"We were caught completely unaware-- surprised, and a little amused," says Hannah Brent, a member of Viewzone's Publication team. "We knew his articles were popular, but really weren't expecting this." Who and what is she referring to? Viewzone staff writer, Dan Eden, of course, and the steady stream of fan mail that continues to pour into the office. According to Brent, the mail comes from large variety of sources. "There are messages from professors and teachers asking permission to use his material in class, researchers and scientists commenting on his clear and simple presentation, and then a lot of mail from the general public, who somehow feel they've connected with him in some way. In every batch there's usually one 'I love you Dan.' It's really strange."
Eden does answer his e-mail, and when he does, you'll probably feel you've know him all your life. He's "got a knack with people," as friends often say. When Viewzone changed the slant of its content in late '97 to focus on the "weird and unusual," I produced Dan's number and insisted, "You've got to contact this man. He's a veritable storehouse of information." I'd known Dan Eden since high school, and though our paths parted and connected many times, we were still good friends.
Dan spent his pre-high school days building ham radios, a means, I
always thought, for him to partake in his favorite
passtime-- conversing-- with just about anyone. Dan has always had "the
gift of gab," coupled with a desire to find out exactly what makes
things "tick" or how they happen. He could talk to just about anyone
about anything, and he always wanted to know the "hows" and "whys." This
led him to eventually pursue a
Dan took a position with a large urban teaching hospital, heading up a program called Alpha/Omega. For twelve years, he perfomed a job not envied by many. He counseled the terminally ill and helped them to prepare for their end. A superb advocate who always went the extra mile for patients' rights, Dan Eden performed his job quite well. He became familiar with his patients' ailments, researching and consulting experts on every detail. He developed the valuable skill of translating the complicated and bewildering rhetoric and terminology of physicians into language that the "average Joe" could comprehend. He helped many, and took an interest in all, but he was fighting a loosing battle from the start. His patients were all destined to depart.
Eventually, the work took its toll on Eden, and he left his position to throw himself into a completely different world. He studied painting and music, trying to forget the many faces that had begun to haunt him from his hospital work; faces he couldn't seem to erase.
On subsequent visits to his residence I discovered that Dan never lost his obsession to know "why." Bookshelves filled with volumes and research grew more laden with notebooks and paper. But it wasn't just medical information Dan sought. He had developed a curiosity about the unusual, the unexplained, ancient history, unsolved mysteries, even aliens. The mention of the words "alien abuction" or "ancient Sumerians" would light up his eyes. Name the topic and it was there in his notebooks. He had also started keeping journals, volumes of them.
At each reunion, Dan, reaching into an over-stuffed black briefcase, would produce a new study or topic of interest. He would contact authors of books he liked or was intrigued by, and his files would come to contain phone numbers of and letters from renowned scientists, researchers and authors. We would talk for hours on end.
After the launch of the popular television weekly, I began referring to the
black briefcase as "Dan's current X-files." I had come to realize that
during the course of our sometimes "heated" discussions about his latest
topic of interest,
The rest of the story is pretty much evident. The fruits of Dan Eden's years of research and documentation are being put to good use. He's living happily ever after, having discovered a whole new world of people to "talk to" about his interests. I still feel compelled to try to keep at least one of his feet planted on the ground, but for the most part, I try to enjoy him for what he is-- a great personality, really good friend and a vast resource for the world of "fringe."
And Viewzone? "We couldn't be happier with his popularity," says Hannah. "Dan is responsible for a large part of our success."