Dec 13, 2019 I Nick Redfern

UFOs: Warnings to Those Who Investigate

One of the UFO-related issues that isn't touched on as much as it could be is that of what I call "UFO warnings." I'm talking specifically about those in the UFO field who have made statements designed to deter other researchers from digging too deep into the subject - for the sake of their physical health and sanity. In many cases, they are former researchers; people who had stumbled across something that led them not just to quit Ufology, but to encourage others in the field to quit, too. Frederick "Ted" Holiday - the author of The Goblin Universe, The Dragon and the Disc, and The Great Orm of Loch Ness - claimed to have seen a Man in Black-type character near the shores of Loch Ness, Scotland, in 1973. Roland Watson, an authority on the Nessie phenomenon, says: "Events took an even stranger turn when [Holiday's] co-author, Randall Jones Pugh, did a radical thing when in 1980 he destroyed his UFO work and walked away from the subject. This happened after a series of personal experiences which he said 'were too frightening to talk about'. Why did he do that? What were these experiences that put fear into him and did the death of his fellow investigator, Ted Holiday, months before add to some intimidation he felt he was under? There is now no way to tell since Randall died in 2003." Pugh warned people to stay away from the UFO subject, such was the fear he developed of the phenomenon.

In an interview I did with Ray Boeche - both a priest and a long-time UFO investigator - he told me: "I have always thought that one of the most important things that John Keel ever said was that if you have kids or teenagers, this is not something to encourage them to get involved with. Keel was a pretty dyed-in-the-wool atheist. But he understood that, at some level, there's something, in some sense transcendent over us, that can, if nothing else, 'mess' with us. And it can cause a lot of damage. Sometimes, I think I'm singing a one-note song with this, from a Christian perspective. I would not consider myself theologically liberal or a theological fundamentalist. My beliefs are solidly orthodox, and rooted in my view of the Bible as God's inerrant Word. But there are things that we just aren't equipped to deal with from a mechanistic, naturalistic worldview. There are malevolent forces out there that will be happy to take advantage of just about any opening we give them. And, so, we need to be very cautious. I tend to think that may be what happened to Albert Bender, but he might not have been so cautious."

And talking of Albert Bender...he was the poor soul who, in almost single-handed fashion, unleashed the Men in Black phenomenon on Ufology, in the early 1950s. He was also a direct witness to the chilling things in black. Not only that, Bender largely quit Ufology after writing his 1962 book, Flying Saucers and the Three Men. Eventually, he quit the subject completely. Even today, the full story of Bender's exit from Ufology remains shrouded in mystery. Notably, Bender himself - back in the fifties - warned his colleagues of the dangers of looking into the UFO phenomenon.

Now, let's take a look at the work of John Keel, most noted for his books The Mothman Prophecies and Operation Trojan Horse. In a 2017 review of the latter book, Andrew Griffin wrote: "Keel says that 'black magic' is often linked to the phenomenon, and some people have such frightening experiences dabbling in the topic, that they abandon it for good. In fact, Keel tells his adult readers who are parents to warn their children away from Ufology altogether.'I have in my files hundreds of cases, some of which have now been investigated by qualified psychiatrists, in which young men and women obsessed with the UFO phenomenon have suffered frightening visits from these apparitions, been followed by mysterious black Cadillacs which appeared and disappeared suddenly, and have been terrified into giving up their pursuit of UFOs. Many contactees report similar experiences' [italics Griffin's]."


Gareth Medway addressed the experiences of a a UFO researcher named Brian Leathley-Andrews, of Coventry, England. Medway said that Leathley-Andrews had a series of strange experiences in the 1960s, and one particularly weird affair in October 1968.  On the day in question, Medway wrote, he "returned home to notice a man standing by the next-door garage."

Leathley-Andrews said of the man: “His face was glowing orange and as I watched, the face changed to that of an old man before my eyes.”

Medway stated that: "After this [Leathley-Andrews] started experiencing problems with his telephone, and getting threatening calls. He soon abandoned UFO investigation."

In 2018, Leathley-Andrews finally came out of the shadows, years after he quit Ufology, and said: "“I want to publicly warn all teenage hobbyists that this is nothing to dabble in lightly."

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.

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