Wingnuts of Berkeley


Back in the day, Sproul Plaza on the Berkeley campus used to be a magnet for wingnuts.

There was a guy in the 1970s who actually plucked his eyeballs out back then.  He was a tarot card reader on Telegraph Ave.  And he was on this weird messianic trip.  He had it all planned out.  After he plucked his eyes out he was going to rush to Sproul Plaza (where all the soapbox orators and guru-wannabes hung out at the time) and deliver his great message that would save mankind and everyone would realize he was the messiah returned to earth.

It had something to do with that Biblical passage “If thine eyes offend thee pluck them out.”  Which he took rather literally.  And god knows what else was stewing in his brain.  He said the world was so ugly he couldn’t bare to look at it anymore.  But he believed that if he immediately rushed to Sproul Plaza with his gouged-out eyes and started preaching his revolutionary message to the masses, humanity would find salvation once and for all.

What he didn’t count on was the long stint in the hospital and the psyche ward after plucking his eyeballs.

After awhile he quietly returned to being a sidewalk tarot card reader on Telegraph.  Using a special deck of braille tarot cards.

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