Walter Breen

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Fan
Name: Walter Breen
Alias(es): John Eglinton (sometimes misspelled as "Eglington"), Walter of Greenwalls
Type: writer, publisher, artist
Fandoms: Darkover, Star Trek
Communities:
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URL:
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Walter Breen is the author of "Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins." "Breen numbers", from his encyclopedia, are widely used to attribute varieties of coins.

He is also known for activity in the science fiction fan community and for his writings in defense of pederasty.

Breen wrote the book "Greek Love" under the name of John Eglinton. [1] [2] Breen dedicates this book "to my beloved wife." His wife at the time was Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Breen was active in Bradley's Darkover fandom. He was the co-editor of Starstone, Darkover Newsletter (earlier issues), and Day*Star. He wrote the Darkovan Language Review, The Gemini Problem, and The Darkover Concordance.

In Star Trek fandom, he and Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote "A Vulcan Valentine" which was published in The Other Side of Paradise and reprinted in Computer Playback. Breen also wrote Spock: The Archetype that Would Not Die.

Breen did some occasional illos for Starstone. This one is for issue #2 in 1978. It portrays a young boy attempting to gain admittance at Darkovercon: Caption -- "The Monitor says says you must pay the full registration." "But it can't. I'm only 13."
cover of Starstone #3, art by Walter Breen

Breen died on April 27, 1993. He had been in prison serving a 12-year sentence regarding eight felony counts of child molestation involving a 13-year-old boy.

Breen, "A Green Monkey"

In 1977, Walter Breen talked about his journey as a fan, addresses a then-current critic's assertion that Darkover fans were all "fat 13-year olds in capes.":
AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING A FAT 13-YEAR OLD IN A CAPE? Elsewhere this issue [of Darkover Newsletter ] mzb quotes a lot of 
people who wrote in variously denying being capewearers, 13s, fats or Trekkies.
 I (this is Walter Breen) didn't know she was going to do that or I'd have given
 her a note for inclusion. Read her LETTER FROM MZB first in [ Darkover Newsletter #7], then come back here,
 OK? Thanks. :: Back when I was a small skinny 13, the only people who wore capes
outside the movies were doing parts in school plays or Superman takeoffs, and 
even then they were scorned as sissies unless they proved they were real fighters. 
I never got into that scene, being always a green monkey[3] interested in books, not
 sports, fighting, cars, girlchasing or sneaking beer. (This was 1944.) I discovered
 SF when I was 17 (mostly Heinlein, Wells, Stapledon), fantasy only later (HPL, 
Dunsany, Kuttner, M.R. James, Machen), and fandom not till I was 29. There I found
 many better writers (Sturgeon, Clement, Asimov, Clarke, Anderson & MZB, bless her),
 other polymath fans to make friends with and discuss ideas rather than argue or
compete, and basically a place for green monkeys. What ideas? ESP, Forteana, psy
chic research, parallel universes, frontiers of science, reincarnation, Tolkien,
 STAR TREK, ancient civilizations, consciousness research, music, lots more. It's
 the implications of laran and the sociology I love on Darkover, not the swords;
 I'd be a greener monkey (sandalwearer) there than here! I've worn a cape, but 
mostly either on the Haight or at SCA; I'm 47 but don't believe in any generation 
gap. [4]

Breen and Bradley

Walter Breen was married to Marion Zimmer Bradley from 1964 to 1990 (they separated in 1979), and until 1989, Bradley, Breen, and Lisa Waters lived on the same block in Berkeley, California.

In 1978, Bradley wrote:

Having been married to WALTER BREEN for almost 15 years, about all I can say about him is that he can still surprise me sometimes. How rare that is every married person in the audience can decide for him/her/itself! Being married to a polymath Renaissance Man probably has its bleaker side--he's the only person alive who can really make me feel inferior--but it certainly is a help when it comes too publishing magazines. Not only is he much more meticulous than I at the journeyman work of typing, proofreading, copyediting and layout, but he is also a caliigrapher of near professional quality; and if we are short of an illustration, he is likely to draw one at the drop of an expletive. What surprised me about this issue is that his knowledge of linguistics turned out to be roughly five times my own. Some day I am going to "discover something Walter can't do. (Well, he's no good at sewing, and he can't drive a nail straight to save his life... But I'm in no hurry. It's more helpful this way. Personally all I have to say about Walter Breen in a Darkovan context is: We are bredin--! love him. — Marion Bradley Breen [5] [6]
While Bradley conveys disdain for her ex-husband in 1989 in this statement in Darkover Newsletter #47, they were still in close enough collaboration for him to have been working on an update for her Darkover Concordance [7]:
"Around 1:00 pm the next day [October 18, 1989], the phone rang. It was Walter. "Lisa, the house is on fire, and I'm not joking!" (He did have a gas leak.) "Have you called the fire department?" Lisa said with admirable restraint, swallowing the urge to snarl. "Don't call me, call 991 [911?] ." He said, no, of course. When did he ever do anything so sensible?" So Lisa said, "Get out of the building," and called them herself. When the firemen arrived, the fire was out; my foster-son Kristoph had turned off the gas -- and Walter had made it as far as his front porch, in his bathrobe, with his box of computer diskettes... and the manuscript of his current book. (He has his priorities.)" [8]

Convicted Child Molester

Breen was a serial child molester. This fact was known to many but not all fans in the early 1960s. His actions and behavior with young children, at SF conventions in particular, were criminal. In 1954, he had been convicted of child molestation in Atlantic City and put on probation.[9][10]

In 1963, there was actually debate in the Berkeley, California fan community over whether or not to permanently ban Breen from Worldcon.[11] Part of the reason for the dispute had to do with controversy over whether conventions could or should ban anyone at all, for any reason. It is interesting to compare early 1960s (a relatively straitlaced time) attitudes on the part of some fans toward child sexual abuse to how it would be viewed today. The scandal is referred to by fans as "Boondoggle" or "Breendoggle",[12] and is documented in detail at the Breendoggle Wiki. More at WorldCons of the 1960s, chapter 8b; WebCite.

Breen was banned from Worldcon for 1964 (Pacificon II), and briefly blackballed from the Fantasy Amateur Press Association after allegations of further pedophilic acts surfaced.[10] Nevertheless, many prominent fans of the era (including big-name fan John Boardman), perhaps unaware of Breen's prior conviction, dismissed the allegations as hearsay and "character assassination," and the scandal blew over.[13]

In 1985, Breen began grooming the eight-year-old stepson of author Stephen Goldin, having met the child at a science fiction convention. He continued to molest him for five years. He was arrested for it in 1989, accepted a plea bargain and was put on probation. That same year, he met another boy at another convention and began molesting him. He was arrested for this on October 3, 1991. He was charged with eight felony counts of child molestation and was sentenced to ten years in prison, where he died in 1994.[14] [15]

Again, some prominent members of the numismatic community dismissed or minimized the seriousness of Breen's actions, and did not think they warranted expulsion from the American Numismatic Association. He is still a controversial figure in the coin collecting world.[15]

Some of his legal troubles are discussed in Darkover Newsletter.

In a discussion about the Ordo Templi Orientis lodge, ceremonial magick, and English occultist Aleister Crowley as a child molester, longtime fantasy/SF artist/editor/publisher Cat Yronwode revealed her experience with Breen as well as with other child molesters in Bay Area science fiction fandom:

One of the very early members or co-founders of NAMBLA [ North American Man-Boy Love Association ] was Walter Breen. The former husband of the science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley, he was also an expect on early American numismatics, and the cause of the so-called "Breen Boondoggle" which ripped apart Bay Area science fiction fandom in the mid 1960s when he was caught sexually molesting a young girl and was barred from the World Science Fiction Convention in Oakland. Around the same time, Breen stole rare first edition copies of Aleister Crowley books, magazines, and manuscripts from my parents' antiquarian bookstore in Berkeley, including a first edition of "777"[16] -- and he was subsequently barred from entering most Bay Area rare book stores because he was a known book thief. (We had gotten the Crowley material when we purchased in its entirety the library of the deceased Mistress of the Lotus Lodge of Oakland, California,[17] whose name i have forgotten, along with her ritual robes and tools, and so forth; she had been a friend of Crowley's and he had sent her many items gratis, including a small, colourful catalogue of the 1940s exhibit of Frieda Harris's original paintings for the Thoth deck at a London art gallery, which i kept for lo, these 35 years, until i presented it to Frater Nigris in celebration of our falling in love.) Walter Breen was eventually convicted of child sex abuse by testimony taken from parents in the local coin collecting community, not in fandom or the thelemite community, and he died in prison. Another former NAMBLA member and close friend of Breen's was the Bay Area science fiction fan and "free love" exponent Jefferson Poland, a.k.a Jefferson Fuck Poland, a.k.a. Jefferson Clitlick Poland. He too was convicted of child sex abuse and spent time in the slammer. He is now a registered sex offender, forbidden from consorting with children. No, i cannot personally vouch for the fact that every member of NAMBLA is a child sex abuser...but i knew both of those men personally -- and they both were. Their cohort Sandy Cutrell -- by which i mean all three were good friends -- was also a member of Bay Area science fiction fandom in the 1960s. He may not have been a member of NAMBLA, but if not, probably only because his interest was the sexual abuse of *girl* children. He admitted his entire sorry history to me in the mid-1980s, and explained that friends of his had barred him from their house because he gave their young daughter comic books as a bribe so that she would sit on his face. Needless to say, i did not take this confession lightly and i told him he was unwelcome in my house as well. My point: here i knew three Bay Area sex abusers in the 1960s, two convicted and one self-confessed, of whom all three were members of science fiction fandom, two were members of NAMBLA, and one was a self-professed Crowleyite. Am i going overboard here? Is it a coincidence that OTO has had problems with NAMBLA members (in the Bay Area?) per Bill H[eidrick, Kaballah scholar and former OTO treasurer]? Who knows?[18]

Photos

Interviews

Further Reading

  • Katrina Rasbold, The Last Closet – A Book Review. In-depth analysis of Moira Greyland's The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon (Castalia House (one founder is Vox Day), December 2017), "for those who did not read the book, for whatever reason." February 7, 2018.

References

  1. from Marion Zimmer Bradley's deposition in 1997:EXCERPTS FROM MZB'S DEPOSITIONS
  2. This book was published in 1971 in London, by Neville Spearman. (ISBN: 0854354506) Gay sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome explored."
  3. Breen is referring to a supposed scientific experiment referred to by Robert Heinlein in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land; a brown monkey dyed green will be beaten or killed by other brown monkeys. This urban legend may be based on the Five Monkeys Test, which has itself been misreported.
  4. from Darkover Newsletter #7
  5. a rare, professional use of this name
  6. This statement by MZB is in Darkovan Language Review
  7. Later, in the same newsletter to fans, Bradley wrote that Breen was preparing an updated Darkover Concordance with character biographies.
  8. from Darkover Newsletter #47 (December 1989)
  9. Walter Breen: Enigmatic Numismatist, 2008-07-19 by Santa Clarita Valley History.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Stephen Goldin, Marion Zimmer Bradley: In Her Own Words.
  11. The first child abuse law in California had passed that same year, but required only that physicians report evidence to law enforcement. However, Breen could have been charged with statutory rape had any of the numerous witnesses spoken up.
  12. Breendoggle at Fancyclopedia. The expression "-gate" to denote a scandal, based on the 1973-4 Watergate incident, didn't yet exist.
  13. "1960s Fan History Outline, Chapter 8". Jophan.org. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  14. Rare Coins Expert Charged With Child Molestation and Wikipedia page on Walter Breen
  15. 15.0 15.1 Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, Confronting Breen. CoinWorld, November 3, 2015.
  16. Essentially, a reference book of correspondences of elements, Hebrew letters, numbers, virtues, names of God and various angels, zodiac signs, planets, archetypes and so on.
  17. Today's Crowleyan temples in Oakland are The Blazing Star Oasis and the Bay Area Thelemic Temple.
  18. * Cat Yronwode, Crowley & Paederasty. (part 2 here). Arcane Archive, January 31, 1999 - July 23, 1999. Those interested in the subculture of paederasty in esoteric and magickal practises may wish to read Charles Webster Leadbeater, a Biographical Study by Gregory John Tillett (Univ. of Sydney, 1986, full text online). Dr Tillett continues to uncover evidence of child molestation and fraud on the part of Leadbeater at his blog C.W. Leadbeater 1854-1934. See also The Unavoidable Facts About C.W. Leadbeater and The Case Against C.W. Leadbeater at the Blavatsky Theosophical Group U.K. website.