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Volume 9
Number 23
June 9, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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Spain has had a rash of UFO sightings in recent weeks.

On Sunday, May 9, 2004, "Sra. N.M. saw an unidentified flying object in the skies over Barcelona," one of Spain's largest cities, "while in the company of two of her children."

"N.M., a criminologist and businesswoman, was driving along the Casteldefels to Barcelona highway at around midnight when both she and her children witnessed 'to the left of the road, that is, toward the interior, away from the (Mediterranean) beaches, an unidentified object of considerable size, described as 'a rhomboid with one of its vertices broken off or truncated,' being an orange color."

"The sighting occurred precisely on the stretch of road between Gava and Vildecans, and the witness contacted (the paranormal group) Mundo Misterioso in case others had reported seeing the same phenomenon."

A week ago, "Jose Angel Docobo, director of the Ramon Maria Aller Astronomical Observatory in Santiago de Compostela," in northern Spain, "stated that the unidentified luminous objects seen Tuesday," June 1, 2004, "over different parts of southern Galicia (province) was almost certainly 'a cosmic rock.'"

"According to Docobo, early signs point to the fact that the phenomenon was caused by 'a bolide, a natural object,' although this cannot be said with certainty."

"The Observatory noted that no atmospheric penetration by an object of this type had been expected, but it would not be the first time such a thing had occurred unexpectedly. Jose Angel Docobo is convinced that coming hours will reveal the precise nature of the phenomenon responsible for sightings many nervous residents of southern Galicia saw around midnight" on that Tuesday.

"The likeliest possibility, says Docobo, is that it was a natural object 'with a rather even trajectory, since eyewitnesses were claiming to have seen it reported,' that the object 'was following an ascending path.'"

"In any event, the Observatory's director does not dismiss the possibility that the strange lights could be space junk or even some military experiment. The Guardia Civil (Spain's national police--J.T.) received up to 9 phone calls on Tuesday night from southern Galicia reporting the sighting--all of them around 12:30 a.m."

"According to all accounts, the object 'was as bright as an airplane' but changed intensity and left a trail similar to a rocket during the ascending trajectory."

"However, AENA (Aeropuertos Espanoles y Navegacion Aerea, Spain's FAA--J.T.) reported that so far no evidence of any incidents over Galicia that night has been collected. The (Spanish) aviation agency reported that Vigo Airport is closed at this time of night, but that air traffic continues over this area, involving airliners crossing the airspace in question, and the possibility that private planes are also flying in the vicinity." (See the Agence France Presse report for June 2, 2004. Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Guillermo Gimenez para estos informes.)


"Shocked residents of" Granby, Colorado (population 1,525) "are cleaning up after an enraged muffler shop owner, out to settle scores with City Hall, wrecked more than a dozen buildings with an armor-plated bulldozer."

"Marvin Heemeyer, 52, killed himself at the end of the one-and-a-half hour rampage Friday," June 4, 2004, "in his homemade contraption--dubbed the 'Armageddon tank' by townspeople. Officers said none of the hundreds of bullets that sheriff's officers and police SWAT team members fired during the assault penetrated the armor."

"No one else was killed or hurt. Witnesses said Heemeyer traded gunfire with police and unsuccessfully tried to blow up propane tanks at a supply yard. At one point, a local sheriff jumped aboard the moving bulldozer and fired dozens of shots, without result, into a narrow slit in the armor."

"Granby's mayor and town manager said the outburst stemmed from the town's decision in 2000 to allow a cement plant next to Heemeyer's muffler shop on the west edge of town. Heemeyer, a local resident for about 15 years, protested angrily at several meetings and sued unsuccessfully to stop the project, which he argued would bring noise, dust and traffic."

"The plant was his first target on a 4-mile (6- kilometer) track of destruction. He destroyed or damaged about 13 other structures, including the town hall and library, the Sky-Hi News weekly newspaper, a bank, a hardware store, and the home of a deceased mayor."

"Mayor Ted Wang had no estimate of the damage but predicted that it will reach 'millions of dollars.'"

"The wreckage looked like the hit-and-miss path of a tornado, touching sites across this town of 1,525 people, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) northwest of Denver. But the mayhem was methodical; each target was linked to individuals or institutions Heemeyer felt had wronged him in the zoning feud."

"Residents said they were shocked at the episode but not entirely surprised it was Heemeyer's doing. Some thought him friendly. Others steered clear of his temper. One said Heemeyer spoke months ago of paying back those who had crossed him. She said she thought he was kidding."

"Heemeyer's friend Pete Mitchell said he was probably smiling when the tank, equipped with a TV camera, busted out of the side of a garage."

"'That's the kind of guy he was,' Mitchell said, calling his friend 'vindictive.'"

"Town manager Tom Hale said Heemeyer was angry after losing a zoning dispute over land near his muffler shop. Heemeyer also had been fined $2,500 in a separate case for not having a septic tank and other city code violations at his business, Hale said."

"An expert welder, Heemeyer apparently spent weeks turning his Komatsu bulldozer--the Japanese equivalent of a 42-ton Caterpillar D8--into a war wagon. He encased it with black steel plates that shielded the radiator, hydraulic lines and cab, much like a shell protects a turtle. The shell was reinforced with concrete 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) thick."

(Editor's Comment: From the photos I've seen of the "Armageddon tank," it looks as if Heemeyer based his designs on the armored bulldozers used by American forces on Iwo Jima and Okinawa in World War II.)

"From inside, Heemeyer fired two machine guns through peepholes. He also carried a .223-caliber (5.56mm) rifle, a .357-caliber Magnum revolver and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Lacking a window, he used three closed-circuit cameras and TV monitors to steer the vessel through town. 'The craftmanship, the design and everything else would almost be awe-inspiring,' Wang said, 'Why somebody with that kind of talent would spend all this time terrorizing a town. It's sad.'"

"It took police hours, using explosives and blowtorches, to pry open the hatch. Inside they found Heemeyer dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. They used a crane to lift his 6-foot-4, 230- pound body out of the vehicle Saturday," June 5, 2004.

"It took two more hours and two bulldozers to drag the machine from the rubble of the store where the mayhem ended. Hundreds of residents and tourists watched as the tank was hauled to a fenced yard across the road from the cement plant."

"The mayor said he was bothered by reports that others may have known what Heemeyer was planning."

"'If we find out that people knew that this thing was being built...' he said, trailing off in anger." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for June 5, 2004, "Fortified dozer rips through Colorado town," page 7A; and for June 6, 2004, "Dozer rampage ends in death," page 6A; and USA Today for June 7, 2004, "Colo. town bulldozed into shock," page 8A.)

(Editor's Comment: We should all be thankful that Mr. Heemeyer didn't purchase a surplus 57mm recoilless rifle left over from the Korean War. A skilled machinist wouldn't have much trouble putting one of those "jeep cannons" back into service.)


The Fayette Factor was linked to yet another tornado last week, this time in Louisiana.

On Friday, May 28, 2004, three tornadoes touched down in the Lafayette counties of three separate American states--Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Fortean researcher Bill Grimstad has commented on the increased incidence of tornadoes in places named for the Marquis de Lafayette, pointing out that "tornadoes, trailer parks and places named Lafayette or Fayette have a curious affinity for each other."

Severe thunderstorms "hit hard and fast in the Acadiana area" of Lafayette County on Tuesday afternoon, June 1, 2004, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of the city of Lafayette (population 110,257).

The storm was "dropping quarter-sized hail in the same area and possibly spawned a tornado" south of Scott, La. (population 7,870). (See The Advertiser of Lafayette, La. for June 2, 2004, "Rain, thunder rumble across Acadiana area." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this newspaper report.)


"According to local Portuguese radio stations, hundreds of residents were startled by the sight of an 'inhuman light' in the sky over the Algarve in southern Portugal. The OVNI (Portuguese acronym for UFO--J.T.) was seen in several cities of the region but particularly in Faro."

"The reports indicated that the OVNI was seen over an area of 100 to 150 kilometers (60 to 90 miles). The object was witnessed between 11 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday, June 1, 2004. No structure could be seen around the light."

"An unidentified luminous object was seen at the same time in Spain's Galicia province. At 11:30 p.m., the OVNI was seen over Portuguese territory, in places such as Penafiel, Vendas Novas, Evora, Algarve and Setubal."

"For the moment, Portuguese authorities do not know what could have been the cause of the sighting in their skies." (See the Agence France Presse report for June 2, 2004. Muito obrigado a Marcio Vicente Teixeira por eso caso.)


"A nearly two-hour search was called off after residents in McCormick," South Carolina (population 1,489) "mistook a sonic boom for a plane crash Thursday," June 3, 2004.

"'We have a lot of military aircraft that fly over the lake up here running practice drills,' said Chris Doolittle, emergency services coordinator for McCormick County along the Georgia state line. 'We did an extensive search of the area...and have found no aircraft at all.'"

"People saw a C-130 cargo plane and then heard the boom, which was actually generated by another jet nearby,' said Courtney Franchio, a spokesman for Dobbins Air Force Base," which is located "north of Atlanta."

"'Someone saw a C-130 in the area, then heard a sonic boom, so the assumption was a plane crash was occurring,' she said."

McCormick, S.C. is on Route 378 approximately 77 miles (123 kilometers) west of Columbia, the state capital.

However, in Alpharetta, Georgia (population 34,854), an eyewitness thinks the mystery booms were made by a UFO.

On Thursday, June 3, 2004, "I glanced at the window of my office and observed a white sphere passing below and at a right angle to a commercial jet," he reported, "The jet was at cruising altitude (30,000 feet or 9,000 meters- -J.T.) and heading from the southeast to the northwest. The sphere was heading from the southwest to the northeast. It looked like it was several thousand feet below the airliner and traveling at about the same speed. The jet was leaving a short contrail, but the sphere was not. I continued to observe the sphere until it disappeared into the distance."

Alpharetta, Ga. is 22 miles (35 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta. (Many thanks to Daniel Wilson for these reports.)


"Bright flashes and sharp booms were reported in the skies over the Puget Sound area" of the USA's Pacific Northwest "early Thursday," June 3, 2004, "and aviation officials said a meteor may have been the source."

"An earlier report on KIKO Radio" in Washington state "that a meteorite might have hit Chehalis (population 7,057)," a small city about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Olympia, the capital of Washington state, "turned out to be false, a University of Washington scientist who specializes in meteorites said."

"Toby Smith, a lecturer in astronomy, said scientists are looking at the cause of the skybursts reported over a wide area at about 2:40 a.m."

"Witnesses along a 60-mile (100-kilometer) swath of the Sound from near Tacoma to Whidbey Island and as far as 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the east near Ellensburg (population 15,414) said the sky lit up brightly, and many also reported booming sounds as if from one or more explosions."

"At Whidbey Island, Petty Officer Andrew Davis said he and others saw the skybursts."

"'It made a pretty big bang,' Davis said, 'We thought it might be a meteorite or something.'"

"Officials at the National Weather Service ruled out any weather-related causes, and duty officers at the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station said they knew of no civilian or military airplane problem."

"Civilian pilots reported seeing the flash near Ellensburg, east of the Cascade (mountain) range, said an FAA duty officer who did not give her name." (See The Olympian of Olympia, Wash. for June 4, 2004, "Skybursts reported over western Washington." Many thanks to Jim Hickman for this newspaper article. And don't forget to visit Jim's Web site at www.thehickmanreport.com.)


"The (aircraft) carrier USS Harry S. Truman sailed Wednesday" from Norfolk, Virginia "in a test of the (U.S.) Navy's ability to have 7 of its 12 carriers away from port simultaneously, a major shift away from the way carriers have been used."

"A second Norfolk-based carrier, USS Enterprise, was expected to leave Thursday to participate in the exercise dubbed (Operation) Summer Pulse 04."

"Summer Pulse 04 continues through August (2004), with seven carriers conducting joint exercises with allies from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia, officials said."

"'The ability to push this kind of military capability to the four corners of the world is quite remarkable,' Navy Secretary Gordon R. England said when he announced plans for the demonstration last week in Washington. 'Several years ago, we could deploy only two' carriers at a time."

"Summer Pulse 04 is the first exercise of the Navy's Fleet Response Plan, announced last December (2003), through which ships will move from traditional, scheduled six-month deployments in less than 30 days and be prepared to leave as world events demand."

"The Navy wants to be able to send six carrier strike groups in less than 30 days to handle a crisis anywhere in the world, plus have two more carrier strike groups ready within three months to reinforce or rotate with these forces and continue operations in other areas."

"Summer Pulse 04 is 'proof of concept that we can in fact make that happen,' Capt. Michael R. Groothousen, the Truman's commanding officer said Wednesday by telephone after the Truman left Norfolk Naval Station."

"Capt. Groothousen said the Fleet Response Plan makes deployment schedules less predictable--a change necessary in a post-Sept. 11 (2001) world."

"'Terrorists love predictability,' he said, 'If we start putting more unpredictability into our schedule, it makes it more difficult for any threat out there to determine when to strike.'"

"That also means more volatility in the sailors' schedules."

"'When you're planning on being in port for a little while and then the schedule changes, nobody likes that,' said Petty Officer First Class Tony Rice, 34, of Midland, Texas, a Truman crew member. 'But you kind of get used to it as a sailor. You're taught to be fluid and to expect the unexpected.'"

"The Navy demonstrated its ability to 'surge' multiple carriers like this a year ago during the Iraq war (against Saddam Hussein--J.T.), said John Pike, director of Global Security.org, an Alexandria, Virginia research center on security issues."

"However, the Navy wasn't really set up to deploy several carriers at once, so it wasn't easy, he said."

"'Now they are demonstrating that they are set up to do that,' Pike said, 'If anybody anywhere gets any ideas-- if North Korea gets frisky or the Red Chinese get too risky--they might have a half-dozen carriers show up on short notice.'"

"This is 'a fundamentally different way of deploying aircraft carriers than we had during the Twentieth Century,' Pike said."

"Typically, a carrier deployed overseas for six months, then was at home for 18 months while sailors went back to school in the Navy and the ship was repaired and overhauled."

"Under this arrangement, a carrier was combat-capable only for about six months during a two-year cycle, so generally only two of the stateside carriers could be deployed at a given time, Pike said."

"The other carriers taking part in Summer Pulse 04 are the Norfolk-based USS George Washington, the San Diego (California)-based USS John C. Stennis, which are already deployed; the USS Kitty Hawk, based in Yokosuka, Japan; the Mayport, Fla.-based USS John F. Kennedy; and the USS Ronald Reagan, which left Norfolk last week and is enroute to its new home port of San Diego."

USS John C. Stennis then left San Diego to join USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Alaska for a large-scale naval exercise.

No sooner had this news been released than Channel 13 in Hampton Roads, Virginia "reported an operation called Exercise Blinding Storm by the United States and Exercise Rapid Alliance" by UK. "The training will include about 30,000 troops from seven nations in exercises off or on the coast of North Carolina."

Netherlands "Dutch Marines and French soldiers will take part, as well as a Peruvian submarine and contingents from Germany and Canada. The flotilla is expected to set sail on Tuesday, with the two-week amphibious operation scheduled to begin (Thursday) June 10 (2004)."

The UK naval contingent is sizable. "The biggest British ship (the aircraft carrier) HMS Invincible, has also deployed with a crew of 1,050." HMS Invincible is leading a task force of 20 vessels of the Royal Navy in Exercise Rapid Alliance."

Part of the exercise calls for landing British tanks on North Carolina's beaches. "The British landing platform dock ship HMS Albion has already arrived. It carried four Challenger II battle tanks, the British equivalent of" the U.S. Army's main battle tank, the M1-A1 Abrams. "The (British) tanks will be sent ashore aboard the ship's new landing craft during the exercise."

Countries participating in Exercise Rapid Alliance include the USA, UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Peru, Norway, Italy, Denmark, France and Australia.

According to the San Diego Times-Union, a "large U.S. Navy battle group" is assembling off the coast of Alaska. The size of the battle group is truly mind-boggling. The flagship is the carrier USS John C. Stennis, leading the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, the destroyer USS Howard, the guided missile frigate USS Ford, the fast- attack submarine USS Salt Lake City, the supply ship USNS Rainier, the amphibious assault ship USS Belleau Wood, the amphibious transport dock ships USS Denver and USS Comstock, the guided missile destroyers USS Preble and USS Hopper, the cruiser USS Tucson and the guided missile destroyer USS Russell.

The Scotsman reported that the Alaska battle group was "the first time an expeditionary strike group will be commanded by a Marine general, according to the Navy."

But that isn't the end of the recent redeployments by the U.S. Navy.

"On (Wednesday) May 5 (2004), the USS McCampbell headed for Southeast Asia in support of a Cooperate Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) cruise. The ship will be coordinating joint naval exercises with Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines."

Also during May, "the USNS Patuxent, accompanied by the coastal patrol ships USS Typhoon and USS Sirocco, left port at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base Friday" and "sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to Rota Naval Station" in Spain "and arrived in port (Wednesday) May 12 (2004)."

In Washington state, "the Army begins a major staging operation today at the port to ship (armored and mechanized) equipment to Southwest Asia."

And in Louisiana, "Fort Polk's (United Nations) Joint Readiness Training Center will remain open, the officials said, with (Army) National Guard soldiers expected to fill in for the units going to Iraq."

The sudden intensification of naval activity has puzzled the world's ufologists, particularly in light of a strange radio transmission that was intercepted by a ham radio club back in January 2004.

On Monday, January 26, 2004, the group of amateur radio enthusiasts "intercepted a radio transmission" and "made a digital recording of the transmission that took place on January 26, 2004 at 5 a.m. UTC. The frequency was 11.176 Megaherz. The conversation is between SNOWBALL NET and another station. We assume SNOWBALL is the operator."

And a strange conversation it was.

SNOWBALL NET: "Snowball Net comms check. All stations, clock sync, impact at minus 146 days, 5 hours UTC. Standby for ACD link."

A burst of coded digital data then followed.

BURRO: "Snowball, this is Burro. You are not secure, repeat, not secure! Go green! Go green!"

From January 26, a period of "146 days, 5 hours" brings us to either Saturday, June 19, or Sunday, June 20, 2004. Ufologists have been speculating for days as to what might happen on either day.

Some have reported rumors that Al-Qaeda "has two diesel submarines with nuclear weapons that we're searching like crazy for."

Others speculate that an asteroid might land in one of Earth's oceans on the appointed day, causing tidal waves and flooding in low-lying coastal areas. The ships were sent to sea, they argue, to keep them from being swept ashore by the tidal waves.

A third, less popular theory is that "the government" knows about an impending alien attack on June 20, perhaps by some overtly hostile extraterrestrial race like the Reptoids or the Aldebarani."

A variant of this theory has the ETs "steering asteroids at the Earth," in the hope of causing massive tidal waves.

Still others, perhaps influenced by the new hit movie, The Day After Tomorrow, claim that "the big climate change will begin on the summer solstice," which is Monday, June 21, 2004, the day after Snowball Net's "due date."

UFO Roundup correspondent Jim Danvers said he thinks Exercise Rapid Alliance is "a plan by NATO to bring foreign troops into America to put down anti-war or anti- draft rioting."

"The British are coming, the British are coming," he joked, "And this time they've got tanks!"

UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor said, "I am still blown away by the size of that Alaska battle group. It sure doesn't sound like our 'war president' is going to pick up the peace pipe any time soon. It all reads like a buildup to some kind of invasion. Is Dubya planning a secret D-Day?"

Trainor said he could think of "four possible targets for invasion."

North Korea - The Stennis battle group might try to land an amphibious task force in Pungsan to race overland and knock out the North Korean nuclear power center at Yongblon.

Saudi Arabia - If it looked like Al-Qaeda was about to oust the Saudi royal family, NATO might land in force and occupy the desert kingdom.

Iran - In a replay of the 1942 Allied invasion in World War II, NATO forces and Russia might invade the Islamic republic and take out the ayatollahs.

Pakistan - NATO might double-cross President Pervez Musharraf and strike at "the Islamic bomb," his country's supply of nuclear weapons.

"There's an awful lot of naval firepower floating around out there," Trainor added, "Let's see what happens- -if anything--on June 20." (See the San Diego Times-Union of May 25, 2004; The Scotsman of May 27, 2004; The Olympian of Olympia, Wash. for May 20, 2004; and The Pilot of Virginia Beach, Va. for May 24, 2004.
Many thanks to "Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl," and Jim Danvers, for these newspaper stories.)

(Editor's Comment: At first I thought the theory about instant climate change was off the wall. And then I came across the following article. Read it for yourself.)


"People on both sides of the Atlantic are flocking to see The Day After Tomorrow, a movie in which sudden global warming melts the polar ice caps, threatening various cities in horrifying ways. At one point, the sea rises to such an extent that a tide five stories (50 feet or 15 meters) high crashes through the streets of Manhattan."

"In Britain, the real-life effects of global warming are less visually spectacular. But, if the country's leading scientists are to be believed, they are just as horrifying--or perhaps more so, for being fact rather than fiction."

"As the seas rise, Britain, an island nation, is sinking. Its coastline is being eaten away. The National Trust, a private charity that buys threatened shoreline and countryside, has abandoned its effort to protect some stretches of coast and is simply waiting for an assortment of cottages to fall into the sea."

"Last month, a panel of 60 British climate-change experts released a government-sponsored report saying that global warming means up to 4 million Britons may risk having their homes inundated. The national cost of flooding will rise from $2.6 billion a year to $52 billion by 2080, the report said."

"Titled 'Future Flooding,' the report said the threat is growing already and its most dire predictions will happen by 2050."

"And a senior government adviser warned in mid-May that the government might one day have to consider an 'orderly retreat' from London because parts of the 2,000- year-old city are below sea level."

"Birmingham, 320 feet (97 meters) above sea level, might be better, said Professor Paul Samuels, who is leading a Europe-wide study on flooding."

"Although the threat is not imminent, British scientists have grown stark in their warnings."

"The most important duty of political leaders is to protect the security of their people, which was, after all, the rationale for going to war in Iraq, wrote John Houghton, former head of the country's Meteorological Office, in a newspaper column last year."

"'And yet, our long-term security is threatened by a problem at least as dangerous as chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, or indeed international terrorism: human-induced climate change,' he wrote."

"He had no hesitation, he said, in describing climate change as 'a weapon of mass destruction.'"

"That warning--that global warming poses a threat greater than terrorism--was echoed last year by Sir David King, the government's chief scientist and the man who directed the recently released report."

"The report said Britain must create 'green corridors' in cities to act as safety valves into which floodwaters can be channeled. It said parts of some urban areas may have to be abandoned, and oil refineries moved inland. Many homes, it warned, may become uninsurable."

"Samuels, who suggested the possibility of a government retreat from London, was working on the premise that the tidal section of the Thames River will rise up to three feet (0.9 meters) a century, a situation exacerbated by the slow sinking of the land on which some of London is built."

"The Environment Agency, which operates the Thames barrier that protects London from flooding, says the barrier will remain effective only until about 2030. And a city government study has warned that 20-foot (6-meter) embankments might be needed."

"The National Trust has bowed to the inevitability of the coast being eaten away and has abandoned efforts to protect more than 50 different areas. Trust officials have advised other landowners to do the same, or face the prospect of having wasted billions of pounds in the effort."

"'We own 650 miles of coast and every mile of that is undergoing change,' said Rob Jarman, the trust's head of sustainability and environmental practices."

"Meanwhile, the trust is hedging its bets. It has begun buying thousands of acres further inland so that it will hold title to Britain's new coastline the day after tomorrow--or whenever that day should come." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for June 5, 2004, "This is no disaster movie: Global warming is flooding Britain," pages 1A and 6A.)

From the UFO Files...


Well, that headline isn't exactly accurate. Adam Weishaupt didn't really meet Frankenstein. He just met Frankenstein's mother's friend, Henry Crabb Robinson. It happened the same summer that Napoleon Bonaparte, until recently the Emperor of the French, took up residence on the South Atlantic island of St. Helena.

Yet, what we now call "science fiction" owes a strange debt to Weishaupt and his Order of the Illuminati. (Illuminatenorden im Deutsch--J.T.)

As for Frankenstein's mother--or perhaps we should call her "the Mother of Science Fiction"--her name was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and she was born at The Polygon, Somers Town, UK on August 30, 1797, the daughter of William Godwin, a publisher, pamphleteer and political activist.

Her mother, the original Mary Wollstonecraft, died a week after her birth.

In 1801, when Mary was four, her father remarried. The new stepmother, Harriet Clairmont, was a widow with two children of her own, Charles and Jane, whom Mr. Godwin promptly rechristened Clara.

In 1805, Godwin established himself as a publisher of children's books. This exposed Mary and her stepbrother Charles to some of Britain's most prominent artists-- William Mulready, George Dawe, John Varley and his protege, John Linnell. Varley in particular took the children to Hampstead Heath to practice drawing.

Mary's art talent was negligible, but Varley's training, with its emphasis on "close observation of naturalistic detail," served her well in later life as a writer.
In 1812, she visited Scotland for the first time. She fell in love with Tayside and lived in Dundee with the Baxter family while her stepbrother, Charles Clairmont, completed his apprenticeship at a printing office in Edinburgh.

Returning to England, Mary became part of her father's intellectual circle. "Godwin's circle now constituted Mary's intellectual marketplace, where she became aware of contemporary ideas; she loved its energy and diversity. The talk might be about Itard's education of Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron. (For more on this real-life Tarzan, see The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover Publications Inc., N.Y., 1974, pages 688 to 690.)"

Ireland was a favorite topic. "Godwin's good friend, the Irish politician John Philpot Curran, had defended the romantic young leader of the 1798 Irish Rebellion, Lord Edward Fitzgerald."

(Editor's Note: Of whom Lord Byron said, "He's the ugliest man and the most scintillating and brilliant conversationalist I've ever met.")

The circle's members "read Godwin, (Mary's mother) Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Southey, Milton, Voltaire, Brockden, Brown, Cicero, Petronius, Suetonius, Radcliffe, Scott, Rousseau, Goethe and Ovid."

In June 1813, Mary and her stepsister, Clara Clairmont, returned to Dundee. Here Mary witnessed a demonstration that piqued her interest in science.

Scottish scientist Andrew Cosse was intrigued with electricity, and he had read about Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment. He decided to go Franklin one better.

Instead of a kite, Cosse sent aloft a large hydrogen balloon festooned with copper wiring and tubing. The wiring descended to the ground, snaking its way into Cherry Cottage on the outskirts of Dundee. Cosse had filled the cottage with Leyden jars. Since he knew from Franklin's experiment that lightning was electrical in nature, he planned to charge his primitive glass-jar batteries all at once. In effect, Cosse planned to become "the modern Prometheus, calling down the fire from heaven."

With Mary, Clara, the Baxters and the other witnesses clustered under their umbrellas, Cosse took an axe and cut the mooring line. The balloon soared upward, straight into a black thundercloud showing occasional greenish- white flashes. Suddenly, there was a peal of thunder. An orange fireball lit up the inside of the cloud as the hydrogen ignited. And a lightning bolt, carrying about 5,000 megajoules of electricity, traveled down the cables and into Cherry Cottage, blowing the Leyden jars and the building itself sky-high.

The witnesses found the dazed scientist lying on the other side of the lawn, covered with dust and tiny limestone fragments but otherwise okay. Helping him to his feet, Mr. Baxter asked, "Are you all right?"

Cosse mumbled, "I think we need a new physics."

(Editor's Note: It's a good thing Cosse filled the ballast bags with sand. Had he filled them with uranium oxide, Dundee would have been instantly vaporized in a nuclear explosion.)

The electrical "fireworks show" made an impression upon Mary, and lightning played a major role in her soon- to-be-written novel.

On May 5, 1814, an up-and-coming poet named Percy Bysshe Shelley visited the Godwin home on Skinner Street. It was love at first sight. On July 28, 1814, Mary, still a month shy of her 16th birthday, left for Europe with Shelley and Clara. During the next six weeks, they toured France, Switzerland and Germany.

On January 22, 1815, now back in England, Mary gave birth to Shelley's child. But the infant died two weeks later. For the grieving young mother, the theme of resurrection had a particular appeal. This, too, became part of her novel.

Meanwhile, "the Godwin circle" had discovered a new book, recently published in English. This was the five- volume Memoire pour servir a l'histoire de Jacobinisme by French Jesuit and rightwing emigre Abbe Augustin Barruel.

Born in 1741, Abbe Barruel had defended the Roman Catholic Church against Voltaire and the Encyclopedists. He fled to London after King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were guillotined in 1793. Although Maximilien Robespierre and Adam Weishaupt were mortal enemies, Robespierre had no love for the Abbe, who styled himself the "arch-enemy of Weishaupt." Abbe Barruel managed to flee across the Channel before the Committee of Public Safety (revolutionary secret police--J.T.) showed up to take him for a tumbril ride.

"As early as 1797, Barruel," in his book, "argued that the French Revolution represented the culmination of an age-old conspiracy of the most secret of societies. As he saw it, the trouble began with the medieval Order of Templars, which had not really been exterminated in 1314 but had survived as a secret society, pledged to abolish all monarchies, to overthrow the papacy, to preach unrestricted liberty to all peoples and to found a world- republic," what Weishaupt called "the New World Order."

"Down the centuries this secret society had poisoned a number of monarchs; and in the Eighteenth Century it had captured the Order of Freemasons, which now (1797) stood completely under its control. From 1776 onwards, Condorcet and the Abbe Sieyes had built up a vast revolutionary organization of Frenchmen, who were the Jacobins of the revolution. But the heart of the conspiracy, the true leaders of the revolution were the Bavarian Illuminati under Adam Weishaupt--'enemies of the human race, sons of Satan.' To this handful of Germans all the Freemasons and Jacobins of France already owed blind allegiance; and it was Barruel's view that unless it was stopped, this handful would soon dominate the world."

Abbe Barruel's book became THE international bestseller of 1797, "and it was translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian, and it made its author a rich man."

No sooner had Mary and her compatriots read the book than electrifying news arrived from France. "The Corsican Monster" had escaped from Elba. Yes, Napoleon had given his captors the slip, had landed in the Riviera and was now marching on Grenoble with a rapidly-growing army.

The debate raged in the Godwin Circle. Surely the Illuminati had had a hand in Napoleon's escape. How else could he have eluded his guards?

Mary's friend, Henry Crabb Robinson, was determined to get to the truth. In London, Henry called on Aaron Burr, the disgraced former vice president of the USA, then living in exile in England. Burr was only too happy to point Henry in Weishaupt's direction. He blamed Weishaupt for the death of his daughter, Theodosia.

The indefatigable Henry had an extended "stay in Germany, where he discussed Godwin with Goethe and interviewed Adam Weishaupt, former leader of the underground revolutionary Illuminati sect, now a misanthrope and a conservative, like so many who had been disillusioned by the French Revolution."

Weishaupt told Henry that Napoleon's Hundred Days was no doing of his. Indeed, he hated Napoleon, referring to him as "the revenge of the Robespierre brothers." He also hated Burr, whom he called a "coward" for failing to follow through on the Conspiracy of 1806, the Illuminati's plan to topple President Thomas Jefferson.

If Weishaupt was touchy about the Order's political track record, he had good reason to be. Under his somewhat-less-than-stellar leadership, the Illuminati had failed to sieze power twice in the USA (1793 and 1806), twice in France (1793 and 1796), once in Ireland (1798), once in Geneva (1780), once in Italy (1796) and once in Brazil (1789).

If the Illuminati was an American pro baseball team, it would have been sold.

As Napoleon met defeat at Waterloo, Mary and her friends "were reading Barruel's History of Jacobinism which, though it was a reactionary attack on the politics of the French Revolution, was also a mine of information about Masonic secret societies."

When Henry Crabb Robinson returned to England, he talked at length about his meetings with Weishaupt, "the profoundest conspirator who ever existed." Mary was extremely interested in details about the man--what did Weishaupt look like, what were his personal habits, that sort of thing.

In May 1816, with the Napoleonic wars finally over, Shelley and Mary set out for Geneva, with Clara Clairmont and Shelley's personal physician, Dr. John William Polidori. While living by the lake, they made the acquaintance of a French emigre named Jean-Baptiste Louvet de Louvray.

Louvet, an author of best-selling romance novels, had supported the French Revolution in 1789. He was "a Girondist who had voted against Louis XVI's execution." Forced to go underground by the Committee of Public Safety, he organized the original Maquis, or French Resistance, "an anti-Jacobin guerrilla movement with his mistress, Madame Loidoiska."

Louvet told Mary and her poet-husband many interesting stories about the Illuminati of Paris and the Loge des Neufs-Soeurs (French for Lodge of the Nine Sisters--J.T.)

Mary was thinking about writing a biography of Louvet when she, Shelley, and Dr. Polidori, confined to their rented house by a week of thunderstorms, challenged each other to come up with a ghost story in 24 hours. For her tale, Mary drew on Cosse's failed electrical experiment, the dead coming back to life with the aid of lightning, and Crabb Robinson's descriptions of Adam Weishaupt.

The trio shared their stories on the following day. Then they resolved to turn them into novels. At the end of May 1816, Mary began writing her most famous book-- Frankenstein, Or the Modern Prometheus.

Mary "chose Ingolstadt (in Bavaria, southern Germany) as young Frankenstein's university because (Anne-Marie Germaine Necker) de Stael identified it as the place where experimental scientific work was under way, and also it was the headquarters (from 1771 to 1784) of the political visionary Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Illuminati."

The character of "Dr. Victor Frankenstein" is an amalgam of Andrew Cosse, William Godwin and Adam Weishaupt.

Mary Shelley's novel was the birth of modern science fiction. There is more than a little irony in the fact that this genre was launched by Mary--with a little help from Abbe Barruel.

In the end, science fiction has transformed more lives, opened more people's minds, done more to change the world than any plot or scheme by Adam Weishaupt. (See the books Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour, Grove Press, New York, N.Y., 2000, pages 152 and 153; Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality by Emily W. Sunstein, Little, Brown & Co., Boston, Mass., 1989, pages 50, 51, 92, 93 and 427; Mary Shelley: A Literary Life by John Williams, St. Martin's Press, New York, N.Y., 2000, pages 46 and 47; Mary Shelley: A Biography by R. Glynn Grylls, Oxford University Press, London, 1938, "Chronology;" and Warrant for Genocide by Norman Cohn, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, N.Y., 1966, pages 25 to 32.)


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