Robert Lansberry was a man who never gave up. Devoted to the world he created for himself, perfectly comfortable with conspiracy theories, he spent almost three decades protesting on Downtown Pittsburgh streets. He carried his notorious sandwich boards or posters, which were at times amusing, sometimes infuriating and some other times bewildering.
The Post-Gazette’s Timothy McNulty wrote in Lansberry’s obituary: “He had been carrying his black-and-white sandwich boards around his neck for years, since he first felt the silent mind-controlling radio waves sent by the CIA in the 1970s. In the beginning, he protested by sending the government letters, but when he started to suspect that the feds — through their agents at the U.S. Postal Service — were censoring his mail, he took his protest to the streets.”
Lansberry became a recognizable sight of Downtown Pittsburgh, and his signs were his signature:
“Why can’t Lansberry get mail?”
“Are you mind controlled?”
“Murphy is a rat.”
“Ask Mayor Caliguiri about biofeed, slaves, tortures, guinea pigs, postal theft”
… and more, there were many more…
After all, Lansberry was a nearly full-time street protester. He often marched 12 to 14 hours a day.
Lansberry even ran for office… and not just once. According to the Post-Gazette, he spent his entire life savings ($610) to run against Congressman Bill Coyne in the 1992 Democratic primary. A former sailor and grocery store owner, Lansberry received 13,871 votes to Coyne’s 44,616. “The day after the election, he explained his loss with a sign: ELECTION WAS FIXED.”
Lansberry wrote many letters to the FBI asking them for the contents of files that they kept on him. A few years before his death, Lansberry received 400 pages of files from the FBI, containing material the bureau collected about his life since 1975, around the time when Lansberry took to the streets.
According to some people who met him, Lansberry was an angry man, but not a violent one. He was passionate about his beliefs and would talk to anyone who listen.