Each Monday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets around Los Angeles.
Men in the Flying Saucers Identified
Author: W.V. Grant
Publisher: W.V. Grant, Dallas, Texas
Discovered at: Bible Tabernacle Thrift Store, 733 Lincoln Blvd., Venice
“They told me that they have no wars, that they have no strife, and no juvenile delinquency.” (page 3)
“Some more of the communistic doctrine! Some more of the World Government doctrine! It is all anti-christ doctrine! They would like for the white girls to marry the negro boys, or mate with them without marrying. One world government idea!” (page 18).
Evangelist W.V. Grant is to interstellar evangelical anti-Commie what Burt Reynolds is to mustache-centirc '70s car-chase movies: he is its purest champion, the exemplar of the form, the stiff 7 per cent alcohol by volume that makes all imitators taste like O'Douls.
In Men in the Flying Saucers Identified, he denounces UFO believers. Not as liars but as unwitting consorts of evil beyond comprehension:
“You can easily see what planet they are from. It is from the planet below instated of above. It is from the pits of hell! Or it could be from Satan's headquarters, which is somewhere in the air at present.”
But for 1950's America, Satan alone wasn't scary enough. Throughout the tract, Grant quotes the testimonial of a UFO contactee who attended one of his revival meetings. Then, Grant shows us why we should be scared. The believer reports of the saucer-men:
“They said they have luxury and there is no class distinction. They have a maid in their home, she said, and the maid is thought of as much as she herself.”
Instead of questioning how a society can have maids and no class distinctions, Grand responds by pounding his face into the typewriter:
“RUSSIA IS NOT GOING TO INVADE AMERICA BECAUSE RUSSIA HAS ALREADY INVADED AMERICA. She has invaded America through the text books in our schools, which teach Evolution, dancing, sex-freedom, and free love.”
Other evidence Grant cites of Russian trouble: dope, liquor, a new Bible, a one-world government, tricksters who promise “peace and safety.”
But your Crap Archivist can't write another word about it until he's dished about the deep-dish ludicrosities of Bible Tabernacle Thrift Store, a Crap Shop so crap-stuffed that after two hour-plus visits I still haven't worked through all the available craziness.
Clothes have no prices and instead run you $10 a bag. There's no cash register, but a man named Johnny B. will eye your selections and name you a price – if you can find him.
Both times I found him outside, overseeing the younger men who haul great heaps of additional crap into the shop and perform odd tasks like picking through second-hand purses to remove any cash or drug paraphernalia.
One teen volunteer told me he once found $300; then he asked the time, looked pissed off, and complained that another volunteer who had been given $20 to pick up some pizzas must have just made off with the money.
Tough as he is to track down, Johnny B's more attentive than most thrift-store cashiers– he knew to charge me three bucks, triple the store's usual book price, for a first edition of Thomas Pynchon's Vineland.
Among their treasures, I found this slim volume from the “If you have to be told . . . ” department:
Bible Tabernacle boasts an impressive collection of '60s young adult novels published by the Moody Bible Institute. This one spoils season 6 of Mad Men.
And this one spoils the innocence of youth.
English teachers! Looking for an easy way to illustrate the importance of commas?
A coconut-frosting recipe book included this travesty:
I was tempted by this jockey plate . . .
. . . but I find it cruel on the part of the Franklin Mint or whoever to force the little guy to stand next to a magnifying glass.
Anyway, back to The Men in the Flying Saucers Identified!
What's weirdest, here, is that Grant never disputes any of the believer's claims about saucer-men. He simply insists that they must be demons. Consider this exchange. First, in full capslocked glory, is the UFO believer:
“THE MEN IN THE SAUCERS TOLD ME THAT THE NAME OF THEIR PLANET WAS CLARION, THAT IT IS BEHIND THE MOON.”
“This is significant. The name of a trumpet is clarion. Demons speak to people through trumpets in spiritual meetings. They also speak from the planet Clarion.”
“I should say that this planet Clarion is not in sight of the earth, for normal scientists do not distinguish demons through telescopes and such instruments.”
Despite these goofy sci-fi trappings, most of Grant's thinking is not far out of line with other '50s evangelicals . . . or John Bolton. He also:
Insists that the United Nations is pagan and dictatorial because it has a statue of Zeus
Suggests that attempts at governing world affairs through “flattery and diplomacy” will hasten the coming one-world government
Predicts a flying saucer will disgorge a “superman” who can “do signs and wonders” and will come to be our one-world dictator
Predicts that you can easily find saucer-women “in the dance halls, pool rooms, beer joints, road houses, and night clubs. For that is what she likes to do. And I think she is now in each hell-hole like that.”
Claims that it is only his God-given “power over demons” that has kept him alive so long
So, the planet and the saucers are real. Grant's biggest point of contention, then, concerns where all this is heading.
The believer claims,
“THE MEN IN THE SAUCERS SAID WE WOULD EXTINGUISH LIFE ON THIS PLANET IF WE EXPLODE THE ATOM BOMB.”
Grant disavows this conclusion. Instead, he smiles wide and shares his own good news:
“We know this is not true. One-half of the people of earth will die by starvation, by sword and by hunger. But the other half will be left here to be destroyed by the two-edged sword that comes out of the mouth of Jesus. Human blood will run up to the horses' bits for over 200 miles.”