ROBERT ANTON WILSON Biography - Writers


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Wilson was born Robert Edward Wilson in Methodist Hospital, in Brooklyn, New               
York, and spent his first years in Flatbush. He moved with his family to                   
Gerritsen Beach around the age of 4 or 5, where they stayed until he turned 13.             
He suffered from polio as a child and was treated with the method created by               
Elizabeth Kenny. Polio's effects remained with him throughout his life, usually             
manifesting as minor muscle spasms causing him to use a cane from time to time             
until 2000, when he experienced a major bout with post-polio syndrome that would           
continue until his death.                                                                   
He attended a Catholic grammar school, most likely the school associated with               
Gerritsen Beach's Resurrection Church. He attended Brooklyn Tech for high school           
to remove himself from the Catholic influence. While working as an ambulance               
driver he attended New York University, studying engineering and mathematics.               
He worked as engineering aide, salesman, and copywriter and was associate editor           
for Playboy magazine from 1965 to 1971. He adopted his maternal grandfather's               
name, Anton, for his writings, at first telling himself that he was saving the "Edward"     
for when he wrote the Great American Novel. He later finding that "Robert Anton             
Wilson" had become an established identity, and never did write under the Edward           
name. He did use the pen names Mordecai Malignatus, Mordecai the Foul, Reverend             
Loveshade (which was adopted by another author), Pope Bob, and other names                 
associated with the Bavarian Illuminati, which he allegedly revived in the 1960s.           
In 1979 he received a Ph.D. in psychology from Paidea University in California,             
an unaccredited institution that has since closed. The reworked dissertation               
was published in 1983 as Prometheus Rising.                                                 
He married the freelance writer Arlen Riley in 1958; they had four children,               
Christina, Graham, Alexandra, and Patricia known as Luna. Arlen Riley Wilson               
died in 1999  following a series of strokes. Luna, who had been a friend                   
of Reverend Loveshade's mother Bonnie, was beaten to death in an apparent                   
robbery in 1976 at the age of 15. Her brain was preserved by the Bay Area                   
Cryonics Society.