A former Marine whom police described as having a history of mental illness shot and wounded a pastor who had recently prayed at a Ted Cruz rally before the shooter flew to Washington in an attempt to deliver documents to the White House. According to news reports, Kyle Odom, 30, believed that prominent U.S. and Israeli officials are secretly Martians, and he demanded that Pres. Obama take stronger action against the Jewish-space alien forces that he felt ruined his life.
Odom identified dozens of members of Congress and the entire Israeli government as space aliens, adding that there were “too many” Israeli Martians to list.
There is of course a risk that discussing Odom’s beliefs could be seen as exploitative, given his apparent mental condition. However, he is not the first person to have made news while acting on delusional belief in aliens, and I feel that his beliefs provide some interesting information about how disturbed individuals make use of pop culture pseudo-history and pseudoscience to give shape to their delusions. In this case, the influence of ancient astronaut and ufology literature and media is painfully apparent, particularly in its David Icke and Jim Marrs forms, descended from Richard Shaver’s claims.
According to a manifesto Odom prepared, which was made public by KHQ-TV, he had planned a killing spree to take out people he felt were Martians or were under Martian mind control. He believed that the pastor he shot was a reptilian alien, whose eyes were “huge and bulging, the eyelids were darker green, and the irises were yellow/brown with slit pupils.” In a caption to an accompanying drawing, Odom described the aliens as looking like “Muppets.” Here is how he depicted one:
The image is notably similar to internet images of Reptilian aliens, as well as to images of Mesopotamian art reproduced in ancient astronaut books and websites, like this one:
Odom claimed that the pastor he shot threatened him through Bible verses sent by text message, and he described hearing voices that he interpreted as telepathic messages from aliens, which escalated to heterosexual and homosexual alien-human sexual fantasies and what he believed to be uncontrollable psychic sexual stimulation of his body. These sexual experiences were paired with revelations from the aliens that humans are their genetic creation. Odom claimed that he experienced so much sexual abuse from the aliens that he attempted suicide.
Odom said he first made contact with trans-dimensional beings through meditation, just as Graham Hancock alleged that altered states of consciousness allowed him to interact with trans-dimensional beings, who also attacked him.
In claims reminiscent of people suffering from paranoia, Odom said that he was being followed, that the aliens tried and failed to control his mind, and that his actions were being sabotaged. His claims about Martians were woven into a narrative of personal failure related to his inability to find work and the difficulties he experienced in college, graduate school, and pharmacy school. Although an outside observer would attribute these setbacks he described to mental illness, Odom placed blame outside himself, and beyond the Earth.
In a letter Odom attempted to deliver to Pres. Obama last night, he told the president that he knew that Obama was in contact with a space alien who claimed to love Obama and he asked Obama why he let the aliens “humiliate” him instead of taking action against them.
In his manifesto, Odom described himself as “100% sane, 0% crazy” before detailing his ancient astronaut theory, which involved amphibious humanoids similar to Oannes, the infamous fish-magician of Babylonian myth promoted as an amphibious space alien in ancient astronaut literature. Odom believes that Martians live within the Earth and the moon, have highly advanced technology, and use human beings as sex slaves and breeding stock. He describes them as “arrogant” and claims they have the ability to travel between dimensions.
Odom’s version of Martians quite closely tracks stereotypes about gender. He identifies Martian males as hypersexual, hyper-aggressive, and obsessed with power and control. Oddly, he did not describe female Martians but did claim that the God of the Bible was a space alien. “Martians are responsible for the God myth,” he said, adding that we must resist the Martians to save the Earth from suffering the same catastrophic destruction that ruined the environment on Mars.
All of these claims can be found in ancient astronaut literature, particularly the work of David Icke and Jim Marrs, and on the television shows Ancient Aliens and Unsealed: Alien Files. While we obviously cannot place blame at the hands of these media, and disturbed individuals will turn to whatever is at hand, the close mixture of ancient astronaut, anti-Semitic, and New Age claims in Odom’s delusions is unlikely to have arisen independently of the fringe media stew. It is testament to the pervasiveness of fringe ideas that they have become a substitute mythology that individuals weave into their personal narratives.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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