Eventually, the lack of any real sign of the Deus emerging despite Wells’ insistence that it was nigh led to a dwindling number of members. From a high of about 150 in 1964, the Futuros had fallen to less than 75 by the following year, and a satellite branch in Dayton was shuttered. Wells began desperately to search for any sign of the Deus, and, in mid-1965, he found it in a DEC PDP-8 minicomputer. At a fraction of the cost of a mainframe, around $18,500, this computer was latched onto by Wells as the first sign of an emerging technological god–the “ovus of the Deus,” as he put it. After raising the money from his remaining followers, Wells took delivery of the computer in early 1966. The PDP-8, though, was not an easy machine to master, and Wells did not take the free courses on its operation offered at Ohio State in Columbus, choosing instead to attempt to puzzle out its user manual, something for which he had no aptitude. The only thing he managed to do was to have the PDP-8 output a discrete bit of its machine code via a teletype. And this simple operation was at the heart of the Futuros’ later infamy.

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