UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, September 09, 2013

Howard Menger: An Adamski wannabe

Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.

Howard Menger was a contactee of the 1950s era, who allegedly took photos of flying saucers in 1956 and wrote this book about his rendezvous with Space Brothers, along the lines of the Adamski tales: 

menger2.jpg
Note the photos. They, like the Allingham/Moore and Darbishire photos presented here earlier, mimic the iconic Adamski scout craft photos. 

menger3.jpg
This photo even mimics the Allingham/Moore photo supposedly containing the figure of a Martian:

 menger1.jpg
 Menger eventually recanted his saucer tales, but re-assumed their credibility later on.

 I’m not interested in the hokey contact tale(s) Menger proffered (just as I eschew the Adamski, Allingham/Moore, Angelucci, Fry, et al. contact stories).

And you can read HERE why. 

What I am fascinated by is the non-conspiratorial use of photos and images that duplicate the hoaxed photos of George Adamski. 

Again, I ask, why did others use Adamski’s model for their saucer photos?

Did they think Adamski’s saucers were real?

Theo Paijmans commented at my Allingham/Moore-Darbishire post that he thought the use of Adamski’s photos derived from the ubiquity of Adamski’s photos at the time.

I countered that the flying saucer in The Day the Earth Stood Still was more acceptable as a possible alien craft and was just as prominent in the time-frame as Adamski’s photos were.

Nevertheless, it is odd that people not connected by anything other than a contrivance to bilk people sought to use images of a flying saucer that looks like a Christmas tree ornament or chicken brooder (and any number of other prosaic gadgets).

What accounts for that choice?

RR

38 Comments:

  • I spoke with Menger on several occasions. I think that I would have to agree that his choice of saucer shape was intended to lend support to his own tale.

    Adamski's saucers were well known and established among UFO adherents. So by choosing the same shape for his east coast variety Menger added "credibility". And, in turn, this strengthened Adamski's act.

    Saucer believers of the time formed clubs all across the country that acted as support groups for the Contactees, who would travel around, speaking about saucers and staying as honored houseguests. I think most of the clubs were divided between nuts and bolts saucer enthusiasts and folks of a more metaphysical bent.

    Indeed much of the contactee movement was linked by a metaphysical component and was operated like a proto-religion. For instance, the "bible" for the I AM movement was published out of Otis Carr's headquarters along with Margaret Storm's ascended master treatise, Return of the Dove. Nutty religion and saucers were definitely intertwined.

    This time period is nicely detailed in When Prophecy Fails and in the wonderfully kooky Flying Saucer Pilgrimage.

    I think it was Jim Moseley who commented about how none of the Contactees would ever say anything bad about another contactee. They had a good thing going, from their viewpoint and a sort of positive feedback loop that worked well for them.

    It is interesting to note that Augie Roberts said that some of the photos we see published were actually made by him and I got the strong sense that he was referring to the Menger photos.

    Lance


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • But I don't think, Lance, that applies to the Allingham or Darbishire pics

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Two reasons, Rich.

    First, you aren't dealing with the proverbial rocket scientists here. Like most hoaxers, they are pretty penny ante in the grand scheme of things (as opposed to the guys on Wall Street who have created a complex financial system and then hoaxed us into believing it's the only way to do business, even when it fails... but I digress).

    Second, there is something to be said for familiarity. They almost certainly knew who their target market was - people already pre-disposed to buy into Admaski-like tales. I'm sure they had no illusions about expanding upon that market - indeed, they probably knew that they would only get a fraction of it. Therefore, go with something ready-made and recognizable that would resonate with that core market. Marketing (or politics) 101.

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • "Paul Kimball provides the possible (simpler) reasoning for the use of the Adamski icon."

    Hey! What the hell did I write?

    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Lance...

    Your comment was exemplary, as always.

    It's just that Paul's was at the ready.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Hello,

    I very bad know such cases and totaly not "immersed" on. So many reserves concerning my comment...

    But why to change what already made/provided the "expected" effects (Adamski) where finaly you (such "hoaxers") have more or less the same goal and the same targets than "Adamski" to reach?

    To be a "copycat" is probably less risked than to be too much original and creative, mainly if you have more or less the same desideratae and motivations/consequences to obtain and to reach than Adamski have.

    A contrario, and if this sociopsychological pist is more or less correct, to change "the shape" or "the object" would be a very bad idea (too risked).

    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • True, Gilles, but applicable to Allingham and Darbishire?

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Actually, Rich, the answer profferred by Lance and I fits the Allingham hoax to the proverbial "T", although the motives of the hoaxers were obviously different than your average contactee. But if you wanted to perpetrate that kind of hoax on a group as a goof, you would absolutely use the same "language" that they were familiar with. Ergo, mimic the Adamski story / designs etc. It's the same thing at play when you see people using Chinese Lanterns to gull people with a predisposition to see every light in the sky as a UFO. No need to re-invent the wheel with something new.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Dunno Rich if it is exportable/applicable for the two others, or what motivated them to "copycat" (more or less" adamki Flying Saucers.

    To propose such or possible assumptions/hypothesis or possible answers, it would providea basis as a study of social and cultural backgrounds of the people (for example). I have no idea if it was done by the investigators, bad knowing such cases?

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Hi Gilles,

    I think it just depended upon the contactee. Some of them certainly produced different saucers and ideas.

    Dan Fry's saucers were much more beautiful (and in color). They looked like 1950's ceiling lights. Paul Villa's photos were quite similar to Fry's.

    Truman Bertham and Orefeo Angelucci never produced any photos (as far as I know) but their ideas were somewhat outside the established Space Brother motif with a heavy sexual element introduced and some aliens only a few inches tall, for instance.

    I'd love to hear about Bruce's experience with a group.

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Rich, I don't understand why you don't think the borrowing of the shape of Adamski's craft works as just a function of it being a popular shape for a flying saucer works for all these cases.

    The flying saucer used in the TV series, The Invaders, was also based upon the Adamski image--and this was admitted. It was just a well-recognized saucer and borrowed for that reason.

    I don't see anything deeper in it but I am (as you know) very very limited.

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • It appears to be a simple approach of using a well known visual prop. By using Adamski's then a well known photo/model, one gets similarity and thus believably that it's from the same species of ETs.

    Example, a formation of F-86s in 1950s would have been acceptable as a visual. Yet through in a prop driven bi-plane, then the visual goes all to hell...

    Plus, why re-invent the wheel...

    I still think its a Christmas ornament retrieved from a dusty attic...:)

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Holy Jesus! Young Darbishire was induced to use the Adamski model because he was subject to, unconsciously, the Hindu mythology? This has become jokey...and I see younger UFO buffs running for cover or puking.

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Hello.....

    It may be a simple rationale...

    Darbishire used Adamski's model...because he could...

    Or, look at my past comment on the use of similar visual props to gain credibility...

    I think the answer that is sought is simple, but we are making it out to be a complicated venture...

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • There is one other angle, as I note in my "Contactees" book. I quote the following words from Greg Bishop:

    "In 1960, Menger appeared on a TV show with [Long John] Nebel and basically recanted his entire story. He later said that he was involved in some sort of Army test of public reaction to possible alien contact. Fortean writer Ivan Sanderson arrived at the Menger residence in the late 1950s and claimed that Menger got very angry with him when Sanderson discovered some equipment and crates in a storage area with 'U. S. Army' stenciled on them."

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • I ignored, Rich, it was a sort of "test" you make ;)
    One more time, as I stated before (and Lance comment to me help to realize it), I'm not so aware and not really documented on the contactees UFO chapter and is discovering such cases with your blog (and that's cool!).
    I'm candid in a sens regarding this chapter of the Contactees...

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Hi Nick,

    What do you think that angle means? Or even implies?

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Lance:

    I think it means Menger was covering all bases, by ensuring if someone questioned his one story, he could replace it with another one that he saw as being plausible to keep the wheels turning.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Okay, off-topic people...

    The subject matter is Adamski's image use, not Howard Menger.

    I know, you guys can't help yourselves; you need to divert the topic so it can go in a direction about which you know a thing or two.

    But you're on thin ice if it happens again.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 10, 2013  

  • Well, since the article is actually titled "Howard Menger: An Adamski Wannabe" what's the big issue with actually discussing Menger??!!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • The gist of my post, Nick, wasn't about Menger, as noted in the post.

    It was about image mimicry.

    But comments went way off topic, which is the problem with UFO discussions.

    For some reason, UFO people can't seem to stay on track; it's a symptom of something endemic to UFO mavens.

    Maybe that is a matter to address also.

    It's not just the contactees who were nuts.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Well I don't think that's anything specific to ufologists. Imagine if you had a music-based blog and you did a post on your favorite artist. As the debate went on, that may well mutate into side-issues. Same as if you had a football or baseball blog. Ufologists are first and foremost people - not ufologists. If discussions wander, it's not because we are ufologists. It's because, well, when people chat or discuss things, topics wander!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • A human deficiency....worse among UFO buffs I think.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • I really don't think it's any more prevalent in ufologists than in any walk of life.

    The mistake is in thinking that ufologists are different to other people. They actually aren't.

    I know this is off-topic, but there is the image of the ufologist as a socially-challenged, obsessed loner with no life.

    Now, of course, we all could probably name someone a bit like that - but here's the importan thing: you could find someone obsessed, socially-challenged etc in ANY walk of life.

    I know of several ufologists who I would describe as suffering from full-blown paranoia.

    But, across the board, most clinically diagnosed people with paranoia are not ufologists - they are regular members of society.

    They're not. The characteristics, the flaws, the day to day issues of life etc, are the same for everyone, whether you're a ufologist, bus-driver, or school-teacher.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Nick...

    You have always been a defender of the common man, the hoi polloi, as Paul might say.

    We elitists, phony as we are, eschew the common man, the great unwashed.

    But I see ufologists and UFO mavens, myself included, as a sub-set of human normalcy.

    Every UFO person I've met, and I have met many, are a little (or lot) off kilter,

    Why that is would make for serious scrutiny, if anyone were interested.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Well, I would argue that people in Ufology are no more off-kilter than anyone else.

    For example, there are millions of people in the US who can't get thru the day without Xanax, Prozac etc.

    There are probably thousands of people who get out of bed and reach for the vodka bottle.

    There are obsessive-compulsives nuts who can't leave the house until they have checked they have locked the front-door 50 times.

    There are people who believe a character with horns and a pitchfork lives underground in a fiery pit.

    My point is that you can find flaws, off-kilter activity, odd personalities in ALL walks of life.

    As Jim Morrison sang: "People are strange."

    The error is in making Ufologists strange, when the same arguments applied to ufologists can actually be made to most walks of life, too.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Sorry Nick...

    UFO people are stranger....than the general population. They are, and have always been.

    You don't need to be defensive because you are A UFO person, as am I.

    My psychology discipline was psychometric methods and if there is a curve showing normalcy vs nuttiness, UFO people would clot up around the nuttiness extreme, whereas the general population would not be clotted there, but spread out over the statistical mean.

    Gather 5 people from the general population and 5 from UFO UpDates.

    In the general population you might have one, maybe two, who are pathological (or severely neurotic).

    But in the 5 UpDate group you'd have four, maybe five, who are severely pathological, not just neurotic.

    Need I provide some names?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Rich:

    I'm not being defensive. I'm pointing out that odd behavior, strange beliefs, an inability to get thru the day without chemical substances, paranoia, OCD (the list goes on and on) are everywhere, across all walks of life.

    I don't doubt - at all - that you could indeed find a bunch of people in ufology who are weird. But (here's the important thing), you are specifically looking at the UFO field and noticing it.

    Are you checking into how many other people - in other walks of life - are exhibiting the same? I suspect not.

    I was once commissioned to do research (as part of the ghost-writing service I offer authors) on the numbers of alcoholism in doctors. Put it this way, the numbers are not insignificant!

    Now, someone else might say all alcoholics are useless wasters, because they know 1 or 2 people who fit that bill, but they aren't looking outside of that group.

    That's my point: I believe you are looking at people in Ufology, and failing to realize that the flaws you point out in their characters/behavior etc are EVERYWHERE.

    Odd behavior, weird quirks etc are rampant in the Human Race, but by looking at those quirks in one field creates the image that it's ONLY in that field.




    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Rich, you say:

    "UFO people are stranger....than the general population. They are, and have always been."

    No they are not stranger. They are as strange.

    A Ufologist might exhibit fear that the MIB are watching them.

    A Christian (with no interest in UFOs) might fear they will burn in hell if they don't go to church.

    An OCD person might believe if they don't whistle 50 times on the way to work their boss will fire them.

    The fact is that Ufologists ARE part of the general population. And in varying ways, we all have our quirks. And that includes ufologists, teachers, chefs, house-painters - everyone.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • It's the statistical norms, Nick, and adnorms.

    More nuts will be found in a representative sample of UFO buffs than in an equivalent sample of the general population.

    That's a vital psychometric "fact."

    Put me in a stadium of football fans, and I'm okay and will have a beer and hot dog with any of them.

    Put me in a stadium of UFO buffs and I'd be shitting my pants at every confrontation, no matter how mundane or innocuous it seemed.

    UFO people are intrinsically warped.

    To deny that or not see it makes me fear for your observational powers, which are, usually, mighty.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Rich:

    You say: "More nuts will be found in a representative sample of UFO buffs than in an equivalent sample of the general population."

    Well, I would like to see such a study undertaken. I think you would be surprised at how much mental illness (which doesn't mean a person is a raving lunatic) there is in society across the board today.

    You also say, in relation to sport: "Put me in a stadium of UFO buffs and I'd be shitting my pants at every confrontation, no matter how mundane or innocuous it seemed."

    It's ironic you say that, as I (and many of my friends in Ufology) are heavily into sport, and there's nothing for you to be pants-shitting about it.

    As I think you know, I am big into UK football (soccer, as it's erroneously referred to), and play it too. Am I sitting around pondering on Roswell when i'm watching or playing a game? No, of course not!

    Greg Bishop and Paul K are both big fans of baseball. Their UFO pursuits have no bearing on how they react while watching a game.

    I feel (and you'll correct me if I'm wrong) that you think Ufologists can't switch off from the UFO subject and have normal lives.

    Yes, of course there are some like that. But the majority (certainly ones I know) are not like that and they have full, healthy lives totally away from the subject.

    It's like the comparison of a boss of a company who can't switch off from work when he gets home. So what? The most important thing is that most people DO switch off after work, even if some don't.

    Or the comparison with a teenage girl who gets obsessed with her weight vs. 20 others who don't.

    For every nut in Ufology there are many who (like me) find it all very intriguing and interesting, but who also love sport, who spend their weekends actually out of the house and hanging out with friends and family, whether at a sporting event, or a rock concert etc, and who live normal lives, but who happen to have an interest in UFOs.

    I'm sure you could find someone (probably a few) who spend their nights falling to sleep wondering how many ETs died at Roswell. But, that doesn't define the field. It defines a few nuts. And nuts are everywhere - not something exclusive to Ufology, or even more prevalent.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Maybe I would do well to hang out with fewer UFO people, as I did last weekend at the U of M/Notre Dame game in Ann Arbor.

    Large crowd....loopy but not nuts.

    Not a UFO buff among them.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Rich,

    You say: 'Maybe I would do well to hang out with fewer UFO people..."

    Well, that's the important thing: having balance.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Put me in a stadium of football fans, and I'm okay and will have a beer and hot dog with any of them.

    I don't believe this for a second... but I would pay good money to see you at a Jets game in the cheap seats in December!

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Cheap seats? Moi? I don't think so.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • you bastards better get back to discussing image copying (or whatever) or Rich is gonna have your ass.

    By Blogger Lance, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • And then some...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • "you bastards better get back to discussing image copying (or whatever) or Rich is gonna have your ass."

    Top play nominee, Lance.

    Btw and along the lines of Nick Redfern's work concerning the mingling of the intel community and the contactees... Would reasonable suspicions for the similarities between some of the absurd UFO photos produced by the contactees not include the possibility the photos were supplied by a third party?

    I would agree that the most likely explanation would have to be the others copied Adamski and sought his apparent popularity, and any other suppositions would require further research to validate. That stated, an argument could be made that some of the photos are extremely similar...

    By Blogger Jack Brewer, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

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