L-R: John Harney, John Rimmer, Unknown, Peter Rogerson
Magonia is one of Britain’s oldest established magazines in the fields of ufology, Forteana and contemporary beliefs.
It began in 1966 as a small stencil-duplicated bulletin put out by the Merseyside UFO Research Group called, rather predictably, the Merseyside UFO Research group Bulletin. This was edited by John Harney and another group member, Alan Sharp. The magazine rapidly gained a reputation amongst the conservatively-minded UFO community of the time as being a sceptical and disrespectful commentator of the foibles of the UFO scene. After a couple of years the inevitable split happened, and in 1968 Harney and Sharp set up the Merseyside UFO Bulletin as an independent magazine. John Rimmer joined the team after the first two issues.
As the editors increasingly realised that the UFO mystery was only a small part of a greater set of phenomena the coverage of the magazine widened, and MUFOB was a pioneer in Britain of the study of folklore in relation to UFOs. The work of controversial American researchers of the era, such as John Keel, and Frenchman Jacques Vallee, found an enthusiastic reception with MUFOB.
This change in direction, and a keen sense of the ridiculous kept the magazine in the forefront of controversy as a voice of the New Ufology, and kept the editors well supplied with letters of apopleptic fury from outraged readers like Fred O. Gardner.
However many readers appreciated the direction the bulletin was taking, and two in particular, Peter Rogerson and Roger Sandell, became regular correspondents and eventually joined the editorial panel.
In 1973 John Rimmer moved from Liverpool to London, and the future of the magazine seemed in doubt, but little more than a year later, by coincidence John Harney also moved to the same part of London. The magazine continued, now with a litho printed format replacing the old, messy stencil duplicating, and John Rimmer taking over the bulk of the editorial work.
As the magazine was no longer published from Merseyside and the range of topics the new MUFOB covered now spread far beyond UFOs (although ufology has always been central to the magazine) a new name was needed. With a nod to Jacques Vallee the title changed to “Magonia,” but the coverage and philosophy remained the same.
Now approaching thirty years of continuous publication the MUFOB/Magonia tradition of open-mindedness, sensible scepticism and a keen sense of humour helps to keep Magonia at the forefront of independent UFO and Fortean journalism in Britain and around the world.
UPDATE: In 2008, with the appearance of the 99th issue, editor John Rimmer took the decison to cease publication of Magonia.