Category Archives: literature/books

Hemingway was KGB?


 Things you Probably didn’t know about Ernest Hemingway

1. He was a failed KGB Spy

In the last few years of his life, Ernest Hemingway grew paranoid and talked about FBI spying on him. He was even treated with electroshock therapy as many as 15 times at the recommendation of his physician in 1960. It was later revealed that he was in fact being watched, and Edgard Hoover had personally placed him under survelliance. In 2009, the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, revealed that the FBI was in fact right to spy on Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel prize-winning novelist, because he really was on the KGB’s list of its agents in America. Based on notes from a former KGB officer who was  given access in the 1990s to intelligence archives in Moscow from the Stalin era, the book reveals that Hemingway was recruited in 1941 before making a trip to China, and was given the cover name “Argo”.

According to Soviet documents, he met with Soviet agents during the 1940s in Havana and London and “repeatedly expressed his desire and willingness to help us”. In the end, Hemingway turned out to be of little use to the Soviets  however, as it’s claimed he failed to give them any political information and was never “verified in practical work”. By the 1950s, “Argo” was no longer an active Soviet contact. Some project that Hemingway’s escapades as a KGB spy were more likely all part of an elaborate charade by him to gather literary inspiration. Others suspect his paranoia over being watched by the FBI may have led him to take his own life. Read more.

2. Ernest once took a urinal home from his favorite bar and moved it into his home, arguing that he had “pissed away” so much of his money into the urinal that he owned it.

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Ernest Hemingway seated with the persons depicted in the novel “The Sun Also Rises”, 1925.

3. Hemingway’s Unusual Fishing and U-Boat hunting Habits.

Ernest Hemingway was known to use a machine gun on sharks to stop them eating his catch, and in 1938 he established a world record by catching seven marlin in one day. Hemingway also spent a considerable amount of time from the summer of 1942 to the end of 1943 on his wooden fishing boat, patrolling the waters off Cuba’s north shore hunting Nazi U-Boats with direction-finding equipment, his machine gun and hand grenades. More here.


4. Ernest Hemingway survived through anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, skin cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, two plane crashes (on consecutive days), a ruptured kidney, a ruptured spleen, a ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull, and more.

In the end, the only thing that could kill Hemingway it would seem, was himself…

“In 1954, while in Africa, Hemingway was almost fatally injured in two successive plane crashes. He chartered a sightseeing flight over the Belgian Congo as a Christmas present to Mary. On their way to photograph Murchison Falls from the air, the plane struck an abandoned utility pole and “crash landed in heavy brush.” Hemingway’s injuries included a head wound, while his wife Mary broke two ribs. The next day, attempting to reach medical care in Entebbe, they boarded a second plane that exploded at take-off, with Hemingway suffering burns and another concussion, this one serious enough to cause leaking of cerebral fluid. They eventually arrived in Entebbe to find reporters covering the story of Hemingway’s death. He briefed the reporters and spent the next few weeks recuperating and reading his erroneous obituaries.”

More here


5. Ernest Hemingway killed himself with his favorite shotgun bought from Abercrombie & Fitch.

More here


6. Ernest Hemingway was charged with war crimes under the Geneva Convention when he took command and led of a group of French militia into battle against the Nazis.

Hemingway as a young soldier

Serving as a war correspondent during WWII, he had removed his non-combatant insignia and posed as a colonel. In the end, he was not convicted and claimed that he only offered advice and any titles given to him by the men were simply signs of affection. According to Hemingway himself, he and his unit were the first to enter the city during the Liberation of Paris, when he and his unit retook the Ritz Hotel, and more importantly the Ritz Bar, from Nazi control a full day before the Allied liberation force entered the city! More here


7. In the Florida Keys, there are a lot of 6-toed cats, because Ernest Hemingway’s cat “got around” a lot.

Hemingway was first given a six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and became one of the more famous lovers of polydactyl cats. Upon his death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida, became a museum and a home for his cats, and it currently houses approximately fifty descendants of his cats (about half of which are polydactyl). The “Hemingway Kitty Cat”, or simply “Hemingway Cat”, is a term which has come to describe polydactyls. More here. 

8. Ernest Hemingway once examined F. Scott Fitzgerald’s penis in a cafe toilet and assured him it was of “normal” size.

(Because Zelda Fitzgerald has told him that the size of his penis could never make any women happy). An account from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, the only book about Paris in my opinion, that you’ll ever need to read…


9. Hemingway’s brother founded a nation off the coast of Jamaica that consisted of a raft and 7 citizens. It had currency, postage, and a constitution.

The Republic of New Atlantis founded by Leicester Hemingway in 1964 habitable man-made island; in practice they were limited to a 2.44 x 9.14 metre steel and bamboo raft, was anchored to the floor of the Carribean Sea with the aid of an old Ford engine block. It was a destroyed two years later in a tropical storm. In 1973, he created a second micro-nation in the Bahamas on a a 91 metre-long sandbar. Four officials from the US State Department met with Hemingway and concluded that the “alleged president” as “not a kook”, and stated that “Attempts at creating this island would be viewed by the United States as a highly undesirable develpment averse to our national security, particularly as it might encourage an archipelagic claim.” Leicester also committed suicide in 1982, as did Ernest’s sister, father, grandfather and granddaughter. More here.



10.There’s an Ernest Hemingway lookalike society that holds yearly contests.


Bonus! Ernest Hemingway had a rather flat derrière!

Continue reading Hemingway was KGB?

A Story of Trust (new book by Shreve Stockton)

Saved from certain death
Charlie the coyote owes his life to a whim. A worker with Wyoming Wildlife Services was tasked with killing coyotes that had attacked sheep, but he had an odd compulsion to save one of the pups. Though he didn’t fully understand why he did it, he handed the 10-day-old coyote pup to Shreve Stockton to raise. Stockton, a writer and photographer, took Charlie in — and how could she not, after looking at this tiny face?What happened next is a story of trust, an unbreakable loving bond formed with the “enemy,” and the beginning of a daily story told in photos to fans across the Internet.
Raised by loving hands
“Now, on my second day with the coyote, soft light filled the cabin in the early afternoon. I nestled him between two pillows and dug around under my bureau for my camera,” Stockton writes in her book, “The Daily Coyote: A Story of Love, Trust and Survival in the Wilds of Wyoming.”


Soon to be a star
“Charlie and Eli were deep into their brotherhood,” Stockton writes of Charlie bonding to his tomcat friend. “On every walk, they stopped under a busy weed and crouched together, eating the tender grass that grew beneath it.” It’s not very common that people allow coyotes anywhere near their cats, but this pup had only love for the orange tabby.

(Text: Jaymi Heimbuch)


Burying herself in research and dedication to the survival of the coyote pup, Stockton readied herself for unknown challenges.

Meanwhile, Charlie made friends with Eli the tomcat.

Shreve Stockton on Amazon


A course in Demonic Creativity

I am always looking for ‘free’ books to read online.  This title jumped out at me for obvious reasons.  It’s  an interesting, thought provoking book, for sure..

If you’ve never read it, and if you choose to do so now, I sincerely hope you find that it enhances your creative engagement with your own  muse.  (hopefully, not a demonic one)


 (click cover to read PDF)


Where does creativity come from? Why do ideas and inspiration feel as if they come from “outside,” from an external source that’s separate from us but able to whisper directly into the mind? Why have so many writers throughout history — and also composers, painters, philosophers, mystics, and scientists — spoken of being guided, accompanied, and even haunted by a force or presence that not only serves as the deep source of their creative work but that exerts a kind of  gravitational pull on the shape of their lives?

The book’s starting point is the proposition that we all possess a higher or deeper intelligence than the everyday mind, and that learning to live and work harmoniously and energetically with this intelligence is the irreducible core of a successful artistic life. We can call this inner force the unconscious mind or the silent partner. We can call it the id or the secret self.

Your unconscious mind truly is your genius in the ancient sense of the word.  Befriending it as such, and interacting with it as if it really is a separate, collaborating presence in your psyche, puts you in a position to receive its gifts, and it in the position to give them to you.

About Matt Cardin

Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He writes about the apocalyptic intersection of religion, horror, the paranormal, creativity, consciousness, and culture.

The Long Winter – Laura Ingalls Wilder


I read the whole “Little House” series  ( about a young midwestern girl in the late 1800’s) when I was a in elementary school.  I decided to read The Long Winter again this year because it seemed fitting.  It HAS been a long winter here in the midwest!

This is a tale of a family near starvation, of a town crippled by lack of food when blizzards keep the supply train from reaching the settlers.

The first blizzard hits unexpectedly in October 1880. (which is early for a blizzard by any standards)   Anticipating a bad winter, the Ingalls family moves to De Smet, population 80, from their shanty a mile outside of town.

Blizzard after blizzard follows. The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, which serviced South Dakota and elsewhere across the Midwest, shuts down its supply trains in January as the snow piles too high for trains to pass through, at one point 12 feet in depth. Townspeople in De Smet carve tunnels to get from one building to the next.

By Christmas, the grocery store no longer has food and the family runs out of coal and kerosene. The Ingalls twist hay into sticks for fuel and switch to axle grease to light their home. “Winter had lasted so long that it seemed it would never really end. ” wrote Laura.

Then they run out of flour. To make bread, they grind wheat with a coffee mill. I have been wanting to start grinding my own wheat, but it is certainly a different thing when you HAVE to grind your own!

The family has to go down to two meals a day to save fuel.  It is potatoes and sourdough bread that keep them going.  It reminded me of the book Tobacco Road (where they eat nothing but turnips)

I can’t imagine living like that.   I would like to think that I would have the same attitude as Laura did though.  She was grateful for what they DID have.

These books were inspirational to me as a kid and I found the same is true for me as an adult.  Maybe even more so.

The REAL Ingalls family