Transformation of Ufology, part 2.
A look behind the scenes
Matt Graeber

<<< Continued from Part One

(e-mails from the Ufological upper crust) 

Let’s see what the ‘List’ and the lLeaders’ have to say about this growing internet UFO group phenomenon in their midst. How do they feel about their own organizations dwindling membership, declining journal subscriptions and public appeal in the age of the internet saucer-hucksters? (I have changed the names of the e-mail writer’s on this topic to avoid embarrassing the complacent and/or woefully inattentive). Most e-mail entries cited herein have been capsulized and edited by the author. Additional comments byme in italics.

Matt Graeber to Albert Benson, (a pseudonym) 12/12/2005

Albert, I’m wondering if the list members would be willing to post something on the growing internet presence of the Wisconsin group ( BUFO), that is attempting to” Turn” the Carbondale hoax of 1974 into another Roswell-like incident. There seems to be a rash of crash and non-crash saucer stories that are being promoted as Roswell-like events. If the list would log on to “carbondale,pa. ufo crash”, they can see for themselves how outlandish the yarn has become.

Mr Benson did contact his friends and colleagues on the list concerning the request. Here are several of the replies he received on the matter.

From Rick Yost to Albert Benson & the list: 12/16/2005

Hey Al,

“Particularly the ectoplasm and orbs they found at the portal”….

“The Carbondale crash was first promoted by the late flying saucer evangelist Robert D. Barry. He was PR man for the late right wing preacher Dr Carl McIntire’s 20th Century Reformation Hour ministry. Barry operated its one man press arm. He later had a weekly Saturday midnight TV show, “ET Monitor” on McIntire’s TV station.” They are both passed, now, but looks like other nuts are milking it.”

“By the way, Barry was the first one to report in 1989, about the same time same sort of claims were first made about Roswell, that the Kecksburg PA crash involved the recovery of alien bodies. He later withdrew that claim as an error, which was a surprise to me since I don’t think Bob ever heard a UFO story he didn’t like.” 

I wonder how many young saucer enthusiasts ever heard of the Reverend Carl McIntire or, knew that the Roswell story didn’t include alien bodies until 42 years after the incident was first reported?
Albert Benson to Rick Yost & the list: 12/16/2005

Rick, I’m not talking about Kecksburg, but the Carbondale hoax of 1974. If you are interested to find out more about this blatant nonsense, log on to <carbondale,pa. ufo crash>, and check out the buffoonery at any BUFO site or link. Those pushing this hoax as ” Pennsylvania’s Roswell” are without doubt in need of an urgent reality check”.

To Albert Benson, Rick Yost & the list from Scott Morris a major UFO group leader: 12/16/2005

” My observation of Barry, who used to write regularly for Saga and its UFO magazine, was than nearly everything he said – excluding perhaps banal observations about the weather – could be automatically discarded. Too bad that one of his tall tales is still with us.”

I think the people who log on to the Carbondale UFO crash site should be alerted to this observation by one of Ufology’s major group leaders and long-time researchers.

From Albert Benson to the list 12/17/2005

” It’s bad enough that the bizarre crowd at BUFO ( Burlington UFO & Paranormal Radio) is pushing the Carbondale hoax of 1974 as a genuine occurrence, but they’re not content to confine their idiocy to that alone. Now they’re involved in an internet fantasy asserting that the little town of Olyphant PA. which is located about six miles from Scranton, is situated at the “centre of the universe” and modelled after ancient Egypt by alien race! This would almost be funny if it weren’t for the fact that for the uninformed public and the media, this is what passes for the face of Ufology.”

Albert Benson continues,

“And this type of crap only makes it more difficult to convince the scientific community that the UFO phenomenon is a real mystery that merits the most serious investigation on their part.”

Scott Morris replies on 12/18/2005

Al,” I agree that this is pretty dumb, but it doesn’t amount to anything consequential, much less a problem with scientists. My experience is that scientists who are so willing are perfectly able to separate Ufology’s sensible claims from the absurd ones. Scientists who are hostile simply use the latter as an excuse not to bother with the more substantive issues. Hard as it may be for some to believe, not all Ufologist’s problems are Ufologist’s fault.”

“The Carbondale silliness is perhaps worth noting, but nothing to get worked up about. UFOs and Ufology were long ago relegated to the fringes, and something relegated, even if unjustly, is going to attract fringe types. Surely, we have better things to do with our time than to waste it with ritual denunciations of the many nut jobs and liars who are out there, and have always been out there. They’re certainly an irritation, but they’re also no more than a sideshow.” 

Yet another valuable observation that is limited to the list membership. Scott is correct to point out that the list has far better things to do with it’s time than denounce the internet kooks…However, one wonders ” What might they do that they haven’t already done over the course of the last sixty years?
From Tim Connolly (a list member) to Albert Benson & the list: 12/18/2005

“At least this kind of thing provides fodder for ” Ufology-ology”, which consists of remote-viewing history texts which will be written on distant planets in the future of a parallel universe. 

Egads, more material for BUFO to promote!
Joel Simpson (a list member) chimes in: 12/18/2005

“Watch any established field on investigation ( nutrition, astronomy, genetics, linguistics, etc.) and you’ll always find the same sort of nuts looking for attention, and a great deal of confusion in the media…..” I agree with Tom that the tern “Ufology” as understood by the world at large ( not just by us) covers every conceivable aspect of modern culture, from Bermuda Triangles to flying lights, crystal skulls, dogu statuettes, Uri Geller, exobiology and Nostradamus. I’d rather avoid using it. When asked I certainly never say I research UFOs, and usually mumble something about “A strong interest in cataloguing unidentified phenomena recorded throughout history. 

I fully understand Joel’s embarrassment, and it’s too bad that those visiting BUFO/Carbondale sites and links are not privy to his insightful and candid remarks.

 I would also like to point out that Ufology is not actually an established field of investigation, rather, it is an investigative (and occasionally obsessional) hobby that has produced little if any evidence to verify the physical presence of UFOs in our skies. I certainly wouldn’t put it up there with Astronomy or Genetics, etc. 

 * * * * *

Baseless rumours and distortions that are left unchecked foster beliefs, expectations, fears and suspicions that not only are completely unwarranted, they are dangerous too

So, the question arises, why should the serious UFO researchers feel obligated to point out the absurdities, inconsistencies, contradictions and the fabrications of the many internet saucer zealots, charlatans and hucksters? The answer is quite simple. Not to do so is a failing of character, ethics and moral compass that would serve to protect the unsuspecting and the ill-informed from the distortion of repeatedly reading and hearing about, and finally accepting as true, the suspicions, fabrications and “delusions” that have been bandied about and thrust upon them via the net regarding the true nature of the phenomenon.

For baseless rumours and distortions that are left unchecked foster beliefs, expectations, fears and suspicions that not only are completely unwarranted, they are dangerous too. I’ve read lies about the character and professional efforts of an acting police chief who diligently worked shoulder-to-shoulder with UFO field investigators during the Carbondale PA incident of ’74, while also managing to professionally serve and protect his community, the many volunteers and the policemen under his supervision at the site.

Only to have his name and efforts dragged through the BUFOrian muck and malicious fabrications about him by internet saucer-hucksters like Mary Sutherland, and her investigator Ronald T. Hannivig who not only never met or interviewed the acting police chief, they were not even present at the scene while the incident was being investigated in 1974.

Yet, these same self-appointed experts also alleged that the acting police chief (Francis X. Dottle), wantonly participated in a cover up of the incident by tossing bogus evidence into a pond. They even went so far as to post the malicious remark that this fine public servant was not then (At the time of the incident), nor is he now, a friend of the people in the community he served.

These silly fabrications appeared at the <http://carbondale,pa.ufo crash> site which you may log on to and read for yourself. I ask, is it really inconsequential that a man’s reputation be besmirched by individuals who may be totally deluded and lacking any scruples? Should serious UFOlogists continually turn a blind eye to this sort of behaviour and self-serving promotional propaganda because it might be unpleasant, beneath their dignity and embarrassing to deal with?

Is it not shameful to remain silent and allow this sort of chicanery to infect the minds of young and elderly ill-informed people who search the net for reliable information on the phenomenon? I’ve even received two e-mail forwards from a researcher in which the communiqués sender claims that one internet huckster is involved in fraudulent online business practices and directly involved in the suicide death of a teenage group member.

Naturally, there are two sides (or more) to every story, so I’m currently attempting to learn and verify more about the matter. I’ll report my findings in a future Carbondale Chronicles entry for those who are interested in this rather shocking and sad story.

Is there not a lesson to be learned in the fact, that few European politicians and intellectuals of the day took the national socialist movement in Germany very serious when it first came on the political scene. So, impressionable young people, far too young to remember who Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill were, sit at their computer’s keyboard and unwittingly log on to saucer-huckster sites who are like sharks lurking in the internet’s waters for careless surfers to happen their way.

Interestingly, my grandson’s high school French teacher recently told me that 65-70% of his students thought that Germany had attacked Pearl Harbor in 1965 or 67. So, should the serious UFO researchers simply assume that this kind of historical ignorance is limited to today’s high school students? How could serious ufologists be so blind (and passive) as to believe that their not setting the record straight on the chicanery and many lies about the UFO enigma is matter of little or no consequence? If that’s the case, why the hell do they even bother to research the phenomenon at all?

If one thinks it’s silly to compare the absurd online UFO propaganda to that of the Nazi’s, one might do well to recall that well over fifty percent of the adult voting population of this country believe in the ‘reality’ of UFOs and would probably support a candidate who shared in their saucer enthusiasm. Perhaps a candidate who would simply promise to release any and all government papers on UFOs could win a close election, especially if that candidate were also a popular entertainment or sports celebrity.

So, while the studious UFO researcher’s utilize the same internet technology to e-mail pithy and complimentary notes for each others enjoyment, and an occasional pat on the back- many youthful UFO enthusiasts slip into the jaws of the saucer-hucksters deception, delusions, lies and distortions. In fact, in some cases they may even be gobbled up by a hucksters chronic, habitual and/or pathological lying.

But, the rub lies not in exposing the internet huckster(s) as a blemish on the face of Ufology.. it lies in the fact that many serious UFO researchers and organization leaders themselves have participated in their own brand of saucer-huckstering over the years (directly and indirectly- unwittingly and consciously). Moreover, calling attention to the speck in the eye of an internet huckster might provoke a response from the debunkers about the beam in the eye of the UFO organization and/or its leadership.

So, it seems that the boundaries between the proponent UFO camps are not very well defined any longer. There once was a sharp line between the organized groups and the kooky contactee movement. Now it just seems that some of the saucer group leaders and experts are more eloquent spokesman, (a.k.a. Classier salesman) than the internet throng. Yet all seem to be well-versed in the art of putting a particular “Spin” on a UFO incident or the phenomenon in general.

Considering that the organized groups have been doing so for almost 60 years, does point to a habitual behaviour pattern, especially since that pattern of behaviour has produced absolutely no incontrovertible evidence or data concerning the phenomenon’s true nature or origin.

What we have is a great deal of speculative fantasy, which stems not from hard spikes discovered in an objective database but, all-too-human wants, needs and desires concerning the phenomenon’s assumed importance and meaningfulness to mankind, and the equally-assumptive importance of the researcher’s own investigative efforts.

This near-obsessional behaviour pattern was first established by the baby-boomer ” Nuts and Bolts” school of Ufology which is presently on the verge of extinction. The bare bones of their contribution to Ufology will be that they successfully managed to dangle a promised carrot before the noses of the American public, the media and themselves for six decades.

It was they who pampered, endured and invited the hucksters of Ancient Astronaut tales and Bermuda Triangle yarns to their conventions and symposia. They even participated in the proliferation of Saucer-Crash Fantasies and the Abduction Mania. They did all this to promote membership numbers, draw larger crowds to their conventions, make book deals and seek increased journal subscriptions.

One asks, how much ‘objective researching’ is to be found in these business pursuits? ( e.g., what percentage of the monies collected actually went for research, after operating costs and salaries for the group’s top brass were siphoned away?) Moreover, if the internet hucksters are following in the path of the old guard with better and far more dynamic internet UFO presentations to entice the curious and the gullible, is that not but an extension of the sins of UFOlogists past?

The sociologists and folklorists of the future will look back upon the late 20th and early 21st.century’s transformation of Ufology into an “unbridled” entertainment industry (or “UFOOLogy” as it is more accurately described) and realize that the two terms differ only in the addition of one vowel. Ufology is no longer, nor has it ever truly been a purely pseudoscientific pursuit – it has blossomed into a full-blown sub cultural entertainment industry that has profound romantic appeal within our youthful society. Its roots lie in America, which Dr Carl G. Jung once called the land of science fiction and fantasy – but the American UFO malaise is now becoming a pandemic that has spared throughout the entire planet through the world wide web.

The fossil remains of it all will point to a mid-20th century belief in the existence of and pursuit of phantoms of the skies. 21st century UFOOlogy will probably seek out the phantoms through paranormal or spiritually-based investigative avenues, assumptions and beliefs – some of which may be serious, while most will probably be pure humbug. However, the answer will always seem to lie just beyond their grasp, around the next corner, over the next hill. (Much like the nuts and bolts camp’s carrot).

Such is the nature of true phantoms; they antagonise, mesmerize and befuddle the blind man who senses their presence but, can offer no definitive description of them.. except for hearing the curious beating of their wings and catching a faint whiff of their fleeting presence. Could it be that UFOs are modern man’s harpies?

The pantheon of UFO experts will continue to come and go, along with the parade of witnesses and the few remaining organized saucer groups. The UFOs however, will persist and endure the many ups and downs of UFOOlogical fantasy, theorizing, speculation and assumption – and in time, a new generation will take up the quest and start swinging their white canes at the fleeting phantoms. Could it possibly be that the canes will always be far too short, and the answer to the riddle of the UFOs will simply remain beyond our physical and mental grasp?

Example No.5 (UFOs from inner-space?)

Perhaps in some strange way “the UFOs are but a reflection of ourselves”, as James Moseley suggests – aimlessly flitting about like the modern man’s hopes, fears and aspirations on the phenomenon. Perhaps our ancestors were better equipped to assimilate these “signs in the skies”, for in their lifetimes things like these aerial displays were not only anticipated and readily interpreted, they were actually prayed for.

Have we somehow lost touch with the facility of mind that once fostered beliefs in visions, portents, divine warnings and angels yet, search the skies to once again experience? Or is it all just a growing new age mysticism and religiosity appearing in the guise of technological marvels that homotechnos currently beholds in awe, wonder and masked reverence?

Has the emotional and spiritual nature of our inner being been schooled out of us by the customs, demands and the technological advancements of modern-day living? Indeed, does everyone really think that such powerful human emotions would simply dry up and blow away because it was no longer chic or, politically correct to speak of them?

The organized group elites may scoff at such thoughts, in the same manner which they scoff at the internet huckster movement in their midst. They seem to have an overly confident Col. George Armstrong Custer attitude about what they perceive to be nothing more than a small hostile encampment that they “look down upon” from their lofty UFO research headquarters. However, their status in saucerdom, with the press, the entertainment media and the American public’s focus of interest is most assuredly headed for UFOOLogy’s happy hunting grounds.

– Matt Graeber


06. The Nazi UFO Mythos: False Histories

An Investigation by Kevin McClure: CORE 6. False Histories

Project Uranus

In another careful analysis of a dubious element of UFO history, Andy Roberts says:

“We have at least one outright hoax in foo-fighter lore. For years rumours had been flying round that the Germans had been fully aware of the foo-fighter phenomenon and that they had a special study group formed to look into the problem under the name of “Project Uranus”, backed by a shadowy group by the name of Sonderburo 13. This was first detailed in La Livres Noir De Soucoupes Volantes (The Black Book of Flying Saucers – 1970) by French ufologist Henry Durrant. The rumour spread in Europe and eventually took physical form in the English language in Tim Good’s acclaimed book Above Top Secret where it is used to help substantiate further vague rumours of an Anglo/American foo-fighter study. Good had not checked his facts and had in fact just copied the information direct from Durrant’s book.

When I checked this out with Durrant he informed me that the whole “Project Uranus” affair was a hoax which he had inserted in his book precisely to see who would copy it without checking. The hoax apparently had been revealed in France some years before but hadn’t percolated its way through to English speaking ufologists. Perhaps other foo hoaxes await discovery.” [37]

The ‘Schweinfurt Raid’

This tale involves, well, little flying saucers, in a B-17 raid on October 14 1943, aimed at the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt in Germany. It was publicised by popular US author Frank Edwards in Flying Saucers – Here and Now [38] in 1967, but I understand that the original glamourised version comes from one Martin Caidin, in his book Black Thursday, published in 1960. Caidin reports that

“During the bomb run of several groups, starting at about the time the Fortresses approached the Initial Point, there occurred one of the most baffling incidents of World War II, and an enigma that to this day defies all explanation.” “As the bombers of the 384th Group swung into the final bomb run after passing the Initial Point, the fighter attacks fell off. This point is vital, and pilots were queried extensively, as were other crew members, as to the position at that time of the German fighter planes. Every man interrogated was firm in his statement that “at the time there were no enemy aircraft above.”

“At this moment the pilots and top turret gunners, as well as several crewmen in the Plexiglas noses of the bombers, reported a cluster of discs in the path of the 384th’s formation and closing with the bombers. The startled exclamations focused attention on the phenomenon and the crews talked back and forth, discussing and confirming the astonishing sight before them.”

“The discs in the cluster were agreed upon as being silver colored, about one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were easily seen by the B-17 crewmen, gliding down slowly in a very uniform cluster.” “And then the `impossible’ happened. B-17 Number 026 closed rapidly with a number of discs; the pilot attempted to evade an imminent collision with the objects, but was unsuccessful in his maneuver. He reported at the intelligence debriefing that his right wing “went directly through a cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane surface.”

“The intelligence officers pressed their questioning, and the pilot stated further that one of the discs was heard to strike the tail assembly of his B-17, but that neither he nor any member of the crew heard or witnessed an explosion.” “He further explained that about twenty feet from the discs the pilots sighted a mass of black debris of varying sizes of clusters of three by four feet.” “The SECRET report added: `Also observed two other A/C flying through silver discs with no apparent damage. Observed discs and debris two other times but could not determine where it came from.”

“No further information on this baffling incident has been uncovered, with the exception that such discs were observed by pilots and crew on missions prior to, and after, Mission 115 of October 14, 1943.” [39]

Caidin’s account is footnoted “1 Memorandum of October 24, 1943, from Major E.R.T. Holmes, F.L.O., 1st Bombardment Division, Reference FLO/IBW/REP/126, to M.I.15, War Office, Whitehall, London, SW (copy to Colonel E.W. Thomson, A-2, Pinetree)”, but Andy Roberts actively investigated the reference, and reports that

“a letter to the M.O.D at their Air Historical Branch 5 came to nothing, suggesting that either of the documents may be held at the Public Records Office at Kew, London. A professional researcher was despatched to try to find the document. She searched all relevant Air Force records available (some are still bound by various `rules’ with embargoes on viewing of up to 100 years) but could find nothing, despite the help of staff there and noting that “the reference FLO etc. does not correspond with any references at the record office.

In the USA, Dennis Stacy (then MUFON UFO Journal editor) had taken an interest in the case and followed up several leads, aided by the Freedom of Information Act. Firstly the A.F. Historical Research centre at Maxwell AFB searched their 8th A.F. files but could come across no documentary record of the event (interestingly enough I tried the same source and whilst they gave me squadron histories of the 415th Night Fighter squadron and their documented foo-fighter sightings, they could provide nothing on the Schweinfurt raid — odd if the Schweinfurt events were real).

The National Archives (Washington) searched their files but drew a blank. A letter written to French researcher J. M. Bigorne from the National Archives stated “A search in records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), European War, Target Damage File, 11a (2606), Schweinfurt, failed to disclose any documentation or information regarding little flying discs by B-17 pilots.” All this presents us with a quandary. If the Archives are quite free about some foo-fighter info why, if it exists at all, should they be that bothered about concealing the Schweinfurt material? So far three independent researchers over the past ten years have had the same answer — none of the flight records for that day record the event in Caidin’s book. As I have seen other pilots’ logs which mention unusual UFO-type sightings during missions it would be inconceivable for at least a few aircrew on that raid to have mentioned it even in passing – especially as in this case it was obviously something of an item at de-briefing.

Letters in numerous aircrew magazines (UK & US) requesting info on the raid were placed and despite many replies no-one knew anything. Aviation writers Martin Middlebrook and Chaz Bowyer who have written many highly detailed books about the air war, and have interviewed thousands of aircrew, wrote to say they had never heard of the incident, despite having had foo-fighters mentioned to them in other contexts.

Dennis Stacy contacted the 384th Bombing Group survivors association and with no account of the UFO sighting forthcoming from them was put onto General Theodore Ross Milton who led the raid that day and went in first with the 91st Group Formation. He wrote; “I don’t recall seeing black discs or hearing about any strange phenomena from any of my group.” [40]

Roberts and Stacy pursued the source further

Martin Caidin, originator of the rumour also presents problems. His book Black Thursday was first published in 1960 and yet quotes an alleged SECRET report. How did he get hold of it then and why has it not been seen since? As for Caidin himself, several people have tried to get in touch with him without success. Both myself and (then) MUFON Journal editor Dennis Stacy have tried to track him down via his publishers and a UFO magazine he has written for, but to no avail. He last appeared in the dodgy US magazine UFO Universe where he was featured on the front page as having ‘chased bogies at 20,000 feet,’ (an astonishing spectacle no doubt!), but whilst the article gave details of UFOs he’d seen post-WWII, government film of UFOs, cover-ups, and you name it (along with mucho promotion for his many books, including UFO based novels) the Schweinfurt raid was never mentioned. Funny that, really.” [41]

However, with the terrier-like tenacity for which he is renowned, Roberts kept searching, and in September 2000 finally found, in the Records Office at Kew

The document which Caidin obviously based his account on. It reads as follows. All spelling and punctuation is in the original. The file in which the document can be found is: AIR 40/464. At the top right of the document is a rubber stamp giving details of circulation to:

1. Col Kingman Douglas
2. A.I.3. ? (W/Cdr Smith)
3. A.I. 2. ? (W/Cdr Heath)

(Author’s note: the ? refers to a squiggle or letter I cannot decipher, although it could well be ‘to’. Also the background of the stamp on which the above was written says:

“Received 17 Oct 1943″
“Copies sent to A.I.8 (USA))

The rest of the document is as follows:

Recd. AMCS. 171129a hrs Oct.43


From – OIPNT


8 BC 0-1079-E
Annex to Intelligence Report Mission Shweinfurt 16 October 1943

306 Group reporta partially unexploded 20mm shell imbedded above the panel in the cockpit of A/C number 412 bearing the following figures 19K43. The Group Ordnance Officer believes the steel composing the shell is of inferior grade. 348th Group reports a cluster of disks observed in the path of the formation near Schweinfurt, at the time there were no E/A above. Discs were described as silver coloured – one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were gliding slowly down in very uniform cluster. A/C 026 was unable to avoid them and his right wing went directly through a cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane surface. One of the discs was heard striking tail assembly but no explosion was observed. About 20 feet from these discs a mass of black debris of varying sizes in clusters of 3 by 4 feet. Also observed 2 other A/C flying through silver discs with no apparent damage. Observed discs and debris 2 other times but could not determine where it came from.

Copies to:-

P.R. & A.I.6.
War Room
A.I.3. (USA) (Action 2 copies)

“Presumably Caidin must have seen a copy of this document from one of the American recipients . . . The Rubber stamp clearly states it was received on 17 October, pre-dating Caidin’s reference by seven days. But the sheer number of channels through which documents went could be the reason for this confusion and now the original document has been located I don’t think we need get hung up on the original reference any more. I have found no record of most of the personnel listed. However a Squadron Leader Heath was involved in the UK’s investigations of the Scandinavian ‘ghost rockets’ in 1946.”

He concludes

At least we now know Caidin’s reference exists! Besides that there is little to say really. The objects reported are intriguing but not completely mystifying. There were many types of flak being used by the Germans in W.W.II and several files in the PRO refer to coloured flak, flak which threw off unusual fragments, and so on. This explanation is made more likely by the fact that the ‘F.L.O.’ in Caidin’s reference stands for ‘Flak Liaison Officer’, at least suggesting that the Air Ministry were treating it within a flak context. The objects could also have been some kind of ‘window’ dropped by the Germans in an attempt to disrupt radar or radio communication among air crew. The explanation as to what the small objects were is now more of a task for the air historian than it is for the ufologist. What is clear from the original account is that the discs, whilst unusual, were clearly not any type of ‘craft’, under intelligent or purposeful control or dangerous to the air craft or crew.

In my opinion these objects do not belong in the category of sightings referred to as ‘foo-fighters’, both by their physical description and by their behaviour and characteristics. Although often lumped in with foo-fighter reports they are clearly different. This story has been a staple of UFO writers for the past three four decades. Now we have further clarification and I believe that this particular mystery is more or less laid to rest.

Andy Roberts is more charitable to Caidin’s exaggerated and redefined version of the report than I, but Caidin is nowhere near as foolish as those who put together the second block (1998 release) of ‘Majestic 12′ documents. Nevertheless, Nick Redfern and Jonathan Downes present a copy of a section of these silly documents, which says

“Aerial interference with military aircraft has demonstrated the ability to observe our air operations in war and peacetime conditions. During the war over 900 near-miss incidents were reported by allied pilots and crews in all theater of operations. One of the most dramatic near-miss encounters occurred on 14 October 1943, 8th AF Mission 115 over Schweinfurt, Germany, B-17 crews reported many formations of silvery discs flying down into the B-17 formations. Several times during the bombing mission, large objects were seen following the discs descent into the formations. Unlike previous reports, no engine failures or airframe damage was reported. After the surrender of Nazi Germany, GAF fighter pilots were interrogated by AF intelligence concerning Mission 135. GAF did not have any aircraft above our bombers at that time.” [42]

I’ve never found the whole ‘MJ-12′ idea credible, but at least the first release of documents was prepared with sufficient care to provoke meaningful discussion. This ridiculous exaggeration of an already elaborated tale makes the second release of documents look absurd. I would also point out that the Nazi UFO mythos and MJ-12 are essentially incompatible: if the Americans had already gained the ability to build high-performance flying discs from the Germans, why would they have become so excited about crashed ET discs? And why didn’t all those portentous ‘first-release’ documents mention them at all?

The Massey Project

Redfern and Downes continue to publicise another claim made by Frank Edwards, just before his account of the Schweinfurt Raid. Despite being aware of the negative outcomes of research conducted by both Andy Roberts and Tim Good, they say

“As far as the British Government is concerned, there is strong evidence to show that extremely rigorous investigations were made into the Foo Fighter phenomenon by an elite team of Air Ministry and Royal Air Force operatives.” [43]

They quote Edwards

“As early as 1943, the British had set up a small organisation to gather information on these objects. It was under the direction of Lieutenant General Massey, and it had been inspired to some extent by the reports of a spy who was in reality a double agent, working under the directions of the Mayor of Cologne. He had confirmed that the Foo Fighters were not German devices, which of course the British knew they were not. The British Air Ministry, in 1966, told me that the Massey project was officially terminated in 1944. Perhaps it is only coincidence that the double agent was exposed and executed in the spring of 1944.” [44]

Three problems arise immediately. Tim Good has established, from a dependable source, that there was no Lieutenant General Massey. Almost all the foo fighter reports date from 1944 onwards, so it’s not clear why “extremely rigorous investigations” should start in 1943 and end in 1944. And what on earth was a spy doing being controlled by the Mayor of Cologne? On the evidence, the ‘Massey Project’ sounds like a complete, and deliberate, fabrication.

Crashed saucers and back-engineering

Nick Redfern makes a great deal of limited evidence in suggesting that there has ever been one extra-terrestrial flying craft crash on Earth since 1900, let alone more than one. He has not, however, been unwilling to suggest that the Nazis had access to one or more crashed flying saucers, and back-engineered technology from them. This, supposedly, was how they were able to develop such sophisticated flying discs! Of course, he is not alone in making suggestions of this kind, but I hardly need point out that when the evidence suggests that Germany had no sophisticated flying discs, then there is nothing to explain. Anyway, Redfern concludes from the rather desperate, and generally quite implausible intelligence reports that he has collected

“If . . the data related in official FBI memoranda of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s is accurate, how were the Nazis able to develop technology that, years later, was still defying America’s finest” As I will later show, there are firm grounds for believing that a number of extra terrestrial vehicles crashed to earth on US soil in the late 1940s. Is it stretching the bounds of possibility to speculate that a similar event may have occurred on Nazi territory several years previously? If such an event did take place, and the Germans were able to grasp the rudiments of the technology, this would perhaps go a long way towards explaining their pressing desire to perfect a man-made flying saucer. The truth may ultimately turn out to be far stranger than has previously been realised.” [45]

Well, yes, it really does stretch the bounds of possibility, but that doesn’t stop Corso from reporting, in ‘The Day After Roswell, what he and General Twining had wondered about after inspecting the crashed saucer at Roswell

“At the very least, Twining had suggested, the crescent-shaped craft looked so uncomfortably like the German Horten wings our flyers had seen at the end of the war that he had to suspect the Germans had bumped into something we didn’t know about. And his conversations with Wehrner von Braun and Willy Ley at Alamogordo in the days after the crash confirmed this. They didn’t want to be thought of as verruckt but intimated that there was a deeper story about what the Germans had engineered. No, the similarity between the Horten wing and the craft they had pulled out of the arroyo was no accident. We always wondered how the Germans were able to incorporate such advanced technology into their weapons development in so short a time and during the Great Depression. Did they have help? With an acceleration capability and maneuverability we’d never seen before, this craft would keep American aircraft engineers busy for years just incorporating what you could see into immediate designs.” [46]

While we’re in a corner of reality that accepts the reality of the Roswell crash, and its cargo of dead or possibly living entities, I have to mention the analysis of Polish writer Zbigniew Blania-Bolnar in Alien Encounters for April 1998. Telling us that ” . . the post-war American Army had at its disposal a considerable number of V2 rockets, several V3 and V4 prototypes, and about 30 kugelblitzes of different kinds”, he concludes that the dead entity in the Laredo crash (the Laredo crash?) was “a laboratory monkey used by the Air Force in a secret experiment.” And, of course, “if a tested kugelblitz crashed at Laredo, then a similar object could have crashed at Roswell.” [47]

None of the suggestions that the Germans back-engineered crashed alien craft pre-date the Lazar and Lear back-engineering stories. Three more have come to light already. In her book ‘Sightings: UFOs’ Susan Michaels reports that writer Jan Van Helsing (a contact of the inner circle of the ‘Montauk Project’)

“describes the discovery of a crashed saucer in the Black Forest in 1936 and says that this technology was taken and combined with the information the Vril Society had received through channeling and was made into a further project called the Haunebu.” [48]

There is also a report of a crash in Italy in 1933, the details and information of which were made known to Mussolini, and which assisted Belluzzo in his design and development. [49] And at the ‘Gdansk UFO-Marathon’ in October 1997, it was announced that there had been a crash in Poland in the summer of 1938, in Czernica. Evidence and wreckage recovered from the crash was seized by Nazi Germany after the invasion of Poland the next year, and the information so gathered was used in the building of the ‘Haunebu’ and ‘Vril’ craft. [50] The current popularity of back-engineering is such that I expect to see more such reports.

Part 7: Unnamed Soldiers >>>


Aztec, that terribly romantic yet horribly aromatic desert bloom is in flower again!
Michael McClellan and Matt Graeber

First published in Magonia 89, August 2005

The 1948 Aztec, NM downed UFO retrieval story is one of saucerdom’s legends that seems to have defied all the attempts to explain it away as a clumsy and very obvious hoax. However, the many “resurrections” of this story, in various forms, is just about as remarkable and interesting as the original tale itself. In fact, one fellow on the internet describes it as the “Dracula” of saucerdom which simply will not die no matter how may stakes are driven through its heart.

First touted by two con men who actually were convicted of their fraudulent schemes (perpetrated in connection with the alleged UFO incident, reversed ET engineering devices, and the rediscovery of the Rangely Oil Fields in Colorado), the story has been revised, fine-tuned and sporadically presented to an unsuspecting American public and uncautious media people.

Like the Roswell, NM, UFO incident, The city of Aztec now has its own festival celebrating the non-incident’s anniversary; and has even managed to build a brand new library (costing 1.9 million dollars) from the tourist monies spent at the nation’s other alledged place of alien demise. As one sceptical Texan* aptly put it, “Yeah, that’s mighty big bucks in those crash sites of imagination…mighty big bucks indeed!”

Interestingly, rumours on the internet proclaim that plans are underway to memorialize the Carbondale, PA saucer crash of 1974 at a “Mysteries Museum” to be established somewhere in Lackawanna County, PA. The Carbondale crash doesn’t boast of alien bodies but, it reportedly has lots of saucers flitting in and out of inter-dimensional gateways (or vortices) in the area.

As one realizes, memories fade quickly in normal life, and even more quickly in the land of the UFO subculture. The question is whether or not the faded memories are genuine, or if they are “conveniently selective” to the numerous “hucksters” of the Aztec story.

It would not serve us well to simply name the individuals involved in the present-day rehashing of this continuing UFO myth. Nor, would it be overly enlightening to revisit the original 1950 Frank Scully book on the incident and show how distorted even it has become. This article is dedicated to the memory and researches of Michael McClellan who spent a great deal of time investigating the Aztec incident as it was presented in 1974 by Robert Spencer Carr, a retired professor of mass communications at the University of Southern Florida. So, I will not whip out my ol’ aerosol can of agent orange and attempt to defoliate the dense forest of UFOOLogy that IS the Aztec story of today.

 Rather, I will take you back 30 years, to a time when my dear departed friend Mike McClellan methodically investigated the then 27 year old Aztec downed saucer yarn. Mike had written several articles for magazines and the APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Center) journal during the mid-seventies on the Aztec case and I’m happy that this draft from one of those essays has survived for Magonia’s readers to peruse and enjoy..

So, here’s what Mike had to say (unedited and unabridged) regarding his inquiry into the Aztec, New Mexico flying saucer retrieval story and the charlatan who was then bandying it about the country. Mike was a member of both APRO and UFORIC at the time. (Commentaries in italics are mine.)

Aztec, Michael McClellan 1975

The obituary columns of our daily newspapers alphabetically list the demise of individuals who, unless celebrities, are noteworthy of no more than an inch or so of space declaring that their existence of being had departed its mortal shell. The shell decays and disappears. For a brief moment in time, lives are disrupted – however, soon return to normal. Death temporarily takes a back seat. Mortal matters take precedence over memories.

Probably the most famous and remembered death is that of Jesus Christ’s. From that point historians may argue over the second most important death in the world. Most likely they would never be in agreement. Or is it possible that the second to the thirteenth important and historical deaths may have occurred very recently? Even in our century? In fact, could they have occurred twenty-seven years ago? According to Robert Spencer Carr, a retired professor, they may have.

At a press conference in 1974, Carr revealed information which either surpasses all other news of our day or is the fantasy of an imaginative mind comparable to Isaac Asimov or Gene Rodenberry (Star Trek).

My primary encounter with Carr’s story was while I was stirring coffee and listening to an excited secretary tell about a spaceship which had reportedly crashed in a desert area. Lifeless alien occupants had been removed from the craft and preserved. She had heard the story on the radio and, while not sure of the details, thought that it recently occurred. 

Robert Spencer Carr was a kindly old gent who looked very much like a Kentucky Colonel. He had the ability to tell his story so convincingly that he appeared on numerous syndicated radio and TV talk shows. He also lectured at quite a number of universities throughout the country and caused something of a stir in the UFO community too.

 With the intention of reaching the crux of the story, I began an investigation. If there was any hint of truth to the account it must be the news story of the century. This, according to Carr, who has known of the incident for some twenty-five years during which time he been an undercover investigator for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).

Fearing possible ridicule, embarrassment, and loss of credibility with students and associates which would jeopardize his position, he decided to remain silent until he recently retired as professor of mass communications at the University of South Florida. Carr says the year was 1948, the month February, the day probably the 13th.

Three radar stations were tracking an unknown at 90,000 feet altitude. The stations were located at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Colorado, and Northern Colorado. The object was making 18,000 knots per hour which is really quite fast even in those days. It stopped at about 10,000 feet where it went out of control, circled, and fluttered helplessly to the ground.

Because three radar stations were involved, triangulation was possible and showed that the object had touched down three miles west of Aztec, New Mexico, south of the Colorado line. The landing was a soft one, the craft being on automatic pilot. A tripod extended from the craft and the extraterrestrial ship came to rest on the desert.

Law enforcement officers, including local sheriffs, rushed to the scene.(According to Carr, the old timers there remember the incident very well.) The lawmen, guns drawn, approached the thirty foot saucer-shaped disc and looked inside the craft. That moment could have only been electrifying as the officers saw through a hole the size of a thumb in the dome of the craft. Twelve little men slumped over their instruments.

The aliens had died from decompression, probably due to the hole; a death probably similar to that of the recent Russian cosmonaut’s misfortune. Shortly after the landing, military aircraft began appearing in the area. The roads to the area were cordoned off by air police. Residents from as far as Farmington, New Mexico journeyed to the area, their curiously aroused by the unusual number of planes.

As one can immediately see, this story has elements quite similar to that of the Roswell UFO Incident which, at the time of Mike’s writing, were not yet revealed to Stanton Friedman by Retired Major Jesse Marcel who was the Intelligence Officer at the Roswell Army Air Force base in 1947.

Officials managed to get the door of the spacecraft open and the twelve bodies were removed. They were all males, their weight ranging from eighty to ninety pounds. Their build was fairly muscular and solid. They had light hair of varying shades, their eyes were blue. They all wore the same dress, a blue uniform with no insignia .

Carr’s descriptions of the aliens is not a carbon or should I say Xerox copy of the Roswell extraterrestrial cadavers, but there are some similarities.

The alien bodies were loaded aboard an airplane and flown to Edwards Air Force Base as was their saucer. They were later moved to Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton,Ohio where Carr alledges they remain. One of the bodies was selected for autopsy and six surgeons were flown in from Washington, D.C. A middle range specimen was chosen and his organs laid out on a table.

This senario also has Roswell similarities which include the unexplained ablity of the military to load a spacecraft that is reportedly wider in diameter than the opening of any then-existing aircraft’s side, rear cargo, or bomb-bay doors.

The blood type was “O” and the genes and chromosones would have matched with those of Earth women. Verification of the incident is offered by Carr. He was at his job in Florida some years back when he overheard a biologist (who was a member of an elite inner circle of knowledgables) read a report to Carr’s chief describing characterististics of the aliens. The biologist, incidently, is now deceased.

Carr has spoken personally with an officer who was present in Aztec when the extraterrestrial bodies were removed from thier vehicle. The officer assisted with the measuring, weighing, and loading of the little men.

A military nurse who was present at the autopsy told Carr when he spoke with her that she knew of no reason why she should take the secret to her grave. She was seventy-three years old when she made her revelation to Carr. Unfortunately, Carr is unable to reveal the names of the people with whom he had spoken. Their identities cannot be revealed, since doing so would cause them irreparible damage.

The introduction of the mysterious nurse in Carr’s story predates the report of a similar person in the Roswell “star-eyewitness” Glenn Dennis’ story..

Luckily, Carr was a security guard who spent three or six months of his service guarding hanger #18 at Wright Patterson. (On one radio interview Carr stated three months. He told me six months.)

Carr told Mike that his sergeant’s name at Wright Patterson was Arthur Bray.

Bray is a retired master sergeant; he was with the Air Police prior to to his retirement in 1970 and was an eyewitness to the storage of the bodies. Carr related that Bray “Had the key to the (hanger) door and let people in and out.”

Bray fled to Canada and subsequently returned to a Midwest State. Unluckily, the only Arthur Bray there turned out to be an Army man who retired in 1940. He had no knowledge of the incident and was never stationed at Wright Patterson.

Mike spent quite a bit of time and money on this investigation and I even came across an Arthur Bray of Canada in late 1974 who was a UFO researcher. When I asked him about being a sergeant at Wright Patterson he just laughed and said he was unaware of Carr’s usage of the name Arthur Bray in his saucer story. The Canadian Mr.Bray and I shared investigative data on a UFO/Pickup truck pursuit case that reportedly occurred in Ottawa on the night of Nov. 8th,1973. The case received wide publicity in the U.S. and Canada. Mr.Bray was the first researcher to interview the witnesses.

In addition, says Carr, there are several hundred other people who have the inside information. They consist of academic men, anthropologists, aeronautical engineers, Army intelligence officers, electronics experts, metallurgists. and so the list goes. Again, no names are available and Mr. Carr is the only individual who has dared to surface with the incredible story.

Truman was most assuredly informed of the incident but, according to Carr, never came to see the space craft or its occupants. What he actually knew is moot, since he is no longer available for comment. Moreover, Carr stated that Eisenhower saw the ship and its occupants in April after his inauguration. As Carr relates, Eisenhower was at Palm Springs, California. Using a golf outing as a ploy, he boarded a helicopter and was flown to view the remains.

The president decided the American public was not yet ready for a disclosure of such gravity and the discovery remained top secret.

This, too, smacks of the Roswellian folklore that many have come to know and embrace as fact. But, in one account, Truman did view the craft and the alien bodies; and Eisenhower was the one who feigned a golf outing and disappeared for 12 hours to not only see the aliens, he allegedly made a deal with living extraterrestrials at nearby Muroc, Air Force Base. His alleged twelve-hour absence from the prying eyes of reporters was attributed to a bogus emergency visit to a dentist’s office.

Carr advises that forty reporters knew of Eisenhower’s flight and were there to see him leave in the helicopter. Apparently, he feels that the presence of the reporters and their witnessing of his departure lends credibility to his yarn. The names of the reporters have not yet been revealed. Even if they are we have proof that Ike took a ride in a helicopter, nothing more. The bodies are now in cryonic suspension, a sophisticated form of freezing, somewhere in Wright Patterson.

Where did Carr acquire his original information? As he explained, he received a manuscript of a book prior to publication from Frank Scully. Scully was a writer for a magazine “Variety” and devoted an entire chapter of his book, “BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS” (published in 1950 by Henry Holt and Company) to the incident. By his own words, Carr says the Frank Scully story is true. Let us briefly examine Scully’s story.


In 1949 Scully relates that he had learned of a man whom he elcts to call 'Mr Gee'. The name is a pseudonym.

In 1949 Scully relates that he had learned of a man whom he elects to call “Dr.Gee”. The name is a psuedonym the reason for which we shall later learn. Dr.Gee was a government scientist engaged in magnetic research. His credentials consisted of several degrees from higher institutions among which were Armour Institute, University of Berlin, and Creighton University.

Dr.Gee told Scully the story of the first flying saucer to land in the United States. (One had landed in the Sahara Desert before this.) He knew firsthand because he was called upon by the government and assigned to go to the crash site and examine the space craft, together with several other magnetic scientists.

The UFO had been detected by two telescopes , its position determined, and its touch-down site estimated. It was found east of Aztec, New Mexico in a high-plains area which was very rocky.

The scientists decided to observe first and watch for two days. Nothing appeared to happen inside the craft, and the men felt that approach was safe for further investigation. No door was apparent, and the outer skin had no markings. There was, however, a broken porthole. The porthole appeared to be glass, but when the scientists examined it closely, it was different from any other glass known in this country.

The scientists rammed a hole through the defective porthole and looked inside. They counted sixteen bodies. They ranged in height from thirty -six to forty-two inches. As the scientists probed and prodded, they touched a knob which caused the ship’s door to spring open. The little bodies were removed and laid out on the ground. One scientist remarked that their dress was similar to the 1890′s style.

The bodies were perfectly normal, not being midgets. Their skin, however, was charred a dark colour , resembling that of chocolate. The bodies must have been burned, speculated Gee, by air rushing in through the defective porthole or by some other propulsion or pressure malfunction . They were killed by burns or the bends. Dr.Gee said that the point in space at which the little men met their fate had not been determined.

Gee thought the little men probably came from Venus. That was more likely than Mars because inhabitants of Mars would probably be three or four times larger than humans. He said that some of them had been dissected and, except for their size, they appeared to be perfectly normal human beings. Age was judged to be thirty-five to forty years, according to Earth standards. Their teeth were in perfect condition with no cavities or fillings.

Their clothing was dark blue with metal buttons. There were no insignias on the sleeves or caps. Food wafers were found in the ship and given to guinea pigs. The animals seemed to thrive on them. Water was also found, however, it was twice as heavy as normal water. The doctors noted that some water in Norway was similar.

Dr.Gee was not yet through with his astounding revelations. Not only was an alien space ship recovered but, rather, three! There was even a fourth, but that one got away before the scientists could even photograph it. The second space ship which landed in nearly the same condition as the first had its door open. The sixteen little bodies inside were not charred or burned. Medical opinion was that these bodies, when found, had not been dead for much more than two or three hours.

It had landed near a proving ground in Arizona. It was smaller than the first, being only seventy-two feet in diameter. (The first was ninety-nine and 99/100 feet in diameter.) The third ship landed in Paradise Valley above Phoenix, Arizona. There were only two crew members inside. One humanoid was halfway out the door and the other was seated within. Again, both were dead. This ship was thirty-six feet in diameter.

Enter Silas Mason Newton.

Newton was a close associate of Dr.Gee’s (an oil millionaire, according to Robert Carr) who wanted to see the ships. Alas, by this time government secrecy had intervened and Newton was out of luck. Dr.Gee had, however, secured a tubeless radio, some small discs, gears, and other assorted devices which had been taken from the the space ships.

The story now takes on elements of “Reversed Engineering Possibilities”, which clearly predate the Col. Philip Corso’s “Reversed Engineering” claims that captured the imaginations of many Roswellian UFOlogists more than three decades later.

 The ratio of the gears was an enigma to earth engineers, defying more than 150 tests to break down their metal. There was no play in the gears and they did not appear to be lubricated. Dr.Gee constructed an antenna for the radio and was able to receive a sort of high “C” hourly, at fifteen minutes past the hour.

“The Philadelphia Inquirer” newspaper carried an article on page four of its July 28th, 1952 issue describing more details on the Scully story which it received from “True Magazine”. On March 8th, 1950, according to the Inquirer, Newton spoke to an elementary science class at the University of Denver. Half the class apparently believed the story by Newton of Dr.Gee’s discoveries. The story was out!

At one of Newton’s con game appearances on campus, his talk was suddenly cut short by Dr.Gee who excitedly pointed to his wrist warch and bellowed, “Great Scott, we’ve got to get to the airport!” Newton hurriedly gathered his papers and dashed out the door as students and faculity looked on. Some would-be investor in the auditorium asked, “What was that fellows name”, and another person replied,”I think it was Scott something”.

Interestingly, with the advent of the Internet, this and many other UFO crash stories have grown into something of a sub-cultural cottage industry. I discovered that “aztec, nm. ufo crash” produced 128 pages of postings to examine, while Roswell had 644. Carbondale, PA. had a scant 10, as did Spitsbergen, Norway. While Kingman, Arizona was represented by 28 pages to scroll upon. Curiously, Kecksberg, PA displayed just 3 pages even though it had received national exposure on TV’s very popular “Unsolved Mysteries” program. The date of my very cursory internet survey was May 13,2005.


Silas Mason Newton

Interestingly, when Scully’s book was published, all of the principals in chapter twelve seemed to mysteriously drop out of sight. J. P. Cahn of the San Francisco Chronicle on an assignment for True magazine decided to put Newton’s lecture to the test. He found that Scully and Newton were acquainted and were, in fact, friends. Scully admitted that all of his information was second- hand, but he did seem to sincerely believe Newton.

A meeting was set up and the three – Scully, Newton, and Cahn – met at Scully’s home. After what may have been small talk, Newton produced a hankerchief and dumped from it some metal objects. Two of the objects were gears. Two were what appeared to be small metal discs. The gears were not similar, although the discs matched. They were unmarked with the exception of surface scratches.

Before the meeting was over, Newton briefly showed Cahn a photograph of an object which had a resemblance of an umbrella lying on its side. He hinted that people would pay a good deal of money to see something like that. Newton refused to part with the objects he had shown Cahn and further refused to reveal Dr.Gee’s true identity.

Cahn investigated Newton’s background and, as far as he could determine, the whole Newton Oil Company was two small offices connected by a waiting room. Newton had boasted of rediscovering the Rangely oil fields in Colorado. When Cahn researched this misinformation with Richard D. White, Exploration Superintendent for a subsidiary of Standard Oil Company of California, he was told that Newton brought a lot of people out in big cars. With regard to rediscovering Rangely, it was so much baloney.

More background checks found Newton with a record for larceny in New York. The complaint had been discharged. However, in another case, Newton was discovered to have been involved with shady stock practices. Now more determined to get to the bottom of the entire story, Cahn arranged a meeting with Newton and told him that $10,000.00 had been authorized to be put in escrow with another $25,000.00 to be paid upon publication of Newton’s story as soon as reasonable proof was produced. Cahn had, beforehand, counterfeited a disc similar to those Newton had shown to him and was able to make a switch. Newton didn’t know the difference when, after appearing to examine them, Cahn handed them back to Newton.

The discs were reported to have been subjected to 10,000 degrees heat in Dr.Gee’s laboratory without melting. The metal disc kidnapped by Cahn was taken to Stanford University for an analysis. It was plain aluminium , 99.5 percent pure, and the type used in making nothing more than pots and pans. It, incidentally, melted at the Stanford University at 657 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scully finally admitted to Cahn that the mysterious Dr.Gee was none other than Dr. Leo A. Gebauer, with whom he had been in telephone contact a number of times. Not yet completely satisfied, Cahn took a trip to Arizona where he confronted Mr. Gebauer. Cahn discovered that instead of holding the alleged degrees mentioned by Scully, he held only an electrical engineering degree from Louis Institute of Technology in Chicago.

In addition, Cahn found that from 1943 to 1945 when Dr.Gee was supposed to have been heading 1,700 scientists on secret government work (according to Scully in his book) he was actually chief of AiResearch Co. in Phoenix and Los Angeles. His job was to keep the lab machinery going as a kind of maintenance man.

The discrepancies between Scully’s story and Carr’s are numerous and obvious. While Scully says that the Aztec bodies were charred and burnt, Professor Carr implies that they were fairly fresh. Scully clearly says in his book that there were thirty-four little bodies; while Carr recognizes that there was another crashed ship besides the one in Aztec. He says there were only burned remains in the other crash and no entire life forms. Were there thirty-four bodies? Or, were there twelve?

Coral Lorenzen, Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization (APRO) spoke with Sheriff Dan Sullivan of Aztec, New Mexico recently. According to Mrs. Lorenzen, “I personally talked to … Sullivan …and he told me that since the story broke, he’s had deputies out combing the area for any information which would prove or disprove Carr’s claims. His own father was sheriff at the time and had no recollection of a crash, aircraft being in the area, or anything else that would support Carr’s claims”. Nothing has been found.

This writer interviewed several highly reliable “old-timers” from Aztec. Deputy Sheriff Bruce Sullivan, Dan Sullivan’s brother, also works out of Aztec. Bruce Sullivan would have been seventeen or eighteen years old and attending the Aztec High School during this alleged incident. He has lived in Aztec all his life and “Never knew or heard anything about it”.

The deputy said that his department has received many phone calls about the alleged incident but he personally knows nothing about it. His father was sheriff at the time and never mentioned it. If it had happened, he knows that his father would have mentioned it. This may lead to a little confusion as to what sheriffs went out to the craft and examined it with drawn guns.

Lyle McWilliams has been around Aztec for a good number of years. He has been in business, according to his own testimony, “Ever since I’ve been old enough” and was about thirty-two years old in 1948. He recalls nothing of the incident except for the original claim and has always treated it as a joke. He feels that the story may have been revived for “ulterior motives”. Bruce Sullivan and Lyle McWilliams are neither believers nor disbelievers in UFOs.

Marguerite Knowlton has lived near Hart Canyon (the alleged scene of the crash) since 1946 and is sixty years old. Nothing to her knowledge transpired in the canyon. Mrs. Knowlton suggested that I talk with George Brown who owned the Aztec Newspaper in 1948. From my conversation with him, he impressed me as someone who must have been a colourful individual. He recalled a tongue-in-cheek article he had written for the newspaper years ago describing his abduction by little green men from space.

Brown had been in Aztec for seventy years. He ran the paper for forty-four years. “Nobody could have gotten in there and out (Hart Canyon) without attracting a lot of attention. It’s rough country and there’s only one nsrsid16528600 highway in there”. Brown stated emphatically that the road had never been travelled by anyone. He became intoxicated enough with the story to speak with what he estimates to be over one hundred people including cowboys, indeed, lawmen, and ranchers. None of them recalls the UFO landing or subsequent military movement.

If anyone had motive to make good use of the Aztec story, Mr. Brown would head the list. Instead, no sensational accounts of the landing appeared in the paper. Had the story been true, no newsman worth his salt would have passed such an opportunity.

The Robert Spencer Carr story parallels that of a very old, thinly worn, tattered shoe. It has been kicked around for years. Every so often, someone takes this old shoe out of a dark corner in the closet. He dyes it a new colour, waxes and buffs it to a high gloss. New heels and soles are added. Bright new shoestrings once again tie it together. The old shoe becomes a new version to fit the present modern-day style. More useage is gotten from it. It is used until it is worn out. After it has served its purpose, it returns to the closet until someone again decides the time has come for a new version.

While our present-day “throw-away” society probably wouldn’t go through the bother and expense of refurbishing an old pair of shoes, back when Mike wrote this article it was a common, but declining, practice to do so. Nevertheless, the analogy is ” absolutely correct” in regard to the sporatic refurbishing of the Aztec story over the years by Robert Spencer Carr (1973-74), Willian Steinman and Wendelle Stevens(1986), Linda Mouton Howe and Art Bell (1998), and most recently by Stanton Friedman, whom for an additional twenty-five dollars above the cost of his DVD on the case, will personally autograph your copy of it. Of course, there are numerous additional offerings of the story on the ever Wild and Wacky Web.

Those who have seen or talked with Carr must be impressed with his fatherly-like patience. He appears to be a kindly man with a purity of purpose. He would have us believe his motives are no more than to make contact with the superior intelligences fequenting our Earthly air space.

He abhors the “lurid sensationalism – the vulgar sensationalism” that the media has afforded him. Yet, he is lecturing frequently at Florida universities and has appeared, according to his own statistics, on 144 radio shows, 33 television appearances, and 50 newspaper interviews; in addition to a well-attended symposium he recently held in Florida. His new book on UFOs is near completion and is forthcoming. He employs an agent to book his lectures.

Carr’s brainchild is a plan to lure the UFOs to a safe landing place in New Mexico close to Los Alamos. He plans to do this using decoy flying saucers, signal images, and other devices to coax the extraterrestrials to an Earthly visit. He wants presidential initiative aimed at setting up an official meeting with the aliens on a mountain top to find out what they want.

Modern-day UFO coaxers like Dr. Steven Greer’s group also attempt to lure UFOs with light signals and telepathy – while famed abductee Betty Hill had a property ringed with lights to attract UFOs to a landing. Of course, the sci-fi motion picture “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” (1977) featured contact with aliens on a mountain top in the state of Wyoming.

He (Carr) envisions Kissinger sitting at a card table with intergalactic envoys lashing out agreement details. Carr, who is without a doctorate and yet advertises himself as “Dr.Carr” at his symposium, remind me of a space age, one man medicine show peddling his miracle cure-all bottle of elixir with the aid of electronic communication.

Although he claims to be a NICAP investigator, the director tells me that while he may have been in years past, he is now a only a member. A ten dollar bill will purchase annual membership for anyone. At the time I spooke with the director, he told me that a letter was being prepared to Carr warning him to stop the use of NICAP’s name in connection with his “Little Men” story. The director reminded me that Carr’s membership is also revocable and excommunication the next step if deemed necessary.

As one New England* Ufologist aptly put it, “That sounds kinda serious!”

In the final analysis, I may be found to have been too harsh on Carr. Perhaps he subscribes to “the end justifies the means” philosophy which unfortunately requires building a solid house on a foundation of silt and sand. There is a heavy moral here. UFOs are an unknown phenomena. They do exist. Files of investigative organizations are bursting with evidence of UFOs. Reliable witnesses, photographs, physical evidence, burn marks, and landing impressions bear mute testimony to their existance.

Whether they be Klass-type plasmas or Menzolian temperature inversions. Whether they are from an unknown dimension or hallucinations of Jungian minds conjuring round, flattened, illuminated objects projected by the mind’s eye into space. Or, whether they are real, tangible, solid objects controlled by intelligent minds who have developed a mode on galactic travel technologically-advanced that the embryonic Earthly mind of science cannot even begin to conceive of their workings. THE UFO PHENOMENON EXISTS! It is real and apparently does not prefer to go away.

Without qualification, no real “rally ’round the flag” kind of scientific study has ever been mustered. APRO has existed for nearly a quarter of a century; and for that same period, the founders have painstakingly devoted nsrsid16528600 their lives to resolve this enigma. Other organizations have devoted endless hours of esearch – still no answer.

Why no answer? No money! The civilian organizations have attempted to function by means of membership dues and subscriptions. Their entire income is a mere pittance compared to recent funding by the U.S. government to study the antics of frisbees or research butterflies.

At the time of this article’s writing, many UFO groups were attempting to chide and instigate a re-evaluation of the UFO situation by the federal government. The U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book (1951-1969) program was believed to be riddled with errors and the Condon Committee’s efforts (1966-1968) were suspected of negative bias, too.

Every government subsidized programme for the research of UFOs has been one with a negative mind to start. The researchers began the study already knowing the answer: “Insufficient Evidence”. Insufficient evidence to continue the study. But the evidence continues to rear its head and cry out, “I am here!”

Young organizations such as UFORIC attempt new studies with new ideas. Good ideas. The result? The necessary scientic minds and the funds with which to complete the work and the project are not there. The point is, the federal government must be the one to initiate the study. But, the committee, if one is ever to exist, must be free and unshackled from political pressures whether Democrat or Republican, Army or Navy.

Of course, there will be those who will remind us of the poverty and starvation which needs to be first resolved; and their ancestors in Spain where finances were made available to Christopher Columbus and the prudish decried the foolish waste of funds to send sailors and ships to their doom at the edge of the flat Earth.

Everyone knew no more continents existed. But the queen possessed two very valuable and perhaps rare conditions of mind, wisdom, and foresight. Would that our leaders would learn from our four hundred year old history lesson.

Mike and I had several discussions concerning funding matters and it was agreed that government funding would probably never be realized without some sort of strings being attached in one way or another. Of course, the raising of privately-donated researh funds using an aggressive internet campaign was completely unimaginable in 1974.

 Interestingly, the FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research) group which had depended on private contibutions for it’s survival, recently made an urgent appeal for contributions to avoid bankruptcy. A portion of the group’s notice appeared in Jim Moseley’s “Saucer Smear” newsletter recently (Vol.52 No.4, May 1,2005). It read, “The dearth of serious interest in UFOs on the part of the public, the press, and the scientific community deepens; as does the financial bind in which the Fund finds itself.

 The long-term, near-total absence of the subject in the major news media cannot help give the impression that either UFOs are no longer being seen or that the mystery of their nature has been solved. Neither conclusion is even close to correct. The stack of genuinely baffling, unexplained cases continues to grow.

The source of major funding have faded away, and so individuals will have to carry a larger part of the load. Barring an unexpected influx of funds, we will soon be on the brink of bankruptcy…(Of course, it might also be a fact that the number of baby-boomer “Nuts and Bolts” enthusiasts are dwindling, while the new age “Abduction Buffs” believe they already know what UFOs are, who’s flying them, and why they’re visiting our planet… So, what’s to fund?)

Robert Spencer Carr’s story, from the first press release to the mass communication interviews, smells of hoax. Mr.Carr may be absolutely sincere in his gospel of the twelve little bodies. Be that as it may, Professor Carr managed to focus national attention on himself and his space elixir, proving a very valuable point.

He has proven that many years of diligent efforts by sincere and dedicated UFO researchers continue to go unnoticed by both the news media and the scientific community in general. On the other hand, a sensational, unfounded, unproven, and undocumented, fabricated new version of an old fairy tale hoax demands attention.

The public, with the unwitting aide of the media, is bilked and exploited. The elusive dignity and serious interest which the subject requires and deserves loses ground to the carnival atmosphere of the latest side-show story. Still, the phenomenon remains and nsrsid16528600 continues to require dignified attention. Perhaps proper attention may be purchased with constant unending pressure on key, high-position, elected representatives beginning with our President.

World Wars, Korea, Viet-Nam, and Middle East Crises will appear and fade. The UFOs patiently remain, quietly going about their unknown business almost as if they are waiting for mankind to say with a united voice, “Who are you? Why are you here?” Because we are man, our very nature insatiably, but respectfully, demands an answer! “We will know why!”

In the 1800′s, William Stanley Jevons wrote, “True science will not deny the existence of things because they cannot be weighed and measured. It will, rather, lead us to believe that the wonders and subtleties of possible existence surpass all that our mortal powers allow us to clearly perceive. We must ignore no existence whatever. We may variously interpret or explain its meaning and origin; but, if a phenomena does exist, it demands some kind of explanation.

Jevons’ (A leading English economist and logician) quote was Mike’s choice of a philosophy to enbrace regarding his investigations of the UFO phenomena. Mike did so for for a number of years as both an APRO and UFORIC field investigator. He left both UFO groups about a year and a half after writing this paper.

Jim Moseley’s Saucer Smear Vol.45, No.5 June 5th, 1998 informs us that, “In 1984 your ‘Smear’ editor, together with two friends, interviewed Carr at his luxurious retirement house in Clearwater, Florida. By that time Carr had quieted down about Azyec, but was claiming that spaceships were frequently landing on the water right in front of his oceanfront home, and that the occupants came inside his home to chat with him.Few people know about this story, as he only told it privately. He asked us not to print it until after his death, and we kept our promise…nsrsid6498786

A nurse who accompanied us at our 1984 Carr interview felt that he was hallucinating because of a specific physical disability. However, the more likely answer came from Carr’s son, who contacted us by mail shorty after his father’s death, in about 1996. In essence, the son said that his father had a lifetime habit of making up stories in order to get attention and to be more interesting. This indeed seems to have been the case.

Regarding, Mike McClellan; he had also assisted me (unofficially) with several investigations of UFO incidents and one crop circle report in 1992. I believe that this article was published in 1975 under the title, “The UFO Crash of 1948 was a Hoax”. Mike McClellan has certainly left us a valuable and persuasive contribution towards a better understanding of how (in UFOlogy) a bad seed planted in 1950 can bear bitter fruit fifty-five years after the root of that plant should have died up and simply blown away.. But, then again, those New Mexican desert plants are a very hearty species, indeed.

*All quotes in this article identified with an asterisk were actually statements uttered by one or more of my multiple personalities, and not by anyone presently residing in Texas or New England. I figure, why the UFO crash experts should be the only ones to have colorful “anonymous informants” at their beck and call.


The Schauberger Error
Kevin McClure

From Magonia 81, May 2003

It’s much easier to dismiss an absurd claim that is fresh and new, than one which has been around for a while, and has taken root. It is, for example, simple enough to assess the reliability of David Icke’s assertion that Dr Josef Mengele – seemingly after he died – mind-controlled a young American woman to make her go to Balmoral Castle, and officiate at rituals where the Queen and Queen Mother turned into reptiles and devoured small children. Or to judge whether, as ‘Sir’ Laurence Gardner tells us in an explanation on which his whole ‘grail bloodline’ theory depends, the otherwise unmentioned daughter of Joseph of Arimathea (in this version, the brother of Jesus Christ) popped over to Wales to marry and settle down with Bran the Blessed, a mythical god-figure who spent much of his life as a detached head and who, even in the relevant myths, would have been well over 100 years old at the time of the marriage.

Dislodging established and much-repeated nonsense is much more difficult, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And where that nonsense tends to exaggerate and glorify the activities of the SS during World War II, I think we should try particularly hard. In that spirit of endeavour, let’s see what we can do about the very untrue story of Viktor Schauberger – builder of flying saucers.

The detailed and ever-increasing fiction of the Nazi UFO mythos tells us that the Nazis, whatever the actual outcome of the Second World War, were so technically, creatively and scientifically brilliant that had the war only lasted a few months longer, they would have won it by using their amazing flying saucers, which were so very nearly ready for combat when the Allied forces went into Czechoslovakia and Southern Germany. My essay ‘Phoney Warfare’, available on the Magonia website, records my research into the Nazi UFO mythos up to mid-2000, since when I have continued to try to evaluate each new account as it emerges.

There are two hurdles the mythos has always fought to overcome. Firstly, that there is no historical record whatever of the standard characters said to have been involved in saucer development. Names like Schriever, Belluzzo, Habermohl, Miethe and Klein appear regularly, but there is no evidence for the involvement of any of them in the development of flying discs. Only Guiseppe Belluzzo has any verifiable scientific background at all, Schriever was a delivery driver, and it is unclear whether Habermohl and Miethe even so much as existed as identifiable individuals.

Secondly, there is no historical evidence – physical or photographic – of the supposed flying discs. We are repeatedly told of discs of immense power, and sometimes immense size, defying all scientific parameters known before and since. Yet not so much as a bolt or a tachyon drive remains. The only evidence presented – and repeated so often – is by way of the tinny, fuzzy post-war photos taken by those who wished to convince us of saucer reality, but who usually succeeded only in persuading non-believers of the unexplored potential of domestic containers and the art of close-up photography. The mythos argument is that rather than being extraterrestrial in origin the discs were actually developed from captured Nazi blueprints, by captured Nazi scientists. Relocated in America, they chose to have their miracle craft chug unimpressively around the dusty back roads of the USA, sometimes landing, sometimes crashing, and sometimes – particularly the very small discs – utilising conveniently placed string to hang from trees, swinging gently and photogenically in the wind. Not a single claim of flying Nazi discs predates either 1949, or media interest in flying saucers in the USA.

schauberger1Once upon a time, in Austria, there was a forester called Viktor Schauberger. He lived from 1885 to 1958, and in his long life he devised and worked on a variety of inventions. He had a keen and original interest in the motion and motive potential of water, and the most notable of his achievements were probably in the design and development of log flotation methods and flumes in the 1920s. Thereafter, he appears to have attempted to develop his ideas of the motion of water and air towards the production of turbines and of cheap, natural power and energy. There is little, and possibly no evidence that any of these later, more ambitious ideas ever reached fruition, and although his son and grandson have continued with some more theoretical aspects of his work, it seems that no repeatable demonstration of Schauberger’s technology has ever taken place. He died in 1958, and no tangible example of his supposed wartime or post-war experiments survives him.

For those who want to further the cause of secret Nazi science, maintain the flying saucer mystery, or both, Viktor Schauberger has been a prayer answered. Not because he actually built flying discs for the Nazis, but because some round, bulbous inventions he may have worked on were photographed and, with a bit of airbrushing, adding Luftwaffe insignia and so on, they looked rather like the round, bulbous inventions that featured in 1950s ufology. That he left no physical or technical evidence of his supposed disc experiments, was at times somewhat confused about the facts (there is evidence that he spent some time in a psychiatric hospital), and kept a diary in a shorthand that was difficult even for his family to comprehend, could only assist in using his name. He even had a long, grand beard to suggest that he was a misunderstood genius. History was ripe for rewriting, and not just the once.

The mythos itself has had three distinct phases of life, with long fallow periods between. The first was in the early Fifties, when a handful of individuals, none of them connected with any post-war rocket or aviation programme in Russia, the USA or anywhere else, claimed to be at least partly responsible for the saucer sightings of the period. Schauberger – still alive at the time – didn’t get a mention at that stage, and made no claim of his own.

Then, around 1975, Canadian Ernest Zundel, also known as Christof Friedrich and Mattern Friedrich, and notorious for his pro-active and well-publicised scepticism of the reality of the Holocaust, published – as Mattern Friedrich – the book UFO – Nazi Secret Weapon? Amid questions like ‘Is Hitler Still Alive?’ and ‘Did the Nazis have the Atom Bomb?’ he set out a range of wild speculations about lost Nazi technology and, for the first time to my knowledge (I could easily be wrong), introduced a number of the key elements of Schauberger’s involvement. Zundel says:

“Schauberger did experiments early in 1940-41 in Vienna and his 10 foot diameter models were so successful that on the very first tests they took off vertically at such surprising speeds that one model shot through the 24-foot high hangar ceiling. After this `success’ Schauberger’s experiments received vordringlichkeitsstufe’ - high priority – and he was given adequate funds and facilities as well as help. His aides included Czechoslovak engineers who worked at the concentration camp at Mauthausen on some parts of the Schauberger flying saucers. It is largely through these people that the story leaked out.”
Zundel also invented an account of Schauberger’s later history and death. Although he actually died at home in 1958, Zundel’s story is that:

“Viktor Schauberger lived for some years in the United States after the war where he was reported to be working on UFO projects. His articles were greatly discussed and then one day in Chicago he just vanished. His battered body was found and as to who killed Schauberger or why has never been discovered. One version has it that gangsters tried to beat his revolutionising secrets out of him and accidentally killed him.”

Zundel also published the first drawings – presumably from photos – of what he called the ‘electromagnetically-powered Flying Hats’.

In the next year, 1976, a biography of sorts appeared (Living Water, Gateway Books, 1997), written by Olof Alexandersson, a Swedish ‘electrical engineer and archive conservationist’. While admitting that “the information for the basis of this book is fragile”, he managed, from unlisted sources, to add substantially to the mythos …

“After a while Schauberger received his call-up. It was now 1943, and even older men were being drafted. He was eventually appointed the commandant of a parachute company in Italy, but after a short stay, orders came from Himmler that he should present himself at the SS college at Vienna-Rosenhugel. When he arrived, he was taken to the concentration camp at Mauthausen, where he was to contact the SS standartenfuhrer (standards leader) Zeireis, who told him he had a personal greeting from Himmler. ‘We have considered your scientific research and think there is something in it. You can now either choose to take charge of a scientific team of technicians and physicists from among the prisoners, to develop machines utilising the energy you have discovered, or you will be hanged.’

“Schauberger understandably chose the first (insisting that his helpers must no longer be regarded as prisoners) and so an intensive period of study began. After the SS college, where the research was taking place, was bombed. Schauberger and his team were transferred to Leonstein, near Linz. The project they initiated there was a `flying saucer’ powered by a ‘trout turbine’.

“The results of the research were surprising. It was both a success and a failure. Viktor Schauberger later explained this briefly in a letter to the West German defence minister Strauss on 28 February 1956:

“I preferred the first alternative, and about a year later, the first ‘flying saucer’ rose unexpectedly, at the first attempt, to the ceiling, and then was wrecked.”

Alexandersson produced slightly different pictures of the ‘flying hats’, probably just removing the Luftwaffe insignia Zundel had added, and reproduced drawings of other absurd imaginary wartime UFOs copied directly from Zundel.

Since then, architect Callum Coats has published a series of books which cover that confusing territory between science and esotericism, reflecting a surprisingly persistent interest in Schauberger’s theories about water and implosion. In 1996 (Living Energies, Gateway, 2001), he published what appear to be actual photos of the ‘flying hats’, as well as reprinting earlier drawings, and tells us that:

“Despite its compact size, this machine generated such a powerful levitational force that when it was first switched on (without Viktor Schauberger’s permission and in his absence!), it sheared the six quarter-inch diameter high-tensile steel anchor bolts and shot upwards to smash against the roof of the hangar.”

However, the sight of the objects themselves only underlines the unavoidable truth that the only factor uniting all those who tell us about the reality of the Schauberger flying saucers is that none of them have the least idea of how or why they flew. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how they could.

Coats also quotes one ‘A. Khammas’, writing in the undated issue 93 of Implosion magazine:

“There are many rumours about what Schauberger was actually doing during this period, most of which suggest he was in charge of developing `flying discs’ under contract to the army. It later became known that the ‘flying disc’ launched in Prague on the 19th of February 1945, which rose to an altitude of 15,000 metres in throe minutes and attained a forward speed of 2,200 kph, was a development of the prototype he built at Mauthausen concentration camp. Schauberger wrote, ‘I only first heard of this event after the war through one of the technicians who had worked with me’. In a letter to a friend, dated 2nd August 1956, Schauberger commented, ‘The machine was supposed to have been destroyed just before the end of the war on Keitel’s orders.’”

Perhaps we should find it significant that, while we are told that Victor Schauberger effectively rewrote aviation technology with two extraordinary demonstrations of the power of the engine he invented, we are also told that he was both absent from the events, and unaware that they would take place.

The most recent phase of belief in the Nazi UFO mythos began in the last five years [as of May 2003]. Susan Michaels, in Sightings: UFOs (Fireside, 1997), reproduces a range of palpable fictions from unreliable sources, and introduces some freshly minted nonsense. Possibly becoming confused by inconsistent, fictional accounts of a meeting with Hitler in 1933, she says:

“Also in 1939, German physicist Victor Schauberger developed a design for a flying saucer using energy he claimed could be harnessed from the tonal vibrations, or ‘harmonics’, of the cosmos. As far-fetched as this theory seems, Schauberger’s research attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler, who offered to provide funds to build Schauberger’s own anti-gravity saucer. But Schauberger, who was a deeply committed pacifist, turned Hitler down.”

The following year, aviation writer and photographer Bill Rose wrote an article, tagged as ‘UFO sightings – why you can blame Adolf Hitler’, in the popular science magazine Focus (October 1998). After, apparently, four years of research he concluded that:

“The father of the German disc programme was Rudolph Schriever, a Luftwaffe aeronautical engineer assigned to Heinkel in 1940 … a full-sized piloted version, the V2, first flew in 1943 with Schriever at the controls. Thirty feet in diameter, the V2 had a fixed central cabin around which a ring with adjustable vanes rotated to provide thrust in both the horizontal and vertical planes … Early in 1944, Schriever’s top-secret programme was moved to Czechoslovakia … Schriever was joined by a number of leading aeronautical engineers … Another addition was the Austrian scientist Viktor Schauberger, who just before his death in 1958 claimed to have worked on a highly classified US disc programme in Texas.”

Rose seems to be the first to have suggested that Schauberger actually worked together with the four other ‘engineers’ who the mythos says built flying saucers. Actually, even when those who actually said anything made their claims – Klaus Habermohl never said anything, probably because he didn’t exist, and Richard Miethe may have been someone else entirely who lived in Egypt – they never made that one. But even Rose doesn’t have the same remarkable sources as, it seems, did Gary Hyland, the author of Blue Fires (Headline, 2001), who says of Schauberger:

“The first test-flight of the machine was reportedly amazingly successful (it apparently shot through the roof of the laboratory and had to be recovered some distance away) … he developed his ideas further, to the point where a full-sized, though unmanned flying disc prototype that used his new engine apparently flew under radio control … At the end of the war, the American forces got to Leonstein ahead of the Russians and found Schauberger and his team of experts. After letting the members of his team leave after a thorough interrogation, the Americans held Schauberger in protective custody for six months; it would seem that they knew exactly what he had been up to and wanted to prevent other nations, as well as renegade Nazis, from continuing to use his services.”

Exceeding even the rich imaginations of Michaels, Rose and Hyland lie those who provided the information underpinning the much-publicised book The Hunt for Zero Point (Century, 2001) by Nick Cook, a notable freelance aviation journalist who has written for the very respectable Jane’s Defence Weekly. In the course of an investigation lasting, we are told, some ten years, he appears to have been comprehensively misinformed by a series of individuals, or perhaps by individuals acting on behalf of a group of people with a specific agenda. It seems that for all the informants he gathered along the way – informants he often protects with anonymity – nobody ever warned him that those who want to make the Nazi regime, and the SS in particular, look good, are unsurprisingly happy to deceive to do so.

schaubergerufoWithout going through Cook’s oddly directionless Hunt in any detail, it’s worth noting that his primary source about Schauberger was a Polish gentleman named Igor Witkowski. Witkowski, apparently, volunteered to drive Cook around, showing him sites where Schauberger had worked for the Nazis constructing and testing ‘The Bell’, a supposed experimental device with two cylinders spinning in opposite directions. Cook was told that this glowed blue and destroyed plants, birds, animals, and sometimes humans. Internet searches for Witkowski bring him up in connection with the loopy ‘crashed saucers’ end of Polish ufology, and he has self-published six or more separate items titled something like Hitler’s Supersecret Weapon.

Witkowski tells Cook that his extraordinary information comes from an unnameable source, which Cook seems to accept without question. It seems that a ‘Polish government official’ phoned Witkowski, inviting him to view documents and take notes about the development and concealment of extraordinary Nazi technology, as given in a record of “the activities of a special unit of the Soviet secret intelligence service”. Witkowski’s evidence, together with a visit to Schauberger’s grandson, leads Cook to reproduce the material about imprisonment by the US after the war, and the apartment being blown up by the Russians, together with various unlikely claims about Schauberger being offered massive sums of money by (right-wing) Americans in the years before he died. And that Schauberger’s designs had been stolen by Heinkel in the early part of the war, that he had worked on secret projects for the Nazis from 1941 through to the end of the war, working at a number of factories, sometimes using slave labour. That he had created, for and with the support of the SS, disc-shaped machines with engines so revolutionary that even Cook, an aviation journalist, cannot explain how they worked.

As I mentioned, one of the problems with the Nazi UFO mythos is explaining away the absolute absence of palpable evidence. Cook chooses to adopt SS General Hans Kammler for this purpose. Kammler used concentration camp labour to build the Atlantic Wall, contributed to the construction of the Auschwitz gas chambers, and was in charge of the V2 missile programme, which again ruthlessly exploited slave labour. He is also, it seems, the person who spirited away all traces of Schauberger’s astonishing technical achievements, allegedly to his own advantage by way of trade with the approaching Allies: however, the earliest version I have found of this story dates from 1989, put about by Nevada Aerial Research, who have done much to publicise the wonders of supposed Nazi technology. They later came up with the first and most unpleasant of the tales of dominant and brutal alien beings living below the US air base at Dulce. I do not believe that their account of Kammler had any existence prior to 1989, or that it is true.

There is no period of history more thoroughly examined than 1939-1945, and no subject more closely examined than the Nazis, and within the Nazis, the SS. Had there been any reality in the claims for the construction and testing – or more – of high-speed flying disc technology by the Third Reich during that period, then we would have every reason to expect that it would have been discovered, reported, and analysed by writers and researchers far more competent than those referred to above. Yet it never has been.

Nonetheless, there is this recurrent and developing counter-culture argument that says that these extraordinary events actually happened. It is a theory that has sold millions of books and a number of deeply unpleasant videos, and it continues to fuel a belief that, given just those few more months, the true genius of the Nazis, the drive of the SS, and the inspiration of the Fuhrer would have won through, and the Allies – no, not just the Soviet Union, but all the Allies – would have been defeated. Just imagine how that would have been.

While I’m happy to be challenged by solid evidence, I’ve found no reason to believe that Viktor Schauberger knew anything of all this: I think he died before it was made up. He never built a flying disc, let alone one that flew using some unknown and unprecedented method of propulsion. He wasn’t sought out by Hitler or the SS, didn’t choose slave workers from Mauthausen to assist him and wasn’t held by the Americans after the war because of his technical knowledge and achievements. If the Russians burned his flat down, I doubt that they even knew whose flat it was. He never worked for years in the USA, and wasn’t offered any sums of money to do so. If you want a real mystery to solve, try working out who invented all these tales, and why, and whether anyone apart from the authors involved has gained materially, or in achieving political or personal aims, as a result of their dissemination.


Plots Against the World

Steven Woodbridge

Alleged secret plots have dominated ufology since the 1940s, but conspiracymongering has a longer and darker history. Steven Woodbridge throws some light on the disturbing historical background to modern conspiracy theories. From Magonia 67, June 1999

God did not appear on television on 25 March 1998, much to the disappointment of a Dallas-based UFO cult and to the glee of newspaper and media commentators. Throughout that month Chen Hong-ming, prophet and leader of the 150-strong `God’s Salvation Church’ (also known as the ‘True Way’) gained massive media publicity by predicting that the Heavenly Father would appear on TV to announce the date of his descent to earth. Mr Chen also claimed that the world has been corrupted by evil, and would suffer a ‘Great Tribulation’ of economic crisis, floods, and the onset of nuclear war. He also argued that members of his group would be saved from these events by being taken to another planet in flying sau-cers.

The case of the ‘True Way’ is yet another example of the tremendous growth in pseudo-religious cults and other ‘conspiracy’ groups that are accompanying us as we move into the 21st century. Some of these, such as the ‘True Way’, are merely very eccentric and have tapped into the latest burst of Millennial / New Age thought and ufology. Other groups are more sinister and fanatical. Not only are they able to persuade their members that the end of the century heralds Armageddon, but that their way to salvation is through mass suicide. In the 1990′s alone we have witnessed already the tragic activities of the Order of the Solar Temple, based in Switzerland and Canada, and the California-based Heaven’s Gate. Some cult ideologies go even further than self-sacrifice and advocate terrorist tactics against ‘decadent non-believers. The Japanese Aum sect demonstrated the horrific consequences of such ideas with their gas attack on the Tokyo Metro rail system.

There is also another disturbing trend that has arisen out of millenarianism and the calls for ‘salvation’ and ‘survival’ in the face of impending doom. This is the revival of extreme Right-wing conspiracy theory. It is feeding off the idea that present-day society can no longer offer solutions to our problems and that all democratic politics is corrupt and decadent. The massive bomb that destroyed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on 19 April 1995, claimed 168 lives and shocked American public opinion to the core. Not only did it overturn the illusion that the world’s most powerful nation was immune to domestic terrorism, it also made Americans realise that they no longer afford to ignore the increasing number of their fellow citizens who are resorting to membership of extreme right-wing groups. (1)

In the face of a seemingly more complex age such groups are providing fearful and dislocated individuals in America with a sense of firm ‘belonging’ once again. But there is also refuge in simplistic conspiracy theories about the world as it struggles to cope with the problems that abound at the end of the twentieth century. In fact there is the growing conviction in extreme right-wing circles, and moreover in wider American and European culture (expressed in TV series such as Dark Skies and X-Files) that the world is being controlled by `secret’ forces, shadowy networks of powerful groups who dictate to governments, manipulate populations and cause ‘spiritual’ decline. A variety of methods of control by these anonymous forces are pointed to: governments are supposedly employing mass brain-washing techniques through the media and education, and claims that subliminal messages are being beamed into homes through television sets to control unsuspecting viewers. New secret technologies, which may be extraterrestrial in origin, are sometimes cited. Surveillance by satellites and alteration to human behaviour by drugs or microchips are also mentioned. Timothy McVeigh, who was sentenced to death for his involvement in the Oklahoma bombing, claimed at one point that a microchip had been implanted in his left buttock. (2)

McVeigh’s supporters on the extreme right and the numerous militia groups also voiced their belief that the US government, through the FBI has deliberately blown up the Federal Building in order to justify a nationwide clampdown on any groups who might oppose a takeover of the nation by agents of a new World Government. Such material was disseminated widely by the Internet and was lapped up eagerly by the extreme right in many other countries. In many ways the Oklahoma bombing was a watershed in the development of a new wave of conspiracy theories in the 1990s and in the growth of the groups which advocate such ideas. The FBI reported in December 1997, for example, that it was now involved with more than nine hundred investigations into home-grown activist groups, compared to a hundred before Oklahoma. (3)

The extreme right itself probably perpetrated the bombing partly out of revenge for the FBI’s mishandling of the Branch Davidian siege at Waco in 1993. Although this sect was a religious cult group rather than a right-wing extremist organisation, it did blur some of the differences between pseudo-religious ideas and some extreme right-wing attitudes. It was led by a charismatic leader who had convinced his group of the need for collective armed resistance in the face of a hostile central government. The FBI’s mishandling of the infamous siege at Waco brought sympathy and gave ammunition to other groups that sought for ‘freedom’ from the state. In particular American neo-Nazis argued that it was an example of how the US Government was prepared to trample over the freedoms of any groups who disagreed with the allegedly totalitarian values of mainstream liberal society. At the same time they carefully avoided the evident contradiction contained in their own fascist ideologies, which envision the construction of a strong ‘alternative’ state based on a mixture of Nazism and `Christian’ white supremacy. As far as they are concerned the key ‘fact’ is that Waco exemplified a conspiracy by ‘ZOG’ – the Zionist Occupation Government. To frighten and lie to the general public in preparation for an oppressive New World Order. Sigificantly, Timothy McVeigh had been influenced by a video called Waco – the Big Lie. Although it would be a distortion to lump together all the neo-Nazi, militia and cult groups (many militia groups disassociate themselves from the neo-Nazis) certain common beliefs have emerged.

In general Waco and Oklahoma have taken on mythical proportions among the many US groups who believe that governments cannot be trusted. Outside the USA there has also been a notable growth in ‘cultist’ and New Age groups which, while not always adhering to extreme right-wing viewpoints, often tend to view democratic and materialist society as decadent and corrupt and governments as nothing more than huge lie machines. Furthermore they argue in their propaganda to potential recruits that the only way to escape the slide into societal breakdown is to set up pure elites of selected individuals who must prepare for the supposedly inevitable collapse of ‘the system’. In the meantime secret organisational strategies must be pursued in order to outwit the insidious arms of the State or the outside world, promot-ing a them-and-us mentality.

Indeed, as the century draws to a close there are now many examples of cross-fertilisation between a wide variety of cults and groups who all hold in common esoteric beliefs and conspiracy views about the nature of the modern world. In 1980 Roger Sandell reflected on ‘The World of Conspiracy Theories’ and pointed out that the conspiracy tradition has a long political history. (4) He located the origins of modern conspiracy theory in the 1790s when the fear of revolution, ignited by the French Revolution of 1789-92, had gripped ruling circles in Europe. Simplistic explanations arose about the forces behind revolutions: certain writers blamed the Freemasons or the Illuminati, or their paid agents, who were plotting the overthrow of Europe’s monarchies and of Christianity itself. Sandell records that by the mid-19th century it was the Jews – non-Christian, urban and recently liberated from civic restrictions – who came to be seen as the main enemy by the forces of reaction and clericism.


New forms of antisemitism were combined with older, more traditional anti-Jewish ideas in order to show that Jews were part of an evil secret society out to manipulate world events. One book, World Conquest by the Jews, published in 1875, argued that the most eminent leaders of the ‘Chosen Few’ deliberated on the most suitable means to ensure that Judaism spread from the North Pole to the South. (5) By the early 20th century these antisemitic themes found their strongest expression in works such as the notorious forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (1905), which had originated from Czarist Russia and was taken up by numerous antisemitic groups in Europe. In Britain a group called ‘The Britons’, publishers of a journal called The Hidden Hand, cited the Protocols as evidence that Jews were out to undermine the nation. This was a period of anxiety about national identity and the supposed decline of society. Some people wanted easy explanations for these perceptions and the Jews were traditional scapegoats.

The English translation of the Protocols had been published in 1920, under the title The Jewish Peril and it received wide coverage through articles in The Times and the Spectator. During the summer of 1920 the Morning Post published a series of eighteen articles supporting the Judeo-Masonic theory and used the Protocols as evidence. Nesta Webster, one of the most infamous conspiracy theorists of the interwar period and whose books are still regularly reprinted by right-wing publishing houses today, remained noncommittal on the Protocols. (6) Nevertheless Webster still put forward a comprehensive conspiracy theory about world history. The Freemasons and Illuminati were supposedly still behind world events, often in alliance with Jews and `Reds’.

Although certain elements on the political left were also guilty of antisemitism (conflating it with anti-capitalism), it was the right who found most comfort in the conspiratorial outlook. Moreover it was the extreme right which subscribed particularly to the simplicities of viewing the events and problems of the world as mere products of manipulation by secret forces. Nesta Webster, for example, was a member of the `British Fascist’ (BF) during the 1920s, a party founded

 in 1923 by Rotha Lintom-Orman, the granddaughter of a Field-Marshall and an admirer of Mussolini’s fascist ‘revolution’ in Italy. Webster also briefly sat on the ‘Grand Council’ of the BF. As well as writing her own books for public consumption, which have since become classics of conspiracy theory, (7) she used her position on the BF to push her all-encompassing theories to other British fascists, reinforcing their siege-mentality about their position in society and future prospects of the nation.

In May 1926 she argued that in the event of a crisis, “or the continuance of slow disintegration”, Britain needed a group who would react against “the forces of destruction”. (8) She clearly had in mind the BF for this task. Its leadership consisted mainly of ex-military personnel who spent many hours training paramilitary street squads for the ‘inevitable’ clash between the forces of darkness and light which they were convinced would come one day. The constitutional government of the day was viewed as weak and corrupt, the democratic system being a front for lies and deception on a mass scale. The real centres of power in the world were Moscow and Wall Street.

There are a number of other examples of conspiracy thought on the extreme Right in Britain during the interwar years. Arnold Leese, leader of the Imperial Fascist League, held a highly detailed conviction that the world was under the control of Jews and Masons. He gave his outlook a pseudo-religious justification rooted in mysticism, irrationality and the racial pseudo-science of German Nazi anthropologists such as Hans F. K. Gunther. At one point Leese argued, “Freemasonry is simply the latest phase of organisation of the forces of Darkness against those of Light, of Evil against Good, in a fight which has been going on since the Jews first conceived of the idea of organising for world control”. (9)

Even as the Nazi death camps were being opened up in 1945, Leese was still convinced that the war had been a “Jewish war for survival”. He argued that the result was the “sheer destruction of the best part of Europe and its domination by Bolshevism”, whilst the British Empire, “nearly ruined and rotten to the core with Jews and Freemasonry” was sinking back into a “second-class power”. (10)

Conspiracy theory did not go away in the post-1945 period. The former Conservative MP Captain Archibald Ramsay, who had been imprisoned by the British Government in 1940, still very much subscribed to the theory that the world was subject to manipulation by shadowy forces. In The Nameless War (1952), Ramsay echoed Nests Webster’s theories on history by pointing to the machinations of the Illuminati, Grand Orient Masons, and `Cabalistic Jews’ (11). He hinted strongly that the conspiracy was ‘international’ in nature and consisted of an “unholy united front” between Jews and certain misguided Gentiles.

Webster, Leese and Ramsay are especially notable because their books and pamphlets have been ‘rediscovered’ in recent years and reprinted. Material by Leese and Ramsay, for example, has been widely distributed by the American ‘Sons of Liberty’ publications group in the 1980s and 90s. This group has also been instrumental in distributing conspiracy literature by more recent right-wing and militia writers. In fact, in the light of the mushrooming interest in wider popular culture in the belief that governments and secret groups are denying people ‘the truth’, the extreme right has done its utmost to cash in on this and infiltrate its own ideas into the maze of esoteric and conspiracy material that now exists. A short visit to the many SF shops that have appeared in Britain and America invariably finds such books in sections devoted to ufology and general conspiracy material. Many newsagents display SF, esoteric and UFO-related monthly titles which wittingly or unwittingly recycle and promote extreme right themes. An example is the Australian-based magazine Nexus which regularly contains articles on the secret networks that supposedly operate in the world and influence governments.

The high demand for such magazines is encouraged by the public’s appetite for historical mystery and fascination with anything ‘Nazi’ or esoteric. A highly competitive market in these magazines means the need of publishers for such material has become acute. The market has expanded with the development of cheap desktop technology, and almost inevitably one can find in this material examples of articles and ideas that have roots in the right-wing, conspiratorial outlook on the world briefly explored above, even though their authors would deny this. A good example is the work of David Icke. He has published articles in the New Age/UFO magazines and distributed his own books, which have appeared in a number of SF and ‘alternative’ bookshops in Britain and the USA. He has also spoken at conferences, including the 1994 Nexus magazine conference in Amsterdam.

When this controversial ex sports commentator and former Green activist conducted his own lecture tour of Britain, the media took a great deal of interest in the number of neo-fascists and other Right-wing individuals who attended his lectures (12). This was not mere sensationalism on the part of journalists and Icke’s squeals of protest at these revelations showed great naivety. Some of the dubious characters who attended the lectures obviously found much in Icke’s ideas that they could relate to. A short survey of his work can give strong clues as to why the extreme Right find it so attractive.

Icke is very much in the Nests Webster tradition of connpiratorial thought when it comes to explaining world events and, whether deliberate or not, he makes use of a number of ideas which have a long pedigree in the history of Right-wing conspiracy theory. To this he adds `technological’ material to give his work a pseudoscientific feel. The basis of his philosophy is that our thought-processes are ultimately controlled by an international network of Freemasons, Jesuits and secretive bankers. He points to subliminal messages transmitted by TV which create ‘mind controlled’ robots, and also to the influence of tiny micro-chips inserted into people. In The Robots’ Rebellion (1994) Icke presented a vision of the world where ‘the brotherhood Elite’ are employing `The System’ and the New World Order to manipulate education and the media in order to crush individual liberty and free thought. Not only was there mention of the ‘Illuminati Protocols’ and the influence of Masons, but also claims that secret technologies were deliberately being kept from the public by faceless companies and groups.

More disturbingly, there was uncritical use in the book of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Icke claimed, “Almost everything these documents proposed to do has happened in this century” (13). Similarly in his later book, And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995), Icke continued and developed his conspiratorial outlook further by identifying the `Secret Government’ at work in the world. There was a chapter on ‘The Hidden Hand’, and in a classic piece of historical revisionism lumped the World War II Allies together with the Nazis and argued that “the same forces funded and manipulated them both” (14). The same book also made use of the ever-growing material on the world-wide UFO ‘cover-up’, arguing that “extraterrestrials are at the heart of human history and the events that have shaped that history” (15).

Another example of a body of work which has gone down well with the extreme Right and echoes a number of their ideas is that of the American writer Jim Keith. His material is distributed by the Illuminet Press, which has specialised in bringing a variety of fringe material into the mainstream, including work by the US militias. His work has also been on sale through Nexus magazine. The best and most influential example of Keith’s work is Black Helicopters Over America (1994) which is on sale in large SF bookshops in London. Although more codified in its language, the basic theme behind the book is that there is a conspiracy being perpetrated by a plutocratic elite, backed by the Illuminati and operating through secret networks. The aim of this conspiracy is world domination through a New World Order and the domination of the United Nations. The ‘black helicopters’ are but one sign of this plan, which also involves the creation of a network of detention camps for any groups who might oppose this.

Keith delves back into history to describe the roots of this plan. At one point he argues, “In actual fact, the New World Order is simply the long term game plan of the Fabians and other communists, plans which were most clearly elucidated in Fabian H. G. Wells’ non-fiction books…” (16) The plan would also involve the creation of a ‘World Constitution’ with a world federation, “which would control everything, everywhere, anyhow, period.” (17) In the last chapter of the book all these strands are brought together for Keith to argue that it is evidence that a war will be initiated within the borders of the United States “against the American people by the power-hungry internationalists” (18). By the year 2000 the USA will be merged into a totalitarian and Socialist New World Order (19). In sum, Keith’s work claims that crisis is imminent and only organised resistance will suffice. The ghost of Nesta Webster lives on.

Finally it might be worth analysing Nexus magazine itself. In many ways Nexus has come to exemplify the strange conjunction of New Age, conspiracy and extreme Right thought. As well as promoting the ideas of the US Militia movement, giving space to Linda Thompson a key Militia spokesperson, Nexus has carried a variety of conspiratorial articles ranging from material on UFOs and secret technology through to investigations of the secret elites who operate in the world. Particular interest is shown in the banking elites, in ‘forbidden’ knowledge and in ‘Big Brother’ theories. Indeed, David Icke in Robots’ Rebellion called Nexus ‘excellent’ and the magazine has sought to provide a platform for a number of people with rather conspiratorial views of the world.

A good example came in January 1996. In an article on the Bilderberg Group, Armen Victorian speculated on whether the membership of this, selected from the ‘power elite’ of Europe and North America, are conspiring to establish a New World Order (20). A similar theme occurred in another issue from 1996. David G. Guyatt analysed the ‘Pinay Circle’ and noted its links to intelligence, the military, politics and banking. He argued that the group was perhaps “more sinister and certainly more shadowy than the Bilderbergers” (21). Interestingly Guyatt noted that his theories might be called ‘Conspiracy Theory’, but argued that this “rarely takes into account the underlying evidence” (22). In other words, he implied, critics of such material are not opening their eyes sufficiently. This kind of attitude runs right through Nexus, and the contributions it prints.

A typical issue of the magazine contains a column entitled ‘Global News’ which is often billed as news from ‘behind the news’, the clear implication being that the public will not find this kind of material anywhere else. All in all Nexus functions as a forum for a variety of theories, including highly conspiratorial and dubious material, and makes use of right-wing material which would normally be dismissed by mainstream publications. In one sense this is admirable and can probably be justified in the name of free speech. On the other hand we should be very aware that the authors of articles in Nexus have hidden agendas which are often rooted in the attempt to legitimise right-wing conspiratorial material and make it more acceptable in the wider culture. We should be constantly vigilant.

In conclusion this brief discussion has tried to demonstrate two things. Firstly that right-wing conspiracy ideas have a long historical tradition and are still present in popular culture today, seeking to capitalise on the current fascination with ufology and the esoteric. Secondly, that there has been a cross-fertilisation between more recent New Age obsessions and the idea held by the extreme right that the present world order is a place of hostility and threat for ‘freethinking’ individuals.


  1. On the growth of such groups see Martin Durham: `Preparing for Armageddon: Citizen Militias, the Patriotic Movement and the Oklahoma Bombing’, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol.8, no.1, 1996.Ibid. p.14.
  2. Robert S Robins and Jerrold M Post. Political Paranoia: Psychopolitics of Hatred. London, Yale University Press, 1997. p.209.
  3. US News and World Report, 21 December 1997.
  4. Roger Sandell, `The World of Conspiracy Theories’, Magonia 5, 1980.
  5. Norman Cohn. Warrant for Genocide: the myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1996. p.66.
  6. Ibid. p.1717
  7.  On Webster’s career, see Richard Gilman: Behind World Revolution, the Strange Career of Nesta H. Webster. Michigan, Insight Books, 1982.
  8. Nesta Webster. ‘Communism or Fascism’, Fascist Bulletin, 1 May 1926, p.1.
  9. Arnold Leese. Freemasonry, (1935) (Sons of Liberty edition, n.d.) p.5.
  10. Arnold Leese. The Jewish War of Survival (1945) (Sons of Liberty edition, n.d.) p.92.
  11. A. H. M. Ramsay, The Nameless War (1952) p.26.
  12. See, for instance, ‘Neo-Nazis Rally to “Son of Godhead”, Sunday Times, 9 July 1995.
  13. David Icke. Robots’ Rebellion. Bath, Gateway Books, 1994. p.138
  14. David Icke. And the Truth Shall Set You Free. London, Bridge of Love, 1995. p.147.
  15. Ibid. p.7
  16. Jim Keith. Black Helicopters over America; Strikeforce for the New World Order. Georgia, Illuminet Press, 1994. p.123.
  17. Ibid. p.124. 
  18. Ibid. p.145. 
  19. Ibid. p.148.
  20. Armen Victorian. ‘The Bilderberg Group; an Invisible Power House’, Nexus, vol.3, no.1, December 1995 – January 1996.
  21. David G. Guyatt. `The Pinay Circle; and Invisible Power Network’. Nexus, vol.3, no.5, August – September 1996.


The French Pterodactyl: a Fortean Folly.
Mick Goss

From Magonia 21, December 1985

When Professor Challenger wanted to prove to zoological sceptics that pterodactyls weren’t extinct after all, he merely arranged an expedition to an unknown plateau in the Matto Grosso and caught one. The sight of the gargoyle-faced nightmare filling London’s Queens Hall with the “dry, leathery flapping of its ten-foot wings” and with a “putrid and insidious odour” as it circled overhead left Challenger’s enemies in no doubt: the pterodactyl tribe most certainly was not extinct!

 But of course this was only a fictional scene in a novel: the climax to the evocatively-titled The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And as Challenger’s pterodactyl quitted the Queens Hall via an inadvertently open window and was last seen over the Atlantic apparently homing towards South America, we’ve two good reasons for not seeing it in any museum. But what possible explanation can there be for the amazing absence of the French pterodactyl?

The French Pterodactyl – let us use that term rather than the more general ‘pterosaur’ that is applied today – was, in the words of the Illustrated London News for 9 February 1856, a “discovery of the greatest scientific importance”. This value judgement did not prevent the report from being relegated to an obscure corner of the weekly where it could have been easily missed. Those who did not miss it learned the following.

Workmen engaged in cutting a railway tunnel through the Liassic rocks at Culmont, Haute Marne were breaking up an enormous block of stone when “from a cavity in it they suddenly saw emerge a living being of monstrous form.

“This creature, which belongs to the class of animals hitherto considered to be extinct, has a very long neck, and a mouth filled with sharp teeth. It stands on four long legs, which are united together by two membranes, doubtless intended to support the animal in the air, and are armed with four claws terminated by long and crooked talons. Its general form resembles that of a bat, differing only in its size, which is that of a large goose. Its membranous wings, when spread out, measure from tip to tip three metres, twenty two centimetres. Its colour is livid black; its skin is naked, thick and oily…”

Few modern readers would have trouble tying this French ‘discovery’ in with the prehistoric creature that Conan Doyle (just over half a century later) depicted turning a zoological meeting into a near riot. In case some Illustrated London News readers werenot so well up in recent zoological researches – and especially those concerning the fossilized oddities of remote antiquity – the reporter made things a good deal easier for them:

“On reaching the light this monster gave some signs of life, by shaking its wings, but soon after expired, uttering a hoarse cry. This strange creature, to which may be given the name of a living fossil, has been brought to Gray, where a naturalist well versed in the study of palaeontology, immediately recognised it as belonging to the genus pterodactylus anas.”

With a pertinent reminder that the sedimentary strata holding this unique relic dated it at “more than one million years”, the article ends. The epoch making specimen had become the property of Science, leaving its discoverers with only the mute testimony of that cavity in the stone block it had but lately filled with airtight precisions. Today we have even less evidence of the famous French Pterodactyl; for all the use Science appears to have made of it, the thing may as well not have existed. Which is only to be expected, because the French Pterodactyl did not exist.

"The skies of this Lost World would be strangely empty without these snaggle-toothed, bat-caped creatures"
“The skies of this Lost World would be strangely empty without these snaggle-toothed, bat-caped creatures”

More miraculous than the preservation of the Culmout anomaly is the way in which the story surrounding it has survived the eroding powers of time. From a secluded end-of-page slot in a Victorian weekly it has become a Fortean classic, a favourite of the ‘Amazing Unexplained Mysteries’ school. Writers hard pressed for material are prone to resurrect the Pterodactyl as mercilessly as the tunnel-builders in the original Illustrated London News.

In some ways the reluctance shown by both writers and readers to discard the story is wholly comprehensible. We want to believe in the kind of Lost World called forth in Conan Doyle’s novel and in the films based on that powerful motif. We want to retain the merest sliver of hope that somewhere the prehistoric monsters of our childhood reading may be holding out in spite of the scientists’ disbelief. Any evidence is avidly seized upon, be it a reported sighting of a saurian in West Africa or the lesson of the coelacanth. If a fish that was already old when the first dinosaurs were born could survive and remain unknown as a living form until as late as 1938 – can’t we entertain hopes for the still more exciting creatures we’ve grown up with since our infant reading days?

The skies of this Lost World of printed page and cinema screen would be strangely empty without the snaggle-toothed, bat-caped animals we know as pterodactyls. They are among the best- or most widely-know members of the prehistoric menagerie and among the first to be discovered, scientifically named and studied. Even as early as 1843 a by no means credulous naturalist like Edward Newman, editor of The Zoologist, could ponder on the mysteries of these animals which he rather defensively liked to think of as “marsupial bats”.

Modern researchers would hardly blink at propositions which Newman admitted were not only controversial for his time, but unlikely to sway zoologists from the opinions of palaeontological heavy-weights like Cuvier and Buckland. He correctly guessed that ‘pterodactyles’ were a large and diversified group encompassing insect-eaters, fish-eaters and meat-eaters. His theory that they may have been clothed in hair has apparently been borne out in one case and appears likely to apply to many more, if not to all; he also seems to have been moving towards the position held by many today that the pterosaurs were warm-blooded animals. But how many would go along with his gently-dropped bombshell:

“I merely hint as a matter of surmise… that the race may yet probably exist; that representatives of the fossil pterodactyls may yet be found amongst the bats that abound within the tropics. Species or even genera become extinct, but it rarely happens that a vast group like the pterodactyls is wholly lost, and left without a representative”.

If this article had not fixed its sights on one celebrated report of a pterosaurian survivor a good deal closer to home than the tropics, some fascinating material that goes part-way to justifying Newman’s outrageous idea could be analysed. The native traditions from various parts of Africa might be examined; the ‘Pteranodon’ sightings half buried inside a spate of ‘Big Bird’ reports from Texas in early 1976 would be spot-lighted. Not least interesting amongst these was the circumstantial account of three San Antonio elementary-school teachers interviewed by Fate’s Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman. It see doubly strange that such sightings of what had formerly been called the largest Pterosaur known to science should come so close in time and space to the announcement of the fragmentary remains of a new and even larger specimen discovered at Big Bend National Park in the same state. (With an overall estimated wingspan of up to 39 feet, Quetzalcoatlus represented a genuine upstaging of Pterandon’s 26 feet. Both make the French Pterodactyl of 1856 seem insignificant at a miserly ten-foot-plus from tip to tip.)

But it my be more profitable to concentrates on pterosaurs and the Victorians. In the intellectual climate of their period – in the very language of that period – is the key to the fact that the French Pterodactyl could only have been a playful hoax.

The Victorians had a profound respect for Science with a capital S: not purely for its practical applications, but in the abstract too. It this meant the creation of an atmosphere of ‘seriousness’ in which the foundations of many 20th Century sciences were laid, it also bred a suspicion that academicism was taking too much of the wonder out of life. The often pedantic and dogmatic tone of many scientists – an intolerance towards anecdotal evidence from unqualified observers, for example – was also offensive to outsiders. One way of evening the score was to perpetrate hoaxes which took in (or burlesqued the manner of) these self-appointed experts.

No area of science at this juncture was more fluid than zoology. By 1856 there were still discoveries to be made, exciting new animals amongst them. Palaeontology was still a developing and controversial field; Owen had only coined the term ‘dinosaur’ as recently as 1841 and the major percentage of large, sensationally-bizarre prehistoric animals with which we populate our own visions of primeval landscapes would remain unknown for another 30 years. Above all, these sciences had not yet reached a point where the observations of intelligent but untrained amateurs were totally excluded.

So on the one hand there was the optimistic hope that new forms were to be discovered and on the other a growing rigidity of scientific attitude which stated that the opinions of the professional scientist could not be contested. In this climate any incident which restored the sense of wonder by contradicting the dogmatism of the experts assumed huge importance. It is no coincidence that some of the most ambitious hoaxes which found their way into the early-Victorian publications featured some aspect of zoology.

As the opinions of Edward Newman indicate, the pterosaurs were a legitimate object of speculation. For all practical pur-poses they were scarcely known in 1856 and the ones which attract most attention today – Pteranodon, for instance – were still buried in the rocks. The first, discovered in c.1784 and properly described by Cuvier in 1801, came from the fine lithographic limestone of Solnhofen in Bavaria which was to become famous as the cemetery of these ‘flying reptiles’. Dimorphodon, a cumbersome looking pterosaur whose appearance seems to have influenced Conan Doyle’s impressions of what pterodactyls looked like, was found at Lyme Regis by England’s famous fossil-hunter Mary Anning in 1828. However the public did not see reconstructions of it until almost 50 years later. Popular awareness of what a prehistoric animal was supposed to have looked like is of crucial significance, as we’ll consider in a moment.

To the annoyance of most professional zoologists and palaeontologists, the fossilized evidence of the prehistoric world led encouragement to certain ‘irrational’ beliefs that they could well have done without. Most patent of these was the hypothesis that perhaps the great saurians were not a memento of bygone days but the living, breathing answer to certain conundrums that men of science had signally failed to explain. The Great Sea Serpent was less an object of derision if you presented it as a plesiosaur that had survived for millions of years in the deep and unexplored ocean. And if reptilian monstrosities were being unearthed in the world’s quarries, was it not just possible that the tales of living toads found immured in blocks of stone or coal – a phenomenon reliably reported by numerous observers, it seemed – were far less unlikely than zoologists would admit-?

The infuriated scientists shouted “No!” to both propositions, yet the propositions would not go away. As late as 1915. E. Ray Lankester – the man whose popular lectures and book on Extinct Animals (1906) had done so much to inform laymen on what the prehistoric menagerie looked like in the flesh – was still combatting the idea that toads-in-stone were marvellously preserved survivors entombed when their ‘prisons’ were laid down millenia ago. Lankester was the “gifted friend” whose “excellent monograph… the standard work” was acknowledged by Professor Challenger (and hence by Conan Doyle) in The Lost World, but he was no friend of the ‘prehistoric survivor’ theory. Having forcefully pointed out that these imprisoned amphibia had not even evolved when the sediments and coal measures said to contain them were laid down, he styled the concept as worthless as:

“… the similar but perhaps bolder  statement indulged in from time to time by an inventive transatlantic Press… that some workmen blasting a rock in quarries at Barnumsville were astonished by the escape from a cavity within the solid rock of a large flying lizard or pterodactyl which immediately spread its wings and flew out of sight.”

Several Fortean writers have shared Lankester’s belief that a connection exists between toads-in-stone stories and the French (and possibly other?) pterodactyl(s); but not his conclusion on the invalidity of those accounts. If we choose to disagree with him, however, we have to concede it sheerly amazing that the unique specimen identified so positively by the “naturalist well-versed in the study of palaeontology” is not the star exhibit in some world-famous collection. As far as the Illustrated London News report goes, it did not spread its wings and fly out of sight, as per Lankester, but it should have been available for study and acclaim. Only it most clearly wasn’t. Inconceivable thought – could someone have … mislaid it?

pterodactyl-1“People don’t stumble upon enormous discoveries and then lose their evidence”, Tarp Henry cautions Malone, when he mentions that Prof. Challenger lost a freshly-deceased pterosaur carcase in a boat accident, “Leave that to the novelists.” But supposing we could accept that evidence – including French pterodactyls -  can on occasions go missing, The story contains enough errors to destroy its own credibility even so.

Taking the Illustrated London News account as a starting point, a modern-day palaeontologist would frown with bewilderment at the description of the French Pterodactyl. As a journalistic attempt it might pass muster, but as a scientific guide to the animal it is hopeless – and the few details emerging from it are very ambiguous. The size (“which is that of a large goose”) and wingspan (“ten feet plus”) make it sound suspiciously larger and hence more dramatic than any specimen completely known at the time, but they are not beyond the realms of belief. “Naked, thick and oily skin”, however is a lot less likely; it would have provided no insulation against heat-loss in flight. Back in 1856, though, ‘pterodactyles’ were always depicted in reptilian nudity because no-one had yet found evidence to support the widely held modern view that some kind of hair or down covered their bodies.

These complaints aren’t simply academic trivialities. The French Pterodactyl does not sound right for our times because the animal it describes doesn’t match the picture we have of pterosaurs. But it is perfect for the picture of pterosaurian morphology that prevailed at the time the account was written. The typical pterosaur of the 1850′s was a repulsive combination of bird, bat, lizard and medieval dragon – a gargoyle come to life. The loathsomeness of this unappetizing blend was stressed at every opportunity till it attained an almost metaphysical dimension, with added disgust arising from the indecent nakedness of the monster.

This is the pterosaur described by the Illustrated London News’s man in France: not a real impression of an actual living creature, but a mechanical attempt to reproduce a standard (and to us anachronistic) portrait conforming with readers’ expectations. But the errors caused by the attempt to translate into words the popular imagery of the day do not stand in isolation when we examine certain literary/artistic standards of the society that produced the report. As fitted one of the ‘golden ages’ of popular literature, early Victorians had keen ears for language and (perhaps even more so) an eye for double meanings to words. Puns – many of them too dreadful, forced or elaborate for our taste – proliferated; in certain circumstances they were held to be the height of witticism. With the same grand catholicism that could be found in most areas of 1850′s life and culture, readers loved not just the puns that only a classically-educated person could be expected to construe, but likewise ones based on slang and street-talk.

For a researcher in the 1980′s this kind of playing upon words can be an etymological maze. The sense of a joke may depend on some piece of slang which has been defunct for over a century and therefore almost as unintelligable as Martian. Classicals puns may be less formidable to a student of Latin or Greek, but even there no defence exists against the ‘macaronic’ pun where the double meaning is at one or more stages removed, perhaps from one language to another, via a third.

The French Pterodactyl account contains clues illustrative of all kinds of Victorian punology. There is aa straightforward slang pun and a Latin pun leading into the convoluted two-language ‘macaronic’ variety. In fact, the main clue depends heavily on a subtle movement from Latin to French and thence to contemporary slang – not an easy process to anticipate as you read a purportedly-authentic newspaper report!

In his Strange Creatures from Time and Space (1975) John Keel has outlined the ingenious suggestion that the motive behind the Culmont story may have contained a flavour of nationalistic pride: a hoax to put France’s old rivals across the Rhine into the shade. Quite likely recent finds at Solnhofen and the burgeoning fame of that South German site may have given some Frenchmen grounds for jealousy. Nor is it impossible that some Gallic hoaxer decided to go a giant step beyond Germany’s stony remains of pterosaurs by offering the savants something far better – the tantalizing hint of a living one. Even so, he or she had a perfect understanding of the kind of linguistic wizardry required to ‘sell’ the story to the British newspapers. Despite the French news agency credited at the end of the ILN report, this could have been a quite ‘British’ affair, with clues inbuilt to entertain the cognoscenti who were so vulnerable to the challenge of these punning games.

Few of the books which have lifted the story verbatim from the ILN bother with the original title to the piece: ‘Very Like a Whale’. In chosing this pithy piece the magazine wasn’t quoting Hamlet gratuitously, but letting everybody know how they felt about the veracity of the story. Then as now, British readers knew that a ‘whale’ of a story was a ‘whopper’, something too big to be swallowed (i.e. believed). And the complete phrase was, by the 1850′s, applied liberally to anything considered to be far less than probable. That was how the ILN regarded the French pterodactyl; no doubt readers were expected to take it in the same spirit.

But even without that title, the text contained a sophisticated philological multi-pun that must have given its inventor more than one chuckle of satisfaction.

The palaeontologically-aware naturalist of Gray, we are told, lost no time in identifying the unwholesome-looking, newly-expired corpse as that of Pterodactylus anas. Every specific name attached to an animal – here ‘anas’ – has a meaning which can be translated from the original Greek or Latin. This meaning can be descriptive, or may commemorate the name of a place or person, perhaps the animal’s discoverer.

Pterodactylus anas is not one of the species listed in Henry Govier Seeley’s authoritative Dragons of the Air (1901) which concentrates on the more important specimens found during the previous century; nor could the Natural History Museum locate it as a superseded term. Yet ‘anas’ must have some meaning.

Indeed it has, though when we take down any comprehensive Latin dictionary the results don’t seem to promising. ‘Anas’ simply stands for ‘duck’ – the bird not the verb; on the face of things a description presumably based on the size of the pterodactyl, as there’s little to choose between a duck-sized bird and the ILN’s assertion that the specimen was the size of a large goose.

But there is more to it than that. Besides being Latin for duck, ‘anas’ was the root for several other words for that bird in European languages, notably French – le canard. Here is where the punster comes into his own, for in English popular speech, ‘canard’ has a highly amusing meaning: it means ‘false news’ or ‘hoax’.

The French have been talking about “halfselling a goose” – a venture so self-evidently impossible as to stand for fooling somebody – since the early seventeeth century. The derived use of the more compact ‘canard’ had certainly crossed the Channel to Britain before 1850. At the time of the ILN story it was becoming an increasingly common expression in print. The ILN’s ‘whale’ of a tale could just as easily have been called a duck of a yarn or an exercise in old-fashioned duck salesmanship, French-style.

Quite conceivably the punster whose choice of ‘species-name’ was a direct comment on the bogus quality of their own story never expected the thing to achieve very much. It might indeed delude a few gullible ones and perhaps generate enough curiosity for those stuffy, patronising experts to find themselves on the end of many time-wasting questions about living pterodactyls. The modestly-cultivated reader with his classical education would hover for a few minutes, but soon would be wearing a broad grin as he saw the pterodactyl for the ‘canard’ it really was. The inventor wouldn’t have dared imagine this little fabrication would last for over a century and continue to retain a place in the Amazing Mysteries literature of the 1980′s. For if the joke is on anyone, it has to be on us. What the Victorians were offered as a jest, we have taken as solid, mirth-free fact. We have swallowed the whale, and half-bought the duck…

One reason for this state of affairs is that we don’t share our so-literate-forefathers’ love of puns. Nor is Latin seen any longer as an inevitable acquisition of schooldays, which makes us even less likely to to see the point when a writer tells us in one breath that a living pterodactyl is on offer, and in the next that it belongs to a certain species named the Pterodactyl Hoax! We are locked still more firmly to straightforward assessments – a thing being either Fact or Fiction – by reading the account in Fortean or Riplyesque books which encourage us to believe it’s Unbelievable but True.

Having considered all that, there is something endearing about the French Pterodactyl that makes us want to believe in it. The most incredible aspect of the story is that it not only survives but shows no sign of vanishing into dinosauric extinction.


Down to Earth – UFO Investigation 1897 Style. Nigel Watson

From Magonia 44, October 1992.

It is hard to believe but spaceships and odd flying machines are constantly crashing onto the surface of our planet. This unusual form of pollution is not a new phenomenon and it does not seem all that rare either. At best the operators of these aerial contraptions seem to be reckless and incompetent navigators of the air, but before we protest to the government for new legislation to crack down on these menaces we had better look at the evidence. 

One of the first incidents occurred in Peru, sometime in 1878. A person who described himself as “A Seraro, Chemist,” told the South Pacific Times of Callao, Peru, that he found a huge aerolite. After digging through several layers of mineral substance he arrived at an inner chamber. Inside this he found the dead body of a 4 1/2-foot tall alien and beside it was a silver plate that was inscribed with hieroglyphics. This writing indicated that the vehicle and its pilot had come from Mars. The New York Times repeated this story for the benefit of its readership but it regarded the story as a poor lie, because:

 Undoubtedly, the Peruvians mean well, and tell the best lies that they can invent. Indeed, it can be readily be perceived that the heart of the inventor of the aerolite story was in the right place, and that his faults were those of the head. The truth is that the Peruvians have never been systematically taught how to lie. Very probably, if they had our educational advantages, they would lie with intelligence and affect, and it is hardly fair for us … to despise the Peruvians for what is their misfortune, rather than their fault. (1,2,3,4.) 

A similar story, in La Capital, describes the discovery of an egg-shaped rock near the Carcarana River, Santa Fe, on 13 October 1877. (5) Two geologists, Paxton and Davis, drilled into this curiosity and found: 

some cavities inside the hard rock. In one of them the men saw several objects such as a white, metallic hole-ridden amphora-like jar with many hieroglyphics engraved on its surface. Under the floor of this cavity they discovered another one which contained a 39 inch (1.2 metre) tall mummifiedbody covered with a calciferous mass. (6,7.) 

According to Fabio Picasso a couple of trips to the site were made by ufologists in the late 1970s. They found some blocked off tunnels that might be hiding the object, though what happened to the alleged remains is unknown. Picasso traces this story back to the 17 June 1864 edition of La Pay which tells of a Paxton and Davis who made an identical discovery near Pic James, Arrapahaya province. (8) 

The idea of a crashed spaceship, with chambers containing the remains of a small ‘Martian’ pilot and artefacts inscribed with hieroglyphics, obviously is a hoax or tall story. Newspapers simply used it as a filler-item and did not take it seriously. 

The form of this story can be seen as the template for the famous Aurora crash case. As noted in more detail below it features a dead pilot and the obligatory hieroglyphics. Furthermore, we can see these historical cases as being templates for contemporary crash/retrieval cases. (9,10.) Since so much interest is being generated by the Roswell, crash case (the Fund for UFO Research has funded research into this case to the tune of at least 30,000 dollars), and by the British Rendlesham forest incident(s), we should at least be cautious of these tales in the light of this historical material. 

The alleged Aurora crash case took place during the American 1896-1897 airship scare at the village of Aurora, Texas. (11) The story was first revealed on page 5 of the 19 April 1897 edition of the Dallas Morning News. It was written by S.E. Haydon a part-time correspondent to the newspaper and a cotton buyer. Titled ‘A Windmill Demolishes It’ . The full text went on to say that at: 

Aurora, Wise County, Texas, April 17. — (To The News) — About 6 o’clock this morning the early risers of Aurora were astonished at the sudden appearance of the airship which has been sailing through the country.

It was travelling due north, and much nearer the earth than ever before. Evidently some of the machinery was out of order, for it was making a speed of only ten or twelve miles an hour and gradually settling toward the earth. It sailed directly over the public square, and when it reached the north part of town collided with the tower of judge Proctor’s windmill and went to pieces with a terrific explosion, scattering debris over several acres of ground, wrecking the windmill and water tank and destroying the judge’s flower garden.

The pilot of the ship is supposed to have been the only one on board, and while his remains are badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.

Mr. T.J. Weems, the United States signal service officer at this place and an authority on astronomy, gives it as his opinion that he was a native of the planet Mars.

Papers found on his person – evidently the records of his travels – are written in some unknown hieroglyphics, and can not be deciphered.

The ship was too badly wrecked to form any conclusion as to its construction or motive power. It was built of an unknown metal, resembling somewhat a mixture of aluminium and silver, and it must have weighed several tons.

The town is full of people to-day who are viewing the wreck and gathering specimens of the strange metal from the debris. The pilot’s funeral will take place at noon tomorrow. 

This explosive encounter was largely forgotten until 1966. Then Dr. Alfred E. Kraus, the Director of the Kilgore Research Institute of West Texas State University, made a couple of visits to the crash site. Using a metal detector he found some 1932 car license plates, some old stove lids, and a few horse-bridle rings. There was nothing to indicate that several tons of unusual metal was still lurking anywhere in the vicinity. 

In the same year Donald B. Hanlon and Jacques Vallee took an interest in the case. (12, 13.) As a result of this a friend of Dr. J. Allen Hynek visited the site. (14) He found that judge Proctor’s farm had been transformed into a small service station, which was owned by Mr. Brawley Oates. Although Mr. Oates was neutral in his opinion about the incident he did send the investigator to Mr. Oscar Lowery who lived in the nearby town of Newark. 

Mr. Lowery revealed that T.J. Weems the alleged ‘authority on astronomy’ had been Aurora’s blacksmith, Jeff Weems. Even more damning was the fact that Mr. Lowery, aged 11 years-old at the time of the crash, remembered nothing of the incident. Furthermore, there had never been a windmill on the site. So even if the spaceship had existed the windmill had not! Mr. Lowery’s conclusion was that the whole story had been created by Haydon. 

Undaunted Hynek’s investigator went to the cemetery where he thought the pilot might have been buried. This was scrupulously maintained by the Masonic Order, and none of their records mentioned any Martian grave. 

The story of the Aurora crash now seemed to be destined to rot in the obscurity of UFO investigators’ files. Not surprisingly, the case failed to remain buried for long. On 21 June 1972, Hayden C. Hewes, Director of the International UFO Bureau, Inc. (IUFOB), said that his organisation decided to:

  • Determine if the event did occur;
  • Locate any fragments;
  • Locate, if possible, the grave of the UFO astronaut. (15) 

This research fired Bill Case, an aviation writer for The Dallas Times Herald, into a frenzy of activity. Beginning in March 1973, he published a series of articles that created a worldwide interest in the case. 

In the very first article he quoted the previously reluctant crash site owner, Mr. Brawley Oates, as saying that he thought there was some substance to the story. Indeed, he said that in 1945 he had sealed a well that had been beneath the windmill. As he worked on this task he found several metal fragments. He said: 

The pieces were about the size of your fist. But we didn’t think and simply junked them. Later we capped the well and drilled a new one, then we built a brick wellhouse on the site.

Next to this was placed a chicken coop. Thus, this historic location was hidden in a very rustic disguise. 

By mid-1973 Bill Case had obtained three eyewitness accounts of the crash which Flying Saucer Review writer Eileen Buckle regarded as ‘the most convincing evidence that an unidentified flying object crashed at Aurora in 1897′. (16) 

At Lewisville Nursing Home, 98-year-old Mr. G.C. Curley’s memory of the event was obtained. His statement appeared in the 1 June edition of The Dallas Times Herald: 

We got the report early in Lewisville. Two friends wanted me to ride over to Aurora to see it. But I had to work. When they got back on horseback that night they told me the airship had been seen coming from the direction of Dallas the day before and had been sighted in the area. But no one knew what it was. They said it hit something near Judge Proctor’s well. The airship was destroyed and the pilot in it was badly torn up. My friends said there was a big crowd of sightseers who were picking up pieces of the exploded airship. But no one could identify the metal it was made of. We didn’t have metal like that in America at that time. And they said it was difficult to describe the pilot. They saw only a torn up body. They didn’t say people were frightened by the crash. They couldn’t understand what it was. 

Then, 91-year-old Mary Evans said in a UPI report: 

That crash certainly caused a lot of excitement. Many people were frightened. They didn’t know what to expect. That was years before we had any regular airplanes or other kind of airships. I was only about 15 at the time and had all but forgotten the incident until it appeared in the newspapers recently. We were living in Aurora at the time, but my mother and father wouldn’t let me go with them when they went up to the crash site at Judge Proctor’s well. When they returned home they told me how the airship had exploded. The pilot was torn up and killed in the crash. The men of the town who gathered his remains said he was a small man and buried him that same day in Aurora cemetery. 

Charles Stephens, an 86-year-old resident of Aurora, added that his father Jim Stephens had seen the spaceship plummet from the sky. 

The validity of all three statements was undermined by Hayden Hewes who said that when his organisation checked them they were found to be false. Mr. G.C. Curley was actually called A. J. McCurley, who had been a teacher in Oklahoma at the time of the incident. Charles Stephens denied that his father had seen the crash, and Mary Evans said, ‘They wrote that up to suit themselves. I didn’t say it this way’. (17) 

In 1966 nothing more than scrap metal had been found at the crash site but during May 1973 a person from Corpus Christi called Frank Kelley found some unusual metal fragments there. 

Hot on the trail of this lead Bill Case noted in the 31 May issue of The Dallas Times Herald that samples had been sent to the North Texas State University, the American Aircraft Co.’ and the National Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada. 

According to Dr. Tom Gray of the North Texas State University, three of the fragments given to him consisted of common metals. But the fourth sample looked ‘as if it had been melted and splattered on the ground’. He went on to say that: 

First analysis shows it to be about 75 per cent iron, and 25 per cent zinc, with some other trace elements. But it lacks properties common to iron, such as being magnetic. It is also shiny and malleable instead of being dull and brittle like iron. 

In support of this analysis the American Aircraft Co., said that one of the seven samples given to them was unusual because it too was shiny and non-magnetic. 

According to Hayden Hewes, his group was unable to find Frank Kelley, and he believed that all the fragments he found was composed of ordinary iron. It was his contention that they were merely used to get the maximum publicity for the story. 

The Aerial Phenomena Research Organisation (APRO) was also highly sceptical about the claims surrounding the metal fragments. They said some of them were just bits of aluminium alloy with no special qualities. Another reason for their scepticism was the fact that the metal allegedly left in the ground for 76 years looked in too fine a shape for this to be true. 

In contrast, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the National Investigations Committee for Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) thought there was an element of truth in the case. 

Members of MUFON using metal detectors even found a grave in the local cemetery that gave similar readings to the metal given to Dr. Tom Gray. This encouraged the elusive Frank Kelley to speculate that the body of the spaceman was clothed in a metal suit. 

On the heels of this discovery came the revelation that the grave had a tombstone with a cigar-shaped vehicle drawn on it. That the drawing could easily have been caused by a scrape from a metal object did not discourage anyone. Someone, or some group, thought the ‘tombstone’ was valuable because early in the morning of 14 June 1973, it was stolen. In addition, the thieves dug-up the metal fragments that had apparently caused the earlier metal detector readings. 

Meanwhile Hayden Hewes and IUFOB had been trying, through proper legal channels, to exhume the body. This legal action, the publicity, and the crowds of visitors, did not please the Aurora Cemetery Association. Their attorney, Bill Nobles, said ‘We have no desire to stand in the way of scientific research’. Butwhen IUFOB persisted in wanting to locate and retrieve the body, he told them in a letter dated 18 March 1974: 

Please be advised that as in past instances the Cemetery Association feels obligated to resist any attempt to disturb the Aurora Cemetery grounds by any third parties seeking to investigate the alleged airship crash in 1897, and to reaffirm our position that any such attempt will be resisted with whatever means are available to the Association.

Even a request by IUFOB to examine the grave with a radar detection device was turned down by the Association. (17) 

None of the people involved in this story came out of it very well. If we return to the original 1897 report we might ask why S.E. Haydon concocted the story in the first place. The answer is that Aurora needed to attract tourists and business. By 1897 it had become the largest town in the county and had a population of about 3000. Unfortunately its prosperity was declining due to the effect of cotton crop failures, the bypassing of the railroad, a downtown fire and a spotted fever epidemic. By the 1970s Aurora had a population of less than 300. 

It might be thought that such a fantastic story would have attracted as much interest in 1897 as it did in 1973 – it is not every day that a spaceship drops out of the sky! The reason it was ignored was due to the hundreds of phantom airship sightings appearing in the press at that time. Alongside the Aurora report the Dallas Morning News of 19 April 1897 diligently recorded a long series of sightings and encounters. 

The newspaper files of the period contain several horrifying accounts of meteors crashing into the earth, causing damage to property, animals’ and humans. Ignoring them, the April 1897 newspapers hold many airship crashes that have not received much attention from ufologists but are equally valid (or should I say invalid?). 

For example, on the same day as the Aurora crash, 17 April 1897, Sam McLeary was travelling next to the Forked Deer River near Humboldt, Tennessee, when he came across an object that had crashed into some trees. Part of the craft was fixed into the ground and the rest of it was still lodged in the trees. The newspaper report claimed that: 

The larger portion consisted of a thin shell of bright white metal about 100 feet in length by 30in diameter, running to a point at each end. A tubular rib extends along each side and from this is suspended a framework carrying the machinery, with enclosed compartment for passengers or crew. The solitary occupant was unable to tell his story for though the weather is not cold his body and his water barrel were solid blocks of ice. The machine had evidently reached too high altitudes, and its manager had succumbed to the pitiless cold and for want of his control had fallen to the earth. 

Its engines were of strange and unknown construction. Screw propellers above and at each end and horizontal sails or wings at each side seem with the buoyant skill to combine all the principles of sea and air navigation … This much has been ascertained from observation and meagre notes found on board, but who or whence the solitary captain has not yet been discovered. (19) 

An even more intriguing sky craft exploded to the west of Lanark, Illinois, at 4.0 am on 10 April. This woke the inhabitants of the town who saw a bright ruby light shoot into the sky. The light got dimmer but it encouraged about 50 men to dress and ride out into the snowstorm to see what it was. It did not take them long to track it down to Johann Fliegeltoub’s farm which was half-a-mile to the west of the town. Here they found the frightened farmer’s family being shouted at, in a foreign language, by a person dressed in strange clothes. Nearby was the wreck of the airship and the mangled remains of two bodies. A third of the craft had driven itself into the ground. The ship: 

was cigar shaped and made of aluminium, about thirty feet long by nine feet in diameter, and the steady red glow came from an immense electric lamp that burned upon that part of the strange craft that projected from the ground. There were four side and one rear propellers on the machine, with a fin-like projection above it, evidently the rudder. An immense hole was torn in the under side of the ship, showing that an explosion had occurred, caused probably by a puncture from a lightning rod on the Fliegeltoub barn, as one of them was slightly bent. 

The strange creature who in some marvellous manner escaped from the wreck, is now unconscious. He or she is garbed after the fashion of the Greeks in the time of Christ, as shown by stage costumes, and the language spoken was entirely unknown to any one here, though most people are familiar with high and low Dutch, and even one or two know something of French and Spanish. 

The remains of the two persons who were killed were taken to the Fliegeltoub barn and straightened out on boards. It is firmly believed here that the airship was that of an exploring party from either Mars or the moon… (20) 

In the next report, filed by General F.A.Kerr, we are informed that by the afternoon Herr Fliegeltoub was charging a dollar a head for anyone who wished to see thewreckage in his barnyard. General Kerr only had to flash his press card to gain admittance, but within a few moments the import of the spectacle bore down on his mind. To steady himself he injected himself with a grain and a half of morphine, and swallowed three cocaine tablets. These soothed his jaded nerves and he was able to note that the previous report described the craft accurately. Inside it: 

was divided into four apartments, one large or general room containing the machinery of the ship, the principal part of which was a powerful electric dynamo, and there was also a tank of air compressed into a liquid. There were windows of heavy glass on each side of the room. Two of the other apartments were fitted up as sleeping rooms and the third was a bath room. There were many bottles of little pills in a cabinet in the large room, evidently condensed food. (21) 


The crowd was awestruck by the proceedings. I myself, to whom nothing is strange, returned to Lanark and securing a room at the hotel, sat up all night smoking opium and eating hasheesh to get in condition to write this dispatch

Walking from the ship to the Fliegeltoub house the reporter had to take a few more drugs. Here he:

found the unknown wanderer lying on a lounge, and I approached and examined him closely. He was about medium height and of athletic build, with long curled hair, dark brown in colour, and an extremely handsome face. He wore a white tunic reaching to his knees, and on his feet were sandals strapped with tin foil-wrapped braid. The tunic was embroidered with a coat of arms over the breast, a shield with a bar sinister of link sausages and bearing a ham sandwich rampant. 

A few minutes after I entered the room he awoke and sat up. Immediately everyone fled from the room except myself. After looking around for a minute he said in a language that I at once knew to be Volapuk, “Where am I?” I answered, “Near Lanark on the earth” and he said he was glad to be there and asked how it happened. 

I explained the circumstances to him and we had a long conversation, a report of which I reserve for another dispatch, but in brief he told me that he and his companions were an exploring party from Mars, who had been flying about over this country for some weeks.

About midnight he expressed a desire to see his wrecked machine and I went with him to visit it. When he saw the hole, with his fingers he bent the torn metal into its proper position, and stepping inside brought a pot of pasty looking stuff, which he spread over where the rent had been. He then ran hastily to the barn, picked up the bodies of his companions and carried them to his ship. Stepping inside he pulled a lever which set the propellers whirring, and the machine dragged itself from the ground. The operator then reversed the machinery, and shouting a farewell to me slammed the door and the airship rose rapidly into the air and finally disappeared into the night, though the red light was for a long time visible. 

The crowd was awestruck by the proceedings. I myself, to whom nothing is strange, returned to Lanark and securing a room at the hotel, sat up all night smoking opium and eating hasheesh to get in condition to write this dispatch. (21) 

We should warn our readers not to try this at home! Obviously the story was meant as a joke at the expense of the airship spotters, but it does have the detail and tone of “classic” contactee stories of the 1950s. The reporter, like the contactees, is the only person brave enough or privileged enough to talk to the alien; the being has superhuman strength; advanced techniques to repair the craft; the craft is a spaceship for the purpose of exploring planet earth; the alien takes away all the physical evidence. 

Lanark was the venue for another crash story only a few days later. At 3.35am on the morning of 12 April, the local telegraph operator heard a sound like a cyclone and looking out the window he saw a huge object slowly landing. The wings of the ship gently flapped and it would have settled without incident if the rudder had not demolished the wing of a frame house. After observing this the operator rang the alarm bells. Then: 

Soon after its landing a man not more than two feet in height came out of the ship. He wore an immense beard of a pinkish hue and his head was ornamented with some ivory like substance. He was heavily clothed in robes resembling the hide of a hippopotamus. His feet were uncovered near the ankles, but lashed firmly on the soles were two immense pieces of iron ore. About his neck was a string on which were 234 diamonds. 

When asked where he came from he made no reply, being apparently deaf. He said nothing and made motions, indicating he wanted something to eat or drink. He drank two buckets full of water and ate three sides of bacon, after declining to takeham, which had been tendered for him. A short time after three other persons, similar in stature and similarly attired, came out of the air ship by means of long peculiar ropes, which reached to the ground. They could not speak or hear. One carried a staff of gold. (22) 

Special trains were packed with expectant people including at least two ex-governors and 56 newspaper reporters.

 Unfortunately, a short note from W.G.Field of the Lanark Gazette timed at 3.10 pm on 12 April, succinctly stated that, ‘The air ship story is a fake.’ (22) 

In the state of Iowa two crashes into bodies of water occurred. The first incident was reported by John Butler and recorded in the 13 April editions of the Iowa State Register and the Evening Times-Republican. Although both carry the same account the dateline is different, so the incident either occurred at 11 p.m. on Friday 9 April or Saturday 10 April. It was on one of these nights that the citizens of Rhodes saw a bright light coming from the southwest. Crowds came out to see the heavenly vision and: 

It soon came so near that the sound of machinery could be heard, which soon became as loud as a heavy train of cars. All at once the aerial monster took a sudden plunge downward and was immersed in the reservoir of the C.M. & St. Paul railway, which is almost a lake, covering about eight acres of land. No pen can describe what followed. The boiling lava from Vesuvius pouring into the sea could only equal it. The light was so large and had created so much heat that the horrible hissing which occurred when the monster plunged into the lake, could be heard for miles, and the water of the reservoir was so hot that the naked hand could not be held in it. As soon as the wreck is raised out of the water a full description of the machine will be sent. 

Not long after dusk on 13 April, another strange meteor was seen by people in Iowa Falls. As it streaked across the sky it made a whirring noise. Apparently: 

The light and the dark form which seemed to follow it approached the earth at a terrible speed and parties living near the river declare that it struck the water and immediately sunk out of sight. Those who reached the point of the object’s disappearance first claim that the water was churned into a whirlpool and that for a long distance the water was seething and boiling. The theory advanced by many is that the airship while passing over this section became unmanageable and in the efforts of the people aboard to land shot downwards and plunged headlong into the river and after striking the bottom the propelling power of the ship dashed the waters into foam. Nothing can be seen from the surface and nothing has come to the surface that might indicate the nature of the ship or its occupants, and the supposition is that the occupants were killed or drowned and with them the secret of the ship. Searching parties are now being organised to search the river and if possible raise the wreck. Thousands are expected here every hour by special trains from all parts of the compass and the whole matter has caused a big sensation. The field is a green one for enterprising correspondents and the advance phalanx is expected in the morning. 

Any adventurous UFO investigators might profit from dredging the Iowa river or the C.M.& St. Paul railway reservoir. Though perhaps this is not as attractive a proposition as lurking in the Aurora cemetery! 

The Austin Daily Statesman of 20 April, no doubt tongue-in-cheek reported the statements of a ‘mystery man’. He proclaimed: 

It is my opinion that the airship, so-called, is nothing more nor less than a reconnoitring aerial war car from warlike Mars, investigating the conditions of the United States to see what reinforcements we’ll need when the country is invaded by the allied armies of Europe, the Mars soldiers having no confidence whatever in the American jingoes as real fighters. 

Asked, ‘With these soldiers of Mars cavorting around over our heads, do you think there is any danger to us of the earth?’ He replied: 

I most emphatically do. Last Thursday night (15 April) one of their aerial boats exploded and scraps of steel and pieces of electric wire were found on a school house, the roof of which workmen were repairing. They heard an explosion during the night, and just before it took place the aerial vehicle was seen sailing through the air. There is great danger in venturing out these nights. What if one of these fellows from Mars should tumble out and fall on you? 

Probably the best crash landing story was published in the 2 May 1897 issue of the Houston Post. In El Campo, Texas, an old Danish sailor called Mr. Oleson claimed that his traumatic encounter occurred in September 1862. He told John Leander that he had been a mate on the Danish brig Christine which was sailing in the Indian ocean when a storm wrecked it. He and five other members of the crew were washed onto a small rocky island. One of the men died of his injuries and they huddled together at the foot of a cliff as the storm continued to rage. It was then that: 

another terror was added to the horrors of the scene, for high in the air they saw what seemed to be an immense ship driven, uncontrolled in the elements. It was driving straight toward the frightened mariners, who cried aloud in their despair. Fortunately, however, a whirl of wind changed the course of the monster and it crashed against the cliff a few hundred yards from the miserable sailors. 

When they got to the wreckage they found that the craft was as big as a battleship and had been carried aloft by four huge wings. Furniture, and metal boxes with strange characters inscribed on them which contained food, were amongst some of the things they found in the jumbled mass. 

Then they came across the dead bodies of the ship’s crew. Altogether twelve of them dressed in strange garments were found. Their bodies were bronze coloured and were twelve feet tall. They were all male bodies, and they had soft and silky hair and beards. 

The stranded sailors were so shocked by their discovery that one of them was driven insane and threw himself off the cliff. The rest of them deserted the wreck for two days but hunger drove them back to it. After feasting on the ship’s strange food, they unceremoniously threw the dead bodies of the giant aliens into the sea. Emboldened by this activity they then built themselves a raft. 

Launching themselves on to a now calm sea, they tried to head for Vergulen Island. After sixty hours they came across a Russian ship heading for Australia, but their adventure had taken such a strain on them that only Mr. Oleson survived to reach land and safety. 

The newspaper report concluded by noting that: 

Fortunately as a partial confirmation of the truth of his story, Mr. Oleson took from one of the bodies a finger ring of immense size. It is made of a compound of metals unknown to any jeweller who has seen it, and is set with two reddish stones, the name of which are unknown to anyone who has ever examined it. The ring was taken from a thumb of the owner and measures 2 inches in diameter. 

Now Mr. Editor, many people believe those airship stories to be fakes. They may be so, but the story now told for the first time is strictly true. While Mr. Oleson is an old man, he still possesses every faculty and has the highest respect for truth and veracity. Quite a number of our best citizens, among them Mr. Henry Hahn, Mr. H.C. Carleton, Green Hill and S. Porter, saw the ring and heard the old man’s story. 

Having looked at cases which seem to involve an extraterrestrial dimension it is worth chronicling crash incidents that suggested that the experiments of a secret inventor had gone badly wrong. Our first example, published on 1st April 1897 in the Daily News-Tribune (Muscatine, Iowa), tells of a bright light seen at 2.30am by a night watchman and traveller. They were at the High Bridge when they saw a bright light, that changed white, red, purple, blue, white, in the southwest. It seemed like a ball of fire with a large, dark, conical object behind it. The thing dipped into the top of trees on the Illinois side of the river but managed to pass the bridge before it crashed with a thunderous roar. 

After a moment’s suspense a faint cry for help was heard, and then another still fainter, and when the watchers had recovered their frightened senses they both got into the wagon and drove hurriedly across the bridge, where they leapt out and ran to the place where the light was seen. There, in among the trees, was what looked to them like a painted boat with sails badly wrecked, while a man lay beneath groaning in great pain. He was carried to the cabin boat near by, inhabited by Henry Atwald, from Fairport, and made as comfortable as possible, he suffering such agony as to have it deemed inadvisable to remove him to town. 

Our informant quickly hurried back for a physician, he only being able to ascertain that the man was Prof. De Barre, of Tuscan, Arizona, and that the strange craft was his own invention, he being on his way to Chicago and that his accident was due to the steering apparatus becoming unmanageable in the high wind. 

1 April 1897, not surprisingly, was a good day for airship sightings. One was seen to crash into a large sycamore tree, on that day, in the Upper Cottonwood valley. One of the occupants was killed but the other one recovered long enough to talk about his adventures on board the airship, and that he had come from Topeka. The Chanute Tribune of 3 April 1897 indicated this was a hoax by a local gentleman, Colonel Whitley. 

This type of story was not exactly new, a very similar account is contained in the San Francisco Examiner for 5 December 1896. This edition declared: 

The hull of an airship is in a ditch on the ocean side of Twin Peaks, and for a time at least church steeples, clock towers and factory chimneys are safe from all but the soaring imaginations of the men who believe that “the prostrate leviathan of the air crashed down from dizzy heights and met all but complete annihilation in the bed of a foaming mountain torrent.” 

The man who built this craft, a Mr. J.H. de Gear, said he had worked according to the plans of an inventor who wanted to stay anonymous. Mr. de Gear had been trying to fly the craft when a strong wind made him crash. The ship, merely an iron cylinder divested of any machinery, was conveniently close to a saloon which enjoyed a boom due to this story. 

Much publicity was given to this crash case but the San Francisco Chronicle of 5 December 1896 revealed that it was a fake constructed by press agent Frank de Gear. The nearby Sunnyside Inn had paid him for his efforts at drumming up business. His brother, Jefferson de Gear, said he helped with the fake and that: 

“I was simply employed as an expert cornice-maker to build the machine and put it where it was found. Yes, it was built for exhibition purposes. It took over three bundles of galvanised iron to construct it, and the thing weighed over 400 pounds. I built it in two nights and one day, and had eleven men working on it Wednesday night. I think I deserve credit for the job: it was a good piece of work.” 

Another story, in the Daily Herald (St.Joseph,Missouri), of 6 April 1897 said that: 

Bethany, Mo., April 5. – (Special to the Herald.) Last night about 10.30 o’clock an airship was seen coming from the southwest at the rate of about 25 miles an hour, and looked to be about one-half mile high. It stopped for a few seconds over the court house, and then moved on toward the northeast, and went out of sight. This morning two men, John Leib and Ira Davis, living six miles east, brought word to town that an airship had fallen on J.D. Sims’ farm and a man was found dead. The coroner has gone to hold an inquest. 

More details are given in the Daily Herald’s 9 April 1897 edition. This says that two men who were operating the craft were killed and mutilated beyond recognition. The craft that ‘resembles a cigar in shape, and has three propellers on either side’ had come to grief against Sims’ flag post. Letters found in the pockets of the victims indicated they had come from San Francisco or Omaha. The ship was taken to a warehouse in Bethany for exhibition to the curious crowds. Just when we are about to believe this story the author of the report had to spoil things by signing himself “A TRUE FAKIR”.

This story possibly inspired a report from Highland Station that featured an airship that exploded there on the night of 15 April 1897. The Globe (Atchison, Kansas) of 17 April, went on to say that the injured pilot was found and he claimed he was Pedro Sanchez of Cuba. He conveniently took the airship wreckage away the next day. 

Near Philo, Champaign county, Illinois, there came a more graphic account of death by airship. A cone shaped craft was seen fighting against a heavy west wind at 10pm on 15 April 1997. The Daily Gazette (Champaign, Illinois), of 16 April 1897, continues the tale:

When just south of Bouse’s grove the craft became unmanageable and came down with a crash on Jeff Shafer’s farm, about 100 feet from where George Shafer was disking. The team took fright and ran away, throwing Young Shafer in front of the harrow which passed over him, cutting him all to pieces. In the wreck of the ship, which covered a space nearly 100 feet square, were found the mutilated remains of three persons. They were partially imbedded in the soft ground and covered with blood, so that it was impossible to identify them, but from what McLoed (Norman McLoed was a witness to this event – N.W.) could see he judged to be Japanese. 

The report filed by “W.J.Wilkinson” concludes by saying that many are going to the site of the crash, and that more will be known once an inquest has been conducted. The game is given away, however, by this postscript: 

The Gazette has been unable to find out who this man “Wilkinson” is, and from all accounts, there is no such man living in Philo. The names of the people he uses in the account are genuine, and those of prominent people, but it is evident that they were not consulted before the account was sent away. 

I was intrigued by another crash story that sounded very promising. This related how a reporter had got to the summit of New York mountain, where he saw a fifty-foot-long cigar-shaped vessel ‘plunged deep into the mountain top.’ With the aid of ropes the reporter and fellow rescuers got to the broken ship wherethey found a badly injured old man. This was exciting news but the account in the Avalanche (Glenwood Springs, Colorado) of 4 May 1897 blows its cover by saying the man came from the North and is called “Santa Claus”, and the reporter wakes from his dream. 

There are many other crash stories which have variable reliability. The Jefferson Bee of 15 April 1897 said that an airship had crashed near the town on 10 April. A terrible sound was heard and the next day a craft was found. This contained four bodies that were mashed to a pulp, despite this it was ascertained that they had two faces, and two sets of arms and legs, and they were taller than earth people. This was acknowledged to be a hoax by the newspaper staff. 

A better case which received a good deal of publicity came from Pavilion township. This said that two old soldiers saw an airship in the sky followed by an explosion. The next day, 12 April, wreckage was found in the area and at Comstock township. (23) 

On the 17 April 1897 a flying drugstore was seen at Park Rapids. As it went over Fish Hook Lake it exploded and legs and arms were seen to fly everywhere, causing the fish to crawl out of the lake for some peace and quiet! (24) 

An abandoned cigar-shaped airship, with a broken propeller was found by Mr. Thurber, near Mead at the mouth of Dead Man Creek. (25) Someone calling himself “xxx” said an airship hit his friend’s windmill near Elmo. (26) There are many accounts of things falling from airships, and some of them are nearly as silly as the story in the Livermore Gazette of 16 April 1897. This claimed that the good citizens of the town made an airship crash so that they could use parts from it to decorate the place.

These accounts show that ufological holy grails such as Rosweil are far from being a new phenomenon. In the context of the airship wave as a whole crash cases were generally treated as a joke, but we can see that ufologists were ready to absorb such cases as the Aurora crash into the body of ufological lore because of their similarity to modern-day cases. In the airship wave people did not expect their accounts of crashes to be believed, their motive was to ridicule and shock into rationality the believers of the airship myth. In terms of the flying saucer myth it has taken time for serious ufologists to wholeheartedly believe in crash cases and retrievals of bodies, but those who have swallowed this pill must beprepared to accept that it has probably been poisoned by their own gullibility and by the work of “liars” who are unconsciously carrying-on a great American tradition.  


  1.  New York Times 17 August 1878.
  2.  New York Times, 14 August 1878.
  3.  Mr. X, Res Bureaux Bulletin, No. 17,12 May 1977, pp 2-3.
  4.   A detailed account of this story is contained in: Zerpa, Fabio and Plataneo, Monica L., “The Crash of a UFO in the 19th Century”, unpublished, circa 1979. They tried to find the location of the aerolite and the body of the alien, but their report concludes by saying, ‘this whole thing has the “ring” of an old Spanish “tale” from beginning to end. Much repetition, drawn out suspense, and no concrete evidence.
  5.  La Capital, (Rosario) 13 and 15 October 1877.
  6.  Picasso, Fabio, “Infrequent Types of South American humanoids”, Strange magazine No. 8, Fall 1991, p.23 and p.44.
  7.  Zerpa, Fabio and Plataneo, “La Caida de un OVNI en Pleno Siglo XIX”, Cuarta Dimension Extra September 1981, pp. 2-12.
  8.  Charroux, Robert, Archivas de Otros Mudos, Barcelona, Plaza y Lanes, p.341.
  9.  Nickell, Joe, “The ‘Hangar 18′ tales – a folkloristic approach”, Common Ground No. 9, pp. 2-10.
  10.  Roberts, Andy, “Saucerful of Secrets” in UFOs by John Spencer and Hilary Evans, Fortean Tomes, 1987, pp.156-159.
  11.  Also see: Simmons, H.Michael “Once Upon A Time In The West”, Magonia No. 20.
  12.  Hanlon, Donald B. “Texas Odyssey of 1897″, Flying Saucer Review, Sept. – Oct., 1966.
  13.  Hanlon, Donald B. and Vallee, Jacques, “Airships Over Texas”, Flying Saucer Review, Jan-Feb 1967.
  14.  Hanlon, Donald B. and Vallee, Jacques, letter in “Mail Bag” column, Flying Saucer Review, Jan. – Feb., 1967. 
  15.  Hewes, Hayden C. “The UFO Crash of 1897″, Offlcial UFO Vol. 1, No. 5, Jan. 1976.
  16.  Buckle, Eileen, “Aurora Spaceman”, Flying Saucer Review, July – Aug 1973.
  17.  Hewes, Hayden C.
  18.  ibid, p.30.
  19.  Nashville American, 18 April, 1897. T.B. p.209:2.
  20.  Daily Democrat, 10 April 1897.
  21.  Daily Democrat, 12 April 1897
  22.  Daily Times (Dubuque, LA) 13 April 1897
  23.  Evening News (Detroit), 13 April 1897
  24.  Hubbare Clipper (CA), 22 April 1897
  25.  The Chronicle of Spokane, 16 April 1897
  26.  Albany Ledger (MO), 21 May 1987

Most of this material is available in Eddie Bulard’s ‘The Airship Files’ and its Supplements I and II. Other excellent sources are Robert G. Neeley’s ‘UFOs of 1896/1897: The Airship Wave’ (both published by the Fund for UFO Research

Catflaps. John Harney and John Rimmer

From Magonia 43, July 1992

John Harney writes:

You’ve probably heard stories about dogs, rats and cats disappearing through the back doors of Chinese or Indian restaurants, and being slaughtered, stewed, and served with curry and rice. Police and RSPCA inspectors have wasted a great deal of time investigating such allegations and, so far as I am aware, not a shred of worthwhile evidence has ever been found to support them.

But have you heard that there is a foreign country where cat fur is the height of fashion? I don’t mean big cats, such as leopards, but ordinary household moggies. This country is ……….. [Fill in the name of your least-favourite country.]

You don’t believe it? Well, that’s what it says in my local paper (Bracknell News, 21 May 1992). It’s the lead story, under the banner headline: ‘Fur Traders Target Cats’.

Some weeks previously, a resident of Bracknell, Berkshire had called the police after seeing two men trying to entice a cat into a black plastic bag. Since then “the number of cats going missing locally has soared”. It is rather irritating, though, that we are not given any indication of the number of cats involved. The matter is being pursued by an organisation calling itself Bracknell Petsearch, which has uncovered some startling ‘facts’.

The ‘massive increase in the number of cats going missing’ is ‘easily explained as a blip on the statistics until” – I really like this detail – “it is noticed that each month the colour of the eats going missing changes. Last month tabbies and tortoiseshell animals were being reported lost. So far this month black cats are in the majority.”

Yes, but how do we know they are being captured by fur traders? The main evidence is a black plastic bag full of skinned cats found at the local junction with the M4 motorway. This revelation came from Bracknell Petsearch co-ordinator Lynda Martin who said the discovery had been made by ‘a local RSPCA volunteer’.

“That information came from a very good source,” she said: “Nothing was officially reported because it is difficult to do anything with a bag of dead animals.” Mrs Martin believes the traders have targeted Bracknell recently, stealing the cats, skinning them inside a van, and then fleeing with the pelts to their base in London along the M4. “Those pelts would then be smuggled out of the country to dealers abroad.”

There are other curious details in this story. The reporter alleges that “Scotland Yard reckons a trade in cat skins is raging in London, with the pelts being flown out to unscrupulous fur traders abroad.” If this were true, the tabloids would be full of it, but they don’t seem to have noticed. Local police and RSPCA officials have received no evidence of skinned cats and made the usual non-committal statements when approached by the paper.

It will be interesting to see if this story spreads to other areas. Keep an eye on your local paper — and don’t believe everything you read in it.

John Rimmer continues:

But surely we can believe everything we read in the Barnes Mortlake and Sheen Times, after all it is owned by one of our most respected media dynasties, the Dimblebys, no less. Well judge for yourself. The 19 June 1992 edition carried the front page headline “Cat Snatch Fear After ‘Spate’ of Missing Pets” accompanied by a photograph of local pet-owner Victor Schwanberg holding an appealing looking cat who is not otherwise identified.

The story conforms to the Bracknell pattern, complete with a mysterious “woman who was seen stroking a cat and then snatching it and putting it in a bag”, according to vet Donald Cameron, “someone has also reported seeing five dead cats laid out on the pavement”. The vet declares: “Cat fur fetches a high price abroad,” – in those mysterious countries which have no cats of their own? – “it is used to make gloves and small toys”. High-priced small toys presumably.

The only real fact of the story seems, as in the Bracknell case, to be some alarm about the number of cats going missing in the area. Now I can confirm that there are often small, sad notices attached to trees in this neighbourhood appealing for the return of lost pets (including dogs), but I have always assumed that this was due to the number of very busy roads and the amount of open spaces, parks and commons in the area. Mr Schwanberg, one of whose cats went missing, lives on the Upper Richmond Road, part of London’s notoriously dangerous and grossly over-used South Circular Road.

The item concludes with a quote from a Mrs Joan Wearne of an organisation called Petwatch (it is not clear whether this has anything to do with Bracknell’s Petsearch) who claims that the cats are skinned and their fur sold in Italy and Germany, but the police “do not want to know”. As if to confirm her claim a police spokesman commented “we would not record stolen cats, but we are not aware of a problem”. Obviously evidence of a cover-up!

Shortly after reading this I discovered that the latest issue of Folklore Frontiers discussed a report which appeared in the 24 April 1992 issue of The Mail, Hartlepool, where Mrs Wearne also puts in an appearance. Warning of the dangers of the catnappers she reverts to an older, racialist, theme. She announces that a ‘Yorkshire printer’ found the remains of several cats next to a mincing machine in the basement of a building which used to be an Indian restaurant, while a ‘Manchester policeman’ (highly specific these descriptions) found 200 dead cats in a skip.

So what is going on here? I rang the Barnes and Mortlake paper and spoke to the reporter who had written the story. I was particularly concerned, because in the following week’s paper there were letters from obviously distressed pet-owners in the area. Unfortunately she seemed unimpressed by the thought that she may have been sold a pup (sorry!) on her front page scoop. “I was only reporting what people told me” she explained. I had always thought that journalists considered `printing things people told you’ mere public relations, and journalism involved going out and finding the facts. I pointed out the startling coincidence of a virtually identical story appearing in three local papers in different parts of the country and the unliklihood of catnappers in both Barnes and Bracknell leaving dead cats neatly lined up at the sides of the road. “Maybe that’s how they operate”, she said. Well maybe, but didn’t she think that in view of this extra information she might consider taking the story a little further, if only to reassure anxious local cat-lovers? No, but if I wanted to write a letter to the editor, they would publish it on their correspondence page.

I find it disturbing that after playing on many local peoples’ fears with a front page lead story presented with all the authority of Dimbleby Newspapers, the reporter was not prepared to do any further checking when presented with new evidence that made the story look decidedly dubious, and was prepared to leave any further coverage to the vagaries of the letters column.

So what it going on? Why do cats in the North-East end up in the curry, whilst cats in the South-East are skinned and their pelts flown hundreds of miles across Europe? Could it be because these alarmists feel that traditional racist slurs about Indian restaurants are unlikely to be taken seriously in the liberal climate of Richmond and Barnes, whereas concern about the fur-trade and ‘animal rights’ might produce a greater sense of shock? And in how many more local papers have variants of this story appeared?


1. Folklore Frontiers, edited by Paul Screeton, 5 Egton drive, Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, TS25 2AT

More on catnapping HERE


Still More About MJ-12. Gareth Medway

From Magonia Supplement 54, February 2005

THE MAN who recently faked government bonds from the 1930s worth a trillion dollars, made various mistakes such as ‘Dollar’ for ‘Dollars’, and using zip codes, which were not introduced until the 1960s. The point to notice is that whilst nobody is perfect, so that the ‘Dollar’ error just might have been made on a real bond, no one, in the 1930s, could have included something which did not then exist. In the same way, looking through the literature on MJ-12. I found that only some of the features that have been suggested as evidence for a hoax are truly suspicious.

For instance, on the memorandum dated 24 September 1947, the numerals were out of alignment with the letters, indicating that they were typed at different times. (1) The only reason that I can think why this should happen is that the typist accidentally omitted the numbers, noticed their absence after removing the paper from the typewriter, and then reinserted it to add them. But this could just as well happen with a genuine document as a spurious one.

Leading UFO conspiracy theorist George C. Andrews states that sceptics “were dealt a major blow” when Dr Roger W. Westcott, a stylistic expert, pronounced the signature of H.R. Hillenkoetter on the first MJ-12 document to be genuine. (2) Likewise, Stanton Friedman drew attention to the similarity of the signature on the Truman letter to that on an indisputably authentic Truman memo. But it was then pointed out that they were not merely similar, but apparently identical, implying that the second was merely a photocopy of the first.

Now, it is normally easy enough to distinguish a real signature from a photocopy, but only if you have the original. It cannot be done from a photograph of the page, the only medium on which the MJ-12 papers are available. There is one original piece of paper, the Cutler-Twining memo, but that is unsigned!

It is noticeable that the briefing document does not give away any real information: it says, for example: “A special scientific team took charge of removing these bodies for study. (See Attachment “C”.) … Numerous examples of what appear to be a form of writing were found in the wreckage. Efforts to decipher these have remained largely unsuccessful. (See Attachment E)” These supposed attachments have never surfaced. Dare one suggest that this may be because they proved too difficult to forge?

I would say that these features are suspicious but not conclusive. Christopher Allan agrees that there is no definite proof, though he does note a number of highly suggestive features, such as Hillenkoetter supposedly giving his own naval rank wrongly, which is highly unlikely. I should like to know his authority (stated in his review of Stanton Friedman’s book a few years ago) (3) for a letter of Hillenkoetter’s showing that he hardly knew Menzel, as this is just the kind of giveaway that a hoaxer cannot avoid.

Karl T. Pflock, however, has risen to my challenge to find an anachronism. The Eisenhower Briefing Document says that: “On 06 December, 1950, a second object, probably of similar origin, impacted the earth at high speed in the El Indio-Guerrero area of the Texan-Mexican border after following a long trajectory through the atmosphere.” This evidently refers to a story told by Todd Zechel from the 1970s, which was later exploded by Dennis Stacy and Tom Deuley: “At the 1999 National UFO Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Deuley gave a talk in which he presented evidence demonstrating that what had evolved into a 1950 flying saucer crash was actually the fatal shoot down of a US Civil Patrol plane late in World War II.” This seems conclusive, but no doubt any MJ-12 believer would simply reject the findings of Stacy and Deuley.

Dr David Clarke has drawn attention to a later MJ-12 paper, the ‘Annual Report’ of 1952, which stated that: “On August 21 1915, members of the New Zealand Army Corps’ First Field Company signed sworn statements that they saw the One-Fourth Norfolk Regiment disappear in an unusually thick brown cloud which seemed to move and rose upward and vanished. There were no traces of the regiment nor their equipment.” – the implication being that they were abducted by aliens. As Clarke points out, though three men did make a statement to this effect, they only did so at a reunion half a century later, in 1965, thirteen years after this alleged report. “It seemed that whoever had faked the MJ-12 papers had failed to do their homework and had based their dossier not on official files but the contents of paperback books on UFOs published in the 1960s.” (4)

Something that puzzled me for quite a long time was what might have been the motive behind the creation of MJ-12. Now, I agree with John Harney, who says that motivation is usually irrelevant: “The scientific question is not Why? but How? The forensic scientist doesn’t want to know why the burglar opened the safe, he wants to know how he did it.” Anyone might be motivated to create a UFO hoax, just as anyone might have a motive for cracking a safe, but one cannot accuse people of being UFO hoaxers or safe crackers on that basis alone.

It seems to me, however, that the commonest UFO hoaxes are those perpetrated by sceptics, in order to demonstrate, if only to themselves, that ufologists are gullible. Other hoaxes are created by people who intend to write books on the basis of them. Very occasionally they are done as part of a confidence trick, as when ‘Dr’ GeBauer, who sold alleged magnetic devices to detect oil deposits, claimed to have been present at two UFO crash retrievals in New Mexico, simply so that he could say that his latest oil-detecting device worked from back-engineered flying saucer technology. None of these explains the MJ-12 papers, which originated in ‘believer’ circles, and about which the only book is that of Stanton Friedman, who clearly believes that they are genuine and therefore cannot possibly have been involved in creating them; nor, so far as I know, have they been used to part anyone from their money.

Considerable light may be shed on this question by Philip J. Klass’s Skeptics UFO Newsletter for March 1997. Klass relates how, in 1983, William L. Moore had told Brad Sparks that his efforts to locate people involved in retrieving the wreckage of the Roswell saucer “had run into a dead end”. He went on to suggest that ” … counterfeit government documents containing crashed-saucer information could be used to induce former military personnel to speak out and ignore their secrecy oaths”. Later, when the first MJ-12 papers had become public, and discussed in the New York Times among other places, Moore gave a talk about them at the 1987 MUFON conference, concluding with the words: “Now that it is in the papers, if there is anything to it, others will come forward and say: ‘Well, now that it has been published in the New York Times, now we can talk.’ We’ll see. There have been a couple of hints so far that maybe somebody will say something.” (5) Unsurprisingly, this did not happen, and Moore seems to have faded from public sight since then.

Christopher Allan concludes that, if we can’t prove MJ-12 a hoax, we can certainly ask why, if the events described therein did occur, there is no proof. I agree: if the Roswell story had been genuine, then confirmation would have come to light by now, just as Moore anticipated. It has not done, so claims about it can be dismissed.

One other question before (I hope) leaving the Roswell issue: why is it that UFO crashes were most common in 1947-1954, going into decline thereafter, with none at all since the 1970s? (Note: it is true that some alleged cases have only come to light recently, but these were claimed to be old. For example, the Cannock Chase crash was first publicised in Nick Redfern’s Cosmic Crashes, 1999, but it had supposedly occurred in 1974.) This is despite there being a continued avid interest in UFO ‘retrievals’. It is possible, of course, that the Zeta Reticulan government became appalled by the high accident rate among their interstellar spacecraft, and started demanding a higher standard of proficiency before they would issue pilots’ licences, but I doubt it.

More likely, the change has been cultural. During the early post-war flaps, the most popular theory was that UFOs were secret weapons; and secret weapons often crashed. If a wreck proved to be one of your own the military would hush it up, and they often did so with enemy craft as well, so Roswell was the sort of thing you would expect to happen. The commonest alleged crash site was New Mexico, which in reality contained the White Sands missile proving ground, and where in the 1930s (in fact near Roswell) Robert Goddard had conducted many of his experiments into liquid fuelled rockets: so, it was the very state where crashed secret weapons would have been most common. Even those who thought UFOs were interplanetary regarded them as just a little more advanced than terrestrial craft, and so subject to the same failings. Expectations have changed with the years, and the aliens’ technology is now supposed to be much more advanced. If the greys can suck abductees through walls, they are unlikely to crash in New Mexico.


  1. Joe Nickell, ‘Majestic 12 (MJ-12) Documents’, in Ronald Story, The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, Robinson, London, 2002, p. 388
  2. George C. Andrews, Extra-Terrestrial Friends and Foes, IllumiNet Press, Lilburn, Georgia, 1993, p. 31
  3. Magonia 59, April 1997, p. 15
  4. Dr David Clarke, ‘UFOs and the Battalion that Vanished’, UFO Magazine, March 2004, p. 27
  5. Philip J. Klass, Skeptics UFO Newsletter 44, March 1997


09/10. The Nazi UFO Mythos: Official Comments and Intelligence; Mistakes and Fantasies. Kevin McClure

THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS: An Investigation by Kevin McClure 

Part Nine: Official Comments and Intelligence

The publication of Lusar’s book in 1957 not surprisingly provoked both military and intelligence interest. From the New Britain Herald for Thursday, March 14 1957 comes a media-friendly response to the publicity the book had been given.

No Flying Saucer Built by Hitler

WASHINGTON (AP) James H Doolittle says it “just ain’t so” that Nazi Germany developed a flying saucer and a bomber that could attack the United States and return without refuelling.

The veteran airman, chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, gave a House Appropriations subcommittee his estimate of reports published in Germany of great aviation accomplishments under Hitler. These were contained in a book by Rudolf Lusar, former German War Ministry special weapons chief.

Doolittle’s testimony was published today, along with that of Hugh L Dryden, director of the advisory committee. Dryden said “there is no truth” in a statement that German engineers designed a flying saucer which attained a height of 40,000 feet and speed of 1,250 miles an hour.

“This is an advertisement for a book which includes material discovered by our groups who went into Germany after the war”, he said.

Dryden said also the man supposed to have designed the bomber that could cross the Atlantic without refuelling had written a book of his own with no mention of any such invention.

Doolittle, asked about both the saucer and the bomber, said, “It just ain’t so.” [72]

A report dated 29 March 1957, declassified in 1978, from Robert E O’Connor of the Air Technical Intelligence Center to the Director of Intelligence is considerably more specific. It has become very common in the past few years to publish ‘intelligence’ documents on the pretext that they all have equal value, but this report records the outcome of genuine research by those competent to conduct it. I’ve quote the relevant sections – perhaps it isn’t too surprising that those who want us to believe in the Saucer Builders haven’t given it much publicity!

Subject: (Unclassified) Review of Book by Rudolf Lusar

1. Reference is made to conversations between Colonel W O Farrier and Dr S T Possony on the above subject (Unclassified)

2. This office basically concurs with your review of the book ‘The German Weapons and Secret Weapons of World War II and their subsequent development’ (Unclassified)

3. There is no evidence in AFOIN-4 files of German development of ‘Flying Discs’, nor is there any indication of Soviet development of such a vehicle. A check of available biographical files reveals no information on Miethe. The A V Roe engineering staff were contacted and they have no knowledge of Miethe in their organisation.” [73]

There seems to be no reason to believe that these comments were at any stage designed to be misleading, or were based on inadequate or inaccurate research. What the Air Technical Intelligence Center found seems to have been the truth: that there were no high-performance flying discs, and that nobody had a clue about ‘Miethe’, whatever his first name may have been, becoming involved in disc or rocket development anywhere, at any time.

Part 10. Mistakes & Fantasies 

Ufologists – especially, I suspect, those who want to believe that the Nazis flew high-performance UFOs – can take life dreadfully seriously. Unfortunately, this failing extends to not being able to spot a genuine mistake, or recognise a fantasy or a fiction that was never intended to be anything but that. Two classic blunders involved taking Lusar far too seriously, and undermining the credibility of otherwise serious and respectable books.

German Jet Genesis

The first is in a Jane’s publication – a publisher with a fine reputation of dealing with all kinds of arms and armaments. However, in German Jet Genesis by David Masters, published in 1982, the author not only reprints Lusar’s claims re flying performance, but also what appear to be pre-Harbinson details from ‘Brisant’. Particularly absurd are the three apparently freehand drawings, depicting a ‘Miethe flying disc’, a ‘Schriever flying disc’ and a ‘Schriever and Habermohl flying disc. Masters sets out some of the traditional array of excuses for the absence of evidence, saying

“Information on this aspect of German jet aircraft development is very sketchy. the project was always highly secret, and documents that may have existed were probably either destroyed, lost or taken by the Russians when the war ended. A last possibility is that the Allies discovered Schriever’s work and considered it too important to reveal”, [74]

but in reality I’d guess this was one of the publisher’s most embarrassing moments.

Robert Jungk

Jungk’s 1956 book Brighter than a Thousand Suns was first published in English in 1958. An impressive history of the development of the atomic bomb, it contains (at page 87 in my 1965 Pelican edition) a curious footnote, which has been used to add credibility to the ‘Saucer Builder’ legends. Referring to a sentence in the text where Jungk says “The indifference of Hitler and those about him to research in natural science amounted to positive hostility”, the footnote says

“The only exception to the lack of interest shown by authority was constituted by the Air Ministry. The Air Force research workers were in a peculiar position. They produced interesting new types of aircraft such as the Delta (triangular) and ‘flying discs’. The first of these ‘flying saucers’, as they were later called – circular in shape, with a diameter of some 45 yards – were built by the specialists Schriever, Habermohl and Miethe. They were first airborne on 14 February 1945 over Prague and reached in three minutes a height of nearly eight miles. they had a flying speed of 1250 mph which was doubled in subsequent tests. It is believed that after the war Habermohl fell into the hands of the Russians. Miethe developed at a later date similar ‘flying saucers’ at A V Roe and Company for the United States.” [75]

It is clear that this footnote derives from Lusar, and should therefore not be taken as true. I note that the original book was written in 1956 and I wonder whether, in fact, the footnote was added by someone other than Jungk at the translation stage in 1957 or 1958. It would be interesting to know whether the original ,Heller als tausend Sonnen (Alfred Scherz Verlag 1956) had this footnote, too. Either way, Jungk – of whose book the Spectator said

“He tells the story brilliantly; no intelligent man or woman can afford to miss it . . Should be compulsory reading for every budding scientist in every sixth form and every university in the world” may be forgiven this lapse, which should not be exploited in order to provide support for the nonsense that Lusar concocted.

The Miethe Legend

In ‘Projekt UFO’, Harbinson asserts that, of the ‘rocket scientists’ involved in flying disc development

“at the close of the war, Walter Miethe went to the US with Wernher von Braun, Dornberger, and hundreds of other members of the Peenemunde rocket programme . . . Miethe, though initially working under Wernher von Braun for the United States’ first rocket centre in the White Sands Prov-ing Ground, New Mexico, joined the A.V. Roe (AVRO-Canada) aircraft company in Malton, Ontario, re-portedly to continue work on disc-shaped aircraft, or flying saucers just as Habermohl was thought to be doing with the Russians.” [76]

These assertions, presumably based on Lusar’s, seem to have led to the development of an impressive, but entirely false, history for the elusive Miethe, covering many years. I think we can now dispose of them. . . .

Tim Matthews, in his book UFO Revelation, refers to the

“three years of painstaking research by UK astronomy, aviation and photographic specialist Bill Rose, which included on-site research in Germany, Canada and the USA . . he was able to discover that Dr Walter Miethe who all sources agree was involved with Schriever, Klaus Habermohl and Guiseppe Belluzzo (an Italian engineer) had been the director of the saucer programme at two facilities located outside Prague. In May 1945, after testing of the prototype had taken place, both Miethe and Schriever were able to flee in the direction of allied forces .

Rose learned not only that test-flights had taken place but that there was film footage of them . . Rose was shown some stills taken from the original 16mm film and, given his expert photo-technical background, concluded, after careful consideration, that this was probably real and historical footage . .

We know a little more about Dr Miethe. One of the important pieces of information came in the form of a rare group photograph showing various young German scientists in 1933. The photograph shows Werner von Braun and Walter Miethe (or Richard Miethe – different sources mention different first names). It would seem that these two knew each other well” [77]

Rose and Matthews claimed that Miethe worked with von Braun in 1933, and that the photo provided by the person who responded to an advert Rose had placed showed them together with other rocket scientists in that year. Fortunately, this is a well-researched and well-recorded period of history, and it should be no more difficult to find records of Miethe than it is that of von Braun. Indeed, von Braun was born in 1912 and if Miethe was 40 in 1952, they should have been absolute contemporaries. The Rocket and the Reich by Michael J Neufeld [78] covers this period, and von Braun’s activities, in detail, as well as detailing rocket and ‘secret weapon’ development right through to the end of the war. Yet it makes no mention at all of Miethe (Walter or Richard), Habermohl, Schreiver, or Belluzzo, Klein or Klaas. Nor, for that matter, does Philip Henshall in Vengeance – Hitler’s Nuclear Weapon Fact or Fiction [79], which covers a similar range in rather less detail. You might think that these people never existed or that, if they did, they played no part in the development of any German flying disc.

SInce his book was published I’ve spoken to Tim Matthews about this matter, and corresponded with Bill Rose. I don’t think either would disagree if I were to say to that it seems that, while Rose is not in a position to disclose details of the elderly West German from whom it appears that both the photos and the surrounding information derived, those photos did not depict a craft in flight or, indeed, fully constructed. In view of the 1952 ‘France-Soir’ interview, the 1957 intelligence report, and the complete absence of anyone called Miethe in the mainstream history of rocketry, I think we can safely set any contrary evidence aside. In view of the considerable influence UFO Revelation and its effective and communicative author have had, particularly in the USA, I hope that the full story behind Rose’s source(s) will be made public. In the meantime, if what was published wasn’t exactly a mistake, it may be fair to say that somebody got hold of the wrong end of the stick, but I’m not sure who was holding the stick at the time.


I strongly suspect that a supposed AP release of December 1944 about the Germans having “a secret weapon in keeping with the Christmas season” which “resembles the glass balls which adorn Christmas trees”, “are coloured silver and are apparently transparent”, and “have been seen hanging in the air over German territory, sometimes singly, sometimes in clusters”, was actually a light-hearted bit of fun designed for Christmas. The phenomenon described certainly doesn’t bear any resemblance at all to the ‘foo fighter’ reports.

This item was apparently only published – in similar but not identical versions – in the South Wales Argus for 13 December 1944 and the New York Herald Tribune for 2 January 1945. Any competent historian will be aware that in wartime, censorship ensures that the existence of mysterious, enemy secret weapons is not announced by AP, and published openly by the newspapers of combatant nations. Mainstream history has taken no notice of these reports, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary I suggest they were no more than slight, seasonal jokes, published by just two newspapers out of the thousands that, if the information really derived from a serious AP report, would have taken it up.

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