Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"We Are Here"

In 1972 French ufologist Michel Zirger read the classic Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski. Like many others he became intensively fascinated by its content and this ”magic cauldron of ufology” became his ”bedside book” – and still is. But it also, in 1993, initiated a systematic investigation into the life of contactee George Hunt Williamson, resulting in the biography The Incredible Life of George Hunt Williamson (English edition 2016), co-authored with Maurizio Martinelli. I reviewed this work in an earlier blog entry.

What makes the research and documentation of Michel Zirger especially valuable is his access to parts of the personal archive of George Hunt Williamson, which he acquired in 1995: unpublished manuscripts, notebooks, personal diary and correspondence. Based on this unique material Zirger has now published a 365 page sequel to the first biography, ”We Are Here!” Visitors Without a Passport., edited by Australien ufologist Warren P. Aston.  And let me make it clear already at the outset of this review – this book has the potential of becoming dynamite in the UFO research community.

Serious and open minded research on early contactee cases and especially George Adamski has been and is to this day very much taboo among mainstream scientific ufologists. Instead of detailed investigation ufologists like Donald Keyhoe, Coral and Jim Lorenzen, Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee appeared as skeptical debunkers when commenting on the 1950s contactees. In my view, and also clearly emphasized by Zirger, a great mistake made by the otherwise best minds in UFO research history. ”For the last 50 years we have been led by the nose by a small clique of astronomer-statistician-ufologists, allegedly rigorous, who have led ufology down a blind alley to where it is a present”, is the harsh comment by Michel Zirger in his introduction (p. xviii). And he continues with referring to ”Jacques Vallee´s passion for reducing all UFO reports and entities to a single socio-religious explanation”. The last comment is a strange misunderstanding. Vallee has never been a proponent of the skeptical psychosocial school in ufology, although some reviewers of Passport to Magonia have interpreted him as a skeptic.

Michel Zirger was born in France but moved to Tokyo in 1994, where he has worked together with several Japanese ufologists. And it is in Tokyo that Zirger has had three intriguing encounters with ”human-type aliens”. The first two encounters, in 1994, happened at a restaurant near the train station of Senzokuike. Zirger, his future wife and her cousin Yoshimi notice a strange woman at a table: ”Her gaze was metallic, hard, intense, as if full of reproach… At those very moments I definitely felt that she was sending me what is commonly called ”telepathic messages”.”  Two months later Zirger and his future wife encounter the same woman again in the restaurant. And once again there is a telepathic interplay. When the mysterious woman is leaving the restaurant Zirger follows her: ”… although I went out one or two seconds after her, I could not see her…she had disappeared; she had vanished into thin air.”

The third encounter occurred 2010 in a Tokyo café. Zirger share a drink with his friend Yann Aucante when they notice a Swedish or Scandinavian-looking man at a table nearby. Zirger immediately get the impression that this is Orthon, the extraterrestrial who contacted Adamski and he repeat a telepathic message: ”Are you an extraterrestrial?”. Suddenly the man writes something in a notebook and leave it open for all to see. The man had written in French ”On est la” (We are here) and then leave the café. Zirger doesn´t say that this really WAS Orthon but affirm that he ”bore an extraordinary resemblance to the alien known to us as Orthon, as depicted in the drawing made by Alice K. Wells in 1952 and in the oil painting done by the artist Gay Betts in 1954…” This encounter so impressed Michel Zirger that he made the writing in the notebook the title of his second Williamson biography.

Oil painting by Gay Betts

What is somewhat surprising is that Zirger is not aware of that George Adamski did not favor the almost feminine Orthon in the oil painting. In 1959 Adamski told his co-worker Lou Zinsstag: ”Orthon did not look like that at all. He had a very manly, intellectual face, but as his features were so distinct and characteristic it would have been dangerous for him to have had them published.” Adamski then opened his wallet and showed Lou Zinsstag a photo of Orthon. She noticed that ”It was indeed very different from the painted version.” (Lou Zinsstag and Timothy Good, George Adamski - The Untold Story, p.7).

Section II of ”We Are Here”, A Case of Italian Friendship, is a 60 page summary of the controversial Amicizia case. I guess editor Warren Aston is behind the idea to include this section in the book as he is an exponent of the case and has devoted two chapters to Amicizia in his book A Mormon Looks at Aliens and UFOs, co-authored with Nadine Lalich (2012). Warren Aston has also edited 50 years of Amicizia, written by Stefano Breccia (2013). Although open minded I am very dubious of this complicated case and I don´t think it should have been included as the link to George Hunt Williamson and George Adamski is very thin. Michel Zirger writes that Amicizia ”validates the Adamski case”. I find the story to be quite the opposite from what I have read regarding Amicizia. If the aliens described by Breccia and others really exist they are not the kind of people I would buy a used car from.

For those who have not read Williamson´s book Other Tongues – Other Flesh, chapter six in Zirger´s biography, A New Concept: The Wanderers is a very informative overview of  the spiritual worldview of Williamson in relation to visitors from other planets. He introduced today well known concepts such as The Migrants, The Wanderers, The Agents, The Intruders etc. This chapter is followed by a very useful chronology of events in the life of Georg Hunt Williamson. Here we can follow the development of both his personal life, philosophy and involvement with various ufologists, contactees and channellers. Much of this information has not been published before.

There has been several attempts to associate George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson with far-right extremism. In Messengers of Deception Jacques Vallee writes: ”According to some of my informants, contactee George Adamski had prewar connections with American fascist leader William Dudley Pelley, who was interned during the war. Another seminal contactee, George Hunt Williamson… was associated with Pelley´s organization ”Soulcraft”, in the early fifties.” (p. 192). In a very important chapter, The Two Georges and the Far Right, Michel Zirger, presents clear evidence that these accusations by Vallee are unfounded and a misunderstanding. George Adamski never met Pelley and certainly never endorsed his prewar fascist ideas. Williamson did work for Pelley´s magazine Valor a few months in 1954 but his interest in Pelley was the channelled material he had presented in books such as Star Guests (1950). Vallee´s statement that Valor was a ”racist magazine” has no foundation. It was an outlet for Pelley´s spiritual messages and channelings. Michel Zirger has made a great service to UFO research by unraveling these mistakes.

George Hunt Williamson 1953

A chapter that will certainly raise a few eyebrows is titled A Response To An All-Round Debunker (of UFOs, Aliens, Apparitions, Turid Shroud, Jesus, Religion, Bible etc.). Here Michel Zirger presents some very harsh criticism of an unnamed skeptic, called Mr. X, who heavily criticized his first book on Williamson. Mr. X had written ”a long diatribe of such unprecedented  virulence, impoliteness and self-conceit that an answer from me is the only desirable, necessary and legally authorized reaction.” (p. 299). We are further told that ”… he did not hesitate to archive in Sweden, with a Ufological organization, the whole correspondence I had with him, about twenty e-mails, so that any third party can consult them, and this during my lifetime and without my consent… Is it legal to archive my letters in Sweden? I don´t know…” (pp. 299-300). I was somewhat surprised by these statements as anyone with basic information retrieval skills can easily find out that it is AFU, the archive of which I am co-founder and working with, that is inferred. By reading the AFU website or my blog, or the blog of my AFU colleague Clas Svahn, it i also easy to find the name of the skeptic who donated his archive to AFU. Why Michel Zirger prefer anonymity for Mr. X I don´t know but I will not here divulge his real name. As for the legal aspect, collections donated to privately financed NGO foundations is open to anyone, unless the donor has stipulated restrictions regarding some part of the material. The AFU board naturally have an moral responsibility when dealing with correspondence of a controversial och private nature but generally the archive is open to anyone with a serious research interest.

The most sensational part of this book, which could prove to be real dynamite in UFO history is presented in Update. Photographic Validation of the Landing of Orthon on November 20, 1952. On the very day when the final editing of ”We Are Here” was completed Michel Zirger discovered that the George Adamski photographs had been digitally enhanced by the Danish photographer and painter Rene Erik Olsen. These photos are reproduced in the book and on the website of Rene Erik Olsen and clearly show new details never before seen or expected. There is even one photo showing what could be Orthon. If these enhancements prove correct and can be validated the Adamski contact case will have to be re-evaluated even by mainstream, scientific ufologists.

Adamski photo Dec. 13, 1952 from Rene Erik Olsen´s website. Not digitally enhanced 

To receive further details I contacted Rene Erik Olsen. This is a summary of his information: Rene contacted Glenn Steckling of the Adamski Foundation in 2001 as he wanted to do a computer animation of George Adamski´s contact experience November 20, 1952. From Steckling he received copies from the original negatives and Rene was asked to make digital enhancements of the photos. It was then the new details were discovered. Rene regard the photos from November 20, 1952 as definitely genuine and revolutionary and the photos of December 13, 1952 as ”probably genuine”. Up until 1995 Rene made some drawings for Danish ufologist H.C. Petersen and the organization SUFOI but wish to be neutral in regard to various claims of contact. Michel Zirger affirms that ”Mr. Olsen is a good, honest, and very generous man, who tries to deal with the evidence at hand without his own bias and ideas about the subject… Of course we have to be careful, and further analysis will be needed.”

”We Are Here” is an important book with a treasure trove on new research data, much better organized than the first volume. Michel Zirger ends by announcing there will be a third book with a follow up on the Adamski photographs enhanced by Olsen. Is this the beginning of a revolution in UFO history?

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Meade Layne - Desmond Leslie Correspondence

Next to my bed are at present seven boxes with hundreds of folders from the archive of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF). A small portion of this unique collection which takes up a large part of my working day, reviewing and organizing. Recently I found two folders with the Meade Layne – Desmond Leslie correspondence 1952-1955, giving the personal, behind the scenes events and discussions before and after the publishing of all time classic Flying Saucers Have Landed.

The Swedish edition of this book, with its beautiful and imaginative front page, affected me profoundly when, as a young teenager, I found it in my parents bookshelf. Never in my wildest dreams could I envision that 50 years later I would find myself as one of the custodians (at AFU) of the personal correspondence of Desmond Leslie. The Gods of Fate sometimes work in strange ways.

A young enthusiast with the Swedish edition of Flying Saucer Have Landed

To comprehend this correspondence it is important to realize that Desmond Leslie was an esotericist, very well acquainted with the basic works of The Esoteric Tradition: H.P. Blavatsky, C.W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, Geoffrey Hodson, Alice Bailey a.o. During a visit to a friend in 1951 he found a copy of The Story of Atlantis (1896) by W. Scott Elliott. In a sort of heureka moment he realised that the description of vimanas in Atlantis tallied almost identically with the modern reports of flying saucers.

Desmond Leslie

This discovery entered a period of intense research to find stories of aircraft in ancient manuscripts. Leslie spent many hours at the British Museum studying the hindu epics Ramayana and Mahaharata where he found many references to aerial vehicles. The idea of a book on vimanas soon became a reality and because of his knowledge of the The Esoteric Tradition, Leslie discovered BSRF and contacted Meade Layne.

So far I have found 25 letters, mainly from Desmond Leslie and only two from Meade Layne. The first letter from Leslie was written November 13, 1952 where he mention his interest in esotericism and also wide experience of mediums. He was rather critical of most channeled messages but obviously felt himself guided in writing the book about vimanas:
”… been helped to write (by) certain entities in the other world who have told me they are doing the best to guide my pen”… How dull is modern science compared to Cosmic Science. How one sighs for the ancient schools and the sacred philosophia that disappeared from view when the Earth entered the Kali Yug… I am avid, thinking and hungry for knowledge of a subject that has occupied my whole consciousness for over two years ever since I first read a flying saucer report and realised it was synonymous with accounts of the VIMANAS  as the disks were called in the Sanskrit.”

First page of letter to Meade Layne, November 13, 1952

From Meade Layne, Desmond Leslie received information about George Adamski´s contact experience in the desert on November 20, 1952 and he soon began corresponding with Adamski and George Hunt Williamson:
”This is important. Adamski has sent me a detailed account of his desert contact… His report of mother-ship, smaller saucer and magnetic hovering device entirely confirms the Telano transcript. As you know I am giving about 20 pages of my book to publicising your activities and I want to make out the strongest case possible for you.”
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, March 24, 1953.)

The manuscript for the Vimana book had earlier been sent to Sidgwick and Jackson but they were reluctant at publishing which resulted in some very witty and ironic comments from Leslie:
”Alas, Sidgwick Jackson cold footed. Unlikely that they now publish but good to have your support and interest. S.J. gave it to a reader – an old maid with a B.Sc. after her name and her report had to be kept in asbestos. Having run out of vituperation she called me illiterate. I may be everything else but I pride myself on being able to write passable prose. They´ve now sent it to an astronomer. It only remains for it to be reviewed by a subway attendant, an underarm ball furnaceman… a resevoir attendant… a cosmetician… a sanitary engineer…”
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, March 31, 1953.)

In March 1953 George Adamski sent a detailed account of his desert contact. A few weeks later he would also send the by now classic saucer photos to Leslie:
”I had no doubt about Adamski´s sighting. I was just hoping to get as much outside evidence as possible to make it look stronger in my book. He has sent me some amazing photos. Funny – but he seems to have some objection to BSRA on the accuracy of their teachings from what I can gather. But so far with me has been most cooperative and has written me several excellent letters. So has Williamson who has given me the proceedure in making radio contact.” 
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, April 6, 1953.)

Photo taken by George Adamski, December 13, 1952

The reason for George Adamski´s ”objection to BSRA” was in the interpretation of his meeting with the Venusian. Adamski always maintained that his space people were organic physical like earth people. BSRA advanced the opinion that venusians lived at a different level in the multiverse (etheric) which was also confirmed by the Inner Circle, the individuals speaking through trance medium Mark Probert. This information was given clairaudiently to Mark Probert commenting, on the contact November 20th 1952: "The story is in the main true. The Disc did land and Mr. Adamski did carry on a conversation with the operator of said ship. But brother Adamski was so excited he does not remember clearly all that was said. This particular ship was from the planet Venus. We would like to remind you however, that the intense heat on that body, due to its proximity to the sun and an atmosphere heavy with carbon dioxide, make it highly unlikely or impossible that beings with the same organic structure as earth-man could abide on its surface. The Venus beings live in the ether of this planet." 
(Journal of Borderland Research, Jan-Feb. 1972, p. 20)

Leslie gave up on Sidgwick and Jackson and sent his manuscript to a new publisher, T. Werner Laurie. This proved to be a hit in many ways as the man who read the manuscript was Waveney Girvan, who came up with the brilliant idea of combining Leslie´s and Adamski´s manuscripts into one book:
”The book is now called ”THE FLYING SAUCERS HAVE LANDED” and is being published by T. WERNER LAURIE of 1 DOUGHTY STREET. LONDON. W.C. .. This publisher is an ardent saucerite; he first published Heard´s book in England, and I have changed certain things on his advice, such as relegating some of the more complicated occult matters to a sequel volume. .. I have however been able to say quite a good deal about you and BSRA as an avante garde school of saucerology who should be watched and studied by all really interested… A new innovation is that about ninety pages of it will be a detailed eye witness accounts of the Desert Landing along with all the amazing pictures of George Adamski who have been most cooperative and is acting as a co-author in this section… I don´t know if you have read Adamski´s full manuscript account of the contact but it is very well written and strangely moving… My new publisher is a good change from stuffy old S.J. He is madly keen and has already gone around trying to arrange radio and TV tie ups, as well as serialisation  and US publication… I have just seen the picture proofs 14 full pages of large photos – and a lovely coloured dust jacket done by a well known artist depicting the Desert Landing in detail. ”
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, June 12, 1953.)

Waveney Girvan

With the manuscript in safe hands at T. Werner Laurie, a large publicity campaign was initiated:
”We are trying to get every saucer group to use the sticky labels, like the one on the envelope, on all their correspondence. Would you like to have several hundred or several thousand right away? Any Associate wishing to havet them for his own use (they are free) should write direct to T. WERNER LAURIE AND CO LTD. 1 DOUGHTY STREET LONDON. W.C. stating how many he would like to have.”
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, Aug. 5, 1953.)

As Leslie´s father was a first cousin of Winston Churchill contact with the British royal family was no problem which this interesting letter proves:
”I took the book and pictures to Buckingham Palace and had a long session with the Duke´s A.D.C.´s who are most sympathetic towards saucers… Watch for our new opus written conjointly with Prof Donald Duck Menzell in which we prove conclusively that those bid red London busses people keep seing are only the refracted, reflected, polarised and ionized images of the neon signs of Piccadilly Circus.”
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, Aug. 29, 1953.)

Flying Saucers Have Landed was published in September 1953. A revised and very much enlarged edition was published by Neville Spearman in 1970. It was translated into several languages and global sales reached around one million copies. Flying Saucer Review editor Charles Bowen very aptly named it The Book That Was Dynamite. What becomes obvious to me after reading the Meade Layne – Desmond Leslie correspondence is the extensive influence BSRF had on the development of the UFO movement. This letter and the following are quite revealing in this respect:
”Thanks again a million times for your splendid support and help in this whole project. Without you F.S.H.L. wouldn´t be the book it (I think) is. Press here divided. But plenty of it. Most of them derisory or terrified. A few proclaim it as greatest discovery of the age. I have been called ”The sorcerer´s apprentice”. Apparently G.A. is la grande sorciere!
(Letter from Desmond Leslie to Meade Layne, Oct. 14, 1953.)