Just the Bullet Points: How a Former Assistant Ratted Out Balloon Boy's Dad
Wow. Ready to have your mind blown? A former research assistant who slaved for Richard Heene is revealing the deceptive, tragic master plan that Heene concocted to manufacture a media thunderstorm. This...is completely insane. Here's a bullet-point summary:
- Robert Thomas is a self-identified "web entrepreneur" and researcher who worked with Richard Heene at Colorado State University. Thomas loved working with science and electromagnetics since he was a kid, and discovered Heene through his wacky YouTube series.
- Both guys shared interests in mad-scientist questions about the earth's magnetic properties and effects on nature. Thomas starting helping Heene out with his ideas and failing small business, passing out fliers for him.
- Heene went on Wife Swap, went kinda crazy, and developed a superiority complex. Their friendship became less about a shared interest in science and more about Heene and his increasingly megalomaniaical batshit ideas. Most of them had to do with getting on TV again.
- Heene wanted to shop his idea around to a producer he was in contact with from Wife Swap.
- Heene's pitch was: a zany science theory at the beginning of each episode, and at the end, they'd prove or disprove it.
- Heene was crazily firing episode ideas away a mile a minute, one after the other. Robert, who was writing all these ideas down for Heene, was given $15/hour and was promised a lead assistant position on the show by Heene.
- Heene thought they'd use the show to further science. Heene was obsessed with becoming a famous nutty professor. That's where the divide happened. Or as Richard wrote: "He wanted episodes that would shock people and maximize his exposure. And he'd been trying for months. On several occasions, he sat down and told me he'd do whatever it took to make it happen — to win."
- Heene's big idea to launch the show: to manufacture a UFO controversy bigger than Roswell, bigger than anything the world had ever seen before.
- The breaking point: Heene told his then-assistant of Reptilians who could shape-shift that were running the shadow government, and that his fame would enable him to communicate with the masses and expose said Reptillians. He also told Thomas the world was gonna end in a solar flare in 2012, and that they were running out of time.
- Thomas never got paid for the TV work he did with Heene. He passed out a lot of fliers for Heene's general contractor business, which wasn't bringing in cash. Probably because Heene spent too much time on his conspiracy theories and fame attempts. Heene reassured Thomas that it'd pay off. Thomas saw the crazy and got out of dodge.
- On Thursday, he sees the balloon go up. And then Heene's lie about the kid. And a friend, remembering a story Thomas once told him about this guy he worked with, called him up and told him he had to turn Heene in.
- Thomas notes: Heene's attic is too small and difficult to access for a small child to hide in without assistance. Also, that Falcon was the most social, and that those kids never got disciplined by Heene. He never would've hid and feared retribution.
And that's how it went down.
Pic of Heene via AP