And here’s a little site I can’t believe is still online.
The Alternate Earths Research Center is a classic work of early web metafiction, presenting itself as the homepage of a group of interdimensional travelers. Supposedly, the AERC dates back to the 50s, founded by one Yeardley Dekader, who perhaps was not of our Earth. There’s technobabble about the IRTV, the vehicle used to traverse the multiverse, and the AERC’s cataloging system, which ranges from “A -drastically altered” (dinosaurs never went extinct) to the inconsequential D- and F- (the USFL merged with the NFL, New York remained New Amsterdam), and witty asides about a traveler who found six different reports of her own disappearance, and a universe where eggs are known as “pre-chickens”.
Alas, the actual fictional documents at the core of the AERC, the reports on the alternate Earths themselves, are paltry, with just three entries, all supported by gloriously rough early Photoshop. Real Tourist-Guy levels of sophistication here. One details a timeline where Lincoln survived; the travelers squee out over his autobiography, only to find that not much else changed after his term. Another goes deep on the USFL-NFL merger, with faked newspaper box scores and lore about how they merged.
The star of the AERC is the final timeline, one where reptiles – maybe aliens, maybe the descendants of dinosaurs – rule the Earth. The terrible scene is rendered with magnificent skill:
The Alternate Earths Research Center wisely doesn’t take itself terribly seriously, and doesn’t try to be anything more than an excuse for photoshopped lizardmen and puns about Lucky Charms. It’s the kind of weirdo project that proliferated in the era of the personal web (it dates back to at least 2003); I could imagine something more expansive, maybe a SCP-like collaborative project, today, but nothing this personal – except maybe in a timeline where the NBA collapsed or joined the ABA or something.
For years now, I’ve put the spotlight on dubious UFO websites whose content is largely stolen, often from each other (the fuzzier end of UFOlogy is only rivaled in plagiarism by Flat Earthers).
Think About It (Aliens) is a pretty standard Sketchy UFO Site – last updated in 2017, the front page is forever frozen with news about the supposed 4Chan alien selfie, Chinese moon bases and recaps of the Zanfretta aliens.
But there’s something else on this [Citation Needed]-y library.
Somehow, my 2014 post about the Blue Planet Project ended up on a UFO site in 2015 – with its order jumbled up due to a hasty copy-paste job.
That the post mocks most of what it said, debunks Majestic 12, includes the primo photoshop you see to the right, includes Steve Guttenberg and ALF jokes, and indeed is not at all the source they probably though they were copying is of no concern. Neither is the writer, namely me, joking that she’s a reptilian. Which, obv, isss only a joke.
I’m not even mad. My content’s been jacked by a sketchy UFO site, and honestly, is that not the highest goal anyone could hope to achieve?
I READ ON ANOTHER THERIAN* WEBSITE THAT YOUR TEMPLE IS AN EVIL CULT. IS THIS TRUE?
People are often afraid and, in turn, hateful of, things they do not Understand.
This often leads them to say uninformed or ignorant things about people who do not share their own viewpoint.
To some people, any group which deals with Magic or the Metaphysical is a “cult”.
To some people, anything unfamiliar is “evil”.
Decide for yourself.
In my post on the Elenari, I discussed how a community of self-proclaimed “space elves” fell down a deep hole of unverified personal gnosis, weaving a tower of memoryscapes that eventually collapsed under its own weight, leaving nothing like it outside certain insular communities.
Therianthropes, people who identify as existent animals in a spiritual or mental sense, never quite had to worry about that. You don’t really need to parse complicated “memories” of where you came from when you’re just an animal. You’re a wolf. You remember being a wolf. Doing wolf things.
But that hasn’t stopped individuals from trying to give therianthropy a more strict, even religious skew, and while the Therian Temple wasn’t the first, they may be the most infamous.
The origins of the Therian Temple are in message board posts trying to sway new members; alas, most of the contemporaneous reaction is lost to the internet’s ceaseless march of site death, though threads like this one capture the general hostility with which they were met (also, random Islamophobia and the r-slur, because 2006). What we can know is that the Therian Temple began in 2006 and was gone by 2010; therianthropy & Otherkin historian House of Chimeras says only a “handful” of members ever joined, if even that, and contemporary accounts confirm that. So why, then, was the Therian Temple controversial?
First of all, the attempt to impose religion, codes, and even a Bible on an individualistic community that already faced false accusations of being a cult or religion.
Said Bible was written by the Temple’s founder and “high priestess”.
Said Bible also cost $30.
More on that later.
The beliefs of the Temple drew notice for a very strange reason. The Temple’s website was redesigned between 2006 and 2007, and the later is more graphical – and more defensive about one of the group’s key tenets:
1. DO NOT PARTAKE IN CANNIBALISTIC ACTIVITY.
As part-Human and part-Animal, we are not to eat the flesh of either kin.
We must maintain a plant-based diet.
Amid guidelines to respect the Earth, avoid prison, and avoid “deadening” activities, the Therian Temple forbids its members from eating animal meat – on the basis of cannibalism.
To say this is controversial is an understatement. Any therian can be a vegan or vegetarian, but there’s something bizarre about urging people who identify as carnivorous animals to not eat other animals, not for environmental or ethical reasons, but for “cannibalism”. Is a wolf eating a deer a cannibal? In what sense do they share close kinship?
Obviously sensitive to criticism (or of potential loss of dues-paying members), the 2007 version of the Therian Temple tries to explain their reasoning:
WHY DO YOU FOLLOW A VEGAN DIET? WHAT IF MY ANIMAL SIDE IS CARNIVOROUS, SHOULDN’T I BE AS WELL?
Therians, having Human physiology, cannot digest raw meat as an Animal does,
so therefore there is no way to follow the diet of one’s Animal side, without facing serious health risks.
The plant based diet is one element to help attain the healthiest physical condition
of your Human body that is ideal for Ritual Magic.
In short, we believe the best physical condition
for the most effective ritual magic is attained by a plant based diet.
This does not mean that you may never eat meat, but that it is “most effective”
to abstain from it during times when one is practicing ritual magic.
No one is “excommunicated” from this Temple over diet issues.
This is obvious backpedaling, trying to find a reason that doesn’t also call a predator eating prey a cannibal. A similar tone is taken by the Temple’s FAQ, which keeps flailing at explaining how a group called a Temple is “not a religion”. But it does tie into another controversial element of the Therian Temple: magic.
While many therians are pagan, the two are not synonymous, and there’s no tradition of “therian magic”. But the Therian Temple melded the two, and “Therian Magic” is a centerpiece of the Therian Bible. The six-ranked membership structure required demonstration of “real-world application of therian magic” to reach the advanced ranks, and even more to be entitled to perform therian services, such as weddings, funerals, baptisms (?) and last rites (?), though the site helpfully says you can’t do a therian circumcision. All for a low, low cost of $150 for members and $350 for non-members.
That there’s no such thing as a therian version of any of those rituals goes without saying, though at least by 2007 the Therian Bible became a free download – though a $30 donation was still required for basic membership, and to earn that sweet wedding discount. A version of the Bible with two extra appendices was offered, in case anyone still wanted to give the Therian Temple even more money.
Another sore subject in the therianthrope community is p-shifting, the idea that some people can physically shift into their animal form. To say that this has never happened is a waste of words; while the Temple didn’t outright advance p-shifting as an actual thing, it did promote a more muted variant, where some people reportedly gained enhanced strength or senses without a full transformation.
Still impossible, though.
The Therian Temple stormed into a community claiming to have all the answers, if you pay a small fee; crafting its own symbols and traditions and foisting them on a hostile audience, all while acting like it was absurd to call a self-proclaimed Temple hawking a literal Bible a “religion”.
But what exactly was in their $30 Therian Bible? We can never know. Unless someone uploaded it online. And unless you can read it now. And unless I read it.
I read it.
Shout out to beginning your book by reminding people to read it from beginning to end, so as to stop people who read books sideways, or middle to front, as they do.
The first pages just repeat the “codes” & “truths” of the site, but with added commentary; the third therian truth, that therians are born, not made (don’t you hear how special you are, reader?) , gains a note that those who aren’t born therians (we know how special you are, you can trust us) can study therianthropy their whole life and die human (but you won’t, not if you give us your money, move up the ranks, and we’ll tell you the truth); it also calls out humans who “get scratched by a Wolf” to become a wolf, you know, as people so commonly do. Sadly, the Bible doesn’t try to defend its rule on cannibalism.
The exclusive bits, the guide to “therian magic”, starts with the extreme basics of basics. “Master” humanity by interacting with people; figure out what your theriotype is first, as if anyone who didn’t already identify with an animal dropped $30 on a Therian Bible. Those who don’t live in an area with abundant nature are commanded to move, lest they “face extinction”; therians are also advised to not tell humans about their nature, as “Humans cannot understand the Knowledge”.
The “mental shift”, a common occurrence in therian communities where people say they temporarily take on the instincts and mindset of their theriotype, the most commonly reported type of “shift” in therianthropy, is described as dangerous, high-level therian magic (only we can truly teach you, not them, $150 please for a therian baptism).
All therian magic so described is a basic part of therianthropy, turned into a ritual that amounts to little more than positive thinking. Call on your theriotype to take your problems away (wolves are famed for their CBT training); p-shifting is that, plus an extra step where you briefly pretend to run around like your theriotype to become them (that’s why four-year olds pretending to be cats are always turning into half-felines).
What the Therian Bible lacked was an editor; humans who try to be therians are “watsing their time”, we’re helpfully informed that “as therians, we ate still human in physical form”, and warned to be physically strong and not intoxicated before we “attemt the M-shift”. The book as a whole runs 24 pages, many of them cribbed word-for-word from the website; with little information on what exactly the book was, many ordered it out of blind curiosity – and got a booklet in the mail. A booklet whose tone verges on insulting.
Acknowledgements are given to Anton LaVey, vampires, and nature, and then this paltry tome ends with a note that it’s all property of the authors, who now make music about nationalism using a Nazi symbol on the cover, so take that as you will.
As for the Therian Temple itself, it’s long since vanished, the occasional resurfacing of its Bible the only sign it ever existed. While it’s easy to dismiss them for their obvious ridiculousness, we’d be better off if we didn’t. Because everything was in place for the Therian Temple to bilk vulnerable people out of their money & evolve into a full cult, and the fact that they didn’t gain any followers is not a sign that it could never happen, but a happy fluke. Any tightly-bound subculture could birth a Therian Temple, and unfortunately they won’t all be so incompetent.
On the night and early hours of February 20-21, 1954, while on a ‘vacation’ to Palm Springs, California, President Dwight Eisenhower went missing and allegedly was taken to Edwards Air force base for a secret meeting.
Those who believe that the government – or, at least, some nebulous “they” – already know about aliens may have that belief in common, but little else – including when, exactly, contact began. Was it Roswell? Was it some secret landing at Area 51? Or did a purported dentist appointment of Eisenhower’s act as cover for him meeting with aliens, as witnessed by an astrally-projected occultist?
The answer will not surprise you.
Thus is the story of the Greada (or, sometimes, Grenada) treaty of 1954, a cornerstone for a certain, fuzzier expanse of UFOlogy.
The story of the treaty is this: during a visit to Palm Springs in 1954, President Eisenhower vanished for an evening. Though the press was told he had an embarrassing dentist’s appointment, in fact he was spirited away to Edwards Air Force Base to meet with grey aliens. With them he signed, or at least arranged to sign, a treaty ensuring secrecy and non-interference. All this was, of course, covered up.
Our only source for this momentous event is a man named Gerald Light.
My dear Friend: I have just returned from Muroc. The report is true — devastatingly true!…
When we were allowed to enter the restricted section… had the distinct feeling that the world had come to an end with fantastic realism. For I have never seen so many human beings in a state of complete collapse and confusion, as they realized that their own world had indeed ended with such finality as to beggar description. The reality of the “other plane” aeroforms is now and forever removed from the realms of speculation…
H.P. Lovecraft just called, he said your prose is too purple & ambiguous.
During my two days’ visit I saw five separate and distinct types of aircraft being studied and handled by our Air Force officials — with the assistance and permission of the Etherians! I have no words to express my reactions.
If you can pick out any word from this dense word melange, it should be “Etherians”. More on that.
President Eisenhower, as you may already know, was spirited over to Muroc one night during his visit to Palm Springs recently. And it is my conviction that he will ignore the terrific conflict between the various ‘authorities’ and go directly to the people via radio and television — if the impasse continues much longer. From what I could gather, an official statement to the country is being prepared for delivery about the middle of May.
Spoiler alert: he didn’t.
I will leave it to your own excellent powers of deduction to construct a fitting picture of the mental and emotional pandemonium that is now shattering the consciousness of hundreds of our scientific “authorities”… In some instance I could not stifle a wave of pity that arose in my own being as I watched the pathetic bewilderment of rather brilliant brains struggling to make some sort of rational explanation which would enable them to retain their familiar theories and concepts.
Not one of the world’s physicists could understand what happened, but me, a weirdo in a UFO cult, could figure it out intuitively.
To watch strong minds cringe before totally irreconcilable aspects of “science” is not a pleasant thing. I had forgotten how commonplace things as dematerialization of “solid” objects had become to my own mind.
We get it. You’ve seen some shit. You’re Gerald Light, GREATEST HUMAN, and all the sheeple are educated stupid. I am nature’s four-day simultaneous not giving a shit.
The coming and going of an etheric, or spirit, body has been so familiar to me these many years I had forgotten that such a manifestation could snap the mental balance of a man not so conditioned. I shall never forget those forty-eight hours at Muroc!
And neither shall the world…but why?
Information about Gerald Light is scarce; William H Moore of UFO Casebook call him an “elderly mystic” with a belief in “out-of-body experiences”. Blogger Håkan Blomqvist dived into Light’s cheaply-printed mystical booklets, finding him to be a clairvoyant almost supernaturally drawn to…the Chicago World’s Fair. Blomqvist finds his work tiresome and confusing, with a worldview based around Etherian Masters, and concludes, as Moore did, that Light was likely implying he “saw” Eisenhower’s meeting via astral projection.
What are the Etherians so referenced by Light?
The work of early UFOlogist Meade Layne – the recipient of Light’s letter – proposed the Etheria hypothesis to UFOs.
Etheria is here — if we know what here means! Along‐side, inside, outside of our world. Because our world, that is, the so‐called dense matter of the objects in our world, is a rarefaction.
The matter of the Etheric world! Inside the molecules, inside the atoms, other atoms — still other atoms inside of those, or ten thousand Chinese eggs each inside of another.
And that is why Etheria is here! But it is also everywhere. All heavenly bodies have an etheric realm.
Layne explains “flying discs” as etheric craft, made of etheric matter imperceptible to us. Light was an adherent of Layne’s; another associate was Mark Probert, a “medium” who helped Layne discern his theories, spread primarily via cheaply-printed booklets.
The story of Eisenhower’s first contact originates from such a meager source: a forgotten mystic, a little-known UFOlogist, a theory about aliens that’s long since vanished into the aether. So why did the story persist?
I’ll answer that, but first, let’s talk about aliens.
When the UFO craze began, aliens were often little green – or grey – men or, most commonly, “Nordics” – human-looking white blonde people from space. This held through the 50s, reinforced by, primarily, the narratives of “contactees”, who claimed a kind of proto-alien abduction or to have channeled alien knowledge. In the 60s-70s, modern alien abduction narratives began, UFOlogy – and pseudoscience as a whole – took on a more scientific air, and you had a endless variety of reported aliens: this was the era of Mothman, the Flatwoods Monster, and a million other weirdos. By the 80s and 90s, in part due to the book Communion, aliens in the popular mind became fixed as greys, the Mothman & her friends were pushed into cryptozoology. and the more scientific-sounding abduction narrative became codified.
Modern UFOlogists are fuzzy on the specifics. They don’t weave tales of wars in the stars, or secret first contacts, or even concrete conspiracies. They’re reactive. They deal in sightings, witness reports – or, in other words, evidence, of a kind. It has the veneer of science, if not the mantle of it.
But the original culture didn’t really go away. A community of “channelers”, concerned by “exopolitics” and, especially, the pretty white people they imagine live among the Pleiades still exists, carrying on 50s UFO culture. Sometimes these two cultures intersect: the idea of an alien base at Dulce in New Mexico hails from the “exopolitics” community, as does Gerald Light’s letter, which so inspired UFOlogists it led to one tracking down a dentist’s widow to ask if she remembered her husband treating Eisenhower (no, apparently).
Though the legend stayed alive throughout the 70s-80s, a history by Michael E Salla of Exopolitics identifies its modern revival with William Cooper, a conspiracy theorist known for his 1991 book Behold a Pale Horse (and a radio show that potentially inspired the Oklahoma City bombers). Within its 500 pages, he kickstarts HIV/AIDS conspiracy theories, weaved a Illuminati theory that brought them to the fore of conspiracism, popularized the term “sheeple” and, of course, detailed how Eisenhower met with aliens.
In Cooper’s conception, Eisenhower first met with “white-haired Nordics that had pale blue eyes and colorless lips” who demanded humanity demolish its nuclear weapons. He rejected them, and later entered into a treaty with greys from Betelgeuse (or perhaps Zeta Reticulum; Salla tells us that this discrepancy obviously means the Greys from Betelgeuse and Zeta Reticulum are related).
But who is Cooper? He claims high-level Air Force security clearance that let him know about this clandestine meeting; in fact, records show Cooper’s service was as a petty officer in the Navy. Nearly every “whistleblower” claiming knowledge of Eisenhower’s supposed meeting claims high-level military service; I don’t doubt every single one has a similarly unimpressive, or even non-existent, service record.
Cooper claims that the Greys broke the “treaty” almost immediately, and other theorists propose that this betrayal caused the sea change in UFO reports in the 60s:
…the space brothers in the 1950’s…were kind, interacted with people who became known as contactees, and took people for rides in their space crafts. This pattern changed dramatically with the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in the early 1960’s…the first abduction of the Hills began a new pattern where the aliens were grey “evil” aliens who would abduct people against their will, and perform medical procedures on them. There were, as far as this author is aware no confirmed cases of “classic” abductions in the 1950’s. Unlike the “good” space brothers of the 1950’s these grey aliens were described by all, who were unfortunate enough to have met with them, as being distant and without emotions.
UFOlogy has changed. The stock portrayal of what an alien is has changed, from the perfectly-human Nordics of the 50s to the slightly-inhuman Greys of now. Peaceful “contactee” accounts faded in favor of violent abduction narratives, and their supposed motives shifted from a vague optimism to more sinister ends.
But the old stories don’t really go away. The spiritualist, optimistic bent of atomic-age UFOlogy stays alive in every UFO cult, from Unarius to Starseeds to ZetaTalk to Aetherius, whose beliefs in “cosmic masters” mirror Light’s & Layne’s. And sometimes one elderly mystic’s xeroxed account of seeing Eisenhower talk with aliens survives the decades, embellished by alleged whistleblowers and other collaborative mythmakers into a larger tale of alien treaties and war among the stars.
In 1954, Eisenhower went to the dentist. And some people still theorize about it today.
Anyway, he was actually meeting with his boyfriend Z’A’Kranax & I support their love? Love is love, happy Pride!
Beyond the normal reaches of our society lies an endless array of others: some living, some dead; some known, some obscure. This is about the fringe of the fringe.
Otherkin were perhaps once best known as “those people online who think they’re dragons”; now they’re best known as “those people on Tumblr who think they’re anime characters”; but in truth, the origins and history of Otherkin date back much further than most might expect.
A quick definition of terms. Otherkin, or “kin”, are a subculture that identify as nonhuman. This is commonly a spiritual, “I was this in my past life”, identification, but some Otherkin believe their identity is psychological in nature. Otherkin traditionally identify with fictional creatures, such as elves, dragons or fae. A closely related concept is therianthropy; therians instead identify with animals that, whether currently living or extinct, exist. A relatively new addition to the nomenclature are “fictionkin”¹, who identify with fictional characters; unlike Otherkin or therians, many fictionkin identify with beings that, while fictional, are generally human.
Otherkin and therians claim to experience their identity in different ways: via memories, and via “shifts” – commonly mental shifts in behavior, sensory shifts in perception, or “phantom shifts”, where they feel their identity reassert its body via phantom, ie mental, limbs. It is important to note that Otherkin and therians do not claim to physically change, and so-called “p-shifters” are usually a laughingstock in the kin community.
Though today it’s seen as a youth subculture, Otherkin trace their origin to the burgeoning pagan & new age movements of the 1970s. An invaluable timeline by Orion Scribner places the first group that we would today call “Otherkin” in at least 1975, when a group called the Elf Queen’s Daughters placed their first public ad in a pagan quarterly. The term itself dates to 1990, invented as a catch-all for the many non-elven identities Otherkin now possessed; therianthropy found a name and a home on Usenet circa 1994.
But all that can wait. Today, we’re zeroing in one specific facet of the Otherkin community: a elfkin subculture with an involved mythology that flourished briefly, but brightly.
The Elenari started on now-lost mailing lists in the late 90s; in 2000, a newly-created site called the Elenari Nexus became the community’s home.