Home  Author  Articles  Archives  Links  
The Man Who
Knew Too Much
Eye of
the Whale
photo by George Peper
Striper Wars     Eye of the Whale     The Man who Knew Too Much     Black Genius     Jesse Ventura     James Hillman    

Recently Posted Articles List



The following article, "Urban Romulus: How the Myths Have Shaped My Life," appears in a new online mythological journal called Immanence.  It's written by a young African-American from south-central LA, Romeo Keyes, who I've been mentoring for the past year-and-a-half.  He is a remarkable writer and knows more about myth than anyone I've ever met.  He's a new and important voice of his generation.  The article starts with an introduction the journal asked me to write.

Read my introduction and, more importantly, Romeo's piece itself here (or here in quick-loading, text-only format; while google caches it, see here), along with the full journal issue here.

Dick Russell



This is the short trailer to a full-length documentary by filmmaker Scott Peterson that will be coming out sometime this fall. It's the story of a life-changing trip that would be impossible to make any more, much of it undertaken with my friend from Kansas, Steve Ewert (now a well-known portrait photographer in Chicago). A time capsule from 1970-71, when it was a very different world.

Dick Russell



My friends with the Marine Mammal Project at the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) have done it again! Whales and dolphins will be protected from the devastating impact of the Navy's underwater sonar blasts that's resulted in numerous strandings. This is a subject I've written about, and told at length in the terrific book, "War of the Whales," by Joshua Horwitz. More details about the decision and its implications can be found in their press release here and in this post from the Director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, Michael Jasny.

Dick Russell



Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying the Planet--and How They Explain Themselves to Their Own Children

For some months I've been working on a book with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., about climate change and the big energy moguls most responsible for the global disaster that we're all facing. It's scheduled for publication now in January 2017 by Hot Books, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. I hope you'll check out the link on Amazon. - Dick Russell

Horsemen of the Apocalypse book cover



My friend Homero Aridjis, Mexico's leading poet and environmentalist, has just published a frightening column about a new threat to the monarch butterflies. Please spread the word about this. - Dick Russell

Endangered Monarch Butterflies Face Their Greatest Threat High in the Hills of Central Mexico

by Homero Aridjis, The World Post, May 4, 2016

Edgard Garrido / Reuters

MEXICO CITY — The monarch butterfly is now facing a potentially lethal threat to its over-wintering habitat in Mexico’s oyamel fir forests. ...

complete article [external link]



Interview with Christina Pratt on Why Shamanism Now?


I did this hour-long interview recently with Christina Pratt, the host of Why Shamanism Now?, a widely-heard program about various aspects of shamanism. We discussed my book "My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism." We covered a lot of fascinating ground, and I hope you'll tune in; it airs Tuesday (tomorrow!), August 25, 2015 at 11am PST. See the description here (the usual summary of my book).

Dick Russell



Interview with Bryan Alvarez on After Dark radio show

Last week, I spent over an hour talking with host Bryan Alvarez for his After Dark radio show. We started off talking about the friendly gray whales, then the Kennedy assassination, and my new memoir, "My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism." It aired on Saturday and is ready for listening here.

Dick Russell


Skyhorse Publishing Launches New Investigative Book Imprint

Hot Books will feature “fearless authors” on the most burning topics

I've recently gotten involved in working with my primary publisher, Tony Lyons, and my writer friend David Talbot in a new venture, one that I hope will have a major impact on exposing stories that have been ignored by the mainstream media. My first book, to be co-authored with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., will focus on climate change. Here is the press release about "Hot Books"

Dick Russell


Tony Lyons, president of Skyhorse Publishing, and David Talbot, the founder of Salon, announced a partnership today to launch Hot Books, a new Skyhorse book imprint that will publish investigative books on controversial issues. Skyhorse will be joining with Salon to create a co-branded digital platform for Hot Books.

Hot Books will seek to ignite national debate on the most urgent problems facing the country, filling the investigative gap left by newspapers and magazines as they cut their budgets for in-depth reporting. Hot Books will feature prominent authors, as well as up and coming literary voices – writers who are not only experts in their fields, but courageous when it comes to exploring the flammable subjects that much of the media avoids.

complete article


Menhaden Talking Points: 2015 Quota and Ecosystem Management

Back in December 2012, I was among some 300 concerned citizens and fishermen who attended a meeting in Baltimore of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council (ASMFC) calling for menhaden conservation. This little baitfish's precipitous decline had resulted in more starving and diseased striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Eastern seaboard. For the first time, the ASMFC established a coastwide catch limit and a 25 percent reduction in allowed landings of menhaden. As a result of that decision, it's estimated that more than 600 million menhaden have been left in the ocean. Now industrial fishing lobbyists are seeking significant increases to their 2015 quota, no matter the impact on the larger fish like striped bass that depend upon them for food. It's important we make our voices heard in advance of the meeting on April 28, by emailing Mike Waine at mwaine@asmfc.org. What follows are the latest "talking points" from the coastwide Menhaden Coalition.

Dick Russell


On May 5, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASFMC) will make pivotal votes about the 2015 Atlantic menhaden quota and could begin work to change future management, including conservation and allocation decisions. The ASMFC could increase the quota for this year with no understanding of the impact on predators like striped bass, or managers could adopt ecosystem goals and advance responsible management of this most important fish in the sea. Managers should not increase the 2015 quota for menhaden unless they leave enough in the ocean as food for predators. Current quota shortages should be addressed by reallocation or trading, not by sacrificing coastwide conservation.

complete article



On Wednesday April 29, I will be a featured speaker at the Los Angeles City College Book Program's spring seminar in East Hollywood. This year they will have a panel of speakers, from 12:30 to 2:30 pm, looking at human/animal connections and different ways of healing. Beginning with a dance performance that interprets bird flocking, one of the college's professors will speak on altered animal states and his experiences with shamans and healing. I've been asked to give a half-hour presentation based around my new book, "My Mysterious Son," focusing on the work of a West African shaman with my son, diagnosed with a severe mental illness.

On Saturday May 2, I'll be speaking from 9 AM to 12 Noon on my biography, "The Life and Ideas of James Hillman (Vol. 1)," at the C.G. Jung Institute in San Francisco. The program will be broadcast by the Asheville (N.C.) Jung Center, a webinar going out in real time so that people anywhere in the world with an internet connection may sign up and participate online. For details, please go to: http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/

Dick Russell


Renowned Mexican poet, novelist and activist Homero Aridjis has just published his latest outraged expose about what is happening in his country. - Dick Russell

Not Even James Bond Can Rescue Mexico's Image

by Homero Aridjis, The World Post, Mar. 31, 2015

MEXICO CITY -- The news went viral on social networks, while the main print and electronic media trumpeted it on front pages and in prime time as a brilliant coup for bolstering Mexico's international image: James Bond, the super-macho, all-terrain star of the spy world, had descended on Mexico City for two weeks in the midst of staged Day of the Dead festivities.

The government hailed the filming of the opening sequence of "Spectre," which is primed to be the 26th Bond blockbuster, on locations in and around the Zocalo, the historical center of Aztec Tenochtitlan, in colonial Mexico City and the present-day capital. The set is a quick skip from the Great Temple, where, in pre-Hispanic times, high priests gouged out the hearts of victims stretched over a sacrificial stone and displayed the severed heads of war captives on a massive wooden skull rack that resembled an abacus.

The government of Mexico desperately seeks good publicity these days. The lengths it is willing to go for that were revealed by the website Tax Analysts in March, drawing on internal Sony documents hacked and made public by an unidentified organization possibly linked to the North Korean government: Mexican businessmen and officials offered Sony and MGM millions of dollars in in financial incentives and possible tax rebates to portray the country in a favorable light.

Among "elements needed to preserve the Mexican deal" listed in the leaked memo was the inclusion of a recognizable Mexican actress. Stephanie Sigman, star of "Miss Bala," a 2011 thriller about an aspiring beauty queen kidnapped by drug traffickers who is forced to work as a mule, was cast in a small part.

The irony of casting an actress whose image is so tied to the ongoing Mexican tragedy may be lost on international audiences, but not on Mexicans. According to a UN report, 63 percent of women in Mexico have suffered violence at the hands of men. Femicides are on the rise with six women murdered every day, according to the National Citizen Femicide Observatory. Among Latin American nations, Mexico leads in the number of disappeared women forced into sexual slavery.

The government's requirement to film at least four minutes of the film in Mexico City was satisfied by the opening scene, with Bond "taking off into the Mexican skyline" in a helicopter. The portrayal of Mexican police was to be favorable, according to the hacked documents -- the opposite of the reality exposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto himself when he called for disbanding police forces possibly infiltrated by organized crime in 1,800 municipalities throughout Mexico, beginning in Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán and Tamaulipas, states that lead the country in extreme violence.

Why should projecting a distorted and unrealistic image of Mexico in a Bond film matter so much to officials in a country where everyone knows the reality: that this is a country where 43 rural teacher's college students disappeared half a year ago, into a vast archipelago of the dead, where myriad clandestine graves yield remains that are never identified?...

complete article


Here is the link to my hour-long interview with John Barbour, former host of TV's "Real People" among much else, for the BBS Radio internet network. - Dick Russell

John Barbours World

Below is John's introduction, as posted on his Facebook page:

This is Monday's show with Dick Russell. It is really good. A funny opening, a great interview with Dick who talks about his book 'My Mysterious Son,' a fascinating, informative journey through the disturbed mind of a schizophrenic child, the caring heart of a father, from American psychiatrists to African Medicine Men. Even the technical screwups are fabulous! Enjoy!


How a West African shaman helped my schizophrenic son in a way Western medicine couldn’t

The Washington Post in its Outlook section, on March 24, reprinted the article I did for Zocalo based around "My Mysterious Son." - Dick Russell

Click here: How a West African shaman helped my schizophrenic son


In the latest issue of "Sacred Hoop," a magazine published in England and devoted to shamanism, I have published a piece based around my new book, "My Mysterious Son." - Dick Russell

(click to read in magazine format)

About eighty miles northwest of where I live, in West Hollywood, California, inside a white stucco house in the valley town of Ojai, I sit facing Malidoma Patrice Somé, a renowned shaman from West Africa.

A white cloth, containing a circle at the centre, occupies a small table between us. Around the perimeter of the circle, and also used to divide it into quadrants, are five coloured stripes of black, blue, green, red and white. Within the circle rest a number of objects – many cowrie shells, stones both precious and plain, coins from various countries, a ring, and a key.

I have come to Malidoma for a divination, not for myself but on behalf of my 35-year-old son, who was diagnosed in his late teens with a severe mental illness: ‘probable schizophrenia.’

Malidoma asks that I use my primary hand to spread the shells and other objects, clockwise within the circle, and he’ll tell me when to stop. After about ten seconds, he does so, and peers intently at the pattern that has formed.

Malidoma’s divination cloth set up for Frank and his father

Then Malidoma says: “The way this pattern is laid out, it is like a mirror of other-worldly scenarios. Almost like two magnets, each pulling the other, and your son is in the middle of that.

“Your job with him is to hold the space... basically the humanisation of the clinical labelling of him as psychotic, schizophrenic, which is a reflection of a profound misunderstanding. Because the structure of the world afforded by people like him has not been studied sufficiently, it’s not a fair approach to look at him as sick. That frequencies of this nature are not allowed - this is really a major discrimination.”

Schizophrenia remains as mysterious today as it has been throughout human history...

complete article


The syndicated web magazine, Zocalo Public Square, has just published this piece I wrote for them, based around my recently-published memoir, "My Mysterious Son." - Dick Russell

The Shaman Who Transformed My Schizophrenic Son

After a Decade Cycling Through Hospitals and Drugs,
a Trip to Africa and a Foray into Tribal Medicine Gave Our Family Hope

At the age of 17, after a wonderful summer of fishing and learning to surf, my son, then in his junior year at a Boston high school, told me one afternoon, “I don’t know what’s happening, I can’t find my old self again.” Shortly thereafter, Franklin had to be hospitalized. The evaluation described an “increase in psychotic symptoms, including paranoid thoughts, command hallucinations telling him to hurt himself.” These things were “associated with the onset of schizophrenia.”

Thinking LA-logo-smallerThat was the autumn of 1996. For many years afterward, my son was on and off “the meds” and in and out of hospitals. The drugs lessened symptoms like hallucinations and illogical or paranoid thoughts, but their side effects caused him to gain almost 100 pounds and be diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes. Only as Frank entered his early 30s did our shared desperation take us beyond the medical treatment model, onto a path we could never have anticipated.

A profound ignorance still exists as to the molecular mechanisms behind schizophrenia. Despite theories ranging from genetic inheritance to environmental exposure, scientists cannot specify the reasons why 2.2 million Americans suffer from the mental illness. Some have suggested there is more to this puzzle than Western medicine realizes. In 2012, Canadian evolutionary psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Polimeni published a book called Shamans Among Us, postulating that schizophrenics are a “modern manifestation of prehistoric tribal shamans.” The South African healer Colin Campbell has written: “People hearing voices for instance or feeling certain things are in touch with other realities, especially the whole mythic realm, that Western society does not have a time or place for.”

This spoke to me because, amid what appeared to be delusional ramblings, Franklin was uncannily able to tune in to what I was thinking. On the advice of a psychologist friend, I’d stopped trying to correct his often bizarre ideas. This had led us to a much less antagonistic and more trusting relationship. Still, I had little hope that Frank would ever lead anything close to a “normal” life.

Then, early in 2012, I took a chance. Our family pediatrician—who had grown up in East Africa in the 1940s—invited Franklin and me to come along on his annual return trip to witness the wildlife migration across the Serengeti Plain. Frank is biracial, and this seemed a unique opportunity for him to see the continent his mother’s ancestors came from—and for us to forge a stronger father-son bond.

Our trip was not without its difficulties. One night, Frank temporarily disappeared at a campground deep in the bush. But ultimately the journey proved a breakthrough not only between us, but also for my son’s self-confidence—slowly but surely shattered over the years of struggling with illness.

Part of the trip’s impact was surely that we were spending days and nights amidst the wonder of the East African wildlife and landscape. It also helped that our guide, a Maasai the same age as Frank, related to him without any sense of his being “different.”

Nine months after our return to the U.S., I sought out Malidoma Somé, a renowned West African shaman. In the culture of his Dagara people, schizophrenics are not viewed pathologically, but often as mediums bringing messages to the community from the spirit world. As an Anglo American male in my mid-60s, I never expected to be conducting spiritual water rituals at the ocean and invoking the assistance of my ancestors on my son’s behalf. But that’s just what I did before taking Frank to see Malidoma in Jamaica, for a divination about his future using cowrie shells, beads, stones and other objects. Frank also did drawings for the shaman during their hour together, which Malidoma described as like “being with a colleague.”

Since meeting Malidoma, Frank has continued to create symbolic paintings in the course of speaking with the shaman over the phone. At Malidoma’s impetus, Frank and I traveled together to the Native American “sacred lands” of New Mexico. Over the past few years, Frank’s mother and I have kept seeking connection with our ancestors through meditative rituals, which has made a difference in our own lives as well.

These experiences, rather than taking Frank further “out there,” have had a grounding effect. He is not “cured”—he still takes medication and resides in a group home—but the weight gain and diabetes have disappeared. Only a short time ago, he rarely emerged from his room. Today, Frank’s life is filled with activity and enthusiasm. Now turning 36, he has gone back to a technical school to resume a course in mechanical engineering; has taken classes in gymnastics, boxing, and skating as well as ongoing music and art therapy; has traveled to Maine for two weeks on his own to learn to build wooden boats; and has been working out regularly at a gym. He still writes pages of glyph-like characters with no readily apparent meaning, at least to those of us in this realm. He still speaks of a vast imaginative terrain that he’s covered and continues to traverse. And he is still possessed of a remarkable ability to “tune in” to the thought patterns of other people, including me.

In a time when more stereotypes and stigma are attached to mental illness than ever—and when the pharmaceutical industry dominates the attitude of Western medicine—more attention should be paid to several studies by the World Health Organization comparing schizophrenia outcomes in the U.S. and Europe, with poorer nations like Nigeria and India where only 16 percent of patients regularly take antipsychotic medications. In one study, nearly two-thirds of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia in developing countries had good outcomes after two years, compared to only 37 percent in wealthier nations where drugs are the standard of care.

It may be too late for Frank ever to leave medication behind him. But I am deeply grateful for the progress that discovering alternatives has brought. I’m happy, too, that Frank knows not only that I’m proud of him, but also that I hold deep respect for all that he’s been through and who he is.

In his journal, Franklin writes: “What is behind a situation is a mystery. We are left searching for reasons that things are the way they are … Clarity and cloudy times come and leave. Points are made and life proceeds.”

Dick Russell


Is Big Pharma the Only Answer to Schizophrenia?

Here is a link to my interview with Tyrel Ventura on the RT Channel, which aired on Friday Feb. 13, focusing around my new memoir, "My Mysterious Son." Dick Russell

Click here: Is Big Pharma the Only Answer to Schizophrenia? | Interview with Dick Russell - YouTube


My interview with Jesse Ventura for his weekly Podcast is up now for listening:

It's no question mental illnesses are marginalized in this country. The drug cocktails often prescribed leave many with suspicious side effects. When author Dick Russell pursued treatments for his schizophrenic son Franklin, he happened upon shamanism, a radical alternative to modern psychiatry. Russell shares with the Governor his deeply personal experiences with shamanism -- and shows how far a father will go to save his son's life. This is one conversation not to be missed.

Go to www.ora.tv/wethepeople and the Podcast "Could a shaman save your life?" We cover not only elements of "My Mysterious Son," but current controversies on the environment and vaccines. --Dick Russell


Combating illegal fishing: Dragnet

This article from the British Economist describes a remarkable new means of technology that could go a long way toward preserving our oceans' fish species. The big question will be whether countries are willing to do the necessary enforcement, but at least the tools to make it happen are there. - Dick Russell

Click here: Combating illegal fishing: Dragnet | The Economist


Poet & Human Rights Leader Homero Aridjis
and “Los MacArturos” Head Public Forum on Mexico’s Violence and Human Rights Crisis

Radio Bilingüe to Convene and Broadcast S.F. Event
Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015

*Press Conference with Homero Aridjis
and “Los MacArturos” MacArthur Foundation Fellows

11 a.m. Tuesday Jan. 27
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts,
2868 Mission Street, San Francisco

*Public Forum & National Broadcast
7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 27
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Renowned Mexican poet and human rights leader Homero Aridjis will be the featured speaker along with U.S.-based Latino recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships (self-named “Los MacArturos”) in a public forum and dialogue on violence and the human rights crisis in Mexico this Tuesday Jan. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street, San Francisco.

Leaders of Mexican and human rights organizations in Northern California will also be present and the public is invited to participate in the dialogue to be conducted in Spanish and English. Doors open at 6:30 and admission is free.

The Radio Bilingüe Latino Public Radio Network is convening and broadcasting the forum live, including simulcast by partner public radio station KBBF FM 89.1 in the North Bay and live stream at radiobilingue.org. Other Bay Area media partners include public radio stations KPOO-FM and KPFA-FM, Spanish-language radio station KIQI-AM, community newspaper El Tecolote, and the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) national TV Channel. KIQI, KPOO and HITN will broadcast the forum in whole or part on a tape delayed basis.

Mexico is in the grip of a spiraling wave of violence, corruption and impunity. According to human rights watchdogs, the nation faces its worst human rights crisis since 1968, with some 100,000 murdered and more than 25,000 disappeared since 2006. The recent disappearance of 43 rural students in the state of Guerrero at the hands of Mexican police has detonated months of unprecedented and massive protests in and out of Mexico. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to thousands of families directly impacted and has been the scene of many rallies including calls for change in U.S. Mexican policy connected to Mexico’s violence and asylum for unaccompanied minors fleeing the dangers.

Aridjis, long time environmental and social justice activist on the international stage, recently released his latest novel: Ciudad de Zombis, an indictment of Mexico’s current reality of violence, corruption and terror. He will be joined by members of “Los MacArturos” – Latino and ally recipients of the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious fellowships – in the dialogue about Mexico’s crisis, future and impact across many borders.

The event is being convened by Radio Bilingüe in partnership with Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño and is funded in part by The California Endowment.

Homero Aridjis Bio

Homero Aridjis is a renowned poet, author, and one of the leading environmentalists of Latin America. He has been elected twice president of International PEN, of which he is now President Emeritus. In 1985, he co-founded and has chaired Grupo de los Cien, a group of writers, artists and scientists, which included Gabriel García Márquez and Octavio Paz. The group has called for the protection of the environment in Mexico, Latin America and the world. He served as Mexico’s ambassador to UNESCO. His most recent novel, Ciudad de Zombis, pictures Mexico’s current reality of violence, corruption, impunity and indifference.

“Los MacArturos” – Latino (and ally) Recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships Expected to Participate in Press Conference and Forum

  • Hugo Morales (Class of 1994, Public Media and Community Affairs, Fresno, CA)
  • Amalia Mesa-Bains, PhD (Class of 1992, Visual Arts, San Juan Bautista, CA)
  • Baldemar Velasquez (Class of 1989, Labor, Toledo, OH)
  • Camilo J. Vergara, PhD (Class of 2002, Photography, Filmmaking, and Television, New York, NY)
  • Ruth Behar, PhD (Class of 1988, Cultural Anthropology, Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Eva Harris, PhD (Class of 1997, Public Health & Medicine, Berkeley, CA)
  • Joan Abrahamson, PhD, JD (Class of 1985, Public Policy, Los Angeles, CA)
  • Mauricio Miller (Class of 2012, Family Independence Initiative, Oakland, CA)
  • Rueben Martinez, PhD (Class of 2004, Education, Santa Ana, CA)
  • Maria Varela (Class of 1990, Economic Development, Albuquerque, NM)
  • Natalia Almada (Class of 2012, Documentary Filmmaking, San Francisco, CA)


My friend Johnny Friday, at Campo Cortez, recently sent me this heartwarming video. It's about four minutes long, and will inspire you to want to see the incredible gray whales in Baja. - Dick Russell...

Click here: The Friendly Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon - YouTube


My friend Homero Ardidjis recently visited the monarch butterfly wintering sanctuaries in Mexico, and the news is grim. This is a heart-rending ecological tragedy. Here is his latest article...

40 Years Ago the World 'Discovered' Mexico's Monarch Habitat -- Today Its Survival Is at Stake

by Homero Aridjis, The World Post, Jan. 20, 2015

MEXICO CITY -- Forty years ago the winter habitat of the monarch butterfly in Mexico was supposedly discovered. After searching for decades, on January 9, 1975 the Canadian scientist Fred A. Urquhart, an entomologist at the University of Toronto's Scarborough College, received a phone call from an American living in Mexico City named Kenneth Brugger, married at the time to Mexican-born Cathy Aguado (known today as Catalina Trail), who told him that "We have located the colony. We have found them -- millions of monarchs -- in evergreens beside a mountain clearing."

The "discovery" had taken place a week earlier in northern Michoacan, in an oyamel forest on Cerro Pelon, 10,000 feet up in the mountains of Mexico's Transvolcanic Belt, and a few days later the Bruggers happened upon other monarch roosts at El Rosario and Chincua. The Bruggers were volunteer "research associates" in Urquhart's longstanding monarch tagging program, in which tiny labels reading "Send to Zoology University Toronto Canada" were stuck onto thousands of southbound migrating butterflies.

But it was only a year after receiving the news that Urquhart and his wife visited the site, and a full 20 months after the find that a stunning photo of Cathy Brugger amidst thousands of monarch butterflies perched on trees and on her, and the headline "Discovered: The Monarch's Mexican Haven" were emblazoned on the cover of the August 1976 issue of National Geographic.

In his article, Urquhart did not reveal the location of the monarch sites the Bruggers had told him about. When asked for details by Dr. Lincoln Brower, today the world's foremost monarch butterfly expert, and colleague Dr. William Calvert, Urquhart steered them to a bay on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Brower, Calvert and photographer John Christian figured out the general area from some clues in Urquhart's article and a paper he published in the Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, and they located the sanctuaries on New Year's Eve of 1976...

complete article here


My Mysterious Son

My latest book, a memoir titled "My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism," has just been published by Skyhorse. This is the most personal book I have ever written, often painfully so, but also a book that I hope will show readers that there is a vastly different side to "mental illness" than is generally accepted by Western thought and medicine. The book may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the cover image.

Here is what the publisher has to say about the book in their latest catalogue copy:

What does a father do when hope is gone that his only son can ever lead anything close to a “normal” life? That’s the question that haunted Dick Russell in the fall of 2011, when his son, Franklin, was thirty-two. At the age of seventeen, Franklin had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. For years, he spent time in and out of various hospitals, and even went through periods of adamantly denying that Dick was actually his father.

A mixed-race child, Franklin was handsome, intelligent, and sensitive until his mental illness suddenly took control. After spending the ensuing years trying to build some semblance of a normal father-son relationship, Dick was invited with his son, out of the blue, to witness the annual wildlife migration on Africa’s Serengeti Plain. Seizing this potential opportunity to repair the damage that both had struggled with, after going through two perilous nights together in Tanzania, ultimately the two-week trip changed both of their lives.

Desperately seeking an alternative to the medical model’s medication regimen, the author introduces Franklin to a West African shaman in Jamaica. Dick discovers Franklin’s psychic capabilities behind the seemingly delusional thought patterns, as well as his artistic talents. Theirs becomes an ancestral quest, the journey finally taking them to the sacred lands of New Mexico and an indigenous healer. For those who understand the pain of mental illness as well the bond between a parent and a child, "My Mysterious Son" shares the intimate and beautiful story of a father who will do everything in his power to repair his relationship with a young man damaged by mental illness.

And here is the first review on Amazon. I am hoping that, after reading the book, some of you may also wish to post one.

a path-breaking and irreplaceable book
By Randolph Severson, on October 30, 2014

This book really is sui generis. I've never read anything quite like it. On one level it is a concise summary of our current understanding of schizophrenia, especially from a depth and neuro-psychological perspective; on another it is a rivetting story of a father's determined quest to understand and find help for his son who suffers from the illness; on still another it is an exciting adventure story that takes father and son to Africa and then to New Mexico and the ancient Meso-American mysteries embedded there; and on yet another level it is a document humain recording a gripping tale of self discovery and spiritual awakening. And along the way guidance from the renowned psychologist, James Hillman, African shaman and Men's Movement leader, Malidoma, and Patrick Toomay, an ex NFL stand out, writer and guide, deeply versed in ancient lore. Written with an unflinching honesty, clarity, verve, humor and grace, it is a must read for all mental health professionals and a message of hope and understanding for families afflicted with schizophrenia. For the general reader it is one of those books that you just can't put down. Very highly recommended.

Dick Russell


The latest report from "the barricades" in Mexico City, by poet/environmentalist Homero Aridjis:

We're Mad as Hell, and We're Not Going to Take It Anymore

by Homero Aridjis, The World Post, Nov. 22, 2014

MEXICO CITY -- Thursday, on the 104th anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution in which millions died, the traditional military parade in Mexico City was hastily cancelled to make way for tens of thousands of students, teachers, families, social activists and people from all walks of society who converged in three orderly throngs on the Zocalo, the city's imposing central square and the political heart of the country, to demand the reappearance of 43 missing students from a rural teachers' college in Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero state, who were abducted in the nearby city of Iguala by police and drug gang members the night of Sept. 26-27. Family members of the missing students led the marches.

Many marchers carried placards with photographs of the students, and as we made our way down the spacious Paseo de la Reforma, the chant of "1, 2, 3, up to 43, justice!" resounded over and over again. A man dressed as Father Miguel Hidalgo, a leader of the 1810 Mexican War of Independence, waved a pennant emblazoned with the Virgin of Guadalupe, shouting "Death to bad government!"

Among the cries I heard and banners I saw were:

"Tell my mother I don't know when I'll be back, I went to find my country", "Who killed the students? It was the State!", "Revolution, Revolution!" "You have died, comrade, your death will be avenged!", "Peña, resign!" (addressed to President Enrique Peña Nieto), "Magic does exist, the students vanished", "I think, therefore I am disappeared", "Sorry to bother you, but they're killing us", "Criminals, you haven't kidnapped a mere 43 students, but an entire nation", "I'm tired of being, kidnapped, extorted, assassinated", "This struggle is against the narco-state. If you take drugs you're not on our side", "Death to the PRI!' (the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party), "It's time to howl, coyotes of Mexico" (the police turned the students over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang at a place known as Coyote Hill), "I don't want to be number 44", "Peña, understand, the people can't stand you", "Why does the government fear students more than narcos?", "Mexico is crying for a change."

I was impressed by the degree of anger, by the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the way things are now, by the unanimity of the clamor for change. I felt that a breaking point will soon be reached...

complete article here



On the same day (Nov. 18) that the Senate rejected the Keystone pipeline by a single vote – a huge victory for everyone concerned about climate change and the future of our civilization – the water front news was much more dismal.
  • The Pacific bluefin tuna was added to the “red list” of species threatened with extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. That’s almost entirely due to its use in the sushi and sashimi markets of Japan. With juveniles that have yet to reproduce comprising the majority of the tuna caught, the population has fallen by one-third over the past two decades.
  • Japan announced plans to greatly expand its Antarctic whaling area, under the guise of so-called “scientific research,” proposing to hunt 333 minke whales through the end of 2015. This program followed an earlier ruling by the International Court of Justice that Japanese “scientific whaling” was nothing more than commercial whaling by a different name.
  • In the Chesapeake Bay, where the EPA has finally been making progress in working with states on a clean-up plan, oral arguments are about to begin in a lawsuit to curtail the process, brought by the “Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.” Here’s the way they are looking to pull this off: a group of 21 state attorneys general – from as far away as Texas, Wyoming and Alaska – has banded together with lobbyists representing big agriculture, fertilizer, and construction. They claim, ridiculously, that if the Chesapeake plan to limit pollution goes forward, “other watersheds, including the Mississippi River Basin….could be next.”

    Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), responded that if this suit succeeds, it would mean “the most scientifically based, carefully developed pollution reduction protocol for a major body of water in the world would be taken off the table and eliminated.” In fact, as a peer-reviewed report by the CBF has found, the cleanup would bring significant economic benefits for bay states – an additional $22.5 billion a year through improved water and air quality, agricultural and seafood production, property values, and flood and hurricane protection.

This comes at a time when the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has finally approved new regulations seeking to implement a 25 percent reduction in the taking of striped bass, whose population is in the worst shape since the 1980s. More than 70 percent of the Eastern seaboard’s striped bass spawn in the Chesapeake, where their primary food supply (Atlantic menhaden) has been stripped to 90 percent of its former abundance by the Omega Protein Corporation’s trawling fleet. (The small baitfish are ground up and turned into fish oil and fish meal).

Just as steps are made in the right direction, powerful forces continue to rise up with only the pocketbook in mind. We, the people, need to rise up in equal measure.

- Dick Russell


The Movement for Restorative Justice

By Dick Russell

It’s a warm weekend not far south of Boston. Behind the thirty-foot walls of the Massachusetts Correctional Institution’s Norfolk prison – the state’s largest, with some 1,500 inmates - five men stand together facing a crowded auditorium. A large banner at the back reads: “Building safer communities inside the prison and beyond the walls of incarceration – what is it going to take?” Each of these five inmates has been convicted of a violent crime; most are serving life sentences for murder. Their audience includes not only about 150 other prisoners, but judges, prosecutors, teachers, political and community leaders. It also includes a number of mothers of homicide victims whose sons were killed.

To the plaintive introductory beat of a drummer on the stage behind them, the men take turns walking to the microphone and reading from handwritten statements. These are letters of public apology. One fellow, his voice cracking, says he “took two lives” – because his mother had never recovered from what he’d done. Another speaks of how he’d murdered two of his closest friends, to impress the other members of his gang. A third talks of having driven the getaway car and not actually shooting anyone, but how this was no excuse.

For the first time, they are openly acknowledging their wrongdoing and the harm it has caused their victims, their communities, and their own families. There is no “making it right.” But through taking responsibility and holding themselves accountable for their actions, perhaps a healing process can begin. Even, for some of the mothers and fathers of homicide victims, a possibility that they will find it in themselves to forgive.

Now Janet Connors is addressing the group. She is a lifelong resident of a tough neighborhood in the Boston suburb of Dorchester, and the mother of three. One of those children was slain in 2001. “We can’t bring our sons back, but we can bring them forward,” she says. In 2006, Connors met inside the prison with two men convicted of her son Joel’s murder – the first time state correctional officials had allowed this to happen. She felt the apologies “were coming from the heart” and offered them “half her forgiveness.” The other half would come with their commitment to lead different lives...

Read complete article here


Enough! Mexico Is Ready to Explode
by Homero Aridjis - The World Post

The harrowing story of what's currently going on in Mexico is spelled out in full detail here by my friend, the poet/activist Homero Aridjis - a must-read for understanding the situation on the other side of the border - Dick Russell.


Threat to Cabo Pulmo National Park from Cabo Cortés project re-emerges
Carolina Herrera's Blog, Switchboard

And speaking of Mexico, this just in from the NRDC - it seems the disastrous development that would wipe out one of the world's most productive coral reefs is potentially "back in business." I'll keep updating my site with news. - Dick Russell.


Petition to Save the Monarch Butterflies

A petition is being circulated by the Center for Biological Diversity to have the monarch butterfly placed on the Endangered Species List. The more people sign, the better chance we have of saving this priceless and most beautiful of creatures. Click on the link to go to the petition. Meantime, my friend Homero Aridjis has a children's story around monarchs that will be coming out at the end of September, published by Macmillan. Homero and his wife Betty are currently in Valle de Bravo, Mexico for a trinational monarch meeting. - Dick Russell

Click here: Save Monarch Butterflies


We The People with Jesse Ventura

On September 11, I was the guest of Jesse Ventura - with whom I've co-authored five books - on his weekly Podcast, "We the People." We focused on the importance of uncovering the truth about what really happened on 9/11, given the new evidence coming out about the 28 pages the Bush Administration ordered deleted from the official government report - concerning the likely involvement of Saudi Arabia in a conspiracy with the hijackers. - Dick Russell

Click here: We The People with Jesse Ventura


Dark Journalist

I recently did an interview by Skype with Daniel Liszt, who does the Dark Journalist series on YouTube. If you're interested in my work on the Kennedy assassination, you'll want to check it out. - Dick Russell

Click here: CIA & JFK Assassination Revealed! Nagell - Oswald - Garrison: Dark Journalist & Dick Russell - YouTube


Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity...
A documentary film

A documentary film is in the works about my trek with photographer friend Steve Ewert across Europe Africa and the Middle East, from June 1970 - December 1971. We've been filmed extensively already in LA and in Chicago. Here is a link to filmmaker Scott Peterson's Indiegogo site, with trailer, please check it out and feel free to become part of the effort to get it made! - Dick Russell

An important new piece by Mexico's leading poet/environmental activist, Homero Aridjis...


Migrants Ride a 'Train of Death' to Get to America
& We're Ignoring the Root of the Problem

by Homero Aridjis
The World Post July 8/2014

The evening news in Mexico regularly features footage of a ramshackle freight train known as La Bestia (The Beast) making its way across the country bearing a cargo of illegal immigrants trying to reach the United States's southern border. One can see hundreds of men, women and children perched on the roof, crammed between the boxcars, clinging to the sides. The trains are loaded with cement, iron, quartz, wheat, corn, diesel, vegetable oil, fertilizer, or wood, but the human cattle along for the ride have no food, drink or guarantee of safety.

To reach the depot at Arriaga, in the state of Chiapas, across the border from Guatemala, from which La Bestia departs every two or three days, migrants walk for days, even skirting mountains to avoid immigration checkpoints and roadblocks. The U.S. border is two weeks from here on the back of the Beast. Along the way pregnant women, mothers with infants, teenagers and adults will sleep on the streets or, if lucky, in makeshift or more permanent church-run shelters. During the long journey, accidents often happen, and passengers tumbling off the roof have their limbs severed. An aid group in Honduras has counted more than 450 migrants who have returned mutilated. Derailments are common, with cars flying off the tracks, leading to injuries and death.

Murders, muggings, extortions, gang rapes of women and kidnappings (some 20,000 a year) are committed by the rapidly expanding Central American Mara Salvatrucha gangs or by Mexican drug traffickers such as the bloodthirsty Zetas...

Read full article here


DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans updated...

The updated paperback edition of "DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans: No More Gangs in Government," which I co-wrote with Jesse Ventura, has just been released by Skyhorse Publishing. It contains a new chapter about what's transpired since the last election.

Here is the former Minnesota governor's upcoming schedule of TV and radio appearances talking about the book:

Jesse Ventura's
Paperback Publicity Tour
June Schedule

- Dick Russell



The first volume of my new book, "The Life and Ideas of James Hillman," is being published in June by Helios Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. Volume one of the biography is sub-titled "The Making of a Psychologist." This is the result of more than seven years of research, and I hope that even those with even a passing interest in psychology will find it of interest. I'll be updating here concerning my appearances, reviews, etc. Meantime, please check out the book cover, the publisher's press release, and an announcement concerning my upcoming lecture at the Jung Institute in Los Angeles. - Dick Russell.


The Winter of the Monarch
by Lincoln P. Brower and Homero Aridjis

In 2000, I visited the monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico with Homero Aridjis, Lincoln Brower, and others. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've had in recent years - the stunning beauty of millions of these wondrous creatures festooned in the trees above us. As this piece in the New York Times by Homero and Lincoln demonstrates, the future existence of the monarchs - surely one of the great natural wonders of our planet - is theatened in several ways. This is a tragedy, and calls for action, especially on the front that Americans can fight: the proliferation of genetically modified organisms.

- Dick Russell


50 Reasons For 50 years

Recently Len Osanic interviewed me about my research into the Kennedy assassination, as part of his ongoing series "50 Reasons for 50 Years." I hope you'll check out his five-minute YouTube video.

- Dick Russell



My longtime friend Randy Foote, who teaches political science at Roxbury Community College in Boston, recently gave a talk at MIT titled "Legitimacy of the U.S. Election System." As you will see, this is more of a question than a declarative statement. Harkening back to the idealism he knew as a Harvard student in the late 1960s, moving through the questionable election of George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, on to the current election and the threat of another possible theft by the Republican-controlled electronic voting machines, Foote's talk offers food-for-thought. - Dick Russell




I have begun boxing up and donating a vast collection of research materials that I've gathered over the years in writing hundreds of articles and ten books. My extensive collection related to the Kennedy assassination and recent American history is going to Baylor University, which already has amassed material from numerous researchers in the field. (See www.baylor.edu/lib/poage) Files related to my book on "Black Genius" will be going to Northeastern University in Boston. My papers related to striped bass and fisheries conservation, utilized for my book "Striper Wars," are available at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. See the following link:

Click here: Finding aid for the Richard B. Russell striped bass and environmental journalism papers



My good friend Ross Gelbspan, author of two path-breaking books about climate change, has written a powerful piece about the impact of Hurricane Sandy and has given me permission to put it on my website. Go to www.heatisonline.org to keep up with Ross's up-to-the-minute postings on the climate crisis.

read: Not an act of God

From a young climate activist colleague, Yoni Binstock:

"I've recently added a new feature to the Climate Scores website where I've graded the Presidential candidates on how they stand on climate change."

by Dick Russell
Recently Posted
What have I been up to?  4/12
Skyhorse Publishing Launches New Investigative Book Imprint  5/19
Menhaden Talking Points: 2015 Quota and Ecosystem Management  4/12
Not Even James Bond Can Rescue Mexico's Image  4/12
40 Years Ago the World 'Discovered' Mexico's Monarch Habitat...  1/15
We're Mad as Hell, and We're Not Going to Take It Anymore  11/14
Lost at Sea  11/14
Movement for Restorative Justice, The  11/14
Migrants Ride a 'Train of Death' to Get to America...  7/14
New Chinese Mega-Resort Plan Threatens Baja Coral Reef  5/14
Gabriel García Márquez takes his place in the pantheon  4/14
These Three Amigos Can Save the Monarch  2/14
Last Call For Monarchs  2/14
Savior of the Whales  10/13
Guardian of the Gray Whales: Francisco (Pachico) Mayoral, R.I.P.  10/13
Bottom of Food Chain is Top Priority  12/12
Kennedy Assassination: New Developments, The  11/12
Billfish Conservation Act Becomes Law  11/12
Menhaden Harvest as Fish Oil Jeopardizes Ocean Food Chain  10/12
The Madness of Drilling in the Chukchi Sea  10/12
James Hillman, Therapist in Men’s Movement, Dies at 85  9/12
The Threat to Baja’s underwater ‘rain forest’  9/12
Striped Bass: A Grim Update  9/12
Of Whales and Fish  9/12
Charles Colson  6/12
The Sun, the Moon and Walmart  5/12

I did an 20-minute interview with Washington Update on July 5, which you can listen to by clicking on "here" in the article by Andrew Kreig. - Dick Russell
New Book: Honor the Founders, Abolish Political Parties by Andrew Kreig

DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans:
No More Gangs in Government

My fourth collaborative book with Jesse Ventura, "DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans: No More Gangs in Government," has just been published. It's a no-holds-barred indictment of the corruption inherent in the current two-party system, and the big-money takeover of American democracy. I hope you'll check it out.

Why the wrestler won’t get on a plane: Former Governor Jesse Ventura on flying and other political advice for voters

Jesse Ventura says political parties are just thugs in Brooks Brothers suits

When Forbes, the magazine of finance, starts getting behind Jesse's and my new book "DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans," it's a sure sign that the wake-up call is going out as a "red alert" about what's happened to our democracy.

Jesse Ventura Explains
Why Governments Are Like Gangs - Forbes

- Dick Russell

Click for more...

Climate Scores... where Congressmen are scored
on climate change legislation
including bills and amendments on
renewable energy, climate change mitigation, subsidies and tax policies, and greenhouse gas regulation.

Mexico Cancels Controversial Baja Resort Project

- This announcement by Mexico's President Calderon represents a huge victory for environmental activists fighting to stop a mega-resort development proposed for one of the most productive coral reefs left in the world. My friends and I, who have a residence not far away on Baja's Sea of Cortez, were very involved in the battle against a Spanish development outfit, Hansa Urbana. So were Mexico's great poet and environmental leader, Homero Aridjis, along with the NRDC and Wildcoast organizations as well as local groups from Cabo Pulmo. This is the most important grassroots achievement in Mexico since President Zedillo cancelled the proposed saltworks at the gray whales' pristine birthing habitat in Laguna San Ignacio in 2000, a story recounted in my book "Eye of the Whale." - Dick Russell

Click here: Mexico Cancels Controversial Baja Resort Project - ABC News

New From Homero Aridjis
"The Sun, the Moon, and Walmart"

My friend, the Mexican poet/environmentalist Homero Aridjis, has just released through his Group of 100 organization a petition signed by more than 150 writers and artists from 30 countries, asking Mexican President Felipe Calderon to cancel gold and silver mining concessions granted to Canadian companies in Wirikuta, the sacred territory of the Huichol people. The survival of Huichol culture is at stake. - Dick Russell

petitions:   Writers     Intellectuals

Dick Russell has been added to the roster of clients of the AEI Speakers Bureau. For anyone interested in booking a speaking engagement to hear Dick on any of several topics, here's a link to their website: www.aeispeakers.com


Author, Striper Wars

H796, An Act relative to the conservation of Atlantic striped bass

Massachusetts Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture
January 14, 2010

I thank you for allowing me to testify today on what I believe is an urgent conservation measure, vital to preserving for our children and grand-children the most magnificent fish that swims our near-shore waters. I am an environmental journalist and the author of six books, including one called Striper Wars, about the fish that is the subject of this hearing. And today I hope to offer some historical perspective, along with the reasons why H796 needs to be passed during the current legislative session.

Striped bass have been called the aquatic equivalent of the American bald eagle. Without Native Americans having taught the Pilgrims about how to take striped bass, they would not have survived their first difficult winters in the Plymouth Colony. Protection of striped bass was the reason for America’s very first conservation law, in 1639, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony general court ruled they were too valuable to be ground up and used for fertilizer. The first fishery management measures, in 1776, were also drawn up on the striper’s behalf...

complete article here

"Don't Start the Revolution without Me"

by Jesse Ventura and Dick Russell

Vintage Ventura on Display in New Book
Jesse Ventura Gets in (another) Last Word
CIA Confirms Ventura Meeting Occurred
Ventura had it right: CIA was here - Are they still?

Birth of an Island!

Published June 23rd, 2005...

Dick Russell's latest book:

Striper Wars

An American Fish Story

The remarkable story of how one species was brought back from the brink of extinction – only to face new and even more daunting threats...

When populations of striped bass began plummeting in the early 1980s, author and fisherman Dick Russell was there to lead an Atlantic coast conservation campaign that resulted in one of the most remarkable wildlife comebacks in the history of fisheries. As any avid fisherman will tell you, the striped bass has long been a favorite at the American dinner table; in fact, we've been feasting on the fish from the time of the Pilgrims. By 1980 that feasting had turned to overfishing by commercial fishing interests. Striper Wars is Dick Russell's inspiring account of the people and events responsible for the successful preservation of one of America's favorite fish and of what has happened since...

Click here for more...
hardcover: 288 pages / Island Press – Shearwater Books (June 23, 2005)


"Once in a while, a book comes along that redefines its subject to the extent that most previous works immediately become obsolete. Eye of the Whale is such a book...it will change the way you think about the natural world."

Named a Best Book of the Year by three major newspapers upon its initial publication, and now available for the first time in paperback, Eye of the Whale offers an exhilarating blend of adventure and natural history as Dick Russell follows the migration of the gray whale from Mexico's Baja peninsula to the Arctic's Bering Strait.

Click here for more...
Paperback: 688 pages / Island Press – Shearwater Books (September 20, 2004)


The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Revised, Updated Trade Paperback Edition of Dick Russell's landmark 1992 book on the Kennedy assassination, "The Man Who Knew Too Much," is now in bookstores nationwide.
Introduction by Lachy Hulme

Order it here

Click here for more...

Dick Russell's

Black Genius

in paperback

In this collection of essays and interviews journalist Dick Russell examines the role of African Americans through two centuries of American history. He focuses primarily on the role of blacks in the cultural life of the United States. Russell writes about notable figures such as educator Mary McLeod Bethune, speaks with Harvard professor Cornel West about W. E. B. Du Bois, and discusses Frederick Douglass and James Baldwin in an essay titled "Timeless Voices, Parallel Realities." Black Genius and the American Experience, with an introduction by Alvin F. Poussaint, takes a thoughtful and fascinating look at the contributions to U.S. history made by Americans of African descent.


Click here for more...
Paperback: 497 pages / Carroll & Graf Publishers (February 1, 1999)


Home  Author  Articles  Archives  Links  

click on the whale to send email