Jan 03, 2023 I Nick Redfern

When a Diary or a Journal Can Be Dangerous: Maybe Deadly

There's no doubt that one of the most dangerous journals was that of Marilyn Monroe. Just a few months before Marilyn passed away in August 1962, both RFK and JFK were doing their absolute best to try and impress her into their bedrooms. They didn’t have to work hard at it. It was, pretty much, a slam dunk. Both men were charismatic, powerful, handsome characters. Women flocked to them. Men envied them. For someone who, like Marilyn, was known for her low self-esteem, the Kennedys’ manipulative tactics were all but guaranteed to work on Marilyn. She briefly became the lover of both men; although it was Bobby who found himself in really hot water – and that included with the FBI. For Marilyn, hanging out with the pair meant there was a price to be paid. Sadly, poor, manipulated Marilyn didn’t know just how high that price was ultimately going to be. That is, until it was all much too late. We’re talking about nothing less than Marilyn’s life snuffed out because of events relative to U.S. national security and the reckless actions of the two most powerful men in America at the time. 

(Nick Redfern) A mysterious and tragic death.

Knowing all the ins and outs surrounding the nation’s most deeply hidden secrets – the crown jewels, you might say - placed Marilyn in a perilous situation. Even more so when word got out to the Kennedys that Marilyn was scrupulously writing down everything Bobby and Jack had told her. Just the name, alone, was enough to have the brothers shuddering and their adrenalin flowing for all the wrong reasons. The entire Aladdin’s Cave of hidden secrets. Bobby was said to have been the biggest blabbermouth of the two. He brazenly exposed Marilyn to highly-classified plans to have Cuba’s then-Prime Minister, Fidel Castro, blown away by lethal, hired assassins; to concerns about the Soviets and what they just might do to try and further expand their ruthless empire; and to connections between the CIA and the Mob. And, there is the controversial UFO angle, too, of Marilyn's death. There were certain figures who were reportedly very concerned by the discovery that Marilyn kept what became known as her Diary of Secrets. It was said to have contained everything told to Marilyn by JFK – and also by his brother Robert Kennedy, the Attorney-General, during JFK’s time in office. That such a diary did exist is not in doubt. And there would not have been such a diary had it not been for Monroe’s second husband. He was one of the most famous figures in the sport of baseball, Joe DiMaggio. He felt that given all the high-powered people Marilyn mixed with, such a diary would have been the perfect place in which to record her historic encounters. DiMaggio was largely thinking about the world of Hollywood, but as Marilyn got more and more popular, those encounters spilled over into the world of politics and the White House.  

(Nick Redfern) Marilyn Monroe: A missing diary.

The number of people who saw the diary, or knew of it, were not overly many. One of those was Dr. Jack Hattem, the author of a 2007 book, Marilyn Monroe: Murder – by Consent. As someone who spent a great deal of time investigating the circumstances surrounding Marilyn’s controversial passing in August 1962, Dr. Hattem said that “the CIA long considered Marilyn Monroe a threat to national security from the time she had married Arthur Miller, because they thought of him as a leftist.” Dr. Hattem says that of the Diary of Secrets, much of it dealt with what he termed “pillow talk” concerning Robert Kennedy. One of Marilyn’s closest friends was a man named Robert Slatzer. He, too, knew of Marilyn’s secret journal. Like Dr. Jack Hattem, Slatzer confirmed that the diary contained a lot of data on Robert Kennedy. Indeed, Slatzer said that he saw the diary only days before Marilyn was found dead. What happened to the diary after that, Slatzer didn’t know. One person who was able to fill in some of the gaps was Lionel Grandison. When the Hollywood legend died, Grandison worked in the Los Angeles, California Coroner’s Office, as a coroner’s aid. It was while working in the office that Grandison saw Monroe’s effects brought in by the police – which included the diary. While Grandison would not reveal the contents of the diary, he did admit they were sensational. 

Now, there's the matter of the Roswell "UFO" incident of July 1947. One of those who had collected a large amount of material in diary style was the late Kathy Kasten, who - like me - concluded that the Roswell affair was a secret, government experiment, rather than a crash from another world. The late Kathy Kasten was a feisty and outspoken contributor to the now-defunct online discussion forum, UFO Updates (her articles included “How I Decided to Become a Loud-Mouthed Woman”). She was also a good friend of mine; I enjoyed, and could relate to, her never-ending piss-and-vinegar approach to Ufology. Much of Kathy’s research was focused on the ever-controversial Roswell affair of July 1947, a subject which had fascinated her since the 1980s. And, as Kathy’s investigations progressed, she found herself looking more and more into a certain installation in New Mexico that, she came to believe, was directly connected to the Roswell enigma. Its name: Fort Stanton.

On August 7, 2012, Kathy died from a cardiac arrest. As far back as 2005, I had been corresponding with her on matters relative to Roswell and her suspicions that the incident had nothing to do with aliens, but everything to do with post-war experiments on human guinea-pigs. At the time of her death, Kathy was working on a full-length book on her theory – parts of which closely matched the findings I detailed in my book, Body Snatchers in the Desert, which was encouraging. So far as I am aware, no specific or serious attempt was made by Kathy to find a publisher, as she wanted to have the entire manuscript completed before submitting it to a publishing house – rather than just hand over a brief synopsis and a sample chapter or two. Time and fate, however, stepped in and prevented the next step from coming to fruition. It was shortly after Kathy died that her family got in touch, as they had decided to donate to me all of Kathy’s research files, correspondence, and much more – and not just her Roswell-based material. Which was, of course, extremely generous of them. A week or so later, a large amount of files turned up on the doorstep, collectively contained in heavy cardboard boxes. To say there were thousands upon thousands of pages of material, dating back decades, would not be an exaggeration. An Aladdin’s cave? Pretty damn close, to be sure.

(Nick Redfern) The site of the Roswell "UFO crash" in the summer of 1947.

Due to work and what is known as life, it took me several months to go through the entire collection, some of which had nothing to do with Roswell in particular - and nothing to do with UFOs in general, either. Probably a full third of the material was focused on issues relative to mind-control and mind-manipulation, such as the CIA’s notorious MKUltra program of the 1950s. And there was a lot of material on post-Second World War files on unethical experiments on people in the 1940s and 1950s – which certainly was linked and relevant to Roswell. Kathy’s notes and records show that from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, she spoke with a few interesting characters, of a somewhat shadowy nature. They advised her that if she wanted to uncover the truth of Roswell, she would be wise to pursue the work and history of a certain William Randolph “Randy” Lovelace II.

That Kathy’s dossier on Lovelace is about five-inches thick demonstrates that she carefully followed the advice of her sources and left pretty much no stone unturned, when it came to the matter of exploring a possible Roswell-Lovelace connection. All of that was placed into journals. Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, Kathy secured various file on Lovelace. They provide a great deal of material on the man and his work on human-subjects – in terms of both aviation and space-flight. While a number of names are blacked-out in the files – as often happens when files are declassified – others are not. Kathy made a list of all those names, as well as the names of as many people she could find who knew Lovelace, who worked with him, and who met him. And, if they were still alive, Kathy tracked them down and spoke to them – almost exclusively by telephone, as Kathy’s abundant notes on this issue make very clear. It was an incredible and laborious task that, to a degree, paid off. Sadly, Kathy died before she could go any further.

Now, onto a story of a CIA man, a con-man, and a fascinating journal. The strange story of the alleged UFO crash at Aztec, New Mexico in March 1948 – and the recovery of a number of dead “little men” at the site - is a real hotbed of lies, disinformation, and shady characters. Most of those same characters were best avoided by those with dollars to spare. The tale was made infamous in the pages of Frank Scully’s 1950 blockbuster, Behind the Flying Saucers; it was a book which turned out to be a huge seller. Today, the Aztec affair is seen by some ufologists as Roswell’s “little brother.” As its “skeleton in the cupboard” might be a far more apt description, however. Many researchers of the UFO phenomenon dismiss the Aztec incident as nothing but a hoax; one which was perpetrated by a shady businessman/conman named Silas Newton. His less-than-shining FBI file can be accessed at the FBI’s website, The Vault. When it came to stories of aliens from faraway worlds, making money was always the goal for Newton. And the only goal. Along for the ride with Newton was Leo Gebauer. He was a quasi-scientist and the Igor to Newton’s ego-driven Dr. Frankenstein. There is, though, a very interesting and extremely odd aspect to the Newton/Aztec story. It serves to demonstrate how the UFO phenomenon was becoming the tool of manipulative disinformation specialists in the intelligence community. And not just of the Soviet Union. The United States was getting into the strange game, too.

(Nick Redfern) Karl Pflock: A secret journal and an employee of the CIA.

Back in 1998, the late Karl Pflock, ufologist and CIA employee (sometimes at the same time…), was approached by a still-anonymous source who had something very interesting to say about the Aztec caper, and about Newton too. It was a decidedly weird series of revelations that Pflock surely never anticipated receiving. To his dying day, Pflock refused to reveal the name of his informant in the shadows – rumors, however, were that the person may have been a nephew of Silas Newton – but, Pflock did say that all of the lunchtime meetings with his source occurred between July 11 and September 24, 1998 and took place in a restaurant in Bernalillo, New Mexico. So the story goes, Pflock’s informant had in their hands twenty-seven pages taken, or rather torn, from an old and faded, lined journal. No prizes for guessing who that journal had belonged to. That’s right, sly, old Silas Newton. Pflock was told that Newton had kept journals and diaries not just for years, but for decades. They were jammed with entertaining tales of sexual conquests, of Hollywood starlets, of the fleecing of the rich and the gullible, and of wild adventures across the United States. The outcome of all this? Newton decided, around the turn of the 1970s, that it was right about time for him to write-up his version of the Aztec controversy. It would surely have been a definitive page-turner. Death, however, inconveniently intervened in 1972, when Newton passed away in his mid-eighties. What happened to all of those journals is anyone’s guess. All of this demonstrates that when we dig into the diaries and journals of significant people, we have to be careful. Very careful.

As for those few pages that Pflock was allowed to see – and to transcribe word for word – they tell a tale of undeniable weirdness. By his own admittance, and a couple of years after the Aztec story surfaced in Frank Scully’s book, Newton was clandestinely visited by two representatives of “a highly secret U.S. Government entity,” as Pflock carefully and tactfully described it. Those same representatives of the government told Newton, in no uncertain terms, that they knew his Aztec story was a complete and bald-faced lie. Utter bullshit, in fact. Incredibly, though, they wanted Newton to keep telling the tale to just about anyone and everyone who would listen. This caused Pflock to ponder on an amazing possibility:

“Did the U.S. Government or someone associated with it use Newton to discredit the idea of crashed flying saucers so a real captured saucer or saucers could be more easily kept under wraps?” Far more intriguing, though, and highly relevant to the theme of this book, is the next question that Pflock posed: “Was this actually nothing to do with real saucers but instead some sort of psychological warfare operation [italics mine]?” With the Newton revelations in hand, Pflock, no later than 1999, came to believe that back in the early fifties someone in the government, the intelligence community, or the military of the United States – and maybe even a swirling combination of all three – wanted the Aztec story further circulated. The purpose: as a means to try and convince the Russians that the U.S. military had acquired, or captured, alien technology. When, in reality, it had no such thing in its possession at all. Explosive journals and diaries: they are filled with secrets.

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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