Is this the face of psychedelic authoritarianism?
Is this the face of psychedelic authoritarianism?
A lot of people within the conspiracy research scene were taken aback a couple days ago by the reported death of Victor Thorn (real name Scott Makufka).
I first began interacting with Victor back around 2004 or so when he published my chapbook Death Cults and over the years I contributed to different anthologies Victor seemed to be constantly churning out under his Sisyphus Press imprint.
Victor and his then partner Lisa Giuliani produced a webcast called Wingtv which I appeared on years ago,and I was honored when he included me as one of the 20 inductees in The Conspiracy Hall Of Fame.
I’d usually hear from Victor at least once a year or so and he was always upbeat, usually jazzed up about whatever project he was currently working on, which often went above and beyond the two topics he was most known for: 9-11 and Clinton Conspiracies. Victor was into a lot of stuff beyond the standard conspiratorial faire, and we shared common interests in Forteana, psychedelics and synchronicities. He’d often call and quote me for books he was working on that were in my wheelhouse like Conspireality or Machine Elves, Cosmic Serpents & Quantum Magick.
Of course, there were some wild bumps in the road along the way, like the period when Victor and Lisa sort of went on a scorched earth campaign taking on the likes of Jeff Rense, Alex Jones and others aligned with the Patriot Movement scene of the time. In retrospect, I don’t remember now what all the fuss was about, but it seemed somewhat amusing from a distance—but like I said I didn’t pay all that much attention to the hoo-hah. I just figured anyone busting the chops of Rense or A.J. was alright in my book from a general amusement standpoint.
Ultimately, Victor and Lisa broke up under similar fireworks accusing each other of this or that. It was kind of a weird period when everybody in “alternative media” catering to the Patriot Movement seemed to turn on one another.
At some point during the mid 2000s or so, Victor hooked up with American Freedom Press formerly Willie Carto’s Liberty Lobby. Victor remained active with the publication until the very end. This was also something not really on my radar, as I don’t tend to keep up some of the more extreme publications on either end of the fringes, be they far right or out in left field.
Whatever the case, Victor and I remained on good terms, and for the most part I tend not to judge people’s politics, unless they go so overboard with it to become obnoxious and pushy—and Victor never went there with me. We always treated each other with mutual respect, although we didn’t always see eye to eye on some things.
Like everybody who knew Victor, I was shocked to hear the news the other day of his passing via this American Free Press (AFP) article that was clear in stating Victor’s death was the result of a self inflicted gun wound. Or more precisely, that’s what Victor’s family reported. However, that didn’t stop the rumor mill from swirling (it’s pretty much expected these days with the viral nature of the internet) and soon the report of “self inflicted gunshot” had somehow morph into multiple shots—2, 3, the number predictably increased the more the story made the rounds—and before you knew it memes started sprouting up like devil horns on Hillary’s head (carved with 666, no less!) about how Victor’s death (now a murder) was the handiwork of the NWO/Zionist conspiracy overseen by Obama’s shock troops (or whoever qualifies for the latest Boogieman of the Month) and soon the memes spread about a Zionist/Hillary dust-up performed by Satanic hit squads coming soon to a Walmart FEMA camp near you.
Meanwhile, a family mourns their loss as such ham-handed memes continue to make the rounds. I’ve always found such speculation disrespectful to the actual families dealing with real loss, but thoughtfulness is lost on some whose agenda is more important to them than the actual feelings of others.
Meanwhile, there’s nothing official on Victor’s death yet other than what AFP initially reported. To jump to conclusions at this point is way premature and such speculation may be more appropriate a bit farther down the road when we know the specifics and actually see Victor’s death certificate, autopsy report, etc.
After seeing that AFP had no links to any official news reports, I contacted AFP editor Dave Gahary inquiring as to his original source for the report of Victor’s death, and Dave referred me to this podcast, an interview with Gahary and another AFP reporter named Pete Papapherakles who explained how they received news of Victor’s death and shared their memories of the man, whom they spoke of in glowing terms. Gahary and Papaherakles were also quick to dispel the rumor that Victor’s death was anything other than suicide. (So chill for a bit Hillary Haters—let’s not go there yet. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of dirt to dig up on her over the next four years.)
I’ve always been one to want to get as much factual information as possible in cases such as these before going off half-cocked. (Or full-cocked, as the case may be.) Stories of this nature have a way of running wild through social media and internet forums where someone takes the initial report (often without doing any fact checking) then it gets embellished upon and details added and before you know it shows up in a facebook post that turns into a runaway train like: LaVoy Finicum getting shot point blank in the face nine times while he had his hands in the air when the reality of the story was nothing of the sort and before you know it someone with a death-wish running a road block turns into “The Ambush in Harney County” —or whatever false meme that afterwards fills your facebook feed ad nauseum. But I digress…
Although I don’t discount or doubt AFP’s report, I wanted to see if I could track down an actual confirmation through local sources in State College, PA because all we really know at this point is what Victor’s son told AFP: that his dad committed suicide and that it was something Victor often talked about and had been planning for quite awhile.
To this end, I contacted the assignment editor, Lori Falce, at The Centre Daily Times inquiring if there’d been any suicides in the area on August 1st, and I received this response:
“There was a suicide, but we generally do not cover suicides unless there are extenuating reasons, such as it being done in the commission of a crime (a murder suicide) or being done in a public venue (jumping from a building), as suicide can be somewhat viral. Many news organizations try to follow this rule.
“However, we have learned of a lot of speculation about the death in this case, which may lead to us covering some information on it, if only to prevent misinformation. “
The above would seem to confirm Victor’s death, although I haven’t been able yet to actually tie a name to the suicide. To be continued…
I just noticed that AFB updated their initial report to include the following:
AMERICAN FREE PRESS contacted the State College [Pa.] Police Department this morning for any news on the suicide of Victor Thorn, whose birth name was Scott Robert Makufka.
AFP asked the policeman who answered the phone if the department could provide any updates.
“There was something that occurred on Monday morning, but I don’t know if we’ve released any identities or any details about it at this time.”
AFP asked if he knew when the release might happen.
“I don’t. I don’t know what the status of the investigation is. I have not seen the detective that’s in charge of that today yet. They’ll release it as soon as they can. I don’t know what the holdup is or the details are at this point.”
Please visit “2016 Police Media Releases”
to access the most current releases.
The releases “usually get picked up pretty quickly by Centre Daily Times,
and statecollege.com, and some of the other media outlets,” he told AFP.