Page 13 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - April 2024
P. 13

Silicon Valley’s Flying Saucer Man                                                                                     13

          The Forgotten Legend of

            Silicon Valley’s Flying

                     Saucer Man

                 Continued from Page 12

        As he left, he gave me some Discopter

        stickers, pamphlets about  Weygers, and
        one of the posters, which he insisted I
        mail to Musk.

        Hunter’s gallery was tucked down a
        side street in Santa Cruz, in a single-story
        industrial building behind a wall of cafes
        and surf shops. He said he had a “touch”
        of obsessive-compulsive disorder.  The

        gallery showed a touch and a For the first
        decade of his professional life, Hunter
        worked at and then took over his father’s        edges. Glass displays held  Weygers’s brothers and sisters were home-schooled
        painting contracting business. A broken          books, tools, and scale-model Discopters, and ambled barefoot around the
        marriage sent him to Hawaii, where he            and photos from his life dotted the walls. countryside dressed in white tunics. The
        began selling art at a high-end gallery on       On a long table at one end of the room, family was well-off, but there was much
        Maui. “In the first month, I was the No. 1       dozens of folders meticulously cataloged to do to keep the farm and hotel running.
        salesman,” he said. “I got lucky, hit a          information from  Weygers’s life.  There Alex often helped out in the blacksmith
        whale, and sold a couple hundred grand.”         was a mathematical precision to the studio.
        Soon after, he seized on the works of            room, everything finely spaced and
        Robert  Wyland, who’d become famous              pristinely maintained, like a shrine.  A At 15, he traveled to Holland for

        for his ocean-themed murals, and went on         small closet in the back had been turned education at a prep school and then
        to sell millions of dollars of the art. “He      into a UFO museum.  There were college.                       He     studied      mechanical
        was a hustler for sure,” Wyland says. “He        hundreds of books (The Roswell engineering and naval architecture while
        always loved the arts and had a good             Incident,     Flying      Saucers—Serious continuing to hone his blacksmith skills.
        eye.” Hunter grew his hair and beard             Business,  Is Another World Watching?) As part of his training, Weygers took long
        long, enjoyed a joint and a surf on the          and old magazines with some of the trips at sea and forged precise bits of
        beach in the evenings, and soaked it all         earliest mentions of flying saucers (Life, machinery while bobbing around on the
        in. “I was selling art, while a new batch of     Reader’s Digest). Hunter spent hours on rough waters. “If parts wore out, there
        pretty tourist girls would arrive every          auction and collectors’ websites to snag was no one there to save you,” he liked to

        Monday,” he said. “I loved it.”                  as many copies as possible, like a UFO say, according to an interview found in
                                                         hoarder. The room was packed with UFO the vast trove of records dug up by
        When the internet took off in the 1990s,         toys, beer, ray guns, DVDs, journals, and Hunter. “You were alone at sea. You were
        Hunter started gobbling up domain                board games. “Thank god for EBay,” he expected to make and design their
        names tied to well-known artists and the         said.                                            replacements with whatever was at
        arts in general.  This helped him build                                                           hand.”
        markets for such sculptors as M.L.               None of this really surprised the people
        Snowden and Frank Eliscu, who                    who knew Hunter well. Born in 1958, In 1926, Weygers moved with his young
        produced the Heisman Trophy, and to sell         he’d grown up in nearby Santa Clara wife, Jacoba Hutter, to Seattle, where he
        to celebrity clients including George            back when Silicon Valley was still called pursued a career as a marine engineer and
        Foreman  and Tanya Tucker.  Hunter               the  Valley of Heart’s Delight, after its ship architect and began inking drawings

        eventually returned to the Bay  Area,            bountiful fruit and nut orchards. As a kid, of the Discopter in his notebook. By
        running his websites and setting up the          he spent weekends woodworking in his 1928, however, he’d fallen into a deep
        gallery in Santa Cruz.  The art business         dad’s garage or going to flea markets depression, after Hutter and the couple’s
        did well, but it never offered him the           with his mom. Even then, he collected son died during childbirth.“This was the
        fortune or fame of his dreams. “That’s           things—Hot  Wheels, coins, stamps, car start of a downward spiral,”  Weygers
        been the personal challenge for me,” he          parts, pins, guns. “The last name is wrote to his parents after Hutter’s funeral.
        said. “Can I take a guy that nobody has          Hunter, you know,” he said.                      “Everything is so awful now.” He gave
        ever heard of and make him a national                                                             up shipbuilding and threw himself into
        story?”                                          Weygers was born in 1901 on the sculpting, traveling throughout the U.S.

                                                         Indonesian island of Java and grew up on and Europe to study under several
        Dozens of Weygers’s sculptures filled the        a sugar plantation owned by his Dutch masters of the period.
        main room: big ones on large black               parents. The family also ran a hotel on the
        pedestals arranged symmetrically in the          tropical property, a tangle of mango trees                          (Continued on Page 14)
        center, and smaller pieces ringing the           and sugar cane fields. Alex and his six
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