Part-1 of this article began as follows: “Now that the new series of The X-Files is already halfway through its brief return to television, I figured it would be a good time to address an issue that often crops up in conversation. And particularly when I’m lecturing on the “government files” angle of the UFO controversy. Namely, does the real FBI have its very own X-Files department? Well, the short answer is ‘No. It does not.’ That’s not to say, however, that the FBI hasn’t played a significant role in the investigation of the kinds of mysteries that would have Mulder drooling at the mouth and Scully rolling her eyes and shaking her head.”
Part-1 was focused on how the FBI became embroiled in the heart of the UFO phenomenon in the summer months of 1947. In fact, directly in the wake of the famous encounter of Kenneth Arnold at Mt. Rainier, Washington State. While the FBI significantly scaled down its UFO investigations in the post-August 1947 period, its personnel were certainly not done with UFOs. Far from it. All of which brings us to the matter of crashed flying saucers. Nope, we’re not talking about Roswell. Our attention is focused on the Aztec, New Mexico crash of March 1948. Or, depending on your opinion, the utterly bogus UFO crash at Aztec.
According to information related to the author Frank Scully in the late 1940s (and subsequently published in his best-selling 1950 book, Behind the Flying Saucers), as a result of a number of separate incidents in 1947 and 1948, the wreckage of four alien spacecraft, and no fewer than 34 alien bodies, had been recovered by American authorities, and were being studied under cover of the utmost secrecy at defense establishments in the United States.
As Scully reported, the majority of his data came from two individuals: Silas Mason Newton (described in a 1941 FBI report as a “wholly unethical businessman”) and one “Dr. Gee,” the name given to protect eight scientists, all of whom had supposedly divulged various details of the crashes to Newton and Scully. It turns out that the FBI has a far-less-than-flattering file on Newton (which is hardly surprising, given his business shenanigans), one which you can download from the FBI’s website, The Vault.
The FBI says the following of Newton: “Silas Newton (1887-1972) was a wealthy oil producer and con-man who claimed that he had a gadget that could detect minerals and oil. He was cited as an authority in Frank Scully’s book Behind the Flying Saucers, a work that claimed to report on several UFO crashes in the area of New Mexico. In 1950, Newton said that a flying saucer crashed on land he leased in the Mojave Desert; however, he revised his claim in 1952, saying he never saw a flying saucer but had only repeated comments he heard from others. These files detail the FBI’s investigations into Newton’s fraudulent activities between 1951 and 1970.”
According to Scully’s sources, one such UFO was found in Hart Canyon, near the town of Aztec, in March 1948. According to others, however, the entire Aztec story was cooked up by Newton, along with a cohort named Leo Gebauer. The FBI knew all about Gebauer, too. Indeed, his FBI file runs to hundreds of page – not all of which has been declassified. The file on Gebauer shows he referred to Adolf Hitler as nothing less than “a swell fellow.” He added that the United States would benefit from having “two men” to run the country, in much the same way that Hitler ruled Germany.
The files in question make it very clear that the FBI was carefully watching all of the prime players in the Aztec story: Newton, Gebauer, and even Frank Scully (whose FBI file is also now in the public domain). Don’t get too excited, though: yes, the files undeniably tell a fascinating story. It’s a story filled with tales of crashed UFOs, dead aliens, shady characters, dubious claims, and larger than life figures. There is, however, no smoking gun. The files provide entertaining and illuminating information on the early years of Ufology – and of the people in it. But, if you’re looking for proof that a UFO crashed at Aztec, New Mexico in March 1948, you won’t find it in the FBI’s files. You will, however, have a good time reading up on all the Aztec-themed claims, convoluted tales, and antics that went down between 1948 and the early 1950s.
Moving on, certainly the most fascinating (for me, at least) aspect of the FBI’s investigations into UFO-related matters revolves around the Contactee/”Space Brother” movement that began in the early 1950s. It went on to dominate much of Ufology in that particular decade. Some may find it hard to believe that just about all of the Contactees of that era became the subject of FBI files. We’re talking about, for example, the “three Georges.” Namely, Adamski, Van Tassel, and Hunt Williamson. Files were also opened on Frank Stranges (of the Valiant Thor saga), Truman Bethurum (who got to hang out with shapely space-babe, Aura Rhanes), Daniel Fry, the odd duo of Karl Hunrath and Wilbur Wilkinson, and Orfeo Angelucci.
It was, primarily, the politics of the Contactees that caused the FBI to keep tabs on them – and, of course, because they were speaking to and influencing large numbers of people, whether at gigs or via book-sales. That several of the Contactees – and particularly so Adamski – championed the Soviet way of life didn’t go down too well with J. Edgar Hoover. As a result, the FBI’s files on the people who claimed to have met long-haired aliens remained open for years. Indeed, Van Tassel’s ran from 1953 to 1965.
In the third part of this article, we’ll take a look at the FBI’s X-files of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, which veer into matters relative to ESP, cattle-mutilations, the infamous MJ12 documents, and much more.