get married on May (2+3 = 5), 23rd, two 23s, in honor of Robert Anton Wilson’s book or more properly, it’s concepts and Fortean linkages. You’ll have to read Cosmic Trigger to learn why the number 23 is important, although it is a thought that has drifted rather significantly into popular culture.

David mentions that RAW died early this morning, 1/11/2007, a mere 7 days before his 75th birthday. I suppose if you look at that date’s number backwards you can see the “lucky 7″ and the “2 + 3″ (1+1+1). There’s a joke someplace in there, because Bob really did not do anything without the trickster in mind.

As David shared at Boing Boing, in his last blog, Robert Anton Wilson wrote:

I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying. Please pardon my levity, I don’t see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.

Sadly, Wilson’s teenage daughter, Patricia Luna Wilson, was murdered on October 2, 1976. Cosmic Trigger reflects part of his immediate journey to understand that loss.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


18 Responses to “23 Skidoo: Goodbye Robert Anton Wilson”

  1. kittenz responds:

    It sounds like he was a wonderful person.

  2. DavidFullam responds:

    What a shame. I remember a great Fortean Times interview with him. He’ll be missed.

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    I started reading cosmic trigger as suggested by a friend, it is one of the few books of its type that I have to actually read slowly so I can take in what is being said. Such sad news, best to any family left.

  4. Munnin responds:

    I read about Mr. Wilson’s demise just a couple of hours ago, on the Boing Boing article (I found a link to it on the Anomalist web site). I have been a big fan of his since reading the Cosmic Trigger series, and Illuminatus!, the trilogy he co-wrote with Robert Shea. Mr. Wilson’s work often challenged my “ususal” ways of viewing the world around me… or what used to be the usual ways… and did so in a highly entertaining and humorous way. And it introduced me to some other writers, philosophers, etc., whose work I otherwise might have missed, for which I am grateful. Farewell Pope Bob, and thanks for the Fnords!

  5. elsanto responds:

    Oh the nostalgia! The Illuminatus Trilogy, which he wrote with Robert Shea and which I read in my uni days, left quite a mark on me. To this day, I still make references to the series; it was a work of satirical brilliance! We have lost another genius, underappreciated by the mainstream media.

  6. Ceroill responds:

    Another luminary (dare I say Illuminary?) who will be missed by all who read his works.

  7. pbro responds:

    So it goes…

  8. Lesley responds:

    Robert will be much missed!

    Hail discordia!

  9. Tengu responds:

    I was reading his blog just last night.

    I wish I had read his books earlier, the philosopher in me was killed throughly by a dull college course supposedly on the subject.

  10. dialthree responds:

    RIP RAW.

  11. Labyrinth_13 responds:

    Rest in peace, Robert. And thanks for all of the true illumination you gave to the rest of us during your time on the planet. You will be missed.

  12. popetodd responds:

    Fnord! Goodbye Bob, you make me sad.

  13. legionofdiscord responds:

    Eris lives U Wacky Wabbit

  14. poopypants responds:

    Ironically, like Ra, the Egyptian sun-god who spent half his time in the underworld, he must spend the afterlife doing the opposite of what he did in life; which is to say being totally left-brained and analytical. He’ll no doubt be espousing Republican philosophy long into his 90s in the netherworld, before coming back here for more orgies and bong hits.

    Hey, we’re only making plans for Nigel. Put a curse on me.

  15. s.linville responds:

    Rest In Peace, RAW.

  16. celinehagbard responds:

    I had the opportunity to meet RAW about 20 years ago at a talk he gave in Dallas. Fascinating guy. He will be missed!

    RIP Bob.

  17. mw responds:

    My feeble contribution to the RAW distortion in the reality field with 23 more “23’s” in a tribute here.

  18. bernieg1 responds:

    I linked to you from 13 things 23



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