Page 16 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - April 2024
P. 16

16                       Silicon Valley’s Flying Saucer Man





          The Forgotten Legend of

            Silicon Valley’s Flying

                     Saucer Man




                 Continued from Page 15


        Guests would take their seats, and
        Weygers would slide the giant table in
        front of them with a couple of fingers,
        showing off his engineering skills.  The
        food came from Marian’s garden; the
        plates and utensils, from his forge. “It

        was a time when technology seemed to
        be accelerating,” says Joseph Stevens, a
        student who trekked to the property from
        Canada three times in the 1970s. “But
        when you were at their house, time really
        stood still. It could have been any time,
        any century even.”
                                                         partner, Cathy Thomas, paid $1.6 million The frustration stemmed from Hunter’s

        Along with the blacksmithing and for 1.6 acres of land and a four-bedroom struggle to make  Weygers famous.
        sculptures, Weygers would show off his craftsman home. The grounds still looked Hunter was a great salesman, but no one
        wood engravings, some of which took just as they had in Weygers’s heyday, full wanted to take the time to hear a
        months, and a technique he called of trees, shrubs, and hills, and the house complicated                              story      about        an
        artography, in which he’d take photos of was tucked back from the road at the end unconventional life. Weygers couldn’t be
        an object through a droplet of water of a long, winding driveway. Remnants packaged on Instagram in a splashy suit
        placed on the lens, then trace portions of of Weygers’s workshops and house could or force-fed to people on Facebook. Still,
        the pictures in pencil to sharpen details. be found in the ground. “We are so lucky Hunter kept at it. If anything, his notes
        As with the books, the photos brought to have found the house,” Hunter said. about  Weygers started to feel more
        him some attention and money, but he “It’s a miracle.”                                            urgent, especially in mid-2017.
        still managed to stay mostly out of the

        public eye. “He wanted to be left alone to Over the course of the next 18 months, Hindsight has made the reason for this
        live his own life,” says Talbott, his former Hunter and I exchanged many notes clear. Unbeknown to me, Hunter, then 58,
        neighbor. “The neighbors would see this about Weygers. Or rather, he sent me a had been battling cancer for years, and
        old truck come down the road with all of constant stream of updates about things the sickness had taken a turn for the
        this stuff in it now and again, and that’s it. he’d discovered and his ambitious plans worse as it spread throughout his body.
        Frankly, most of them looked down at for the property. He was particularly
        him.”                                            excited by Silicon Valley’s recent interest In July 2017, I made the 90-mile drive to
                                                         in flying cars, with Google co-founder see what Hunter had done with Weygers’s
        Weygers taught the classes until he was Larry Page and several startups funding old place. The results were glorious.

        83, at which point vision and heart efforts to develop  VTOL vehicles.
        problems got the best of him. “He had Finally, the technology needed to power Hunter had built what amounted to a
        macular degeneration and couldn’t focus something like the Discopter had arrived. Weygers museum. As you walked down a
        on things,” says  André Balyon, a local The world had caught up to  Weygers’s flight of stairs to the basement, you
        artist and Weygers’s neighbor. “None of genius.                                                   passed a series of giant Discopter photos.
        his students came by anymore. It was all                                                          In the basement, Hunter had set up a
        very frustrating to him.” Weygers died in Hunter’s fascination with  Weygers was couple of couches in the center of the
        1989 at 87. He’d hoped the crazy house both inspiring and frustrating.  As a room and surrounded them with
        and studio would be turned into a Silicon Valley history buff, I reveled in Weygers’s sculptures. His collection of
        foundation with sculptors in residence the story of this lone engineer who’d Weygers photos had been artfully
        willing to leave their best piece behind rejected the area’s money and hype and arranged on the wall, showing a timeline

        when they moved on. Marian, though, decided to make a go of it with just his of his life.  Tools Hunter had obtained
        had tired of roughing it, and parceled the own two hands.  Weygers embodied so from  Weygers’s students were encased
        land out into lots she sold. The home was many of the things Silicon Valley techies behind glass like fine art pieces. “It’s
        eventually torn down.  The sale of the celebrate today but fail to live up to: He almost become like a race in my mind,
        property netted her about $400,000, and was a conservationist, a maker, and a like someone else will find this stuff
        she lived in the area until 2008, when she farm-to-table foodie without any of the before I get there,” he said.
        died at age 98.                                  self-congratulatory           pomp          or
                                                         circumstance that now surrounds those                               (Continued on Page 17)
        In May 2016, Hunter discovered that ideas. He was authentic in ways that the

        some of the property where Weygers had Valley isn’t much anymore.                                 CHECKOUT ALL THE GREAT XZBN
        lived had come up for sale. He and his                                                                 SHOWS AT WWW.XZBN.NET
   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21