Gene Roddenberry, Howard Baker
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry
was an American screenwriter of science fiction stories, and founder of the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Vulcan
. Originally hailing from El Paso, Texas, his family moved to Los Angeles when his father passed the Civil Service exam and was employed as a police officer. During his childhood, Young Gene developed a fascination for science fiction. As an adult, he worked both as a police officer and a pilot for the US Army Air Corps.
During this time, he experienced a traumatic flight accident when his plane overshot the runway, resulting in him being the only survivor. While a later inquiry absolved him of responsibility, the accident would have a tremendous impact on the rest of his life.
Following his stint in the service, Roddenberry worked as a free-lance writer for various radio and television shows. Around this time, Roddenberry also became fascinated with the occult and eastern religions. His dabbling in the occult led him to write down his observations and ideas in what would be later published as The Journal
. Here, the ideas of what would be later called Vulcanism
. He started holding hosting meetings with friends and colleagues concerning his ideas, leading him to found the Order.
Roddenberry claimed that following the plane crash he had been abducted by a race of aliens that referred to themselves as “Vulcans.” The Vulcans resembled humans in almost every way with the exception of pointed eyebrows and ears, much like older depictions of Satan. He learned from their leader “Spock” that the ills of the world – war, hatred, poverty, disease, religious fanaticism – are because humans are plagued by an irrational side to their personality. Humans were more than capable of evolving past this vestigial attitude, but were held back by a race referred to in the Vulcan tongue as “Klingons.” This insidious race was not a corporeal one, but their influence was broad in the world. While all men were under some of their influence in one degree or another, some men were more completely possessed by them, men like Long
, and others who sought to keep men in a perpetual state of servitude to fear and emotion. In order to achieve a higher state of evolution such as the Vulcans had achieved, mankind must rid itself of the influence of Klingons through the abolition of irrationality and restraining institutions such as the state, corporations, and organized religion (The reason why Satan was depicted as a Vulcan in order to keep humanity from attaining a similar level of enlightenment). Roddenberry was sent back as a “channel” for the ideas of Vulcan. According to him, the last words he heard from Spock were: “Humanity will one day rise like a Great Bird over the galaxy.”
In its early years, Vulcanism was dismissed as another fringe cult, like many that had developed in Los Angeles at that time. However, by the 1970’s and 80’s, their ranks had grown, even as many had laughed off their beliefs. Around this time, Roddenberry’s rhetoric had increased in intensity and vitriol in his private meetings with followers. He believed that the Klingon’s hold on earth’s leadership was too strong to overthrow by peaceful means. In 1987, one of his followers took matters into her own hands. On October 18, 1987, Hayley Fountain
charged at President Baker – purportedly while screaming “Die, you f*&king Klingon!” - while he was visiting the Griffith Observatory and shot him twice before being wrestled to the ground by Secret Service agents. Baker was rushed to the hospital, later dying from internal injuries.
Fountain’s Vulcanian connections sparked what became known as the “Vulcanic Panic,
” with many feared the extent to which Vulcanists had permeated the highest levels of society. Roddenberry, aided by friends, managed to flee to Ursalia
before then going to Bangkok
where he evaded attempts at extradition to the United States. He remained in exile for years before he died in 1991 from a heart attack. Some conspiracy theorists posit that he lived much longer, and controlled his network of Vulcanist agents that permeate the United States government. A fringe group of Vulcanists still exist after much of the initial structure fell apart with Roddenberry’s flight, though some contend that the original Order still exists as a clandestine organization.