In less than a month, we lost a remarkable collection of giants.
There seemed to be a foreshadowing of what was coming when author Guy Lyon Playfair died three days after his 83th birthday, on April 8, 2018. Playfair was a British writer of parapsychology books.
May 6th is a significant date for deaths. Lyman Frank Baum died 99 years ago on May 6, 1919. He was better known as L. Frank Baum and an American author chiefly famous for his children's books, particularly The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels. He wrote a total of 14 novels in the Oz series. The 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, has permanently placed the movie in the forefront of synchromystic thought. May 6th is St. George's Day, and in some countries, Martyr's Day.
May 10 was the date on which the American engraver and Revolutionary soldier Paul Revere died two hundred years ago, in 1818. In 1863, Confederate soldier Stonewall Jackson died on May 10, after being shoot by mistake by a Confederate soldier a few days earlier. On May 10, 1994, the American serial killer John Wayne Gacy died by execution.
Adam asked me to write the foreword to his book, Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society: A Visual Guide (Feral House, 2012). Adam's and Craig Heimbicher's book was one he was especially proud of and promoted often. Ritual America won the Independent Publisher Awards Best History Book of 2012 Silver Medal.
“King-Kill/33: Masonic Symbolism in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy” eventually was published by Adam Parfrey in the first edition of the book Apocalypse Culture.
Adam Parfrey was born in New York City, on April 12, 1957, into a show business family – his father was actor Woody Parfrey, whose extensive film and television career was often chronicled by Adam via Facebook.
Adam Parfrey left the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1979. He moved to San Francisco and began a short-lived experimental magazine, IDEA, which published two issues. He also wrote and performed in a play about Gilles de Rais called The Wickedest Man in the World (1983). Later in 1983, Parfrey began work at New York City's Strand Bookstore. In 1984, with co-worker George Petros, he began EXIT Magazine. Parfrey worked with Petros for three of the six published issues.
Between 1990 and 1994 Parfrey wrote the weekly column "HelL.A." for the San Diego Reader. Parfrey wrote cover stories and feature articles for the Village Voice, San Diego Reader, Penthouse and Hustler magazines.
Adam Parfrey co-founded the independent publishing company Process Media with Jodi Wille of Dilettante Press in 2005, according to Wikipedia.
Parfrey grew up in the punk culture of the ’70s and ’80s.
His edgy works for Amok Publishing soon gave way to his own imprint, Feral House, which was the source and authority for many Hollywood films that explored the underground, including the Tim Burton film , the feature documentary, and , for which he also co-wrote the screenplay.
Parfrey was on the cutting edge of subjects that other publishers did not have the interest or courage to publish. He co-founded Amok Press with Kenneth Swezey in 1986, publishing Joseph Goebbel’s novel Michael. Its most prominent release was , a collection of articles, interviews and documents exploring the margins of culture. It was subsequently banned in many countries.
Hailed by one website as “probably the most influential ‘underground’ publisher in post-millennial America” and called “The Most Dangerous Publisher in America” by a Seattle Weekly cover story, Parfrey ran an unusual outlet in publishing. It was mostly the product of Parfrey’s boundless curiosity, and did not publish based on query letters or agent inquiries, the standard method of the trade. As a result, he often co-authored many of the books in the catalog, which ranged from examinations of men’s adventure magazines to secret brotherhoods ( ) to 1960s sex magazines. As such, his stable of authors included Satanist Anton LaVey and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski.
Feral House’s collections of bizarre conspiracy theory, such as were also an influence on Chris Carter’s X-Files.
Parfrey also appeared in and co-wrote Crispin Glover’s controversial a Sundance Film Festival selection in 2005, and he had several spoken word recordings.
Parfrey’s second publishing imprint, Process Media, a collaboration with Jodi Wille, debuted in 2005 with publications by authors Jerry Stahl ( ), Humphry Knipe ( ), Timothy Archibald ( ), and Jolene Siana ( ).
Survivors include two sisters, a brother, and six nieces and nephews. No memorial details have been released.
Adam's output has been masterful. He reflected his interest in unorthodox theories by writing, editing, and publishing material on the hidden, forbidden, and verboten topics of Amok Press and Feral House. Our society is all the better for it, and for the passions of Adam Parfrey.
(See also "Mason City: Brad Steiger, The Music Man, The Day the Music Died, and the Griffins".)