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Dee Emrich, a Mid-Cities resident, says she is impressed with Deyo's ideas about "stacking energy," which has something to do with kick-starting the anti-gravity device that powers the saucer. "Dallas is not interested in things of this kind," she observes. "It's kind of several beats behind the West Coast, you know. This would be old hat in San Francisco."
Julie Gillentine, a former financial executive from Richardson who volunteers to work the book-table cash box, says she was a bit disappointed with Deyo. But not for the reasons one might guess. "I think he's a government agent," she says.
Deyo begins the second half of a lecture that will end up stretching longer than a full-length Hamlet with the statement, "OK, enough of the dull and boring stuff. Now the stuff you really came to hear. Earthquakes. The end of the world. The next life. Hopi Indian predictions...Some of this gets into the twilight zone."
You said it, Stan.
Perhaps it's best to let Deyo tell it in his own words, which after four hours become hypnotic, hallucinogenic, a sort of science-fiction performance art best followed by a double dose of aspirin and a big glass of water. Perhaps he really does know something about brainwashing and mind control.
"Back in Dallas, I had a near-death experience. At that time it wasn't popular...The Hopi chief told me [in a hokey fake Indian accent], 'We knew you were coming. We saw you in the dream. You are the fifth of eight. You will come back and soon. Your white brothers and sisters will be involved in a lot of war between themselves and a lot will not survive...'
"Do not eat meat. It will cause a great sickness...There are no safe places. A 1,200-foot wave will destroy the white cities...Two weeks ago a friend said, 'Hey, the Ross Ice Shelf just shifted 371 feet.' We know it's coming. I was given an e-mail address, a back door into the NASA [computer] site. Plans are being made to accommodate the changes to our culture...With 70, 80 percent certainty, I can tell you where there are earthquakes and volcanoes. California, Oregon, Washington, Baja, Mexico are places not to be...Because of the near-death experience I've had, I have a view of our destiny which is a positive one. I've been there. There's no way to explain how wonderful it is...As for the alien prospect, the Bible does warn of a first landing...Don't trust the first ones. They say they come in peace and harmony, maybe they look like us, maybe a bit taller, a bit handsomer, the skin is a bit scaly in the sunlight. Don't believe them. The first ones are the impostors, and there will be a terrible government set up under them."
At a quarter of midnight, as Deyo winds down, a line of people form with questions. "Stan, I've heard our government is going to stage a mock alien invasion. Is that what you are saying? Are you hanging back or what?" one man asks.
A woman, sounding like someone seeking advice from Money magazine, inquires: "You are encouraging us not to buy precious metals. What do you suggest we invest in?"
Following up Deyo's thesis that the earth's magnetic forces may shift and radically alter the world's climate, a young man in a white shirt and tie asks earnestly, "What's the weather gonna be like in Dallas?" To which Deyo responds, "What did the guy on the radio say? Just take a leak out the window and see if it's freezing...No, really, I don't know...I don't know. I try to be very cautious about what I say. I am just using logic."
Sure. And we're ready for our alien anal probes.
In Turner's view, there's been a temporary surge of interest in "alternative science" like this and its many variants, and she's seeing plenty of new faces come to The Eclectic Viewpoint's talks.
No doubt, the popularity of TV's X-Files, Dark Skies, Sliders, and their ilk, plus the summer blockbuster Independence Day, have helped raise UFO consciousness, she says. As a testament to the power of pop culture to sway public opinion, a recent Newsweek poll finds that 41 percent of Americans think humans will have contact with intelligent space aliens in the next century.
Turner says she thinks the public frame of mind approaching the millennium may also be playing a part in this latest UFO craze, which has made the skeletal-shaped, big-eyed alien head a teeny-bopper icon.
Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, says reporters ask him a lot about the millennial connection. "I'm not convinced," says Nickell, whose organization includes Isaac Asimov and the late Carl Sagan among its founding members. "There's been this kind of attraction to the paranormal at all places and all times," he says. "The particular phenomena come and go. You hear now about alien abductions instead of people being transported to fairyland.
"These things connect with our hopes and fears, our love of mystery," he says. "It's more compelling to think about the possibility of alien abductions or the Bermuda Triangle than to see them solved."
But don't bother trying to convince Turner that the mystery lies only in ourselves. "Stan Deyo has me convinced we can build a flying saucer," she says. "I like his science.