UFOgate The Pied Pipers of the CIA
The UFO contactee movement was led by people that worked hand-in-hand with the CIA; the abductee scenario was created by CIA personnel. It reveals an intriguing alternative universe of the contactee and abductee phenomenon.
by Philip Coppens
A major development in the UFO phenomenon was the emergence in the early 1950s of “contactees”: people who claimed to have had direct, personal encounters with aliens. Whereas enigmatic objects in the sky could mean anything, the birth of the contactee era provided eye-witness testimony that these crafts were extra-terrestrial. Furthermore, the contactees claimed that they had been chosen to deliver messages to the world warning of the dangers of atomic weapons and impending disasters awaiting the human race if it did not mend its ways. The aliens, it seemed, were on an interstellar peace mission, sent by some intergalactic equivalent of the United Nations – the UP, United Planets, perhaps? George Adamski The contactees’ tales of rides in flying saucers and visits to other planets are now universally dismissed as hoaxes. However, despite their sheer silliness, the stories did have a profound cultural impact at the time, and the contactees themselves attracted many thousands of followers in what was the first appearance of the quasi-religious aspect of the UFO phenomenon. The contactees were the precursors of the UFO cults that continue to flourish as part of the New Age movement.
Although many such gurus emerged during the 1950s, the first and most famous of the contactees to make a public impact were George Adamski and Howard Menger. Adamski in particular, until his death in 1965, sold great quantities of books, including the bestselling Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953), co-written with Desmond Leslie, describing his adventures with the “Space Brothers”. He travelled the world giving well-attended lectures, impressing many people, including leading members of European royal houses. Menger has largely been identified as someone who saw Adamski’s success and wanted a part of the money and fame that befell Adamski. Menger did not state that the aliens gave him a religious message (though they did give him a diet for weight-loss!), which means his impact, following and fame have not been as lasting as Adamski. Howard Menger Today, Adamski is seen as a con-man, Menger as a man who copied a con-man and whom during one television interview admitted as much. Yet once again, the situation is not as simple as it seems, because solid evidence exists that at least these two individuals were acting as part of an intelligence-backed operation.
Apart from admitting he jumped on Adamski’s bandwagon, in the 1960s, Menger also admitted that he had worked for the CIA, and that his story was part of an experiment to test public reactions to the idea of extraterrestrial contact. In short, Menger’s story was a CIA experiment to see how easily and whom specifically could be fooled into believing anything.
More significantly, it is now known that Adamski was the same: he was not only encouraged in his work, but actively supported and assisted, by the CIA. This became known – though not widely reported when scientists attempting to investigate Adamski’s claims (in an effort to discredit him and stop him in his tracks) were warned off by CIA Director Allen Dulles in person. And research has shown that during tours of Europe and Australia to promote his “message”, Adamski travelled on a passport furnished by the CIA. During a 1953 speech, Adamski even calmed an anxious crowd by assuring the audience that the CIA and the FBI had cleared his statements! Interestingly, long before this information became public, Leon Davidson had already stated that Adamski was controlled by the CIA. There is evidence that other early contactees and the groups that gathered around them were being controlled and manipulated by outside agencies. For example, one such group in Michigan, formed around a woman, Marian Keech, who claimed that she was in telepathic contact with aliens from the planet Clarion. A team of psychologists and sociologists infiltrated the movement after Keech proclaimed that the aliens informed here than in three months’ time, the world would be destroyed by a great flood. The aliens from Clarion would come to rescue her and those close to her. The group that formed around her quit their jobs, gave away their money, houses and possessions and withdrew from their friends. A few even left their spouses. It was then that the movement was infiltrated, for they wanted to study the group dynamics, including what would happen “when prophecies failed” – which as we know did. Remarkably, though the flood did not happen, Keech received an alien message that said that there was no longer any need for the flying saucers to descend, as the world had been spared because of the unflagging faith of this small group of believers. The message went on to say that the little group, sitting all night long, had spread so much light that the God of the Earth had decided to save the world from destruction.
What the group did next caused the social psychologists to become elated. Within 24 hours, the true believers – this group of quiet, reclusive, shy people that previously had shunned any type of publicity and had made no drive to gather more followers – began calling newspapers and TV stations to talk about their prophecy and why it had failed. They made speeches and stood on street corners handing out leaflets trying very hard to attract followers. The psychologists noted that from exiled believers, a failed prophecy had made them into religious zealots. The idea that contactees such as Adamski should have been spreading their message with the blessing – and backing – of the CIA seems, at first, bizarre. However, when we consider the very real benefits for psychological warfare purposes of setting up and monitoring such experiments into the way that cult beliefs spread, and the influence that they have over certain segments of the population, the motive becomes apparent.
Still, the claims of the contactees adhered to a very specific format: individuals who make extremely unlikely claims and whom we have to believe, or not, as telling the truth. Since the 1950s, the contactee stories have largely been substituted with the “abductee” stories, which are far more subtle. In short, rather than a person making a personal claim, it is now an “expert” who claims to have made a detailed study of someone, and finds that this person is genuine and has indeed been abducted – often against his own will and normally even without his knowledge – by alien beings, for unknown purposes. Whereas Dulles had to personally intervene when people began to question the likes of Adamski, trying to get him to admit or prove his hoax in court, the introduction of the abductee scenario has annihilated this type of dissection and possible discreditation of the abductees, their stories and the movement. Betty & Barney Hill The first case in which the major parts of the abductee pattern appeared took place in 1961. This was the seminal “close encounter of the fourth kind” of Betty and Barney Hill, who claimed to have been abducted and taken aboard an alien spaceship during a lonely drive through New Hampshire in September of that year. The Hill’s case involved the ingredients that would become the key identifiers of the abductee scenario: missing time (the abductees cannot account for the period of the encounter); memory loss or erasure (the abductees remember nothing beyond the initial UFO sighting, although memories of the experience are released later through hypnotic regression, implying an attempt by the aliens to block the memory); an intrusive medical examination focussing on the reproductive organs; and the large, slanting eyes of the alien captors.
Whereas Adamski and Menger were used if not paid by the CIA for their claims, the Hills have always been above any such suspicion; they were, like most of the other abductees, model US citizens. However, the circumstances surrounding the Hills’ experience reveal a very sinister story. It is clear that the Hills were being monitored by USAF Intelligence before the encounter took place, through Major James MacDonald, who had befriended them some time earlier. Betty Hill wrote to Donald Keyhoe who, despite the fact that he received over a hundred letters a day, homed in on this initially unremarkable case. (At that stage, the Hills remembered only the UFO sighting, not the abduction.) Within 24 hours, Keyhoe had arranged for the Hills to be visited by top-level scientists, including C.D. Jackson, who had previously (definitely not coincidentally) worked on psychological warfare techniques for President Eisenhower. Stretching coincidence far beyond breaking point, Jackson already knew Major MacDonald, with whom he next interviewed the Hills.
Most importantly, it was Jackson who drew the Hills’ attention to their missing time period; until he did so, the couple had not realised that their memories of that fateful night were incomplete. It was Jackson who suggested hypnotic regression as a means of unlocking it. It was Jackson who then arranged for one of the Army’s top psychiatric experts to undertake the regression (as if a civilian expert was not available?), under which the full story of the joint abduction “emerged”. However, as many researchers have since demonstrated, a careful review of the timings actually shows that there was no missing time at all. It seems that Betty and Barney Hill were at the centre of a web that involved USAF Intelligence and top military experts in psychological warfare. The evidence suggests that the Hills were the subjects – victims – of a psychological experiment. This may seem a tall claim, but the evidence that defence and intelligence agencies undertook such experiments – in other contexts – on unknowing and innocent subjects in the 1950s and 60s is now overwhelming. In particular, the exposure of the CIA’s notorious MKULTRA project into various mind control techniques caused a major scandal in the 1970s.
It is a disturbing thought that the Hills may have been selected for the experiment because they were – unusually for that time – a mixed-race couple, who were furthermore active in the civil rights movement. In short, they were ideal candidates to be “practiced upon”, for they were part of a target group. Only the Hills are able to state what impact their abduction story and subsequent UFO fame had on them, specifically whether they were able to devote any or as rigorous time to their civil right activities or whether the claims made about them regarding these abductions caused their reputation as civil right activists any harm. No doubt, trying to answer the latter question must have been part of the psychological experiment that was practiced upon this couple. Whatever the motive behind the Hill’s experience, the most significant aspect is that the pattern established by that event has, since the late 1970s, been seen more and more frequently. If anything, the abductee scenario has become a major part of the manipulation of public belief concerning UFOs and extraterrestrials. Over a period of several decades, it mushroomed into the Linda Napolitano abduction story, which can easily be seen as an attempt to see whether using stories of alien abductions could discredit the reputation of the UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar… or, alternatively, whether de Cuellar could use UFO abductions as a smokescreen to cover up extra-marital activities? It is known that the CIA was involved with mind control, psychological warfare and the study of hypnosis in the 1960s. Despite claims during Congressional hearings that the work had little success and had ceased, that claim itself was contradicted when it was learned that the Remote Viewing experiment had gone on well into the 1990s. Furthermore, CIA employee Miles Copeland stated that the CIA was successful in minimising the scope of the Congressional enquiry (they “got only the barest glimpse”) and Victor Marchetti has separately claimed that the mind control research continued post the Congressional hearings. Researchers like Martin Cannon have equally concluded that “the ‘UFO abduction’ phenomenon MIGHT be a continuation of clandestine mind control operations.” Alien or human implant? Noting what transpired with the Hills and Napolitano, we should note what George Estabrooks, a seminal theorist on the use of hypnosis in warfare, and a veteran of Project MKULTRA, accomplished when during a party, he covertly hypnotised two friends, who were then led to believe that the English Prime Minister had just arrived at the party; Estabrooks’ victims spent an hour conversing with, and even serving drinks to, the esteemed and imaginary visitor. Cannon asks: “for ufologists, this incident raises an inescapable question: If the Mesmeric arts can successfully evoke a non-existent Prime Minister, why can’t a representative from the Pleiades be similarly induced?”
Cannon even goes as far as to suggest that the UFO abductee mythology might have been invented as a cover story for what to do with those people who had been used during mind control experiments: rather than have them remember their real torture, fill their mind with UFO abduction stories. At present, the Hill case definitely seems to be a psychological warfare experiment, not a cover story. Though Cannon’s theory is possible, at present, there is no hard evidence for it… but then a decade long preparation, that would involve Adamski, Menger and the Hills would have laid the foundation to make sure that hard evidence would never be uncovered.
If Cannon is right, it would give a totally different meaning to the so-called alien implants that go hand in hand with the abductee scenario, noting that in some cases, the existence of such implants has been proven as genuine and have been surgically or otherwise removed from people’s bodies. The central question is whether they are alien-, or human-made. And whatever the answer to that question is, will also answer of what origin the contactee and abductee scenario is.