Bowart, Walter

Walter Howard Bowart (deceased December 18, 2007)

Walter Bowart, a leader in the counterculture movement of the late 1960s, founder and editor of the first underground newspaper in New York, The East Village Other, and author of the book Operation Mind Control, died December 18th, 2007, age 68.

Mr. Bowart was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1939 and was raised in Enid, Oklahoma. His talent for writing became apparent early on: at Enid High School he was president of the Journalism Club and co-editor of the school’s newspaper, the Quill Weekly. He subsequently won a McMahon Scholarship in journalism to the University of Oklahoma. In the early 1960s he moved to New York, initially to pursue an interest in painting. There, he met his first wife Linda Dugmore, daughter of Abstract Expressionist Edward Dugmore, and together they had a son, Wolfe. In 1965, Mr. Bowart, along with John Wilcock, Sherry Needham, and Allan Katzman, founded the East Village Other (EVO). EVO was widely regarded as the voice of “the movement” and offered a newsprint medium for the rants, artwork, poetry and comics of such 60’s icons as Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Crumb, Marshall McCluhan, Spain Rodriguez, and The Fugs. It was during this period that Mr. Bowart testified at the Senate Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee hearing held in 1966 in Washington, D.C., against banning LSD.

Through his connection with Timothy Leary and the psychedelic underground, Walter met his second wife, Peggy Mellon Hitchcock. They moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1968 where Bowart founded Omen Press, a publishing house for metaphysical books. He and Peggy had two daughters, Sophia and Nuria. During this period Walt wrote the book that was to become his seminal work, Operation Mind Control. Operation Mind Control, published by Dell in 1978, is a 686-page investigative report into government mind control through the use of drugs such as LSD, behavior modification, hypnosis, and other “psycho-weapons.” With a foreword by “The Manchurian Candidate” author Richard Condon, it became a benchmark in its field.

Following a European promotional tour, Bowart moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he continued his research, became a contributor to the Aspen Daily News, and met and married Margo Jordan. In the early 1980s, Bowart created and published the Port Townsend Daily News in Washington, where he met and married Rebecca Fullerton and had his fourth child, Wythe. In the late 80s, Walter moved to Palm Springs, California to become the editor of Palm Springs Life Magazine.

During Mr. Bowart’s later years, he researched and wrote prolifically. He created The Freedom of Thought Foundation; a non-profit dedicated to the education of the public about mind control. Walt was a frequently invited guest speaker at forums and conferences around the country. At the time of his death, Mr. Bowart was working on several screenplays and novels, one entitled The Other Crusades, about New York in the early 1960s.

He will be greatly missed by his friends and family. In addition to his four children, he is survived by three sisters Janet, Nancy and Kathy. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Hospice of Spokane, P.O. Box 808, Chewelah, Washington, 99109. For more information on the memorial service email Walt Bowart Memorial

Remembering Walter Bowart

We came to know Walter while he lived with us. He became part of our family because of his love, support and understanding for all of us. We endured good and bad times together but we supported each other throughout the way. Walter was an incredible soul who radiated warmth to all who surrounded him. He was that person who loved to give, and not ever waiting to get anything back, because giving was his pleasure in itself.

He was brilliant in many different ways. In terms of intelligence, his intellect was way beyond the usual capacity. Walter would often be found reading a book, listening to the radio, watching TV and taking notes while having a conversation with you at the same time. He liked to sleep with the History Channel or his favorite radio station on and when he would wake, he would tell all about the programs that subconsciously entered his forever open and ready mind. He amazed us with this every time. He would buy a new book just about every day and use his speed reading ability to get through them instantaneously. His books were his treasures and he valued them for the knowledge that gave him such pleasure. He was always looking for the truth in every aspect of life and beyond. His hunger for knowledge was endless and this drove him in his search for more than most people would readily accept to be true.

Walter was also great with people. It seemed like he was a magnet that everyone was willing and desired to stick to. He found a way into everyone’s heart within minutes of meeting them, and he did it with sincerity. He wasn’t trying to be nice; he loved people and saw positive sides in every person and helped them realized these qualities within themselves.

He was the greatest teacher we knew and at the same time he would always say that every person he encountered was a teacher for him. This was another one of his many gifts, to recognize everyone’s potential and encourage them how to use it correctly.

He also had such a fun sense of humor and his laugh was so attractive, we could not help but simply laugh with him at times for the pleasure of sharing the moment. He was happy as we knew him, and it was always easy to get that gentle and warm smile out of him. Even during his sickness, his spirit found joy in many things and he did not want to show us his pain so that it would not in turn hurt us. We love Walter very much and always will. He will always be in our heart and his room in our house will always remain Walter’s room. Every time we go in there we can feel his energy, remember our many conversations and his big blue sparkly eyes. He was a best friend to all of us.

Galina, Nadya and Nick Migalko