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: 

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