GILMOUR -- It was only just recently that word got out that David Hamel had died, or that his care worker had at least stumbled upon the mortal body of the man who, after being abducted by aliens, proceeded to build his own spaceship here in the large Quonset hut behind his old farmhouse.
If he has since been spirited away by his extraterrestrial friends from the planet Kladen, 4 billion km away on the other side of the sun, his nearby gravesite would appear to be undisturbed.
So there is no way of knowing.
Travel back two years in time to the land of the living, however, and Dave Hamel is found working away in that hut. He looks like a grey-skinned gremlin, and he has little patience for disbelievers. In fact, he is quite profane when a dumb question is asked, such as, "What will propel your spaceship?"
"F---ing energy," he yells, frustrated by the questioner's obvious ignorance concerning the science that was provided to him, through telepathy, by the silver-suited aliens who abducted him 29 years previously when he was working as a carpenter in British Columbia.
And then he goes on to talk, at great length, about magnets and granite spheres, and vibration working hand-in-hand not only to propel his stainless-steel craft but to also make it "weightless."
"Do you understand now?" he asks me, tugging at his greasy ball cap and rolling his eyes. "Or are you just stupid?"
VASTNESS OF CYBERSPACE
The tour takes more than an hour. Behind his house, in that locked hut, is the epicentre of his craft -- indescribable to those who lack Hamel's alien-gifted technological savvy, although there are scores of true believers who, in the vastness of cyberspace, have created websites dedicated to promoting the brilliance of his "Hamel Technology," and have even written books on his experiences and his efforts to build his spacecraft.
All one has to do is "google" his name.
Out back of Hamel's house on this August day three years ago, past a sign of warning, the craft's wings can be found, octagonal steel structures that appear akin to science fiction's depiction of flying saucers.
After almost three decades of work, however, it would appear as if the craft is years away from completion.
"It will be done when it is done," says Hamel. "So what if I'm 80? Maybe I'll be 180. It doesn't matter. The survival of the human race is at stake. That's what this is all about. It's about the survival of our species."
Hamel says the aliens who abducted him flew him to this place off Weslemkoon Lake, some 50 km north of Madoc, and told him to build his spaceship in this very spot.
Inside Hamel's home, his infirm wife, Nora, who died a few weeks later, sits in a wheelchair and says nothing as her husband points to the blueprints he drew of his project, and if there is a genius in this far-out scenario, it is in these detailed drawings.
They look totally unfathomable and therefore totally plausible.
"(The aliens) planted these drawings in my brain," he says. "They gave me all the instructions I needed."
He says to envision a butterfly floating above a magnetic field, weightlessly and effortlessly.
"It is now up to me to make it work. The end of the world is not far off, and we need some of us to survive. Otherwise, all is lost."
And perhaps it now is.
Fast forward to this October day, 2007, and the Quonset hut is locked. The windows of Dave Hamel's home are boarded up. A disabled old truck sits in the driveway.
David Hamel was 83 when his body gave out. Born in Rosemont, he was one of 13 siblings. He fought in World War II, and enlisted again for Korea.
After his last war, he headed for the lower Fraser Valley in B.C., met his future wife Nora, already stricken with cerebral palsy, her legs in braces.
Hamel was working as a carpenter, and life seemed normal.
And then, on Oct. 21, 1975 -- 32 years ago this Sunday -- Dave Hamel was sitting his armchair, watching The Waltons, when his television suddenly goes snowy.It was the moment his life changed.
In a book on his life called The Granite Man and the Butterfly, written by Jeanne Manning, three visitors from the planet Kladen -- one human-looking woman and two human-looking men -- entered his presence, and lifted him up to their spaceship where they implanted their technology into his brain, telling him he would be the instrument entrusted with the survival of his species.
The woman's name was A, Arkan was her husband, and On was the mechanic.
They spoke to him through telepathy.
IN B.C. NEWSPAPER
Until a waitress in a coffee shop snitched on him to a local B.C. newspaper, Hamel was making plans to follow the aliens' instructions in obscurity. And then came the headline, "Introducing David Hamel -- He Rides In Flying Saucers."
The reporter wrote that Hamel knew the secret to perpetual motion, and was building a device to allow people to heat homes, power industry and fly aircraft without the use of fossil fuels. He added that, according to local health authorities, there were no records to cast doubt on Hamel's sanity.
And that is how it began.
It ended here, in this tiny village where a spacecraft from the planet Kladen came 35 years ago, and three aliens pointed to an old farmhouse below and told David Hamel to build his own space ship in the very spot where a locked Quonset now stands, and where all the windows are now boarded up.
Down the road, at the Gilmour Cemetery, the engraver has yet to arrive to inscribe the date of Hamel's death on the granite tombstone he shares with his wife. Perhaps the engraver is awaiting proof that he is actually gone.
Just in case the approaching Sunday brings visitors from beyond.