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March 30, 1995|LEONARD REED | Times Staff Writer

It would be wrong to suggest Taylor Kramer had deified notions about himself. But these readings mesh thematically not only with statements made in the months before his disappearance but to his own writings of 20 years ago. Then, as a member of Iron Butterfly, Kramer would sit up all night with Ron Bushy at a Denny's in Northridge or any of dozens of faceless hotels on the road to write songs and fill pages, which were later found in boxes in Butterfly's former rehearsal studio.

On stationery from the Holiday Motel in Aberdeen, Wash., in November, 1975, Taylor Kramer writes: "This feeling of hope . . . is so strong within me it almost shatters my fears. Losing virtue . . . is losing life. One of my foremost goals is to constantly strive for virtue. I want to give dreams, ideas and feelings that are of a good nature. I am limited by my own life. There is only so much a human being can achieve within his physical boundaries, but I wish to reach beyond my physical being. With the help of God, I will never fail. I do not pretend to know who or what makes up the unity of God, but I beg for his help and hope his forgiveness will guide me through my errors."

In another, he notes in the margin that the following sentences, which precede a dense passage about shifting energies, form a "garbage forethought": "I look forward to death's release. I haven't the guts to take this moment upon my hands, but the time before birth lingers as the sweetness of spring. How can I taste of life when I know not death?"

And in yet another, Kramer reveals his early interests in defining the universe through mathematics, drawing extensive diagrams in which mass, energy and gravity are differentiated. "You see," he writes, "God is not to be confused with conventional terms of any religion, but to be known as the total energy unit made up of all levels of energy, whether in this plane or all planes, the Great Computer--God."

Sleepless for Too Long

On the Friday before he disappeared, Taylor Kramer had a three-hour meeting with Dan Shields, his colleague and another founder of TMM. Kramer paced around the conference room, Shields flopped on the couch.

Kramer, says Shields, was in his euphoric state. Dan wanted to listen and to question. Kramer had asked whether Shields saw the movie "Sneakers" on cable TV that week. Kramer was jazzed by the encryption-busting theme and said he'd be able to crack any encrypted code Shields could throw at him. Shields did. Kramer didn't break it.

"It wasn't a big thing," says Shields. "But I told him to go home and get some sleep. He was really going on about everything, at times not holding things together. Taylor is a great idea guy, though sometimes the little stuff stops him. I mean, this is a guy who doesn't know how to swap computer files between directories but who, if you ask him, can sit down and do a huge compression on a drive. He's amazing that way. But on that Friday, he was having trouble, and it was clear he'd been sleepless for too long."

Taylor Kramer did go home, but he never got his sleep.

He just vanished. With 40 cents in his pocket.

If the considerable number of people in his sphere get their wish, Taylor Kramer is still out there somewhere: waking, sleeping, just waiting to be found.

Staff writer Mack Reed contributed to this story.



* The Kramer family is offering a cash reward for information that leads to the safe return of Philip (Taylor) Kramer.

* Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-385-5011.

* Kramer was last seen driving a green 1993 Ford Aerostar van, license number 3EBU 024.

* The Kramer family has established the Philip (Taylor) Kramer Fund to help sustain the search for Kramer. Contributions may be sent to P.O. Box 4151, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359-1151.

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