Robert Anton Wilson, famed writer of many illuminating works including the Cosmic Trigger trilogy and Illuminatus! (as co-author), is suffering from post-polio syndrome and has passed through a crisis — with his future still in question. With the medical crisis came a financial crisis, but efforts are in place to lessen his distress and keep him comfortable in hospice care at his home through the upcoming months, with the aid of his readers and admirers.
For years, Wilson has dealt with debilitating post-polio syndrome, made worse by a June 2006 fall. Unable to walk, he is bedridden and receives 24-hour care. In June and July, his friends and family thought he could die at any time. Since then, he has somewhat improved.
But medical and rent expenses are a great problem, and his daughter Christina Pearson set up a PayPal account (details below) so that those who wish to do so can donate money. This is part of the ongoing effort to help Wilson live the rest of his life at home, as the emergency is acute enough that the royalties of his works have not covered the cost of the care he needs.
Once the word got out, enough contributions poured in that, as of October 3, 2006, more than a month of rent was covered. His daughter was touched. So was Wilson, who was also relieved that he could be staying at home rather than facing eviction.
By October 5, Pearson had e-mailed the website Boing Boing, thanking them for posting the donation information. By that time, enough money had come in to cover not only months of rent but also his 24-hour care. Included in the e-mail was a note of thanks dictated by Wilson, which reads, in part:
"Dear Friends, my God, what can I say. I am dumbfounded, flabbergasted, and totally stunned by the charity and compassion that has poured in here the last three days."
The full text of the note can be found at The Robert Anton Wilson Home Page (http://www.rawilson.com/main.shtml), which is one of the websites providing information on how to help.
Payments can be made directly to his Paypal account, by logging into Paypal and sending funds to his Paypal address: email@example.com. Checks payable to Robert Anton Wilson can be mailed to caregiver Denis Berry c/o Futique Trust, P.O. Box 3561, Santa Cruz, CA 95063.
This is a year in which his work has gained added attention in new media, including DVD. The documentary Maybe Logic (The Disinformation Company Ltd., www.disinfo.com) is a good summary of many strands of his thought, and a production of his play Wilhelm Reich in Hell (www.wilhelmreichinhell.com) has also recently been released in that format.
Wilson continues to influence many contributors to Strange and the other fortean publications. Strange Magazine would not be the same without the groundwork provided by him.
David Rushkoff's Blog features a true call to arms regarding his life and legacy: "I refuse for the history books to say he died alone and destitute, for I want future generations to know we appreciated Robert Anton Wilson while he was alive."
— Douglas Chapman
The Robert Anton Wilson Home Page, http://www.rawilson.com/main.shtml
David Rushkoff's Blog, http://www.rushkoff.com/blog.php
Email to Strange Magazine from Kenneth F. Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org, 10/5/06
Boing Boing, http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/02/robert_anton_wilson_.html, 10/2/06
Boing Boing, http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/03/robert_anton_wilson_.html, 10/3/06
Boing Boing, http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/05/note_from_robert_ant.html, 10/5/06