Welcome to the sixth installment in my examination of the life and times of the notorious Silver Shirt fuehrer William Dudley Pelley. The first and second installments were largely concerned with Pelley's involvement with the fascist underground both before and after the war. In the third installment I began to sketch out Pelley's occult system while the fourth revealed the significance of Sirius, the Dog Star, in said system.
Beginning with the fifth installment I began to consider the possibility that groups affiliated with the US military and intelligence services possibly had an interest in Pelley's metaphysical system. The Collins Elite, an alleged far right group long tied to military intelligence, and their interest in early UFO contactees such as George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson (both of whom likely had ties to Pelley) were considered at length.
|George Adamski next to a depiction of "Orthon"|
Arthur Young had been an inventor who made a fortune by designing the first helicopter Bell Helicopter ever produced. He became all the more richer when he married Ruth Forbes, she of the "Boston Brahmin" Forbes family, in 1948. A year earlier Young had retired from Bell Helicopter so that he could focus on his metaphysical pursuits.
As early as 1947 Puharich had also become involved in metaphysical and paranormal research as well. This continued throughout his time in the Army and beyond. By the 1970s Puharich (and his frequently silent partner Young) had collected a host of intellectuals in the sciences and the arts into a loose network, of which legendary physicist Jack Sarfatti is only the tip of the iceberg.
"In the 1970s, however, when Sarfatti was still developing the theories that would later make him famous in the world of physics, he was hanging out with Puharich, Uri Geller, and other notables in the hothouse atmosphere of radical making about science, communication, information, and psychic phenomena. Sarfatti claims to have introduced Geller to Jacques Vallee – the French UFO researcher of Passport to Magnolia fame – and both to Steven Spielberg. Spielberg would later produce Close Encounters of the Third Kind, using Vallee as a technical adviser... The character played by Francois Truffaut in the film is said to be based on Jacques Vallee himself. This same nexus of Puharich and Sarfatti is said to have influenced Gene Roddenberry in his development of the Star Trek television series. And behind all of this is the hugely influential figure of Ira Einhorn, usually referred to as 'the Unicorn' after the translation of his surname into English.
"... So you had filmmakers talking to physicists, psychics talking to soldiers, and spies talking everybody. Seminars were held, books and papers published. People like science-fiction author Philip K. Dick (who was discovered by Hollywood in the 1990s, unfortunately after his death) and Robert Anton Wilson could be found in kaffeklatsch with Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Saul Paul Sirag, and assorted G-men. There was a sense among these people that an event of momentous importance to the planet was imminent, and that they were in the forefront of whatever it was going to be.
"Many of them had already had paranormal contacts of some sort (a list that includes Sarfatti, Wilson, Dick, Geller, Puharich, and many, many others) and were certain that these contacts signaled the beginning of a more overt presence by these beings. These were people with government grants and contacts at the highest levels of the US military... and not only the US military. The Soviets were also involved, if only peripherally. Much of this was going on relatively un-noticed by the American people at large. Although they had seen Uri Geller bend spoons on national television, and had read the stories and novels by Dick and Robert Anton Wilson, for instance, they had no idea that all this activity was being produced by a loosely-organized group of intellectuals operating half-in, half-out of the mainstream... and, half-in, half-out of the US government..."
(Sinister Forces Book II, Peter Levenda, pgs. 245-246)
"This entire matter of the Sirius mystery first came to my attention around 1965. I was working on some philosophical and scientific problems with Arthur M. Young of Philadelphia, the inventor of the Bell Helicopter and author of many books, most of which were published after The Sirius Mystery first appeared (which was in January 1976). In 1972 Arthur was co-editor of and contributor to the fascinating book Consciousness and Reality. Arthur's work was so slow to catch on that his other works did not appear until 1976, some months after mine. After many changes in title, he decided to call his main work The Reflective Universe. It has been called, in manuscript, Quantum Lost, Quantum Regained, and before that was called The Universe as Process. I had worked on it with him under those titles for five years (1962-1966, and from time to time for years after that) and had filled in two or three portions of the grid diagram with him; strangely, he didn't acknowledge my involvement with his central work. Instead, he acknowledged me at the front of his other book of 1976, The Geometry of Meaning, with which I had actually been less associated. Arthur's work on the Bell Helicopter is recorded in his book The Bell Notes...
"Arthur single-handedly taught me more science concurrently with my official university studies from 1961-7 than an entire university faculty might have done. For while I was ploughing my way through the Sanskrit language and other onerous subjects at the official university level, I imbibed a considerable scientific education from Arthur in company with a few friends from the university, with whom I participated for years in a series of extremely stimulating seminars and research projects supervised by Arthur Young and occasionally linked to a philanthropic foundation which he had established, entitled the Foundation for the Study of Consciousness.
"During 1966 I became the Acting Secretary for this embryonic Foundation, one of its directors was the delightful archaeologist Fro Rainey, who was later to marry my distant cousin Marina; but at that time he hadn't met her yet. Arthur was furious with me for moving to England in October 1966, and for years he kept hoping I would return to live in America again and resume my work with him. He took it as a personal rebuff, although it was of course not intended as anything of the kind. We continued to have massive correspondence, exchanging philosophical ideas, and for a while planning things together. Then he moved to California where he spent half of every year, made new friends and contacts, and although our friendship always remained intact, our contacts became intermittent. It was hard for him when I told him I had a book accepted for publication, as he had been unable to achieve this yet for himself. I didn't manage to visit Arthur's Institute for the Study of Consciousness of Berkeley until after he had died. But we saw each other over the years in England and Pennsylvania whenever we could, and the last time I stayed with him was about a year before he died, when he gave me a substantial portion of his enormous library, saying he wouldn't be needing it anymore. My last phone conversation with him was shortly before he died, when he was in too much pain to talk for more than a few sentences. He has many disciples now, I hope his profound philosophical work will continue to grow and spread as it deserves to do. I don't know many of the new people, and many of the old people whom I did know have died (because I was unusually young when I knew them). But the lead has been taken by Chris Paine, grandson of Arthur's wife Ruth by her previous husband, and the work of the Foundation and Institute are fortunately continuing.
"Arthur Young had a particular passion for reading about mythologies from all over the world, including those of obscure tribes. One day he showed me a book entitled African Worlds, which contained several chapters, each dealing with different tribe, with its views of life and its customs and mythology. There was a chapter about the Dogan translated into English from the French of Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, the eminent anthropologists.
"Arthur pointed out to me a passage he had just read in this chapter, in which these anthropologists were describing the cosmology theories of the Dogan..."
(The Sirius Mystery, Robert Temple, pgs. 40-41)
"I have before me a letter from Arthur Young dated 26 March 1968, responding to my initial article called 'The Sirius Question'. He says: 'And don't get me into it. I heard about it from one Harry Smith, who[m] you met. So the credit should go to him.' I had indeed met Harry Smith at Arthur's house in Philadelphia more than once. Arthur and I often argued about him: I did not warm to him, but Arthur liked him and said that he was useful. It was Harry Smith who had given to Arthur a typescript of the translation of Griaule and Dieterlen's book about the Dogan, Le Renard Pale ('The Pale Fox'), by someone named Mary Beach (of whom I have never otherwise heard; this is not the translation which was eventually published...). It was as a result of this that Arthur was able to send it to me, as I could not read the French original. This very copy was then stolen from me by an American associated with the CIA by means of an elaborate ruse and confidence trick of breathtaking audacity: he took me to lunch in London and begged me to loan him the manuscript overnight so that he could photocopy it, and he would give it back to me first thing in the morning. But in the morning I didn't hear from him, so I went to the rented flat where he had been staying. I found the door wide open and the flat entirely empty. I asked a neighbor what had happened and was told that the man had moved out, and had flown to California at the crack of dawn. I never heard from him again; he had clearly attempted to sabotage my work. I knew he was friendly with a well-known author who lived in America; I phoned that man and complained about the theft and asked if he could help me retrieve the manuscript. He virulently insulted me with a savage tongue-lashing and told me the theft was justified. I was not astonished when I later learned that he had once been employed by the American security services as well..."
(ibid, pg. 44)Temple, or more precisely his patron(s), seemed to have crossed paths with several rather nefarious individuals in the CIA over the years. But more on that in the next installment. For now, let us consider the true origins of The Sirius Mystery.
Temple's research bears some rather striking similarities to the cosmology of William Dudley Pelley, but to what extent I have been unable to determine. The highly controversial and suspect Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in their work The Stargate Conspiracy claim that Pelley's 1950 book Star Guests echoed many of the ancient astronaut theories put forth by Temple and other researchers in the Puharich-Young circle (especially in relation to The Nine) over two decades before many of these theories appeared publicly. They also claim that much of the Star Guests material was based upon revelations Pelley received in the late 1920s.
Pelley's biographer, Scott Beekman, largely confirms the bulk of Picknett and Prince's claims in relation to Pelley: namely, that Pelley believed modern day humans were the result of interbreeding between primitive apes and extraterrestrial beings who hailed from Sirius. And Pelley did indeed make such claims as early as 1932, according to Beekman. What's more, Beekman is a straight up academic with out interest in New Age conspiracy theories, unlike Picknett and Prince.
|Beekman's groundbreaking biography of Pellery|
|Griaule and Dieterlen's groundbreaking Le Renard Pale was not published until the mid-1950s in French|
I've been unable to find any ties between Smith and Pelley, but Smith grew up in an opportune location to be exposed to Pelley's work. Smith spent his early years in Washington state during the 1920s and 1930s. As was noted in part one, Washington was a hot bed of Silver Shirt activity during the 1930s. What's more, Smith's parents had an interest in Theosophy and paganism. Given their location on the West Coast during this era, its entirely possible that Smith's parents (and later Smith himself) were exposed to Pelley's cosmology, even if indirectly via the I AM movement (which was extremely popular in the 1930s).
As was noted in part three, Pelley became something of a celebrity, especially in metaphysical circles, during the late 1920s and early 1930s after the publication of his "Seven Minutes in Eternity" and thus his writings were heavily circulated around this time. After his descent into fascism, which drove away the bulk of his more metaphysically inclined followers, his ideas continued to be circulated by I AM and other groups featuring former Pelley-ites. Thus, the possibility that Smith's parents were aware of Pelley's cosmology is hardly an extreme possibility. All of this is of course is highly speculative, but Smith did develop an interest in alternative religions at a very young age. He maintained this interest his entire life and studied a variety of system. Perhaps at some point he became exposed to Pelley, especially after the modern UFO era got underway during 1947, if not sooner.
"Although out of the Army, Puharich was still quite busy. He found himself in Mexico with his psychic friend, Peter Hurkos, (and, it seems, Arthur Young) in July 1956 to help solve an archaeological problem. As Puharich was involved in locating drugs that could stimulate psychic abilities, it seems likely that he was there with Hurkos on just such an agenda; neither Puharich or Hurkos had any archaeological credentials. While in the town of Acambaro, he and Hurkos ran into an American couple from Arizona who eventually claimed that they had been receiving instructions from The Nine. Neither Puharich nor Hurkos had ever met these people before, but it seems they were working with a medium back in Arizona who was also channeling The Nine. To prove this, they sent letters to Puharich the following month with sealed communications from The Nine that referred to details of the specific séances that Puharich had chaired back in Maine. This was the proof that Puharich was looking for. The details went so far as to include variations on the Lorentz-Einstein Transformation formula that had formed part of the first séance."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pg. 248)
|Dr. Charles Laughead|
It would also seem that the Laugheads were also aware of Pelley's cosmology on some level as well. Several years prior to their contact with Puharich the Laugheads had been involved in another contactee group that received messages via a channeler.
"... Puharich's next reported contact was through his letter from Charles Laughead, after their meeting in Mexico 1956. Two years before, Laughead had been involved in another contactee group – with some very significant results. Their alleged extraterrestrial communications were the subject of a classic academic study into cult belief by three sociologists at the University of Minnesota, later published as When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festiger, Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schachter (1956).
"The contact centered on a Chicago housewife called Dorothy Martin, pseudonymously identified as 'Marion Keech' in the book. It follows an only too familiar pattern. In 1953 she had begun to develop mediumistic abilities, receiving messages via automatic writing. At first, these were traditional spiritualistic communications – from her dead father and other deceased people – but a year later messages began to come through from what claimed to be extraterrestrial sources, originating from several planets, but mainly from one called Clarion. She called these beings the 'Guardians.'
"A group – largely consisting of other housewives, but including a few from other walks of life, including a research scientist – gathered around her to study the content of the communications. Enthusiastic members of this curious circle were Dr. Charles and Lillian Laughead (who appear as Thomas and Daisy Armstrong in When Prophecy Fails). The Laugheads had been Protestant missionaries in Egypt before and just after the Second World War. On a postwar visit, Lillian suffered a mental breakdown and, when prayer failed to resolve her problems, the couple came to doubt their faith, beginning a quest through other religious and esoteric systems, finally becoming particularly interested in William Dudley Pelley's writings. After meeting with seminal UFO contactee George Adamski, they became convinced of the reality and spiritual significance of UFOs. They joined the Dorothy Martin circle and Charles became its organizer and spokesman."
(The Stargate Conspiracy, Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, pgs. 221-222)
|Dorothy Martin walking toward her house with Charles Laughead to her back left|
"... Perhaps Adamski and Pelley knew one another as a result of their common interest in the I Am cult? Dr. Laughead, who inspired the contacts of Mrs. Keech in the Midwest and later launched Dr. Andrija Puharich on the tracks of the mythic 'Spectra,' is also said to have associated with this group."
(Dimensions, Jacques Vallee, pg. 251)
"... Charles Laughead, who had very likely met Williamson in the intervening year and begun a lengthy series of changelings in their home base of Whipple, Arizona. Laughead was the model for 'Dr. Armstrong' in the seminal psychological study When Prophecy Fails... which examined the dynamics of a channelling group when a prophesied UFO landing did not occur. Laughead was also instrumental in promoting the activities of Dr. Andrija Puharich and Uri Geller when they psychically contacted the hawk-headed alien entity they called 'Spectra'."
"In the morning we met the Americans, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Laughead from Whipple, Arizona. We could not understand why they were so happy to see us and why they so gladly give up their lovely, sunny quarters in exchange for our drab, dark ones. When Dr. Laughead, who was a medical doctor, found out that I was an M.D. and that Peter was a psyche, he was beside himself with joy. He then told us the following story:
"'Through the assistance of a young man, who is very fine voice channel or medium, we have been in frequent communication for over a year with the Brotherhood of one of the ancient Mystery Schools in South America. These sessions covered a wide range of subjects, from ancient history and life origins on this planet to science and religion. This Brotherhood also served as a communication center for contacts with intelligences on other planets and star systems and on spacecraft. Some of these intelligences were obviously not human and operated on energy and life support mechanisms entirely foreign to our thinking. Their knowledge and wisdom far exceeded our comprehension. For simplicity, we referred to them as Space Beings or Space Brothers.
"'In one of these sessions our attention was directed to the story of the rival on earth of men from outer space in very ancient times. The landing took place on the small island near Easter Island, called Mangareva. We were then told that the clay figurines at Acambaro, Mexico, would corroborate by certain clues the story about these early space travelers. We were then directed to search out a possible location for continuing study and research in Mexico, and on the scouting trip we naturally came to visit the library of figurines at Acambaro.
"'Because of the unusual nature of this meeting with you gentlemen, and work under investigation, we feel you must be related in someway to the unfolding story of the ancient mystery of man in space, even though at present time you may not have recall of previous life cycles on this and on other planets.
"The voices of our mentor, speaking through our young channel sounded so authoritative that we felt impelled to follow through with their suggestions and come to Mexico. And here we are, having arrived only an hour before you. Are you not brothers from space?'
"Dr. Laughead stared at us so intently as he said this that for a moment I thought, 'Maybe I am.' But then Peter and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. The whole idea was just too absurd. Peter hastily said in broken English, 'Meester, I'm born right in my modder's bed. I'm no space mensch!'"
(Uri, Andrija Puharich, pgs. 18-19)Puharich didn't find this encounter so absurd a few years down the road, however. And what of the young medium who sent the Laugheads to Mexico? In the first book in his groundbreaking Sinister Forces trilogy Peter Levenda suggests that the Laugheads' medium may have been a Dr. D.G. Vinod, the individual who first channeled The Nine for Puharich in 1952. Vinod, however, seems to have been middle aged by that time. George Hunt Williamson, however, would have been around 30 at the time of the meeting between Puharich and the Laugheads. What's more, the South American trappings the Laugheads made reference to above are consistent with the cosmology that Williamson had begun to develop by the mid-1950s (in general, Williamson was one of the first individuals to focus on occult traditions in South America in the post World War II era).
|the final metaphysical-centric book Williamson wrote, here under the name of "Brother Philip"|
In suggesting this, this researcher is not trying to imply that Puharich and Young, and certainly not the other intellectuals who became involved with them, we engaged in some type of fascist plot. That being said, Recluse believes the synchronicities and Pelley's early association of telepathy with extraterrestrials would have greatly intrigued either man. And there's the very real possibility that Puharich and/or Young encountered Pelley's protege, Williamson, at some point.
While William Dudley Pelley is generally depicted as a very marginal figure in the pre-WWII metaphysical scene I hope that this series has dispelled this notion some what. Pelley was widely known in such circles in the late 1920s and early 1930s and his ideas would continue to remain popular via the I AM movement. In the post-WWII he experienced a little acknowledged resurgence amongst the early UFO contactees and helped shaped their ideology. At the same time the US national security apparatus began to take a keen interest in the contactee circles and may have become exposed to Pelley's ideas during this period.
Certainly more than a few strange things were researched by the national security apparatus during this era, as part five's account of the Collins Elite makes clear. And with that I shall wrap things up for now. In the next and final installment I shall consider the national security elements behind Puharich and the disturbing implications of their possible interest in Pelley. Stay tuned.