16 Maps of Hell Campaign Launched: A Book to Rescue Lost Souls?

Today I launched the fundraiser campaign for 16 Maps of Hell*: The Unraveling of Hollywood Superculture (*with a Rough  Draft of the Exit).

24 hours ago, it was just called Maps of Hell: The Unraveling of Hollywood Superculture. The longer, clumsier, but also more playful (and accurate) title was my original choice, back when I was still trying to convince my agent to represent the book. He dropped out when I hedged over taking out the “16,” after that I decided he was probably right, and embarked on seeking a publisher on my own. Over a couple of months, I approached every seemingly suitable publisher that accepted submissions (not counting a few conspiratard ones I didn’t want to be affiliated with, such as Trine Day). They all either ignored me or rejected it.

I finally gave up and went to my POI & VOK publisher, Aeon. They didn’t get back to me either! It was then that the chain of events, summed up in the campaign video, began. This was a couple of weeks ago, when a Mysterious Stranger came though Hope, and volunteered to build an index. The day after that, the day after I had decided to self-publish, Aeon finally got back to me. They rejected the book as too big a project for them to handle.

How and why did I go back to the more elaborate title, less than a day before launching the campaign?

Here’s what happened. Yesterday morning, I was talking to my sister. Just before I signed off to open the thrift store, she said she had something to tell me. I said it would have to be quick, and she said it would be. She agreed we wouldn’t have time to discuss it, but she would leave it with me to think about. She then described the following:

Our father, Nicolas Horsley, died on the 16th of January, 2004. My sister’s husband, possibly, died on the 16th of February, 2000. Our brother, Sebastian Horsley, died most probably on the 16th of June, 2010. (Both men died of a heroin overdose, and were not discovered at once, so the exact date is unknown.) My sister then reminded me how, when Elvis died, on 16th August 1977, our brother had been mean to us about it. While we loved Elvis, he, a punk rocker, hated him.

My brother’s hero was Marc Bolan. My sister had just found out that Bolan died exactly a month later, on the 16th of September, 1977.

I mentioned then something I had only learned last year from my wife’s brother: that the Chinese word for four (四, pinyin: sì, jyutping: sei3) is similar to the word for death. Because of this, there is a superstition in East Asian nations around the digit 4. It is called “tetraphobia.”

And 16 = 4 X 4.

Leaving my sister with this nugget, I went to open the thrift store.

While I was rapidly and somewhat manically ordering the many new donations, in my Terminator-style of working, I came upon a pile of vintage magazines that my wife had put behind the counter. There were several on the Kennedys commemorating their deaths, and then there was a small stack of Elvis mags, with a small poster on top. The Elvis poster & mags were published after his death, and prominently highlighted the date. One of them was even called 16 Magazine! Another had “16 color photos” emblazoned on the cover.


I told my wife about it when she came in to relieve me. She said the magazines had been donated the day before, along with some wall posters which she had hung up. I had already noticed the poster on the wall, and we went to look at it. Like the other paraphernalia, it had August 16th clearly marked on it. (As it happens, this is also my wife’s birthday.)

Now, the day before all this happened, I had been walking with my wife and I suggested she might add my brother as a prominent figure in the forefront of the cover of Maps of Hell. I suggested she could splice him with Robert Downey Jr, because, before he died (the last time I ever saw him), my brother had asked me if I thought RDJ could play him in the movie version of Dandy in the Underworld (the resemblance is striking, to me at least).

My idea was that including my brother/RDJ on the cover in this way would underscore the “soul rescue” purpose of the book, which after all was about exploring Hell, and since certain indications are that, after he died, my brother ended up in a not-so-good place. (I write about the parallels between his death and Heath Ledger’s in the first chapter of the book.)

In passing, on this “soul rescue” aspect, another thing happened yesterday that may be related: I received an email from someone who wrote that reading Prisoner of Infinity had caused their memories of childhood abuse to come to the surface, first as affect, and then as partial memories of events. It occurred to me that a book may sometimes be more than a book.

Another strange synchronicity: a customer called Noel was in the shop when my wife came in yesterday. Noel has family members working in a hospital in Mission, and it was Noel (as I mentioned recently) who told me the media was exaggerating the numbers of corona virus cases in BC. Because of this, a week or two earlier, I had been trying to see if my wife knew him (I didn’t know his name), and I had described him as looking like RDJ. She realized who I meant at once. I’d also told Noel this, and I repeated it to him yesterday, once I confirmed who he was. He laughed and it was obvious he was pleased by the comparison.

It was after that I told my wife about the weird Elvis 16 syncs. Excited by all the number “wangus,”  I was thinking out loud about how to get “16” into the Maps of Hell campaign. I asked her how many illustrations she had done for the book. She thought it was around 20 (actually 23). “Maybe we could make it 16,” I said.

It was then that it hit me. I built the book to very precise dimensions, like a house. It is structured 16 chapters with 6 sections in each (96), with four introductions, each with 2 sections (8, which is half of 16), totaling 104 sections (16 X 6.5). All the chapters are roughly 10,000 words. Hence including 16 in the original title made sense, because it was a finite operation with very precise limits. Limits, like death is a limit.

I reminded my wife of all this. She said she preferred 16 Maps of Hell to Maps of Hell. The deal was done. At time of writing, the campaign has raised £715.99

Warning: This book may rescue your soul. But it is not for tetraphobes.

Support the Soul Rescue project and help to Map Hell, Unravel the Hollywood Superculture, and restore the numbed-out human psyche to its natural uncluttered state.

20 thoughts on “16 Maps of Hell Campaign Launched: A Book to Rescue Lost Souls?”

  1. To give the detail that shows the way Death = 16 seems to be the truth arising from the hitherto unknown:
    My husband Giles was alive on Saturday 12th February : I found him on Thursday 17th. On Wednesday evening I collapsed, suddenly. Wrenching with an assault, sobbing (silently because our little girl was in the next room) I knew he was dead. I stayed up all night, not sleeping, but working out what I might find, what I needed to be strong enough for. And the next morning, after I dropped our daughter at nursery, I went round to his flat and called the police because I could not get in.
    And found him. When I was putting together all the 16s, including our brother’s probable death on the 16th (he was also found on the 17th), I remembered this experience of sudden, terrible truth that threw me to the floor or my own bedroom.

    • all this has launched this launch into a whole other dimension, more heart-wrenching but also uplifting, humbling even. <3

  2. And whaddaya know, my birthday is on the 16th of November. 😉

    My brother died on the 13th of October 2011, a number (13) which has its own ominous character. October 13 also happens to be the birthday of Papaji, who my ex-guru Mooji spent some time with in the 90s.

    I would have to check the dates, but during the summer that Seb died, my brother’s ex-girlfriend committed suicide while he himself was suffering from a severe reaction to a yellow fever jab (who’d have thought vaccines could be harmful, eh?). It may well have been in June…

  3. Remember the ibogaine lesson to me [on my ibogaine trip] that 17 is the number of ending? Well, Giles and Sebastian were discovered on the 17th; in England, Nick’s [Father’s] origin, it was the 17th when he died [in Barbados]; the first morning the world woke up without Elvis and Marc was the 17th, And look what I just found, rummaging about the internet for more goods:

    Why is 17 unlucky?
    The reason for this is because in Roman numerals, the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning “I have lived” — the use of the past tense suggests death, and therefore bad luck.

    Luke; I did not know that your brother also died young. I am feeling connections reverberating, crackling like electricity. And you were born on the 16th so that the 17th was the ending of your family’s world without Luke 🙂

  4. I you divide 2 by 3 I think you’ll find 23 an appropriate number of illustrations. I shall be backing this book, it sounds amazing. All the best, Ian.

  5. I might as well join the party, September 16 reporting in.

    My weird story, one of my good friends at the office shares my birthday. One of the first times I met her and was talking to her I just felt it. I was embarrassed to ask her just randomly,” what’s your birthday?” But I did. September 16. I just felt this kindred spirit connection so strongly.

  6. Your new book sounds fab. And you are just the man to write this story about the Hollywood road to hell. Congrats! And I wholeheartedly agree with the choice to put “16” back in the title. “Maps of Hell” is great but “16 Maps of Hell” tells the reader you aren’t just whistling Dixie. It grabs you and pulls you in because it’s SPECIFIC. Not just maps, but 16 maps. Bravo! That’s in addition to all the other reasons you gave!

    For those new to Jasun and his writings, please be advised that his work reads better than any novel you might pick up. He writes with qualities very unusual in today’s world: he has style, wit, invention, surprise, good information (in other words, NEWS that stays news, unlike newspapers), insight, wisdom, worthy critique, honesty, humility, breadth, depth, and most of all–HEART that comes through with every word he writes. Do yourself a favor: buy and read his new book. You will never regret it.

    • Thanks Greg. There is something about specificity… what is that? Nailing the boards down so we can walk on them…?

      There’s a frequent refrain today, esp. in spiritual circles, that limitations are a problem. Lack of them is an even bigger one.

      • Well, you make a good point in your second paragraph. There are many ways to come at the appeal of specificity. Since I’m highly philosophical by nature (yep, I accept your sympathy!), what I think of is that “Maps of Hell” is the philosophical title. “16 Maps of Hell” is the experiential or street-wise title. People are drawn to more specific information because it has a greater ring of authenticity. It almost makes me want to title my new book “16 Enigmas of Meaning.” But, for better or worse, I’m doomed to being more philosophical.

  7. There’s an expression in Serbian ‘sve u 16’ roughly meaning doing everything to the fullest capacity, dedicated, intense and with all your might. It can be used for any endeavour.

    Wasn’t so sure about the title change, to begin with, but the more I think about it the better it sounds. It might be the specificity you mention. ‘How many maps to Hell?’, “Well, 16.”

  8. 16 maps of hell is a more compelling title! makes you think more about the maps and what they are, what they mean, and so evocative for us with our lost 16th loved ones.

    I’m so excited to see how the book and the campaign turns out, crossing my fingers for a hardback and an audio book !

  9. Don’t want to go down the numerology rabbit hole as it is hard to climb out. My birthday month and day add to 16. Also, trying to help get this comment section to 16 comments.

  10. Back to the future 16s. 88 mph to time shift, Marty gets to “twin” pines mall at 1:15. =16. Clock changes from 15 to 16 as Marty arrives at parking lot. Doc discovers flux capacitor on Nov 5 1955 11+5=16. 1+9+5+5=20 or 2 so twin 16s. There is a video on the 911 references and director Roger Zemeckis’s other movies as well. I should rewatch it with this new perspective.
    Are we just seeing shapes in the clouds?

  11. Can you clarify what you mean when you write that “certain indications are that, after he died, my brother ended up in a not-so-good place.” What are the indications? And what is the not-so-good place?

  12. The KING (Elvis) died on his Throne. Usually when someone dies, we are left with heroic or loving memories of the dearly departed but not in the case of Elvis. We’re left with memories of him struggling on the toilet. No dignity for the KING.


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