Thom Metzger

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(Redirected from Leander watts)

Th. (Thom) Metzger (born Sept. 2, 1956) is an American writer, musician, and historian. The author of both fiction and non-fiction, he is best known for his exploration of the esoteric and little known history of the Burned Over District of western New York State. As Leander Watts, he has published five YA novels.

Metzger was born and raised in Rochester, NY, son of Robert G. and Lois M. (nee Mercel) Metzger.

He attended Gates-Chili High School before earning a BA (1978) and MLS (1979) at the State University of New York at Geneseo (where he studied four-dimensional geometry and quantum physics with Rudy Rucker.[1][2]


Metzger’s writing career began with the publication of the avant-shock novel Big Gurl in 1989.[3] His association with Autonomedia commenced with inclusion of his work in the Semiotext(e) U.S.A. issue, at the invitation of Peter Lamborn Wilson. His work appeared in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed and other journals.[4] Blood and Volts: Edison, Tesla,and the Electric Chair, and This is Your Final Warning were also published by Autonomedia.[5]

By direct transmission from Hakim Bey,[6] Metzger was authorized to found the Ziggurat Lodge of the Moorish Orthodox Church in 1993. During the 1990s, when the subculture of zines flourished, he edited nine issues of The Moorish Science Monitor.

From 1999 until 2005, Metzger published over a hundred feature articles in Rochester’s City Newspaper as well as 55 installments of his Way Below Radar column. He has been called “The Poet Laureate of the Burned Over District,” by The Poet’s Press. As such, he was a featured speaker in the BBC-4 documentary “Secret History: the Chair” and will be featured in the forthcoming documentary Burned Over, produced by East Bend Films.


Metzger has been a founding member of various avant garde musical groups, among them: Health and Beauty, the Fabulous Rectotem, Ziggurat Prison Ministries, and the Badenovs.[7] Since 1999, he has been an active participant in the subculture of Sacred Harp singing.[8]



Short Fiction Collection[edit]


  • Blood and Volts: Edison, Tesla and the Electric Chair (Autonomedia 1996)
  • The Birth of Heroin and the Demonization of the Dope Fiend (Loompanics Unlimited 1998)
  • Select Strange and Sacred Sites (Exit 18 Books 2002)
  • Undercover Mormon: a Spy in the House of the Gods (Roadswell Editions 2012)
  • Big Noise on the Astral Plane (Ziggurat 2021)
  • Hakim Bey: Real and Unreal (mogtus-sanlux 2023)


  1. ^ Rucker, Rudy (2011). Nested Scrolls: A Writer's Life. PS Publishing.
  2. ^ "Watts, Leander 1956–". Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  3. ^ Hendrix, Grady (2021). "Murder Books 101: Serial Killer POVs From Poe to Big Gurl". Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  4. ^ Metzger, Thom (Summer 1992). "Transform and Rebel: The Calico Indians and the Anti-rent War". The Anarchist Library. Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  5. ^ "FOCUS: AVANT-POP". American Review. 17 (6). August–September 1996.
  6. ^ Wilson, Peter Lamborn (1992). Radio Sermonettes. New York: Libertarian Book Club.
  7. ^ "Badenovs Photo Page!". Badenovs Super Spy HQ.
  8. ^ "Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings". Retrieved December 3, 2023.