To prepare for the upcoming Doing Drugs and Dying In Space Ritual, The Runaways Lab Theater (ticket info here) has commissioned a historical account of the true Space Cult which inspired the ritual. Thanks to company member Daniel Mozurkewich for the research and writing.
What you might not know is that most of human history has been lost. The Human genome has remained the same for 200,000 years. Early civilizations were founded along rivers and coasts 10,000 years ago, as the official record would tell you. But that leaves tens of thousands of years that we have no record of. As our planet warms and cools, as glaciers form and crumble, the sea level has risen and fallen dramatically. Perhaps records of early human life lie beneath the ocean, washed away by centuries of erosion. It is a theory so simple that anyone could be capable of producing it, yet the scientific establishment insists on placing the advent of civilization at 10,000 years in the past, and not more.
Dr. Athur T. Waller was a man who disputed this paradigm. Professor of Archeology at the University of Maryland, Dr. Waller was one of the sole voices in his field advocating further investigation into potential pre-historic human civilizations. Leading an intrepid crew of 6 similarly convicted scientists, including an archeologist, a geneticist, a retired navy officer, and a psychiatrist who had been barred from practice due to his controversial studies on ESP, he began exploring underwater caverns off the coast of Mexcio in the year 1974, with the goal of uncovering evidence of prehistoric remains or dwellings. Funding this expedition was Australian Billionaire Geoff Warrington, who inherited his father’s mining empire when he unexpectedly died in a helicopter crash in the outback in 1968.
A series of dives turned up nothing, but still Dr. Waller was convinced that the answer to his questions lay in the Gulf of Mexico. Three expeditions were eventually made from 1974-1976, with Dr. Waller’s relationship with Warrington grew more and more strained, as Warrington grew more and more dissatisfied with the lack of concrete discovery. However, in 1976 the Pre-Indus Exploration Association happened upon a singularly unique discovery. In an underwater cavern off the Yucatan peninsula, Dr. Waller’s team removed 7 artifacts, completely plain-faced 5 foot long cylinders, composed of an unknown material, deeply black and metallic but spongy to the touch.
Returning to the University of Maryland, Dr. Waller began his efforts to have the artifacts examined and carbon dated. Despite there being no markings or indications of any kind, he was convinced that the artifacts were of human make, possibly dating before the advent of civilization. Premature testing, however, indicated a carbon age of over 7 billion years—predating the formation of the planet earth. The material was unidentifiable, appearing to be a complex metal alloy only deemed possible under vacuum conditions. However, before further testing could be completed, the FBI shut down the University of Maryland Carbon Dating Laboratory, seizing the 4 artifacts Dr. Waller provided for research (1 was in the possession of Geoff Warrington, who had been eager to take possession of any product of his contributions, while the other 2 were in the possession of ESP specialist and ex-psychiatrist Dr. Earl Kotsiopoulos. The results of the expedition and the carbon dating were branded as an elaborate hoax and scientific fraud, and were quickly forgotten. Dr. Waller himself was indicted on several counts of possession of child pornography that had been seized from his home, and he died in prison the following year as the result of fast-acting Leukemia.
Dr. Kostopulos found himself under federal scrutiny many times during the following years, including several search and seizures of his home and offices, but the artifacts were never found, and for the time being no charges were ever brought against him. His professional research, debunked and disregarded by the scientific community at large, continued under the patronage of Mr. Geoff Wellington, and branched into the administration of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs in an attempt to unlock latent psychic powers. In 1979, 1 week before the FBI raided his research compound in Nevada for the 3rd and final time, Dr. Kostopoulos fled the country and assumed a false identity, continuing his research in secret in Australia.
Kostopulos, now going by the name Rick Bishop, had a breakthrough studying the artifacts. He found that, with the correct cocktail of psychoactive hallucinogens, humans became capable of “reading” the artifacts. When present at the time of ingestion, these incredibly powerful substances would produce visions and the subjects would begin to speak in gibberish, with the common recurrence of certain words, such as “Azzhreth” and “Egg”. However, the only substances powerful enough to produce replicable results were permanently debilitating to the point of death. Warrington and Bishop began abducting the homeless, runaways, and addicts from the streets of Australia, and experimenting on them in a secret underground facility. With the help of early computers, algorithms were created to try and decode the ramblings of the victims.
Bishop and Wellington came to believe that the artifacts actually contained instructions—instructions left by a cosmic being named Azzhreth, who had visited this dimension some 7 billion years ago and left an “egg” in orbit around the infant planet, an egg which was feeding upon the psychic energy of conscious population- that had perhaps guided evolution to produce organisms capable of radiating psychic energy, much as how humans breed cows and pigs to be fat and produce succulent meat. The “Egg” was the size of a small moon, it orbited earth according to a physical laws that were undefinable under any current notion of physics- it did not exist in this dimension, but rather one adjacent to our own, and a different kind of gravity holds it in place, and as the moon exerts influence upon the tides of water, so too this egg exerts its influence upon the tides of thought.
Rick Bishop knew that current technology would not be enough to locate the portal to this dimension and to enter it, for that he would need cognitive imagine software powerful enough to create replicable images of the visions of his victims, driven mad by the intense synthetic substances he was feeding with them with. But there was another directive unscrambled from their frenzied chants—that the egg would birth the child of Azzhreth—that Azzhreth’s child would posess a power befitting a deity, that his birth would signal the transformation of reality and the irreversible distortion of this dimension. That the artifacts were amplifiers, transmitters relaying the signals through space towards Azzhreth’s spawn, and that the mortal who could use these amplifiers to bring about the hatching of the egg would be greatly rewarded—rewarded beyond his wildest dreams.
But Rick Bishop would need to bide his time, proselytize others to his cause, infiltrate youth culture and distribute drugs that would prime the priests and priestesses of his church, perhaps one day, a child would be born that could communicate with the other dimension without being driven to madness, perhaps enough humans could come together in festival, and feed the spawn of Azzhreth with a nutritious mix of psychic energy- nutritious enough to perhaps trigger the awakening.