Showing posts with label Richard Shaver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Shaver. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

UFOs and Alien Monsters from Outer Space


(Originally published May 29, 2018 at Adventures In Poor Taste, as "UFO monsters: 10 species of terror.")

Soon after the first report of flying saucers in June 1947, Unidentified Flying Objects took the place of Sea Serpents as the the great mystery of the unknown. The belief spread that UFOs were spacecraft from other worlds, and shortly thereafter, people began reporting encounters with their occupants. Most of the aliens were described as being spacemen, not all that different from humans, however, some of the reports sounded more like the bug-eyed monsters of early pulp science fiction.

At The Saucers That Time Forgot, we usually look at the weird stories and events of UFO history, but here we’ll look at some of its myths of those extraterrestrial creatures.

Mars Attacks

1897: Planet Earth
Long before there were flying saucer reports, there were stories of creatures from other worlds, and the most famous and influential one was H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. His invading Martians were inhuman, octopus-like creatures. The story had a huge influence on UFO lore as did Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation of it for Halloween. The War of the Worlds set the industry standard, and its imitators from - print to motion pictures - almost always presented space aliens as invading monsters.


The Deros of the Shaver Mystery

March 1945: Beneath the Earth (and in the pages of Amazing Stories)
Before the Flying Saucer wave of 1947, Richard Shaver was telling tales of abductions by Deros, the hideous dwarfed degenerate offspring of ancient extraterrestrials. They lived beneath the surface of the Earth, and used their alien technology to torment and torture mankind from ancient times to today. Shaver’s Deros were said to be the basis for legends; witches, goblins and the monsters of myth - and perhaps Satan himself.

The Saucer and the Scoutmaster

August 19, 1952: Palm Beach County, Florida
D.S. DesVergers, “Sonny,” was driving three Boy Scouts home when he stopped to investigate strange lights. Armed with a flashlight and a machete, he headed alone into the woods where he encountered a UFO. He said the hatch opened and blasted him with a ball of fire singeing his cap, arms, and a patch of nearby grass. Afterwards, pressed by reporters for more details, he said, "It's better for me not to go any further for the public good because it might cause panic." In an exclusive interview the next year for The American Weekly, DesVergers admitted he had seen a “creature” inside the saucer, but refused again to go further, giving the distinct impression that the alien was just too horrible to describe.

The Little Men
March, 1948: Aztec, New Mexico When flying saucers started appearing in 1947 and people speculated about the occupants, some thought they might be men from Mars. But not like Wells’ Martians. Men, not monsters. But since the saucers appeared to have little headroom, they must be small. Frank Scully wrote the 1950 book Behind the Flying Saucers, based on Silas Newton’s story of the military's capture of a crashed flying saucer and the alien bodies inside. The little men from Venus were identical to humans, just smaller, “Dr. Gee says they measured between 36 and 42 inches and were 30 to 40 years old. Otherwise he found nothing unusual about them.” The story was proven to be a hoax, but decades later, ufologists salvaged it by retconning and recycling it into the Roswell crash story.

The Visitor from Venus

November 20, 1952: In the California desert near Mount Palomar George Adamski became known as the first “Contactee,” but since the late 1920s had been preaching a variant message of Theosophy until the flying saucers entered the picture. He retooled the message with space men at the center of it, which helped draw believers, but he topped that in 1952 by making first contact. Adamski told how he encountered a landed flying saucer and met a man from Venus who sounded more like an angel than a monster. The alien was a bit shorter than average, but not a “little man,” about five feet, six inches in height with flowing blonde hair. Adamski said, “The beauty of his form surpassed anything I had ever seen.” The Venusian brought a warning of how Earth would destroy itself unless we renounced our atomic bombs and warlike ways. Curiously, the message was ideologically identical to what Adamski had been teaching for decades. Adamski had many imitators, but he was the first, and most famous Contactee, the number one ambassador for the Space Brothers, sharing their platitudes of peace and love.

The Flatwoods Monster

September 12, 1952: Flatwoods in Braxton County, West Virginia
The Charleston, West Virginia Gazette reported that after seeing a fiery object seem to come down in the hills, a group of seven people, mostly kids, went to look for it. They saw flashing lights and smelled a horrible sulphur odor, then saw a "10 to 12-foot tall monster with a face of fiery red, protruding eyes, a green body and a spade-like tail." They fled in terror and notified the police, who investigated the scene, finding “a strong, sickening burnt metallic odor still prevailing, but there was no sign of the monster.”

Hairy Dwarfs Attack

November 29, 1954: Petare, Miranda, Venezuela
Gustavo Gonzales and his employee, José Ponce, were on a pre-dawn business drive when they saw a large metallic or luminous sphere hovering above the road. Stopping, they saw a hairy dwarfish being, 3 feet tall, with claws and glowing eyes, approaching. Gonzales took hold of it picked it up, but found that the alien dwarf was strong and fought fiercely back. Gonzales pulled a knife and stabbed at it, but his blade glanced off its tough hide. During the fight, Ponce ran to the police station for help. Two more of the creatures appeared, and one blinded Gonzales with a bright light before they returned to their craft and flew away. Gonzales went to the police station, where he found Ponce trying to bring help. No evidence was left behind except for a deep scratch in Gonzales’ side from the fight.  


The Goblins from Outer Space

August 21, 1955:  Christian County, Kentucky
As the story goes, one of the family at the Sutton farmhouse saw a mysterious flying object land in the woods nearby. There were about a dozen people at the house, and when he tried to show someone the direction of it, they found that “little men with big heads and long arms were approaching the house… having huge eyes and hands out of proportion to their small bodies...” Fearing an attack, they returned to the house and armed themselves with a shotgun and a pistol. The creatures approached the house and the Suttons fired on them, but their shots didn’t seem to harm the aliens, only knocked them down. The siege went on for hours, but during a lull, the family piled into to two vehicles and reported the attack to the police in Hopkinsville. Checking it out, the police saw the evidence of gunfire, but no intruders. After the cops left, the goblins returned in the early morning, but retreated for good before daybreak. In later retelling the aliens were little green men, but were not described that way by the original witnesses.

The Hypnotic Aliens of Betty and Barney Hill

September 19, 1961: near Lincoln, New Hampshire
Betty and Barney Hill saw a UFO on a long drive home and afterwards had recurrent fearful nightmares. When hypnotized by a psychiatrist, they told a story of being abducted and medically examined by short men with big eyes. The Hills had been treated by a medical professional, Dr. Benjamin Simon, and that gave their story added credibility, which helped their case become famous, the subject of a best-selling book, and later a 1975 TV, movie, The UFO Incident. The Hill’s story served as a transition between the Contactee stories and the nightmarish abduction encounters that took their place.

The Alien Robots of Cisco Grove

September 4, 1964: 28 year-old Donald Shrum was bow hunting in Cisco Grove, California, but got lost in the woods. When the signal fire he set to attract help seemed to attract a UFO instead, he took refuge in the lower branches of a tall pine tree. Two silvery-clad human-like beings approached, strange men with bulging eyes, no necks, and they came after him, trying to dislodge Shrum from the tree by shaking it. Then it got weird. A third alien, a robot, joined the attack. Shrum fired arrows, hitting the robot once, which momentarily stopped it. After that, the robot released a noxious gas or vapor from its mouth, causing him to black out temporarily. Shrum recovered, climbed higher, and strapped himself in with his belt. He fought back throughout the night, throwing objects, lit matches and burning pieces of his clothing at the aliens. A second robot appeared, and Shrum was gassed again, but when he awoke in the early dawn, he was alone. Despite Shrum being able to produce a dented arrowhead as evidence, the Air Force investigators considered the incident a hoax.

The Winged Monster of Point Pleasant

November 12, 1966: Point Pleasant, West Virginia
This famous case involved a year-long series of sightings of a large menacing bird-like creature, part of many strange happenings. Gray Barker covered the story in his book,  The Silver Bridge, but its best-known from John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies. The Mothman is not really a proper spaceman from a UFO, it's more a part of the school of ufology that connects all weirdness to the paranormal. The frustration over the lack of physical evidence for flying saucers prompted some ufologists to look elsewhere for answers.

Bigfoot, UFOs and the Paranormal

October 20, 1967: Bluff Creek, California (filmed)
Bigfoot has seldom seriously connected with UFOs, but presents the same problems in regards to physical evidence. This has lead to some people hunting Bigfoot to put their faith into the paranormal instead, suggesting that the creatures are of a magical or inter-dimensional origin. For an exploration into the paranormal side of Bigfoot, there’s probably no better or worse book to mention than, The Psychic Sasquatch and Their UFO Connection by Jack Lapseritis. It's just one of many novel theories, but perhaps the most entertaining explanations was found in The Six Million Dollar Man 1976 two-part episode, "The Secret of Bigfoot.” Without spoiling the entire story, it’s revealed that Bigfoot was created by aliens to serve as their guardian.

The Abduction of the Fishermen

Oct. 11, 1973: Pascagoula, Mississippi
Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker had their night fishing trip interrupted when they were caught by aliens. There were three of them, about five feet tall and bipedal, but otherwise nonhuman, and the creatures didn’t walk, but floated through the air, ghost-like. Their bodies seemed to be covered with pale gray wrinkled skin, and they had very long arms with crab-like pincers for hands, and their stocky legs ended in elephant-like feet. There was no neck, and the heads were bullet or dome-like, no eyes were visible in the wrinkled faces. In the place of a nose and ears, they had short pointed carrot-like protuberances, and where the mouth should be, there was only a small slit. They took the fisherman aboard their oval-shaped ship, examined, then released them unharmed. After reporting the terrifying experience, the witnesses came to believe that their captors had been some kind of robots, and Hickson thought they were controlled from afar by some peaceful alien intelligence.

The Greys and Alien Abductions

In the 1950s, the Contactees went on joyful saucer trips with angelic aliens, but that fell out of fashion in the 60s. UFO researchers began to using the hypnotic regression on witnesses as an investigative tool to search for hidden memories. Unlike in the famous 1961 Betty and Barney Hill case, often these attempts were conducted by amateurs, not physicians. These untrained hypnotists were able to produce stories from their subjects, and more often than not, the nightmarish stories echoed that of the Hill’s; being helpless, and at the mercy of a medical examination by small humanoid aliens. In the 80s, those big-eyed little men came to known as “the Greys,” eventually taking over as the industry standard of what UFO occupants were expected to look like.

The Changing Faces of the Aliens

Descriptions of aliens have changed over time, from men, to monsters and angels, and back again. There have always been stories of weird and wonderful things, but we tend to pay more attention to those that match our expectations - or seem to confirm what we think we already know. The middlemen who usually bring us the stories, such as UFO investigators and media reporters, serve as editors or filters. For the most part, they are telling us what we want to hear, and reinforce stereotypes. The final factor is the role of emotion and imagination influencing the witness at the moment of the experience. Someone awestruck with wonder may come away from a UFO encounter with a tale of a benevolent visitor, while a terrified witness may tell the story of a horrible invading space monster. Much of it comes down to what's in the mind and the eye of the beholder.

. . .



Friday, July 13, 2018

UFO History: The Saucers from Atlantis



Many of the articles at BBL and STTF begin with a question, and this piece is no exception. Ufology inherited much about exploring the unknown from those who had gone before, from Forteans, science fiction fans - to mystics and spiritualists. When asking how a UFO-related concept originated, it’s often a bit like the chicken or the egg conundrum. The topic in question was prompted by a high-profile UFO interview.

One of ufology’s most prominent figures was awarded the title “UFO Researcher of the Year” in February 2017, and the following October, he was interviewed on The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan asked where the alien Greys come from, and the guest replied: 
“I don’t know. I do know that there’s connections to -umm, eh, you won’t even f***ing believe it... Atlantis... There’s a connection... a very advanced group that left after a catastrophe and hung around in a small outpost here, and throughout time would push civilization forward, and that’s who the Greek gods were... and that’s why it’s very interesting when the Roswell wreckage, there’s Greek writing... It’s online, type in Roswell wreckage... Roswell I-beam, you’ll see it, and it’s got these Greek markings...

Kevin Randle wrote about the source of the visual evidence:
“... about Greek writing found on the Roswell wreckage... The photo they bring up at that point is a shot of the I-Beam... created by Spyros Melaris as part of the alien autopsy hoax.” A Different Perspective, Oct. 31, 2017
The Greek inscription was part of a hoax, but what about the rest - was it based on any better evidence? Even some scientists have given some support to a hypothesis that there is a connection between UFOs and Atlantis.


Dr. Eric Davis works with Dr. Hal Puthoff at EarthTech, formerly a sub-contractor to Robert Bigelow for the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Application Program run by the DIA, often referred to as the “Pentagon UFO Study.” On June 24, 2018, Eric Davis was interviewed on the radio show Coast to Coast about his role in the project. Host George Knapp asked if the study found the answer to the “big questions” about UFOs. Dr. Davis replied:
We know what they are not... They’re not made here, George, but we don't know where they come from. Hal (Puthoff) has a favorite hypothesis, he calls it the Ultraterrestrial Hypothesis. They could be advanced technology - aerospace technology that are produced by a group of evolved hominins that split off from the main human race and they might be that fourth unidentified hominin that was discovered and announced in the news over the last couple years, they are the fourth one after the Denisovans. So yeah, you have Homo Sapiens, Neanderthals, and you have the Denisovans, and there's the genetic evidence of a fourth hominin, and so maybe they split off and they became very advanced, they could be the basis or the foundation for the legend of Atlantis, for all we know. And they saw the human race arising, they didn't like our warlike nature and they probably went underground and shielded themselves with their advanced technology to protect themselves from us, and they're the ones who have the Tic Tacs and other UFOs. ...that’s a hypothesis.
That ultimately set the question in motion, and I wondered:

How did flying saucers get connected to Atlantis?

The myths and arguments about Atlantis itself are not the question; we’ll just be looking at how it was tied into UFOs. In The Coming Race, the 1871 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, there was a hidden race who were descended from people who in ancient times, escaped “the flood,” by taking refuge in mountain caverns which led to “the bowels of the inner earth.” They created a technological utopia, and their greatest achievement was  mastery of the force, the “Vril,” an energy that could be used as a weapon or to heal. The story has been incredibly influential and laid the foundation for much since, from science fiction to spiritualism and ufology.

As to Atlantis itself, Ignatius Donnelly is to blame for reviving and popularizing it. A passage from his presentation of Plato's History of Atlantis from The Antediluvian World, 1882 by Ignatius Donnelly:
“Now, in the island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire... shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind; for she was the first in courage and military skill...”
The Atlantean civilization was said to have art and science beyond the rest of the world, and as the legend was retold, it was updated with more miraculous technology to keep ahead of the present day.
Atlantis was embraced by mystics, and they were the ones to connect Atlantis to outer space, but in a dreamy, quasi-religious sort of way. Gareth J. Medway wrote that Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, in her
“...key work Secret Doctrine was taken up with the theory (derived in some obscure way from Hindu scripture) of the seven "root races" of humanity, of which we are the fifth. The fourth race had lived on Atlantis, and the Third on Lemuria, these two being lost continents of the Atlantic and Pacific respectively. Atlantis, whose legend goes back at least as far as the time of Plato, had recently been publicised in a book by Ignatius Donnelly... 
In 1883-6 Frederick S. Oliver, then a teenager living with his parents near Mount Shasta in northern California, penned a lengthy manuscript entitled A Dweller on Two Planets... an entity called Phylos the Tibetan had dictated it to him... More than half the narrative concerned the author's past life as Zailm, an Atlantean, with many details of that civilisation. They had developed "vailxi", aerial ships of torpedo shape which could travel at hundreds of miles an hour (an incredible speed in the 1880s)."
"Beyond the Reality Barrier, Part One: Many Mansions,” Magonia 94, January 2007

Atlantis and Space Ships

 There was a widespread interest in Atlantis without the spiritualism, and it was assimilated into popular culture. The immensely popular newspaper comic strip Buck Rogers by Philip Nowlan and Dick Caulkins featured a serialized that began in 1930, the “Sunken City Of Atlantis.” 



Science fiction to millions of readers, was Buck Rogers. In the story, the Atlanteans had advanced technology, even flying machines, but after surviving the sinking of the island they lived in secret, but sent expeditions out monitor and influence civilizations on the surface world. The Atlantis serial can be read at the Roland Anderson site, Old Comic Strips: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.


The story was adapted into a Big Little Book in 1934 as Buck Rogers in the City Below the Sea, and also part of a Buck Rogers game, as “Search for the Secrets of Atlantis.”

Peeling the Aquatic Onion

Frederick G. Hehr was a Fortean and “deeply learned in occult matters.” Using his initials as F.G.H., he was a frequent contributor to Meade Layne’s Round Robin, the journal of the Borderland Sciences Research Association (BSRA) which accepted “a great mass of psychic and occult data as factual, as established...”

Hehr was talking about spaceships, Atlantis and extraterrestrial seventeen years before the big Kenneth Arnold story broke in July of 1947. Here’s a portion of his letter of criticism to the early science fiction magazine,  Air Wonder Stories, May 1930, edited by Hugo Gernsback.

"Then your space flying stories, every one of them is based on cheap excitement raised by the introduction of war. As it is self evident that the rulers of the universe would never permit the knowledge necessary to conquer space to get into hands morally unfit to hold them. Please read up on the legends about the flood and Atlantis and about former visitors from space and you may detect a certain law pertaining to the distribution and use of power. 
May I add for the peace of mind of timorous souls that a malevolent incursion from space is an impossibility and that benevolent incursions will come as soon as we are morally fit to entertain visitors, from space. I wish I had the writing ability as I would like to write a story based on actual conditions on the planets of our solar system. "

Hehr was not alone in this type of thinking. In 1943, Richard Shaver wrote to Amazing Stories magazine with “Mantong,” a lost ancient alphabet and language, which was supposed to be “definite proof of the Atlantean legend.” From there, Shaver wrote "A Warning to Future Man," and editor Ray Palmer rewrote it and published it as “I Remember Lemuria.” Thus, "The Shaver Mystery" was born, which was the stepping stone between Theosophy and the imaginative side of Ufology. Shaver’s story was about ancient extraterrestrials, the Titans and the Atlans who had lived under the surface of the earth in Lemuria. The backdrop for Shaver’s stories were a virtual blueprint for tales of ancient aliens.

When the flying saucer wave hit, Frederick G. Hehr was ready with an explanation. He sent a letter to Meade Layne who relayed it to BSRA members in a postcard on July 13, 1947. As F.G.H., Hehr stated that the flying saucers were flown by: 
“an old Atlantean Arcane Order, which has held them in caches; their present mobilization is for trial and for training of crews; they will be used for emergency rescue craft and to gather key personnel and material. They have gravity control, and a speed up to 4000 mi./ hr. above the atmosphere. They become invisible by bending the light rays around them, and are invulnerable to attack by our own forces." As quoted in The Mystery of Unidentified Flying Objects: 1896—1949, Loren Gross (1971) page 308. 
The BSRA opinion only circulated amongst their members, but early ideas of an Atlantis-saucer connection were mentioned in the newspapers, but as just one of many ideas circulating.
Utahns sure sky saucers no delusionThe Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), July 6, 1947, p. 8A:"Flying saucers" continued to confound sky-gazing Utahns... Explanations for their strange and fleeting appearances ran the gamut from “Atlantis” to “atomic”... 

Putting it into the Mainstream

Desmond Leslie (1921 - 2001) was a British writer who went on to co-author Flying Saucers Have Landed with George Adamski in 1953. In an advertisement from the British Book Centre he was described as “Desmond Leslie, Historian,” and it states that, “He spent years in research gathering information about flying saucers from ancient times to present." Leslie said he was inspired by finding a copy of The Story of Atlantis and the Lost Lemuria by William Scott-Elliot, which described “airships” that he thought sounded like flying saucers. See the clip from UFOs: The Contacts – The Pioneers of Space by Michael Hesemann, 1996.


From The Saucers That Time Forgot:


Leslie began researching the connection and asked Meade Layne if he had seen the
“... detailed occult account of the VIMANAS or ancient aircraft in Scott Elliott’s “ATLANTIS”: the exciting Sanskrit reference to an ‘airlift’ to evacuate Atlantis in (Helena Blavatsky's) SECRET DOCTRINE Vol III,  their use in war in the ancient Indian poems such as the RAMA BHARATA,  also an account of a working drawings seen in James Churchward in his MU books.” 
The Meade Layne - Desmond Leslie Correspondence by Håkan Blomqvist, Dec. 1, 2017
Leslie went on to say that he’d been obsessed with the subject, "for over two years ever since I first read a flying saucer report and realised it was synonymous with accounts of the VIMANAS as the 
disks were called in the Sanskrit.”

Leslie’s discovery led him to write Flying Saucers Have Landed, and title a chapter, “Saucers in Atlantis.” The connection made in Desmond Leslie’s mind of flying saucers to Atlantis is directly responsible for giving us the “Ancient Aliens” version of ufology. It might not have mattered if it hadn’t appeared in a best-selling book, but it was a tremendous influence.

Leslie’s use of the term, “Vimanas” for saucers was embraced by many followers and the notion of ancient ET visitations became a given, a canonical UFO belief, and later popularized by Erich von Däniken. Leslie’s connection of Atlantis to saucers, however, was less widely accepted, but there were some notable converts.

George Hunt Williamson and Daniel Fry
George Hunt Williamson’s 1953 book, Other Tongues, Other Flesh, shows that he was an early adopter.
“...during the catastrophes that struck both Lemuria and Atlantis, groups of people were evacuated from the Earth and taken to other planets. Especially Mars and Venus.”
Williamson also said, “The Vril Stick was used in Atlantis and later in Egypt.” 

Daniel Fry, author of The White Sands Incident, told his story at the first annual international Flying Saucer Convention in 1954, how he’d taken walk in the desert one night and encountered a landed flying saucer. A voice from it spoke to him, the voice of a spaceman operating it by remote control from a parent ship. The Herald-Express reported:
The spokesman, whose name was A-Lan, told Fry his ancestors originally came from earth. They got away in a hurry after the big battle in which Atlantis and Mu destroyed each other with weapons that would make the hydrogen bomb look sick. Now A-Lan’s people were figuring on another descent to earth. They needed samples of our air and the bacteria it contains to see if they could take it.
- The Los Angeles Herald-Express, June 5, 1954, “Space Pilots Give L.A. Smog Wide Berth”

Gavin Gibbons’ 1956 book, The Coming of the Space Ships, covers the flap of UFO sightings that began in June of 1954 in the UK and he was on board with Leslie’s notions of saucers from Atlantis. As his title suggests, Gibbons regarded flying saucers as extraterrestrial space ships, and like Leslie, Gibbons preferred the Atlantean/Sanskrit term “vimanas” (chariots of the sky) for disc-shaped scout craft, and notes:
In 30,000 B.C. Lemuria was destroyed... The few survivors of this cataclysm founded Atlantis. Some survivors from the Atlantis disaster are believed to have escaped disaster by fleeing in machines to another planet, from whence they now send out their patrols to scan the Earth for signs of further atomic activity.
In 1957, The Case for the UFO, M.K. Jessup said: 
"The traditions agree that "Atlantis" or its equivalent, was destroyed about 9,000 years or so BC. ...we are interested in showing that such an antiquity did exist, and that it is conceivable that some very early race, 200,000 years ago or so, may have developed space flight, and after the cataclysm of 12,000 years ago may have chosen to stay in space, thinking it a safer habitat than this uncertain planet.” 

The Atlantis-UFO meme was transmitted to and from such figures as Harold T. Wilkins, George Van Tassel, Brinsley Le Poer Trench Ruth Norman of Unarius, and even Charles Berlitz, the mainstream best-selling author, connected Atlantis to UFOs - and the Bermuda Triangle. Today, it’s mainly up to the Ancient Aliens camp to keep up the Atlantis-UFO connection vital.
. . .

Epilogue: Another Warning to Future Man

In the September 1946 Harper's Magazine, William S. Baring-Gould took a look at science fiction and its fandom in “Little Superman, What Now?” He highlighted a passage from Thomas S. Gardner’s article in Fantasy Commentator, bringing the criticism to a much wider audience. It was a scathing condemnation of proto-Ufology, of Ray Palmer’s “Shaver Mystery” in Amazing Stories - and of the readers who bought it.
"The crackpots, as they are usually called, number at least a million in the United States.  ... A great many harbor seriously delusions of ancient civilizations superior to ours, believe in pyramidology and the like. Indeed, there are today in this country several esoteric societies based on Lemuria, Mu, Atlantis... In fact, these groups are in a way semi-religious... and some have gone so far as to state that they abhor mathematics and allied modern sciences because they disprove their beliefs…Nevertheless, these crackpots constitute a large potential buying-power... To capture these readers it is only necessary to publish... stories which propitiate these crackpots’ views...  Palmer has instituted this very trend.”
Harper's Magazine, Sept. 1946
Ray Palmer left Amazing Stories shortly thereafter, but went on to create Fate with Curtis Fuller in 1948, a non-fiction magazine devoted to just the stew of esoteric topics that Gardner had railed about. In Fate, ghosts, telepathy, reincarnation and Atlantis were regarded as scientific fact, right along with flying saucers. Seventy years later, not much has changed.
. . .


Sources and Further Reading 

Frederick G. Hehr, for more information see:

Of Biographical Interest,” by F.G.H., Round Robin April 1947

BSRA Principles (Letter to Roger Graham, Oct. 1946)

Many of Ufology's concepts had their origins in 19th century mysticism. Here's a discussion of those occult ideas from Astounding Science Fiction, May 1947, "Pseudoscience in Naziland," by Willy Ley. https://archive.org/stream/Astounding_v39n03_1947-05_AK#page/n89/mode/2up

Desmond Leslie, “Desmond Leslie, George Adamski, and Ancient Aliens”

On Atlantean airships and ancient astronauts: “How to Write a Bestseller” by Gareth J. Medway, Magonia 81, May 2003
“When Atlantis became popular in the late nineteenth century...”
http://magoniamagazine.blogspot.com/2014/01/bestseller.html 

Coast to Coast, Dr. Eric Davis interview, "Pentagon UFO Study,” June 24, 2017.

Also, a special thanks to: 

Roberto Labanti,  author of “Totò e i dischi di Atlantide”
UFO - Rivista di informazione ufologica No. 43, Sept. 2017 pps. 38-43

Isaac Koi, for his preservation of UFO documents.
. . .


Bonus: A Book Review of Venus Speaks


From Uranus Vol. 1 No. 2, Oct. 1954edited by E. Biddle, a review of Venus Speaks by Cyril Richardson, Regency Press, 1954:

It is claimed that the contents of this little book were obtained by direct telepathy from the Chief Scientist of the planet Venus! It is a book which will appeal to some, while others will be strongly repelled by it. 
The Venusians, we are told, were originally natives of Earth and lived here in the days of' Atlantis and the old Inca civilisation of S. America. Until one day strangers filled with greed came to the land of the Incas (we are not told who the strangers were but it was evidently long before the days of the Spanish conquistadores). Where upon the Incas took to flight in spaceships and after finding the Moon unsuitable, went on to Venus, where they settled and lived in peace and harmony, despite what must have seemed a very trying climate. From time to time they kept an eye on the Earth and of late have been very active in the Flying Saucers. Their motives are wholly friendly and they promise us instant and decisive help should an atomic war start. If, however, their help is on a par with their scientific knowledge as expounded in this book, we should do well not to rely too much on it! 

The latter part of the book contains interesting remarks on Diet, Sound Vibrations, the Power of Thought etc. 

Quite fantastic and entirely contrary to elementary scientific facts, however, are many of the statements regarding the origin and end of worlds, conditions on other planets (including Venus!), the past history of the Earth, etc. 

Indeed, I find it impossible to take this part of the book seriously, though others may think differently, of course. If you have an inclination towards the hazier forms of Theosophy, Occultism, Spiritualism, etc you may be glad to have this book. If, on the other hand, these things are anathema to you, you will do better not to listen to the voice of Venus....  
E.B. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

John Keel, Witness to the Birth of the UFO Subculture


In the UFO and paranormal field, we'd have nothing without the witness. No matter what you think of the work of John A. Keel, he was there to witness to the birth of the UFO phenomenon, including the subculture that sprung up around it. In a 1992 interview with Andy Roberts, Keel said, 
I read Charles Fort when I was very young, when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I was reading Amazing Stories in those days too, and they were getting letters to Amazing Stories about thing people had seen in the sky – this is before 1947 – and I was writing a newspaper column at that time for my home town newspaper and I did a couple of columns on that kind of thing, lights in the sky and people who saw contrails high over head and thought that that was some kind of spaceship or something... Anyway, I was around when the whole UFO thing broke...
Doug Skinner has a great site, "a tribute to that unique writer and character,  John Keel, Not An Authority On Anything. He talks about Keel's early work:
John published a science fiction fanzine, The Lunarite, in 1946... The first issue appeared on a postcard; the second was a single sheet on light pink paper... Keel fans may be intrigued by his early mention of the “Shaver Mystery” in that first issue. A BEM was a “Bug Eyed Monster,” a cliche scorned by true stfans.
Keel pans the Shaver Mystery in 1946
John Keel was aware of how the pages of Amazing Stories discussed things like mysticism, psychic phenomena, Forteana and science fiction notions of extraterrestrial space visitors as both fiction and fact. Amazing's editor Ray Palmer went on to co-found Fate Magazine in 1948, taking those concepts and presenting them exclusively as fact. The cover story for the famous first issue was Kenneth Arnold's "The Truth About The Flying Saucers." Ray Palmer had been an active part of the subculture of science fiction fandom, and developed similar, overlapping subcultures for the Shaver Mystery and later, UFOs.



John Keel saw this all develop, and in 1973, he wrote an article, "The Flying Saucer Subculture." Doug Skinner description of it from his Keel site:
John Keel published several booklets in the ’90s, under the imprint of the New York Fortean Society...One of these was The Flying Saucer Subculture, from 1994. It contained an article John had written in 1973 for The Journal of Popular Culture (published in 1975)... a thorough history of ufology, detailing its literature, personalities, and theories. John took delight in adding 105 footnotes, as well as a three-page bibliography. His assessment was, as is to be expected, negative: he dismissed most of the literature as “almost totally paranoid and insane,” and a “sea of trash.” He did, however, single out many researchers for approval...I drew the cover for this booklet; John and I had great fun with all the ufological in-jokes."
It's a great piece, and it documents some pivotal moments of history willfully ignored by other UFO authors. The original article: The Flying Saucer Subculture - John Keel on Scribd



A related piece was written by Keel in 1983, an article on Ray Palmer, “The Man Who Invented Flying Saucers,” originally published in the Fortean Times. Although Keel's ideas, observations and opinions were controversial, his role as a witness to the birth of the UFO phenomenon should be recognized and remembered.