Monday, June 15, 2009

Playwright Ken Campbell on the Skeleton Key

In The Independent he tells of a visit he had in 1976.

One morning I answered the door to a man I didn't know. We chatted a bit about people we possibly had in common, then he asked whether he could smoke a joint, and told me he was a roving reporter for High Times [the marijuana enthusiasts' magazine]. He had heard I was interested in conspiracy, and brought out something like 23 pages of closely typed carbon copy called The Gemstone File. He had been carrying it around for some time, unable to work out what to do with it. He left it with me, and I never saw him again.

The Gemstone File was the entire background of the Kennedy assassination; names and addresses, who had done it, and the historical perspective. Back in 1976 newsagents didn't have copiers, and the nearest one was Swiss Cottage library. But I opened the door to go there and then thought, who was that man? In the great conspiracy web, the problem is that you don't know who or what people are working for. The curtains twitched in the house opposite. I remained inside the whole day, unable to work out how to get the manuscript photocopied without arousing suspicion. Finally, I rang Martin Walker and he made 40 copies, 20 for each of us to send out. To have your own copier is a comfort. I can still recall the irrational paranoia of that day.