Available, right now (and thanks to New Saucerian Books), is a new edition of Gray Barker's 1967 title, Gray Barker's Book of Adamski. It's a highly entertaining mix of fact, fiction, myth-making, and legend-creating. And, as a result of its age and subject-matter, of course, the story it tells harks back to the controversial days of the Contactees and the Space Brothers.
Born in Poland, in 1891, George Adamski moved to the United States as a child. He spent four years in the military – at the height of the First World War – then spent time working, variously, in a flour mill and at the Yellowstone National Park.
It was during the 1930s, however, that Adamski began to gravitate towards the world of the unknown, of the paranormal, and, finally, of the flying saucer. Adamski received significant publicity, in early 1934, when he was profiled by the Los Angeles press.
The article in question told of Adamski’s relocation to Laguna Beach, California. Interestingly, the newspaper took particular note of Adamski’s words that revolved around a trek he made to the Himalayas. Rather notably, Adamski – while high in the mountains – had an experience that changed his life, so we are told.
Adamski explained: “I learned great truths up there on the roof of the world, or, rather, the trick of applying age old knowledge to daily life, to cure the body and the mind and to win mastery over self and soul. I do not bring to Laguna the weird rites and bestial superstition in which the old Lamaism is steeped, but the scientific portions of the religion.”
Adamski wasn’t long for Laguna Beach, however. He moved to another base of operations: Palomar Gardens, located near California’s Palomar Mountain. As for the important matter of earning money, Adamski established the Palomar Gardens Café.
It was in 1946 that Adamski and the intelligences behind the UFO phenomenon crossed paths in legendary fashion. In early October of that year, Adamski and several of his friends and followers encountered a gigantic, unidentified flying object in the skies near the mountain, one that was long and pencil-shaped.
A similar craft – or, perhaps the very same one – appeared in the following year, 1947, and yet again at the site of the huge mountain. It was 1952, however, that really thrust Adamski into the ufological big-time.
Greg Bishop, who has studied the life and ufological claims of Adamski, tells the story of what happened:
“...Adamski left his Palomar mountain retreat at 1.00 a.m. on Thursday November 20, 1952 along with his lifetime secretary Lucy McGinnis and Alice Wells – the owner of the property where Adamski gave lectures on Universal Law and the café where he flipped burgers to pay the rent.
"At about 8.00 a.m. they met with Al Bailey and his wife Betty, and George Hunt Williamson [a fellow-Contactee, and about who more imminently] and his wife, Betty, in Blythe, [California] just west of the Arizona / California border.
“Turning back on a ‘hunch’ the group retraced their drive back to Desert Center and took a small highway 11 miles northeast towards the town of Parker, Arizona and stopped. After a meal, the group aimlessly scanned the skies for saucers.
"Passing motorists slowed to rubberneck at this small band staring into the sky in the middle of a barren desert. Shortly after 12 noon, a plane passed overhead, causing momentary excitement. The real drama began moments later, when ‘riding high and without sound, there was a gigantic cigar-shaped silvery ship.'"
What followed was Adamski's alleged encounter with a very human-looking E.T. More encounters followed, as did books, such as Flying Saucers Have Landed, co-authored by Adamski with Desmond Leslie.
So, with a bit of scene-setting now out of the way, let's take a look at Gray Barker's Book of Adamski.
In 1957, an entertaining hoax was perpetrated on Adamski by the late Jim Moseley – of Saucer Smear fame – and Gray Barker, the author of the very book we're now talking about.
Moseley told Greg Bishop: “Gray Barker had a friend who is still alive now and begged me never to reveal his name, but at the time was a kid of eighteen or twenty, whose father was rather high in the State Department. He wandered into his father’s office and stole some official State Department stationery, about six or seven different kinds.”
Some of that same stationery wound up in the hands of Moseley and Barker, at which point the pair decided to create what has become known within the realm of UFO research as the “Straith Letter,” as Moseley explained to Greg:
“...one night Barker and I got together at his place in Clarksburg, West Virginia and wrote six or seven different letters to people in the field. And the Straith letter was so-called because it was signed by R.E. Straith of the ‘Cultural Affairs Committee’ of the State Department, and we deliberately made that part up because it didn’t exist.
“...it said in essence that ‘...there are some of us here that know of your contacts and we are behind you all the way, but we cannot come out publicly to support you at this time. But rest assured that we are behind you in spirit,’ etc.
“So, [Adamski] publicized it; and after a few months the FBI came to him and told him to stop it."
The saga of the Straith letter is told across no less than 18 pages of Gray Barker's Book of Adamski. It must be said, Barker presents the tale as a definitive, real-life mystery - not as something that, in reality, he and Jim Moseley conjured up one night, while both were wasted to the max on whiskey! Nevertheless, that does not make the story any less entertaining.
Barker, for those who don't know it, was a story-teller in the truest sense of the word - and that becomes amply obvious from his article on this bizarre caper, which is titled The Strange Case of R.E. Straith.
As for the rest of the book, it's comprised of (A) a section by Moseley on Moon-based anomalies of the UFO kind; and (B) one on Adamski's "Space Age Philosophy," in which the man himself demonstrates how the Christian religion clearly influenced his thoughts on the Space Brothers and their reasons for visiting us. We also get no less than the top twenty-one questions that Adamski was asked during his time as Saucer Guru Numero Uno - and which he answers, too.
There's a paper on the matter of Adamski's photos of UFOs (or of lampshades, of Frisbees, etc; take your pick), of his encounter with the legendary Orthon, and much more. For me, the most fascinating part of the book deals with Adamski's confrontations with a controversial and odd pair of ufologists who I talk about in my latest book, Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind, and who mysteriously vanished from the skies of Los Angeles in November 1953.
They were Karl Hunrath and Wilbur Wilkinson. It was Hunrath who got Adamski in hot water with the FBI, something which ended in farce-like fashion, when poor old George was grilled by the G-Men. Adamski tells his side of the story in a fashion that is fairly economical with the truth.
Should you buy Gray Barker's Book of Adamski? Well, of course, you should! It's a massively entertaining, wild, sometimes unintentionally hilarious, and at all times insightful, look at one of the most famous/infamous figures in 1950s-era Ufology.
Don't take it all seriously, however. Barker certainly didn't! He was a master of the trickster kind, one who wrote in a definitive Gonzo fashion, and who regularly turned a bright, sunny day into the proverbial dark and stormy night - for the effect and for the sheer hell of it.
The book is great fun to read. As for how much of it is true,well, that's anyone's guess - which is pretty much how things always were when it came to Adamski and Barker.