The Martyrdom of

Thomas Merton

Recent articles and poetry

Epistemological Mystery and Thomas Merton

How have the narrow and the gauche,

Flaunting “econ,” “psych,” and “soash,”

Eclipsed their intellectual betters,

Our once exalted men of letters?

They’ve certainly never shown that they

Have more perceptive things to say

About life’s deeper mysteries

With formulae and indices

Than our tested bards and sages

Whom we’ve trusted through the ages,

But for no reason demonstrated,

Our literati abdicated…


Except for Merton,

Who was assassinated.

- David Martin

So Wrong about Thomas Merton's Death

To the tune of Patsy Cline's “So Wrong.

We've been so wrong

For so long;

So many have lied

About how Merton died,

We were wrong, oh so wrong.

We've been so wrong

For so long.

How could we guess that they'd fool us like this?

We were wrong.

No shower-wet hand

Ever touched a bad fan.

That was just a ruse.

What Merton got

Was the fruit of a plot.

You must know whose.

We were so wrong

For so long;

Now we've seen the light,

And we must make it right.

We were wrong.

No shower-wet hand

Ever touched a bad fan.

That was just a ruse.

What Merton got

Was the fruit of a plot.

You must know whose.

We were so wrong

For so long;

Now we've seen the light,

And we must make it right.

We were wrong.

-David Martin

"A cry was heard from his room and he was found in his bedroom, lying on the floor and grasping an electric fan.  Merton had come out of the bathtub, slipped on the tiled floor, and grabbed a fan to break his fall.  The fan electrocuted him and he died instantly."

Becoming Who You Are, Paulist Press

- James J. Martin, SJ

" Bangkok, on a warm day while taking a bath, he slipped in the bathtub, grabbed an electric fan and was electrocuted."

Thomas Merton, a Man of Contradictions,

Loyola Press

- James J. Martin, SJ

"...stepped out of a bathroom shower during a visit to Bangkok.  Slipping on the wet floor, he grabbed a poorly wired fan for support and was electrocuted."

Thomas Merton: Still Controversial

America Magazine-James J. Martin, SJ

"He takes a shower.  On his way out of the shower, he slips, grabs a fan, and is electrocuted."

Who Cares About the Saints?

Loyola Productions

James J. Martin, SJ

Post-Christian Man

Look up to the organization

With the proper awe and fear.

Bow down to your earthly betters,

And safeguard your career.

Neither sun nor moon will smite you

In daytime or at night,

If you keep your waters waveless,

Regardless of what's right.

Your temporal protectors

Will neither slumber nor sleep,

As long as you are one

With the company that you keep.

With sovereignty unchecked

By any Higher Power,

The purposeful collective

Displays its finest flower.

That purpose is whatever

Our vulgar fancy wills

When no one's eyes are lifted

Unto the Psalmist's hills.

- David Martin

(Psalm 121 updated)

“ Merton was found electrocuted by a handheld hair dryer that had fallen into his bathwater.  This was especially suspicious since Merton was bald and would have had no reason to use a hair dryer.  He was found dead in the bathtub.”

An Easy Burden, Harper Collins

-Andrew Young

Andrew Young, former Congressman, UN Ambassador, and Mayor of Atlanta.

Wise Monkeys?

Why haven't they looked into Merton's demise?

Here's what's occurred to me:

Our scholars have all averted their eyes

Out of fear of what they might see.

    - David Martin

Rev. C. John McCloskey is a Research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C.

"Merton died on December 10, 1968, there in Thailand, when a fan fell into his bathtub and electrocuted him."

Book Review of The Seven Storey Mountain, CatholiCity

-Rev. C. John McCloskey

Rev. James J. Martin, SJ, Editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America

Thomas Merton Fairy Tale

Merton slipped and had a fall

And landed on his head.

A "banana peel" was introduced

Long after he was dead.

The slippage didn't make much sense;

It could give a skeptic pause,

So a prop was trotted out

And offered as the cause.

For almost half a century

The subterfuge held sway.

The men who took Tom Merton's life

Had everything their way.

Now the veil's been torn away;

The crime has been revealed,

While his "devotees" act as though

They wish it were concealed.

You'd think that they would surely know

That this makes them look bad.

Are they just embarrassed at

How badly they've been had?

David Martin

Learning from Experience

The Sanhedrin really blew it.

At the time, nobody knew it.

But once they saw how everything went,

They wished they'd contrived an "accident."

David Martin

The Thomas Merton Assassination

For reason of state

He had to be killed.

For reason of state,

Blood had to be spilled.

You're oh so naive

To expect moral purity

The man had to die

For our nation's "security."

Your thirst for the truth

Will just go unsated.

Our reason of state

Can never be stated.

David Martin

Paul R. Dekar

Professor Emeritus of Evangelism and Mission at Memphis Theological Seminary

"After lunch, he retired to his room.  A few hours later, another conferee found Merton’s body with a fan lying on top of his body.  He probably tried to move the fan.  Perhaps he stepped on its faulty wiring.  While it is impossible to be certain of the circumstances, the cause of Merton’s death was electrocution.” - Prof. Paul Dekar