SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Calhoun Eccentric: Forty Attempts Made On Eddie Kirby's Life

"The world is run by monopolies, dictators and vote buyers" - Eddie Austin Kirby

By Bob Weaver 2003

Around Hur we knew Eddie Austin Kirby as "The Man Who Lives In His Car."

He would place a padded backboard across the car seats to sleep, keeping a trunk load of food and personal items to save boarding expenses.

During the 50s, when I first met him, he had several sleeping places along the Joker Ridge Road.

We have often written about the life and times of Eddie Kirby, one of our favorite Calhoun characters. Quite frankly, we just can't stop. He claimed in his book that over 40 assassination attempts were made on his life. Some of them he describes in detail.

Dr. Tim Miller, son of Calhouner Corley Miller, who went off into the world to be a surgeon in Kingwood WV, wrote:

"I remember being fascinated by Eddie Kirby, who I remember as 'the man who lives in his car.' On occasion he would stop at the house to do some business with my father, Corley Miller. As you may recall, we lived on Phillips Run just up the road from Hunter Huffman (next to Todd Hathaway)."

"Anyway, my father worked for Eureka Pipeline, was a foreman there for a time at Brooksville. While he and Eddie talked, I would walk around the car and peer in the windows at the collection of stuff." He kept all his potted meat and vienna sausage cans for future use, a staple in his daily diet.

"I remember he had a typewriter in his car, installed on some sort of shelf as I recall, and I remember being impressed when, during one of his oil meetings in front of the house, he proceeded to type up some kind of important looking document right there in the car," said Dr. Miller.

Some Calhoun old-timers will remember Eddie when he refused to drink "town water," believing it was contaminated. It may have been his fluoride protest. Seeking the permission of county politicians, he drilled a water well on the courthouse lawn and installed a pump. Eddie would drive into town and fill up his jugs. The pump was in use until a few years ago.

Eddie was fascinated with his own demise, claiming that over 40 assassination attempts were made on his life over a period years. He documents the incidents in his book "Many Are Called But few Are Chosen." His encounters with "foreign spies" started in 1937.

On December 2, 1972 at his self-drilled oil well near Joker, a "strange thought come to my mind," he wrote, indicating someone was watching him.

"Soon a tall hunter leaped from a strange car; this car was traveling down the hillside road, on the opposite hill which was facing the oil well. This hunter had stopped and was gazing about as if he were looking for deer. This day was the last day of the legal deer season...The author began to wonder if he might meet with the same fate which befell John F. Kennedy." Kirby goes on to describe the stance of the hunter who had a rifle, and the maneuvering of two other men who blocked his escape route from the narrow hollow on Joker Hill.

He believes his life was saved by numerous cars passing the suspect assassins, and that their alibi of shooting Kirby for a deer was disrupted.

In another attempt, Kirby writes in 1962: "Two strangers approached me in Elizabeth, West Virginia and inquired of me about buying some walnut timber...I needed money for these trees, if I could sell them for a fair price...When we began to look for this timber (accompanied by the two strangers), it was discovered that the larger trees had been cut and hauled away. When we got deeper into the wooded area, one of the strangers disappeared into the woodland for a little while...and a short distance upstream another stranger appeared with a high-powered rifle."

"Except for my forethought to take my friend is quite probable that this rifleman would have cut me down and I would have been among the 'missing persons' for a long, long time. This gunman would have assassinated me on my own ground, I have no doubts. Whether these men were assigned to this intended gruesome act by monopolies, dictators or vote buyers, or by some politician, I may never know. But such dangers are one's fate."

He details another account where an object strikes his car, crashing against his car window at "the exact level of my throat." He claims it was an arrow shot from a bow. "A severed jugular vein would be very hard to repair, especially with a person on a lonely road and no one to help him...My only conclusion about this incident was that some oligarch had made another effort to injure or destroy me, and had failed again. My lucky stars were surely shining again."

A relative of Eddie said he was a "pretty sneaky trader and would skin you twice if he had a chance. Discussing Eddie's handy car-mounted typewriter, they said he would rewrite (on that old Underwood) deeds or leases after he made a deal. He was known to seal the exchange with a few scripture quotes, sorta like "blessing the deal," ever reminding the listener about the second coming of Christ.

And then there was the summer of the drought and all the creek beds had dried up. Eddie dutifully pulled his wash pan from his old Nash car, filled it up with water in a nearby mud hole, and shaved. He was Calhoun's first avid environmentalist and recycler (those thousands of potted meat and vienna sausage cans).

Eddie may be best remembered for his prolific correspondence with famous people, including Franklin Roosevelt before he became president. He wrote to numerous world leaders with his "Plan for World Peace."

He willed his plan for peace to the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, to allow "the full and complete use" of the plan "to allow such create and bring forth world peace to all people of the world as soon as possible..." Eddie complained in the will, that "other people in this country have not been sufficiently interested."

After years of oil and gas speculating and working for the U. S. Post Office, not to forget drilling his own wells, Eddie managed to accumulate an estate possibly worth about $200,000. He spent most of his senior years re-writing his will, but mostly on how to divvy it up.