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The Road Trip

the Wanderling

"Yet Castaneda never produced a single reliable witness to support any of his tale. Nor has any come forward in the last thirty years. Where is "Nogales Bill," who introduced Carlos to don Juan?"

Where indeed? Over and over the above or a similar worded question shows up, yet never goes any farther in whatever forum or medium it shows up in. The question is not asked here, just answered.

In the late spring, early summer of 1960 a colleague of Carlos Castaneda reportedly suggested that he and Castaneda go on a road trip together --- the cumulation of which, it has been said, ended in a direct meeting between Castaneda and the powerful Shaman-sorcerer, Don Juan Matus. The problem is, even though the colleague was the person that pointed out Don Juan to Castaneda in the first place, setting into motion all that followed, nobody seems to know WHO that colleague was. Other than the name Bill and a few brief background descriptions by Castaneda did he elaborate further. To my knowledge, except for the person I discuss below and I met personally, did the Bill person ever come forward and identify himself publicly in any fashion.

The implication for many critics and readers of the Don Juan books is that the apparent colleague, sometimes called "Bill," sometimes left unnamed, never was. They cite the reason for same based on the possibility of a play on words in the names of both of Don Juan's alleged teachers, Julian Osorio and Elias Ulloa, which they then inturn cite as undermining the credibility of the teachers and/or their existence. Some of the same people for some of the same reasons impose the same possibility (i.e., Castaneda's possible play on words) on Bill's existence. Most often cited --- in an interesting twist of fate OR an exquisitely crafted dual-language conundrum --- that in Castaneda's native language Spanish, there is the word cargar that has several meanings. One is to debit, book, or charge to an account --- in other words to BILL. In another use, the same word framed in other contexts means as well to be intoxicated, drink too much, and get this, to ship goods or freight and to burden one's conscience with sin. Remember what the colleague Bill told Castaneda just before they left on their Road Trip:

"You're welcome to come with me," he said. "I'm not going to do any work. I'm just going to visit with them, have a few drinks with them, bullshit with them. I bought gifts for them-blankets, booze, jackets, ammunition for twenty-two-caliber rifles. My car is loaded with goodies. I usually drive alone whenever I go to see them, but by myself I always run the risk of falling asleep. You could keep me company, keep me from dozing off, or drive a little bit if I'm too drunk."

In Castaneda's books, Bill, anonymous to the core as he was kept by Castaneda, was never identified with a last name. But, the person I mentioned above as having met DID have a last name: Campbell. I personally observed both the Campbell person I am specifically talking about here AND Castaneda quietly engaged in conversation at what I presume turned out to be the infamous Nogales Bus Station Meeting alluded to by Castaneda at the END of their summer of 1960 Road Trip.

Interestingly enough there was a man Castaneda was most certainly aware of with the last name Campbell --- a noted author of classic mythology and the relation of that mythology to Native American legends by the name of Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell believed that participation in ritual could put you into a direct experience of mythic reality --- paralleling almost exactly the thoughts as presented by Castaneda of Don Juan. Although at the time Castaneda was yet to meet Don Juan, it is my belief that Castaneda, in his travels and considering his below par mood, in meeting a man with the last name Campbell, there is a good chance he would and did consider it to be nothing less than a perfect omen.

To show how influential the writings of Joseph Campbell may have had on intellectuals to popular culture, thus then how important his views and he was as a guiding light to those instrumental in that popular culture, the following quote regarding George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars series is offered:

" his (George Lucas) search for fantasy, (he) read Grimmís fairy tales and CS Lewisí Narnia Chronicles, JRR Tolkien and Frazierís Golden Bough. He also read Greek, Islamic and Indian mythology and the works of modern mythologists like Carlos Castaneda and Joseph Campbell."

The following is what was garnered years later in a conversation between Castaneda's Road Trip colleague to be, Bill, whose full name was William Lawrence Campbell, and fellow researchers in a small cafe in Taos, New Mexico. Campbell, a onetime lowly Pothunter turned reputable amateur archaeologist known throughout the desert southwest as Cactus Jack, recounted what happened at his and Castaneda's very first meeting at the archaeology dig a few days prior to their departure --- and WHY I am of the strong opinion that the introduction of William Lawrence Campbell into the picture and the relation of his last name of Campbell to that of Joseph Campbell played such an important role. Campbell is quoted as saying:

"Castaneda had shown up at the archaeology dig site a few days earlier. The two of us had seen each other or passed by each other on a number of occasions at the site, but we were yet to meet or talk. Although other student level people were either working at the dig and/or participating in various aspects of camp maintenance, Castaneda wasn't. He basically went around most of the day bugging high ranking anthropologists asking nothing but a continuous stream of unending questions. As I viewed it, in that he didn't seem to be there to participate in the dig nor particularly willing to help around the camp Castaneda wasn't being received very favorably by anybody at any level.

"It was just after sunset and a number of us, like we often did, were gathered around the fire bullshitting and going over the days events in the evening twilight. Castaneda had joined the group but basically just sitting there looking at the fire. Sitting directly across from him was a young woman that I had not seen before who had been reading a book until it got too dark to see. Her legs and lap were partially covered with a blanket and when the darkness set in she had placed the book on her lap folded open to the page where she had left off, with the cover facing up. I was just in the process of introducing myself to Castaneda, shaking his hand and telling him my name was Campbell like in the soup when a powerful gust of wind suddenly came out of nowhere -- like a Vortex or dust devil --- which was a nearly impossible happenstance for so late in the day. The wind tore loose part of a close by canvas shelter top and the sudden noise of the flapping canvas and swirling dirt and dust must have startled the woman with the book because without thinking she jumped to her feet and in doing so, grabbing the blanket, the open book fell from her lap right into the fire.

"Without a moment of hesitation Castaneda reached into the fire and pulled out the book, brushing it off and folding it closed. He then handed the book back to the woman. When he did he looked at the title then at me. The title of the book The Hero With A Thousand Faces (1949) by Joseph Campbell. When he looked back at the woman she was gone." (source)

Be as it may, coincidently, on purpose, or whether named after a play on words, an exquisitely crafted dual-language conundrum --- OR an omen on a last name or not --- in The Informant and Carlos Castaneda and most explicitly so in The Nogales Bus Station Meeting, I pretty much make the case that Bill or a Bill-like character was a real person and did in fact exist. During that trip Castaneda says he and his colleague traveled all over Arizona and New Mexico "revisiting all the places where he (Bill) had done work in the past, renewing in this fashion his relationships with the people (Native American or otherwise) who had been his anthropological informants." Now, if Bill "wasn't," that is, if Bill or the person the Bill character represents, did not exist except as a figment of imagination in the mind of Carlos Castaneda, it impacts adversely how, when, where and IF Castaneda ever truly met Don Juan Matus on that fateful day during the reputed Nogales bus station meeting --- or possibly anywhere else for that matter. It would also put a MAJOR DENT in my contention that on that same road trip Carlos Castaneda had a chance encounter with the mysterious hallucinogenic bio-searcher and mushroom hunter from the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico area known as the informant.

The following is some of what Castaneda writes when describing Bill:

"He put his arm around my shoulders. I couldn't help noticing how immensely heavy his arm was. He was tall and husky, but in recent years his body had acquired a strange rigidity. He had lost his boyish quality. His round face was no longer filled, youthful, the way it had been. Now it was a worried face. I believed that he worried because he was losing his hair, but at times it seemed to me that it was something more than that. And it wasn't that he was fatter; his body was heavy in ways that were impossible to explain. I noticed it in the way that he walked, and got up, and sat down. Bill seemed to me to be fighting gravity with every fiber of his being, in everything he did."

Continuing Castaneda writes:

"One of the end results of this trip was that I found out that my anthropologist friend had two definite facets to his person. He explained to me that his opinions as a professional anthropologist were very measured, and congruous with the anthropological thought of the day, but that as a private person, his anthropological fieldwork had given him a wealth of experiences that he never talked about. These experiences were not congruous with the anthropological thought of the day because they were events that were impossible to catalog."

In the above quote, wherein his colleague explains to Castaneda that he, Bill, refers to himself as being a "private person" in the conversation, some people might interpret that to mean a person that keeps to himself, a loner, for example. Now while it is true what is outlined in this paper points out that Bill is none other than a private person or a loner, what Castaneda is really refering to, and he blurs the line a little here citing Bill speaking of himself, is that Bill is NOT, as a private person, associated with any agency or university proper. That is, he is an unaffiliated --- or private freelancer --- independent of any official university umbrella or sanction. As presented by Castandea, the colleague does NOT come across as conjuring up a complete set of formal academic facts by day, THEN caterpiller to butterfly-like transforming himself into a low ranking Pothunter out of the chrysalis of some sort of scholastic-level anthropologist --- manufacturing a total new set of facts and values for those hanging out around some archaeological-dig campfire ring at night. Nor does it seem Castandea turned Bill into a pothunter just for the sake of his book.

Back then Castaneda himself was nothing more than a mere undergraduate student. That's barely even recognizable on the food chain as existing. In those days practically anybody could register in the UC system and call themselves affiliated if they so chose. To be truly affiliated, that is hired by the system or on the payroll of a major college or university is a different story. When Castaneda writes, speaking of the colleague, "...his anthropological fieldwork had given him a wealth of experiences that he never talked about. These experiences were not congruous with the anthropological thought of the day because they were events that were impossible to catalog"_ it just doesn't ring true that he is talking about an old line PhD level academic, but more-or-less at the most, a long time groupie or teaching assistant. Putting my thoughts into a similar vein, in The Informant and Carlos Castaneda I write:

However, at the last minute a not nearly so high ranking working stiff and seat-of-the-pants ground-pounder, versed in four-field anthropology (Ethnology, Archaeology, Linguistic and Biological) --- and eventually to be camouflaged by Castaneda in the narrative by using only the first name of "Bill" for unknown reasons, told Castaneda he intended to go on a road trip and drive throughout Arizona and New Mexico revisiting "all the places where he had done work in the past, renewing in this fashion his relationships with the people (Native American or otherwise) who had been his anthropological informants."

In addition to his colleague Bill, Castaneda mentions other colleagues as well, but lumps them all together, including Bill, as seasoned anthropologists. I presented in Foonote [1] that a possibility exists that one or the other or both of the noted Yaqui scholars, Edward H. Spicer or W. Curry Holden, in 1960 ages 54 and 64 respectively, could have been among the seasoned anthropologists mentioned by Castaneda. However, in regards to the colleague Bill, even though the "W" in W. Curry Holden stood for William and could be translated into "Bill" it just didn't seem to me that heavy arms, tall and husky, and losing hair described either Holden or Spicer in the manner of Castaneda's intent. Nor was it felt, and especially so, that one, the other, or both of the "two definite facets to his person" described either of them. Both Spicer and Holden were full professors, had doctorate degrees, and both, except maybe for Holden who had one slight blip in his career related to the Roswell UFO, were fairly dyed in the wool academics.

My Uncle, who knew Castaneda, was a notorious bio-searcher and mushroom hunter from the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico area. He had several species named after him and known as well to have been married to a very powerful curandera Shaman. He bio-searched and explored almost everything and anything he found of interest throughout the desert southwest most of his life. Those interests ranged from the Elden Pueblo --- where a rare meteorite, said possibly to have been from the surface of Mars or the Moon, had been buried by prehistoric Native Americans in a super-specific ritual style --- to the Meteor Crater to the Pendejo Cave to even walking much of the then nearly fresh debris field of the suspected crash site related to the Roswell Incident. My uncle told me that he first met Castaneda while he was on one of his bio-search trips in the desert. At the time of that meeting, he said, Castaneda was traveling with "a cowboy that lived in his truck." It was those seven words from the mouth of an eyewitness, the informant, combined with the above quotes as written by Castaneda that confirmed, at least for me, the existence of Bill or a Bill-like character in real life. One of the reasons my uncle's quote "a cowboy that lived in his truck" rang so true for me is because much later I ran across a similar quote relating to Campbell from a totally independent source. A major chronicler of William Lawrence Campbell, AKA Larry Campbell, Thomas J. Carey, in his investigating research attempting to fine tune the background of who Campbell was and what happened to him, in an interview of a person that knew Campbell in later years, wrote that "he (Campbell) lived out of an old camper truck" --- which pretty much sealed for me the fact of who Campbell was. The person Carey interviewed was a cafe owner in Taos, New Mexico by the name of Iris Foster. The following is how Carey presents it in his article:

He was, according to Foster, "like a character out of a grade-B Western" with white hair and beard who could have passed for a prospector or a pothunter (an amateur archaeologist) as far as she knew. His real name was Larry Campbell and he lived out of a camper when she knew him in Taos.(source)

If Bill was actually a TA or an instructional assistant is perhaps questionable at best --- which leaves, in my translation of things, groupie --- an anthropological groupie. The term is not meant to be derogatory, remember the quote above "...his anthropological fieldwork had given him a wealth of experiences that he never talked about. These experiences were not congruous with the anthropological thought of the day because they were events that were impossible to catalog" which speaks very highly of Bill's abilities. More than likely he went from dig to dig offering his services, giving him a place to stay and a place in the world. Something to eat and late night camaraderie.

At least twice Castaneda refers to him as "paternal", that is fatherly, which would imply a person quite a bit older (fatherly) than Castaneda, who was age 35 at the time. Typically, but not always, TAs and instructional assistants are younger rather than older. It seems, as applied to Bill, the term "seasoned" as used by Castaneda, although not discounting the possible extent of his experience, leans more toward Bill appearing old or grizzly (hair loss, his body had acquired a strange rigidity, he had lost his boyish quality, etc.) rather than exclusively meaning his service or experience as a long-term or veteran digger --- implying a person leaning toward the older side of things rather than the younger. However, in an interview by Sam Keen titled "Seeing Castaneda," and published in Psychology Today (1972), Castaneda, speaking of Bill, is quoted as saying:

"I was in a bus depot in Arizona with a high-school friend of mine."

Castaneda was a Peruivan and attended high school in Peru, which by inference would imply that Bill attended the same high school, which would inturn infer a similar or like age. The problem with the high school scenario is, according to Castaneda Bill did not speak Spanish, which seems unusual for a person that attended high school in Peru. In A Separate Reality (1971) Castaneda writes:

"And Bill, who speaks only a few words of Spanish, made up an absurd phrase in that language. He looked at me as if asking whether he was making sense, but I did not know what he had had in mind; he then smiled shyly and walked away."

Interestingly enough, the above conversation sequence regarding the Spanish speaking skills of Bill --- or the lack of same as the case may be --- plays a major role in support of my on-going thesis that the Power of the Omen was a primary co-factor in Castaneda's decision making process to actually go on the Road Trip with his colleage in the first place. In Journey to Ixtlan (1972), Don Juan Matus follows up that conversational sequence with:

"Those FORCES guided you to me; they took you to that bus depot, remember? Some clown brought you to me. A perfect OMEN, a clown pointing you out."

The clown Don Juan was referring to of course was Bill --- not because he was, but because his Spanish speaking abilities was so poor it sounded to Don Juan as though he was an idiot babbling nothing more than silly inanities. It went much deeper than that, of course. Don Juan was drawing on centuries of tradition from the history of the sacred clown, or as he is known, Shaman-Trickster. Regardless, Don Juan still referred to him as being nothing less than a "PERFECT OMEN."

Taking into consideration what Castaneda has to say about Bill's approach to anthropology however, the Bill or Bill-like character sounds more like a seat-of-the-pants field researcher rather than any sort of an academic or professor --- or even a teaching assistant --- hence my description in the quote above. His language and demeanor also reeks of being an American through and through. If Castaneda and the cowboy that lived in his truck only just met, actually knew each other all along, or if he ever took Castaneda to the bus station in Nogales or not following the road trip, doesn't matter. Castaneda could have got to the bus station on his own. What matters is that Castaneda was ON a road trip of some sort, either extended or abbreviated. On that road trip, as it was told to me personally, Castaneda and the bio-searching informant MET. As for the cowboy being an actual cowboy, it is my contention that more than likely the person of which the informant speaks, wore a cowboy or western style hat, and from that for identification purposes he calls him a cowboy.

Cowboy, long term friend, or somebody he just met, for whatever reason Castaneda was always reluctant, as he was with so many things, to come forward and reveal who Bill really was. It could be he didn't REALLY know and I sort of have a gut feeling such was the case. The desert is crawling with amateur archeologists and rock hunters. Castaneda may have been so despondent after hearing the advice from the seasoned anthropologists --- and Castaneda makes reference to just such a mental state in his writings related to the aftermath of the seasoned anthropologists[2] --- that he just got hooked up with some desert-rat cowboy that lived in his truck loaded with goodies, that usually drove alone and off they went. He might have told Castaneda, which Castaneda repeats in his book in so many words, that he always ran the risk of falling asleep and that Castaneda could keep him company and from dozing off. Even drive a little bit if he got too drunk. Here was Castaneda riding around in a beat up old truck probably with broken down springs sticking through the drivers side seat, the inside smelling of old newspapers, with styrofoam cups rolling around and wadded up old quickie-mart hotdog wrappers all over the floor, carrying around a bunch of blankets, booze, jackets, and ammunition to give away to whoever they bumped into in the desert. Of course, if such was the case, then in regards to the crux of his book, it doesn't seem totally out of character that Castaneda might possibly select a mere desert-rat or amateur rock hunter and long-term mutual acquaintance of my uncle's, a person such as William Lawrence Campbell, known as Cactus Jack, FOR EXAMPLE, no matter how knowledgeable or unknowledgeable, and turn him into a full-fledged archaeologist or anthropologist --- or at the very minimum, a close colleague or friend.

Campbell is thought to be THE "cowboy that lived in his truck" as described by my uncle and the same person Castaneda rode around with all over New Mexico and Arizona for several weeks visiting "all the places where he (Campbell) had done work in the past, renewing in this fashion his relationships with the people who had been his anthropological informants." Turning the Campbell character or anybody like him into an old high school buddy, and especially so a non-Spanish speaking high school buddy considering Castaneda went to high school in Peru, even for Castaneda, is stretching it a bit and questionable at best, however.

People go on and on about Castaneda, whether what he wrote was true or not or whether Don Juan Matus existed or not. It is not for me to say one way or the other. Whether the events as presented by Castaneda following being in the bus station are accurate or not, the events that LEAD UP TO being in the bus station, the events we are dealing with here, are not necessarily to be discounted. His attending and taking classes at UCLA. His visiting Indian reservations and interviewing Native Americans. His being in Nogales, which I confirm elsewhere, and his discussing issues with the seasoned anthropologists. All that is valid. How and in what order the events transpired and thus then, presented ---including how they unfolded AFTER the bus station meeting is another matter.

What I do know is that my uncle, the informant, met Castaneda under circumstances similar to how Castaneda presents it in his books and how I present it in The Informant and Carlos Castaneda. In THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge Castaneda writes:

"My field notes disclose the subjective version of what I perceived while undergoing the experience. That version is presented here just as I narrated it to Don Juan, who demanded a complete and faithful recollection of every detail and a full recounting of each experience."

Interestingly enough, however, Castaneda then goes on to write, and not presented to Don Juan it is presumed, but instead presented exclusively to the reading audience, that he, Castaneda, has ADDED what he calls "incidental details" (to the narrative) to ensure he was able to "recapture the total setting of each state of nonordinary reality" as well as "to describe the emotional impact (Castaneda) had experienced as completely as possible." In so saying, he hedges any total uncompromised factual reality of his data --- apparently therefore, having presented compromised factual reality in some places and it is guessed, not in others --- all the while never clarifying the number or amount, large or small (i.e., words, sentences, paragraphs, whole chapters, names, people, places), of "incidental details" thought up, modified, added, or deleted --- the doing so of which, of course, may seem to some to undermine the facts. However, it is not totally unheard of or beyond the scope of any author in the writer's world. In regards to Castaneda, I like what the highly respected and best selling British author and playwright W. Somerset Maugham writes in his novel The Razor's Edge:

"I have invented nothing. To save embarrassment to people still living I have given to the persons who play a part in this story names of my own contriving, and I have in other ways taken pains to make sure that no one should recognize them."

Maugham goes on to say:

"I have done this for the same reasons as the historians have, to give liveliness and verisimilitude to scenes that would have been ineffective if they had been merely recounted."

Why has Bill not come forward? It could be he was never aware he was Bill --- or for that matter, never aware either, that the young Hispanic he was traveling with eventually turned out to be Carlos Castaneda. So too, in either of the two cases, if he found out or become aware of the situation later in the scheme of things relative to his life, maybe, on an official level, he just let it go. (see) That is what appears to have happened in relation to my experience with the situation. In my discussions with my uncle the Bill character never seemed important. I surely never questioned my uncle in any depth in connection with the subject, apparently considering the description a cowboy that lived in his truck adequate at the time. In hindsight I can see pinpointing the Bill character more carefully might have been the more prudent thing to have done over the long haul and I discuss my lament on the subject somewhat in the footnote to Cactus Jack. I am especially sorry since it seems it was Castaneda's colleague Bill that connected the fact in the bus station that the Cloud Shaman he had followed once and that seemingly just disappeared into thin air in the desert one day was the SAME person, the informant, my uncle, that he had seen previously on at least two occasions in the past in the company of the old man --- the old man being the single most important player in all of the Castaneda scenarios other than perhaps, Carlos Castaneda himself.[3]

Castaneda writes that when the journey ended, Bill drove him to the Nogales Bus Station for his return trip to Los Angeles. As they were sitting in the station waiting for the bus Bill pointed out the old man that was eventually revealed to be the powerful shaman-sorcerer who had learned his art from a Diablero and who Castaneda is said to have apprenticed under. That man, Don Juan Matus.

Bill says the old man and the Cloud Shaman knew each other. He also says the Cloud Shaman and the informant are one and the same person --- AND it is known from the above that the "one and the same person" is my uncle. In his works Castaneda writes that the old man he met in the bus station is none other than the shaman-sorcerer Don Juan Matus. Using Bill's logic, it would imply by default then that my uncle knew Don Juan Matus. If such was the case and had I been privy to the same information myself I would have personally had in my hands TWO people that could have substantiated the reality or existance of Don Juan Matus one way or the other --- or possibly even led me to him --- IF such was the case. The clinker is, although both seem to know the old man in some fashion or the other, neither of them ever say anything about him being Don Juan. Castaneda is the ONLY one out of everybody or anybody involved that seems to know or says the old man in the bus station is or turned out to be, Don Juan Matus. For all I know the very strange man my uncle was somehow associated with that handed me the feather as reported in The Boy and the Giant Feather could have been Don Juan. For additional information regarding same please go to: The Old Man In the Desert.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Over and over people ask why is it that they should accept what I have written about Castaneda as having any amount of credibility?

Originally when I first started writing about Castaneda it was for one reason only. It had to do with help substantiating an incident in my life that revolved around what are known in Buddhism and Hindu spiritual circles under the ancient Sanskrit word Siddhis. Siddhis are supernormal perceptual states that once fully ingrained at a deep spiritual level can be utilized by a practitioner to initiate or inhibit incidents that are beyond the realm of typical everyday manifestation.

In that the incident that occurred in my life, although bordering on the edges of what is generally conceived in the west as Shamanism or possibly the occult, was actually deeply immersed on the eastern spiritual side of things.(see) To bridge the understanding between the eastern and western concepts I brought in for those who may have been so interested the legacy of one of the most well read practitioner of such crafts in the western world, Carlos Castaneda. Although highly controversial and most certainly not the fully unmitigated expert in the field, he is widely read and a known figure when mentioned, by camps both pro and con. So said, Castaneda has the highest profile in of all individuals to have claimed the ability through shamanistic rituals the ability to fly --- thus, for reasons as they related to me I used Castaneda in my works as an example. In doing so it opened a virtual Pandora's Box of never ending controversy, causing me to either ignore or substantiate what I presented. Hence, as questions were raised by me in my own writing or raised by those who read my material more pages were created to explain who, what, when, where, and why.

For one thing I personally knew, met and interacted with Castaneda many times --- however, it was done so long before Castaneda became Castaneda. Matter of fact he was still a nobody student trying hard to obtain an AA degree from Los Angeles City College, working at Mattel Toy Company, and when I knew him, considered himself mostly as an aspiring artist rather than anything that remotely resembled an author or shaman. Secondly, and unrelated to he and I knowing each other, my uncle was the Informant that is so widely mentioned in Castaneda's works both by him and others, that introduced him to the rites and rituals of the use of the plant Sacred Datura that sent him into his initial experiences of altered states. Third, in an attempt on my part to confirm, clear up, or have them discount any number of things that have shown up or said about Castaneda and his life, things that have taken on a life of their own as fact because they have been repeated over and over so often, I interviewed, talked to, or conversed with a number of individuals that were prominent in his life --- especially so in areas that raise conflict when people read one thing about him and I write another.

The following people were all major movers in the life of Carlos Castaneda, and at one time or the other I met and talked with them all, which is more than most people who write about Castaneda has ever done. And I only did so on and off over time primarily to clarify questions about Castaneda that I had read that just did not make sense. Most people who question what I have presented about Castaneda simply gather their information from the standard already in existence party line. Some of the people I've talked to in reference to Castaneda who after some discussion clarified a lot for me, after Castaneda himself of course, are people like C. Scott Littleton, Alex Apostolides, Barbara G. Myerhoff, Edward H. Spicer, Clement Meighan, who Castaneda dedicated his first book to, and Castaneda's ex-wife Margaret Runyan.

Interestingly enough, my interview with Runyan came about because before she married Castaneda, she had been engaged to another author, the cowboy and western writer, with over 100 books to his credit, Louis L'amour. It just so happened my uncle who, if you recall, was the Informant in Castaneda lore, just happened to know L'Amour. My uncle took me with him one day he went to see L'Amour. When I had a chance to meet Runyan years later I used me knowing L'Amour as the wedge to talk with her. As it was, and not many people know about it, my uncle, who was influential with Castaneda also, along with another man deeply seeped in Native American spiritual lore by the name of H. Jackson Clark, worked together funneling Native American spiritual facts to L'Amour used as a theme in two of his books that borderlined much of what Castaneda wrote about, titled The Californios and Haunted Mesa.





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In his eleventh book, The Active Side of Infinity (1998), Castaneda lays out in his own words how his colleague tried to convince him to go on the Road Trip. Castaneda writes:

I felt so despondent that I turned him down.

"I'm very sorry, Bill," I said. "The trip won't do for me. I see no point in pursuing this idea of fieldwork any longer."

"Don't give up without a fight," Bill said in a tone of paternal concern. "Give all you have to the fight, and if it licks you, then it's okay to give up, but not before. Come with me and see how you like the Southwest."