Biosphere Part II 
Author Message
 Biosphere Part II

     Visitors to  the Synergia Ranch  interviewed by the  
[ITALICS]Voice[italics] concur
with Veysey's account  that Allen's grim  apocalyptic vision would  be
drummed  into group members' heads during bizarre, rambling discourses
over dinner.  As part of its dining  ritual, group members would first
don  theater masks. Then, afer a round of primal howling and chanting,
a rule of  absolute silence would prevail  during the meal.  At least,
until Allen would  begin to speak. Alen's monologues  would pound home
the  dangers   of  the   "hydrogen   bomb  and   the  destruction   of
civilization,"  wrote  Veysey.  At  one  point  Geiger  counters  were
purchased and passed out to  his follwers. Allen would reminisce about
how, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, his response had been to board a
plane and head  for a neutral location.  In 1971 Allen told  his group
before  Veysey, in  words  that  could easily  be  applied to  today's
Biosphere, "The Builders of the New Age must always carry on somewhere
in the world."

     And  there was  a  darker side  to  life at  Synergia  Ranch than
nightly tales of nuclear holocaust.  Basing his program on the rigidly
authoritarian  manner of  early 2Oth  century  Greek-born cult  mystic
G. I.  Gurdjieff,  John  Allen  allowed  no  dissent,  no  independent
thought,   and  enforced   a  practice  of   systematic  psychological
confrontation. Allen would  precede his dinnertime harangues  with the
simple,  stomach-churning query, "Any  confessions?" If there  were no
volunteers for abuse, Allen would select one.
     "Suddenly  it might  be anywhere,"  Veysey  wrote. "[Allen]  will
explode into wrath, usually directed at one person. Clearly in control
of  himself  one minute,  in the  next  he will  be shouting  the most
hurtful  words conceivable in a  furious {*filter*} upon  the ego of some
trapped individual. . . He will seize  upon what appear to be innocent
failures  to follow  precise  instructions  and  transform  them  into
calculated acts of  sabotage. . . He reiterates his  accusations until
no possible  response is left. Then, all at  once, his tirade comes to
an end and everyone continues as if nothing had happened."
     The synergists had  actually come together for the  first time in
1967 as a Northern New  Mexico avant-garde theater company with Johnny
Dolphin-- Allen's preferred pseudonym-- as its director. It then moved
to Haight-Ashbury for a stint,  then to New York,  and in 1969 to  the
Synergia Ranch, where Veysey found them two years later. As  the group
evolved throughout the '70s and  '80s, the theater company remained at
its core.
     Today's  managerial and  scientific  elite  of  the  Biosphere  2
project  can all  be traced  directly back  to John  Allen's so-called
"Theatre of All Possibilities":

     John  Allen  himself,  "Johnny  Dolphin,"  is  now  "director  of
     Scientific Development" and "leader" of the Biosphere project.

     Margret  Augustine, "CEO of  Space Biospheres Ventures"  and "co-
     architect" of the  entire project, was known as  "Firefly" in the
     theater group where she reportedly served as wardrobe {*filter*}.

     Mark   Nelson,  "Chairman  of   the  Institute  of  Ecotechnics,"
     "Director of  Space Applications"  for the  Biosphere and  seeond
     only to  Allen in defining  the group's philosophy, was  known as
     "Green" in the theater troupe.

     Kathelin  Hoffman, "Director of the Institute of Ecotechnics" and
     member  of  the  Biosphere's "Scientific  Review  Committee," was
     known on the ranch and inside the theater as "Honey."

     Deborah  Parrish-Snyder,  "director  of  Synergetic  Press"   and
     "Information  Director" of  the  Institute  for Ecotechnics,  was
     known as "Tango."

     In  addition,  at  least  five   of  the  eight  members  of  the
Biosphere's  crew-- people  chosen ostensibly  to  carry out  history-
making  scientific  research--  are either  long-standing  members  of
Allen's disciplined  inner circle or  more recent recruits.  Among the
crew there is  only one scientist of renown,  University of California
at  Los Angeles's Dr.  Roy Walford, who  has for  years orbited around
John Allen's projects.
     The theater  group flourished  at Synergia  Ranch at least  until
1983, when it  was closed in the  wake of a bizarre,  {*filter*}y incident.
That year Johann Hansler, a German circus clown who had performed at a
Fort Worth function for the theater group, was invited back for a stay
at  the New  Mexico ranch.  One afternoon,  ranch dweller  Bernd Zabel
handed the  clown his .357 magnum and urged  him to take some pot-shot
target  practice in  one of  the  commune's storage  yards. One  round
punctured an old refrigerator-- which just happened to be stuffed with
dynamite. A storm of shrapnel ripped  through the yard, taking with it
the clown's left leg.
     Synergia  Ranch  had  to  be  sold  off  as  part  of a  $400,000

settlement levied against  owner Marie "Flash" Allen-- today  a member
of  the Biosphere's  "scientific review  committee"--  and others  but
there seems to  have been relatively little fallout  from the accident
within the group. Gun-owner Bernd Zabel is not only listed as "general
manager of construction"  for the Biosphere, but has  also been chosen
as one of the eight members of the first human crew.

[BOLD]Hooking the Big Fish [bold]

     The cost  of the  court settlement posed  no scrious  problem for
Allen's  group. A  decade earlier, in  1973, he  had recruited  to his
ensemble a key player: Edward P.  Bass. Bass as in Bass Brothers,  one
of the richest families  of Texas. Ed Bass  is the man who has  put up

K|-.{5LB<-!Bu*xr}i}oJ}ii}i~r9~1Wt)li}i}io3C?b*}i}i}i~r{_~rok{_}Q*V~}i~r~
rU<Jj2_{_holding company that manages it.

\
\\\\\

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Brian Siano,                                Delaware Valley Skeptics
Rev. Philosopher-King of The First Church of the Divine Otis Redding

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""



Sun, 06 Feb 1994 06:59:37 GMT
 Biosphere Part II

        (Teddibly sorry, chaps. Transmission developed somthing of a problem.
T'won't happen again. Tally ho.)

     Visitors to  the Synergia Ranch  interviewed by the  
[ITALICS]Voice[italics] concur
with Veysey's account  that Allen's grim  apocalyptic vision would  be
drummed  into group members' heads during bizarre, rambling discourses
over dinner.  As part of its dining  ritual, group members would first
don  theater masks. Then, afer a round of primal howling and chanting,
a rule of  absolute silence would prevail  during the meal.  At least,
until Allen would  begin to speak. Allen's monologues  would pound home
the  dangers   of  the   "hydrogen   bomb  and   the  destruction   of
civilization,"  wrote  Veysey.  At  one  point  Geiger  counters  were
purchased and passed out to  his follwers. Allen would reminisce about
how, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, his response had been to board a
plane and head  for a neutral location.  In 1971 Allen told  his group
before  Veysey, in  words  that  could easily  be  applied to  today's
Biosphere, "The Builders of the New Age must always carry on somewhere
in the world."

     And  there was  a  darker side  to  life at  Synergia  Ranch than
nightly tales of nuclear holocaust.  Basing his program on the rigidly
authoritarian  manner of  early 2Oth  century  Greek-born cult  mystic
G. I.  Gurdjieff,  John  Allen  allowed  no  dissent,  no  independent
thought,   and  enforced   a  practice  of   systematic  psychological
confrontation. Allen would  precede his dinnertime harangues  with the
simple,  stomach-churning query, "Any  confessions?" If there  were no
volunteers for abuse, Allen would select one.
     "Suddenly  it might  be anywhere,"  Veysey  wrote. "[Allen]  will
explode into wrath, usually directed at one person. Clearly in control
of  himself  one minute,  in the  next  he will  be shouting  the most
hurtful  words conceivable in a  furious {*filter*} upon  the ego of some
trapped individual. . . He will seize  upon what appear to be innocent
failures  to follow  precise  instructions  and  transform  them  into
calculated acts of  sabotage. . . He reiterates his  accusations until
no possible  response is left. Then, all at  once, his tirade comes to
an end and everyone continues as if nothing had happened."
     The synergists had  actually come together for the  first time in
1967 as a Northern New  Mexico avant-garde theater company with Johnny
Dolphin-- Allen's preferred pseudonym-- as its director. It then moved
to Haight-Ashbury for a stint,  then to New York,  and in 1969 to  the
Synergia Ranch, where Veysey found them two years later. As  the group
evolved throughout the '70s and  '80s, the theater company remained at
its core.
     Today's  managerial and  scientific  elite  of  the  Biosphere  2
project  can all  be traced  directly back  to John  Allen's so-called
"Theatre of All Possibilities":

     John  Allen  himself,  "Johnny  Dolphin,"  is  now  "director  of
     Scientific Development" and "leader" of the Biosphere project.

     Margret  Augustine, "CEO of  Space Biospheres Ventures"  and "co-
     architect" of the  entire project, was known as  "Firefly" in the
     theater group where she reportedly served as wardrobe {*filter*}.

     Mark   Nelson,  "Chairman  of   the  Institute  of  Ecotechnics,"
     "Director of  Space Applications"  for the  Biosphere and  seeond
     only to  Allen in defining  the group's philosophy, was  known as
     "Green" in the theater troupe.

     Kathelin  Hoffman, "Director of the Institute of Ecotechnics" and
     member  of  the  Biosphere's "Scientific  Review  Committee," was
     known on the ranch and inside the theater as "Honey."

     Deborah  Parrish-Snyder,  "director  of  Synergetic  Press"   and
     "Information  Director" of  the  Institute  for Ecotechnics,  was
     known as "Tango."

     In  addition,  at  least  five   of  the  eight  members  of  the
Biosphere's  crew-- people  chosen ostensibly  to  carry out  history-
making  scientific  research--  are either  long-standing  members  of
Allen's disciplined  inner circle or  more recent recruits.  Among the
crew there is  only one scientist of renown,  University of California
at  Los Angeles's Dr.  Roy Walford, who  has for  years orbited around
John Allen's projects.
     The theater  group flourished  at Synergia  Ranch at least  until
1983, when it  was closed in the  wake of a bizarre,  {*filter*}y incident.
That year Johann Hansler, a German circus clown who had performed at a
Fort Worth function for the theater group, was invited back for a stay
at  the New  Mexico ranch.  One afternoon,  ranch dweller  Bernd Zabel
handed the  clown his .357 magnum and urged  him to take some pot-shot
target  practice in  one of  the  commune's storage  yards. One  round
punctured an old refrigerator-- which just happened to be stuffed with
dynamite. A storm of shrapnel ripped  through the yard, taking with it
the clown's left leg.
     Synergia  Ranch  had  to  be  sold  off  as  part  of a  $400,000

settlement levied against  owner Marie "Flash" Allen-- today  a member
of  the Biosphere's  "scientific review  committee"--  and others  but
there seems to  have been relatively little fallout  from the accident
within the group. Gun-owner Bernd Zabel is not only listed as "general
manager of construction"  for the Biosphere, but has  also been chosen
as one of the eight members of the first human crew.

[BOLD]Hooking the Big Fish [bold]

     The cost  of the  court settlement posed  no scrious  problem for
Allen's  group. A  decade earlier, in  1973, he  had recruited  to his
ensemble a key player: Edward P.  Bass. Bass as in Bass Brothers,  one
of the richest families  of Texas. Ed Bass  is the man who has  put up
the $100 million behind the Biosphere and  who sits as chairman of the
holding company that manages it.
     Compared to his stalwart, rock-ribbed brothers Robert and Sid, Ed
Bass  is known in  the outside world  as the reclusive,  quirky-- even
flaky-- younger  brother. Inside Johnny  Allen's theater group,  he is
known as "Sharkey" or  "Boz." Ed Bass gives  no press interviews.  But
sources close  to the synergists say  that Ed Bass was  a disgruntled,
dropout multimillionaire, who  was passing his time  dawdling with the
ecology and "throwing pots" in New Mexico when Allen courted  and then
recruited him to the commune [ITALICS]cum[italics] theater.
     Allen's group  probably would have  faded into one more  piece of
'60s memorabilia if Ed Bass had not pumped money into it as quickly as
his oil and real estate interests could  generate it. Over the last 17
years  the Bass  millions have  been  used to  establish an  intricate
network of enterprises  and companies-- all with Bass  himself, Allen,
and  his associates at the  center. These include a multithousand-acre
ranch in  Australia, a  hotel in  Katmandu, a  "scientific conference"
center in  France, a theater  cultural center  in Fort Worth  known as
"The  Caravan of Dreams," a bizarre concrete-hulled "research vessel,"
the  [ITALICS]Heraclitus[italics] (which recently  sunk), the London-based  
Institute of
Ecotechnics,  which acts  as  "scientific  consultant"  to  the  other
projects, and finally, since 1985-- Biosphere 2 in the Arizona Desert.
     Unfailingly  promoted as "ecological  research" projects, and for
the most part accepted  as such by reporters who stumble  across them,
the sheer scope  and authoritative packaging of the Allen/Bass network
reeks of respectability. [ITALICS]The Washington Post Magazine[italics], for
example, in
a breathless cover  story on the Biosphere anointed  the "Institute of
Ecotechnics" as an "avant-garde idea-hatchery in London that for years
[has]  been developing  and managing  ecological  projects around  the
world."
     But a 1985  series of  investigative reports  in Bass's  hometown
[ITALICS]Fort Worth  Star-Telegram[italics] and in  the [ITALICS]Dallas
Morning News[italics]--  work work
virtually  ignored  by  today's  Biosphere  boosters  in  the  media--
revealed  that   while  the   synergists  had   now  acquired  a   new
corporate/scientific  veneer, it  was  exactly that;  a  thin coat  of
cosmetic varnish over the same old cult.
     A  piercing  documentary  aired  by  the   Canadian  Broadcasting
Corporation in 1989 shows  the London Institute of Ecotechnics  (IE)--
the supposed brain center  of the Allen operation-- to be nothing more
than a London art  gallery and caf . Its on-site manager  said that in
its history, it has granted  six "degrees" for job-related work-- most
of them going  to officials of  the Biosphere. In fact,  Biosphere CEO
and "co-architect"  Margaret Augustine's  only degree  is from IE--  a
fact she admitted  on-camera. A number of the  official biographies of
the eight Biosphere crew members prominently list  association with IE
as their principal scientific bona fides.
     The  Texas  investigative  articles,  the  CBC  documentary,  and
intensive follow-up work by the [ITALICS]Voice[italics] demonstrate that in
spite of its
multimillion-dollar fronts, including the Biosphere, not only does the
core group of Allen's  theater troupe run all of the global projects--
through the  paper instrument of IE--  but that it also  operates with
much the  same methodology and  philosophy of the original  New Mexico
commune.

[BOLD]Did Someone Say Mars?[bold]
     California writer/lecturer Terrence McKenna, an expert on natural
psychedelic   substances,  is  one   of  the  hundreds   of  authentic
researchers  and scientists  who over  the last  two decades  has been
lured into  collaborating on  one of the  synergist projects.  In 1980
McKenna   and  his  brother,  a  professional  botanist,  received  an
invitation  on  stationery  from  the French  subsidiary  (!)  of  the
Institute  of Ecotechnics  inviting  him  to make  use  of a  research
vessel-- the ...

read more »



Sun, 06 Feb 1994 07:34:48 GMT
 
 [ 2 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

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