SchwaSchwaSchwa’s past is slightly blurred, but it is generally held that thereligion has its roots in ancient Egypt. A small breakaway group are believed tohave gathered regularly to exchange news and, on occasion, personal accounts oflandings by what they called `star-creatures’. These beings were identical tothe Egyptian gods, and their belief was that these beings came to their land,from their home amongst the stars, disguised as animals with which they werefamiliar (the jackal, the cat etc).
Some hieroglyphics have been uncovered byarchaeologists which, according to Schwa followers, are the originalinscriptions of members of the ancient religion, but have been wronglyinterpreted by `UFO fanatics’ as proof that aliens built the pyramids. Thisleads non-believers to give little weight to what was “actually a true andproper religion”. Since those primitive days the religion has developed enormously, butthe biggest and most important advancements have only come in the past decade. Previously, followers had only gathered in what could be described as `sects’ inmany different countries, with the highest concentration being in North America.
It wasn’t until 1986 that Jeff Krantz, a 19 year old art student at theUniversity of Michigan, started came to be known as `The Union’, a wave ofchange that would sweep across the world over a period of two years, and wouldresult in united international Schwa religion. “I had just been transferred from (the University of) Wisconsin in theearlier part of that year,” Krantz says. “I had attended regular meetings withabout half a dozen other believers. We met one night each week to talk aboutstuff related to our belief – that the Earth, and everything on it, was createdby extraterrestrial beings.
I guess you could say they’re on the same level asthe gods of other religions, but we believe that our creators are actual living,breathing beings, not spirits; an analogy would be our superiority overcreatures which we created through gene technology, DNA splicing or whatever. “At one of these meetings we decided that we should have some sort ofsymbol that we could make into stickers. Each of us could then stick them onbooks or wherever, just to get people thinking about what theycould mean, andalso to bring the group together under an identifiable symbol – kind of like aflag. “The task fell to Adrian Blackwell, another art student whom Krantz sawoften outside of these meetings. “The idea for the sticker kind of came to mewhen I was on acid,” Blackwell recalls, smiling. “Actually, I saw these twosymbols at the same time, almost; an alien head and a starfish.
The starfishdidn’t really do anything for me, so I drew the other one and the other guysloved it. ” A copy of the design is on the cover page. “Yeah, the design was great,” says Krantz, “but I thought it needed somesort of name. That Saturday night I went to a party. I got smashed, and thenthis name sort of appeared in my head : `Schwaerozni’.
I knew it couldn’t havebeen an accident. Anyway, when I went to write it under the design before wesent it to have the stickers made, I could only fit in `Schwa’. The name stuck. “After his move to Wisconsin, Krantz stayed in touch with his fellowbelievers in Michigan. He began working part time at a hardware store for a fewmonths. His last day at the store was the turning point for the religion.
“Iused to steal solvent from the store, take it to my dorm and sniff it,” helaughs. “Pretty pathetic, really. Finally my boss caught on to what I was doing,and he called me into his office. He gave me a big lecture about the stupidityof sniffing solvent, the fact that he could have had me charged with shoplifting,don’t ruin your life, blah blah blah.
Then he gave me my last paycheck – minusthe cost of a can of solvent. That night I was pretty pissed off, and I sniffeda little more than usual. I was climbing onto the roof to see if I could flywhen I thought of this brilliant joke. I thought it was so funny that I forgotall about flying and just went back to my room to write it down before I forgotabout it.
Later on I told it to the other guys over. Although it had nothing todo with Schwa, they all said that something about it reminded them of it. “”We all thought the joke was kind of spooky, yeah,” Blackwell says. “Butthe weirdest thing was the dream I had that night.
I saw an alien being come outof a craft, approach me, and touch m. . . .
. y forehead. Then I saw a page from the phonebook, zooming in on the University of Wisconsin’s listing. Then Jeff’s full nameappeared. After that, a map of North America appeared. It slowly zoomed in onWisconsin, showing more and more detail, until the whole of my vision was filledwith the University campus.
An arrow flashed, pointing at the dormitories. ThenI woke up. “The next day we had a meeting. Each of us was exited. We just lookedaround at each other, and we knew.
Each of us had had the same dream. We knewthat it was really a carrier for that message. We had to tell everyone we knewthe joke. It was a pretty good one, the type you’d tell friends anyway, and itwasn’t dirty so you could tell anyone. But no-one seemed to report any strangedreams afterwards, or even act strange.
So, we just decided that the dream onlycame to believers. “”They were right about that,” says Krantz, raising his eyes to heaven. “The Uni hated me! Or at least, whoever sorted the mail did. I got a little overtwo thousand letters over the next year – hundreds from Americans only in thefirst couple of months, then from all over the world as the joke spread.
“Followers now hold this joke as a sacred message from their creators,and since others did not notice anything unusual about it, it has been almostimpossible to trace. However, by freak coincidence, a researcher into conspiracytheories, Garo Yellin, was looking at a relative’s photos from a trip to Germanyin 1990 when he noticed a message scrawled on the Berlin Wall in the backgroundof one picture. The thing that really grabbed his attention was a crude drawingof an alien head, much like the Schwa symbol. He enlarged the picture to see themessage written next to the head. It was, as far as he could see, this: “Vennist das nurnstuck git und slotermeyer? Ya! Beigerhund das oder die Flipperwaldtgersput!” Translation attempts have been made, but apparently this is in a codeknown only to Schwa followers, in order to protect the joke.
“Every letter I got said the same sort of thing,” Krantz continues. “These people had the same beliefs I did, and the dream had revealed my identityto them. They looked to me now as a leader. I had been chosen to lead my fellowbelievers in one united faith, which for obvious reasons, I decided to callSchwa. They were of all ages and denominations, but since we are all of lowlystatus under our creators – and our lives are momentary compared to theirs -they had no problems with me leading them.
“The main concern of the religion is to worship their alien creators inreadiness for the coming day of judgment. “Who knows when they will come?” saysKrantz. “All I know is that when they do, they will be performing a little . . .
weeding, shall we say? They’re going to polish off their creation. All thingsyou or I consider bad or annoying or dangerous will be made likable, or eveneradicated. And we, sentient beings that we are, will be judged – not by therighteousness of our actions, but by our worship of them. Then, all those whodid not follow them will be removed from the Earth and from our memories – wewill feel no loss or sadness – and we will be left only with happy and peacefulthoughts, and in a Utopian world. “Some, knowing the origins of Schwa, say it is a cult based onintoxication.
Well, it is in a way, but their is a deeper purpose for this. Whenintoxicated by some form of drug, we are still awake, but there is a subtle linkwith the subconscious. We are more receptive to the messages our creators wishto plant in our minds. Hallucinations are not caused by the intoxicationdirectly, but by them, trying to reach us. However,” he laughs, “if you fallover or try to fly, that’s the drug talking!”Their only festival is held each year on June 12, the date of theincident in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
“That day,” says Krantz, “a mist ofsome sort caused masses of people to hallucinate simultaneously. They say theysaw a UFO land, and aliens coming out of the craft. This hallucination was awarning from our creators of the coming day of judgment. ” In celebration of this,followers meet secretly, take drugs, and chant the following : “Oona Schwagallumbits dangk!” Once again, this seems to be in some sort of code. The onlyintelligible translation yet given seems to be a joke on the part of thetranslator : “Schwa for tuna-safe dolphin meat!” But the true meaning of this,like their sacred joke, they keep secret.