Wednesday, September 7. 2005
One of the many separate tragedies accompanying the disastrous hurricane strike on New Orleans is the possible loss of some of the more important landmarks and archival material concerning the life and times of Lee Harvey Oswald in that city, including those of Guy Banister, Jack Martin, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, Thomas Beckham, Jim Garrison, and others. The New Orleans episode is rife with conspiracy and coincidence, and provides an important – if somewhat neglected – clue to the secret history of our country. The clue is to be found in the New Orleans office of private detective Guy Banister, for seventeen years an FBI SAC (Special Agent in Charge), who ran what seemed to be a clearing house for anti-Castro Cubans and a cover address for Lee Harvey Oswald.
As mentioned in the first part of this series – “The Bishop and the Boys, Part One” – there is a strange underworld milieu surrounding the activity of Oswald in that New Orleans period. This is the mysterious world of the wandering bishops. At one time, there were as many as four “bishops” functioning from Guy Banister’s Camp Street office, and these included virtually all of his investigators, from David Ferrie and Jack Martin to Thomas Beckham and the lawyer Thomas Jude Baumler. Beckham was a bishop with the Universal Life Church, along with his friend Fred Lee Crisman (the man who was involved with the seminal UFO event of the 20th century, the Maury Island affair) and with Raymond Broshears, yet another minister of the Universal Life Church and later with one of the Orthodox sects with lines to Stanley, and who became a well-known gay activist in San Francisco later on. (Broshears would claim, probably falsely, to have lived with David Ferrie in New Orleans; however, it seems certain that he was at least an acquaintance of Ferrie.) In addition, Ferrie, Martin, Beckham, Broshears and Baumler all shared the same apostolic succession: that of Bishop Earl Anglin James in Canada (about whom more later) and of Bishop Carl Stanley of the American Orthodox Catholic Church.
(In the interest of full disclosure, let the reader know that the author was also a minister of the Universal Life Church as a high school student in the Bronx in 1966, as were maybe thousands of other people at the time, attracted by the ads in the back of magazines promising ordination and membership in the Church for a five dollar donation. Oddly enough, his minister’s card was stolen from the wallet in his gym locker one day by perpetrators unknown!)
Carl Stanley had an arrest record, a “rap sheet”, as long as your proverbial arm. Born in Revere, Massachusetts on May 13, 1902, he was first arrested in in Los Angeles on November 22, 1927 for Grand Theft Auto. (Another coinidence. Stanley was first arrested precisely 36 years to the day before the Kennedy assassination.) Following that there were a number of other arrests for violating postal laws by sending obscene material through the mails, and then on May 22, 1939 for assault and battery. He spent a total of 14 months in prison for various offences, as far as I can determine.
On January 11, 1941, however, and for reasons known only to him, Stanley enlisted in the Canadian Army for the duration of World War Two, being discharged on June 20, 1945 and becoming a Canadian citizen on August 5, 1946. He could not stay out of trouble in Canada, however, finding himself arrested once again this time in Ontario in 1947, receiving a six months’ suspended sentence for theft.
Then, in April of 1950, Stanley attempted to enter the United States via Miami, Florida and deportation proceedings began against him. He did not have a US passport or an immigrant’s visa. Since he was a naturalized Canadian citizen – even though he was born in the United States – and lied about his citizenship, the US government decided to deport him. Deportation procedures took a lot of time, but he was eventually deported on February 28, 1954, only to re-enter (illegally) in April of that year. However, he was married – to an American citizen – and consideration was given to allowing him to remain in the United States as the spouse of an American. His criminal record, however, was a problem. According to an INS letter dated October 29, 1965, he had convictions for “larceny, robbery, adultery, assault and battery, receiving stolen property, burglary, sending obscene letters through the mail, nonsupport of family and drunk and disorderly conduct”. The INS, however, took pity on Stanley because of his age (he was 63 in 1965) and they did not contemplate deporting him at that time.
He would be dead in less than two years.
From 1964 to his death, he was a bishop of the newly-formed American Orthodox Catholic Church, having been consecrated by Bishop Earl Anglin James of Canada among others. He, along with Bishops Robert Zeigler, Colin Guthrie, and Homer Roebke, formed the AOCC in the Denver, Colorado area. A photograph in the author’s possession shows the four men dressed in Roman Catholic-style bishop’s regalia. According to my informant, that was all they could afford at the time.
In the same year, Walter Propheta was in New York City forming the East Coast version of the AOCC. In 1967, Propheta was involved with J. Edgar Hoover who evidently installed him as the “primate” of the American Orthodox Catholic Church at a dinner in Manhattan. (This tie between Propheta and the FBI was known to the author from Propheta’s own admission to him in 1968.) Once installed, he advised the other bishops that they had to present their credentials to him to be approved as part of the new AOCC. While the other bishops refused, Stanley eagerly raced to New York City. One wonders what “credentials” this convicted felon offered to Propheta and the FBI, for a month later he was dead ... a few weeks after the controversial death of his bishop, David Ferrie.
Ferrie had been introduced to Stanley by Jack Martin, an investigator with Guy Banister’s detective agency in New Orleans. Martin has been portrayed as a hopeless drunk in Oliver Stone’s film of the assassination, and has been given short-shrift in other studies of the New Orleans connection. Martin himself ratted out Banister, Stanley and Ferrie to the FBI after the assassination when it became clear that District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating the case. We should not take this all at face value, however, for Martin – even though he pretended to be investigating Carl Stanley – remained a bishop of the American Orthodox Catholic Church for many years after the assassination and until the day he died, even participating in the consecration of Thomas Jude Baumler – a self-admitted fascist and attorney who also worked briefly as an investigator for Guy Banister and as a New Orleans politician in his own right – as late as 1974.
Martin first attempted to have David Ferrie consecrated by another bishop on the East Coast, but the bishop felt that there was something “unholy” about Ferrie, and he declined. Ferrie then went on to Stanley where he was more successful. This occurs in the three year period before the Kennedy assassination.
Then something strange happened.
Immediately after the assassination of President Kennedy in November of 1963, Stanley himself alerted authorities that he thought David Ferrie and Jack Martin were involved. This was what prompted the entire investigation into both Ferrie and the wandering bishops that became the crux (no Latin puns intended) of the Garrison investigation. Why would Stanley have done this? Spite is one possibility, for if Martin’s statements to the authorities are true – and that’s a big “if” – then Stanley had reason to go after Martin since Martin was “investigating” him.
The timeline is suggestive for several reasons. In the first place, the American Orthodox Catholic Church (at least, the version we are discussing) had not yet been created. That would happen less than a year later. Stanley at the time was bishop of something called the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, as well as of the Byzantine Primitive Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church in North America. (He was joined in both of these operations by one Cyril T. Omarra, about whom the author can discover nothing so far.) Martin claimed to have been investigating Stanley “for several private clients” during the period 1959-1966, and had ordination and consecration certificates from Stanley’s various churches dating from as early as 1960. Yet, Martin was an eager and active participant in the American Orthodox Catholic Church until his death, hardly the position of someone who held a dim view of the organization. Was his politicking against Stanley (and Ferrie) of a piece with what Propheta was doing in New York? Or was there a deeper motive involved, an attempt to divert attention away from someone or something?
That Martin and Stanley had a falling out in 1963 is certain; Stanley’s report to the FBI that year that Martin and Ferrie were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the President is proof positive of bad blood between them. What doesn’t make much sense is the fact that Martin was a close associate of the other bishops who, together with Stanley, formed the AOCC in 1964, after Stanley dropped the dime on Martin and Ferrie. The whole affair would begin to look like an inspired disinformation operation if it weren’t for the fact that the central characters are so … odd.
Carl Stanley met with Propheta in New York City in early February, 1967 according to information provided to the author by another bishop. David Ferrie died in his New Orleans apartment on February 22, 1967. Ferrie’s associate, Eladio del Valle (an anti-Castro Cuban) was murdered in a parking lot in Miami on the same day. The following day – Feb 23, 1967 – Carl Stanley met with the FBI according to an FBI teletype dated March 9, 1967. (Was this on orders or advice by Bishop Propheta, the FBI-installed "Primate"?) According to the available documentation, he used that opportunity to further slander David Ferrie and Jack Martin. Ferrie, of course, had died just the day before. Clay Shaw was arrested on March 1, 1967. Carl Stanley then died of an apparent heart attack on March 8, 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ferrie himself was a key witness in the Garrison case against Shaw, and his death was a blow to the investigation and to the trial itself. But Garrison would never have known of Ferrie and his possible involvement in an assassination conspiracy had it not been for Carl Stanley who alerted the FBI concerning Ferrie and Jack Martin’s alleged conspiracy in November of 1963. Thus, the other potential witness and whistle-blower – Carl Stanley – was also dead, fourteen days after Ferrie’s own demise. That left Jack Martin – Bishop John Chrysostom Martin – as the only other living witness to the Stanley/Ferrie nexus.
Jack Martin was in the hospital the night of the assassination, having been pistol-whipped by his boss, Guy Banister, a man who had so many bishops working for him he might as well have been the Pope. (One wonders if Martin’s hospital admission and the police report of his beating by Banister was a last-minute attempt to establish an alibi, since we have Ferrie racing to an ice-skating rink in Texas from New Orleans that same night in what may have been an attempt to establish his.) Banister was an ex-FBI agent of many years’ experience, and one of the first SACs to investigate the West Coast UFOs of 1947. The bishops still living who knew Martin and who have been contacted by the author all agree on one point: that Martin was an excellent source for FBI files on potential candidates for the priesthood for years after the assassination. Leaving aside for the moment why wandering bishops need FBI files on potential priests, and why they would suspect the existence of those files in the first place, let us examine the Jack Martin story in a little more detail since it seems we never really knew him at all.
To Be Continued
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What is your theory on all theses strange "clergymen" i.e. the wandering bishops, etc. Why clergy? Are these odd denominations some kind of cover for real-life conspirators? Is it a coincidence? What do you think? If your going to reveal it in your book, don't spoil it for me here on the blog-I'll wait.
I'm sure you are aware of some strange happenings within the Russian Orthodox Church just before and after the Communist revolution. Rasputin was a leader in a sub-sect. Papas the French Occultist was involved with the Czar and his family. Joseph Stalin was a divinity student, etc. But this is another study in itself. It would be interesting to see if or how this fits into all the rest of the puzzle.
James J. Dickinson
San Diego, CA
Yes, the religious intrigues around the Czar were quite something and contributed to a kind of strange atmosphere around the Eastern Orthodox sects after the Revolution, particularly the Russian and Ukrainian branches. They became fronts for a whole host of scurrilous activity and that is what probably gave our own intelligence community the idea to use the same type of churches in their own endeavors. I won't spoil it for you, but you are on the right track!
Apparently you are looking for proof of the ressurection...
however, Jesus himself has given us this parable, so... i will pray for your soul.
"There was a rich man 13 who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, 14 where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'
15 He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"
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