The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Saucers, Spying & Secret Files by Nick Redfern

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Back in February 2006, Anomalist Books published my title On the Trail of the Saucer Spies: UFOs and Government Surveillance; which was an in-depth study of how and why government, military and intelligence agencies have – for decades - secretly spied on certain players and groups within the UFO research arena.

In the four years that have now gone by since Saucer Spies surfaced, I have uncovered yet further surveillance files, suggesting that those saucer-seekers who do not have an official file may very well be in the minority!

As far as my book was concerned, I was able to show that many of the Contactees of the 1950s – such as George Adamski, George Hunt Williamson and George van Tassel – were the subject of extensive FBI files; as were Gray Barker and Albert Bender – two of the earliest chroniclers of the Men in Black puzzle; Bill Moore, Stan Friedman and several other of the premier Roswell investigators; crashed UFO data-collector, Leonard Stringfield; and various early UFO research groups, including the National Investigations Committee for Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organisation (APRO), to name just a few.

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But, today, in 2010, the list has grown significantly.

For example, in their 2007 book, Flying Saucerers, Dave Clarke and Andy Roberts revealed that the British Police Force’s Special Branch had, back in the 1950s, opened a secret file on none other than the Aetherius Society, founded by Contactee George King. Special Branch files on the group state that it was: “…active in its campaign against nuclear weapon tests, and in this respect its policy is closely allied with that of the Communist Party” - even though, as the authors note, “no evidence of open Communist association with the Society” was ever found.

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Moving on, a couple of years ago, I secured copies of the FBI’s records on a man named Oliver Kenneth Goff, who was described in a now-released FBI memoranda of 6 May 1955 as “a self-styled freelance Evangelist who for the past number of years has been speaking around the U.S. regarding the threat of communism to the U.S.” Interestingly, one of Goff’s regular lectures was titled: Traitors in the Pulpit, or: What’s Behind the Flying Saucers - Are they from Russia, Another Planet, or God?

Then there was the near-surreal affair of Harold Berney – an alleged Contactee who the FBI was deeply interested in; but not for ufological reasons. The reasoning was actually far less sensational; but ultimately very tragic: a June 10, 1959 FBI report titled Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property, tells the odd story of Berney and how he unfortunately succeeded in exploiting the UFO issue for personal, monetary gain – a scheme that led a gullible woman, whose head was full of flying saucers, to part with nearly $40,000.

A further notable item of information, that appeared after On the Trail of the Saucer Spies was published, came from none other than well-known UFO researcher, Bruce Maccabee. In a review of my Saucer Spies that appeared in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Maccabee said: “After I spoke at a UFO conference near Washington, D.C. in February 1993, I was contacted by an assistant military attaché who was stationed at the Russian Embassy. He wanted to know how to obtain US government files on UFOs.”

Maccabee added: “…you can imagine my surprise and amusement when, about six months later, while I was at work I got a call from the ‘dreaded’ FBI.” Maccabee expanded: “…it became obvious to me that the agent didn’t know much about the UFO phenomenon and was amused to learn about the FBI files on the subject. But he was especially interested in my interactions with the military attaché.”

Moving down-under: a file that has surfaced into the public domain from the archives of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) reveals the very odd story of how Australian intelligence watched the nation’s UFO research community for years. The 40-plus-page file is packed with material relative to (a) Australian Flying Saucer groups; (b) worries about communist-related issues and affiliations pertaining to members of some of those same groups; (c) fears of military personnel and non-military civilians with secret clearances becoming involved with UFO organizations; (d) potential leaks of security data of a distinctly non-UFO nature; and (e) even matters relative to vegetarianism and nudist organizations!

So, with that all said and updated, here’s the current listing of people and groups who have been the subject of files (whether FBI, CIA, Special Branch etc.) that have been declassified and are in now in my possession. In one fashion or another, and in varying degrees, they have all been involved in, or implicated in, the UFO subject.

In no particular order, they are:

George Adamski (Contactee); George Van Tassel (Contactee); George Hunt Williamson (Contactee); George King (Contactee) and the Aetherius Society; Gray Barker (MIB author); Albert Bender (MIB witness and author); Leonard Stringfield (crashed UFO researcher and author); Frank Stranges (Contactee); Philip Corso (The Day After Roswell co-author); the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP); Daniel Fry (Contactee); Oliver Kenneth Goff (ufological evangelist); Jackie Gleason (actor, allegedly saw alien corpses); Silas Newton (Aztec UFO crash player); Leo Gebauer (ditto; although I seem to have mislaid this file); Gabe Valdez (New Mexico State Police and cattle-mutes); Frank Scully (author of Behind the Flying Saucers); Dorothy Kilgallen (journalist and teller of crashed UFO story); Kenneth Arnold (Mr. UFO, of course); Aleister Crowley (invoker of the alien-Gray-like Lam); Morris Jessup (author and player in the Philadelphia Experiment story); Fred Crisman (of the Maury Island caper); Frances Swan (UFO/alien channeler); the Maier sisters, Mildred and Marie (UFO researchers of the 50s); Bruce Cathie (author of Harmonic 33 and other titles); Jack Parsons (legendary rocket-man and occultist); Theodore von Karman (player in the Project Twinkle investigations of the late 1940s); (Frank Edwards (of Flying Saucers – Serious Business); Nikola Tesla (brilliant scientist); James McDonald (ufological legend); J. Allen Hynek (of the Air Force, CUFOS, and author of The Hynek UFO Report and The UFO Experience); Wilhelm Reich (of Orgone fame); Paul Bennewitz (scientist); Harold Berney (cold-hearted crook and claimed Conactee) Philip K. Dick (science-fiction author); Mikel Conrad (actor, film-director); Carl Sagan (scientist); Donald Menzel (alleged player in the MJ12 saga); Vannevar Bush (ditto); Charles E. Rea (referenced in one of the Tim Cooper/MJ12 papers); and Truman Bethurum (met a shapely space-babe in the 50s; or so he claimed).

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And, there are those who we know have been the subject of official files, but that are either still classified, or that have not been widely disseminated. Those parties include Stanton T. Friedman (no description needed – everyone knows Stan!); Bruce Maccabee (researcher, author); Bill Moore (co-author of The Roswell Incident); Gary Mckinnon (computer-hacker); Matthew Bevan (computer-hacker); Matthew Williams (broke into RAF Rudloe Manor, England); Robin Cole (wrote a report on UFOs and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ); and…me!

There’s probably several more whose files I have tucked away that I’ve forgotten about, so keep a look-out here for an update…or very possibly several…in the near future.

I’m still digging deep into this matter; so if you have any data on saucer-spying you may wish to share, let me know.

9 Comments:

  • Mr. Redfern,

    If someone really wants to know if they are being followed by government operatives, they can file a formal request for their FBI file, which will show any and all surveillance by the organization.

    The C.I.A. is also required to provide information of their surveillance of citizens, but they will say they don't surveil U.S. citizens.

    I think England's MI-5 is obligated to do the same.

    I suggest that those who think they are being watched check out the possibiliity instead of being paranoid.

    Michael Sterne

    By Anonymous Michael Sterne, at Thursday, April 01, 2010  

  • If you file a FOIA to see if you have an FBI file then an FBI file is started on you if you didn't have one.

    Not too surprising I guess but when my activist friends got back their FOIA request almost all the material was blacked out and it was 490 pages for just a few years on a few dozen people! The FBI then made their own request to not finish sending the material since it was too much work!

    By Blogger spiraldance, at Thursday, April 01, 2010  

  • Michael:

    Yes, MI5 are indeed obligated to do the same now, as are all UK Govt agencies; they can, however, invoke various statutes of a :can neither confirm nor deny" variety.

    Spiral:

    Yes, that is one of the ironies: some people may not actually have a file opened on them until they ask if there IS one!!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, April 02, 2010  

  • You said there were "extensive files" on people like Gray Barker.

    Did you really mean that?

    How many pages were there on Barker, for instance?
    On Adamski?

    Thanks,

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, April 03, 2010  

  • Lance:

    On Adamski: I think I have somewhere in the region of 150 pages now (FBI, State Dept).

    Van Tassel: approx 500 pages (this includes some photocopies of his newsletters that the FBI have on file).

    Barker/Bender combined: 70 or 80 (this includes copies of pages from Barker's "They Knew too Much..." where the FBI is mentioned.

    The thing to remember is this: if you file for the FBI's "George Adamski File" (for example) they will send you a file which is approx 75 pages.

    But, the trick is then to request files on the OTHER people mentioned in the file and get THEIR files.

    That very often actually reveals more on the original person (such as Adamski) than you'll find in what is supposedly the definitive file on them.

    There are some other long files too: Leo Gebauer's is in the region of 500 pages I think. Much of this info came from other people's files, whereas the supposedly defintiive file on Gebauer didn't contain the things I found on him in other people's files; so even the FBI doesn't really know how much info it has on people in some of these very old files - it's scattered all over the place.

    Some files, like Frank Stranges and Truman Bethurum are quite short: maybe 10 pages.

    Wilhelm Reich's is close on 1,000.

    I got lots of non-UFO "weird" files too - 150 pages or so on Mary Hardy Reeser (alleged sponateous combustion victim); things like that.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Saturday, April 03, 2010  

  • Nick, very curious, what kind of files did they have on Philip K. Dick?

    By Blogger Tristan Eldritch, at Thursday, April 08, 2010  

  • Tristan:

    The PKD FBI file is a very weird one. He had got the idea into his head that a super-secret and very powerful Nazi-type underground group was trying to infiltrate the world of science-fiction writing to have people come around to supporting their views and ideologies.

    PKD sent a lot of info to the FBI (such as related to burglaries at his home, people following him etc), and he really thought he had uncovered some huge plot.

    It's a weird story indeed!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, April 08, 2010  

  • I'm looking for any information on the Maier sisters, Mildred and Marie of Chicago, Il. Curious about their background and "stage" careers.

    Ms. Gagliardo

    By Blogger Terri, at Wednesday, March 16, 2011  

  • Terri:

    Info on the Maier sisters is pretty scant. The most detailed, recent story can be found in a CIA paper on UFOs titled "CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90."

    If you Google that, you'll find the article, which contains pretty much all we know about the sisters.

    It's an intriguing story, and they sounded like a colorful pair, so if you did decide to dig further into the story, it's possible more info might come to light.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, March 17, 2011  

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