Friday, May 7, 2010

FSR 1961: The Human {?} Side.

The 1961 FSR was, generally speaking, more sensible than its predecessors. Occasional hoaxes were still in evidence, but they became less and less and were usually muted in how much enthusiasm they received. I believe that this was because the editor was receiving a great preponderance of feedback from readers who expressed themselves as finding such claims as preposterous and too often proved fallacious if not all the way to rapacious. This shift in editorial "tone" is a tribute to Waveney Girvan, who despite still valuing the potential for breakthroughs from contactee knowledge, was admitting that most of it appeared to be bunk. [He did, however, with some proper logic, take Keyhoe to task for apparently wholesale rejecting the humanoid case claims]. Despite this unexpected "conservatism" [relatively speaking], FSR did have plenty of "Rock and Roll" within its pages, including an article on Springheeled Jack [pictured above]. To the naive reader, there is no truth to the rumor that Jack was an early incarnation of Jerry Clark, despite Jerry's strange fascination with him in the 20th century. Jerry is much nicer.... and can't jump nearly as high. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The human event which had the longest term effect on FSR was the appearance of Gordon Creighton. Creighton, alongside Charles Bowen, would soon come to dominate FSR editorial policy for many years. At this point he showed up as an intelligent commentator on technical matters [things like artificial satellites] and most especially on Soviet attitudes towards UFOs. Creighton was a friend of Admiral-of-the-Fleet Hill-Norton, an overt fan of UFOs. Perhaps they had a little circle of ex-military people who regularly chewed over the phenomenon. This was also the year when FSR had constant flirtations with what the Soviets were doing about the subject and Creighton's interests fit perfectly with that. As time has gone on, we have found that these early rumors and deductions were basically nonsense, but that seems not to have been the fault of Creighton who seems to have done what he could with the poor resources available. Although only showing his Russian language talents thus far, Creighton would prove to be a linguistic genius and serve as the translator of dozens of important non-English language case reports over the next couple of decades. His buddy, Charles Bowen, the complementary editorial genius [and less leaping-to-conclusions member of the duo], was not yet in evidence at least publicly.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Creighton's first FSR foray was about satellites, and in that report he brought up the rumor circulating in American UFOlogy that the government had funded a secret study wherein astronomy legend Clyde Tombaugh would search for near-Earth orbiting "artificial moons". Juicing up the rumor was the claim that Tombaugh had "already" [back in the early 1950s pre-Sputnik] found at least two such "moons", and the only answer to that was that they had been put there in orbit by extraterrestrials. This "information", dated 1955, gave precise measurements of "moons" orbiting between 430 and 650 miles up, and being 60 to 300 feet in diameter. ET-monitors or a mothership, no doubt. Well, that should excite anyone. The reality of this seems less spectacular, as usual. [Again folks, I am working off memory here]. I have a copy of this secret study project--yep, that part is true. And it is also true that Tombaugh was the lead scientist on it. What is not true is that any "moons" were found because of it. There is commentary associated with the study proposal about what one would be looking for and how one would go about it, with a model example, but the project either was not done at all, or briefly so with no results--this is the part that I can't recall exactly. Tombaugh later talked about this and it's clear that nothing was found---remember that Tombaugh was a big fan of UFOs and the ETH, so there's no reason to doubt him on this. I would have loved there to have been this pre-Sputnik discovery, and I'm sure that Tombaugh would have, too.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And as to messing with extraterrestrials and vice versa: FSR presented a quote by Otto Struve on communicating with aliens. Struve [on the left with Chandrasekhar, far left, and Gerard Kuiper, middle] was the guy whose name I couldn't remember the other day when talking about radiotelescope signals and Frank Drake. Struve was the director of the Greenbank,WV observatory from which Drake tried listening to the two nearby Sun-like stars and sending out a message on his own. And Struve was then the guy who shut it [Project OZMA] down. Shortly afterwards he said: "I'm not sure that we should even answer if we did receive signals. When scientists ask when we will resume [sending signals] I tell them to come back in 100,000 years". FSR puzzled over this stoppage of the program, citing, as did US sources, the inadequacy of the lack-of-funding and insufficient equipment reasons, and this simply goes to show that they hadn't conceived of the military intelligence security concerns about exposing oneself to a technologically-superior and potentially hostile super-culture. We can disagree with the attitude, but the history remains and that's how it was.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other stuff happened. Girvan actually praised the Father Gill case wildly while severely criticizing the contactees. Someone tried to clarify the kinds of cases in categories of potentially-valuable evidence [sort of a pre-Hynek look at case type and usefulness] and set up a decision tree for the readers to decide where their minds would take them on models of likely hypotheses. The Russian ancient astronaut theorizer [Agrest] was pilloried in his country as a nut [and on generally good grounds]. W.D.Drake continued his interminable nonsense with an article trying to link the Comte de St. Germain to UFOs. The Brazilian contactee, Dino Kraspedon, was debunked. The Brookings Report about the impact of technologically superior civilizations upon lesser was reviewed. And Olavo Fontes produced a three part article on the Brazilian flap of May 1960. The mini-wave itself is very interesting, but Fontes tried to turn it into a demonstration of Aime Michel's Orthoteny Patterns. I will bow to superior statistical minds on this one, but to me the "analysis" was no more than mapping case locations and then drawing lines every which way he felt to connect a dot with another one. I don't blame anyone for trying to find such patterns, but the "statistics" seem thoroughly unconvincing to me as anything other than random human eyeballing. This could possibly be the only thing that Donald Menzel and I have ever agreed about. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And, on a better note, the fellow above, General Lionel Chassin, Coordinator for Air Defenses in NATO, spoke out on UFOs. Chassin, sort of France's Hillenkoetter when it came to a very big military wheel supporting UFO research, had authored the preface of Aime Michel's Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, and immediately began to support early civilian UFO research in France. Showing that he had been reading Keyhoe [and also Tacker!], Chassin wrote a high-minded intellectual assessment of the status of UFOs as reality, and as rejected for understandable but not-praiseworthy reasons of bias, emotions, and secrecy. He called for all of us to join together in an objective and open policy of sharing information and results, as that was the only proper way to prepare for a more overt interaction with the UFOs to come. Well, hurrah, General! Too bad that no one in power paid any attention, unlike your experience with those same people before you retired. UFOs are the most resistant subject ever conceived [taking the ratio of evidence vs. willingness even to discuss it into account]. NATO general? CIA chief? Admiral-of-the-Fleet? Who cares? Just more UFO Nuts!------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, if they're going to mock us anyway, we might as well have some fun while they do. FSR was obviously [always] of that mind, and offered apparently seriously, articles which brought The Loch Ness Monster and Springheeled Jack onto the pages. Now I'm as big a fan of the Monster as nearly anyone [Henry Bauer excepted], and could be talked into being a fan of Jack. But as core UFOlogy? Nope. Maybe we can match up Jack with "our" West Virginia Mothman in a category of winged weirdoes living Out Proctor, but UFO drivers? I don't think so. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------One last really anomalous thing: there was a letter from Jerry Clark to FSR this year, smacking Girvan for his allusions towards Keyhoe as close-minded and inappropriately rejecting of contactees. Jerry was a good defender of the major, though Girvan didn't think so. But the anomaly is this: that letter was written 50 years ago. This means that Jerry either wrote it in crayon or it is HE who is the Comte de St. Germain!!!


  1. I haven't read this properly, yet, Prof - so, more, anon - but no doubt you full well know the last 'official' sighting of ol' Jacky boy's Liverpool, not very far from where I live!

    The Salisbury Street site's the place where you can still feel him, though - even as a kid who'd never heard of him that part of the city always used to freak me out.

    And throughout the late '80s, and later, in the early to mid '90s, when I had to work next to that site, I still felt some alarming presence there - and that was a decade before I found out Jack'd supposedly shown up there.

    It mightn't even be Jack I feel there, but then the dark claustrophobic force operating there's probably the reason Jack showed up there in the first place!


  2. Prof: "UFOs are the most resistant subject ever conceived".

    That's an astonishing statement, made only all the more astonishing by the fact it's true.

    It amazes me to think what the likes of 'Al Qaeda' could get away with if only they were prepared to wear absurd tinfoil suits and disguise their explosives as flying saucers.

    If Russia'd ever been serious about invading the US all they would've had to've done was exactly the same, and the authorities would've refused to act right up to the Ruskie 'flying saucers'/tanks parking themselves on the White House lawn.

    It's almost tempting to view the situation as some episode of the X-Files where a team of super telepaths're ordering the population to pay no heed certain things, even as they're taking over the world.

    My suspicion though's the situation may be more akin to some neurotic velociphile realising if he keeps rushing to the window to watch over his beloved new car every time someone enters the street he'll both never get off his feet and also go completely off his rocker.

  3. p.s.

    Actually, Prof, I can kind of see where the nuts and bolt flying saucer people're coming from when they attempt to recruit Jack as an alien...the weird accoutrements like the tight fitting 'oilskin' suit, the supposed helmet, the chest light, the hellish balls of red light eyes, the sparkly blue fiery exhalation.

    My own inclination's to view him - and Mothman -as being a possible 'swimmer' type trying out his capacities, subsequent 'embellishments' in later stories actually reflecting his growing confidence in those capacities, his peculiar behaviour maybe reflecting the states of mind of those he came into contact with, (if only someone'd been thinking of buying or selling a cow and we'd've had a report of him mooing!).



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