Built from two satellite dishes, Granger Taylor’s backyard spaceship has intrigued people since he built it before he disappeared in 1980. (Submitted)

Where did Granger Taylor go? New documentary probes mysterious disappearance

The Duncan man’s disappearance in 1980 still intrigues space watchers today

What actually happened to Duncan’s Granger Taylor 38 years ago?

He left a note for family and friends on Nov. 29, 1980, telling them he was boarding a spaceship, but no one has seen or heard from him since then.

Stacey Jenkins of Alibi Entertainment said, “We think it’s a very interesting story. We are doing a documentary for a major national broadcaster. I can’t say any more because we are still working on the contract.

“A gentleman, Tyler Hooper, wrote a really interesting article about it and it caught the attention of one of the members of our development team. The job of the development team in a TV production company is to create the new things we are doing and pitch them. The article was in Vice magazine, it’s an online magazine that’s very popular with millennials.

“We started to look into it further, and decided to develop a documentary on it because Granger would be turning 70 this year and we thought we might be nearing the end of an opportunity to tell this story with people who were his immediate family,” Jenkins explained.

“He [Taylor] is intriguing. He had this interest in space but he was a mechanical genius. He built a one-cylinder-car when he was 14 or something. He only had a Grade 8 education but he dug out this abandoned, decrepit steam engine out of the woods and transported it to his farm and restored it to working order. It now sits at the BC Forest Discovery Centre. I’ve seen pictures of it and it’s gorgeous,” she said.

Another thing he restored was a Kitty Hawk plane that was located by the Trans Canada Highway for some time, before eventually selling to a collector.

“In terms of locomotion, he understood how things worked,” Jenkins said. “He was amazing at making and fixing everything to do with motors.”

But mechanics weren’t his only interest, and his imagination took him in a decidedly otherworldly direction.

“He was a genius. But he started to imagine, knowing how cars, and planes, and trains worked here, that aliens had better technology,” Jenkins said.

“He told his friends that aliens had spoken to him, and he started to fantasize about being taken by aliens. He also built a pseudo space ship in his back yard out of scrap metal. It was never intended to fly but it became almost like his treehouse. He would hang out in it and fantasize about how aliens would power their ships,” she said.

When Taylor disappeared, Jenkins said, his family was heartbroken. It’s something the documentary producers are being careful to respect.

”We’re not trying to present him like a nut,” Jenkins said. “We’re trying to portray an intriguing kind of a Canadian, a genius, that we think other Canadians would want to know about.

Tyler Hooper researched his Vice article carefully, she said, including visiting Taylor’s family.

“I spoke to him. He went and met with the family. He was in his [Granger Taylor’s] room, which is still preserved to this day, 38 years after his disappearance. He was also very moved that this person was really loved by his family. He also has some theories about what happened.”

The documentary should hit television screens at the end of 2018.

Taylor’s story has intrigued many people over the years.

Videos on Youtube ask questions.

Stories in The Times Colonist kept interest high and, more recently, on websites like Vice, authors like Hooper followed the paper’s lead in wondering what happened. It was so bizarre that writers couldn’t resist it.

A Times Colonist story on March 18, 1985 by Derek Sedenius starts with drama: “The silver spaceship sits on metal pillars under the trees at Jim and Grace Taylor’s farm near Duncan. Its aluminum-plate ramp door is ajar and broken — the Taylors suspect from children playing — but inside, the large old sofa, pot-bellied stove, and plywood sleeping ledge are much the way their son, Granger, left them. All around the verdant property that sweeps down to the marshes of Somenos Lake, there are collections of old equipment — steam pots from donkey engines, old tractors, an ancient bulldozer, railroad artifacts of a bygone era — that their son culled lovingly from Cowichan Valley bushes.

“They are much the way Granger left them, too. The Taylors have tried to keep everything the same. His bed in his bedroom next to the kitchen is untouched. The plaques he saved from engines he’d repaired — triumphs and trophies of his mechanical aptitude — hang on a cupboard door. His books are there, too, paperbacks, mostly, with titles like Black Holes, The Secret Forces of the Pyramid, Flying Saucers Here and Now, and From Outer Space, stored now in a cardboard box.

“The Taylors desperately want to believe their son will come back. But after 51 months, it is tough to keep up hope.”

Taylor often talked of aliens and spaceships and before leaving, he tacked a note to his father’s bedroom door.

His father found it when he came home from work the afternoon of Nov. 29, 1980, according to the Times Colonist story by Sedenius.

“Dear Mother and Father,” [the note] said. ‘I have gone away to walk aboard an alien spaceship, as re-occurring dreams assured a 42-month interstellar voyage to explore the vast universe, then return. I am leaving behind all my possessions to you as I will no longer require the use of any. Please use the instructions in my will as a guide to help. Love, Granger.’”

After the 42 months were up, according to Sedenius, “the Taylors left the back door unlocked that night just in case he showed up. But he never did. RCMP in Duncan have tried to find Granger, who would have turned 36 last Oct. 7, but despite what Cpl. Mike Demchuk described as ‘exhaustive checks’ nothing has turned up, not a single clue to his whereabouts.

Granger presumably left in his 1972 light blue Datsun, one of several older model pickup trucks he owned.

The vehicle is still missing and to Demchuk that is the most baffling element of a most baffling case.

“One would expect the car at least to be found,” he says. “You just don’t get rid of something that large without someone knowing about It.”

The vehicle’s licence expired in 1981 so police are reasonably certain it is no longer on the road.

In researching his internet story, Hooper talked to Taylor’s former best friend, Robert Keller, who said, “He did have dreams that they [aliens] were coming to get him.”

As part of Alibi’s research for their documentary, they have discovered that the last time anyone saw Taylor, he was having supper at Bob’s Grill in Duncan, where he was a regular.

Apparently, Linda Baron was working in the kitchen. According to Sedenius’s story, Baron saw Taylor enter and take a table by himself.

The folks at Alibi would like very much to talk to Baron, if she is still around, Jenkins said.

Taylor was a big, shy guy, who could fix anything but he was obsessed with finding out how spaceships were powered. All of his friends knew of his interest because it was one subject he liked talking about.

A month before he disappeared he told a friend he had had contact with an alien being and that he’d been invited to go on a trip through the solar system but he apparently didn’t reveal details of the rendezvous to anybody.

According to Sedenius, “The night before he left he went into his father’s bedroom and had a long talk with him about how grateful he was for all Taylor had done for him. Granger was a stepson but that distinction had never mattered in the past. His mother was in Hawaii, her first holiday in years. She’s never completely forgiven herself for being away at this critical time. Granger left two wills with detailed instructions to his parents on what to do with his possessions. The word ‘deceased’ was scratched out and substituted with ‘departed.’ “

At Alibi, it’s been an exciting subject for a documentary.

“We have a fair push here. We want to do the production part now, then it will be edited for several months,” Jenkins said.

Along with Baron, Jenkins and her people are trying to track down Taylor’s close friends, Robert Keller, who might be about 65 years old; Bob Nielson (or perhaps Nielsen, or another spelling) another close friend; Danny Flanagan; and another friend named Tim.

Contact Stacey Jenkins at Alibi Entertainment: 416-979-2100 or stacey@alibientertainment.ca with any information you may have.

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