The original page is no longer online, so in honor of the Supreme Commander, we’ll preserve it here for posterity.
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL JAMES W. MOSELEY 50TH ANNIVERSARY ROAST PAGE… AND YOUR CHANCE TO TELL JIM EXACTLY WHAT YOU THINK OF HIM!
“I do have a serious interest in UFOs,
and I did have a serious interest even back
when I was doing hoaxes, but my *approach*
is not serious. I like to enjoy myself.”
— James W. Moseley
The months November 2003 through July 2004 ring in James W. Moseley’s 50th year of saucering, of telling it shockingly close to how it is in the wonderfully weird world of ufology–50 madcap years as Serious Ufologist (his Adamski expose), UFOhoaxer (the Straith letter), Semi-Serious Ufologist (his 4-D Theory), and Reigning Court Jester of The Field. This makes Jim one of if not the longest surviving continuously active saucerer on (this) planet!
“November 2003 through July 2004?” you wonder. Yes, like most everything else in ufology, the exact beginning of Jim’s checkered ufological career is a few degrees out of phase with 3-D “reality,” a tad hard to pin down. It was in mid-November 1953 that Jim set out on a cross-country trek to interview as many saucer spotters, experts, and interesting-for-various-reasons others as possible for a UFO book he planned to write. He managed to bag more than 100 interviews, all of them still interesting, some still of ufological importantance. However, the book didn’t get published till 2002, forming the basis of the 1950s section of Jim’s and my Shockingly Close to the Truth!–Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist (Prometheus Books). In July 1954, Jim published the first issue of his saucerzine Nexus, which a year later became Saucer News, which in the 1970s devolved into today’s Saucer Smear. So when was the momentous 50-year mark actually reached? Was it when Jim jumped into his shiny new ’53 Hudson and hit the saucer road? Or was it when he dedicated himself to “the highest principles of ufological journalism”?
As for Steve, Matt, and me, we’re going to celebrate the entire 9 months here on the Moseley Roast Page, and we hope “billions and billions” of you will join us. Okay, okay. We’re a little late getting started, but please don’t hold that against us. Join in the fun anyway. What fun, you say?…
“It is far easier to make things up
than to stick strictly to the Truth.
So it is that *close* is about as near to
Truth any of us ever gets. By some odd alchemy
this usually brings out what really matters.”
— James W. Moseley
We know that more than a few of you out there have Moseley tales to tell, memories of Jim, fond and otherwise, funny, illuminating, all worth sharing, yarns sure to inspire a laugh or two, certain to recall glorious and inglorious past Moseleyean ufological happenings and adventures to the minds of others to be shared, too. Many of you no doubt have photos and other memorabilia that capture interesting times in Jim’s saucering past. And who knows what else lurks in wait to catch the Supreme Commander all unaware and recall the Goode Olde Daze and Just Yesterdaze, too, and Jim’s part in them.
Now’s the time and here’s the place to let it all hang out, tell it like it is or was. Post your thoughts, memories, good wishes, whatevers here–now, tomorrow, and the next day. Come back and read and view them now and then, and add more as this churns and stirs your memories–but not, we hope, your stomachs. When July rolls around, or perhaps a bit later in the year, at a time and place and in a manner yet to be determined but guaranteed to be Gloriously Semi-Perfect, all will be presented to Jim. We’ll keep everyone posted here as plans develop.
Yours in Research, Karl Pflock, C.E., M.P.OC., S.S. 5th Col.
The James W. Moseley (Dreaded) Internet Roast
Your accomplishment of chasing Flying Saucers/UFOs for over fifty years is a milestone that should be ever written in the stars, like an olde time byplane gushing out smoke advertisements in the sky over a beach.
I initially observed your activites at the National UFO Conference (NUFOC) located in a semi-rundown motel in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania in 1974, long after you began your chasing Saucers career in 1953. At this Con, you were mainly introducing speakers including Jan Barbara Hudson, author of “Those Sexy Saucer People” (Greenleaf, 1967, Saucerian ?), and hawking back issues of Saucer News. I got to know you somewhat better in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, after making several literary, etc. contributions to your newsletter, including the one that cause the Postal Authorities to pay you a visit and attending some of your non-subscriber parties at your apartment complex, “Moseley Manor” in Guttenberg, New Jersey.
Looking back, I recall many memorable events, such as having dinner with you, 1980 NUFOC speakers and others, prior to the Con in New York City. We had a breathtaking nightscape view from the top floor of the “Windows of the World” restaurant, located in one of the World Trade Center tower buildings. Speakers included Gray Barker, Betty Hill, Rick Hilberg, Bob Sheaffer and Stan Friedman.
Over the years, we in the chasing the Saucers field, experienced many personal ups and downs, but you have been a guiding light for me at times, like an older brother. I also saw this apply to others, judging by their letters in your newsletter.
A close friend of yours, Gray Barker at a NUFOC in the Cleveland area in Ohio, a couple of years before he passed over, while lecturing, in response to a question asked by a member of the audience: “What are Flying Saucers?” Gray said, “The answer is within you.” As we continue our quest to understand the paranormal phenomenon, the mystery becomes more like the study of God. Full understanding of the phenomenon is always elusive, and never achieved, it is like waiting for Godot, who never comes. Occasionally, glimpses of knowledge may pop into our minds, or appear to our sight, like a lightbulb going on that floats above the head of a charcter in a cartoon strip. In an intellectual humorous way, the cartoon characters that appear in your newsletter, including yourself have guided us in our quest for knowledge and is always something to cherish. Thanks for your help and just being there.
(posted: Mon Sep 20 20:44:30 2004)
Jim: It was 1961(I was 11 then) and I checked out Scully’s book, BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS, and took it to my science teacher(who was very pretty as I remember her) and asked her opinion on it. And quess what? She knew that it was a hoax book….the point here, Since then I take the UFO field with a bag of salt, not a grain, but a bag! It’s fun as it should be, and when one, even if its a itty bitty saucer, lands for the WHOLE world o see, THEN, and only then, will I get serious about the UFO field-Live long…Viva la Vida!!!-Roger, a member of the ufoology crowd.
(posted: Sat Sep 11 10:13:28 2004)
Oh give a cheer for old Jim Moseley
He’d pull a hoax if not watched closely
He’d laugh, tease, and jeer
In each issue of Saucer Smear
With jokes that were mostly grossly.
(posted: Tue Aug 31 14:00:54 2004)
John Keel may have called you a “boil on the ass” of UFOlogy, but I prefer to think of you as the twinkle in it’s eye. Keep on twinkling, and many thanks, Jim!
(posted: Sun Aug 1 03:06:51 2004)
T Allen Greenfield, D.D., Ph.D.
There’s something utterly ludicrous and utterly Moseley about an internet salute page to a man who refuses to own a computer, but its soooo Jim. I began reading Saucer News in 1961 or 62, first corresponded with Jim about then, met him at the FIRST National UFO Conference in Cleveland in June of 1964; we chatted in my room after the big public session til Jim was too smashed to talk, and have considered him a friend ever since. We visited Ray Palmer together in ’65, chased the Brown Mountain Lights together, ghosts on the Georgia Coast etc in the late ’60s, and at his GIANT SAUCER SHOW at the Commodore Hotel in NYC I chaired his delegate sessions, went on The Amazing Randi’s show with Tim Beckley, and – uhm – we’ll skip the ’70s, but I lived for awhile in Key West after Jim “retired” there and we hung out a lot. I’ve known him since my teens, and I consider him one of the funniest, most intelligent, most complex and worthwhile people I have had the pleasure to know. I once owned something like a complete set of Saucer News, back to NEXUS “Book One Tome One” (whatever that means, and I do hope to see him at least once more in this present incarnation. I really wish someone would post the picture here of Moseley and the late GA governor Lester Maddox, as Maddox pretended to read what he called “Sausage News” telling JW how much he loved sausage. Take that however you want. Smear on Jim!
(posted: Fri Jul 23 03:38:28 2004)
I noticed that in one of your archives that you refer to Z. Sitchin as a “scholar.” I believe he is a pretty be hoaxer. It is easy to fool people when one is dealing with ancient languages such as Sumerian and Akkadian. Michael S. Heiser has pulled the carpet out from under Sitchin in my humble opinion and I encourage you “non-subscribers” to look him up. Mike is a bonafide scholar and I believe he is simply after the truth, he a very balanced approach to UFO’s and aliens – I know you’d like him.
(posted: Mon May 24 18:13:24 2004)
I first learned of Saucer Smear and became a dedicated non-subscriber way back in the l980s. I was writing about UFOs, Bigfoots ( or is it Bigfeet? but I digress..) and such for the late, lamented OMNI magazine. I believe I actually got to interview the esteemed Mr. Moseley a couple of times over the phone and I developed a big crush on him. He lost no time in sending me literature hawking his paradise resort in Key West. Key West? He lived in Key West?? Well, I figured he must be gay.. sigh.. and my dreams of a mad fling with Jim were somewhat stifled. Eventually, I realized, after seeing many gratuitous pics of big breasted women in Smear, that, in fact, he is probably straight so I thought I’d take this opportunity to say — Jim, darling, I love you madly, you ol’ UFO nut, you! and if we ever DO meet in person, puhleaze autograph my copy of Shockingly Close To the Truth. It is FABO!!! like you and Saucer Smear…
(posted: Sun May 23 22:25:01 2004)
I had dinner with Jim a couple weeks ago while in Key West. I only know him from “Smear” and his book, and I must confess that he was completely different than I expected! I knew from “Shockingly Close” that he tells it like it is, but William Cooper had accused him of being a CIA asset so I had developed some crazy expectations.
I found him to be utterly delightful. I mean really darling. (I’m no good at roasting– I wish I had more wit.) I gotta admit that I love this guy.
(posted: Tue Mar 30 16:40:55 2004)
Well Jim, here you are at the fifty year mark in your personal quest to chase those elusive disks. Hey, the year 2004 marks my 42nd year of editing publishing UFO and fortean zines, so unless you up and croak very soon I don’t think that I can top your record anytime soon. Say, are you sure that you are feeling well?
Anyway, while most people who join in here on the dreaded Internet ( that my dear friend Al Gore and I invented, I’ll have you know ) will no doubt share some of your most embarrasing moments in the UFO field, I’ll wait a bit longer and instead try to put all seriousness aside for a moment – not!
Without being too stuffy and serious, quite frankly ( Edwardsly ) you are one of the last of the original UFO pioneers and dare I say one of my early mentors in ufology. Hey, I first subscribed to SAUCER NEWS in the early 1960s and had the pleasure to meet you at the first “Congress of Scientific Ufologists” here in Cleveland way back in 1964. And I dare say that without your help and backing in SAUCER NEWS the bloody thing probably wouldn’t have been held at all. That’s what I have always said of you, even though you sometimes come on as someone who is only trying to have some fun and stur up trouble in the field I sincerely believe that you really care about the field, and it’s just your way to not take it or yourself too damn seriously. Maybe one hundred years from now when some sociologist publishes a paper ( probably on this damn electronic monster ) on those silly and misguided people who chased the flying saucers, your name and comments will be featured. Some of the past and present “leading lights” who have taken themselves waaay too seriously will probably be nothing but almost forgotten footnotes in those days to come.
But enough of this seriousness! Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane and recall some of those outstanding memories from those days now so long passed.
Do you recall the time back in 1965 when you and some of the other delegates at the convention here in Cleveland had a wee bit too much medicine and tried to climb the fence at the closed pool at the Park Brook Motel sometime around three in the morning? And do you remember how you fell trying to climb said fence and almost broke several of your ribs?
Do you remember me burning my NICAP membership card at the 1966 convention while Gray Barker was capturing this important protest on film? Hey, I assure you and those others reading these ravings that I never inhaled the fumes!
Speaking of fumes, do you remember that time at a convention back in the 1970s when you ran out of cigarette papers and had to roll your, well, herbs in the local newspaper?
Say, enough of this stuff from those times when we were, as John Kennedy often said, full of piss and jisim. Those days were indeed special, those days of wonder, dreaming and awe.
Take care old friend. I hope that you have another fifty, you old goat!
(posted: Tue Mar 9 16:34:23 2004)
I’ve been chasing saucers almost as long as you have, and I remember as a teenager driving from Ohio in the mid-fifties with my pal to visit you in your Fort Lee apartment. We also stopped to see Leon Davidson, and then went south to Washington for an audience with the The Man — Major Keyhoe.
Those were the days when we thought government disclosure was imminent. Yes, America, saucers are real! And we were convinced that some other guy had the answers, the inside scoop. Thus our round-robin to the gurus, the keepers of the saucer secrets. That short list included you, of course.
After all these years, the saucers remain mysterious. The gurus, insiders, contactees, and leakers have “strutted their hour upon the stage, and are heard no more.” What a cast of characters! Hundreds of names, but it would only cause pain to recall them.
One man is left standing – that’s you, Dear Jim. And that is because you never were a phony. Quite the reverse. You had the common sense to figure out long ago that the mystery was profound, but that the actors who promoted themselves as keepers of the secret were shallow.
You laughed, nudged, winked, for over 50 years. But always, you listened hard for the real signal. You still do, which is why I take this moment to applaud your career in saucerdom.
(posted: Fri Feb 27 19:36:27 2004)
I first met Jim when he, John Keel, and I were speaking at a Fortfest in the D.C. area, in the 1970s. The most vivid memory I have of that time is sitting with these two gentlemen in the dark and shabby lobby of a motel, listening to the foremost scholars of ufology decide what they would do that evening. I recall politely excusing myself to finetune my presentation, as they skipped off, across the highway, to visit a nearby striptease joint. And thus I was introduced to the braintrust of ufology, and knew what the end would look like – some sort of cosmic mix of humor and nudity galore!
Best wishes, Jim, on your next 50 years of shining your flashlight in all those hidden corners.
(posted: Mon Feb 23 10:02:59 2004)
Ignacio Darnaude Rojas-Marcos
The generous Manuel Fernandes has donated to this too much old fan of Moseleyan unforgettable Saucer News journal the delightful gift of several spine issues (very pricking ones) of your S.S. bulletin, the non-nazi Saucer Smear.
(By the way Saucer Smear, in the smart language of Cervantes, means by chance, sorry, “saucer to urinate”, a shallow (for prostatics) chamber pot, anyhow an useful apparatus and a truly ufological device, due to “UFO” signifies, too, something related to the morning ambrosia devoured by one India’s ex-President and the most abundant golden nectar (more than wine, olive oil or toilet water): “U.F.O.” = “Urine For Oaks” (its best fertilizer).
I think we are going to file an Urigellerian legal suit against Manuel Fernandes, our common friend and excellent cook of ufo food, because I am suffering a serious S.S. post-reading pain on my abdominal muscles, a damned stiffness provoked by my incontinent abuse of laughter.
Although the actual culprit is, as usual in life, the tricomonic but ever glamorous hymen (Hys Magestic Editor Narrator) and its spiritual environs (Terranova’s aromatherapic Chanel Number 69), that is, the unsinkable UFO Prophet His Highness James W. Mose(s)ley lines hunter, our famous Klassical skeptic about the current epidemic of other affluent UFO Cash Retrievers.
Please keep humour alive into the blood and lymph of Saucer Smear. I suspect humour is the most powerful and intelligent weapon at the hands of ufologists, a must in the whole omniverse, and also our hardest shield against Dark Forces, bad ufonauts and even unbearable ufonaughts.
Perhaps before the imminent End of the World the little green Etherians, more than flesh and blood can bear, maybe appoint H.H. J.W. Moseley their Intergalactic Emperor in our impossible, blue planetoid. No doubt a long awaited and well-deserved royal crown.
I am sure the Lieutenant General will be present at this solemn ceremony, in spite of all, Moseley Sr. frantically applauding, shaking his heroic four stars along with filial attitudes.
(posted: Sun Feb 22 09:08:40 2004)
Richard “Dick” Hall
>Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Jim Moseley, for better
>or worse, has been and remains a Presence in ufology.
Yes, like a steaming turd on the living room carpet. This sort of silly crap explains why you and your idol, who constantly treat the whole subject as a joke, might just as well be on the Government payroll for UFO debunkers.
>We’ll keep everyone posted on the page as plans develop.
Try the Comedy Channel.
(posted: Sun Feb 22 09:07:38 2004)
Matthew James Didier
I have been a fan of Mr. Moseley’s and of “Smear” since buying his book… FIRST! How could one resist such a title as “Shockingly Close to the Truth – Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist”
Yes, there I was, a happy little “ghost investigator/researcher” with his Ufologist girlfriend (now fiance) wandering through our local bookstore and there it was… calling to ME! My girlfriend at the time saying “Oh, you’d appreciate Jim Moseley!” so, a few bucks later, I’m knee-deep into the tome.
Well, to make a long story short, I then read every back issue of “Smear” online and have tried to steer some of the “ghostly folk” I correspond with over to it… to learn the one important truth… “Don’t take yourself TOO seriously and have fun.”
Heck, myself and my significant other were thrilled that our local video shoppe had a copy of “Whispers from Space” in stock and were thrilled to be able to rent/watch this documentary. (R.I.P. Gray Barker)
NOW, on to something far more important…
Reading “Smear” as I have, for some really odd reason, some people have fixated a little too much as to Mr. Moseley’s sexual preferences… I’m shocked at all of you… Aside from sexual preferences having about as much to do with a mans work in Moseley’s fields as the dust bunnies beneath my bed have to do with the ISS, those of you who have fixated missed an important clue…
How often does a man have to print the words “Sex and Saucers” before all you fixators get it?
That’s right, I’m “outing” Jim Moseley!
He’s an ALIEN SEXUAL!
That’s right, there’s an obvious fixation with sex and saucers… In my eyes, there’s no question, he is a closet gray-hugger… a shadow reptilian-luster… someone who has a shine for the nordics.
Sorry, Mr. Moseley, your secret is now out… but at least some people will finally stop speculating and start concentrating on what’s most important… Jasmine!
Happy 50th, Sir! Your work and efforts are very-much appreciated… although sometimes, it’s difficult to tell…
(As a side note: It is impressive the sheer number of serious Ufologists that say that have issues with you and your work and yet, they all read “Smear”… Hmmmm…)
(posted: Fri Feb 20 08:24:52 2004)
I met Jim at Ann Druffel’s home in 1987 as he was preparing the glorious National UFO CON in Burbank Ca for that Summer. I was also at the Con helping out Bill Moore and Stanton Friedman as they broke the MJ-12 story to the world of Ufology. I am sure Jim remembers the night party we had for Stan and the suprize we had for him? And yes I have pictures which include you Jim so be nice!
(posted: Thu Feb 19 21:53:57 2004)
Do you remember the First (and as far as I know, your only) Annual Mothman Convention that you and Gray Barker organized in, as I recall, 1970? It was held in Point Pleasant, WV at a motel that had a round restaurant that looked like a landed flying saucer.
Not too many people showed up. Gray did, of course. And you brought along a rather cute girl friend, whose name I have long since forgotten.
My friend, Warren “Nic” Nicholson, and I suspected that you, Gray and your friend had smoked a bit too much funny weed. That was confirmed when we all tried to pile in our cars to go out the circular driveway of the motel so we could visit the infamous TNT factory.
Trying to get in a single line with our cars, you drove your car down the driveway and then turned around so you could follow Gray. Gray drove out the other way and then also turned around at the same time you did. You guys passed each other going in opposite directions several times until we more sober folks took charge and got everyone headed in the same direction.
We did make it out to the TNT plant after dark. I remember standing out there over looking the Ohio River when a small plane came down the river from the north. The reporter from the Athens, Ohio newspaper (Mary Hyre?) who worked with John Keel, you and others on the Mothman story, was there and got very excited. She thought the airplane was a UFO. None of the rest of us got too excited, but she sure did. She was a bit disappointed when she realized her mistake.
Before we met with you guys at the motel Nic and I tried to find the TNT plant. We were having no success until we saw three teenage boys walking along the road. We drove up to them in Nic’s MG and stopped. I leaned out and asked them where Mothman had been seen. Expecting to be laughed at, I was very surpirsed when one of the boys seriously replied by giving us accurate directions. Those boys certainly didn’t take the Mothman stories as a joke. To them it seemed just a matter of fact. That was impressive.
I also remember seeing the remains of the SIlver Bridge piled up in a field not too far off the road.
Thanks for putting on the First (and only) Gray barker and James Moseley Annusl Mothman Convention. It will always be a fond memory.
MUFON State Director for Ohio
(posted: Thu Feb 19 10:24:10 2004)
I first discovered Saucer Smear on the Internet about 5 years ago and have enjoyed it ever since. Being a novice UFO enthusiast I found the information contained therein rather entertaining and at times even informative. I’ve never met Jim and I’m sure I never will since I do not intend to patronize any of the conventions, conferences or lectures. I see enough freaks, weirdo’s and charlatans here at home, no sense paying for the privilege, especially since many are going to treat me as a mark. Also, since I live in Michigan and don’t travel too often the possibilities of visiting Florida are very remote. However, I did enjoy Jim’s book immensely (and yes, I purchased it) and found the information quite interesting.
Congratulations Jim, for all the hard work you’ve done over these past 50 or so years and continued success in this and any future endeavors. Yours is the first UFO site I visit every day and the one I enjoy the most. Well done!
(Reprinted with permission from the January 12, 2014 Paracast Newsletter)
Lots of people have stories about the antics in which two outrageous UFO personalities, Gray Barker and Jim Moseley, engaged. While pretending to be at loggerheads to each other on a variety of issues in flying saucer research, they were actually close friends who enjoyed playing pranks and the expense of others.
Perhaps the most notorious hoax was the Straith Letter, written on purloined U.S. government stationery, which was said to originate from a mythical Cultural Exchange Committee. Sent in 1957, one copy went to UFO contactee George Adamski, and claimed that the authorities actually believed his alleged experiences were genuine. Of course, Adamski took the hint and went with it, claiming it proved his claims were true. After all, why would the government send such a letter?
The Straith Letter was exposed as a fraud early on; the writing style was Barker’s through and through. And after Barker’s death in 1984, Moseley confessed to this and other pranks that the fun-loving pair played over the years.
But some have long wondered whether the antics of Barker and Moseley had a more nefarious purpose than just satisfying the guilty pleasures of two men on a drunken spree. From time to time, some even suggested that Moseley was actually a government agent of some sort.
Now anyone who knew Jim well, as I did, would find him the polar opposite of anyone who’d possibly become involved in government work, particularly as a spy or military agent. He just didn’t strike you as someone who’d kowtow to authority, any authority. But maybe looks deceived, for he was also the son of a noted U.S. military figure, one Major General George Van Horn Moseley, Jr., who became Vice Chief of Staff for the Army during President Hoover’s administration.
I always considered Jim to be the family black sheep, and certainly some of the letters he received from his dad, which he showed to me, indicated that to be the case. I recall one missive, for example, in which Jim’s dad was suggesting to his mother that he be sent to boarding school to get him straightened out.
That would hardly be the profile of a would-be government spook.
Dr. D and the Earth Theory
But some of that belief in a possible military connection was encouraged by Jim himself, when he adopted the so-called “Earth Theory,” about UFOs, that they were actually secret aircraft undergoing test flights. To be sure, this may be a possibility in some cases, particularly the early sightings. There are some who believe the Roswell, NM crash involved just such a craft, and the same might be true for the nine UFOs seen by Kenneth Arnold in 1947, which were credited with triggering worldwide interest in the subject.
As to Jim, he ultimately abandoned the theory, and adopted a view that went beyond the ET explanation, one he called “three-and-a-half D.” So during an appearance on the Long John Nebel radio show back in the 1960s, Jim claimed that a colleague of his, one Dr. Leon Davidson, a chemical engineer and scientist, mislead him about some of the evidence pointing to an Earth-based explanation. Curious? You bet.
Now Dr. Davidson, who died in 2007, is mentioned as a member of the team that developed the original atomic bomb during World War II. He is best known in the UFO field, however, as the result of getting approval to publish and distribute the Air Force’s Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14. This volume contained a wealth of significant information about early sightings, although the Air Force continued to insist that there was nothing unconventional about UFOs.
But Dr. Davidson was also one of Jim’s close friends, so one supposes he may have indeed been quite influential. I wouldn’t presume to hazard a guess, though it’s also possible Jim promoted the Earth Theory merely to be controversial and to foster the impression of some sort of government connection.
The Silence Group Locks Down Project Blue Book
Even as I reflect on Jim, and my dealings with him over the years, I couldn’t for the life of me believe he was ever a government agent. As I said, he was the last person you’d expect to assume that role. At the same time, however, he’d be the first person a spook agency might consider if they wanted someone who wouldn’t be suspected of any such connection. After all, he did know some people in high places. He was also one of the few UFO researchers to be granted direct access to some of the actual case documents available at Project Blue Book’s headquarters, and maintained long-term friendships with a couple of the people who headed that agency.
During the early 1950s, for example, Jim visited Project Blue Book and was allowed to transcribe some cases using an office typewriter. These documents included some of the very same cases that Major Donald E. Keyhoe received verbally, usually via telephone. But when Keyhoe found out what Jim was doing, he reportedly blew a fuse and complained bitterly. Jim told me years later that the Air Force decided then and there to cut back on media and researcher access to these records.
In other words, as Jim said to me with a chuckle in his voice on a number of occasions, Keyhoe was responsible for causing some of the UFO secrecy he continued to fight against.
I suppose I’m making a good argument here in favor of the possibility that Jim’s government connections extended beyond what you might expect considering his father’s military background. But I can’t think of anyone who knew Jim well who’d believe for a moment that he was a spy who got involved in the UFO field to stir things up.
The Agent from Clarksville, WV
As to Gray Barker, I didn’t know him quite as well, but he could become fairly wacky after consuming a six-pack of his favorite beer. I remember on one occasion when he asked me to help him run off copies of a satirical—and extremely funny—book on his office offset printing machine. Even if I had the slightest suspicion that Jim was involved with the government, I couldn’t conceive of any instance where Gray was similarly involved.
Of course, if I learned that either or both were agents all along, I’d find it quite humorous. “Imagine that!” I’d say out loud with a chuckle. But I still wouldn’t believe a word of it.
Copyright 1999-2014 Making The Impossible, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
On pages 236-240 of Shockingly Close to the Truth, Jim Moseley tells about he tells about a New Jersey UFO case that led him to cross paths with Budd Hopkins. Here’s a different, contemporary account of the events from Genevea Hagen.
The Night the UFOs Didn’t Land in North Hudson Park
by Geneva Hagen
from Crossroads Quarterly, Summer 1976 (Vol. 1, No. 1)
At least twice during the past two years, UFOs did land in North Hudson Park—a site in North Bergen, N.J., just across the river from Manhattan. The first sighting took place around 3:00 a.m. during the middle of January 1975, by a 72-year-old man named George O’Barski. The second sighting took place at the same spot almost exactly a year later, on January 15, 1976, also at 3:00 a.m. The clock time is of passing interest, since statistics show that, especially considering the small number of people outdoors at that time, a large percentage of UFO sightings do take place at 3:00 a.m.
Details about the second sighting are being kept quiet, but the first has become fairly well publicized. George O’Barski was driving home from work one night, and his usual shortcut took him through North Hudson Park. He noticed a lot of static coming over his car radio, and the station began to fade out. He slowed the car while he tried to adjust the radio, and then he heard a droning sound, similar to a refrigerator’s hum. He saw a large bright object fly past, behind a row of trees, going in the same direction he was. The object stopped and hovered about 10 feet off the ground. O’Barski’s friend Budd Hopkins later wrote up the story for THE VILLAGE VOICE and gave this description:
“The UFO was about 30 feet in diameter, flat on the bottom, with vertical sides and a domed top. Its maximum height was about eight feet. It was surrounded with regularly spaced vertical windows, about a foot and a half wide and an equal distance apart. The object itself was dark, but intense light shone from the windows, illuminating the ground nearby.”
George O’Barski saw a vertical door open on one side of the UFO, and about 10 figures came down some kind of ladder or stairs. They were tiny, about 3½ feet tall, wearing some kind of helmet and light-colored coveralls. Each carried a bag and a little spoon or shovel. They quickly dug in the soil, filling their bags with dirt. The whole thing happened very fast, as though they had planned exactly what to do and wasted no time about it. In less than four minutes they were back inside their craft, which then flew off to the north. O’Barski had continued driving slowly in his car while he watched all this, and was 60 feet away at the closest point.
Well, needless to say, George was a little shaken up over the whole thing. He did what you or I probably would have done under the same circumstances. He went home, took two aspirins, and pulled the bedcovers over his head.
The next morning he returned to the park. There, in the spot where he had seen the UFO land, he found about 15 little holes in the ground, several inches deep. Even then he could hardly believe his own experience. He put his hand into one of the holes, just to make sure it was really there. Then he went home and took two more aspirins.
In spite of all this, George O’Barski didn’t assume he had seen little green men from Mars. He thought maybe the government was experimenting with a new type of aircraft.
Almost a year later, O’Barski and three other men—Budd Hopkins, who later wrote about the sighting for the VOICE, and Ted Bloecher and Jerry Stoehrer of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)—went to North Hudson Park and attempted to re-enact the encounter.
The UFO had landed in a large, flat field used as a ballpark. It is about 1,000 feet away from the huge, round Stonehenge apartment building. When the researchers checked the site, it was covered with thick grass—except for 15 or so small bare circles. These areas were not holes, but they showed no sign even of grass roots. It was later discovered that the holes had been filled in during the summer by the park custodian.
On questioning the doorman at the Stonehenge apartments, Hopkins discovered that sometime in January, in the early morning hours, a plate-glass window in the lobby had been mysteriously shattered. Bill Pawlowski, the doorman who had been on duty that night, was no longer employed there. On tracing him down, Hopkins learned that something very odd had happened on the night the window broke.
Pawlowski had looked toward the park and seen some very bright lights shining toward him. There was a regularly spaced horizontal row of about 10 to 15 of them, apparently about 10 feet off the ground. He could see a dark form around the row of lights, and knew that this was something out of the ordinary.
He was in the process of telephoning a tenant in the building, when he heard a high-pitched noise and a sudden crack, as the window glass shattered near his feet. When he looked up again, the lights were gone.
He called the police, who discovered an indentation on the outside part of the glass, from which radiated cracks. No projectile was ever found in the nearby area, and apparently whatever had struck the glass had not passed all the way through. Pawlowski didn’t mention the UFO to the policemen at that time, but a few hours later he did describe it to another policeman with whom he was friendly.
The response? “He must’ve been drinking or something.”
Pawlowski’s story backed up O’Barski’s in every detail, although there had been no communication between the two men. The March 1, 1976, issue of THE VILLAGE VOICE carried the story by Budd Hopkins: “Sane Citizen Sees UFO.” It caused quite a stir, because it is very unusual to have such a major UFO sighting so near a metropolitan area.
Although Hopkins published no details of the UFO sighted on January 15, 1976, some investigations by James W. Moseley, a researcher from Fort Lee, N.J., disclosed that it had also been witnessed by employees of the Stonehenge apartment building. In fact, Moseley found that almost all the staff of Stonehenge had had unusual sightings recently, as had a few of the tenants. Some were unwilling to talk about it, because of fear of ridicule. But some new information did come to light. I quote now from Jim’s own small-circulation UFO newsletter, which changes its name from issue to issue:
“On at least three different nights in February, a mysterious figure was seen very late at night, wandering in the part of North Hudson Park which is nearest to Stonehenge. We interviewed three witnesses among the night staff, one of whom described the figure as about five feet tall, wearing a helmet with a light coming out of it, like a miner’s helmet. The figure avoided the streetlights, walked in a robot-like manner, and was constantly bending down in an awkward way, apparently to pick up something from the ground. His face was invisible because of the darkness, and he seemed to look up at the sky a lot. The police were not called, apparently because of the New York adage to mind your own business unless being attacked; and since the being was not on Stonehenge property, the night staff just stayed in their foyer and watched.
“Whether or not the above has any connection with UFOs, we do not know. But the local papers in recent weeks have been full of saucer sightings from the same area.”
From this point on, the Earthlings got in on the act. It happened that in early March, one Warren Freiberg, a well-known Chicago radio personality who also claims to be a psychic, and his wife Libby, a trance medium, spent some time in the New York City area on their honeymoon. They had come to “deghost” some haunted houses.
The Freibergs held the theory that UFOs are not actual material objects, but are instead telepathic images. That isn’t as far-out as it might sound. Many prominent researchers are now leaning toward the idea that UFOs are manifestations of some force that we can’t perceive directly in its true form—so instead, we represent it to ourselves in symbolic form, with some people seeing spaceships, some seeing angels and some seeing pink elephants, according to their psychological inclination. Such manifestations often appear repeatedly near the same locations, which are theorized to be places where the universal energy fields intersect in such a way that other dimensions, or “alternate realities,” can interact with our own. These locations are sometimes called “window areas”; the Bermuda Triangle is perhaps the best-known example.
Two New York publicists, Timothy Green Beckley and Harold Salkin, were hired to coordinate a UFO séance while the Freibergs were in town. The séance was scheduled for midnight on Saturday, March 6, at which time a small group would convene in North Hudson Park and attempt to make contact with the space people. Since he lives very near the park, Jim Moseley agreed to host a press conference that night at his own apartment.
Unfortunately, the press releases given out several days earlier had been a little too specific. They not only mentioned that a séance was in the offing, but gave the exact time and place. One local paper set the scene by running an article headed: “Saucer Hunters to be Ejected.” Seems there is an 11:00 p.m. curfew in North Hudson Park. Moseley hastily phoned the local police headquarters and was assured there would be no legal problems.
Things started off as scheduled with the press conference in Jim’s apartment. I arrived late, along with denton/Thor, to find the Freibergs talking with a group of reporters. Warren Freiberg was describing some of his discoveries as a psychic.
Yes, he said, there does appear to be life after death, but not necessarily in the conventional religious sense of “heaven or hell.” He had encountered a surprising number of miserable, “earthbound” spirits during his ghost-hunting. He started out as a skeptic, but became a believer in psychic phenomena after a medium was a guest on his radio talk show and enabled him to communicate with his dead grandfather.
Although Warren had developed psychic abilities of his own, Libby Freiberg was also said to be an excellent trance medium, and it was through her that they hoped to establish telepathic contact with the UFO entities. Jim confided to me privately that he had been forewarned that we could expect some sort of environmental message!
Toward midnight, our group headed for North Hudson Park. We had expected to find it almost deserted at that late hour. To our amazement, it was mobbed with people. There was even a problem finding places to park the cars. A milling crowd filled the ball park; many looked like teenagers.
“I don’t believe it,” muttered one reporter. “I even see somebody selling hotdogs.”
At first I wondered if we’d been unlucky enough to schedule the séance at the same time as some sports event. It was hard to imagine that many people had spontaneously turned out on such a cold and windy Saturday midnight to witness a UFO séance that hadn’t even invited public attendance. I remembered how, a year and a half earlier, I had been co-sponsor of a real UFO researchers’ convention that drew far fewer participants in spite of all the publicity we could give it. I estimated well over 500 people were in the park that night. And true to their word, the police were not represented.
“Some people will do anything for publicity,” Jim muttered under his breath. “I thought we were going to have about ten people. And now it’s going to look like I was behind all this. Now I’ll never be respected by serious researchers!”
“Where are the saucers?” the crowd hollered as we made our way toward the “landing field.” I could hardly believe the Freibergs still intended to go through with the séance. Were they masochists, publicity freaks, or just plain stupid?
Warren Freiberg explained the plans as best he could, addressing the crowd in his resonant, authoritative radio announcer’s voice. We members of the “inner circle” held hands and formed a circle in an effort to hold back the masses. The masses didn’t seem too amenable to being held back, however.
The Freibergs spread a blanket on the ground, kneeled on it facing each other, and joined hands. The crowd had been asked to chant “Alpha! Omega!” to aid in their meditation. Some of us dutifully followed the instructions. There were also chants of “Frisbee! Frisbee!” as well as other, more obscene mantras.
As Warren’s voice dropped lower and lower, the crowd pushed in closer and closer. Some of them seemed quite rowdy, and I began to fear for the Freibergs’ safety. I fervently hoped that a UFO would drop out of the sky and scare the shit out of that mob. But no such luck.
At last the pressure from the crowd forced several people to release their handclasps. The circle was broken, and immediately the mob was right down upon the Freibergs. I shudder to think what might have been their fate, had there at that moment not appeared a small figure in a tinfoil suit, carrying a flare. “There’s one!” someone shouted, and off the crowd sprinted in hot pursuit.
The “spaceman” managed to escape, and so did the Freibergs, who quickly ran off in the opposite direction. They took refuge in the car they had come in; the crowd followed close behind, rocking the car and pounding on the windshields, determined to get their full entertainment value. One woman stationed herself defiantly in front of the car, but she jumped aside at the last moment when she Saw that the frightened driver meant business.
All in all, it was as sad a spectacle of human behavior as I ever hope to see.
About an hour later, our party reconvened in the lobby of the Stonehenge building, and from there we proceeded up onto the roof, where it was utterly cold and windy and awful, even worse than the park. Not wanting to let the reporters go back without a message, the Freibergs resumed their séance at that new location. By this time I was thoroughly fed up with the whole scene and did not stay to watch it, but later that night I did listen to a tape recording made then. I’m sorry to say, it was not at all a convincing performance; I’ve heard better on the Late Show.
Libby Freiberg started talking in a deep, groaning, mechanical voice, identifying herself as an entity called Calderin, whose people are called the Grapalins. To the question, “Where are you?” the reply was predictable: “We are here, and yet we are not here…” (In other words, from that other dimension we postulated earlier.) As we had also suspected, the Grapalins had been taking soil samples in the park and they were concerned about our environment, which they somehow share. And they would soon provide unmistakable evidence of their existence, by appearing over Times Square on July 4th. Dig it, a Bicentennial UFO!
Libby ended her trance on an appropriate note—an earsplitting shriek.
Now, who am I to say the Freibergs are not genuine psychics? Let’s just say that I didn’t see any evidence of it that night. Of course, no real psychic could have tuned in under those conditions—but when you are a public performer, the show must go on, even if you have to fake it.
It will be after July 4th by the time this sees print. Don’t feel too bad if you weren’t around to watch the display over Times Square. I think a better bet might be North Hudson Park, around 3:00 a.m. next January 15th. See you then?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL UFO CONFERENCE (NUFOC)
(Written for the 38th annual NUFOC, canceled due to the events of 9/11/2001)
by James Moseley
Taken at the what would become the National UFO Conference in 1965 in Cleveland, Ohio at a Holiday Inn. L to R: David Halperin, Dale Rettig, Jim Moseley and Michael Mann. Courtesy Rick Hilberg.
The National UFO Conference was organized in Cleveland, Ohio in the year 1964. The co-founders were Rick Hilberg of Cleveland, who remains very active in Cleveland ufology; Al Greenfield of Atlanta, Ga., who now writes on more esoteric subjects; and Al Manak of Cleveland, who died recently.
The original title of the organization was the Congress of Scientific Ufologists, but within a few years we realized that this was a pretentious title, and we therefore changed it to the present one. From the beginning, the main purpose of the NUFOC was to hold an annual meeting or convention. Outside speakers were booked for these conventions, but there were also smaller side meetings at which actual ufological research was done.
From 1964 through 1970, Al Manak was the Permanent Chairman of the organization. There was also a small governing body which is still called the Permanent Organizing Committee (POC), the membership of which has changed from time to time over the years, to reflect whether or not its members maintained an active interest in the UFO subject.
At present, the members of the Permanent Organizing Committee are: Jim Moseley; Rick Hilberg; Karl Pflock; William Moore; Al Greenfield; Antonio Huneeus, Curt Sutherly; Timothy Green Beckley; Tom Benson; Matt Graeber; and Tim Brigham. All of these people are well known in ufological circles for various important contributions they have made to the subject.
In 1971, Jim Moseley became Permanent Chairman of the NUFOC, and remains so till the present time. He had been a speaker at all the previous conventions, but was not a founder of the organization. He has continued to be a speaker at every convention but one, over the intervening years up until the present. Moseley has also been on countless radio and television shows over the years, and was a speaker on the U.S. college lecture circuit from 1966 to 1974.
Since the 1960s, the NUFOC has stopped doing actual UFO research on an organizational level, and is simply devoted to staging a convention somewhere in the United States each year. There is always a Local Chairman, who undertakes the financial risk and takes care of the many details involved with planning a convention. The Local Chairman does this with whatever degree of help and advice he chooses to accept from others, including but by no means limited to Moseley and the other members of the POC. This year’s Local Chairman is Miles Lewis, who will hold our 38th annual convention in Austin, Texas, on the weekend of September 14th-l6th -as explained elsewhere in more detail.
Over the years, the NUFOC has held its conventions in cities in all sections of the United States, including: Cleveland, Ohio; New York, N.Y.; Charleston, West Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, Ca.; Burbank, Ca.; Tucson, Arizona; Phoenix, Arizona; Miami Beach, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; Minneapolis, Mn.; Bordontown (near Trenton), N.J.; San Antonio, Texas; and Corpus Christi, Texas. Many smaller cities, especially in Ohio, are also included in the long list. Some cities have hosted our conventions more than once.
Most of these conventions have drawn about 150 to 400 paid attendees, but the one in New York City in 1967 was much larger. A total of about 8,000 people attended the four public sessions. This was probably the largest indoor UFO convention ever held. The enormous attendance was made possible by the fact that UFO sightings in the state of Michigan in 1966, usually called the (alleged) “marsh gas” sightings, caused a huge amount of interest nation-wide in the subject of UFOs. This peak of interest has not been seen since, with the exception of the focus on the 1997 50th anniversary celebration of the “Roswell Incident”, in Roswell, New Mexico.
Most, but not all years since 1964, the NUFOC has given an award to some leading ufologist whom we consider to be outstanding. This has variously been called the Robert Loftin Meorial Award, the Ufologist of the Year Award, or the Lifetime Achievement Award. Recipients include: John Keel; Gray Barker; Rick Hilberg; Stanton Friedman; Dr. J. Allen Hynek; Timothy Green Beckley; Jenny Randles; Antonio Huneeus; Tom Benson; Dr. Frank Stranges; Jerome Clark; Karl Pflock; Whitley Strieber; and Walt Andrus, who is the recently retired International Director of MUFON.
Jim lecturing at the 2002 NUFOC.
The National UFO Conference welcomes all reasonable ufological views, though the members of the Permanent Organizing Committee tend to be relatively conservative in their outlok on the subject. “Saucer Smear,” published since 1954 by Jim Moseley, is not an official publication of the NUFOC, and represents only his own relatively conservative views, laced with a strong dose of sarcastic humor.
Some corrections and clarifications from Rick Hilberg
Jim omitted the name of one of the founders, namely Dale Rettig. Dale was a very active ufologist back in the early 1960s and ran an Illinois based UFO organization that had a very fine for the time, almost professional looking newsletter. Most ufozines of the time were either run on Ditto machines ( remember those purple pages? ) or maybe a mimeograph. Offset printed publications were quite scarce, although I did start doing my “original” UFO Magazine by offset as early as 1964. Anyway, Dale, Allen Greenfield and I were the principals in a group called the American UFO Committee back in 1963 ( It was group that combined three organizations that we each were the heads of into one fairly large national group.), and it was at this time that Greenfield came up with the seminal idea of holding a serious, non contactee gathering in 1964 and seeing if it would take hold. As an aside, the idea of a serious gathering may have been the result of a conference call that I sponsored in late 1962 where I got some of the more active serious ufolk together to talk about more cooperation to streamline the gathering of data regarding the phenomenon. Greenfield has said on several occasions that this may indeed have been the case.
Allan Manak was the chairman of a very active local Cleveland UFO group at the time and he came right on board with our idea and made his organization the the local host, and also made sure that we got lots of local publicity. Without his tireless work there probably would have been no annual gatherings of the CSU/NUFOC after 1964. And Al did serve as chair until late 1971, and not 1970 as Jim stated.
Jim and Al Manak at the 1994 NUFOC gathering in Cleveland.
NUFOC had a pretty good run, but from the beginning we really stressed the cooperation angle and although several joint projects were done over the years ,most of the participants still clung to their pet projects and individual organizations. It really took a monolithic group such as MUFON to come along several years later and hold annual meetings for its members to attain a consistent following and thereby prosper.
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…
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:
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.
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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.