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Geronimo’s Hair

Native Skeptic

Noah Nez

Volume 22.2, Summer 2012

Most Americans have heard of the Navajo code talkers who served in the Vietnam War and have a general notion of their contribution to the war effort: a nearly unintelligible and seemingly unbreakable encrypted language. However, there is another story seeping its way into networks of information—an account that would seem to correlate with Native American beliefs on the surface but would ultimately reveal more about the author of the article than it would about Native Amer­icans and government conspiracies.

Signs of the Times (www.sott.net) was created by historian and author Laura Knight-Jadczyk. The About section on the site mentions that her husband is “one of the world’s few living experts in hyperdimensional [HD] physics” (Knight-Jadczyk 2002). Another notable person that claims to be an “expert” in hyperdimensional physics is Richard “Face on Mars” Hoag­land. HD physics has been associated with energies at the “mysterious” Coral Castle in Florida and Comet Elenin, and it has even been linked to the Mayan Calendar (Scott 2011). The network page QuantumFuture.net lists Cassiopaea.org, Cassiopaea.com, and QuantumFuture.net as separate websites founded by Arkadiusz Jadczyk and his wife (Jadczyk and Knight-Jadczyk 2000).

In 2011, Signs of the Times featured an intriguing article under the category “Science of the Spirit” titled “The Truth about Hair and Why Indians Would Keep Their Hair Long.” The author, C. Young, sets the tone of things to follow: “Our culture leads us to believe that hair style is a matter of personal preference, that hair is a matter of fashion and/or convenience, and that how people wear their hair is simply a cosmetic issue” (Young 2011). However, just a little further along in the article, another more interesting claim pops up: “Back in the Vietnam War however, an en­tirely different picture emerged, one that has been carefully covered up and hidden from public view.”

This particular story involves an account from a woman going by the name of Sally (to protect her privacy) who reported a shocking discovery made by her husband while he was working at a VA Medical hospital as a “licensed psychologist.” Sally is quoted in the article:

I remember clearly an evening when my husband came back to our apartment on Doctor’s Circle carrying a thick official looking folder. Inside were hundreds of pages of certain studies commissioned by the government. He was in shock from those contents. What he read in those documents completely changed his life. From that moment on my conservative middle of the road husband grew his hair and beard and never cut them again. What is more, the VA Medical center let him do it, and other very conservative men in his staff followed his example.

According to the author, the contents supposedly contained details about special departments being sent undercover to infiltrate Native American reservations in an attempt to recruit young scouts who ap­peared to have “almost supernatural” abilities. It also allegedly mentioned that these men were “. . . extensively documented as experts in tracking and survival.” However, much to the dismay of the military re­cruiters, “Once enlisted, an amazing thing happened. Whatever talents and skills they had possessed on the reservation seemed to mysteriously disappear, as recruit after recruit failed to perform as expected in the field” (Young 2011).

This was said to have been followed by a government-led investigation into what could cause such a drastic reduction in performance. The investigators’ findings are presented in the following quote from Young’s article: “When questioned about their failure to perform as expected, the older recruits replied consistently that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer ‘sense’ the enemy, they could no longer access a ‘sixth sense,’ their ‘intuition’ no longer was reliable, they couldn’t ‘read’ subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information.”

More trackers were recruited in order to carry out further testing. This time, men who received similar scores were tested in pairs; one of them got a military haircut and the other kept the more traditional longer hair length. When these changes were put into effect, the testing resumed and “time after time the man with long hair kept making high scores. Time after time, the man with the short hair failed the tests in which he had previously scored high scores.”

If there is any doubt as to what is going on here, the author of the article provides an example of some typical tests. One scenario describes a recruit sleeping outside in the wilderness who would suddenly wake up before anyone approached within earshot. Another example involves an attack situation where the recruit “pretending to be sleeping” would turn things around and subdue the potential assailant. After this series of tests, a military haircut was administered, and the recruit would start to fail “many other tests that he had previously passed. . . .” In the end, the government “recommended that all Indian trackers be exempt from military haircuts. In fact, it required that trackers keep their hair long,” according to Young.

Close investigation into various tribal beliefs might help explain the origin of this story. Though Native American legends and belief systems do incorporate terms for the supernatural, they do not use phrases found in New Age mysticism like “aura” or “sixth sense.” The aspects surrounding the long hair of Native American boys and men cannot be accurately understood without in­sight from a part of American history that might not be as widely known. While there might be some variability in the details re­garding the reasons for long hair from tribe to tribe, there is one major component that has remained consistent: long hair has never been about aesthetics but instead is a religious concern. Generally, long hair has strong religious implications based on tribal beliefs that often go unnoticed, but it is commonly more known to be associated with a connection to the ancestors; severing it symbolizes the mourning of a close loved one or family member.

During the early periods of America’s history, Native Americans were subjected to a conversion process administered by the United States government. The religious be­liefs of the government agents and other missionaries led them to consider long hair offensive, simply labeling Native American religions to be un-Christian. The aspect of this government program that makes it an infamous part in Native American history is the notion of using boarding schools to systematically remove tribal cultures and traditions from the lives of young Native people in an attempt to “civilize” them. During this time, phrases like “Kill the Indian and save the man” and “The only good Indian is a dead one” (Pratt 1892) became quite popular and were ultimately adopted as slogans by the federal government.

Most of the struggles that Native Amer­icans face seem to come from the fact that their spiritual beliefs are not recognized as a legitimate religion. Not only is this reflected in society, but it also floods over the walls of institutions and into the system itself. Most recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in the case A.A. ex rel. Beten­baugh v. Needville Independent School District, which involved a young Lipan Apache boy attending kindergarten in Texas. A trial court originally settled in favor of the parents, but the school district appealed the ruling. The Circuit judges’ ruling appears in the official document filed in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals as follows: “A Native Amer­ican boy and his parents challenge a school district’s requirement that he wear his long hair in a bun on top of his head or in a braid tucked in his shirt. We agree with the district court that the requirement offends a sincere religious belief and hold it invalid under Texas law” (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 2010). Accord­ing to tribal historian Nancy Minor, many considered this a “. . . victory for the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas, since it validates the fact that we are a legitimate American Indian tribe with members who practice traditional beliefs” (Minor 2010).

C. Young also claims that “Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved ‘feelers’ or ‘antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brain stem, the limbic system, and the neocortex” (Young 2011). However, this does not fit the description of what hair is according to Hairbiology.com (2012), an informative website that is solely dedicated to helping explain the biology of hair. There is mention of hair being used for everything from trapping heat to protecting the scalp from ultraviolet light from the sun and even providing “. . . tactile information about the environment.” There is actually a variety of different types of mammalian hair, but human does not fit the antennae description. While the hair that grows on a person’s head might provide some sensory input, it functions more like cat whiskers than insect antennae. Even in this case, the whiskers of a cat are not really doing the feeling; it is in the follicles below the whiskers where most of the sensing is occurring. In fact, Robert Kunzig’s (2002) article in Discover magazine, “The Biology of . . . Hair: Zeroing in on the Molecular Switches That Regenerate Hair Growth,” tells us that “The hair we see, fuss over, curse, write lyrics about, is just dead stuff, pushed up and out of the skin by the follicles below. It is those follicles that are alive, and that drive the growth and shedding we see.”

Not only are there many holes in the presented account of the government using Native Americans in special experimental research, but also records pertaining to the special tracker units seem to be missing. The only source that appears associated with this account comes from United Truth Seekers, a website that promotes itself as “A ‘SOCIAL NETWORK’ & Was Created To: Expose The New World Order! Join Us Exposing The Evil New World Order!” (Suggs 2012).

However, the Signs of the Times site also has another conspiracy-tinged statement providing insight into the perspective shared by its contributors: “Our work has been attacked, suppressed, and marginalized by the Powers That Be in ways that no other work has been, leaving us with the distinct impression that we must be on the right track!” (Knight-Jadczyk 2002).

Laura Knight-Jadczyk also makes another revealing statement by highlighting the point that her website “. . . stands out from the crowd . . . for its commentary on world events and tracking of global trends, patterns, and energies” (Knight-Jadczyk 2002). While the author and the website presenting the article both seem to show a genuine interest in science, there is a serious lack of the necessary critical thinking skills needed to effectively engage these specific subjects. For example, the following is the logic that Young offers as explanation for unique qualities of hair: “Not only does hair in people, include[ing] facial hair in men, provide an information highway reaching the brain, hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment. This has been seen in Kirlian photography when a person is photographed with long hair and then rephotographed after the hair is cut” (Young 2011).

For those unfamiliar with Kirlian photography, or electrophotography, it involves fun with some conductive material and an electrode (Carroll 2010). Photo­graphing the corona discharge produces an impressive effect and array of streaking colors that some people allege is the depiction of the “human energy field” commonly referred to as the body’s “aura” (Barrett 2001). It is pure pseudoscience.

The following is another indication that this entire account of Native American “trackers” being used in any research resembling the sort mentioned is more than likely completely fabricated: “SOTT can’t confirm this story or the research it suggests took place, however, we have wondered on many occasions, what is the use of hair and why so many legends refer to hair as being a source of strength, from Samson, to Nazarenes, to the long haired Franks” (Young 2011).

In the end, Young finally manages to make one reasonable statement stick out through this aura of mystical energy and pseudoscience: “In searching for solutions for the distress in our world, it may be time for us to consider that many of our most basic assumptions about reality are in error. It may be that a major part of the solution is looking at us in the face each morning when we see ourselves in the mirror.”


References

Barrett, Stephen. 2001. Kirlian photography. Quack­watch (June 2). Online at http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/kirlian.html.

Carroll, Robert T. 2010. Kirlian photography (electro­photography). The Skeptics Dictionary (Decem­ber 9). Online at http://www.skepdic.com/kirlian.html.

HairBiology.Com. 2012. Hair fiber function. Online at http://www.hairbiology.com/hair-fiber/hair-fiber-function.shtml.

Jadczyk, Arkadiusz, and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. 2000. Quantum Future.net (May 6). Online at http://quantumfuture.net/.

Knight-Jadczyk, Laura. 2002. About sott.net. Online at http://www.sott.net/page/1-About-Sott-net.

Kunzig, Robert. 2002. The biology of . . . hair: Zeroing in on the molecular switches that regulate hair growth. Discover Magazine (February). Online at http://discovermagazine.com/2002/feb/featbiology.

Minor, Nancy. 2010. Arocha case won in fifth circuit court of appeals! The Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas Official Website (July 31). Online at http://www.lipanapache.org/AdrielArocha/AA.html.

Pratt, Richard C. 1892. ‘Kill the Indian, and Save the Man’: Capt. Richard C. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans. History Matters. Online at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/4929/.

Scott, Greg. 2011. What Is Hyperdimensional Physics? Conscience Life News. Online at http://consciouslifenews.com/hyperdimensionalphysics/1120831/.

Suggs, Pam. 2012. United Truth Seekers. Online at http://unitedtruthseekers.com/.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 2010. Ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas Official Website. (July 9). Online at http://www.lipanapache.org/AdrielArocha/AApages/1.html.

Young, C. 2011.The truth about hair and why Indians would keep their hair long. Signs of the Times (September 8). Online at http://www.sott.net/articles/show/234783-The-Truth-About-Hair-and-Why-Indians-Would-Keep-Their-Hair-Long.

Noah Nez

Noah Nez's photo

Noah Nez is a Native American skeptic living in Arizona; he is a member of the Phoenix Area Skeptics Society (PASS) and author of Native Skeptic, a blog that looks at critical thinking from a Native American perspective.