How did Burning Man begin? Larry Harvey says “I don’t really remember” and “I’ve got all these stories I tell”. Only 2 of the current ruling group ever went to Burning Man on the beach. On Michael Mikel’s official Burning Man bio, it says he joined in 1988. However, in court testimony in the 2007 John Law suit, it was established that nobody from the Cacophony Society attended any Burning Man events until 1989. Should we believe Burning Man’s web site, or statements in a Court of Law? Incidentally, in this case the court heard testimony from Stuart Mangrum that Mikel was not telling the truth.
In the “official” history, as recorded by Brian Doherty and others, an artist named Mary Grauberger was burning statues on the beach on the solstice. However, Mary insists that she wasn’t. Her roommate Janet Lohr, Larry’s long time girlfriend, said Mary sometimes made driftwood sculptures for the tide to reclaim, but never effigies to burn.
In earlier interviews, Larry Harvey claimed a number of times that Burning Man began in 1985.
So what really happened? Who was burning a Wicker Man on the beach in 1985?
After 4 years of research, I have finally uncovered the true story of the origins of Burning Man.
Download the PowerPoint file with notes and citations here