The truth is way out there
The Nut lives just outside a small town called Paradise, a few miles northwest of Fort Worth. With his wife of more than 30 years, The Nut inhabits 25 acres of land deserving of its proximity to a town called Paradise, because even the still, damp air of summer feels light and sweet here. The sunsets are a brighter shade of pink in the Wise County town of Springtown; the grass grows a little greener. The Nut's home resembles a log-cabin bohemian retreat, with a gurgling fountain, sky-high sunflowers, a greenhouse and garage out back in which The Nut houses a cannon and a 1930s Mercedes-Benz, and a pointed roof making it look like something out of Hansel and Gretel.
Walk out the front door, and you will find yourself on a mile-long path that snakes through lush, untouched woodlands. Grasshoppers leap and bound by the thousands; the knee-high grass, still damp from late-spring and early-summer rains, is alive. About halfway on this walk, you stumble out of the forest and find yourself perched atop what can only be deemed a cliff, which overlooks solid fields of neon green, each divided by straight rows of trees that look like fences. Somewhere down there among the brambles and bushes, says The Nut, is a creek that divides this land, which exists to disprove the notion that North Texas' countryside is nothing but arid flatland and barbed-wire fences.
The Nut--with his short pants and denim shirt and hiking boots and straw hat and walking cane--and his four dogs walk up here when it's time to think, to clear the brain and focus on shadow governments and assassinated presidents and spacemen who live among us.
"This," says The Nut, pointing toward the spectacular horizon, "is where I come to be alone."
It is hard to reconcile such a placid, idyllic setting with the man who has lived on it since 1979. For a decade, The Nut--who has a name, Jim Marrs, a most appropriate moniker for a man who not long ago wrote a book titled Alien Agenda: Investigating the Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us--has been among the most high-profile of conspiracy theorists, though he would prefer you refer to him as a "truth seeker."
Ever since the publication of his first book--1989's best-selling Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, a compendium of theories about who really murdered John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas--Marrs has been the poster boy for those who believe, and those who do not. His reputation was cemented in (Oliver) Stone in 1990: When the director bought Crossfire and hired Marrs as an advisor on JFK, the author became the go-to guy for True Believers in search of a totem.
Yes, Marrs is given to rambling monologues about all manner of subjects--from the government's cover-up of the Branch Davidian torching in Waco to the crash of TWA Flight 800 to doubts about William Shakespeare's authoring of his plays. But he remains a good ol' boy from Fort Worth who speaks with the soft, warm twang of a man born and bred and bound to the land on which he was raised. Marrs charms with a friendly grin. Talk to him long enough, a few hours, and he will make you doubt your own existence.
"Jim is a very affable, likable guy," says one old friend of his. "He reminds me of Santa Claus."
Marrs, a former journalist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has been vilified in the mainstream media and glorified on the Internet. Depending upon whom you believe, he's either a man who views the world through "the warped prism of conspiracy theory" (Publishers Weekly, in March of this year) or who writes "must-read[s] for the entire population of America." The latter comes from a fan on amazon.com reviewing Marrs' latest book, the just-published Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, The Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids.
Either way, Jim Marrs can't be ignored. Few in this country shout about The Truth louder than he.
"Years ago, when I was trying to tell people there was a big conspiracy to kill Kennedy, I was the nut, the fringe guy, the conspiracy theorist, the buff, but I'm used to it," Marrs says, sitting at a table in his dining room. He is surrounded by trinkets from trips to Tibet, a page from the Gutenberg Bible printed on the Gutenberg press, family portraits of wife Carol and the couple's two grown daughters, Civil War memorabilia, a piano that goes untouched most of the time, and an old coal stove that heats the home in the winter. No Kennedy autopsy photos or drawings of giant-headed aliens adorn the walls.
"Now, almost everybody that's awake and has paid attention knows there's something going on with the Kennedy assassination," he continues. "There's still a lot of argument about who, what, when, where, and how, but everybody understands that something went on other than some lone nut got off a lucky shot. So that's all pretty accepted, so now, of course, I'm on to other things, and now I'm still the nut, the conspiracy theorist, so I guess I'll just be branded with that for life." He chuckles, as though to prove how all right with it he really is.
It would take forever to prove or disprove each of Marrs' beliefs; there are plenty of Web sites that support and debunk his writings. Suffice it to say, Marrs is confident of only one thing: Everything you think you know is wrong, and everything he knows he knows is right. There is no arguing with the man. He has an answer for everything, because, as he insists, "there is an answer for everything." Yes--his answer.
"That's because Jim has a tendency to want to believe everything," says Fort Worth-based Kennedy researcher Dave Perry, an old friend of Marrs' who became critical of him once he moved from writing about the Kennedy assassination to dealing with alien visitation. "I once told him, 'Jim, you're more a sit-around-the-campfire kinda guy.' If I wrote a book, nobody would buy it, because it would be too cut-and-dried. Jim's books are entertaining, but not necessarily accurate."
Still, Perry concedes, it's fun to stop, if only for a moment, and consider what is unfathomable to the skeptic and the cynic. What if Jim Marrs is right? After all, Perry says, for every million words Marrs writes--and he is a prolific author, penning not only his books but also essays for his Web site, www.alienzoo.com--"maybe 10 are true."
So, what if the government really is covering up the assassination of John Kennedy? What if aliens have been visiting this planet for decades, perhaps even living among us? What if a secret cabal of politicians and bankers and media moguls has been dictating American policy for decades? What if the Civil War was wrought by European nations looking to divide and conquer the United States from within? What if the government murdered the Branch Davidians in Waco and then destroyed the evidence of their actions? What if an American missile downed TWA 800? What if the moon is, in fact, a spaceship placed in orbit around the earth by ancient astronauts? And what if John Kennedy was killed because he was going to tell the American public about the existence of UFOs?
Or what if just some of what Marrs believes is accurate and not the paranoid speculations of a man dismissed by the mainstream media as a lunatic convinced the government exists to keep its citizens in a placid daydream? What if only one thing is true?
"This sounds kinda idealistic, but in journalism school...they taught you about trying to find the truth and telling the truth to the public and letting them decide," Marrs says. "Look on both sides of the issue, look beyond the government's pronouncements--all this stuff. And, hey, I bought into it. I really bought into that. I thought that was what I was supposed to be doing."
James Farrell Marrs, Jim's father, came to Fort Worth in the early 1930s, seeking to escape the confines of the coal mines. James left behind Logan County, Kentucky, and looked back long enough only to bring his parents and his nine brothers and sisters to Texas. He made enough selling steel to buy a house and rescue his family from the only life they knew, since all the Marrs men were coal miners for as long as anyone could remember.
Jim's mother, Pauline Draper, had always lived in Fort Worth. Her daddy, who worked on the Texas-Pacific Railroad, died when she was only 12, leaving her and her mother to fend for themselves. Pauline's mother bought a house in the center of town, on College Avenue, and opened a boarding house. James Marrs and Pauline Draper met on a blind date, as best Jim can recall. Years later, Jim would meet his wife, Carol, the same way.
His parents were devout Baptists; they did not drink or smoke and even frowned on dancing. But, their son says, they were never judgmental or strict. In 1979, Pauline Draper Marrs even wrote a romance novel titled Second Season, published by Fawcett (and, in France, by Harlequin). The torrid little book features a hero named Jim and a heroine named Carol. But Jim insists his mother's brief foray into the writing business didn't move him to pursue his given profession. He picked up pen and paper on his own, until a childhood passion became an adult's obsession.
"On a very deep level, my parents instilled in me these ideas of honor, righteousness, courtesy, allegiance to God and country--all that stuff you have to have as an underpinning to put up with the slings and arrows of truth-seeking," he says. "But they never led me into writing. They left me with a definite impression I could make anything of myself I wanted to. My father never said, 'Son, you need to grow up and sell structural steel.'"
Jim was born on December 5, 1943, on the south side of Fort Worth, a city boy searching for life on the prairie. He hung out with his buddies in the meadows near what would become Benbrook Lake, making lunch from bacon they would fry in a pan, and he spent time on his kinfolks' farm in East Texas. It was inevitable that, years later, he would leave Fort Worth for the countryside.
Marrs likes to say he began his journalism career in high school when he joined the newspaper staff at Paschal High School, where he drew the occasional cartoon and wrote editorials and feature stories. But when he enrolled at North Texas State University in the early 1960s, he enrolled in journalism courses because he discovered the major required no math. It was a most pragmatic decision.
"But even then I was the black sheep, because I started my own off-campus humor magazine, and I almost got kicked out of school for sniping at the administration and calling them down for all the bureaucratic stuff they were doing," Marrs says. "But I hung in there, and I took my journalism courses, but it was the last semester of my senior year before they finally realized, 'Well, damn, that Marrs character, he's actually gonna graduate, and he's been the editorial page editor for the campus paper and everything,' so I was finally invited to join Sigma Delta Chi, which is now the journalism society.
"But for a while, I think they tried to ignore me, so, you see, it's been like that my whole life. I've always gone for the unconventional and the different. But that's OK, because if you study something--any subject, I don't care whatever it is--and come to know the truth of what's going on in that subject, you've got the truth as a defense against everybody."
Marrs was asleep in his dorm room when events transpired at 12:30 p.m. November 22, 1963, to wake him from his reverie. Like Jim Garrison in JFK, Marrs would sleep no more when he heard John Kennedy had been shot while driving through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, gunned down by the bullets of an assassin. His initial reaction to the news of the president's shooting was one of relief, happiness. His roommate woke him to tell him what had happened, and all Marrs could say was one word: "Good."
By his own admission, he was then a "typical Texas redneck" who thought Kennedy was a handsome man determined to hand the country over to the liberals and blacks. He had no use for the man or his utopian vision of one nation under Camelot. But like the rest of the country, he was stuck to the television, watching every second of news coverage. When Walter Cronkite showed up at 1 p.m. to announce Kennedy's death, Marrs was watching and, he insists, thinking about how he could get involved in covering the biggest news story to come out of North Texas in decades. Even now, he has all the newspaper clippings from November 1963. They would, in time, become his life's roadmap.
First, though, there was school to finish, which he did in 1966. But he put his life on hold, convinced he was going to get drafted by the Army and sent to Vietnam. It was inevitable. He took a job with a men's clothing store in Fort Worth and waited, taking draft physical after draft physical but never getting his notice. He was ready to go, a patriot prepared to die keeping the Commies at bay. Yet the more he read about the burgeoning war in Southeast Asia, the more convinced he became that the U.S. wasn't in Vietnam to win.
He thought about high-tailing it to Canada, which seemed like the coward's way out, or he could sit around and wait to get drafted to go fight a no-win war. Or he could go back to school, which he did in 1967, enrolling at Texas Tech University in Lubbock to get his master's degree. A year later, he left school and came home, this time for a full-time job at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he was put on the police beat, a romantic assignment for a 25-year-old kid obsessed with chasing ambulances and plane crashes and traffic wrecks. He liked the sound of sirens, the scent of blood.
When the Army finally came calling in 1968, Marrs ended up working military intelligence in a reserve unit, which was hardly as dramatic as it sounds. He spent his time translating copies of French and German magazines that could be bought at any high-class newsstand in downtown Fort Worth. By the time he was due to go on active duty, it was discovered he had a bum shoulder, which the Army offered to repair--either that, or Marrs could get his release. He chose the latter and returned to the Star-Telegram.
Every now and then, Jim would find himself in Dallas covering a story, and sooner or later, his conversations with local cops would always turn to the Kennedy assassination. He was becoming convinced Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, despite the findings of the Warren Commission, and thought it might be fun to snoop around a little. So he'd take care of his story, then interview police officials about what really happened in November 1963. Over time, the trail would eventually lead him to the doorsteps of Oswald's mother, Margueritte, and George and Jeanne De Mohrenschildt, friends of Lee's. They convinced Marrs of what he already knew to be true: Lee Harvey Oswald was set up by the government.
He'd spend the rest of his life trying to prove it.
The phrase "conspiracy theorist" is an insult to those who believe. To them, there are no theories, only ignored truths. The government, they will tell you, has lied to us for decades; what we know are only the fabrications spoon-fed to us by official documents and press releases and smiling politicians. We are blind, stumbling around in a smokescreen. The so-called theorist? His eyes are wide open, and it is his job to lead us through the darkness. Those who are called "conspiracy theorists" are ridiculed by the mainstream until they become punch lines and punching bags.
No one knows this better than writer-director Oliver Stone, who was once hailed as the great leftist filmmaker of the 1980s until the release of JFK in 1991. Using Marrs' Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy and much-maligned New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's book On the Trail of the Assassins as his guide, Stone threw every possible theory against the silver screen, hoping some of it would stick. Garrison, portrayed in the film by Kevin Costner, had long been castigated for trying to prosecute a New Orleans businessman for conspiring to kill Kennedy, but Stone insisted on using him as his righteous hero. As a result, Stone was subjected to the same ridicule as Garrison: He was called a liar at best, a deranged fool at worst.
Stone insists that his career was ruined by the reaction to JFK, that his subsequent films (among them Heaven and Earth, Natural Born Killers, and Nixon) were dismissed by those predisposed to writing off Stone as a conspiracy-obsessed lunatic lost in a hall of mirrors. Commentator George Will branded Stone "an intellectual sociopath, indifferent to truth"; Newsweek ran a cover story titled "The Twisted Truth of 'JFK': Why Oliver Stone's New Movie Can't Be Trusted." And that was just for starters.
"It outrages me some of the cheap shots taken over the years, and the same thing happened to Garrison," Stone says, taking a break from writing a new film about AIDS and Africa. "When he went on Johnny Carson, he got exactly the same shit I did when I went on Letterman and Nightline. They were the exact same questions: 'Are you paranoid?' 'Are you a conspiracy theorist?' Who gives a fuck? Life is half conspiracy, half accident. Who gives a shit? For them to deny conspiracy is the stupidest single argument when we've had so many conspiracies, including the biggest one, the Communist conspiracy, where you raise an entire generation to live in fear of a monolith Communist front moving across the United States. It was insane, and then they don't even talk about that. They always dismiss anyone who's trying to do something as a nut, as a conspiracy theorist, which is a very demeaning word."
Marrs was not the first man to write of a sinister plot to kill the president. Nearly half a dozen books were published in the years immediately following the assassination, including Mark Lane's seminal Rush to Judgment. But Stone optioned Crossfire because it was the bible of conspiracy theories; it contained every single explanation offered by those who couldn't accept the Warren Commission's findings. It was complete: There were government agents and Texas millionaires, Dallas cops and Mob hit men, Cubans and CIA operatives, J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon B. Johnson. Not a single dart was spared. Marrs heaved them all.
The assassination had become his obsession. He wrote the occasional story about Kennedy's death for the Star-Telegram, and by 1976 he had been asked to teach a course about it for the University of Texas at Arlington, a course he still teaches. Lord knows he had time to spend on it: He quit the paper in 1980, worked some freelance ad jobs in Dallas, and even started a couple of freebie newspapers, but nothing held his attention like John Kennedy. By the time Crossfire was published by the New York-based house Carroll & Graf in 1989, he had spent more than a decade researching it.
By the late 1980s, myriad studies revealed that a good portion of the American public believed Oswald did not act alone, if he indeed was a gunman at all. The government had admitted as much in 1979, when the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded there had been at least one other shooter who escaped the crime scene.
"But the powers that be tend to blow that off and don't emphasize that, so everybody thinks there's still a big controversy about the assassination," Marrs says. "Even in 1980 or '81, the majority of people who came to take my course started off with the idea that Oswald did it all by himself, but that began to shift by about 1984. From that point on, not one person ever showed up for that course who would admit to thinking that Oswald ever did it all by himself. There was a real turnaround in public perception, and when the Stone movie hit in 1991, that really got things going. Crossfire and Stone's movie were really popular and hit the big time not because we were changing people's minds, but because we were demonstrating something they had already come to know. In other words, the timing was really good."
But Marrs prefaced Crossfire with a warning--or, as Dave Perry says, an easy out. "Do not trust this book," reads the opening line of the book, giving Marrs leeway to write whatever he wanted, to include every theory no matter how plausible or asinine. (Alien Agenda and Rule by Secrecy contain similar disclaimers.) Even Stone ignored certain portions of Crossfire.
"I'm not always in agreement with Jim," the filmmaker says. "There were some things I didn't follow up on, like the Mob thing, because I really had my doubts about those people. But he was very helpful."
The book and film turned Marrs into a celebrity on the conspiracy circuit. The sane and crazy sought him out, journalists begged him for quotes, and enrollment in his course at UTA rose considerably. Even now, his phone never stops ringing: The curious seek his wisdom, while those who claim to have information about the death of Kennedy seek his attention. Some--like James Files, a convicted cop killer in Illinois who now claims to have been the Grassy Knoll gunman--are taken seriously, despite the fact that few researchers believe his tall tale. Others are given their due consideration. After all, Marrs argues, you never know from under which rock the truth will crawl.
"They call a lot," says his wife, Carol. Her tone of voice suggests she would rather they not.
"But I always give them a fair hearing, OK?" says her husband. "And they sometimes have some valid points, and sometimes they have some valid information. A lot of the times, it's a guy who says, 'I'm a 16-year-old high school student from Kansas. Do you think Oswald did it all by himself?' But I give them as much as I can."
Had Marrs stuck to researching the Kennedy assassination, to uncovering that single and monumental "truth," his tale would be no different from those of the hundreds of authors who have published books on the subject--those who think Oswald acted alone, and those who think he never existed at all. He would have disappeared on the crowded bookshelves, gotten lost in the dusty remainder bins.
But somewhere along the way, Marrs stopped peering inside empty coffins and turned his eyes skyward. And when that happened, the conspiracy theorist became The Nut.
There came a time in the mid-'90s when Jim Marrs grew tired of talking only about John Kennedy. Even obsessions become wearying when tended to forever. He then began asking friends, publishers, students, even his good-ol'-boy neighbors in Springtown what next great question they wanted answered. He insists they all offered the same reply: UFOs. Do they really exist? Are little green men out there? Are little green men right here? And if so, has the government covered up their existence?
In 1997, Marrs gave them their answer, a book titled Alien Agenda--published by Harper Collins, not some crackpot house--which claims the government has known about aliens since at least the infamous 1947 "spacecraft" crash in Roswell, New Mexico, but has orchestrated a campaign of "denial and ridicule": Insist aliens don't exist, and make fools of those who believe they do. The book's an enjoyable read but hard to take at face value: Marrs spends a great deal of time writing about remote viewing, the use of psychic ability to travel through time and space to spy on one's enemies. He insists he has done this, just as he insists government officials and military officers have told him of the Army's experiments with remote viewing.
On this point, as with everything else, he is adamant; he knows it is possible. But even the most willing or the most susceptible would likely find this hard to swallow whole. It is too much the stuff of science fiction, as is a story Marrs offers up in Alien Agenda suggesting Kennedy was really killed because he was about to reveal the existence of UFOs to the American public. If you believe the tale, he even told Marilyn Monroe, who was going to hold a press conference revealing John and Robert Kennedy's deep, dark secrets--one of which was a memo confirming extraterrestrial visitation. When pressed, even Marrs says he doesn't "buy into that."
Which, says Dave Perry, is precisely the problem with Marrs' books.
"I have an autographed copy of Crossfire that says, 'Always question authority,'" says Perry. "Where Jim hurts himself is, he won't take a stand on anything. As the years have passed by, he has moved more and more out of real mainstream research methods into ones that are more, well, esoteric. They don't require the level of expertise he used to use in the past. Crossfire was like the encyclopedia of the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Now, he mixes some common-sense information that's already known with some strange and bizarre activities. Over the years, I've come to the conclusion of what has changed is his attitude: He's getting more into the fairy-tale area than he used to.
"I mean, it wasn't until the last five years he got enamored of remote viewing, which has a questionable legacy. I used to go to his Kennedy class at UTA and razz him, poking holes in his theories. Once I said, 'Why don't you get one of your remote viewing friends to solve this stuff?' But you can't get him hostile. He's so low-key. The fact is, Jim wants to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. All of his responses are from the fringe element. The legitimate people dismiss him, which is sad, because there's some great stuff in Crossfire and even Alien Agenda. There are good things, but it's lost in all the hype."
In Alien Agenda, Marrs speculates that aliens do indeed walk among us--that they are indeed "here to help us," as one of his sources says. Another offers "evidence" that aliens have given us, among other things, our religions. But when asked whether he believes such things, Marrs laughs and says only, "I'm an agnostic."
That's too easy an answer, he is told.
"Well, it may sound easy, and it may sound glib, but it's the truth," he says. "I've never seen a UFO, but there are enough credible people I've talked to who said this is a legitimate deal. Even the most skeptical scientists have all pretty much believed that, in all likelihood, there is intelligent life somewhere out there. I hope there is. I hope we're not the epitome of intelligent life. That's the question I keep asking myself: Is there intelligent life on the planet earth? And I only find occasional glimpses of it."
This is how secretive the Trilateral Commission is: Its North American Group phone number is (212) 661-1180, listed next to its New York City address under the "Contact Us" section of its Web site, www.trilateral.org. The numbers and addresses for the European Group and Japanese Group are similarly listed, as is a roster of the organization's 37-member executive committee, a list of its publications, a brief history of the organization, and transcripts of speeches delivered at the commission's April 8-10, 2000, annual meeting in Tokyo. And that's just skimming the surface.
The Trilateral Commission--a 27-year-old organization made up of 335 members from North America, Japan, and Europe, founded to "foster closer cooperation" between the regions--hides in plain sight.
"Hello, I'm a reporter for the Dallas Observer, and I would like to speak to someone about a new book by Jim Marrs titled Rule of Secrecy, which deals with how the Trilateral Commission is a secret society trying to take over the world's governments."
"One second, please," responds the amused woman on the other end of the line. Fifteen seconds pass. A male voice picks up the line.
"This is Charles Heck."
Charles Heck is the Trilateral Commission's North American Director, meaning he's just below North American Chairman Paul Volker (former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System) and North American Deputy Chairman Allan Gotlieb (ex-Canadian ambassador to the U.S.) on the totem pole. Heck's been with the commission almost since its inception in 1973--"since I was a young squirt," he says, chuckling--and has heard all about how the Trilateral Commission is a sinister entity out to control U.S. and foreign governments. He spends a great deal of time going on radio talk shows trying to dispel the "remarkable mythology" of global domination that surrounds the organization. Heck doesn't recognize the name Jim Marrs ("Jim Morris?"), but he's quite familiar with his tale.
"It seems to have gotten going in the late 1970s, when Jimmy Carter was elected president," Heck begins, no doubt for the umpteenth time. "Carter had been a member when he was elected president, and when he went to the White House, he appointed a number of U.S. Trilateral members to various positions in his administration. David Rockefeller was the main figure in the creation of this organization, and anyone named Rockefeller inspired this sort of mythology, and somehow the notion was that David Rockefeller and everybody else had gotten together to elect Jimmy Carter and bring all these other Trilateral Commission folks into government--even though David Rockefeller was supporting Gerald Ford in 1976. If you already had a somewhat conspiratorial bent in terms of how your government was run, you thought you found the smoking gun just by noticing a bunch of these folks were members of the Trilateral Commission. That was all the evidence you needed without knowing anything else about it at all."
Conspiracy theorists have long believed the commission--not to mention its precursor, the Council on Foreign Relations, and other so-called secret societies--was out to create a one-world government run by the most powerful of the world's elite: bankers, businessmen, media moguls, politicians, and so forth. They bandy about phrases such as "one-world government" and "globalization," terrifying themselves with the notion that our elected officials serve only themselves, not the public.
Marrs will say he doesn't necessarily know whether globalization is good or bad, only that he fears an Adolph Hitler will one day seize control of the one-world government. Sitting in his living room, speaking through his white beard and warm smile, he prophesies doom.
Meanwhile, Carol Marrs prepares lunch in the nearby kitchen: Reuben sandwiches, bratwurst, and cold German beer. It is a beautiful day in Springtown. Someone should send the Trilateral Commission a thank-you note.
During lunch, it becomes apparent that Jim Marrs lives with his greatest critic, his wife. She has little interest in the Kennedy assassination, found Rule by Secrecy "difficult" to read, and is vaguely intrigued by the UFO stuff. She's a pragmatic high school art and drama teacher in a small, football-obsessed town. Jim can go on trying to topple one-world governments, but there are still bills to pay and meals to prepare and students to coach for drama competitions and, in the back yard, a pot-bellied pig to tend to.
"Jim and I kind of live two separate lives," Carol says, shooting a smile her husband's way. "I mean, I do my thing and he does his thing, and I know a little bit about some of it because I read his books, but I don't have any memory capacity. God, I mean it just amazes me how he rattles off all these facts and everything. I can read it and still go, 'What?'"
"This is why Carol and I make a good couple, really," Jim says, returning the grin. "She's very earth-mother, very practical. She has her feet on the ground, and I have both feet firmly planted in mid-air. I'm out there just thinking about..."
His wife interrupts, and what she says next explains all you will ever need to know about Jim Marrs. It turns out he is not a nut at all. Rather, he's just a guy living in the countryside who is convinced he will, one day, make a difference.
They share a small laugh, and he gives her a look that says: Yes, yes I am.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.