Jan 06, 2023 I Nick Redfern

UFOs, Aliens and the Soviet Union in the Cold War: E.T. Intrigue

My previous article was on the possibility that the notorious Majestic 12 documents - that surfaced way back in 1987 - were the work of the Soviet Union. With that in light, I thought, today, I would share with you some other examples that suggest a deep UFO-Russian connection. Let's begin with the most controversial of all the "Contactees" in the 1950s: George Adamski. it’s now time to address the matter of why, exactly, the FBI came to suspect that Adamski was not only a closet communist, but possibly even someone who was being used by the Russians in a strange psychological warfare-based operation. Just maybe, Adamski was an unwitting player in this strange and sinister game. In a worst-case scenario, though, Adamski was a knowing and entirely complicit figure. Certainly, the FBI wanted answers and, as a result, they dug very deeply into the man’s life. As evidence of this, close to 400-pages of FBI documentation on Adamski have now been declassified. An FBI document of May 28, 1952 reveals that Bureau agents had a credible source who, back in 1950 – no less than three years before Flying Saucers Have Landed was published - had shared with them certain disturbing data on Adamski. The FBI took – and to this day continues to take – careful steps to ensure that its source’s name would not be compromised. 

What we do know, is that the FBI’s informant claimed to have seen Adamski in the presence of a group of Russians in downtown Los Angeles, California, on several occasions in 1950. Discussing politics, no less. Unfortunately, the available, censored papers don’t specify where exactly in L.A. the meetings occurred, or under what particular circumstances. Nor do we know who was responsible for the source of the story. Also, we have to wonder how the source was so absolutely certain that the group were Russians. Was he or she conversant in Russian? Did the source recognize the accent? Were they themselves Russian, too? If so, what were they doing in Los Angeles? On this specific part of the story, a lot of questions remain frustratingly and tantalizingly unanswered.

(Nick Redfern) From a cold war to Flying Saucers.

I have to wonder if the Bureau’s source may have slightly embellished this part of the story, as a means to try and justify further, deeper surveillance of Adamski. I should stress, though, that there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that the source exaggerated the story in the slightest; it’s just a theory on my part. Also, lying to the FBI would have been a very stupid and reckless thing to do. We only have to take a look at certain events surrounding the undeniable Russian meddling of the past few years to see how lying to the Feds will get a person into deep, deep trouble. And, even, a significant number of years in the slammer. Minus your hair-dye, as per Paul Manafort.

With that said, let’s now take a careful look at the contents of the most important portion of that inflammatory document, which makes it very clear that Adamski and communism went together, hand-in-glove: On September 5, 1950, [source] advised the San Diego Office that he first met Adamski about three months ago at the café which is named the Palomar Gardens Café, owned and operated by Adamski, at the road junction, five miles East of Rincon, California, at a point where the highway branches off leading to Mount Palomar Observatory. [Source] advised that Adamski has four or five women working in the café and according to [source] business does not warrant the employment of four or five persons. [Source] stated that on August 20, 1950, the occasion of his last visit to Adamski’s café, he [source] and a [deleted] of San Diego, became involved in a lengthy conversation with Adamski during which Adamski told them at great length of his findings of flying saucers and so forth. He told them of a space ship which he said he saw between the earth and the moon, which he estimated to be approximately three miles in length, which was flying so fast that he had to take about eighty photographs before he could get three of them to turn out. At this time, Adamski showed [source] and [deleted] a number of photographs which he has taken of what he purports to be flying saucers. [Source] commented that one of these photographs was published in the “San Diego Union” under the caption of “What is it?” Adamski stated he had first submitted this particular photograph to the Navy but when it appeared they were not interested, he, Adamski, released it for publication in the ‘San Diego Union.’"

The FBI continued: "According to [source] Adamski stated that the Federal Communications Commission, under the direction of the “Military Government” of the United States, has established communication with the people from other worlds, and has learned that they are so much more advanced than the inhabitants of this earth that they have deciphered the languages used here. Adamski stated that in this interplanetary communication, the Federal Communications Commission asked the inhabitants of the other planet concerning the type of government they had there and the reply indicated that it was very different from the democracy of the United States. Adamski stated that his answer was kept secret by the United States Government, but he added, ‘If you ask me they probably have a Communist form of government and our American government wouldn’t release that kind of thing, naturally. That is a thing of the future – more advanced [Nick's note: Italics mine].

(Nick Redfern) "Soviet espionage" and UFOs in 1947.

On August 14, 1947, the FBI got word – via newspaper articles contained in “the Los Angeles papers” of the day – that, to quote the FBI, “Soviet espionage agents had been instructed to determine the facts relative to the flying discs. The article carried a Washington date-line and indicated that Red espionage agents had been ordered to solve the question of flying discs, the Russians being of the opinion that this might be some new form of defense perfected by the American military.” It should also be noted, however, that the FBI was worried that those same Russian agents cited in the L.A. press were actually in the United States for other reasons. Namely, to determine how effectively they - the Soviets - were disrupting the U.S. by conjuring up bogus tales of unidentified flying objects. When questioned by the media on this matter, the FBI stated that it had no information relative to such a story. Uh-huh. FBI Special Agent D.M. Ladd, of the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division said that “in the event any inquiries were made concerning such a story, that the story should be flatly denied in so far as the FBI was concerned.” Nevertheless, behind closed doors elements of the FBI were still speculating on the astounding theory that many UFO reports were complete fabrications; fanciful tales put together at the behest of influential and powerful figures in the Moscow Kremlin - to give it its full name – which is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation."

Now, let's expand further: one of those who, in the 1950s, took a deep interest in the Russian connection to the flying saucer phenomenon was the late Jim Moseley, who died in 2012 at the age of eighty-one, and whose opinions on George Adamski we have already digested. For the ufologically-minded, Moseley was without a doubt most associated with his highly entertaining newsletter, Saucer Smear. It was a semi-regular, self-published collection of Moseley’s comments, rants and observations on the UFO research scene. Moseley was someone who, in later years, focused just about all of his time and effort on poking fun at ufologists whenever and wherever he could. He did so in a very witty fashion, too. I should stress, though, that Moseley did have a real, deep interest in the UFO phenomenon itself. And a firm belief in it, too. Right up until the time of his death.

Back in 1953 Moseley hit the road – in what really was a definitive Jack Kerouac/Neal Cassady-style – in search of the answers to what was going on in the heavens above. What Moseley found out, as he traveled from New York to California and back again, was a significantly varied and entertaining collection of eccentrics, liars, nut-jobs, and – to Moseley’s relief - genuinely interesting eyewitnesses to strange, aerial craft in the skies of 1950s America. Altogether, Moseley interviewed around one hundred people, on a clunky, big recorder, which was no mean feat. The list of interviewees included George Adamski himself and Frank Scully, the man whose 1950 book, Behind the Flying Saucers, led to Silas Newton’s secret recruitment by agents of the U.S. government, as revealed by the CIA’s Karl Pflock. Moseley’s coast-to-coast trip was funded by a guy named Ken Krippine. He was a somewhat shady, dubious character who had suggested that if he, Moseley, would do all of the research, then Krippine would write a book on Moseley’s UFO findings. The two would then split the profits right down the middle. Sounds good, right? Well, for a while, yes, it sounded very good. The proposed book, however, did not materialize; at least, not as Moseley and Krippine had originally planned things. No, it wasn’t due to the infernal intervention of the mysterious Men in Black. Rather, it was all due to a distinct lack of interest on the part of just about every publisher that Moseley approached with his well-thumbed and increasingly-creased and crumpled manuscript. Moseley was not one to be daunted, however. Years later – decades, in fact – he put just about all of his old notes and audio-recordings to good use in his hilarious autobiography, Shockingly Close to the Truth, which was written with Karl Pflock. 

(Nick Redfern) One of those dubious Flying Saucers of a time long gone.

It was in 1955 that Moseley, in his own words, “had fallen under the influence” of a man named Charles Samwick. The latter was someone who, before retiring from the U.S. Army, worked in the hall-and-mirrors-filled world of counter-intelligence, which included keeping a very close eye on what the Russians were said to be up to inside the United States. Not only that, Moseley was able to determine that Samwick had, in some hazy, unclear fashion, ties to the CIA’s Robertson Panel and had once helped to bust a Soviet spy-ring in Washington, D.C. Samwick and Moseley soon became good buddies, with Moseley somewhat dazzled and disturbed by one particular thing that Samwick had to say. He told Moseley: “The Communist Party has planted an agent in every civilian saucer club in the United States.” Whether this was true, or amounted to hard-to-prove words inspired by the likes of Joseph McCarthy, Moseley was in no position to disagree with his well-informed source. But, he did make Samwick’s revelations the subject of an editorial in his pre-Saucer Smear newsletter, Saucer News. In the June-July 1955 issue Moseley revealed the following to his eager readers, but specifically without revealing Samwick’s name:

"Although it is perhaps unwise to inject a political note into a flying saucer magazine, we feel obliged to point out to our readers certain dangers which, taken together, add up to a possible Communist menace to saucer enthusiasts. First, for several months we have had good reason to believe that Communist agents have been planted in all of America’s leading saucer groups, for information-gathering purposes. This in itself is not a startling fact, but it should serve as a note of caution to saucer researchers who in the course of their studies might unearth information of a technical military nature. Secondly, let us all give some very serious consideration to the many alleged space men being called to the public’s attention – all of whom invariably tell us of the dangers of war and the exploitation of atomic energy. No one desires peace any more than we do, but let us remember too that it is part of the Communist “peace line” to frighten the American people into ceasing our atomic experiments. It is quite possible that some of these ‘space men’ are unwittingly playing into the hands of the Communists. Last but not least, let us not fall into the pitfall of condemning the Government of the United States just because the Air Force refuses to tell us all we would like to know about flying saucers – I have been told that some of the remarks made at the Saucer Convention last March came dangerously close to sedition!

"Even as ardently loyal saucer fans, we all can and should face the fact that there are more important and immediate problems in the world today. Whether the saucers are held to be from Space or Earth, it is quite obvious that they present no immediate threat to the safety of this Country; so there is nothing to worry about. Of course everyone would be happier if “officialdom” would be more generous with its information on saucers, but for the present we can only assume that that there is a good sufficient reason for the continuing scarcity of information from official sources. In making the above remarks, we are not referring to any particular individual or organization in the field of saucer research. We are merely observing that the saucerian field is alarmingly ripe for use in furthering Communist ends. Let each individual among us be on his guard that he does not fall into such a trap."

Now, let’s focus on Truman Bethurum. He was a contactee who had a decade or so of fame in the arena of the Space Brothers. His 1954 book, Aboard a Flying Saucer, remains a Contactee classic of its kind. Jim Moseley got to know Bethurum well. In the 1950s, Bethurum claimed flirty, late-night close encounters with a beautiful alien space-babe named Aura Rhanes. “Tops in shapeliness and beauty” was the way Bethurum described “the captain” of the ship. The locations of all the action were almost always isolated areas of Nevada’s expansive Mormon Mountains. Most ufologists of the day, very understandably, dismissed Bethurum’s tales as fantasies run wild and free. It’s intriguing, however, to note the following words from Bethurum:

“Two or three fellows who had sons in Korea and who read a lot in the newspapers about the Communist underground in this country, were convinced in their own minds that I was, if making contact with anyone at all, making it with enemy agents [italics mine]. They even went so far as to tell me belligerently that they intended to get guns and follow me nights, and if they caught up me having intercourse with any people from planes, airships of any kind, they’d blast me and those people too.” Was Aura Rhanes a figment of Bethurum’s imagination? Could she have been an alien? Might she have been one of those “enemy agents” to which Bethurum referred? A Russian plant seeking to manipulate the UFO scene? Taking into consideration all that we have learned so far, we should not dismiss the latter possibility out of hand. On a related matter, it’s worth noting that FBI records demonstrate that in December 1954, the Palm Springs Republican Club contacted the FBI to inquire if Bethurum might be guilty of “trying to put over any propaganda.” Bethurum, not surprisingly, became the subject of an FBI file that ran to a couple of dozen pages. It was primarily focused on those “enemy agent”-driven comments that Bethurum himself highlighted on the lecture circuit. Once again we see evidence of government concerns about a contactee, propaganda, and possible foreign operatives – and all in relation to controversial tales of aliens.

There is an interesting, additional piece of data that deserves to be shared: In 1954, a group of West Coast-based Contactees – including both Truman Bethurum and George Hunt Williamson – gave a series of lectures in Cincinnati. As this was also the home-city of famed UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield, paths inevitably crossed. Hoping to get Stringfield to endorse their talks, Bethurum, Williamson and their flock called at his home and introduced themselves. Stringfield flatly refused to lend his support; although he did invite the group into his home. It was while in the company of the Contactees that Stringfield had an intriguing experience, as he noted in his 1977 book, Situation Red: The UFO Siege: “After their departure I began to wonder about their causes. At one point during the evening’s many tête-à-têtes, I chanced to overhear two members discussing the FBI. Pretending aloofness, I tried to overhear more. It seemed that one person was puzzling over the presence of an ‘agent’ in the group. When I was caught standing too close, the FBI talk stopped. Whether or not I had reason to be suspicious, it was not difficult for me to believe that some of the Contactees behind all this costly showmanship were official ‘plants.’” Planted by the Russians? We shouldn’t ignore such a possibility.

(Nick Redfern) When the Aetherius Society was placed under surveillance by British authorities.

So far as can be determined, George King and his Aetherius Society did not attract the secret attention of the world of officialdom until 1957, specifically in May of that year. It was on the 26th of the month that an eye-catching article appeared in the pages of a weekly U.K.-based publication called The Empire News. In an article titled “Flying Saucer Clubs Probe: Peace Messages ‘from outer space,’” the following was revealed: “‘Warnings’ from outer space against Britain’s H-Bomb tests published in a flying saucer magazine take a similar line to Moscow-inspired propaganda. The ‘warning’ – in a special issue of the magazine – is being scrutinized by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch [the origins of which date back to 1883 and which, in 2006, was absorbed into the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Command]. It is suspected that a number of flying saucer clubs – and some spiritualists as well – are unwittingly being used by the communists. The warning appears in the magazine of the Aetherius Society, which circulates widely among flying saucer enthusiasts.”   

Not only that, The Empire News revealed that George King had, as he put it, received a channeled message from advanced entities from the planet Mars. Its decidedly anti-nuke message went as follows: “Have not the latest peace moves come from Russia? You in the West blame Russia and say it is necessary to make these weapons to protect yourselves from them. You in Britain are in a favorable position to show the larger countries the way.” It’s hardly surprising that a body like Special Branch would sit up and take notice of (a) this development in the world of the Aetherius Society and (b) the pro-Russian words of the Martians. King wasted no time in contacting Scotland Yard, demanding to know why, exactly, he and his group were now under surveillance by government authorities. Well, given both the timeframe and the climate, it should have been glaringly obvious: the authorities saw King’s words (and those of his claimed Martian friends) as nothing less than outright propaganda designed to make the U.K. government look bad and the Russians look good. And, that's just a bit of it all. One of the days soon, I'll share with you even more controversial Russia-UFO-themed accounts.

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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