art by NENSLO
The Hinckey Commission decided that Atwell was the only gunman, and that the first bullet left his gun, tore through Dobbs' abdomen, ricochetted off the bowl of the giant Pipe sculpture behind him, and split into two pieces --one of which went straight through his head from a low angle behind him, while the other bounced off the Golden Calf statue and back at Dobbs' head from the other side -- "in one ear and out the other," as someone has morbidly quipped. Atwell's other two bullets lodged inside the cult leader's chest.
However, investigator William Burke insists several bullets may not have been recovered by the Commission. One may have been fired from backstage right, piercing Dobbs' neck and exiting near the Right Sternoid Process. Another of the head shots could have come from the mouth of the 10' Dobbs bust, which was certainly large enough to have hidden a man. A search of the back wall of the theater for imbedded bullets might have helped determine the presence of such a gunman, but that entire section of the Victoria was remodeled shortly after the shooting and the wall was removed.
In March the Church itself finally announced that Dobbs had been killed -- but the description was couched in the same tongue-in-cheek style as the rest of their outlandish "dogma." Members were instructed to send large donations to aid in "the re-erection of our slain High Epopt." They even offered for sale a videotape of the shooting
This videotape has been tampered with. (It disappeared right after the shootings, but inexplicably reappeared two days later.) Two crucial shots have been removed which might have shown the "body switch" between the real Dobbs and the actor. Furthermore, 158 frames of the shooting itself have been digitally altered so that the gory cranial wounds are never seen, Dobbs' head being duplicated from previous frames and carefully reinserted over the "bleeding head" shots frame by frame. Other areas of the frame that may have shown hidden gunmen have also been changed. This technique requires expensive equipment; whoever altered the tape had fast access to extremely sophisticated facilities.
The few eyewitnesses who can still be located say they heard more than the three or possibly four gunshots that are audible on the video soundtrack, and Atwell shouted several sentences which were also deleted.
Other witnesses? Of the 600 in the audience, 112 are dying of A.I.D.S. right now. Another 150 cannot be accounted for at all. Most of the rest refuse comment, or else are emotionally unstable "Bobbies" whose testimony must be discounted.
There were photos snapped just before and after the shooting; all have been confiscated. One of the photographers is in a mental institution after a nearly fatal "accidental overdose." The drug in question was described as "an unidentified hallucinogen." This tied in with rumors that the supposedly fictitious mind-altering Church herb, "Frop," was based on a real though little-known "designer drug."
D. Woodman Atwell -- Killer or Patsy?
Atwell, who had a Naval Intelligence background before joining the Church, was acquitted by the Hinkey Commission. They concluded that he had been the victim of a "prank," and had thought the gun was loaded with blanks when he shot at Dobbs. No attempt was made to ascertain the identity of the "prankster."
Meanwhile, the Church was sued by dozens of people who claimed to be Dobbs' illegitimate children and wanted in on his will. Psychotics all over the country were proclaiming themselves to be "Bob", reborn.
There was terrible squabbling and division between the various apostles and their flocks or "Clenches." Many true believers thought the whole thing was a set-up to convince "The Conspiracy" that Dobbs was dead, but schizms broke off. Some factions believed that Dobbs' wife "Connie" had him killed; Others, that the Nestle Company had wanted him out of the way of some business enterprise involving Third World infant formula marketing.
Coincidences relating to the shooting abounded. Researchers in Texas compiled a list of the synchronistic events that occurred during or after the show.
There had been a small earthquake in San Francisco just as the Night of Slack began -- and, simultaneously, a spectacular UFO 'flap' in Ohio. And at the precise moment of Dobbs' death, his dog was being shot by a farmer in Missouri for raiding his chickens! Also, a tank of insecticide mysteriously exploded at U.S. Cyanamid in New Jersey, whales beached themselves in Cape Cod, and a communications satellite was knocked out by "solar flares."
SubGeniuses continued to report sightings of "Bobs" or "Bob" lookalikes -- always driving past in a car, always winking enigmatically -- and paranormal manifestations of a mocking "Bad Bob" entity. Some researchers who tried to delve deeper into this issue were plagued by mysterious headaches until they were forced to abandon it.
There were strange rumors. Dobbs' right-hand man Dr. Philo Drummond was reported wandering the streets after the shooting, hysterically screaming, "Dobbs has won!" -- but sounding, the witnesses said, "as if he were trying to convince himself of something."
Questions remain as to whether the cult's hierarchy had themselves believed in "Bob" prior to the shooting. The theory has been advanced that when the Church Elders realized Dobbs, and not a double, had been shot, with real bullets instead of blanks, they too had tried to establish proof but were then frightened by some other agency into dropping the matter.
A private investigator hired by one of the wealthier SubGenius splinter groups turned up unexpected and disillusioning information on some of Dobbs' business dealings. The new drug, 'Frop,' was real, but was itself just a cover... for what, no one has been able to determine. What was the Church shipping out of the Himalayas? And could Dobbs really have been trading with South African nuclear power interests?
A check of phone company records showed that Ronald Reagan had been trying to reach "Bob" for weeks prior to his death, but that Dobbs hadn't returned his calls. This may help explain Reagan's urgency in setting up the Hinckey Commission. Dobbs may have possessed information Reagan wanted either to know, or to keep secret.
Recently, this reporter secured a copy of Dobbs' travel agenda for the months prior to the shooting. Before arriving in San Francisco, he had been in South Dakota -- very possibly confering with certain Sioux Indian "medicine men" said to be his 'advisors.' Before that stopover he had visited the Church's Maysian jungle settlement called Dobbstown and, incredibly, the Vatican. Not 3 days before his death, Dobbs had apparently held a secret audience with the Pope.
Hundreds of seemingly unrelated political events coincide with Dobbs' travels. The Paris police, who have dealt with the Church on many occasions, have a file on Dobbs which asserts that massive drug deals involving secret Italian Masonic organizations and European heroin connections served as a "cover" for the smuggling of something else -- but they have yet to discover what was in the blue metal cannisters that Dobbs shipped from place to place from 1982 through 1984.
It gradually was made clear that Dobbs' non-Church activities included many diverse aspects of international finance and intrigue, from the White House and the CIA to Nicaraguan Leftists, from the Howard Hughes estate and the Mormons to the Mafia, from the Rockefellers and Bilderbergers to occultists and New Age fascist groups. Dobbs had even financed a secret Russian expedition into Tibet to investigate certain UFO "landings" and "abductions."
Whose side was "Bob" on? What game was he playing?
It was the UFO connection that, to some SubGenius fringe groups, made a lot of the puzzle pieces start to fit. Almost all connected the killing to the "Illuminati Conspiracy" theory that all history is manipulated by esoteric secret societies of "Illuminated Ones," who are in turn doing the bidding of Luciferian entities. Some mix in such outlandish elements as Hitler's occult beliefs in a superior race of UFO-riding Hidden Masters in the "Hollow Earth." According to SubGenius Inner Sanctum teachings, Dobbs infiltrated the Third Reich in 1945 and, after providing America with information that helped win the war, killed Hitler with his bare hands. The same Germanic "Thule" religion that Hitler advocated is not far removed from the classic occult belief system behind the Masonic fronts that many fringe groups believe control the U.S. Government. As one cultist wondered in The Stark Fist of Removal Church magazine, "They knew what Dobbs had done to Hitler -- were they worried what he would do to them?"
This brought to mind "Bob's" unique directives regarding UFOS. Whereas most New Age groups look upon them as friendly "Ascended Space Brothers," Dobbs issued dour warnings about them. If there were a "War in the Heavens," the extremists suggest, the ETs involved would certainly have wanted him silenced; he appealed to a crucial audience that could concievably be enlisted to fight the "Space Brothers."
Perhaps the most disturbing evidence that circulated in the wake of the assassination are a series of incomplete manuscripts said to have been stolen by the radical "Angels of Slack" schism from an office in Chicago belonging to the Trilateral Commission. Crude photocopies of these documents do bear a Trilateral Commission letterhead, but that would be easy to counterfeit. Nevertheless, several legitimate researchers swear that the manuscripts are authentic.
One document purports to be"Bob's" last letter to the Church. It was dated the day of his death and written on Delta Airlines stationary -- perhaps enroute to San Francisco. If it is not genuine, it is a perfect imitation of Dobbs' florid, overblown writing style.
Memo to the Churches Jan. 21, 1984
From afar, as in dreams and visions, I have been given to see that which must come.
I must depart from you for a time. Soon, by the hand of one among you, I shall go to Asgard, home of heroes slain by the Conspiracy, to sip the nectar of Eternal Slack.
My real Church shall lose its name, while a false church steals it. During The Time And Half Time my prophets and Fishers of Wallets shall be persecuted, and Bobbies and pinks shall rule in their stead; but heed not the False Prophet who comes in my name, and my aspect. BEWARE YE THE ANTI-ME; for he shall cause great dissention among the Clenches. Follow none who "follow" me, and say I sex through them alone; this is antislack!
The great Beasts, America and Russia, shall be made to fight by the trickery of the Great White Brotherhood, which is dæmons; and none shall win but The Conspiracy, in the guise of the Church of the End Times. O, thou art a stupid people; verily, this Lost Continent of America is like unto the bastard child of Atlantis, which was smited before ye in its Slacklessness; for ye know not thine asses from holes in the ground.
But ye shall be saved by the stupidity of thine own Slack. I love the stupid and the crazy; for they are my customers.
Though this mortal shell be sacrificed to the hate-greased bullets of the faithless, yet I shall come again in a lunch hour that thou knowest not. My Pipe and my Frop burn eternal; the flame of my love and sex shall light thy path unto prosperity. Yea, I shall come into flesh when the lame general under a moon of flame presses the button of the Kiss of Nuclear Judgement; and the Sneeze of Wotan shall wash clean the iniquity and the toxic wastes in the scouring radiations of Divine Love. The pink at heart shall be smited like unto the snivelling grubs of fecal damnation.
But ye whose names are written in the Book of the Yeti, who were in Eden before thine birth here on the topmost floor of Hell, where the damned think they are alive and walking on Earth -- ye shall be as Immune; so I commission thee to carry this my Seed-Code of the Covenant unto the nations that thou may earn instant riches on this earthly plane. Sell not for low thine souls, but hold out for the Highest Price; and the Slack shall run like rivers of urine down the Path of Least Resistance in thine lives. For thou art in the Company of the Chosen; the Turning of the Key which precedes the Œpening of the Doorway which leadeth to the Kingdom of Slack, IS NIGH. These are the Commandments not of Me, but of WOTAN, before Whom one so unworthy as I cringes and pees uncontrollably.
I have enjoyed selling you the One True Church of the SubGenius.
J.R. "Bob" Dobbs