Date: Wed May 11 1994 07:52:00
From: Sheppard Gordon
Subj: Kottmeyer calls Mohada
Calling Mohada of the Galaxies
THE WASHINGTON POST
"I am Xiti. I come from Itibi Ra II."
"Call me Qebsfeuf."
Buzz off, creep.
"My name is Captain Linda-Ray."
Come to think of it, when was the last time you heard of an extraterrestrial
with a convincing name?
Uriel, Zagga of Zakton, Little Bucky, Mohada of the Galaxies, Ponnar of Hatoon-
they all sound like refugees from the weaker episodes of "Lost in Space." Who
could believe they belong to a fantastically advanced civilization that is
capable of zooming across the cosmos?
Urban legends can find an audience only among those who will
believe them. Obviously, stories of encounters with UFOs have great
difficulty in getting a hearing. But in Martin Kottmeyer they've
gotten attention of a different sort: He tracks aliens' names as
reported in places like UFO Report, Flying Saucer magazine, UFO
Review and, of course, The National Enquirer. He's got a list of
about 320 of them.
"A bunch are pretty geeky. They're names you'd associate with
undateable types of people or the class reject," he says. "And many
end in o'-Wolco, Zo. It sort of implies that everyone's related to
the Marx brothers."
Kottmeyer, 32, sees the weird names as a primitive attempt to be
creative. "The contactees try to get a name that sounds odd, and yet
it just sort of misses the mark," he says. "They sound more silly
Actually, the names are only peripherally involved with his
major project, a book called The Schlimazel Factor. The Yiddish
title comes from a schlemiel's unlucky brother. To explain as simply
as possible: When the schlemiel drops a cup, it's the schlimazel's
carpet that gets dumped on.
"Everything wrong happens to UFO contactees, or at least that's
how they see it," says Kottmeyer, who in real life farms 120 acres of
wheat, corn and soybeans in Carlyle, Ill. "Their car breaks down,
their appliances malfunction, they lose their keys. And it's the
extraterrestrials that are doing this."
People who believe they've made contact with UFOs latch on to
anything that happens as evidence of alien intervention, says
Kottmeyer. And since their perceptions are colored by a mind-set of
being a victim-not too many people, remember, believe they've
encountered a UFO-they naturally point to things that are turning out
Just don't make the mistake of thinking Kottmeyer really
believes in Voltra of Venus or Nah-9.
"It's just a hobby," he says. "UFO literature is pretty funny to