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the Wanderling

"For instance, there are Cloud Shamans who turn into clouds, into mist. I have never seen this happen, but I knew a Cloud Shaman. I never saw him disappearing or turning into mist in front of my eyes, but I chased him once, and he simply vanished in an area where there was no place for him to hide. Although I didn't see him turning into a cloud, he disappeared. I couldn't explain where he went. There were no rocks or vegetation around the place where he ended up. I was there half a minute after he was, but the Shaman was gone." (see)

As he reached toward the end of his series of books, Carlos Castaneda, in The Active Side of Infinity, writes that sometime before the eventual meeting between the Yaqui sorcerer Don Juan Matus and himself, an anthropologist colleague, quoted above and sometimes called Bill and sometimes left unnamed, told him what he knew about Cloud Shamans.

Several months before the colleague ever told him anything about Cloud Shamans, Castaneda had a similar experience in the desert between himself and the mysterious bio-searcher called the informant. At the time of THAT experience Castaneda had never heard of a Cloud Shaman, hence there was no connection between the experience and the phenomenon. Regarding the incident, the following is presented in The Informant and Carlos Castaneda:

"Only a few weeks earlier, the informant, cloaked by shimmering desert heat waves, simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace, leaving Castaneda without a source."

Later, while Castandea was waiting in the infamous Greyhound Bus Station in Nogales, Arizona, on that fateful day he reportedly met Don Juan Matus for the first time, Bill, the colleague he just returned with from the Road Trip --- and the same person who told him about Cloud Shamans in the first place --- was with him. Looking out across the depot Bill noticed an old man he recognized sitting on the other side of the room. The following is what Castaneda writes his colleague Bill said about him:

"I think that old man sitting on the bench by the corner over there is the man I told you about, I am not quite sure because I've had him in front of me, face-to-face, only once."

"What man is that? What did you tell me about him?" Castaneda asked.

"When we were talking about Shamans and Shamans' transformations, I told you that I had once met a Cloud Shaman."

"Yes, yes, I remember that," Castaneda said. "Is that man the Cloud Shaman?"

"No," the colleague said emphatically to Castaneda. "But I think HE is a companion OR a teacher of the Cloud Shaman. I saw BOTH of them together in the distance various times, many years ago."

It is quite clear by the contents of the above conversation that Castaneda and his colleague had, at one time, prior to being at the bus station, discussed Cloud Shamans --- most likely, if not the specific conversation cited in the opening paragraph at the very top of this page, at least a similar one or ones left unrecorded. The two had traveled weeks together throughout Arizona and New Mexico visiting "all the places where he (the colleague) had done work in the past."[1] Apparently, even though Castaneda met the informant somewhere or someplace along the way during those travels with the colleague Bill, at the time of the conversation in the bus station it seems the colleague was unaware of the incident in the desert when Castaneda and the informant were bio-searching Sacred Datura and he, the informant, "simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace." It appears as well that same incident, the disappearance of the informant, occurred sometime BEFORE any conversation came up regarding Cloud Shamans because Castandea comes across as being quite oblivious to the whole thing. He is not amazed, he is not surprised, he does not report it. It is as though Castaneda's opinion of the incident, knowing nothing of Cloud Shamans or their capabilities at the time, had not thought of the incident in a "Cloud Shaman" type context, the phenomenon being more or less explainable somehow on the conventional level.

In connection with the above, the colleague, Bill, in reminding Castaneda about Cloud Shamans, is drawing an inference about their conversation regarding Cloud Shamans from the discussion recorded in the top of this section --- NOT relating it to any connection with the desert incident where the informant just disappeared in front of Castaneda eyes (because Bill didn't know about the incident in the desert). What he seems to be trying to impart is, when he says:

"I think he (that is, the old man in the bus station, whether it is Don Juan Matus or not) is a companion or a teacher of the Cloud Shaman" and that he saw "both of them together in the distance various times, many years ago"

is that the Cloud Shaman AND Castaneda's bio-searching informant are one and the same person. He is also saying that the Cloud Shaman-come-informant and the "old man," Don Juan Matus, know each other, that is, they are friends or companions --- only at the time of his conversation with his colleague at the bus station Castaneda is NOT putting all the concepts, the incident in the desert, the existence of Cloud Shamans, and the informant together. However, the colleague IS.

Having caught up with the informant in the field while traveling with Castaneda on their Road Trip throughout Arizona and New Mexico, then seeing the "old man" in the bus station --- an old man that until the exact moment he saw him sitting there on the bench, regardless of his abilities, doesn't seem like someone the colleague was overtly concerned about one way or the other in a very long time, and surely a person he never thought of on the Road Trip --- he suddenly remembers seeing "both of them together in the distance various times, many years ago" and realizes that the Cloud Shaman he saw with the "old man" AND the bio-searcher, that is the informant, are one and the same person.

At that moment in time however, and for years to come, it doesn't really matter as the "old man" is not yet known by any of the players as being anybody that will become somebody of any stature in their lives, most of all Castaneda. Interestingly enough, a FULL thirty-one years later, in The Active Side of Infinity, the eleventh book in his series of Don Juan books, Castaneda finally brings up Cloud Shamans and, without necessarily implying any lack of understanding pertaining to any of the situation as outlined above, writes:

"The relationship of the old man to the Cloud Shaman was never voiced by my friend, but obviously it was foremost in his mind, to the point where he believed that he had told me about him."

The plain fact is, Castaneda's colleague Bill, the friend Castaneda is refering to in the above sentence, knew the bio-searcher, that is the informant, long before he ever met Castaneda. Throughout the years following World War II there seemed to be nothing BUT a continually overlapping, intermingled, and interwoven background between the two --- a background covered fairly well in The Pothunter as well as in an article exploring the Omen like aspect to it all. When the colleague told Castaneda he intended to go to "all the places where he had done work in the past, renewing in this fashion his relationships with the people who had been his anthropological informants," the informant was one of the people he had in mind to meet up with.

The desert southwest is a huge, vast and sometimes magical and mysterious place. However, as large of a place as it is, it is not unusual with those of similar or like pursuits such as the bio-searcher and Castaneda's archaeologist colleague to have found themselves in similar or like areas here and there at the sametime in relation to their pursuits. For example, Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon is an area that could easily attract the two of them to be in the same place at the same time. Fajada Butte is thought by the indigenous population to have special powers when it comes to various medicinal plants that grow in and around and on the butte. The expansive canyon area contains many charted and uncharted ruins and petrographs as does the butte itself, which is known for the astrological Sun Dagger. The butte has various rooms along the upper edges thought to be associated with the dagger, many filled with chards and other ancient artifacts.[2] Taken together all things that would be an attraction for either of the two men. As a freelance archaeologist in the field Bill went to where the action was, and where the action was it was not unusual to find the informant.

The two originally met at Meteor Crater in Arizona just after World War II. Bill was doing work of an unknown nature in the Canyon Diablo scatter field surrounding the impact site for Dr. H.H. Nininger the founder of the American Meteorite Museum, the first meteorite museum in the world. Around that same time the bio-searcher was doing minor archaeological work related to the ruins associated with the little known ancient Native American pit houses thought to be of ceremonial nature located along the the southwest rim of the crater. A few years later the two of them crossed paths a second time at the infamous fused glass debris field associated with the Roswell UFO, an object of unknown origin that came down near Roswell, New Mexico, in July of 1947. At the time of that meeting --- and well before the Cloud Shaman circumstance between Castaneda and the informant --- a very cloud shaman-like event, which was witnessed by Bill, transpired between the informant and some military personnel at the site AND may very well have been the same incident cited at the top of the page wherein Bill says:

"I chased him once, and he simply vanished in an area where there was no place for him to hide. Although I didn't see him turning into a cloud, he disappeared. I couldn't explain where he went. There were no rocks or vegetation around the place where he ended up. I was there half a minute after he was, but the Shaman was gone."

Although basically unknown or unhearlded now, at the time of the suspected crash at Roswell a ripple effect had been created that flowed throughout the whole loosly knit underground and fringe elements of the archaeological and anthropological community that had arisen in the desert southwest shortly after World War II. Initially, almost anybody with any sort of intellectual moxie or curiosity in the area showed up on the scene in one fashion or the other to see what they could find out. Some of those same people, like Bill, had personally observed the mysterious flying objects called Foo Fighters during the war that paralleled or followed aircraft and had been seen over and over by aviators on all sides of the action. Others that had been wending their way toward the desert environs of Arizona and New Mexico had been in the Los Angeles region participating in the war effort, either in a civilian capacity or for the military. Some had either witnessed first hand the giant airborne object of an unknown nature that came to be known as The Battle of Los Angeles: 1942 UFO early in the war or knew somebody who had, so something like the incident in Roswell would do nothing but pique their interest to such a point they had to go.

According to Roswell Incident Updated, because of the bio-searcher's intimate knowledge of indigenious plants of the desert southwest he was called in to assist the noted scientist and meteorite hunter Dr. Lincoln La Paz in the investigation of the downed object. One of the military investigators, also assigned, apparently didn't like the bio-searcher's unorthodox methods and because of a disagreement over some debris found at the site, had him taken, under guard, to the vehicle he arrived in and told to stay there. When the military investigator returned to the truck he found the bio-searcher gone, and the guard assigned to watch him having no clue where he went or what happened to him. A search of the area showed no sign of the bio-searcher in the vicinity, as though he simply disappeared or vanished, the desert and the surrounding environment somehow swallowing him up without a trace.[3]



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

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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.

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.

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.

See also Footnote [4] at the bottom of The Informant and Carlos Castaneda as well as Footnote [6].



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The Case Against "Shamans" In the
North American Indigenous Cultures







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Footnote [3]

The military investigator in charge was Staff Sergeant Lewis "Bill" Rickett, of the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC). At the time of the alleged crash-down, July of 1947, and at least up to and past the reported outlying additional related sites, Rickett was the non-commissioned officer in charge of the CIC office at the Roswell Army Airforce Base. Rickett eventually retired to Florida and passed away in October 1993.

Famed UFOlogist Thomas J. Carey presents in his 2007 book, Witness to Roswell (pages 176-179) and again in the 2009 edition (pages 198-201) the following about Rickett:

"(Rickett) became a cooperating witness to Roswell investigators by telling them what he knew about the 1947 Roswell events, ­which was plenty. Because of Rickett, we have another firsthand witness to the strange wreckage and the suggestion of a second (or third?) UFO crash site other than the Corona site, closer to Roswell. Because of Rickett, we know that the Air Force hired University of New Mexico meteor expert, Dr. Lincoln La Paz, in September of 1947 to try to determine the speed and trajectory at the time of impact of the crashed UFO. According to Rickett, he drove La Paz all over New Mexico for the better part of a month on this project, taking measurements and soil samples and interviewing local ranchers. La Paz's conclusion was that the crashed craft was an extraterrestrial device."

It was during his travels with La Paz at one of the sites that Rickett and my uncle had their run-in. It was because of the run-in with Rickett that Rickett became imbeded in my uncle's mind on a much more personal level that what would be typically expected considering the level of their working relationship. Years later, in an incident related to the 1953 Kingman UFO crash, my uncle was stopped deep in the desert by an armed military contingent and his car searched. Following that search my uncle was sure he saw Rickett with a number of civilians related to the search.

Throughout the years there has been a constant barrage, if not a steady stream of questions, about my uncle reportedly engaging in any number of events that appear to have fallen into a highly confidential or classified catagory and how was it possible he did so considering the need for security clearances to participate at such levels --- especially so those done with La Paz. That, along with reason behind Rickett's years and years long grudge that ended in the run in between he and my uncle in the Kingman UFO incident is clearly deliniated in the following quote from the source so cited:

"(O)ver the heated objections of Rickett, La Paz, who has a top secret clearance from his World War II job at the Proving Grounds, brings in a mysterious bio-searcher who knows southwest indiginous plants intimately. Although the bio-searcher does not have anything close to a security clearance, he is a longtime trusted friend of La Paz and known to have an even longer working relationship with Albert Einstein. Since La Paz has carte blanche over the operation there is not much Rickett can do about it except harbor hard feelings."(source)

La Paz and others operating out of Los Alamos fell under the purview of General Leslie Groves who ran the Manhattan Project. Groves had a much different approach to security clearances than typically found across top secret military projects. It has been reported that Groves "would have brought in Attila the Hun if had known about quantum mechanics." Where a person might not have obtained the necessary security clearance to work on radar at the MIT lab where radar work was being done it was a much different attitude at Los Alamos under Groves.

For example, Groves appointment of Robert Oppenheimer to head up the Manhattan Project secret weapons laboratory. A huge outcry was expressed about Oppenheimer, circulating mostly around him being a security risk because many of his associates were communists, including his brother Frank, Frank's wife Jackie, Oppenheimer's former girlfriend Jean Tatlock and his wife Kitty. Even so Groves personally waived the security requirements and issued Oppenheimer a clearance on 20 July 1943.

Although General Grove was no longer at the Los Alamos facility at the time of the Roswell incident, it was his philosophy that continued to permeate the atmosphere surrounding La Paz's approach regarding the biosearcher, much to the dismay of Rickett and his most likely more traditional or stricter adherance to security clearance guidelines.

As for Groves waiving of the requirements for Oppenheimer's top secret security clearance, it should be noted that a formal hearing in 1954 resulted in Oppenheimer's top secret security clearance being revoked. If the biosearcher ever had an "official" security clearance issued for anything beyond his assistance as required by La Paz in his investigations is not known.