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Monday, June 4, 2018

Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" - Decoded

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining has been called the greatest horror movie of all time. It's also probably the most misunderstood. Four decades after its release (on Memorial Day, 1980) there's still no compelling consensus on what it's about. Yet people wont stop talking about it.
On the surface, it's about Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the isolated historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. Wintering over with Jack are his wife Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) and young son Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd), who possesses "the shining", an array of psychic abilities that allow Danny to see the hotel's horrific past. After a winter storm leaves the Torrances snowbound, Jack's sanity deteriorates due to the influence of the supernatural forces that inhabit the hotel, placing his wife and son in danger.

The film closes with a close up of a ballroom scene dated July 4, 1921 -- with Jack at the centre, in a tuxedo, arms extended like the State of Liberty, or the Babylonian goddess Semiramis. Or Baphomet. 

 Of course Jack Nicholson's face - grinning demonically -- was airbrushed into an old photograph replacing an unknown man who looks like a Jewish entertainer. The ballroom appears "Egyptian" and is likely a diplomatic gathering -- men and women are equally represented, The man at the centre seems to be taking a bow for the camera.

Given Kubrick's Jewish background - he's been described as a "self-hating Jew" - it seems significant that he used this photo to end the film - as if it were the key to the whole puzzle.
What was happening in the spring of 1921 that might have interested Kubrick? Winston Churchill was touring the Middle East, staying in grand hotels like the Semiramis in Cairo, drumming up support -- building up hoopla -- for the Balfour Agreement which had been signed four years earlier. And you can bet this British Freemason was participating in rituals and orgies. This looks like it could have been one of them.

In a rare interview, Kubrick discusses his fondness for "allegory": for superimposing one story on another to enhance it meaning. Stephen King's horror novel provided a plot for a story Kubrick could not address directly. It had to be important, for Kubrick to go to the trouble of making it, changing details to suit his own purposes, which he kept secret.
One such detail is Room 237 in the film - where the 'crazy woman' attacks Danny. In King's novel, Room 217 is the focus of evil. It's been suggested Kubrick changed it to '237' to reference the Apollo moon mission: old textbooks give 237.000 miles as the distance from the earth to the moon.
I read it as 23/7 -- July 1923 -- the crucial month the Balfour Agreement was threatened with abrogation, as the British Conservatives reconsidered their support for the new Jewish nation, but the plan was rescued and today we see the results of that 100-year-old deal. Incidentally, July 23, 1954 is also the date of the Israeli false flag operation known as the "Lavon Affair."

The Shining is the coded story of Israel, founded by British Freemasons and European Zionists. The ballroom crowd are toasting Independence, and ironically America's loss it. Who was the ball for? Balfour? 

Kubrick took Judaism seriously enough to see the lie at the core of the Zionist enterprise. That's why he chose "Horror" to reveal the past and predict the outcome. The Overlook hotel sits on a native burial ground, the scene of past genocide. Notoriously reclusive, he gave few interviews and once told a friend "almost everything" Hitler had said about the Jews was right.
The opening scene of the film shows Jack driving his yellow Volkswagen Beetle up the mountain road ("The Road to the Sun") to the Overlook Hotel where they will spend the winter. The VW harkens back to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. It mirrors the Egyptian scarab beetle beloved by Freemasons.
In the film, Kubrick adds a topiary maze in which Jack's wife Wendy and son Danny get lost. The spirit-possessed Danny may stand for the 13th "lost" tribe of Dan in the Bible. The Overlook is Israel - including Jerusalem, "the shining city on the hill" -- a "light unto the nations" -- overlooking devastation, and doomed to repeat the past until it awakens from its hypnotic state of somnambulence

In an early scene, blood pours from the elevator. The hotel's decor is almost entirely red, a reminder of mass murder. Murder is everywhere at the Overlook - the previous caretaker murdered his wife and children. Under the influence of its ghosts, and his own demons, Jack turns into a homicidal maniac.
As the Jews were set up to repeat the holocaust in their "Promised Land," Jack's plunge into insanity parallels the nightmare that Israel has become. Wendy's senseless screaming mimics  western nations as they fail to stop the ongoing massacres on helpless Palestinians.
Wendy finds Jack's manuscript with its endless repetition of the same sentence:  "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy." Propaganda and repetition have made Israel a nation of soldiers, dull boys, tools of a geopolitical scheme to control the Middle East and the world.
An unwitting patsy in a blood-soaked dream-scape populated by ghosts, Jack finally meets the ghost of Grady, in the blood-red men's room, In a marked British accent. Grady tells Jack  'You have always been the caretaker." This makes no sense to Jack, who knows Grady preceded him and is supposed to be dead. Grady adds "I have always been here." He tells Jack he needs to "correct" his family - setting him off on a killing spree after putting him into a hypnotic trance.

REDRUM  which Danny writes on the wall with his finger, spells MURDER backwards - but it sounds like "Red Room" - most of the rooms are red in The Shining, almost as if they belonged in Buckingham Palace.

"Honey, I'm home!" shouts Jack, as he smashes through the door with an axe. In their new 'homeland" of milk and honey, the Jews are homicidal puppets of their invisible masters, the British architects of the region and its inescapable maze of deceit.
An insider to the alphabet agencies, Kubrick knew the state of Israel was one gigantic psy-op and was headed for a controlled catastrophe, planned by the brilliant minds including Lord Balfour (who incidentally also founded the Society for Psychical Research – The Shining is about “the paranormal”). And Freemasons still travel to Cairo to participate in black magic rituals inside the Pyramids.  

These are just a few reasons why this horror movie refuses to go away, and why Kubrick deserves the post-humous label of Righteous Jew.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Killers

The killers that run
the other countries
are trying to get us
to overthrow the killers
that run our own
I for one
prefer the rule
of our native killers
I am convinced
the foreign killer
will kill more of us
than the old familiar killer does
Frankly I don’t believe
anyone out there
really wants us to solve
our social problems
I base this all on how I feel
about The Man Next Door

In the vicinity of L. Cohen
I just hope he doesn’t
get any uglier
Therefore I am a patriot
I don’t like to see
a burning flag
because it excites
the killers on either side
to unfortunate excess
which goes on gaily
quite unchecked
until everyone is dead

- From “The Energy Of Slaves”

Leonard Cohen double ca. 1979

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Bunch of Loathesome Heroes

I'd rather end the year on a positive note, but that's turning out to be a challenge. I've begun and abandoned several new blog posts since the last one. It's hard to recover from a massive downer like finding more evidence that Leonard Cohen was involved in covert ops. Believe it or not, I recoil from these revelations - but that doesn't stop them from coming. And not because I go looking for the dark side. It just seems to pop up when I least expect it, beyond my conscious control.

So I've been quiet lately - but it's not for lack of trying. I'm in fact sitting on three new posts. All are the result of rereading Marianne Ihlen's memoir So Long, Marianne, and finding it loaded with references that nobody seems to have followed up. Some are definitely clues, offering strange insights into what was really going on back in the late 1950s and early 60s, when a fascinating cast of characters came together on Hydra. They included LSD guru John Starr Cooke - vocal supporter of Marianne's marriage to novelist Axel Jensen who was Starr's protegé. Then Axel ran off with American artist Patricia Amlin - who later made a famous documentary about the Mayans.

Meanwhile, back on Hydra, Marianne joined the drug culture through a circle of women like author and traveller Olivia de Haulleville, niece of Aldous Huxley.

For some odd reason all these Hydra acquaintances seem to have deep connections to the elite circles that funded and promoted the dubious "counterculture" movement -- and we're talking Rockefelllers, Hitchcocks, Mellons and Rothschilds -- because that's the sort of crowd that took over Hydra and turned it into a haven for drug dealers, diamond smugglers, mercenaries, and retired spooks.

Looking at old photos of Hydra life, Jackie Kennedy also shows up, along with Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn -- as a reminder that this tiny Greek island has been a hub for jetsetters and glitterati -- and that despite its reputation as a simple paradise of the Aegean, it was anything but unspoiled.

So I'll start there -- with the caveat that these new leads (at least, new to me) are wormholes that can end up taking us places we aren't quite ready for. Like the Beat Hotel, in Paris. Or London at the dawn of Scientology. Or Tangier, Morocco where Paul Bowles was setting up shop. Or Cuernevaca, Mexico where the counterculture was being cooked up by a raunchy assortment of alchemists and intelligence agents. All these roads were lit by a drug-fuelled revolution that many thought was real.  And even today, we live in the aftermath - the ruins of a dream that turns out to have been more of an evil scheme to take over the world on behalf of the most reactionary people on the planet.

And how is Leonard Cohen connected into all this? Where all this leads, involves the world I grew up in -- the world of MKULTRA mind control, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the murder of John F. Kennedy -- all of which were happening as my generation was coming of age, and while Marianne and Leonard were meeting as young adults on a Greek island and living their romance -- which I suspect was not always as romantic as we have been told.

In an interview with Alison Gold a few years back, Marianne admitted that she "was a part of Leonard's secret life." She didn't elaborate, but what was she referring to? Is there anything in her memoir to suggest such a thing? Not to my knowledge. She leaves us guessing. But she had to know all kinds of things that couldn't be said in the open. As we've seen, she had to know about Leonard's double, and what he was doing on Hydra. She also had to know about Leonard's arrest in Havana, six months later - and the fact that she never even mentions it, is proof that she knew exactly what couldn't be talked about. So, what else did she know? Chances are, a whole lot.

Well, that's the thread I'm attempting to follow, while avoiding the pitfalls the official story and the deaf cheers of clueless fans who believe it. But every now and then, I get a little prompt from Leonard himself. This morning it came in a dream, the kind you wake up from feeling the way you do after visiting a friend.

In the dream, Leonard was lying in bed, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, and I was somewhere off to the side, conscious that I had not spoken a word in quite some time. I was also aware that the reason Leonard was bedridden was because of something I had recently said that had affected him. He'd been hoping I would correct the negative impression my words had left on his family -- and I agreed to try, even though I felt as numb and disappointed about all this as he did. But in the dream, we were both in agreement that something had to be done to straighten out the record, and soon.

In reality, i.e. in my conscious waking life, I'd gone to bed the night before, after having an important realization. I think that's why Leonard showed up in my dream this morning: to encourage me to come out and say it, before it vanished.

So here it is, but it doesn't begin well. Over the past few weeks, since it was the anniversary of JFK's murder, I've been reading articles and looking at some YouTube videos about Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the various theories out there about who really killed Kennedy. There's general agreement out there, in case you didn't know, that Oswald was a patsy -- although his degree of innocence is disputed, most people who study this saga are convinced he could not have killed the President. And there is general agreement that the real killers are a shadowy group comprised of the Italian Mafia, Cuban anti-Castro extremists, the CIA, and a branch of the Jewish Mafia that can be linked to a Montreal branch that happened to employ many of families who lived in the same neighbourhood young Leonard Cohen grew up in.

This is something I talked about with Jasun Horsley in a recent podcast - in which I refer to the book Dope, Inc which investigates the Montreal-based Bronfman family -- and their links to a conspiracy theory about a company called PERMINDEX which may have ordered the hit on Kennedy, in league with Israelis working for Mossad.

It came as a shock to me to learn that Leonard's family owed their livelihood to an international firm with ties to Israeli intelligence, and that made a living off drugs, human trafficking and assassination. And yet it didn't really come as a surprise, as I had heard Leonard sing the praises of the extremist Stern gang, on a tour that ended in Tel Aviv in November 1980. The Stern gang were Jewish terrorists who committed mass murder in the cause of Israeli independence, and Leonard had made no secret of his admiration for men like Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, and Mossad's Yitsak Shamir -- all of whom wanted Kennedy dead in 1963 because he opposed their nuclear weapons program.

Still, I never got the impression that Leonard could have hated Kennedy. If you were to ask me to guess how he felt about JFK's assassination, I would have said his feelings boiled down to guilt and ambivalence -- because a lot of details point to his having known about the plan to kill the President.

It's been termed a ritual assassination, connected to the pagan rite of "The Killing of the King." America, and the world, have never recovered from this traumatic event - even decades later, we still talk about it as a turning point with hellish consequences that spill over into our daily lives. In a sense, we're all living under its spell.

But as I was mulling all this over yesterday, I suddenly remembered a speech Leonard gave in 1964 to a group of Jewish leaders in Montreal. The actual text of this speech has been lost, but his notes remain in the archives of Toronto's Fischer Library, along with news stories describing the outraged reaction of the audience.

Now, just to be clear: I'm of the opinion that Leonard Cohen associated with some of the very same gangs and individuals who invaded Cuba in April 1961, and later assassinated Kennedy in November 1963. This sounds like another wild accusation, but there's no honest way around it. In the early sixties, Leonard was employed by the CIA. His whereabouts at the time of Kennedy's death are, as far as I know, hard to determine. I thought I had read somewhere that he was in New York that week, at a launch for The Favorite Game - which had just been published in London.

I do know he tended to place support for Israel above every other political allegiance.

But in 1964, he went out of his way in addressing a group of Jewish businessmen, to attack the morals of that community. And specifically, he attacked the Bronfmans, who at one time employed the poet A.M. Klein as a speechwriter. "He became their clown," Leonard told the audience. You can hear the clank of jaws dropping as he went on to castigate the very same elite that had paid for his recent trip to Cuba.

You can listen to the speech, with its poetic and Biblical digressions, but you will miss the point unless you understand he was addressing the people who, half a year before, had aided the plot to kill Kennedy. And the point is, he knew it, which is why he spoke in parables about a dead poet who had once served them.

That takes a certain amount of courage. It also explains the overheated reaction he got from the assembled business community - because obviously there were people in the audience that night who knew exactly what the 30-year-old Cohen meant when he said the Jewish community no longer honoured its prophets, and raised plaques to names like "Bronfman and Beutel."

Then he talked about himself, making it plain he wasn't going to follow in Klein's footsteps and end up depressed, suicidal, and alone.

"The prophet follows the idea wherever it goes, and ideas, by their very nature, like to travel to dangerous places. The chase, then, is a lonely sport, and the community, observing the prophet, becomes suspicious. Most people would rather visit lifeless and antiquated things in air-conditioned museums than seek thrills in steaming swamps, running the risk of getting bitten by something wild."

He had been to some steaming swamps, training with professional killers, and he had traveled to dangerous places. And now he was back in Montreal, facing a community that supported murder from a safe distance. They no longer recognized their hero.

So he had nothing left but his story - which he soon began to tell in songs.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

You Want it Darker: Janis Joplin, revisited

I've been here before, but let's add another layer to this mystery, shall we?

Leonard Cohen interview, backstage, Glasgow 1976.

1976 was the year Cohen began announcing at concerts that Janis Joplin was the woman immortalized in his song(s) Chelsea Hotel #1 and #2.  It was also the year he gave this little interview, much of which is hard to hear because of the background noise, and the interviewer's Glasgow accent.

At around 8:30, the Scottish interviewer asks him to talk about about Joplin.

Leonard answers:

"There was something in her voice that was unmistakable.  'I don't mean to suggest that I loved her the best' ... I mean, I knew her. She wasn't my best friend or anything but I bumped into her often in hotels  around the States ... I love her music ... (sounds of liquid being poured, glasses and bottles clinking) ...

"I remember I was at a hotel with her in Los Angeles ... I think it was the Landmark Motel... and she was being given an award by one of those magazines like Melody Maker or some American equivalent of Melody Maker. I think it was Down Beat.. and I was there when they handed her the prize and she was like a kid, she'd gotten the prize as best woman singer of the year and it was like Christmas.. and it was real... I mean ... She was there..."

There's a lot wrong with that story. It also includes an astonishing confession.

1. The Landmark Motel was where Janis Joplin died. 

She moved into Room 105 on August 24, 1970 and stayed there til the night of her death on October 4, 1970. During those weeks, she was mainly working in the studio recording her second album Pearl.

2. While Joplin was getting settled at the Landmark, Leonard Cohen was far away in Europe.

He was wrapping up his tour in the UK (notably with a concert at the Isle of Wight on August 31). Then Jimi Hendrix died, in London. Leonard flew to America a few days later and recorded Songs of Love and Hate in Tennessee during the week of September 21. So if he 'bumped into her' at the Landmark in L.A., it could only be after September 25, in the ten days before she died.

3. The "award" he says she received - for which he claims he was present - was imaginary. 

She never received an award in her lifetime. The April 4, 1968 issue of Down Beat did feature Joplin on the cover but there's no record of any award. At the 1971 14th Annual GRAMMY Awards she was post-humously nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, for Me and Bobby McGee and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for her album Pearl.  Carole King swept the awards that year. Ironically, it wasn't until 2005 that she finally received the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award at the 47th annual GRAMMIES.

Melody Maker's readers voted Joplin "World's Top Female Singer" for 1969 in their readers' poll, according to this front page story from October 10, 1970, which appeared five days after her death.

Melody Maker's 1969 annual reader poll awards were held at the Savoy Hotel in London but there is no evidence Joplin attended to pick up her prize. Her only solo trip to England had been six months earlier when she played the Royal Albert Hall on April 21, 1969, to rave reviews in the press. 

By contrast, 1969 was a bad year for Leonard whose second album, Songs From a Room, went generally unnoticed and unloved. 

In 1976, either he was confused, or he made up a story to cover a serious slip: he'd just admitted to the interviewer that he'd been with her at the Landmark which is associated with her sad end.

According to reports at the time, including in Rolling Stone, Joplin was found dead between the bed and the night table in her room at the Landmark Motor Hotel after failing to show up at the recording session on October 5. There were needle marks in her arm. Her mouth was bloodied and her nose was broken. Presumed cause of death: heroin overdose, self-administered.

According to one account, she left the downtown club where she had been partying with band members and friends, and went back to her hotel in the company of a taxi driver and "a fan."

Leonard Cohen's affair with Joplin remains legendary. Meanwhile, Chelsea Hotel #1, the original version, was rarely performed, if at all, after 1972. It's worth a listen. The rambling conclusion, about fishing beside a stream in Tennessee, compares Joplin to the one that got away. It leaves a strange impression: that he was in the room with Joplin as she rode "the Midnight Train' to her death.

On his 1979 "Field Commander Cohen Tour" I listened from the rear of the stage as Leonard retold the story. That time, too, he stumbled: "We fell into each other's arms and -- after she died --" The audience gasped, there were some giggles. Not missing a beat, a smiling Leonard recovered, and quickly had them in stitches. "It wasn't my embrace that killed her. My kiss is poisonous, but it's not deadly."

Good old Leonard. It wasn't the only time he had tantalized an audience with the hint of Kill and Tell. Back home in Montreal, as a young poet in the 1950s, Cohen had gained notoriety with a poem entitled "Ballad" about the ritual murder of a woman in a downtown rooming house, written ironically so as to suggest the poet-narrator was in fact the murderer.

Scholar Ruth Wisse, who studied with him at McGill, commented on this poem in her article "My Life Without Leonard Cohen":

'Leonard Cohen's Montreal ... was my very own, at once familiar and made mythic in marvelous phrases.

"My lady was found mutilated / in a Mountain Street boarding house...." Rushing to meet a friend at Ogilvy's, at the corner of Mountain Street and Ste. Catherine, I wondered behind which familiar door the lady's purple blood was staining the sheets.'  

Ruth Wisse avoids directly stating what, at the time, must have been a haunting suspicion: how did the twenty-something student know so much about a grisly murder on the street where he lived? The fact is, Leonard Cohen had a reputation for being dangerous and crazy, that ran alongside his growing fame as a musician.

We should all wonder at the way he fooled us with "marvellous phrases" -- and why we let him get away with it. He still stalks the streets of downtown Montreal, but now he's even larger than life, than he was when he was alive. 

Kelley Lynch, his former manager, described to me how, in 1988, Cohen would ask her to lock him in at night, after work, when she left his Montreal house. This, he said, was because he had an uncontrollable urge to "go out and kill people."

Of course, I'm not accusing him of murdering Joplin - there's no proof, and he had no motive. Unless he was some sort of contract killer, working for the CIA. A distinct possibility.

But no one nowadays would think of accusing Leonard Cohen (post-humously) of sexual abuse, violence against woman, or worse. Least of all his obsessed fans. After all, Leonard is now our heavenly guide to living in an 'imperfect world.'  That clever clichĂ© disguises the reality: we're struggling to survive in the aftermath of a program of mind control designed by the very same crowd that gave us Leonard Cohen as our flawed Messiah. It's pop psychology for the brain-dead and those too lazy to think. 
Speaking of "crack":  The 'crack in everything' that we now celebrate as some divine gift, is a religious-sounding euphemism bandaging a gaping wound. It's a kabbalist metaphor for the controlled schizophrenia of modern life in a world dominated by organized crime.  It can't be healed with more drugs.

This is not the human condition - it's slavery built on a lie.  And it's not our mission unless we choose to accept it.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Meet Leonard Cohen's Mystery Double

Just when I thought I'd reached the end of the trail in my quest for 'truth and closure", yesterday I stumbled on this LIFE Magazine image purporting to be of Leonard on Hydra in the fall of 1960. The caption states: "Leonard Cohen walking on a street near his vacation home in Hydra, Greece, October 1960. James Burke/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images."

In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the terrace of Leonard's house on Hydra - with the front door on the left and the library door on the right. However the man holding the keys is not Leonard. He looks like an actor hired to impersonate Cohen for the LIFE feature with the photo spread that was shot in October 1960, but never actually ran in the magazine. Longtime Hydra resident and Australian novelist George Johnston had written for LIFE, and allegedly was about to be interviewed, but for unknown reasons the feature was cancelled. Or so they say at the Leonard Cohen Forum where the photos were first unveiled in 2011.

Many photos were shot on Hydra, all dated October 1, 1960. Very few that I have seen are of George Johnston. Many, on the other hand, show Leonard playing his guitar, standing at the wharf in Kamini with Marianne and a group of friends, or riding a mule up the trail to the monastery of Prophitis Ilias. You might be forgiven for thinking LIFE travelled to Hydra to document the world of Leonard Cohen, who at the time was an obscure young poet with only one book to his credit, published by a small press at McGill - whereas George Johnston was an internationally acclaimed novelist and former war correspondent, who also happened to be a friend of Cohen's.
George Johnson on Hydra.

Marianne on mule-back, but that's not Leonard behind her.

The real Leonard Cohen, with Marianne, George, Charmian (R-L)

The real Leonard with Charmian Johnston.

That mule-back photo above is fake, but not very clear. So here's one that's even more fake, supposedly of Marianne and Leonard on that same outing in 1960. Absolutely fake. It's not either of them. Were they making a bio-pic with actors? What was going on?

The road to Prophitis Ilias. The Double rides ahead of an unknown woman.

Doesn't quite make sense, does it? Many of the LIFE photos of Leonard Cohen taken that day are of him, but others are of the unidentified Doppleganger who, to my knowledge, has never been outed until now. Just take a look and see for yourself. 

In the first place, this interloper is handsomer than Leonard. He's also slightly hairier, better built, with a less expressive face. His hands - particularly his thumbs - stand out as thicker and less elongated than Cohen's. He reminds me a bit of Keanu Reeves - in his facial blankness, that is. Taken altogether, he looks like an upgraded version more in line with standards of male perfection.

This raises lots of questions, but the biggest one is what's he doing on Hydra pretending to be Leonard Cohen in 1960? Why would a Canadian poet who isn't famous yet be gifted with a Double? What were they thinking and planning back then, that we've never been told about? What agenda had come into play?

More than anything I've come across so far, this Double demolishes the official Life Story that has built up around Leonard, as propagated by  biographers like Sylvie Simmons and Ira Nadel. That narrative goes that Leonard wrote and sang his way, slowly, step by step, to gradual fame that first blossomed in the mid-sixties and then, through a combination of lonely discipline, devotion to his craft and a winning personality, made it to the heights of the music world, becoming one of the great composers of the last century. All true, up to a point -- but some of it isn't.

No one who is not famous has a double who stands in for him for photos in LIFE Magazine - and Leonard, definitely, was not famous in 1960. But he had powerful friends, like Jacob Rothschild, and CIA director Allen Dulles. So who was this handsome mystery man holding the keys to Leonard's house? He appears to have come for the shoot, after which he is never seen again. Except on Leonard's Greek drivers' license (which according to Marianne Ihlen also served as a residence permit) where he appears in the characteristic military-style shirt and haircut we associate with our poet. And there's "Leonard Cohen - Kanadas" and the date of birth 1934 - for all to see.

If this were a real Greek residence permit, it would need to have an entry and exit date -

Sorry, but that's not Leonard - that's the Man with Keys on the Terrace. His ears are too flat, his features too regular. Even in his most flattering photos, Leonard never looked like that. 

Leonard, early 1960s.
The real Leonard never needed a Greek driver's license because he lived on Hydra, which had no cars, only donkeys, horses and mules. When he travelled into Athens by boat, he took cheap local taxis to get around; buses or trains if he wanted to travel to places like Delphi or Epidaurus.

False Leonard -- let's call him "Flennard" -- needed a car in the autumn of 1960 - if only to drive Marianne back to Norway where her 9-month-old son was parked with his grandmother. Marianne recounts this long trip north, through Yugoslavia and across the Alps and over to Paris, in her memoir So Long, Marianne. It's almost like a scene in a movie, with the lovers traipsing around Paris, at one point Marianne even threatening leap to her death from a window, until Leonard (or Flennard) embraced her, and she "cried herself out." On arrival at Marianne's mother's house, he did the "gentlemanly" thing by checking himself into a hotel for the night. 

Where was Leonard? I'm guessing he took off sometime after the hootenanny photos were shot, and spent time in the CIA training camps where Allen Dulles' CIA Cuban invasion team were training for the Bay of Pigs fiasco the following April.

I'm also guessing the unwanted publicity Leonard received in April 1961 may have had something to do with why the LIFE feature and photo spread never saw the light of day.
Different impostor? Note the 'hidden hand." 

Leonard told a friend, "I have a double who does all the bad things." 

I'd go on to speculate that a Double was created in 1960 for at least two reasons. One, because someone at LIFE headquarters had decided to invest in Leonard's future career as a pop star and they wanted a better-looking image for their pages.

Two, because he was heading off on a dangerous mission and, in case he was killed during the failed coup, arrangements had to be made to deposit his pay in some offshore bank account and compensate his loved ones?

The real Leonard was often elusive, but having his own Doppelganger at age 25? He wasn't even famous. Had he signed up for secret work that required him to disappear?

Think of this: he'd only been on Hydra six months when the LIFE magazine crew arrived. His date of arrival was April 13, 1960. By May, he'd established a cover: he'd met Marianne and her five-month old son, Axel Joachim. By August, Leonard was babysitting baby Axel, while Marianne was away in Athens. Then, in a strange sudden move, Marianne put her 8-month old son on a plane to Oslo. On September 27, Leonard bought the house at the top of Donkeyshit Lane for $1500, paid for with an inheritance from his grandmother. While he wrote, Marianne says she divided her time between his house  and her own place behind the port in Kala Pigadia. But three days after the house was bought, on October 1, LIFE Magazine shot photos of Leonard playing in a hootenanny at Douskos' Taverna. The double shows up in the series, with Marianne riding mules up Kala Pigadia. 

That's definitely Marianne at the head of the mule train in the photo - she was there, yet nowhere in her memoir does she mention being there when those photos were shot. Why the secrecy? And why was LIFE creating a fake story around a group of artists on a Greek island?

There's the double, holding the key, coming out of Leonard's front door on Hydra, wearing Leonard's trademark clothing.  Had Leonard already left for America on October 1? .

Instead of the LIFE shoot, Marianne Ihlen describes an uneventful autumn together with Leonard on Hydra that year - minus her baby son, who was with her mother in Oslo. What was the point of sending her baby away, just as life had settled into a comfortable routine? She says she and Leonard left the island in November and drove north to Paris in the Karmann Ghia she and Axel had bought the year before. But the face in the photo on his Greek driver's license is not Leonard -- it's the double. 

Therefore he, not Leonard, probably drove Marianne back to Norway in November.  It would be easy to introduce the stranger to her mother as 'Leonard.'

Otherwise, that autumn, there would have been two Leonards on Hydra -- needless to say, it would have aroused suspicion.

That's weird, to say the least. It's not what we have been told. Marianne must have gone along with the whole charade, including the trip north with the faux Leonard. An unpublished poem in her memoir appears to describe the real Leonard's sudden departure by night:

For M.

I stayed awake to see you sleep
Some faces die of sleep
Mouths go limp
Gone eyes leave a corpse behind
Maybe I could say goodbye
But you were perfect
You were whole
Your mouth was saying
I won't ever hurt you
Eyelids saying
Be live be still
I got as far as the window
Something was wrong
The houses were too white
Cliffs too steep
What were the yards doing so clear
I wheeled around
I knew I had made a mistake
I tried to walk I ran
Everywhere I bumped my head
I was picking up prayerbooks
I kissed your sleep


(Previously unpublished poem by Leonard Cohen)


Leonard Cohen had landed in London for the first time, in December 1959, moved into a boarding house where he began to write a novel, and soon got introduced to Jacob Rothschild.

That same autumn, Lee Harvey Oswald, future alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy, defected to Russia where he would remain for two and half years. Oswald likely was a double agent employed by the CIA to spy on the Russians. He arrived in Moscow on October 16, 1959.

This card, which connects Oswald to the CIA, was used to forge a selective service card for Oswald's double, Alex James Hidell, while Oswald was in Russia as an American civilian defector. Later he worked in New Orleans, posing as a left-wing Castro supporter, while hanging out with anti-Castro extremists. While Oswald was in Russia, in 1960-61 his alleged double was involved with activities connected to the Bay of Pigs invasion, including collecting armoured vehicles for CIA-sponsored landing on Cuba in April, 1961,

In April 1961, almost exactly a year after he had landed on Hydra, a bearded Leonard Cohen was arrested in Havana, Cuba, as a suspected CIA agent. This must have been the real Leonard Cohen, because he wrote a poem about his experience. He was released and escaped the country on a plane he managed to sneak onto at the airport. The incident got into the newspapers, embarrassing for Leonard. He claimed to have been in Havana as a tourist - although at the time he was short of money and could not afford to live on Hydra. His arrival in Cuba just happened to coincide with the American invasion.


H.P. Albarelli Jr. on Oswald's childhood in MKULTRA 

Two Went to Sleep

Two went to sleep
almost every night
one dreamed of mud
one dreamed of Asia
visiting a zeppelin
visiting Nijinsky
Two went to sleep
one dreamed of ribs
one dreamed of senators
Two went to sleep
two travellers
The long marriage
in the dark
The sleep was old
the travellers were old
one dreamed of oranges
one dreamed of Carthage
Two friends asleep
years locked in travel
Good night my darling
as the dreams waved goodbye
one travelled lightly
one walked through water
visiting a chess game
visiting a booth
always returning
to wait out the day
One carried matches
one climbed a beehive
one sold an earphone
one shot a German
Two went to sleep
every sleep went together
wandering away
from an operating table
one dreamed of grass
one dreamed of spokes
one bargained nicely
one was a snowman
one counted medicine
one tasted pencils
one was a child
one was a traitor
visiting heavy industry
visiting the family
Two went to sleep
none could foretell
one went with baskets
one took a ledger
one night happy
one night in terror
Love could not bind them
Fear could not either
they went unconnected
they never knew where
always returning
to wait out the day
parting with kissing
parting with yawns
visiting Death till
they wore out their welcome
visiting Death till
the right disguise worked

Leonard Cohen ~ 1964