Charles Gibaut Bissell-Thomas was born in Jersey in the Channel Islands on Tuesday 13th March 1956. He was never happy with that name so as a teenager he changed it - first to Charlight Utang, then Soma Love, again by deed poll to Jungleyes Cism Love and finally Jarl Love. Then he opened a shop in Kew called ‘World Tree Mend Us’.
Jungle, as most people knew him, had always questioned established belief. At primary school he asked the head teacher why they didn’t worship the Devil as well as Christ. At his next school, Harrow, he persuaded the Chinese Embassy to send the school 725 copies of Chairman Mao’s famous ‘Little Red Book’. They were promptly sent back.
In his late teens he began to grow his hair and by his 20’s wasn’t even brushing or combing it. Instead of the hoped for Rastafarian ‘Nattydreads” Jungle finished up with a tangled, matted bush. It didn’t stop him graduating from the University of Sussex with a degree in Neurobiology - the scientific study of the Nervous System - or travelling through Asia where he spent several years with a ‘dukun’ (witch doctor) called Waktu Lemak.
Like many people at the time he was interested in alternative philosophies, natural magic and shamanism. This general interest was encouraged by popular books such as ‘The Teachings of Don Yuan’ by Carlos Castanada, ‘The Old Straight Track’: by Alfred Watkins and ‘The Doors of Perception’ by Aldous Huxley. Jungle was an active participant in the psychedelic movement and regular used marijuana, LSD and the hallucinogenic mushroom Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria) used by shaman in Russia.
Because of its unpredictable psychological effects some sources say the shaman would first feed the amanita to reindeer and then drink their urine. Others suggest that it is the shaman who first ate the mushroom and it is his followers who then drank his urine! It’s just a matter of taste.
Jungle became a fruitarian, eating a diet that included fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds but without animal products or grains. He also refused to have his photograph taken as he believed the camera would steal his soul. For evidence of this just check out any of those magazines featuring camera junkie ‘celebrities’.
In the 1980’s Jungle began studying runic-lore, a Nordic mystical tradition passed on by successive female practitioners. Believers claim that runic symbols can invest great powers including the raising of the dead…
I know a twelfth one if I see, up in a tree, a dangling corpse in a noose, I can so carve and colour the runes, that the man walks And talks with me
The Stanza 157 of ‘Havamal’
Jungle began making and selling runic jewellery through his shop, ‘World Tree Mend Us’ at 17 Station Parade in Kew. (He had another shop in Appley Tower in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.) He also sold rocks, gemstones and coprolites or fossilised excrement. One customer wanted a pendulum that would allow him to pick winners at the race track. The first time he used it the customer won £800 but the second time the pendulum wouldn’t play. The customer returned the pendulum to Jungle with instructions to replace the silver parts with gold. The next time it was used, at the Cheltenham Gold Cup and after a shaky start, the pendulum picked a ‘certainty’.. The punter bet all of his £800 winnings on the horse and this time he won £33,000.
Jungle became one of the very few people in this country to suffer from beriberi, a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition caused by a shortage of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the diet. It has been suggested that this condition was exacerbated by his fruitarian regime. In 2007 he had an operation to remove an abscess from his brain . This left him requiring care for the rest of his life. Charles Gibaut Bissell-Thomas a.k.a Charlight Utang, Soma Love, Jarl Love and finally Jungleyes ‘Jungle’ Cism Love, born March 13th 1956, died on February 2nd 2013 aged 56.
People who remember the 1960’s will remember people like Jungle with great affection. In their time they were called ‘hippies’ and often denigrated for their long hair and relaxed outlook, their use of soft drugs and interest in the weird and wonderful. In some countries like America and the USSR they were denounced as anarchists and ‘enemies of the state’ - and in a way they were. They were anti-establishment and promoted communal living and cooperative effort. They were open and tolerant and creative and patient and usually a great pleasure to be around. Most of all, at a time when the world was divided by a Cold War and conflict in South East Asia, the ‘hippies’ believed in, preached and practised “Peace and Love”. By name alone Jungleyes Love was one of them.
Credit: The painting of Jungleyes is by his sister Harriet. Much of the information is this article came from an obituary in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ 11th Feb. 2013
– from Martyn Day