John Otto and the Sleigh Bells from Outer Space


John Otto (Photo credit: Bob Beck Collection/Joe Fex – APEX Research)

In 1954, John Otto—a member of the Detroit Flying Saucer Club—along with fellow club member, Richard “Dick” Miller, purportedly made contact with the space brothers using a short wave radio set.

Later that year, Otto—in cahoots with radio host Jim Mills of WGN-Chicago—cooked up an ET contact caper, which they rolled out on the evening of November 28th, at 11:15 PM, broadcasting the following stunning announcement across the WGN airwaves:

“This is Jim Mills. I invite you and those in flying discs listening to this program…to standby for a message from the friendly people of Earth! We desire to communicate with you…therefore at exactly 11:25 PM, Chicago Earth Time, we will hold a 15-second period of silence for you to cut in and speak to us through the transmitter.

“Give landing instructions if possible…Now, Earth listeners, please, if possible, maintain complete silence at 11:25 and report anything you see or hear to me, Jim Mills, WGN Chicago, by letter or postcard. Thank you.” 1

At the appointed time, Mills announced “Come in, Outer Space” and the microphones in the studio were shut off in anticipation of a cosmic message soon to beam their way. When Mills and Otto went back on air, the switchboard lit up with callers, among them a couple of spinster sisters from Chicago—Marie and Mildred Maier—who claimed they’d tape recorded something that sounded like Santa’s sleigh bells. Otto made arrangements to meet with the sisters and made a copy of their tape that he later played on other radio programs, including his own WGN show, Out of this World.

The following year, a publication called Journal of Space Flight featured a story on the Maier sisters. Journal of Space Flight, it so happens, was affiliated with the Chicago Rocket Society, of whom John Otto was a card-carrying member, and it was Otto who was responsible for the article. This, in turn, aroused the interest of the CIA’s Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI), who suspected that the sisters may have recorded a clandestine terrestrial transmission of some sort. 2 Afterwards the Maier sisters were visited by a couple of CIA agents (disguised as Air Force officers) who confiscated the tape in the interests of “national security.”

In 1957, UFO investigator Leon Davidson wrote to the Air Force Intelligence Branch at Wright-Patterson requesting information on the confiscated tape and was told it had been “forwarded to the proper authorities.” When Davidson figured out that it was actually the CIA who investigated the case, he pressed them for their analysis of the recording, and CIA officials responded that the sound on the tape was Morse code from a U.S. radio outpost. Davidson grew convinced that the CIA’s response was a cover story designed to conceal UFO activity and when he requested a copy of the tape, was informed it had been destroyed. 3

These developments led John Otto to conclude that the Maiers’ tape recording had been suppressed by the notorious UFO “Silence Group.” (Insert creepy organ music here.)

For more startling revelations just like this one, check out A is for Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees available now from your finer internet book sellers.

1 Barker, Gray, ed. Spring, 1955. “The Saucerian”, Vol. 3, No. 2

2 Redfern, Nick. 2006. On the Trail of the Saucer Spies. Anomalist Books.

3 Gerald K. Haines. 1997. Studies in Intelligence CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90: A Die-Hard Issue.



3 thoughts on “John Otto and the Sleigh Bells from Outer Space

  1. Pingback: Anomaly Archives eNews – January 20th, 2020 | Anomaly Archives

  2. Pingback: John Otto y las campanas de trineo del espacio exterior | Marcianitos Verdes

  3. Pingback: Reinhold Schmidt Meets the Caffeine Addicts from Saturn | Chasing UFOs

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