First up, some bizarre but really fun pictures of an “alien sighting,” via last weekend’s getaway to Palm Desert.
I love quirky stuff like this, don’t you?
Using the unfamiliar to instill fear, not so much.
This being Throwback Thursday (#TBT), I’m harkening back to a time when that happened. You see, alien beings aren’t a foreign concept for those of us who grew up in the 1960s, when the Space Race was at its peak and tales of UFO sightings ran rampant. It was then, right before President Kennedy was shot, that an evangelist stood at the platform of my father’s nondenominational church in Dallas, whispering conspiratorially to an enthralled congregation.
Dr. Frank Stranges first recalled for us Ezekiel’s prophetic vision of a fiery, whirlwind-driven, wheel-within-a-wheel in the skies–proof, he suggested, of ancient astronauts. Louder still, he spoke of extraterrestrials, come to earth. “The End Times are drawing nigh,” Stranges warned, and he illustrated that belief with a series of grainy black-and-white glossies of Unidentified Flying Objects, pinned in dramatic fashion to a clothesline he’d strung from one end of the platform to the other. “Read it for yourself,” he said, “It’s in the Bible. It’s also in my book.”
Dr. Frank Stranges went on to make a name for himself, in that he became something of a cult figure who authored several books. He also appears in my own book, CAN I GET A WITNESS? Memoir of a Tent Evangelist’s Daughter. Why, you ask? Because aside from that revival meeting in Dallas, Stranges was the assistant minister at a church my father owned for a short time in Oakland, California.
Say what you will about his theories, Frank Stranges was a great storyteller. He knew how to rub together two sticks of implausibility until they generated light and heat. And so it was that, after forging a link between ancient prophesies and “modern science,” Stranges whirled around the platform, hoisted his Bible above those 8 x 10″ glossies and brought the congregation to its knees with a fiery sermon about sin and redemption, the Rapture and Armageddon.
Did I fall under the spell of his stories? I hope you’ll read the answer for yourself someday…It’s all in my book. Which, by the way, I’ve just recently sent out on submission.