We had already missed our goal to put the newsletter out monthly as of January '87 - now in mid year Mom made it official, announcing that we would only put out 9 issues a year. We therefore combined June and July into one newsletter / column, and would do the same for August and September.

As far as folklore was concerned, I had made a couple of pleas for input, and we were starting to see results. For this issue I took two relatively random ideas, and split the column between them.

Both, particularly the Illuminati, deserve more space, and shall someday be revisited.

You'll notice in the column on the right that my dear mother has seen fit to officially acknowledge the rather obvious fact that we only seem to get about nine issues of this newsletter out per year. This would not necessarily be such a terrible thing, except that I've run into a bit of a quandary - there is simply too much folkloric activity out there that I want to talk about! Oh, the frustrations, the dismay . . . I suppose I should hold off on my original plan to ask Mom to double the number of pages . . .

Speaking of Folklore columns, I would like to commend the South Bay's own "Daily Breeze" for inaugurating a folklore column of their own (a column, I might add, that began approximately a month or two after this humble publication first reared its head). This is hopefully the beginning of what I perceive as an extremely healthy trend - the world needs more Folklore columns!

Either that or I need more space.

Now that I've wasted half my allotted space complaining about lack of same, I'd like to thank those of you who actually took pen in hand to offer paeans of gratitude and worthy suggestions. Some of you are probably wondering why, if a writer is already feeling the constraints of space, he would nevertheless solicit ideas from readers for future columns . . .

Well, my theory was that some of you would come up with some great ideas, and I was most assuredly correct in that assumption. Naturally I can't list every contribution, but a few should be mentioned.

One of our first respondents wanted to know more about Unicorns.

Here goes . . .

Unicorns & Illuminati


Unicorns evidently originated in India.

The first known references to them occur in Greek writings dating from 400 BC. However, legends concerning this creature abound throughout the world, from China (where the first Unicorn is supposed to have occurred in 2697 BC) to America (the first European explorers to set foot in Florida reported that the natives wore Unicorn horns around their necks). As late as the 17th Century such "horns" were among the prized possessions of Kings, Dukes, and even Popes.

One can be reasonably sure that such beasts do not exist today, but one must not be so hasty to ridicule the possibility of their existence at one time.

None other than Julius Caesar, during his conquest of modern day France, actually saw one, and wrote of it in his otherwise historically verifiable accounts of his exploits in that region. He described a huge beast in the form of a stag, from the middle of whose brow a single horn protruded.

A Unicorn was sighted at Mount Sinai in the 14th Century, and references may be found to this fabulous beast in many Syrian writings, as well as the Bible itself.

But who today would believe it?

Another reader requested something on "our country's mystical beginnings". This is a great topic, and one that needs a column all to itself.

For those of you unaware of our country having had "mystical" beginnings, take out a dollar bill some time and look at it. Notice the eye on the pyramid. Ever wonder about that?

Well, it was a well known symbol of a group that originated in Germany called the "Perfektibilisten", a name later changed to the "Illuminati". Their leader was an ex Jesuit named Adam Weisshaupt, who was a dead ringer for (and is rumored in some circles to have actually replaced) George Washington.

The date Weisshaupt founded this secret society?


But we shall return to this one later. This same reader had some awfully nice (and probably undeserved) things to say about this column which false modesty prohibits me from reprinting. They were inspiring though, and I would welcome further ideas from that corner.

Another reader went on at length about how much they enjoyed the store itself, with its relaxed atmosphere (I obviously was not in at the time) and terrific bargains. This reader went on to request a column on California folklore. Their reason for mentioning it was that they personally did not know of any, but felt sure there must be some.

That is going to take at least three columns. For starters, did you know that the Queen Mary in Long Beach is currently haunted? Or that somewhere between Los Angeles and Yuma is a hill, lost since 1837, that contains as much hidden gold as the famous "Lost Dutchman" mine?

And for Halloween, Michael and I plan to take you all on a "tour" of local Haunted Houses.

Pleasant dreams.

I actually followed through on the above three "teasers". The very next column would deal with the haunted Queen Mary, and for Halloween that year I did indeed take you all to one of my favorite Haunted Houses in California. As far as the lost hill laden with gold, it was known as the "Lost Mine of Pegleg Smith", and a subsequent column was, I believe, devoted to it.

I say "I believe" because, as I write, we are missing a few columns. Specifically, we are missing April through December of '92 (3 issues), and April through October '93 (2 issues). As these were later issues that appeared during tumultuous times, we may not have had a folklore column in each one.

However, we are also missing the July through October 1990 issue, which I believe had the original version of Shirley Jackson's haunted experiences in it (a column thankfully reprinted and expanded for our September / October '98 issue and hence not lost). The other missing issue, however, is from November 1988, and I'm guessing it was that issue that contained the "Pegleg Smith" story. We'll find it eventually, I trust, and get it online as soon as we do.