They say there's a fine line between genius and madness (Gee Note: Although in my experience there's a fine line between sanity and madness. For example, dress up in a clown suit at a children's party and you’re a fun loving eccentric. Dress up in a clown suit at someone's funeral however and, oh no, you've suddenly become "weird"). And no one really exemplifies this more than Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac was first and foremost a man of science. Credited with advancing the study of mathematics, optics, and of course the theory of gravity he was undoubtedly one of the finest minds the world has ever seen. Problem is though Newton was also crazier than a bunch of chimpanzees on acid.
You see Newton believed that he was literally an instrument of God. Convinced that the universes secrets were hidden in a secret code in the Bible, Newton dedicated a large portion of his life trying to unravel said sacred text. Now one would think that such things were better left to the Priests and the like, but according to Newton those religious types simply wouldn't be able to get the job done. The reason? Well Newton believed he was the only one on Earth who would be able to decipher the Bible's true meaning, having been chosen specifically by The Supreme Creator themself.
Now had you asked me about my opinion on Newton two weeks ago I would have told you that he was straight laced, highly intelligent, and probably a snappy dresser. But then two weeks ago was before I read about his code breaking beliefs. Now if you asked me about Sir Isaac I'd probably say "Oh him? He's a genius" while pointing at my temple, moving my finger in a circular motion, and whistling.
All of which brings me to Mikey Graham.
For those of you who are currently saying "Who the Hell is Mikey Graham?" trust me you're not alone. Mikey is a member of Irish boy band Boyzone, who were at the peak of their powers approximately ten years ago. I say peak, their success was pretty much limited to the UK, Asia, and parts of Europe. Still on this side of the pond they were dashed popular, racking up 5 UK number one singles, three UK number one albums, and over 15 UK top ten hits.
Sadly, Mikey is nowhere near as famous as this domination of the UK music scene would suggest. For a start, he was the most unremarkable member of the group to begin with, spending most of his time in the background while those around him stole the limelight. If ever this was in doubt, after the band split in 2000 Mr. Graham embarked on a solo career which consisted of a single that charted at number 62 and an album that sold so poorly it made "Smell The Glove" look like a smash hit.
However in the past 12 months Mikey's stock has risen considerably. First off there was a storming performance on "Ghost Hunting with Louis Walsh and Boyzone", where he managed to annoy Yvette Fielding by asking the gathering spirits "Are you a figment of my imagination? Tap once for no, twice for yes" before getting spooked by his own cell phone. Following this triumph he's now currently appearing on "Dancing on Ice", a show that challenges a group of Z-list celebrities to perform figure skating routines. In just two short weeks Graham has easily established himself as the alpha player on this programme. Coming up with insane statements that make no sense? Check. Monologuing about the death of his former band mate Stephen Gately in heart breaking fashion? Check. Stumbling on the ice and careering towards the barrier before regaining his balance at the very last second and winking at the camera? Check. Seriously Mikey Graham is about the best thing on television at the moment.
The reason I bring all this up is that it's funny how your perception of someone can change. Much like Newton, a year ago I didn't know anything about Mikey Graham (Gee Note: Including his name as it goes. No really, I've been calling him "the other one" for years). Now however he's the highlight of my week.
Which, in turn, brings us to Samuel Eaton Thompson.
Thompson was one of the first North American's to claim to have had contact with extra terrestrial life forms. (Gee Note: Actually he may have been the very first. Which can put a lot of pressure on a guy. Just ask Neil Armstrong. Rumour has it that Buzz Aldrin used to steal his lunch box, empty out the contents, and replace it with a note saying "Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Not so clever now are we Moonboy?!?!"). Now in the process of cobbling together this blog I've come across his name a couple of times, but never really had the time to read up on him. I'd always assumed though that he had a fantastical tale about meeting a bunch of aliens, getting along swimmingly, before they took off in some kind of woovy bezerk spacecraft that scared the crap out of the local wildlife.
Which is pretty much exactly what happened. According to a report published in the Centralia Daily Chronicle on April 1 1950, Thompson - an elderly gentleman who had previously been employed as a railroad worker and resided in Centralia, Washington - had in fact stumbled across some extra terrestrials quite unexpectedly. On the evening of March 28, Samuel was driving home through some woods when he came across (Gee Note: Elvis? No? Dammit! By the way January 8th this year marked what would have been The King's 75th birthday. Wanna know how I celebrated this event? I watched Blue Hawaii. For ten minutes. And then gave up. Seriously Elvis + Angela Lansbury = Fail of epic proportions) a bloody great big flying saucer, which he estimated to be 80 feet across and 30 feet tall.
OK so here's where it gets a bit weird. Thompson claims that around the UFO were two naked, deeply tanned children, both human in from and very attractive (Gee Note: OK pervert settle down). Samuel approached from a distance of around 50 feet when several adults, all of them naked and tanned and what not, appeared at the door of the craft. Thompson stopped dead in his tracks, watching these odd Brazilian naturists from afar. After what appeared to be a heated conversation Team Why Wear Clothes called him over. There he met the rest of the ship's crew, which consisted of 20 adults and
Which strangely enough, is all pretty believable. Well believable as far as claims of contact with alien life goes. I mean ship in the woods, naked little fellows, “we come in peace”. Pretty standard stuff.
But then it all falls apart.
You see, according to Thompson, these aliens didn’t come from Alpha Centauri, or any other place a million light years away. Nuh uh Jack, these folks were locals. Neighbours practically. They came from a planet within our very own solar system. Venus to be exact. These Venusians were vegetarians, never grew ill, and believed that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth in the year 10,000 A.D. Also they had no idea who built the great big flying saucer with which they were hurtling around the universe in, and generally didn’t seem to care to find out.
And here’s the problem. Venus is the second closest planet to the sun. It’s atmosphere is 95% Carbon Dioxide, the temperature often exceeds 440 °c, it rains sulphuric acid, and it’s atmospheric pressure is 92 times that of Earth. So, even if there was life on Venus, there’s no way it would be humanoid. 9 foot amour plated fire breathing lizards maybe, but not humanoid.
I mean that alone completely annihilates any shred of truth this story may have had. And so it would be easy to dismiss Thompson as just some crackpot looking for his fifteen minutes of fame by making up a story about beings from another world.
Except, and here’s the thing, years later Kenneth Arnold interviewed Thompson. Now Arnold was a pilot who started the whole UFO craze in the first place after he spotted a series of moving objects in 1947. Arnold had become something of a reluctant poster boy for them who believed in life beyond the stars, and had set about interviewing many people who claimed to have witnessed either UFOs or extra terrestrials. And while he didn’t believe Thompson’s story for a second, he had trouble accepting that the poorly educated and seemingly sincere retired railroad worker was deliberately misleading him. Rather that Thompson may have had a psychotic break, or a kind of psychic vision.
Which makes Thompson all the more an interesting character. I mean he may be crazy. Or someone who can see things on a higher spiritual plain. Or a prankster. Or he may really have met an alien or two.
The point is even Samuel Eaton Thompson may be a lot more complex than he first appears.