This is something I'm very interested in too. I've always been a huge
Hunter Thompson fan and I've read practically everything he ever published. He was sort of a hero of mine during my teen years and and overly extended adolescence. But the more I read about him the more I realized he did have a dark side. I find it hard to believe he was involved in snuff films or pedophilia -- and I am still very skeptical -- however I can't shake the feeling that there's some kind of fire to go with all the smoke.
Here's another data point. His former assistant, Nikole Brown, claims he watched snuff films.
So that makes three sources for snuff film rumors, right?
I think one thing to ask is, do these stories about him even make any sense?
Maybe. As far as pornography goes, we know Thompson had an interest. Hunter was the honorary night manager of the Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theater, a notorious strip club in San Francisco. He spent a lot of time hanging out with strippers and people in the porn trade including the Mitchell brothers and porn director Gail Palmer (who incidentally accused Thompson of sexual assault). He even wrote not one but two books based on his experiences at the O'Farrell; a non-fiction book called The Night Manager
and a fiction book entitled Polo Is My Life
, neither of which have ever been published. The Mitchell brothers made a movie about Hunter's college campus tours, titled "The Crazy Never Die
," which included scenes of hunter cavorting with naked strippers / porn actresses. So it's safe to say the sex industry is
something Thompson was quite interested in and he knew and hobnobbed with some of the people in it. "Gonzo Journalism," the subjective style of journalism Thompson pioneered requires the reporter to be part
of the story (see his first successful book Hells Angels
for example). Is it then that far-fetched to speculate he may have gotten involved with the actual production of pornography in some way, considering he was researching and writing about it? Knowing that Thompson took so many things to far extremes (drinking, drug, guns, fast cars, motorcycles, etc.) is it ridiculous to speculate that he may have at least dabbled in some of the more extreme forms of pornography out there? And is there a more extreme form of pornography than snuff films? I know what I've just outlined is highly speculative and circumstantial, but I find the idea that Hunter could have been involved in these things at least plausible
What about the Bohemian Grove story? This one is even further fetched. Yet, is it remotely possible that Thompson was a member of the Bohemian Club, or at perhaps the guest of a member? We can't really know because the membership list is secret. However, the Bohemian Club was founded by staffers of the San Francisco Examiner. Concurrent with Thompson's time at the O'Farell, he was writing a weekly column for The Examiner. He knew many politicians, writers and journalists, perhaps including some who may have been members of the club. He also spent a lot of time in San Francisco where the club is based. The modern Bohemian Club seems to go to great lengths to keep reporters away, but there are exceptions. Walter Cronkite was a member and a regular attendee of the Grove retreat, for example, and several accomplished journalist-authors are or have been members. While there isn't much corroborating the Grove story, it doesn't seem utterly impossible. I find it intriguing. The crazy partying they do at the Grove would have been right up Thompson's alley.
Autumn is always a time of Fear and Greed and Hoarding for the winter coming on. Debt collectors are active on old people and fleece the weak and helpless. They want to lay in enough cash to weather the known horrors of January and February. There is always a rash of kidnapping and abductions of school children in the football months. Pre-teens of both sexes are traditionally seized and grabbed off the streets by gangs of organized Perverts.
Most of these things are obviously Wrong and Evil and Ugly—but at least they are Traditional. They will happen.
-- Hunter S. Thompson, Prepare For The Weirdness