Oct 05, 2018 I Nick Redfern

A UFO-Related Death That Still Provokes Controversy

In 1955, one of the most controversial of all the many and varied UFO books published in the fifties was released. Its title was The Case for the UFO. The author was Morris Ketchum Jessup. His book, in part, was a detailed study of the theoretical power-sources for UFOs: what was it that made them fly? How could they perform incredible, aerial feats, such as coming to a complete stop in the skies, hovering at incredible heights? Jessup believed that the answers lay in the domain of gravity. Or, as he saw it: anti-gravity. Jessup may well have been onto something, as it wasn’t long at all before the world of officialdom was taking an interest in him – specifically the U.S. Navy. And it was one particularly intriguing office of the Navy that was watching Jessup – a “special weapons” division. Clearly, someone in the U.S. Navy was intrigued by Jessup’s findings and theories.

In the mid-fifties, Morris Jessup became deeply worried – paranoid, even – that he was being spied on. On several occasions, he noticed that certain items in his office had clearly been moved – strongly suggesting that when he was out of his home someone was having a stealthy look around. The ante was upped when Jessup had a face to face interview with Navy representatives who wanted to speak with him about his book and the theories and the technology referred to in its pages. That wasn’t all they wanted to discuss They also wanted to know what Jessup knew about the so-called Philadelphia Experiment of 1943, in which, allegedly, a Navy ship - the USS Eldridge - was rendered invisible, something that is said to have led to the deaths of some of the crew. I should stress, though, that Jessup's original source for the story was a man named Carlos Allende. He was a notorious hoaxer in the controversy-filled saga of the vanishing ship, which was not a good sign.

USS Eldridge DE 173 1944 570x311
USS Eldridge

Of course, given the fact that Jessup was already in a deep state of fear and paranoia, the meeting with the Navy only increased his anxieties. He saw Men in Black lurking outside of his home. Hang-up calls in the middle of the night became regular occurrences. Mail arrived tampered, opened and resealed. Clearly, someone was trying to derail Jessup and his research.

In the early evening of April 20, 1959, the lifeless body of Morris Jessup was found in his car, which was parked in the Matheson Hammock Park in Miami, Florida. The car’s engine was still running and a hosepipe, affixed to the exhaust, had been fed through the driver’s side window. Jessup was dead from the effects of carbon-monoxide. Jessup’s body was found by a man named John Goode, who worked at the park. He quickly called the police, who arrived in no time at all. While it looked like Jessup had killed himself, not everyone was quite so sure that things were so black and white. The window through which the hose was stuffed with a couple of towels, to prevent air from getting in and carbon-monoxide from getting out. Curiously, Mrs. Jessup -- Rubeye – confirmed the towels were not theirs. Why, if Jessup took his own life, did he not take towels from the family home? What would have been the point of buying new towels? And, if he did buy such towels, where was the receipt? It certainly wasn’t in the car, or in any of Jessup’s pockets.

Of course, no one can say what goes through someone's mind when they decide to end their life, but if nothing else the matter of the towels was perceived as somewhat of a red flag. It should be noted, though, that Jessup's life was not exactly stable in this period. And that's putting it mildly. His marriage was in a fraught state, a car accident had limited his activities, and he was having trouble getting published. In other words, we most definitely need to look at both sides of the coin - and carefully and closely, too.

Moving on, there is the fact that on the very night before his death, Jessup spent more than an hour chatting on the phone with one Manson Valentine, expressing his enthusiasm for his latest work and plans for further investigations into the Philadelphia Experiment. Jessup even told Valentine that they should have lunch together the next day. Valentine never saw Jessup again.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!