King Billy

Gary Kinder. Light Years; An Investigation Into the Extraterrestrial Experiences of Eduard Meier, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987.
The case of Eduard ('Billy') Meier has been a cause celebre in American ufology for several years now, but is still relatively unknown in Britain. Meier, a Swiss farmer and ex security-guard, claims to have been in regular contact with space visitors from the Pleiades and has taken hundreds of photographs allegedly showing the Pleiadians' 'beam-ships'.

Meier is obviously a charismatic figure - heavily built and heavily bearded, widely travelled (he did the old 'hippie trail' through the Middle East and India in the sixties) with one arm missing as a result of a road accident (a peculiarly shamanistic touch). His reports of contact have built him up into a major cult figure, and he lives in his $240,000 farm (paid for by his admiring fans) surrounded by acolytes from all over Europe and beyond.

His contacts all take place in conveniently secluded forest clearings with no other eye-witnesses, and his photographs all have a satisfyingly bogus look to them, This of course serves to guarantee that a certain type of researcher who wishes to demonstrate his wide-open-mindedness, will come along with a variety of expert testimony (from, amongst others, Stevie Wonder's sound engineer, who will vouchsafe that the photographs and sound tapes (he has them too - sounds of the saucers revving up) could not possibly have been faked by a one-armed Swiss ex security-guard.

I am less certain of the capabilities of one-armed Swiss ex security-guards, and prefer to keep an open mind on that as well, However, the investigators (a group associated with an American computer security company) to tachyons (theoretical sub-atomic particles which travel faster than light) which no Swiss security guard should know about, Of course readers of Magonia have known all about them since 1970 when we published a brief note on the matter at the time they where being debated widely in the popular scientific press. The investigators demonstrate what Peter Rogerson calls the 'Herr Professor' school of research: No thicko peasant from the boondocks is going to be able to outwit Herr Professor from the Big City, How can some naive uneducated son of the soil turn out photographs that baffle NASA's finest?

The trouble is, of course, that Meier is not a son of the soil, and he does not live in the Boondocks. Despite the image which is assiduously cultivated throughout this book of Meier being some semi-educated third-world subsistence farmer living far from civilisation, newspapers, TV, public libraries and photo laboratories, Meier actually lives, remember, in Switzerland, a country with one of the highest standards of living, best educational systems and finest transport networks in the world. It supports hundreds of magazines and newspapers and has several nationwide TV channels.

Why then does Welch (one of the investigators) write nonsense like this: "What's interesting is that the man who wrote the notes (about tachyons] has a formal education equivalent to the fifth or sixth grade. He does not live near major libraries, he does not live near major scientific centers ... that did not make sense coming from a man out in the remote countryside of Switzerland". (My italics). Kinder reports that "Welch came away thinking that Meier knew more than he should ... for his station in life". What bloody insolence!

Is this deliberate deceit to give a false impression of Meier's remoteness and naivety, or just arrogant American dismissal of Europe as a primitive place, lacking the benefit of such advanced technical minds as Stevie Wonder's recording engineer and Hollywood special effects men? Once again, I'll glad to say, Herr Professor has been well and truly taken to the cleaners by a wily peasant, Good on yer, Billy, and here's to the next $240,000! -- John Rimmer. From Magonia 27, September 1987.

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