Friday, July 13, 2018

John Mittl: from Unsolved UFOs to Astral Encounters

by Claude Falkstrom and Curt Collins


The "Unknowns," the cases Project Blue Book labelled "Unidentified," are the ones that interest UFO researchers the most. These are the cases are highly prized, as they provide the strongest evidence that some UFOs could be something unearthly. One such case is the report of John Mittl. While a few may know about his 1952 UFO report, not many know about his Mittl's UFO lectures, research or subsequent sightings.


John Mittl first became known for taking four photographs of a disc-like object July 9, 1952 from his farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. He wrote to the Air Force about the sighting, and the story was covered in newspapers and broadcast on radio by the legendary Frank Edwards.

The Morning Call July 31, 1952

Saturday Night Uforia hosts a page collecting the surviving Project Blue Book documents on the case, classified as "Unidentified."

Much More to Mittl

Mittl was only 22 at the time of the sighting, but was a man of many interests and talents, a former prize-winning member of the Future Farmers of America.
The_Morning Call Sept. 29. 1947
He was also a rock hound and gemstone cutter, and this is as good a place as any to mention that he was a vegetarian, and that his favorite dish was fried hot peppers.
The Morning Call Dec. 6, 1956, The Morning Call Jun. 16, 1960
Besides UFOs, photography, agriculture, herpetology and nature conservation, Mittl was interested in the occult. In 1960 he published a paper, "Astral Projection (Modus Operandi) by John Mittl PS.D, MS.D, D.D."


Astral projection is the term from Theosophy for the act of sending one's spiritual self or soul on an out-of-body trip. Mittl described what he provided the reader:
A simple method of instruction whereby the sincere student of the occult may readily learn to project his astral body and learn some of the deep secrets of the spiritual phase of exsistence, as well gain deeper insight into the realms of eternal life, knowing that death of the present physical body is not the end, but the beginning of our absolute ubiquity.
It's not known where Mittl studied to master the discipline, but one institution advertised in Popular Mechanics magazine offering three of the exact degrees he stated:

Within Astral Projection," he discussed the potential benefits of it as a means of exploration. "You may also desire a solution to Life's Mysteries as well as problems in your own personal life. The mystery of flying saucers may be revealed to you while on an Astral Flight."


Paranormal radio pioneer Long John Nebel in his 1961 book, Way Out World, compared Mittl to George Adamski and the Contactees:
Somewhat less dramatic, somewhat less physical, than his West Coast competitors is John Mittl of Pennsylvania. A vegetarian and recluse who petitioned long and hard to be on the all-night session, he told an interesting tale, but hardly soared to the heights of imagination attained by (Howard) Menger and (Orfeo) Angelucci. Mittl described many “contacts” achieved under dreamlike astral conditions. He spoke freely of etheric type saucers and other such things. However, it appeared that he was not really in his proper field because I recently got a brochure from him announcing that he was available for lectures on special theories of diet and nutrition.
Nebel was unaware of what all he was missing, like Mittl's expertise in snakes. There was no talent for that in the other Contactees. Mittl was also a attuned to the world around us, sensitive to animals and nature itself.
Standard Speaker Nov. 23, 1964
Despite his other interests, he still made time for flying saucers.
The Morning Call Nov. 9, 1964

Fourteen Years Later

Many witnesses become famous for a single UFO encounter or photograph, but Mittl's 1952 pictures were lost amidst the big flap of 1952. His time arrived in 1966.

“Our Space Age” was a daily syndicated illustrated feature written by Otto Binder and illustrated by Carl Pfeufer. Its main thrust was covering NASA's space exploration, but also covered Binder's other big interests, science-fiction and UFOs. In January 1966, it presented a six-part story on the otherworldly adventures of John Mittl. 

The Daily Journal Jan. 10-11-12 1966

The Daily Journal Jan. 13-14-15, 1966

The Morning Call from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Oct. 10, 1966 featured a lengthy illustrated article detailing Mittl's experiences and outlook.







Mittl was interviewed around the same time for The National Tattler, discussing his psychic experiences with UFOs, and making some predictions, such as the impeachment of President Johnson.


Mittl was still lecturing in 1979. From The Morning Call, Feb. 12, 1979, "Allentonian aims to prove flying saucers are spiritual."
Mittl said everybody can see the saucers when they materialize, but they are "still not physical. No one ever found one that crashed," he said. He explained that many continuous "sightings" by various people over the years was not an indication of "game playing" by UFOs. but simply showed some people were prepared to see them.

After that, Mittl doesn't seem to have gotten much press, at least for his UFO interest, but legendary psychic Harold Sherman mentioned him favorably in his 1986 book, The Dead Are Alive: They Can and Do Communicate With You. Sherman told how he'd recommended Mittl's classes,  and they helped a desperate friend reconnect with his departed wife via astral projection.

Forty Years Later

We're always interested to see what became of the participants in UFO stories through the march of time. John Mittl was interviewed by The Morning Call again in 1992, about his investigations and his thoughts on the physical nature of UFOs.
"I was always looking for one that would crash. I was like everybody else until I began to think about it... I found out after I did astral projection that there is no `physical' ship'."
Mittl made the papers again in 1996, based on one of his more earthly hobbies.


John Mittl briefly had a blog, Peppers & Projection in December 2009, which published some mementos from his UFO days. Sadly, his memories of those incredible experiences were later lost due to the onset of dementia. As of 2014,  he was living in Sandpoint, Idaho at the Valley Vista nursing facilities.

Despite his many other UFO experiences, Project Blue Book has only information about John Mittl's historic photograph case from 1952. As we've seen here, there was a lot more to his story.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for this. I've had a print of a couple of his photos for years but not having seen any of the other information about him and just the images to go on I set them aside as probable tossed objects. Given how persistent his beliefs were in this area I would have to revise my opinion simply because of his sincerity. Regardless of what any may think of his claims it seems clear to me that the man believed everything he said. I found his recountings of his astral rides and his subsequent personal interpretations of them and the phenomena related to them as equally earnest if naive (interpreting the craft as non-physical based on his interactions with them and their occupants in a subjectively non-physical state). Other contactees such as Calvin Girvin reported to have had similar OBE contacts and trips on flying saucers (so did his friend June Ormond, wife of grade Z awesomeness director Ron Ormond for that matter).

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