The Earth-Rite BBS was a free service of Avalon Products, which formulated incenses, oils, and bath salts for the Wiccan Community. Avalon Products was a joint partnership of Windsong & Winde (W&W), started in 1980 to raise funds for a trip to the magical sites in Europe.The first (and largest) customer was the Cosmic Aeroplane bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. W & W were also the founders of "Our Lady of the Mountains", one of the first Wiccan groups in Utah.
When W & W moved to the Bay Area late in 1982 the business came with them. Operating from a PO Box in Fremont's historic Mission San Jose post office, with facilities on the patio of a townhouse in Fremont, Avalon's creators experimented and created a product line based on modern metaphysical principles. Windsong was fascinated by the networking potential in the evolving (pre Internet) online computer community, so Winde put together an Ampro "Little Board" Z-80 computer sistem with 3 5-1/4" floppy drives, a used terminal and a surplus 2400 baud modem (high speed in 1984) to start the BBS. With the exception of the Ampro board, everything was either surplus or old stock from Winde's day job as a Field Service Engineer for Evans & Sutherland. System software was CP/M with ZCPR3 enhancements
Earth-Rite was involved in several projects with the congregation of Our Lady of the Mountains in Salt Lake City over the years. A typical example was to scrounge the Silicon Valley surplus dealers for parts to assemble a working Atari 800 system with hard drive and printer for a member with a spinal cord injury.
Over the years the system was upgraded to a 6 meg hard drive with a Xebec 1410 SCSI controller and moved from the original sheet aluminum case with linear power supplies to a surplus Televideo chassis with switching power supply. ACE Electronics in Palo Alto/San Jose (Mark Twersky) was their primary surplus dealer, though Winde also shopped at Wierd Stuff Warehouse, Haltek Electronics and the original Fry's Electronics store in Sunnyvale..
The BBS was a focal point for the emerging South Bay Pagan community in the 1980's. Several Covens formed, transformed and hived as BBS members summoned the courage to meet at public events, fell in love, divorced, moved, made and lost fortunes in startup software companies.
W&W were at various times officers in the Northern California Local Council and National Covenant of the Goddess (COG) organization and traveled to several COG Grand Councils over the years, meeting with colleagues from the East Coast and Midwest. Much of the reading material featured on the BBS came from other COG members. Associates included Alison Harlow, Rowan Fairgrove, Russell Williams, Birgit, Linnea Dunn, Nile Etland, Sandy Stone, Z Budapest, Starhawk, Tiller & Haragano, and many others.
The Avalon Products business was sold to Maggie in Half Moon Bay in 1989. The power plug to the BBS was pulled that same year as the software had proved unable to filter out malicious hackers and spammers. Scams on the Internet are nothing new...