Schwa\'s past is slightly blurred, but it is generally held that the
religion has its roots in ancient Egypt. A small breakaway group are believed to
have gathered regularly to exchange news and, on occasion, personal accounts of
landings by what they called \'star-creatures\'. These beings were identical to
the Egyptian gods, and their belief was that these beings came to their land,
from their home amongst the stars, disguised as animals with which they were
familiar (the jackal, the cat etc). Some hieroglyphics have been uncovered by
archaeologists which, according to Schwa followers, are the original
inscriptions of members of the ancient religion, but have been wrongly
interpreted by \'UFO fanatics\' as proof that aliens built the pyramids. This
leads non-believers to give little weight to what was "actually a true and
proper religion".
Since those primitive days the religion has developed enormously, but
the biggest and most important advancements have only come in the past decade.
Previously, followers had only gathered in what could be described as \'sects\' in
many different countries, with the highest concentration being in North America.
It wasn\'t until 1986 that Jeff Krantz, a 19 year old art student at the
University of Michigan, started came to be known as \'The Union\', a wave of
change that would sweep across the world over a period of two years, and would
result in united international Schwa religion.
"I had just been transferred from (the University of) Wisconsin in the
earlier part of that year," Krantz says. "I had attended regular meetings with
about half a dozen other believers. We met one night each week to talk about
stuff related to our belief - that the Earth, and everything on it, was created
by extraterrestrial beings. I guess you could say they\'re on the same level as
the gods of other religions, but we believe that our creators are actual living,
breathing beings, not spirits; an analogy would be our superiority over
creatures which we created through gene technology, DNA splicing or whatever.
"At one of these meetings we decided that we should have some sort of
symbol that we could make into stickers. Each of us could then stick them on
books or wherever, just to get people thinking about what they could mean, and
also to bring the group together under an identifiable symbol - kind of like a
The task fell to Adrian Blackwell, another art student whom Krantz saw
often outside of these meetings. "The idea for the sticker kind of came to me
when I was on acid," Blackwell recalls, smiling. "Actually, I saw these two
symbols at the same time, almost; an alien head and a starfish. The starfish
didn\'t really do anything for me, so I drew the other one and the other guys
loved it." A copy of the design is on the cover page.
"Yeah, the design was great," says Krantz, "but I thought it needed some
sort of name. That Saturday night I went to a party. I got smashed, and then
this name sort of appeared in my head : \'Schwaerozni\'. I knew it couldn\'t have
been an accident. Anyway, when I went to write it under the design before we
sent it to have the stickers made, I could only fit in \'Schwa\'. The name stuck."
After his move to Wisconsin, Krantz stayed in touch with his fellow
believers in Michigan. He began working part time at a hardware store for a few
months. His last day at the store was the turning point for the religion. "I
used to steal solvent from the store, take it to my dorm and sniff it," he
laughs. "Pretty pathetic, really. Finally my boss caught on to what I was doing,
and he called me into his office. He gave me a big lecture about the stupidity
of sniffing solvent, the fact that he could have had me charged with shoplifting,
don\'t ruin your life, blah blah blah. Then he gave me my last paycheck - minus
the cost of a can of solvent. That night I was pretty pissed off, and I sniffed
a little more than usual. I was climbing onto the roof to see if I could fly
when I thought of this brilliant joke. I thought it was so funny that I forgot
all about flying and just went back to my room to write it down before I forgot
about it. Later on I told it to the other guys over. Although it had nothing to
do with Schwa, they all said that something