Thursday, June 17, 2021

Criswell Predicts Flying Saucers

The Amazing Criswell's UFO involvement goes much deeper than just hosting the flying saucer invasion movie, Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Criswell aka Jeron King Criswell (originally Jeron Criswell Konig) was an astrologer and psychic to Hollywood stars. He became a minor celebrity himself, with his own television show, newspaper column, and was a frequent guest on talk shows.  

Fate magazine brought us news of flying saucers and the paranormal and early issues also featured the column, Criswell Predicts.


Criswell's column from Oct. 2, 1950 included a UFO book review:

"On your book shelf, there is one book that is building to a best seller by word of mouth, and that is Richard S. Shaver's exciting 'I Remember Lemuria,' which gives evident proof that the ancient races still live, the Atlans, the Titans and many others who return to this earth in 'flying saucers' after 200 centuries of living beyond the blue. This startling information is backed by some of our most prosaic scientists of 1950!" 


His Criswell Predicts column from November 9, 1950, contained one of his few accurate predictions:

"The next trend in fiction will be the brutal interplanetary invasions and wars, which Fate Magazine has pioneered for some time." Another hit was at the end of 1952. Criswell had many predictions for the coming year and said that the US would “undergo an epidemic of flying saucers.”


Criswell and the World's First Flying Saucer Convention

In the early 1950s, Criswell was a member of a flying saucer club in Los Angeles., and in 1953 they put together a convention. Orfeo Angelucci described its origins in his 1955 book, The Secret of the Saucers.

“… as the crowds increased, the Club House was no longer large enough to accommodate everyone. It was then that Max Miller... and [Jeron] Criswell, the well-known columnist and television Man of Prophecy, suggested that we rent the music room in the famous old Hollywood Hotel for our weekly meetings. …[Later] Miller conceived the idea of a Flying Saucer Convention.” 

It was billed as “the World's First Flying Saucer Convention,” and held at the Hollywood Hotel on August 16-18, 1953. Although some scientific and serious UFO researchers were invited, they declined and most of the speakers were more in the Contactee camp. Criswell served as the convention’s principal program moderator and guests included Frank Scully, Silas Newton, Forrest J. Ackerman, George Adamski, Truman Bethurum, Orfeo Angelucci, George Van Tassel, and Max Miller. By some accounts, over 1500 people attended and the facilities were filled beyond capacity.

SAUCERS, Dec. 1953

Based on its success, the next year George Van Tassel launched an annual Spacecraft Convention at Giant Rock, California. Ever since, UFO conferences have been a little corner of show business.

 

Criswell on Captured Flying Saucers and Disclosure

Criswell was associated with the UFO topic strongly enough for that he was described as a “TV prophet and saucer columnist,” in Gray Barker’s The Saucerian magazine. Barker's Saucerian Bulletin: shared a Criswell prediction of imminent UFO Disclosure: 

"On the ABC-TV show, 'You Asked for It,' of several weeks ago, Criswell, the widely syndicated West Coast columnist who makes his living by trying to peer into the future, predicted flatly that an announcement on just what flying saucers are would be made by the government on Dec 10, 1953."

The Roundhouse, October 1953 (newsletter for Maquoketa, Iowa Cup & Saucer Club) reported further details: "Criswell has predicted that the government will make an official announcement on the existence of flying saucers on December 10, 1953. He previously said we would have space travel by 1963 because of the captured flying discs.”

There was at least one skeptical piece by Criswell from a 1954 column. The wife of an alleged Contactee wrote in and Criswell said his nonsense shouldn't be encouraged.


The science fiction magazine Spaceway, June 1955 featured a cover story with Mae West and Criswell as spacemen, “Criswell Predicts: Our First Moon Flight.” He said his friend Mae West would be elected US president in 1960 on a space travel platform, and he’d join her on a flight to the moon. The same year, the singer recorded the song "Criswell Predicts" for her album, The Fabulous Mae West.

The newspaper column Criswell Predicts continued to occasionally mention flying saucers among his other prophecies, and in late 1955, Criswell had a particularly emphatic one:

“I predict that Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker will make a most startling statement of factual evidence concerning flying saucers before March 30, 1956! Remember this prediction!”

In 1956, Criswell was the narrator for Ed Wood’s flying saucer movie, Plan 9 from Outer Space, which was later released in 1958. Criswell opens this possibly prophetic tale by saying, “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”

Criswell's opening narration for Plan 9 

Afterwards, we’re faced with the possibility that we’ve already been invaded.
“Can you prove it didn’t happen?… God help us in the future!”

The 1968 book, Criswell Predicts Your Future from Now to the Year 2000, contained a few mentions of the mysteries of space and UFOs:

“In the vision of many men, we have seen the inhabitants of other planets who have visited our earth.  I predict that these visits will increase in frequency over the next 20 years.  By 1988, there will be substantiated records of visits to earth from other planets.

And, from time to time, many earth people will leave this earth to return to alien planets with the visitors from outer space.  And, in the long run, these will be the lucky ones.  For they and their descendants will escape the doomsday that will come on August 18, 1999.”

His 1970 record, The Legendary Criswell Predicts! Your Incredible Future, contained another bold saucer prophecy:

"I predict that flying saucers will officially land on the lawn of the White House to open up a new outer-space, inter-world treaty. Mark this date on your calendar: May the sixth, 1991."

In his Criswell Predicts column for July 24, 1977:

“UFOs Again – I predict that in coming court trial for damages, our government will be forced to admit that unidentified flying objects do exist and damages will be paid for personal injuries to person and property. This will be one of the top cases of the year.”

In October 1977 Criswell spoke at George Van Tassel’s Spacecraft Convention at Giant Rock, California. He said of the location, “The area becomes alive at dusk, when you can actually hear… a funny whirring sound of the space people around Giant Rock.”


Criswell did not live to see Earth’s doomsday he predicted at the end of the century. He died on October 4, 1982.


See the article, “Who was Criswell?” at the Criswell Predicts site for more on his biography beyond his saucer exploits.


Friday, June 4, 2021

Pentagon UFO Report 1952: We Can Do Nothing



In July 1952, the US Air Force held a major press conference to tell the public what they knew about flying saucers. Project Blue Book director Capt. Edward Ruppelt participated, and he later wrote:

“Prodded by the hubbub over the Washington flare-up and by the record crop of sightings, the Air Force called a press conference on July 29 at the Pentagon. Maj. Gen. John A. Samford, Air Force director of intelligence, went up against the biggest assemblage of newspapermen to turn out for an Air Force conference since World War II. He was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Roger Ramey, director of operations, and four technical men from ATIC-Col. Donald Bower, Capt. Roy James, Burgoyne Griffing, and myself.”

From left: Capt. R. L. James, radar expert; Maj. Gen. Roger Ramey, deputy chief for operations; Capt. Edward Ruppelt; Maj. Gen. John A. Samford, air intelligence chief; Col. Donald L. Bowan, and civilian expert Burgoyne L. Griffing.

While not a formal report, Gen. Samford’s remarks addressed public concerns, updating them on the Washington reports and also addressing the larger UFO problem. Samford assured the public that UFOs were not a threat, admitted that reports of UFOs go back to ancient times, and that 20% of UFO reports remain unexplained. Taking questions from reporters afterward, he also addressed the possibility of an extraterrestrial origin for UFOs.


Excerpts from Gen. Samford's remarks:

The Air Force feels a very definite obligation to identify and analyze things that happen in the air that may have in them menace to. the United States and… since 1947, we have an activity that was known one time as Project Saucer and now, as part of another more stable and integrated organization, have, undertaken to analyze between a thousand and two thousand reports dealing with this area. And out of that mass of reports that we've received we've been able to take things which were originally unidentified and dispose of them to our satisfaction…

However, there have remained a percentage of this total, in the order of twenty percent of the reports, that have come from credible observers of relatively incredible things. And because of these things not being possible for us to move along and associate with the kind of things that we’ve found can be associated with the bulk of these reports, we keep on being concerned about them.

We know that reports of this kind go back to Biblical times. There have been flurries of them in various centuries. 1846 seems to have had a time when there was quite a flurry of reporting of this kind. Our current series of reports goes back, generally, to 1946 in which things of this kind were reported in Sweden.

So our present course of action is to with the best of our ability, giving to it the attention that we feel it very definitely warrants… if it turns out to be that, menace to the United States to give it adequate attention but not frantic attention.

After that, Samford took questions from the press, and much of his responses focusing on how UFOs were often misidentified objects, and how sometimes clouds or birds caused false radar returns. Pressed for an answer about what UFOs could be, Samford said,

“I think that the highest probability is that these are phenomena associated with the intellectual and scientific interests that we are on the road to learn more about but that there is nothing in them that is associated with material or vehicles or missiles that are directed against the United States.”

A reporter asked if UFOs could be extraterrestrial in origin, “some other planet violating our air space.” Samford replied, “The astronomers are our best advisers, of course, in this business of visitors from elsewhere. [Examining the data at hand,] It doesn't cause them to have any enthusiasm whatsoever in thinking about this other side of it.”

In the final question, a reporter asked, “General, are sightings from military personnel made public generally, or are they –"

Samford cut him off, saying, “There's no reason why they shouldn't be.”  

Video clip from the conference


Was This UFO Disclosure?

Gen.Samford did not give the definite answers that many wanted, but through him, the US government essentially disclosed that UFOs are real, they've been here throughout history, and they are apparently not a menace. Science, he thought, might someday learn more about the phenomena. Gen. Samford did not explicitly state there was nothing the Air Force could do about UFOs, but he said they would keep watching.

The full text of the press conference can be read at the link below. A particularly interesting section was when Gen. Samford passed a tricky question on to Capt. Ruppelt. A reporter asked, "Isn't it true, sir, that [reports] show a definite grouping, the sightings around atomic bomb plants or areas?"

39-page PDF made from Capt. Edward Ruppelt's copy:



Single pages from the files of Project Blue Book at Fold 3: 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Life and Legend of Otis T. Carr - Part 4: The CG-ES Files

When flying saucer inventor Otis T. Carr died September 20, 1982, he left behind business and personal papers that chronicled his efforts to get industry and the U.S. government interested in his designs for Gravity-Electrodynamic Machines to generate free energy. The collection was preserved by relatives over the years, and documents, literature, and photographs from it are presented here for the first time.

The Saucers That Time Forgot published a 3-part series, The Life and Legend of Otis T. Carr. Since then, Carr's file has been released from the FBI and his own personal papers have been shared with us. The new material required several updates and demanded the creation of a fourth and final chapter.

Part 1: The Rise of OTC Enterprises 

Part 2: Countdown to the Saucer Launch

Part 3: The Trial

Here’s a brief recap of the first three parts: 

Otis T. Carr and Norman E. Colton from a 1958 television appearance.

Carr was an inventor, and he set up OTC Enterprises, Inc. in the late 1950s to market a man-made flying saucer, the OTC-X1 circular-foil spacecraft, which was powered by the Utron Electrical Accumulator, his free energy generator. Norman Colton was in advertising and became Carr’s right-hand man, helping Carr raise hundreds of thousands for the project, from saucer buffs to oil barons. The problems began to surface with the public demonstration to prove Carr’s technology, a launch of the unmanned OTC-X1 saucer prototype. It couldn’t fly. Afterwards, the Securities and Exchange Commission prohibited OTC Enterprises from selling stock, and Carr was subsequently convicted and jailed in Oklahoma for violating state securities regulations. Carr dropped out of both the flying saucer business and the public eye. 

Yet that was not the end of his story. Little has been published about Carr’s post-conviction life or the creation of Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems to generate free energy that “could be applied anywhere on this planet or in space.”  

Part 4: 

Otis T. Carr’s Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems

Co-author for this chapter, J.B.M., whose contributions were invaluable.

Self-Exile from Saucers

The surviving files of Otis T. Carr contain little from the OTC Enterprises, Inc. days. When Carr was facing charges in court, he fled Apple Valley, California for Vashon, Washington, leaving behind most of his papers and mementos. About all that remained in his possession from that era were a few publicity photos, copies of his 1957 Atoms for Peace brochure, and some newspaper clippings. Carr was released from his Oklahoma jail sentence on January 17, 1962, and the collection documents that period up until his 1982 death, with correspondence, invoices, bills, patent applications, legal papers, photographs, and more.

Otis T. Carr and Eleanor lived for a while in Baltimore after his jail term. There was some bad blood between Otis and some of his former OTC Enterprises associates there, and he wanted nothing further to do with them. Carr severed his ties to the flying saucer business, the OTC-X1 project, his spaceship ride, and his loving UFO fans. Before all his troubles started, Carr had found friends and investors in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so Otis and his wife moved there. Perhaps with the support of Eleanor, Carr was in better control of his alcoholism. The relocation gave him a fresh start, and it wasn’t long before he began developing a new free energy enterprise, this time as a more legitimate business.

All Carr kept from the old days were some of his business relationships. In 1963 he renewed his relationship with two attorneys in Oklahoma: Hubert A. Gibson as his general counsel and Jerry J. Dunlap as his patent lawyer, responsible for registering his inventions, copyrights, and trademarks. Carr reconnected with a few of his old investors in the United States and Canada who had paid to become exclusive regional distributors for OTC Enterprises. The first was Alex Andreotta of New York, who entered a contract with “Otis T. Carr, individual” for the production, development, and distribution of a “power gain device.” Money from old and new investors provided the means to construct a working model to demonstrate the principles of his free energy technology.

 

1963: The Demonstration

On Nov. 23, 1963, at R. H. Dreshman & Sons, Inc. in Homestead, PA (Manufacturers of Special Machines), Carr held a demonstration of his power gain technology, attended by five witnesses. One was Milton Palkowitz, an electrical engineer at the Panelcraft Company of America (McKeesport, PA) who later wrote a letter testifying to the successful operation of the machine, “which has heretofore been considered impossible by known engineering science.”

An early Power Gain Machine wooden-framed prototype

Afterwards, Carr and the witnesses each signed a notarized statement that “a machine invented by Mr. O.T. Carr has been successfully recycled by its own power and it has been witnessed by the following persons:” 

Otis T. Carr, Milton Palkowitz, Panelcraft, Inc., Matthew S. George, Panelcraft, Inc., Robert Ray Davis, Walter Dressel, Machinist, and Roy E. Dreshman, Treas.

The notarized statement and Palkowitz‘s testimonial letter became the centerpiece for Carr, used to establish the credibility for his concepts and products when meeting with potential customers or investors.

 

Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems

Otis incorporated Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems in Pennsylvania on May 7, 1964, and later in Canada, as “Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems, Ltd.” Carr leased an industrial building from Thomas Wilson at 401-403 Wide Drive, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, then purchased equipment and supplies for a machine shop to fabricate a prototype of his invention. The trademark for the company was a hummingbird, and he put its colorful image on the company sign and literature, part of his marketing plan developed to reach potential customers.


Carr also put together a team of executives, office staff, electrical engineers, and mechanics, including three of the participants from the 1963 demonstration. Joining Carr as CG-ES executives were inventor Dante Donatelli as Vice President, and for Secretary and Director, Michael A. Lukish, who had recently retired from government service. Unlike the participants and investors in his previous enterprise, none had known ties to the flying saucer scene. Below is the company roll circa 1965, with their position, if known:

Otis T. Carr, President; Dante A. Donatelli, Jr, Vice President; Michael A. Lukish, Secretary and Director; Virginia G. Bach, Administrative Secretary; Nancy L. Donatelli, Administrative Secretary; Milton Palkowitz, Electrical engineer; Matthew S. George, Electrical engineer; Walter Dressel, Machinist; Albert W. Eckels, Night watchman. Also, Curtis O. Herbert, Robert P. Mains, Howard W. Ransick, Sr, Louis G. Vitsas, and Louis Volpato.

Tentatively identified as: Milton Palkowitz, Michael A. Lukish, Otis T. Carr, and Dante A. Donatelli, Jr.

Over the next several months, the company was busy with getting set up and constructing the metal frame and components for the power gain machine. Otis was also at work inventing, refining designs, developing an elaborate marketing plan, and preparing patent applications. Capitalization was always a problem, and Carr claimed project delays were due to cash flow problems caused by “a breach of contract by my financial associates in Canada,” (possibly Robert P. Young of New Brunswick, Canada, a former OTC financier). Some relief came on May 25, 1964, with Carr’s second contract. It was with D. Daniel Martella and Frank Santora (another old OTC investor) for exclusive distribution rights for the power gain device in Delaware.

Carr and his team working on the Power Gain Machine

Carr wrote to his patent counsel Jerry Dunlap on Aug. 27, 1964, about construction of “Big Joe,” capable of power gain electrical energy transfer, “a true 4th dimensional machine.” The correspondence provides the best insight on how the power gain machine was supposed to work. Carr explained that electrical energy transfer was produced by two flywheels and a dimension bar magnet, and said, “The lines of force 180° apart are crossed dimensionally in the field rather than physically.” On Carr’s behalf, Dunlap filed applications for two patents: one for the device (“Power Gain Device,” serial number 418,952, on Dec. 14, 1964) and one for perhaps its key component (“Shaped Magnet,” serial number 397,526, on Sept.18, 1964). It’s interesting to note in the patent drawings and surviving photographs of prototypes, there’s no trace of the “Utron Electric Accumulator” that was crucial to his free energy designs from before.

Jerry Dunlap also helped Carr pursue two Canadian investors. They gained an ally in Mr. John Dolan, and later approached New Brunswick attorney Hendry O. McLellan about financial support for CG-ES of Canada. Patents for the products were also applied for in Canada.

Like Carr had done in 1957 with OTC Enterprises, CG-ES was presented as a real business. Carr established a company with a building, staff, and manufacturing crew, and even held corporate board meetings with officers and provided employee insurance policies. During the OTC Enterprises days there was an income stream from the sales of books and model plans, but Carr’s new company had no other products or services besides the power gain concept. Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems needed sales. By mid-1965, Carr was confident enough in the business that he debuted the company to the public.


 Carr’s full-page advertisement was published in McKeesport Daily News (PA), June 5, 1965, “Free Energy Comes to the Planet Earth.” It advertised “Perpetual Energy-Motion Machines,” and included a photo of its building, which carried the name, “Carr Gravity Electrodynamic Systems,” and the facility’s purpose: “Research - Development - Manufacturing – Marketing.” Using the same imagery, Carr printed a four-page “Free Energy” brochure on June 28, 1965, featuring a full color picture of his hummingbird trademark on the cover.

Issuing Stock

The finances were not improving. Shortly after he incorporated CG-ES, Carr obtained a certified copy of the 1959 court document, the SEC’s “Permanent Injunction” forbidding OTC Enterprises to issue stock. CG-ES was a different entity, so in the first quarter of 1966, the company began issuing shares at $10 per share. Periodic shareholder meetings were conducted, assuring investors the company was making progress. Over $150,000 in shares were issued, raising cash from investors, and used as payment of debt to creditors, including at least three former OTC Enterprises, Inc. regional distributors. Still, the company continued to sink further into debt. They needed a big sale. 


Petitioning the President

In 1957, Carr had managed to obtain a meeting with the US government to pitch the OTC Enterprises saucer for $20,000,000. His proposal was rejected, but he was going to try them again, but with a more affordable project, his power gain technology. Carr sent a letter to President Lyndon Johnson on Aug. 23, 1965, with an angle that he thought might get the government interested, “the water crisis on the Eastern Seaboard.” He enclosed the CG-ES brochure and proposed to use his technology to power a water desalination plant. Carr also sent copies to “the five Governors on your Committee and to the Secretary of the Interior.”  

Sec. of the Interior Stewart Udall and President Lyndon B. Johnson

That copy of the water desalination proposal letter to Governor William Scranton prompted a reply from the Pennsylvania Director of Research & Development, David R. Maneval, Ph.D. They subsequently met, and Maneval was apparently interested in Carr’s technology.

Meanwhile a cautious response came from the U.S. Department of Interior, and in the exchanges, the officials requested factual evidence of the performance of the machine. Carr offered his “Power Gain Device” patent application to lend credibility to his invention, but the Interior wanted something more substantial. On Feb. 9, 1966, Carr wrote to Robert W. Nelson, Deputy Asst. Secretary, that he would provide certified performance reports from an engineer as soon as they were complete. David R. Maneval’s Ph.D. was in mineral preparation from Pennsylvania State University. He was either intrigued or sympathetic enough that he wrote letters in Spring 1966 to two companies in Pennsylvania suggesting that they consider Carr’s machine ideas. Apparently at Otis’ request, Maneval also wrote a letter endorsing Carr to the U.S. Department of Interior’s Robert W. Nelson.

Carr continued to send out CG-ES sales literature far and wide. On June 2, 1966, John. R. Pegan, patent counsel for Pittsburgh’s Crucible Steel, wrote a rejection letter saying the company had “no interest in pursuing the subject matter…” Without flying saucers and Norman Colton’s promotion, Carr’s new venture struggled. The plan must have been for advertising and brochures to bring in orders, but that didn’t happen, and unpaid bills began piling up from day one. Invoices show that Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems was thousands of dollars in debt. Beginning in 1965, several of the companies involved took their cases to court, and in a few instances, CG-ES property was liquidated in Constable’s Sales to pay creditors.

The CG-ES machine

In the fall of 1966, Carr was forced to close the CG-ES plant. He wanted Eugene Carini (his old OTC-X1 saucer technical advisor) to come from Connecticut to rescue the shop machinery. Instead, on October 13, 1966, much of the equipment was surrendered to his plant landlord to terminate the lease and pay back rent. That was not the end of CG-ES, though, as it still existed on paper. Some of the remaining equipment and models were put in storage in the basement of Dante Donatelli, leased at the price of $50 per month. Carr continued to promote the product, using his home at Royal York Apartments, 3955 Bigelow Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA, as the address for CG-ES. The company may have been Carr’s sole source of income, and he was unwilling to let it go.

 

Mr. Carr Goes to Washington


Within weeks of shutting down the company building, Carr headed to Washington, D.C. He set up at the Statler-Hilton hotel for three weeks (from about Nov. 21 to Dec. 14, 1966) launching a letter writing campaign to promote the CG-ES machine. His targets included the Department of Interior, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, President Johnson, and private companies.

Justice William O. Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The letter campaign began paying off with a prior contact Otis had met years before in relation to a Maryland nature conservation project, and he played on that angle. Carr wrote to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who agreed to meet with him in Nov. 1966. There is no record of that conference, but within two months, Carr and some of his CG-ES staff were granted a meeting with the Department of Interior about his water desalination proposal. It took place at the Continental conference room at the Statler Hilton on Saturday, January 5, 1967. 

The half-scale wooden-framed power gain machine model. 

The Interior sent six of their technical experts to hear Carr’s proposal, which sought financing of $500,000 to develop “Power-Gain Energy Transfer Systems.” Carr’s presentation included a reading of two papers, the first was “Proposal for Power-Gain Development…,” but there was nothing detailing water desalination; he just touted his technology as a revolutionary energy source. His other paper, “Confidential Technical Report Disclosures…” opened with Carr’s three-page biography of his scientific accomplishments, including the story of his training by Nikola Tesla. There was no mention of the OTC-X1 project or his criminal conviction, however. The meeting culminated with Carr showing a color film of the operation of the first full-scale working model of his machine, then presenting a half-scale wooden model to point out the principles that “could be applied anywhere on this planet or in space for Power-Gain Energy Transfer.” Carr closed by saying that he’d be leaving town on Tuesday and, “I will expect an answer by that time.”

What he got instead was a polite rejection letter from the Interior, stating, “It is the unanimous opinion of our experts that the material presented during your demonstration is not sufficiently substantive… We cannot visualize your new principles in light of our knowledge of the fundamental laws of the conservation of energy or motion.” That was Carr’s big shot, and he must have been as profoundly disappointed in this rejection as in the 1959 saucer launch failure. Correspondence shows he felt discouraged by the “pressure of money lack and the environment of incredulity,” and bitter towards the government and the scientific establishment for rejecting his inventions.

 

The X1-Files, 1966: Lear Jet Aircraft and Saucer News 

Before leaving 1966, let’s back up for a brief episode involving the topic of flying saucers.

After his jail term, Carr avoided the press and any mention of flying saucers, but there was one exception. Due to a current wave of sightings, on April 2, 1966, The Daily Oklahoman published reporter Katherine Hatch’s interview of Carr by telephone “For the past two years, Carr said he has been doing research on an electrified magnetically propelled engine…and he has made a proposal to the government...” CG-ES was not named, but describing his device, Carr said, “It’s a gravity motor. I have been successful in my research and have built a machine that creates more energy than it uses.” On the topic of flying saucers, Carr said his spaceship OTC-X1 launch was a flop because he "never had a chance to finish,” and blamed it on insufficient funding. He thought the recent UFO sightings were proof that his work was valid. “I don’t say the craft are from somewhere else. I have proved in laboratory experiments that you can levitate a body electrically. ...it’s ridiculous in my mind, to pass it all off.” 

The Daily OklahomanApril 2, 1966

Later that year, saucers were still on his mind. On Nov. 23, 1966, while in Washington, D.C,. Otis T. Carr wrote a letter to the President of the Lear Jet Corporation, William P. Lear, Sr.  

William Lear with his arm around son, John Lear.

He provided Lear with a brag disguised as an update. In April and May, Carr had mailed him the CG-ES brochure and asked for the company to invest. Engineer Samuel H. Auld, head of Lear’s Electronics Division came to Pittsburgh and met with Carr, but ultimately declined the proposal. Carr told Lear that another backer had been found, and that he had completed the prototype for the Power Gain Energy Transfer machine, and he was now talking with the U.S. government to implement the technology.

Finally, Carr got to the real reason for writing, requesting a meeting with Lear on a matter of shared interest, saucer flight. Bill Lear was a UFO witness in the mid-1950s and had become a public advocate of flying saucer and antigravity research. Otis said his energy project kept him from pursuing the OTC-X1, but he encouraged Lear to pick up the work to become “the first to build, test and fly an electrically powered circular aircraft similar to the controversial U.F.O.”

Thanks to Lance Moody for the illustration

Whether Lear replied or not is unknown, but it’s interesting trivia that Bill’s son John Lear went on to become a UFO personality, spreading rumors that later became X-Files plots, and helped bring us Bob Lazar and the tales of aliens and flying saucers being stored at Nevada’s top-secret base, Area 51.

More significantly, Carr’s letter to Lear (along with the Daily Oklahoman article) can be read as a confession. No matter what his fans might want to believe, Otis himself was never able to get a saucer to fly.

 

Splits, Debts and Stock

In the aftermath of the disappointment in Washington, DC, one of Carr’s key supporters not only had a loss of faith, but his heart had also turned. Michael A. Lukish had joined the company after retiring from government work, and it looks like he was a straight arrow, possibly serving as the company’s moral compass. Lukish sent a letter resigning as Secretary and Director of CG-ES on July 2, 1967. Over the following months, other letters followed, about what he viewed as Carr’s fraudulent presentation to the Department of Interior. He’d had an independent electrical engineer evaluate the data and concluded the 1963 test was “incomplete, inadequate, inconclusive, and invalid.” 

On Dec. 6, 1967, Lukish’s letter vehemently condemned Carr’s machine as fraudulent and said, 

“you never had and do not now have a power gain machine…All of the people who have advanced funds to you, over two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars since 1962, in support of you and your wife, and your technology… were misled. In addition, since 1962 you have over sixty thousand dollars of unpaid cash advances to you and your corporation, O.T.C. Enterprises Inc., and unpaid debts in Baltimore, Md, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Apple Valley, California.” 

He enclosed a copy of a letter from Milton Palkowitz disavowing the 1963 test results and his endorsement. Lukish demanded Carr cease using that material or he’d report Carr to the local and national authorities, including the S.E.C. and the F.B.I. Otis compromised, writing that he would attach Palkowitz’s disavowal letter to any future submissions of the 1963 validation document. That may have satisfied Lukish since there’s no record of any law enforcement agencies responding to his complaints. With the 1963 validation document no longer usable, Carr conveniently came up with a replacement on March 20, 1968. The new certification document was handwritten, signed only by Carr and Donatelli. 

 Carr’s attorney said not to worry about the typo in the company name.

On Feb. 13, 1968, Carr formally changed the company’s address to that of his apartment. Carr’s solution to the money problem was to offer more stock. To do it lawfully, he sought new legal counsel. On April 5, 1968, Washington, D.C., attorney George Leonard advised Carr that legal loopholes allowed it, but he must not publish a prospectus or solicit the shares outside of Pennsylvania. Also, recipients were required to sign a disclaimer acknowledging that the stock was speculative and CG-ES’ technology was “scientifically improbable.” Like the new validation document, Carr created the new shares out of thin air. Carr himself determined the valuation of the company, and the initial stock certificates were homemade and handwritten, signed by Carr and witnessed by Donatelli. In time, he had formal stock certificates printed, and began issuing them to investors and creditors, stating that they were “unregistered, non-transferable stock of Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems Inc. at the introductory par value of $0.05 per share in a capitalization of 6,000,000 shares.” 

Many of Carr’s investors were not wealthy people, and the money they had invested would have been a significant portion of their life savings. As for the creditors, since the chances of getting their cash refunded was zero, taking the stock certificates was better than nothing. The shares issued in 1968 totaled 4,672,296. Carr had apparently begun CG-ES with the best of intentions, but as it floundered, he resorted to the same kind of financial hustles that ultimately killed OTC Enterprises. 


1970: The AX-1 Interdimensional Perpetual Free Power Machine

Otis Carr turned 65 in 1969. There was little company activity recorded that year; perhaps he had considered retiring. The next big event was in 1970. Carr redubbed his invention and, in the fall, published a new four-page flyer advertising the “Carr Model AX-1 Interdimensional Perpetual Free Power Machine.” It sold for $4,500 + tax and shipping, paid in advance. Part of his new sales pitch was that free energy was good for the health of the planet, so he sent the brochures to ecologists and conservationists as well as government and industry targets in the United States and abroad. 

Link to PDF of the two letters and the brochure: Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems Inc. 

Carr received some interest from the Kentucky Rural Electric Co-op, who sought additional data to satisfy their staff. Carr replied with his usual supporting data and a sample contract. It didn’t pan out.

Edith Nicolaisen of Sweden was the founder of the Parthenon, publisher of the 1959 translation of Carr’s Atoms For Peace. On Nov. 16, 1970, he sent Nicolaisen a letter hoping she would become his first customer for the AX-1. It revealed his thoughts and frustrations, and it also contained some rare comments from him on extraterrestrials. Quoted in part:

“During the past three months I have mailed more than 100 of the brochures to Agencies of the U.S. government, Leading Manufacturers and the Energy Field and Celebrated Individuals who claim they are interested in Humanity's welfare. Not a one has responded.

            The cruel dictatorship that rules this planet with an iron fist is afraid to challenge me, one poor, lone, weak individual!

            In their mad quest to maintain their murderous dynasty wherein they will gladly trade a gallon of blood for a barrel of oil they still, with all their powers, are afraid of Free Energy and Free Power.

            It was only through divine guidance that I conceived of the plan expressed in the brochure, payment 90 days in advance, This is my protection – it also separates the sheep from the goats and puts an end to hypocrisy.

            The way to become associated with me is to buy a machine, when 300 of these machines are in 300 different places performing it will be impossible for the news not to become known and the ‘New Age’ will be here.

     Inter-planetary beings will never make themselves known to earth beings so long as we exalt murder as a way of life.

            If you and those whom you know can get together the money to buy the first AX-1 please forward the same and I will fulfill my end of the bargain.

Very sincerely and best regards,

Otis T. Carr”

The offer was not accepted.

Carr tried the US president again, this time, sending a telegram to Richard M. Nixon at his home in Key Biscayne, aka the “Florida White House.” While there’s no record of a reply, Carr did receive responses from the brochures and solicitations sent to others. Carr heard back from the New York Times, television host Art Linkletter, W. W. Grainger, Inc., the Sierra Club, and the United Nations. 


One particularly snarky response came from physicist Everett M. Hafner. None of them purchased the AX-1.

Further Experiments and Reconnecting with Saucer Supporters

Eugene Carini was an inventor and an early Carr supporter, investing $10,000 to become a regional exclusive distributor, OTC Enterprises of New England. In the mid-60s, Carini created Energy Systems, Inc., to develop electric cars and continued that work after he retired and moved to Vero Beach, Florida.

Gene Carini circa 1970 with Jim Murray.

Carini had a “cooling off period” after the Frontier City saucer fiasco, but reconnected in 1971, when Gene wrote Carr with a plan he hoped would re-motivate and revitalize Otis’ spirit and productivity. Carini offered to pay for Carr’s travel to Vero Beach and help finance the materials to continue the free energy research. Carr accepted and made the trip in early March from Pittsburgh to Florida. Together, they built some models of the AX-1 that Carini said showed promise but needed “modifications.” After three weeks, Carr went back home and that was the last Carini saw of Otis T. Carr. Carini continued the work, essentially substituting for the CG-ES machine shop, and again the bills were rolling in. On June 20, 1971, Carini wrote to Carr that “Bill and Lou are screaming for their money.” Carini said, “the AX-1 is working,” but that a demonstration was needed to convince people and “end the money harassment. …my property is now in jeopardy due to my participation in the construction of the AX-1.” On Jan. 20, 1972, Carini wrote to Carr about coming back for another visit to continue the work, but for some reason, Otis declined. Interestingly, Otis failed to secure any power gain machine patents, but in the 1970s, Carini was able to patent four Carr-style inventions featuring similar principles like counter-rotating flywheels

Eugene P. Carini from his 2001 interview with Lance Moody.

About the same time Carini reconnected with Carr, Otis mailed his AX-1 brochure to George Emerson Fox, a ufologist in New York City. Fox took an interest and began contacting Carr’s old friends in the flying saucer world, sharing Otis’ address with them, which led to some interesting exchanges. Contactee Carl Anderson also wrote, saying he loved Carr “like a father” and wanted to renew their friendship. When Carr replied months later, he enclosed a brochure for the AX-1 asking if he knew anyone who might like to buy one.

Dorothy S. Sawyer wrote a loving letter to Carr, and it included details of her own sad story. Back in 1961, Dorothy was working in a California hospital. She traveled to Apple Valley and met Otis, his wife and OTC associates. She said, “Dennis Rapolti and I were western representatives for the OTC X1 project.”  She believed in the cause and began investing in it and, “Later the name was changed to the ‘Millennium Agency.’” When Norman Colton and company were in from Baltimore, she provided them lodging. After everything folded, Dorothy was crushed by the loss of her investments and left $5,000 in debt. “I almost had a nervous breakdown and lost job after job.” She had to “keep finding new jobs and paying back money… my family couldn’t accept any of this.” Dorothy’s husband divorced her, and she moved away from her children. Despite it ruining her life, she still regarded Carr fondly. “God bless you Otis, in your work…”

 Carr replied to Dorothy Sawyer on May 14, 1972, but had nothing to say about her hardships, instead he complained of declining health and having to survive on a Social Security check of $100 per month. He seemed to blame her troubles on his old partners in OTC Enterprises, saying, “I have not seen Dennis Rapolti since I saw you both on the Desert more than 12 years ago. The same goes for Norman Colton. I had no part in their activities and no desire to renew anything with them.” Furthermore, “Many people whom I trusted have tried to destroy me… It would take a book to tell all the things… it is better left unsaid.” He sent her a copy of the AX-1 brochure, in the hopes that she might know “someone with sufficient funds to buy one of my machines under the conditions specified.”

 

The File Ends

There wasn’t much left of CG-ES by 1972, but Dante A. Donatelli, Jr was still involved, and he received a letter forwarded by their patent attorney. Jerry Dunlap had helped to arrange for two Ph.D. candidates in mechanical engineering at Oklahoma State University to examine the AX-1 plans. This could have provided the scientific validation Carr had long sought, but unfortunately for Otis, they concluded: “Our evaluation of Mr. Carr’s Power-gain Energy Transfer Machine reveals that it cannot work…” In perhaps unrelated matters, 1972 marked the end of Dunlap’s association with Otis Carr.

Later that year, Carr devised a plan to bring Free Power to all the nations of the Planet Earth. An aborted package addressed to the Ambassador to Canada at the United Nations dated Dec. 27, 1972, contained a letter of introduction and the AX-1 sales brochure from 1970. Carr’s plan was to send similar packages to every nation’s ambassador to the U.N., but there’s nothing to show if he followed through. Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems escaped reprisals from investors or penalties from the SEC or law enforcement. It just faded away.

Not much is known about Carr’s activities after that. In 1973 Gene Carini wrote requesting he send the final designs on the “PM Model,” and Gene continued to write to him until 1974, when Otis stopped responding. About the same time, Otis and Eleanor relocated to an apartment in a retirement community, East Hills High-Rise, 2360 Bracey Drive, Pittsburgh. After the move, Otis occasionally received some mail from saucer fans, but he seldom replied. In a letter to a friend, his wife Eleanor later described this period, “Due to his ill health and lack of finances, Otis had been very inactive for the past ten years.”

 

The Final Saucer Consultation and Chance for Fame

Carr’s last known saucer business was mentioned in Douglas Curran’s 1985 book, In Advance of the Landing. In the 1960s, Warren Goetz led a group with similar saucer-building plans, and frustrated by the lack of progress, one of his partners “sought out the ailing Otis T. Carr” for some technical guidance in 1977. That passage seems to be based on the experience of Jim Murray, an electrical engineer and inventor, so we contacted him for the story. Murray told us that with a hint from Gene Carini and some detective work, he was able to locate Carr, then flew from Newark with a friend to visit Otis at his apartment in Pittsburgh. While Eleanor may have been less happy to see them, Otis entertained them for twelve hours with romanticized tales of his life and work. Jim was particularly interested in hearing what Carr had learned from Nikola Tesla but was left uncertain if the two had ever met. While Murray thought Carr’s concepts had potential, he “didn't know beans about science and technology.” As for helping with the saucer, Carr said that in 1960 at the Apple Valley plant, someone broke in and stole his blue notebook with the OTC-X1 plans. The secret wasn’t completely lost however, Otis said the working principles of his flight technology were contained in his 1959 saucer amusement ride patent. Jim Murray had hoped to consult with Carr for advanced scientific principles, but instead got mostly “double-talk and gibberish.”


Together Forever

Otis T. Carr spent the rest of his days living quietly with Eleanor in Pittsburgh, but suffered from health problems. At some point he became seriously ill, and Otis T. Carr died in the hospital on Sept. 20, 1982, at the age of 77. The cause of death was pneumonia and renal failure. Eleanor Mathews Carr died at the age of 89 on February 4, 1994. She was buried beside Otis at Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Press, Sept. 21,1982


Photo of Otis and Eleanor from 1966 in Maryland. Provided by J.B.M.


Epilogue: Taking Stock of the OTC Story

Due to him avoiding publicity, details of Otis T. Carr’s later years were virtually unknown until now, and all he is remembered for is the free energy spaceship flop. What’s most interesting about that episode is not so much his failed saucer, but how and why people believed in the man behind it. Carr made his public debut in late 1957, but months earlier, Harold J. Berney had been arrested by the FBI for saucer-related fraud. Reinhold O. Schmidt also got his start in 1957, and he was eventually convicted in 1961 for two counts of saucer-related grand theft. The three saucer swindlers had much in common. Berney, Schmidt and Carr all collected money from investors in saucer schemes, all involved an element of free energy, and all were convicted for their crimes. Each of them, especially Carr, capitalized on the intersection of saucer belief and the dawning of the space age.


The only question is: Did either Carr or Colton actually believe in their own legend? Otis had big dreams, but he was a poor businessman. He’d fail, but then do more of the same, try, try again, the Little Engine That Couldn’t. Based on Carr’s continuing free energy quest, he probably did believe, but Norman Colton was a salesman, the real saucer swindler in this story. With the OTC Enterprises, Inc. façade, they attracted chiefly two sorts of investors, businessmen and believers. 
When Lance Moody interviewed the surviving players in the Carr story in 2001, he found out that after 40 years, some still believed. Gurney Warnberg told Moody that he still thought that Otis T. Carr might have been on to something, and Gene Carini had kept the faith in the free energy antigravity principle. In reality, OTC Enterprises, Inc. was never much more than that glossy brochure and a handful of dreams.

. . .


What happened to...?

Norman Evans Colton left the saucer life, abruptly abandoning the Millennium Agency and dropping out of sight in 1961. He eventually moved to Pennsylvania and reportedly ran a florist shop, and Otis never heard from him again. Colton was last mentioned in contemporary literature by Paris Flammonde in his 1971 book, The Age of Flying Saucers: Notes on a Projected History of Unidentified Flying Objects. Flammonde said that many people believe Norman E. Colton “to be the inventor of Otis T. Carr.” Colton died on July 29, 1997, at the age of 83.

Mrs. Hildegarde Wheeler Shea left when Carr’s Baltimore office closed and became a partner in a wildlife park where OTC associate Dennis Rapolti worked for her. She died following an illness on April 20, 1966, at the age of 40.

Wilfred C. “Bud” Gosnell returned to his old job in the dairy industry until his retirement. He died in Baltimore at the age of 65 in June 1967.

Eugene P. Carini continued inventing, and he patented several devices into the 1970s. However, there’s no record of his success with a free energy device or a flying saucer. He died in Florida on July 13, 2003, at the age of 81.

Wayne S. Aho continued to lecture on UFOs, but his message became increasingly more religious in tone, with a heavy dose of Biblical prophecy. In Oct. 1960, he was elected to the board of directors of Daniel Fry’s Understanding, Inc. His Washington Saucer Intelligence “organization” faded away, but in 1963, Aho created something else for himself to be director of, the New Age Foundation, which held annual spiritually-themed seminars for decades at Mt. Rainer, the holy location of Kenneth Arnold’s famous 1947 saucer sighting. He died Jan. 16, 2006, at the age of 89.

Dante A. Donatelli, Jr. , vice president of Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems moved to Texas and went on to offer his own free energy products in 2005, online as OneGift4Power.

The Frontier City OTC-X1 ride? In 1960, a bigger and better-known saucer opened in New York, the Braniff "Space Ship" at Freedomland. There was no documentation found for when the OTC-X1 attraction was shut down, but no advertisements for Otis T. Carr’s spaceship ride at Frontier City were found after 1961. 

. . .


Television Trivia

Otis T. Carr received a lot of media attention in his lifetime, almost all of it in connection with his saucer enterprises. He appeared several times on local news programs, but national television coverage eluded him. A fictional version of Otis T. Carr was featured in the March 19, 1978 episode of NBC’s Project U.F.O. In the secondary storyline of “The Howard Crossing Incident” (written by Donald L. Gold and Lester Wm. Berke), the Air Force received a report from Mrs. Marshall, who was concerned that her husband had made a bad investment of $10,000 stock in Advanced Aerodynamics Corp., a flying saucer factory. There, owner Darryl Cochran had shown the Marshalls a craft under construction, saying it was powered by an anti-matter energy engine, and their investment would be worth millions when it launched in six months. The Air Force investigators exposed Cochran as a swindler, his saucer nothing but a prop from an old science fiction movie. Like in the real Carr story, the customer refused to face facts. Mr. Marshall was livid that the saucer hadn’t been given a chance to fly and told them, “I could have made a fortune on that stock if you hadn’t butted in.” 

Project U.F.O. episode, The Howard Crossing Incident

Television apparently wanted the real Otis T. Carr story, too. George Emerson Fox wrote Carr on April 20, 1982, saying that he had gotten the NBC show Real People interested in the OTC story. Since getting out of jail in 1962, Carr avoided the press. Nothing came of it. Carr died later that year, but not everyone got the word of Otis’ passing, and his story was still a topic of interest.

Dorothy Holdridge of Toledo, Ohio, wrote to Otis and Eleanor Carr on May 11, 1983. She had been contacted by Walter H. Bowart (author of the 1978 book, Operation Mind Control) who wanted to write about Carr’s life story, possibly for a movie. She’d heard from Bowart that, “all your papers etc. were found in… Apple Valley… in a dusty dirty garage for all these years. I could have cried. Bowart said you are a man of vision… This may be a turning point for you…” She had also heard from George Fox that, “Mike Wallace (of 60 Minutes) is trying to locate you.” There’s no further documentation, but it looks like the CBS show was interested. According to family lore, 60 Minutes approached Mrs. Carr after Otis died, but Eleanor flatly refused them.

. . .


For Further Reading


The Otis T. Carr Files

Documents, literature, and photographs from the papers of the estate of Otis T. Carr, mostly from 1964 - 1972. 

PDF of 92 pages: The Otis T. Carr Files

FBI Files

The FBI opened a file on Wayne S. Aho when it received a citizen’s letter warning that he might be impersonating a military officer. Aho might have exploited his status as a retired Army intelligence officer, but that alone was not a criminal offense for them to pursue. The FBI dossier on Wayne Aho also contains many documents from Otis T. Carr’s file. 


Otis T. Carr’s own FBI file was finally released to John Greenewald on 
December 23, 2020, and it contains additional documents, many of them without the redactions found in Aho's file. It sheds more light on Margaret Storm's complicity in the stock sales, and on the involvement of Dennis Rapolti in the Pennsylvania OTC franchise. There are also documents relating to citizens' complaints against OTC made to the Better Business Bureau, passed on to the FBI. 

The PDF of Carr and Aho's FBI file can be found at John Greenewald’s The Black Vault site: 
The FBI has since added Carr's file to its online FOIA library:
FBI Records: The Vault: Otis T. Carr 

Collection of Carr’s letter and Space-O-Gram announcements about the 1959 Frontier City “Demo Day” for OTC-X1, including correspondence about it from Canadian ufologist Wilbert B. Smith. OTC-X1 Documents

 Otis T. Carr and Dimensions of Mystery” is a Facebook page that features many newspaper clippings, photos, and other items.

Otis T. Carr: Utron” is a crackpot web page with some coverage of the Carr story, featuring transcripts of some period newsletters, articles and interviews.

 Contactees, Cults and Cultures” by David Stupple & William McNeece, 1979 MUFON UFO Symposium Proceedings pp. 46-61, tells the story of Warren Goetz (whom they call “Gordon’), who was inspired by Otis T. Carr’s efforts and later formed the cult, “The Institute for Cosmic Research” and tried to build their own flying saucer, the Bluebird. Video of the fate of the Bluebird, circa 1995.

Lance Moody, as part of a planned OTC Enterprises film project, interviewed James W. Moseley of Saucer News and Saucer Smear in 2001. While Moseley didn’t have anything to say about Carr himself, he briefly discussed his cohort Wayne Aho. More importantly, Jim talked about Long John Nebel and his radio show, providing some backstage details and insight into Nebel and his involvement with ufology. See the video at Jim Moseley, Journal Subscriber, 1931-2012

Lance Moody presented a lecture on his investigation, “Daylight Disk: The Otis T. Carr Story,” summarized by Bob Streifthau in Cincinnati Skeptic, April/May 2003.

Way Out World, 1961, by Long John Nebel has a chapter on Carr, "The $20,000,00 Ticket to the Moon  Plus Some Impossible Inventions."

. . .


Acknowledgements

After the original publication of this article, an extended member of Otis. T. Carr's family, J.B.M., wrote with numerous comments, corrections, correspondence and photographs that have greatly helped in revising this work. He provided almost all of the material on Carr Gravity-Electrodynamic Systems and collaborated with us on the fourth chapter.

A special thank you to Lance Moody, whose research informed much of this examination. In 2001 he began conducting interviews for a proposed documentary on the OTC story and spoke with six key participants in the OTC story, Eugene Carini, Ellery Lanier, Wayne Aho, Gurney G. Warnberg, Ralph Ring and Dennis Rapolti. Details from those conversations were invaluable. Lance also furnished another key reference used to recreate the Carr timeline, the outstanding article by Richard Gehman from True magazine, Jan. 1961, "King of the Non-Flying Saucers,” as well as scans of the notebooks that Gehman made while researching it. Lance also provided the title art for this project.

Also, thanks to:

Louis Taylor of Information Dispersal for several original Carr documents and photos.

Isaac Koi for help in tracking down early flying saucer magazines and for his contribution in archiving them with the AFU, the Archives for the Unexplained

David Houchin of the Gray Barker UFO Collection at the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Clarksburg, WV, for documents on Norman Colton. Håkan Blomqvist of the AFU for sharing rare documents, including Carr's 1970 correspondence. Håkan Blomqvist´s blog.

Jim Murray for sharing the details of his 1970s conversation with Otis T. Carr. The Fringe Energy: Alternative Engineering Resources profile of Jim Murray.

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