by Virginia McCullough

Halley’s Comet, I-said-a Halley’s Comet

How could you know that I lived in a desperate world?
How could you dream that we were all made out of stone?
What is the truth, what is the faithful lasting proof?
What is the central theme to this everlasting spoof?

I am often asked, “why do you write about this or that?” or “how do you choose the stories you cover?” Life experience is the central reason for my choices. I have often lived through the same experience as those whose lives I enter with I research their story.

For example, when Inslaw’s owner Bill Hamilton called me in November of 1990 I had no idea who he was or what “rabbitt hole” he would drop me into. But he told me that the company owned by him and his wife produced a proprietary software called Promis and that the department of justice had forced the company into bankruptcy to steal the technology. My husband and I had experienced the same situation in my husband’s last start up called Sunol Systems, Inc. The main difference was Inslaw’s product was software and the technology stolen from our company was hardware, specifically a chip set technology my husband had designed and patented.

Bill Hamilton did not, however, want my nonexistent expertise in high technology and he did not want to consult with my husband. Bill Hamilton wanted information he already knew I possessed about a man who would soon become a key player in the international story that reporter Joseph “Danny” Casolaro forever labeled “The Octopus”.

Until Bill Hamilton asked for my research papers and anything else I knew about this mysterious man, I had not thought about him in eight long years. I had first heard his name in 1983 during the Sunol Referendum. Our home town is a feisty community of about 400 registered voters that once elected a black Labrador named Bosco Ramos its mayor. Opposed to gated exclusive subdivisions Sunol’s residents collected 57,000 signatures in 27 days to become the only unincorporated town to successfully referend a County Board of Supervisors in California history. This historic event stopped a man named W. Patrick Moriarty and his business partners in companies with names like Pyrotronics, Red Devil Fireworks, Sinbad 750 and Hercules Properties from raping 10 miles of ridgelands from Main Street in Sunol to Highway 580. Massive development using Asian money was the name of the game Mr. Moriarty and his associates were playing. W. Patrick Moriarty was a personal friend of President Richard Nixon and continued to share luncheons with Richard Nixon until the President’s death.

This mysterious man had been a silent partner in one or more of the developments Moriarty promoted. In spite of all my research into this man’s connections I had only turned up a single piece of official paper in California’s paper mill that named him. The vast majority of the papers in court and state records linked only Moriarty, the silent partner’s father and their attorney Henry Bear, leaving an extensive paper trail that extended the entire length of California.

Then Bill Hamilton who owned a company called Inslaw called and soon reporters from all over the world would descent on my hometown asking these questions: “Who is this man?” “How can one man have his thumb in so many pies?” “Is he really who he says he is?” “How can a man this young recount events going back to the turn of the century as though he had lived them?” “How can this same individual accurately predict the future?” “Are his stories fact or pure fantasy?”

I could not answer all of these questions but I believed many of the tales that this mysterious man was recounting for the world press. I had acted as a conduit between a man the world press called “Big Mac” and the man he labeled “Peter Pan”. The United States had called Charles McVey “Big Mac” the techno-bandit of the decade. He was supplying main frame computers to Dr. Roald Sagdeev who was then the Chief Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences Space Research Institute when the Soviet Union was still considered the Evil Empire. Charles McVey and the man he called “Peter Pan” shared a common adventure when the men observed the Soviet Union’s in depth analysis of Halley’s Comet in Moscow in 1986. Peter Pan supplied camera equipment through the University of Chicago and Big Mac arranged for Magnuson M-80 computers to arrive in Moscow for the event.

Because I had made certain promises to both Big Mac and Peter Pan that involved their personal lives and the lives of those closet to them, I could not share all I knew about the mysterious man with Inslaw President Bill Hamilton. Eighteen years after receiving the phone inquiry in 1990 all this reporter knows for certain is that call opened an unreal world where lawyers, reporters and financiers began dropping dead like flies and the world grew more toxic to human life hour by hour.

But here, at home in Sunol, life remains very much the same in it was when I first heard of that mysterious man in 1983. Sunol’s Ridgelands are now permanently protected from development and this peaceful canyon still houses a wide variety of independent people ready to fight to maintain their way of life.

This old house we live in became the home of the Mae Brussell Collection in 1993. The entire basement is now wall to wall books and paper. The spirit of Mae Brussell, the grand Queen on Conspiracy, embraces my more recent memories of Big Mac and Peter Pan who met as Halley’s Comet flashed across the sky. Just like that brilliant space body the spirit of people like this will not soon pass this way again.

Virginia McCullough © 4/4/09