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X-Philes: The Phish-UFO-Mayan Connection 1997-2001

[Editor’s note: We offering the following essay from our resident Art Bell. In the words of Robert Hunter, ‘Believe it if you need it, if you don’t just pass it on…’
Part 1 Great Went Through Gorge 98
Greetings curious Phish fan and/or Jambands.com reader. This article is a first installment of my research into what I call the Phish-UFO-Mayan Connection. Some may remember me from my original X-Philes article, which was published in The Pharmers Almanac, Volume #4, back in the fall of 97. That article detailed my journey on the summer 97 tour and the origination of the theory, which was based on the circumstances surrounding the Great Went.
One thing I wish to make clear from the beginning is this: I do have avid interests in Phish, UFOs, and the ancient Maya. But I did not just put them together because I thought it would be cool. The theory came about from my recognition of what I like to call Sirius synchronicities. I was able to recognize the connections because of my interest in all three, but the connections are not contrived.
The cosmic circumstances surrounding the Great Went were these:

  • the Loring Air Force Base – site of the shows – had been the site of a documented UFO incident in October of 1975 (as documented in a book called ‘The UFO Coverup’, in chapter 2’s ‘Intrusions at Loring’.
*August 16-17, 1997 represented the 10-year anniversary of a metaphysical event known as the Mayan Harmonic Convergence. The Mayan calendar is based on galactic cycles and constants, and comes to an end on December 21, 2012. There is much speculation in the metaphysical community about a major transformation for Earth and humanity at that time, a transformation to a new age of near-utopian peace and harmony. I feel that this shift actually began in the 1960s and is ongoing. Available evidence leads me to believe that bands such as the Grateful Dead and Phish are musical prophets of this new age of harmony to come.
I had a very difficult time reconciling the circumstances of The Great Went as a coincidence. I felt that either the band was setting up the shows as an attempt at initiating contact with our hipper ET visitors, or mystical forces from above were manifesting the circumstances for similar purposes.
In my original X-Philes article, I mentioned some information from a book called Surfers of the Zuvuya, by Mayan scholar/prophet, Dr. Jose Arguelles, the man that initiated the Harmonic Convergence by his recognition of certain elements within the Mayan calendar. In the book, Jose puts forth the proposition that the Mayan calendar is an index which matches Earth’s 3D frequency with the universal 4D frequency and that 4D time is recreated or brought into being in the 3rd dimension via the overtones of MUSIC, LIGHT, & COLOR! That really blew my mind because music, light, & color are precisely the formula which the Dead pioneered as leaders of the psychedelic counterculture in the 60s… a counterculture which Phish now finds themselves at the forefront of…
So the Great WentTaking place at a very remote air force base with a UFO history, on the 10-year anniversary of the Harmonic Convergence – it seemed to me that it had to be by ‘Strange Design’. So I was passing out a flyer with this info all tour, telling people that I thought ‘something Phishy with UFOs was going to happen at the Went’. That got me a lot of smiles. I also interviewed numerous fans that had UFO sightings to relate. The number of phones that have had sightings seems to me like further evidence for a Phish/UFO connection.
What really adds yet another cosmic flavor to the scenario was the spontaneous band/crowd art project. Phish had arranged a free art tent where fans could paint on pieces of wood. During the second day’s show, a tower was built using all of these pieces of art. Then during the monumental 2nd set, the members of the band took turns painting large pieces of wood onstage, while they were playing their funked out version of the 2001 theme. Trey then announced that this was an idea they had been wanting to try – a joint phan/band improvisational piece of art, as they felt that there is always a mutual energy going on at their shows between the band and the crowd. Trey then had the fans pass over the band’s pieces of wood to the tower, and they were added on top.
Now remember the art tower as you read this next info. This comes from a book called ‘Preparing for Contact’ in which author and channel Lyssa Royal asks a
Pleiadian being about what would be a good way to try and initiate contact with ETs (my take on the channeling phenomenon is the same as on UFOs – there are hoaxes and misinterpretations, but there is also something real going on). You can
view an excerpt from the book here. Then check out this most relevant passage:
Question: You mentioned that ETs will act upon the human group’s spontaneous readiness for contact when our conscious, subconscious, and
unconscious minds momentarily align in a common vibration. You have also stated the importance of creating an exciting, expansive atmosphere surrounding the contact experience. Could you suggest an activity for the group to do at the contact site in order to bring about this alignment?
Answer: ...One example of a joint activity would be something artistic, like spontaneously creating a mural or a sculpture live in the moment…This is an example of being in the moment, following your excitement, and playing… If those criteria were met, hypothetically, and ETs were in the vicinity, we would key into your excitement and playful energy. If it were within our path to interact with your playful energy, we would simply find ourselves moved to be there with you to enjoy that energy.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED AT THE GREAT WENT!!! We had the spontaneous creative event of the art project and it was done in the context of another spontaneous creative event (the concert) that already met those criteria. I didn’t come across this until October of ’97, and it really blew my mind when I did. To me, it is more solid evidence for my theory – I think the Went was staged as an attempt to initiate contact, by holding it in the optimum location, on the optimum date, and with the optimum activity to summon our ET friends. Since music is the universal language that transcends nationality, I find it only logical that our hipper ET visitors would be interested in our music. And with the vibrant nature of the Phish-Nation, it figures that they would be interested in the fans too.
I do believe I saw an ET craft during 8/17/97’s 2nd set- but it was hanging back in a subtle manner, so if you weren’t looking for it, you would not have seen it. It had a green light on one side, red on the other, and was hovering around in very strange ways – at one point it appeared to be bouncing back and forth in the sky, almost as if it were ‘sharing in the groove’! It was definitely not a plane and a friend I was with saw it also. In fact, it was uncannily similar to the anomalous craft I saw on my second visit to Sedona earlier that summer. (See the Secret Origin of Agent Stardog – Part 2 for details on that sighting.)
As if all this weren’t cosmic enough, there was another historic moment that took place later in the set. After the art tower had been completed, the band launched into ‘Harry Hood’ and Trey had lighting director Chris Kuroda dim the lights so that only the moon lit up the scene. As the band was about to go into the outro jam section of the song, fans started spontaneously tossing glowsticks into the air. The glowsticks were repeatedly thrown up in the air, creating a most psychedelic atmospheric effect that has gone on to become something of a Phish staple. The Great Went’s ‘Harry Hood’ was the original spontaneous glowstick combustion. In light of everything else going on there, it is indeed hard to view this as a coincidence either. It would seem only logical to draw the conclusion that the extra energy on the scene from the presence of our hipper ET visitors spurred the collective unconsciousness of the crowd to initiate the spontaneous glowstick combustion!
What does it all mean? I feel that the San Francisco socio-cultural revolution of the 1960s (of which the Dead were a Sirius part) was a key step in humanity’s evolution – society in general got a sorely needed kick in the pants of consciousness. The Dead had to keep it going until another band was ready to carry the cosmic torch. I’m not sure exactly how, but my research indicates that first the Dead and now Phish are tied into the cosmic evolution of the planet that is scheduled to take place on 12/21/2012, by the way they go around and recreate that 4th dimensional overtone and bring people together under a harmonious vibe, and the way that the crowd forms a sort of collective consciousness – ‘one nation under a groove’. This is of course aided by the fans’ affinity for ‘self-shamanism’, a concert activity which was popularized back in the 60s. Developing a collective consciousness is what we need to evolve to a more harmonious paradigm – a group mind connection where greed and corruption will be out the window because if you hurt someone else you’d only be hurting yourself. This does not mean we will lose our individuality, for that wouldn’t really be evolving. But we’re talking about a whole new paradigm, one which was first hinted at back in the 1960s… and which we as a species are steadily evolving toward.
In the course of my research, I have actually stumbled across some evidence that would suggest there is a positive faction within the U.S. intelligence community that helped foster the psychedelic counterculture for this precise purpose. This includes information suggesting that an associate from the intelligence community helped foster the Grateful Dead in its embryonic state… and a Jerry Garcia/FBI connection??? I haven’t drawn any definitive conclusions, but believe this information is worth looking at – examine the evidence here.
It was also during the summer 97 tour that I had the realization that Phish’s ‘Down With Disease’ is pointing to the 2012 ascension. I know that Tom Marshall wrote the song’s lyrics at a time when he was ill, and was thinking on a more microcosmic level. But I feel the muses took the opportunity to channel some vibes through Tom that reflect on the macrocosmic picture – when humanity obtains the higher consciousness to use advanced medical technology for the common good of the masses instead of the private profit of a small elite, all disease will be eradicated. My research indicates that this is going to happen in the post-2012 era. Hence the lines, ‘Waiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful and now I’m on my way.’
The cosmic connections have continued ever since. Let us henceforth examine some of the most dramatic moments. The next such item for me occurred at the 12/30/97 show at Madison Square Garden, when Trey treated the Phish-Nation to one of the most cosmic Harpua stories of all-time.
Trey said that he wanted to tell an important story from his childhood, of a ‘profound experience’ that changed his life forever. The tale related to 1974, when Trey was 10 years old and his favorite TV show was ‘Lost in Space’ (a favorite of mine as well, naturally). Trey said that he was watching the show one Saturday, and playing with a rubber udder ball toy, when he noticed that Will Robinson and the Robot had entered a clearing on an alien planet that looked exactly like the clearing behind Trey’s school where he would play during recess. Trey then noticed that at the Robot’s foot was an udder ball toy just like the one he had in his hand. He then found himself receiving a telepathic message from the Robot!
The Robot’s message was that Trey should collect food items from the dinner table for the next week and bring them to school with him. So Trey did this, collecting items such as a fried egg, piece of steak, olive loaf, carton of milk, and a slim-jim. On the next Friday, ‘a profound feeling’ led Trey to a place in the clearing behind his school where there was a pentagram burned into the grass! Trey ‘knew what he had to do’ and began placing the food items on the points of the pentagram… and he knew that the udder ball toy went in the center… ‘Strange things’ then began to happen – the wind rose up and swirled around, a big fog rolled in, the wind was spinning, trees began to disappear… a ‘mini-tornado’ then emanated from the udder ball and everything went dark. Trey realized he was ‘having a moment’ where he could see into his future – he could see bits of the band in the cone of the tornado, but of course didn’t recognize the other guys.
‘A strange being’ then appeared, and sang ‘a heavenly song, like the music of the spheres’... It was an ‘angelic man’, who in singing the song, told Trey what his life would become. It wasn’t until years later that Trey realized that it was his good friend and band lyricist, Tom Marshall, who had come into the past to describe Trey’s future and set the course. Tom Marshall then walked out onstage of course to join the band for a satirical rendition of ’500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers.
Now Phish has long been known as a bunch of pranksters, and Trey certainly appeared to have tongue partly in cheek. But it is here that I must emphasize the ‘partly’. While I do not submit that the story necessarily took place exactly as described, I would suggest that there is at least a kernel of truth in there, and perhaps more. Trey doesn’t tell these kind of stories too often anymore, and this one was particularly long and detailed. In addition, I find the fact that the story took place when Trey was 10 years old to be of notable significance. This is because there is another Phish song where Trey refers to a strange incident that occurred at age 10 – I speak of the song ‘Guyute’, which happened to appear later on during 12/30/97’s 2nd set.
In the early part of 1998, I engaged in discussion of this matter on the rec.music.phish newsgroup and there were several fans who insisted that I was crazy to believe any of the story. I well knew I would receive such criticism from some, and they are entitled to their opinion. But I was most pleased when more evidence for my theory appeared later in the year when the band published their biographical coffee table tome, ‘The Phish Book’, in which appeared an intriguing commentary on this story by none other than Trey’s father, Ernie Anastasio. See page 178:
‘Somebody asked me if the ‘Harpua’ story was true,’ says Anastasio’s father, Ernie, of his son’s story involving the Lost in Space TV show, purloined family meals, and a schoolyard pentagram. ‘I said it happened in Trey’s head the same way a lot of things happen there. Which is to say every element of the story was true except one: We never ate steak.’
Now Trey’s pranksterish nature may be a chip off the old block, but nevertheless, I feel there is enough evidence here to indicate that Trey did experience something very strange – involving some type of paranormal phenomena – when he was 10 years old. It quite possibly could have involved some type of extra-terrestrial contact/close encounter, as it would not be unusual for a 10 year old child to reformat such an experience into a less shocking memory.
Summer ’98 – The Wolfman’s Brother Dream Prophecy
As the summer 98 tour approached, I was writing up a new issue of my newsletter, summarizing the X-Philes material to date, to pass out on tour. I wouldn’t be doing the whole tour again, but was stoked for the shows I would see – the six west coast ones, plus Vernon Downs and the Lemonwheel.
Then something strange happened. About a week before the tour started, I had this intense dream. When I awoke, I couldn’t remember any of it. But I was overcome with this feeling of how intense it had been and how important it was. I struggled to recall what had occurred in the dream, but came up completely blank. Except that there was one particular thought strangely lodged in my mind – that the Phish song ‘Wolfman’s Brother’ is about Trey’s ET contact experiences! I know that’s a strange thought, but that was what was stuck in my mind when I woke up that morning.
As I thought about it that day, there were three particular items that stood out to me as viable evidence to support this idea:
  1. 1 – the song’s lyrics do have a rather cosmic flavor, particularly with the mention of ‘a stairway to the stars’.
  2. 2 – as most fans know, the song had come to epitomize the band’s cosmic phunk evolution of 1997. The 3/1/97 version saw the song evolve from a standard track into a phunk jam vehicle, and was hailed by band members as a seminal moment in Phishtory (and later officially released on the ‘Slip, Stitch and Pass’ live album.) This review of the 3/1/97 version calls it ‘the mother of the type III jam style’.
  1. 3 – Trey’s 12/30/97 ‘Harpua’ story took on even more resonation in this light.

So I sent out an email to both the Phunky Bitches listserv and the rec.music.phish newsgroup saying that because of this dream, I was calling ‘Wolfman’s Brother’ to open the summer tour at Portland Meadows on July 15. I felt this was a bold call, because I had never seen ‘Wolfman’s Brother’ open a show before. And indeed, a check at David ‘ZZYZX’ Steinberg’s Phish stats site showed that the song had only opened a show on one previous occasion (9/27/95 Cal-Expo).
July 15, 1998 Portland Meadows - The Wolfman's Brother Prophecy Fulfilled ! So there I was with some friends, walking into Portland Meadows on that sweltering hot day. The fruit smoothies they were serving inside sure hit the spot. My friends and I were walking up looking for a place, when who should I run into but another friend from back east who I didn't even know had come out west for these shows - a friend who had some kind of UFO/ET contact incident during his childhood that he doesn't even like to talk about! We sat down and were waiting for the show to start when I suddenly realized that I had totally forgotten about my prediction. Oh yeah, I thought, we shall soon see. Well, as many fans know, Phish did indeed walk out onstage that evening and promptly open the show and the tour with 'Wolfman's Brother'! As one might imagine, this was quite a cosmic moment for your friendly, neighborhood Stardog. My mind immediately began racing to figure out what was going on here. I came up with these possibilities: # 1 - It had become known that someone within the Phish organization was monitoring the messages on the Phunky Bitch listserv. It is therefore theoretically possible that my message was passed along to Trey and that he felt obligated to throw me a bone since my theory was true. This is of course my favorite of the possibilities ;-) # 2 - Trey did not hear about my email, and what happened is that I tapped into some Sirius cosmic synchronicity, assisted perhaps by my guardian angels, much like the encore of my 10/22/96 birthday show and subsequent 'Watchman' revelation in Sedona on the '97 summer solstice. (See the Secret Origin of Agent Stardog for that story.) This is certainly a possibility. # 3 - the skeptic's view - certain fans asserted afterward that I had simply gotten lucky. If I had called a common opener like 'Runaway Jim' or 'NICU', maybe. But being that 'Wolfman's Brother' had only once previously opened a show, I don't lend much weight to this possibility. A friend of mine commented how Trey sort of looks like a wolfman, when he has the longer hair and beard... Indeed, there is an interesting resemblance. My view is this: I think it is logical from the resemblance and the lyrics of the song that Trey is 'the wolfman'. The question then becomes - who is the 'wolfman's brother'? Again I feel the lyrics would indicate one of our hipper ET visitors. Particularly if Trey is a starseed, which I think there is every reason to believe is the case. My research indicates that Trey - like Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon and others - is what the alternate cosmic bible known as The Urantia Book refers to as a 'celestial musician'. Urantia is the universal word for Earth, and The Urantia Book was published in 1955. Check out this passage: 'While you have assembled some beautiful melodies on Urantia, you have not progressed musically nearly so far as many of your neighboring planets in Satania. If Adam and Eve had only survived, then would you have had music in reality; but the gift of harmony, so large in their natures, has been so diluted by strains of unmusical tendencies that only once in a thousand mortal lives is there any great appreciation of harmonics. But be not discouraged; some day a real musician may appear on Urantia, and whole peoples will be enthralled by the magnificent strains of his melodies. One such human being could forever change the course of a whole nation, even the entire civilized world. It is literally true, 'melody has power a whole world to transform.' Forever, music will remain the universal language of men, angels, and spirits.' If that sounds interesting, check out the entire paper entitled, 'The Celestial Artisans'. Your friendly, neighborhood Stardog believes that a wave of these celestial musicians first blossomed in the 1960s and that Trey is the creme of the current crop. For more info on the starseed concept check out the Nibiruan Council website. (I am aware that Trey pegged drummer Jon Fishman as 'the wolfman's brother' at his solo show in St.Louis in the spring of '99. I don't feel that that debunks my theory - it just indicates that Fishman is a starseed as well.) Close Encounters The Gorge w/ Mike Gordon and Chris Kuroda
The 7/17/98 Gorge show was one of the most cosmic that Ive ever seen, highlighted by the amazing sunset Divided Sky, epic 2001 and stunning Punch You in the Eye encore. Things got even more cosmic for me when my friend Captain Morgan gave me his aftershow pass because he felt I needed to get back there to try and discuss my theories with the band what a pal! It was my first time to the aftershow, so I was of course a little nervous – this band had already changed my life on several occasions. And like most people at that point in the evening, I was feeling a little schwirly ;-) But I was in a great mood. I left some of my X-Phile newsletters here and there. Then Mike Gordon appeared. I didn’t want to be what Mike has humorously referred to as a ‘gawzer’ – fans who come up and say things like ‘you gawz are so awesome’ – but didn’t want to miss my chance either. I asked him if he’d seen my newsletter around. He didn’t think so, and so I gave him one of the bright lime green flyers. I don’t know what I expected to happen after that. He pocketed it and I backed off.
So then a few minutes later, I notice him standing off to the side by himself, and feel I must take the opportunity to try and chat with him. He agreed to answer a question. In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t ask him about The Great Went. Instead, I asked where did he get his inspiration to write the song, ‘Scent of a Mule’, a Phish tune that refers to UFOs and some of our hipper ET visitors. At that moment, our eyes met in a most strange and cosmic way – I received the uncanny feeling that Mike’s soul was not altogether from this Earth. For all I know, he may have gotten the same feeling about me, heh heh. And in all probability, we are both starseeds. (Mike’s stories about his childhood may be an indicator here.) Anyway, he seemed kind of stumped and responded, ‘uh, that’s a really tough question right now.’ I had to sort of chuckle and thought to myself, ‘nice evasion there Mike’. I asked him to be sure to read my newsletter when he had a chance and wandered away.
I was just sort of hanging around when I saw someone wearing what looked like a San Francisco Giants jersey. I went up and asked him if he had come up to the Gorge from SF, like I had. He said no, it was a New York Giants jersey… and that he was still mad at SF for stealing the team. I told him I could relate to that since I grew up in Cleveland, and he sympathized with Browns’ fans indignation at the transplant of our team by evil robber baron Art Modell. Then someone came up and said, ‘Hey Chris, great lights tonight’, and it was only then that I realized I was chatting with Phish lighting director Chris Kuroda. Obviously, Chris is a pretty laid-back and non-pretentious guy.
So there are no other band members around, and I just am sort of hanging out with Chris K. and his pals at this point. I give him one of my newsletters and when the topic turns back to show, I made mention of my theory about Gamehendge as being a parable for the modern world. A couple of Chris K’s more obnoxious pals dismissed the notion, saying in a condescending tone that ‘Gamehendge is just a story’, and asking me how much acid I took that night. I responded that Gamehendge is much more than ‘just a story’ and that my level of third-eye enhancement was irrelevant to this topic ;-)
Interlude:
Gamehendge as Parable for Modern Society
I tried to explain how obvious my Gamehendge theory was – that ‘Wilson’ and his ‘foul domain’ of ‘greed and avarice’ was clearly symbolic of the corporate/political forces which rule the planet. Forces that have slowly but surely made profits more important than people and wreaked all kinds of misery around the world, especially for Earth’s indigenous peoples. And that the rest of us are then ‘the Lizards’, trying to re-gain the ‘Helping Friendly Book’ so as to rid ourselves of ‘Wilson’ and return to living in peace and harmony. (See a rundown of the characters here.) They weren’t buying it, which to me just ‘goes to show that you don’t ever know’‘ – just because someone might be a band ‘insider’ does not necessarily mean they are more tuned into the scene.
I think the cosmology described in the songs ‘Wilson’ and ‘Lizards’ clearly backs up my viewpoint. For example, take the following from ‘Lizards’:
‘The Lizards would be saved, he said, if they could be enlightened
By the writings of the Helping Friendly Book
In all of Prussia only one existed
And Wilson had declared that any person who possessed it was a crook’
To me, this is SUCH a clear metaphor for the way that Uncle Sam has outlawed psychedelics. Psychedelics are a partial metaphor for the Helping Friendly Book. Uncle Sam does not want us Lizards taking psychedelics, precisely because of the enlightenment that they can bring. They prefer to keep us as ignorant wageslaves locked into the consumerist paradigm. This is why the Nixon regime declared Timothy Leary ‘the most dangerous man in the nation’ and locked him up for several years on trumped up charges.
‘AC/DC Bag’ is also quite telling, especially when it refers to ‘Wilson’ as being ‘brain dead and made of money, no future at all… pull down the blinds and run for cover, no future at all.’ I feel this alludes to the teetering house of cards which is our modern paradigm. I also feel that the story is unfinished. Some people like to discount my theory saying that the revolutionaries did get the HFB back but then became corrupted themselves, because absolute power begets absolute corruption. This is true, but it is not the end of the story.( Lyrics to the Gamehendge songs can be found here.) I think we will see Phish continue the saga between now and 2012. And that we will learn that many newer songs – such as ‘Character Zero’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Taste’, ‘Vultures’ and especially ‘Sand’, are part of this continuing saga.
X-Phile Revelation:
Chris Kurodas Birthday = the Mayan New Year!
Moments later, one of Chris’s pals says, ‘Hey Chris, isn’t your birthday coming up soon?’, to which Chris responded, ‘yeah, July 26.’ At that moment my jaw dropped. ‘No way, your birthday is July 26?’ I queried in disbelief. Chris affirmed the date again and asked what the deal was. I informed him that July 26 is the Mayan New Year, and that this was therefore more evidence for my theories. I told him about the part in my newsletter describing Jose Arguelles’ research about the Mayan calendar being an index that matches Earth’s 3D frequency with the universal 4D frequency and that 4D time was recreated or brought into being in the 3D via the overtones of MUSIC, LIGHT, & COLOR... and that since he IS the light & color, his birthday is a very cosmic synchronicity illustrating that he is doing exactly what he was born to do! Chris had no idea about any of this information and was slightly taken aback. I could tell that I had bumped his cosmic awareness a bit. I was delighted – for me, this info was just more hard evidence for my theories about the band.
The all-night party out in the Gorge lots that night was a classic, one of the greatest of all time. The weather was warm and the sky was most cosmic – we saw many shooting stars, satellites, UFO kites, and who knows what else… At one point, several friends and I witnessed a huge shooting star go right through the Big Dipper. I remarked that it was likely one of our hipper ET visitors making a stargate jump back to their own system after having come in for the show ;-)

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