Sunday, May 13, 2018


I met Fred Kahler in 1956 or 57, when he was about 14 or 15 years old.  My brother was trying to start a rock n roll band and Fred had a base fiddle, but Fred never returned.
In about 1970, I ran into him while he was working in Falls Church as a designer of kitchens at McGonagal Plumbing.  This may have been where he was first introduced to the Pagans.  One worked in the parts department.  In about 1972 I was living in Delaplane at the JJ and found that he was living at the Tribble farm that was near by.  Fred lived in a converted dairy barn and he was with Mary at that time.  I do not know about her before.  He had stopped working at McGonagal then and wasn't working anywhere.  Only Mary worked.  As far as I know, he never worked again.  This is when he started his art.  He also started to grow pot plants next to the barn.  They were so large because the cows had been around the barn for many years.  He had one that he called "Grandpa" that must have been six feet in diameter ten feet high. I kid you not.  After the harvest I smoked some, but it was a really strange "high".  I did not try it again.  Later on I ran into a Pagan that tried to sell me some pot sprayed with PCP.  I knew a lot of guys that became Pagans, because I went to school with them.  He told me that he had been smoking some in his basement when he heard a noise outside.  He went out and around the side of the house and realized that the noise must be coming from the other side of the house.  He did not want to walk all the way around so he just "picked up the house and moved it instead".  Needless to say that I did not buy any.  It was then that I realized that Fred had sprayed PCP on "Grandpa".  Maybe that was one reason that he was so weird.  The next time I saw Fred was about 1973 where he was living on a farm off of Rt. 29 near Warrenton. Whitehall?  He was growing pot there also.  He had finished more art and I asked if he wanted to show it.  Fred was afraid of strangers, but let me take some art to a gallery on Dupont Circle.  The owner was very interested, but said to me "you know this guy is crazy, don't you".  I told him that I was aware of that.  Fred declined the show because he was afraid.  A short time later I went for a visit and Fred got into a rage.  He accused me of things that I had no idea what he was talking about.  I didn't go back after that and I never saw Fred again. 

David Brier


  1. Can’t we just let Fred rip and not blog w incriminating stories. His art is his legacy and these stories can be viewed as damning.

    1. Robert, that is precisely why you should write about your experiences with Fred Kahler. Fred’s legacy will be much more than his extraordinary artwork. He will live on in the memories he left with the people in his life. For some people they will be bad memories and for others good memories. I have my own experiences with Fred and when I tell them, it is filtered through my eyes. As a viewer I can get a really good idea of a person by listening to the many stories, from many different people that knew Fred.
      Fred was a weird man, even by his own account. Some of the stories I’ve heard, from Fred as well as others, were as fantastic as Fred’s artwork. So, please, post your stories and urge everyone you know, that knew Fred, to post their stories, because the more stories posted, the more complete the picture.