Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 7, Number 5 (August-September 2000) or [September-October 2000 in the
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From our web page at: www.nexusmagazine.com
by Kerry M. Knight © 2000
New Light on the
Since we published the WingMakers
website extracts in NEXUS 6/03
(April-May 1999 issue), we have received numerous requests
from readers for follow-up news. Up until recently we had heard
nothing, but then we received the following item which sheds some
light on surrounding circumstances.
**** Click here to go
to a website wherein you can access the latest files and research
about the WingMakers.
Twenty-seven years ago, mysterious artifacts were
found in a remote cavern located in northern New Mexico, USA. The
discovery consisted of 23 chambers hollowed out deep within a huge
natural bedrock structure in a remote canyon.
A secret, unacknowledged faction of the National
Security Agency (NSA), known only as the Advanced Contact
Intelligence Organization (ACIO), undertook authority for the
project, dubbed Ancient Arrow.
Recovered within the chambers were wall paintings,
various alien technologies, encoded hieroglyphs and an optical disc
with tracks of encoded music. To the researchers, this became known
as the Extraterrestrial Time Capsule (ETC). It was determined that
the time capsule was designed and built by "a future version of
humankind who were adept at interactive time travel". This advanced
race called themselves "the WingMakers".
In 1997, a scientist by the name of Dr Anderson
allegedly defected and reported the ACIO's findings to a journalist
under the pseudonym of Anne. Since 1998, this information has been
available via the world wide web at www.wingmakers.com.
Mark Hempel, a partner and co-founder of the
Minnesota-based information technology company South Bay Group, is
the webmaster of the domain under copyright acquisition of 1998.
Hempel is also one of the few individuals who have been in contact
with an anonymous group attributed to all WingMakers information.
Hempel's participation with WingMakers began when
he was given information by a group of individuals who have
maintained anonymity for various reasons--reasons that have not all
been explained. His contact with this group came from a mutual
acquaintance and clients working within the Department of Defense
(DoD). Hempel was chosen by the group to host the site as their
technical liaison and became a tool to post the information via the
"They paid me to host the site, no questions
asked," said Hempel. "When I received the original materials from the
group, they included four CD-ROM discs."
The first CD was essentially the website, the
second contained the music from chambers 1 to 23, and the final two
discs were the photographs of the chamber paintings.
"I have never met them in person but have talked
with one of them on the phone," continued Hempel. "This group is
media-shy and do not want to be known. I have been impressed with the
woman I have spoken with. She's very polite, articulate and quiet.
Initially she told me she was a member of an art group based in
The woman later dismissed her original statement
as misinformation, acknowledging she was not an artist and had no
dealings in the art world. Hempel was never told her profession.
Nevertheless, he received the WingMakers package and was asked to
host the site.
"I'm still being paid to monitor the site and
ensure its safekeeping. The group prefers to remain anonymous, and
that's fine with me."
Every month, Hempel receives a telephone call by
the same woman to "check in" for updates on security problems, if
"There have been some attacks on the site
pertaining to the interview transcripts, and some photos were
misappropriated and others were added mysteriously," remarked Hempel.
There is much more content yet to be released by
the group, but so far it has not been made available, other than the
new music (chambers 11 to 17) and the third interview.
"I haven't been given permission to publish these
on the site at this time," Hempel said.
On 24 November 1998, an alt.art.video newsgroup
posting appeared on the Internet, suspected to have been written by
Hempel himself. This posting claimed that he manufactured all the
content and that WingMakers was in fact an experimental Immersive
Multimedia Art Form (IMAF) intended as a blueprint for film or
When the site was launched the same month, "There
was a slew of e-mails and reports about me in various newsgroups,"
Hempel said. "I did not write them. I am familiar with the IMAF
e-mail, but it was not written by me."
Later that year, Hempel put copyright notice on
all WingMakers artwork and music to discourage any pirating behaviour
on the Internet. In reality, no "official" rights were granted.
WingMakers art and music files, along with newly
released tracks from chambers 11 to 17, eventually ended up in the
hands of SoulFood Ltd music company for commercial distribution.
"There is no relationship between WingMakers and
SoulFood Media," Hempel explained, "other than the fact that they
were chosen by this group to distribute their music anonymously.
SoulFood is the distributor of the music."
Contrary to many people's beliefs, Hempel affirms
that SoulFood did not engineer or manufacture the music itself--this
stemming from the fact that Hempel's name appears on the liner notes
to a CD titled Breathe, produced by SoulFood.
When asked to comment on the origins of the music,
Hempel replied: "The origins of the music are anonymous. As I
understand it, SoulFood is releasing the music for chambers 11 to 17
[not currently available on the website] in June."
While SoulFood is a commercial organisation, it
operates more like a non-profit music co-op.
"I believe SoulFood was chosen because of its
commitment to indigenous music forms, and its owner, Gordy Schaeffer,
is somehow connected to the group behind the WingMakers website.
SoulFood, as I understand it, was also given permission to use some
of the artwork and music from the actual site in New Mexico."
When contacted for further information, Heidi
Schaeffer of SoulFood Ltd stated: "SoulFood was given permission by
Mark Hempel, the webmaster of the site, to distribute the new music
and use the WingMakers art," adding, "We have also been given
exclusive rights to distribute the new music."
When asked about this, Hempel replied: "It's true
that they needed my help to get some of the music and artwork
together, but I don't look at it as 'permission'. I assume Heidi does
not want to disclose anything about this group. I believe it was an
agreement made between them and SoulFood."
Hempel admits to having very large files of all
the artwork which he distributed to SoulFood for the WingMakers album
cover, along with WingMakers music files for mastering.
"I can only tell you that the quality of the music
and art is of superior resolution and it's not something that was put
together in a garage. Whoever created it had top-quality gear and
Hempel said the reason he is looked upon by the
group as their technical liaison is that they prefer not to deal with
media or commercial interests and feel it necessary to stay out of
the global "limelight". There was no need for it, he further
"They've given me everything I need to host the
site, and I in turn work with their agents like SoulFood to get the
material out per their direction."
However, when contacted about the company's
involvement with WingMakers, Gordy Schaeffer remarked: "On one level,
SoulFood has been working for three years decoding optical data and
converting it into frequencies."
In fact, SoulFood had nothing to do with the
optical translations. According to Hempel, the three years Schaeffer
is referring to was reflective of what the group told him and not his
"The music was sent to me complete," said Hempel.
Schaeffer was tasked with mastering it for
commercial purposes, production of the disc's packaging and its
distribution to the market.
Hempel acknowledged the fact that Schaeffer may
have been leaking misinformation on his and SoulFood's role in the
WingMaker's issue. "When he [Gordy] stated 'three years', he was
providing, to some degree, misinformation [as to his involvement];
simply echoing information he received from this group."
When asked for a comment, Schaeffer replied, "I
have no further information."
When asked to comment on the anonymous grouping
aforementioned, Schaeffer adamantly stated: "I have no further
information at this time. All the people involved are remaining
anonymous for various reasons."
It has become a moot point that SoulFood Ltd is
extremely nervous in discussing the WingMakers topic and tends to
veer away from publicly speaking about it in great detail. WingMakers
is a very obscure project within SoulFood, and the company has gone
to great lengths to suppress any background information being
revealed to the general public.
In 1999, Hempel was told the group is currently
working on a book to explain the real situation behind WingMakers and
its surrounding controversy.
"I haven't read it; I just know they are planning
to put it on the website some time this summer (for free). I also
believe that some of the information on the website is misinformation
as well--at least in part-- because she explained that the book was
meant to be the 'true rendering' of the story, though it's written in
a fictional context to protect identities. I was told I'd get the
first few chapters in June, and the balance in the Fall."
Many questions arise in regard to the true
identity of this group and the woman with whom Hempel has been in
contact. To dismay speculation from others, Hempel said that this
woman has never claimed to be the journalist Anne or a real-life
facsimile of her or to have any relation with the so-called ACIO.
"I've never actually asked her," admitted Hempel,
but, "I've worked with enough government agencies to know when to ask
and when not to ask questions."
As Hempel indicated, it does not matter.
"As long as she provides me with income and
manages to provide good content on her website, I'll help her while
respecting her desire for anonymity."
(Source: Written by Kerry M. Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org, 27 May 2000)
MORE NEWS FROM THE WINGMAKERS WEBMASTER
When we received Kerry Knight's item, I thought it
best to contact Mark Hempel and check his understanding of the facts
as presented. What follows are the e-mail communications between Mark
and myself, reprinted with his permission. We'll keep you updated on
further developments when we hear of them.
3 July 2000
I am wanting to run the following "update" on the
WingMakers piece, which we ran in an earlier edition of NEXUS.
I want to run the piece by you first, as you are
mentioned many times in it. Please let me know if you are happy with
what is attributed to you, etc.
Look forward to your earliest reply.
3 July 2000
From: Mark Hempel,
Thanks for sending the article. I don't have any
problems with its content. I can update you on a few things.
1) I have received a 1,050-page book, and have
been given instructions to publish the first 250 pages on the
WingMakers website in mid-July. I've read the complete book, and it's
extremely interesting. It's written in a fictional context--much like
a science fiction novel--and it details the discovery of the Ancient
Arrow site, the ACIO and the WingMakers. It will be made available
for free. I'll probably make it available in a PDF format. Should be
up in about two weeks. I'm told that there are two versions: one
anonymous and one that supposedly reports the facts (names, places,
etc.). I have the former version and that's the one that will be
posted on the site.
2) With regard to the music, I'd like to add the
following details. Each file/composition had between 80-100
digital sound samples that were "musically" arranged on the discs I
was originally sent. In this sense they were "complete". These same
files were given to a company called SoulFood Media to produce and
distribute. A gentleman by the name of Gordy Schaeffer (the owner of
SoulFood Media) produced the music files, but had to edit the files
and reduce them because he couldn't layer 80 different
instrumentation/vocal tracks simultaneously without muddying the
music. In this process, he also arranged the music samples or
"layers" with a more commercial sound.
The original files were not very
commercial-sounding, though the fidelity was outstanding. I heard the
files in their original state and could sense the melodies, but it
wasn't until after their production that they became musical...at
least by my ear's standards.
Also, I have known Gordy for about four years,
before I ever got the discs or knew about the WingMakers. I referred
Gordy's organization to my contact, and they essentially hired him to
produce/distribute the music. Gordy was an employee of mine when I
was a founder of NetRadio Network. That's how I know him.
Hope this additional information helps.
3 July 2000
Thanks for your early reply. Any chance that I may
receive a copy of the full, second version of the book? Of course,
I'll understand if you are not able or allowed to provide a copy, but
I can't help asking. (If it is any help, I could promise not to pass
on, or reprint anything of the book whatsoever. I have to confess,
the whole WingMakers scenario to date has certainly got my
Oops, nearly forgot: how much of the update you
have just sent are you happy with our putting into print?
4 July 2000
From: Mark Hempel,
I'm in possession of the full, first (anonymous)
version--not the second (factual) version. I was told by my contact
that there are two versions; I haven't actually read or seen the
second version. The implication was that they might post the second
version later, but would let circumstances dictate it. This first
version is accurate (so I'm told), but the places, names, etc. have
been modified somewhat...I don't know to what extent.
As far as I'm concerned, you can print anything
that I've mentioned. My contact wants as many people as possible to
read this book, which is why it'll be free. I'm not sure why they're
only putting up the first quarter of the book. They have always held
back in letting me publish things (e.g., the other interviews). They
seem to have a timeline for letting the information out.
The artwork is a good example. I wish people could
see these art files up close in their full resolution. They're
layered just like the music files: within each composition there are
paintings within paintings that aren't discernible in the JPEG
format. But again, they have specifically instructed me not to
disclose the high-res files. I've printed two of these files in a
5,000 DPI format and I'm convinced that they could sell thousands of
these prints if they wanted to. They're unbelievable in how they move
the eye around and into the composition (I'm an avid art collector).
I have one of these framed in my office, and anyone who sees it wants
to buy a copy. I just tell them that it's from an anonymous artist
whom I don't know how to contact (which is true). The other one I
have at home, and it's the only piece of art that I've ever seen that
quite literally "vacuums" your consciousness out of your body when
you look at it intensely enough.
Anyway, whenever I ask my contact about the
artwork, she simply says it's not time to release the high-res files.
So, I get the impression that everything gets released according to
some prescribed timeline. Obviously, they're in no hurry.
Hope this info helps, Duncan. Oh, and to your
specific question: I can't release anything--even the first version
of the book--until I'm given authorization. I have a few friends who
beg me from time to time and they get the same response, if it's any
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