In 1843, James Strang, a charismatic young lawyer and confirmed atheist claimed to convert to the religious movement of Mormonism. In the wake of the murder of the sect's leader, Joseph Smith, Strang unveiled a letter purportedly from the prophet naming him as successor, and persuaded hundreds of converts to follow him to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, where he declared himself a divine king. Joining Ian Punnett (Twitter), journalist Miles Harvey recounted this fascinating but largely forgotten story of one of the country's boldest confidence men and the boisterous era that allowed him to thrive.
It was a time of apocalyptic horrors and people thought the world was going to end in their lifetime, Harvey explained. "In times like this... there were these people [like Strang] who were able to convince other people to cling to them," he said, noting even as an atheist Strang realized he had power over people when he spoke about God. The letter from Joseph Smith naming Strang as successor is almost certainly forged, Harvey revealed. Strang claimed to be a prophet like Smith and many converts and Mormon leaders ended up following him to Beaver Island.
From this stronghold he conducted a criminal enterprise, sending out people to raid towns across Lake Michigan and the Midwest, Harvey continued. On July 8, 1850, Strang crowned himself king, while sitting on a throne stuffed with moss, wearing a crown made of paper, and surrounded by stage props. "The people up there seemed to have actually believed that they were crowning a king who was going to help them bring on the Second Coming," he added. Forces in power in the state of Michigan and the United States, as well as disaffected members of his sect, ultimately plotted to kill him, Harvey disclosed. Strang died of gunshot wounds on July 9, 1856.
Pentagon UFO Program
In the first hour, UFO investigator Kevin Randle commented on recent news of the continuation of the Pentagon's UFO program and the agency's knowledge of 'vehicles not made on this Earth.' The Pentagon has a 70-year history of claiming to shut down these types of investigations while simultaneously continuing them, Randle revealed, noting it does appear the agency through the Office of Naval Intelligence is still actively "looking at what's flashing through the atmosphere." Randle pointed to red flags in the story as it has been reported by various news outlets, including the claim by Eric Davis to have inside sources regarding the Pentagon's UFO program. According to Randle, there really is nothing new in this story other than the Pentagon continues to search the skies for unidentified aerial phenomenon. "I think the focus of the program really is looking toward China or looking toward Russia... as opposed to looking for something extraterrestrial," he said.