John Wayne, The Duke (Gacy)

John Wayne Gacy’s profile

The moniker at the bottom of pages says that I printed out the Wickedpedia (AB’s term) write-up on John Wayne Gacy, the alleged serial killer, on December 6, 2020. At some point along the line I had stumbled upon him and saw that he was said to have had 33 victims. That signal in mind, I printed out the 51 page report, and began to absorb it. I wanted it to speak to me without my having preformed conclusions. I’ve been looking at it off and on, just letting it settle in.

Gacy’s known victims were young boys and men, the youngest 14 and the oldest 21. The killings took place from 1972 to 1978, and appear to have become more frequent as time went on. It is like an FBI profiler’s dream come true. In 2007 Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the art and science of profiling for The New Yorker, and I think he got it right, that it is an overblown hobby more often misdirecting than aiding in pursuit of a criminal. (Dangerous Minds.) Often enough, a profile can fit hundreds, if not thousands of potential suspects. But whoever wrote the tale of John Wayne Gacy was surely caught up on the idea. This is from Wiki:

“Gacy was close to his mother and two sisters, but endured a difficult relationship with his father, an alcoholic who was physically abusive to his wife and children.[8][9] His father also belittled him, calling him “dumb and stupid” and comparing him unfavorably with his sisters.[2] One of Gacy’s earliest memories was being beaten with a leather belt for accidentally disarranging car engine components his father had assembled.[10] His mother tried to shield her son from his father’s abuse, which only resulted in accusations that he was a “sissy” and a “Mama’s boy” who would “probably grow up queer“.[8][4][11] Despite his mistreatment, Gacy still loved his father,[9] but felt he was “never good enough” in his father’s eyes.[12]”

In days past, before the current era of high quality films made for various TV channels, there were two genres of movies – made for theaters, and made for TV. The latter were usually poorly written and acted with easily predicted endings, as a murderer confessing “My father locked me in the closet!” Gacy’s Wiki history has that schlocky feel about it, written by a profiler and performed by B-list actors. But for the early paragraphs of this post I am going to treat it all as real, allowing it to fall apart on its own in the end.

Means and methods

All of Gacy’s victims were treated to gruesome deaths, most by suffocation, only one by a weapon other than a garrote. Gacy lured them to his house under false pretense, and then would (most likely) take them from behind by strangling in some manner. One or two escaped, which should have alerted police to a house of horrors, but did not. Socks were stuffed down victims’ throats, and a medicine bottle shoved up the anus of one. Since Wiki states that Gacy served time in Iowa for sodomy of a young boy, there does seem to be an anal theme in the writing of this story. That should be researched – even if fiction, the writer appears to have a fixation. Perhaps we can get an FBI expert to profile the writer, perhaps remove him from proper society.

The victims were placed in the crawl space under Gacy’s home 8213 W. Summerdale Ave., Chicago (since demolished with a new home in its place). Twenty-nine of his thirty-three victims were found there, and by his confession two more had been tossed off a bridge into the Des Plaines River. Gacy spread bags of lime over the victims in the crawl space to retard the decomposition process.

As a young boy I was once following a cat and saw him go under the house next door through a crawl space. I followed him in there and, crawling on my belly, soon came nose-to-nose with a dead rat. You can imagine the speed with which I was able to crawl backward and out of the place. You can perhaps then sense my skepticism about 29 corpses that lay under Gacy’s house, putrefying, attracting all manner of scavengers. The smell would have engulfed the entire house and spread beyond the walls of the compound, attracting dogs, coyotes, raccoons and cats along with perhaps neighborhood children, curious like me as I pursued that cat. And rats. The corpses would have been a rat magnet.

I began so suspect something afoul here beyond odors. The Wiki piece is focused on Gacy and his means and methods, and says little of the families involved. Imagine, however, that you’re a set of parents, and your son goes missing. You begin to ask around, and eventually call the police. The police begin to see a pattern in the fact that a large number of young boys have gone missing. Eventually a task force is formed, and a full-scale investigation ensues, with detectives questioning everyone involved with the boys. With investigators in full state of alert, they make lists and cross-reference and then maybe stumble on a lead that takes them to Gacy’s place of work, where several of the boys and he crossed paths. (Perhaps they could interview the ones who got away.)

None of this happened. It appears as though Gacy was beneath the radar of law enforcement and even neighbors, only one of whom noticed anything afoul, that being only noise, not odors.

A Jungian archetype? [See PS at the end on this subject]

Gacy was active in politics, Democrats of course (my choice of words). He also did stints as a clown. Back in 1987 a horrible crime was committed against a family member of mine, during a time when I was engaged in reading It, a book by Stephen King (1,184 pages). I was in a PTSD state, hyper-alert, and yet was drawn to the novel. I was awake late at night anyway. Later, in a family counseling session I mentioned this behavior to the psychologist, who found it understandable, more so than I. Why was I drawn to horror during a time when I was suffering a severe case of PTSD due to horror I had witnessed for real?

King’s book centered around a clown named Pennywise, and was perhaps inspired by the Gacy character. I find that interesting, as clowns are for children, and clowns who murder children, like Pennywise and Gacy, are perhaps Jungian archetypes.  I wonder if the images are intentional, designed to terrify children, as was later done at Columbine and other schools. Frightened children grow up to be frightened adults, much easier to manage and manipulate than the unafraid.

The writing in the Wiki piece about Gacy is ghoulish, enough to traumatize an adult. And yet, as I got deeper into it, I began to understand that this was the intent to the writers, to bring us a side of life so horrid as to create Jungian archetypes. The clown is one, surely intentional. The innocent-seeming neighbor with 29 corpses in his crawl space is another. The smiling mug shot aside the opening paragraph above was surely intentional as well, as it says to us that even innocent and friendly men can be pigs. Rosalynn Carter’s photograph with him (she also was photographed with Jim Jones, another supposed mass murderer) tells us that people like Gacy walk among us, and are even prominent in our communities. If law enforcement and crime fiction are to be believed, serial killers are all about. We should be very afraid.

The thrust of all of this – fear, is omnipresent in all of us, used to keep us under control and justify ongoing attacks on civil liberties. By the time I made my first pass through the Gacy piece, I was not buying any of it, and yet could not disassemble it by merely attacking the absurd premises of the events described therein. It could all be theoretically plausible, even if preposterous. So I sat on the piece until this past week.

I wondered about the victims, how they could so easily disappear and not create a stir in law enforcement. I decided to analyze each of them for clues as to their demise. I chose to use Find a Grave, the service that photographs grave stones and accumulates information about dead people. Only 27 of the 33 victims are named, the rest presumably never identified. (Yes, I note that 27 identified, 29 buried under the house and 33 total are all “spook markers”.) I ran them through Find A Grave, and only two, Randall Wayne Reffett and Samuel G. Dodd Stapleton turned up. Eureka!, I thought – I had unearthed fakery,  but the journey was only at its beginning.

The name game

One question that I needed to answer was if the names of the victims were real or made up. I can think of two examples of mass slaughters, Waco and The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. For Waco, an anonymous writer for Miles Mathis tracked down Vernon Wayne Howell (aka David Koresh) and most of the supposed victims of that event, finding them alive and well. (Link.) The overarching point I take from that as it applies to Gacy is that at Waco in 1993 they were using real names for fake victims. In some research I did on the Pulse Nightclub massacre, I found fake names and images of faces, that is, by that time (2016) they could generate images and biographies of victims, no need to use real people. A few of the Pulse victims played a dual role, having their faces flipped so they could be claimed to be two different people.

So my conclusion here is that in 1978 they used real people as victims. Maybe they wanted to avoid people doing what I did with the Columbine massacre – go to the library and look up the names in phone books of the time. With Columbine, I found most of the victims to be real people, though none died that day. There was one exception, a black kid who was probably thrown into the mix so that Harris and Klebold could add racism to their list of deplorable traits. The kid, Isaiah Shoals, apparently did not even attend Columbine, if his football jersey is evidence. Lakewood is miles north of Columbine, which is in Littleton. And there was no phone listing for a Shoals family.

My wife subscribes to Ancestry.com, using it to research her family tree. I’ve toyed with it in the past, but was never satisfied with the results and so never used it to do any research. However, I decided to get better at it by using Gacy as the subject matter. I began to run the victims through its many databases, and found that while using Find a Grave by itself yielded only two hits, accessing that same database via Ancestry yielded sixteen. I don’t know what to make of that other than random names and Find A grave don’t pair up well, whereas Ancestry is better suited to point an arrow at information.

I then decided to use another service of Ancestry, access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Most routes to using this massive database have been shut down in recent years, limited to professionals who are granted access, and not to private parties like me. I wanted to be sure it was working properly with Ancestry, I ran my older brother through it. Indeed he turned up, all information accurate.

One further step, a service I first learned about at at the Waco post linked above is TruePeopleSearch. The service is free – at least for surface features like place of residence and age. I ran my own name through there, and found information there to be mostly accurate, but not enough so that I would rely on it as a sole source of data.

Using Ancestry, Find a Grave, the Social Security Death Index and TruePeopleSeaerch I was able to assemble the following information. I was searching not for verification of Wiki information, but for inconsistencies and deviations from it. Keep in mind that the premise for Wiki is that all of the information regarding victims of Gacy was assembled in late 1978 and thereafter, and is therefore, while accurate, not complete. Below I have used TPS to search for people alive today or earlier of the right age and name. This is not precise work, as names, especially common names, are often abundant. However, matching up both name and age might be slightly less sloppy.

The victims (in no particular order)

There are only 27 of the 33 victims listed here, which I take to mean six unidentified corpses. The two numbers in parenthesis by the name are age at date of death, and age if still alive in 2020. These names are in no particular order other than McCoy said to be first victim, Piest the last.

Timothy Jack McCoy (16, 64), has a gravestone with his name on it, and is not listed at SSDI.  TPS says there is a Timothy J. McCoy living in Quilcene, WA, Age 64.

John Butkovich (18,63) has a gravestone, and is not listed in SSDI. TPS says there are two men named John Butkovich currently living in the Chicago area, ages 62 and 64.

Darrell Julius Samson (18,62) did not turn up at Find A Grave nor in SSDI or on TPS.

Randall Wayne Reffett (15,59) has a gravestone, but had no SSDI match and did not turn up at TPS. Wiki lists his DOD as 5/14/76, while his gravestone says 1978.

Samuel D. Dodd Stapleton (14,58) has a gravestone (with no dates on it), and does not turn up at SSDI or TPS.

Michael Bonnin (17,61) has no gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. A man with that name lives in Texas, and is 61 years old in 2020.

William Huey Carroll Jr. (16,60) has no gravestone, and does not turn up at either SSDI or TPS.

James Bryan Haakenson (16,60) has a gravestone, but does not turn up at either SSDI or TPS.

Rick Louis Johnston (17,61) has a gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. There is a man with that name in the Chicago area, age 62.

Kenneth Ray Parker (16,60) has a gravestone, and is also listed on SSDI. Wiki lists his DOD as 10/24/1976, while the gravestone shows 12/28/78 and SSDI shows 12/78.*

Michael Marino (14,58) has no gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. TPS lists a man with that name living in Texas, formerly Illinois, and who is 65. That may seem a reach, but this kid’s birthday is a blank – it is listed as “unknown,”

William George Bundy (19,63) has a gravestone which lists his date of death as 1981, and so is not his. TPS has a man by that name in Indiana (formerly Illinois), age 65.

Gregory John Godzik (17,61) has a gravestone, turns up on SSDI, and TPS shows a man by that name living in Illinois, age 61. The SSDI DOD is listed as 12/78.*

John Alan Szyc (19,62) has a gravestone, and turns up on SSDI. His DOD in Wiki is 1/20/77, but both the gravestone (1978) and SSDI (12/78) show different dates.*

Jon Steven Prestridge (20,63) has no gravestone, and turns up on SSDI, not on TPS. Wiki shows his DOD as 3/15/77, while SSDI shows 12/78.*

Mathew Bowman (19,62) has a gravestone, and shows up on SSDI but not TPS. Wiki lists DOD as 7/5/77, while SSDI shows 12/78, and the gravestone shows 1979.*

Robert Edward Gilroy (18,61) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.

John Antheney Mowery (19,62) has no gravestone, and turns up on SSDI. TPS lists a man by that name living in Indiana, formerly Illinois, age 63. SSDI lists the DOD as 12/78.*

Russell Lloyd Nelson (21,64) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.

Robert Winch (16,59) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.

Tommy Joe Boling (20,63) has no gravestone and does not turn up on SSDI. TPS does show a man in Tennessee, formerly of Chicago, by that name. However, he died in 1997 at age 63 outside our range. This could be a relative, perhaps a dad. I also searched the sources for “Thomas Joseph” Boling, returning nothing.

David Paul Talsma (19,62) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.

William Wayne Kindred (19,61) has a gravestone, does not show up on SSDI. TPS lists a person in Chicago by that name, age 62. DOD on gravestone is 12/19/78, while Wiki shows 2/16/78. The name on the gravestone is “Billy,” not William. “Billy”, I’ll have to ask Rastus about this, looks like a woman. However, Adam’s apple says male.

Timothy D. O’Rourke (20,62) has a gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI or TPS.

Frank William Landingin (19,61) has a gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. Oddly, TPS lists a Francisco Landingin (age 72) living in Chicago. That caught my eye because of Frank/Francisco and the last name being unusual. I do not know what to make of it, probably just coincidence.

John Mazzara (20,62) has a crypt, and does not show up in either SSDI or TPS.

Robert Jerome Piest (15,57) has a crypt, and does not show up in either SSDI or TPS.


That’s it for the list.

*Of the 27 names listed here, only six show up in the Social Security Death Index, and for all six the DOD is listed as “December, 1978”, month and year only, no specific date. This tells me that all of those names were added long after the fact, and probably without a death certificate to guide the person making the entries. From this I gather an outsider intruded on SSDI and surreptitiously added those names and dates. Remember, in 1978 SSDI was not known to the general public, and certainly was not accessible.  Anyone wanting information would have to write and hope for an answer, or call and hope for a cooperative clerk, running up a big long distance bill in the process. Most likely people doing such research back then were in some official capacity.

Of the 27 names listed here, 16 have gravestones or crypts, the rest not. This is not to say that other grave markers do not exist, only that it seems odd that so many are unlisted by Find A Grave. Some of these kids appear not to have mattered to anyone, no grave, no SSDI, no yearbook photo. Also, oddly, some of the yearbook photos I viewed looked like artists’ sketches rather than photos. That was another line of inquiry, but one I decided not to pursue.

My work is almost done here, but for one further discovery I made. It is going to set me off on a whole new path of inquiry, but for now, observe the following:

That’s Gacy on the left, Jack Nicholson to the right. Gacy appears to be a Brat, a member of Jack’s group. From this I am going to do some more Bokanovsky Brat work to include serial killers and other infamous people. To the left is another Brat, Mark David Chapman, said to be the man who murdered John Lennon. He also fits into the Nicholson group.

Coincidences abound.


PS: It is understood on this end that I need to better understand Jungian archetypes. At this point it is my belief that the image of the killer clown was deliberately inserted into our consciousness by both the Gacy affair (written by spooks) and Stephen King in his book It. In both cases, the clown murders children. I also mentioned Columbine, another psyop aimed directly at children, teaching them to fear anyone different or nonconformist. There has to be a department at Langley behind these events, staffed by behavioral psychologists. These events are aimed at our deepest fears, bringing them to life, so to speak.

24 thoughts on “John Wayne, The Duke (Gacy)

  1. The only face chop I have attempted is Jack Nicholson and Ted Bundy, because I think when they were young they looked remarkably alike. But I couldn’t figure out how to do whatever you do in MS Paint and gave up. My clumsy effort suggested no alignment of features, but you might have more success.

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    1. I vaguely recall this and will do it again, but I think I ran Bundy, as he was so handsome that I thought he might be a Brat. But he did not line up with the profiles I use.

      [In fact, I still have the photo I used for that, and ran it again. He’s in a league of his own.]

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      1. Most listed have middle names, is that how they were listed in the news reports? May I request a photo match up of Gacy and Chapman for comparison?

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        1. Sorry to have overlooked this. I am age 70, from Billings and Bozeman Montana, and so, maybe morbidly, often refer to obituaries from local papers there. For almost all, middle and maiden names are given, which is unintentionally useful in searching databases. The middle name “Antheney” is odd enough to create a hit, one of the Gacy victims. If I remember, I will do a Gacy/Chapman comparison, but remember high school algebra … if 1=2, and 2=3, then 1=3. They will line up.

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    2. Serial killers like Gacy and Fred West et al do not need to adhere to the laws of physics. They can stuff as many corpses as they wish underneath their floorboards or inside their walls, no one ever becomes suspicious, bodily decomposition is not an issue, cadavers exploding or reeking noxious gases is simply not a problem. Just add another body to the pile, and go about your business.

      The FBI profilers also like to make themselves seem incredibly smart after the fact. Doesn’t seem to do much for the victims who are being mown down left and right, but I guess hindsight is 20/20. In the case of the alleged Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen:

      ‘The Alaskan investigators began looking into Hansen again and contacted the FBI, who sent in their profiler, John Douglas (some sources say it was Roy Hazelwood). He profiled the killer as having low self-esteem, a history of rejection by women, and being an experienced hunter. He also correctly predicted that he would take souvenirs from his victims and would have a stutter.’

      What do you know! The killer ended up having low self-esteem, a history of being rejected by women, was an experienced hunter, took souvenirs from his victims, and spoke with a stutter. How prescient! If only the FBI was as good at catching murderers as profiling them. But I guess that would defeat the purpose.

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      1. You kind of missed the point. This post says that Gacy was not a serial killer, and that the victims were fake. Next time, try reading before you comment. It wasn’t stated outright, but was between the lines, the lines being so far apart that any reader would catch it. [If I misread your comment, apologies, but I wrote about profiling at the very beginning, and that appeared to be as far as you got. I know it a long and taxing piece.]

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        1. “This post says that Gacy was not a serial killer …” – So does Grey Man’s comment, unless I misread it.

          “… and that the victims were fake.” – They might be, but do you know for sure? The fact that evidence is absent or incomplete in some databases does not prove all is fake. The victims might be real, and that Gacy story invented to protect the true perps. Just another speculation, of course.

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          1. I look at it as all or none … why fake just some of the deaths? Even if just one, they got him on premeditation, so he’d be eligible for at least life. and I don’t know of you caught the idea … none of these people were in SSDI. The six that were there were all late entries, and done surreptitiously. Coroners often mess up, so that SSDI is not always reliable, but none is the key word.

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  2. Hi Mark, great work as usual. If you wouldn’t mind taking requests—because I have zero skill or software to do this type of work—maybe you would please take a stroll thru a comparison of Andy Kaufman (the long gone? performance artist and the nauseating Adam Schiff the L. A. Congressman. Just a hunch. Thanks either way.

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      1. It’s very close between them, but seems a no-go, that is, if I line up the nose and mouth and chin, the eyes do not align. Good eye, though. I’d be curious about this one, due to the mole and Philippine wife, but this doesn’t get it done.

        Early Kaufman

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        1. Always enjoy your match up photos! I tried your paintshop method and I need more practice.

          Gacy was sentenced to prison in Iowa for sodomy for 10 years, yet paroled after 18 months.
          I assume those doing the digging under the house, carrying body parts out in bags are detectives or work for the police department, yet in photographs some are wearing football jerseys while on the clock. Gacy’s last words were “kiss my ass” which adds to the anal references.

          Here is a link with some excellent info if you have the time:

          http://murderpedia.org/male.G/g1/gacy-john-wayne.htm

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  3. An interesting piece, Mark.

    I’m interested in your opinion – what do you think about the notion, that some individuals have impaired sense of empathy coupled with anger control issues?

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  4. Oh yes, that is the case. I was married to one many years ago, who could turn on the charm and imitate emotions, but who had a dark soul and cared nothing at all for anyone. There something to be said for marrying later in life, when one has accumulated some sense and wisdom.

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  5. Well, I know one such woman too 🙂

    Anyway, I’ve been following crime investigation series for long enough to realize there will always be deviant forms of human behaviour present in society at any time. Some people just don’t care for the pain they inflict with their actions. Or maybe they don’t even know how to care, as many of them were shown to be abused, neglected, denied love and affection since birth and deprived of anything similar to a happy childhood. If psychology can be trusted, some of these deviants feel sexually aroused while tormenting their victims, which is extremly hard to comprehend as it seems out-of-this-world strange. If true, this notion alone gives possibility for some extreme sociopaths, who were apparently neglected, marginalized and abused to a point of becoming sensless human beings, capable of inflicting almost exclusively pain and harm.

    Maybe Gacy was a complete fake as he looks like one. Or he was possibly a troubled peer member, who sought and received some attention. Like Manson or some others Miles has outed so far. But have you heard of Jeffrey Dahmer or Edmund Kemper? These two come to mind first as some extremely impaired individuals. As I explained briefly above, I do think ther are real maniacs among us. Some politicians may be on the list, too.

    All fake, or some actually disturbed individuals wondering around the globe?

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    1. There is no all or none in this world, at least when it comes to human behavior. Anything and everything is possible. I’ve got Dahmer on my list, and Kemper is new to me. The deal with Gacy is that none of the candidates made it to SSDI – at least a few, probably most should have, as all identified victims would have gone to the coroner, and be issued a death certificate. Wiki lists exact date of death for 27 of them, in part they say from Gacy’s testimony, and in part from positions of the body and other investigative tools I did not follow through on. I just took Wiki’s word that the DOD is official. That in mind, the death certificate would have made its way to SSDI, and all the 27 victims should be there. Imperfect as we are, that would mean “most.” “None” does not work, and a DOD listed as “12/78” means no death certificate, which always lists a day of death along with month and year.

      That, and the possibility that some of them are still walking among us, right age and right name, and that others have discordant information on Wiki versus Find A Grave tells me that we are dealing with a hoax. 27 victims, and none on SSDI? I guess there is all or none in this world.

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  6. Thank you for an interesting article.
    I have only recently given thought to ‘serial killer’ hoaxes. I was inspired to search for this after watching a BitChute video regarding ‘The Night Stalker’ being a hoax. This search led me to this website: https://zodiackillerhoax1986.freeforums.net/

    What do you think?
    I had started to consider that the ‘victims’ were killed by others, however, the FBI and the media presented them as being due to a single perpetrator. Is this too a red herring? Perhaps it depends, however, I suspect much hokum at work in these highly publicised stories…

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  7. Shameless plea for attn dept:
    Nobody wants to talk abt that Vit. A book linked to in previous post? Even the commenters who linked to it? I wrote a short “review” over there

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    1. Tell you what, Tim, Steve put up a post today, and Stephers is waiting for a day or so to run one of hers, and then I will carry your review of that book to top of page. Does that work?

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      1. Mark, you’re welcome to run it as a post if you think it’s worthwhile – I will be happy if it sparks some discussion about Genereaux’s fascinating book.

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