This Week’s Terence McKenna Archival Haul (5/27/17)

This week’s intake at the Terence McKenna Archives was much more modest than last week’s substantial haul. The only hard copy publication that arrived just came in today:

  1. Disinformation’s Book of Lies.

The Book of Lies, as most of these large Disinformation Guides, consists of dozens of chapters by a smorgasbord of authors from a wide swath of the countercultural milieu, this time ‘focusing’ on “Magick and the Occult.” The small section on “Chemognosis” contains only two chapters (it’s the heading with the least number of contributions in the volume), one of which is an edited transcript of Terence McKenna’s first talk at Esalen during the Lilly/Goswami [that’s John and Amit] Conference on Consciousness and Quantum Physics, titled ‘Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness’. There seems to be some dispute about when this conference actually took place. Anyone who was there or has a photo or scan of an original catalog can help with this. Both The Book of Lies and Jeffrey Kripal in his book, Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion describe the event as taking place in December 1983. However, as you can see here, the actual tape (not published by Dolphin Tapes until 1997) lists it as taking place in 1982, as does Erowid, though citing the Dolphin Tapes published version. I have tended to favor the 1982 dating, though I can’t now remember all of my reasons for doing so (most, like Jesse Jarnow and Graham St. John, have gone with the 1983 date–it would be great to clear this up, as, historically speaking, it’s not entirely insignificant when this took¬† place–you can see this same issue playing out on the Psychedelic Salon page for the talk).

Even though this is among Terence’s most well-known and most-published talk, I thought it would still be worth including some of the selected quotations for your edification and amusement:

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2. This week, in a conversation with R. Michael Johnson (one of the movers behind the excellent RAWilsonFans website–you can read a good chunk of his introduction to the brand new edition of Robert Anton Wilson’s Email to the Universe by Hiliritas Press on Amazon), he took me through his list of a great many places where he knew Terence cropped up in various literature. Most of the items he mentioned are already represented in the archives, but he definitely gave me several significant leads that I hadn’t had on my radar (thanks, Mike!). The most embarrassing of the items he mentioned was Robert Anton Wilson’s Everything is Under Control, because it has been sitting on the same bookshelf as most of the McKenna archive for quite a long time without my realizing it contained both an entry on Terence himself as well as an even longer entry on Food of the Gods (which is distinct from RAW’s review of the book which appeared in his Trajectories Newsletter #10, 1991 and is reprinted in Chaos & Beyond: The Best of Trajectories).

3. Beyond that, I rediscovered that Google Books allows you to also search through magazines (whichever ones they have in their database). This caused me to come across some magazine articles that mentioned Terence which I hadn’t encountered before as well as a whole slew of advertisements.

Welcome to the Terence McKenna Archival Blog

Greetings! While this isn’t the first post of the blog, I thought it appropriate to give something like an introduction to the project for those who find themselves here wondering what this is all about.

I would like to introduce myself as Terence McKenna’s archivist and biographer (there may be others but I think my effort is unique in its scope). I have gathered together what I understand to be the most complete extant archive of material by, about, or related to TM. One major goal is to collect physical copies of any McKenna-related item, where possible, and (at least) digital copies of everything for posterity.

The archive currently emphasizes “print” material (as opposed to audio or video–the Psychedelic Salon and others are working that particular angle better than I could), though I do also have a modest collection of original cassette tapes and CDs that I hope to expand as appropriate. In terms of an audio/video collection, I am, at present, mostly satisfied with the digital copies that are available ubiquitously online, which I download whenever a new one appears. There seems to be no dearth of spoken-word TM material available on the internet and, while there are many more recordings “out there” that are not yet available online, the overall available set is, nonetheless, fairly comprehensive. It is, rather, the print material that is becoming harder to find, and most of it is much less well-known than the relatively omnipresent audio and video. And, so it is to the print material that I have largely turned my attention as an archivist–though I do, of course, keep my eyes on any relevant media. At present the holdings consist of (actual numbers may be greater than stated as newly acquired items may not have been cataloged yet):

29 editions of books authored or co-authored by TM (including 14 translations)

30 editions of books with contributions by TM

35+ journals or magazines with contributions by TM

65+ (print) interviews with TM

80+ reviews of books, tapes, videos, and music by or including TM

20+ Obituaries for TM

100+ Books that mention or cite TM

200+ Articles from journals, magazines, zines, and newspapers that mention or cite TM

20+ Books with blurbs by TM

Further items include:

Audio/Video footage of TM

Correspondences to and from TM

Unpublished lectures and writing by TM

Photos of TM

TM Ephemera (event flyers, ticket stubs, product catalogs, leaflets, etc.)

Personal Stories, recollections, poems, etc. about TM

Art depicting or inspired by TM

Music created in collaboration with TM, inspired by TM, or with TM voice samples

Advertisements for TM products and services

Books and articles in TM’s personal library

Books and articles cited in TM’s written and spoken output

My goal for the blog is to share the process of acquisition and research with you, to give you an insight into the process, as well as to share some of the interesting items that I find as part of the hunt. Please sign up to follow the blog and keep an eye out for new posts.

If you have materials that you would like to donate to the archive (whether physical copies or digital scans or files), please email:  terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

If you would like to provide monetary support to assist with the acquisition process, please use the Paypal link at the Terence McKenna Transcription Project and include a note stating that the donation is for archival acquisition [Crowdfunding campaign forthcoming]: https://terencemckenna.wikispaces.com/.