Subject: Re: A good read.

Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 14:59:12 -0700 (PDT)

From: <>

To: "Dr. Jack Sarfatti" <>

Hi Jack,

OK, I think we're now basically back on the same page here. Yes, come to think about it, the "metallic voice" on the phone has also been reported by some less well-known abductees, as I recall; indeed, didn't Betty Andreasson-Luca receive such calls after one of her abductions? Or am I thinking of somebody else? Maybe the late Karla Turner? Will check this out & get back to you.

Anyway, you're right. Puharic may well have had a genuine experience, but he certainly jazzed it up, which bothers me very much! In any case You guys may well be part of the current human connection (or alien/human connection, as I'll bet there are some funny genes on your chromosomes somewhere...) the dissidents are developing & the fact that you were selected probably has a lot to do with your lineage, dating back to Rashi and perhaps before. (Il Duce's girl friend may also have been part of it; after all, didn't she also have something going with Marconi?) The fact that your call apparently came from the future does indeed reflect the high probability that they've managed to transcend the "time barrier," as it were, most probably by the means you've suggested. At least I can't think of any more efficient explanation!

Re THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL, which Linda Malcor & I cite in our book, I strongly recommend the more recent Picknett & Prince book I mentioned in my previous message. They do a FAR better job of explaining Rennes-le-Chateau, etc. than Baignet, et al.

Finally, re the late Carlos Castaneda, yes, I did know him pretty well--or as well as anyone outside of his inner circle did. We met at UCLA in 1960, shortly after he met his Yaqui mentor. Although we were about the same age (I'll be 68 tomorrow), I was a grad student & he was still an undergraduate Anthropology major. He'd written a paper for my mentor, the late William A. Lessa, in an undergraduate class on halluncinogenic plants & and had stumbled across this old Yaqui brujo in much the way he describes in the introduction to THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN. Bill Lessa was so impressed with what Carlos was getting from his informant that he asked him to give a report on it to his graduate seminar on "Myth and Ritual." As I'd already taken the seminar, Bill invited me to sit in, saying that he had this "Peruvian guy" in his class who'd collected the best information from a shaman he'd ever seen, bar none.[1]

In any case, I met Castaneda in Lessa's office on the top floor of Haines Hall. We hit it off immediately & I sat in on his seminar presentation. Remember, this was the spring of 1960, less than three months after he met Don Juan Matus (a pseudonym, which is the correct way to go when you're doing ethnography; "Matus" is the Yaqui equivalent of Smith or Jones). Shortly thereafter, Carlos received his BA in Anthropology & began doing grad work in the UCLA department. Then, a year or so later he disappeared from everybody's radar--most of the Anthropology grad students at UCLA at that time knew him--only to resurface in 1964 with his would-be MA thesis (THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN) in hand. He didn't get the degree, but another of my mentors, Walter Goldschmidt, marched him over to the University of California Press office & introduced him to Bob Zachary, who would shortly become my editor as well. The Press accepted THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN largely on the basis of Goldschmidt's & Lessa's recommendations. After the book took off, which surprised everybody, most of all Castaneda, Bob took Carlos aside and said that he'd make far more money with a commercial press. He found him a literary agent (Ned Brown), who in turn, signed him up with Simon & Shuster, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Carlos finally got his doctorate from UCLA in 1973. His thesis was JOURNEY TO IXTLAN, under the more academic title SORCERY: A DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLD and with a scholarly preface that never made it into print. By that time, much to his bemusement, he'd become a counter-culture hero. I had him out to Oxy a couple of times in those days to give guest lectures on his, and the kids would be hanging from the rafters. They expected to see somebody in a flowing robe with hair down to his knees, a Timothy Leary-type, and when this short-haired, button-downed, Establishment-looking little guy walked up to the podium, you could hear the gasp a mile a way. But he was one of the best lecturers I've ever heard. By the end of his talk he'd have them enthralled, even when he gave his standard "don't do drugs unless you've got a Don Juan handy!" He used his Spanish accent like Yo-yo Ma uses his cello!

I didn't see him all that often in the years that followed, although from time to time, out of the blue, I'd get phone call that invariably began "Hi Scott, this is Carlos...," and we'd chat for an hour or so on something he was working on. I'm the one who first suggested that he check out the Tibetan BOOK OF THE DEAD for comparative purposes. The last time he did a guest lecture for me was in a UCLA Extension class in the early '90s. At that time, curiously, he and his sixteen Indian disciples were conducting out-of-body experiments at his place out in the Mojave Desert which took them to what appeared to be "nearby solar systems." Indeed, I've long suspected that he was an alien subject, although he had no conscious abductions recollections, he was open to the idea, but, to the best of my knowledge, never underwent regression hypnosis, despite my urging.

What's my overall assessment of Castaneda? First of all, he was definitely not--I repeat NOT!--a hoaxer. He believed everything he said and wrote. Indeed, he could have made far more money than he did if he'd sold the film rights, which Ned Brown continually urged him to do, for obvious reasons. At one point in the early '70s the late Anthony Quinn, who wanted to play Don Juan so badly he could taste it, put together a package and approached Carlos and Ned in the latter's Century City office. Carlos had a marvelous sense of humor, and his account of that meeting was priceless. It went something like this: "They were talkin' weird numbers, Scott. When it got up to $600,000 [remember, this was ca. 1975; it would have been a couple` of million today], it got unreal. So I told 'em I had to take a leak & left the room." Nobody saw him again for at least eight months!

A few years later, ca. 1980, the Mexican government, urged on by First Lady Sra. Lopez Portillo, wanted to bankroll a movie version with its new-found oil money. They managed to get Frederico Fellini signed up to direct & Carlo Ponti to produce. I know this is true, because an Oxy colleague at the time, Margarita Nieto, a Spanish professor, who also know Carlos & had introduced him to Octavio Paz and the intellectual elite in Mexico City, came running up to me on the campus one day all in a dither asking if I knew where Castaneda was. It seems the Mexican Consulate in L.A. had contacted her about the film. Needless to say, I had no idea where he was. But I did hear later that the principals finally met in Mexico City. Carlos liked Fellini, but thought Ponti was "a snake." And besides, he said, "Don Juan would never let them do it!"

So, the movie rights were never sold. (Margarita Nieto later told me that she was convinced Carlos had appeared to her in a Madrid hotel in the form of a black bird, but that's another story....)

Do I accept everything he said at its face value? No, but then, at bottom, neither did he, even though it faithfully reflected his perceived experiences with Don Juan, Don Genaro, and the rest. What he was tying to do was record a shamanic world-view & to play the game, as it were, by Don Juan's rules. He also was convinced that sorcery was "problematic," that is, that it was more than cultural nonsense, as most anthropologists had painted it up to that time. It's this aspect, I think, together with the implicitly racist idea that no "Chicano" (which, of course, he wasn't) could possibly write as well as he did in English, that triggered the attempts by Richard DeMille, et al., to "expose" him as a fraud. But they never succeeded. Yes, C.C. was something of a trickster, but a genuine one who, I think, made some important contributions to the understanding of shamanism/sorcery, etc. I only wish that the UFO angle could have been explored in more depth, because I'm certain it`was there.

I could go on, but this will give you some idea of my take on the guy. Indeed, some years ago, I published a paper on him which you might take a look at: "An Emic Account of Sorcery: Carlos Castaneda and the Rise of a New Anthropology," JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN LORE 2:145-155 (1976). (Needless to say, I make no mention of the UFO angle in that paper.)




Professor of Anthropology
Occidental College
Los Angeles, CA 90041







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"...he had this Peruvian guy in his class who'd collected the best information from a shaman he'd ever seen, bar none..."

Some people have suggested that the above quote attributed to Lessa and contained herein in the email written by Littleton could not be true in that a professor of Lessa's status would NEVER use the word "shaman."

In so saying, the idea is to undermine the statement so it could never have been said. However, that the word "shaman" would NOT be used by Lessa and others of his ilk is an outsider's view. When individuals or closed groups of insiders such as Lessa and Littleton get together they simply cut to the quick and political correctness drops by the wayside. It is not unlike Blacks, for example. Within their own circles or amongst their close friends they can and do use the N-word. If an outsider or White person were to join the group and start throwing the word around there would be hell to pay.

The Case Against "Shamans" In North American Indigenous Cultures