by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
A small act of kindness had saved Vivi’s life on the night of December 15, 1990, however, Vivi’s creation of a communication system that was the forerunner of personal E-mail, saved my sanity throughout the remainder of my time in Virginia. We were able to send instant messages back and forth across the Atlantic. They varied in content from being expressions of our deepest feelings for each other to what was happening in our lives that day to merely stating weather conditions.
Between the ages of 16 to 27, Vivi did some things that she was quite ashamed of. She described them in her FAX transmissions. I promised Vivi that I would only mention events covered by her mini-movie in 1992. In return, Vivi wanted to know a detailed account of my childhood and the past relationships I had with gals in high school, college and up to my marriage. Especially, since several of my ex-girlfriends are subscribers to the Americas Revealed, I will not discuss this information. They are irrelevant to this story, anyway.
When I became aware that the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Department had illegally bugged my home and telephone line without a warrant, a gentleman with a French accent came out to my farm and installed a crypticization device inside my fax machine that was used by military intelligence operatives in NATO countries. Even Virginia State Police snoopers would have no clue what Vivi and I were writing to each other, unless they had the final printed pages . . . which I burned promptly after reading.
Communications and personal finance technology had changed radically in the 20 years since I toured Mexico. Only extremely wealthy people had access to credit and debit cards in 1970. By 1990, most middle-class people had several bank and oil company credit cards. There were no cellular phones or personal computers in 1970. The only reason that Alicia Moreno and I were not able to find each other, was the lack of the internet. Internet-based email would not really get going until 1999, but Vivi’s system worked almost as well . . . and was much more secure.
For the first time in my life, I was involved in live combat . . . ironically against American soldiers, who had become traitors. To aid in that effort, a recently retired US Army Brigadier General from Culpepper, VA, stopped by the farm, ostensibly to buy cheese, but handed me a top-secret scanner that could pick up and unscramble all local law enforcement, US Army field radio and helicopter radio transmissions.
A military attaché from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, also stopped by ostensibly to buy cheese, but handed me a top-secret night-vision goggle, recently developed by the Israeli Defense Forces. It was invisible to Soviet and US Army night vision goggles, yet could see the US and Soviet starlight lenses up to three miles away. Oh, did I mention that the Israeli lenses could also see UFO’s in the sky that were invisible to the naked eye? Yes, things got that weird in 1991.
A series of incomprehensible, bizarre events followed the conjunction of Vivi and I. I really would not understand how deeply I had been betrayed by most people around me, except Vivi, Sara and Bob, until my mother’s death bed confession in early 2001. However, in order to comprehend this train of events, one must travel back to 1987 then precede forward.
This chapter is a chronology of events not directly related to the romance between Vivi and I. In the next chapter, I will get back to the events of our relationship, which occurred between these bizarre events.
My former wife’s favorite movie of all time was “Body Heat”(1981) – staring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, and Richard Crenna. She rented the video four times then bought a VHS tape of it. She replayed the video so many times that the tape broke, but still treasured the broken VHS as an heirloom.
In this movie, the anti-heroine in Florida seduces a traveling salesman then persuades him to kill her husband. The anti-heroine then frames her lover. He goes to the electric chair, while she gets all of his wealth. The last scene of the movie is Kathleen Turner lounging on a beach in the tropics.
In 1981 and 1982, my wife pressured me to start making payments on two $125,000 life insurance policies. On my birthday in August 1982, the only gift she gave me was a replacement inner tube for my bicycle. The first time that I took the bike on Reems Creek Road, the tube swelled up in one location and jammed my brake calipers. I was thrown onto the pavement, smashing my face in. I was knocked out for an unknown period of time.
A passing driver woke me up and took me back home, where he assumed that I would call for an ambulance. When I returned to the house with blood dripping down my face onto my shirt and pants. She glanced at me briefly and remarked, “Oh, I wondered what had happened to you. Did you hurt yourself a bit? Well, don’t call an ambulance. We can’t afford that.” Actually, I had a severe concussion, a broken rib, a broken finger and several broken face bones, plus needed several stitches in my face. Blood seeped from around my eyes for three days. She seemed unfazed by the injuries and didn’t even help me clean off the blood before I had to drive myself to the urgent care center.
Beginning in1983, I would have sporadic periods when I had sharp cramps in my stomach after eating dinner. Simultaneously, the skin was peeling off my feet and there were strange bruises on my skin when had no known cause and were not sore. I didn’t know until 1996 that these were classic symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Actually, in the summer of 1990, a pathologist found arsenic in my blood, but he was focused on the infection that was expected to kill me within two weeks.
Moving to Virginia
We sold our farm in the Reems Creek Valley, north of Asheville, NC in August 1987. My wife immediately moved up to the Valley to start a job. I remained to carry out the complex task of moving all of our furniture, tractor equipment, cheese-making equipment and livestock. The goats, sheep and tractor equipment were moved on October 20, 1987. The next day, the herd dogs and I in my pickup accompanied the moving van containing our furniture and dairy equipment.
The home on the farm that we had purchased had not been lived in since 1950. The previous occupants had cooked over an open fire in one of the three fireplaces. There was no kitchen plumbing, electrical service or HVAC in the house. We planned to live in a rental house for about a year, while I devoted 100% of my time to restoring the house.
Once the house was livable in late 1988, I began construction on the dairy and cheese creamery. However, at this point, my ex-wife began demanding that we not build the creamery and instead put the farm up for sale and move somewhere else. The house and farm had been the grand achievement of my architecture career, so I balked on that. She told me that I would be sorry.
In July 1996, my girlfriend Julie found my ex-wife’s diary and I photocopied it. The diary described a series of extra-marital affairs over the years and (among many astonishing surprises) clearly stated that she expected to get all of the proceeds from the sale of the farm by 1990. Interesting enough, she had nothing good to say about the women and men in her past, but never really said anything about me, other than that I was constantly messing up her plans.
I might as well tell you the shocking news now. Among many things that surprised me in the diary, the most appalling was a statement made repeatedly between late 1993 and 1996. “Richard’s parents promised me a lot of money ($35,000) if I screwed Richard and got him to Georgia. They have never paid me!” I was worried about telling mother that I had met a new woman, yet she and my step-father had offered a bribe to my estranged wife to divorce me and leave me penniless! They never paid her because she secretly filed for bankruptcy in order to screw them in addition to me.
On her death bed in early 2000 . . . actually the last time she was able to make coherent words . . . my mother confessed that in 1990, they had joined a “patriotic” organization that gave them a lot of money and granted each of them, three wishes. Two of her wishes were that I be like them and that because of lack of income, I be forced to live with them for five years. I told her, “Mother that was a satanic cult!” The last words she ever spoke to me were, “We destroyed your dreams.”
The three witches and death by microbe
On October 3, 1987 three attractive women in their late 20s or early 30s drove up to my North Carolina farmhouse. They said that they were “sorority” sisters of my wife, and she said that they could dig manure from our barn. All three ladies worked for the US Forest Service. In 2012, all three ladies were high ranking administrators of either the NC USFS operations or the Southeastern Regional Office of the USFS. Yes, that’s the organization that funded, “Maya Myth Busting In the Mountains” that year.
They invited me to have dinner with them that night at their farmhouse in an adjacent county as a way of saying thank you. The meal was delicious and their company, strictly G rated. However, the next morning, when I woke up in my bed at our farm, I discovered at least 24 tiny black insects on my sheet that I did not recognize. I sprayed insecticide on them and washed the sheet.
One day later, I noticed a lesion in my groin area. The next day it was worse. I picked out one of those small black insects from the wound. Of course, it was a deer tick, but at that time there were supposedly none in Western North Carolina and I had never heard of them. About two weeks later, I became violently ill and passed out on the living room floor for over 24 hours. On the very same month that my wife’s diary said that she expected to get all the money from selling the farm. I was given two weeks unless the cause of my infection could be explained.
The man whose telephone call woke me up was Craig Odum. He was a neighborhood friend in high school, but I had not seen him since graduation exactly 20 years earlier. He said that he and his wife were moving to the Reems Creek Valley to be near us. I told him that we were moving to the Shenandoah Valley.
In 1988, I received another call from Craig Odum. He and his wife had purchased a small farm near our farm in Shenandoah Valley. He announced that “he had been assigned to teach me how to use my powers.”
The murder of Tim Conner
On October 15, 1987 17-year old Tim Conner in Shenandoah County went missing. He was a fine young man, who made good grades and had a sweet steady girlfriend. Rumors swirled around the county that he was killed in a satanic ritual in the barn of our unoccupied farm.
At 9 PM, we were watching TV in our rental home, about seven miles from the farm. It was my first night in Virginia. Suddenly, there was the sirens of dozens of cop cars, ambulances and fire trucks converging on her rental house. Tim Conner’s body had just been found in a grown over garden near our house. It was in perfect condition.
I could have easily seen the body during daylight hours, if it was there. I seemed to be the only person in the county that thought it was very fishy for a passing vehicle to see the body in a moonless night. Tim had nine bullets in the back of his head. His body had been stored in a deer cooler, awaiting my arrival. The controversy concerning Tim’s murder would constantly be swirling the whole time that I was in Virginia.
Woodstock, VA United Methodist Church – November 22, 1987 – My wife had been living in Virginia 11 weeks and I, four weeks, when we joined the largest Methodist church in the county. My wife had attended there before I moved and said that the most prominent families in the county were members. It would be good for my businesses.
Noon . . . The minister announced that the Thorntons have recently moved to Shenandoah County and are today joining their congregation. He invited us to come up front at the end of the service in order to be greeted by the other members.
We had about run out of greeters, when I noticed a woman about 25 years old with dishwater blond hair, walking up the aisle. She had a frozen smile and was staring at me. She stood directly in front of me and announced, “Satan wants you badly. He is going to do everything he can to get you. He’s really going to do a number on you.” The young woman made a crazy-sounding laugh, turned around and quickly walked out the side entrance of the sanctuary.
I looked at my wife to confirm that she was equally shocked as me about the totally bizarre statement. Not only did she seem to be unfazed by the statements . . . she actually seemed to have gone into some sort of hypnotic state. Even when we got back the house, she refused to discuss what had occurred at the Woodstock church.
April 1990 – In early April, the prestigious College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute designated our farm as a satellite classroom for its small livestock classes. Late in April, several of our young male goat kids suddenly became ill with a strange disease that caused their teeth to fall out. Most died. The professors had no clue what the disease was, so had their students to necropsy several kids to isolate the organism. The tissue and blood samples were sent to the Virginia Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in Richmond.
Scientists at the at Laboratory isolated a previously unknown type of mycoplasma, named mycoplasma maloides, which seemed to have been created in a lab. It contained DNA from several deadly species of bacteria and could mimic several, often fatal, diseases. Normally, it is almost impossible to grow mycoplasma in a petri dish. These mycoplasma, however, not only thrived but began somehow escaping their petri dishes and attacking pathogenic bacteria in other dishes. Within a week, giant colonies of this mycoplasma had established all over the building and all the other bacteria had been killed. The entire building had to be thoroughly sterilized.
A year later this pathogen would be found in the blood of over 125,000 Desert Storm veterans then soon began spreading sexually throughout the population of the United States. Thus, Shenandoah Chèvre’s first terrorist attacks became one of the most popular shows, during the early days of the X-files . . . except instead of the hybrid killer bacteria being made at Fort Detrick, MD, it was of extraterrestrial origin.
Woodstock, VA United Methodist Church – December 23, 1990 – I was one of the ushers for the service, immediately preceding Christmas. I had just been named Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees – a high honor. They didn’t know about Vivi! LOL
Two smartly dressed Latina ladies, about 30 years old, walked into the sanctuary. One of them looked vaguely familiar. She stared at me constantly throughout the service. She knew me! It was very, very odd in 1990 for Latin Americans to even visit our county, much less a Protestant church. The tidal wave of Mexican immigration had not yet started. These gals were not farm workers though. They were obviously professionals.
I tried to catch up to them after the service to thank them for their visit, but they were obviously racing to make sure I didn’t. I looked at the visitors’ book. Both ladies had signed the book with their full names and addresses. The one who stared at me was Lic. (attorney) Carmen Castellanos. She was Alicia Moreno’s first cousin, who 20 years ago, lived a block away from Alicia. She now lived in Washington, DC. Carmen was my sister’s age and been my sister’s companion 20 years ago when I visited Alicia at Christmas time. It was Carmen’s father, who arranged for Alicia to be kidnapped when she was about to fly to Atlanta to work for Eastern Airlines and live with me. What in the heck was going on?
Almost exactly, ten years later, I would be invited by a high school teacher to attend a private night club Christmas party in Rome, GA. Siting at a table near the entrance was a lady about 25 years old, who was the spitting image of Alicia. I was introduced to her by my date. The young woman had an Italian name and accent. When my date and I sat down at another table, the teacher informed me that the young woman was Alicia’s first-born daughter. She would given to me for a wife, if I joined their satanic cult. I asked the woman how her cult even knew about Alicia. She didn’t answer.
March 1991 – During the wee hours of the night, my herd dogs ran into my room to wake me up. They led me to the windows of the guess bedroom in the front facade of the house. To my astonishment, there was a semi-circle of figures dressed in black robes with hoods, illuminated by our area light. They were facing our 330 pound buck, named Samson, who was in a trance. A purple circle had been painted on his forehead. The occultists were chanting “Dominus, Dominus.”
I ran into the Master Bedroom to see my wife looking out the window in a trance. It was not a dream. In the morning I went down to the barn to check on Samson. He was fine, but still had the purple circle on his forehead.
The Angels of Death arrive
April 15, 1991 – I awoke to hear a goat screaming in agony in the barn. I raced down there to discover our very best female bloated and in agony. Goats normally excrete little dry balls just like deer, but she was squirting out a foul liquid that smelled like fermented peaches. She died in a couple of hours, living five-week-old kids that had to be bottle-fed for two months, with milk from other goats.
The necropsy report from the Western Virginia Diagnostic Lab said that she died of listeria, a disease that can be fatal to humans. The Virginia Department of Health wanted to shut down our operation, quarantine the farm and possibly kill all our goats.
Something was wrong though. I moved the numbers of several of our best remaining goats to some male kids, being raised for meat. The attackers killed these male kids instead. Someone, who knew our operation intimately, was giving the numbers of the best goats to the attackers.
Listeria was a cow disease, not a goat disease. Dr. Pierre Lezzard, at Virginia Tech, said that he grew up on a goat farm in Canada. The University of Guelph did an experiment in which dairy goats grazed with dairy cattle that were very ill with listeria. None of the goats became ill. He went to bat for me and . . . since we were a federally-licensed creamery . . . persuaded the FDA to send a biological HazMat team to our farm, before letting the Commonwealth of Virginia kill all our animals. For week, men and women in white space suits combed the farm, barn, dairy and creamery. They could not find ONE listeria bacterium anywhere. Listeria bacteria are almost always present in older cow dairy operations. That’s why only pasteurized milk may be sold these days.
More and more of our best goats died this way. Day by day, week by week, our available supply of milk to make cheese declined to make cheese even as our fame for making the best goat cheese spread. Dr. Lezzard put a great deal of non-compensated time into studying the stomach contents of the dead goats. He finally determined that they were being injected with a military grade biotoxin made from culturing giant stainless-steel tanks of hybrid listeria bacteria. The toxin had to be coming from nearby Fort Detrick, MD. – the US Army’s Biological Warfare Center. What particularly disturbed Lezzard was that only a minuscule amount of this biotoxin would be fatal to humans. Goats required large volumes of the toxin to be killed.
At the end of 1991, some very wealthy, powerful Republicans in western Virginia put heavy pressure on Virginia Tech to fire one of North America’s leading experts on animal diseases. Dr. Lezzard moved back home to Canada, where he would not have to live in the Twilight Zone.
In the next chapter, my increasing involvement with honest law enforcement in Washington, DC created opportunities for Vivi and I to see each in person briefly. She became the Light of My Life during this crazy time.