Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ufology, Contactees & The Outer Limit Legacy (Part 4 of 5)

Flying Saucers, the Atomic Bomb and Doomsday: The Outer Limit (Part 1 of 5)
The Outer Limit by Graham Doar: The UFO Parable (Part 2 of 5)
Radio, Television & The Outer Limit Legacy (Part 3 of 5)

In our previous installment, we looked at how "The Outer Limit" by Graham Doar, was adapted into radio and television, introducing millions in the audience to the concept of flying saucers with extraterrestrials abducting human beings. In this piece, we look at the lasting influence on the story on ufology.

Divided by dogma, but united by saucers.

The Outer Limit Legacy: Ufology

“The Outer Limit” by Graham Doar was hugely influential in shaping the public's thought about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors being inside the flying saucers. It preceded the first depiction of saucers as alien craft in the movies, the 1950 serial, Flying Disc Man from Mars. It also introduced an alien abduction that resulted in the person returning with a loss of memory, some "missing time" they cannot account for. More importantly it established the idea that watchers from space disapproved of the Earth using nuclear weapons.

Curtis Peebles, in an article in Magonia 91, February 2006, "Abducted in Space: The Saturday Evening Post, Playboy and the Vanishing X-15 Pilot’s Return," described how Doar's story could have served as a primer for the Contactees in particular:
“The Outer Limit” also gives insights into the development of the flying saucer myth... Bill, like the later contactees, is carrying a celestial warning from the heavenly beings to stop nuclear testing. He, like the contactees, was also specially selected to be the messenger. In the Escape script. Zyll warns Westfall that atomic war “would upset the balance of the entire universe, throw all space into chaos.” The later contactees would have the ‘space brothers’ making similar comments. These story elements suggest that the ideas and concepts of a proto-contactee mythology already existed at the dawn of the flying saucer era. What the story lacks, however, is the mysticism of the contactees.
There's a taste of that proto-contactee mysticism seen in our prologue. In "The Outer Limit," the aliens might as well be God. They represent a higher authority, and the Earth is being penalized for breaking the law. It's an Old Testament kind of penalty that is at hand, the fiery end of the world.

Lay Off Making A-Bombs

Whether Doar's story directly influenced the development of ufology, it's a fact that the central concepts he presented were embraced in discussions of extraterrestrial visitors. When Major Donald Keyhoe expanded his True magazine article into the 1950 paperback book, The Flying Saucers are Real! he described a future scenario in which we were the aliens, watching Mars:
"Suppose for a moment that it happened many years from now... The first reaction would undoubtedly be... to find how far they had advanced with atomic bombs...It might take one hundred years--perhaps five hundred--before the Martians could be a problem. Eventually... Mars would send out space-ship explorers... discover that the earth was populated with a technically advanced civilization. Any warlike ideas they had in mind could be  quickly ended by a show of our superior space craft and our own atomic weapons--probably far superior to any on Mars. It might even be possible that by then we would have finally outlawed war; if so, a promise to share the peaceful benefits of our technical knowledge might be enough to bring Martian leaders into line. Regardless of our final decision, we would certainly keep a close watch on Mars--or any other planet that seemed a possible threat. Now, if our space-exploration program is just reversed, it will give a reasonable picture of how visitors from space might go about investigating the earth."

Even Donald Keyhoe's alleged sources were worried about aliens and the A bomb.  He wrote that a Washington official told him... 
"I'm not completely sold on the interplanetary answer. But assuming it's correct that we're being observed, I can think of a stronger reason than fear of some distant attack. Some atomic scientists say that a super-atomic bomb, or several set off at once, could knock the earth out of its orbit. It sounds fantastic, but so is the A-bomb. It's just possible that some solar-planet race discovered the dangers long ago. They would have good reason to worry if they found we were on that same track. There may be some other atomic weapon we don't suspect, even worse than the A-bomb, one that could destroy the earth and seriously affect other planets." The Flying Saucers are Real (p. 133-4).
Discussing UFOs in his 1953 book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space, Keyhoe repeated a discussed the frequency of green fireball UFOs around military installations in the Southwestern United States. He said,  "I know one astrophysicist who says they may be warnings for us to lay off making A bombs..."

From Xeglon to Orthon to the Stranger to Eros

In his 1953 book, George Adamski, Flying Saucers have Landed told of meeting a man from Venus that he'd later call Orthon, who seemed like a kinder, gentler Klaatu. The Venusian didn't speak English, so they communicated with an improvised sign language:
"He made me understand that their coming was friendly. Also, as he gestured, that they were concerned with radiations going out from Earth... But I persisted and wanted to know if it was dangerous to us on Earth as well as affecting things in space?
He made me understand—by gesturing with his hands to indicate cloud formations from explosions—that after too many such explosions... he said, ‘Boom! Boom!’ Then, further to explain himself... pointed to the Earth itself, and with, a wide sweep of his hands and other gestures that too many ‘Booms!’ would destroy all of this."
According to the site, Our Elder Brothers Return, 
Before becoming world famous for his books about his contacts with the Space Brothers in the 1950s, George Adamski (1891-1965) had already attracted a group of followers as a lecturer on esoteric philosophy in Laguna Beach, California. His lectures were broadcast on several local radio stations. In 1934 he founded The Royal Order of Tibet, which published this book expounding his philosophy of “Universal Law.” 
In  his 1936 book, Wisdom of the Masters of the Far East: Questions and Answers by Royal Order of Tibet, Adamski answers the question, What is the law of attraction? "This law of attraction is recognized by man in many separate faces of expression – gravitation, the affinity of Adams, military, etc. It is the force which keeps the universe in a total state of balance." 
Wisdom of the Masters of the Far East
Adamski seemed comfortable with blurring the lines between fact and fiction and science and religion. In his 1949 science fiction book, Pioneers of Space, Adamski said there was no war on Mars, but they "knew of the war we on Earth have just gone through. They got the picture of the Earth madness so well that they have a photograph of it here, showing airplanes flying above the Earth and blowing it up.As for A-bombs upsetting the balance, he mentioned it in more literal terms. Describing a visit to Mars' Temple of Science for a meeting with scientists, one of them spoke up:
"your Earth planet is slightly off-balance. It has been thrown off its natural axis by the exploding of powerful explosives and due to this there are going to be some atmospheric changes take place... You on Earth should be cautious in handling the new power called atomic power, since you have not yet found the element which goes into it which makes it serviceable but not dangerous..."

With this foundation, it's understandable why Adamski and the Contactees saw the destruction from the A-bomb as something that would cause a disturbance in the force and upset the balance of the universe. There were many others who emerged claiming contact who followed in Adamski's footsteps, from Howard Menger to George Hunt Williamson who warned, 
"Space visitors have said: 'It is not right that man should destroy his brother by utilizing the powerful forces of atomic energy, but the destruction you witness is minor, indeed, compared to the enormity of chaos created in the Microcosmos by the release of such energy!'" (Other Tongues, Other Flesh, 1953)
In Saucer News for June-July 1955, editor James W. Moseley offered some uncharacteristic political commentary on the saucer and Contactee scene:
"... let us all give some very serious consideration to the many alleged space men being called to the public's attention– all of whom invariably tell us of the dangers of war and the exploitation of atomic energy. No one desires peace any more sincerely then we do, but let us remember too that it is part of the Communist 'peace line' to frighten the American people into ceasing our atomic experiments. It is quite possible that some of these "space men" are unwittingly playing into the hands of the Communists."
The FBI may have thought so, too, and thought the Contactees might be spreading an un-American message, they kept an eye on them. From FBI a report on a lecture given by George Van Tassel on April 17, 1960, in Denver, Colorado.
Van Tassel's document begins at page 5 of this FBI file.

On the last page, the FBI agent recaps the key points:
"In summation, (Van Tassel's) speech was on these subjects: 
(1) Space people related to occurrences in Bible. 
(2) Atom bomb detrimental to earth and universe.
(3) Economy is poor and would collapse under ideas brought by space people. "

The interrupted journey of Bill during "The Outer Limit" seems to be a predecessor to the missing time episodes so often associated with UFO abductions. His memory of the events are incomplete, during the missing hours of his flight. In the case of Betty and Barney Hill's lost hours from 1961, John Fuller wrote in the The Interrupted Journey, "But most critical of all —what happened in the two hours when the Hills suffered double amnesia? What could have happened? What did happen?"

In 1967, Carroll Wayne Watts of Loco, Texas claimed a series of escalating encounters with Martians, and even took a few pictures along the way, and got to know them. "We think Aliens are peaceful, but will chase you if you run..." The Martians eventually persuaded him to come aboard their ship and submit to a physical examination, but he was examining them, too. "They were all about 4 feet high, with white or gray skin, broad flat noses, a thin line mouth, no hair and eye sockets that ran back nearly to their ears."
One of the most unusual features of the ship was a weapons or gun rack, perhaps an option for landings in rural Texas. After his alleged encounter, Watts said, they "knew that we were going to get to the moon,” and eventually Mars, and "they said they do not have war on their planet and they were going to have to do something to keep us from bringing it to them.” There was no mention of the A-bomb threat, but once again the aliens wanted to keep warlike man confined to his own planet. After publicizing the story and failing a polygraph test, Watts confessed it was all a hoax, but then some people will say anything.

The X-15 and The Outer Limit

Other than inspiring George Adamski and the Contactees, alien abduction lore and promoting the extraterrestrial hypothesis, "The Outer Limit" seeded another UFO story, but the atomic warning message was lost, leaving it a just jazzed up space age kidnapping story. It was presented in a early 1960s lecture at the Giant Rock UFO convention, and was later recounted in Firestorm: Dr. James E. McDonald's Fight for UFO Science by Ann Druffel, about how in 1968:
Dr. Robert M. Wood... was a physicist and a highly placed executive at McDonnell-Douglas. He was very active in UFO research in the southern California area...
He also told McDonald about an intriguing report he’d heard from a source he considered very reliable. It concerned Gene May, a Douglas test pilot, who had been involved with the X-15 experimental aircraft for several years. According to the story Wood heard, May had taken the experimental craft for a flight five to eight years ago with 15 minutes’ fuel in the X-15’s tank. Yet May didn’t land back at the airfield until three hours later. May allegedly reported he’d been taken aboard a UFO, X-15 and all! As a consequence, he was examined by psychologists at Edwards AFB. Wood’s reliable source was a colleague who worked at Vandenberg AFB who knew Gene May well. McDonald tucked the story in his journal, to be checked out later.
Gene May on the cover of Flying from Oct. 1951
 Dr. Bob Wood later was on the board of directors for the Mutual UFO Network, and their site states "Dr. Wood is uniquely qualified to provide credible analysis about the nature of the UFO reality." Be that as it may,  he missed the problems with the second-hand story he told McDonald. Chiefly, while Gene May was a test pilot, he never flew the X-15. Also, the story was pure science fiction.

Captian Edward Ruppelt wrote in the 1956 book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, about how in the age of atomic uncertainty, some people were looking to the heavens above for reassurance:
... this "will to see" may have deeper roots, almost religious implications, for some people. Consciously or unconsciously, they want UFO's to be real and to come from outer space. These individuals, frightened perhaps by threats of atomic destruction, or lesser fears—who knows what—act as if nothing that men can do can save the earth. Instead, they seek salvation from outer space, on the forlorn premise that flying saucer men, by their very existence, are wiser and more advanced than we. Such people may reason that a race of men capable of interplanetary travel have lived well into, or through, an atomic age. They have survived and they can tell us their secret of survival. Maybe the threat of an atomic war unified their planet and allowed them to divert their war effort to one of social and technical advancement. To such people a searchlight on a cloud or a bright star is an interplanetary spaceship.

In our final installment, we'll look at
Hollywood & The Outer Limit Legacy (Part 5 of 5)

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  1. The last part of this article is very close to the Delta Green RPG to UFO believer story that I've mentioned in a few previous comments. After some digging I've tracked it down to a 2005 post on a Yahoo Group devoted to the Delta Green RPG entitled "Saucerwatch is Real!"

    The thread is linked below:


    One of the replies to that posting is by the publisher of Delta Green at the time, Adam Scott Glancy, who commented:

    "Long have I dreamed of this day when my scribblings, so inspired (and in no small way cribbed) from the delusional rantings of so many believers, could in turn be absorbed by the believers themselves only to be recylced as one of the millions of hidden truths that they weave into their reality!"

    Later on he remarked that:

    "You know, I used to send these idiots emails telling them that they were reprinting my fiction as fact. I pointed out the pages this stuff was cribbed from out of Delta Green and assured them that I was the man who made these characters up and that they should stop distributing my fiction as fact.

    Never provoked a single response."

    The site that was first found hosting the material is this one preserved by the Wayback machine. Everything from "The oldest case was that of Mike Childers." to the last line of the case of Becky Roland comes straight out of the Delta Green Rulebook (Pre 2005.)


    There is at least one other site (And a set of books on 'Humanoids') that repeats this material, in this case the 1919 entry of timeline of 'anomalous events' from 1901 to 2012 repeats the entire 'Mike Childers' story but the later events from the rulebook do not appear on this list.


  2. With all due respect, I think you are making a mistake when you dismiss the Gene May account the way that you do. If you will refer to the writeup of the rumor that Paul Wilson did on July 8th of 1968 for Project BITBR Report 580708-2
    you will read that he specifies the craft that Gene May piloted as being 'the X-15 type' rather than specifying it as the X-15 specifically. We know that he piloted the D-558-2 aka the Douglas Skyrocket in the late 1940s for the US Navy which was in competition with the US Army and their X craft program.
    Yes, I do realize that the information is third-hand at best and was conveyed to Dr Wood via George Van Tassel who isn't completely reliable but I would at least keep an open mind as to the possibility at least.

  3. You may be interested to know that recent computer enhancement of the photos taken by Adamski at the 1952 encounter with Orthon has revealed the clear image of:

    • The large cigar-shaped mothership seen by the group overhead,

    • The smaller saucer-shaped craft that descended in full view of the witnesses,

    • Orthon himself is clearly visible from the waist up, walking towards Adamski, in one image. His face, hair and clothing are visible.

    These historic photos and analysis of them have now been published by two authors:

    Michel Zirger, (the French author of the George Hunt Williamson biography) in his “We Are Here! Visitors Without a Passport,” and also in his “Authenticating the George Adamski Case – The Desert Center Investigation,”

    and by Rene Olsen, the Danish photographer who did the enhancements of the images in his “The George Adamski Story - Historical Events of Gigantic Implications.”

    Those three books are readily available via Amazon.

  4. A comprehensive look at Adamski's life, teaching and mission is available online here: https://www.the-adamski-case.nl/


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