Before there was QAnon
Before there was Pizzagate
Before there Plandemic
THE PHANTOM PATRIOT!
Believe it or not, there was a time when the "Deep State" wasn't a term in mainstream usage and Alex Jones hadn't appeared on national television dueling with media personalities like Megyn Kelly and Piers Morgan. In fact, there was a time when sitting U.S. Presidents didn't make cryptic statements about their political opponents being controlled by "people in dark shadows" (although Hillary Clinton did make a reference to the existence of a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' back in the day). But just because conspiracy theory is chic nowadays doesn't mean it been with us for a long time, although with incidents like the Comet Ping Pong arson by a Pizzagate truther or the child kidnapping by a QAnon mom conspiracy theories have come under greater scrutiny. For example, an internal FBI memo from 2019 named QAnon and Pizzagate believers as a potential domestic terrorist threat. Meanwhile, "Sandy Hook Truthers", who believe the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 was actually a hoax involving paid "crisis actors" to foment sweeping gun control legislation in the U.S., have been caught harassing victims' families.
Not all conspiracy theorists are created equally though. For example, should the aging JFK assassination theorist Robert Groden really have been arrested 82 times by the Dallas Police Department for distributing conspiracy DVDs and literature in Dealey Plaza? Maybe not. That being said, incidents like the Comet Ping Pong arson and crimes with QAnon connections like the aforementioned child kidnapping or the murder of a Gambino Crime Family mob boss seem to be another matter entirely and not to be taken lightly.
Prior to all these incidents, however, there was a rather strange case in the California's usually quiet Sonoma County that generally flew under the radar. On January 19th, 2002 a man dressed in superhero costume and wearing a skull mask attempted a raid on the Bohemian Grove under the belief that it was a location used by global Satanic elites to sacrifice children to the Babylonian owl god Moloch. After a stand-off in which the masked man pointed a rifle at confused and scared police officers, the vigilante raider was apprehended.
That masked man's name was Richard McCaslin, a cosplayer and Batman stuntman at a Six Flags amusement. Cosplayer, however, may be a bit of an understatement. Richard was a member of what is known as the Real Life Superhero community. RLSH's usually engage in acts of community service like, say, neighborhood watch. Richard, on the other hand, engaged in vigilantism. After watching the Alex Jones documentary Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove, McCaslin donned his superhero attire and traveled to Sonoma County, California as his alter ego The Phantom Patriot in an attempt to stop what he believed was the nefarious activities Alex Jones alleged were occurring at Bohemian Grove.
Granted, Bohemian Grove does raise an eyebrow or two upon initial examination. This is because the Grove is a vacation retreat for members of the highly exclusive Bohemian Club, whose motto is the slightly spooky "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here". Originally the Bohemian Club's membership was mainly artists. In fact, early members included the likes of Jack London and Mark Twain. What raises an eyebrow for more conspiratorially-minded though is the fact that the Bohemian Club's membership has since then gone on to include such global power players as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former U.S. Presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. In this way the Grove acts as a vacation getaway for elites to let loose once a year. On it's own that wouldn't seem to insidious. But then there's the rather odd ritual known as the "Cremation of Care" where the world's most powerful men dress in robes and sacrifice their "Dull Care" to a giant owl statue surrounded by fire in dead of night.
Granted such strangeness could be chalked up to the goofy hijinks of the world's most powerful men letting their juvenile freak loose like they're at Burning Man. That's not what Richard McCaslin, The Phantom Patriot, believed though. For McCaslin the Grove was a location where Satan-worshipping elites committed ritual sacrifices of innocent children beneath a pagan moon... and it was the duty of the Phantom Patriot to thwart their sinister efforts.
Now, the story of Richard McCaslin, alias the Phantom Patriot, may, upon initial inspection, seem to be nothing more than the story of a foolish crank. But upon closer examination can something more be gleaned from his story? What, for example, leads someone like McCaslin to become a conspiracy theory-prone vigilante? And is there a grain of truth to criticism of Bohemian Grove that is revealed through his story? After all, does a citizen like McCaslin, when put on trial, get the same treatment as a uber-wealthy man like Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO series The Jinx that may have gotten away with multiple murders for years? Does the Bohemian Grove, beyond all the tabloid sensationalism of Alex Jones documentaries and books like self-described "mind controlled sex slave survivor" Cathy O'Brien's Trance-Formation of America, offer networking opportunities that are not afforded to the average citizen? Why do misguided true believers like Richard McCaslin, who exhibited creative in various creative pursuits over his lifetime, seem to never reach their full potential while conspiracy hustlers like Alex Jones (who denounced McCaslin after the raid and offered him no support) make millions of dollars off fake supplements and receive international media attention?
Tea Krulos, author of American Madness: the Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American, joins us on this edition of Parallax Views to answer those questions and more as we delve into the wild true story of Richard McCaslin aka The Phantom Patriot. Oh, and he also reveals, at the end of the program, a real conspiracy perpetrated by the Bohemian Grove against the Phantom Patriot! All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.
P.S. - Yes, McCaslin is the subject of the Les Claypool song "The Phantom Patriot".