Thursday, August 4, 2022

UFO Religion: The Cosmic Circle of Fellowship

 

William R. Ferguson (born July 23, 1900) was the author of a 1937 self-self-help book teaching that before you could achieve your goals, one must learn to Relax First. Most of the advice was pragmatic, but there was a taste of the metaphysical:

“There was a soul that wandered out in the cosmic space... Everyone who has been born on this terrestrial sphere, was once a soul that wandered before its advent here.”

Ferguson worked as postman, then a Chicago taxi driver but quit that in 1946 to promote the invention he called the Zerret Applicator, a device infused with atomic energy that produced healing X-rays. 


From the FDA Consumer, February 1977:

“The Zerret Applicator exploited popular interest in medical uses of atomic energy following World War II. Inside were tubes of ‘Zerret Water,’ claimed to produce the ‘Z-Ray, a force unknown to science.’ This was said to ‘expand the atoms of the body’" thereby curing all diseases. Users were directed, to hold one end of the device in each hand but not to cross the legs, which would cause a ‘short circuit.’ More than 5,000 were sold at $50 each. Prosecuted by FDA, the promoter was sentenced to two years in Federal prison.”


Reborn

After prison, Ferguson found a new calling. He went into the flying saucer region business. In 1954 Ferguson founded the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship, the first publication of which was his 13-page booklet, My Trip To Mars.

Ferguson rewrote his history, retconning everything into a cosmic plan. He claimed to have had some mind-expanding experiences since 1938, but on January 12, 1947, his consciousness was taken to Mars to meet a “Celestial Being,” Khauga.

"The Martians taught me so many things in the two hours that I was there, but in particular, the one who guided me about; his name was, and is, Khauga... is the one who engineered my teleportation... This great being who had engineered everything. I found out he was the one who had… been guiding my hands and consciousness in my work. …What a revelation to know that you have been working under the guidance of one of the greatest Uniphysicists in our Solar System.”
He found out that the Martians have been observing our progress on consciousness, spiritual and scientific development for 2,000 years. Ferguson was selected by Khauga to a share a message:
“To all fellow Earthmen, I can assure you we are now in a wonderful development period… and as a result, all things will become new and finer for the enjoyment and happiness for each and every being.”
Ferguson's teachings were a stew of New Age religion, flying saucer concepts and Christianity, preparing his followers for the Second Coming of Jesus.  In 1955, Ferguson published a 38-page booklet by "Khauga the Comforter, A Message from Outer Space." It was described as, "A Decoding of the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) of the Bible; This Book Was a Revelation of Jesus Christ Given to His Angel to Give It to John His Servant Who Was on the Isle of Patmos When the Revelation Was Given." 

The 
Cosmic Circle of Fellowship became part of the flying saucer Contactee community which helped spread the word about the group, their publications, and products. Ferguson also traveled to other cities to five  lectures, but one such trip to Wisconsin resulted in a scrap with the law. As reported in Time magazine, Nov. 29, 1954, "Miscellany: Wild Blue Yonder.”
"In Milwaukee, police looked for William Ferguson, lecturer (at $1 a head) on the wonders of Mars, after he 1) tried to sell Policewoman Mary Smeaton a brain-relaxing helmet and other souvenirs he said he brought back from his trip to the planet in 1947; 2) told her she would return to her home planet Saturn after 14,000 more years; 3) rhapsodized about Martian food, which the body absorbs without the need for elimination, and Martian water, which can be swum in without getting wet."
As reprinted in The Sun-Herald (Sydney, Australia)  Dec. 5, 1954 

Flying saucer magazines generally received Ferguson more warmly. Flying Saucer News, Sept 1955:
"The Cosmic Circle of Fellowship presents William Ferguson every Friday evening at 8: P.M. in Parlor E of the LaSalle Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Ferguson gives Flying Saucer reports and messages from outer space, and subject matter of related phenomena.”
Ad from Flying Saucer News, Aug. 1955

Coral and Jim Lorenzen found Ferguson and his kind to be a nuisance. The APRO Bulletin, Sept. 1956
“Wonder when the [press] will do a feature on the oddballs in Chicago who call themselves the ‘Cosmic Circle of Fellowship.’ Passing around plastic cups, which they call the Cosmic Carriers, they list on their program ‘Cosmic Music,’ etc., and are generally fouling up UFO research… part of the job… [is to look] into these things, no matter how odd.”

The press had come close. The March 10, 1956, issue of The Saturday Evening Post had run an article on a flying saucer book store, “He Runs Flying Saucer Headquarters.” It focused on the kooks and Contactees, noting the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship in Chicago “receives messages from space every Friday night in Parlor E of the La Salle Hotel.”


UFO Conventions

Ferguson spoke at flying saucer conventions, and his group held their own “Annual Interplanetary Space Conference.” The Ufologer, Sept. 1957:
“On September 13, 14, 15 The Cosmic Circle of Fellowship held their annual space-craft conference here in Washington [DC] at the New Colonial Hotel… Among the speakers were, Major Wayne Aho, who gave a very interesting talk entitled, ‘Cosmic Ambassadors.’”

Anna Keppy was a UFO activist from Davenport, Michigan, who was active in the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship. She helped arrange lectures for Reinhold Schmitt, Otis T. Carr, and Wayne Aho, pictured below.

The Quad City Times, Feb. 18, 1958

During Ferguson’s travels, he set up “Circles” in other cities, including Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco. Back at home, Ferguson and his Cosmic Circle of Fellowship received some unfavorable press in the Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1959, “Quackery: $500,000 Racket.”

Illustration by George Sottung


Fortunately for him, the Circle was only described, not named. Business went on as usual.

AFSCA World Report, July-Aug. 1959
“The Cosmic Circle of Fellowship, Inc., present their 4th Annual Interplanetary Space Conference, September 11, 12, 13, 1959. Features include: The Pageant of the Planets, The Cosmic Dance, William Ferguson, Live Celestial Music, The Key to the Next Evolutionary Step of Man. This event will be held at the LaSalle Hotel, Chicago, Illinois.”
The organization continued to publish booklets about their religious teachings. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library files from 1961 contain “material from the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship, Inc.”


Will the Circle Be Unbroken?


The last activity we found from Ferguson was a notice of his lecture October 19, 1966, lecture in Sioux City, Iowa, “A Story of Creation.” William R. Ferguson died June 20, 1967.

The Circle(s) carried on without him. The Presidential Library for Ronald Reagan contains a letter to the President and his Cabinet from March 18, 1981, from Cloe Diroll of the “Cosmic Study Center.” She called for “Government recognition of UFOs and acceptance of Space Beings,” based on the “unique experiences and revelations of William Ferguson.” She included a channeled message and a copy of her newsletter.


The last reference we found to the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship as a functioning entity was in the Tampa Tribune, July 25, 1992, which said the group had “about 20 members nationwide who communicate through newsletters.”

If we believe William Ferguson, since his 1947 contact, Khauga of Mars had “been guiding my hands and consciousness in my work.” Such work included the manufacture and sale of the Zerret Applicator. That crime led to a conviction, so we are granting Ferguson honorary status in an exclusive circle, the Saucer Swindlers.


. . .


For Further Reading

William Ferguson and the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship by Kook Science.

William Ferguson, The First Man on Mars by Adam Gorightly.









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UFO Religion: The Cosmic Circle of Fellowship

  William R. Ferguson (born July 23, 1900) was the author of a 1937 self-self-help book teaching that before you could achieve your goals, ...