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George Adamski: Apostle of the Space Brothers, or Tall Tale Teller?

It hadn’t been long after the first reports of sightings of “flying saucers” in America that there began to be claims from those who had allegedly met the people aboard these wonder vessels. 

Those golden years in American history were unique ones. There seemed to be a renewed promise of life and living, and of things to come, afforded us in the so-called “atomic age” of the post-war period. The sense was one of resounding peace, but also a deep set concern over whether war might break out again someday, and how.

The stories of the famous contactees of this period were the same. People claiming to have met the occupants of flying saucers would herald these peace-loving “space brothers” who, while sharing their wild technologies and fables regarding the perils of their planetary travels, also warned about the future of humankind. The entire matter became eschatological, and the modest contactee movement became representative of the plight of humankind, and where it would end up if great care were not taken.

This story was reflected in many contactee stories, but perhaps in none better than that of George Adamski, whose claims of meeting “Orthon,” a space alien from Venus in the desert sometime in 1952. But Adamski’s story was, in fact, a rehashing of an earlier treatise, one with similar links to the wild lore surrounding early Ufology.

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Adamski with a picture of Orthon

As the saucer craze had begun to erupt out of the late 1940s, there were indeed a number of characters who both sought to understand, and perhaps exploit the subject. Much as the Nazis has sought ancient esoteric wisdom for purposes of strengthening their operations during the war years, there began to be contingencies appearing elsewhere in the world shortly after the war that evoked eternal principles and ancient mysteries in aiding their message of warning to future humans. The best example of this was perhaps the manuscripts that were produced by Richard Sharp Shaver, well known in the history of UFO research for having sent Amazing Stories editor Ray Palmer what many would call precursors to the modern UFO mythology. Though heavily edited by Palmer, Shaver’s writing delved into the lost ancient technologies of past inhabitants of Earth who, having been exiled to an underground existence, were the true inhabitants of flying saucers, which represented their mass exodus from the inner-Earth and into outer space.

While Shaver’s mythology of a race of beings living underground would become inextricably linked with UFOs, it was their editor, Ray Palmer (later a staunch advocate for the authenticity of Shaver’s stories as being true representations of the UFO world at large), who would lend some of the most revealing statements about Adamski’s allegations of having had contact in the desert with the inhabitants of flying saucers.

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During a 1956 appearance on the late-night radio program of Long John Nebel, Palmer asserted that Adamski’s recollection regarding his early contact experiences, featured in a book co-authored with Desmond Leslie called Flying Saucers Have Landed, had actually been sent to him as a manuscript for consideration in Amazing Stories, with a slightly different plot and cast of characters in the earlier version. Specifically, Palmer stated the following during the live interview:

“I don’t mean to say that I think George Adamski is a liar… but here is a fact about Mr. Adamski that isn’t generally known, and I haven’t publicized to a great extent for the simple reason that I don’t believe it would do any good to really attack him… but when I was the editor of Amazing Stories back in about 1939 or 1940, I’m vague on the date, but it was much before flying saucers, I received a manuscript from George Adamski that he thought ought to be published in Amazing Stories. Well I read it. It was a story of a spaceship which came to Earth, and the pilot of the spaceship was Jesus Christ. And the message was, of course, a message of peace and good will, and how we all ought to get along.

Well I disagreed with Mr. Adamski… I told him so, and I regretfully rejected the manuscript, but I enjoyed personally reading it and so on. This was Adamski’s first book, in that same manuscript! The only changes made were a spaceship to a flying saucer, and from Jesus Christ to a Venusian.”

It certainly sounds as though Palmer had been certain of the similarities he noticed between the two documents; in fact, the similarities were no less due to the fact that the same document in need of profuse editing had made its way into the hands of Ray Palmer several years before the saucer craze ever even began. Thus, it also became one that George Adamski had been willing to retrofit in order to fill in some of the proverbial gaps with tantalizing new information about a subject that was garnering massive amounts of attention. We should commend Adamski, at very least, for playing this ploy affectively enough to secure his position in UFO history. However, it is rather disheartening that, despite the availability of such information (a similar narrative can be found here for instance), many popular authors on these subjects today still bring into question Adamski’s “experiences,” alleging everything valid UFO encounters and hoaxes, to the possibility that the entire thing had been an example of psychological warfare, and that Adamski, though telling the truth, had been himself exploited, and played like a pawn strutting across the checkered surface of the chess board.

The only thing checkered about any of this, as we can see, is that Adamski had been fishing his story around for years, and while proclaiming a strong humanitarian message, he was floating all this on what had essentially been a lie, aimed at exploiting the vulnerabilities in the emerging saucer mythos. Geez, maybe that’s just a bit harsh to put it all like that… but sadly, the truth of the situation remains that Adamski was going around telling people he’d had a real experience… and that obviously was not the case. Then again, one has to wonder if he had been just as adamant beforehand that it was Jesus Christ himself that he saw coming off that spaceship that eventually became a saucer. Who knows… maybe rather than a contactee, we should call him an “Apostle to the Space Brothers.” That might be a neat way of meeting somewhere in the middle. 😉

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Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
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