Monday, August 29, 2011


I wrote this in the spring of 2001. It went worldwide, published in a dozen languages. I got calls from Japan and Taiwan as well as from Europe. A now-ex PM of Congo/Brazzaville asked permission to reprint the article "for every church in the Congo." He knew Simeon Toko personally. Do I think "Tio," as he was called, was Christ returned? Naw. Neither did he.

Few Americans are aware of the spectacular religious activity that has been thundering, with incalculable exuberance, through the hearts of millions of Africans throughout our just-passed century. Men and women have been seeing vision after vision, sign after sign, and wonder after wonder. There are national holidays commemorating miracles -- not from centuries ago by some old saint whose paint has long since peeled, but within the last few decades, witnessed by thousands of ordinary citizens still walking among us.

Although few in the U.S. are aware of all this, religious scholars whom I have contacted as independent sources have been recording the activity with intense fascination. Relatively little is known, and scholars are quite eager to learn more. They may be gathering information that could eventually form a "new" New Testament. It may well be that we are viewing the beginnings of a new civilization formed around a new Christ, which, like the occasion that started our present one 20 centuries ago, remains relatively unknown in the world until some time after the events that then inspire so many millions for centuries to come.

I am told, in fact, that I am the 8th American to have learned about the subject of this essay, which is about a man named Simeon Toko, who died in 1984. Simeon Toko appeared before people in an apparitional body and in dream states while he was physically alive, and continues to do the same among certain selected people 17 years after his natural death. At least one witness says he, personally, killed Simeon Toko -- quite professionally, as a hired killer -- and saw him alive again a few days later. Others still living at this writing say they saw Toko physically slaughtered, and watched him bring himself back to life before their astonished eyes. There is a very large body of testimony, of which only a little has yet been recorded or written down by eyewitnesses.

Much of the media news from Africa in the past 80 years has been presented as political rebellion and tribal warmongering, or as a battle between "good" civilized countries versus "evil" communists over the corpusces of Africans who are still considered uncivilized and superstitious and too immature, to be left to themselves... what with all those raw materials and diamonds yet needing dug up. This is the general bias of newsreporting from Africa as I remember it since my own childhood. It's not much different now. We tend to think of the African peoples in a distortion somewhere between a bouquet of jokes about banana republics and a vague, distant horror of unexplainable war and slaughter.

It is odd that Africa is considered a land of raw natural resources, presumed for centuries to be there largely for the benefit of foreigners, who have had only to educate and "civilize" a species of simple people to work the mines and derricks for them.

It is very odd, considering that Africa is home to the most ancient of continuous Western civilizations, Ethiopia; for that matter Africa is home to the most ancient human bones yet chipped out of an earthly grave. Scientists are lately calling Africa the home of the human race.

Back in the late nineteenth century, British Museum curator E.A. Wallis Budge began translating the papyrii and wall-writings of ancient Egyptian temples. In order to come to some kind of understanding of those writings, Budge found himself compelled to compare the practices described in ancient language with those practiced by "natives," meaning black African peoples, of his time. He was also aware of the similarities of language between the ancient and current tongues.

As "savage" as they supposedly were, many Africans had in fact preserved practices known to and used successfully by their own ancestors, the ancient Egyptians. It is unarguable, looking at the fantastic ancient artisanry alone, that many pharoahs were black, and so too was a great deal of Egypt's ancient population, if not initially populated by black peoples entirely. If by our own accounts African Egypt lasted at least 3,000 years (11,000 according to Herodotus' HISTORIES), we must admit that the wisdom and practice preserved in ancient writings was at the very least partly responsible for the second longest-lived civilization in historical record.

If that is so, then we can surmise that the Africans who moved deeper into their lands to escape the warlike upstart Greeks and Romans, continued those practices for their own benefit. These "savages" lived generally peaceful, productive, imaginative and joyful lives. It is certainly also said that this was how the ancient Egyptians lived. History will show that the migrating central Africans lived the same way, at least until the mercenary and slave raids by Europeans began in the 15th century C.E.

If a civilization can be defined by its coded wisdom, not merely by its pottery or technology, then we can surmise that the Egyptian civilization didn't die out so much as move away with the Africans who founded settlements elsewhere on the continent. The successive overrunners of the ancient African civilization -- now given the greek name "Egypt," not Kemet, as the Egyptians themselves called their land -- have to this day failed to match the accomplishments of its founders. No one as yet knows how to build a massive pyramid set exactly to coordinates aligned with the sun and stars; engineers still marvel daily over their construction. That is only the most famous of many mysteries of ancient Egyptian architectonics. Certainly no one knows how to make a country thrive for thousands of years, even through times of unimaginable trouble. The story that the great buildings of Egypt were built by slave labor, Cecil B. DeMille style, is simply untrue.

It is also untrue that any part of Africa ever was a "dark continent," to be "discovered" by Portuguese boatmen -- as though it were somehow unattached to any ancient glories, populated only by semi-humans, and full of natural riches they themselves could not appreciate.

Anyone who might argue that this depiction of these ancient peoples is not the portrayal that white-skinned European races promoted does not know history. A single example: Americans in the nineteenth century created a law that permitted an African slave the dubious honor of counting as "three-fifths of a man;" in other words, men and women with dark skin were considered less than human in United States law. White slavemasters had obtained at least a little human recognition for their black male slaves, to use them as partial voting blocs in local elections for self-serving reasons.

In the book that this essay will introduce to the United States for the first time, it is pointed out by documentation that the first slave traders who came to Africa in the fifteenth century C.E. found an advanced society dominated by a monotheism with a powerful code of ethics. They did not find half-naked people in grass skirts with bones through their noses. They did not find rows of fat little stone fertility goddesses and voodoo fetishes. They found an intelligent, friendly, dignified peoples who had created beautiful avenues and pleasant buildings and well-regulated agricultural fields and fine clothing. They found a people who practiced the old Mosaic code, essentially (students of Mosaic law will note how much of it resembles Egyptian codes). They found a people whose language, linguists have shown, contains scores of words found in biblical hebrew and later in European languages. They may well have found what really ever happened to the so-called lost tribes of the kingdom of Israel.

Except that the subsequent four centuries have proved out the following statement to a deplorable degree, we could otherwise be incredulous at a surmisal of the main difference between the "discoverers" of central Africa and the people they divided and traded like objects and cattle over the ensuing generations: the difference between the civilized dark-skinned peoples and their conquerors is measurable in intensity of greed and a will to murder to fulfill greed's endlessly wearisome demands. This behavior has not ended in modern times. Slavery still exists in Africa, for instance.

Even at this writing, centuries now after the first slashes into the belly of the African land and peoples, predominantly white-skinned countries still allow predominantly white-skinned corporations to assist insane warlords in killing each other, helping with helicopters and technology, simply to keep company profits going. So reported Global Pacific News not long ago.

There is no question that the peoples of Africa, millions and millions of descendants of the ancient Ethiopians and Egyptians among them, have been methodically dehumanized for centuries. No peoples have met with such enormous psychological and material destruction in recorded human history. If they can said to be blamed for allowing any of it, then their fault could only lie in a willingness to trust fellow men who came preaching religious principles.

The damage that Christian missionaries have done to the psychology of human kindness in Africa over the centuries is untold. Examples would take a litany too long to fit all the walls of any ancient temple. But here are two: missionaries routinely accompanied soldiers who came to steal lands and loot for their home European country. The procedure went as follows: the missionary would stand and read aloud an edict in Latin to whatever villagers had gathered. The edict, completely incomprehensible to the villagers, ordered that each of them must at that moment convert to Christianity or be killed or enslaved. After it was read, the guns and swords went to work. The soldiers felt justified in their murders through the benediction and authority of the Roman church. Through varying interpretations of the works of church fathers, the Roman church developed a system of permissible murder and looting, and it was used routinely.

The missionaries would then go to work on the remaining peoples: the children were taught that their parents' intelligent, peaceful beliefs were "from the devil," and that they were to accept poverty "for the good of their souls;" whereas the conquerers were supposedly blessed by God with superior might and wealth, and so must be obeyed.

Not long ago, Pope John-Paul II issued a public statement apologizing for the behavior of the Roman Church during the Inquisition, centuries ago. Over a period of about four hundred years, Church authorities in Europe humiliated, ostracized, tortured and murdered about a half million fellow Europeans over "matters of faith." As these atrocities in the name of God mostly occurred centuries ago, the apology seemed a little late in coming.

However, no apology seems to have yet been offered for the estimated one hundred million Africans who were categorically enslaved, tortured, and murdered into submission for the four hundred years that the Roman Church itself assisted this activity, quite officially, benefitting from it materially and politically.

One would wonder also why there is as yet no apology forthcoming from the Vatican for its role in intent to murder one Simon Kimbangu. This did not happen so long ago that the descendants have long been unaware of the wrong done and the property confiscated, as is mostly the case with the Inquisition.

There are thousands of Africans still alive who remember Simon Kimbangu very well. Kimbangu's name is celebrated throughout the great expanses of central Africa, and this fame continues to increase. He stands as far more than a mere national hero. A short history of his life can be found in the Encyclopedia Brittanica. He and his followers are also the subject of more detailed scholarly research. Simon Kimbangu was a prophet. Left to rot and tortures in a prison, he died there in October 1951 after 30 years.

There are Africans alive at this writing who were brought back from the dead by Simon Kimbangu, and there are people still living who watched him do it. The claim is that Simon Kimbangu healed the sick, made the lame walk, returned sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and even brought an infant dead three days back to life. Kimbangu performed these miraculous deeds over a period of five months, from May, 1921, through September 12, 1921. Scholars do not dispute that this man performed these miracles. There is simply too much testimony about it.

On September 10, 1921, Simon Kimbangu gave a speech. He announced that the colonial authorities were about to arrest him and "impose a long period of silence on my body." He announced that one day a "Great King" of tremendous spiritual, scientific, and political power would arise, and that he himself would return as a representative. Before this event, a certain book would be written that would prepare the people of Kongo (not "Congo") for this event. This book would be resisted, but slowly, it would come to be accepted. (Ed note: I don't think the book I edited is that so-prophesied one, but wouldn't be surprised if certain elements of it would wind up being part of it.)

Two days later, Simon Kimbangu was arrested by colonial authorities -- on his forty-second birthday, September 12, 1921 -- and curtly sentenced to death. The authorities for the Roman Church had recommended his execution, and so had various other Christian missions. According to noted scholar Dr. Allan Anderson, the Baptist mission alone protested the execution of this man whose apparent crime was to have daily stood in a village for five months and healed, consoled, and revitalized people. The joy and the amazement of the gathering crowds had left the prophet open to supposed charges of sedition by jealous missionaries. Punishment for alleged sedition was death.

Just as Kimbangu had predicted two days before his arrest, he was instead given an indefinite prison term, a "long silence of his body." Each morning he was taken from his tiny cell and put bodily into a tank of cold salt water for lengthy periods in an attempt to hasten his death. His prediction that his body would be tortured and humiliated came true.

He had also predicted that day that Africa would be "thrown into a terrible period of unspeakable persecutions."

For the next 40 years, Africans were indeed put through a terrible period of unspeakable religious persecutions. Hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, deported, separated from their families, subject to atrocious tortures, and simply persecuted for new religious beliefs.

These new religious beliefs, triggered by the few words of an African man who performed miracles among his own people for "only a little while," sent out great psychological rays of hope to a continent of peoples who had long become accustomed to misery and poverty under centuries of colonial abuse and intentionally oppressive religious instruction. These powerful beliefs are still in development and will reach around the world even in their beginning stages. The appearance of the book this essay introduces marks one of many such beginnings.

Part II

Tom Dark

The title of the book this essay will introduce is THE TRUE THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA REVEALED and the RETURN OF CHRIST. The author is Pastor Melo Nzeyitu Josias; additional research by Rocha Nefwani. Both men are native Africans, both highly educated. I edited the book myself, here in America, and added a little general historical knowledge.

The book was meant to be available on May 13, 2001, commemorating the first of 6 visits of the Lady of Fatima, Portugal, who appeared on that date in 1917. She was visible to the three shepherd children who repeated her words to the world, yet was invisible to the crowds of thousands who were drawn to come see her. The Lady made astonishing predictions. Her two sets of predictions, made in 1917 about events of the coming decades, proved true. Among other things, she predicted the fall of Russia to communism, the end of the First World War, and the coming of the Second World War.

There was a Third Secret, however, which the Lady instructed Lucia Dos Santos to reveal only after 1960, after certain events had passed which would have made it more understandable. It was read to Pope John XXIII in February, 1960. When he heard it he fainted dead to the floor. When John XXIII arose, he ordered the Third Secret sealed up in a vault "forever."

Are we in the "end of times?" Are we at the hour in which Jesus Christ has already returned and gone? It would seem that appearances of men acclaimed to be God incarnate have increased greatly in the past century.

Many children born after World War Two abandoned their family's religions and took up a fascination with Hindu Baba or another, during adolescence -- let's say during their "truth seeker years." Some still follow their chosen Baba, regarding him as God Himself clothed in flesh and blood and teachings.

Few seemed to have realized that the various titles of these Eastern god-men, from "Baba" downward, are conventions of Hinduism; they correspond to the same kinds of hierarchical titlings of western religious personnel, from "Pope" downward. Both words mean "father." Perhaps comparing these things would have made the new religious adventure seem less exotic, and therefore, not knowing the traditional lay of things religious, potentially more "spiritual" to youth disillusioned and bored by what continues on beneath Western steeples.

Officially, any Catholic priest or Monsignor or Bishop or Cardinal is a "representative of God on earth," each of more exalted degree, the same as attributed to revered gurus whose photographs are surrounded by burning incense. What makes the idea less true for one than the other? The idea of a God-ness more particular to such men, East or West, is most often a projection of the devotee, who has yet to even speculate on the source of his own willing projections. Yet in terms of advantages to be gained of any kind, the question is moot. There seem to be no fewer crooks among those declared holy as among those who find no use for gods, and no fewer well-intended. We will reserve judgment on current dramas of religious persecution.

Whether a human being can said to be God made flesh, let alone which individual can be said to be this, can be debated into meaninglessness. There are several main schools of thought about it. The prevailing school in the West remains a Christian line, which says that there is one single God. This God parcels out a single soul to each living human, who is otherwise considered as not much more than a moving mass of organized mud, and is unworthy by nature.

All are represented before God the Father by a single non-physical individual, namely Jesus Christ, a man who healed sick people, raised others from the dead, performed other fantastic wonders and sayings, then was murdered in a routine public ceremony at the behest of an unrecognizing, unappreciative public. This God is not finished with this unappreciative public; at an unknown hour, He will take all the souls he parceled out and dump them into a "lake of fire" for all eternity. Only those for whom Christ has interceded will be allowed to live on in eternity, to live in a city where streets are paved with gold, and to bow up and down in worship of this One God, forever. One wonders whether his back will ever tire of the exercise.

As whimsically as I've put it, this is the prevailing, if fading, stream of belief about Who and what a God is among Catholic and Protestant churches. It is this drama, essentially, that captured the imaginations of Western peoples for centuries.

Spontaneous enthusiasm for this story has been dwindling -- to the point that some Americans believe that enthusiasm needs to be enforced. Political machinations surrounding our alcoholic president George W. Bush are currently attempting to squeeze this tale into the shape of an official state religion, through fiduciary activity at taxpayer expense.

Another school of thought, currently rising (if not having had popularity in some ancient time), inherent in a few words of the New Testament, is espoused by some of the notable 20th Century Indian Babas. The Hindu versions of this idea have been distilled further from their Vedic origins by different new-age or maverick churches in the West, or combined with biblical ideations. This school says that all persons are themselves God; yet due to our egoisms, or ignorance, or sinful natures, only the sparsest few among our present billions can sense this divinity within ourselves.

Those few who are said to have become "god-realized," who made themselves known to the public as for divine purposes and missions, seem to attract material fortunes from a public that is either inexpressibly grateful or is too gullible. Although some Hindu religious branches speak of "five ascended masters" who live invisibly on our planet, there are many quite visible gurus or proclaimed avatars around whom devotees have formed practical organizations of high material worth. Monies are collected and practical social advantages, such as political contributions, keep the organizations going, while their intents are to enlighten masses whom, we must assume, are "endarkened" without them.

Sincere or fraudulent, authentic or imitation, each event of the appearance of a man (usually a male) said to be God or god-realized represents a new bud of one size or another upon a very ancient vine. The vine would be human consciousness, and the bud would be civilization.

A civilization forms through codes of knowledge and behavior that allow each of its members, relatively, the broadest opportunity for value fulfillment. The codes seem most often to have originated with a single man, who is also revealed as God's prophet, if not God Himself in fleshly clothing. New knowledge, or interpretations of it, is added in that Man-God's name.

I wonder about the nature of the human experience itself, as I can not think of any civilization which did not attribute its foundations to a single man at its cornerstone. Even the "godless" communist attempts at a new and sensible kind of civilization quickly became personality-worship cults. Nor should we forget Germany's abortive attempt to found a "New World Order" around Adolf Hitler. However, neither he nor Marx nor Lenin nor Mao nor Kim could walk on water or rise from the dead.

Christianity, of all religions, has come closest to uniting the peoples of the entire world. The emergence of avatars in Africa in the twentieth century maintains a continuity with the ancient prophecies found in the bible. "THE THIRD SECRET" cites biblical passages that make a case that Simeon Toko was Christ Returned -- at least, different Christian ministers who considered the interpretations did not scorn their logic. The following is an excerpt I have culled from the book (Some of the writing has been altered so as not to confuse the reader who will be reading this out of its context):

Simeon Toko was born on February 24, 1918, in a northern village in Angola (the "Tsafon" of Psalm 48: 3) portentously named "Sadi Banza Zulu Mongo" ("the village of the Celestial Mountain"). A newborn emerged from his mother's womb into a very hostile environment.

For almost fifty years, from 1872 to 1921, this region suffered natural disasters. There were long droughts between short lulls. Northern Angola and the southern regions of French and Belgian Congos were devastated. The resultant famines killed thousands; so too were thousands of deaths brought by smallpox, typhoid, sleeping sickness, malaria, and others.

These different plagues represent the fulfillment of a biblical prediction. None but a few people inspired by the words of Lord recognized this.

"And the dragon stood before which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." (Revelation 12: 4)

The baby Simeon Toko was born mere inches from sickness and famine and plague and death, and many leagues from safety. There was not much reason for a baby to want to live, and much against it.

The infant Toko caught smallpox. He was so badly affected by it that villagers thought the hand of the Almighty Father alone saved his life. He was left with the unpleasant marring of smallpox scars on his face. Compare this prophecy:

"As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men." (Isaiah 52: 14)

Not long after Simeon's birth, a missionary at a Baptist Missionary Society, based in Angola, had a dream. He dreamed that a Great King had been born in the region under his ministry. He decided to go looking for this baby.

Requesting guidance from the Holy Spirit, he came to the baby Simeon Toko. Staring at an infant so rachitic, like a "weak and tender plant," and so blemished a little face, he shook his head. Doubt had come to stay. He asked one or two questions and left, feeling victimized by his dream and the voice that had led him there.

In 1949 Simeon attended an international conference of Protestants in Leopoldville (currently called Kinshasa). During this event, the ceremonial masters asked three Africans from Angola to pray. Those selected were Gaspar de Almeida, Jesse Chiulo Chipenda, and Simeon Toko. Simeon Toko asked in his public prayer that the Holy Spirit manifest in Africa to put an end to the abuses of the colonial powers.

Toko became a dedicated member of the Baptist Church in Itaga. He formed a singing choir of 12 people. Instantly this choir became famous and from twelve members it grew into hundreds.

At each of the choir performances, whether at their church or while visiting another church, the Holy Ghost manifested with such a power that white Missionaries suspected young Toko of possessing black magic powers. Jealously, the missionaries summoned him to abandon his "dark practices." He responded to them by saying "But if we are praying to the same God, how come when I pray, and there is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, you accuse me of sorcery? Is it because I am an African that my prayers couldn't possibly be answered? (see 1 Samuel 10: 10) Does the Holy Spirit discriminate against Africans too?"

But the missionaries were fed up with him and decided to exclude him from the church. Then what was meant to happen, happened. All those who had joined the church on the inspiration of Simeon's magnificent choir left the church with him. The question was whether Simeon Toko would abandon these followers, or keep them with him.

He decided to keep them with him, realizing all the same that a very harsh duty awaited him. He decided to pray again to his Father, repeating the same prayer he had made three years before at the Baptist conference.

On July 25, 1949, Simeon and 35 members of his choir met on a street called Mayenge, at the house of a man named Vanga Ambrosio. The choir began to sing, waiting for time to pray. Shortly before midnight, Simeon Toko lifted his eyes to the sky and he addressed this prayer to His father: "Father, I know you always answer my prayers. Now look; consider these sheep you have sent to me. This duty is so immense that without the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, we will never be able to achieve what you intended. The prayer I addressed to you three years ago, didn't you hear it?"

At precisely midnight, a strong wind shook the house and the Holy Spirit possessed everyone at the prayer meeting, with the exception of a man called Sansao Alphonse, the choir leader. God let him remain in an ordinary frame of mind so that he could write down the testimonials and miracles taking place before his dumfounded eyes. Many in the group were speaking in tongues. Some saw heavenly light and heard celestial voices; others were able to communicate clearly with people several kilometers from where the prayer was taking place.

The excitement about the miracles that happened at this new Pentecost led Simeon Toko's followers to spread all over town and start preaching the building of God's kingdom. This attracted the attention of Belgian colonial authorities, who viewed the activity as a threatening commotion. Within about three months the police began jailing the preachers.

They were jailed and prosecuted as promptly as were the followers of Simeon Toko's Messenger, called Kimbanguists, after Simon Kimbangu, who himself was imprisoned, from 1921 until his death in 1951.

Some were beheaded, burned alive in their homes, drowned in the river, or shot without being prosecuted. Finally, the colonialists decided to deport them. The wives, husbands, and children were separated from their families by hundreds and even thousands of kilometers from their homes.

When miracles started taking place among the new followers of "Kimbangu," the Belgian authorities tried to suffocate this new Messianic group at once.

On October 22nd, 1949, Simeon Toko and 3000 of his companions were put in two different jails, Ofiltra and Ndolo. After three months in the jails, a decree was passed to deport them out of the country. This is when Simeon Toko started revealing Himself.

The Belgian Administrator of the jail in Ndolo was named Pirote. He abused the "Tokoist" prisoners, hurling racist insults. He always ended with: "Filthy nigger, you're going back to nigger country in Angola!"

Tired of this abuse, Simeon Toko replied sharply to Pirote, "Know that if there is a stranger here, it is you! To show you that I am home, the day you make the injustice of deporting me from Belgian Congo, I'll have you carrying my bags alongside me!" Simeon Toko held up both hands, spread out his fingers, and told the abusive Belgian to count them. He said, "I give 10 years to the Belgians, not one more or less, to leave this country!"

No one at that time comprehended these sibylline words. However, the disciples of Simeon Toko understood later: the day they were deported, Pirote fell dead. He was gripped with an apparent heart attack while working in his office, and died as suddenly as though a bullet had struck him squarely.

As for the other mysterious statement made by Simeon Toko: ten years later, in 1960, the Belgians were obliged to leave their rich colony of Congo.

"The Almighty has made my mouth like a sharp sword;"(Isaiah 49: 2). The proof was made with the two anecdotes relating to Pirote and the independence of Belgian Congo, which took place on June the 30th, 1960, exactly as Simeon Toko predicted, each of his fingers representing one year.

But to impel this event, Simeon Toko "unleashed his army." This incredible story is very well known throughout central Africa, and will be reported in greater detail in another book. The event was witnessed by thousands of people on January 4th, 1959. Some of the author's own relatives were there, but so are there thousands of citizens of the city of Kinshasa who witnessed it on that day alive at this writing. January 4th is now a public holiday in Kinshasa and commemorates this event.

Kinshasa was called Leopoldville. On that day, the "Cherubim and Seraphim" appeared and stood against the Belgian colonial army. The citizens of Leopoldville saw an army of about a thousand very small men -- about the size of children, or dwarfs, with very muscular, imposing bodies. Each of these diminutive human-looking creatures showed great strength -- for example, a witness saw one of them flip a five-ton truck over with one arm!

The Belgian soldiers fired at these little brown angels to no effect. Terrified, the colonial army was thrown into confusion. The little men disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. One year after this amazing mass apparition,
the Democratic Republic of Congo was a new and independent country.

After being deported and arriving in Angola, the real tribulations of the "man of sorrow acquainted with grief and sufferings" were to start. Never again would Simeon Toko rest. His life would be a string of non-stop attempts to kill him to prevent his Mission.

Let us follow what he experienced, from Leopoldville, where he was unjustly incarcerated, and to Angola. While incarcerated in Angola, the Portuguese authorities deported him:

1. To the Colonato of Vale do Loge, in the municipality of Bembe, Northern Angola;
2. From Bembe to Waba Caconda;
3. From Caconda to Hoque, 30 kilometers of San da Bandeira;
4. From San da Bandeira to Waba Caconda again:
5. From Caconda to Cassinga - Vila Artur de Paiva;
6. From Cassinga to Jau, in Chibia's canton;
7. From Chibia, back to San da Bandeira;
8. From San da Bandeira to Mocamedes, in the municipality of Porto Alexandre, or more precisely at Ponta Albina.
9. From Ponta Albina to Luanda, the capital of Angola.

All of these deportations took place in a 12 year period. Simeon Toko's captivity in these prisons and agricultural compounds lasted from three months, at San da Bandeira, to as long as five years, at Ponta Albina.

The objectives of these deportations were to reduce Simeon Toko's influence and to dismantle his church. Contrarily, everywhere he and his followers were sent, they indoctrinated even more and more members into the belief of what Portuguese called "Tokoism." In the end the Portuguese authorities decided to use their last measure. "Simeon Toko delenda (must be destroyed)."

Thus, when he was sent to slavery in an agricultural field in Caconda, in southern Angola, his head was offered for a price. Two Portuguese foremen, excited by the reward, decided to take their chance. They put a plan in action to murder Simeon Toko.

During a stay in Angola in 1994, we collected the testimony of Pastor Adelino Canhandi, who was a cook at the Caconda agricultural compound. He saw what happened.

Busy with cooking, he heard a voice calling him, "Canhandi, Canhandi, come here." It was Simeon Toko. Once outside, surprised and curious, Toko told him "to stand there and be watchful. Once again the Son of Man will be tested." Strange words in in particular for Canhandi, who was not then a Christian and didn't understand the term or what Simeon Toko wanted of him. Curious, he watched.

Trade magazines that deal with farm machinery routinely warn users about it. Harvesting machines such as seed-sowers are exceptionally dangerous, as is very well known. Accidents involving the business end of a sower simply aren't survived, and in many cases, there is not enough left of the body for display at a funeral.

One of the Portuguese foremen showed up and hailed Simeon Toko, "Hey Simeon, you see that tractor over there? There are weeds clogging the sower. Go clean them out!" Submissively, the docile prisoner crawled under the engine to fix it. When he was under the engine, the foreman, sitting in the driver's seat, started it up, which automatically activated the rotating blades of the seed sower. Simeon Toko's body was instantly severed in several pieces.

Terrified, Canhandi stood frozen to the spot, watching. The foreman shifted into reverse to back up and check the damage. A second foreman, who was in service that day, flashed a victory sign, indicating that they had succeeded.

Then the unbelievable happened. Before Canhandi and the two Portuguese accomplices, the body of Simeon Toko recomposed itself; Simeon Toko stood up. Canhandi could not believe his eyes! The Portuguese ran away in terror. From that day on, Canhandi believed in the Lord, and his entire family converted to the church of Simeon Toko.

It was also that day that Simeon Toko made it known who he was behind that smallpox-marred face, purposefully behaving in accord with the following scripture:

"Therefore doth my father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10: 17-18)

During Simeon Toko's stay in Luanda, the capital of Angola, while he was in the process of being deported for the ninth time, another event happened to show his hidden and true identity.

We should say that when he came on earth in Palestine, Christ referred to Himself in the third person, using the term "the Son of Man." This time, Canhandi was one of the rare persons to hear the Christ refer to Himself differently. Simeon most usually spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ, which meant to his followers that he too was a servant of Christ, like everybody else. Despite the miracles happening around him, just like a shadow, no one knew who he really was.

His followers were once again bewildered when they found out that two top level emissaries were dispatched by Pope John XXIII to Angola to meet Simeon Toko and deliver a personal message to him.

One of the Emissaries was unfortunate to fall ill with dysentary when he arrived in Luanda and wound up in a hospital. The other was received by Simeon Toko, and he said to him, "I am an emissary of Pope John XXIII, who personally mandated me and my colleague to come and ask you a single question: Who are you?"

Let us bear in mind that the year was 1962, two years after the fateful date when the Vatican had instructions to make public the third Secret of Fatima. John XXIII had read the message, kept it a secret, and very likely had sent his emissaries to Simeon Toko with a sinking feeling in his heart.

Simeon Toko responded, "I am amazed that a high ranking person like the Pope is interested enough about my being to make you travel 8000 km just to meet me. The answer that you should give your master for me is in the biblical scripture, Matthew 11: 2 to 6."

Let's now put ourselves in Pope John's shoes as he read the text suggested by Toko:

"And now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him. Are thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them. Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."

Now, we already have referred to an arrow hidden in the quiver of the Almighty, which can indeed be shot from any distance -- even if thousands of kilometers separate archer and target; even if 2000 years separate them, it reaches its target.

Using a brief biblical quotation, Simeon Toko gave Pope John XXIII to understand that what the Pope had found in the note written by Lucia Dos Santos was true. Indeed the former Cardinal Roncalli could have picked any name as Pope: He could have chosen Gregory, Benoit, Peter, Paul, or any of hundreds of saints' names. But he chose "John," so that now the scripture in Matthew that Simeon Toko sent him to read addressed him directly by name.

Fearing Who it was now living among the most disdained people on earth, the Pope contacted the Portuguese dictator, Antonio de Salazar.

On July 18, 1962, Simeon Toko was again arrested and deported; this time, not to some isolated corner in his native Angola, but to Portugal, where his birth had been formally announced in 1917, in Fatima.

"Jesus said unto him, "Did ye never read in the scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes." (Matthew 21: 42)

Indeed the builders ("Pontiff" means "builder of bridges") had again rejected the cornerstone.

When Simeon Toko was brought to Portugal a Portuguese Air Force plane was waiting for him. The plane had state-of-the-art telecommunication and navigation systems.

In the plane sat a Catholic priest and members of Salazar's secret police, PIDE-DGS, including the pilot and copilot. Their mission was to fly out over the Atlantic ocean and after about an hour's distance, push Simeon Toko out of the plane into the deep sea. This was the same inhuman treatment that Argentinian military used years later for their political opponents.

Supposedly, the Catholic Priest was brought along on the plane to counteract the magic powers of the African, through praying. But this skillfully planned project was about to backfire.

The moment the PIDE agents rose to subdue him and carry out their murder, Simeon Toko stood up and ordered the plane to stop. The aircraft stopped in midair. It stood still, not advancing an inch, nor rose or fell backward.

The crew was stricken by panic. The priest could hardly breathe, and hoarsely huffed out desperate prayers. They all started imploring the "preto" [Portuguese denigratory meaning "nigger'] for mercy. Simeon lifted his eyes and hands towards the heaven and after a short prayer he ordered the plane to move again. At once the plane started moving.

Simeon Toko related this story himself. For those who are skeptical, we would remind you that the authority of our sciences do not determine all that is possible on earth or in heaven. This same Personality stopped a storm on a sea for a group of terrified fishermen 2000 years ago. He also walked across the surface of the water and inspired the sun to weave and dance gaily at Fatima.

As an "exiled political prisoner," Simeon Toko was deprived of all human rights. We will pass for now on the many other murder attempts upon his body during his forced stay in Ponta Delgada ( Archipelago of the Azores).

At a future date, we will publish a record of miracles performed by Simeon Toko which were seen by eyewitnesses. Since the objective of this book is to expose secrets kept from the spiritually hungry, we here select only a few attempts made against Simeon Toko during his years of imprisonment on Ponta Delgada Island, under the pretense of being a "political" prisoner. He was assigned the chore of maintaining a lighthouse there.

Dona Laurinda Zaza is a "vate" for present day Toko followers. A vate (VAH-tay) is a sort of prophetic trance medium. Dona Laurinda experienced the following event as she saw it happen to "Tio Simao" (a nickname meaning "Uncle Simon") while he was in exile in Portugal. Simeon Toko confirmed the fact of this event later, and revealed the physical damage that the doctors had done; over the years, thousands of people saw this scarring on his chest. "You could almost see Toko's heart pounding in his chest through the scar; an almost unbearable sight," Dona Laurinda said.

This referred to a most remarkable attempt by these astonishingly misguided men to kill Simeon Toko under Dictator Antonio Salazar's orders. This attempt, which would have been a "first degree murder" if the victim were anyone else, took place shortly before his return to freedom in July 1974.

Some doctors found themselves reading the reports of his purported invulnerability. They thought they might pass the time by drilling for the secret which seemed to protect the mysterious African man. They meant to perform an autopsy on a living human being.

Under the pretext of removing a tumor in his chest, the doctors had Simeon Toko taken to hospital. They put him on an operating table, cut a jagged, mortal wound in the left side of the center of his chest, reached into his chest cavity, and pulled out his still-beating heart. The aorta and other arteries were severed by scalpel and his heart was removed. Simeon lay dead, his body covered with the warm blood that splashed out of his heart and chest.

The doctors dumped Simeon Toko's heart in a metal pan and took it to a laboratory, in another room. They ran various tests on it, expecting to find what, undetermined. The gadgets and microscopes and probings showed there was nothing physically extraordinary or abnormal about Simeon Toko's heart. The doctors concluded that this purloined organ would not have been the source of his invulnerability -- if it can be said that men can make conclusions about any such thing.

Simeon Toko came to on the operating table. To their horror and bewilderment, his heartless corpse was moving on its own volition. He opened his eyes, sat up and looked at them, the chest wound by which they had casually murdered him gaping open. "Why are you persecuting me this way?" he said to them. "Give me back my heart!"

For now we will refrain from reporting many other significant events that happened that same day. We can let you know, however, that the exact time his heart was taken from him, he decided to give a finishing blow to Portuguese colonial power and rule over Angola.

Returning to his native country of Angola, on August 31, 1974, he was carrying the independence of Angola in his pocket. A year later, on November 11, 1975, the country of Angola gained its independence from Portugal.

There, Where Eagles are Gathered

At this point of our narration, you might wish to ask us a question burning on your lips: "Where is he right now?"

We leave it to the scripture to talk:

"The disciples answered and said unto him, where, Lord? And he said unto them, wherever the body is, thither will the Eagles be gathered together"
(Luke 17: 37)

The response of Jesus in latin was "Ubicumque fuerit corpus, illuc congregabuntur et aquilae." (Luke 17: 37)

This passage or scripture gave migraine headaches to a generation of biblists because:

A: The action takes place at the time of the end;
B: Jesus speaks here about a body, His physical corpse;
C: This body or corpse is on a high mountain.

We translated the last part of Luke 17: 34, in latin because the text becomes more transparent. In many Bibles, the title that summarizes verses 22-37 of Luke 17 is: "Jesus announces his Second Coming."

We are now at that "time of the end;" in simple english it means our time, and not the physical destruction of the world. In latin a possessive article is not required when the sense of the sentence is such as it does not leave any doubt about the owner. This is the case here, so that Jesus indicated His physical body.

Many translators have replaced the word "aquilae," "eagles," with "vultures," which seems more logical in referring to the locale of a dead body out in open country. Nevertheless, "Aquilae" must here be considered for its literal and allegorical meanings.

Symbolically speaking, the eagle designates a high ranking person, "someone in a high place." The sense in which to attribute the context of this word is of a temporal, but especially spiritual, superior rank in authority.

Eagles prefer to fly and live at high altitudes, and assemble only on high mountains. Here is what O. Dapper wrote, a columnist of the 16th century in discovering Kongo dia Totela's capital:

"The town is placed on the most high mountain of the country, because from the port of Pinda where we disembarked, until we reached Kongo, it took us 10 days of walk and continous climbing until we reached the aforementioned city, which is inside the province of Pemba. This province is located at the center of the Kingdom and is the head of all other provinces, and the origin of the ancient kingdoms."

The sentence from Luke can then be understood as follows, "I shall return in the flesh without the people recognizing me; as a thief or swindler. I shall secretly carry out my mission. Once my mission is fulfilled, I shall leave my mortal coil on a high mountain."

Durin the night of December 31st to January 1st, 1984, when the death of Simeon Toko was announced by the media, thunderclaps of virtually seismic force and torrential rain burst the skies of Luanda. It had not rained in this area for several years. Meteorologists were mystified. For three days the rain fell continuously. The occurrence of this event was attributed to all the rumors surrounding the death of this great prophet.

A certain politician was recognized as one of the toughest men surrounding Neto, the President of the Republic of Angola. He was often called upon for delicate and confident missions. During the war for independence, the Portuguese, whom he fought during a 14-year war for the liberation of his country, had a good deal to say about him. His name aroused dread and awe; he led a resistance group specializing in chopping heads with "catanas" (machetes). This man was one of President Neto's army officers. His name was Comandante Paiva.

After hearing the news that Simeon Toko had died, Paiva rushed to where the body lay exposed for public viewing. He fought his way through the crowd of tens of thousands of people. He was astonished at the sight of it.

He stood looking at Simeon's body. He asked to speak. He declared "It is not true that Simeon Toko is dead, because he is invulnerable!" To make such a public confession was blatantly incriminating. Seven years before now, Comandante Paiva had orders to kill Simeon Toko once and for all. He told the public that this is what he and his men had done:

He had Simeon Toko kidnapped, took him to a secret location, and once there he butchered him methodically, like a meatpacker with an animal carcass; he severed Simeon's head, then his arms and legs, then split his chest and abdomen apart.

He stuffed the butchered corpse into a large bag, tied the top with a string, and hid it in a certain location. After three days, he brought helpers back to get the bag and take it to the ocean to throw to the sharks. By now the bag had disappeared. The men began to argue about its whereabouts.

Suddenly, in the midst of their bickering about who may have moved it, a voice they described as sounding like " the sounds of many waters" (Revelation 1: 15) overshadowed their own voices: "WHO are you looking for? I am here!" It was Simeon Toko, in flesh and bone, alive, standing majestically. The men dashed away shouting "E o Deus, e o Deus!" which means "He is God, He is God!"

Paiva's butchering had been the last time that anybody dared to touch a single hair on the head of Simeon Toko. And now that Simeon's body lay discarded by its owner, by choice, he refused to believe it.


Before I continue, a correction must be made. Shortly after my last segment was published here, my good friend Pastor Melo, from whom I am getting most of the stories of Simeon Toko, arrived here in Tucson from Paris to go over the book (again, the title: THE TRUE THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA REVEALED and THE RETURN OF CHRIST). We found that the bible quotations which seem to indicate Simeon Toko's identity had suffered many bruises in translation from french to english, as well as from footnotes from different versions of that book over the decade in which the first draft was produced.

With the assistance of a local protestant minister named Brother Godfrey Lord (who speaks in prophetic tongues and does extremely well) , we spent a dozen hours a day making corrections. One of us manned the computer, the other the hard-copy manuscript, and the other read aloud from one single King James version bible, fixing every thee-and-thou and comma and period.

THE TRUE THIRD SECRET, incidentally, contains an excellent appendix which thumbnails a brief history of the bible from its origins in the fourth century to the present. While it may be that Simeon Toko is Christ returned, in the fashion Christ Himself related (indeed no one is required to "go to the field," that is, to take trips to visit any individual, anywhere, said to be a Messiah), it would be unrealistic to assert that "the Word of God" has not been altered by theologically and politically motivated men, many times.

These, however, while a difficult editing chore, were not the most important mistakes needing repair. Translation had obscured some of the stories of "Tio Simao ('Uncle Simon')" himself, and one such error appeared in the excerpt I presented in the latest article. Corrected forthwith:

Simeon Toko was not in a prison, and he was not abused by prison doctors, when his heart was removed in the horrendous vivisection related in that chapter. He was in exile, remanded by the Portuguese government to operate a lighthouse on an island in the Azores (We don't have an American term for this sort of forced labor, as American the penal system operates differently). A Portuguese doctor had been reading records about Toko's alleged "invincibility," and invited several doctors from around Europe to perform the exploratory murder attempt along with him. Toko was taken to a local civilian hospital for this adventure, behind the guise of an excuse.

If there are medical records available to confirm this event independently, I do not have them now. I would like to see them. All of us involved with this project, here in the states, consider ourselves doubting Thomases, to say the least. Yet the stories of witnesses and followers has kept our fascination.

Pastor Melo has also had his doubts and wonders and expresses them freely; nevertheless, he pursues his journey for "Tio Simao" with the particular innocence of a man who independently follows his inner visions, whatever they may be. Indeed it was a powerful psychic vision in 1983, which occurred in dream states over a period of days, that impelled him to begin writing the book. This highly charged episode of inner communication was his first such experience; until then, he was a not untypical African expatriate, scrambling to make a living in Europe for which there were no opportunities at home.

Those who met Pastor Melo at an impromptu meeting last April (he'll be back) might confirm with me that he appears to be a perfectly ordinary, friendly man, not some wild-haired raving religious lunatic. Nor do his eyes glow; and if he has a halo, we didn't see one.

A pleasant-looking 45-year-old Parisian, with an easy natural warmth, modestly dressed, Pastor Melo started a little uncertainly with the eleven people who had gathered as a result of the EMERGING AWARENESS article; he repeated the story of the Fatima miracle of 1917 to those who had never heard of it (the event remains a major issue among Catholics throughout "the third world.")

As the evening wore on, Melo found himself relaxing in friendly company; he was quite surprised to learn what these Americans "already know." He hadn't expected Americans to be amenable to the possibility, that, for instance, the most ancient Egyptians were largely a black race, or that much of the lore and artwork regarding biblical characters who were originally black had been altered by the Vatican over the centuries. He was also surprised to see that nearly everyone had come prepared with notebooks to note down what he would have to say.

The guests were open and frank and did express their beliefs quite ably for themselves. But I sat asking myself, "how is it a group of people have gathered over, basically, the news that a man has been murdered and returned to life again?" And as one of the guests, who also had an interest in the significance of numbers, pointed out, 12 people were present, the number of Christ's apostles, as well as the number of people in Simeon Toko's first choir, where all the Divine Trouble began in the first place.

Leaning a bit on the good humor I would expect of a man who knows how to get people to kill him so he can come back to life, I'm going to personalize the tone of my essay further, for now.

As I worked along on this project, I had to ask myself daily, "do I believe any of this?" One evening I took a break, and took a walk, pondering what I myself had just typed about some African man: killed multiple times, resurrected Himself each time. How could anyone still believe such a thing? Could such a man be real? If it is, then what I'd been imagining of him as I wrote along would amount to a communication, as, after all, God hears Everything. I wondered if this man, with his "special powers," could send signs, and so on, as Christ legendarily did.

Within moments of that thought I saw a young man killed before my eyes, struck by a car in an act of negligence that was horrifying to see. I heard the sound of a human head cracking on the pavement from about 12 yards away. I will not describe more of what I saw, although I will for a public prosecutor; but I might be unable to describe my shock. I had seen deaths before, but there is no describing the feeling when someone innocent, and presumably unprepared for death, is violated this way. If there ever was a meaning to the word "unspeakable," this would be it.

The young man's body lay motionless in the middle of the busy street, like a discarded marionette; a small group of people surrounded him to prevent any more ravaging from negligent drivers who still whizzed by, perhaps more concerned that something was obstructing whatever errands they were running. The police and the paramedics finally appeared, and I watched the paramedics cover over his mangled face. I walked away feeling terrible about the young man: I regretted whatever past had led to such a harsh and insulting end to his life. He looked my son's age, and this made the scene more poignant.

When I called the police the following morning to leave my number as a witness, I learned that the young man had lived through the night, and was expected to live. What was a terrible blazing of despair before my eyes the evening before, was suddenly a fabulous blaze of hope, coming to me through my telephone. I never imagined that I would have felt this exultant at news of a young stranger who seemed to have died before my eyes, then revived. Psychologically, I had witnessed a man killed who returned to life.

I don't think that Simeon Toko "sends signs" so harsh as to kill people before one's eyes as a philosophical lesson. Nor do I think that the "special powers" credited anyone said to be divine include the power of life-and-death over anyone but themselves, and the wisdom not to begrudge others the same. Yet, as remarked in THE THIRD SECRET, "A coincidence is God trying to pass by unnoticed."

All of us die and return from the dead, all the time. Perhaps Christ is a great Shaman, who reappears every so often to keep us reminded when most needed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cowboys, Aliens and Enormous Centipedes: An In-depth Comparison of New Mexico to the Movies

(Settin' in a rocker the porch: Chomp! Chaw, chaw, chaw. HhhhhhhHHHHK! Pa-TOOEY! Dinnnng!) Wellsir? KathyB wrote me: “We went to see Cowboys and Aliens yesterday. That is some impressive terrain out there where you all live. Movie wasn't too bad either.”

@sallynorris tweets: “Finally got to see Cowboys&Aliens. What scenery lucky you! Masterful horsemanship and wrangling. Would watch again just for that.”

Longtime readers will remember two things: last year I was sitting outside the local general store on a rough-hewn bench, eating and quietly farting on the ghost of Georgia O’Keefe I bet, when a young feller sat down next to me and revealed that he was a crew member for the upcoming big-budget extraterrestrial Western, “Cowboys and Aliens.” Being a stranger in these parts, I couldn’t quite remember who the big-budget Harrison Ford was, but he was to be in this picture, trademark crooked smile and all -- which he delivered, somewhere toward the end of the movie.

The other thing is that, of all God’s skittering creatures, I object mostly to politicians and big centipedes. Both have too many arms for grabbing goodies and too many legs for skittering away with 'em. Both give you the willies when they doodle-oodle-oodle onto a TV interview or through a crack in your kitchen floor. I’m confident I can work one of these entities into this article. Probably centipedes.

Let’s see... I’d been sitting on the porch, brooding. Just as I got up to go investigate what Roger Ebert had told me in an e-mail, one of these New Mexico Tiger Centipedes doodle-oodle-oodled up from under the porch and charged hell and high water for the door into the house. It meant to trundle across the living room floor and into the wild canyons of our couch cushions. There it would bivouac and await orders from the Mothership to doodle-oodle into my mother-in-law’s underwear while she was eating and watching a movie. She has not been certain she loves New Mexico. The Law of Attraction also works in reverse.

There would be an odd sensation at first, perhaps a... does something tickle? A vague feeling of horror. Then all hell would break loose. Yes those things are poisonous. No don’t panic. It would make an historical family memory.

Centipedes are indestructible. My own family history contribution, suitable for grandchildren ages three to five, tells of the night two years ago when I watched a centipede I thought I’d killed a week before doodle-oodle under the door with my seven-day-old bootprint still on its back. I was horrified.

When terrified, you can still run. When horrified, you can only watch paralyzed as your predator devours your toes a sixteenth gram at a time.

Isn’t it ludicrous to pretend that Man dominates the Earth? We exist at the pleasure of these bugs. Even if we nuke ourselves, which we are currently doing, they’ll doodle-oodle around gleaning our radioactive bones as though our unimportant bootprints never happened.

They can grow to enormous size. That’s one reason I hope they’re not vengeful and I’m forgiven for stomping on one. The other reason has to do with my being from a planet orbiting Antares, I think. On Antares we regret killing anything. You’d find our movies tiresome. We find yours somewhat biased when it comes to extraterrestrials.

Fig. A: Aerial view of enormous New Mexico Tiger Centipede doodle-oodle-oodling into peaceful desert valley where helpless townsfolk feel odd chills of horror before being surprised, then eaten while screaming:

Fig. B: Predatory presidential candidate caught in casual pose in natural habitat:

Although I still feel cheated that Werner Herzog didn’t let us hear the sound of two people being eaten alive by a bear, I probably wouldn’t want him playing a recording of the sound giant centipede mandibles munching crunchy poisoned humans might make.

I’d felt a similar chagrin reading the e-mail Roger had sent me. He’d just seen “Cowboys and Aliens” and reported that he hadn’t seen me anywhere in the movie. “I am greatly disappointed not to have spotted you,” he wrote, “I mean, there aren't a whole lot of people out there...”

A desolate feeling whooshed through my soul. I replied bravely with a lame joke, but Roger is no passerby pal of flighty cinematic opinions. He is a man with a purpose. A grave purpose. I myself am a grave man of purpose. I’d better go review that movie with my own eyes.

Longtime faithful fans and any extraterrestrials studying my fiery political invectives with anticipation know that I can’t go to the movies these days. That theater smells bad. But something was wrong. I had to do it for Roger. We’d find out what had happened to me.

Emergency Cineplex!

Hair plastered back by the surging wind (I like sticking my head out the car window), I stopped to pick up a hitchhiker. He was doodle-oodling his way to a local bar, you know, the kind with corrugated aluminum walls and roof. He had six kids from two marriages and loved them all, he said. He already smelt of beer, I think it was. Drunk or sober, a man's 14-year-old daughter mooning for hours in the bathroom mirror imagining mesmerizing boys with mascara’d eyes can be safely ignored by bar-hopping less than just once. This is a land where many grandpas are under forty. “Abuelo” is what they’re called.

Screeech! Halt. Slam. I park next to a brand new Lexus in the lot of the Dreamcatcher Cineplex in the Middle of Nowhere. I figure those seedy-looking teens would be less likely to trash my old Explorer if it were parked next to some prominent local drug dealer’s.

“I’m here to see ‘Cowboys and Aliens,’” I announce, Joe Friday inflection.

“Ten dollars.”

“I’m an officer from EbertClub.”


“Not Perry Como club. EbertClub. You know, Roger Ebert. The guy from television.”

“Rigoberto? De ‘Sabado Gigante’? Mi amor!”

“No, Roger Ebert. El criteeko del movie-o famoso? He says he didn’t spot me in this movie. I’m here to investigate.”

“Ten dollars.”

Hmm. Well, it’s a good thing I’ve fictionalized this account. Anyway the place was nearly empty and it didn’t smell that bad this time. I suffered through some unappealing previews, then watched it.

We Begin the Movie Proper

“Cowboys and Aliens” is a hum-dang-dinger. Even if it weren’t, the plethoric sounds of leather-swashing, gun-cocking, pistol-clicking and boot heels thunking across wooden sidewalks are plenty to satisfy any cowboyphile. Not to mention the sight of horses carrying human trouble slouching sullenly toward a clapboard town in the Middle of Nowhere. Plus, how about the gratifying meat-slap whaps of rock-hard knuckles doing justice to bad men’s grizzled faces? And those great hats.

Hombre, aren’t cowboy hats muy bonito? I don’t want one, but they’re still too fun. Third-way through the movie I stopped myself from counting how often our protagonist, the Man with the Negligible Name, played by Daniel Craig, slid his hat off and on again in dead-eyed deliberation. Was the director calling “take your hat off” and “put your hat back on”?

Horse-clopped desert wastelands or not, nobody wears cowboy hats around here, except maybe to show off at the rodeo. I missed the rodeo they had down the street last week, so I don’t know. But it may be decades before movie cowboys start wearing ballcaps like here in reality. That’s right, visor to the side or behind like the little bastards in big-city flash mobs.

Movie cowboy hats have changed again and again over the decades. Balloony with prim piping in Tom Mix’s day, cutesie and small in the sixties, big and dirty and sort of floppy mickey-mouse-ear-like for the past few decades. What did they really wear? I visited a Wild West museum in Tucson once and saw a hat worn by a sheriff dead an hundred-odd years ago. It was light grey, round crown, flat brim. I did want it.

Those comforting Wild West stereotypes. The one hatless actor was Doc, a character somewhere between doctor and saloon keeper. Good, because the only medicine cowboys ever need is whiskey. It’s for bullet wounds and unrequited love. As I’ve indicated in other essays, that tradition continues here to this day, like when you have a 14 year old daughter to worry about. I wonder if it could keep centipedes away. Nah.

Doc was the reason for the Mandatory Mexican Cutie, who played his wife. Then there was a good-hearted gun-totin’ preacher, a boy with funny round Tom Sawyer fishin’ hat, a gold-hearted abused Apache, a gold-hearted abusive cattle baron and his little bastard of a son... plus drunks who needed baths, town shooter-uppers, bean-cookers, innocent bystanders in derbies and bonnets... wasn’t there also some man with a British accent? They covered everything and everybody you’d find in “Blazing Saddles” or “Rustler’s Rhapsody” only serious. A true lover of Western films wouldn’t need pesky extraterrestrials at all. In fact, it doesn’t even need a plot, which is probably why this one was so skimpy.

The cinematography! All these Wild West icons look like they’re fresh out of a Frank Frazetti comic. Darkly illuminated, stark staring eyes, grim visages... when Harrison Ford, playing the gold-hearted abusive cattle baron, finally flashes that trademark crooked smile in the cathartic sunshine after the final shoot-out with those Giant Squishy Bug Beings from Outer Space, the contrast with his heretofore abusive, darkly illuminated character is nigh breathtaking and meant to be.

We don’t crook our smiles much hereabouts. No reason to.

Cinema Verite

With a few exceptions, “Cowboys and Aliens” contains accurate depictions of the reality of northern New Mexico nagual territory. I’d allow it contains more accuracies than “The Milagro Beanfield War,” which, for some unfathomable reason, features Peruvian folk music. I’ve been to Milagro, incidentally. There isn’t any little old crazy lady tossing pebbles at anybody. There isn't anything and hasn't been since ever.

Some of you may not have been cursed with the curiosities of soul that have garnered me stiff silences since, for example, when a boy, I demanded of my parents repeatedly and loud to know what “oral sodomy” was. They haven’t answered to this day. One of them has gone to grave still reticent. You may therefore not be curious about what all the sniffing is about in cowboy movies, barring horse ad libs. The actors are always sniffing like Bruce Willis.

It goes “I reckon it’s a two-day ride from here (sniff).” Or, “You’d best watch your step in this town, Mister (sniff).” “Awful good cereal flakes, Miz McDonough (sniff).”

As it turns out, this sniffing is an accurate rendering of Southwestern behavior. It may or may not be in the script, but the air here dries out the nostrils just awful crusty (sniff). S’cuse me.

This wasn’t in the movie, but I may never have the chance to reveal this discovery elsewhere, as my writings usually tend to the metaphysical: did you ever wonder why, in a cowboy movie, whenever an actress has an emergency baby, someone always calls for boiling water? Coffee. They’ll all want lots of coffee.

Eerie Similarities

Many years ago I hitchhiked to Hollywood just in time to watch “Blazing Saddles” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It was fun being seated where the big chase scene took place. Now, I sat watching a movie whose setting I happened to drive through to get here. As one drives north from Santa Fe, the first sight of that panorama can be dizzying. Try it some time. It is awestriking. It’s breathtaking. Humbling. Bring money. Watch out for big centipedes.

The scenery played itself nearly perfectly, except for that one big unnecessary cactus they’d trucked in as part of the scene for the clapboard town. It looked like an amateur version of a cactus from Southern Arizona. Gratefully, it was that brief shot only. They’d trucked in a lot more of that stuff when they started shooting, you may recall. The arm-looking prickly cactus with the purple flowers are the real ones here. They’re nothing to fool around with (see fig. C).

Fig. C: Unhappy but handsome desert creature poses with genuine New Mexico cactus stuck on his nose:

The scene of an idiot, the abusive cattle baron’s spoiled little bastard, shooting up the town, compared to here, is understated. I’ve told about the first news item I read when I first got here: six whole shirtless idiots caroused the clapboard village of Espanola (plus McDonald’s, gas stations, somewhat Chinese food, etc.). All were drunk, shooting up the town in the middle of a freezing February. I don’t think any of them had cattle baron dads.

Since then, three idiots killed and buried one of their own in a tiff over borrowing a dilapidated truck to go on a date with a girl, probably a 14-year-old with a lot of mascara. Three killed for reasons unknown down the road, one of them a mentally disabled boy. A cop killed in a shootout with some idiot hiding out in some gringo’s vacation home. The idiot also got killed. Two others killed somewhere else, I forget why.

The other day I struck up a conversation with a fellow at the general store and it turned out we weren’t even talking about the same triple homicide. If it isn’t you, you’ll lose track of who’s shooting who.

The other morning I was munching a breakfast burrito (eggs, bacon, red chili) next to a table full of Sheriff Deputies. They wear comfy t-shirts, not fluted cowboy shirts or flappy felt hats. They were talking shop when two others came in and announced somebody else was ready to confess to a murder that hadn’t got to the papers yet.

Oh. Yeh. And nobody seems to know nor care about the EPA officer who mysteriously disappeared after shutting down the only gas station/general store in El Rito, an old silver mining town down the road. El Rito has its own boot hill cemetery; God knows what shootin’ they did before the silver was mined out.

Now, if you’re an FBI agent moseying by to look into that one, be sure to eat at Farolito’s, the best darn Mexican cooking in the Southwest. It's right across the wagon-narrow street from the town's now defunct and only other place of employment. I know it looks like an abandoned adobe outhouse. That’s part of why it’s so good. You know how in cowboy movies all they ever seem to eat is this... red stuff? Farolito’s serves the best red stuff I’ve ever had, and I’ve rambled all over this Cowboy Movie territory.

The red stuff, I learned upon moving to the Southwest years ago, is refried beans. There are beans in Cowboys and Aliens and there are beans all over New Mexico. You’ll notice when cowboy movies mention dinner, including this one, beans are what they talk about. It’s because that’s what’s here. I bought a couple large, dirty bags of beans last winter from a truck sitting by the roadside. Once you boil ‘em up, they’re pretty good. Then you can re-fry them but I never get that far.

This brings up a scientific question. All those beans make cowboys pretty much vegetarians. You’d think it was only meat-eaters who go around shooting each other up, but it’s not so. This proves out hereabouts as well. Idiots fired up on just beans and drugs do a lot of killing out here. Maybe they’re looking for meat.

Hummingbirds. Yes, there are hummingbirds all over this great looming terrain. The one hired for the movie to provide questionably relevant symbolism has visited our feeder periodically, but since the movie came out, he’s gotten kind of uppity so I haven’t seen him lately. His name is very tough for humans to pronounce, as our vocal chords aren’t made to sound like a metal peg being twisted in a wooden hole, so I nicknamed him Squeechy.

Before he was a big uppity star, Squeechy would visit with about 13 other hummingbirds (try counting them when they’re squeeching and squabbling around your feeder. I think the sugar water makes them drunk, like drunken little flying cowboys). They didn’t give a damn for that centipede under the porch, but that’s because they don’t have to walk. They prefer to visit just after sunrise, us with our coffee, them with their sugar water, all of us smacking our lips or beaks. They return around dusk as well.

The more you feed them, the more show up, buzzing and humming and squeeching and cavorting. Friends I knew used five pounds of sugar a week, but having come from an overpopulated family myself, a dozen buzzing squeechers on the porch per day is plenty for me, at about a half-pound of sugar a week.

If they like you they’ll buzz your hair. A few of them try to butt in while I’m refilling the feeder. Now, I haven’t got a photo of this, but perhaps this facsimile dramatization will do. That’s a Say’s Phoebe, not a hummingbird:

Fig. D: Author slips in shot communing with wild bird to hint of his natural saintliness:

What About Pizza?

What about pizza? There isn’t any pizza visible in “Cowboys and Aliens,” but it’s just off scene playing an essential role. The wranglers for this movie ate pizza every night. Wranglers are genuine in-fact cowboys. They may or may not sing, but they do enjoy campfires under a starry sky. They ride horses and take care of them and stuff.

I know they eat pizza because Marta, proprietor of Mamacita’s, the finest pizza joint in these United States as I have known them from one corner to the other and in the middle too thus far, told me so. She kept running out of ingredients because the wranglers kept ordering all her pizzas. There’s room for only one in Mamacita’s kitchen, plus an automatic pistol, don’t MESS with her – and she can spin thirty-eight pizzas in one order.

“They were real wranglers,” she said, “they were all ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am’ and ‘thank you, ma’am.’”

How could a descendant of conquistadors know how to make a great pizza? Columbus brought syphilis to America, but Marta brought real pizza to New Mexico from when she worked as a banker in New York. Plus an automatic pistol.

You may think this is far afield from the movie, but humans are entitled to think wrong.

Area Fifty-Two and a Half

A half-hour’s ride from Mamacita’s and about the same distance from our spread, the big finale of “Cowboys and Aliens” takes place (sniff). Those big, mysterious white cliffs? They’re real.

Yes they’re real. They jut out of the ground in geological mystery (and since I don’t believe in plate tectonic theory I’d as soon leave it mysterious); they were formed by an All Knowing, All Powerful God, who, early one morning in October 4,232 B.C. or whenever that was, knew that the sons of Men would require them for a big wagonload of cowboy movies.

Well, okay. Geologically this area is at the edge of an enormous volcanic caldera that blew its many tops all at once, they say ten thousand years ago. I believe that. I’m also leaning toward the Indian legend that says it blew a perfectly good advanced civilization up with it. A lot of these ancient formations look like the ruins of a vast city, especially at dusk.

What th’? I hear an Indian wooden flute playing outside this moment. It sounds mournful and authentic. It’s supplying haunting music to this paragraph. I didn’t mean to get that ancient. Ghosts? Wait a sec. It’s my sister in law, down from Colorado. She’s got an art show to set up tomorrow. Play that flute among those cliffs and it’ll echo.

Have I mentioned how I met a lady the other week who had met grandsons of Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and the Wounded Knee guy all in the same week, all around here, all by coincidence? Yup. The movie’s right. The native children are all still here. To them, not unfairly, we’re brief guests at best. To the centipedes, they too are brief guests.

Ordinarily, and by that I mean it’s the most ordinary thing in the world to spot these same alabaster cliffs in almost any cowboy movie where the shoot-out isn’t downtown, the shoot-outs shot here don’t involve squishy-looking razor toothed aliens from outer space here to steal our gold.

Anyhow it’s silver around here, not gold, or at one time it was. This negligible faux pas aside, “Cowboys and Aliens” broaches a daring secret: they’re here.

If the legendary Bill Cooper hadn’t himself been shot in a shoot-out with the IRS some years back, he could confirm it. They’re cute little humanoid buggers with big eyes and they’ve got a vast underground extraterrestrial civilization throughout the Great Southwest. Here’s some footage of a dead one:

Fig. E: Generally friendly extraterrestrials visiting the planet are filmed dead before being eaten at a covert trophy dinner:

Sorry it’s so grainy, but you know how our underfunded U.S. Military has never had enough money for good cameras. That would take more bake sales than they have time for, defending our freedoms and all. Still, s/he is/was a cute little pooper, more like the hairless superior intelligences that lived in Whitley Streiber’s closet than what the movie depicted. Still, they’re here. I hear they run people for President, too.

A woman who lives just two miles from here says the local extraterrestrials are purple. She has seen them with her own eyes... blurred by a little medicinal whiskey, perhaps, but she had every reason to call her tenant around 3 a.m. the other morning and warn her that one of them was outside peeking into her bedroom window. I’ve only heard this, I don’t know. But the muffled booming sounds we hear from deep underground in the dead of night around here could be more proof.

There are two things in this movie I can’t explain. I don’t know where the big upside-down paddlewheel riverboat would be around here, and I don’t know why there’s an ice wagon in the final shot. Ice wouldn’t slow a big centipede down for a second. They’d gobble right through it.

Sorry, three things. After all that investigating I still don’t know why I’m not in that movie. Nobody called. They did forget to throw a comical sidekick in there, I could have done that. Maybe they thought I was too sarcastic, but they’re wrong, I’m sardonic. Some people do have trouble recognizing when I’m joking. But I do know a fun movie when I see one and good pizza when I taste it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Big Out Loud National Prayer She-bang

People don’t understand that prayer works. If they realized how often they make it backfire, maybe they’d understand that prayer does indeed work.

Saturday I had the truck radio on as I wandered these drought-dried roads looking for hay. It was live reporting from one of those Christian prayer shebangs, hosted by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry was himself once fingered as a "one-world government" agent by a genuine and actual Christian conservative I know.

A fella on the scene kept declaiming into the microphone how much peace and serenity he felt, oh the peace, oh the serenity, oh the Lord. He sounded like a man in a pill-trance.

He sounded just like that weird goose-eyed fat guy in “What the Bleep does JZ Knight Know?” who kept repeating how he created his own reality, oh the creation, oh the reality, oh my ass. His eyes spoke the same glazed monotony his mouth was mouthing. That isn't peace. That isn't serenity. That isn't creating reality. The portly buzzphrase-o-phage was boring his brain into a quasi-permanent stupor. That is a time-tested technique for hiding from reality, used by New Age imbeciles and religious barkers alike. Such was the zombified voice coming out of the radio from the National Prayer Shebang.

When you pray on things you believe in, you're hypnotizing yourself into believing them even more. You’ll see more of what you believe as you go about your day, good or ill. You'll react to your own post-hypnotic suggestions, from kissing a happy baby to spraying a crowd with your AK47.

For one of many variations on this experiment in personal responsibility, try this: pray on something you only think you’re supposed to believe, on pain of being shunned by people you're afraid of: family, community, co-workers, etc. To do that, you’ll have to drown out the protests of your own soul, which knows you don’t believe in what you're supposed to make a show of. To drown out the protests of your soul, you'll have to turn up the stupor-noise, like the New Agers and the politically zombified religious do.

It’s nigh impossible to pray for things you don't believe in when you’re alone and there's nobody around to kid. That's why, to at least go through the motions, you need a crowd of uneasy people who are also afraid of each other and also trying to fake it. That's what the stupor-noise coming out of the radio from the Big Out Loud National Prayer Shebang sounded like under these blue, dry skies this Saturday.

One hears the crowd chanting like “Oh Lawd, steer us out of this mess and bless this nation with goodness and rightness.”

Intended subliminal translation: "Rick Perry for President."

But heed: with minimum effort, one can make out whispers hissing amongst the stupor-noise, somewhere among the oddly limp spots in the hearty-sounding politically correct pleadings. I hear this toneless whisper. It goes: “Lord, you know I hate you and it's your fault. I’ve got guns. I’ve got ammo. Don't create peace and rightness, you bastard. If you exist at all, make somebody else shoot at me first so it will be their fault. Amen.”

But let us not single out the frustrated Christians for this understandable hypocrisy. Amen I say unto you: This applies to those "liberals" cheering on Obama who's expanded the wars and the murderings. It applies to any of many gatherings in the world, right now, around the globe.

One will note, from the recent rash of insanity called "militant atheism," they too are in on the deal. Why should self-hypnosis named anything else work differently? Bad religion is where you find it.

Oh Lord, help us work up the nerve to admit out loud that we'd rather believe something better than lip-servicing this goody two-shoes fairy tale stuff. Otherwise we'll keep shooting, raping, torturing and pillaging."

I’m not saying it’s what’s going on behind every set of eyes in the crowd. Keep up with your us-versus them ballgame-style bashing, though, and the prayers of weapons manufacturers will be answered in continuing abundance, as usual.