Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Camping Trip: The End Is Near (Again)

As a hippie would say, Harold Camping is on a wild trip, man.

I was surfing the shortwave radio band when I came upon his show, Open Forum. Camping stated that the world would end in a couple of years: 2011. (Bummer.)

Camping is the president of Family Stations Inc. (AKA Family Radio). I did an online search and found out more about his works.

Born in 1942, Camping created over his lifetime a media network to spread his word: radio (AM, FM and SW), the Internet and cable TV. When he hosts his Open Forum program, he invites callers to ask questions about a particular Biblical passage. He’s ready with what he purports to be his true interpretation of the Good Book, offering an independent Christian POV.

Camping claims that the church age is over, i.e., all organized churches are not teaching the truth and one must find the truth on his own –- such as by listening to Open Forum.

During his show I noticed that some listeners didn’t buy his vision. A couple of callers essentially called him a false prophet. There was disagreement about what the Bible says about the end-times, that no man knows the final hour and that the end will come like a thief in the night.

But Camping was able to take those passages and with some spin prove that it was possible for him to know when it all will go down. It’s amazing how the Absolute Truth of The Bible can be construed so many different ways.

Camping believes our planet isn’t that old, but he doesn’t buy Bishop Ussher’s timeline with earth creation in 4004 BC. From his research Camping claims that God made the world in 11,013 BC and the Great Flood happened in 2348 BC.

It’s from this research that he’s determined that the Rapture will go down –- I mean, go up –- on May 21, 2011 and then the cosmic stuff hits the infinite fan on October 21, 2011.

So mark your calendar. But when you do, keep in mind that Camping thought the big finale might occur on September 6, 1994, Christ descending from the clouds.

I’m still here. No sign of Jesus.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fugo And Cymbals Of Fear

(A continuation of my fugo series. Links to previous posts: Part 1. Part 2.)

Fugo balloons. JFK assassination. UFOs.

What’s the connection?

Over at www.project1947.com there’s an article by Joel Carpenter that shows the threads between these apparently diverse topics.

In the article, Paper Threat - The first intercontinental weapon system: Japanese Fu-Go balloons, Carpenter provides an interesting take on the World War II Japanese bomb-balloons. (He prefers the spelling fu-go. For consistency in my posts I’ll use “fugo” instead.)

The US government was worried that the Japanese might start sending balloons laden with germs, causing crippling outbreaks. A newspaper article dated February 9, 1946 that appeared in the Seattle Times revealed that during WW II the government feared the balloons might be used to wage bacteriological warfare, delivering anthrax and other such diseases.

In some cases when a fugo was found, government agents showed up wearing full protective suits –- what I would guess were the early versions of hazmat suits.

Civilian spotters – members of the Ground Observation Corp -- were trained to look for any unusual objects in the heavens. But the usual problem would crop up: some skywatchers would overreact, mistaking the planet Venus or a weather balloon for an enemy airborne device. As ufologoical researchers know, Venus and weather balloons are two favorite explanations used by skeptics to debunk some UFO sightings.

And meanwhile on the ground, fugo discoveries were quickly covered up. An FBI agent named W.G. Banister investigated the scene of a downed fugo in Montana in December 1944.

Years later Banister would investigate a different type of downed object: a “flying disc” found on someone’s lawn. On December 11, 1947 he checked out a strange object in Twin Falls, Idaho that measured about 31 inches in diameter. In his report Banister that the “saucer” was later determined to be “two cymbals used by a drummer in a band, placed face to face.” Domes were added on each side of the construct to give it that iconic saucer appearance, plus some burned wires and radio tubes were added for extra effect.

Four local teenagers had planted the hoax disc at night, creating two strips of torn up lawn as if the small saucer head crashed there.

But until it was determined to be a hoax, I can imagine Banister and other officials were wary of any odd objects after the WWII fugo scare. A newspaper article in the Lewiston, Idaho Daily Tribune (12/12/47) treats the incident with humor, but maybe that tone was taken to downplay the response by the Banister and military. Banister, thinking the object was real, contacted his district office in Butte, Montana and “three army officers came post haste from Fort Douglas, Utah” via a military plane.

The name W.G. or Guy Banister might sound familiar to you. He’s one of those shadowy characters on the fringes of the JFK assassination whose name pops up in various conspiracy theories.

An anti-Communist activist, Banister claimed that the Soviets were behind some outbreaks of cattle and crop diseases in the US. The fugo germ scare scenario could be attached to another enemy. During the paranoid Cold War era random events could easily represent sneaky Commie attacks, if you had the right (wing) frame of mind.