Laurel Canyon

Laurel Canyon log cabin

Before his untimely death, the late researcher and author Dave McGowan brought to light a number of disturbing facts about the music industry. Could the psychedelic music genre and the entire hippie scene have resulted from a US military psyop?

I'm not sure. Decide for yourself.
It is the first week of August, 1964, and U.S. warships under the command of U.S. Navy Admiral George Stephen Morrison have allegedly come under attack while patrolling Vietnam’s Tonkin Gulf. This event, subsequently dubbed the ‘Tonkin Gulf Incident,’ will result in the immediate passing by the U.S. Congress of the obviously pre-drafted Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which will, in turn, quickly lead to America’s deep immersion into the bloody Vietnam quagmire. Before it is over, well over fifty thousand American bodies – along with literally millions of Southeast Asian bodies – will litter the battlefields of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
If the Admiral's name rings a bell, it should.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world in those early months of 1965, a new ‘scene’ is just beginning to take shape in the city of Los Angeles. In a geographically and socially isolated community known as Laurel Canyon – a heavily wooded, rustic, serene, yet vaguely ominous slice of LA nestled in the hills that separate the Los Angeles basin from the San Fernando Valley – musicians, singers and songwriters suddenly begin to gather as though summoned there by some unseen Pied Piper. Within months, the ‘hippie/flower child’ movement will be given birth there, along with the new style of music that will provide the soundtrack for the tumultuous second half of the 1960s.
An uncanny number of rock music superstars will emerge from Laurel Canyon beginning in the mid-1960s and carrying through the decade of the 1970s. The first to drop an album will be The Byrds, whose biggest star will prove to be David Crosby. The band’s debut effort, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” will be released on the Summer Solstice of 1965. It will quickly be followed by releases from the John Phillips-led Mamas and the Papas (“If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears,” January 1966), Love with Arthur Lee (“Love,” May 1966), Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention (“Freak Out,” June 1966), Buffalo Springfield, featuring Stephen Stills and Neil Young (“Buffalo Springfield,” October 1966), and The Doors (“The Doors,” January 1967).
One of the earliest on the Laurel Canyon/Sunset Strip scene is Jim Morrison, the enigmatic lead singer of The Doors. Jim will quickly become one of the most iconic, controversial, critically acclaimed, and influential figures to take up residence in Laurel Canyon. Curiously enough though, the self-proclaimed “Lizard King” has another claim to fame as well, albeit one that none of his numerous chroniclers will feel is of much relevance to his career and possible untimely death: he is the son, as it turns out, of the aforementioned Admiral George Stephen Morrison.
That's a lot of talent coming out of one city, neighborhood, and in most cases, house. Zappa's log cabin was a veritable rock star farm.

The Doors' military connection is a weird coincidence. But as we'll see, it's hardly a one-off deal.
Zappa, along with certain members of his sizable entourage (the ‘Log Cabin’ was run as an early commune, with numerous hangers-on occupying various rooms in the main house and the guest house, as well as in the peculiar caves and tunnels lacing the grounds of the home; far from the quaint homestead the name seems to imply, by the way, the ‘Log Cabin’ was a cavernous five-level home that featured a 2,000+ square-foot living room with three massive chandeliers and an enormous floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace), will also be instrumental in introducing the look and attitude that will define the ‘hippie’ counterculture (although the Zappa crew preferred the label ‘Freak’). Nevertheless, Zappa (born, curiously enough, on the Winter Solstice of 1940) never really made a secret of the fact that he had nothing but contempt for the ‘hippie’ culture that he helped create and that he surrounded himself with.
Given that Zappa was, by numerous accounts, a rigidly authoritarian control-freak and a supporter of U.S. military actions in Southeast Asia, it is perhaps not surprising that he would not feel a kinship with the youth movement that he helped nurture. And it is probably safe to say that Frank’s dad also had little regard for the youth culture of the 1960s, given that Francis Zappa was, in case you were wondering, a chemical warfare specialist assigned to – where else? – the Edgewood Arsenal. Edgewood is, of course, the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations. Curiously enough, Frank Zappa literally grew up at the Edgewood Arsenal, having lived the first seven years of his life in military housing on the grounds of the facility. The family later moved to Lancaster, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, where Francis Zappa continued to busy himself with doing classified work for the military/intelligence complex. His son, meanwhile, prepped himself to become an icon of the peace & love crowd. Again, nothing unusual about that, I suppose.
But wait, there's more.
Zappa’s manager, by the way, is a shadowy character by the name of Herb Cohen, who had come out to L.A. from the Bronx with his brother Mutt just before the music and club scene began heating up. Cohen, a former U.S. Marine, had spent a few years traveling the world before his arrival on the Laurel Canyon scene. Those travels, curiously, had taken him to the Congo in 1961, at the very time that leftist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was being tortured and killed by our very own CIA. Not to worry though; according to one of Zappa’s biographers, Cohen wasn’t in the Congo on some kind of nefarious intelligence mission. No, he was there, believe it or not, to supply arms to Lumumba “in defiance of the CIA.” Because, you know, that is the kind of thing that globetrotting ex-Marines did in those days (as we’ll see soon enough when we take a look at another Laurel Canyonluminary).
Making up the other half of Laurel Canyon’s First Family is Frank’s wife, Gail Zappa, known formerly as Adelaide Sloatman. Gail hails from a long line of career Naval officers, including her father, who spent his life working on classified nuclear weapons research for the U.S. Navy. Gail herself had once worked as a secretary for the Office of Naval Research and Development (she also once told an interviewer that she had “heard voices all [her] life”). Many years before their nearly simultaneous arrival in Laurel Canyon, Gail had attended a Naval kindergarten with “Mr. Mojo Risin’” himself, Jim Morrison (it is claimed that, as children, Gail once hit Jim over the head with a hammer). The very same Jim Morrison had later attended the same Alexandria, Virginia high school as two other future Laurel Canyon luminaries – John Phillips and Cass Elliott.
Think that's weird? It gets even better.
Before arriving in Laurel Canyon and opening the doors of his home to the soon-to-be famous, the already famous, and the infamous (such as the aforementioned Charlie Manson, whose ‘Family’ also spent time at the Log Cabin and at the Laurel Canyon home of “Mama” Cass Elliot, which, in case you didn’t know, sat right across the street from the Laurel Canyon home of Abigail Folger and Voytek Frykowski, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here), John Edmund Andrew Phillips was, shockingly enough, yet another child of the military/intelligence complex. The son of U.S. Marine Corp Captain Claude Andrew Phillips and a mother who claimed to have psychic and telekinetic powers, John attended a series of elite military prep schools in the Washington, D.C. area, culminating in an appointment to the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis
And the hits just keep coming.
Before his arrival in Laurel Canyon, Stephen Stills was (*yawn*) the product of yet another career military family. Raised partly in Texas, young Stephen spent large swaths of his childhood in El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal Zone, and various other parts of Central America – alongside his father, who was, we can be fairly certain, helping to spread ‘democracy’ to the unwashed masses in that endearingly American way. As with the rest of our cast of characters, Stills was educated primarily at schools on military bases and at elite military academies. Among his contemporaries in Laurel Canyon, he was widely viewed as having an abrasive, authoritarian personality. Nothing unusual about any of that, of course, as we have already seen with the rest of our cast of characters.
Think that's unusual? Check out Stills' bandmate.
But David Crosby is much more than just the son of Major Floyd Delafield Crosby. David Van Cortlandt Crosby, as it turns out, is a scion of the closely intertwined Van Cortlandt, Van Schuyler and Van Rensselaer families. And while you’re probably thinking, “the Van Who families?,” I can assure you that if you plug those names in over at Wikipedia, you can spend a pretty fair amount of time reading up on the power wielded by this clan for the last, oh, two-and-a-quarter centuries or so. Suffice it to say that the Crosby family tree includes a truly dizzying array of US senators and congressmen, state senators and assemblymen, governors, mayors, judges, Supreme Court justices, Revolutionary and Civil War generals, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and members of the Continental Congress. It also includes, I should hasten to add – for those of you with a taste for such things – more than a few high-ranking Masons. Stephen Van Rensselaer III, for example, reportedly served as Grand Master of Masons for New York. And if all that isn’t impressive enough, according to the New England Genealogical Society, David Van Cortlandt Crosby is also a direct descendant of ‘Founding Fathers’ and Federalist Papers’ authors Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.
There's much more weirdness, but I'll leave it there, except to note that Laurel Canyon lies at the foot of Lookout Mountain, a former US Air Force base turned movie studio.

Was the 60s counterculture a government operation to overthrow America's dominant Christian culture in order to produce a populace of atomized, consumerist, easy-to-control NPCs?

Whatever the intent, that was inarguably the result, as droves of Baby Boomers traded in their VW minibuses for BMWs in the 80s.

That so many Laurel Canyon figures were Army brats could be explained by the fact that it was 20 years after WWII. Everybody had family who'd served in the military back then.

And yet, we must contend with the inordinate number of superstars that emerged from the same crossroads in a shady corner of LA.


  1. McLuhan's observation of the Boomers as the generation of those who needed to be original, reject "conformity" and tradition, and do all things by themselves didn't come out of nowhere. Their media pumped these attitudes into them. The end result of the resulting Boomer culture is as you see today.

    I would also note for the libertarian set that Heinlein has connections to this group, as does, by extension, the Futurians and Campbell crew.

    It really gets the noggin joggin'.

    1. Don't forget L. Ron Hubbard and Aleister Crowley.

  2. This Cold War era history stuff is endlessly fascinating. I'm a skeptic when it comes to conspiracy theories, but that particular time period was full of end of the world fears that gave licence to some pretty scary stuff. I would not be shocked to discover some psychological warfare experiment was involved in the 60's music scene.

    1. Yeah, keeping your mind open, but not so wide your brains spill out, is important when delving through the looking glass.

      We do know for a fact that the CIA ran MK Ultra experiments in the San Francisco at the time. They infiltrated a brothel where the prostitutes would spike the johns' drinks with LSD.

      In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that the Agency started the LSD craze by using student groups on major college campuses as distributors.

  3. Brian,

    Fascinating. I wonder if we made a Venn diagram we'd also see Planned parenthood in the mix too. Supposedly the organization saved some eugenist nazis and even sat on their board of directors.


  4. Look up Jay Dyer. He's an Eastern Orthodox movie buff that delves into conspiracy related material quite a bit.

  5. The Laurel Canyon Theory sounds plausible; if true, it would not be particularly surprising.

    Around the same time period: Vatican II. William F. Buckley (CIA) fighting against the John Birch Society. The Rural Purge on network television.

    Bob Dylan once said Woodstock was "the sum total of all this bullshit." That was from a Rolling Stone interview in the 80's where he sounded very Trumpian:

    "Right now, it seems like in the States, and most other countries, too, there's a big push on to make a big global country where you can get all the materials from one place and assemble them someplace else and sell 'em in another place, and the whole world is just all one, controlled by the same people, you know?"

    Can't say I "get" Dylan, or even like most of his music, but that Woodstock quote always comes to mind when I read about Laurel Canyon.

  6. Love these explanations/conspiracy theories. Thanks for posting!

  7. I've heard about some of this but never looked into it much. Now I'm more curious.

    Listening recently to Taylor Marshall and Tim Gordon, Marshall noted that it makes no sense to look at the '60's and just think it "all happened all at once out of no where" when there is plenty of evidence that the groundwork and preparations were in place for the revolution, on all levels, in the Church and in the cultural institutions of the West. He's right, 1960's was not the infiltration, it was the victory lap. Really curious to read Marshall's upcoming book, Infiltration. It focuses on the Church, but the parallels between what happened in the Church and what happened in the culture lines up. I bet the Masons have a document that parallels the Alta Vendita but focuses on the culture.

  8. The MK Ultra/Project Monarch et al side paths are where it gets really dark. Not to mention tie-ins like the Beatles, who went from not knowing how to play instruments nor keep from falling drunkenly off stage to revolutionizing music with an unprecedented string of hits virtually overnight.

    Also, have you researched UNESCO, Julian Huxley via Esalen Institute, importing eastern mysticism + drugs, associated with this music scene, thereby corrupting an entire generation? Go backwards in time to father TH Huxley, Mason and associate of Darwin...HG Wells comes in, MI-6, Fabian Society, Tavistock Institute etc etc etc.

    It's a *staggeringly* massive psyop that, considering players like Crowley, is literally satanic, mind controlling virtually the entire world. Supernatural evil, I determined, bc no way could human agency orchestrate this. Only later did I learn about Pope Leo XIII's vision and Satan's 100 years, nor Our Lady of Quito prophesying this centuries in advance.

    (All this actually led to my conversation from new agey agnosticism, bc the prime target of this great world conspiracy was/is Catholicism)

    1. Praise God for the grace of conversion!

      Your comment brings to mind a Brazilian poly/sci author who wrote about extremely enduring movements. He didn't mean especially popular or even successful movements, mind you. The focus of his work was on their longevity, though that does have implications for their effectiveness.

      His research led him to conclude that there are only four kinds of actors/institutions capable of sustaining mass movements over the centuries-long time scales required to achieve long-lasting societal change.
      >Dynastic noble families
      >Demonic forces

    2. One takeaway from these observations is how the conflict dynamics between these factors play out.

      Setting aside God, who is all-powerful, one of the other three players can act as a check on another's advancement. Such one-on-one conflicts usually result in a stalemate.

      If you're one of the three limited actors, and you want to gain significant ground against a rival, you really need to forge an alliance with at least one of the others.

      Consider: In the Middle Ages you had Europe's noble families allied with the Catholic Church and God against Satan. Great works of Western art and culture like Notre Dame Cathedral came out of that age for a reason.

    3. So what happened? The dynastic families flipped or were they replaced by new dynasties allied to Satan?

    4. The Reformation split the Church and nobility into factions that stalemated each other and gave Satan room to maneuver.

      WWI took the Western nobility off the board. Now it's Christianity against a heretical Death Cult backed by Satan.

      Before you ask, yes, God is undefeated and guaranteed the final victory. That doesn't guarantee the survival of Western Christendom.

      Too many here, even within the Church, have turned their backs on God's teachings for too long. Our enemies are being allowed to humiliate us as a chastisement. That's been God's M.O. since the Old Testament.

      That's also why our only path to victory is to repent and turn back to Christ en masse. The Big Brain Nietzsche Bunch won't win the day by convincing the GOP to embrace biological realism. A political party--even a major national one--is no match for a religion, let alone a religion backed by another Big Four long-term player.

    5. I’ve never looked at the destruction of the nobility through the eyes of the Rebellion/Reformation. Makes sense though, as much of the nobility enabled Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, etc. Had they stayed true, they could have put out this fires rather than toss in tinder and add accelerant.

      Based on the above, I have to ask, do you think a Catholic Republic could withstand a Big Four as well as a Catholic Aristocracy/Monarchy?

    6. "do you think a Catholic Republic could withstand a Big Four as well as a Catholic Aristocracy/Monarchy?"

      Let's look at some real-life examples of each.

      Hungary, Poland, and Italy are proving exceptionally resistant to globohomo influence. Hungary made the Blessed Virgin Mary their constitutional monarch, with the king as her viceroy. They were later overrun by the secular religion of Communism as a result of the World Wars, but as we've seen elsewhere, Communist rule proved far less damaging in the long run than liberal democracy.

      Poland was likewise a Soviet satellite state, but they've made an even more dramatic recovery. The Polish government solemnly proclaimed Jesus Christ King of Poland a few years back.

      Jesus and Mary go where they're invited.

      Italy may be more socially decadent, but it's the heart of Christendom on Earth. St. Peter's bones still rest beneath his basilica. Now we have Matteo Salvini refusing to let Muslims build new mosques as he slashes immigration by 97%.

      It looks like Catholic--or generally Christian; Hungary is a mixed bag--republics do OK when they honor Christ.

      For an example of a nation with a Catholic monarchy/nobility taking on a hostile religion and winning, I refer you to the Spanish Reconquista.

  9. Did the military-industrial complex (the ones embarking on those assassinations in order to make sure the local tyrants at least weren't Communists) want to lose Vietnam? And every war thereafter, for similar reasons? And now, start slipping away from the whole idea that countries should be armed or even exist? Unmooring the Boomers from their foundations was bad for the military, and obviously so. On the other hand, industry definitely benefits from the atomization the Boomers signed up for, but definitely not in the original counterculture of handwoven sweaters from homegrown hemp, and the first look at corporate bandwagons will show that their planning is most definitely within the five-year window at most.

    So I'll call it a seed-crystal formed by reactionaries and their opportunistic hangers-on. Nashville in the West.

    I'll also inform you that, between this and Bigfoot, you might just be going round the twist.

    1. Will add: an "ends justifies the means" strain evil feeding a "cut away the foundation" strain of evil could indeed have been by design. The demonic powers take the long view. People, though? Not so much.

    2. "I'll also inform you that, between this and Bigfoot, you might just be going round the twist."

      Like I pointed out in the post above, I'm undecided on McGowan's theory. There are too many aspects that could be chalked up to coincidence.

      I've been convinced of the existence of a North American great ape since the age of thirteen. The physical evidence and zoological hypotheses render the notion that it's all hoaxers and misidentifications of bears absurd. That said, I respect the opinion of those who aren't convinced by said evidence. Conclusively proving an as-yet undiscovered animal's existence means producing a body.

    3. I don't know how much of this is true, but I also don't believe the Boomer myth of the '60s miraculously coming together to form a perfect pastiche of peace and love before randomly combusting into Altamont because "lol 1969".

      I also am very skeptical as one who pays attention to strange true crime of any location where murder rates are out of whack with the rest of reality and common patterns such as arson or sabotage occurs on the regular.

      Something was happening in Laurel Canyon back in the 60s, and it didn't just pop fully formed out of the void.

      Nothing does.

  10. Interestingly, in Zappa's autobiography (which I don't have in front of me now, so forgive the lack of chapter and verse), he discusses how there were known CIA/fed plants in LA's freak community . . .

    1. To paraphrase the poet Kaijibushi:

      That dude egging you on? Probably a Fed.

      That hot chick with a sudden interest in dropping acid and starting a race war? Probably a Fed.

      That Fed? Probably a Fed.

    2. Kaiju's poetry brings a tear to my eye. A single, manly tear.