Posts Tagged ‘gray barker’
If I wanted to do this properly, I suppose I’d issue an annotated edition. Something along the lines of Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice.
“No joke is funny unless you see the point of it,” Gardner wrote in his introduction to The Annotated Alice, “and sometimes a point has to be explained. In the case of Alice we are dealing with a very curious, complicated kind of nonsense, written for British readers of another century, and we need to know a great many things that are not part of the text if we wish to capture its full wit and flavor.” Lewis Carroll’s version of “You are old, Father William,” in chapter 5 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is funny no matter how you read it. But once you know the Robert Southey poem of which it’s a parody–provided by Gardner in his annotations–it’s about the most hilarious thing ever written.
The stapled-together UFO 96, offered here (un-annotated) as a two-part PDF file–click here for part 1, click here for part 2–was published in 1963, evidently by Gray Barker and using the resources of his “Saucerian Press.” The influence of Barker’s close friend James W. Moseley, departed from this world last November, is evident throughout. I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember how I got hold of my copy. I don’t think UFO 96 was ever sold commercially. I don’t know how many copies were made, or how many still exist. A search at http://www.worldcat.org/ turns up nothing. A Google search for “ufo 96″ finds only an MP3 of that name, distributed in 2008 by El Cosmo Group on an album entitled “Maha Lakshmi Dreams.”
UFO 96 was distributed, rather, among the cognoscenti; and although I was never really one of those, I did rub shoulders with them at the First Congress of Scientific UFOlogists in Cleveland, Ohio, in June 1964, and at the Second Congress a year later. (Described on the timeline of my Facebook Fan Page for June 20, 1964, June 24 and 26, 1965.) If I had to guess, I’d say my copy was given to me at some middle-of-the-night bull session of the 1965 Congress. I believe I was told at the time why it was called UFO 96. Some inside joke, which I’ve now completely forgotten and doubt if there’s any way to reconstruct.
When Gardner published The Annotated Alice in 1960, 95 and 89 years had passed since the original publication of Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, respectively. UFO 96 isn’t quite that old–a mere half-century. Yet the UFO world it reflects and satirizes sometimes feels almost as remote as Victorian England was from Gardner’s readers. UFO abductions, and the Roswell crash, are entirely absent. (Abductions didn’t enter the cultural awareness until 1966, Roswell nearly 15 years later.) Of the gallery of notables represented on its cover–in brilliant caricature by Gene Duplantier, perhaps UFOlogy’s most gifted artist–very few are still with us.
Jim Moseley and the beautiful Sandy, to whom he was briefly married, are at the center of the tableau, to the right of the Little Green Man. Gray Barker stands just behind them. At the lower right Orthon of Venus, one of the space people who shared their celestial wisdom with “contactee” George Adamski, holds a picture signed With Love, GA. At the lower left Gabriel Green of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America (AFSCA), who ran in 1960 for the Presidency of the United States, wears a button saying GG for Pres.! (According to Jerome Clark’s UFO Encyclopedia, volume 2, “Green dropped out of the race before the election, but two years later, when he ran on a left-wing peace ticket for U.S. Senate, endorsed by no less than Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, he received a remarkable 171,000 votes.”) And of course Alfred E. Neuman, standing just beneath Moseley’s chin, is immortal.
I don’t believe Green ran again for President in 1964. But the last piece in UFO 96, entitled “A Moment With … the U.S. Air Force,” imagines what might have happened if he had. “On November 5, 1964, the two major U.S. political parties experienced their greatest upset in history. Gabriel Pink, running on the independent UFO Ticket, was elected President, along with his running mate, George Von Hassle.” (George Van Tassel was another of the 1950s “contactees.”) There follows a “Fact Sheet” issued by the Air Force’s Project Blue Book, as reorganized under the UFO administration with the promised “improvements in investigative techniques.”
Unfortunately a page is missing from my copy of UFO 96, so I can’t provide the details of “Case Number One.” (“CONCLUSION: The object was probably a scout ship from Venus.”) But enough remains of the post-1964 “Fact Sheet” to convey its drift. I imagine the younger people who read it will get enough of the joke to be at least mildly amused. But for us oldsters, who remember the solemn “Fact Sheets” issued by the 1960s Project Blue Book–with their incantatory reassurance, that if sufficient data were available the 2% “unknown” sightings could be explained away like the other 98%–it’s roll-on-the-floor split-your-sides-laughing hilarious.
Same for one of the early entries, The U.F.O. Instigator published by NIGHTCAP, “The National Integrated, Ghastly, Horrifying Theories Concerning Astral Phenomena.” (Takeoff on The U.F.O. Investigator of NICAP, National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena–the largest, most respected, and stuffiest UFO organization of the early 60s.) You really have to have known the original to appreciate the parody. Take the lead article, “WHAT WE DO HERE AT NIGHTCAP HQR.,” a takeoff on the articles of this genre–usually linked to appeals for money–that were a staple of The U.F.O. Investigator:
“Some members think of NIGHTCAP merely as a saucer magazine office. Others believe that the Fight for Congressional Hearings [on UFOs; NICAP's perennial obsession] take most of our time. Some think we are in it only for the money and point to the fancy home of the Director as an excuse for not donating. To give a more accurate picture, here is a partial list of the work done by our three full-time staff members, one part-time helper, and spies from SAUCER NEWS, who volunteer to work, pretending they are not stealing information …”
You see, SAUCER NEWS was Moseley’s publication (precursor to the later SAUCER SMEAR); and Moseley was the particular bete noire of NICAP, whose irascible assistant director Richard Hall–also now deceased–was long afterward to compare Moseley’s presence in UFOlogy to “a steaming turd on the living room carpet” …
That’s as far as I can get with The Annotated UFO 96. I’m still rolling on the floor.
by David Halperin
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Always there’s been somebody the UFOlogists have loved to hate. When I was a teen-age UFO investigator, this was Harvard astrophysicist Donald H. Menzel, arch-skeptic of the 1950s and 60s. Menzel died in 1976; his spot was taken by science writer Philip Klass. Like Menzel, Klass produced multiple books on the UFOs-are-bunk theme, but in 2005 followed Menzel into the next world. Who will take his place, I wonder?
Or is the pattern of culture that made a Menzel possible, and after him a Klass, now gone forever?
The anti-UFOlogical careers of these two men show curious parallels. Both debuted with books—Menzel’s Flying Saucers (1953), Klass’s UFOs—Identified (1968)—which in a paradoxical way asserted that UFOs were real. Not as spaceships, of course. Rather, as an unrecognized or insufficiently recognized class of unusual, if not downright anomalous, natural phenomena. For Menzel these were temperature inversions, atmospheric phenomena akin to mirages. Klass argued for a peculiar, little-understood form of ball lightning. The UFOlogists, Klass said, deserved science’s respect and thanks: they’d called attention to the phenomenon and amassed impressive evidence that it existed. Only the gratuitous and irrational corollary, that the UFOs were extraterrestrial spacecraft, had discredited their sound case for UFO reality.
Menzel, similarly, drummed across the message: flying saucers are real, people have seen them, they are not what people thought they saw. A mirage, he insisted, is a real thing, “not a hallucination like a pink elephant.” Two people looking at it will both see it; it will appear on film. As Klass was later to do, Menzel took an independent stance somewhere between the believers and the unthinking debunkers. He could be as critical of Air Force explainers-away as he was of interplanetary-spaceship proponents—in his first book.
But then things changed. By the time Menzel published his second book, The World of Flying Saucers (co-authored with Lyle G. Boyd; 1963), he’d shifted to advocating the straight Air Force line. His original one-size-fits-all solution was abandoned. What UFOs were had receded into the background of his interest; all he now cared about was what they were not. In his 1953 Flying Saucers he’d given a long quotation from the vision in the first chapter of the Biblical Book of Ezekiel, with an explanation in terms of atmospheric phenomena. He affirmed Ezekiel’s reliability as a witness; he heaped praise on the prophet as a “first-rate scientific observer.” (Or words to that effect; I am quoting from memory.) In the second book, if I recall correctly, the same Ezekiel was dismissed as primitive and superstitious. The positive argument had evaporated. Only the negative was left.
Klass followed a similar trajectory. In the numerous books that came after UFOs—Identified, the ball-lightning theory was quietly dropped. Apparently the scientific community had been less than enthused over it, the UFO community vehemently hostile. (I was an exception. Just before I went off to college, I investigated a string of sightings that took place on one evening in August 1965, in my home town of Levittown, Pennsylvania. They fit Klass’s hypothesis perfectly.)
From then on Klass’s line turned to straight debunking, usually though not invariably mixed with ridicule. Any half-way dispassionate observer is bound to ask: why? What did it matter to him? Why, having given up the positive side of his case—that UFO sightings testified to a phenomenon of genuine scientific interest—didn’t he just forget the whole thing? Did he have no other interests to occupy his time? Had he become addicted to the media attention? Or—this is obviously the alternative I prefer—was there something about UFOs that had him emotionally hooked, that wouldn’t let him go?
And the same question can be asked of Menzel.
Veteran UFOlogists, who remember the days when Menzel occupied the office of Lord High Debunker, have spoken of what a nasty man he was, how dogmatic and opinionated, how contemptuous of anyone who dared disagree with him—on UFOs, at least. Visiting the Gray Barker Collection in Clarksburg, West Virginia, nearly eight years ago, I was stunned to find correspondence from Menzel that showed an entirely different side of him. Correspondence, indeed, that made me wish I had known the man.
These were letters from Menzel to a boy named Norman—I won’t use his last name, since I don’t know what his current feelings are on UFOs and I don’t want to embarrass him. I remembered Norman. I’d corresponded with him myself back in 1963-64, when I was the 16-year-old director of the New Jersey Association on Aerial Phenomena (NJAAP, for short). Norman, a few years younger than myself, was also a “director,” of something called the “R_____ Observatory” in Philadelphia. That was part of the UFO subculture of those days, for teens and “tweens” to organize tiny groups and give ourselves official-sounding titles. We learned very quickly to write letters that made us sound almost like real grown-ups.
I went into Philadelphia once to visit the boys—typically, there were no girls—of the R_____ Observatory. I was not impressed.
But the Bah-humbug Scrooge of the flying-saucer world, Professor Donald H. Menzel, evidently was.
Not by Norman’s UFOlogy. By Norman himself. There was more to Norman, Menzel realized, than the “flying saucer nonsense” he urged Norman to forget about. Norman must apply himself instead to his classes in science and mathematics. That way he could grow into the “good scientist” Menzel believed he was capable of becoming.
Of course Menzel was displeased when Norman wrote proudly to say that a Philadelphia radio show was featuring him and his UFO researches. (Teen UFOlogists were sometimes able to get that kind of press, back in those days.) I’m afraid I cannot congratulate you, Menzel answered sternly. As far as the great doctor was concerned, this was encouragement in the wrong direction. But when Menzel was visiting Philadelphia for a conference, and Norman wanted to get together, Menzel proposed a plan. Let Norman meet him at the train station; they would walk together to Menzel’s hotel, and talk as they walked.
At which point, reading Menzel’s letters in the Barker Collection, I nearly slid off my seat. Could I remember anyone, from my 25 years in academia, who would have been so generous to a raw young boy, so willing to spare his time and attention? To a graduate student, yes; to one of his undergrads, maybe. Not to a kid, a stranger to him, who couldn’t have been more than 13 or 14. Kind of a wacko kid, moreover, as the world would have viewed him, devoted to a hobby that defied all Menzel’s ideas of rationality.
I wish I had photocopied Menzel’s letters while I was in the Barker Collection. I wish I knew, actually, how they got there. I suppose Norman, who told me back in ’63 that Gray Barker and Donald Menzel were both among his correspondents, at some point sent them to Barker for some reason I can’t guess. They etched themselves in my mind, as powerfully as anything I saw in the Barker archive. In my diary I wrote about their astonishing warmth and kindness, the paternal interest that Menzel seemed to have taken in Norman. “I recall,” I wrote, “that Menzel, in one of his letters to Norman ____________, condoles with him over the death of the father of one of his fellow-UFOlogists.” Didn’t matter what side of the divide you were on. Death and grief were things to be respected.
And in yet another letter, on which I took no notes and can quote now only from memory, Menzel explains his distaste for the UFOlogists, at least those who (like Barker) had made a name for themselves in the field. “I hate liars,” Menzel wrote to Norman; and I remembered, reading these words, how young Dave Halperin—Director, NJAAP— hated liars also. My devotion to the wannabe “science” of UFOlogy was an expression, however confused and distorted, of my contempt for lies and deceit, my passion to strip them away and let truth be acknowledged.
Me and the man I loved to hate—brothers under the skin? My UFOlogy and his anti-UFOlogy, expressions of kindred spiritual impulses? I never would have believed it.
“Here come the Men in Black
The galaxy defenders;
Here come the Men in Black
They won’t let you remember.”
—Soundtrack for “Men In Black” (1997)
Here they come again, for a third round. “Men in Black 3” has been in theaters since the last week of May. It’s gotten reviews that are not altogether terrible, with praise for its “touching” ending. I’m gratified to see on the current film’s poster that the two Men in Black of the earlier episodes have morphed into the canonical (archetypal?) triad, immortalized in 1956 by Gray Barker’s book They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. (Will Smith, flanked by Tommy Lee Jones and the Jones character’s younger self, played by Josh Brolin.)
All these movies are Barker’s children, alive and well nearly three decades after their progenitor’s tragic, conceivably preventable death. Or are they?
You don’t have to tell me: the dark-clad gentlemen have undergone a few transformations since Barker revealed their existence to the world. Back in 1956 they weren’t “galaxy defenders.” The clear implication of They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers was that the “three men in black” are sinister—perhaps extraterrestrial emissaries, perhaps government agents in one of government’s less benign manifestations. (“They were not too friendly,” Albert K. Bender recalled his encounter with them, in Bridgeport in the fall of 1953, which set the stage for all the others.)
In 1962, Barker’s “Saucerian Books” imprint published a tell-all book by Bender himself, Flying Saucers and the Three Men, identifying the three men as aliens from a planet named Kazik. Their luminous eyes glowing, they unfold for Bender what’s surely one of the few atheistic UFO philosophies ever imparted. God, they tell Bender, is “a creation of your people on Earth … growing like small children, [they] wanted to have an anthropomorphized idea to cling to.” Jesus Christ? “A great believer in the God, with miraculous attributes of great exaggeration. He could not save Himself from death, and even His own race did not believe in Him, yet they worshiped the same God.”
Barker contributes an epilogue to Bender’s narrative. He warns that however one evaluates the story, “there are real dangers involved in having truck with the three men.” In a wry, typically Barkeresque twist, he proposes identifying the trio as those habitual menaces to all UFO researchers, “Boredom, Frustration, and Disgust.”
That was 1962. Thirty-five years later, when the first “Men In Black” movie came out (with the UFO-obsessed Steven Spielberg as its executive producer), it still bore the traces of its theme’s birth within the UFO world. About midway through there’s a spoof on UFOs “really” being swamp gas, weather balloons, the planet Venus refracted through the atmosphere. The solemn-faced Jones tells his new partner Smith that, yes, the New York Times does sometimes get it right. But for real investigative journalism he must go to the National-Enquirer-style tabloids, with their stories of UFO aliens.
“We ain’t got time for this cover-up bullshit!” Smith (“Agent J”) cries out, recalling that cover-up was the essential business of Barker’s three Men In Black. Jones (“Agent K”) sternly retorts: “The only way these people get on with their happy lives is they do not know about it”—“it” being the penetration of human society by thousands of covert extraterrestrials. This merciful ignorance is what Hollywood’s ultra-secret Men in Black are here to maintain.
“Cause we see things that you need not see
And we be places that you need not be”
—to quote the soundtrack once more.
Not that extraterrestrials are necessarily a bad lot. Quite the contrary. Most of them, Agent K explains, are law-abiding creatures who’ve come to Earth to earn an honest living. But a few rogues among them menace the planet, must be kept under surveillance. Hence the MIB: “a secret organization that monitors alien activity on earth.”
But aliens can be human as well as extraterrestrial. It’s a fair guess that the space beings of “Men In Black” are stand-ins for real aliens within American society, to whom we respond with real uneasiness. Communications professor Barna Donovan is surely right (in his fascinating book Conspiracy Films: A Tour of Dark Places in the American Conscious): the subtext of the film is “multiculturalism, integration, and the problematic issues around immigration.” Confirmation: in the movie’s opening scene a truckload of illegal Mexican immigrants is stopped by immigration authorities. The officers are in the midst of browbeating the hapless passengers when Agent K intervenes. He speaks kindly to the newcomers, in Spanish; he welcomes them to the United States. The immigration police are thanked and told to get lost. These Mexicans are “good” aliens, aliens who offer no threat. There were of course aliens of other kinds, as we discovered one fine September morning four years after “Men In Black” made its 1997 appearance.
Am I reading too much into a mass-entertainment movie? Hunting for subtext in Hollywood trash? I don’t think so—at least as far as the original “MIB” film is concerned. Over and over, the theme of effacement of memory crops up in the movie, in such a way as to suggest it’s seriously on the filmmakers’ minds. Agent K, and after he gets the hang of it Agent J also, point a blinking tube called the “neuralizer” at innocent bystanders who’ve seen terrifying, uncanny sights that no one ought ever to see. Presto! their memories vanish, and they “remember” of the event only what our Men in Black tell them they should.
Vivid memories turn to fantasies.”
So the soundtrack, whose chorus pounds away at the refrain, “They won’t let you remember.” And—lest we forget—the 1990s were the heyday of the “UFO abduction” mythology, whose key themes were the loss of memory of the traumatic UFO event, and its recovery through hypnosis.
“The title held by me — M.I.B.
Means what you think you saw, you did not see …
But yo we ain’t on no government list,
We straight don’t exist, no names and no fingerprints.”
“The catch is”—so Agent K gravely warns Agent J as he recruits him for the MIB—“you will sever all human contact. No one will know you exist. Anywhere.” The MIB are a mighty brotherhood, but a profoundly lonely one. By definition, they will never be recognized for their work in saving and sustaining the planet. And they never, never get the girl. In all three of the MIB films, beautiful and tender ladies pass through their orbit. There’s attraction—reciprocal, requited. And hopeless. Ordinary earth-women are beyond their sphere; and in “MIB 3,” where the MIB are expanded to include Women in Black, fraternization within the organization is forbidden. Celibate as monks, unseen and unsuspected, they shelter us daily from horrors beyond our imagining.
Most of these remarks are based on the original “Men in Black,” which had a real impact on me when I saw it—an impact I attribute to the richness of its subtext. “Men in Black 2” (2002), by contrast, was a disappointment. I thought it a noisy bore, a spun-out shtick with little or nothing beneath it. (Though I must admit, there’s a haunting line about half-way through: “We are who we are. Even if we sometimes forget.”)
This year’s “Men in Black 3”? It’s an improvement. The introduction of the always fruitful time-travel theme—back to 1969, where Agent J encounters a younger Agent K—makes possible some poignant backstory to the first two episodes; I walked out of the theater feeling I’d seen a pretty decent film. But the roots in the UFO world, which gave the original film its power, are so attenuated in the sequels as to be barely detectable.
“If Gray Barker were alive today,” his one-time colleague John Sherwood wrote about Hollywood’s Men in Black, “he’d think he’d died and gone to heaven.” Maybe. I can see the Old Master in his mythmakers’ Valhalla, nodding and laughing and slapping his knee at the turn-of-the-millenium MIB action. But I can imagine also a different scenario. Barker’s ghost, in the darkened theater in the Elysian Fields, shakes its head sadly, No, no … while the spectral mouth silently frames T.S. Eliot’s words:
“That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”
Of course he was insane.
Now: having said this, have we said anything worth knowing?
That’s what I can’t quite figure out.
The earliest letter relevant to Carl Allen in the Barker files is dated 22 July 1954. The latest is 22 December 1985—almost a year after Barker died. These are two of the documents I want to consider in this post. The third is a love letter, apparently written also after Barker’s death; and it is the strangest, most pathetic, most poignant of all.
I’ll take them up in chronological sequence.
The 1954 letter is written, not by Allen, but to him (at the address “c/o United States Consul” in Guadalajara, Mexico) by a bureaucrat in the U.S. Veterans Claims Division. It informs Allen that “Your claim for pension has been reconsidered in this office on the basis of all evidence of record, with particular reference to the report of your recent physical examination. A decision was made this date that, due to an improvement in your condition, the degree of disability from your disease or injury should be reduced from permanent and total to not permanently and totally disabling in connection with your disabilities which are not of service origin. As a result, your pension will be discontinued as of July 31, 1954.”
Allen was at the time 29 years old.
And there the letter is in Gray Barker’s files, blanketed with the usual exhausting annotations, written I would guess at about the same time as the love letter, which is to say around 1984 or 1985. Allen printed these notes in block capitals; I transcribe them into more normal script:
“The deeper meanings of the above display of that language known as the bureaucratic governmentese jargon reveal that Carlos M. Allende experienced a temporary illness or impediment prior to 1954 but that he evidently recovered from that impediment & was, thus therefore, fully or adequately recovered therefrom while enscribing his annotations in Jessup’s book (for scientists only) ‘The Case for the UFO.’ It is known from Washington D.C. Veterans Hospital records that Allende suffers from periodically reoccurrant ‘sickle cell anemia,’ an often fatal illness & we note that he frequently is mal or non-nourished & thus resultantly suffers malnutrition (starvation) & its accompanying anemia. We further note that, in addition to temporary chemical caused neurotic, emotional & mental trauma, that protien deficiency also causes a minor, mild, & purely temporary pseudo-trauma (psychosis) …”
So he knows he’s kind of crazy, but insists that the annotations to the Jessup book—which, it would seem, he regards here as one of his crowning achievements—were not thereby affected. And he tells us that he—who made Lord knows how much money for the likes of William L. Moore and the Hollywood producers of the “Philadelphia Experiment” movie—didn’t have enough to eat.
The theme of his hunger, his malnutrition, turns up in Allen’s letter to his “lady-fair,” whom in a marginal note he identifies (for the benefit of Barker? who was already dead) as “Doctor Margaret ‘Peggy’ S______ M.D., Veterans Hospital, 1055 Clermont St., Denver, Colo … very pretty, charming & intelligent.” From allusions in the letter, one gathers that Peggy was a resident in psychiatry who treated Allen during a stay at the Denver VA hospital. Her last name, which I prefer to omit, is a very common one; I don’t think I would have much luck tracking her down through Google. But if by some chance she sees this post and recognizes herself in it, I hope she’ll get in touch with me.
The return address is given as “Carlos Miguel Allende nee Carl Michael Allen, General Delivery, Greeley, Colo.” (Allen confides in the letter that he hated his real middle name, the “sissy-fied” Meredith.) There’s no date. But a reference to a magazine article of March 1985, confirmed by another to a newspaper article of 25 July 1984, shows the earliest possible date it could have been written.
Did the beloved Peggy ever receive the letter? Well, obviously not; since, annotated, it found its way into Barker’s files. But is it possible that what I photocopied in the Barker Collection was itself a photocopy, which Allen made before sending Peggy the original? I wish I had made a note of that, while I was there. But I didn’t, and resolution of this point will have to await my next trip to Clarksburg.
The letter is 13 pages long, typewritten in block capitals. Or rather, the letter itself is a little under one page, with 12+ pages of postscripts and addenda. Allen introduces it (for Barker’s benefit?) with the hand-printed note: “Here Carlos Allende teaches some of the secrets of the secret science of humantics to his ‘lady friend’ (she is a medical doctor) & she is also a young student of psyciatry. Many prior letters & tapes do reveal many more such secrets of humantics but surely to her only.”
Apparently the letter was originally intended to accompany a gift, a comical charm which Peggy was to wear around her “pretty white & adorably lovely neck.” But Allen quickly shifts into advising Peggy to “always and forever do … whatever the inner secret ‘little girl’ in the secret you of you (soul-heart) whatever your ‘little-girl’ heart says to do. For that inner-secret ‘you’ is the real you and so therefore all I am really saying is, ‘be your real self’ … for whom of us humans will ever have the truely perfect level of maturity that the logically and common-sensibly childlike Jesus Christ had?”
He develops this theme: the child is the truly wise, truly humble, truly loving. “Little-boy like” he loves his Peggy, and his love for her is therefore whole-hearted. “Trust the ‘secret little-girl’ deep within you. For ‘she’ is wisest of all that is within you. If ‘she’ says to marry me … then be wise enough to do that. I am not a world famous man but I am a world reknowned man and I love you more than mere words can say. … You can hurt me too very much because of that.”
He would sooner, he writes, have “been a Spanish-Gypsy guitarist”; yet he studied with Einstein and George Gamow, was a ship’s captain at sea and a brigadier general in the military. “I have never failed to get to the top of whatever aera of endeavor I choose … I am a world-reknowned man of science … I am also one of North America’s top twenty UFOlogists.” He’s a linguist, fluent in five languages. This last claim sounds like one more of his fantasies but in fact it’s confirmed by what Robert Goerman heard from Allen’s younger brother. (“My brother has mastered several languages fluently.”) It suggests that, mixed in with the pathetic delusions of grandeur, we have here some of the genuine pride of a genuinely remarkable human being.
A phrase that begins to recur in the letter is “weller than well.” He applies this to the “strugglers” of human history, a motley collection that includes Sigmund Freud and Rocky Graziano, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and the childlike genius Einstein, who as a boy was dismissed as an idiot. These were the “formerly emotionally afflicted” who emerged from their affliction to become “weller than well,” the “ ‘little-boy’ men” who in fact are “the giants of science, medicine, culture, the arts and also the humanities.”
If he himself is insane, Allen writes, his insanity is that of Jefferson, something the nation needs more of. And here the love letter, begun in syrupy tenderness, shifts into savage fury. The last page or two are filled with ferocious diatribe against his beloved’s profession of “psyciatry,” especially as it’s practiced in Veterans Administration hospitals. The doctors are incompetent; the aim is to control and punish the afflicted rather than to heal them; real and grave illnesses are dismissed as “psycosomatic.” “This is an interesting philosophy but it does not prevent my death or illness.”
Desperately, Allen says, he needs treatment for an array of diseases: emphysema, tuberculosis … worst of all, the deadly sickle-cell anemia “which I have been fighting for eleven and a half starving years,” which he knows is real but which the hospital keeps stupidly insisting is his imagination. (Surely he knows that in the US this is primarily a disease of African-Americans, almost unheard of among people of his English-French ethnic background?) He’s offered, not medicine, but “a piddeling excuse … ‘Oh, your blood cells are not “sickeling” now’. … Sickle-cell anemia is cyclic, dammit, cyclic: it ‘sickles’ during periods of starvation. (On the Veterans Admin. monthly ‘pension’ of less than one hundred dollars I am, logically, usually starving and starving to where my blood cells are actively ‘sickeling’. Except in summer when food is easily stolen.)”
Could one find a more eloquent expression of the hunger, the fury of an invisible man—turned invisible, in 1985 as in 1954, by the blind bureaucracy of the country he’d served? (Let’s not forget: his “Allende letters” to Jessup and his annotations in Jessup’s Case for the UFO, which created the invisibility experiment, were all done within the two years after the refusal of his pension.) Preserved in the files of a man who in his sexual orientation was equally invisible—though Allen could not possibly have been aware of this, any more than he was aware that the man who would not answer his desperate letters had died months earlier of AIDS.
Allen himself was to live nearly ten years more, until March of 1994. Yet in a note written at the end of 1985, to his frustratingly silent correspondent, he bears chilling witness to the death he feels moving and growing inside him. Typically, it takes the form of an annotation, to the log book of the S.S. Andrew Furuseth, 1943-’44:
“ ‘Destroyed by executive order’ this logbook, completed to the very last word, does not ‘officially’ exist. The thirty-seven names & all-important service serial numbers of the thirty seven on the scene witnesses … of the ‘Philadelphia experiment’s’ experimental ship becoming invisible also do not ‘officially’ exist. Unless you know the art of persuasion well & a few United States senators owing you a favor. – Carlos M. Allende, Washington D.C. – December 22nd, 1985 A.D.
“P.S. Am very slowly dying.”
Will a biography of Carl Allen, a.k.a. Carlos Allende, ever be written? I doubt it. In the events of his life there’s not much of interest. Mystery shrouds his one great achievement—the creation of a myth that’s spawned at least one novel, at least two purportedly non-fiction books and two movies, innumerable cultural references, and still calls forth upward of 60,000 Google searches (for “Philadelphia Experiment”) each month.
Does the myth have some nucleus of truth? Did something happen in the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1943, or at any other time, that served as irritating sand-grain to the formation of Allen’s pearl of legend? (Such as “degaussing experiments which have the effect of making a ship undetectable or ‘invisible’ to magnetic mines,” to quote a 1982 version of the Navy’s semi-official debunking.) Is Allen our sole witness? Do there exist any sources for the “experiment” that can’t be traced back to him, directly or indirectly, and to his 1956 letters to Morris K. Jessup? I can only say: I haven’t found any.
The Allen materials in the Barker files suggest some mysteries of their own. For example, the files contain a passport issued to Allen in 1964, along with an apparently empty immunization booklet. How did these items get there? Did Allen send them to Barker? Why would he have done that—especially given that, to judge from the tone of his letters to Barker, he neither liked nor trusted the man? When I visited the Barker Collection in 2004, I asked that question of curator David Houchin. David had no idea. Neither do I.
Yet a few items from the files help round out our picture of Allen and his background. In a letter of 6 March 1978, sent on the stationery of a Guadalajara hotel, Allen provides information about his family that supplements the details given by Robert Goerman in his classic 1980 Fate magazine article. Following Goerman’s example, I omit the names to protect the family’s privacy—although, 32 years later, I’m not sure it still matters.
“Members of the Board of Governors of SITU [I don’t know what this stands for] once accompanied me to the old Homestead Farm, which erring legend says ‘was deserted’ [on this “erring legend,” see Goerman’s article] and met both my sister & earlier that day, my Dad.” The next sentence or two, which I accidentally omitted from my photocopy, seem to introduce Allen’s brothers, “who also live in the New Kensington, Penna. Area. One, _____, is a realtor & the other, _____ is a Science teacher in a nearby but long famous third class City Jr. High School. My Dad was raised in West Virginia near to Clarksburg, W. Va. [Barker’s town!]. And If you go over to the Grafton, W. Va. Bluemont Cemetary, you will find a considerable group of ALLENS who are interred thereat: My [paternal] Grandfather included … he was a Methodist Minister & Man of God and a fine baseball player who died during a typhoid semi-plague that occurred nearly 80 years ago in poverty. … He was a lay-minister of the Methodist Church. My Sister … still yet lives on the old farmstead as has my divorced and remarried mother up until 22 ½ months ago.
“So, you see, as did the governors of SITU, the old ‘Deserted Farmhouse’ (unquote) has NEVER, in its hundred & thirty four years, been neither ‘deserted’ nor ‘Empty’. There has ALWAYS been some member of my Clan living on the good ole Farm Homeplace Since year 1907 A.D. when my [maternal] Grandfather _____ purchased it seventy one years ago. My Uncle _____ still lives within a country mile of it.”
I page forward through my folder of photocopies from the Barker Collection. I find a series of related documents from 1981, centering on an astronomy professor at a distinguished state university whom I will leave unnamed. “Dear Dr. ________:” Barker writes on 25 March 1981 (on the stationery of something called “MCA Media Consultants Associates”). “I read with great interest an account of discussions between yourself and Carlos M. Allende, provided by the latter. In view of your interest and concurrence with Allende’s theories, you may be interested in some of the enclosed materials for your library.”
To which the professor responds (29 April 1981):
“I would like to correct one thing. I do not in anyway support, concur, or agree with the views of the very imaginative Carlos Allende. His account of our discussions is almost totally a fictional one. I have read his account of our meeting last summer, and having been there obviously, I believe its greatest value is to show the extent to which Mr. Allende is out of touch with reality. He completely fabricated my comments, my background and interest in him (which is merely curiosity over encountering a genuine crackpot), and my opinions about his views. He is a sad, frustrated old man who lives in his own peculiar world. He knows no physics beyond a bit of jargon, he has no evidence to support his claims, and he has no contribution to make to the factual understanding of anything in the universe.”
The professor had been aware of what Allen was saying about him, well before being contacted by Barker. Already on 29 January he’d sent a letter to Allen, addressed to Las Cruces, New Mexico but forwarded to General Delivery at Socorro (already famous for a 1964 UFO landing). The letter was apparently forwarded by Allende to Barker—with his characteristic underlinings and annotations—and thus made its way into the Barker files.
“First,” the professor writes, “I was very irritated to read the copy of your description of our meeting last summer. It is so filled with errors of fact and misquotations as to be a work of fiction. How dare you manufacture opinions and attribute them to me. I consider your article slanderous and insulting.
“Second, you disturbed me at my motel at an impolite hour of the morning, and then interrupted my breakfast with several very close and important friends.
“Then you write an annoying letter to me about my opinion of you and your ‘quaint’ (your word) ideas, or what you imagine them to be. Believe me, amigo, I do not underestimate your ability.”
To this last sentence, Allen adds the notation: “TO TEACH ADVANCED EINSTEINIAN PHYSICS.”
Who can doubt that, as far as Carl Allen’s scientific competence goes, the truth lies with the professor? That the eccentric visitor who interrupted him at breakfast with his colleagues was indeed a “frustrated old man” with no knowledge of physics beyond some jargon? Yet Allen was also right: the professor did underestimate him.
“He has a fantastic mind,” Robert Goerman quotes Allen’s brother as recalling. “Take school, for instance. He did all he could to get out of it, out of the work, the routine. Slept most of the time when he had to show up. But if the teacher had a difficult algebra or calculus problem on the blackboard that needed solving, he’d wake Carl up and Carl would stare at it for a minute, recite the correct answer and go back to sleep.”
And anyway—what does it mean to “underestimate” a man who, singlehandedly as far as we can tell, created a myth that flourishes unabated nearly twenty years after the man himself died, alone and all but unknown, in a Colorado nursing home?
How, in fact, do you “estimate” him at all?
“It’s a good Grade B movie,” a friend of mine told me several years ago when I admitted I’d never seen the 1984 film “The Philadelphia Experiment.” Accordingly, I rented a video and sat down in front of the TV. I had two questions on my mind as I watched: first, would the film make any mention of UFOs? And, second, would there be any acknowledgment in the credits of the book The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility by William L. Moore and Charles Berlitz (Fawcett Crest, 1979), by which the movie was obviously inspired.
The answers: no and no. The second “no” surprised me more than the first.
I must confess to not having viewed the film again in preparation for writing this post. Yes, it was pretty good, as Grade B movies go. But the prospect of revisiting it does not thrill me, and I’m content to let my memories of it be jogged by the pertinent Wikipedia article.
It’s set in 1943, the year of the actual—whatever that word may mean, in this context—Philadelphia experiment. The hero, played by Michael Paré, is a sailor in the wartime Navy, a sexy, two-fisted sort named David. (How appropriate, I thought.) Assigned to the USS Eldridge during the invisibility experiment, David is sucked forward through a time vortex into 1984 and there falls in with the lovely Allison (Nancy Allen). Romance, needless to say, develops. Also intrigue; with the end result that the vanished ship pops up in 1943 Philadelphia, and David by Allison’s side 41 years later. Carl Allen? Morris K. Jessup? Nowhere to be found.
Gray Barker—who died the year of the film’s release, who may or may not have seen it before his death—knew about it while it was in the works. He speaks of it in a letter, dated 9 December 1981, to “Carlos Miguel Cristophero Allende, General Delivery, Pecos, NM.” This letter, and the one from Allen to which it obviously replies, are worth quotation here. Not least for what they convey about Allen’s relations with the people who got rich, or would have liked to have gotten rich, off his manic creativity.
“Dear Carlos,” Barker writes. “Thank you not only for your latest letter concerning Mr. Moore, but for all your other missives, especially the annotated edition of THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT by Moore/Berlitz, which set some of the record straight.
“I cannot see why Mr. Moore would harass you, especially when your person was one of the most popular and amazing parts of the book. I have followed your Maritime career previously and have been aware of your rapid promotion which indicates a superior mind. Even that Mr. Goerman, who wrote the unfavorable article for FATE, admitted that you appeared to be a genuis [sic] or near genius while in school in Pennsylvania.”
(Robert Goerman’s 1980 article in Fate magazine, revealing “Allende’s” identity as Goerman’s New Kensington neighbor Carl Allen, is now available on the Web, and amply worth reading.)
Barker writes that he’s enclosing a copy of Anna Genzlinger’s book The Jessup Dimension, for Allen’s comment. “You will note that Ms Genzlinger has ‘translated’ your Allende Letters to Jessup. By ‘translated’ I mean how she has taken the formal and technical language of the original and put it in more popular idiom that the lay person can fully understand. I do hope this permits more readers [to] understand the many important points you were making in those letters. Although I do not question your scienfific [sic] knowledge, I think that you sometimes have a communications problem. Because your mind moves so swiftly, you assume that the minds of your readers can keep up with yours. In your refusing to ‘talk down’ to your public, there is much valuable information they miss which you otherwise could impart if you would [use] less technical language and a more informal approach. …
“I read in a recent VARIETY (the show business weekly) that Avco Embassy pictures will begin making a picture entitled THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT very shortly, though I do not know if it is based on the Moore/Berlitz book. About one year ago two researchers employed by 20th Century Fox Studios called me from Washington, D.C. where they were researching the Philadelphia Experiment, evidently with the thought of making a picture about it. They wished to get in touch with you, but at that time I had no idea how to contact you, so I sent them to Mr. Goerman, feeling he might be able to get word to you through your parents. I was hoping that you might be able to turn some greenbacks by acting as a paid consultant for them.
“Again, thank you for your many kindnesses in sending me various informative letters and materials. While I have not been able to fully undertand [sic] the scientific and technical aspects (my education is in the Humanities), I have filed all of these carefully away, and will eventually donate these to some University, along with other correspondence files.”
Of course Barker’s poking fun at Allen; he’s been doing that from the beginning of the letter. Yet there’s real kindness here, from a man adept at “turning some greenbacks” to another man whose threadbare, peripatetic life suggests he could have used some help in that direction.
It’s interesting, too, given the distance the “Philadelphia Experiment” movie was to travel from the legends of which it was begotten, that the master greenback-turners of Hollywood thought it worthwhile to seek out the fountainhead of the legends. Would they really have put him on their payroll, I wonder?
And what of William L. Moore, the former English teacher whose book about the Experiment turned enough greenbacks to retire him from the classroom? Allen’s letter (undated), to which Barker is replying, has plenty to say about Moore’s “ridiculous book” and Moore himself (“a blatant yet deceptive LIAR”). Moore has belittled Allen’s scientific background and military capacities; he’s conspired to wreck his credit rating, dispatched assassins with guns and poison to eliminate him, dumped sugar in his gas tank. He’s even
“followed me for two and a half BLOCKS crying imploringly and most IDIOTICALLY, “HEY, DEAL…DEAL…DEAL…DEAL…DEAL…DEAL…DEAL…DEAL.” YES, PRECISELY like an INSANE person. I tried INSULTING him, THEN LAUGHED at him. HE even, after some strenuous effort, sought me out in Morris to attempt a FREE interview while KNOWING I am much the RECLUSE & so charge $500. … After trying EVERY way to SHAKE him off my back he got angry…..at my efforts to either COOL him off OR to SHAKE him OFF and INSANELY TOLD THE POLICE THAT IT WAS ME, MYSELF WHO WAS MAKING A “PUBLIC NUSCANCE” & HARRASSING HIM. THE MAD SEE OTHERS AS THEY THEMSELVES ARE AFFLICTED …”
Yes. The mad see others as they themselves are afflicted. Who can doubt that, whatever precisely transpired between Allen and Moore, it was Allen who was the madder of the two? “Sheesh!” was Moore’s response, after Barker showed him Allen’s letter. “Perhaps you and I should seriously consider commissioning old Carlos to write our biographies. With lurid stuff like this, how could we possibly escape a best-seller?”
Moore, thanks to Allen, already had his best-seller. Between him, and the penniless wanderer whose mythmaking had made both book and movie possible—to whom shall we give our sympathies?
One of the more curious items in the Gray Barker Collection is a letter, on NASA stationery, addressed to “Dr. Karl Merditt Allenstein, 1316 Leishmann Strasse, New Kensington, PA.”
The letter is dated August 6, 1975, and is obviously a response to an inquiry. It’s also obvious that the said “Dr. Allenstein” originally addressed his inquiry to Wernher von Braun, for the writer of this letter expresses regret that Dr. von Braun is no longer at NASA. He undertakes himself to provide the information sought, namely that it is “highly unlikely” that a recently discovered invisible star might really be a space ship. “Nevertheless,” he writes, ”I found your theories interesting.”
According to Mapquest, there’s no “Leishmann Strasse” in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. There is, however, a “Leishman Avenue,” where the spaceship theorist must have been living at the time. And “Dr. Karl Merditt Allenstein” … hmmm … I wonder who that could be?
The Barker files are filled with correspondence to, about, and (mostly) from Carl Meredith Allen. I catalogued 46 of these “Allende letters,” which bore a date and/or postmark and therefore could be useful in tracking the writer’s peregrinations. I estimated that these were at most two-thirds of the total number of Allen’s letters in the files. The series begins with the four-page letter sent from Clarksburg, West Virginia, on August 21, 1977—apparently the morning after the “Carlos Allende Speaks” interview—which I’ve described in an earlier post. It keeps on rolling to the end of 1985, a full year after Barker’s death. This perhaps suggests that, by the 1980s, Allen had given up expecting to receive from Barker much in the way of reply.
The postmarks show “Allende” to have indeed been a gypsy, not in ethnicity but in manner of life. In November 1977 he’s in Prescott, Arizona, the place where James Moseley tracked him down the previous July. (See my post on “Finding Carlos Allende.”) In early 1978 he shuttles between Prescott, Matamoros (Mexico, just across the Texas border), and Guadalajara, Mexico. He turns up in 1980, after a long silence, in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 1981 he’s in Albuquerque and Ruidoso, New Mexico, and Colorado Springs; for a few months at the end of ’81 and the beginning of ’82, in Walsenburg, Colorado; that spring he’s in the Denver area, Colorado Springs, and Pecos, New Mexico. In a letter of August 20, 1982, postmarked Santa Fe, Allen writes he’s in Omaha … And so on.
His tone is testy, often abusive. He knows perfectly well that Barker’s using him as a cash cow, and he resents it. But along with this there’s always a note of pleading in his letters. He demands that Barker send him books—Anna Genzlinger’s The Jessup Dimension, Barker’s own Strange Case of Dr. M.K. Jessup—and Barker is glad to oblige. What Allen really yearns for, respectful attention, Barker can’t give. From the moment he laid eyes on Allen, it would seem, Barker determined this was not a man to be taken seriously. His and Moseley’s interviewing Allen while drunk surely didn’t get the relationship off to a good start.
’Twas not always thus. On February 6, 1963, Barker had written to Allen’s New Kensington address, seeking information from and about the elusive mystery man. (That was about the same time that Jerry Clark and I were embarked on the same quest, as I’ve described in an earlier post.) The file contains no reply; maybe Allen had left New Kensington, or maybe he shrewdly realized that to keep the UFOlogy world’s interest he’d better stay mysterious. Fourteen years later he and Barker met, and the illusion shattered. Now it was Allen who was the seeker, the beggar, the tiresome pest.
Barker’s letters to Allen are a small drop in the bucket of Allen’s outpourings. They’re also a lot more enjoyable reading. Brilliantly tongue-in-cheek, they’re on the surface models of respectful affability. I’d guess that Barker supposed Allen was too obtuse to realize Barker was making fun of him. I’d also guess that Barker was wrong. Allen, who may have been insane but was no fool, understood full well what was going on and seethed with rage over it. Yet Barker’s letters don’t read like the heartless baiting of a lunatic. If I’m not mistaken, there’s in them a real kindness, even tenderness, for the horribly wounded man Barker had searched for and now, possibly to his regret, had found.
As if Barker sensed that, in poking gentle fun at Allen, he was doing the same to himself.
“Dear Capt. Allende,” he writes on October 18, 1977. “I must apologize for not answering your communications until now. … Both James Moseley and I enjoyed very much talking with you and hearing your ideas on UFOlogy and the Philadelphia Experiment. I do regret that due to the fact that this was also a social occasion, both he and I were warmed very much by the Spirit of the Grape. Fortunately I do have your tapes and by replaying them can remember much that I otherwise might have forgotten. …
“Actually meeting and talking with you was an experience which both honored and informed me. In fact, your positive views on the Philadelphia Experiment so impressed me that I would like to do some actual research on this matter. I am wondering if you have any names of other witnesses to this event so that possibly they might be contacted? If I could get anything new on this which has not been published widely I might be able to get an article on this into OFFICIAL UFO.
“I have written to Varo in the past inquiring about Michael Ann Dunn (who is supposed to have typed out the Varo Edition) but am informed they have no personnel records on her. This is very odd—almost as if she Vanished.”
Yes, “Vanished”—with a capital V. With that capital letter, Barker mocks the portentousness of his own writing. And it is pretty funny. (But really, who was Michael Ann Dunn? And why has no one been able to find out anything about her? These are real, not Barkerian mysteries.) So is the spectacle of Barker as huckster, scraping the bottom of every conceivable barrel for “anything new” that he can peddle.
Yet I also hear the voice of the other Barker, the genuine seeker, who half believes that “other witnesses to this event” might really exist. That the invisible ship was an “event,” and not just the fantasy of an invisible man who’d spent his life aching to be seen.
More than four years later, on December 9, 1981, Barker writes to “Carlos Miguel Cristophoro Allende” at “General Delivery, Pecos, NM.” He thanks him “not only for [y]our latest letter concerning Mr. Moore, but for all your other missives, especially the annotated edition of THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT by Moore/Berlitz, which set some of the record straight.” (Annotated books–Allen’s favored mode of communication!) With this, William L. Moore—and his book, and the movie that took its title from the book—enter the story.
I’ll have more to say about that book and that movie in my next post.
When did Carl Allen begin to grasp that he was no longer an invisible, insignificant drifter but an exotic mystery man, earnestly sought after by “those who ponder the elusive disks” (Gray Barker’s phrase), himself as elusive as any of them? That Hispanicized Carlos Allende had become a hero of urban legend, in a way plain old Carl Meredith Allen never could be?
And what did it do to Allen, to know this?
And does it matter to any of us, half a century later?
These are some of the questions that went through my mind on the morning of September 11, 2004—yes, the third anniversary of that day—as I sat in the Barker Collection with curator David Houchin, listening on David’s boom box to the tape “Carlos Allende Speaks.” This was a recording of the interview that Barker and his friend Jim Moseley conducted in August 1977 with The Man Himself. David started out listening with me, then got up and left midway through; I can’t say that I blame him. Me, I stuck it out to the end.
“It was actually quite remarkable listening to Allende,” I wrote in my diary that evening. “He not only seems to speak Spanish well—not exactly surprising; he spent a lot of time in Mexico—but he speaks English with a strong Hispanic accent. If I did not know he was born in Pennsylvania, I would not have imagined he was a native English speaker.
“Barker introduces the tape by saying that he and Moseley are conducting the interview of Allende, although in fact Moseley never speaks. Barker’s tone is apologetic; if I recall correctly, he asks the audience to bear with him, even though this is not a prepared interview. I actually don’t recall very well what he is apologizing for; it is very vague. But the apology makes sense in connection with one of Allende’s letters, evidently referring to the same episode, which speaks of Barker and Moseley as being ‘three sheets to the wind.’ The interview does make more sense if you assume that both of the interviewers were drunk.
“Of course Allende says nothing of any interest. He dithers endlessly about how many copies of the Varo edition were made. He bitterly accuses the UFOlogists of ineptness for not have tried to track down other witnesses to the ship’s becoming invisible, which he evidently regards as historical fact. He credits his annotated ‘Case for the UFO’ with the establishment of the International Geophysical Year. He demonstrates the trick he used to fake three different handwritings in those annotations; he does not explain, at least as far as I can recall, what his motive was.”
Yes. Why should Allende have pretended to be a trinity of persons, one of whom he calls “Jemi” in his annotations, and addresses as “my twin”? (“Jemi” = “Gemini”? Barker pronounces the name GEM-eye, and Allende makes no objection.)
The “Allende letter” I referred to in my entry is undated but postmarked Clarksburg, August 21, 1977. It’s four pages long, written on the stationery of the Clarksburg Sheraton Inn, I assume the morning after the interview. “C. Allen,” as he signs himself, thanks Barker for “your kindly & generous hospitality towards myself while here in your charming city of Clarksburgh [sic].” (Barker obviously put him up at the Sheraton.) Yet he’s plainly disappointed. He worries that his interviewers, in their admitted state of inebriation, have failed to realize “that I do and always have specialized—in exotic PRACTICAL propulsion systems & methods.” Like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, he explains, he is forced to dabble in a wide range of relevant disciplines. “Therefore, if but merely & solely ONE new science arises from my equally exotic specialization, I shall consider all the LONG long years of study, learning, observation and basic research to have been worth it all.”
Of course he knows, or thinks he knows, what Barker is after, and boasts that he’s given it to him—“a wealth of materials” for “a salable article.” That Barker was going to peddle the tape itself does not seem to have crossed his mind.
“Even in the taped description of what the state of invisibility consists I did not bother to needlessly use up valuable tape-time by including the fact earlier mentioned of their [sic] arising, at initiation of the causative force-field, a misty CLOUD of atomic particles. [Illegible] no real information was gleaned from my travel-weary brain because, AGAIN, I was not permitted to tell the ENTIRE sequence of events as they transpired aboard & prior to boarding the merchant Ship S.S. Andrew Furuseth. Had I been permitted to tell all & in the necessarily precise details then ALL the now remaining questions still left unanswered WOULD, by God, BE answered. Ufologists ALWAYS block themselves this way.”
Thus begins a long and mostly one-sided correspondence, exhaustively documented in the Barker Collection, between Barker and Carl Allen. Call it “the Allende letters, phase 2.” The elusive Señor Allende was elusive no more. On the contrary: Barker could not shake him off.
(To be continued)