Grave Robbing for Fun and Profit

 In the 1950s I spent a lot of time treasure hunting in Peru, and was quite successful. – James W. Moseley

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Jim Moseley planned another volume of memoirs to follow Shockingly Close to the Truth: Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist ( James W. Moseley and Karl T. Pflock Jul 1, 2002). The title for the second book was to have been Grave Robbing for Fun and Profit, but sadly, Karl Pflock’s death thwarted those plans.

As much as Jim enjoyed the wild world of UFOs, his fondest memories were of his 1950s treasure hunting exploits in Peru. This article can in no way substitute for Jim’s unwritten memoir, but it helps point to places where more details can be found.


In SCTTT, Jim wrote, “I first met with Ken Krippene on October 5. We talked about possible future projects Krippene had in mind and how I might participate. I ended up signing a contract with him, under which he would take me on a Peruvian jungle expedition beginning in Feb. 1954.”
Krippene was also responsible for launching Jim more seriously in UFO research: he’d planned an exploitation book, which Jim was supposed to research, and Krippene would lend his more famous name to assure better sales. It fell through, but while working on it, Moseley met some very interesting people, and found himself deeply drawn into the topic.
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Ken Krippene
For the next several years, Moseley divided his time between the US,  Saucer News and Peru treasure hunts. Jim’s absences were a mystery to the flying saucer fans and Saucer News readers, and the subject of much speculation, and helped fuel fanciful rumors that he was a Jim was a saucer spy! Also, while in Peru, Jim found time for both some real saucer work and also some mischief, see The Case of the Smoking Saucer, and the hoaxed saucer landing site below.
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You can’t make this stuff up. Oh, wait…
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Some sample loot from one dig.
Over the years, Jim did write a bit about his South American adventures, and discussed them on some radio programs.
FATE Magazine – May 1957 “Curse Of The Quishuarani Treasure”, by James W. Moseley
Argosy June 1964, “Inca Treasure- by the Ton!” by James W. Moseley

In Ray Palmer’s Flying Saucers magazine,  Gray Barker had a column, Chasing the Flying Saucers.  In the May 1959 issue (page 19),  Barker relates an epic trip to New Jersey to meet with the whole Saucer News gang and its mysterious publisher, Jim Moseley.  Barker jazzed it up a bit, as he had already been good friends with Moseley for years. But it does give a bit of insight on how Jim’s travels were perceived by the saucer fiends at the time.  See the article at Scribd: Flying Saucers magazine May 1959

Rare Jim Moseley Recorded Interviews
On the Long John Nebel Show WOR radio from 1958 or so, Jim took a break from saucer talk to share details of his other career:

There’s a fair amount about his travels and excavations at Peru, including some discussion of the Nazca Lines.

Jim Moseley also spoke about his treasure hunting adventures in Peru in this rare interview with Bob Zanotti’s Coffee Klatch:

Jim Moseley on Coffee Klatch with Bob Zanotti 1963 (link to audio)

Life brings down the hammer

All good things must come to an end, and in pages 150 -152 of SCTTT, Jim tells of how a story in LIFE magazine brought the curtain down on his fun.

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Life Magazine June 1, 1959

Life Magazine, June 1, 1959 US edition Vol. 46, No. 22 (Life Magazine: June 15, 1959 Spanish edition)

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Gold in the Americas edited by Hélène Dionne page 191
(A similar mask)

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SCTTT, page 152That put Jim out of the tomb robbing and smuggling business, but freed up that energy for him to put into the study of flying saucers and the people who love them.