28 March 2010


Nick Redfern. Contactees: a History of Human-Alien Interaction. New Page Books, 2010. 

Nick Redfern here takes us on a reprise of the world of the contactees. The people, mainly in the early days of ufology, who claimed to have had contact with nice long-haired, blond Ayrian Venusians who told us to be nice and stop making atom bombs and having wars.
Their message was taken straight out of the film The Day the Earth Stood Still, omitting the threatening robot Gort. From the perspective of the 21st century their tales seem incredibly naive, and it is difficult to believe how many people who weren't altogether stupid or ill-educated came to believe them.

Redfern concentrates on some of the well known figures of this period, such as George Adamski, Truman Bethurum, George Van Tassel, Howard Menger, etc. There are some lesser known characters such as Dana Howard, or Ralph Lael who had stood as a candidate for Henry Wallace's Progressive Party in North Carolina in 1948, and in the 1950s claimed contact with the intelligences behind the Brown Mountain Lights. I was also surprised to see that an author I had seen in bibliographies, Margit Mustapha, was allegedly a real person, a Finnish singer. I had always assumed the name had been Mustapha Margit and was a joke, actually spelling 'Must Have a Market'! (Obviously it is possible to be too cynical)

British readers will be sorry to see that well known British contactees such as Jim Cooke, Arthur Shuttlewood, Philip Rogers, etc., are not included. I would have thought that Shuttlewood would have appealed to Redfern's rather conspiratorial agenda, as there is at least an outside possibility that his contacts were staged by the Moonies. There is, of course, no mention of the fictitious 'Cedric Allingham', played by a guy called Davies to a script written by Patrick Moore!

Perhaps the British contactees are omitted because they don't have FBI files, whereas Adamski and some other American contactees did. In Adamski's case it would seem that having lost his first love, Hitler, he turned to Stalin as second best. His side kick Williamson (who later claimed to be the heir to the throne of Serbia) stayed with his old Nazi friend William Dudley Pelley right to the end.

Reading these tales, there are a number of reasonable possibilities. They are all clearly the work of the human imagination (or perhaps lack of same), and the only question that remains is whether they came from the spontaneous imagination of dreams, hypnogogic and other visionary experiences; or from the crafted imagination, and in the latter case whether the contactees wanted a powerful imperative for their own religious and political views, or were in it mainly for the money.

Redfern does note these possibilities, but prefers to invoke all sorts of complicated, baroque explanations, ranging from mind control experiments by secret government agencies, Mac Tonnies' 'crypto-terrestrials' (ie up-market Deros) or intelligent plasmas. As Redfern seems to act as a lightening rod for a sizeable proportion of the International Union of Fantasists, Bullshitters and Allied Liars, there are the usual whistle blowers of negligible credibility to back up some of these claims. -- Peter Rogerson.

1 comment:

cda said...

I have not seen Redfern's book but I do recall long ago (in FSR in 1960 I think) seeing a new conspiracy theory on Adamski by a Dr Leon Davidson. Davidson possessed certain top secret credentials and had formed the opinion that Adamski was the victim of a CIA plot to discredit him and UFOs. All Adamski's journeys in UFOs were staged (even to view the moon from close-up!) by the CIA's 'dirty tricks' department. Davidson's thesis had a brief period of publicity then quickly died. But at least, for a while, it gave Adamski a 'get out' clause. Some years later when I corresponded with Davidson, he hinted to me that the photo of a Martian in Allingham's book was probably that of a CIA agent!