Welcome to the sixth installment in my examination of the bizarre relationship the far right have to high weirdness. Over the course this series the far right has been considered through the prism of various NPOs and think tanks linked to the military-industrial complex such as the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) Mach I and the American Security Council (ASC). As for high weirdness, I am using this as something of a catch all for a host of arcane topics such as UFOs, psi, psychedelics, the occult and human potential.
The first part of this series considered the curious Sikh temple shooting of 2012 and the possible deep political implications behind it in addition to the divide between the traditional conservative establishment, personified by organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and other such long time bugaboos of the conspiratorial right, and their far right counterparts. With the second installment I moved along to the origins of the military-industrial complex. Therein we found that it was largely the creation of a cabal of middle managers linked to Secretary of War (and Bonesman) Henry Stimson and the emerging technocrat class, personified by the enigmatic Vannevar Bush.
Many of the MacArthur men played a key role in establishing the American Security Council, the premier think tank for the military-industrial complex throughout the Cold War. The ASC was also a vast private intelligence network linked to a host of outrages, including blacklisting, drugs and arms trafficking, terrorism, death squads, the Kennedy assassination (addressed here), Watergate (noted here), Iran-Contra and possibly even Project ARTICHOKE (noted before here and here). For those of you unfamiliar with the ASC, this blog has chronicled in depth before here. The great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics has an excellent article on the ASC as well.
Unsurprisingly, the ASC has many little-remarked-upon ties to the UFO question as well. In part five I began to consider these, noting the extensive, decades-spanning overlap between the ASC and National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), the premier UFO investigation network from the late 1950s until its dissolution in 1980.
The origins of the Hangar 18 rumors appear to originate with the highly controversial Behind the Flying Saucers by Frank Scully. Despite being widely viewed as a hoax now, Scully's work originally linked alien bodies and recovered technology to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, reputedly home of Hangar 18. It was not until 1974, however, that Hangar 18 appears to have formally entered the lexicon. This was thanks to the claims of University of Florida professor (and former author for Weird Tales) named Robert Spencer Carr.
|Robert Spencer Carr|
On the whole, Carr was a curious figure. He moved to the Soviet Union in 1932, apparently to take part in the "Utopian society" Stalin was creating. Disillusionment set in, and he returned to these United States in 1938. Despite having spent over half a decade living in the Soviet Union, he does not appear to have ever elicited serious scrutiny from the national security state. Given the political climate in these United States at the onset of the Cold War when McCarthyism was at its peak, this could indicate that Carr was carrying out some state-sanctioned function in the USSR. Certainly many lives were ruined during this era over far less dubious connections to the Soviets than spending six years in the USSR.
Carr would largely abandon his writing career in the late 1940s. He apparently took up UFOlogy around this time, but did not start making his extraordinary claims until the 1970s. In addition to spreading the Hangar 18 rumors, he would also play a key role in what would become the "alien autopsy" hoax many years later.
The ASC was not far behind Carr. It would appear that by 1975 at least one ASC luminary was dropping hints concerning Hangar 18 of his own.
"... Senator Barry Goldwater, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, visited Wright-Patterson hoping to get permission from General Curtis LeMay to examine the UFO evidence stored there, but was refused. Copies of letters from Goldwater to various researchers (in my files) are worth quoting here. In a letter to Shlomo Arnon on 28th of March 1975, he wrote:
The subject of UFOs is one that has interested me for some long time. About ten or twelve years ago I made an effort to find out what was in the building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where the information is stored that has been collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied this request. It is still classified above Top Secret. I have, however, heard that there is a plan underway to release some, if not all, of this material in the near future. I'm just as anxious to see this material as you are, and I hope we will not have to wait much longer. [Emphasis added]
"On 11 April 1979 Goldwater wrote to Lee Graham. 'It is true I was denied access to a facility at Wright-Patterson,' he confirmed. 'Because I never got in, I can't tell you what was inside. We both know about the rumors.' The room that the Senator tried to visit is called the Blue Room, and according to my information it contains UFO artifacts, but not craft or bodies. In another letter to Lee Graham, dated 19 October 1981, Goldwater wrote:
First, let me tell you that I have long ago given up acquiring access to the so-called blue room at Wright-Patterson, as I have had one long string of denials from chief after chief, so I have given up.
In answer to your question, one is essentially correct, I don't know of anyone who has access to the blue room, nor am I aware of its contents and I'm not aware of anything having been relocated. . . .
To tell you the truth, Mr. Graham, this thing has gotten so highly classified, even though I will admit there is a lot of that has been released, it is just impossible to get anything on it. [Emphasis added]
(Above Top Secret, Timothy Good, pgs. 404-405)
"On more than a few occasions, the subject of UFOs featured heavily on Larry King Live. On one occasion, specifically in 1994, the person that King had on his show to talk about UFOs was none other than Goldwater himself, who told King:
" 'I think at Wright-Patterson, if you could get into certain places, you’d find out what the Air Force and the government does know about UFOs. Reportedly, a spaceship landed. It was all hushed up. I called Curtis LeMay and I said, "General, I know we have a room at Wright-Patterson where you put all this secret stuff. Could I go in there?" I’ve never heard General LeMay get mad, but he got madder than hell at me, cussed me out, and said, "Don’t ever ask me that question again!" ' "Curtis LeMay, another member of the ASC also linked to Roswell (noted in part three), has long been associated with Goldwater's claims. LeMay died in 1990 and never appears to have publicly refuted Goldwater's allegations.
This is most interesting as their is absolutely no evidence that Hangar 18 existed. Wright-Patterson apparently has never even possessed a "Hangar 18" during its history. There was a "Building 18" that was used to conduct experimental research during the 1950s that is presumed to have been the inspiration for Hangar 18. There is no evidence of a "Blue Room" either.
And yet Goldwater, a one time presidential candidate and long serving US Senator, would continue to make these claims until practically right up until the time of his death. And General Curtis LeMay, long linked to Goldwater's claims, never refuted them either and this was a man who had served as Chief of Staff of the Air Force at one point. LeMay and Goldwater were very powerful figures within the deep state, in other words, and yet they never tried to distance themselves from what superficially appears to be a rather baseless claim originating from very dubious sources.
|General Curtis LeMay|
Wright-Patterson would have been a logical location for especially exotic technology. It is the home of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, previously known as the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) and the Foreign Technology Division, the principal department of the Air Force tasked with analyzing foreign technology. And the Roswell debris, if they in fact existed, certainly would have constituted foreign technology.
Interestingly, the ATIC was the original agency tasked with investigating UFO reports. General Nathan Twining initiated the first wave of investigations at Wright-Patterson when he ordered the creation of Project Sign (noted before here). Project Sign would eventually morph into Project Blue Book, which appears to have remained under the direction of the ATIC until at least the 1950s. There may have been a shakeup after the ATIC became the Foreign Technology Division in 1961, but Blue Book was still based out of Wright-Patterson until the project was shuttered in 1968.
And it just so happens that the head of the Foreign Technology Division at the time of Blue Book's closure was another ASC member: Colonel Raymond Sleeper. Sleeper reportedly considered Blue Book to be a massive waste of resources and viewed the UFO question as baseless in general. And yet he would receive patronage from at least two powerful military officers with a keen interest in UFOs. One was Curtis LeMay, who Sleeper served under in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
Another was Admiral Arthur Radford. During the early 1950s Sleeper headed the Air War College at Maxwell AFB. While there he concocted Project Control, a plan for massive nuclear strikes against the Soviet Union. Radford, who would serve as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Eisenhower's first term, was a major proponent of Project Control. He also reportedly encountered a UFO himself during this time and launched a Navy investigation into the phenomenon (noted before here). Radford also had dealings with Donald Keyhoe of NICAP and was likely one of his sources during this era as well. Naturally, Radford would end up with the ASC after retiring from the Navy in 1957.
|Admiral Arthur Radford|
Certainly it is is interesting that one ASC man, Nathan Twining, appears to have initiated the predecessor to Blue Book while another ASC man is the one who shuttered the project. Is it possible that Air Force opted to shutter Blue Book because its purpose had been served and TPTB were now poised to move on to the next phase of this hall of mirrors? But what was the next phase? To answer that, we must now turn to a legendary figure in UFOlogy.
"... In the first place, Hynek was much more than a mere civilian scientist who helped out the air force. 1942 to 1946, Hynek took a leave of absence from Ohio State University to work at the Johns Hopkins University in Silver Springs, Maryland. While there, he was in charge of document security for the highly classified project sponsored by the navy to develop a radio proximity fuse. Along with radar and the atomic bomb, this is often considered one of the three great scientific developments of the war. The device was a radio-operated fuse designed to screw into the nose of a shell and timed to explode at any desired distance from target.
"Many scientists, of course, performed work for the defense establishment during World War Two. But Hynek's project was of considerable importance, and it does not appear that his main contribution was scientific: after all, he was an astrophysicist. Rather, one of his main efforts was in a security-related area...
"... rumors had abounded through the 1960s that Blue Book was a public relations facade, and that there was a 'secret study' of UFOs going on. Vallee, too, had his suspicions and broached the subject with Hynek every so often. Hynek inevitably rejected such opinions without reservation. Blue Book, Hynek maintained, was the real thing, albeit a project that was being done incompetently. Vallee was never quite convinced. He noticed Hynek's cagey attitude about UFOs, that he seemed to know much more than he usually let on about the subject, that he often appeared to be more interested in self-promotion than actual study of the problem, and that his personal records were in a state of near disaster. Then Vallee found the infamous 'Pentacle Memorandum' in Hynek's office. This was a highly classified document from January 1953, proving the existence of a separate study group of UFOs, and urging that the Robertson Panel be delayed until they had come to their own conclusions. Very strong stuff. In the mid-1960s, there was still no inkling among the wider public that there was any such study as this. Understandably, Vallee agonized before broaching this topic...
"During another conversation, Hynek mentioned to Vallee that the air force had sent him a new contract draft. He did not know whether or not he should sign it and gave it to Vallee to read. Vallee wrote:
The contract, I was surprised to read, was not really with the air force but with the Dodge Corporation, a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill. 'What's McGraw-Hill doing in the middle of all this?' I asked, without trying to hide my bafflement. 'Is that some sort of cut out?' 'Oh, they are just contractors to the Foreign Technology Division,' Hynek replied. 'By working through companies like McGraw-Hill, which is a textbook publisher, it's easier for them to hire professors and scholars to conduct some intelligence activities, keeping up with Soviet technology, for example. Many academics would be nervous saying they were working for the Foreign Technology Division.' The contract clearly puts Hynek under the administrative supervision of a man named Sweeney, who is not a scientist. And it clearly specifies Hynek's task as evaluating [original emphasis] the sightings of unknown objects to determine if they represent a danger for the security of the United States.
"Hynek's substantial air force money was passed to him through a third party. Thus, Hynek's relationship with 'security' continued right through the 1960s. We also learn from Vallee that Hynek, despite his monthly trips to Wright-Patterson AFB, almost never saw Blue Book chief Hector Quintanilla, but was received personally by the commander, who usually took him to lunch at the officers' club. When Vallee asked Hynek what they talked about, Hynek replied, 'innocently,' the weather and foreign cuisine."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pgs. 221-223)
|J. Allen Hynek|
And yet Hynek appears to have deliberately leaked highly classified information to Vallee. Above, Richard Dolan indicates that Hynek was involved in highly classified intelligence work related to "security," and yet he would leave a Top Secret document laying around that Vallee ultimately turned up? Or that he would need to consult with Vallee as to whether or not to sign a contract with McGraw-Hill related with his intelligence work? Not only does Hynek appear to be leaking information to Vallee, but he does not appear to have suffered any real blowback from his deep state backers for these indiscretions. In point of fact, they appear to have rewarded him.
In 1972 Hynek would publish the landmark The UFO Experience which firmly established his bona fides as being at the forefront of "scientific UFOlogy" while also revealing the incompetency of Blue Book. He followed this up in 1975 with The Edge of Reality, co-authored with his close associate, Jacques Vallee. By this time Vallee had already been making quite a name for himself in UFOlogy circles. Beginning in the mid-1960s he had published Anatomy of a Phenomenon, Unidentified Objects in Space - A Scientific Appraisal and Challenge To Science; The UFO Enigma, both of which were well-received. His 1969 work Passports to Magnolia is easily one of the most groundbreaking works ever published on the subject.
By the late 1970s Vallee and Hynek had become bona fide celebrities even beyond UFOlogists. Steven Spielberg's 1977 classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind (which derived its name from Hynek's classification system) features a pair of scientists that are thinly disguised stand-ins for Hynek and Vallee. Hynek even appears in a cameo in the film. Needless to say, both men were institutions within UFOlogy by this point.
|Hynek and Vallee (top) and Spielberg's stand-ins for them in Close Encounters (bottom)|
And would you be surprised to learn, dear reader, that the founder of Regnery Press, Henry Regnery, was also a founder of the American Security Council and for years one of its major backers (much more information on Regency's links to the ASC can be found here)? Yes, the same American Security Council that Hynek's old boss, Colonel Raymond Sleeper later joined despite Hynek outing his indifference to Blue Book in a book published by Regency. The same American Security Council that featured among its ranks numerous military officers such General Nathan Twining, General Curtis LeMay, General Barry Goldwater and Admiral Arthur Radford that displayed a keen interest in UFOs over the years.
"Laurance Rockefeller is primarily associated with UFO-related programs of the 1990s: the Rockefeller initiative to have Clinton open the books on UFOs and the financing of Dr. John Mack's alien abduction research, Colin Andrews' crop circle research, Steven Greer's Project Starlight, and ultimately the UFO Briefing Document: the Best Available Evidence, written by Marie Galbraith and Stanton Friedman's co-author, Don Berliner. The Human Potential Foundation, in which Laurance put a lot of money, financed a conference here and there, most notably the Cosmic Cultures event of 1995. Wonderfully reliable researchers as Zecheria Sitchin and Richard Boylan were invited here, not to mention John Mack."
"... Moving away from the stalemate between the extraterrestrial and null hypotheses, a number of innovative UFO researchers began to ask hard questions about the basic assumptions underlying current attempts to make sense of the phenomenon. The most influential of these 'New Wave' ufologists, Jacques Vallee and John Keel, argued forcefully that UFOs could not be pigeonholed into the slots reserved for our them by all sides in the debate since 1947.
"The works produced by these two writers could hardly be more different. Vallee, a successful computer scientist who worked closely with J. Allen Hynek for many years, provided a series of incisive analyses of the phenomenon that made it clear that the old assumptions could no longer be justified. His Passport to Magonia (1969) showed that UFO sightings could not be separated in any meaningful sense from accounts of apparitions and spiritual beings in the past. His more troubling Messengers of Deception (1979 broken even further from the UFO mainstream, tracing the uncomfortable links that united UFO sightings with alternative religious movements and military intelligence, proposing that UFOs might be used – and indeed might have been manufactured – as a way of shaping public opinion, by governments, secret societies affiliated with the occult, or some entirely nonhuman presence."
(The UFO Phenomenon, John Michael Greer, pgs. 73)
Given where Vallee's early sponsorship came from, he was well placed to know. And indeed Vallee expressed concerns in both Messengers of Deception as well as Dimensions (1988) about the presence of the far right in the UFO community. I suspect that what he revealed in these works was only the tip of the iceberg of what he's encountered over the years. But lets us return now to Regnery for a moment.
The works by Hynek and Vallee were not the only ones issued by Regnery during this era that would profoundly shape the UFO question. Other landmark works included Charles Bowen's The Humanoids, another staple of scientific UFOlogy that featured accounts from Bowen, Vallee and Aime Michel (one of the first researchers to link the concept of "ley lines" to UFOlogy) and which was mined heavily by John A. Keel for his early work on "ultraterrestrials"; several of the early works by W. Raymond Drake, a Fortean who published several of the earliest works on "ancient astronauts," predating the more well known work of Erich von Daniken by several years; and several works by famed parapsychologist Hans Holzer.
These works arguably had quite a significant influence on the development of UFOlogy. For one, many of these titles were written by profession scientists, which added an air of competency lacking from early UFO accounts that were largely published by laymen. For another, they prepared the American public for some very revolutionary concepts that were later popularized by such celebrated works as Chariots of the Gods?, The Sirius Mystery and the general works of Keel and Robert Anton Wilson.
What's most striking to this researcher is the rather mystical take on UFOs presented by many of the Regnery books from this era. This is in stark contrast to the "nuts-and-bolts" school that dominated UFOlogy during the late 1950s and from the 1980s on up until the last decade or so.To be sure, parallels between the occult and UFOlogy had existed from almost literally the onset of the modern UFO era. Many of the early contactees such as George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson (who had ties to Silver Shirt founder William Dudley Pelley, as noted before here) had a keen interest in the occult and one finds ample references to Ouija boards and other forms of divination in the early literature. The Morning of the Magicians (1960) linked UFOs and the occult with a hipster sheen. But Vallee, a respected scientist, was the one who gave such notions legitimacy via his careful research.
The "nuts-and-bolts" school, which defines UFOs as space crafts piloted by extraterrestrial entities, was the view point that characterized NICAP throughout the Keyhoe era. But even then there appear to have been dissenters. As was noted in the prior installment, one of NICAP's most prominent early members, Admiral Herbert B. Knowles, appears to have developed some rather unorthodox views concerning UFOs by the early 1960s. His views would likely be more consistent with those expressed by Vallee several years later than Keyhoe.
This researcher can't help but feel that by the late 1960s the ASC had adopted a very esoteric view of the UFO phenomenon and was actively engaged in filtering certain aspects of this view to the general public through the UFO-related titles published by Regnery during this era. Certainly this is the only real point when Regnery appears to have been active in New Ages topics. The publisher made its money off of highly conservative political manifestos such as Buckley's God and Man at Yale. Drake, Hynek and Vallee were certainly quite uncharacteristic of the staple of authors typically promoted by Regnery.
Was this then why Hynek appears to have kept receiving support from the deep state despite his incompetency in "security" concerns? Did they have a more important task for J. Allen, such as redefining UFOlogy? Hynek may not have been quite up to this task, but his close associate Jacques Vallee surely was and Vallee's theories are still at the forefront of much of the cutting edge of UFOlogy to this day.
But there has certainly been ample resistance to Vallee's theories and it appears to have largely come from the Rockefeller branch of UFOlogy. On the whole, the Rockefellers appear to favor a more secular explanation to New Age topics and UFOs were no exception. After a decade of highly innovative theories concerning the UFO phenomenon the nuts-and-bolts school made a vigorous comeback in the 1980s just as Rockefeller money appears to have begun flowing like water into the coffers of various UFOlogists and organizations.
In The UFO Phenomenon, John Michael Greer compellingly argues that the nuts-and-bolters whether further bolstered by an unlikely source: the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). CSICOP has of course long been the absolute pinnacle of the debunker and skeptic community and they were especially hostile to the theories of Vallee and like researchers from very early on. CSICOP, which features several prominent members that have received funding from the Rockefellers over the years, further polarized the UFO debate and made it even more difficult for more esoteric explanations of the UFO phenomenon to gain traction for years.
Nor was Vallee the only fringe researcher the Rockefellers appear to have unleashed the skeptics upon. As was noted before here, Andrija Puharich suffered the same fate. But back to the matter at hand.
While the skeptics inevitably raked Vallee over the coals, he also appears to have endured several attacks from UFOlogists over the years as well. Steven M. Greer, who received much patronage from Laurence Rockefeller (noted in part one), took a thinly veiled swipe at Vallee in his best selling Hidden Knowledge, Forbidden Truth:
"In the mid-90s, I was invited by the Board of Directors of Noetic Sciences to do a briefing for their board. The founder of Noetic Sciences was there along with a number of very prominent people. I presented what we were doing, what our findings were, what the evidence was. They also had a few disinformation people present who, at one time, had done good work in the field, but who had since been bought off by the intelligence interests.
"One such asset of the Shadow Government made a presentation saying, 'This is all a mythology, and there are these little balls of light occasionally seen.' He completely whitewashed all the hard evidence that he once wrote about. It was a very interesting thing to watch. I then stood up and politely said, 'Well, on the contrary...'
"Also, he was proposing, 'Of course, these things don't actually exist in the physical world because they're inter-dimensional.' "
(Hidden Truth, Forbidden Knowledge, Steven M. Greer, pg. 142)
If one is familiar with the utter bullshit Steven Greer has spewed over the years, one can't help think of the old kettle when he hints at Vallee being a disinformation agent. His faux outrage over Vallee's inter-dimensional theories is as unhinged as one would expect.
It would appear then that Vallee's theories were an early point of contention between the ASC and the Rockefellers interests. By the 1980s these differences would become more crystallized, with the Rockefellers attempting to demystify the whole phenomenon while applying a coat of Space Brothers claptrap to give everyone a warm and fuzzy feeling. This was increasingly in contrast to the ASC, which alternated between mystical and nuts-and-bolts explanations, but which always viewed the UFOs through the prism of a national security threat.
And with that I shall wrap things up for now. With the next installment we'll consider how another power broker of the far right helped shape the Human Potential Movement before moving on to the ASC's continued involvement in UFOlogy and other fringe pursuits in the 1980s. And be assured dear reader, it was not until the 1980s that these pursuits became truly strange and terrible. Stay tuned.