The claims of mystics, occultists, Wiccans, and neo-Pagans are typically rife with lies, gross exaggerations, misattributions, and other forms of deliberate deception and misdirection designed to make themselves look important. These days it seems that they are heavily influenced by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and are reinventing history the way they wish it was.
This is particularly true of many people who lay claim to the 1734 Tradition. Recently an acquaintance forwarded me a post that someone had made to a "Traditional Witchcraft" mailing list. In this post the person said "I mean this as no disrespect to Joe Wilson and his friends and/or followers. But if you want to read the Cochrane letters do so on this site: [URL deleted]. The Metista/1734 site has made some changes to the original letters." Naturally the writer signed it with one of those pseudonyms that people use when they don't have the courage of their convictions.
What a stupid statement. In the first place I don't have, want or need followers. I am not now, nor have I ever been, trying to build a 1734 empire with myself as its pope. It is because of those who ARE trying to do that, that I make the material available to everyone here so that sincere researchers can make up their own minds about it.
In the second place NO ONE has the ORIGINAL letters that Roy sent to me. Here is the reason for that.
My correspondence with Roy Bowers alias Robert Cochrane began when he sent me a letter in December of 1965 and ended about 6 months later. Roy wrote to me on different kinds of paper. Sometimes it was an "Air Letter" (a single sheet cut and folded so that an envelope was not necessary, designed for Air Mail post to countries overseas). Sometimes it was on onionskin paper, and sometimes it was on other odd sized paper. In order to keep the letters in a notebook so they would be easier to read I retyped them all on standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. In those days copy machines were rare, difficult to get to, and expensive for a low ranking enlisted man in the Air Force.
When I wrote to people I would often retype parts of letters or entire letters and send them to my correspondents. I typed copies of the entire set of letters several times between 1966 and 1970. In 1970, while in England, Norman Gills loaned me the letters and papers that Roy had left with him. A friend of mine, Reg Hinchliffe, photographed those letters and papers and made copies on cheap photographic paper for me. After I got them I again made typewritten copies of the entire set, though I was able to manage to sneek a photocopy of the drawings that Roy had included. Again over the next couple of years I retyped the entire set more than once, and pasted copies of the drawings in the appropriate places.
After my first wife and I separated in early 1973 she burned all of the papers that I had left in the house. Those papers included precious correspondance I had with several people, and all of the original material from Roy Bowers. The only thing that remains of them was the typewritten copy that I had taken with me.
What I have placed on this web page is as close to true and exact copies of the original material that exists. Yes, there are altered versions out there somewhere. Sometimes I edited things before sharing them with others. Sometimes other people edited them after they got them. But the copies that are on this site now are NOT EDITED.
What others have provided on their website are NOT photocopies of the originals, but are either photocopies of copies that I gave to them, or photocopies of copies that they got from someone else. They definitely may contain errors. They were not complete.
Naturally I'm not speaking about the letters from Roy to Bill Gray. I cannot speak for the authenticity of them. I leave that up to others.