Ufology in the Sensational Seventies: Saucers, Science, Space and Secrecy
By Dr. Raymond A. Keller, author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising book series, available on amazon.com, while supplies last
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Chemical Evolution of Life on Other Planets
Did and do RNA molecules in outer space provide for the diffusion of life throughout the universe? See https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/how-did-life-begin-its-chemistry-101-but-in-space/.
In the closing month of 1975, more scientists were coming to the conclusion that life of some sort must surely exist on other planets. Dr. Peter Godfrey, a prominent astronomy professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, reported that in October of 1975 he made a discovery, through the use of radio telescopes, of a complex molecule in outer space capable of forming life. In an interview with an Australian correspondent for the National Enquirer (Lantana, Florida), published in its 16 December 1975 issue, Godfrey proclaimed that, “I’ve found that this organic molecule, thought previously to exist only on Earth, is actually a universal phenomenon. And the discovery leads other scientists and me to say with almost complete certainty that life must have formed on other planets.” The unique but complex molecule, methenamine (CH2NH), is a close chemical relative of the simple amino acids used to form protein, an essential building block for life as we know it here on Earth.
“Ten years ago,” said Godfrey, “scientists were sure such molecules did not exist in space. Now we know that they do exist and could combine with other molecules to form life on planets similar to our own. It’s a certainty, I believe, that they have done so. Methenamine is much more complex chemically than the simpler molecules previously detected in space. The existence of methenamine indicates, for the first time, the ability of elements to combine to form life in the universe.” One of the first scientists to hail Godfrey’s discovery as strong evidence for the potential of life emerging on other worlds was Sir Bernard Lovell, the director of the United Kingdom’s Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope Station. Lovell noted that, “The discovery confirms for me that life in outer space, similar to our own or even more advanced, can exist. This is a tremendous, exciting discovery. The evolution of life may have already taken place in countless parts of the universe; and it may only be beginning in other parts. We already know that planetary systems similar to our own exist, and this recent discovery gathers further proof that all the ingredients needed for life could as easily have been present on those planets as on our own.”
Another to quickly jump on Godfrey’s bandwagon was Dr. Zdenak Kopal, the head of the Astronomy Department at Manchester University, also located in the United Kingdom, in England. Kopal commented that, “This startling evidence dispels the theory that life began only on Earth and is exclusive to Earth. Now we know that life could form in space under the conditions it did on Earth.” And Dr. Ronald Bracewell, a professor of astronomy at Stanford University in California, added, “I believe the discovery of these molecules in space will lead more and more scientists to the view that we are not alone in the universe. It is not certain that these elements would form to create intelligent life as we know it; but somewhere in this galaxy, or in another, I believe there is such life.” As to the radio telescope component involved in Godfrey’s finding, Dr. Philip Cressy, a radio chemist at the Goddard Space Center on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., remarked that, “Dr. Godfrey’s discovery bolsters the conviction that humankind may reasonably hope to one day contact worlds that might be superior to our own.”
Returning to the process of detecting this molecule with a radio telescope, Godfrey noted that, “We know that molecules have individual, identifying microwave frequencies. By aiming radio telescopes into deep space and looking for the exact same pattern of microwaves known to be given off by a particular molecule, we can establish that this molecule is present in the universe. We were astounded by the huge number of methenamine we found scattered throughout outer space. We discovered them not only in our own galaxy (the Milky Way), but as far away as out instruments are capable of sensing, trillions of miles. We found the highest concentrations in gaseous clouds; but methenamine also exists in free form throughout the universe. This makes it a universal phenomenon.”
In the interim period since this momentous discovery, astrochemistry has witnessed an impressive increase in the number of detections of complex organic molecules in space. The question of the origin of life has intrigued human beings for centuries. Life appeared on Earth about four billion years ago, but we do not know the processes that made it possible. One of the proposed scenarios is the so-called “RNA-world,” which suggests that early forms of life relied solely on ribonucleic acid (RNA) to store genetic information and to catalyze chemical reactions.
20 January 1976
20 New Jersey Policemen Encounter Massive UFO
From files of National Enquirer correspondent Bob Pratt comes this photograph of Sonny Schwartz, a reporter for the Atlantic City Press (left), with his friend, Ventnor, New Jersey, patrolman Frank Ingargiola (right), displaying drawing of massive UFO they first observed at 5:10 a.m. on 20 January 1976.
This account of a massive UFO shooting in from the Atlantic Ocean and hovering about one mile off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, at around 5:10 a.m. on 20 January 1976, has become so legendary in the Garden State that many New Jerseyans are beginning to wonder why Bruce Springsteen hasn’t produced a song about it by now. The enormous, brilliant and glowing object appeared so threatening that Ventnor, New Jersey, patrolman Frank Ingargiola, then 28 years old and a five-year member of the police force, noted that, “It could have swallowed me up. I immediately backed my car up a ramp and off the beach.” Fortunately, Ingargiola wasn’t alone that morning, for Sonny Schwartz, a correspondent for the Atlantic City Press was an invited passenger in his patrol car. The reporter had finishing covering the crime beat and the patrolman was going to give him a ride home. Both Ingargiola and Schwartz stated that the UFO remained in their view for some 20 minutes, until about 5:30 a.m. During this period, Ingargiola radioed in an all-points bulletin of his sighting and 20 other police and sheriff’s deputies from both Atlantic City and the adjacent suburb of Ventnor called in their own reports of the object to Ingargiola, thus confirming his observation. Two of these patrolmen who also saw the UFO were Daniel Conver and his partner Daniel Wilhelmy of Atlantic City, along with fellow patrolman Henry Madanda of Ventnor.
Patrolman Conver noted, “The light seemed to get dimmer and then brighter as we watched. We checked for helicopters, but there weren’t any up that night.”
Patrolman Madanda also testified, “It appeared to be a glowing light out over the ocean. As I gazed at it, suddenly it just disappeared in front of my eyes. I was shocked!”
“All of a sudden, the object came straight toward us,” explained Ingargiola. “That’s when I backed up,” he added. Ingargiola, also a Navy veteran, said that, “I have been on a good many midnight watches at sea. I was trained to identify different shapes at night. I have never seen anything like this before.
“It came in very, very close, just above the breakers, about 500 feet from the car. It was so huge it seemed to fill the whole windshield. I couldn’t see anything else. It had a very bright, white light in it center, with a yellowish haze around it twice the size of the light. When it got close, you could see three small, reddish-orange points in it, in the shape of a triangle. But unfortunately, we did not have a camera with any good film remaining to take a picture of it.”
Since the early years of ufology, New Jersey has been a hotbed for UFO activity. Photo above snapped by George Stock of Passaic, New Jersey, while trimming hedges in his back yard on 28 July 1952. The UFO dipped down over the power lines and Stock ran into his home to get his camera and secure this most impressive photograph, one of five, of the saucer-shaped object.
Same or Similar Object Sighted Earlier
Earlier, the residents of two nearby New Jersey towns, also reported UFO activity. Wayne Tomlin and his wife in Heislerville, some 43 miles southwest of Atlantic City, said that they witnessed, “two enormous bright lights, like headlights,” only 300 yards away, hovering over a tree line, at about 7:30 p.m. on 19 January. They noted that the lights were visible for about six minutes before they blinked out. And then, half an hour later, in Dorothy, New Jersey, about 25 miles due west of Atlantic City, and 19 miles northeast of Heislerville, the wife of Dorothy local Charles Morris claimed that she saw, “a very brilliant red light, the most brilliant shade of red I have ever seen. I was really overawed by the thing.”
National Enquirer (Lantana, Florida) correspondent Bob Pratt interviewed all of those involved in these sightings and his article appeared in the 30 March 1976 edition of that tabloid periodical.
38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006) initiated the first government-sponsored Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
9 March 1976
NASA’s Search for Advanced Extraterrestrial Life
1976 was turning out to be a monumental year insofar as disclosures from the United States government concerning the existence of advanced extraterrestrial life. For the first time, representatives of an agency of the United States government have admitted that there exists intelligent life in outer space and that a TOP SECRET project is underway attempting to contact an alien civilization. To this end, the government has established a team of twelve top scientists working to design and set up amazingly sensitive equipment capable of picking up various electronic signals from advanced beings on other worlds, and also of transmitting a message back to them. This group was charged by President Gerald R. Ford with reporting back to him by year’s end on the best way to reach such an extraterrestrial civilization, detailing how long it would take and how much it would ultimately cost the United States taxpayers.
Lee Harrison, a correspondent for the National Enquirer (Lantana, Florida), interviewed two of the scientists associated with the study, and revealed its existence and objectives in its 9 March 1976 edition:
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Program Office
Dr. John Billingham, Director of this newly formed Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Program Office and Director of the Life Sciences Division at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, declared, “There is no doubt in our minds that intelligent life, far more advanced and complex than our own, is widespread in outer space; and the United States wants to be the first nation to discover solid proof of extraterrestrial life, and contact it.”
The NASA program chief continued, “When we make contact, possibly within the next 15 years, it will be the biggest breakthrough in the history of humankind. These advanced civilizations could help us conquer problems like disease, pollution, food and energy shortages and natural disasters.”
Dr. Ichtiaque Rasool, a specialist in atmospheric science and Deputy Director for Planetary Programs at NASA, remarked that this SETI study was the first official government investigation specifically organized for the purpose of designing the necessary equipment for detecting signs of intelligent life in outer space. Rasool emphasized that, “This study is of major importance. It is the first step toward actually contacting extraterrestrial life. And by funding this study, the government is declaring its belief that there is intelligent life out there, somewhere.
“We feel there are other planets already communicating with one another. Our dream is to make Earth a part of that interstellar communication network. It’s a dream we are determined to make come true.”
Dollars Down a Black Hole?
Billingham explained that the results of the study will pinpoint the exact type of equipment that will be required to accomplish the SETI goals, as well as to determine its cost. “By the end of this year, we are to report to the president on how NASA can go about contacting life in space. I can tell you now,” he added, “we have the brains to make contact. All we need is the go-ahead from Congress. We are convinced that other civilizations in the universe are desperately scanning the skies, trying to make radio contact with another living planet, such as Earth.” With all the pressing problems on our own planet, however, some in Congress were skeptical about further funding for space research, looking upon it as funneling needed cash down a “black hole.”
The SETI Program director also revealed that the investigation was triggered by the “growing belief among scientists, particularly at NASA, that Earth isn’t the only living planet in the universe. We now have convincing data that life was created from simple chemical substances in our atmosphere such as hydrogen, methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide and water, when our planet was formed 4.5 billion years ago. So, any planet formed before Earth that also had these basic building blocks of life in its atmosphere is likely to be populated by intelligent beings more advanced than us. We believe some planets are billions of years older than Earth, so their civilizations will be billions of years ahead of ours.
“It’s a mind-boggling thought; but I am sure there are space civilizations so advanced that ours will seem Stone Age by comparison. The aliens’ bodies will have retained certain human characteristics and discarded others because, over billions of years, evolution throws out parts of the body that are no longer used. For example, humans no longer have elongated toes because we don’t swing from trees anymore.
“I feel sure the aliens will have large brains and an upright posture, because these are useful characteristics that we humans have retained. But it is possible these advanced beings’ legs have almost disappeared. They probably have incredible systems of transportation run by energy sources unknown to humankind that have reduced their dependence on legs.”
In further elaborating on the cosmic evolution of an alien species, Billingham opined that perhaps such advanced extraterrestrial beings have outgrown the need for two eyes, a mouth and nose. “In which case,” the scientist speculated, “their faces would not be the same as ours,” adding that, “To us, they may appear the most frightening monsters we have ever seen; but they would be the most intelligent and advanced beings we have ever encountered.”
Belgian Archaeologist Finds Proof of Ancient Aliens
A 72-year-old Belgian archaeologist and Catholic priest, Gustavo Le Paige, serving as a missionary in the Atacama Desert region of Chile, proclaimed to Leif Hagen, the editor of Rapport 76 magazine (Stockholm, Sweden) that, “We have been visited by beings from an alien planet. I have found the proof.”
While excavating in a barren valley in northern Chile, the archaeologist came upon an ancient burial ground. Millions of years ago, the valley was sea-floor. But when Le Paige arrived on the scene, he found it to be extremely hot and bone-dry. For an archaeologist, however, this was an excellent feature, for it helped to preserve everything at the remote site.
Le Paige first arrived in Chile back in 1952. Previously, he had served a mission in the Belgian Congo in Africa. Having an academic background in archaeology, the Belgian mission headquarters assigned him to the Catholic University of Northern Chile’s Museum of Archaeology. Since initiating excavations in the desert valley, the archaeologist had dug up 5,424 burial sites, some of them allegedly going back to 100,000, B.C.E.
Le Paige explained that, “I believe that visitors from an alien planet have buried their dead together with the primitive Indians of the valley. Many of the well-preserved mummies I have unearthed have a shape of face never found before on Earth.” In one tomb, for example, he came upon a fossilized wooden figure, about 15 centimeters tall, wearing a supposed astronaut helmet, much like those known today. The Belgian archaeologist strongly feels that this particular figure came from ancient aliens. “Nobody believe me when I am relating, what I have otherwise found in the graves,” he said, adding that, “There is no reason here for people on Earth to become upset.”
The small fossilized, wooden “helmeted astronaut” discovered in the Chilean site is by no means unique. Le Paige noted that, “The figure is not unknown from other grave findings. Throughout at least 12,000 years, the Hopi Indians in North America gave their children those kinds of toys. They are called ‘Katchina dolls.’ For all of these types of figurines, they are clearly showing eyes glancing through a protective shield of an astronaut’s helmet. In accordance with various Native American legends and traditions, this is what the visitors from the stars looked like. The extraterrestrial strangers promised the leaders of sundry Indian tribes that they would return to them one day in the far future. The tribal crafts persons then made figures of the space people in order that the children of their descendants would not be afraid when they did show up.
From Keller Venus Files: Ancient astronaut? Belgian archaeologist Gustavo Le Paige displays “Buck Rogers-like” figurine discovered in middens of northern Chile, dating back circa 100,000, B.C.E.
“These figures were passed on from generation to generation,” exclaimed the Swiss astro-archaeologist and writer, Erich von Däniken, who had taken an intense interest in Le Paige’s work.
From tape recorded interviews with members of the Indian tribes that inhabit the remote Atacama Desert, Le Paige discovered astounding narratives about ancient visiting giant firebirds that would vomit out strange beings onto the land. Le Paige’s attention was also drawn to similar reports from contemporary Chilean citizens of encounters with flying saucers and their occupants apparently carrying out some kind of reconnaissance activities in these remote desert lands. These UFO and alien reports seem to match the ancient legends insofar as the color and appearance of the spacecraft as well as the clothing donned by the extraterrestrial visitors, respectively.
The findings of the Belgian archaeologist also confirmed that some of the mummies with apparently misshapen heads received the burial that would normally be extended to a tribal chief; and that over time, these particular mummies have been treated like “holy relics,” i.e., as saints would be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church.
Father Le Paige, musing on the contemporary UFO reports and possible return of the aliens, noted that, “They (the extraterrestrials) have probably summoned the courage to return to our planet and contact the local inhabitants, thinking that thousands of years of evolution may have changed them from a lot of bloodthirsty individuals full of dreadful wars and power struggles into a civilized society.”
Hmmm, perhaps our alien friends should hold off a bit more.
Ufology As a Dangerous Occupation?
Ufologists began to understand that there were perils to their chosen line of work back in 1953, when Albert K. Bender, director of the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB), one of the first civilian UFO investigations groups, disbanded his organization due to alleged threats made against his life by the notorious “Men in Black” (MIB). Details of these threatening encounters between Bender, along with other ufologists, with the MIB were provided in Gray Barker’s bestselling book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers (New York City, New York: University Books, 1956). While Barker largely focused attention on the actions of the Silence Group behind the suppression of UFO groups and individual investigators of the phenomenon to the United States, by 1976 it became apparent these nefarious activities against ufologists were taking place on a global scale. In the April 1976 edition of UFO Contact, the official journal of the International Get Acquainted Program (IGAP), headquartered in Vejle, Denmark, its director and editor, the former Danish Royal Air Force Major Hans C. Petersen, wrote that, “Indeed, a suppression is taking place, but by whom and how far they will go to stop investigations or information, and how big the area in which they operate in is, nobody knows. It seems obvious that the most concentrated attempts of suppression are taking place in the United States; but it is known with certainty that similar things happen in Australia, the New Zealand area, in South America and in Europe, even Denmark.”
MIB: More real than we’d care to imagine. Photo source: https://www.wired.com/2012/05/review-men-in-black-3/.
Silence Group: Earthlings or Extraterrestrials?
In an attempt to find out what was really going on with this Silence Group, and who was behind it, Petersen and the IGAP membership frankly admitted that they had been unable to determine whether they had been dealing with Earthly or extraterrestrial interests. “We just don’t know,” said Petersen, adding that, “Maybe it is some sort of mixture.” The retired Danish Royal Air Force Major, did, however, point out some interesting cases where ufologists and their respective messages have been suppressed:
“Certain events which have happened to Bruce Cathie in New Zealand could point to the fact that there are Earthly as well as unearthly interests around the very narrow range of action in which he (Cathie) operates.”
Bruce Leonard Cathie (11 February 1930 – 2 June 2013) was a New Zealand airline pilot who wrote seven books related to flying saucers and their connection to the ley lines that make up the “world energy grid.” His central thesis was that one could use mathematics to describe a grid-like pattern on Earth (i.e., the planet’s electro-dynamic field) that powers the ever-elusive flying saucers.
“If we turn to Adamski, the CIA tried to restrain him while, on the other hand the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tried to protect him.”
The late 1940s and early 1950s, when George Adamski first attracted national attention, was a time when growing Cold War anxiety about the Soviet Union ranged from psychological warfare to wholesale nuclear annihilation. Naturally, the United States government worried about the possible emergence of a national hysteria. To add to all of this, in April 1952 Life magazine (New York City, New York) published an article entitled, “Have We Visitors from Space?” that promised to offer “scientific evidence that there is a real case for interplanetary saucers.” And, of course, just three months later newspaper headlines throughout the United States carried numerous reports of UFOs buzzing Washington, D.C. Also, insofar as UFO reports coming in to the Air Force’s Project Bluebook had jumped from 23 to 148 during the period of March to June 1952, an increase of 543%, the higher-ups in the CIA decided it was time for their agency to get involved, thus leading to the formation of the Robertson Panel.
The revelations concerning the activities of this panel, as revealed by the Mutual UFO Network’s Ann Druffel, were previously revealed in this article.
Insofar as the alleged suicides of ufologists Morris K. Jessup and Professor James E. McDonald are concerned, Petersen opined that Jessup’s was “arranged,” and McDonald’s was “very likely to have taken place forcibly, and automatically this brings up the question of the involvement of the CIA.”
Petersen also points out some mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of two South American journalists who died during an attempt to contact extraterrestrials back in 1973. These reporters had been informed that they could obtain contact with visitors from outer space at a designated location at a certain date and time. They agreed to go ahead and make this contact, and let their respective wives know what and when they were going to go ahead with this, also telling them that, “There is nothing to be afraid of.” They were both found dead the following day, however, on the specifically mentioned spot where contact was to be established. Additionally, both of the journalists were wearing leaden masks over their faces, like something out of Alexandre Dumas’ Man in the Iron Mask (1850 original French edition; New York, New York: P. F. Collier and Son, 1910), English edition.
Alien Technology on The Invaders television show (Quinn-Martin Productions, 1967-1968). At left: heart-attack inducing stun device placed on neck of targeted UFO witnesses; and right: alien rejuvenation chamber for operations in Earth’s environment.
Unexplained Surges in Heart Failures
The retired Danish Air Force colonel also noted that it was all the more puzzling that the incidences of dying from heart attacks were exceptionally high among ufologists. This led Petersen to question, “Can heart failure be caused artificially and without the victim’s knowledge, until it is too late?” I can recall this sordid scenario being conducted on humans by alien interventionists on the Quinn-Martin Productions television program, The Invaders, starring Roy Thinnes as architect and UFO investigator David Vincent, which ran from 1967-1968 on the ABC Network. On this program, the invading aliens used a portable, hand-held device that they would place on the neck of a UFO witness or investigator getting too close to the truth, thus inducing a heart attack and killing them on the spot.
During the course of the Third UFO Congress of Scientific Ufologists in New York City, on 24 June 1967, on the twentieth anniversary of Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of nine disc-shaped objects over Mt. Rainer in Washington State, the event that set off the entire “flying saucer” craze, ufologist Jim Moseley touched on this very subject by reading aloud the names of 137 other ufologists who, in his estimation, did not die normal deaths. Of these 137, the majority were young. This fact, no doubt, leaves one with a strange feeling that something is not quite as it should be. With so many ufologists being left open to attack, without any apparent protection from their respective governments, the matter was brought up at this congress that perhaps ufologists can organize a private body to promote their own self-defense, much as David Vincent’s group, called the “Believers,” on The Invaders television program.
Each time a ufologist dies, we have to ask ourselves, “Just how close did he or she come to the truth about flying saucers?”
DWO: Driving While Ufologist: Each time David Vincent was stopped by a highway patrolman or police officer, he wondered whether he’d live to see tomorrow. DL from The Invaders episode “Ivy Curtain,” Quinn-Martin Productions, broadcast 21 March 1967, ABC-TV.
 Izaskun Jiménez-Serra, Jesús Martín-Pintado, Víctor M. Rivilla, Lucas Rodríguez-Almeida, Elena R. Alonso Alonso, Shaoshan Zeng, Emilio J. Cocinero, Sergio Martín, Miguel Requena-Torres, Rafa Martín-Domenech, and Leonardo Testi, Astrobiology, Vol. 20, Issue 9, 15 September 2020; online ahead of print, 17 April 2020, https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2019.2125 (Accessed 9 November 2021).