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Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.

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COLUMN: Conjurella DDT: Cold War Warriors, Comic Book Truth
By T. Casey Brennan

"Kepp on dreaming I sont become psycho case please."

-- Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan who replaced Benazir Bhutto, on reading the notes for Conjurella DDT, complete with his original spelling, in an e-mail from Pakistan to T. Casey Brennan, on January 3, 1998.




T. Casey in Shriner HatThis is the story of the assassins.
This is the story of the cold war soldiers of AIDS.
This is the story of Conjurella DDT.
This is the story of hope.

I said in Conjurella that I started school in September of 1953. But I may have been a little late that month. I know I was in the Yale, Michigan hospital with asthma in September before either my first of second year in school, I think both.

Mama and Daddy loved DDT. But Daddy hated farming. It was sometime around then that we got rid of all the cattle on our eighty acres of farmland in Emmett or Avoca, we weren't sure which, because it was just out in the country, and they'd change the postal address on us.

But it was sometime around then, I think, before I started school, that Mama and Daddy got into DDT. I mean, really into it.

I was born on August 11, 1948, in a hospital in Port Huron, Michigan. The doctor that delivered me was Dr. Pollack, you know, like former Michigan State Senator Lana Pollack. Later on, Mama and Daddy took me to the railroad bridge in Beard's Hills on M-136, past Avoca, going toward the highway that leads to Port Hope. That was where Dr. Pollack tried to jump off, and kill himself. He knew about MK-ULTRA. Mama said he said:

"Oh, God, to bring a baby into the world to suffer so.
Oh God, to bring a baby into the world to do that."

And then he jumped. But he only broke both his legs.
He was never the same after that, they said.

After I wrote Conjurella, I remembered more about the Old Covered Bridge meeting with David Ferrie.

After David Ferrie scared us, after they raped Aunt Bonnie (I only made up the name Conjurella to call her; she never called herself that), her daughter Linda (I only made up the name Glinda to call her in Conjurella, to make it like a fairy tale, a Ferrie tale), says:

"They're going to make us shoot John Kennedy."

That was how long they were after him.

And she did. I saw her.

After the voices, after they lifted me up, after I initiated the firing that killed the President, they led me groggily into the hall. And I saw that fleeting glimpse of Linda once again.

David Ferrie had braced the rifle to the window. I know that, because I threw myself to the floor after firing the first shot. With the heel of my hand, I tried to push the rifle out the window. I was willing to die for her; I was willing to die for my secret friend.

But this is the story of Conjurella DDT. This is the story of the cold war soldiers.

Sometime in the early 1950s, Daddy got the idea that the pine trees on our eighty acres had to live. He got big cannisters of DDT, wirh sprayers on them. And then he took me and Mama back to the woods with them.

I'm not sure David Ferrie wasn't involved. He said tell all this if they killed him. I am.

I'm not sure how old David Ferrie was. I don't look in any books before I write the Conjurella stuff; maybe after, but never before. But I think he was an assassin in World War II, maybe a child assassin, for the O.S.S. I think I remember Aunt Bonnie saying something about them, but I don't know any more.

Anyway, Daddy was worried about the pine trees dying from these worms that got on them every year. There were little worms on the pines, that lived in big silken tents that looked like spider webs. Mama and Daddy made me go back with them, with the DDT. I don't know how many trips I took with them like that. My eyes burned and wept blood, I wheezed and gasped, my head was light, and all my skin hurt.

Finally, I said: "Mama and Daddy, I can't stand any more DDT. I can't go back to spray trees with DDT any more."

And they didn't make me again. But that wasn't my last exposure to DDT.

"My cancer observations, too, may be 'out of reckoning',
but they have brought me safely through a dark, uncharted water,
where more than once my craft has 'grazed the edge of foreign shores'.
"

-- Edna Kaehele, founder of the anti-cancer group,
Fear Fighters, in Living with Cancer, Doubleday &
Company, Inc., 1952

"The hardiest individualist I know... is Casey Brennan,
a three-year old friend from Avoca, Michigan.
"

-- Edna Kaehele, Training the Family Dog
(Chapter Seven), Lantern Press, 1953.

"The O.S.S. was so bad, we should have fought with the Nazis just to stop them. And I'm a Jew."
-- Conjurella


Click for Larger Image
Correspondence From Melvin Belli
to T. Casey Brennan.
Melvin Belli was also
Jack Ruby's attorney.
In 1953, after Linda told me what we'd have to do, I said, "Who is John Kennedy?"

Little girls are always smarter than little boys. She said: "A Senator."

I asked "What's a Senator?"

I don't remember whether she explained or not. MK-ULTRA, David Ferrie, and Dr. E could always make you forget, no matter what; could always make you trust them again, no matter what. So in 1958, we trusted the CIA, Mama and Daddy and me, and my ersatz aunt.

It must have been 1958.

It was the summer in between grades during my four years at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Emmett, Michigan. It MAY have been 1957, but I think it was 1958, when David Ferrie flew us to Indonesia and Prince Sihanouk tried to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

Edna Kaehele was "Pat" to her friends, and "Aunt Patty" to me. I don't know why she called herself Pat. She had two sons, Jerry and Dean, one of them, I think Jerry, went on to become an official of the John Birch Society, and a daughter called "Butch". She lived in Columbus, Ohio, like my late mother, paperback author Alice Brennan, nee Mildred Alice Goodrich. They were both writers, they were both friends, and she was one of the people who got me involved with David Ferrie.

It must have been 1958.

Aunt Patty said, "Casey has a great future with the CIA." And we all went to Indonesia. I don't remember if Mama was there or not; I think Daddy was. I remember Aunt Patty saying: "When you're in Indonesia, it's just like being in the United States."

But it wasn't.

All I remember is the hotel in Indonesia. I don't remember the flight. I just remember the hotel. I must have been ten. I'm trying to remember; I'm trying to place it. Maybe I was nine. When I was nine, I went on The Five & Ten Show, on UHF, in Columbus. I went on with my cousins, Uncle Charley's kids, Uncle Charley was a Shriner, and he recorded on this old record player; there was a special record you could put on that would record stuff.

I wanted to go on The Five & Ten Show, but I did not want to shoot John Kennedy, and neither did Linda.

The first Dallas police interrogation of Lee, it was destroyed, my Dad told me. Lee told them about "child molesters trying to take over the world". No one will ever know; it was me, I initiated the firing, Lee was innocent, my shot killed him, there was no need for David Ferrie to continue shooting, no need for Linda with sugar cubes in her muffs to shoot at all, but she did.

On The Five & Ten Show, they played "Turkey in the Straw"; there was a little dance that went with it and I couldn't do it!!! I could damned well shoot John Kennedy for them, but I could not do that Dance!!! It had something to do with, jump down, turn around, pick a bale of hay: my cousins, who had not been injected with anything at all by David Ferrie, could do it just fine...

I was still on stage, trying to do this crap, after my cousins had marched off. After the music had stopped, I was still on stage, twirling around all wrong for the fade-out.

But I did shoot John Kennedy for them. And Uncle Charley and the Shriners, I'm supposed to say, were not involved, but Uncle Johnny and the Finders, they were in it up to their necks.

But the hotel.

First I remember, just running around the hotel in Indonesia, like a kid, which I was. And I remember Aunt Patty saying Indonesia is just like America, everything is in English, and that I've got a great future with the CIA. But then...

Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia enters.

There is a table of Asians in the restaurant.

One says "That is Sihanouk!"

They exchange glances.

One says: "I will offer obeisance’s."

He prostrates himself on the floor before Sihanouk.

Another says: "I will not offer obeisance’s to Sihanouk."

But Sihanouk comes every day at noon. He has a little office in the restaurant, and he says it is about "international trade".

We get used to seeing him every day; it's just Sihanouk.

But he wants to talk to me. I'm afraid, not OF him, but for him.

He takes me in his office and says, "I can get you out of this, you know."

I'm ten. Or nine.

Sihanouk is young in 1958. He has a moustache, his complexion is dark, his voice is sincere, and he says:

"I can get you and the other children to safety."

I laugh at the Prince.

Even at ten (or nine), I do not want more innocent blood of those who try to help me.

Even at ten (or nine) I say:

"You're crazy. You'd never get us out of here alive."



Interlude: David Ferrie and Benazir Bhutto. Sometime in the 1950s, David Ferrie took me to meet the kidnapped Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zhulfikar Ali Bhutto, and the future Prime Minister of the Pure State, Pakistan. Yaya Khan knew that she had been kidnapped and used in mind-control experiments by CIA MK-ULTRA, and used that knowledge to solicit unlimited aid from the U.S. Zhulfikar knew also, and would have told her before his execution by CIA puppet and assassination victim-to-be, Zia, but she was refused audience with her doomed father by Zia. She murdered her brother and her mother's best friend, as Prime Minister of the Pure State: this is why...

David Ferrie calls her a "little whore". She isn't. David Ferrie is weird and thinks any little girl is a "little whore."

Benazir Bhutto is tied up in a chair; we may be in Dr. E's office in Port Hope, Michigan; I called it "Hopeville" in Conjurella. David Ferrie and another man, maybe Dr. E are working on her. They tell her, "We're going to make you kill your whole goddamned family, you little whore!"

After all this, David Ferrie says, "Would you like to take her out in a field and play with her, the way you do with Kay?"

I say: "I'm scared."

David Ferrie pretends to look confused.

I say: "You just told her you're going to kill her family."

David Ferrie laughs.

"She won't remember any of that, Casey! Wait and see!"

And when I wake up, I'm in a field with Benazir. She is smiling coyly, and she doesn't remember. We run around and play and at the end, she gets too far away, and I start calling, "Benazir, Benazir!" But she is too far away, and then I'm asleep again. When I wake up, there is a woman with David Ferrie saying:

"Benazir!? What kind of name is that? There's no one in Avoca with a name like Benazir! What kind of name is that?!"

They think I won't remember. They think I won't care about her. But I do. That was the interlude. This is Indonesia.




In Indonesia, Prince Sihanouk says: "Yes, I can get you out."

But he can't. There are catacombs under the hotel where the CIA can take people and hold them prisoner or kill them.

I don't know whether or not Sihanouk knows about the disease, the disease they are making to attack Africa. But he knows about the children. Later, the CIA tells me that the whole Vietnam war was started because of Sihanouk.

Later, much later, it must have been the 1970s, they could still haul me in even then, and keep me for days, I was exposed to DDT again. I think. David Ferrie is dead now. I think. But now Dr. E's people are all around me, and they're all taking little yellow capsules. They tell me they are taking Experimental DDT.

I say: "It's bad to be exposed to DDT."

Dr. E's people say: "But now they're saying you should take it, just like a vitamin."

And they make me take the little yellow capsules of Experimental DDT, every day, for, I think, five days.

And that was the story of Conjurella DDT.

This is the story of how they taught Linda to kill:

In the 1950s, an old lady named Mamaganda lived upstairs from Uncle Johnny. She must have found out too much, because Uncle Johnny and Dr. E had decided to kill her.

But first they had to move her, so no one would know. I know I had only seen Dr. E once or twice before when it happened, so it must have been the summer of 1959. Mamaganda is moved from Uncle Johnny's to Uncle Blood's house, also in Columbus, again to be an upstairs tenant. She will not stay long.

Mama and Daddy take me to Uncle Blood's. They take me to a room, and open the door, and there is Dr. E, with a roomful of children.

Mama says: "Here's Dr. E. You know this is Columbus, not Port Hope, so you know he can't be real."

Linda is one of the children. They all have knives and glazed, drugged expressions.

Dr. E says: "Put the sticks into Mamaganda. Be sure you see the blood. She wants to see the blood. She will like the blood."

Then the children all go upstairs to see Mamaganda.

The End




As a bonus feature to this column, as if T. Casey in a Shriner hat isn't bonus enough, we present you with this special look at a past short comic story by T.Casey Brennan and Bill Black featuring the Black Mistress in “The Mystery Of The Drowned Dowager” From TARA ON THE DARK CONTINENT #2, (c) 1979 Paragon Publications.

Click for Larger Version Click for Larger Version Click for Larger Version

 


T. Casey is best known to comic fans for his work on Vampirella and other macabre stories, but to the world at large his writings detail a number of events surrounding the death of U.S. President, John F. Kennedy and the secretive testing program, MK ULTRA.


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