How does one approach a subject with such built-in perceptions of incredulity? I’ve spent a lifetime of dealing with an out-of-the-box experience that authenticity and honesty about only serves to distance me from just about everyone. There is a kind of outer cognitive dissonance (two conflicting belief systems) of those who research and talk about bizarre events and instances of interaction with other races, including a period of exploring reports of human-looking ‘hybrid’ infants being delivered to families in the Pacific Northwest to raise as ‘normal’ children.
Then there is a dead end. No more talk. Nothing is written. There’s a few movies that allude to the possibility, but nothing extraordinary. The focus of attention goes to events decades prior that rocked the ufology world, or should I say created it. A mixture of hard science and conjecture of conspiracy takes the lead. Where did they [children] go? If there is mention of the possibility that they have grown up and might be standing next to them, the incredulity creeps in and all of a sudden there is a distance – not even a peep.
It’s a strange process to observe, let alone be in the middle of today. Not only were there occurrences of such things happening in the Pacific Northwest, they happened 20 plus years before that in the Midwest, but nobody talked about it. Perhaps no one knew. You know that real locations and events creep into movies, right, even though the events change because of Hollywood’s necessity to sensationalize things. Travis [Walton] isn’t the only one that has had to deal with the misadventures of story twisters.
Pause and consider why Close Encounters of the Third Kind starts in Muncie, Indiana. In Ruth Montgomery’s Aliens Among Us, she reports that the most common contactee experience in the Midwest during the late 50s and early 60s was the orange cigar-shaped cloud. I was one of those but didn’t realize it at first. It wasn’t until over a decade later when I got hit in the face with it. I had monthly encounters (at least) from the time I was eight to ten and not until her book fell off the shelf in front of me did I connect the two.
Alrightythen, now that I’ve got your attention I’d like to step back a moment and prepare the foundation for ‘the rest of story’ as Paul Harvey used to say. On the ‘normal’ side of the fence, I grew up in a small town just west of Muncie. My parents were semi-blue collar; Dad was a tool and die machinist and Mom was a middle school English and Literature teacher. They adopted me on their wedding anniversary in 1957, August 12. They were also highly involved in the community; Dad was a 32 Degree Mason and Mom was an 8th grade English and Literature teacher who had a bridge club and both sang in the United Methodist Church choir.
I was encouraged to explore life; my IQ was off the chart (something they didn’t let me know for fear of the development of a distasteful ego) as I graduated 10th out of 300 in a college prep program and hardly took a book home to study, my athleticism came naturally with speed and agility to match (I ran a 4.3 40-yard dash as a freshman in high school) and even religious realms seemed oddly familiar and easily questioned beyond the scope of the understanding of my early teachers. Humor always helped and seemed to go along with the questions, an adapted behavior perhaps.
I would have graduated higher, but I was a mischievous sort. I got two Cs for semester grades my freshman year for throwing gum at a substitute biology teacher from the back of the room (against all odds, the offending projectile wedged in between her glasses and eyebrow) on a dare and then later putting oil in the drive-belts of a lathe in shop class, smoking up the entire room but with no harm to the machine. I thought both events were hilarious, but the teachers didn’t seem to think so.
I liked practical jokes, not making fun of people although the latter does happen. In fact I spent more time with the ‘societal’ rejects than the popular crowd although I traveled there, too. I was a tough one to put a label on then. I’m even more so today. Decades later one who had learning disabilities and was treated poorly by many took me aside and told me how much our friendship had meant to him. The PE teacher (and football coach) nicknamed me ‘Benefile’ somehow and Jeff picked up on it. He’d call me out and laugh, I’d play along because his name ended with ‘ile’ and a similar enunciation. It was a connection.
In establishing at least a little credibility before I go on, I’d like to share a bit of my personal and professional background and experience. It’s not to boast, although it would be easy to think so. Those who know me well would say I’m humble and pretty ego-less when it comes to life in general. However, I’ve had a lot of opportunity and a willingness to say ‘yes’ often, even for short-lived endeavors with a high degree of risk and personal exposure and/or sacrifice. Sometimes I wonder if my sharing just helps me reflect on the weird while feeling more grounded and stable; long strange trip that it is.
I started college on a Pre-Med program, testing out [CLEP] of 5 quarters of general studies going in. After a bizarre and onederful experience, I changed my major to Psychology with a Religion minor. Then I had some unfortunate events that lead to withdrawal and a recovery period from a not-so-wonderful hospital stay. My self-confidence was nearly destroyed, but I rose again over time and married a couple of years later. We lived in the area for several years and when the automotive industry crashed, we moved to Phoenix where work was plentiful and I became a machinist in the aerospace industry for a time.
Ups and downs in that industry caused a gap for a bit and I got into selling health foods, taking a 13-state territory from a 15% market penetration to 45% in roughly 18 months. I eventually went into production control and my first assignment was on the commercial spares desk, supplying over 800 part numbers to various repair stations and maintenance facilities around the world. My company mandated production goal was over $7 million per month. I could go anywhere and talk to anyone I needed to in order to make it happen. It was one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve had to date.
Meanwhile, our family was growing. We had a daughter born in Indiana, then another daughter soon after arriving in Phoenix, then a son and another daughter. We thought it wise for our family development to become involved with a church and had been solicited by the Mormons for some time. It seemed the right direction and so we dove in and within a few years I was an Elder and performing regular duties, including teaching adult Sunday school classes. One of the benefits and processes was the physical bestowal of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the Order of which Jesus was a member.
Almost a year prior to our last daughter’s birth my wife was in an accident. She broad-sided another car at 45 mph and hit her head on the driver’s door post, causing some brain trauma. The kids were with her in the back seat, all strapped in. She was fine physically, but when I picked them up from the hospital there was a vacancy in her eyes that was spooky to say the least. I had a crash course in brain injury and learned to deal with all the aberrant behaviors that could be associated.
Over the next few years that affect eventually led to our divorce. I left the aerospace industry shortly afterward as well, a couple of weeks after she moved all of them back to Indiana. I went through some severe depression for a time. The following year was excruciatingly transformative initially, then it was like a lid was taken off my life and I began to get back in touch with a part of me that I’d left behind, something that gave my life meaning and a sense of purpose beyond any job. It took a while to recover and find work again. I had a different attitude, too. It seemed like no matter what I did, I had enough to survive but little discretionary funds.
I worked at menial jobs, applications and resumes unanswered, and pursued things I wanted to do and looking for ways to bridge economy and inspiration. I got the opportunity to produce and host a television show. I was playing percussion in a reggae band. I even got the opportunity to do some twisted stand-up comedy. By that I mean not your normal kind of one-liner deliveries; I developed a ‘stripper’ routine as a metaphor for transformation, using the layers of clothing as examples. For instance, it began with building up layers of armor and having to remove the coat of armor in order to become open to conversations with meaning.
I had a few different jobs during the show’s three-year production run. It was called One World and we focused on how folks determined their life’s direction. We went deep into the inner and outer perspectives of their quest, most importantly discussing the fears they encountered and how they overcame them. Our guests included a wide selection of personal and professional arenas, with internationally known actors to homeless folks in transition. It provided an education beyond anything I could imagine for understanding the ocean of emotion we negotiate.
I went back to school after a failed attempt to do a commercial show and having to give up One World to do so, it had been a public access volunteer effort even though it was on cable. Btw… a few shows are on Youtube – http://youtube.com/bethedreamllc as the One World playlist. I was able to transfer some the 3/4 inch tapes to digital through a barter group I belonged to for a while. I earned an MBA in project management and immediately went on to get my Secondary Teaching certification. I taught high school for five years.
As those five years closed, I talked my then life and teaching partner into going back to school with me and getting an MA in Organizational Management. We wrote a business plan for a model school as our final project, calling it Spectrum Academy. It’s also got some exposure on the web at http://spectrumacademy.org, but it still seems ahead of its time. I hope to break ground with it when the public is ready for a change in our educational system and truly focus on student-centric environments. I can see it coming.
Now during that decade as well, the 1990s, I got involved with producing events – large ones. One of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the country was one of them, held twice a year, known as the Tempe ‘Ole Town Arts Festival at first, then just the Tempe Arts Festival. It drew over 250,000 people over a three day weekend. The same group also managed the Fiesta Bowl New Year’s Eve Block Party, which also brought in a quarter million people only in one evening.
I was involved with the ‘ufology’ community, beginning in the late 80s, although it wasn’t called that yet. One of my good friends was known for his analysis of video and photos and was featured on many television shows at the time. If you’ve heard of Village Labs, you’ll know who. As a result, I got an opportunity to run The Prophets Conference when they came to town in 1997, six months after the Phoenix Lights appeared. They had rented a facility, but needed all the logistical details handled. It drew about 5,000 people over the weekend and included folks like Dr. Edgar Mitchell (RIP), Jose Arguelles (RIP) and Zachariah Sitchin (RIP) as well as David Icke and Dr. Steven Greer.
Village Labs was kind of UFO central for many years, including being the hub for interviews of witnesses to the Phoenix Lights. You can bet I spent a lot of time there just listening. I could tell it was not the time to be talking about contact experiences yet. It almost seemed like the whole thing was a test to see how folks would respond to such an event, if it was even instigated by some off-planet source. In some ways, it was a real mess, personally [witnesses] and politically [denial/distraction] at the time. It was sad in a way, watching something extraordinary become a circus of egos; not unlike the ufology ‘industry’ is today, imho.
During that period as well, my oldest daughter had come to live with me for a while. She befriended a Hopi girl living in the same apartment complex that went to same high school and the two of them conspired to get her mother and I together. It worked for a while and I made several trips to the Hopi Reservation. I didn’t know it initially, but she was the daughter of a past president of the Hopi Tribe. I learned so much about their culture as I tried to get her back involved.
She’d left many years before and had an attitude of defiance that was challenging and exciting to overcome. She’s back on the reservation now, challenged with the loss of a son and daughter as well as both legs below the knees due to diabetes. The relationship lasted a few years and I still visit her from time to time. A decade later I visited with a friend and finally learned of The Landing Place through a local guide. Thousands of petroglyphs of various forms, species and symbols appeared on the exterior rock.
Back to the future… and after teaching school wasn’t for me. I had the opportunity to take my project management skills to another level with road and bridge construction partnering workshops for Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Stakeholders (20 to 80 depending on the size of the project) were invited to attend what, at the time, was a mandated pre-construction teambuilding meeting. I led them through a day-long process of ego to wego; defining a code of ethics to issue resolution details and action plans, then writing up the report and sending it to all the participants.
During this time I was also building a personal coaching business, too. I’d started a company in 1988, Be The Dream, back in the aerospace company with the intention of bridging best practices in personal/spiritual development and business operational procedures. I didn’t have a lot of experience at it then other than what I’d been able to do for the company – led a team to reduce delinquent military spares shipments from 27% to less than 7% in fewer than 12 months.
Partnering workshops were sporadic as was the occasional client, so when I got a call to go on the road for a while I jumped on it. It wasn’t your typical road show, though. It was a Mattel/Live Nation production called Barbie Live in Fairytopia. I know sounds a bit strange, adults playing with Barbie. It was a full-blown theater production with 3 semi-trucks full of costumes, props, rigging and staging materials and another full of merchandise. We were in charge of the merchandise.
I’d worked with the lead man at the Arizona Cardinals selling merchandise for several years and we’d become great friends and golfing buddies as well. Of course we had our clubs with us and played all over the country, having our own transportation aside from the rest. The show itself had over a hundred dates. The cast and crew were the same age as my children at the time – early 20s. It was a great way to travel the country quickly and get a taste for populations across the country.
We did a second show tour, Scooby Do Live in Stage Fright, and I was able to get my son on board as part of the crew. We hadn’t had any quality time since our divorce, 18 years prior. I was not allowed much contact with him as a youth, but the girls were always available. Mom liked to keep him separated from me, so he had a huge chip on his shoulder at the beginning of the tour. After it was over he confessed he used to hate me, but after getting to know me he was proud to be my son. I shed a few tears on the phone when he told me.
We were on the road for nearly a year with both shows, with a few visits home, and shortly after I got back another friend asked if I’d come to work for him as a general technician at a performing arts center. As a general tech I helped with stage productions; sound and lighting as well as event and stage management. I left to start an events company that didn’t go anywhere, but did get called to go on tour with the New Christy Minstrels revival as merchandise and stage manager.
I got to meet one of my childhood idols, Barry McGuire (Eve of Destruction), who seemed more like an elder brother I never had than anything. We had some really long talks about consciousness, life and service. He’d become a pastor as well. The tour only lasted a few months until the artisan egos got in the way and money became an issue, the recovery of an investment by the road manager. A few months later, though, we took Glenn Yarbrough out for a spin in the same fashion, but for even a shorter span.
I picked up a few other skills along the way, such as building websites and self-publishing. I managed to keep the financial flow at least supportive for the household, but the relationship began to falter after some time. I’d met her in a vision just before we physically met, with her coming up to me and simply saying, “Okay, are you ready to get to work?” Well, I’m all about ‘the work’ so I went for it we reckless abandonment in the vision. Then we met two months later in person, an answer to a personal advertisement on AOL.
We bonded instantly, lived and worked together for over a decade. Our first project together was a series of day-long multi-speaker presentations regarding at-risk students. We called them ‘Mission: Earth Dance,’ as we included indigenous considerations. We even co-taught at a charter high school while writing the Spectrum Academy business plan, in charge of the entire high school curriculum and delivery. We are still best friends today, examples of conscious collaborators that evolve. I’m honored by the friendship still.
During the transition I was able to complete several manuscripts and CDs and get them on the web. I picked up a few clients and launched into the digital marketing world while building multiple websites. Most recently a business partner and I began co-hosting a small business talk radio show, called 2 Small Biz Guys. We do small business workshops, too, and at 20 years my senior he’s amused by my weird ways. We have a great banter on the show. It’s my opinion that small business leadership is the key to restoring our country’s image.
I’ve also gotten into politics, although rather innocuously. I acquired a domain that seems to be consistent with the Independent Party for Arizona and share some ideas about how things might change. The exploration includes sharing how to start a movement by Tom Frey as well as presenting the concept of making sense common. Assessing what needs to be done and learning how to work together to collaboratively resolve our challenges seems only too logical. We share how to do it over time, perhaps a generation to reconstruct our political leadership scene.
There’s certainly more and much of it is contained in the books I’ve written, the most complete volume is Zendor the Contrarian – A Seminal View of Consciousness, Cosmology and the Congruence of Science and Spirituality.