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About his roles as a husband and father, Reagan is candid. "I was a horrible father, a horrible example, a very violent, rash, disturbed human being. In fact, I was not a human being. I was a typical two-legged animal."
What saved him, he says, although too late for his family, was a relationship that would forever change him, a friendship and apprenticeship with Navajo Shaman Grandfather Tom Two Bears Wilson.
Wilson taught Reagan to be a sorcerer. He taught Reagan how to shape-shift, which he still does today as a party trick when he's feeling frisky. On one occasion, Reagan claims, he and his girlfriend were high on peyote at his house in California when his wife came in and caught him in mid-shift, with black wings coming out of his head.
In his autobiography, Reagan says that his wife then called the local Mormon bishop, who arrived with holy water, a silver chalice and other spiritual relics with which to perform an exorcism. Reagan was excommunicated from the church and soon divorced from his wife.
Upon closer examination of Reagan's life story, it appears he shape-shifts with the truth as well. Reagan's saga is a dubious blend of fact, exaggeration and lies, told with such apparent candor that distinguishing fact from fiction can be a dizzying process.
And despite what his tribe may believe, Reagan's story contains many deceptions.
Reagan says he is half-Cherokee. But the Cherokee Nation adamantly denies his claim. "What we find are numerous false prophets out there playing Indian and making a buck. Frankly, we are overwhelmed with these folks," says Dr. Richard Allen, a research and policy analyst for the Cherokee Nation who has been receiving complaints about Reagan for more than 10 years.
"To start with, [Reagan] claims he grew up on a Cherokee reservation in Texas. The Cherokee don't even have reservations. We've always owned our land, fee simple." Allen says Reagan's claims are merely a marketing technique. "He's not a member of the Cherokee Nation. Our people would never do what he does. He is a charlatan, a snake oil vendor."
Reagan also claims that, as a Marine, he received both bronze and silver stars for his accomplishments during the Vietnam War. But the Marines' Military Awards Branch has no record of bestowing any commendation whatsoever on Reagan. When asked about this in an interview, Reagan says only, "I had several commendations, yeah. I think those are irrelevant. The people who deserved those medals are the ones who are no longer around on grandmother earth."
Reagan claims to have received a Ph.D. in psychology from The Pacific Institute for Advanced Studies in Hollywood, California. The California Department of Postsecondary Education has no record of such a school.
Dale Bills, a spokesman for the Mormon Church, says the church does not perform exorcisms of any kind. Reagan, who claims in his autobiography that such a ceremony occurred in the late '70s, now says, "Well, the church never really performed the exorcism. The bishop basically didn't know what to do."
Reagan also claims to be the reincarnation of Billy the Kid. He says when he's in a playful mood, he may turn into a deer. Tribe members say that although they haven't seen the deer trick, they have seen him pull coins from the air.
Perhaps the most impressive of his claims, Reagan also says he is a nagual, or a member of the Twisted Hairs, a secret society of tribal elders from North, Central and South America as well as Australia. The society has been meeting every four years since 1254 B.C., sometimes in the fifth dimension, sometimes just in the third. However, Reagan adds, "The traditions go back well over a hundred and some odd thousand years of age. We can date it to 128,000 [years ago]."
This would be around the time Cro-Magnon man first appeared, 90-some-odd thousand years before music was invented or Stonehenge constructed. In his book, Song of the Deer: The Great SunDance Journey of the Soul, Reagan says that Native Americans are descended from extraterrestrial "Star People" who arrived on Earth 950,000 years ago from the planet Oiricanwiyah, near Sirius.
As outlandish as some of his claims may sound, Reagan estimates he has around 5,000 followers all over the world who believe what he tells them with lodges, or branches, in Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, Wales, Canada and several major U.S. cities. The Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society enjoys nonprofit status, describing its activities as "classes and workshops offered to students to teach them about Native American religious beliefs." In 1999, the society took in more than $370,000 in revenue.
Here in Phoenix, Reagan's inner circle is an odd yet utterly devoted bunch of marginal characters who have found new identities within the Deer Tribe. They include an awkward young man who is the Tribe's Web master by day and dojo master by night, a hands-on "sex coach" and Porsche Lynn: dominatrix, porn legend and nationally ranked pistol shooter.
Each of these people, for reasons that are their own, have found their identities in Reagan's shadow and stand firmly by his side, reborn as warriors and tribe members on a quest for spiritual and sexual enlightenment. The harder he makes them come, the harder they seem to fall for him.