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Contactees or Secret Agents?

One of the most outrageous, but certainly intriguing, theories surrounding the early years of the Contactee movement suggests the Contactees were in the clandestine employ of the United States’ Intelligence community.

Their secret role: to spread outlandish – and utterly fictitious – tales of trips to the Moon and Venus with long-haired aliens. Their purpose: to make the entire UFO subject seem ridiculous, and to bury the truly unexplained and mystifying reports amongst a mass of largely unbelievable tales of cosmic contact. As controversial as it may seem, however, when we look for connections between the Contactees and elements of U.S. officialdom, we do find them.

For example, documentation that has surfaced via the terms of the Freedom of Information Act demonstrates that while the FBI of the 1950s was hardly enamored of Contactee George Van Tassel, that was most certainly not always the case. The Freedom of Information Act has shown that in previous years Van Tassel had what could be termed quasi-official links with the FBI which were most assuredly not frowned upon.

An FBI document of November 16, 1954, for example, references Van Tassel as having been “acquainted” with FBI Special Agent Walter Bott (who had then recently died), and that furthermore, Van Tassel “helped [Bott] on many cases at Lockheed.” Furthermore, a number of those same cases involved attempts by Soviet “plants” to learn U.S. defense secrets that Van Tassel helped Bott to thwart.

In addition to that startling revelation, while employed with Hughes Aircraft, Van Tassel acted in an assistance capacity to none other than Howard Hughes himself. In 1977, an astonishing book, The Hughes Papers by Elaine Davenport, Paul Eddy and Mark Huwitz, was published, and disclosed a wealth of hitherto unknown material pertaining to Hughes, including his deep connections to the CIA. This does not, of course, link Van Tassel with the CIA in any capacity, but it is food for thought, nevertheless.

Moving on to George Adamski, the researcher George Andrews wrote in his 1986 book Extra-Terrestrials Among Us: “People who traveled with Adamski noticed that he had been issued a special passport, such as is usually reserved for diplomats and high government officials. It is entirely possible that he may have been a CIA disinformation agent who successfully fulfilled the mission of making the subject of UFOs seem so absurd that no independent in-depth investigation would be made by qualified academics.”

And there is more to come. In 1954, a group of West Coast-based Contactees – including both Truman Bethurum and George Hunt Williamson – gave a series of lectures at the Hotel Gibson in Cincinnati. As this was also the home-city of the famed UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield, paths inevitably crossed. Hoping to get Stringfield to endorse their talks, Bethurum, Williamson and their flock called at his home and introduced themselves. Stringfield flatly refused to lend his support; although he did invite the group into his home. It was while in the company of the Contactees that Stringfield had an intriguing experience, as he noted in his 1977 book, Situation Red: The UFO Siege:

“After their departure I began to wonder about their causes. At one point during the evening’s many tête-à-têtes, I chanced to overhear two members discussing the FBI. Pretending aloofness, I tried to overhear more. It seemed that one person was puzzling over the presence of an ‘agent’ in the group. When I was caught standing too close, the FBI talk stopped. Whether or not I had reason to be suspicious, it was not difficult for me to believe that some of the Contactees behind all this costly showmanship were official ‘plants.’”

Finally, there is the tale of Howard Menger, author of the book From Outer Space to You. As the late and renowned Fortean authority John Keel noted in letters to the UFO researcher Gray Barker and Saucer Smear editor Jim Moseley, Menger termed his book “fiction-fact” and implied that the Pentagon had asked him to participate in an experiment to test the public’s reaction to extra-terrestrial contact…

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  • Anonymous

    In a 1960 issue of Flying Saucer Review, they published part of a letter explaining how CIA director, Allen Welsh Dulles, promised an injunction if someone tried to prove in Court that Adamski was a fraud. I guess whether Adamski was a proactive Cat’s Paw for the CIA or useful idiot is up for debate? That he was protected by Dulles shows he was useful for something.

    Maybe the CIA were interested in gaining information from possible Soviet agents and the FBI were interested in the domestic threat to security posed by the anti-nuclear talk and infiltration of agents? In fact, would it be all that surprising if the FBI and CIA agents were reporting each other as possibly Soviet agents? There has often been precious little cooperation/communication (9/11 for example) between agencies after all. The Contactees were as likely to experience the rampant paranoia of the subject as anyone as they looked for CIA, FBI, Soviet and alien agents within their groups. Add in the mischief of guys like Jim Moseley and reality might have been a tenuous thing to some of the followers….and maybe even the agents?

    Very interesting times!    

  • CDA

    The letter in FSR in 1960 was in fact a long article by a Dr Leon Davidson who, to put it mildly, was besotted by the CIA and their alleged activities. He was convinced the CIA had played dirty tricks on Adamski and had instigated the famous Washington DC radar-visual sightings of July 1952. As time went by Davidson more or less blamed the CIA for the whole UFO phenomenon.

  • Anonymous

    Hiya CDA, I was posting from memory and have just looked to be sure. The detail was indeed a small part of a letter from Eickhoff (p 8) that was quoted from Stringfield’s Saucer Post 3-0. It’s essentially anecdotal although I find it interesting.

    I rarely read Adamski articles in FSR, but I’ll bear in mind your comments on Davidson. So much of the early FSR is like a foreshadowing of modern ufology with beliefs in ancient aliens, CIA manipulation and a willingness to suspend disbelief for disreputable fellows.

    The op-ed could be posted today without seeming anachronistic. For example, ‘the tendency toward division is much too strong by reason of the many theories, interpretations, claims and opinions possible.’

  • Glorfindel

    Here’s some food for thought, maybe instead of American intelligence being involved in all these contactee cases it was some other country’s intelligence agencies – such as the KGB.

    Most of the contactee’s talked about space brothers who warned of humans not having the ‘spiritual development’ to wield Nuclear Weapons and that Nuclear Weapons should be disbanded – is it beyond the realms of possibility that the Soviets/Chinese/French and others have been funding this types of Psy-Ops to make the American public loathe Nuclear Weapons and call for their disbanding?

    Alot of the Anti-Nuclear groups which brought about the (failed) SALT talks, START and CTBT did have some form of Soviet backing, especially in Europe – so is it beyond the realms of possibility that the whole contactee phenomena was conducted from the Kremlin?

  • Red Pill Junkie

    The fact that Adasmki got buried in Arlington kind of leaves a certain whiff of official consent to his Contactee spiel. Sure the articles said it was all Alice Well’s doing thanks to the fact George fought in the army looking for Pancho Villa; but still, kind of odd that they would let him be interred in the most important cemetery in the US.

  • Nick_redfern

    The Communist angle re the Contactees is a very interesting one, as I have a lot on that too. I’ll do a post on it here in the near future.

  • Glorfindel

    I hope it’s not Stalin, Roswell and Mengeles and his genetically engineered children…

  • Flying Tiger

    Fred Chrisman- from UFO to JFK