Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fatima, Flu, And The Great Technician

God is supertechnological, not supernatural.

So declares R.L. Dione in his 1969 book, God Drives A Flying Saucer. To read this work is to witness the workings of a rare mind.

Dione doesn’t connect the dots; he just jams them together, forming one big black hole. The intense gravitational pull of his theory makes everything fit.

Chapter 6 is typical of how Dione works with information at hand. He discusses the miracles at Fatima in terms of advanced science, God the great ET technician using his alien devices to deceive the simpleminded human masses.

In the years 1916 and 1917 strange things were happening near a remote Portuguese village. Three children made contact with beings from the Catholic heaven: first, an angel, followed by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The young experiencers ranged in age from nine to six. The oldest, Lucia, would live on for many years after the amazing encounters while her younger friends, Francisco and Jacinta, would be dead in less than two years.

One day Lucia and her friends were tending sheep on the slopes above the village of Fatima when a ball of light approached and enveloped them. Inside the unearthly glow they saw a luminous figure that claimed to be the Angel of Peace. This figure offered the usual messages from heaven.

During his third visit, the angel performed the ritual of Communion, having Francisco and his sister Jacinta drink from the chalice while excluding Lucia. The younger children were also exposed to intense light rays. At this moment Lucia knew that her friends would be soon called to heaven.

Dione explains these encounters as UFO events, the aliens aboard the craft using technology to induce a hypnotic state in the children.

In the spring of 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the children. She offered the usual blessings and warnings from heaven. Unlike the Angel of Peace who popped up whenever, she announced her schedule, telling the children to expect her at the same time and place on the thirteenth of each month.

Only the three children could see her. When word of the encounters spread, others showed up on the scene, but all they saw was a cloud hovering over a tree. The crowd grew with each encounter.

On the day of the BVM’s final visit seventy thousand people were in attendance. The weather was overcast and drizzly. The onlookers were wet, feet covered with mud. As promised the BVM performed a showstopper of a miracle: the sun seemed to dance and spin in the sky, dropping towards the crowd which was bathed in a spectrum of colors. Suddenly the sun stopped and returned to its normal spot in the sky. After they gathered their wits, the onlookers noticed that their clothing was now dry.

Dione rules out mass hallucination because of this detail, the dried clothes. He claims that a flying saucer produced the illusion of the descending sun, the true sun hidden by overcast created by the “saucerians.” The craft also acted as a remote super duper clothes dryer.

As the overcast disappeared, the saucer kept in line with the true sun, using the intense solar glare to hide its departure. The switcheroo was a clever magic trick but one done with science, not supernatural power.

While this explanation of what happened at Fatima seems fairly reasonable, especially to someone who prefers science (fiction) over the supernatural, Dione really jams the dots together with other aspects of this case.

He refers to “radioactive radiation,” explaining that radiation exposure can weakened a person’s resistance to disease. OK, that’s a fact, another dot of info. More dots: many people around the world died during the outbreak of Spanish influenza in 1918. Two of the young children who saw the BVM at Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta, died during the pandemic. Also, they, not Lucia, drank from the Communion chalice offered by the angel and then were exposed to bright rays of light. (Maybe the last two details could be labeled as a “facts.”)

Time to jam the dots. Dione claims the chalice was filled with flu virus. Francisco and his sister were exposed to radiation to make sure the virus would take by weakening their immune systems. When the great crowds showed up for the BVM visits, they were exposed to the young vectors. Immunity-weakening radiation from a flying saucer assured that many in the crowd would die from the Spanish flu.

But Dione doesn’t explain why God – an alien who supposedly would be wise and rational – committed such a terrible act.

Apparently the Great Technician moves in mysterious ways.


X. Dell said...

This reminds me of von Daniken: the gods as advanced techno-junkies instead of supernatural beings.

The second decade of the 20th century seems to be somewhat an active time for European Theosophists. And the late-1960s and early 1970s seemed to be a an active time for the dissemination of the ancient astronaut story. It's not that I would dismiss it out of hand, but now you've got me curious as to the origins and dissemination of this particular theory and others like it.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

Before von Daniken arrived on the scene there were other ancient astronaut proponents such as Charles Fort (1919) and Brinsley Le Poer Trench (1960). Even though others wrote about the theory before him, I think van Daniken was so successful due in part to when his book was published, 1968. It’s a cliché but the sixties saw many traditional beliefs challenged. People were more open to seek out other answers. Of course, other factors were involved, but it greatly helps when conditions are fertile for meming an idea. A book can be heavily promoted, the publisher striking up the band, but if the audience isn’t there yet, the book’s message falls on deaf eyes. (How’s that for a mixed up mixed metaphor?)

There’s an ancient astronaut theories entry over at Wikipedia that doesn’t list R.L. Dione as an adherent. I’ve tried Googling for more info on him but so far have come up empty handed. But one hit did mention that God Drives A Flying Saucer explained in more detail what von Daniken proposed. I agree. Wikipedia should include him.

While alien contact in mankind’s dim past is within the realm of possibility, I just find Dione’s reasoning, how he arrives at conclusions, is too illogical. I plan one or two more short articles about GDAFS that will illustrate what I mean. My regret is that I don’t have any background info on the writer beyond a brief bio in the back of his book. He was a teacher when GDAFS appeared; I wonder how the book affected his professional life.


X. Dell said...

From what I understand, anyone can emend a Wikipedia entry to include relevant data, so long as the writer abides by their guidelines.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

What I would like to do is get more info on Dione, especially what happened to him after GDAFS was published. I tried Google again, different keywords, but no new info. In fact, my recent blog post popped up at the top of the list.

Maybe someone out there has a lead for me.