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Ray Stanford, Time Travel, and Dinosaur Footprints (Part 1 of 2) (LONG)

Ray Stanford, Time Travel, and Dinosaur Footprints (Part 1 of 2) (LONG)

[This posting is in two parts, both being sent to the list server at the same
time.  Please read this part before reading Part Two, which is titled, "Ray
Stanford, Claimed Alien Contacts, and Credentialing Issues."]

INTRODUCTION:  Over the past year, several list members have in postings
mildly raised questions about certain opinions or associations of Maryland
dino footprint collector Ray Stanford.  Stanford has generally responded with
sarcastic comments and demands that certain subjects immediately be
dropped.  I believe that the information below is pertinent to evaluating some
of the statements that Mr. Stanford has made in certain postings over the past
year.  Specific documents referred to below can be requested by e-mailing me
off list.

"ASTONISHING" COLLECTION:  Stanford's remarkable success in
locating dinosaur footprints in Maryland was the subject of a feature story in
the BALTIMORE SUN on June 4, 1998 [also printed in the DETROIT
NEWS (www.detnews.com:80/1998/nation/9806/19/06190116.htm)]. 
BALTIMORE SUN science writer Frank D. Roylance wrote that Stanford
"has amassed an astonishing collection of early Cretaceous footprints of
dinosaurs and flying reptiles."  In just four years, Stanford, described as an
"admitted 'total amateur' paleontologist" has "found more than 150 prints of
up to a dozen species -- several new -- in a region where teeth and bones had
hinted at barely four," the Sun reported.

TIME TRAVEL?  No doubt many students of dinosaurs have fantasied about
how wonderful it would be to travel back in time and actually see those 
magnificent creatures in their native environments.  But in years past, Ray
Stanford proposed to take time travel outside the realm of science fiction. 
For years, Stanford promoted the construction of a machine he called "the
Hilarion Accelerator" that would, he suggested, allow a living human body to
be physically transported back in time.

If that really were possible, paleontologists would be standing in line to
the trip, right?  Don't you want to know more?

PREVIOUS CAREER:  The SUN article did not mention Stanford's previous
career, primarily in the 1970s, as the leader of the Association for the
Understanding of Man (AUM).  AUM was an organization with a national
membership, headquartered in Austin, Texas.  I have access to a sizeable
private collection of literature dealing with what might be called
"unconventional" religious (or quasi-religious) groups.   This collection
includes a substantial body of printed and taped material by Stanford, much
of it published by AUM.

The central focus of AUM was the content of Stanford's so-called "psychic
readings."  It is necessary to briefly explain this "psychic reading" line of
work.  After entering a purported "unconscious" or trance state, Stanford
would give long discourses on diverse subjects, with tape recorders running. 
Some of these discourses were attributed to "the Source," identified as "the
unconscious and superconscious mind and spiritual being of Stanford," an
intelligence credited by Stanford's followers with wide-ranging clairvoyant
and precognitive powers.

However, on many other occasions, "voices other than that of the Source
speak through the unconscious Stanford . . . speaking in various accents and
inflections," as a 1977 AUM membership solicitation explained.  These
voices were identified as exalted spiritual beings, members of an ethereal
association called the "White Brotherhood," archangels, and even Jesus
Christ himself -- all speaking courtesy of Stanford's "borrowed" vocal cords,
of course.  Some of these "Brothers" identified themselves as members of a
UFO-operating alien race called "The Watchers."  

Examination of the AUM material leaves no doubt that the "Stanford
readings" were the major "drawing card" for the group's dues-paying
members and its contributors -- indeed, the organization's raison d'etre. 
These "readings" guided the activities of the entire organization.
and tape cassettes of the "readings" made up the great bulk of the AUM
publications catalog.  

[Considering the above background, it seemed rather audacious for Stanford to
Australian paleontologist Dr. Paul M.A.Willis, "You sound more like a
soothsayer than a scientist!", when Dr. Willis challenged Stanford's
speculation about the identity of a dino trackmaker (see Stanford posting of 4
Feb. 1998).]

A TIME MACHINE?  Well, how does all this relate to time travel? 
Prominently featured in the AUM publications, tapes, and promotional
materials were plans to build an large machine known as "the Hilarion
Accelerator," and a building to house it.  The design for this "Accelerator"
had been dictated by "the Brothers" speaking "through" the entranced
Stanford.  The device was described as a metallic egg-shaped chamber that
would house a human subject.  When the exterior of the egg was charged to
"around three million volts electro-static charge," it could produce a great
enhancement of many paranormal powers for the occupant, Stanford claimed.

In a tape-recorded lecture to the annual AUM membership conference on
August 24, 1974, Stanford told his followers that "the Accelerator" would
allow spiritually competent subjects to teleport physically from one place to
another, but also to PHYSICALLY transport their bodies BACK IN TIME. 
Stanford described vividly how this would occur:  A human subject would be
sealed within the Accelerator, which would then be charged up.  Then,
Stanford explained, "He [the subject] would begin to glow.  His body would
disappear instantly or fade out," being transported back "to walk the sands of
ancient Egypt 5,000 years ago. . . . he will materialize a physical body in
ancient Egypt."  The only danger, Stanford explained, was that a subject
might allow himself to be cut off from the Accelerator-induced state,
get stuck in the ancient past, and die there.

Stanford also explained that a friend had volunteered to use the planned
device to become "the first Alley Oop."  This was a reference to a comic strip
cave man who co-existed with dinosaurs.  

It appears that AUM more or less petered out around 1980, although a book
of Stanford's "psychic readings" (FATIMA PROPHECY) was reissued by
Ballantine Books as recently as 1990, and apparently is still in print.  

Although Stanford announced in 1974 that construction of the "Accelerator"
laboratory would begin that year, I found no evidence that the actual device
was ever constructed.  Perhaps AUM's members and financial backers did not
provide sufficient financial support for what would apparently have been an
expensive construction project.

Now the same man who promoted that fantastic concept is attracting
attention because he is credited with finding many types of dinosaur tracks
where nobody else ever found them.   The June 4 Baltimore Sun story quotes
Robert Bakker of the Tate Museum (Casper, Wy.), as stating of Stanford's
footprint collection, "It is priceless . . . a time machine."

Did he say "a time machine"?  Come clean now,  Ray Stanford . . . did you
finally build that time machine after all, maybe in your basement?  Late at
night, do you shut yourself inside the Accelerator, hurl yourself back into
Cretaceous, locate the best dino watering holes and trails, and then return to
contemporary Maryland to mine those sites for tracks?  

And if so -- don't you think it's your duty to begin to share your toy with
fellow paleontologists?
CONCLUSION OF PART ONE:  Kidding aside, some serious issues are
raised here, which will be further addressed in Part Two.  [Anyone desiring
further documentation on any specific statement in this posting can send an
inquiry to me off list.]