sheila in DC

sheila in DC
With the Pentagon in the background, I pause for a quick shot at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. I was shooting footage for my last film "SoleJourney" (available through First Run Features).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Woodstock West: Rumor Central

When I think about rumors or urban legends, The Beatles immediately come to mind. You’ve heard the rumor about Paul dying that sprang up at various intervals after his car was involved in a 1967 traffic accident. People dug up all kinds of “proof” of this. Perhaps most well known is the interpretation of the “funeral procession” on the cover of Abbey Road

Well, the Woodstock West encampment dealt with several rumors as well. In fact, the students set up a Rumor Central designed to keep a lid on unfounded information. This seemed to help limit hysteria and maintain the peaceful vibe.

We’d love to hear from anyone with knowledge about these rumors that surfaced in the Chronology of Events written by Jim Wagenlander who was a student senator during Woodstock West and deeply involved in the matters of the day.

Dynamite is buried somewhere in the Woodstock West encampment.

There was never an explosion at Woodstock West or on campus. There was, however, a pipe bomb tossed in the John Greene office window of Professor Gaylen Thurston.

We at WW wonder why his office was targeted and who might have done this. We know that students were not happy the Denver Research Institute (DRI) was operating on campus. This was part of a larger national protest agenda by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). SDS was working to get universities to divest of any military-oriented research. While evidence suggests the local SDS chapter was told DU was not involved in military research, former DRI employee, and later its acting director, Dr. Anita West, told WW that indeed DRI was actively involved in military sponsored research.

Someone contaminated the water supply with LSD.

At a meeting called to plan the all-campus convocation addressing DU’s response to the Kent St. murders and Nixon’s announcement that covert operations in Cambodia had taken place over the last 13 months, Dr. John Blackburn, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs is called out into the hallway. He is informed by a student who that LSD has been put in the drinking water. Dr. Lewis Barbato, director of DU’s Health Services is called to campus and local hospitals are notified. Student Marshalls, under the direction of Dave Sborov, line up several vehicles along the student union to help transport fallen campus members, but nothing ever developed.

James Taylor played at Woodstock West.
The handwriting reads:
"James Taylor made a surprise appearance."

By definition, rumors are ‘a story or statement without confirmation or certainty as to facts.’ So, I’m not so sure this is a rumor or just something we’ve not been able to absolutely substantiate. We have one photo of JT playing a guitar and singing, but the lack of context suggests this could be anywhere. The photo was copied and given to WW by supporter Cindi Pittman who has since died. We’ve had one eyewitness, Malcolm Hirsh, so far say he was there when JT got up and sang one song for the gathering. But, when we passed the photo along to JT through his “people” they responded that Mr. Taylor did not wish to comment.

Can anyone substantiate this rumor? Did James Taylor share his musical talents with the Woodstock West crowd?

If anyone out there reading this has any other rumors they want to pass along to us or can help debunk or confirm any of the above rumors, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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