There's not a cloud in the sky.
If Neil Slade were just another picnicker at Mt. Falcon Park, this would be an auspicious sign. But Neil was looking forward to something cushy and cumulus. If it were floating in the sky above him right now, he'd deign to show off a bit.
First he'd poke a big hole in the cloud, making a sort of celestial smoke ring. Next he'd cause it to vaporize. Nothing to it: If you were to wander by, he could show you how in five minutes. The two of you could "bust clouds" together. No special equipment is required--merely the frontal lobes of the brain, the most magnificently under-used organ in the human body, according to Neil. The more lobes, the more effect on the weather, which means...
But not today. Today there are no clouds.
"It doesn't surprise me," Neil decides. "I've been talking about cloud-busting a lot, and at least a dozen people have been thinking: Vaporize clouds. So now there aren't any. I'm serious. The sky just tuned out."
This is mildly disappointing, but it's hardly a setback. Neil has known about the possibility of cloud-busting for years and has even videotaped himself blowing up a few big ones from his own backyard. His major breakthrough--the culmination of the research he's been doing for 25 years--came when he sent this videotape to radio talk-show host Art Bell, who watched the tape and invited Neil to share his techniques with some fifteen million listeners. And when those fifteen million brains fully understand the implication of Neil's work, well...
"You'll understand what I mean in a second," Neil concludes. "Just bear with me."
Neil has been telling people to bear with him, to withhold judgment, to let him walk them through the various steps of the equation, for just about all of his forty-something years on earth. A rumpled, studious-looking man with an eerie, almost supernatural resemblance to conservative talk-show host Mike Rosen, he exudes the kind of patience displayed by highly intelligent people who must figure out how to distill a scientific message into terms any bozo can understand.
This kind of mission is never accomplished overnight. That's fine with Neil, as long as it's accomplished eventually. And as a matter of fact, he says, we humans may actually be getting close.
Bear with him. He'll start from the beginning. In a few minutes you'll understand.
"I was first made aware of all this in 1972," he says. "It came through a guy named George Green, who sat outside the student union at DU with a sign that said, 'Get high with instant meditation.' As a culture, we were moving away from flower power into this new-agey junk. It was ten years before people even associated Shirley MacLaine with stuff, and people still think she's nutty, so you can imagine how people looked at George Green."
Neil looked at him with interest. "Bored with hallucinogens," he says, he was intrigued by the idea of getting high without having to locate and purchase illegal substances. And he thought George Green was a fascinating, compelling character.
"He was sixty years old and he had an eighteen-year-old girlfriend," Neil recalls. "He was a former millionaire meat-packing-plant owner who had given it all up to sell flowers on the street. He would drive all the way across town without hitting a single red light--a weird, unexplained thing. And he had this idea that if people would meditate, we'd have perfect weather. He didn't understand how it worked, of course, but he knew it could be done."
So at eighteen, Neil moved into George Green's house to practice instant meditation and pursue "the outer limits of thought. My parents weren't all that enthused," he remembers.
His second guru, whose teachings occupied Neil for the next eleven years concurrently with his education as a composer and music teacher, must have been twice as alarming. TD Lingo, founder of the Dormant Brain Research Laboratory on Laughing Coyote Mountain outside Black Hawk, was anything but a conventional guy. A former folksinger who'd won a bag of cash on a Groucho Marx TV show, he'd taken that money and the brain of his favorite University of Chicago professor and set up shop high in the hills, where he experimented waking up the dormant 90 percent of the brain.
"I was with him when he ran his tests," Neil recalls. "Originally, he worked with juvenile delinquents out of some Denver program. He was able to document how much people can change after learning the basic techniques of brain self-control. I will now explain that process."
To wit: The human brain is really three brains. The inner core, or Reptile Brain, which controls the most basic urges for survival and competition. The Mammal Brain, which adds an element of social organization and emotion--"and if you don't believe that, look at your dog at home," Neil says. And finally, the Primate Brain, located in the frontal lobes, which makes humans capable of sophisticated thoughts and deeds--just how sophisticated TD Lingo was only beginning to discover when he died in 1992.
It was Lingo's contention that most of us are using barely a trickle of our frontal lobes but can be taught how to do much, much better. For him, this meant everything from super-genius intelligence to multiple orgasms at will, with or without a partner.
As far as Neil Slade can tell, however, humanity is doing its level best to ignore all of this valuable research. "Drive around Cherry Creek North for three minutes," he suggests. "You'll see nothing but reptile brain. Our culture is saturated with it. Western civilization is ultra-reptilian and switched backward."
The few who've learned to switch forward--to unlock the neurological gateways of their frontal lobes--are the people who interest Neil. "They begin to have increasing amounts of paranormal experience. Precognition, clairvoyance, telepathies. They discover," he says, "that doing something like making a cloud disappear at will is a conscious decision."
While working as a music teacher and recording the occasional original CD, Neil kept wondering how to reach the sort of folks who might be open to his revelations and the teachings he'd learned from Lingo. He finally found his audience late last year through Coast-to-Coast With Art Bell, the show that airs six nights a week--for six hours--on KHOW/630AM and hundreds of other stations across the country.
"To be honest," Neil says, "his show is sort of a circus, although I don't mean that in a derogatory sense. He gets the extremes. People having sex with aliens, a woman who has had dreams that Colorado is going to be the next Pacific coastline. But the show is very popular. It's the X Files connection. There's a huge interest in the unexplainable. And no matter how far out and crazy Art gets, he's always diplomatic and cordial, unlike most other talk-show hosts."
Neil wrote to Bell, proposing himself as a guest. Bell had him on for the first time last December--and his audience seemed to respond. For weeks afterward, Neil says, his homemade "Amazing Brain Music Adventure" Web site was getting a thousand hits a day, and through the Internet he began selling copies of old albums and self-published "brain" books he hadn't dusted off in years. The time was right.
"Oh yes," he says, "TD Lingo could only dream of this. In fact, it was his dream."
Last month Neil sent Art Bell his backyard cloud-busting video, on which he introduces himself, runs through a quick brain tutorial and then concentrates on two small clouds until they dissolve--whether because of the power of Neil's forward-clicked primal lobe or because of prevailing winds remains unclear. In any case, Art Bell liked it enough to book Neil as a return guest and to agree to the experiment he proposed.
And so shortly before midnight on July 7, Neil Slade will teach fifteen million listeners how to click into their primal lobes. Then, as a group, they'll concentrate on some aspect of the weather. "Probably we'll do rain," he says. "We'll find a place that really needs some, like Florida. And this isn't a parlor game. If you do it just for fluffy entertainment, that's no good."
Instead, they'll do it to cure a drought. And will they?
"I don't know," Neil says, "but the ramifications are so important. It has never happened before.
"Think! When Microsoft and GM grok the concept of using 90 percent of the brain, well, they will say: This is good for business. I tell you what, I'd watch the stock market the day after the show. I definitely would. Until now, everything I've done has been little and local. Not this," he concludes. "This is big.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.