A fierce snowstorm blasts down the Queen West corridor in Parkdale February 7, blowing about 40 citizens into the refuge of Conspiracy Culture, the bookstore near Roncesvalles.
Tonight's event: UFO And ET Disclosure. The meet-up website, Third Eye Talks, promised "a groundbreaking event." The room is packed with believers, myself included, of all persuasions and vintages.
The keynote speaker is Paul Hellyer. The last time I heard him speak was at my high school graduation in 1967. There were ice caps on the Cold War back then, and Hellyer was minister of national defence. A long-time monetary reform advocate, the robust 90-year-old is a relative newcomer to ET culture.
Somebody had recommended he read The Day After Roswell, the 1997 tell-all by ex-intelligence officer Philip Corso. The cult classic details what the U.S. military did with the extraterrestrials and their craft after they crashed in New Mexico one night in 1947.
The tipping point for Hellyer came when he recognized in Corso's account the names of secret military bases from his time at National Defence. After reading the book, he wanted to verify what was in it with one of the retired U.S Air Force generals he once knew. He retells the story. "So when I called him, he didn't even give me time to say hello and how are you, he just said, ‘Every word is true, and more.'"
Hellyer is convinced ETs can lead humanity to a peaceful economy "if we let them." He concludes his opening remarks to thunderous applause: "It's not about the UFOs in the skies; it's about the lies here on Earth."
Moderator ufologist Victor Viggiani establishes the theme. "A massive compendium of government and military documents proves that the presence of ETs has been analyzed and assessed and sequestered at the highest possible levels.''
Attention swivels to the screen, where U.S. Paradigm Research Group exec director Stephen Bassett makes the big announcement via Skype. The mother of all ET citizen disclosure hearings in Washington in late April, he says, will blow the cover off "the government's UFO truth embargo."
Back at home, I log on to the official citizenhearing.org website and click around. Before I know it, I'm down the rabbit hole.