Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in Surreality (Part 3)

I mentioned earlier that, in addition to Bill’s band, there was another band performing at the reunion. They were pretty good, mostly doing covers of familiar rock and blues tunes, but I was too preoccupied visiting former classmates to really pay close attention to them. It was background noise, although on the few occasions when I looked over to see what was going on, they certainly looked the part.

The band was called “St. John and the Sinners,” and the front man, whom I later learned was their namesake, seemed like the prototypical bar band guitar hero. When he wasn’t belting out songs during their set, he was wandering around the Scotia Inn like a celebrity, flashing a big smile to anyone in eyeshot, often with his glamorous looking girlfriend/wife/groupie on his arm.

At some point, I was standing toward the side of the room when I noticed this guy walking toward me with a purpose. To my surprise, he walked right up and asked, “Are you interested in politics? Are you familiar with Watergate?”

I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to admit my current obsession to this stranger, but I was intrigued, so I replied, “A little bit!”

That was enough for him, and he immediately launched into a lengthy story about how his full name was Saint John Hunt, and his father was E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA spy and prominent player in the Watergate drama. According to Saint John, his father had admitted to him, while on his deathbed, involvement in the JFK assassination. He claimed to have extensive evidence that his father had given to him, including a recording of his father’s voice, describing the other participants in the plot, which was approved by none other than Lyndon Johnson.

He said he had been interviewed on PBS and several radio shows in his efforts to get the news out, but that he had been largely thwarted by a reluctance of the media to accept and report the story. He also mentioned having written a book for which he was currently searching for a publisher.

Although it probably wasn’t necessary, when he started talking about some of the other Watergate participants, I was able to feed his enthusiasm by mentioning my past opportunity to meet and converse with John Dean (at the 2007 Yearly Kos Convention). Saint John noted that “Mr. Dean” was an extremely nice man, to which I could easily agree.

He then went on to describe the circumstances of his deathbed conversation with his father, and his frustration over his ongoing difficulties in setting the record straight. He directed me to his website, from which I could download the e-book version of his story for the nominal price of $5.99.

I promised him I would check it out, and made a mental note to arrange a date with “The Google” to research whatever I could find to either confirm his story, or establish that he was a delusional nut who might as well have been telling me about his meetings with Bigfoot, or the recorded conversation of his friend, the log! (another Twin Peaks reference depicted above)

As it turns out, my research confirmed both his identity and the apparent reasons for his difficulty in gaining credibility with the media in telling his story, since his history also includes a lengthy stint as a meth addict and dealer. Nevertheless, his website is here and the recorded voice of the man he claims is his father is here, and it all seems quite feasible.

Perhaps the best account of Saint John Hunt’s story is this article from Rolling Stone, which pretty much covers everything Saint John told me. It concludes with the same level of mixed belief and skepticism that I had as I retired to my room at the end of a surreal evening in which I arrived at a high school reunion and left wondering if I’d just learned who really killed JFK!

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