Friday, February 19, 2021

George W. Earley on the Rational Study of UFOs


George W. Earley was an aircraft engineer, a writer, a lecturer, a Fortean, and a strong advocate for the scientific study of UFOs. Since 1940, Earley was an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and active in its fandom, with many of his letters appearing in club newsletters and national magazines.

Startling Stories, Sept. 1949

Earley’s obituary goes into further detail on his otherworldly pursuits:

“For 50 years, George was a prolific freelance writer, exploring a wide range of interests: science fiction, space exploration, photography, Dixieland jazz, conservation, and what he termed ‘unexplained phenomena’… In 1968 he published an anthology of science fiction titled Encounters with Aliens. He wrote letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, and other articles for newspapers on both coasts. He formed a Connecticut chapter of the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena…”

In 1961, Earley was appointed a national adviser for NICAP’s Panel of Special Advisers and was one of its most an influential members.

On May 15-18, 1967, Earley gave an outstanding lecture on the UFO topic for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Conference at the Americana Hotel in New York City. It was a realistic overview of the first 20 years of the phenomena for the general public, and concluded by insisting that it was worthy of "a more extensive investigation." The NICAP site hosts the entire lecture, Unidentified Flying Objects: An Historical Perspective.

Earley attended a less serious gathering in the same city later the next month. It was Jim Moseley’s New York UFO Convention, but he found it far too full of entertainment and Contactees for a “Congress of Scientific Ufologists.” Earley’s unfavorable review was published in the Hartford Courant, July 9, 1967, called "Hippies, Old Ladies, Over 30 Types Orbit in Flying Saucer Circles." See: The UFO Anniversary and the Giant New York Convention of 1967

Earley’s 1968 book combined two of his greatest interests science fiction and UFOs. Ivan Sanderson wrote the introduction to this collection of stories examining the possibility that UFOs are manned by intelligent beings from outer space, and it was titled, Encounters with Aliens: UFO's and Alien Beings in Science Fiction. The anthology featured works by Theodore Sturgeon, Mack Reynolds, Robert F. Young, Avram Davidson, Richard Wilson, and other authors.

Advertisement for the Science Fiction Book Club

Over the years, Earley contributed articles to many UFO and science fiction magazines, Fate magazine, Pursuit, Saucer News, Official UFO, Amra, Beyond Reality, and letters of comment to many, many more. 
Beyond Reality no. 9, May/June 1974, page 39

Beyond Reality no. 31, April 1978, Review of the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

In his UFO writing, Earley interviewed figures from across the belief spectrum, such as skeptic Philip Klass, alien abduction researcher Budd Hopkins, and paranormal researcher Dr. Jacques Vallee. Earley encouraged the exploration of the unknown, but stressed the need for rational evaluation of the data his 1983 letter to the APRO Bulletin:

“There is, it seems to me, a disquieting tendency in some ufological circles these days not only towards uncritical acceptance of many claims/reports, but of accusing those who would question such claims of being [debunkers] or dupes of the CIA.” 

Earley in the the 21st Century

In later years, Earley was a columnist and contributing editor for Bill and Nancy Birnes’ UFO Magazine, and wrote the column, “The Opinionated Oregonian”

UFO Magazine, Oct. 2010 (PDF)

George Earley's connection to the Birnes resulted in him being featured in the first episode of UFO Hunters, “The UFO Before Roswell” about the story of the alleged saucer debris recovered at Maury Island. Later, he was a guest on the Birnes' radio show, Future Theater, July 2011 , where he discussed the history of the Horten wing and addressed Annie Jacobsen’s claims that a was behind the Roswell incident. He also spoke about his research on the Maury Island hoax.

UFO Hunters, “The UFO Before Roswell”

In 2014, Earley wrote  to Loren Coleman, giving an update on his retirement. 

"Be advised this 'dinosaur' of ufology is still alive and reasonably well. At 87, I may be one of the few left who read the original news story on the Arnold sighting..."

Coleman printed the letter as “Old Ufologist Replies To Young Ufologists.” It seems to have been Earley's final published thoughts on the UFO topic.

A Look Back at How it All Began

Finally, we’d like to remember George W. Earley by presenting a collection of his writings from the beginning of his UFO days up until the time he formed a Connecticut chapter of NICAP. 

The first UFO letter we located was from 1955, Earley would have been 28 years old at the time. It was a book review of George Adamski’s Inside the Space Ships.

Hartford Courant, Aug. 7, 1955.

Spaceman: Bookshelf, reviews of Harold T. Wilkins’ Flying Saucers on the Attack, Donald Keyhoe’s The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, and Edward Ruppelt’s The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.

Hartford Courant, June 3, 1956

Spaceman: Bookshelf, reviews including: Aime Michel’s The Truth about Flying Saucers, Gray Barker’s They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, and Truman Betherum’s Aboard a Flying Saucer.

Hartford Courant, Sept. 23, 1956

Review of Arthur Constance’s promotion of “Saucerian Doctrine” in The Inexplicable Sky.

Hartford Courant, Oct. 27, 1957

Letter to the Editor on UFO sightings and NICAP.

Hartford Courant, Dec. 28, 1958

Saucers Analyzed, reviews of Dr. Carl Jung’s Flying Saucers, and Aime Michel’s Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery.

Hartford Courant, May 29, 1960

Letter to the Editor on the diversity of UFO shapes.

Hartford Courant, Oct. 3, 1961

Letter to the Editor on John Glenn’s “space fireflies.”

Hartford Courant, May 5, 1962

Letter to the Editor on the formation of NICAP-CONN.

Hartford Courant, Dec. 17, 1962

That’s how he got his start, and from there Earley was an important voice for NICAP and a rational advocate in the support of research into unidentified aerial phenomena.

The Bridgeport Post,  May 14,1967

George W. Earley, was born February 15, 1927 and died on October 28, 2020. Below is a link to his full obituary:


Thursday, February 4, 2021

UFOs and Our Space Age by Otto Binder


Otto O. Binder, as described in the introduction to the Inventory of the Science Fiction Archive of Otto Binder housed at Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library:

“Otto Oscar Binder (1911-1974) began writing science fiction with his brother Earl under the pen name Eando Binder and was first published in 1932. … by 1938, according to S-F authority Sam Moskowitz,’Eando Binder had become one of the three most popular writers in the field.’ ... [Otto] Binder had a talent for plotting, and was credited with being one of the more imaginative writers of the period. He largely left the S-F field in the 1940s to write continuities for the Captain Marvel comic book series, which he did for 17 years. … Binder also wrote more than 300 nonfiction articles, and wrote extensively on unidentified flying objects.”

Binder wrote a saucer story in Captain Marvel Adventures # 98 from 1949

Binder wrote about UFOs in both science fiction and nonfiction over the years in many books and magazines. His chief nonfiction books on the topic were Flying Saucers Are Watching Us in 1967, and What We Really Know About Flying Saucers in 1968.

Our Space Age 

In 1960, Otto Binder launched Our Space Age (originally), a daily feature syndicated by Bell-McClure. It was illustrated by Carl Pfeufer (1910 – 1980), an artist who had drawn comics for Dell, Centaur, Fawcett, Marvel and other publishers.

Our Space Age focused on rockets, satellites, and space exploration, and The Fabulous Fifties blog has a sampling of early panels from 1961 – 1962.

March 22, 1962

Jan 5, 1963

Binder combined his interest in flying saucers and comics in several of his Captain Marvel stories, but in 1965, he did it again as nonfiction for Our Space Age. In 1966 UFOs became the sole focus of the series, as seen below in the advertisement for the series. Binder frequently urged readers to send in their own sighting reports, and also directed them to contact Ray Palmer of Flying Saucers magazine and Jim Moseley of Saucer News for further information on UFOs.

Our Space Age covered a mixture of classic cases, profiles of UFO witnesses, and recent sighting reports. We’ve assembled a sampling of the episodes from across the run of the series.

Sept. 28, 1965

Oct. 1, 1965

Oct. 4, 1965

Oct. 27, 1965

Sept. 28, 1965

Jan. 24, 1966

Feb 19, 1966

Feb 23, 1966

Feb 28, 1966

Aug. 5, 1966

March 24, 1966

June 1, 1966

June 14, 1966

June 23, 1966

Aug. 6, 1966

July 7, 1966

July 8, 1966

Aug 17, 1966

Binder's series featured all aspects of the UFO experience: contact, abductions, humanoids, UFO performance, ancient astronauts, hoaxes, and more.
Sept. 6, 1966

Sept. 29, 1966

Oct 31, 1966

Nov. 1, 1966

Sept. 28, 1967

Dec. 3, 1966

July 20, 1967

Oct. 16, 1967

Oct. 10, 1968

Oct. 14, 1968

Oct. 14, 1968

Sept. 25, 1969

The Human Flying Saucer

In 1966, Binder reunited with C. C. Beck hoping to recapture the magic of their Captain Marvel success. What we got instead was Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer. It only lasted three issues. Deliberately silly in the wake of the campy Batman TV series, we mention it here chiefly for presenting a panel from Our Space Age in color in each issue, as seen in the collection above.

Otto Binder's Legacy

Our Space Age ran from 1960 - 1969. Binder died in 1974 at the age of 63, but he left the world with a wealth of fantastic characters and stories. For more information on the life and work of Otto Binder see, “Before the Golden Age-Eando Binder,” from the site, Tellers of Weird Tales.

Bill Schelly wrote Words of Wonder, the biography of Otto Binder, which was reviewed by UFO researcher Martin S. Kottmeyer. Since then, the book was re-released in 2016 as: Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary by Bill Schelly.

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