By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
The Unity Church of Dallas sits on a wooded street not far from downtown, nestled beneath the shade of several large trees. In its 32 years, the brown brick building has been a refuge for those dissatisfied with mainstream religion. Put simply, it is a place where people go for answers they can't find elsewhere, which is why Jaired Conrad went there on a rainy night in January.
Conrad had come because his son, an elfin 8-year-old with pale skin, had been having problems. The boy, named Dusk, had been doing things that made Conrad worry, things the single father couldn't explain.
In school, for example, Dusk had a hard time concentrating. His grades were dropping, and he was disruptive in class, refusing to do his homework. When Conrad asked Dusk what was troubling him the boy gave him a hair-raising answer. He couldn't concentrate, he said, because he was hearing the thoughts of his classmates. It was a supernatural power the boy could not control. When Conrad relayed this to an administrator at his son's University Park elementary school, he was told he should have the boy tested and possibly put on medication. As it was, Conrad felt overwhelmed raising his two boys on his own, and the thought of putting his oldest on Ritalin upset him greatly. He hoped the event at Unity that night, a film screening, would give him some answers.
When they arrived the sanctuary was mostly full, so Conrad sat on the front row with his two boys, Dusk and Day, sitting beside him. The room went dark and the film began.
"Do you know what an indigo child is?" a man onscreen asked a group of firefighters. None of them had a clue. On came the doctors in white lab coats, the Chinese scientists, the clairvoyants, the wild-haired psychics and the bearded New Age gurus. These people were experts on the subject.
"We're watching humans evolve," explained one. "Just like we've evolved to now we have an opposable thumb, we're witnessing the human species evolve into a telepathic creature."
All over the world, these experts explained, a new breed of children is emerging who can read minds, predict the future and bend silverware through sheer brainpower. These kids, called indigo children, are surrounded by a blue aura, hence the name, and believed by some to be reincarnated beings. Disruptive, impatient and easily bored, indigos are commonly diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and then medicated until they stop seeing angels. If they are nurtured correctly, however, they will save the world.
"They are our future," said another expert, a clairvoyant named Phil Gruber. "And they are here to simply usher in a new golden age where love will triumph."
When the film was over, Conrad lingered in the sanctuary to ask questions. Then he went to find his boys, who had grown bored and left to play in the halls. He found them near the vending machines drinking Coke and talking to a stocky man Conrad didn't know. The man introduced himself and said he taught meditation at the church. "I work with indigos," he said, handing Conrad a business card. "Are you an indigo?" he asked Dusk. The boy looked at him shyly and nodded. "I'm an avatar," Dusk said. "I can recognize the four elements of earth, wind, water and fire. The next avatar won't come for 100 years."
The man seemed impressed. He crouched down in front of Dusk. "What am I thinking right now?" he asked. Dusk shrugged. "That's OK," he said, placing his hand on the boy's shoulder. "Maybe we can try some other time when not so many people are around."
As Conrad left the building later that night, he looked bewildered by everything he'd heard. Some things in the movie seemed strange to him. He would need time to sort it all out. But as he watched his son run to their car he felt a sense of relief. He had come to the church with a question, and now he had an answer. His boy was an indigo child.
The indigo theory began with a San Diego parapsychologist in the 1970s, but it didn't really gain traction until 1999, when two self-help lecturers on the New Age circuit, Jan Tober and Lee Carroll, wrote a book that would become the bible on the subject.
Their book, The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived, went on to sell 250,000 copies. It identified the key characteristics of indigos, who, according to Carroll and Tober, represent "the most exciting, albeit odd change in basic human nature that has ever been observed and documented." Born with a feeling of royalty, indigos will not respond to authority or any form of discipline based in guilt, fear or manipulation. Most cannot function in traditional school systems, not because they have ADD but because they are smarter than their teachers. Eventually indigos will redeem the world, making it a tropical Eden free of trash, war and processed foods. But if somehow blocked from their purpose, indigos may turn dark, killing their parents, classmates or anyone else who stands in their way.