A Theory to Explain Everything
By all accounts, Marshall Dill was a well liked and respected professor of history at Dominican College who was very supportive of Richards. Mark often housesat for Dill and he sent a letter to the court at the end Mark’s trial. There is no reason to question his sincerity. His very support now makes it possible that he holds the key to the entire story.
To understand this, think of a time around 1997. Years before, Mark had faced the potential of a capital crime, yet he had been released on bail. His situation might have seemed unreal.
When the verdict came down, Mark was stunned. The jury had been out for four days and there was a plausible defense that Mark was only guilty of being an accessory after the fact. Within a moment, that changed and he was faced with serving the rest of his life in prison. By the early 90s his appeals and writs had been denied. His father died that year. The future was the past, one day blended into the next.
Still, Mark was creative. He once had written a screen play. He wrote a book, Imperial Marin, about an Arthurian kingdom of the future. He invented Ragocazy, a fictional alter-ego when he wanted to go out on a date while waiting for trial. So after the verdict, to keep himself amused, he began telling stories.
Mark began to tell about being in the space command. Captain Mark Richards was more than a prisoner, he was the embodiment of a heroic ideal with a bit of an ego to keep it real. To his surprise, some people believed him. The stories began to get more embellished, with tales of bring a captain on a spaceship with a nine foot tall Raptor named Nagadraconis serving as his science officer — Prince Naga was Spock to Mark’s Kirk. Richards began to fill out the details with being in the military and having several degrees. Like Kirk, he was at the center of countless adventures with a woman on every planet. It had all the elements of a parody.
Perhaps because Mark was believed by some, even this site approached the saga as if it were a serious attempt to develop a hoax. It was easy to show that Mark could not have been in three places at once, he had never been in the military, he was not a Rhodes Scholar, and his father had not headed a secret earth security force. But all of that was beside the point and did not dissuade him. Although Mark requested pictures I had obtained showing his father’s plane crash, he kept talking about Ellis battling aliens. That it was a physical impossibility did not matter. There either was a disconnect or something else was going on with him.
The key to it all is Marshall Dill. In the Battle of China Gates, Mark described Dill as being an operative for International Security, the super-secret organization that was said to been headed by Ellis Richards. Mark had been on the front lines of IS and and the story took readers on various space adventures. Then Dill appeared as a character.
Raptors who love chocolate and antiquing? Sure. Cat people in space? Of course. A love affair with a beautiful Pleiadian? Everyone who saw the pictures of a dancer from the Dean Martin show submitted by Billy Meier purporting to be a Pleiadian or watched Captain Kirk find love on almost every planet had that fantasy. It is easy to understand why sites like the Knowledge Fight loved Mark so much.
But Marshall Dill? Okay, he served in Naval Intelligence during the Second World War but had long since been a respected professor at the college Mark attended. Mark gave him a cameo or two to acknowledge his past relationship, but in so doing, the Dill Factor gave away the story. Mark could not have intended for anyone to believe that Dill was an earth security operative. It was the kind of satire that could only have been done from prison, with plenty of time to develop it.
So what about the other players? Even a comedian can use a helper and Jo Ann Richards proved her ability to embellish the tale with a straight face, even coming up with the story that Mark was an insider on the Republican National Committee. She became the public face.
In contrast, Kerry Cassidy actually believes things — almost anything that hints of a conspiracy and presents “insider information” is fair game. If you believe that John Kennedy Jr. is currently the real vice president, then it’s easy to think that Mark is one of the greatest whistleblowers and a national treasure. She is way too serious to get it, so it encouraged Mark to run with the story even while bringing Dill into the narrative to give it away.
There may be some dispute over literary merit but this is why the standards of evidence do not matter to Mark. It is only entertainment, a yarn to have some fun with on the prison yard, a classic piece of performance art. He does not have to convince anyone.
On the other hand, it might just be a clumsy hoax or a massive delusion .