Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World

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9780312607173: Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World

Few stories in the annals of American counterculture are as intriguing or dramatic as that of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

 

Dubbed the “Hippie Mafia,” the Brotherhood began in the mid-1960s as a small band of peace-loving, adventure-seeking surfers in Southern California. After discovering LSD, they took to Timothy Leary’s mantra of “Turn on, tune in, and drop out” and resolved to make that vision a reality by becoming the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation, and literally providing the fuel for the psychedelic revolution in the process.

 

Just days after California became the first state in the union to ban LSD, the Brotherhood formed a legally registered church in its headquarters at Mystic Arts World on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, where they sold blankets and other countercultural paraphernalia retrieved through surfing safaris and road trips to exotic locales in Asia and South America. Before long, they also began to sell Afghan hashish, Hawaiian pot (the storied “Maui Wowie”), and eventually Colombian cocaine, much of which the Brotherhood smuggled to California in secret compartments inside surfboards and Volkswagen minibuses driven across the border.

 

They also befriended Leary himself, enlisting him in the goal of buying a tropical island where they could install the former Harvard philosophy professor and acid prophet as the high priest of an experimental utopia. The Brotherhood’s most legendary contribution to the drug scene was homemade: Orange Sunshine, the group’s nickname for their trademark orange-colored acid tablet that happened to produce an especially powerful trip. Brotherhood foot soldiers passed out handfuls of the tablets to communes, at Grateful Dead concerts, and at love-ins up and down the coast of California and beyond. The Hell’s Angels, Charles Mason and his followers, and the unruly crowd at the infamous Altamont music festival all tripped out on this acid. Jimi Hendrix even appeared in a film starring Brotherhood members and performed a private show for the fugitive band of outlaws on the slope of a Hawaiian volcano.

 

Journalist Nicholas Schou takes us deep inside the Brotherhood, combining exclusive interviews with both the group’s surviving members as well as the cops who chased them. A wide-sweeping narrative of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll (and more drugs) that runs from Laguna Beach to Maui to Afghanistan, Orange Sunshine explores how America moved from the era of peace and free love into a darker time of hard drugs and paranoia.

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About the Author:

NICHOLAS SCHOU is a full-time staff writer for OC Weekly. His writing has also appeared in numerous weeklies over the past decade, including LA Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Washington City Paper, the Sacramento News & Review, and the Village Voice. Schou is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Epidemic Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1. The Farmer IN THE MID-1950s, Anaheim, California, a smog-choked working-class town fifteen miles from the nearest beach, was bursting with recent Mexican immigrants and a mass migration of blue-collar white Americans who had fled south from the wave of black families who began to move into Los Angeles suburbs like Watts and Compton after the Second World War. A century after it was founded by German immigrants as a farming community in 1857, Anaheim’s boundless orange groves were quickly being devoured by factories and suburban tract. In 1955, the city’s most famous feature, the Disneyland Theme Park, opened its doors and, at about that time—the exact date is unclear—a tough young Okie with an awkward stutter arrived with his family to find the American dream. Long before he became Timothy Leary’s self-described spiritual guru and the leader of the secretive group of drug smugglers who literally provided the fuel for America’s psychedelic revolution, back when John Griggs was still in junior high school, his classmates knew him as an occasionally mean-spirited badass prone to picking fights. He was short but wiry and muscular—a champion wrestler, to boot—and wore his dark, fine hair slicked back from his forehead in a jaunty pompadour. His piecing blue eyes seemed to be pulled downward by some force beyond gravity, giving his face a somber, almost tragic expression, even when accompanied by his perpetually crooked and mischievous-seeming shit-eating grin. John Griggs’s Graduation Photo, Anaheim High School, 1961. A champion wrestler, Griggs had a reputation as a badass prone to picking fights. (Courtesy Dion Wright) When Griggs spoke, he tended to stutter for the first few syllables, a speech impediment that might have been amplified by the amphetamine pills he was known to pop like candy as a teenager. He spoke fast, and the stutter would disappear a few words into each sentence. He had a quick wit and an uncanny ability to size people up. Few people who knew him ever saw Griggs actually fight. He didn’t have to use his fists. Instead, Griggs would walk up to a guy he didn’t like, usually someone much more muscular or who had a reputation as a bully, and start hurling insults and threats at his rival. If the guy didn’t back off, Griggs’s buddies would suddenly appear out of nowhere, jump in, and start kicking the shit out of the offending party. Robert Ackerly, a tall, lanky kid with stringy dark hair and an impudent smirk that never left his face, befriended Griggs at Anaheim High School. Ackerly hung out with a trio of brothers, Tommy, JC, and Freddy Tunnell, whose parents were friends with the Griggs family in Oklahoma and who had moved west together. Ackerly was a few years younger than Griggs but best friends with Tommy Tunnell, who, like his brothers, and Griggs, for that matter, was a rebellious, unruly jock. Tunnell introduced Ackerly to Griggs at a party in 1958. Griggs and the rest of the wrestling team, decked out in blue nylon jackets with varsity letters, were drunk and angry. Griggs boasted loudly to Ackerly that they planned to crash another party and beat the shit out of the captain of a wrestling team from a rival high school. Griggs called his coterie of fellow wrestlers the Blue Jackets. In Ackerly’s telling, the gang represents the earliest incarnation of Griggs’s organizing abilities that would ultimately create the legendary Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Griggs was already dating an attractive young brunette from Long Beach, Carol Horan, whom he would marry in 1961, the year he graduated from high school, a few classes behind Bobby Hatfield, half of the legendary “blue-eyed soul” duo the Righteous Brothers, whose early-1960s hits included “Unchained Melody” and “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” By then, Griggs had left the Blue Jackets behind and taken over the Street Sweepers, an infamous Anaheim car club; its members, who met at a Mexican grease joint called the Bean Hut, bounced back and forth between school and juvenile hall, staging impromptu drag races and cruising around in German army helmets, drunk or high on speed or pot, throwing water balloons and eggs at anyone they didn’t know or didn’t like. Ackerly was something of a badass himself, but not nearly so much as his older brother Dick, a barroom brawler so notorious that fighters from as far away as Boston and Chicago would come to town specifically hoping to break his nose. Dick taught Ackerly how to box. His first fight took place just three days after he moved to Anaheim from Los Angeles in 1956, when he was just twelve years old, a freshman at Fremont Junior High School. Someone who didn’t like the way Ackerly was looking at his girlfriend grabbed him by the neck and started kicking him in the nuts until his brother Dick ended the brawl by punching his attacker in the head. “In those days it was pure fisticuffs,” Ackerly recalls. “There was no peace and love going on at that time. It was ‘Don’t look at me. What are you looking at? You wanna fight?’” Through his friendship with Tunnell, Ackerly began hanging out with Griggs and quickly became part of the latter’s entourage of street fighters. Once, at another party, they were standing in front of someone’s house when Griggs saw a group of older, bigger guys sitting in their car. He walked over and jabbed his finger in the face of the driver. “Get out of that fucking car,” Griggs barked. “I am going to beat your fucking ass! I am going to scratch your fucking eyes out and bite your fucking nose off, motherfucker.” Tunnell and Ackerly stood by ready to start throwing punches. But as Griggs reached through the window to pull one of the passengers out of the car, the terrified teenagers sped off. Before long, Ackerly, Tunnell, and several of their classmates were following Griggs all over Anaheim looking for fights. Sometimes they just fought among themselves, practicing their skills by kicking cigarettes out of each other’s mouths, but usually they looked for anyone from outside Anaheim who was stupid enough to wander into their town. “We’d go pile into a car and jump over the fence into Disneyland, then look for guys from the [San Fernando] Valley so we could kick their asses, because this was our turf,” Ackerly says. “We were Anaheim guys, and Johnny was the boss. Johnny took over everything. People started calling him ‘the Farmer’ because he gathered everyone around him like Johnny Appleseed. He just grew followers; everyone followed John.”

“John was never anyone I would follow,” insists Edward Padilla, who also befriended Griggs in high school. “He was a sneaky, manipulative little bastard. He would usually pick a fight with someone bigger, and when the fight started, everyone would start coming out of the woodwork.” Padilla’s family moved to Orange County in the early 1950s from South Central Los Angeles. Although his mother was of German-Irish extraction, Padilla’s dad, a construction contractor, was half black and half Native American and commuted back to Los Angeles for work, because, as a nonwhite, he couldn’t get a single job in Orange County. “I had dark skin,” Padilla says. “Because I wasn’t Mexican or white, I wasn’t enough of any one color to be part of either crowd.” When he turned sixteen, Padilla, like everyone else he knew, went to Disneyland to apply for a summer job. “I was the only one not to get hired,” he says. “Anaheim was a different world back then.” In school, Padilla established himself as the class troublemaker. One day his teacher told him to shut up and sit down. Padilla ignored him, so the teacher grabbed him by the throat and slammed him into his seat. Padilla kicked the teacher in the balls. The teacher went home for the day to nurse his wounds and Padilla ended up being expelled from Anaheim’s public education system. He attended St. Boniface Parish School, a privately run Catholic institution, where he scraped with an older student who made the mistake of insulting Padilla’s mother. “What are you looking at?” the kid asked. “Fuck you,” Padilla answered. “I’ll fuck your mother,” the kid responded. Padilla punched him in the face until the kid was lying on the floor unconscious. “I broke his head open, so they sent me to juvenile hall.” After he got out, Padilla attended Servite High School, an allboys facility full of public school rejects taught by robe-wearing priests. “We were some rough guys,” recalls Padilla, who by now had bulked up into a muscular athlete. During his sophomore year, Padilla insulted one of his teachers, a former professional football player who promptly slapped him across the face. “You slap like a girl,” Padilla observed. The teacher slapped him again, hard enough to send Padilla reeling from his seat. He picked up his desk and swung it at the teacher. That stunt sent Padilla to another private school in Downey, where he joined the football team and resumed fighting. When he attacked a fellow football player who wound up in the hospital with cracked cheekbones and his jaw wired together, Padilla found himself again expelled and sent back to Anaheim. At a sock hop during his first year back at Anaheim High School, Padilla danced with a girl who happened to be dating a friend of Griggs’s named Mike Bias. The dance ended and Bias and about ten other angry-looking guys including John Griggs walked up to Padilla. “You fucked up,” Griggs announced. “You don’t mess with our girls. We’re going to kick your ass.” Padilla continued dancing with the girl. When the sock hop ended, he went outside, fists clenched, ready to rumble. Nobody was there. “I was glad,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong. Ten to one didn’t sound fun.” The next day, however, Griggs approached Padilla with an olive branch, telling him that the rest of his gang was planning to ambush him. A few weeks later, Griggs told Padilla the fight would happen that evening in an orange grove outside of town. He drove Padilla to the location and pumped him with information about who was going to try to take him down. He warned Padilla to watch out for a sucker puncher named Franco who planned to wait until Padilla had been worn down fighting other contenders before he stepped in to finish him off. “I rode out to this grassy meadow in the middle of this orange grove in John’s 1938 Cadillac,” Padilla recalls. “There were probably fifty kids there, mostly guys, standing in a circle.” Padilla cracked his knuckles and readied himself. Without warning, a couple of football players rushed him simultaneously. One of them charged into Padilla, sending him flying backward. He leaned over and sank his teeth into the guy’s back. As Padilla pushed him away, the next jock came flying forward. Suddenly, one of Griggs’s friends, who unbeknownst to Padilla had been appointed by Griggs to intervene, stepped forward to protect him. “Little by little, even though we had different agendas, I realized I was covered in a strange way,” Padilla says. “Johnny was always trying to have a gang of guys and that was the opposite of me. I was a loner, but John needed a lot of people to accomplish what he wanted. He was a masterful politician. He had a gift of gab, and people followed John.” Padilla and Griggs were both fans of The Untouchables, a television show broadcast on ABC every Thursday night from 1959 to 1963. Based on the memoir by legendary G-man Eliot Ness, the show fictionalized his pursuit of the notorious Chicago mob boss Al Capone. To Padilla, it seemed to provide free lessons in how to operate a successful criminal enterprise. “Capone and his gang were so successful because they didn’t use violence to achieve their aims,” he says. “I watched that show religiously, every Thursday night,” Padilla says. “I wanted to be a successful criminal. My product was going to be pot and pills and I was going to run all of Orange County.” Inspired by the show’s character Arnold “Spatz” Vincent, Padilla went to a thrift store and bought a pair of spats and black and white wing-tipped shoes, slacks, a button-down vest, and a Gant shirt with a button-down collar. Griggs and his crew were dressing up like their favorite gangsters as well. Griggs thought of himself as Capone, and his 1938 Cadillac testified to his admiration for the mob boss. Eddie Padilla’s dream of becoming Orange County’s biggest pot dealer was deferred by several jail stints, everything from indecent exposure to dealing drugs to assaulting a cop with a wrist pin, a steel bar that when gripped in a tight fist could land a deadly punch. His lawyer persuaded a judge to send him to Atascadero, a hospital for the criminally insane, where Padilla spent the next eighteen months. By now, he was eighteen years old and had knife scars up and down his arms and was missing several front teeth. Padilla’s stint in the loony bin convinced him to leave street fighting behind him. He married his high school sweetheart and rented an apartment with the money he was making selling pot, cheap weed smuggled across the border from Mexico. In those days, marijuana was divided into “lids” which referred to a whole can of Prince Albert brand rolling tobacco, and “fingers,” which was a finger’s width of pot inside the can. Soon, Padilla wasn’t just dealing, he was supplying pot to other dealers, like Jack “Dark Cloud” Harrington, a street fighter from Westminster. One night, Padilla went over to Harrington’s house to see if he needed any more pot to sell. Sitting in the living room was his old friend John Griggs, whom Padilla hadn’t seen since high school. Griggs was now married, working in the nearby oil fields of Yorba Linda and, like Padilla, dealing a lot of pot. “I became the biggest dealer in Anaheim, and maybe Garden Grove,” Padilla says. “I had a lot of customers and went around meticulously turning people on to pot. I believed in pot.” One day, Padilla’s pot supplier introduced him to someone who was bringing kilograms of weed across the border every weekend. Now Padilla could sell half pounds and quarter pounds of marijuana at a pop. He went back to all the people he knew, turning them on to pot and looking for the next adventure. “I was twenty years old and figured I needed to go down to Mexico and do something worthy,” he says. “Being an adrenaline junkie, smuggling was appealing to me. I couldn’t wait.”

While Padilla and Griggs conspired to dominate Orange County’s drug trade, Robert Ackerly had taken to hanging out on the beach, drinking beer, smoking pot, and surfing. He and Tommy Tunnell passed most of their time playing hooky from school and hitting the waves down in Huntington Beach. One night, police discovered Ackerly having sex with a runaway girl on the sand. “They said it was immoral for us to have our clothes off at the beach,” he says. “This was Orange County, so I did three months in juvenile hall.” Shortly after getting out, Ackerly and Tunnell went to a movie in Los Angeles. After the show, someone looked at him the wrong way. Words were exchanged and Ackerly punched the man until blood poured from his mouth and ears. As Ackerly politely explained to the theater manager that the other guy started the fight, the police and an ambulance arrived. The cops arrested him and took him back to jail. “Because of my record, they told me I was going into the service tomorrow. It was either that or stay in jail.” The following morning, Ackerly volunteered for the air force, then the army and marines, but was rejected each time because of his criminal record. Just when he thought his only option was more jail time, the navy accepted him. “I got busted for getting in a fight and fucking a girl on the beach. They said, ‘Fucking and fighting? You came to the right place, buddy.’” After joining the navy, Ackerly sailed to the South China Sea, where he served as a navigator on the Mauna Koa, an ammunition ship. For three years, h...

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Book Description GRIFFIN, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 208 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Few stories in the annals of American counterculture are as intriguing or dramatic as that of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.Dubbed the Hippie Mafia, the Brotherhood began in the mid-1960s as a small band of peace-loving, adventure-seeking surfers in Southern California. After discovering LSD, they took to Timothy Leary s mantra of Turn on, tune in, and drop out and resolved to make that vision a reality by becoming the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation, and literally providing the fuel for the psychedelic revolution in the process.Just days after California became the first state in the union to ban LSD, the Brotherhood formed a legally registered church in its headquarters at Mystic Arts World on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, where they sold blankets and other countercultural paraphernalia retrieved through surfing safaris and road trips to exotic locales in Asia and South America. Before long, they also began to sell Afghan hashish, Hawaiian pot (the storied Maui Wowie ), and eventually Colombian cocaine, much of which the Brotherhood smuggled to California in secret compartments inside surfboards and Volkswagen minibuses driven across the border.They also befriended Leary himself, enlisting him in the goal of buying a tropical island where they could install the former Harvard philosophy professor and acid prophet as the high priest of an experimental utopia. The Brotherhood s most legendary contribution to the drug scene was homemade: Orange Sunshine, the group s nickname for their trademark orange-colored acid tablet that happened to produce an especially powerful trip. Brotherhood foot soldiers passed out handfuls of the tablets to communes, at Grateful Dead concerts, and at love-ins up and down the coast of California and beyond. The Hell s Angels, Charles Mason and his followers, and the unruly crowd at the infamous Altamont music festival all tripped out on this acid. Jimi Hendrix even appeared in a film starring Brotherhood members and performed a private show for the fugitive band of outlaws on the slope of a Hawaiian volcano.Journalist Nicholas Schou takes us deep inside the Brotherhood, combining exclusive interviews with both the group s surviving members as well as the cops who chased them. A wide-sweeping narrative of sex, drugs, and rock n roll (and more drugs) that runs from Laguna Beach to Maui to Afghanistan, Orange Sunshine explores how America moved from the era of peace and free love into a darker time of hard drugs and paranoia. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780312607173

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Book Description GRIFFIN, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 208 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Few stories in the annals of American counterculture are as intriguing or dramatic as that of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.Dubbed the Hippie Mafia, the Brotherhood began in the mid-1960s as a small band of peace-loving, adventure-seeking surfers in Southern California. After discovering LSD, they took to Timothy Leary s mantra of Turn on, tune in, and drop out and resolved to make that vision a reality by becoming the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation, and literally providing the fuel for the psychedelic revolution in the process.Just days after California became the first state in the union to ban LSD, the Brotherhood formed a legally registered church in its headquarters at Mystic Arts World on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, where they sold blankets and other countercultural paraphernalia retrieved through surfing safaris and road trips to exotic locales in Asia and South America. Before long, they also began to sell Afghan hashish, Hawaiian pot (the storied Maui Wowie ), and eventually Colombian cocaine, much of which the Brotherhood smuggled to California in secret compartments inside surfboards and Volkswagen minibuses driven across the border.They also befriended Leary himself, enlisting him in the goal of buying a tropical island where they could install the former Harvard philosophy professor and acid prophet as the high priest of an experimental utopia. The Brotherhood s most legendary contribution to the drug scene was homemade: Orange Sunshine, the group s nickname for their trademark orange-colored acid tablet that happened to produce an especially powerful trip. Brotherhood foot soldiers passed out handfuls of the tablets to communes, at Grateful Dead concerts, and at love-ins up and down the coast of California and beyond. The Hell s Angels, Charles Mason and his followers, and the unruly crowd at the infamous Altamont music festival all tripped out on this acid. Jimi Hendrix even appeared in a film starring Brotherhood members and performed a private show for the fugitive band of outlaws on the slope of a Hawaiian volcano.Journalist Nicholas Schou takes us deep inside the Brotherhood, combining exclusive interviews with both the group s surviving members as well as the cops who chased them. A wide-sweeping narrative of sex, drugs, and rock n roll (and more drugs) that runs from Laguna Beach to Maui to Afghanistan, Orange Sunshine explores how America moved from the era of peace and free love into a darker time of hard drugs and paranoia. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780312607173

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