By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Decker, who led the MUFON group before Turner, says the falling-out had as much to do with Turner's unwillingness to share control as it did with Hatonn's ravings. "To put it politely, she's a very dominating woman," he says.
Still, the incident shows how anti-Semitism and right-wing fringe thinking is a half-click away from the UFO community on the ideological dial. "There is a lot of suspicion of the federal government in these circles. People think the government is covering things up," says Ed Conroy, a journalist who now works as director of corporate development for the San Antonio Symphony and regularly writes for Turner's newsletter. "I've been to a lot of conferences over the past several years where there are all kinds of levels and layers of extremism that get bandied about."
Turner saw her break with the now-inactive MUFON chapter as a chance to widen the scope of inquiry to include New Age transcendentalism, alternative health, and Egyptology, to name a few subjects.
"People had constantly been sending me books and articles, and I was a clearinghouse of information," she says. "I decided, 'Why not turn it into a business?' They say if you want an interesting job, do something you're interested in.
"I've always had this insatiable curiosity," she adds. "I try to question everything, look beyond the pat answer. I think sometimes it's almost like an affliction."
At the same time, unlike nearly everyone in her field, Turner has never had a personal encounter with a UFO or any other aspect of the paranormal. "I wonder why I haven't, but I am not an 'experiencer,'" she says.
Some of her favorite researchers are Graham Hancock, a British journalist who suggests that a technologically advanced civilization lived during the last Ice Age, and Robert Bauval, an "archeo-astronomer" who also is exploring the mysteries of early societies. "I guess I'm interested in all kinds of things that are controversial and stimulating," Turner says, her voice lilting with an accent that retains more of North Carolina than Texas. "That's what I'm trying to do, stimulate people to think in different areas besides the commonplace, everyday old things."
There's nothing humdrum about a night with Stan Deyo at the lectern. Brain-washing. Viewing remote objects using only one's thoughts. UFO propulsion systems. Government experiments in time travel. Cattle mutilations. International plots. Theories about an alien craft hiding in the shadow of the Hale-Bopp comet. The "face" on Mars.
And all before the midway break.
Turner promises an "extremely interesting evening" as she introduces Deyo, a lumpy, middle-aged guy in a baseball jacket, jeans, beard, and wire-rimmed glasses.
Within 10 minutes of Deyo's arrival at the podium--oddly decorated for the occasion in a spray of flowers--that promise is fulfilled. Deyo, who describes himself as a native Texan who moved to Perth, Australia in the '70s, starts by telling how he was kicked out of the U.S. Air Force Academy. It wasn't in a cheating scandal, as reported in the press. Instead, it was his resistance to government-sponsored mind control, or as he puts it, covert attempts "to turn your mind on like a radio."
Before long, in a sort of mumbling, no-details way, he settles into his amazing life story, recalling how he went to a corporate compound in North Carolina and was "allowed to go in and play with Townsend Brown's original flying disks. We have photos." Moving to his computer, which is wired to project images onto a large screen behind him, Deyo punches up a photo of a classic flying saucer, something like the one in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
"This," he says matter-of-factly, "is one of my own designs.
"They said, 'You are not the first to come along with an idea like this.' Dr. Teller has been overseeing it since the mid-'50s. They already had anti-gravity! They already had plasma-drive ships! They had other guys like me, but they wanted me out. I was a loose cannon. I didn't work for anybody. I wasn't in the mood to keep a secret."
At the break, more than two hours into the lecture, it's clear that most people in the audience are taking Deyo at his word. They're getting their $20 worth. "He didn't give me enough to judge, but it's in the realm of the possible," Bruce Welch, a 55-year-old electronics engineer, says of Deyo's saucer design. "When you go to school, you get brainwashed into thinking one way. You get older, and you start finding out that all these things that were called laws end up being hypotheses."
"It's brilliant," says Virgil, a man with deep blue eyes and a white ponytail who later will ask Deyo if he was personally acquainted with Albert Einstein. Virgil declines to give his full name or any other identifying details, but says he can be reached by going to Lower Greenville and asking three people where Virgil is. "One will point you in the right direction," he says.
On that note, Virgil wanders away to browse a stand of pamphlets heralding an upcoming UFO conference in the Ozarks, a "wellness" fair in Addison, and a directory of holistic medical services.