Two Face
This webpage was originally written as an addendum to a book dealing with Anslinger’s Gore File.
Two Face
Anslinger The Man

Just about everyone now agrees that Harry Anslinger’s original “Reefer Madness Campaign” during the 1930’s was based on fabrications, half-truths and out and out distortions.   In other words, it was essentially a classic case of governmental dis-information.   Even his most avid present day supporters (mostly ex-narc’s) seem to shy away from many of Anslinger’s original statements about Marihuana as being the cause of brutal crimes, sexual assaults and . . .etc.   Preferring instead to excuse, no, instead to even justify his actions as those of a man who;
(a) They claim had very limited scientific information on the subject at the time and

(b) Was receiving numerous reports at the time from local police and civic organizations, about hideous crimes being committed by Marihuana addicts.
Thus, in his role as Commissioner of Narcotics he was therefore effectively forced to act.   Especially with what they now term a “poverty of information” dealing with the subject that existed at the time, how could he possible be blamed for what happened?

BUT, despite what his apologists are claiming, the facts are that Anslinger DID KNOW THE TRUTH, and he knew it all along. --- Thus the purpose of this web-page, to in-effect document and establish for a fact --THAT ANSLINGER KNEW.



It is understood that the narc’s lie, and from a psychological standpoint, I understand it is possible for a liar to end up believing in his own lies. Yet other than mass hysteria, I myself don’t understand how it’s been possible for this one to have lasted for as long as it has without being challenged. --- A lie that runs something as follows: “Just before Anslinger launched his campaign to outlaw marihuana, there was at that time, a 'A POVERTY OF INFORMATION’ dealing with the subject of Cannabis. Thus it was easy to assume the worst, and with so many reports of hideous crimes being committed by Marihuana addicts throughout the country, Anslinger (or Saint Anslinger as they would have us believe) was thus forced to act”., etc. . . blah, blah, blah.

Okay, so much for what his apologists are saying, the fact is that there was instead a great ‘WEALTH OF INFORMATION’ dealing with Cannabis at the time. Anyone who’s been to our museum Medical Journal Index, can attest to that:

With some of the articles going all the way back to the 1830’s, and granted, some of them were negative on the subject, it is just a fact that the vast majority of pre-1930 articles were extremely positive. --- In addition to Medical Journals there was also a wealth of information emanating from medical books, trade magazines, pharmaceutical catalogs, etc. Simply put, there was NO POVERTY OF INFORMATION, plain and simple.

Also of interest is how American doctors who had been prescribing Cannabis to their patients for almost a hundred years, seemed to have failed to noticed one very important factor.

Cannabis Prescription

American doctors were prescribing Cannabis for almost a hundred years, yet none noticed that their patients were grabbing axes and killing people; -- Or so Anslinger would have had us believe.

[Cool photo by Hempzels - Not affiliate with the museum]

Then there is the fact that Anslinger was born and raised in Pennsylvania, which was historically once a major hemp producing state.   One that according to Lester Stark [1] a local historian from that area:
“It can be proven conclusively that hemp grew throughout Pennsylvania into the late 1930’s and several unconfirmed reports that hemp was still being cultivated here in the 1940’s.”
Meaning there is little chance that Harry Anslinger, who openly spoke/wrote about visiting neighboring farmers, would have had to have had some sort of exposure to the subject.

Then there is the little known fact that Harry Anslinger himself had a two-year college degree in AGRICULTURE, from Penn. State University.   That’s right, in agriculture! -- Something which of-and-by-itself leads to two interesting sub-subjects.   The first one being; How could someone with such a background (both an agricultural degree and coming from a historically hemp producing state) NOT KNOW THE TRUTH?

But a second and even more important sub-subject is ---Why did Anslinger go so far out of his way to hide this fact? Just about every biographical mention about the man states that he went to Penn. State and obtained a degree during the mid-1910’s.   Many were praising him for having worked his way through college, others simply stating that he took science courses of one type or another.   Yet ever “mysteriously”, so few bother to go any further into the subject.   So few in fact that when I got wind of what his degree was in, I had to go way out of my way to do a lot of fact checking, just to insure myself it wasn’t a hoax of one kind or another.   Below is a copy of what I got back from Penn. State, note that his actual records have (ah) mysteriously been misplaced somewhere.
Dear . . . (I was unable to find a transcript, but I will keep looking. HOWEVER, the Alumni Directory--the 1855-1935 book is very reliable, as it was an anniversary edition-- notes him as an alumnus of the 2 year agriculture degree.   That would probably be it. He is also listed in the 1913 student directory as getting a 2 year degree--special agriculture abbreviated as "sp ag".   Graduation of 1915.   I want to know if we have those 2 year program transcripts here, so I will keep looking and let you know if I find anything. Thanks! --Alex) Best,
[name withheld]
Transcripts and Verifications Team Lead - The Pennsylvania State University
Office of the University Registrar -
Now add together the fact that he had an agricultural degree, plus the fact that Pennsylvania had a long history of Hemp production and one begins to see the out and out impossibility of Anslinger not knowing the truth.   Now granted, by the early 1910’s Pennsylvania’s hemp production was but a few acres, or a shadow of what it formerly was.  Still its growth history was there for all to see and, we can all rest assured that were it true that had farmers been going around grabbing axes (murdering their fellow farmers), that some kind of mention would have appeared in those history books.


My own personal experiences have shown me that skilled manipulators of language (while not actually physically telling any lies) can be some of the biggest liar’s out there.   I repeat --they can do this WITHOUT ACTUALLY TELLING ANY LIES.   Anyone who’s ever listened to the Nazi propagandist’s “Lord-HE-Haw” can attest to that.  In his case it appears that he (while telling only the truth) stated ONLY SELECTED parts of the truth, or only those parts which he (the Nazi’s) wanted you to know.   Thus distorting the whole concept of what was being said, or as an old Japanese proverb goes, “To tell only part of the truth, is a lie.”

Which is exactly what Anslinger did, and unfortunately, did very successfully.   Proof of this can be found in Anslinger’s own personal archives he donated to Penn. State University.   Searching through this archive shows box after box of materials, which include one negative study/reference after another.   Despite the wealth of POSITIVE studies, medical-journal articles, reference and medical books, all dealing with Cannabis, ONLY the negative ones could be located in his files.   And the same thing can be said about other official governmental archival records dealing with the old “Bureau of Narcotics.”   In fact the only positive study that I’ve personally run across in any of his files (National Archives, College Park Md.), was the 1925 Panama Canal study of MariaHuana and that study had Anslinger’s handwriting scrolled all over it.   Something about the individuals who put the study together didn’t have access to all the facts etc. ---- The irony of that statement.   Here was a man who was obviously trying to hide the true facts, claiming . . . . just the opposite.


Comic Book
Comic Book
[Hassan ben Sabbat - The Old Man of the Mountain]

Then there is a very major point often overlooked by historians, that being Anslinger’s reliance on ancient myths and legends as opposed to solid science.   Probably his most famous or at least the most quoted one being that of “The OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN”:
“History tells us that about the year 1090 A. D., the military and religious order or sect of the Assassins was founded in Persia by Hassan ben Sabbat.   This diabolical, fanatical, cruel and murderous tribe, although isolated in the mountains of Lebanon, and in the valleys and glens of Persia and Syria became remarkable for its secret murders committed in blind obedience to the will of their chief, and the heinousness of its crimes was bruited the world over.   Their numerous acts of cruelty cast dire panic and consternation in the stoutest hearts not only in Asia but in Europe as well.   This branch of the Shiite sect, known as Ismalites, was called Hashishan, derived from Hashish, a confection of hemp leaves, cannabis indica.   From the Arabic "hashishan" we have the English word "Assassin" [2]
The story goes on to claim that whenever the old man of the mountain required the services of a new assassin, a potential recruit was first drugged/intoxicated with hashish.   In this state he was then taken to a hidden garden where every sensual pleasure (naked dancing girls, wine, the whole bit), was his for the asking.   After a few days of this, he was again drugged (more hashish) and taken back outside where upon waking up, found himself face to face with the old man of mountain himself.   Who at that time told him that what he had just experience was but a taste of paradise, where, should he do exactly as the old man instructed, he was assured of going too in the afterlife, . . . etc.

Or so the narc’s would have us believe.   In fact, even until the early 1970’s there were official DEA publications still quoting and expounding on this myth.   And in truth it appears that (historically speaking) there really was such an entity as “The Old Man of the Mountain” and a cult of Assassins which he lead.   In fact even Marco Polo wrote about him in his writings “The Travels of Marco Polo”, which was by far the most widely quoted source for the stated information.

However, that’s about where the truth ends and the myth begins. --- Marco Polo himself made clear in his book that the drug in question was OPIUM, not Cannabis.  Yet somehow, for reasons unknown, Anslinger and others insisted on not just misquoting him, but on contradicting what he had actually said.   And yes there were other myths that Anslinger put to work for him, such as the Egyptian and Indian insane asylum’s myth, (talked about elsewhere in this book), which are even more fake then this one.   But the point being made here is WHY DID ANSLINGER HAVE TO RESORT to myths and legends as opposed to solid science?   The answer is obvious, because he simply didn’t have any solid science, he knew it, and thus had to resort to what he could find or make up.

WAS Harry Anslinger a liar?   Yes he was and his own words say it all:

Anslinger in his own words, before and after he enjoined the Reefer Madness Campaign.

To this day (now some seventy years after his death), there is a great deal of controversy over the status of “Pope Pius XII”.   Also known to those who dislike him as “Hitler’s Pope”, or as a “Saintly Man” who hide so many Jews during the war if you did.   All however agree that “Pope Pius XII” had to have known about the death camps and for whatever reason chose to publicly remain silent.   Thus it can be said that his crime was not one of actions, but instead, his was the crime of silence.   No doubt, future historians will continue to research and one day one of them will finally find a smoking-gun-document, establishing what really happened.   But for now history has found him guilty of that crime.

Likewise here in America, numerous individuals have gone to jail, not because of what they did, but because of what they didn’t do.   For example, many states have laws clearly stating that if you see a child being abused, you’re suppose to call the cops; --End of story.   Thus the very act of silence can in many situations be of-and-by-itself a crime.

Thus the very issue of what Anslinger knew or did not know (and when) comes into play; ---and it appears that he knew a lot and knew it early on.   His very own ‘GORE FILE’ of-and-by-itself is proof of that.   Example: The following (although written by others) was introduced into congressional testimony by Anslinger himself:
“The person who is so unfortunate as to come under the influence of this drug, in many cases, becomes the unwilling offender of the law because the central nervous system has become affected, as is the case with other habit-forming drugs.   As a representative case, note the tragic predicament of this Californian.   "A man under the influence of marihuana actually decapitated his best friend; and then, coming out of the effects of the drug, was as horrified as anyone over what he had done" --- 1937 Congressional Testimony -- “Marihuana - A More Alarming Menace To Society Than All Other Habit-Forming Drugs”
Problem: -- Anslinger by this time knew and specifically knew that the whole “Eureka Axe Murder” crime case (being referred above) was a total work of fabricated fiction.   Simply put, it had all been made up.   And granted if you examine the congressional testimony more closely, what Anslinger actually did was solely to introduce a document written by others.   Yet still, as he knew the truth and made no attempt to correct it, ---could it not be said the he therefore committed the ‘Crime of Silence.’

And this is not a one-shot example, his entire Gore File is full of fabricated stories, half truths and deliberate distortions of the truth.   Elsewhere in this book, I plan on devoting at least two or three chapters to just how shallow (and false) his whole Gore-File really was.   Here I’ll let just this one example speak for all the others – “The Evil Mugwort Affair.”

This dealt with an unemployed young man who decides to grow tobacco in his backyard garden.   Not knowing exactly what tobacco looked like he takes a chance on one plant that looks about right and soon has enough to start rolling his own.   --- Next along comes his girl friend (whose not too smart either) and decides she wants to try it out. . . . Somehow she ends up at the emergency ward and BINGO Anslinger has a new incident to add to his case files; -- One, which by the way, he made much hey over.

Now no one can blame Anslinger for believing what everyone else was saying at the time, BUT as it turned out in the end, the substance in questioned turned out the be Mugwort NOT Cannabis.   So what does Anslinger do? Did he send out memo’s apologizing to everyone for the mistake? NO, he kept silent about the whole thing thereafter.

QUESTION; Are these the things that a morally upright person would do or are they the actions of someone who’s trying to cover something up?

During the Second World War, for various war related military reasons, America began to encourage farmers to start re-growing Industrial Hemp; ---Also known at the time as Marihuana, the “Weed of Madness.” The following webpage(s) seem do a pretty good of describing the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY.

Therefore, here we will only point out only three very important points ignored by most.
  1.   First, it appears obvious to many of us that had Anslinger really believed in his own propaganda campaign, then he would have opposed any form of Marihuana growth.   After all, if all his stories about bestial crimes being committed while under its influence were true, then one would think that (unless one were an Axis agent) the last thing on earth anyone would want was to have a government program doing just that.   Question; Why didn’t Anslinger as ‘Commissioner of Narcotics’ use his office to oppose the creation of such a program?

  2.   Next, note that America entered the war in December of 1941, while the first newspaper stories about the new “Hemp For Victory” program began to appear in mid-February the following year.   -- Meaning that America (as well as Anslinger’s Bureau of Narcotics) went from ‘Reefer Madness’ to ‘Hemp for Victory’ in less then two months.   Question; If Anslinger truly believed than what happened? Why did he remain so quiet about what just two months earlier he had been calling the ‘Killer Drug?’ Could he have been an Axis agent?

  3.   Then there is the fact that soon after the war, Anslinger once again began going after Industrial Hemp production with a vengeance.   Quite literally he almost signal handedly crushed all thought of continuing on with any kind of hemp production in America.   WHY?
The answer to all these questions is simple.   NO, Anslinger (whatever else he was) was no Axis agent.   Instead (looking back on history with 20/20 hindsight), all his actions are indicative of a man who knew what he was and was thus consistently engaged in a cover up of one kind or another.

He opposed Narcotics Education --- WHY?

There have been many theories as to why Harry Anslinger was opposed to anti-narcotics education. --- Through shear happenstance I once ran into a report, “The Menace of Narcotics to the children of New York” which best explains Anslinger’s public viewpoint on the issue of Narcotics education.
“Our Committee took the position that while treatment facilities were urgently needed, it was imperative that there be developed a program that would place major emphasis on prevention.   We were unwilling to accept use of narcotics by teen-age youth as a part of our urban community living.   In March of 1951 we sought assistance from United States Commissioner of Narcotics, Harry J. Anlinger, in the development of a program of education.   We were advised by Mr. Anslinger that the immediate need in New York was not education, but "a quarantine ordinance which would confine these users in a controlled ward of the city hospitals until they are pronounced cured by medical authorities.   As long as they are on the streets they spread addiction and "contaminate others like a person who has smallpox.   Association with other addicts is the chief cause of drug addiction” The Commissioner stated that an educational program would only arouse curiosity among young people and stimulate them to experiment with narcotic drugs. . .

. . . quoting the letter directly: --- “We find that most young people who have become addicted, acquired this evil habit not because of ignorance of consequences, but rather because they had learned too much about the effects of drugs.   When young people gather and talk about the horrors of narcotics, addiction usually follows because of the tendency to try it for a thrill.   Warning does not deter them, it merely places it in their thoughts.
"We have grave doubts as to the advisability of the course of action you are considering. Very truly yours,
(Signed) H. J. ANSLINGER
U. S. Commissioner of Narcotics"

To which the report’s author(s) reply: “This letter represents the official attitude that has dominated this subject, and has resulted almost in its exclusion from educational analysis and attack.   It is similar to the kind of thinking which for years kept cancer, tuberculosis, or venereal disease out of public view. Very frankly, in my opinion the Commissioner's arguments are specious and contrary to all of our evidence.”
Okay, so much for Ansligner’s official viewpoint, and while the following is opinion, still given all else about Anslinger, it appears that his true motives for Narcotics Education were quite obvious.   He had something to hide and should educational programs start coming into being, well what is that expression.   “Know the truth for the truth shall set you free,” meaning Anslinger would eventually have been exposed.

Simply put, all historical factors point but in one direction, that (whatever else you want to say about him) Harry Anslinger knew all along that his Reefer Madness Campaign was a lie.   As for myself, I have no doubt that Anslinger was laughing at all those fools who believed and was probably laughing at them up until the day he died.

[2]-   NEW ORLEANS MEDICAL AND SURGICAL JOURNAL – Vol 84 “The Marihuana Menace” (Read before the Louisiana State Medical Society, New Orleans, April 14-16, 1931 P247. A. E. Fossier, M.D.


Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are displayed.   If you would like to obtain more information, feel free to contact the museum.   All our material is available (at cost) on CD-Rom format.