|'Chameleo: A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, |
Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security'
The nonfiction 'Chameleo' could have been a great case study of paranormal phenomena, or so it might initially seem. Talented author and college-level educator Robert Guffey's description of unfolding bizarre events and seeming synchronicities of extremely low probability are more than a little reminiscent of such classics as Keel's 'Mothman'. However, Guffey and his unlikely protagonist, whom he simply happened to have known since high school, do not hold supernatural or extraterrestrial beings responsible for their descent into high strangeness. They lay the blame squarely at the feet of the United States federal government, and with good reason, it would seem, if Guffey reported the saga with reasonable accuracy.
A number of circumstances make the plight of Dion Fuller, a drug addict struggling to cope with life even on his best days and absent government harassment, significantly different than the typical and often nebulous claims of what have come to be known as Targeted Individuals, MILABs and alien abductees. For one thing, Dion's lifestyle led to a series of choices in 2003 that culminated into being served a search warrant by Special Agent Lita A. Johnston and company of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Dion had allowed a young man to hang out a few days at his apartment, a "party house" frequented by Greater San Diego drug addicts and drifters. The guy was AWOL from Camp Pendleton, and had stolen some night vision goggles and other equipment of which NCIS took great interest. Dion was reportedly held and interrogated for six days. It was after his release without charges that the high strangeness and surveillance ensued. Most people who report such circumstances do not have as clear a perceived point of origin for where and when the events started. Neither do they have a point of contact, as Lita Johnston served not just for Dion, but for peripheral players who also got in touch with her when the pot boiled and spilled.
Some readers will recall I blogged about NCIS when the agency and the American Psychological Association (APA) were implicated in an ethics investigation documented in the Hoffman Report. NCIS employed an APA psychologist who explored the use of hypnosis as an interrogation tool on Petty Officer Daniel King, a young man accused of spying in 1999 and grilled for two years before being released without formal charges.
Early on in the reading of 'Chameleo' I considered how difficult it is to sort out extraordinary claims because the claimant becomes increasingly traumatized and subject to reporting inaccuracies even if some of the events actually happened as perceived. A reasonable question becomes if the individual was mad or driven to madness. Did the person perceive such things because they are hysterical or are they hysterical because of what they saw?
I have considered similar dynamics between self-described investigators and alleged alien abductees. If a hypnotist/investigator proceeds to conduct months or years of hypnotic regression sessions with an individual about alleged menacing visitors from the far reaches of the universe, it would seem eventual conditions and resulting symptoms of emotional trauma should be expected to manifest in the behavior of the hypnosis subject and considered the norm, not the exception. Again, we might wonder if the individual was driven to extreme perceptions and behaviors by quite human beings and the hypnosis sessions themselves, not the alleged phenomena focused upon in the sessions.
Another thing that seems to make Dion and Guffey's story rather unique as compared to similar reports is their path led them face-to-face with Richard Schowengerdt, an aerospace engineer who worked on Top Secret projects. He confirmed the existence of technology that supported Dion's claims of invisible stalkers, surreal scenery outside his window, inexplicably expanded rooms and similar perceptions. As a matter of fact, the engineer invented and held a patent on some of it. What's more, related research and development, it turned out, were taking place literally down the street from Dion's apartment. Guffey conducted an interview with Schowengerdt published in the March, 2007, edition of 'UFO Magazine'. I found it interesting and perhaps telling of a UFO community biased towards the extraterrestrial hypothesis that Guffey indicated he received virtually no comments or feedback about the article, 'To See the Invisible Man'.
'Chameleo' is an entertaining read, even hilarious at times, but this is not to suggest it minimizes the potential significance of its otherwise dark subject matter. Robert Guffey tells the story in sometimes unflattering yet appreciated frankness of the goings ons among the fringe subculture and the dysfunctional people who inhabit it. A typical saga of investigator and experiencer it is not – and it should arguably make us consider how easily it could have been if the writer had opted to frame the events in such contexts.
Readers are bound to agree with some of Guffey's points and disagree with others, yet he has produced a work that should be read by those sincerely desiring to better understand such claims and the people who make them. We can only wonder how many Dions may be out there who did not happen to have gone to high school with a future professional writer.
'Chameleo' by Robert Guffey is published by OR Books. It contains 264 pages in paperback for 18 USD. Also available in e-book.