That’s right, Tea jumped into the fray with the people who are getting ready for The End Of The World As We Know It (abbreviated in the book as TEOTWAWKI). Now it’s pretty easy to treat Doomsday Preppers and apocalyptic believers as a joke, after all, the end of the world hasn’t happened yet (for humans anyway, dinosaurs are a different story.)
And it seems like every generation believes that the end of the world is going to come in their lifetimes. In the New Testament Book of Revelation, Jesus even says “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” The John who wrote Revelation (whether he was the Apostle John or a different Christian prophet) thought that “The End Is Near” almost two thousand years ago.
And if God isn’t going to bring about the end, then humans will. Baby Boomers who grew up in the 1950s and 60s had Civil Defense drills where they hid under their desks in case of a nuclear attack. People were legitimately fearful of The Bomb and they were being trained in school on what to do if we were attacked. This is an ad from a Milwaukee company in the 1960s, and it’s just one of many.
Doomsday Preppers in the Atomic Age weren’t as weird of a thing because the Soviets were putting missles in Cuba less than 100 miles from the American coast. Nikita Kruschev was banging his shoe on the table of the United Nations screaming “We will bury you.” The generation before was involved in the most devastating war in history and the world witnessed the Totalitarian Communist regimes in Asia and Eastern Europe murder millions of their own citizens. We can make jokes now, but in the Twentieth Century, we were about as close to a man-made apocalypse as you can be.
CNN even made an TEOTWAWKI video in the 1980s, to be the last thing that they play on the air in the event of the apocalypse. It’s a military band playing “Nearer, My God, to Thee” which is a Christian hymn about Jacob building his ladder to Heaven. It’s also rumored to be the last song the band played on the deck of the Titanic as it was going down.
So, while it’s easy to be dismissive of Doomsday Preppers as fearful or crazy, it’s also important to remember that every generation has its own scare. My scare was Y2K, Art Bell was talking about how the grid was going to go down almost every night running up to New Year’s Eve, it even was the theme of the first Family Guy episode! People believed that catastrophe was coming.
Apocalypse Any Day Now treats preppers with a mix of compassion and bemusement. Yes, there are absolutely outlandish ideas out there and Tea isn’t afraid to tackle them, but people are whipped into a state of fear by institutions like the media and religion. Is it any wonder they might go out of their way to protect their family against the unthinkable?
And it’s not just ultra-right reactionaries that are prepping for TEOTWAWKI, plenty of liberals have been told that Donald Trump is Hitler and he’s either going to start a nuclear war through bluster against other nuclear powers or just sheer ineptitude and he might press the wrong button.
But also on the left side of the current culture war, there is also the fear of climate change. And through political polarization, we’ve turned a very real issue of the temperature changing dangerously to either a narrative of “we’re going to die tomorrow” or it’s all some kind of hoax so that the government can take more control over our lives.
Where, as usual, the truth lies in the middle, a slow rise in temperatures over time will change our agriculture and force people to abandon sea level countries. And when you combine weather changes with overpopulation, societal conflict is bound to occur, whether it’s a refugee crisis or a food shortage, and it’s not going to happen overnight like The Rapture, it’s going to be a slow march towards the end of modern civilization.
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men
In the book, Tea goes through the current state of disaster preparedness from fun organizations like the “Zombie Squad” to more serious apocalyptic cults like Heaven’s Gate. He even goes on a tour of the luxury doomsday bunker condominiums in Colorado (eat your heart out 1960s’ bunkers!) And in our latest conversation with the Milwaukee author, we handle a wide-ranging discussion going from mental state of a doomsday prepper, to the dangers of AI, to an extraterrestrial invasion and the possible dangers as a result of climate change. Some highlights include:
Rose, the chatbot obssessed with an asteroid strike
The story of Dorothy Martin, the original doomsayer of the alien apocalypse
The Raeliens and their embassy for the alien Elohim
What is the Sixth Extinction? Can it be avoided?
What might happen in a “Cimate War”
Is our only solution to escape the planet?
Whatever happens, I just hope that we’ll grow gills like Kevin Costner in Waterworld.
For the song this week, we thought about the wrath of God that people once thought was going to precipitate the end of the world. When that didn’t happen, it was going to be a nuclear holocaust, when that didn’t happen it was going to be Y2K, and now it’s going to be something else. Some people think humanity is too sick to go on and if the end of the world isn’t brought about by an outside force, they’ll rise up and do it. This song is about when you don’t get the justice you want from God, then you’re just going to take care of it yourself. Here’s Sunspot wth “Fire And Brimstone”.
Vengeance is mine, he said.
I will repay.
Just bide your time til Judgment Day.
But there’s a million voices
out for blood
A thousand years of pain
all at once
Is there any difference betwixt justice and revenge?
Tit for tat eye for an eye
There never is an end
Oh heads will roll
Oh Fire and brimstone
Let them eat cake she said
the mob can wait
Their answer was decapitate.
And if God won’t punish
then we will
Parading heads on pikes
Is there any difference betwixt justice and revenge?
Tit for tat retaliate
Here’s your violent ends
Oh heads will roll
Oh Fire and brimstone
Oh heads will roll
Oh Fire and brimstone
This week, Wendy and I are once again joined by my sister, Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts as well as Steve Ward, a paranormal enthusiast, frequent podcast guest, and weekly contributor to Mack Maloney’s Military X-Files. I met Steve last year at the Michigan Paracon and we bonded over the fact that we both had the same They Live-inspired t-shirt!
So, we’re currently in the middle of a Polar Vortex and it’s -20 degrees Fahrenheit as I’m typing this. In fact, Wendy had to join us from Chicago because of travel delays due to the crazy weather. And if you were online this week, you saw that the theme was the 2004 climate change apocalypse film The Day After Tomorrow, where Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal try to save the world from being iced over due to global warming.
So, let’s take the culture war/political debate out of it, because the Earth does not care about our bumper stickers or our Facebook memes. My opinion? I just spent several days in Southern California, air pollution is a real problem and we should do at least something about it. I don’t know if the greenhouse gases that we’re sending into the atmosphere through cars, factories, and massive cow farming are destroying the planet but they’re certainly making it unpleasant to breathe in some places. Whether you believe it’s man-made or not (and plenty of people don’t), we can’t change the fact that the average global temperature has risen over the past century and that’s going to affect all of us.
Now Steve is near Battle Creek, Michigan and he’s facing the Polar Vortex just like we are, but he’s keeping warm through reading about the cases of “high strangeness” that often come after UFO sightings. Even the Mothman case (and Steve is a John Keel aficianado!) was much more the just sightings a of flying humanoid, it was Men In Black encounters and UFO sightings, and then of course the collapse of the Silver Bridge (and some people are saying that there are still strange events stemming from those initial incidents.)
It seems like once people start having an experience that we could explain away easily through science, like a UFO encounter (we’re not stretching into the paranormal realm to say that life on other planets is feasible), it’s strange stuff that happens afterwards. There seem to be more than just nuts and bolts materialism involved here.
Which sounds a lot like a Seventeenth Century faerie contactee Anne Jefferies who lived down the island in Cornwall. Anne was a 19-year old servant girl but she claimed to have met multiple faeries and was even kissed by them and taken to their magical land. However, after the first encounter which she said happened outside, this all happened while she was having some kind of fit (as they called it, people have speculated it was actually an epileptic seizure) and she never left her room. It sounds like she made it up, but the family that employed her was convinced that she came back from faerieland with magical powers.
They said she never had to eat, that the “Good People” nourished her. She had the power to heal and as the word spread, people would come to her to see if she could cure their ailments. She would predict the people who were coming to visit and apparently to such an accuracy that she not only developed a reputation, but a criminal history because the local Justice of the Peace charged her for communing with evil spirits.
So, there we have two similar young women with strange stories, who are dealing with fantastic creatures without ever having to step foot on a spaceship or actually into faerieland. Some people would say that’s entirely possible with astral travel but to the average UFO researcher, it starts stretching the realms of plausibility. It really is one thing to believe in the possibility of life on other planets and another to believe in faeries. But it called “the unknown” for a reason. Who’s to say those stories aren’t a lot more related than we think.
I’m interested in occult powers, and if people find this ludicrous that is their problem. I’m not a true believer but these things are there and to say they aren’t is ridiculous. I’ve recently made a piece called Channels about people relating their so-called near-death experiences. I am interested that these stories occur all over the world and always have done, and if we don’t think that is interesting then we are very boring.
Susan Hller, 2015
One of her most famous works was called the “Sisters of Menon” which was based on a telepathy experiment that she was working on with several other female artists. The idea was that they would all do art at the same time and try to “send” each other messages and images telepathically.
But what happened is that Susan seemed to channel this group of Ancient Greek women who wanted to speak through her in her art. She found herself possessed by them to start “automatic writing”, where you just put your pen down and start writing something that isn’t coming from you, but seemingly another source. She found herself possessed by the group, so her telepathy experiment turned into something very very different.
What I thought was the most interesting this week however, was the strange high speed chase through the Nevada Nuclear Test Site on Monday. Now, the test site has been dormant for almost thirty years now, but starting in the 1940s, the US Air Force detonated hundreds of atomic bombs there. Remember Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s infamous refrigerator scene? Yeah, that’s where it took place.
It’s not quite as famous as its neighbor, Area 51, and it’s now called the Nevada National Security Site (probably because we’re not blowing as much stuff up there now) but it certainly is a pretty secretive place, complete with a mile-long air strip that’s above top secret. So, what exactly happened?
According to the official statement from the Department of Energy, the driver drove past the security gate on January 28th, 2019 at 5:18pm and was quickly followed by local law enforcement as well as the private security firm that the NNSS hires to do the investigation. They chased him for 8 miles before he stopped an approached the officers with a “cylindrical object in-hand”. When he wouldn’t drop the object or comply with their commands, they shot him fatally. There’s a no-record policy on the site because of national security, so the officer didn’t have a body cam on.
Looking at his pictures and his family on there is depressing because you realize you’re looking at a young life that ended tragically. Sure there’s a couple “thug-style” pictures on there, but there’s also normal selfies, pics with his family and friends, and nothing more than the kind of thing that I would’ve done to look tough or play a character, especially when you’re into comics. It does look like he did some time in jail in 2015, which might explain the Facebook disappearance around that time. And there is a depressing Change.org petition he signed because his father was locked up and missed his childhood.
But what would compel him to make that drive when he knew he was risking his life? Was he trying to learn some secrets and it just went too far? Was he disturbed and just wanted a “suicide by cop“?
And speaking of the “Nevada Proving Ground” as the NNSS was originally called, I find it a little hard to believe that almost eighty years later and we’re still dealing with the legacy of the Cold War. We look back to WW2 as some kind of Golden Age (the Greatest Generation and all that). Like the fact that we had the moral high ground over the Nazis made life simpler. And it might have when it came to the war effort. We were unified, we had the draft, 40 year old guys were going to war. We haven’t see that kind of thing since.
I mean, everyone in America hates the Taliban because of terrorism and female oppression (if you haven’t read The Kite Runner, which is about pre-Taliban Afghanistan, it’s worth it just to see how even a modern country can quickly devolve into medieval barbarism), but after 17 years and nothing much changed in Afghanistan, I doubt most regular people would feel some kind of moral twang if we just left right now. There wasn’t the same kind of ambiguity after Pearl Harbor.
Allison and my uncle might have lied about his age because he was eager to fight for his country, but he still didn’t want to serve with any “Negroes” in his unit. It was a different time and there were just as many problems as there were now. The creators of the atomic bomb were desperate to beat the Nazis to the secret of nuclear war, but once we had it, we didn’t need it. Dresden proved that we had the will to kill, Hiroshima just did it with one plane instead of many.
Truman wanted to show Uncle Joe Stalin that we were ready for the world after the Nazis where America finally assumed its place as the most powerful nation on Earth, where the balance of power finally shifted continents. Stalin was a murderous bastard, but their dick-swinging contest ended up costing the world millions of lives. Mostly innocent ones in proxy wars, because everyone knew what it all-out war would mean between two real nuclear powers (The Day After showed us that in the 80s.)