Walter Bosley – The Nameless Ones

The third and final book in the Empire Of The Wheel series by my guest and former co-host Walter Bosley ties together all of the themes presented so far, and introduces some new evidentiary threads involving horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, the Zodiac Killer and the horrifying activities of a little-known serial killer of the 1920s.

The events center around a rash of unsolved murders in the Inland Empire area of Southern California in the first years of the 20th century.

In the course of his investigations, Walter believes that he also has found evidence that Harry Houdini was targeted for death by the Spiritualist movement because of Houdini’s relentless persecution of members who he claimed were taking advantage of bereaved relatives of the deceased.

Walter also describes some strange shenanigans at the Secret Service archives and National Archives when he asked for a file from 1915, the period of the action in the books. This was the first time he mentioned this turn of events.

Learn more at Walter’s site dedicated to the mystery.

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32 Responses to Walter Bosley – The Nameless Ones

  1. wehoboozer says:

    Very entertaining and interesting as always! Glad to see the episode frequency has picked up again.

  2. GaryKPDX says:

    I really enjoy the show and Walter Bosley. However, in listening to interviews about this series on Radio Misterioso I have tried to determine the basic thesis or conceit of the work. I cannot. The research is detailed; there are many threads. But I cannot understand how the author is trying to pull them together to produce a cohesive work. I am well read. But maybe just too dense to get this. Or maybe its the most deeply buried lead of all time. Sorry. I do enjoy the conversations and so forth and don’t enjoy negativity. But there is something here that may be interesting and I can’t figure out what it is.

    • Greg says:

      I think you have to spend time with Walter’s books to get the whole effect, and really pay attention. It also helps if you are really into the subject matter as well. If not, it starts to get confusing.

      • GaryKPDX says:

        I certainly don’t want to initiate any unpleasantness. I am a history buff and am probably more widely read than the average person. What usually draws me to an historical subject is an assertion by the author or one outlined by a reviewer that gives a perspective on why the matter might be interesting, and about the scope and breadth of the historical event. If I were not a listener to Radio Misterioso I cannot see how I would find any particular reason to devote my (finite) time to the EOTW series. To me, it is not to much to ask to have some assurance that I know what the subject matter is, to have available, let’s say, the proverbial “25 second elevator pitch”. And sure, let’s go ahead and make that two minutes for esoterica. For an author to make that effort, I suspect, will surely result in more interest and sales that relying on the trust of an already established following of sorts. So, just a humble thought.

    • Walter Bosley says:

      Neither do I!

    • Walter Bosley says:

      Neither do I know exactly what it is, I mean ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Red Pill Junkie says:

    Wait, what? 2 episodes 2 on the same week?? This feels like Christmas in July or something! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Will listen to it tomorrow. Right now I finished the one with Patrick Connelly. Lengthy comment below…

  4. AJ Gulyas says:

    Few things beat a couple hours spent listening to Greg and Walter. I’ve read the first two and enjoyed them–this interview has me suspecting that The Nameless Ones may be my favorite of the lot once I get a spare couple days to absorb it. The Wineville murders in particular are very interesting, as is the Lovecraft stuff. Walter’s writing is always interesting to me, even if I don’t have the background to thoroughly appraise or understand it!

  5. Carlos says:

    Great interview and thanks for the shout out! I’m a bit behind in my reading but I’ve got Friends from Sonora on the way from Lulu. I’ve got the large print version of Empire of the Wheel. BTW for those not in the know, the name of Sonora is derived form La Nuestra Senora which is generally accepted as the Mexican Roman Catholic adaptation on the indigenous people’s Goddess, their version of Hecate.

    • Walter Bosley says:

      Holy effing crap! I did NOT know that one!

      • Carlos says:

        Walter, make a very close re-examination of the Virgin de Guadelupe, aka La Nuestra Senora, Mexico’s Matron Saint. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, she had many incarnations, most notably the Snake or Serpent and Mother of Corn. Her name in Nuhuatl is Tonzatin. She has been adapted into the modern vernacular as Santa Muerta, The Death Saint which is a whole other rabbit hole if you know anything about Mexican Conspiracy theory.

        • Walter Bosley says:

          I definitely will

          • Red Pill Junkie says:

            Google ‘Coatlicue’.

            And while you’re at it, Google ‘Coyolxauhqui’. There you’ll find yourself another wheel ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Yeah there might be a connection between the Lovecraftian stuff & Mesoamerica. I believe some people pronounce Chthulu as ‘Tulhu’ (with emphasis on the T) which has a resemblance to ‘Tula’, a very important Mesoamerican city predating the arrival of the Aztecs.

            PS: Would the Chthonic deities have something to do with Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University?

  6. Indridi I. Kaldtsen says:

    I love when Walter gives interviews and I am fascinated by what he says. I was so glad to hear him as a responsible investigator NOT say Crowley was behind the deaths of the children.

    As a longtime Lovecraft reader and afficianado, although I haven’t read THE biography (ST Joshi’s A Life) nor that OTHER one (by Lin Carter), what Walter said about Howard didn’t ring right. “Chthonic” has been put forward as the origin of Cthulhu, as have a lot of other things, and the basic idea is of the subterrene, while the subconscious is a post-Freud interpretation, the other alternate interpretation being of hidden, lost, forgotten deities, the “Elder Gods” which inform most religions, including the monotheisms.

    If Howard took to wearing a pouch of poison around his neck, and to this I confess ignorance, not having read THE biography or the OTHER one, I would suspect it was another of his anachronicities, since, as I understood it, it wasn’t uncommon for people to do this in the late mediaeval and early modern period, although I believed before now it was more a feminine practice.

    While Houdini and Doyle were locked in a battle of words over the spirit world and the charlatans pretending to channel these spirits in early 20th century America, I doubt highly Howard took sides. It was more his way to hang back and look for interesting and novel ideas in a dispute of this kind. He was an avowed materialist and really didn’t believe in spiritual things, so that his gods and entities were always verging on science fiction rather than spiritual beings, although ignorant and insect-like humanity deified that which it could not understand.

    Lovecraft’s anti-Semitism was intellectual. So was his racism and elitism. He was all of those, but only theoretically. His wife, Sonia Greene, whose relationship with Crowley was invented by the crowd around Lin Carter in the 1970s, was Jewish. They didn’t have an unhappy marriage so much as an impoverished life together. Sonia was a hattier and moved to greener pastures in Chicago, a move Howard couldn’t countenance. He stayed in Greenwich Village in their old apartment either waiting for her to return or … waiting for himself to resolve to make the move, which he could not, as a dyed-in-the-wool New Englander through and through.

    I think Joshi made a little too much of Howard’s sojourn and misery in New-York ca. 1925 (I did read that chapter on-line). I tend to think he was miserable in any case, and it didn’t much matter whether it was in the Big City or elsewhere. His time there gave birth to some very good stories, imho, including He and Horror at Red Hook, the latter of which seems to end with the destruction of Babylon in the basement of the WTC site.

    Sonia was Jewish, and Houdini was in a distant way. If Howard agreed to do business with Houdini and went to dinner with him, he did not poison him. It goes against his entire character and belief system. Possibly the Abwehr or other Third Reich propaganda agency should have contacted Lovecraft for piece work, but they did not. Neither did he revel in his status of being a published writer; he felt the pulps were beneath him, but a convenient outlet for certain motifs and ideas. He was much more interested in person-to-person contact with aspiring writers, and that’s why the bulk of his writing is actually his personal correspondence. It was such an interest that led to his meeting Sonia Greene, with whom he co-authored several stories.

    What were the dispositions of Howard and Eddy after the dinner in question? Who served the food? Does it make sense to poison Houdini over time? Why not do him in all at once with a fatal dose? Why poison his appendix and then send in yet another person to finish him off with some sucker punches?

    Regarding Lovecraft’s ethnic supremacist views, he did view Mexicans as racially inferior, but held to the idea that Spaniards of pure stock were really of his own ilk. He has several stories that involve Spaniards and Mexicans, Transformation of Juan Romero comes to mind here, the other one escapes me, and there were some others he co-authored which were set in New Mexico or somewhere in the American SW.

    One “Hispanic” story was actually co-authored with someone Walter should know about regarding his delvings into early 20th century American history, Adolphe de Castro (a Jew from Vienna). Castro played dead after the Great Fire in San Francisco (1909?) and abandoned his former wife and child(-ren?) there. He was a “partner” of Ambrose Bierce in the latter’s initial publishing efforts in SF and wrote THE book on Bierce’s disappearance in the company of Zapata during the Mexican hostilities. Bierce, of course, basically formed the Bohemian Club of San Francisco. Castro was in like Flynn with Randolph Hearst’s wife. He outlived Howard by many years, becoming a spectral figure at the early science fiction conventions. He also confided in Howard he was a secret “king-maker” in American politics, and apparently had letters from presidents to prove it.

    In Call of Cthulhu Lovecraft does make a big deal out of psychic phenomena in 1905. I don’t know the text by Crowley Walter cites, but if it were published before CoC, Lovecraft likely incorporated it into his concept, if he was able to find it at Brown. CoC is considered one of HPL’s best works, and does work at many levels.

    Did Walter mention the connection was made by Peter Lavenda in Book of Dead Names? I read it, but don’t remember that part. Peter L. might make a very good interviewee, although he doesn’t seem to actually like Lovecraft or feel anything positive about his writings. He does have the topical characteristics of being fluent in Malay, having spent some years living there, and of being well-versed in pro-Nazi Ukrainian beliefs via the double-triple-agent “wandering bishops” (no pun intended) of New-York. He ought by all rights to know about Lin Carter and his people’s efforts to “mote it be” the Necronomicon and other fictional Lovecraftian texts, but seems not to, or pretends not to. If Greg could get him on, I expect there would be a short circuit between Peter’s intriguing coincidences and Greg’s innate skpeticism, possibly leading to some interesting “radio.”

    Adam Gorightly is so cool. I hope to hear about his new book about Discordianism or Kerry Thornley or whatever it is soon here on Radio Misterioso.

    • Walter Bosley says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! I completely understand your points and am a Lovecraft fan, too. I was quite surprised to find what I did but there it is.

      Re: Lovecraft stuff: It’s all in the book but basically when you see the comparison between what Crowley wrote years before about Tutulu and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, you’ll see it’s obvious Lovecraft was aware of Crowley’s writings on this specific topic. I agree that Lovecraft’s spelling of Cthulhu variation of Tutulu derived from the word Chthonic, but the rest is Crowley, regarding the basics of the ‘character’ and its background. It surprised me, believe me. I didn’t know before researching for the book.

      Re: the poisoning of Houdini. Slow poisoning with a hard-to-trace toxin or through “innocent” so called ‘food poisoning’ makes perfect sense — and matches the actual facts, in any case. One dose would have been a little more obvious to medical authorities and police. In the early 20th Century, poisoning was a popular method of murder so doctors and police were alert to cases of it. I recommend Kalush & Sloman’s book on Houdini and taking a look at the facts surrounding Houdini’s appearance before Congress and the last year of his life.

      Re: Lovecraft’s antisemitism and racism: My position is that since he committed it to writing, it was a bit more than a mental exercise. I, too, am a fan of the man’s work. I’ll be attending the Lovecraft film festival in San Pedro this September for the fourth year in a row. I didn’t realize he had written the examples I cite in the book until I was doing the research but there they are.

      Re: Lovecraft and poisoning Houdini: In my book, I state it is possible, not certain. Since it is possible, it must be considered and that’s what the book does is considers. I have been convinced, to my intuitive standard as a professional investigator, that Houdini was indeed murdered. An exhumation would provide the science to back it up but that continues to be blocked (!).

      My book is definitely going to raise some eyebrows in Lovecraft circles. I expect it to be hated (and me with it). Anyway, the details of my position are in the book which I think you’ll find interesting.


  7. Count Otto Black says:

    Firstly, as racists go, H. P. Lovecraft wasn’t one of the really bad ones. Seriously, how anti-semitic can you be if you marry a Jew? It’s apparent throughout his writings that he was basically paranoid about any group of people he felt to be both alien to himself and part of what he perceived to be a great big exclusive club he didn’t belong to. Jews, for example, are extremely clannish. Lovecraft’s mentality was such that he found this threatening.

    But check out one of his last stories, “At The Mountains Of Madness”. Utterly non-human prehistoric beings are accidentally revived by Antarctic explorers, and, due to a a series of all too predictable misunderstandings, they kill the humans and dissect one of them. And yet, Lovecraft goes out of his way to explain, downright clumsily, that these apparently monstrous creatures are literally “men” in every sense of the word. They behaved in exactly the same way that humans would have done under the same circumstances. They are neither better nor worse than us, and he expresses genuine sympathy for their eventual horrible fate. Lovecraft sympathized with the outsider every time! He feared and hated the Weird Jew Club because he didn’t belong to it, yet he considered one individual Jew to be somebody worth marrying. Think about it.

    It’s also a matter of record that, at the very end of his life, he retracted his theoretical support for the Third Reich because it dawned on him that actual real Jews who could bleed and die were bleeding and dying because Adolf Hitler said so for reasons that made very little sense indeed. I’m not for one moment condoning Lovecraft’s racism. I am not a racist, and there’s not excuse for it at all. But… Given his upbringing, and the times in which he lived, Lovecraft’s racism was borderline mainstream. You could be a racist without being an awful person, because there was a lot less pressure not to be. HPL was a flawed human being, but aren’t we all? His mentality led him to worry about all sorts of racial or social groups he regarded as inferior, yet if he got to know individuals from those groups, he couldn’t maintain the hostility. He even married one. And in his fiction, he hammered home the point that sentient prehistoric vegetables were “men” so long as they were in a situation that made them outsiders just like him.

    Lovecraft was not a perfect man, but making him a murderer based on “intuition”, “gut feeling”, and a desire to sell books is hideously cynical. A large number of books have been sold on the basis that, since Queen Victoria’s grandson was really stupid, didn’t fancy girls all that much, and was alive in 1888, he must have been Jack The Ripper. Or if that’s too obviously stupid, it must have been a friend of his, and Queen Victoria covered it up anyway. Because that sells more books that suggesting JTR was some random psycho who wasn’t famous for anything else. And apparently he was also Lewis Carroll, because he totally admits it in the Alice books. You just have to rearrange the words a bit.

    Walter Bosley, you’re a cynical liar. You’ve taken a conveniently long-dead celebrity whose character flaws did not in any way suggest that he might be a murderer – indeed, HPL’s entire character strongly implies that he hated theoretical concepts but couldn’t help sympathizing with individuals, no matter what, because he was basically decent. What, exactly, are you saying? HPL hated Jews so much that he killed a not particularly religious Jew while accidentally marrying another? Despite being an atheist who included a blasphemous parody of the Crucifixion in “The Dunwich Horror” for a joke, you’re saying he was recruited by a fringe religious movement to poison a Jew in a really complicated way which required the participation of another person under heavily contrived circumstances, and he did it because he hated Jews so much that he’d risk a Murder One rap to indirectly kill one in defense of a wacky religion he never believed in?

    You’re a cynical liar who made up a ridiculous scenario involving two celebrities who had no meaningful connection with each other, and pretended that one had murdered the other because you wanted to make money. HPL was not an ideal human being, but you’re seriously shitting on his memory. Shame on you! And you know exactly why. Not that I expect a response, since you state in your interview that anybody who disagrees with you on the internet is automatically wrong. But I despise you. Feel free to despise me too, so long as you can present a logical defense of your case. I rest mine.

    • Walter Bosley says:

      “Youโ€™re a cynical liar”
      What did I lie about? A speculation is not a lie. If you’ve read my book, you ‘ll know I clearly identify the scenario is a theory.

      “… pretended that one had murdered the other because you wanted to make money. ”
      I have made about $150 on this particular book — in three months or so, and I often discourage some people from buying the book.

      “HPL was not an ideal human being, but youโ€™re seriously shitting on his memory.”
      You come across like a defensive lover.

      “Not that I expect a response, since you state in your interview that anybody who disagrees with you on the internet is automatically wrong.”
      Not true. You’re taking something out of context.

      “But I despise you. ”
      Wait a minute “Otto”…Are you actually my second ex wife masquerading as a troll?

      I don’t despise you. I have never met you. Our first encounter is your melodramatic diatribe enflamed by the sting of my clearly suggested scenario. Perhaps if you were of the character to show yourself and stand by your fiery rhetoric, tossed about like a salad on emotional waters, we could at least slap each other across two maskless faces in an exchange of honest vitriol. Instead, I am at an unfair disadvantage, for I know not which principality you are of peerage, Count Chocula.
      Seriously, Otto (assuming that is your name…?), men of reason do not cast hysteria. It’s rather hormonal of you. Throw the gauntlet down, sir. Don’t merely drop your hanky.
      May I suggest how to improve your accusations?
      If you’re going to call me a liar, specify the lie. Back it up with my own words. Make certain it IS a lie.
      If you’re going to dispute my work, read the work and cite my work in your argument against me. I give plenty to be disputed in EOW3. Take advantage of this gift!
      Oh, Otto, what splendid fun we could have then!
      Blessings upon you, sir.

    • Walter Bosley says:


    • Walter Bosley says:

      Well, Count Chocula, you have a nice day.

  8. Phil From Louisiana says:

    I may write something longer/more detailed later when I have more energy… but I have two questions: 1) did you ever read Tim Power’s _Expiration Date_, and 2) Did you get the email (sent via Greg) with the question about Gonzualles?

  9. RM Listener says:

    While I enjoy listening to Greg & Walter during their normal chats..this just bored me to tears..especially since I had absolutely no interest in the subject matter nor interest in reading the books. I’m glad this was the last installment so they can go back to discussing everything else in their respective worlds. No disrespect meant Walter..but I really prefer when you discuss “high strangeness” in general. But congrats on finishing the trilogy and much success to you sir.

    • Walter Bosley says:

      Oh, then you’ll love the book I’m writing with another author (which will be announced soon) and the one I’m writing now, both based on data uncovered during my EOW investigation, lol. You’ll probably get advanced warning before Greg has me on for those. ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Phil From Louisiana says:

    Look, I’ll write something in depth when I get net access and stuff sorted out, in the meantime, I think both you and Greg would enjoy Tim Powers’ novels, in particular _Last Call_, _Expiration Date_, _Earthquake Weather_, and _The Anubis Gates_.

  11. Coppertop says:

    Hey, when’s the next podcast coming up! I miss your show!

  12. Purrlie says:

    Just some feedback from a non-Californian. Bosely’s topic has a regional focus that loses some appeal in direct proportion to how far away from California a listener was born, raised, and currently lives. Nothing wrong with having Bosely as a guest, but his current interests and focus aren’t widely known about East of the Sierras. I lost the thread in many parts of the discussion and, honestly, nothing he talked about made me want to rush out and buy his books. They seem to be mostly exploration of local history.

    • Walter Bosley says:

      Of course, if you had paid close enough attention and actually do read the book, you’ll find that we discuissed — and the book spneds almost 2/3 of its pages on — Joan of Arc and the Knighs Templar across all of North America, as well as Spain in the New World. So, let’s see… The book appears to present topics of interest to people in Europe, Mexico, New England, the Southeastern United States (that would damned near be about everything east of the Mississippi River), New Mexico and Arizona, too.

      So…what was that about the book being of mere ‘local’ interest…?

      Perhaps you should pay closer attention.

      Nice try, though, sport! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Walter Bosley says:

        Pardon my typos on ‘discussed’ and ‘spends’ ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Walter Bosley says:

          I also missed a comma after ‘Joan of Arc… ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Walter Bosley says:

            LMFAO Now I AM the moron!!!

            I must admit that I thoroughly screwed up this one!!

            I thought we were talking about my Cabrillo book when I wrote this response — and I am completely the boob! I am wrong wrong wrong!!!

            I will admit when I have made the rror and this is a BIG one. LOL SORRY!!! Yes, EOW is greatly about something centered in Southern California , but actually it does discuss Pacific and other ancient cultures, as well. Also, Lovecraft was a Rhode Islander — the book discusses New England and Lovecraft’s time in New York, as well as Whitehead and Florida, etc. Within the context of the whole trilogy, there is SO much more than ‘mere local history’, so I would recommend listening more closely or looking at the books.

            YES, I screwed up on what book you were commenting on, but my reply is much the same. You haven’t paid attention close enough to the conversations or you haven’t given the material a fair look.

            And I apologize again for mixing up the discussion! Mea Culpa! ๐Ÿ˜€

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