Jun 13, 2022 I Nick Redfern

When the UFO Phenomenon Becomes Fatal: Mysterious Deaths in the Subject

The UFO subject can, at times, be a strange one. On other occasions it can be sinister. But, what about downright fatal? In other words, mysterious deaths and getting too close to the truth of the UFO phenomenon. That's the theme of today's article. We'll begin with a man named Danny Casolaro. It was the summer of 1991 – specifically August 1 of that year – when the body of a middle-aged man was discovered in a hotel room in the Martinsburg, West Virginia Sheraton Inn. His body was lying in the shower. It was a grim sight for the maid that made the discovery. The man, it seemed, had committed suicide: his wrists were cut deep, something which effectively meant that without anyone to help him, the man was doomed. And, he was. It didn’t take more than a few moments for hotel staff to figure out who, exactly, the man was. He was identified by the person on the front-desk as Danny Casolaro. For around a year and a half leading up to the point of his reported suicide, Casolaro had been looking into a powerful group of people who sound very much like candidates for a New World Order. Casolaro termed this group, “The Octopus.” Appropriately, but unfortunately and tragically, the Octopus soon got its tentacles into Casolaro and dragged him down to an untimely death.

On the Area 51 angle, things got even more controversial. Casolaro was told that a secret group, known as Majestic 12, oversaw at Area 51 the wreckage and alien bodies said to have been found in New Mexico in the summer of 1947 – the legendary Roswell affair, of course. For the record, the Majestic 12 issue has been an integral one to the field of Ufology for decades. For some UFO investigators, Majestic 12 is the real deal. For others, though, it’s nothing but government disinformation designed to confuse the Roswell incident even further. Unfortunately, Casolaro did not live to see the truth of the Octopus unveiled – by himself, he hoped. The matter of his death in August 1991 ensured that. While Casolaro’s death could have been due to suicide – certainly, that’s what it looked like – there were solid and valid reasons to suggest that his death was due to something very different. At the time of his passing, Casolaro was certainly not in a state of woe or depression. It was the exact opposite: he was energized by new leads, and new revelations, in his quest to find the truth of the Octopus, its activities, and its motivations. The mystery remains exactly that: a mystery.

Note: As this map was created by the U.S. government, it is in the public domain

Now, let's jump back to the 1960s and a journalist named Dorothy Kilgallen, who had an interest in the UFO subject. For Kilgallen, it was when she started to dig into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy - at Dallas’ Grassy Knoll - that things began to get dicey for her. She was particularly interested in the connections between JFK’s alleged murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Dallas strip-club-owner, Jack Ruby; a man who knew all the influential, powerful, and murderous characters – including the Mob - who called Dallas their home. When Oswald was shot and killed by Ruby on November 24, 1963, Kilgallen really sat up, suspecting that Oswald had been killed to prevent him from revealing what he knew of the complexities surrounding the president’s death.

Things got even more intriguing when Kilgallen got her hands on an advance copy of the controversy-filled Warren Report that investigated the death of JFK. How she got a hold of that is still a much-debated issue for those who haven’t given up on the matter of who was behind the president’s killing. Kilgallen even managed to secure an interview with Ruby, himself. Kilgallen was no fool: she knew that, by that time, her life was in a fair degree of danger. Kilgallen’s hairdresser, Marc Sinclaire, made no bones about it: “Her life had been threatened.” The threats became more and more. Then, on November 8, 1965, Kilgallen was found stone cold dead. As well as looking deep into the JFK assassination, Kilgallen was also tied to the UFO mystery. There’s little doubt at all Dorothy Kilgallen had an interest in the UFO phenomenon; in 1954, she said, in a press article, that: “Flying Saucers are regarded as of such vital importance that they will be the subject of a special hush-hush meeting of the world military heads next summer.” If such a thing went ahead, it was carefully hidden to the media and the public.

(Nick Redfern) Marilyn Monroe murdered for what she knew about UFOs?)

Sadly, Kilgallen died at a young age and under suspicious circumstances. Was it an accidental case of Kilgallen being fatally fueled by too much booze and too many pills? A suicide? Or, a skillful murder made to look like one of the two scenarios above? Just like Marilyn Monroe’s death, the questions – even now, decades later - are many, but the answers are sorely lacking. The mystery remains. As does Kilgallen’s involvement in controversies of the UFO kind. And, talking about Marilyn, what about her link to the UFO phenomenon? Murders made to look like suicides and accidents. Classified government documents fallen into the wrong hands. Stolen diaries; some of them burned and shredded for fear of what, one day, they might reveal. Powerful people with dangerous agendas. Famous faces. The Feds prowling around. Hollywood conspiracies. CIA agents keeping watch. Frightened people with secrets to hide. Wild sex. Drugs. Crazy parties and flowing booze. And, an incredible story of UFOs, aliens, Roswell, Area 51, Flying Saucers, and the death of a beautiful, but tragically scarred, icon. They all appear in the final years of Marilyn's life.

In 1955, one of the most controversial of all the many and varied UFO books published in the fifties was released – and, for the UFO field, to a distinct fanfare. Its title was The Case for the UFO. The author was Morris K. Jessup. His book was a detailed study of the theoretical power-sources for UFOs: what was it that made them fly? How could they perform such incredible, aerial feats, such as coming to a complete stop in the skies, hovering at incredible heights? Jessup believed that the vitally important 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 on Jessup’s back – specifically senior figures in 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 officialdom was interested in, and perhaps even concerned by, Jessup’s findings and theories. 

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. Shocked at the sight before him, Goode quickly called the police, who arrived in no time at all. While it certainly looked as if Jessup had killed himself, not everyone was quite so sure that things were as clear cut as that. 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 that 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 from the store they were purchased from? It certainly wasn’t in the car, or in any of Jessup’s pockets. Equally suspicious is the fact that on the very night before his death, Jessup was in a very upbeat, fired-up mood: he spent more than an hour chatting on the phone with a good friend, Dr. Manson Valentine, expressing his enthusiasm for his latest work and plans for further investigations. Jessup even told Valentine that they should have lunch together the next day, as Jessup had something incredible to reveal. Valentine never got to see what it was that Jessup had uncovered – and he never saw Jessup again, either. Suicide or murder? The jury still can’t make its mind up, decades later.

May 22, 1949 was the date on which the first U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, died. Specifically at 1:50 a.m. As will quickly become apparent, the circumstances surrounding Forrestal’s final hours are swamped in controversy. All that we know with absolute certainty is that in the early hours of the 22nd, Forrestal’s body was found on a third-floor canopy of the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland. Did he take a fatal leap out of the window of the 13th floor of the hospital, his mind in turmoil and suicide on his mind? Was it an accident? Or, was Forrestal assassinated? For years, there have been rumors to the effect that Forrestal lost his life to an assassin - and because of what he knew of UFOs. And what he might have been on the verge of revealing what he knew. Ufology: sometimes it just might be deadly. Consider that when you do your next investigation into the subject of aliens and UFOs.

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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