Francis E. Dec
– January 21
) was an American from Hempstead, New York
known for his social-political tracts
and conspiracy theories
. He is classified by some as a kook
According to several sources, Francis E. Dec produced and self-published a series of fliers containing paranoid
rants, all of which contained a number of recurring themes and claims of a more or less bizarre or fantastic nature
Recurring themes and phrases in Mr. Dec's rants are, to name only a few, an entity referred to by Dec as the "World Wide Communist Gangster Computer God", its "Frankenstein Earphone Radio" and "Eyesight Television" (often preceded by Frankenstein as well), along with allegations of political chicanery on the part of Presidents and Vice Presidents throughout US history. For example Dec alleges that Lyndon Johnson lured John F. Kennedy to Dallas in order to have him killed and that Teddy Roosevelt did the same to William McKinley by luring him to New York. Other recurring themes include anti-communism, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and various other conspiracy theories, racial and otherwise. An analysis of Mr. Dec's written material suggests that he thought he was also regularly abducted and operated upon by the so-called "Worldwide Mad Deadly Gangster Computer God" as well as constantly monitored via various cranial implants (see theories of mental illness below).
Although categorizing recurring themes in Dec's rants is relatively easy, further explaining the bizarre worldview expressed through his writings is largely impossible without quoting an actual excerpt:
Dec also incorporated into his rants one Frank Gulotta, ex-District Attorney Nassau County, who once acted as prosecution in a trial which would eventually come to result in Dec's conviction and disbarment as a lawyer (see below), as well as the Judge (one William Sullivan) who presided over the court case in question.
Fame and notoriety
Dec's publications have been republished in a number of places, such as Robert Crumb
magazine, as well as found its way into the theology
of the Church of the SubGenius
by way of the church's digest the "Stark Fist of Removal". Additionally he is recognized as a Saint by the Discordians
and listed in their hierarchy. There is also a mathematical analysis which uses some of Dec's writing in an entropic evaluation of the Voynich Manuscript
In 1985, after receiving a stack of Dec's flyers, Boyd "Doc" Britton (also known as "Doc on the Roq"), a disc jockey for the Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM, recorded himself reading five of Dec's rants over various background music selected and mixed in quite at random. The tapes circulated underground, creating and building further interest in Francis E. Dec. The voice track from Boyd "Doc" Britton's recording was used by Psychic TV's track "St. Francis E.", though this recording uses different background music. Various samples of these recordings can also be found on Venetian Snares' track "Americanized". MP3's of his original recordings are archived at WFMU's weblog
The delusions of Francis E. Dec have also been dramatized in the form of a stage play by the theatre troupe Radiohole in 1999. Dec's tracts served as the basis for a play entitled "A History of Heen: Not Francis E. Dec, Esq."
Early life and upbringing
Francis E. Dec was born in the Long Island
community of Hempstead, New York on January 6, 1926, and appears to have lived there for most of his life. He was the son of butcher Jan (later John F.) Dec (1893-1971) and Rose M. Dec (née Jronic or Jronek) (born circa 1890). Both of Mr. Dec's parents were born in Poland
and immigrated to the United States, his mother in 1910 and his father in 1912, and were married circa 1920–1921. Mr. Dec also had an older brother, Joseph I. Dec (born in 1921), whom he mentions in several of his rants as "his only brother". Francis Dec later wrote of attending a Catholic grade school taught by nuns, and appears to have completed at least three years of high school before he volunteered for military service in World War II
Military and professional life
Francis E. Dec enlisted as a private in the United States Army Air Forces
in April 1944. After six weeks of basic training
at Keesler Field
near Biloxi, Mississippi
, he was enrolled in the Army Air Forces Technical School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
. He graduated from the Radio Operator and Mechanics Course in January 1945. He subsequently was stationed at USAAF bases in Yuma, Arizona
, Lincoln, Nebraska
, Dallas, Texas
, and Fairfield, California
. He was honorably discharged as a Private First Class
in May 1946.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950 from the College of Liberal Arts at St. John's University in Brooklyn, New York.
Mr. Dec was at one time a lawyer. He was admitted to the New York state bar on March 31, 1954 but was disbarred on January 19, 1959. Dec apparently was also a notary public.
Mr. Dec was disbarred for convictions on two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and Fraud or Deceit by a Notary Public. Dec tried, unsuccessfully, for years to have the case overturned on appeal. All appeals were denied and the case, when it was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, was denied certiorari. Nevertheless, he continued to refer to himself as Francis E. Dec, Esq., in his later correspondence.
In late 2006, more information was obtained concerning Francis E. Dec's legal battles from the National Archives. A copy of the U.S. Supreme Court appeal has been obtained, and is available for viewing online. This appeal is referred to as a "Maximum Conviction Appeal Brief" by Dec in one of his later rants.
In viewing his legal correspondence, some have observed what might eventually be a conspiracy against him by forces within Nassau County, New York—though one must remember that this is only the view as presented by Mr. Dec.
Efforts are currently underway to unearth more information on Mr. Dec that may shed more light on this individual—especially his original court case and further biographical information on the man. As of late 2006, the most concise source of information on Mr. Dec is the timeline available by way of the Official Francis E. Dec Fanclub.
Mr. Dec was still alive and residing in a VA hospital
in Queens, New York
in 1995, at which time he was visited by several people who had come across some of his rants and wanted to ask him about their origin and meaning. As far as is currently known, these individuals were the only fans of Dec ever to have met or spoken to him at any length. The visit produced no answers whatsoever from Dec, but its timing turned out to be most fortuitous as Francis died only a few weeks later on January 21, 1996.
Theories of mental illness
Dec's writings provide an interesting insight into advanced paranoia
. The internally self-consistent claims contained within his tracts and rants are also strongly in keeping with common definitions of delusion
as described by modern psychology. One can, for example, draw certain similarities between Dec's claims of being "Frankenstein controlled" by the so-called "Worldwide Mad Deadly Gangster Computer God" and the claims of 18th Century paranoiac James Tilly Matthews
of being "tortured-at-a-distance" by what he termed "the Air Loom Gang". Due to the bizarre nature of his claims, it is believed by many that Mr. Dec suffered from schizophrenia
— most likely the kind referred to by Victor Tausk
as Schizofreniform influencing machine delusion
— though without medical records this remains supposition.
It also seems likely that Mr. Dec's mental condition either gradually or rapidly deteriorated after his conviction in the forgery case (cited above), as his appeal brief — although rambling, paranoia laden and disjointed at times — still manages to be coherent and to present a fair representation of his perception of the errors in his conviction. On the other hand; his "rants", produced later, lack overall coherence and are heavily laden with paranoia as well as a highly developed conspiracy mindset. As such, even though some theories produced by Dec in his "rants" can be seen in germinal form in his appeal brief, they are not there fully as developed as they would later come to be — possibly indicating the onset of mental illness after his conviction.
Further, currently unavailable, material by Dec
One of the most interesting facts about Mr. Dec is that there are only a small number of his rants that are extant, even though he claims to have "mailed world-wide" countless fliers and letters in an effort to expose the conspiracies that he writes of. He mentions in his rants a "detailed 8 page letter", which purports to expose the "Worldwide Communist Gangster Computer God", that he supposedly mailed to various political figures over the years. Three additional rants that he is known to have written, but which are currently unavailable for study are titled; "Astrocism — The True Religion of the Slovene People" and "The Pasteurized Milk Conspiracy", as well as the "History of the Computer God".
It should be noted that most of the material collected on Francis E. Dec is thanks to Donna Kossy
(see link below) and her immortalization of Dec in her book "Kooks", as well as Boyd "Doc on the ROQ" Britton for his recordings of several of Dec's rants. However the most extensive collection of Francis E. Dec material currently available has been collected and unearthed by various members of and friends of the "Official Francis E. Dec Fanclub" (see link below).
- Kossy, Donna. Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief (Los Angeles: Feral House, 1994)