Pennsylvania Man Builds Bomb to Deliver Apocalyptic Message Regarding Extraterrestrials
Pennsylvania man David R. Oxenreider, 28, is facing charges following a police investigation that found a homemade bomb outside of the Bahney House hotel in Myerstown.
Charges filed against Oxenreider include manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction, causing or risking a catastrophe, and terroristic threats.
Oxenreider claimed that he built the bomb to get the attention of the police in order to warn them of an imminent alien attack.
Hotel manager Charles Kline alerted the authorities at approximately 8:54 a.m. on June 23rd, after Oxenreider called Kline to tell him that he'd constructed an explosive device in his apartment. Kline told Oxenreider to remove the bomb and Oxenreider complied, placing it outside near a dumpster.
Police arrived on the scene soon after and took Oxenreider into custody without incident.
Regardless, about 30 residents were evacuated from the Bahney House during their investigation, and much of downtown Myerstown was inaccessible for upwards of six hours.
The bomb built by Oxenreider consisted of two metal butane tanks taped together and placed in a green bag; the tanks were wrapped in cloth and filled with metal staples. He had also placed a hatchet and phone charger inside the bag, possibly, along with the staples, to act as shrapnel if the bomb were to explode.
According to Oxenreider, he never intended to hurt anyone, but rather, he constructed the device to get the attention of police. The bomb needed to be manually detonated, he said, although it might explode if left out in the heat.
The Pennsylvania State Police Hazardous Device and Explosive Section responded to the scene and removed the explosive device—warning that it could have caused serious injuries had it detonated.
Oxenreider told police after questioning that he'd had an encounter with extraterrestrials in 2014 who had warned him that if humanity did not "start being good people" they would destroy Earth with a "nuclear laser beam."
He said he at first tried to spread the message of the extraterrestrials, but decided to construct the explosive device after finding that no one would listen to him.
"When he tells people about his alien encounter, people say he is crazy," said the criminal complaint.
A search of Oxenreider's room turned up materials similar to those used in the explosive device's construction.
Two women who know Oxenreider said that he had converted to Islam a few years ago under the name ‘Muhammad Shahid’, and that he had told them about his plans to make the bomb.
“He’s Muslim and he talked about it and talked about it but I thought if you’re going to do something this big why are you going to brag about it," said Jennifer Templin.
"I got to know him a little bit and there were those glimpses that he was a really good guy, but then his other talk was just out there. Some of it was really hard to listen to; all his talk about bombs, making bombs and something is going to happen," said Jessica Bankus.
“I kind of wish I would have took what he said more seriously, it’s sad," she added.
Apocalyptic messages are often reported by those who claim to have had contact with extraterrestrials. The messages generally reflect the zeitgeist of their era, with nuclear disarmament taking center stage during the height of the Cold War, and environmental disaster taking over the narrative soon after. Many speculate that reputedly sincere alien contactees are afflicted with various mental illnesses—most often schizophrenia—and the messages they receive are hallucinations colored by the concerns of popular culture.
But that explanation doesn’t satisfy every researcher, especially if there is no history of mental illness with the witness or any other symptoms present.
“One of the hardest things an investigator can have to do is recommend to a witness that they seek mental health care,” the Singular Fortean Society’s lead investigator Tobias Wayland said. “It haunts you, because it can be impossible to tell sometimes if the phenomenon is a symptom of mental illness, or mental illness a symptom of the phenomenon. Abduction experiences and most cases of extraterrestrial contact are reported as being very traumatic; the kind of thing that can give someone PTSD. Not only that, but it can feel like you’re letting them down—adding yet another societal stigma to someone already stigmatized by their experience.”
“But the thing we have to remember is that a witness might need help even for the trauma of an authentic experience, and that while investigators can lend a sympathetic ear, we’re often not trained to deal with issues of mental health,” he explained.
“I had to tell a witness fairly recently that I couldn’t continue to help him without the knowledge and authority of a mental health professional,” Wayland continued. “He claimed to be an abductee who received messages from his alien abductors, but he also seemed scattered and manic. I was honestly really worried about his mental state, and at that point whether or not his experience was authentic was irrelevant. I told him that I wanted him to see a doctor before we proceeded, and he got upset. I haven’t heard from him since.”
“I hope he gets help,” he added. “There’s no shame in talking to a professional.”
Oxenreider’s mental health status is currently unknown.
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