Camel's Hair and Locusts: Invasion of the Soul Snatchers




In the 1956 sci-fi cult classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers,  Dr. Miles Bennell returns home from a medical conference to find his hometown of Santa Mira, California, in the midst of a silent and invisible, yet growing and deadly crisis.  "At first glance, everything looked the same," he tells his audience in a voice-over that sets up the story about to unfold.  "It wasn't.  Something evil had taken possession of the town."  Indeed, something had.  And, of course, what unfolds is the now familiar tale of seeds that arrive from outer space, take root in a nearby farmer's field, and produce seed pods that replicate the townspeople and replace them with inhuman, unemotional duplicates while they sleep.  A boy's mother isn't his mother, yet here she is, quietly and calmly the same as ever.  A young woman's uncle isn't her uncle, yet there he is, unfazed and about his familiar chores as usual.  And on it goes...

For Dr. Bennell, the peaceful and familiar facade of this small town, "any-town" America gradually gives way to the horrific realization that these alien duplicates are coldly, effectively and relentlessly about the task of taking over first Santa Mira, then the nation and the world, one person, one family, one town at a time.  Through resolve, sheer determination and luck, he ends up being the one yet to be replicated citizen of Santa Mira to make it out of town and to the highway, where he frantically and hysterically runs from car to car with his urgent warning:

"Help! Wait! Stop! Stop and listen to me!... These people who're coming after me are not human!  Look, you fools, you're in danger!  Can't you see?!  They're after you!  They're after all of us!  Our wives, our children, everyone!  THEY'RE HERE ALREADY! YOU'RE NEXT!"

Diane Reidy, who in recent days has become the most famous stenographer in America, is also the latest public example of life imitating art, as she spoke a warning reminiscent of Dr. Miles Bennell's to the U.S. House of Representatives and, it turns out, the nation and the world.  Mrs. Reidy is the wife of non-denominational pastor Dan Reidy, and this couple, along with their seven year old twin daughters, present to us an image of the all-American family that would fit in seamlessly in the fictional world of 1950's Santa Mira, California.  In period dress and hairstyles, we can easily see Dan as a local pastor, and Diane as a secretary.  In fact, she'd be a nice fit as the receptionist in Dr. Miles Bennell's office.  And given Diane's remarks from the House floor, we would certainly be safe in assuming that no insidious alien organism had yet grown her duplicate in a pod and assumed her identity -- which does happen to the good doctor's receptionist in the film.     

Here is how this event was preserved on Wikipedia for all posterity -- until it was deleted and created a momentary, last minute editorial crisis.  Fortunately, the original post was preserved intact on the Day's World blog:

"Diane Reidy is an official stenographer for the U.S. House of Representatives. On the evening of October 16, 2013 Reidy was forcibly removed from the house when she interrupted the proceedings by speaking into a microphone to all those assembled.  The late night session of the house of representatives was in the process of counting votes for legislation to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, averting a possible unprecedented default on the U.S. debt. Reidy's outburst occurred at the culmination of a major fiscal and governmental crisis, coinciding with historically low public approval of congress.

"The media reaction to Reidy's statement described it as a 'rant', a 'meltdown' and 'crazy'.  In contrast, the fiscal crisis created by the politicians cost the United States an estimated 24 billion dollars, shut down major parts of the civil service for 16 days, and damaged the country's reputation internationally."

Here is a reconstructed transcript of what Diane Reidy said:

"He will not be mocked!  He will not be mocked!  The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under God!  It never was!  Had it been, it would not have been...   No, it would not have been...  The constitution would not have been written by Freemasons!  They go against God!  You cannot serve two masters!  You cannot serve two masters!  Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ..."

Like Diane Reidy's remarks, those of Dr. Miles Bennell concerning the alien presence in Santa Mira can also be referred to as a "rant," a "meltdown" and "crazy."  This scene is often described using just these terms, or ones very much like them.  And, like Dr. Bennell's remarks, this makes her's no less true within the context of the U.S. House of Representatives than his were within the context of Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- and no less frightening.

Since last month's column contained elements of a rant on some Catholic media, it seems no more than right to point to a couple of Catholic writers who made some fair and cogent observations concerning this incident.  Thomas McDonald, who writes the God and the Machine blog, had this to say about Diane Reidy's comments in a piece entitled, "The Congressional Stenographer and the Holy Spirit:"

"Honestly, is there anything in that paragraph that says, “nuts” to you? Anything at all? Because I got nothing here.

"Like Reidy, I’m a bit … cautious about the idea that America’s founding enjoyed some kind of divine sanction.

"Even if it did, what of it? The one nation in history that surely enjoyed the favor of God was Israel, and the Old Testament is one long story about the Israelites wandering off in search of strange gods while the One God yanks her leash to bring her back in line.

"As for the Freemasons, Reidy isn’t the only one troubled by the involvement of a secretive organisation with occult trappings being present at the founding, and shaping the destiny of the nation to such a degree that their esoteric symbolism still marks our money and monuments. There’s a reason Catholics and Freemasons don’t mix."

And Mark Shea, who writes the Catholic and Enjoying It blog, along with numerous pieces for  other publications (including this one), had this to say about Mr. McDonald's article:

"One of the many reasons I love Tom McDonald is that he doesn’t go for the cheap and obvious, but tries [to] have human empathy for odd people.  In that, he is deeply Catholic since we are a Church of odd people.  The world says, "Don’t stick out or be strange. Fit in!"  Even the most non-conformist worldling tends to be part of a herd of independent minds all bravely facing the applause of their peers. The Faith celebrates true eccentrics. Cuz now and then they turn out to be prophets."

Amen to that.  The Old Testament is also one long story about the Israelites that points this truth out repeatedly -- and for these old time prophets, "eccentrics" is putting it rather kindly.  Such modern eccentrics as the fictional Dr. Miles Bennell, and the very real Diane Reidy, are all the more effective and powerful as prophets because they possess a genuine, traditional American normalcy from which they proclaim a message that is, by contrast, widely perceived to be insane.  They must be in some kind of meltdown.  They must be crazy.  Or they just might be prophets.

For Diane Reidy, proclaimed by her husband and virtually all who know her to be a paragon of this genuine, traditional American normalcy, her behavior was both a deviation from this norm and inspired by God, as evidenced by this October 17 quote from The Daily Beast:

"'For the past 2 and 1/2 weeks, the Holy Spirit has been waking me up in the middle of the night and preparing me (through my reluctance and doubt) to deliver a message in the House Chamber,' Reidy told Fox. 'That is what I did last night.'"

And, in an interview with Michael Daly of The Daily Beast, Dan Reidy concurs with his wife's understanding of this episode:

"'Waking several times a night feeling that God’s just been pressing on her to open a Bible and get into his word,' Dan Reidy says. 'Reading a Bible is not foreign to us, but getting up in the middle of the night definitely is. It’s just not a part of our life.'"

"The circumstances were so unusual as to make a command from on high seem all the more real to her.

"'If that’s not’s (sic) God’s spirit…' Dan says."

While some in Catholic and other Christian media are at least open to giving Diane Reidy the benefit of the doubt concerning the possibility that her self claimed divine inspiration might just be genuine, Mr. Daly feels it necessary to insert the somewhat self-conscious disclaimer, "The circumstances were so unusual as to make a command from on high seem all the more real to her," before proceeding to finish the quote from Dan Reidy that indicates his belief that it was exactly that: a command from on high; "God's spirit."  This represents the underlying assumption of the secular, mainstream media which is that God does not insert Himself into the lives of mortal human beings in this way, and that anyone who believes differently, and behaves accordingly, is delusional, crazy, and must be in the midst of a psychiatric meltdown.  Michael Daly's fear of even the appearance that he might accept the reality of the Reidys' as his own is such that he feels the need to insert an editorial disclaimer to the contrary in mid-quote so as to make his own sanity -- and the position of the publication he writes for -- completely understood.  And the dark and ironic humor latent in this is found in the idea that a publication that calls itself The Daily Beast goes to such pains to reassure the public that it puts no stock in divine revelation.

The secular, mainstream media is merely reflective of the government of the United States which sanctions it.  This whole situation with Diane Reidy is perhaps most interesting in that it points out exactly how much this is so by demonstrating how tightly our spiritual reality has come to be defined for us by the government, and how this definition is then spun to the waiting public as an assumed and unassailable truth.  Anyone who believes in God, studies the Scriptures, and prays and receives answer to prayer that inspires the proclamation of the revealed truth of God in public (and it gets no more public than the halls of Congress) is unequivocally and certifiably insane: a danger to oneself and society at large.  As Catholics and Christians, this should concern us because the Biblical tradition in Testaments both Old and New, and the history of the Church and the world for the past two millennia, are soaked in the blood of those who have done exactly this, including, and especially, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Himself.       

It is also interesting that this episode has taken place as the motion picture The Fifth Estate is quickly fading into oblivion as the unqualified flop of the year.  It deserves this fate.  However, it is a well made and thought provoking film as well as one which is highly compromised.  It poses then answers the question of why Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks empire had to be brought down, eventually coming to focus on the revealed atrocities of the U.S. government and military in Afghanistan, and the way in which the publication of classified documents and private diplomatic correspondence endangered the lives of innocent individuals.  In the end, it is Assange's most trusted collaborators who determine that the greater good is served by destroying the WikiLeaks database to assure more innocent lives are not jeopardized.  This also assures that this unique window into the clandestine, highly unethical and grossly immoral functioning of not only the U.S. government, but the entire global community, is closed.  And the film leaves us with the message that the phoenix that will arise from the ashes of the WikiLeaks experience will be a Fifth Estate that will so inform the Fourth so as to assure we, the people, an even greater access to the truth: a laundered, tightly defined political truth, designed to dovetail neatly with our tightly defined and anti-Christian spiritual reality.  It is a propaganda piece within a propaganda piece, and the public isn't buying it.  Good for them.

The goal of this column remains that of pointing out that the dilemma we face in America runs far deeper than debating whether it is the Democrat or the Republican devil that is the greater of the evils we face.  It is instead the devil they both serve: the devil who tells us Diane Reidy is crazy, and the devil who points to Julian Assange and tells us to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."   It is the devil whose minions pull feverishly at the levers of worldly power, and write to us of smooth things and deceits in the mainstream press.

The point Diane Reidy illustrates for us should be well taken:  The United States was founded by Freemasons and deists, and it never was intended to be a "Christian" nation (especially in the way that this has been defined for us by the so-called "religious right").  As Catholics, we should quickly recognize the former as a holdover from the ancient pagan mystery religions, and the  latter as heretical to the highest degree: the Freemasons as a longstanding and anti-Catholic occult secret society, and the deists as Protestants who had, by the time of the founding of the United States, theologically and spiritually removed God so far from the human equation that it is truly inaccurate to call them Christian.  What they came up with was the idea of an elective government that would mirror the hearts and minds of the people, and that would ideally reflect the deepest and most noble inner workings of the best of these hearts and minds.  When these hearts and minds are Christian, so goes the country.  And, when this ceases to be the case, the result is what we have now: a government that has lost its Christian identity because the soul of the majority has ceased to be Christian in any meaningful way.  In a government founded upon the principles of being "of the people, by the people and for the people," when said people lose their souls to the rampant and jealous secularism of the post-modern culture -- a culture that has moved on to a place in time in which the Cross is no longer perceived to have any relevance -- then the government of, by, and for these people will reflect this reality.  And so it does, and so Diane Reidy called out those who are the representatives of this soulless populace as God so directed her to do.  And the lesson stands for all of us to see. 

Before the release of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the hopelessness of the story was seen as so stark that the studio insisted that an alternate ending be added to the film that offered a ray of hope.  In this alternate ending, Dr. Miles Bennell's seemingly insane story is validated by an accident in which a truck has overturned on the highway and spilled its load of strange, alien seedpods.  The psychiatrist evaluating him suddenly realizes the truth of his strange tale and, in turn, alerts the authorities.  Diane Reidy has gone to Washington D.C. and learned, to her horror, that these authorities are possessed of an evil similar to that which afflicted the residents of mythical Santa Mira, California; an insidious evil that snatches not merely the bodies of its victims, but their very souls.  And the true terror in her tale is found in the greater realization that these authorities are merely the representatives of their constituencies, populated by like and countless soulless automatons, who have chosen, of their own free will, to sacrifice their faith in Jesus Christ upon the altar of an inhuman and godless secularism.

Because of this, the United States stands deeply mired in crisis at the crossroads of history.  The government is comprised of two soulless parties, each of which offers a hypocritical and false lip service to God, and neither of which looks to heaven for guidance.  They offer alternatives designed to put the people at each others throats, and they offer no real solutions, merely different routes to the ruin of the nation: a looming disaster of Biblical proportion that includes economic collapse, governmental breakdown, and apocalyptic social upheaval.  Diane Reidy has warned us and, like Dr. Miles Bennell, she has been shuttled off for psychiatric evaluation.  And when Julian Assange turned over a truck full of seedpods on the information superhighway, the soulless scriveners of Hollywood came up with The Fifth Estate, which stands as a cop at this intersection of information and history, and tells us all to move along; that there is nothing to see here. 

What remains to be seen is whether or not those last Christians among us will react or merely go quietly into that last goodnight.  Are there still those who have not fallen asleep in their faith and awakened to find their souls absorbed coldly, effectively and relentlessly into the godless secularism of these last days in America?  Are there any who will not succumb to the calming suggestion of those who have already lost their souls; who urge them to just relax and let the godless future come -- that it's a good thing?  To those like Diane Reidy, who remain awake, unchanged and true to Christ, the haunting words of Dr. Miles Bennell echo down through time and space from an imaginary highway leading away from the mythical town of Santa Mira, California:    

"Help! Wait! Stop! Stop and listen to me!... These people who're coming after me are not human!  Look, you fools, you're in danger!  Can't you see?!  They're after you!  They're after all of us!  Our wives, our children, everyone!  THEY'RE HERE ALREADY! YOU'RE NEXT!"

Invasion of the Body Snatchers quotes from Wikiquote: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 film)

--Phil Ropp

Phil Ropp is the owner of the news portal Radio New Jerusalem.