‘Dope Menace: The Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks’

At this party Thursday night, I interview authors Stephen J. Gertz (Dope Menace), Maja D’Aoust (The Secret Source), Adam Parfrey (founder of Feral House), and Bill Nelson (Hollywood Hellfire Club).

Full video here.

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Bill Nelson was the co-author of Hollywood’s Hellfire Club The Misadventures of John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and “The Bundy Drive Boys”.

Bill: "We put together this book about this closed drinking circle in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. It mainly revolves around this painter named John Decker. They all resided at his house on 419 N. Bundy Drive, the Bundy Drive most famous for O.J. Simpson… This group of raconteurs…made the rat pack look like boy scouts."

Luke: "How did you become interested in this topic?"

Bill: "I read this book, ‘Minutes of the Last Meeting‘ by Gene Fowler. He was one of the Bundy Drive boys… This book came out in the 1950s. It was about his experiences with this group. My idea was to do an unexpurgated ‘Minutes of the Last Meeting.’ All the stuff Gene Fowler couldn’t put in…"

Author Maja D’Aoust (amazon.com) fascinated me. She must have a cult following. She’s gorgeous and brilliant. Here is where she works — the library at the Philosophical Research Society.

Philosophy never looked so enticing!

She’s French-Canadian.

Luke: "How could you write an antidote to The Secret when a friend of mine read The Secret, lived The Secret, and then he got to seduce all the beautiful women he used The Secret for?"

Maja: "But at what cost?"

Luke: "To his soul?"

Maja: "Yes."

Luke: "I’m really jealous."

Maja: "It works. There’s no question about it — voodoo works, but should you do voodoo, that’s really the question. In the book, I give a history of the Law of Attraction… Voodoo is sympathetic magic. You do an intention and then you do an act or a thought. What people don’t understand is that it attracts all kinds of things. If you want to attract love to you, like your friend, and beautiful ladies, you’ll get love to you and beautiful ladies, but a magnet just attracts metal, it’s not discerning. You’ll get stalkers and rapists and all the girls who won’t leave you alone and get all psycho. They left that whole part out of The Secret, the flip side of The Secret."

Luke: "But isn’t The Secret as American as apple pie?"

Maja: "Yeah. It’s total entitlement, which is another reason I ranted about it. This false entitlement is another reason we’ve had this fallout because everybody thinks they’re entitled and they don’t take any responsibility for it. She incurred a great deal of bad karma on her soul when she put that book out."

I turn to Mr. Gertz. "What’s the thesis of your book?"

Stephen: "That these books that started flooding the market in the immediate aftermath of WWII played a major role in introducing Americans to drug use for the first time in nearly two generations. The previous drug epidemic in the United States was in the late 19th Century. When those addicts died out, two generations went by before before the average American had an awareness of what drugs were about. These paperbacks sold so well going into 100,000 retail outlets across the country that Americans couldn’t help but see these things. The covers were so dramatic, so sensational and lurid, that your eyes would go to them immediately."

"One of the reasons that the drug culture took off in the sixties was a complete rejection, not only of parents, but all the crazy things that had been said about drugs in the past. They were so unbelievable that nobody believed anything anyone said about drugs. So an entire generation started from scratch and experimented."

The second drug epidemic in America ended around 1975. Then in the 1980s came the third one — cocaine.

Luke: "Maja, I’m from Australia. We have these folk stories that the Aboriginees would poke a bone at someone and they would die. Do you have any insight?"

Maja: "Almost any kind of voodoo uses some form of sympathetic magic. There’s a great book called ‘The Golden Bough‘ by James Frazer. He breaks it into two categories — homeopathic magic and contagious magic. Contagious sympathetic magic would be if I took a little hair from your beard and then I kept it and did something to it. It would affect you — even at a distance — because it was on you. Homeopathic means like treats like."

Luke: "Does it work?"

Maja: "There’s lots of literature about voodoo. Some says that the victim has to believe in the voodoo for it to work but there are lots of documented cases of people being affected with no knowledge it was being worked on them."

Luke: "Do you believe there’s validity to it?"

Maja: "I believe there’s validity to it. You can try it. You can light a candle with an intention…"

I return to Stephen, who says: "Sex sells drugs. All the women on these covers, it’s as though only women are drug users. All the figures on the covers of these things are gorgeous women in a state of half-undress, of half-ecstasy… Sex and drugs have been married almost from the beginning."

"I can’t think of any other publisher [aside from Adam Parfrey] who’d have the nuts to put this book out."

Luke: "Adam is the only publisher to give a fair go to serial killers."

Adam: "Everybody’s human."

Luke: "Where’s your Joe Stalin painting these days?"

Adam: "Jodi [Mrs. Parfrey] doesn’t really care for that so much… It’s now in the attic."

Luke: "It’s not in the bedroom?"

Adam: "Sometimes for special events we bring that out."

Stephen: "Is the attic becoming the new Feral House vault for all things that can’t be mainstreamed?"

Adam: "There’s an aesthetic taboo there."

Luke: "Are you limited in what you can publish now that you are married?"

Adam: "No. Process Media is our collaborative effort. Feral House she can’t get near."

Luke to Stephen: "What role did Adam play in your book?"

Stephen: "He stayed out of the way. The book I pitched is the book that’s published. We made the deal. We signed the contract. I said we’d see him in six months… Adam is a writer’s dream. He did not cut a syllable from my book."

Luke: "Are you an occultist devil worshiper?"

Maja: "I don’t worship the devil. It’s hard to say what my religion is."

Luke: "You’re a waverer."

Maja has a BA in Bio-Chemistry and a Master’s degree in Transformational Psychology from one of those accredited spiritual institutions (the University of Philosophical Research).

Maja: "I died while I was on drugs [at age 16] and then I had a shamanic experience where I was torn apart and put back together. An initiation. After that, I had these ecstatic experiences which made me even more interested in studying science and religion."

From the Feral House party Jan. 4, 2006:

Also in the house were friends Maja D’aoust, husband Kiyoshi Nakazawa and baby Momoko. Maja is a writer/artist and second generation esotericist who lectures on alchemy at L.A.’s Philosophical Research Society. Kiyoshi and Maja make zines together, and Kiyoshi also works with the folks at Giant Robot magazine. This clan somehow escaped the party camera, but here’s the glamorous Christmas card photo they sent Adam and Jodi.

Maja D’Aoust writes:

I wrote a book about the history of the Law of Attraction called:

The Secret Source:  The Law of Attraction is one of Seven Hemretic Laws, Here are the Other Six

Check it out:


Some reviews:

By Deborah Bigelow, Director, Leonia P.L., NJ – Library Journal, 1/15/2008
Picking up where Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret left off, coauthors D’Aoust (lecturer, Philosophical Research Soc.) and Parfrey (Cult Rapture: Revelations of the Apocalyptic Mind) explain how believers and visionaries from a variety of teachings have improved their well-being using mental powers. They guide readers through several Hermetic teachings, shed light on the New Thought spiritual movement, explain how the Christ mythos and Jewish kabbalistic texts borrowed from the Hermetic tradition, and reveal how many of today’s get-rich-quick schemes have roots in Hermetic laws. While not for everyone, this book provides an unbiased view of the teachings of secret societies and will interest many patrons. Recommended for all libraries.

By: Elizabeth Headrick | 01.25.08 | filed under: Stranger Than Fiction: Book Fetish By: Elizabeth Headrick | 01.25.08 | Stranger Than Fiction: Book Fetish
The success of Rhonda Byrne’s self-help manual The Secret, while undoubtedly noteworthy, is somewhat baffling considering that the subject matter is nothing more then the age old “Law of Attraction”. Byrne has taken an idea as old as any alchemical school of thought and turned it into a mantra to make a quick buck and lose weight fast. In Secret Source: The Law of Attraction Is One of Seven Ancient Hermetic Laws: Here Are the Other Six authors Maja D’aoust and Adam Parfrey break down the ancient Hermetic teachings that have led to the recent outbreak of self-help ideas and schools of New Thought that are taking over the gullible masses.

The Law of Attraction seems to be the most popular of the Hermetic laws but it isn’t the only one. The belief system behind these laws goes back thousands of years and has been studied, and expanded upon, by some of the greatest philosophical minds of the ages. The authors break down each law in turn, explaining its significance and how it interrelates to the other laws. They also go into great detail about the volumes that inspired so much of the ideas, such as The Emerald Tablet and The Kybalion. The reader is introduced to not only the minds that gave birth to these ideas but those that carried it into the various New Thought movements.

Though the subject matter is at times a little deep and the philosophies can be somewhat esoteric, the authors have done a good job of laying everything out in terms that are understandable without being dumbed-down. They strip the “secret” out of The Secret and show that the Law of Attraction isn’t something that should be trifled with for greedy personal gain. For anyone who thinks that they may have found the answer in The Secret, I highly suggest that you make this book your next selection.

Here’s the party description:

Join us as we gather to honor the coming of the darkest day of the year and the sun’s rebirth with libations, salutations, and ritual book signings.

Commune with your friends and our authors, tip back some ancient brew…

Free tarot readings by Deborah
Gong sounds by DJ Chadstice Dong Chi

*Anyone coming wearing a robe of any kind gets a special VIP tarot reading!

Authors present include….
Stephen J. Gertz —Dope Menace: The Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks
Amy Wallace—The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People
Adam Parfrey—Secret and Suppressed II: Banned Ideas and Hidden History into the 21st Century
Mike Bara—Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA
Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne—The Urban Homestead
Tony Stamolis—Frezno
Louis Sahagun—Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall
Maja D’Aoust—The Secret Source

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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