February 13, 2011

In the summer of 2007 my wife and I spent a memorable vacation in Vietnam that included a week on Phu Quoc island in the South China Sea. Now, we’ve traveled in Asia quite a bit and have had the pleasure of meeting a variety of interesting people, locals and expats alike. Awaiting us on Phu Quoc, however, was someone very special indeed.

The scene was set at our hotel, the Tropicana Resort, at the end of a perpetually flooded lane that one negotiated by wading. Then there was the Gop Gio Restaurant down the road, serving “grilled kangaroo,” “deep fried sea horse,” “drilled vegetable,” and “boiled stomach slowly.”

All this faded into the background, however, the morning when an elderly Australian of French extraction wandered into the Tropicana’s restaurant from his place down the beach. He was married to a Vietnamese woman and lived on Phu Quoc, and frequented the Tropicana in search of chess partners. In the course of several wide-ranging conversations I learned that he had taken up residence on Phu Quoc some years previously to escape the hounding of fans of a book he had written about some sort of prophecy. I assumed he was spinning a tale, and so didn’t press him for more information. At our final meeting, however, he made a point of writing down his name, “Michel Desmarquet,” on a scrap of paper, followed by the enigmatic word “Thiaoouba.” “Look it up on the internet,” he said. “But don’t tell anyone I’m here!”

My wife and I left Phu Quoc wondering about Michel. He was likeable, not a blow-hard, and we wanted to believe him. But surely his claim of being a popular author in hiding was too good to be true. Upon returning to Seoul and Googling his name and “Thiaoouba,” however, we discovered that what he said was not just true, but only the beginning of a truly fantastic tale.

On June 26, 1987, Michel was taken by aliens from his home in Australia to their luminous world of Thiaoouba, a category nine planet, the most superior category of civilization in our galaxy. During his nine-day visit the Thiaooubans, led by an individual named Thao, instructed Michel on all manner of subjects: how the Earth was populated 1.35 million years ago by beings from the planet Bakaratini; how the pyramids are actually devices for communicating with the cosmos; how other planets have destroyed themselves by technology run amuck; how the theory of evolution is wrong; and many other things.

Following the instructions of the Thiaooubans, Michel began writing a book about his experiences upon being returned to the Earth. It was published six years later as Abduction to the Ninth Planet, later reissued under the title Thiaoouba Prophecy. It is a premier alien abduction account salted with a compelling amount of specific detail. The length of a Thiaoouban year, we learn, is 333 days, divided in 26 periods known as karses; Michel’s weight on Thiaoouba was 47 kg. as opposed to 70 kg. on Earth; Thiaooubans wear clothes that match the color of their auras; they subsist on a drink called hydromel, a half glass every two days; they use toilets that vaporize waste as it exits the body, a device that Michel feared would zap his privates.

Abduction, however, is more than just an extra-terrestrial travelogue. It is a guide for the journey that, as Michel describes it, lays ahead for us humans, from our current lowly category one civilization, the “category of sorrow,” to a paradisiacal category nine world such as enjoyed by the Thiaooubans. It is a journey toward enlightenment that the Thiaooubans, through Michel, want to teach us how to take. Indeed, they have been trying to teach us for thousands of years: according to Michel, Jesus was a Thiaoouban—who incidentally lies buried today in Aomori, Japan.

The rest, as they say, is history. Abduction to the Ninth Planet became an international bestseller, translated into Spanish, Greek, Japanese, German, Russian, and several other languages. Thiaoouba grew into something of a New Age religion. Fans began clamoring for more information—and Michel began to feel the pressures of fame. Finally, in the late 1990s, he turned his back on everything, rejecting the material gain that his book, which condemns materialism, had ironically brought him. He turned over everything to a proxy and retired to Phu Quoc, where he remains to this day.

So why am I spilling the beans on Michel’s whereabouts after he told me not to reveal his location? Well, that was the one thing Michel may not have been entirely truthful about. I recently discovered on the internet a three-part interview he has done for Japanese TV, the cameras overlooking that same beach where I met him last summer. Michel, it seems, had been sending out feelers on that scrap of paper he gave me. The creator of the Thiaoouba Prophecy is ready to be found.

Copyright © 2008 Samuel Hawley

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