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There was a meme going around usenet in 1994 or thereabouts saying that science fiction author and conspiracy buff Robert Anton Wilson had died under mysterious circumstances. This sparked quite a few debates on alt.conspiracy and alt.discordia but after the dust had settled the general consensus seemed to be that it was just a hoax and that Wilson was indeed alive.

However, the first thing any newbie would ask the group was "Uh... I heard Robert Anton Wilson was dead or something?" which would cause excessive flamage from the regulars who had after a while gotten quite fed up with the topic. Sometimes this would also ignite a second wave of flames, this time directed at the original flamers, regarding rudeness to newbies. Not a pretty sight.

Of course, there were still people who insisted that Wilson was dead as a doorknob, that the CIA/Mafia/Men In Black had snuffed him, and that anyone who claimed otherwise must be a part of the conspiracy. Some went as far as to speculate that he had been replaced by and android or doppelganger.

I have since then seen Wilson in the flesh (I even managed to have a private conversation with him but I was so nervous and awe-struck that it'd be best forgotten) and I can report that he is very much alive although he is pushing 80 and not quite as lively as he once were. Some people would probably argue that the man I met was the look-a-like but then again, some people would argue anything.

Wilson wrote about his experiences with being 'dead' in his book 'Cosmic Trigger Volume III' and it becomes rather tragic since his close friend and sometimes co-author Robert Shea died while this strange affair unfolded. It's all fun and games till somebody loses an eye.

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