Stephanie Caruana 22
Noteworthy is the complete absence in the Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File of any mention of Freemasonry. The Gemstone File papers contain several references to Freemasonry and the masonic affiliation of the authors brother and father. Neither have yet to be confirmed to have been freemasons.
The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File
The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File a 24-page typed and photocopied summary of a unified global conspiracy appeared on college campuses and in alternative bookstores across North America in 1975. Based on a collection of letters written in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Key is a seminal work in post-Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory.
The Gemstone File
The Gemstone File refers to either a collection of some thousand pages1 of handwritten letters and notes penned between 1968 and 1975 by Bruce Porter Roberts (1919/10/27-1976/07/30)2 or a set of perhaps 360 photocopied pages from a selection dated from August 1970 to August 1972, given by Roberts to Mrs. Mae Brussell née Magnin (1922/05/29-1988/10/03) in August or September 1972. The distinction is moot but when reading about the papers, the reader should be aware of the authors intent.
Brussell became interested in conspiracy research in 1963 and is mainly remembered as compiler of a comprehensive index to the Warren Report. Roberts claimed an intimate knowledge of a conspiracy dating to 1932 involving Kennedys assassination, the Mafia, the CIA and an organization "called MMORDIS - Mouldering Mass Of Rotten Dribbling Infectious Shit" which runs the entire world, controlling the American defense department, the intelligence agencies, and the Vatican.
According to Martin J. Cannon,3 Brussell created the Gemstone Fileliterallywhen she placed Roberts' photocopied papers into a manila folder and wrote the word "Gemstone" on the tab. The author of the The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File, Stephanie Caruana,4 claims that Roberts, in September 1974, told her in a handwritten note that the name derives from his purported early distribution of the papers, from 1968 onward, accompanied by artificial gemstones.5 James L. Moores explanation, or a G. Gordon Liddy origin, are unsubstantiated.6
There is no question that Roberts wrote the papers that The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File is based on, although at one time both the authorship of the papers and the Key have been questioned. For example, Cannon once pointed out a similarity in writing styles between the Skeleton Key and an article, "Why Was Patty Hearst Kidnapped?", published by Brussell in February 1974 in The Realist. But Roberts was a long-time listener to Brussell's radio broadcasts, and Caruana worked closely with Brussell, so there is no mystery there.
Authorship of the Skeleton Key
During two KLRB-FM radio broadcasts in 1977 and 19787 Mae Brussell reported that she had met Stephanie Caruana in early 1974 and that Caruana had met Roberts and subsequently wrote the Skeleton Key or at least the original of the anonymously distributed 24 or 23-page typed photocopies that began to appear in 1975. Caruana reports that she met Roberts in September 1974: "The Skeleton Key was based on notes I made on the Norwegian letters [letters to the Norwegian consul] of December 1974-March 1975, plus what Roberts told me personally and what I remembered of the file I had read at Maes."
Caruana published Gemstone-based material in a December 1974 Playgirl magazine article entitled "Is Howard Hughes Dead and Buried off a Greek Island?"8 The article makes no mention of Bruce Roberts or of the Gemstone Files, and is based largely on "Proof that Pres. Kennedy Survived Assassination: Chance Photos Show JFK Alive on Skorpios," an article by Greg Watson that appeared in the Canadian tabloid Midnight on October 18, 1971. The story was later reprinted in the Weekly World News in 1990. In 2005 Caruana claimed to have known Roberts in 1974 and 1975, and, at that time, to have about 400 photocopied pages of Roberts' correspondence and notes. Reportscited by James L. Moorethat she had also claimed to have met him in 1972, or earlier, appear to be unfounded. She further claimed : "Various versions of the Key have appeared and circulated since the first one I wrote and released, which was dated April 1, 1975. I wrote three or four "editions", dated in April, May, and June, of 1975, and either gave them away, or sold them for $3.00, the cost of making copies."9
James L. Moore (b. 02/09/1945 or 07/02/1945)10 claimed in the mid-eighties to have met Roberts in San Francisco in 1967, a claim that Caruana strongly contests, although she accepts that he may have received copies of Roberts' letters. He also claims to be the author of the Skeleton Key, having finished compiling it on 1 May 1975, but that his Gemstone notes were stolen from his home. His claims appear to be unsupported.
Moore claimed: "The first documented publication of what could be Gemstone material occurred in early May 1975 in Modern People magazine and entitled "Modern People Exclusive: Who REALLY Killed JFK?" by James L. Moore. While it does not mention Bruce Roberts or the Gemstone Files by name, it does mention the link between Aristotle Onassis to the [Kennedy] assassination." Moore further writes: "The earliest possible mention of any published source that links Caruana to The Key is an August 1975 article in a now-defunct publication called The City of San Francisco."
Another party to the controversy is Peter Renzo (b. 1946), who claimed to have received a copy of the Gemstone File from an unidentified, dying friend. He also claimed to be a CIA agent, but made no claim going back before 1976 when he authored a book based on a heavily-altered version of the Skeleton Key later published in February 1979 by Hustler magazine. On 12 August 1980 the tabloid Globe began serializing Renzos Gemstone Files, calling them "fantasy".
The controversy over Caruanas authorship rests on a misconception that Caruana claimed that the Skeleton Key was a précis of the Gemstone File. As noted above, it was actually based on her memories of a small part of the file, copies of other letters given her by Roberts and her conversations with Roberts. While researcher Gary Buell was once skeptical of Caruanas claimed authorship, today both he, Martin Cannon and James H. Daugherty11 agree that there is no grounds to doubt that she wrote the 1975 Skeleton Key. Gerald A. Carroll gives Caruana credit as "author and distributor" of the Skeleton Key, noting: "The entire chapter on Caruana in [Jim Keiths] The Gemstone File is written in a somewhat suspect style."12 Inconsistencies in Caruanas claims have raised suspicions but can easily be explained by the fact that she is recalling thirty-year old events. James L. Moore continues to claim to have written the Skeleton Key but has not proven his case.
If Roberts wrote some thousand pages, the question also remains, where are the papers? It should be noted that only 351 photocopied pages are claimed extant as well as a small handful of other photocopied correspondence. While many of the pages were photocopies of correspondence to heads of state, politicians and others, to datewith one exception located by Stephanie Caruana13no original document received by a purported recipient has surfaced.
There have been several researchers investigating the Gemstone File and the files history, but two stand out. Martin J. Cannon, who appears to have accepted Mae Brussells publicly expressed antipathy for the Skeleton Key, believes that Roberts was "an alcoholic with a brain tumor and hallucinations of importance". He contendsand appears to have demonstratedthat claims made in the 351 pages of the Gemstone Files that he has seen are easily deconstructed and disproven. He quotes Daugherty, who wrote on 26 December 1994: "I don't think its true. It is even hard to find parts of it that are true." "The key insight is that there is no integration of its narrative into known geopolitical history." Earlier, in Lobster Issue 19 (1990) in 'Conspiracy, Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Research', Robin Ramsay notes that he had rebutted Gemstones central claims in International Times (Vol 4 No 11, 1978).
The other researcher is Gary Buell whotongue-in-cheek claims to be the worlds leading authority on the Gemstone File. Like Cannon, Buell accepts Caruanas authorshipand her claim that the full file was some thousand pagesand believes that Moore may have submitted the Skeleton Key to Hustler before they published it, but that they already had it from other sources. Although Buell agrees that Roberts was mentally unstable, unlike Cannon he is open to the idea that Roberts may have had inside information on John F. Kennedys assassination.
Both Buell and Cannon claim to be in possession of photocopies of the 351 [349 or 352] pages. According to Buell, Caruana obtained her copies of the letters in 2000 from bookdealer Tom Davis (c. 1931-01/2002), a claim corroborated by Caruana. Moore and Renzo have also claimed to possess copies. Until recently the only available transcriptions of Roberts' correspondence were those "edited" by Caruana. These are available as either a CD or a trade paperback, The Gemstone File - A Memoir (see Bibliography). To date, no original manuscriptsRoberts is claimed by Caruana to have written in ballpoint pen on lined yellow legal padshave surfaced, although Buell claims to possess two original pages, written in pencil on unlined paper.14 Buell's copies of the pages show that Caruana has edited and bowdlerized Roberts' original text. On Tuesday, 31 January 2006 he posted the text of 352 pages at realgemstonefile.blogspot.com/.
History of the Gemstone File
Caruana believes that Brussell made three photocopies of the papers for distribution to three of her friends. Their location is unknown, although Caruana assumes that one went to John Judge, who has absented himself from the discussion, and that another one went to Davis. The third is unaccounted for. Buell claims to have received a set from Davis, while Cannon made two copies of Davis' set. Neither Moore nor Renzo have demonstrated that they actually possess sets.
Cannon reports that in 1988 Brussells materials passed into the hands of her long-time friend, mail-order bookseller Tom Davis, of Aptos, California: "forty well-stuffed four-drawer file cabinets, along with dozens of large cardboard boxes brimming with correspondence, notebooks, unfiled news clippings, pamphlets, and monographs not to mention innumerable magazines representing the entire range of political opinion, from left to right to off-the-map".16 In 1994 the collection was moved to Santa Barbara, California, where Davis hoped to establish a Brussell Library in the basement of a dignified old office building he then owned. Inspired by Jim Keiths 1992 book, in 1995 Cannon arranged to transcribe the 300 or more Gemstone pages supplied by Davis, although he quickly realized that "Roberts' quirky (but for the most part legible)" handwritten notes were unintelligible, and gave up the project.16 Also around this time, another friend of Davis', Gwen Sky, transcribed the letters over an eight month period into a 349 page MSWord document.17 Cannon recalls that Virginia McCullough acquired the Brussell collection when Davis sold the Santa Barbara office building in 1996 although McCullough believes she acquired the collection earlier. Regardless of the actual date, the Robert's letters, and any transcriptions, were not in the collection.18
Cannon reports that the Gemstone folder in the Brussell collection was empty when he saw it in 1995; that Davis kept the Gemstone pages in a manilla envelope in his home collection. Although Caruana claims that Davis had told her that he never allowed copies of the Gemstone papers to be made, there is no reason to disbelieve Cannon's claim to have made two copies.19 According to Cannon, Davis later gave copies to Stephanie Caruana and Gary Buell.
Bay Area journalist and self-styled curator of the Mae Brussell Collection, Virginia McCullough reports that she has "been unable to locate even one letter allegedly written by Bruce Roberts...." Caruana accepts this but also believes that the collection is currently nothing more than an inaccessable stack of cardboard boxes piled in a damp basement.
It should be noted that all of these papers were photocopies or photocopies of photocopies. Brussell had returned the original handwritten pages to Roberts after making a photocopied set. Davis only acquired a set of photocopies of 351 pages with Brussell's scribbled marginalia on the first hundred or so pages. If there had originally been 1,000 pages or more, no trace of them remains. As far as Cannon knows, those 351 photocopied pages were the only pages in Brussell's possession. The originals returned to Roberts were most probably disposed of with the other ephemera of Robert's estate.
Brussell held a set of the papers from 1972 until her death in 1988 but according to Caruana never looked at them closely, and according to Cannon appears to have lost interest after reading, and annotating, about a hundred pages. Caruana, having spent some time in conversation with Roberts has the greatest claim to understanding his mindset. She has had a set of the papers since 2000 and appears to uncriticallyand somewhat defensivelyaccept the claims made in them. Davis held a set of the papers from 1988 until his death in 2002 but there is no record of his opinion of them other than an expressed belief that they were unpublishable.20
Unfortunately for disinterested historians, there is no definitive text. There has been no attempt made to correlate the various sets of papers or objectively evaluate them and their provenance. Caruana is intent on not allowing anyone to see the pages in her possession, and has limited access to her edited text versions. Buell's textfile of his set of pages which he first promised to post online in 2002,21 are now available, but if this textfile is the one transcribed by Sky, it needs to be carefully compared to the extant photocopies. Cannon never completed his transcription and sees no value in doing so.
There is no question that Bruce Porter Roberts existed. His San Francisco obituary reports that he was survived by a daughter and brother, and there are at least two photographs of him, one with entertainer Carmen Miranda.
Bruce Robert may have been nothing more than a paranoid schizophrenic, as demonstrated by excerpts seen in Martin Cannons Exposed at last: The Real Gemstone File (2001), but the Skeleton Key has become an archetype for unified global conspiracy theories. Richard Alans The Gemstone File, Sixty Years of Corruption and Manipulation. (1992) and Gerald Carrolls Project Seek: Onassis, Kennedy and the Gemstone Thesis (1994) both purport to provide documentation of the truth of Roberts' accusations. An anonymous New Zealand writer (identified as Anthony Pollock in wikipedia) produced a lengthy continuation called The Kiwi Gemstone, or The Opal File, in 1988, and there have been at least one spy novel and five non-fiction books on the topic.
Noteworthy, for the purposes of this website, is the complete absence in the Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File of any mention of Freemasonry. The Gemstone File papers, as posted by Buell and published by Caruana, contain several references to Freemasonry and the masonic affiliation of the authors brother and father, although neither have been confirmed to have been freemasons.
Richard Alan (pseud.), The Gemstone File, Sixty Years of Corruption and Manipulation. Columbus, Ohio : Crown Pub. Co., November 1992. xlvi, 403 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN : 0963170457
Gerald A. Carroll (1954- ), Project Seek : Onassis, Kennedy, and the Gemstone thesis. Carson City : Bridger House, 1994. ISBN : 0964010402. The Skeleton Key made no mention of Freemasonry, and Carroll also wrote: "A popular theory that conspiracy advocates have pushed for years involves the so called 'Illuminati'...." "The only trouble with this thesis is that its too easy an explanation for the current world situation. Granted, some Freemasons are in positions of power. But some people, like Onassis, were members of no such group." [pp. 326-27]. But then he includes a baffling flowchart which implicates both the so-called Illuminati and the Freemasons at the highest levels of an alleged "Conspiracy Network".
Stephanie Caruana, Bruce Roberts' Gemstone File http://gemstone-file.com (offline as of 2004/12/28). THE GEMSTONE FILE. Onassis, Howard Hughes, JFK, Jackie, Bobby, Nixon, Nader, and the CIA/Mafia/Big money take over of the U.S. in 1963. US history from the 1920s to 1975, by Bruce Roberts. Includes Skeleton Key edited with additions by Stephanie Caruana. 2001. Compact Disk available at http://www.lasthurrahbookshop.com/assframe.html
Stephanie Caruana, The Gemstone File: A Memoir. http://gemstone-file-memoir.com (2005/09/07 - ). Victoria, Canada : Trafford Publishing, 2006/10/16. [Self-published]. 478 pp. pb. b&w images. 8"x10". ISBN 1-4120-6137-7
David [Hatcher] Childress, Kenn Thomas, Inside the Gemstone File. Steamshovel Press. 1999. [Adventures Unlimited Press, July 1999] ISBN : 0932813666
Jim Keith, The Gemstone file. 1st IllumiNet Press ed. Atlanta : IllumiNet Press, 1992. viii, 214 p. ; 22 cm. ISBN : 0962653454
Peter Renzo, Beyond the Gemstone File. 1976 Fighting Tigers, 1980 [Vantage Press, NY : June 1990. ISBN : 0533090970]
Martin Cannon, Exposed at last: The Real Gemstone File. newsmakingnews.com/mcgemstoneexposedatlast.htm
James Daugherty alt.conspiracy,alt.illuminati,alt.discordia : "gemstone file" 26 Dec 1994 06:26:40 -0500
Virginia McCullough, "Requests, Research and Retrieval". newsmakingnews.com/vm10,30,01MBresearch.htm. 2001.
Jim Moore, "Who is Bruce Roberts?" geocities.com/omegareport/Authors/06-Roberts-Bruce.htm. 2002.
MaeBrussell.com P.O. Box 24553 San Jose, CA 95154-4553 USA maebrussell.com
1. "My estimates of '1000 pages or more' given during various interviews were attempts to straighten out the confusion caused by Maes statements here and perhaps elsewhere that she had the 'only complete set,' consisting of 360 pages. Also, I referred to number of pages, not number of letters. Some of these letters were very long. The series of six or seven letters to Ralph Nader, which comprised the first part of Maes series, and which I have included in this book, take up more than 150 pages." Stephanie Caruana, 2001. Cf.: "They were a series of letters that he wrote to his mother, or a diary that he kept for himself." Mae Brussell. KLRB-FM interview, 1978.
"ROBERTS, Bruce Porter July 30, 1976. Bruce Porter Roberts, father of Beverly Siganoff; beloved son of Eva R. Roberts; brother of D. L. Roberts; nephew of C.J. Kimball; a native of New York; a veteran of WWII. Services Mon. 2:30 p.m. DAPHNEs 1 CHURCH ST." S.F. Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, August 1, 1976. Section B, page 7. Also see: "Bruce Porter Roberts was born Oct. 27, 1919, in the state of New York, and died July 30, 1976, in San Francisco...." p. 3 ; "body cremated Aug. 4" p. 182. Gerald A. Carroll, Project Seek, Onassis, Kennedy and the Gemstone Thesis, Obituary cited but not quoted on p. 163.
3. After a decade of UFO research, in 1987-88 Martin J. Cannon wrote The Controllers: A New Hypothesis of Alien Abduction, a paper which he recanted on 21 March 1997. His 'Mind Control and the American Government,' was published in Lobster 23 in 1992 lobster-magazine.co.uk. See ufomind.com and mindcontrolforums.com. His interest in the Gemstone File lead to his writing Exposed at last: The Real Gemstone File in 2001. Since then he has had no contact with the loosely-defined conspiracist community but has pursued a career in advertising and other writing.
4. Born in Manhatten in 1934, Stephanie J. Caruana was raised in Miami Beach, Florida. She has been a freelance magazine writer since at least the mid-1970s. Her work appeared in early issues of Playgirl magazine. Between Fall 1987 and August 1991 she published and edited five issues of Spear Shaker Review. She wrote a play, Spear Shaker which was read on November 5, 1995 in Cambridge, MA, and was a contributor to the Summer 1996 Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter. Since 2000 she has been promoting her edited transcripts of Roberts' papers. If internet sources are to be relied on, she is currently a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has lived in a number of Massachusetts communities. She was a one-time member of Boston Mensa and the Blue Boar Society, and visited Papillote Wilderness Retreat in Roseau, West Indies in 1999. See find.intelius.com. She denies Moores claim that she graduated from Bishop Kearny High School in 1968. Moore also claims to have email correspondence in which Caruana contradicts herself in her claims of meeting Roberts, but Moore has proven not to be a reliable source.
5. "Roberts showed me a pile of rubies and diamonds that he had created. He gave me a hand-written note listing several foreign embassies in San Francisco where I might be able to read some of the Gemstone letters. (These were serious, private, secret letters about world affairs.) At one of these embassies, I was given a file to read that contained letters written to the leader of this particular country. I was able to ask for the file by name, and thats how I received it: in a file folder labeled "Gemstone File." Stephanie Caruana, email correspondence. 2001.
6. Liddy notes first using the term "Gemstone" on 27 January 1972, at a meeting with Attorney General John Mitchell, John Dean and Jeb Magruder, as a code name for plans to gather political intelligence and counter oppositional demonstrations in U.S.A. president Richard Nixons upcoming reelection campaign. Transcripts of meetings on 16 and 17 April 1973 when "Gemstone" and another operationan operative posing as a chauffeur loyal to Muskiecode named "sedan chair" were mentioned, were released on 5 August 1974 with later transcripts released in September 1974, but the terms were already common knowledge and the subject of parody in "G. Gordon Liddy, Agent of C.R.E.E.P.", By Marc Rubin and Chris Miller; Illustrated by Francis Hollidge, National Lampoon, October 1973, Vol. 1, No. 43 "Banana" where Howard Hunt is depicted composing erotica in his head: "'...come and get me', she breathed, draped across the sedan chair, her breasts were like gemstones." See Will, The autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, G. Gordon Liddy [George Gordon Battle Liddy], St. Martins Press, 1980. p. 196.
7. "They were put together by Stephanie Caruana. She came to my house to do an interview with me, for Playgirl magazine." Dialogue Conspiracy Mae Brussell. 25 December 1977.
8. Playgirl, vol ii, no, 7, December 1974. Douglas Lambert, publisher. Editor-in-Chief, Marin Scott Milam. Playgirl Inc., Los Angeles, California. "Is Howard Hughes Dead and Buried off a Greek Island, A noted theorist on conspiracies, a contributing editor, and an informer named Tiger Eye bring us an unlikely tale. Or is it?" by Mae Brussell and Stephanie Caruana. pp. 28-30, 41, 123, 125, 138. "Mae Brussell is a researcher who has spent ten years studying political assassinations and conspiracies in the United States. She teaches a course called Assassinations and Conspiracies at Monterey Peninsula College, and does a weekly radio news analysis over Station KLRB-FM, in Carmel, California. Stephanie Caruana is a regular contributor to Playgirl, currently working with Mae Brussell."
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