In his August 2006 story "Bohemian Grove Exposes Itself!" the Weekly's Nick Schou interviewed an unnamed Orange County resident and former employee of the private, all-male, 2,700-acre forest retreat in Sonoma County that was founded in 1872 and served as stomping grounds for California's richest men. This was a coup because the Bohemian Grove's primary directive was that members and employees never speak with reporters about the place, secrecy that no doubt fueled notorious rumors of homosexuality, bizarre rituals involving satanism and human sacrifice, and origins stretching back through history to a secret cult in ancient Egypt. It was not Schou's interview that prompted a recent trip down memory lane by John Taylor, the Rancho Santa Margarita Episcopal priest and former Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace executive director, but "The Piss-Poor Secrets of the Bohemian Grove" on Gawker.
Like Schou's piece (which discovered members still like to drink and piss on trees), and Gawker's (which offered "Good luck with that!" to infiltrators bent on uncovering some cabal in the act of running the world, complete with Satanic rituals), and even a decade-old Forbes piece (which rated it a Burning Man for old dudes), Taylor discovered no big whoop, according to "Bohemian Grove Rhapsody" on his Episconixonian blog.
I went in the early 1990s as an aide to former President Nixon and even spent a night at the famed Cave Man Camp, where RN and Herbert Hoover were both members. I saw nothing untoward--just a few hundred rich, powerful men wandering along sun-dappled paths, telling stories, and listening to jazz while sitting on redwood decks in the brisk evening air and sipping drinks or eating chocolate chip cookies. It was gracious but a little boring, if only because George Gershwin and Cole Porter songs are more fun in settings with both men and women. I also remember a lot of views and suggestions being exchanged about prostate trouble.
Sounds like poker night in a Laguna Woods rec room. Or a night with my uncle. Taylor includes two photos with his post. He's in the '90s shot above with Nixon and Cave Man campers Hank Greenberg of AIG, former attorney general Ed Meese, Dwayne Andreas of Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Herbert Hoover's grandson, Pete. There's also a shot from 1967, when Nixon talked about an article he wrote from the same year titled "Asia after Vietnam." Then-Governor Ronald Reagan stands next to Dick.
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Read the rest of Taylor's post for an amusing story about Nixon, Reagan and their resort wear.