Soul searching criminals aimed to free spirits trapped in Alaskan research facility
The men were arrested before they could embark on their supernatural quest, however. Officials say they were found in possession of an arsenal of weapons that “looked like something out of a movie; one where a small army was headed to war."
Speaking to Alaska Dispatch News, Coffee County detective Michael Vickers said Michael Mancil, 30, and James Dryden Jr., 22, told police “that God told them to go and blow this machine up that kept souls, so souls could be released.”
The men were planning to travel to the aurora research facility known as HAARP in Gakona, Alaska, which is owned by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The ionospheric research program was once owned by the US Air Force and has a history of setting off conspiracy theorists with tales of weather and mind control.
According to Vickers, the men’s plan was to “find a scientist, to steal his car and ID badge to gain access.”
The men’s arsenal for their mission from God consisted of five rifles, four handguns, radios, flak jackets, and just a small quantity of marijuana, according to police.
A local gun shop alerted authorities to the men after their shopping spree raised suspicion.
The HAARP site is well-known amongst conspiracy theorists, who claim it is being used to manipulate weather and was even responsible for downing TWA Flight 800, which crashed into the Atlantic in 1996 killing all 230 onboard.
The research facility’s stated goals are somewhat less interesting, albeit more peaceful. It reportedly researches the ionosphere – the inner edge of the magnetic shield surrounding Earth that protects it from cosmic radiation.
It’s owners even went so far as to host an open house this year in an attempt to debunk the mystery surrounding the facility.
“There’s lots and lots of conspiracy theories and… it’s important to remember that, actually, this is a scientific research facility,” Marmian Grimes, a spokeswoman for the facility, said.