||The Book of Revelation
Rory Barnes and Damien Broderick
Psychic Ruth Montgomery proffers a whole system to explain it all, both the extraterrestrial aliens as well as the internal psychological experience. Montgomery begins with the doctrine of reincarnation, meaning that our souls bounce from body to body not just on Earth but also from planet to planet. Through death and rebirth these disembodied souls can travel from one star system to another. Many individuals who presently live on Earth were, in previous incarnations, residents of planets orbiting Sirius in the constellation Canis Major. They are able to travel by dematerialising and rematerialising in their new location. Therefore, they really do not need spacecraft, even though they occasionally use them.
Ted Peters, The Cosmic Self, 1991
August 1983, Melbourne
The radiant visions fade, fall away to credits and darkness. The facilitator gets to her feet finally, flicks on the overhead light, stills the video of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To his horror, my father finds that his face is wet with tears. He draws a long, shuddering breath, and surreptitiously wipes his eyes. Several of the other abductees, he notices, are weeping without shame. As he glances about the comfortable, prosaic living room, he feels an unexpected rush of fellowship and love toward these poor souls. His kindred, really. If there is any truth in this mad bullshit.
That luminous face. Those great, slowly blinking eyes, gazing at him with such sweet care. Those long, spindly arms, graceful as a spider's, unthreatening, altogether alien, altogether familiar.
Well, yes, but it is not quite as he recalls it. His aliens are smaller, frail but hardly so arachnid. Their eyes, too, are huge and dark and slanted, and their putty-grey faces are almost without nose, mouth, cheeks, chin, but there is little kindliness in them. They hurt him! They perform unspeakable indignities upon his helpless person! Bastards.
Some of those in the Abduction Support Group remember similar atrocities, usually with the benefit of hypnotic regression. Others, though, feel themselves privileged and gifted. Knowledge has been pressed upon them in heaping measure. Each of them finds it hard to understand what the others are talking about as they struggle to give this cosmic truth tongue, but it is clear that they believe in it with all their heart. And they have scars: James the lawn-mowing chap has a reddish triangle burned around his navel, apex pointing upward to his hairy belly. Josie the cleaner shows four thin lines of repaired incision in the back of her neck, under the hairline. It is possible that she did this to herself with a breadknife - but why should she? In the service of self-delusion? To make herself important, to capture the attention of the nation on prime time television? It seems unlikely, really; Josie is shy to the point of paralysis, painfully conscious of her uneducated Broadmeadows accent, her K-Mart dresses. Certainly none of them has suffered the media humiliation that attended Daimon's own weeks of vanishment, his sensational return.
No, they are not readers of sensational tabloids, most of them, not dupes by nature and nurture, hungry to find celebrity or even sustenance in the fanciful. Toby teaches economics, advises the State government Finance Minister. Undoubtedly he would lose his post if word of his abduction became public. If his claims were brought, for that matter, to the attention of the authorities. Toby is the driest of economic rationalists, a man with a ruthlessly analytical mind. He admits, when it is his turn to give testimony, that the aliens have taken him repeatedly into their mothercraft and probed his anus and bowels with strange machines. He shakes with fury and mortification as he tells them this, but he says his piece like a man, lips pale and determined, cheeks blue with close-shaved beard.
'I'm not sure that it was such a good idea,' Toby says now. 'Showing us that movie will tend to contaminate our memories. Besides, it's just a damned expensive sci fi blockbuster, that's all. It's by no means what I remember, Dr Nicholls.'
The facilitator sits placidly. 'Does anyone else feel this?'
Deems clears his throat. Everyone looks at him. He is the star turn.
'It's not quite what I've retrieved during regression either, but it isn't just fantasy, is it? Didn't Spielberg get UFO experts in as consultants? J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee?'
'That was actually Hynek there at the end, acting himself during the landing,' says young Billy McKenzie, the room's UFO knowall and pest. 'And Trufaut was playing a character based on Vallee, who's actually an astrophysicist and a computer syst--'
'Thank you, Billy,' Dr Nicholls says firmly. The kid subsides, quite a feat and confirmation of her therapeutic prowess. 'I think Toby has a point, though. Every time we watch a film like this, or see something like that TV series supposedly based on the Project Blue Book files, or a special or mini-series based on a UFO abduction, like the one about Betty and Barney Hill, well, of course our understanding of our own experience is slightly reshaped in the process.'
Dr Nicholls is herself an abductee, having been taken numerous time since infancy, a shocking and unexpected discovery made five or six years ago during her own training analysis.
'But we can't deal with that problem simply through evasion,' she tells them. 'Concepts and misconceptions of the aliens are increasingly rife in the media. We sharpen our own precious memories by comparison and contrast to those images. I would like to discuss Close Encounters now from that perspective. For example, have any of you been told to expect a mass landing of the kind shown so beautifully in the film?'
Over Tim-Tam chocolate biscuits and weak herbal tea, afterwards, Daimon drifts around the room. They are ready for something weightier than these informal monthly meetings, he is sure of it. Josie is packing her knitting away and seems set to scurry off for her bus. Deems makes his decision on the spot, catches Dr Nicholls' eye. 'Could I make a quick announcement, Rosemary?'
'Certainly, Deems.' She clears her throat and everyone looks at her. Like a post-hypnotic cue. 'Ladies and gentlemen, it's been a very productive gathering tonight, and I'd like to thank you all for taking the trouble to get here on such a night. Before we break up, I believe Mr Keith would like to say something.'
'Yes, thanks, Dr Nicholls. Um, some of you will know that I have a book coming out next month about my experiences--'
'Ah yes,' raps Toby, drawing forth a small white pad and a silver pencil, 'what was the title again? I had trouble recalling it when I wanted to place an order at Readings.'
'Gort, Jesus Barada Nicto,' Deems says, smiling. 'I know, the publishers tried to talk me out of it. But our grey friends insisted.'
'Is it in alien?' asks Josie, awed. She has had six phantom pregnancies to the grey doctors, all nipped in the bud and spirited away at two months. Her husband, a thick-witted tram driver, does not believe a word of it and perversely blames the influence of his mother-in-law, a rabid Christian fundamentalist. He has been to two meetings and swears he'll never again grace the company of such a bunch of wankers and wackers. Oddly enough, he has never laid down the law to his wife, nor prevented her attendance. Perhaps he relishes the hours alone with the TV sports and his fridgeful of Foster's lager.
'It's from a movie,' Billy tells them self-importantly. 'Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Patricia Neal has to say it to Gort the robot when the alien, you know, he calls himself John Carpenter, well, he gets killed by a soldier and they have to bring him back to life. Only his real name is Klaatu.'
'Carpenter, eh?' Toby is quick as a flash. 'They're trying to suggest that the Saviour was from outer space? As, I suppose, you're doing with your book's title. Not at all sure I approve. Verges on the blasphemous, Mr Keith.'
'On the contrary, Mr Chapman. I believe that Jesus Christ was indeed sent to us from a UFO - or at least that his mother was the victim of exactly the sort of gynaecological experiments that the grey doctors have been conducting on poor Josie here.'
'Rather a long time to be conducting a series of experiments, don't you think?' Toby Chapman sits down again and stretches out his legs. 'Two thousand years? I'd have thought their funding would be exhausted by now. If I were in charge of the oversight committee, their prospects for renewal would not be bright.'
Deems does not let his irritation show. 'You're stuck in the paradigm of linear time, Toby. The UFO occupants aren't restricted to one plodding temporal dimension, it comes up again and again in the testimony. When they took me, I didn't come back for three weeks, but I stayed in exactly the same physical condition as the moment I'd been abducted - five o'clock shadow, trousers rolled up, grains of wet sand stuck to my shins, half a warm souvlaki in my left hand. They're travellers in time as well as space, Toby, and we can't take anything they say literally. I don't think they're trying to mislead us, it's just that they have a radically different... er, phenomenology.' He glances apologetically at Josie. 'And they're the source of all human religions. We just haven't realised it yet.'
'Nothing new in this. Desmond Leslie said all that decades ago. Hindu religions and vimanas, and Atlantis and Mu. And that stupid Swiss fellow, von Daniken.'
'And a dozen others, I know that, we've all read the literature. Well, my book brings it together for the first time.'
'Excuse me,' says Josie, going from foot to foot, 'but I really do have to rush if I'm not to miss my bus.'
'I'll drive you home,' Deems tells her, patting her heavy shoulder.
'It's miles out of your way.'
'That's all right. It's important that everyone hear this.' He takes a deep breath. 'I'm planning to announce a new organisation at the launch of my book. It will be a centre where abductees like us can come together and share our experiences and the knowledge we've been given by the aliens. Dr Nicholls has agreed to provide her services as therapist, and of course we shall push on with hypnotic recovery of missing time material.'
'Have you got a name for it yet?' McKenzie has the perfectly pitched instinct of a public relations flack.
Daimon looks around the room, guilelessly gaining and holding the gaze of each of them in turn. 'For taxation and other reasons, I have incorporated the organisation as a... helping society, you might say. Profit-free and non-taxable, you see, with quite a few useful side benefits.'
Toby Chapman stares at him with growing suspicion. 'Mr Keith, you're not suggesting that we establish ourselves as a--' He cannot bring himself to say it.
'As a church,' Deems tells them firmly. 'Non-denominational, purely for the legal protection of our status as a group investigating metaphysical--'
Toby is on his feet, smart leather briefcase pressed to his tailored side, making for the hallway. 'Good lord, man! Are you planning on becoming the antipodean L. Ron Hubbard?' He pauses at the front door, nods frostily to Dr Nicholls, looks back angrily at my father. 'What do you plan to call your little New Age kirk - the Mission to the UFOs?'
Mildly, Deems says, 'The Church of Jesus Christ, Time Traveller, actually.'
This excerpt from The Book of Revelation|
appears with the kind permission of the authors.
All rights reserved. To be published by
HarperCollins Australia, September 1999.
©1999 Damien Broderick and Rory Barnes