Chaos Groupie Sondra London Sings By Zack Kopp
Mainstream Americans likely first heard about Sondra London as a “serial killer groupie.”
This title came from her romantic association with accused serial killer and convicted murderer G.J. Schaefer and late serial killer Danny Rolling, also known as the “Gainesville Ripper”. She used her intimacy with these criminals to interview both men about their crimes and what inspired them, publishing the results of her investigations in a series of true crime books characterized by uncommon intimacy with their subjects, including a study of vampirism, ‘True Vampires’ (2004) illustrated by French killer Nicolas Claux. In 2016, she published Dianne Fitzpatrick’s ‘Good Little Soldiers: A Memoir of True Horror’, which she co-authored, a tale of murder and her and her brother’s enlistment when she was six years old by her homicidal maniac father in the military mind control program MK Ultra, involving training and experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs. Less well known by far is London’s status as a Discordian, and her career as a reggae singer. She has appeared on Dateline, Turning Point, Larry King Live, Geraldo, Leeza, A Current Affair, and Court TV in the United States; Channel 4 and BBC in UK; German and French cable, and Australian ABC. These appearances are sampled at London’s YouTube channel.
Eris we are much impressed
We hail your every great success
We salute your awesome power
We hail your presence every hour
Eris why don’t you go home
Eris leave my folks alone
Eris you do what you wish
Eris why not just go fish
Goddess we are all exhorting ya
You’re the proud Eris Discordia
Before you mess us up real good
Go back to your neighborhood
And take your buddies witchu too
We love them just as we love you
But we prefer you over yonder
So we pray & so we ponder
Eris won’t you please go home
Eris just leave us alone
No you cannot take us witchu
Eris you are such a bitch, you.
~ The Erisian Elestria, Horrenda Discordia
What can you tell me about your appearance on Geraldo?
“Geraldo was very professional. He was managing that whole scene with just beams of his intense attention. Not just doing standup. He did have producers but he stayed in command of all parts even when on camera. It was a gotcha. A hit job. They had me come out and sit down then they brought out the most aggressive of the family members of victims of Danny Rolling. And put her right next to me. From then on it was about using me as a receptacle for all of the antipathy for the things Danny Rolling had not been convicted of. I had to behave very carefully. It was pre trial. Also the airline lost my bag and I had to run all over the city with one hundred dollars from the show to find and buy a whole outfit including earrings. That was anxiety & tension that took a toll. I just held on to my poise and composure and did not let anyone drag me down to their level.”
At one point, Geraldo held up a valentine she’d been sent by Rollings, brandishing it as evidence of London’s unforgiveable affiliation with the darkside. “Pepe is in the news,” says London. “This one is from a real rapist! This Valentine, so says several books, was the reason Danny confessed to five murders. Because they shook down his cell & made him believe they had damaged it. He freaked out bigtime. I never appeared on Donahue. I did put [executed murderer] Joe O’Dell on his show with an electric chair. He had filed a motion for his execution to be on TV and Phil had him on via satellite, and Phil sat in the Chair as the audience gasped.”
Discordianism was founded by Kerry Wendell Thornley and childhood friend Greg Hill circa 1963 with the publication of ‘Principia Discordia Or How I found Goddess, And What I Did to Her When I Found Her’. The goddess referred to is Greek goddess Eris, known in Latin as Discordia, the goddess of disorder, or archetypes and ideals associated with her. Adherents believe there is no distinction between order and disorder, man-made conceptual divisions of the pure element of chaos. An argument presented by the text is that it is only by rejecting these principles that you can truly perceive reality as it is, chaos. Every Discordian is automatically Pope or Popess, as popularized by Robert Anton Wilson, and members are free to disavow any to all of its tenets at any time in accordance with the system itself, making their identification practically impossible. Kerry is also distinguished as the author of the only book mentioning Lee Harvey Oswald prior to his identification as JFK’s lone assassin, ‘The Idle Warriors’ (1962), and one called ‘Oswald’ (1965) defending the lone assassin theory, despite memories of meeting mysterious strangers in New Orleans (one of whom he identified as E. Howard Hunt) who seemed to predict the ensuing rise of 1960s counterculture all the way through the Manson cult and murders, implying a government connection to these events. Says London, “The connection was just the time frame. The first ‘Principia’ was run off on Jim Garrison’s mimeograph. Kerry was friends with his secretary. At that time he didn’t know the whole story of himself, Oswald, & etc. It came back to him after hearing the trigger: ‘and blame some jailbird for it’.”
Self-proclaimed “crackpot historian” Adam Gorightly (author of ‘The Shadow Over Santa Susannah Pass’ and others) classifies Discordianism as a parody religion a la the Church of the SubGenius. As a result, many outside observers still regard Discordianism as a parody religion, although some of its adherents, including London herself, use it as a legitimate religion or as a metaphor for a governing philosophy.
Says she, “There’s a Russian named Ivan who is translating the webpages I created into Russian & posting them in Russian to the web. He tells me there is a contingent in Russia who believe I am a powerful neurolinguistic programmer and mind controller who compelled Kerry into confessing on TV against his will and without his knowledge. Ivan says this belief is being cultivated in Russia by none other than this ‘Adam Gorightly’ person. Ivan says he is doing his utmost to Represent the True Eris versus that full of lies fomented by AG.”
Did Schaefer or Rolling have any connection to Discordianism?
“None whatsoever. I contain multitudes.”
How did you get started singing in a reggae band? What happened?
“I was always a performer. I grew up in South Florida with lots of Caribbean culture from birth. My first performance that I can remember was reciting ‘Little Orphan Annie’ at Nursery School Parents Night when I was 4 years old. I sang in a Latin band in 4th grade. High school: hootenannies & coffee houses. I acted in plays as a child, then played 2d Witch in The Scottish Play on the Bard’s birthday, that same year I was dating GJ Schaefer. It was a 6-mo run. Always writing poetry. Then rad-lib college, original hippie freak, then a trip with a Life Magazine writer to Roatan Island off Honduras for the summer. Charmed with all things West Indian. Then was a feature vocalist working the chitlin circuit out of Atlanta, black clubs, singing Top 40 soul hits: Gladys Knight, Aretha, etc. And I recorded a bunch of songs anonymously for an Atlanta record company that sold Soundalikes. For example, I did all 16 tracks of the Pointer Sisters ‘Betcha Got a Chick on the Side.’ That was really fun. Then a musician introduced me to Ken London who is a Trinidadian calypsonian; he had a bunch of songs but sings like a frog so we made a band together & then got married and moved to LA and made a baby. We were already living in a band house doing our own West Indian original tunes when Bob Marley released ‘Catch a Fire’. All our songs were not reggae. Kenny is an encyclopedia of different rhythms. That was his thing. I sang all different styles, but my favorite was called Lover’s Rock. I wrote one song in that style & taped a demo in 1986. I also sang lead with an African Band called the Songhai International Band some years after my band with Kenny broke up. I was an honorary African in Atlanta. There was a documentary made about me when I was with my band in 1976. Excerpts appear in the Sondra London Play List on my YouTube Channel. I only write songs for special occasions now. I’m fixin to go back in the studio soon with some songs I call “Protest Songs” expressing my emotions over this bullshit we are living thru now. Ideas just come to me, I don’t force it. I never did a single thing to market my songs. I just lose interest after I get it recorded like I want it. I’m more interested in artwork now, designing graphics to turn into garments as print on demand. I still have important true-crime books to finish and they are in the queue but writing is not the funnest.”
What’s your current creative project?
“An original spoken-word art form. I probably sent you a link already but anyway, this is a play list where 6 of the 9 performances are posted; the other 3 will post each next-coming Wednesday. I have composed this series of nine spoken-word performance pieces, as an homage to the Sixties. The link goes to the Play List. Author Ron Franscell introduced the idea of listing cool lines from hippie songs from the nineteen sixties. I did it and made a performance from it. ‘Jeremiah’ is the sixth in my ‘Sixties Song Cycle’, and it’s my personal favorite! And this is the seventh.”
Daughter of Chaos
I sing the Daughter Of Chaos
O terrible and beautiful
Goddess of Entropy
Goddess of Anarchy
Proud Eris Discordia
Wreathed in broken planets
We ride her wave breathless
To be tossed under again
Look and you will miss her
Close your eyes to see her
She dreams our creation
In her singular way
The touch of breeze
In the heat of the day
The taste of wine
From an ancient offering
The ring of a bell
In a dark empty cavern
The scent of a rose
In a room long abandoned