Freddy Nietzsche – The Fastest Draw in the West

A True Story – In Places.

Due to sundry events to which I am merely a spectator, I found myself on the online encyclopedia known as ‘Wikipedia’ the other day. Now due to a slip of the cursor, I clicked on the wrong link and found myself on the biography of one Johnny Ringo, a gentleman of the nineteenth-century persuasion.


Now my first thought was, I should imagine, much the same as any student of the romantic world of America’s wild west: “Wait, isn’t that a photograph of Friederich Nietzsche, well know nineteenth-century philosopher and author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra?”

I mean it does look an awful lot like him.

I mean it looks EXACTLY like him, more or less.


Put another way, this picture of the man who coined the term Übermensch ( is clearly the same person. Yes, yes, the haircut is slightly different but that’s the same expression, eyes, nose, huge moustache and THE SAME COLLAR AND TIE. It’s basically the same guy but photographed at a different angle and with better quality film.

‘No, wait!’ I hear you cry, ‘that’s nuts and you’ve been reading too many wacky internet theories and your critical powers have turned to mush you silly, silly man. Everybody in Victorian times looked like that even in countries not actually ruled by Queen Victoria.”

Now, I will concede that nineteenth-century photography and male grooming habits may disguise important different facial features because of fixed expressions, evolving technology and huge amounts of facial hair but I did a test. You can do it yourself. Look up pictures of Johnny Ringo’s contemporaries such as Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday or others involved in the Gunfight at the OK Corral and check to see if any of them:

  • Also look like Nietzsche (answer: no they don’t)
  • Also look like any other contemporaneous notable philosophers (answer: no they don’t)

‘Yes, but it is still a superficial…’ let me stop you right there dear reader. Look at this image below. This is the two images above superimposed. I swear to the ghost of William of Ockham that I’ve only done the following to them: flipped the Johnny R image left-right, resized it uniformly and change the opacity of the layer so you can see Freddy N underneath.


The ears don’t quite match up and Freddy’s moustache is a bit wilder, but otherwise? That, people, is a match.

No, no, it is no use holding your palm to your face and shaking your head like that and mumbling ‘I remember when this blog used to make sense’. We have to face facts. Friedrich Nietzsche and Johnny Ringo were the same dodgy desperado! One, the scourge of Tomb Stone Arizona and the other the scourge of German philosophy!

‘OK, despite you demanding we all practise non-cynical scepticism and examine outrageous ideas critically, you have convinced me that these two people who led public lives on two different continents are the same person but how is that possible?’ – Good question!

So Freddy was born in 1844, Johnny was (ostensibly) born 1850 – an age difference easily obscured. Indeed, Freddy would have spent much of his life under the gentle and damp weather conditions of Prussia and hence probably would have looked young for his age among the rowdy cowboys of Cochise County, their skin prematurely aged by the harsh sun and dry dusty conditions.

Now up to about 1876, Freddy’s life is very public and well documented. Over that same period, an outlaw known as Johnny Ringo was active in Texas and was involved in the so-called Mason County War. Clearly, those two people are different.

In 1876 Freddy becomes disillusioned with Wagner and possibly is suffering from his experiences as a medical orderly in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Now the “official” history of Nietzsche has him becoming an ‘independent’ philosopher – essentially breaking formal ties to institutions by 1879 and living off a pension and travelling with friends.

In reality* this was all a cover – an elaborate facade constructed with the aid of friends, relatives and accomplices. In truth, Freddy had left to become a cowboy outlaw in the Wild West. Entranced by lurid tales of gunslingers and adventures and a world where men were men and nobody could spell ‘nihilism’, Freddy had found the perfect antidote to his pessimism and disenchantment. Instead of watching Wagner play-acting as Seigfried, Freddy could make his way to a world where epic heroes still walked the earth and had their deeds written as sagas.

Somehow, Freddy managed to be both exactly right and exactly wrong about that.

In truth, the era of the Wild West was already in its final stages. Railroads now crossed the continent and law and order was being systematically (often brutally) established.

The one place that was still the epitome of the Wild West was Tombstone Arizona — a bustling but often lawless town, still growing off the back of mining boom. The miners were mainly immigrants – including many from Germany. It was there Freddy headed, taking up the identity of an outlaw who had died in Texas and the first thing he did was to join an outlaw gang of cowboys known as the Cochise County Cowboys.

“Johnny” first turns up in Tombstone in 1879 around the time Nietzsche ‘officially’ had resigned as professor of philology at the University of Basel. No more lecturing bored Swiss students! Now he’d be rustling cattle and raising mayhem!

The events in Tombstone over the next four years have become legendary. Nietzsche himself didn’t participate in the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral (despite what the movies say) but he tussled with Doc Holliday and pursued Wyatt Earp as part of a rival posse established by the county sheriff. Meanwhile, in Europe, Freddy’s friends staged elaborate ways of establishing that Nietzsche was still in Europe.

Officially, “Johnny” died in 1882 due to a gunshot to the head – which may have been self-inflicted or may have been an execution. In truth** we will never know whose body that really was but what we do know is that after an appropriate amount of time for Nietzsche to make his way back to Europe, he turns up in Leipzig looking for an academic position, having ‘split’ from his ‘friends’ Lou Salomé and Paul Rée (in truth*** he didn’t know them – they had been hired to maintain the cover story).

From there the official narrative starts up again. Nietzsche’s sister, inspired by Freddy’s wild west adventure decides in 1886 to start a new life in Paraguay with her antisemitic husband. “Been there, done that.”**** says Freddy, treating the ‘Americas’ as a single entity and not meaning that he literally had been to Paraguay.

And there you have it. The strange, fabricated forgotten history of Friedrich Nietzsche Outlaw Cowboy and how he nearly (but not quite) fought at the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

True story.*****

*[for some values of reality]

**[for some values of truth]

***[‘truth’ as in ‘make this story work’]

****[In German but it is from Nietzsche that we get this phrase]

*****[in some reality or other surely?]

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27 responses to “Freddy Nietzsche – The Fastest Draw in the West”

  1. The Beatles studied philosophy and traditional American music (coming from country/western as well as jazz) — was this little-known Johnny/Freddy switch their inspiration for Fake Paul? How do you say “goo goo k’joob” in German? Doesn’t that mustache look like a Walrus? Add to that that the Beatles drummer is RINGO and it all fits!!!

    John, George, and Richard/Ringo knew all about this switcheroo and used the same technique in the 60’s.

    Wiki says of Sir Richard: “In November 1959, Starkey joined Al Caldwell’s Texans […] About this time he adopted the stage name Ringo Starr; derived from the rings he wore and also because it implied a country and western influence.”

    Ringo was the brains of the outfit and no one knew it! Wasn’t John at all!


  2. I am waiting to see if there’s any comments upon the current John Ringo and his connection to Camestros’ groundbreaking historical theory. I’ll note that (1) the new John Ringo has not, to my knowledge, ever been photographed wearing a handlebar mustache, an indication that he has something to hide; 2) he certainly has published works featuring protagonists who personify Nietzsche’s description of an ubermensch; and 3) I don’t really like any of these guys. To quote the current US President, “Everybody says there’s something wrong here. Sad!”

    Liked by 3 people

    • The connection is that people are trying to HIDE the current John Ringo – rabid socialists who are part of the secret conspiracy that knows about the Nietzsche/Ringo swap and will do ANYTHING (including sabotage a convention) to stop people looking into the whole thing.

      I’m the only one brave enough to reveal the truth!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Is current Ringo actually a descendant of Nietzsche, then, thus knowing about the swap through family lore?

        How does he feel about the Beatles and their usage of the same technique almost a century later?

        We’ve got 3 conspiracy theories going on; 3 is a magic number, so IT MUST BE TRUE!!!

        (No, History Channel guy, it’s NOT aliens. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not even Illuminati or Templars, and I shall scoff at anyone who suggests it.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. FREDDY: I don’t know, there’s just somethin’ about him. Somethin’ around the eyes. I don’t know. Reminds me of… me. No, I’m sure of it. I hate him.


  4. I don’t think you’ve ruled out the simple, common-sense solutions. You know, time travel, cloning, mirror universe Nietzsche or the mustache being an eldritch parasite whose victims all quickly begin to resemble each other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Back then, see, there were just far fewer photographs. They were costly and time-consuming, and nobody liked to hold still for that long. So they would offer folks a choice of about a dozen stock photos that the photographer would carry from place to place, sometimes making slight changes to customize the ears or the mustache or some such. But not too many, because those cost money too.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. camestrosfelapton: it is no use holding your palm to your face and shaking your head like that and mumbling ‘I remember when this blog used to make sense’.

    I started reading this blog on May 29, 2015. Obviously, I missed the period where this blog made sense.

    I feel vaguely cheated and deprived. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

  6. A Wagner-referring alias?

    “He was occasionally (…) referred to as “Ringgold” by local newspapers.” (Wikipedia)

    Liked by 1 person

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