|EDITOR AND STILL
James W. Moseley
Volume 51, No. 7
July 20th, 2004
(Whole Number 373)
OUR FIFTIETH YEAR!
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Key West, FL 33041
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Yes, dear friends (and others) - As of July, 2004, it is now exactly fifty years since the first issue of our zine, then called "Nexus", which means "connecting link". This unusual title, currently used by a major Australian offbeat magazine, was proposed by UFO researcher August C. Roberts. He, together with his friend Dominick Lucchesi, (and of course Jim Moseley) were the co-founders of the zine.
Augie and Dominick soon dropped out, and the name changed to "Saucer News", which continued for many years. There are those who still believe that "Saucer News" was the best UFO magazine of its era. Due to television publicity, it briefly reached a subscription circulation of almost 10,000.
In the late 1970s we came out with a new format and a series of facetious titles, culminating in 1981 with the present "Saucer Smear". Humor, sarcasm, and offbeat thinking are now our focus.
What does the future hold? That depends on our health and state of mind. Meanwhile, our sincere thanks to ace cartoonist Matt Graeber for the art work above!
THE MUFON UFO JOURNAL DOES IT AGAIN!
Anyhow, the story swirls around a 24-year-old Dutchman named Robbert (two b's, please) van den Broeke of Hoeven, Holland, and his family, which consists of parents and at least two sisters, living in a middle-class house. Interacting with this group is Nancy Talbott, of "BLT Research, Inc.", who visits the family annually for relatively long periods of time, and is obviously intrigued by the strange goings-on there,
"Smear" readers may remember that back in 2001, she and Robbert watched together one night as a crop circle was actually being formed in front of their eyes, just outside the family home.
When the present photos were taken, in May of this year, Robbert was apparently alone in the house, or at least he failed to call any witnesses. He suddenly felt compelled to get his digital camera and wait in the living room. Over a period of about 90 minutes, a smoky, faint mist gradually evolved into the ethereal figure seen here, which seemed to be sitting on a couch in front of a wall photo of Robbert's two-year-old nephew. (In this "Smear" reproduction, the nephew is completely lost, and the figure looks more ethereal than ever!)
Robbert says he is able to communicate mentally with the beings he is photographing (apparently this occasion was not unique), and he adds that they are not the "common greys" often described in abduction reports, although they are responsible for crop circles. It is not at all clear just how he is able to make this distinction.
Robbert has shown an "incredible ability" to see things, both in the present and in the future. His father, who is general manager of a bank, says that his son is "always 100% correct. I have no reason not to believe him."
Paranormal events are so common in and around the home that one of his sisters treats them matter of factly. There are entities, "orbs", crop circles (outdoors only), and other unbelievable phenomena. Robbert also claims healing powers, and spends a great deal of of his time outdoors in the fields near his home, just meditating. He does not work. Clearly all this goes far beyond the scientific study of crop circles, which was Nancy Talbott's original mission!
We have had a long and interesting phone conversation with Nancy Talbott. She says she can't help being impressed by these phenomena, some of which she has witnessed herself. At the same time, she admits that there is no proof (although she claims to have chemical proof that some crop circles are anomalous).
Getting back to this picture - is it a hoax or not? MUFON is on very shaky ground giving it so much importance in their zine, but they say it is because Robbert is already known to them and they consider him to be "sincere and reliable". We of "Smear" have always felt there is a definite correlation between some UFO cases and the human mind. As skeptical as we are about most things, we don't put this picture (and the others in the same series) down. On the other hand, they would have been ridiculously easy to fake!
We are disturbed that Robbert's father, the conservative banker, is putting together material for a book on all this, and it will include some of Robbert's pictures. We seem to have a syndrome here which is some sort of crude combination of George Adamski and Ed Walters. So - what is the truth of the matter? As old George would say, "Time Will Tell!"
The investigator was Kenny Young, the fellow who sponsored our 2001 National UFO Conference in Cincinnati. Though Kenny is a very active ufologist, he no longer subscribes to the Journal, so when we telephoned him we were the first to tell him that his story had appeared in print.
The incident in question consisted of a number of brilliant lightning-like flashes in the sky over a short period of time, though there was no thunder or rain. This caused power disruptions over a wide area, and a number of emergency calls to "911", of which Kenny obtained a transcript. Although the many other callers simply described the mysteriously flashing lights, one caller & his wife claimed to have seen "an object hovering at near tree-top level, which was interacting with nearby power lines", causing an arcing flash that would send a powerful explosive sound over the sleepy and confused neighborhood.
This unnamed resident went on to say: "This house-sized object was a saucer-shaped metallic structure with a polished aluminum surface, with alternating sets of rotating, flare-like lights. Two sets of lights clearly rotated in opposite directions and were very bright, consisting of several colors...There was no smoke or exhaust that I could see."
The fire department responded, and according to the primary witness quoted above, the firemen with whom he spoke also admitted seeing the same object he saw. Yet, when Kenny tried to confirm the incident with town officials, he got absolutely nowhere!
This is a fascinating case, but the sad part is that the detailed description of the object depends on just one man and his wife. None of the other "911" callers reported seeing anything of the sort. So we are left frustrated, as usual. There's no proof that this one fellow didn't make the whole thing up as far as the structured craft is concerned, but in any case the incident remains mysterious...
We bring this up now because Bon Shell has recently been charged with felony murder of a young woman who worked for him in Virginia as his studio manager and model. The woman, named Marion Franklin, was only 19 years old when she died of an overdose of morphine. Shell is also charged with three counts of drug distribution, four counts of defiling a corpse, and one count of attempted forcible sodomy.
Shell admits that he and Franklin had consensual sex and that she stopped breathing as she napped afterwards. The prosecution contends that the woman would have been incapcitated beforehand by cocaine, morphine and other drugs in her system.
Shell has not yet gone to trial. (Our thanks to K.P.)...
What does all this have to do with UFOs? Probably not much, though the story does help to fill this page. All we are trying to point out is that atomic physics is a vast and still little-known realm, and somewhere out there may be the secret of what causes flying saucers, poltergeists, and other disturbing anomalies. Or, the answer may come from an entirely different direction. (Thanks to Denis Corey.)...
All of this, of course, is a consequence of the very nasty new world we live in since 9/ll. "We have to do what is necessary for force protection" (whatever that means), says a Pentagon spokesman. So we had all better hope that no one in the government ever sees a link between UFOs and National Security. It's unlikely, but one never knows, does one! (Our thanks to Tom Benson)
One of the Inquirer's frequent topics is the philosophy of science, and we are all in favor of this. But we were amused and dismayed by just the title of one of the articles in the current issue. Believe it or not, the full title is: "Defending Science - Within Reason: The Critical Common-sensist Manifesto: A noted philosopher of science proposes a 'Critical Common-sensist' account of how science proceeds, which she believes can correct the over-optimism of the old Deferentialism toward science without succumbing to the facitious despair of the anti-scientific New Cynicism."
"BLOW THE WHISTLE ON BUSH'S 'GULF OF PERSIA' RESOLUTION! History shows that presidential lying constitutes an impeachable offense. If Bush has lied to the world about his No. I reason for waging war against Iraq, then he should be impeached. If enough whistleblowers on this issue decide to come forward, their evidence may be enough to guarantee that impeachment..."
We really don't think Larry has a chance on this one!
Now Betty is 84 years old and terminally ill with lung cancer. One of the two women who have been caring for her is a niece named Cathy Marden, who recently wrote the following letter to John Schuessler of MUFON:
"I suspect that Betty had an ET visitation on Tuesday, June 15th, or in the early morning hours of June 16th. Whatever occurred, there was an element of high strangeness associated with the following events.
"To update you on her condition, Betty is no longer able to support her own weight, and her right arm is fractured and paralyzed. Sunday, June 13th, while using her walker, she fell and sustained a severe fracture of her upper humerus and a hairline fracture of her wrist. She is under Hospice care and is totally incapacitated, crippled, and on morphine for severe pain. My cousin Connie put Betty to bed on the sofa on Tuesday evening and then retired to Betty's bedroom, a few feet away. Connie is a light sleeper and she awakens whenever she hears Betty stir. However, she did not awake on the evening in question. In fact. she overslept on the following morning until 7:00 AM.
"When she awoke she found that Betty's splint had been removed and the ace bandage that was tightly wrapped around her hand and forearm was still intact around the splint, as if it had been removed from her arm without being unwrapped. This would have been impossible. Also, her sling, which holds her arm in place above her heart, was removed, intact. This was tightly fastened and taped, and could not be removed without unfastening the tape and Velcro. Both items were neatly placed on a chair approximately l0 feet from Betty. Also, the dead bolt lock on the back door to Betty's house had been unlocked, and the door was wide open.
"It would have been physically impossible for Betty to commit these acts independently. Also, Connie has never been known to sleepwalk. Hypothetically, under the remote possibility that Connie perpetrated these acts in a sleep state, the pain would have been so severe that Betty would have screamed in agony.
"Even stranger, Betty's external appearance has suddenly improved and her pain level has been significantly reduced. This was witnessed by Connie, myself, and a medical doctor who visited her on June 16th."
This incident is indeed baffling, but if it's not a hoax, what else can it be? Did the Space People really come back to see her? In any case, Betty Hill is a very nice lady, and we continue to wish her well. We spoke to her briefly by phone in regard to the incident, and she simply said that she has no idea what happened. (Our thanks to K.P.)
Charles Dellschau was born in Brandenburg, Prussia, in 1830, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1853. His exact whereabouts for the next few years are unknown, but by 1856, he is in Texas, where he will live until his death in 1923. Upon his retirement from a Houston saddle shop at the age of 70, Dellschau literally retreated to an attic room and fashioned a second career.
For the next 20 years, Dellschau cranked out drawing after drawing of brilliantly colored airships in "a charming style", according to a New York Times reviewer, "that presages Monty Python!' Were Dellschau's fantastic flying machines some sort of private joke, or, as some ufologists think, a significant clue to the so-called Great Airship Mystery the hundreds, if not thousands, of reports of unusual flying objects made from one coast of America to the other, between the fall of 1896 and the spring of 1897.
What attracts some researchers is the mysterious context in which Dellschau cast his airships - as flying devices actually produced and flown in the early 1850s by a secretive California organization known as the Sonora Aero Club. The society was supposedly funded by an even more shadowy group known only as NYMZA. The genius behind the Club's "aeros", as they were called, was one Peter Mennis, a pilot and the alleged inventor of an anti-gravity gas or substance variously spelled "supe" or "suppe". Dellschau was apparently the Club's draftsman.
The Aero Club reportedly disbanded sometime in the 1860s, after Mennis died and took the secret of suppe to his grave. Some ufologists believe, however, that one or another member of the Club may have continued operations, or at least contributed to the construction of one or more of the aerial machines that gave rise to the Great Airship Mystery.
But there are some obvious obstacles to a literal interpretation of Dellschau's account. For one thing, there is the "embarrassment of riches" J. Allen Hynek referred to in terms of UFO reports. In other words, the sheer volume of aeros drafted by Dellschau argues against the case. And why would each new aero require a different, complicated design, never mind the cost and problems associated with producing such vehicles in secrecy? Furthermore, why no trace in the historical record of a Sonora Aero Club, prior to the discovery of Dellschau's notebooks circa 1969? Those who have bothered to check the local cemetries and census records for members named by Dellschau have largely come away emptyhanded.
But if Dellschau wasn't the Aero Club's draftsman, what was he? My best guess is that he was what is now known as a "Visionary" or Outsider, Artist, a phrase only coined in English in 1972, in art historian Roger Cardinal's book, "Outsider Art".
Outsider artists flock to a different pylon. Without going into a complete psychological profile, they are often anti-social in that they keep largely to their own counsel and paint or produce for an audience of one - themselves. Almost universally, their art doesn't court popular appeal or approbation, nor do they play to byproducts like fame and commercial success associated with normal artists working in whatever medium. In addition, they are typically self-taught, manic or compulsively prodigious in output (Dellschau produced more than 5,000 individual pieces), and their oeuvre often reiterates a single personal theme or inner vision.
Dellschau would seem to qualify as an Outsider Artist in almost every regard. He created in solitude and never sought credit or profit for his supposed role in aviation history. (Indeed, his life's work almost wound up in a land fill; it was only discovered and rescued by the sheerest serendipity.)
In short, Dellschau's Sonora Aero Club, rather than a historical record of a secret society and its unsung pioneers of aviation, should properly be seen as a personal flight of fancy, a near obsession with the advances in aviation that were taking place outside his self-cloistered garret as he drew and dreamed.
It was his way of participating, a collectively compelling act of an individual too old to physically fly, but still young and innocent enough to imagine that he could or had. While Dellschau's Sonora Aero Club may not illuminate UFO history, it does nothing to diminish our appreciation of Outsider Art. In fact, it only enhances it.
Interestingly, the obscure California town of Sonora is currently in the news: There is now a website devoted to "The Sonora UFO Sightings", and these sightings, together with photos, are briefly described. This "flap" has spread to various parts of California in recent weeks, but we don't have enough details to comment further, as yet.
We here at "Pflock Talk" Central recently were delighted to receive two new publications of note. Both conjure up memories of the Good Olde Daze of ufology and other food for thought and no little amusement.
First is "42 Years: A UFO Editor's Perspective", compiled by prolific Ohio saucerer Rick Hilberg (36 pp. booklet, $8.00 postpaid from Hilberg, 377 Race St., Berea, Ohio 44017). Rick has been writing for, editing, and publishing saucerzines for, you guessed it, 42 years, and he's still going strong. Here he offers up as many of his favorite articles from his various publications and the late Al Manak's "Flying Saucer Digest" as he could cram into 36 pages, covering the years 1962-2002. Most are from Hilberg's own pen. All are at least interesting. Some are fascinating (Wait'll you meet "Jerry", the NASA guy with the instrumented trailer, a la the "X-Files"'.) Taken together, they paint a unique picture of four decades of ufological history that's well worth the eight bucks.
Next up is "The Carbondale UFO Crash - The Reality, the Hoaxes and the Legend", by Matt Graeber (18 pp. booklet, $5.00 postpaid; order from William E. Jones, 829 Bethel Road, Columbus, Ohio 43214). Matt's well known to "Smear" non-subscribers as a UFOtoonist extraordinare. Less well known are his accomplishments as the founder-director of UFORIC, the Philadelphia-based UFO Report and Information Center, a small volunteer outfit that did some first-class research during the 1970s. There's no better example of this than Matt's investigation of the alleged crash of a UFO into a pond near the town of Carbondale, Pa., presented here in delightful style.
On the night of November 9, 1974, some teenagers breathlessly reported to the town police that they had seen a strange glowing object streak through the sky and splash down, sinking to the bottom of the pond. There it continued to emit an eerie light, observed by police officers over a period of several hours.
I'm not spoiling the story by revealing that the "UFO" turned out to be a lantern, tossed into the murky water, probably by the teenage "witnesses", to stir up some excitement. For the real story is the hoopla this little hoax generated and the mythology it has spavined, a tale so durable that some in UFOdumb...uh.. -dom still believe the lantern had to be a saucer, which was hauled and hidden away by the military.
The true, funny-sad, cautionary story of "The Carbondale UFO Capers", ufology a la the original "Saturday Night Live", is a must read for all thoughtful saucerers. You decide if Graeber is telling the truth or is a dissembling "government agent or high-ranking Air Force officer disguised as a UFO field investigator". Personally, I think he's a MIB with a sense of humor.
"I was shocked by the mention in your current issue of a bogus item in the previous magazine. Reading the account a second time it seemed to me a typical monster narrative: a strange massive creature is spotted on the road at night, followed by a high speed 'escape'. No collaborating evidence of Bigfoot's presence can subsequently be produced. I'd like to know what the 'clues' were in the May 10, 2004 issue, so as not to make the mistake in the future of taking a report in your magazine as authentic when it might be a 'ringer'.
"Was the hint the large genitalia reported on the creature? Does that mean the review of 'UFO Warning' in your current issue (page 6) where you state 'Barbara seemed ready to succumb willingly to its sexual advances (see ridiculous illustration), but for some reason the monster abruptly departed', is a clue to another 'ringer', or an accurate recounting of the yarn?
"Perhaps it's more likely you are making fun of Bigfoot, a.k.a. Sasquatch, now that it is down for the count? (What with the revelations Ray Wallace faked the 'original' Jerry Crew tracks, and the Greg Long book busting the Patterson film.) I bet if Erik Beckjord was still active we'd hear from him in these pages, as we know he has an ax to grind (whatever that means) with the Editor!"
Re the "ringer", one clue was the large genitalia and another was the name of the sighter, Claude Balsworth (="Clawed Balls") We were not influenced by the current badmouthing of Bigfoot, who may indeed exist, even if the Patterson film is fake. - Our review of "UFO Warning" was accurate! - Editor.
"Thank you for your recent letter, and please excuse my delay in replying. Since your publication has become petty and mercenary, its funding must take its place in the queue of household expenses in which, sad to say, it does not rank very high.
"I'm sorry if in my 'Skeptical Inquirer' column I overstated the attendance at last year's glorious NUFOC Con., for which error you should have been most grateful. I'm also sorry if I created the impression of you as a doddering old has-been. We know that isn't true - you're still as fun-loving as you ever were. You just can't tolerate as much fun as you once could.
"It's really funny how the pro-UFO crowd has jumped on these Mexican infrared videos as an 'instant classic UFO'. My article about it, based upon collaboration with a source whose expertise on infrared imaging cannot possibly be critiqued or surpassed, will be coming up soon in the 'Skeptical Inquirer'.
"Please accept the enclosed love-offering to get me back onto your non-non-subscriber list... There is no better publication than yours for staying in touch with the lunacy of UFOdumb."
"I just finished reading your 6/15 newsletter, and I enjoyed your inclusion of some UFO sightings, which added interest to the zine.
"The Mexican sightings are very strange. Maybe the visitors got tired of us yapping about them, and have gone invisible!
"Though I haven't read 'UFO Warning', I can't agree that it's the best saucer book ever written. That title goes to the book that you and Karl Pflock turned out..."
"Well, how does it feel to be snubbed? The new 'UFO Magazine Encyclopedia of UFOs' has an entry for Todd Zechel, but alas, none for you. But don't despair. William Birnes, the editor, is effusive ad nauseum in all his thanks to you in the introduction, so I guess it balances out.
"Ahab, old wizened one, at last the smoking gun!:
"Page 293 of Jacques Vallee's book 'Forbidden Science':
"On July 10, 1967, Dr. J. Allen Hynek showed Vallee his contract with the Air Farce (spelling intentional). But the contract was not with the USAF but the Dodge Corporation - a well-known subsidiary of McGraw Hill.
"When Vallee pointed out the discrepancy, Hynek responded that the government used the Dodge Corporation as a cover to pay and legitimize the employment of people conducting intelligence operations for Uncle Sam. Obviously this was all accomplished with the blessing of McGraw Hill!
"Where is this all going, you ask? Well, we all know who works for another wellknown subsidiary of McGraw Hill, i.e., 'Aviation Ueek' - don't we!"
Bill refers of course to retired ufologist Phil Klass. - Editor.
"I don't know anything whatsoever about photos of Elvis on Mars, but the woman on the right in the photo on page 6 of your May 10th issue looks very much like Debbie D. to me. You might know that mermaid vampire personally, as I believe she once stood next to you in a previous photograph in 'Saucer Smear'.
"Debbie D is both a scream queen and a mermaid vampire (surely the categories are not exclusive). She's mainly in R rated films, but has appeared with her fellow scream queen, Debbie Dutch in some semi soft core homemade girl/girl stuff. You might ask her about it the next time you see her at a UFO convention. She's a sweet young woman, but you might want to keep your major neck veins protected by a crucifix, or a garlic necklace."
Debbie D is one of Bob Durant's Roswell Girls, who help him promote his famous pro-Roswell video. We agree that there are sexual overtones in all this. - Editor.
"I can announce, officially, for printing in 'Saucer Smear' in whatever form you choose, that Duke University Press will soon, perhaps in 2005, be publishing an anthology of writings by anthropologists on culture and ufology, edited by Debbora Battaglia of Mt. Holyoke University, who has in the past done fieldwork infiltrating the Raelian cult. My piece, 'Ufology as Anthropology: Race, Extraterrestrials, and the Occult' will be featured in it, as will others, by, for example, Susan Lepselter, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas who has done fieldwork among UFO believers in various locales, including Rachel, Nevada. 'Encountering the Extraterrestrial: Anthropology in Outerspaces' is the book title on the contract so far, but it is not carved in stone, and another title being tossed around is 'ET Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces'. I'll keep you posted on developments, and I will do what I can to see that 'Saucer Smear' is on the list of publications to receive review copies.
"I cleaned out my desk at the University of Chicago yesterday as my post-doctoral position ends, so it's possible this chapter will be my last hurrah in official academia..."
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