In 1992, in a privately-published paper titled: Have You Checked Your File Lately? Robert Durant, a UFO researcher and pilot, discussed the theme of an all-encompassing, Government-sanctioned-and-controlled operation designed to covertly monitor the activities of the public UFO research community: “You, the reader, are among the approximately 4,000 Americans who subscribe to ufological journals or newsletters, buy UFO books through the mail, attend conferences, or spend time with others who engage in such activities. Not a large group. We are only 3% of the total number of citizens the government admits to watching with intense care. A very easy group to track. Building your file is so much easier than compiling one on a Russian spy or a Mafioso. There is a file on you at the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the driver’s license bureau of the state in which you are licensed, the commercial credit card companies that do business with your bank and your lenders, your doctor’s office, and so forth and so on. Is it really unreasonable to suspect that a UFO file would be created?” With that said, read on:
My previous article here at Mysterious Universe was titled “In the U.K. Government, it’s not just the Ministry of Defense that is tied to UFOs.” In part, I revealed how, in the mid-1990s, English ufologist Robin Cole was visited by government agents because he dug a bit too deep into the UFO connection to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the U.K.’s equivalent of the United States’ National Security Agency. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you other examples of UFO researchers getting knocks on the front-door from “the man.” Back in the early 1950s, the FBI opened a file on “Contactee” George Van Tassel, who created the Integratron and ran an outdoor UFO event for years – an event that attracted thousands of people. Van Tassel’s file runs to 319 pages and has now been declassified. But, what about Mrs. Van Tassel? It wasn’t just George who got a visit. His wife did, too. In a face-to-face meeting at the Van Tassel home, the FBI recorded the following:
“Relative to her husband and herself, Mrs. Van Tassel claims that she and her husband practice a metaphysical religion. She declared this religion is based on an occult principle in that she and her husband sit in a room in dead silence and receive thought transfers from one another and from other individuals who are not psychically present in the room. She declared that it was through this type of practice that her husband has learned or prophesied the coming of World War III and a gigantic explosion on the East Coast. She mentioned that at the present time she and her husband have undertaken a special project. This project is the founding and organizing of the College of Universal Wisdom. The purpose of the college is to promote and carry out interplanetary communication and the dissemination of Universal Wisdom gained through the median of space beings.” The two agents thanked Mrs. Van Tassel and left, satisfied with what they heard.
As the CIA note, in a very amusing fashion, in 1955, two elderly sisters in Chicago, Mildred and Marie Maier, reported in the Journal of Space Flight their experiences with UFOs, including the recording of a radio program in which an unidentified code was allegedly heard. The sisters taped the program; and other ham radio operators also claimed to have heard the “space message.” The CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence duly became interested and asked its Scientific Contact Branch to obtain a copy of the recording. Field officers from the Contact Division, one of who was a man named Dewelt Walker, made contact with the Maier sisters at their home, who were “thrilled that the government was interested,” and set up a time to meet with them. In trying to secure the tape recording, the Agency officers reported that they had stumbled upon a scene from Arsenic and Old Lace. “The only thing lacking was the elderberry wine,” Walker told Headquarters. After reviewing the sisters’ scrapbook of clippings from their days as entertainers on the stage, the bemused and amused officers secured a copy of the recording. OSI analyzed the tape and found it was nothing more than Morse code from a US radio station.
Moving on: In 1977, the late Graham Birdsall – editor of the now-defunct British-based UFO Magazine – and his brother, Mark, investigated a major UFO sighting near to Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, that involved a number of witnesses who had viewed strange, aerial objects in the vicinity of Menwith Hill – a vast “listening-post” controlled by the American National Security Agency. The Birdsall brothers duly approached the staff at Menwith Hill for comment and, at one point, were actually allowed on base. This led to a curious series of events. Soon after visiting the base, Graham received a telephone call from a Mr. Mills, the senior NSA security officer at the base, who had just taken up his post at Menwith Hill and was keen to cement good, local relations. Graham engaged the NSA official in conversation for approximately one hour – something that few civilians can claim. Not only that, Graham was visited by an NSA employee who asked him more than a few questions about “motivations” when to came to UFOs – as well as Graham’s beliefs in the UFO phenomenon. The man soon left.
One of my own particularly memorable experiences occurred in 2001. After writing an article on MI5 whistleblower, David Shayler, for Mark Birdsall’s Eye-Spy magazine, I received a telephone call from a highly concerned and nervous Birdsall. He informed me that he had been visited – at his home – in North Yorkshire by “two lads from the Metropolitan Police.” Mark advised me that the two officers informed him that while publication of the article was not deemed to have harmed the national security of the country, there was a pressing need on their part to obtain the tape-recording of the interview I had conducted with Shayler. For a while I mused upon this and did nothing. Not long after, however, I was contacted by a representative of Special Branch, who advised me, in no uncertain terms that I would hand over the tape, like it or not. Based upon what I was told, I was left with little choice, and I did indeed hand over the original recording. I should stress, though, MI5 were fine with the text of the interview being included in the pages of Eye-Spy. It was a surreal situation.
In light of all the above, the day may come when you, too, get that ominous, slow knock on the door.