Louis Tackwood and the Glass House Tapes
In 1967, Louis Tackwood approached members of the underground press with a strange and unsettling story. If true, it validated many of the counterculture’s worst suspicions about a concentrated government campaign to undermine the radical movement — which, today, is frequently (and inaccurately) lumped into the generic category of “hippie stuff.”
Contrary to popular mythology, the 1960s weren’t merely about promiscuous sex, drugs, and rock and roll. There were various levels of revolutionary commitment and multiple brands of philosophy within the counterculture of that era.
The rock stars were almost unanimously full of shit and humping a trend, but many of the ground-level participants were serious about the ideals. Some were primarily concerned with spiritual matters. Some were deadly serious about overthrowing the political order.
Some factions of the counterculture, in fact, were militant in a way that would shock modern folks who think that Antifa is something new or exceptional in American history. In the ‘60s and ’70s, radical militarism went well beyond cracking people in the head with bike locks. Groups like the Weather Underground were stockpiling guns and building bombs.
There were also individuals and groups of individuals who were deadly serious about revolution but disinterested in violent ends. They weren’t terrorists like the Weather Underground, but they were just as committed to the cause. They sought to enact change through legal and political means (many were lawyers and journalists).
For years, members of these various revolutionary movements suspected that the police, the FBI, the CIA, and military intelligence were all working covertly (and illegally) to undermine their cause.
Agent provocateurs, it was believed, were being embedded in radical-group rosters and protest marches in order to discredit those bodies. Spies were said to be lurking in the shadows. Phones were being tapped and drugs were being planted on political targets. Assassins plotted murderous silencing campaigns from afar.
It all seemed like paranoid lunacy — the stuff of drug-addled dropouts and nutjobs.
Until things started proving true, of course.
I’m not here to give a full run down of the events of that day.
For those interested, I recommend reading Tom O’Neil’s CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties or Days of Rage, among other books.
Or dig deeper into the history of the Glass House Tapes. The history isn’t easy to find, but it’s out there. The book can be read for free at Open Library (physical copies tend to go for quite a bit of money).
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about The Glass House Tapes, and about Tackwood’s story, is that they weren’t confined to the underground press.
The story was eventually shared by mainstream newspapers including the San Francisco Post, Newsweek, and the L.A. Times.
Later, some of those same sources would help discredit Tackwood, so my point isn’t to say all those things validate everything he claimed, but instead to show that this wasn’t some fringe affair. For a time, this was big, national news.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Look into it yourself.
One of the strangest things you’ll find is Tackwood’s claim that the LAPD and the feds were using Satanic cults for brainwashing and blackmailing. Today this is largely considered a “right wing” conspiracy theory, but one of the oldest sources of it (possibly the very oldest) was actually The Glass House Tapes.
What I am here for is to share how the The Glass House Tapes figures into my Straight Haight ’67 series.
Straight Haight ‘67 is a work of fiction, and I have no political motivations with it. I’ve simply been captivated by the secret aspects of ’60s history from the moment I discovered the history of MK Ultra when I was 14 years old.
Years of research since then, reading books such as Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius, have only added to my fascination. Through my years of thinking and dreaming about it, the era has transformed into a dark, hopeful, psychically fueled alternate history that feels more like home to me than the place in which I was born.
Motivations and sources of the Straight Haight ’67 mythology come from multiple places, some more obvious to me than others, but ne that I have no problem whatsoever in deducing is the story of Jerome Jackson and Leroy Freed.
Jackson may be my favorite character to emerge thus far from Straight Haight. He’s just a good dude. He’s overcome a lot to be where he is, and all he wants is to be a good husband and father. I admire grounded figures such as that.
Jackson’s life may have stayed straight and normal if not for his chance encounter with Leroy Freed, who was clearly inspired by Louis Tackwood of The Glasshouse Tapes.
Freed is involved with the Los Angeles underworld, covert intelligence agencies, crooked LAPD actors, and beings which may or may be from another dimension. They may even be aliens. Demons. Who knows?
Freed lives at the tip of the spear. As the weirdness spills out into American 1967, Freed is a man who has lived in it for longer than nearly anyone else.
Freed isn’t Tackwood. The differences between them will emerge in time. But, Freed clearly stepped into my imagination through the doorway of Louis Tackwood.
Freed enters into Jerome’s life, and into our story, after he narrowly escapes a double-cross by multidimensional beings posing as members of the LAPD. He literally drops into our story after climbing out a fire escape and taking a leap of faith.
Where he takes us from there, I personally am very excited to see.
If you’re interested in this kind of history, check out The Glass House Tapes at Open Library, or buy yourself a copy. I love having that little bit of history on my bookshelf, even if it did cost me far more than any worn paperback book should.
Even better, if you enjoy the alternate history I’ve touched upon here, check out Straight Haight ’67. It’s an interesting place, in some ways closer to the real history than the mainstream’s version would have you believe, and in other ways completely sideways in an entirely different dimensional zip code.
It’s a dark place, often scary, but it’s also fascinating and beautiful in its way.
Oh, and the music ROCKS.
Give it a visit. Take a tour. Let me know what you think when you make it back…IF you make it back.
It all starts with a lady called Sunshine.