Many people with an interest in Ufology will recall how, beginning in November 2005, a controversial stash of UFO-themed papers surfaced that collectively became known as “The Serpo Documents.” The source of the documents, to this day, remains unknown. He, she, or even them, chose to use the very appropriate alias of “Anonymous.” For some saucer-sleuths, the papers are leaked, highly secret files. For others, the entire thing is nothing but a big joke that has spun wildly out of control. Others suggest disinformation to muddy the ufological waters.
The Serpo papers cover a huge amount of ground, but the primary focus is on controversial claims of an “exchange program” between us and the representatives of an alien race, one which began in the 1960s. Anonymous said: “We carefully selected 12 military personnel; ten men and two women. They were trained, vetted and carefully removed from the military system. The 12 were skilled in various specialties.”
Anonymous added: “Near the northern part of the Nevada Test Site, the aliens landed and the 12 Americans left. One entity was left on Earth. The original plan was for our 12 people to stay 10 years and then return to Earth. But something went wrong. The 12 remained until 1978, when they were returned to the same location in Nevada. Seven men and one woman returned. Two died on the aliens’ home planet. Four others decided to remain, according to the returnees. Of the eight that returned, all have died. The last survivor died in 2002.”
Despite the outrageous and unlikely tale that the documents told, Serpo very quickly became a sensation within certain ufological quarters and provoked massive debate – in magazines and journals, on radio shows, and at online forums. There is, however, one issue that has, for the most part, been overlooked and forgotten. In early 2006, a source that used the named “Chapman,” and who maintained they had a background with the British Ministry of Defense, claimed to know all about the Serpo files and what they really represented.
Chapman explained: “…these are NOT real events that are being described here, although the document they come from IS REAL. I saw this information in 1969 or ’70 in Whitehall. Originally it was a CIA document authored by a lady named Alice Bradley Sheldon. Its main purpose, if you will pardon the phrase, was to ‘scare the crap out of the Soviets’ in response to them scaring the crap out of us.”
The Russians (and others of a commie nature) had seeded stories to British and US intelligence, suggesting that, in the 1950s and 1960s, a number of atomic bombs were smuggled into the United States and were to be detonated in major cities. It was, fortunately for the Western world, a case of the Soviets and their allies trying to instill fear and confusion via the creation of a totally bogus claim. There were no smuggled bombs – at all. And as a result, Chapman maintained, Serpo was the CIA’s way of trying to hit back at the Soviets, and have them running around like headless chickens and rendered into states of paranoia and anxiety.
True or not, the insertion into the Serpo story of Alice Bradley Sheldon is notable – specifically, for who she was and what she did. She was born Alice Hastings Bradley, in 1915, and had an interesting career. When the terrible December 1941 events at Pearl Harbor occurred, Bradley was keen to do what she could to help defeat crazy Hitler and his goose-stepping cronies. She took a position with military Intelligence and ultimately reached the rank of major.
In 1945, Alice Hastings Bradley became Alice Bradley Sheldon, as a result of her marriage to Huntington D. Sheldon. The pair moved to Washington, D.C., in the early 1950s, after being “invited” to join none other than the CIA. While many aspects of her work with the agency remain unknown, it is known that until she resigned in 1955, Alice was involved in espionage missions in the Near East and worked on photo-analysis-themed cases. As for Huntington, he was the Director of the Office of Current Intelligence of the CIA from 1951 to 1961.
In 1967, Alice Bradley Sheldon’s life took a radical, new change in direction. She decided to turn her hand to a favorite topic of hers: science-fiction. In 1973, a collection of her short stories was published. Its title: Ten Thousand Light Years from Home. Two years later, Warm World and Otherwise hit the bookstores. Very few people knew that Sheldon was the author, however, as her sci-fi output was published under the alias of James Tiptree, Jr.
Two more titles surfaced: 1981’s Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions and 1985’s Brightness Falls from the Air. Tragedy was looming on the horizon, however: on May 19, 1987, Alice killed her 84-year-old, blind, bedridden and ailing husband, and then took her own life – with a bullet to the head.
Did Alice Bradley Sheldon write the Serpo documents – or, perhaps, some of them? Maybe. Maybe not. What we can say for sure, however, is that as a highly regarded writer of science fiction, and someone who worked for both Air Intelligence and the CIA, she would have been the absolutely ideal candidate to conjure up a wild sci-fi story (in the form of bogus-but-genuine-looking documents) and to try and terrify the Russians into thinking the West was making top secret deals with extraterrestrials.
Is there far more to the Serpo affair than many suspect? Was Alice Bradley Sheldon the original brains behind Serpo? Or was “Chapman” simply some Walter Mitty-type, stirring up the already-churning waters even more? The questions are many. As for the answers, well, let’s wait and see. I’m already pursuing a few leads…