Help save San Francisco’s Whybrary

Help save San Francisco’s Whybrary!

The Whybrary is a library-museum of esoterica & endangered culture grandfathered in the Mission district of once-weird San Francisco. It houses thousands of books on topics such as mysticism, divination, consciousness, psychedelics, shamanism, religion, cults, conspiracies, the paranormal, cryptozoology, bizarre science, counterculture & much more. This rarely publicized archive occupies a gallery space brimming with original art, with found-object shrines in every corner — a veritable treasury of the strange & forgotten. (Please enjoy some photos at the Whybrary Instagram.)

I'm Matthew Souzis, creator & curator of the Whybrary, which is also my residence. Sad to say, rent increases, health issues and financial setbacks have led to a dire circumstance. Despite my reluctance to ask, your donations are needed to pay rent, utilities, and to help with medical/dental expenses and cat supplies.

My passion for esoteric books & strange ephemera started in 1970s Brooklyn as a precocious child. A lifelong student, my deep interests gravitate to underground & arcane folkways, art and music. I have studied divination systems including astrology, tarot and Yi Jing; written & designed zines such as Re-Animism and Science & Strange Religion, and surreal games such as A Lively Dilemma; collaborated on music & art projects, political efforts, salon events, documentaries and animated films. I've lived in SF for nearly thirty years and curated the Whybrary for over fifteen; over that time I've hosted artists, performers and activists, providing a supportive space for many in the Bay Area's creative community.

Yet like countless other writers, artists and musicians, I barely scrape by. My background is culturally rich but working-class poor; I live very frugally in order to focus on creative work & self-education. The Whybrary's books & artifacts were mostly found in thrift shops, used bookstores and the generous streets of San Francisco. And while I opted out of pursuing wealth and owning financial assets, my debts have grown over time.

Although I aim to support the Whybrary via related projects (including a podcast nearing production called Phantasmaganza: An Esoteric Parade, and Astralobe, a unique astrology app I designed and developed that needs business guidance), funds are desperately required to keep this hidden gem alive. Your generosity with this fundraiser is deeply appreciated! I've also set up a Patreon for supporters of the Whybrary and my creative projects; kindly consider an ongoing contribution. I am also grateful for your help with sharing this GoFundMe far and wide.

If you'd like to visit before donating, and explore the Whybrary virtually or in person, or if you have any questions, please contact me via email. If you'd like to get a customized tour of the Whybrary, and receive a unique fortune-telling experience, please consider booking through Airbnb Experiences, where I've recently introduced my services. (Please share this link with anyone you think may have interest.)

The Whybrary is located in the shadow of the Mission's Armory building, at the corner of 14th & Woodward Street — the site of Woodward's Gardens, San Francisco's great amusement park before the 1906 earthquake. The Whybrary is well known in the area for its Why neon sign which has beguiled passers-by for fifteen-plus years.

A final word. The loss of San Francisco's cultural depths is clear to all observers. The Whybrary keeps a few curious tendrils alive, showcasing remnants of this once world-class greenhouse of the weird. Please donate to save this unique library-museum. And help preserve the creative soul of the city from imminent extinction.


Matthew Souzis
San Francisco, CA

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