Jim Keith

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Jim Keith in 1995.

James Patrick Keith (September 21, 1949 - September 7, 1999) was an American author and conspiracy theorist, best known for the books Black Helicopters Over America and The Octopus, co-written with Kenn Thomas, detailing theories around the death of reporter Danny Casolaro. After starting his career with writing and editing the zines Dharma Combat and Notes from the Hangar, as well as contributing articles to Fate Magazine, Keith became an editor at Steamshovel Press. He also authored 12 books covering topics such as mind control, the New World Order, black helicopters, the Oklahoma City bombing, Illuminati and Men in Black. Keith died at Washoe Medical Center in Reno at age 49, following a fall at the Burning Man festival.

Early Life[edit]

Jim Keith became interested in UFOs and the occult from age 7, writing short stories and articles at age 10. Growing up, the 6’4” self-described radical libertarian considered himself a member of the 1960s counterculture. After avoiding the Vietnam War draft as a conscientious objector, he left Haight-Ashbury and hitchhiked to Klamath Falls in 1972. There he worked as a newspaper publisher, cable TV salesman, restaurant worker and at a lumber mill. He also contributed to small publications on Science Fiction, New Age and conspiracy topics.[1]


Moving to Reno with his parents in 1980, Keith gained custody of his two daughters and home-schooled them. During this time, he worked out of the home on writing projects to make money, writing 6 hours a day. His first published work was The Gemstone File, written in three months and accepted by IllumiNet Press with a $250 advance. One week later, his work Secret and Suppressed was accepted by Feral House with a $500 advance.[1]

Keith was also a member of the writing collective called Commander X, covering subjects such as free energy, the Philadelphia Experiment and alien conspiracies.[2]

Death and Controversy[edit]

On September 6, 1999, Keith injured his leg after stepping off a three-foot stage at the Burning Man festival. Thinking it was only a severe sprain, he went home. The next morning, he checked into the Washoe Medical center for treatment of a broken knee. Surgery was delayed due to issues with kidney function. At 8:10 PM on Tuesday, September 7, 1999, a blood clot released from his leg and entered his lung, an issue which proved fatal.[2]

In an article published three weeks after Keith’s death, friends and co-authors expressed suspicion that he was killed because he mentioned the name of a physician who declared Princess Diana was pregnant at the time of her death.[3]

The coroner’s record of death stated the following:

  • Manner of death: "Accident"
  • Cause of death "FALL FROM HEIGHT"
  • Due to: "BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA (FALL)"[4]


  • Gemstone File (1992). ISBN 0962653454.
  • Secret and Suppressed: Banned Ideas and Hidden History. Venice, Calif.: Feral House (1993). ISBN 0922915148.
  • Black Helicopters over America: Strikeforce for the New World Order (1994). ISBN 978-1881532057.
  • Casebook on Alternative 3: UFOs, Secret Societies and World Control (1994). ISBN 0962653497.
  • Saucers of the Illuminati, published under pseudonym Jay Katz (1995). ISBN 193188224X.
  • The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro, with Kenn Thomas (1996). ISBN 0922915393.
  • Okbomb! Conspiracy and Cover-Up (1996). ISBN 1881532089.
  • Casebook on the Men in Black (1997). ISBN 1881532119.
  • Mind Control, World Control: The Encyclopedia of Mind Control. Adventures Unlimited Press (1997). ISBN 0932813453.
  • Black Helicopters II: The End Game Strategy (1998). ISBN 1881532143.
  • Biowarfare In America. Lilburn, GA: Illuminet Press (1999). ISBN 1881532216.
  • Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (2003). ISBN 1881532208.



  1. ^ a b Sion, Mike (June 26, 1995). "Black copters no laughing matter to Reno-area writer". Reno Gazette-Journal. pp. 1, 2. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Sterling, Robert (September 1999). "The Konformist: Jim Keith 1949-1999". The Konformist. Archived from the original on October 12, 1999.
  3. ^ Damon, Anjeanette (September 28, 1999). "Rumors abound in death of conspiracy theorist". Reno Gazette-Journal.
  4. ^ Finnell, Steve. Record of Death (Report). Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner's Office. 1999-00794.

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