OLDIES ODDITIES: CONTRAPTION FLIES OVER GRAY BARKER’S TOWN
A faithful, long-time collaborator of FOTOCAT is Tom Benson, a veteran ufologist in North America. Tom has posted me huge volumes of photocopies of old US UFO journals with articles on UFO photographs, and one of those is Saucer News, a mimeographed publication edited by James Moseley in the nineteen sixties. In the December 1961 issue (pages 13-14), he wrote a story about a saucer photographed in West Virginia. While visiting Gray Barker, the acclaimed creator of UFO mythology, in Clarksburg, W. Va., Moseley “came across a very interesting sighting right in his home-town which the intrepid saucer investigator had overlooked.” A local teenager named Joe Gonzales claimed that, sometime in the spring of 1960, an object flew over his house and he was in time to snap a photo. That morning, the boy was alone, watching TV, when he heard a shrill noise, causing his dog to start barking. As the tale goes, he went outside and saw “a strange craft moving slowly over a nearby hill. Returning quickly into the house, Gonzales grabbed his camera and took several pictures, the best of which is the one he gave to us. Gonzales describes the object as saucer-shaped, about 40 feet in diameter. It had a giant rudder-like protrusion underneath, with portholes in it, and some sort of gas was escaping from this area.”
Moseley went on to say that the flying saucer had two large antennae on top. But as consultant Andrés Duarte has ascertained, this is nothing but the two extremes of a thread on which a model of flying saucer hangs (see following illustration). The young photographer explained the lack of confirming witnesses because he lived in a thinly-populated section of Clarksburg, and that one of his neighbors was asleep and the other was away. On 2012 James Moseley died and Tom Benson inherited his archives. Moseley used to file any picture reported in his newsletter with the corresponding journal issue. I requested Tom to mail to me the original print, which he immediately did. A cursory look at the picture gives the impression of a lousy trick. The object is more unfocused than the background tree tops, suggesting that it is a small size object located very near to the camera. But you do not need to be very wise to reach a conclusion like this. Moseley, who has been labelled as the “ultimate bull shitter”, wrote:one is tempted to wonder if the picture may not be of some more common object such a garbage lid with protrusions added. We cannot agree more. After examining the photograph, photographic expert Andrés Duarte pronounced: Indeed, the difference in focus reveals the proximity to the camera, but the absence of camera and lens data prevents quantitative evaluation of the defocusing. The rope or cable used is almost perfectly straight but it seems distorted near the edges of the object, this type of apparent deformation is due to the defocusing and is related to the “black drop effect”(1). Reference
George Adamski, R.E. Straith and the Seven Letters of Mischief
Click documents for larger, readable versions.
George Adamski became a major flying saucer celebrity after the release of his 1953 book, Flying Saucers Have Landed, where he told the story of encountering and communicating with Orthon, the pilot of a landed extraterrestrial spaceship. He later produced movies and still photographs and continued to have contact and adventures with the visitors from space. His success seemed to inspire a group of similar claimants, who became known as the Contactees.
Not everyone swallowed the stories. Upstart flying saucer magazine publisher James W. Moseley had interviewed Adamski in 1953, and had not been convinced. In his Saucer News magazine, he published articles critically examining Adamski’s stories and photographs, and in October 1957 published a special “Adamski exposé” issue of Saucer News.
George Adamski continued his celebrity status and following. Just as word of his fakery was spreading, a letter of support from an unlikely source entered the picture.
My Dear Professor…
In December1957, Adamski received a letter from R.E. Straith of the” Cultural Exchange Committee,” that stated that the US Government could not officially endorse him, but privately offered their support. Straith and his agency could not be located for verification, but Adamski and his followers proudly displayed the letter was evidence of his credibility.
The letter was controversial, and its origin was a mystery, but the puzzle was compounded even further by the fact that there were other mysterious letters sent to UFO researchers…
THE A. P. R. O. BULLETIN July, 1958 ()
THE STRAITH LETTER- And Then There Were Three
For about six months now, there has been a minor controversy in UAO circles centering around two letters mailed in Washington, D. C. during December, 1957.
We think it might help clear the muddy waters at this time to is close that there is a third letter involved. The first is the so-called “Straith” letter post-marked December 6th. It is addressed to one
G. Adamski and purports to be an unofficial endorsement of his particular “space-visitors” dogma from official circles.
The second, post-marked December 16, was directed to C. S. I. New York and was a clear attempt to cause dissension among its major officers through inference of collusion and conspiracy on the
part of one of them.
The third, post-marked December 16, was addressed to C. E. Lorenzen, of APRO. It pleaded with our director to suspend operations for about three months because “the department is going to crack down on major UFO publications and yours is on the list.” Although not specifically stated, the inference was that the postal department was “the department” concerned.
From C. S. I., we learned that their letter and G. A.’s were typed on the same typewriter. We borrowed a photostat of C. S. I.’s letter and through microscopic comparison learned that again the same
typewriter was involved. Consulting our handwriting expert, we find that the signatures on the G. A. and C. S. I. letters were drawn rather than written (APRO’s was not signed).
The idea that this is part of some official plan to cripple or discredit UAO investigators and saucer cultists can be dismissed quite readily since it is obviously the work of an amateur. At first glance, however, the motivations of this amateur seem rather nebulous. He might
be an Adamski disciple intent on crippling opposition to his new-found faith while bolstering it with quasi-official endorsement. It seems more likely, however, that the writer intended for G. A.’s
letter to eventually be publicly discredited.
There are several devices included which make discrediting easy-for
instance, the full name and identification of its purported author are included.
So it appears that the writer was out to get George indirectly, taking advantage of his extreme gullibility where support of any phase of his archetypal “wise old man” possession is concerned.
His claims that (1) there is a cultural exchange committee (it’s now called cultural exchange program) and (2) that government seals are carefully guarded are pure naivette. Ask anyone who’s worked in a civil service office about the latter claim. Also-a cultural exchange committee would have its own letterhead.
Or the other hand, it seems to us that C. S. I. and APRO are prototypes of the few groups who have approached the UAO problem with non-sensational objectivity- and he seems to be “out to get us” as well.
What sort of individual could benefit from publicly embarrassing G. A. and sabotaging the activities of serious investigators simultaneously? We can think of only one answer-a competitor!
Any further attention given this tempest in a teapot only serves to detract from our real work.
At this point we can only draw two conclusions: (1) Whatever the anonymous writer may have been attempting, he failed. (2) That boy is sick!
– – –
It turned out that there were even more letters than the three APRO knew about:
To Lex Mebane/Ted Bloecher of CSI
To Laura Mundo, director of the Planetary Center (an Adamski supporter)
The Cat Leaves the Bag
Older and wiser: the perps in 1967
For over a quarter of a century, the controversy caused much speculation on who created these letters and why. On Dec. 6, 1984, Gray Barker, one of the chief suspects died. The next month, his friend, Jim Moseley revealed the truth in Saucer Smear January 10, 1985:
“Just a few months before Gray Barker’s untimely death, your editor told him (again) that we intended to confess to the ‘R.E. Straith’ hoax if he were to die ahead of us.” Jim went on to say, that he used to visit Gray Barker at his home in “…Clarksburg West Virginia for a weekend every few months – i.e., whenever it fitted in with our mutual schedules. On one particular occasion in I957, a young friend of Barker’s… provided a packet of genuine official stationary from various Government agencies. …Barker and I wrote not one but seven (count them!) naughty letters that evening emboldened by the the evil of alcohol and fully enjoying the hilarity of this chance to throw long-term confusion into the UFO field.”
Did it work? According to UFO historian Jerome Clark:
All over the world Adamski’s followers were claiming vindication. South African UFO enthusiast Edgar Sievers declared the letter to be a “decisive document on imminent developments on this planet.” Wilbert B. Smith, a Canadian radio engineer who earlier had been involved in an official UFO project, told [Donald E.] Keyhoe, after the latter expressed skepticism about the document, that he “knew” the Straith letter to be authentic, because someone of his acquaintance knew the man personally. Straith was working in a “supersecret agency partly under State Department control.” C. A. Honey stated flatly that through his and Adamski’s efforts, “Straith was located.” More than two decades later, looking back on the controversy, [Lou] Zinsstag and [Timothy] Good concluded that while “much of the evidence is circumstantial … on balance there is more in favor of the letter[‘s] being genuine.”
“One of these, on U.S. Information Agency stationery, went to Laura Mundo, a longtime fan and booster of George Adamski. Another, on a different organization’s letterhead, went to APRO’s Coral Lorenzen. Still another, signed by ‘A. G. Matthews, Chief, Liaison, Internal Affiairs’ (of what agency I don’t recall and the surviving carbon doesn’t reveal), went to Manon Darlaine, the Hollywood saucer enthusiast whom I had met in 1953. It thanked Darlaine for her ‘generous cooperation and employment of . . . [her] valuable time when Mr. Mosley [sic] visited you during his recent assignment to your region.’ The fourth went to someone in the inner circle of Civilian Saucer Intelligence of New York —probably Isabel Davis, Ted Bloecher, or Lex Mebane. One more was addressed to a semi-leading light in The Field whom I no longer recall. The sixth on National War College letterhead, was addressed to my father, a retired U.S. Army general. It objected to his having indulged in extreme right-wing political activities while on a military pension, strongly implying he might lose the latter if he did not refrain from the former. The seventh was the Straith letter… ”
Prank of Hoax?
The FBI even got involved trying to track down the origin of the bogus letters, nevertheless, Adamski kept claiming the letter was genuine. When asked about how the impact and how story changed over the years, Moseley replied:
“It didn’t really evolve. It was just etched in stone. It was hilarious. People would write or telephone the State Department and ask for R. E. Straith. And the State Dept. fed into the legend, stupidly, without realizing it. They always gave a different answer. ‘R.E. Straith was not available’ or ‘he was on a different assignment’ or ‘he didn’t exist.’ If they sent something by mail, it was sent back ‘refused – person not known’ or not sent back at all. There was no consistency in how they handled it and that fed the fire and kept it going.” (Shavertron, 2009)
The letters were a drunken prank by Moseley and Barker, and they don’t appear to have fooled anyone for long, even George Adamski. But, in Adamski’s hands, he was able to use the letter as a prop to bolster his tales of being an ambassador to Venus. It was this use that elevates the “Straith Letter” to the status of a hoax!
The Last Letter Surfaces
There was one letter though, that was never published, the un-mailed one to General Moseley. It was thrown away…but there was a carbon copy… So as epilogue:
From out of the treasures of THE GRAY BARKER UFO COLLECTION, the world premiere of the 7th “Straith Letter:”
To General George Van Horn Moseley
A special thanks to David Houchin of The Gray Barker UFO Collection located at the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library in Clarksburg, West Virginia for locating the Gen. Moseley letter.
Jim Moseley don’t take no guff. That is, he won’t take it if it’s not interesting or at the very least, entertaining. The publisher of Saucer Smear has been in the UFO field (by his own admission) since 1948. Although he would be embarassd to admit it, this makes him one of the few “grand gentlemen” of Ufology (or You-fool-ogy as he might call it.)
Saucer Smear is mailed out gratis on an irregular basis to a couple hundred of the ufological hard-core, and comprises the only record of the evolving personality of the saucer-smitten. Within its eight typewritten pages, researchers lash out at each other in vitriolic rants full of personal insults and very often, four letter expletives, some directed at the editor. Presiding over this fray with a bemused eye, Moseley praises friends, points a good-natured but sharp and sarcastic pen at attackers, and referees intense insider squabbles with alacrity and an eye for raking the muck when needed.
Q: What first interested you in the UFO field?
A: It was in the early ’50s. The first thing I paid any attention to was the Mantell case in 1948-a military fellow who allegedly got blown out of the sky by a UFO. It was a popular subject suddenly, and became an emerging field of research. I had this intellectual curiosity about something which seemed to be real and interesting. I met a writer who wrote for True and Argosy and he said that if I would take the time and travel across the country and interview these people who had had UFO experiences, then I would get a co-author credit. And I was young and eager, so in late 1953, I took my car and drove from New York out to the southwest and California and interviewed maybe a hundred people. And I talked to everybody; the contactees, the scientists etc., but the book was never made. The notes I had for that book were later fictionalized by Gray Barker and eventually turned into the horrible book Crash Secrets At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I had found out by then that there was actually a UFO field, and I met Gray Barker and others who were in it at the time.
So the next thing I did was to start my own zine, which was called Nexus, which was a stupid name, it means “a connecting link,” but nobody knows that. Two other guys started that with me who were also living in New York at the time; Dominic Luchesi and August Roberts. August died last month, and Luchesi died several years ago. We started this and kept it going for a year, and then they dropped out and I changed the name to Saucer News and it stayed on a very small scale until 1954 when the “marsh gas” thing happened.
That marsh gas thing did more for me than anything else–(J. Allen)Hynek’s marsh gas–he went to Michigan where there had been a few sightings of things. The most prominent ones were by some college co-eds. One thing was seen diving at a police car, and another was seen floating over some woods near a college dormitory. There were no marshes in that whole area. There was a premature press conference and Hynek was forced to do it. He didn’t have an answer and didn’t claim to have and answer. The Air Force put him on the spot rather unfairly. I ended up being very friendly with Hynek, and I liked him. So he was pushed to the wall and said that it might or could have been marsh gas. And then there were the T-shirts and cartoons, etc. just ridiculing him.
The whole country was excited about it then, and then Michagan Representative Gerald Ford got on it and promised a congresional investigation, which of course never happened, but it was a hot time for the topic. It was the biggest “flap” of its sort as far as public interest was concerned, and because of that, my circulation shot up literally overnight. I had this little one-room office in downtown New York where I worked all by myself hacking out this magazine, and was listed in the Manhattan phone book under “Saucer News.” So when they wanted to talk to a local “authority”, they called me, and I didn’t know any more about the subject than the day before. But I was hot. I was on every news program in New York, since there were not a lot of other rivals around like there is now.
Q: What year was all this?
A: 1964. At this time there was a man in Boston with a radio and T.V. show named Bob Kennedy (not THE Bob Kennedy of course.) I appeared on his show a few times, and they were also working with speaker’s bureau who booked Donald Keyhoe to speak about the saucer stuff. They also booked the college lecture circuit and Keyhoe was starting to charge too much. This is where I really stepped in some shit. Bob Kennedy gave my name to this bureau and since I hated Keyhoe anyway, this was the best luck of all. He was charging too much, so I started getting his gigs. I would have gone for free just to knock Keyhoe off the lecture circuit. (Stanton) Friedman hadn’t come along yet, and he didn’t push me off the circuit ’till years later. I did over a hundred colleges and got well paid for it for the time. Saucer News circulation shot up to about 10,000 for awhile, and I got on all kinds of shows, etc. I finally had to hire a staff to keep up, including Tim Beckley, who worked there for a couple of years. This was all because of the marsh gas! Then in the early ’70s, Friedman came along and did to me what I had done to Keyhoe. Actually, he was vicious about it. He would find out which colleges I was lecturing at and call them up and try to get them to knock me off and book him. He had the degree and the beard and I didn’t. The colleges kept calling me to inform me what he had been doing–sometimes more than once to the same places.
Q: What are some differences between the UFO scene now and how it was in the “early days?”
A: Well, in the ’50s you had your classic contactees who met creatures who looked almost like us, if not better, and who were giving messages of sweetness and light, and save the environment and ban the bomb, and all this good stuff. But nobody sees anyone like that anymore in the last 20 years or so. Another thing was that they used to see little men getting out of the saucers, smaller than us, but sort of normal-looking. They were not described in the same way that these “greys” are–the height is the same, but the face is different. So, how come nobody sees these classic “little men” anymore?
Q: You perpetrated one of the most famous hoaxes in UFO history at the expense of George Adamski. How did that come about?
A: Gray Barker had a friend who’s still alive now and begged me never to reveal his name, but at the time was a kid of 18 or 20, who’s father was rather high in the State Department. He wandered into his father’s office and stole some official State Department stationery, about six or seven different kinds. So, one night Barker and I got together at his place in Clarksburg, West Virginia and wrote six or seven different letters to people in the field. And the Straith letter was so-called because it was signed by R.E. Straith of the “Cultural Affairs Committee” of the State Department, and we deliberately made that part up because it didn’t exist. There was a committee with a similar name, but Straith did not exist. We opened the letter “Dear Professor Adamski,” which was flattering him because he wasn’t a professor at all, he just made that up. And it said was in essence that “there are some of us here that know of your contacts and we are behind you all the way, but we cannot come out publicly to support you at this time. But rest assured that we are behind you in spirit” etc. That was the gist of the letter, and whether Adamski thought it was a hoax or not didn’t really matter, since it was just what he wanted to hear. So he publicized it and after a few months the FBI came to him and told him to stop it. They told him it was a hoax and to stop saying that it was genuine. This was just what he needed, and he started crowing that the FBI had harassed him, and so that meant it had to be genuine. There were then two investigations by the FBI and the State Department. They went down and talked to Barker, since someone noticed that the typing on this letter was just like the ones he sent to all kinds of people. Barker got very paranoid after this and took the typewriter and broke it into many little pieces. Then he found where they were building a wall somewhere in Clarksburg, and dumped the pieces in. So, to this day that typewriter is buried in a wall somewhere in that town. Then Barker died in 1984, and I had warned him that if I outlasted him, I was going to confess, so I wouldn’t embarass him anymore. So, after he died I put it in the next issue of Saucer Smear.
Q: Could you talk about your friendship with Gray Barker?
A: I think he was probably my best friend and used me as a sort of psychiatrist really. What’s not generally known was that he was gay and died of AIDS. But in 1984 in Clarksburg, West Virginia, they didn’t know that much about it, and they didn’t cover it up, they just didn’t recognize the symptoms. I’ve lived in Key West for ten years and I know a number of people who have died of AIDS and so I suspected at the time that’s what he had died of.
He had wonderful sense of humor, and a sense of wonderment (which is a good word for him) about the UFO subject. He stopped being a “believer” very early on, but kept the sense of wonderment. What he got out of it was entertainment for himself, and the audience he wrote for. He thought of himself as an entertainer, not as a scientist or a person dealing in facts. There were “New Age” types long before there was a UFO field, and he knew this audience and what they wanted to hear, so he wrote books and published them as a book business. He also had a theater that he owned and operated, and he started out as a booking agent for films at theaters in the area. So, he was always in the entertainment field and thought of himself as an entertainer. He thought I was too serious, because I believed some of it, and still do, but he didn’t believe any of it.
He wrote a poem that I have here with me, which is entitled “UFO Is A Bucket Of Shit,” and I think that really summed up his feeling about the whole thing. He also wrote serious poetry. I would go down there a few times a year from New York, and we’d drink and bullshit and do hoaxes or whatever. He drank quite a lot, and didn’t like to travel, because he would get very disoriented. I went to the Giant Rock convention in 1970 with him and a girlfriend of mine. There were a lot of psychedelic drugs floating around the Rock that year…
Here’s “UFO Is A Bucket Of Shit”:
UFO is a bucket of shit
Its followers: perverts, monomaniacs, dipsomaniacs
Artists of the fast buck
True believers, objective believers, new age believers
Shushed by the three men
Or masturbated by space men
UFO is a bucket of shit
The A.F. investigated UFOs
And issued a report
Couched in polite language
Which translated, means:
“UFO is a bucket of shit”
Meade Layne is a bucket of shit
Lex Mebane is a bucket of shit
James W. Moseley is a bucket of shit
Richard Ogden is a bucket of shit
Ray Palmer is a bucket of shit
And I sit here writing
While the shit drips down my face
In great rivulets
Yes, they don’t write poems like that anymore, do they? Thank God! So there you have it, a little sample of Gray Barker’s poetry.
Q: You’re obviously more interested in the people surrounding the UFO phenomenon, than in the UFOs themselves. Can you explain why?
A: There’s no hope of solving the question. There’s endless confusion and contradictory theories, so certainly the UFO field is real, whether the saucers are or not, and the people are real, and some of them are very interesting. I have more fun with the people, so I talk about personalities in my magazine. I don’t print sightings, because everybody else does, or could, and you can find that anywhere. I just try to do something more interesting and more to my own personal taste.
Q: How much does the government pay you to keep all the UFO nuts fighting with each other?
A: They pay me exactly as much as they pay Phil Klass.
Q: Have you ever actually seen anything that you would qualify as unidentified?
A: In the course of 40 years I have seen a few things that I could not identify. The last one was in Gulf Breeze, in 1992. It was a light in the sky that was there for about four minutes. It might have been a flare, but I’m still not sure. Yeah, I’ve seen stuff that I couldn’t identify, but so what? (laughs)
Q: How have your views of the UFO phenomenon changed over the years?
A: I went off on different tangents: first the secret weapon theory, then little men, then I got hung up on Mars for awhile–it seemed reasonable–what got me was the lines on the surface of the planet. But the camera can see what the eye can see, and it doesn’t make it any more real. When you get enough resolution of course, that stuff disappears. Then Vallee and Keel came along, as well as J. Allen Hynek, and put forward the 4-D idea, and that’s where I’m generally at now. The interplanetary idea is the least likely. If there is something going on along those lines, it’s beyond our present understanding. I’m not totally agnostic, I do think there’s something going on, but it defies scientific examination. You have to be able to repeat results experimentally, and how the hell do we investigate something that changes continuously? When we can summon a demon or poltergeist or spaceman at will, then we’ll be much further along. We can’t expect to solve everything overnight. People need answers right away, and if we don’t have answers, they’re invented. MUFON has invented the interplanetary theory, and that satisfies them.
Q: Will you keep Saucer Smear going for as long as you can?
A: As long as I’m alive and reasonably healthy, sure. My business takes hardly any of my time, and I really enjoy it.
– – – – – – –
The complete interview can be found in:
Thanks, Greg for allowing the interview to be reprinted here, it’s one of the very best.
I’m sorry to hear about Jim Moseley’s passing. I’d only met the gentleman for a few times. It was Mr Beckley who I first met and he saw my models and introduced me to Mr Moseley, who gave me permission to have my little set of aliens on display in the entrance hall to the convention room. He was extremely interested to hear how I came to build the miniature figures and telling him I just drew what the witnesses said they saw, and after hours of drawing and re-drawing what I thought would be the most realistic looking likenesses, then I began sculpting the figures from balsa wood.
Overall alien diorama display: dresser drawer as showcase, with fluorescent light inside case.
The only camera I had at the time was a Polaroid land camera and my dad was taking photos while I was staying with my diorama giving the people attending the convention the how’s and why’s I created the figures, There were many people taking photos of my exhibit as well as the other items on display along the entrance area but most did not have anyone to explain what they had on display.
I was extremely fortunate to have Roy Thinnes visit my display and had a very interesting conversation with him on Flying Saucers as well as my rendition of the aliens and of course his Invaders show which I was a big fan of and still am.
Group closeup shot of the Zamora aliens and other alien species seen by witnesses.
Two of the type aliens seen by police officer Lonnie Zamora Socorro, New Mexico April 24, 1964. One alien was digging in the ground and putting some dirt into a bucket type object, while the other alien was standing by with some kind of device in his hand. The other creature is the Mothman, a creature that has been seen by numerous residents of Point Pleasant area of West Virginia from Nov 15, 66 to Dec 1967, glowing red eyes and large wings was most the most noticed features.
Closeup of alien, with different outfit.
Unfortunately the only photos I have of the convention are the ones of my figures, as the other photos got lost between all the moves we made from Brooklyn to Long Island and finally to Oregon. One would think photos are readily available of such a first time event in New York City, I’m surprised there are so few.
Thank you for contacting me about Mr Moseley as he was a fine gentleman whom I wish I would have known better, I lost track of Mr Beckley as well, another fine gentleman.
Reprinted below are two posts from 2011 from my blog, Ray’s X-Blog, dealing with the mysterious Nazca Lines in Peru, South America, and how Jim Moseley was apparently the first one to suggest the markings had an ET link. The first post is written by the Supreme Commander himself while the second one follows up on an interesting angle to the discussion.
NOTE: For those readers who have stumbled upon this page by itself and are unaware of the life and works of Jim Moseley, the Saucer Smear editor died in November 2012. The contact info mentioned below is invalid.
Idiosyncratic takes on the Uncommon and the Unusual. From UFOs to paranormal events to conspiracy theories to anything offbeat that intrigues me. (C) Copyright Ray Palm.
– – – – –
Saturday, January 01, 2011
GUEST BLOGGER JIM MOSELEY: THE NAZCA LINES
Jim Moseley has been around since the early days when UFOs were usually called “flying saucers.” Besides being the author (with Karl Pflock) of the book, Shockingly Close to the Truth! Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist, he is also the slightly opinionated writer-editor of the world’s longest-running UFO newsletter, Saucer Smear. (Longest running in the sense his newsletter has existed under various names such as Saucer News.) Jim can be reached via snail mail at PO Box 1709, Key West, FL 33041. A donation of two dollars (cash) will get you a copy of his gritty zine. You can (indirectly) contact him via email: email@example.com. Please mention Ray X sent you. He enjoys name-droppers.
* * *
THE SOMEWHAT MYSTERIOUS NAZCA LINES OF PERU
by James W. Moseley
My friend “Ray X” has asked me to write a brief article about my personal experiences with these famous mystery lines on the coastal desert of Peru.
These incredibly straight lines, sometimes over a mile long, cover an area of a couple of hundred square miles. There are at least two man-made mounds where several lines converge, giving the impression that treasure might be buried there. There are also large animal figures laid out on the desert, among the lines.
The Nazca civilization, running from about 100 B.C. to 800 A.D., preceded the Inca empire. As a shameless treasure hunter, I have dug up many Nazca tombs containing beautiful pottery, wooden figures, and sometimes gold. It is known that the lines were made by this same ancient tribe.
The myth is that the Nazca lines were some sort of landing field for spaceships from other planets. Superficially they look a bit like a modern airport. The pattern can only be seen from the air, but after all these many years the lines are so faint that all the aerial photos I have seen are enhanced artificially to make the lines more visible.
There is no mystery whatever as to how the lines were made. The Nazca desert consists of a very shallow layer of small reddish rocks containing iron ore, and other similar rocks not much bigger than gravel. By going down less than half an inch you come upon pure white sand. You can take a wide broom and easily make a line for yourself, as incredible as this must sound. Your line, like the others, can last almost forever, because there is almost no wind or rain whatever in this area.
In the 1950s I spent a lot of time treasure hunting in Peru, and was quite successful. At that time there was a German archaeologist named Maria Reiche who studied the lines in infinite detail for many years. She wrote an uncopyrighted pamphlet available in English that was on sale in Peru. I edited it to suit myself, and published it under my name in America’s FATE Magazine in 1955. Much later, along came Erich von Daniken and many other sensationalists who jazzed up the story for fun and profit, according to their own fantasies.
In 1956 or 1957 I, amazingly, obtained written permission from the local museum to dig for two weeks in the Nazca valley, including the nearby lines. I went with a small group of diggers to one of the above-mentioned mounds at the Intersections. I know of no one else who has ever done this. Unfortunately, we found absolutely nothing. The Nazca tombs are available elsewhere, as we knew.
It is clear that there is no mystery at all as to who made the lines, how they did it, and when they did it. The only question is in regards to why. Attempts to correlate the lines with bright stars and planets have proven unsuccessful for several reasons. The interplanetary theory is out. Recent archaeologists relate the lines to the eternal search for water on the desert, but this theory seems complicated and incomplete, from what I have read. Maria Reiche, for all her years of tirelessly mapping the lines, never found out why they were made. She died quite recently.
Now I’ll tell you something of archaeological importance that I have never written about till now for various reasons. Before I had ever actually seen the lines myself, I was driving one day near Lima with two friends, on a dirt road across a desert very similar to the desert a couple of hundred miles away at Nazca.
There, running for perhaps a hundred yards through a tiny valley next to the road, was a line identical in appearance to the ones at Nazca. There may well have been others nearby that we didn’t see. No Nazca pottery, etc., has ever been discovered near Lima, so the conclusion seems to be that other ancient tribes made lines like this for the same reason that the Nazca people did – whatever that reason may be.
You may wonder why I didn’t publicize this discovery. Unfortunately, the line was in a little valley almost exactly like hundreds of others, and would be very hard to find again. By now, it is probably under a condo, as the city of Lima has grown tremendously in recent years.
My opinion is that there are plenty of genuine mysteries on this planet without the necessity of distorting a minor mystery like the Nazca lines. Immediately comes to mind a huge pre-Inca fortress near Cusco, the old Inca capital in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. It is called Sacsayhuaman, and is right next to the main road leading to Cusco. I have had my picture taken there, as have thousands of other tourists over the years.
The problem here is that Sacsayhuaman consists of huge boulders as heavy as one hundred tons each, piled on top of each other to make walls. Stone can’t be carbon-dated, as far as I know; so no one is able to tell us who built this fortress, when, and how. Even the most modern machinery could not move stones as large as this!
Was Sacsayhuaman built by aliens who landed long ago at Nazca? Probably not…
Posted by Ray Palm (Ray X) at 1:38 AM
– – – –
Sunday, March 27, 2011
MOSELEY, NAZCA LINES AND THE COSMIC BALANCE
Was Jim Moseley the first to make the connection?
A while ago I was talking telephonically (not telepathically) with Jim, editor of Saucer Smear, about an article he wrote for my blog dealing with the Nazca lines in Peru. Back in the 1950s he visited that area and formulated the theory that the lines were evidence of mankind’s contact with beings beyond this world, a theory he shared in Fate magazine.
I asked him if he was the one who originated the idea, years before Erich Von Daniken came on the scene. Jim, who at times can be humble, declined to make that statement.
At some point I was going to dig into the matter via Google but I never got around to it.
Recently Jim sent me a copy of a snail mail letter from an online reader, a Curt Collins of Jackson, MS, who did the research, proving that Jim is indeed the first to publicly propose the theory. Collins cites an entry from the Skeptic’s Dictionary site that James W. Moseley originated the idea in his article in the October 1955 issue of Fate magazine. Collins mentions that other online citations can be found.
Jim is amused by this because he no longer believes the Nazca lines are patterns on a ET landing area.
As these things work out, Von Daniken took Jim’s idea, ran with it, and made a good chunk of change with books like Chariots of the Gods. But Jim plugs away in relatively obscurity, no bestseller books footing his bills, putting out his UFO zine, Saucer Smear, a labor of love, not money. If you want to compensate for this gross cosmic imbalance, send two dollars (US bills) to James Moseley, PO Box 1709, Key West, FL 33041 for a sample copy of Smear. After all, Jim makes more sense than Von Daniken with 90 per cent less BS.
This site is a tribute to the life and times of the UFO field’s brilliant commentator and court jester.
Yes, we know that Jim never used a computer and never went online. We do, however, welcome your comments and your help in building this site.
Meantime, you may consider this letter, written on September 3, as an indication of Jim’s final thoughts about his illness and his life:
“”I am literally hoping I don’t outlast my money. Now that I have cancer, I think there is little chance of that. I no longer fear death, but I do fear misery, which might be coming soon. If for any reason life ever becomes unbearable (and so far it is okay!), I will know just what to do.
Summing up – my life has been almost unique…. I was handed over a million dollars when I was young, and gradually blew it – not on wild living but in stupid decisions in business and my private life. I have traveled all over the world, and seen and done many things that very few have seen & done. I had literally golden opportunities that I messed up.
But I lived as I wanted to, without really hurting other people (at least not intentionally), and I have been very, very lucky – till now.”