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Why Did the FBI Take a Deep Interest in UFO-Themed Books?

Sometime ago I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe on the FBI’s review of Frank Edwards’ 1966 UFO-themed book, Flying Saucers – Serious Business. In light of that, I thought that, today, I would share with you some more examples of how and why government agencies have carefully watched UFO authors, their books, and their magazines. We’ll begin with one of the most famous of all the so-called “UFO Contactees.” They were people who claimed face-to-face encounters with very human-looking ETs. They claimed they wanted us to live in peace with them, and to lay down our “atomic bombs” (as they were termed back then). It didn’t take George Van Tassel – one of the key figures in the Contcatee arena – to create a huge following out in the desert land of of California. And, when Van Tassel started talking – and talking loudly – about politics and religion, the FBI sat up and listened. No surprise there. The FBI also asked Van Tassel for copies of his journal The Proceedings of the College of Universal Wisdom. Van Tassel was pleased to share his writings with the FBI. He did so for years. Then, there was George Adamski – whose 1953 book with Desmond Leslie, Flying Saucers Have Landed caught the attention of the FBI, too. Not for a good reason, though. Also in 1953, the Los Angeles-based Better Business Bureau turned up at the Los Angeles FBI office and advised agents there that the BBB was investigating Adamski’s 1953 book, Flying Saucers Have Landed, to determine if it was a fraud.

(Nick Redfern) “Giant Rock,” California where George Van Tassel hung out. So did the FBI.

The BBB informed the Los Angeles office that, in an attempt to secure the truth, Adamski had been interviewed by one of its staff, during the course of which he – Adamski – had produced a document “having a blue seal in the lower left corner, at the top of which appeared the names of three Government agents,” – one from the FBI and two from the Air Force. Again, there was am implication that Adamski’s material had the official clearance of the FBI and the Air Force. Not surprisingly, the document was unauthentic. Investigations quickly undertaken by Special Agent Willis of the San Diego FBI revealed that the document Adamski had shown to the Better Business Bureau was, outrageously, a doctored copy of the statement he had been obliged to sign for both the FBI and the Air Force months earlier. And, in no time, the FBI had their very own copy of the Adamski book. The whole thing placed Adamski in a very bad situation. No wonder!

How about the guys who began the Men in Black mystery: Albert Bender and Gray Barker? None other than the FBI Director of the day, J. Edgar Hoover, himself, demanded a copy of Barker’s 1956 book, They Knew Too Much About Flying SaucersThe story goes as follows: On November 22, 1958, an inquiring citizen of Oklahoma City contacted J. Edgar Hoover about certain claims Barker had made, in his book, about the FBI and the MIB. The letter-writer said: “Recently many rumors have been printed in UFO periodicals, concerning reports that Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have discouraged certain saucer investigators, particularly Mr. Albert Bender of Bridgeport, Connecticut, from further research into the secret of these elusive discs. Since you are the Director of the FBI, I would like to know whether or not these reports are factual or whether they are just rumors.” Hoover’s response to the letter-writer was swift and right to the point: “I am instructing a Special Agent of our Oklahoma City Office to contact you concerning the matter you mentioned.” A note from Hoover to the special agent in charge at Oklahoma City added: “An agent of your office should contact [the letter writer] immediately and secure copies of or information concerning the periodicals described.”

(Nick Redfern) M.I.B. everywhere

In a memorandum to Hoover dated December 9, 1958, the Oklahoma office of the FBI reported that the periodical in question was titled the Saucerian Bulletin and was published by Gray Barker (it was previously just called the Saucerian). The FBI further noted for Hoover’s attention that the Saucerian Bulletin reported that the three men responsible for silencing Albert Bender were from “the FBI, Air Force Intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency.”Director Hoover was far from happy with this – and that’s putting things mild. An FBI report of December 12 reads as follows: “Bender formed the International Flying Saucer Bureau in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1952 to look into the flying saucer mystery. In 1953 Bender allegedly stated that he knew what the saucers are. Then ‘three men in black suits’ silenced Bender to the extent that even today Bender will not discuss the matter of his ‘hush-up’ with anyone.” A month later, on January 22, 1959, Hoover was still on the trail of Barker, Bender and the Men in Black and wrote in a memorandum to one of his special agents: “The Bureau desires to obtain a copy of the book written by Gray Barker entitled They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. Reportedly, the book was published by University Books, Inc., Illinois. Contact this publishing house and if possible, obtain a copy of this book.” Imagine the head of the FBI reading Gray Barker’s M.I.B. book!

Now, let’s move onto the man who, in the 1990s, began the saga of Marilyn Monroe and UFOs (a subject I wrote about, at book-length, earlier this year), Milo Speriglio.  A writer and a private-detective, Speriglio wrote three books on Marilyn and found himself deep into the UFO issue for a few years. He was also watched closely by the CIA, no less. You can find a small portion of the CIA-Speriglio files at this link. And, the Speriglio file will soon be growing. What all of this tells us is that, yes, ufologists who wrote books and journals did find themselves watched by government agencies. But, it was all largely due to politics, to controversial characters and their statements, and to dodgy figures. For government agencies, concerns about real UFOs and genuine aliens were most definitely near the end of the list for the FBI.

(Nick Redfern) Milo Speriglio, UFOs and the CIA

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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