Archive | June 2016

Gremlims and trolls are running amok..

Mom, look I'm telling you 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

I think my computer may have overheard me saying something I shouldn’t have said about it. At best, our relationship is difficult, but things seem to be totally out of control around here these days. Seems like most of the technological or electronic inventions in my abode are uncooperative and definitely disloyal. Could it be a revolt?

Devilish gremlins and trolls are running amok, doing all the damage they can — including to the very computer I am working on. How did they get in?


Gremlins running amok

Also, three of the five radios I own, my answering machine, and those newfangled telephones I don’t even know how to use are driving me nuts. The newer they are, the more trouble they give me. They have so many options, how can anyone figure them out?

sick computer

Did I hurt my computer’s feelings?

Even the stuff my son Rafi, who knows so much more than I do about computers, fixed for me on this machine won’t work now that he’s gone back home. They worked fine when he was here but not anymore. What is this? (I swear this computer is laughing with glee right now while I’m trying to write.)

Meanwhile friends are complaining that I don’t return phone calls. What phone calls? They insist they left messages.

Answering machine

My answering machine is tired

Perhaps you received my messages, but I sure didn’t. Here I was, feeling unloved and neglected. No one was calling me as far as I knew. Sure my new phones have an answering machine option, but I don’t know how to set it.

broken radio

three of my radios won’t behave

Radios are a big part of my life. They lessen the hissing sound of the tinnitus in my right ear, keep me company as I write, calm me as I relax in the bathtub, lull me to sleep when I go to bed, and divert my attention while I do domestic chores. There are radios in every room and the volume on three of them must be controlled by placing a book in front of or over the speaker. They operate exclusively on silent or loud — and by loud I mean LOUD. No one else I know seems to have this problem. Why me?

I’ve learned not to tell anyone about this anymore, because friends have reacted with a questioning look. They’ve never heard of anything like it, so I just let them think the books near all those radios are there because I read a lot. (Well, I do read a lot.)

I’m writing this especially to warn you. This plague may have started with me, but it could very well spread all over, moving to your place, or to our southern neighbors, and then everywhere, perhaps even as far as Timbuktu. After all, revolutions of this kind don’t recognize borders, do they?

old yellow telephone

the only phone I know how to use


Brother XII: prophet, seducer, swindler…

Mom, thinking 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

I have breakfast out whenever possible, and as a result I’ve met some fascinating people. One, who has become a treasured friend, is author John Oliphant. John introduced me to his biography about Brother XII, the notorious sailor, seducer, swindler, occultist and spiritual cult leader, whose hutzpah had no bounds.

Oliphant’s well-researched true story of Brother XII is so intriguing, I keep giving my own copy of the book away and find myself again needing to buy another. Recently, after having given my last copy to my recuperating brother, who enjoys a good read, I had to borrow one from the library.

This saga of gold, sex and black magic, Brother XII’s dictatorial reign over his kingdom and the things he declared like: ‘I am the Messenger of the Fire, the Messenger of the Whirlwind, the Messenger of the Day of Adjustment. By the Wind ye shall mount to the Heavens — if ye be the children of discernment. But as for the stubborn and the deaf and the blind, the Wind of Destruction shall carry them away.’


The biography of Brother XII

Why do people believe this stuff? Why do any  of us join cults? What makes us willing to follow smooth-talking leaders of questionable groups? Life IS precarious and we can long for a road map to follow — with someone else making the decisions we find difficult.

Brother XII, spouting what to me is nonsense, managed to recruit thousands. Obviously, for many, an unguided path is just too scary. However, far too many cult participants end up broke, in trouble, or like Jim Jones’ followers, dead….


Socialite Mary Connally gave Brother XII a fortune

In the late 1920s, Brother XII, born Edward Arthur Wilson, in Birmingham, England, started a ‘spiritual community’ south of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, on the West Coast of British Columbia. He had no trouble raising funds and easily attracted wealthy supporters including successful business men. Socialite Mary Connally, from North Carolina, was so entranced by Wilson that only three hours after meeting him, she wrote a cheque to him for $23,000. (A fortune in 1928.)

Brother XII

Brother XII (Edward Arthur Wilson)

Roger Painter, the ‘Poultry King of Florida’ regularly sent Wilson cheques for five and ten thousand dollars. In 1929, he was summoned to the colony, arrived with $90,000 in cash and promptly turned it over to his guru! (That’s over a million dollars today.) Painter later regretted squandering his fortune on Brother XII. ‘Today, I don’t have a nickel, he got it all.’

In the end, the swindler who urged his flock to give up all their personal possessions ran off with about $400,000 — a fortune at the time. However, if I tell you the whole story, you’ll miss out on a fantastic read.

John Oliphant, author of Brother XII

Author John Oliphant

A little more about my friend John Oliphant: He was educated at the University of British Columbia, where his interest in history (which I share) and religious studies led him to research Brother XII’s life. John lives in Vancouver and continues writing for numerous publications. He lived and worked in Hong Kong for a number of years and remains a curious and constant world traveler and writer.

For more information on Brother XII:

Or, if you want to read the book — you can get it, enjoy it, and then review it on Amazon.