Encounters

SUBJECT: THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND THE VENUSIANS

George Adamski was one of the most famous - or notorious - figures on the flying-saucer scene from 1952 until his death in 1965. In books and lectures he recounted his meetings with friendly Venusians, Martians, and Saturnians. He also claimed that high government officials - themselves in contact with "Space Brothers" - secretly knew he was telling the truth.

Nonetheless, Adamski was shocked one day in December 1957 to receive a letter written on U.S. State Department stationery with a stamped department seal and a Washington, D.C., postmark. Signed by "R. E. Straith, Cultural Exchange Committee," it stated, " The Department has on file a great deal of confirmatory evidence bearing out your own claims. . . . While certainly the Department cannot publicly confirm your experiences, it can, I believe, with propriety, encourage your work."

The Straith letter electrified Adamski's followers. They charged the department with covering up the truth when the department denied, as it did repeatedly, that it knew anything of an "R. E. Straith" or a "Cultural Exchange Committee." All the while Straith proved elusive; despite repeated efforts, Adamski's supporters could not find him. Undaunted, they concluded that his committee must be so highly classified that the government would never admit to its existence.

Ufologists skeptical of Adamski's claims were sure the letter was a forgery - perhaps, as analyst Lonzo Dove suspected, composed on the typewriter of Gray Barker, a saucer publisher and practical joker. When Dove submitted an article on the subject to Saucer News editor Jim Moseley, Moseley rejected it on the grounds that Dove had not proved his case. But years later, after Barker's death in December 1984, Moseley confessed that he and Barker had written the letter on official stationery provided by a friend of Barker's, a young man with a relative high in the government.

"...Persons who tell such stories are known in the UFO business as 'contactees.'

The first and foremost among them was a fellow named George Adamski. He was a man of meager scholastic attainments, but he made up for that shortcoming by having an excellent imagination, a pleasing personality, and an apparently endless supply of gall. George established the ground rules for the contactees which they have dutifully followed. He was the first--- and he showed that there was considerable loot to be made by peddling tales of talking with space people. George instinctively realized that everything had to be pretty nebulous; he knew that details would be disastrous.

Prior to becoming associated with a hamburger stand on the road to Mt. Palomar, George had worked in a hamburger stand as a grill cook. With his scientific background he wrote, in his spare time, a document which he called 'An Imaginary Trip to the Moon, Venus, and Mars.' He voluntarily listed it with the Library of Congress for copyright purposes as A WORK OF FICTION. That was in 1949. His effort did not attract many customers but it did attract the attention of a lady writer who saw gold in them there space ships. She made a deal with George to rewrite his epic; she was to furnish the skilled writings and he was to furnish the photographs of the space ships.

This lady brought the finished manuscript to me for appraisal and she brought with it a clutch of the crudest UFO photographs I had seen in years. I declined to have anything to do with the mess and she left my office in a bit of a huff. In its revised form it told a yarn of how George had ventured into the desert of southern California, where he met a "scout ship" from which stepped a gorgeous doll in golden coveralls. She spoke to him in a bell-like voice in a language which he did not understand, so they had to resort to telepathy, or something similar, to carry on their conversation. And then, as she prepared to leave him, she tapped out a message in the sand with her little boot. George realized that she wanted him to preserve this message (it was terribly important) and, having a pocket full of wet plaster of Paris (which he seemingly always carried with him on desert trips), George quickly made a plaster cast of the footprint with the message, which he eventually reproduced for the educational advancement of his readers, who were legion.

Of the numerous photographs which embellished the book let it be said that some of them could not have been taken as claimed. The others were crudely 'simulated,' as the Air Force put it charitably. But for me the payoff was the alleged photograph of Adamski's 'scout ship' in which he allegedly took a trip to Venus and returned. The picture as shown in his book was taken either on a day when three suns were shining---or else it was a small object taken with three floodlights for illumination. After eight years of patient search I finally came to the conclusion that his space ship was in reality the top of a canister-type vacuum cleaner, made in 1937. I doubt that many persons are traveling through space in vacuum cleaner tops. Adamski communicated with me frequently. When he was questioned about the title of 'professor' which he used, he explained that it was just an honorary title given to him by his 'students', and that he never used it himself. George was evidently forgetful, for the letters he sent me were always signed 'Professor George Adamski.'"

ADAMSKI WAS CERTAINLY INVENTIVE AND POSSIBLY CAPABLE OF SELF DELUSION. WHEN CONFRONTEDBY PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY THE SOVIET LUNA 3 SPACE PROBE OF THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON IN OCTOBER 1959, ADAMSKI REPORTED THAT THE PICTURES MUST HAVE BEEN TOUCHED UP BY SOVIET SCIENTISTS(WE SAY THE SAME THING TODAY ABOUT NASA & MARS!).

HE SAID THIS WAS DONE TO DECIEVE US SPACE SCIENTISTS. MANY LATER CONTACTEE'SHAVE SUFFERED FROM SIMILAR CONFUSION BETWEEN REALITY & FANTASY. BUT THEIR MOTIVES WERE IN GENERAL MORE SELFLESS THAN ADAMSKI'S, HE REVELED IN FAME, AND APPRECIATED THE FORTUNE THE BOOKS & APPEARANCES BROUGHT HIM. TODAY IT SEEMS ASTONISHING THAT ANYONE ACTUALLY BELIEVED HIM.... WOULD YOU HAVE BOUGHT A SECOND HANSD SAUCER FROM THE MAN.... LET ALONE OF HIS STORIES?

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