Here’s a song I recorded many moons ago, which I have been told by some is similar to some of Tangerine Dream’s music.
This installment was co-conceived with my contactee colleague Greg Bishop.
“I am…Howard…Menger. The following statements which I shall make are…true facts.” So begins Menger’s 1957 record Authentic Music From Another Planet that really didn’t seem all that otherworldly, but just a marginally talented tinkler of the ivories channeling the stars. Along with only two published books (From Outer Space to You and The High Bridge Incident) this was enough to place Menger in the upper echelon of the 1950s UFO contactee movement.
In 1946—at the tender age of 10—Menger met a beautiful blonde in a translucent sky-suit named Marla (sitting on a rock in the forest) who revealed she was 500 years old, although she didn’t look a day over 21. Marla toldyoung Howard she had to get back home to Venus lickety-split, but someday in the future he’d meet another blonde beauty exactly like her, curves and all!
During WWII, Menger served with a tank division in the South Pacific and became proficient with a flamethrower which he used to flush the enemy out of caves and buildings. He related other contacts with spacemen and cosmic beauties throughout his tour of duty, whom he credited with saving his life. They predicted that the Allies would win and also told him that things would get more interesting after the war with a warning: “If you think you’re crazy NOW, Howard, wait until you see some of the other things that are going to happen to you!” 1
Menger was honorably discharged in 1946 and moved to a farm near High Bridge, New Jersey where he ran a sign-painting business and tinkered with homemade inventions. Perhaps because of his electronic and mechanical interests, he became fascinated with flying saucers and in particular (although he denied it later) with George Adamski’s book The Flying Saucers Have Landed, when he first read the title upon its release in 1953.
Feeling a desire to rekindle his cosmic contacts, Menger visited the spot where he’d met his first alien love interest fourteen years before. Not surprisingly, she appeared again and told Menger he had a job to do to help the Space People in their missions on Earth. He had to buy clothes for them (the women giggled and threw their Earth-bras away) and give haircuts to the men, who wore their hair long, like space hippies. These beautiful Venusians started dropping by regularly to Menger’s farm for coffee and friendly chats. Venus soon called upon Howard to serve as their personal barber and cut their long blonde locks so they could easier fit in with Earth society. In return for his hospitality, Menger was rewarded with a series of starship trips to Venus, Mars and the Moon, bringing back photos of the lunar surface taken from a porthole during his saucer ride. As evidence of his otherworldly excursions, Menger showed off a “moon potato” during a guest spot on Long John Nebel’s Party Line, which to all present looked like a common stone. When asked about the moon potato’s less than earthly appearance, Menger explained it had been “dehydrated.”
On another episode of Party Line, Menger demonstrated a small-scale model of an “energy accumulator”, the design of which was based on space brother specifications. According to Menger, the full-size equivalent of this device served as a flying saucer propulsion system, not to mention a perpetual motion machine. Perhaps Menger didn’t get the instructions quite right because when he flipped the switch, the small rotating motor fell off the body proper of the contraption. As Menger later explained: “I guess the glue came apart.” 2
Menger held small saucer conventions on his farm, becoming a sort of East Coast version of a poor man’s George Van Tassel. It was at one such saucer soiree that the mysterious Valiant Thor was photographed, the very same Venusian Commander that Dr. Frank Stranges would spend considerable time with at the Pentagon. To date, no one has identified the man with the carefully coiffed pompadour. Attendees were also treated to figures dancing about in the woods on the property at night, although Menger said that the space people were not to be approached because they were shy.
During another event at Menger’s farm, he made the acquaintance of a charming young lady who was a dead ringer for Marla, the blonde Venusian bombshell he’d met as a lad. As it turned out, this young lady—Constance “Connie” Weber—was the reincarnation of Marla (or Marla’s sister, or something like that) replete with gorgeous golden curls. Menger was immediately smitten with Marla’s earthside edition, which didn’t sit well with his wife Rose who promptly filed for divorce.
Some of Menger’s fans later called him on the carpet concerning an episode that occurred at one of his saucer soirees where said fans had assembled in a dimly lit room to meet an actual spacewoman whose features were concealed in the shadows. During this space girl meet-up, a sliver of light landed on her face revealing that it was Connie Weber playing the Space Lady role. 3
A few years after making this many claims of Venusian visitations, Menger appeared on a Long John Nebel TV broadcast and pretty much backtracked on every claim he’d ever made, claiming that the Government (also known as the “Silence Control Group”) offered him a job to say that he’d made up all his flying saucer stories as well as fabricating a series of space people photos. As for the government job, part of Menger’s duties, or so he claimed, was going around burying boxes.
In later years, Menger and his wife were occasionally featured at saucer conventions, but his star had faded, and he was looked upon as a relic of an earlier, more naïve era. Jim Moseley, researcher and chronicler of the UFO scene, recalled that Menger appeared at a Florida gathering in the 1990s along with Connie and one of his space-people-inspired contraptions. During a demonstration in a hotel, he plugged his invention into a wall socket and blew all the fuses in the facility. 4 Moseley also reported that Menger was apparently possessed of a furious temper when aroused, which may have been due to his wartime experiences and possible PTSD.
He appears to have come to a sort of peace with his legacy at the time of his death in 2009.
1 Menger, Howard, and Connie Menger. 1991. The High Bridge Incident: The Story behind the Story. Vero Beach, FL: Howard Menger Studio. (p. 4-5)
2 Flammonde, Paris, 1971. The Age of Flying Saucers page (p. 99.) New York: Hawthorn.
3 Clark, Jerome, 2000. Extraordinary Encounters: An Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrials and Otherworldly Beings. p. 172 ABC-CLIO.
4 Bishop, Gregory. 2001. “Interview With James Moseley” in Wake Up Down There: The Excluded Middle Collection. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press. (p. 115)
The following was co-written with my intergalactic ally Greg Bishop, co-author of “A” is for Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees.
Claude Vorilhon was born September 30, 1946 in Vichy, Allier France. His life reads like an improbable novel. He reinvented himself three times as a public figure, first as a teenybop singer, then an auto-racer and journalist, and finally as a messenger for the space brothers.
Vorilhon ran away from home in 1961 at the tender age of 15, hitchhiking to Paris where he hoped to become a recording star. He was discovered by a radio personality and given a record contract and the showbiz name: “Claude Celler.” 1
From 1966 to ’67 he released a string of singles to minor success. One of the sides was entitled “Madame Pipi,” which told the story of a toilet attendant. Claude’s teen crooner career ended abruptly when his sponsor killed himself in 1970. Gathering his earnings from his aborted dance with showbiz, Vorilhon founded a magazine based on his lifelong interest in auto racing, which also allowed him to test-drive new cars.
Vorilhon’s next big adventure occurred during a hike in the Pyrenees mountains on December 13, 1973 when he encountered a small, bald, green-suited spaceman with a goatee on his chin and a halo over his head who introduced himself as Yahweh (God to the Hebrews) and explained that humans were the lab creations of a group of ETs known as the Elohim.
Yahweh further informed Claude that he’d been chosen to spread the Elohim message and treated him to a spaceship trip (at seven times the speed of light no less!) to the Elohim’s home planet where he met up with the holy space age trinity of Jesus, Moses and Buddha. At some point in this madcap romp, Claude was given a scented bath courtesy of six perfectly formed biological robot babes, who subsequently treated him to some steamy robot sex.
In due time, Claude was appointed as the Elohim’s ambassador to Earth and given the space name Raël. This ultimately led to what some termed a free love saucer cult known as The Raelian Movement who encourage sexual promiscuity among its frolicking followers, all in search of an Elohim-blessed “cosmic orgasm.” Talk about a big bang! Bada bomp!
Claude’s new friends also showed him the unity of all things and the symbol for this unity. Unfortunately, the symbol in question faced an incredible uphill battle for acceptance. The logo of a swastika perfectly integrated into a six-pointed Star of David shocked and scandalized almost everyone who beheld the cursed thing. It was so dazzling (or offensive) that during the 1970s and ’80s, the Raelian Movement had to order stickers to place over the covers of all the books they still had in stock sporting their space age Star of David swastika. A new symbol they came up with to replace the former looked appropriately new-age, but didn’t have the impact of the original because, well, nothing quite grabs the eye like a swastika shoved in your face. Eventually, Raël decided that a reasonable amount of time had passed and the scandal had blown over enough to recall its original glory for a new generation.
On a sunny afternoon on June 21, 2012, holiday makers at beaches along the New York and New Jersey shores were treated to the sight of a small aircraft towing a banner reading:
卐 = ☮+ ♥ PROSWASTIKA.ORG
…followed by the Raelian swastika-in-the-star symbol. Thousands were aghast. Vorilhon might as well have marched up the main streets with a few of his followers wearing white hoods and torches. Raelians posted a press release on the proswastika.org site to explain their provactive actions:
“Our objective in this annual “Swastika Rehabilitation Day” is to… rehabilitate the image of this very ancient symbol which has, in recent decades, been equated only with Hitler’s horrors, when in fact, the swastika has always meant something very beautiful, peaceful and loving for billions of people all over the world and still is by billions of people.” 2
At the 50th anniversary Roswell festival in 1997, the Raelians rented a booth at the convention center and went for the hard sell with babes in skintight leotards with headset microphones hawking the virtues of sensual meditation and the sex-positive message of Raël. 3
Not content to conquer just the weird world of UFO fandom, a select few Raelian babes (also known as the Order of Angels) posed in the October 2004 issue of Playboy, along with text that could almost be termed a recruiting pamphlet with nude women scattered throughout. Raël’s “wife and partner for 13 years” quipped, “This is the only religion that teaches that nudity and sexuality are pure and beautiful.” 4
In 1997, the Raelians announced the founding of a biotech company called “Clonaid” to begin research into human cloning, which they said was the first step to immortality. On December 6, 2002, Clonaid director Brigitte Boisselier announced that they had cloned the first human being in asecret lab near Las Vegas. They named the child “Eve,” and announced that DNA testing would soon be performed to prove that the girl was an exact genetic copy of her mother. Over the next several months, Boisselier and others from around the world claimed five more successful human clones were born. By March, 2013, they said that the number had risen to thirteen. No evidence was ever provided for any of these claims.
As of 2020, the Raelian movement is still going as strongly, no doubt due to its sex-positive message and the fact that female members regularly take part in topless protests against prudish laws that prohibit the baring of female breasts in public. Long may they wave.
3 Greg Bishop’s personal recollection.
4 (no author) “The Rael World.” Playboy, October 2004: p 77-81.
Check out Gorightly’s captivating interview with Raelian love goddess Donna Newman!
Hear Raël croon a groovy tune about the Elohim!
A segment of UFO Twitter wet its collective pants the other day with the seemingly stunning revelation (courtesy of the UFO Seekers website) that Bob Lazar (of Area 51 fame) was not only an alleged world class physicist who worked on reverse engineered ET craft, but in his youth had been a bad ass swimming star representing Dearborn High School in lovely (you guessed it!) Dearborn, Michigan during the mid-1970s during the same period your humble author was smoking reefer like it was going out of style. To announce this potentially startling bombshell of a story, UFO Seekers boldly tweeted:
In the aforementioned article— “Bob Lazar: 1970’s All-American High School Breaststroke Swimming Champion”—UFO Seekers’ Tim Doyle (who I’ll henceforth refer to as “UFO Seeker Tim”) seemed to be suggesting that previous sleuthing on the subject of Lazar’s high school attendance by the late great saucer-head, Stan Friedman, had erroneously misidentified Lazar’s high school in question as W. Trespar Clarke High located in Westbury Long Island, in the great state of New York.
But now it appeared—at least according to UFO Seeker Tim’s apparently groundbreaking reporting—that our old uncle Stan might have got this one wrong and it was time to update Wikipedia!
As noted in UFO Seeker Tim’s possibly game changing blog post, his investigative reporting on Lazar was the “culmination of two years of research…” and he went on to note:
“I always wondered why Lazar now lives in Michigan. It never made sense. California, Nevada, or New Mexico maybe. Especially for a self-proclaimed rocket scientist who works on Black Projects.
By accident, I opened up to other states for my search into Bob Lazar’s high school past. Bam! I found swimming records from a Dearborn Hgh School student named Bob Lazar.
After searching through newspapers I found that Bob Lazar was an All-American Swimming Champion and even set Michigan State High School Swimming Records. It was at this time I hit the gold… I found a picture of Lazar in an article discussing the high school swimming athlete in 1977. Here’s that picture which undeniably verifies I HAVE FOUND ROBERT (BOB) LAZAR.
I uncovered endless articles of his wins, records, and swimming endeavors in Michigan for Dearborn High School. Very impressive! Lazar was an amazing high school swimmer who appeared to have a bright future in College via a swimming scholarship as his dad was even noted as pushing the young Lazar to attend the University of Michigan…”
To further document his stunning discovery, UFO Seeker Tim posted the news clipping below—ripped from the pages of the Detroit Free Press—although for some unfathomable reason he watermarked it with ”UFO Seeker” branding, which seemed like a kind of goofy thing to do, but hey that’s just me.
Whatever the case, there was no indication in the post that UFO Seekers reached out to Bob Lazar for confirmation on this stunning swimmer story. And while at first glance the photo kinda maybe sorta resembled Lazar to a certain degree, to my eyes it wasn’t conclusive by a long stretch—this coupled with the fact that UFO Seeker Tim also tracked down some Dearborn High yearbook photos (from the alleged Bob Lazar swimming star period) which didn’t look at all like the “UFO Bob Lazar” we have all come to know and love. (But I must admit the red arrows added some dramatic flair to the presentation!)
All of this led me to wonder if perhaps UFO Seeker Tim had maybe jumped the gun with his brash assertion that it was time to update Wikipedia, so I decided to do a little research of my own and after an extensive —and dare I say grueling two minute google search— I came upon a certain Dr. Bob Lazar at the following explosive link!
Given this troubling development, I alerted UFO Seeker Tim with the following message:
To his credit, UFO Seeker Tim tweeted back:
So good on him. UFO Seeker Tim.
While I remained pretty much convinced at this point that the only real swimming “UFO Bob Lazar” had ever done was in booze and broads over at John Lear’s swinging Vegas pad back in the 1980s, UFO Seeker Tim still seemed to be sticking to the story until he could receive some overwhelming evidence to the contrary that “Dr. Bob Lazar” (as opposed to “UFO Bob Lazar”) was the actual swimming star who paddled his way to regional fame in the mid 1970s.
To this end, my esteemed research colleague Tim Binnall decided to get to the bottom of this caper once and for all, and tracked down an email addy for Doc Lazar’s office located in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan, population 15, 785. Tim received the following response:
Below is a larger blow-up of this explosive email!
Even with all of this evidence now revealed, there were still some on the Twitter machine not yet ready to admit what was staring them straight in the face, and it was to those “Bob Lazar Swimming Star Truthers” that I tweeted the following observation:
Presently, it appears that UFO Seeker Tim’s blog post, which was at this link: https://ufoseekers.com/2020/05/03/bob-lazar-1970s-all-american-high-school-breaststroke-swimming-champion/ is busted, which probably means he is busy updating it to the effect that Bob Lazar was indeed a swimming star… not just the one you might been thinking of.
Stay tuned for further developments.
Former English department head at Illinois Wesleyan University, Meade Layne left the academic world in the 1940s to pursue a career in parapsychology. In 1945, he founded Borderland Sciences Research Associates (BSRA), an “association of persons interested in ‘borderland’ facts and happenings…facts and events which orthodox or official science cannot or will not investigate.”
To this end, Layne teamed up with psychic medium Mark Probert (the “Telegnostic from San Diego”) in efforts to establish interstellar contact. Probert was among a handful of San Diegans who—while waiting to view a meteor shower on October 9th, 1946—observed the passage of a strange structure in the sky. With the craft still in view, Probert phoned Layne, who encouraged him to establish telepathic communication with this weird flying machine. 1
After the sighting, Probert told a local reporter:
“The strange machine is called the Kareeta. It is attracted at this time because the earth is emitting a column of light which makes it easier to approach. The machine is powered by people possessing a very advanced knowledge of anti-gravity forces. It has 10,000 parts, a small but very powerful motor operating by electricity, and moving the wings, and an outer structure of light balsam wood, coated with an alloy. The people are nonaggressive and have been trying to contact the earth for many years. They have very light bodies. They fear to land, but would be willing to meet a committee of scientists at an isolated spot, or on a mountain top.” 2
Probert channeled The Inner Circle, a group of ascended masters who were in contact with entities known as the Ethereans who visited Earth in Ether Ships from the fourth dimension. The Ethereans—according to Probert—were able to “mat” and “demat” (materialize and dematerialize) as a means to enter and depart the Earth plane by lowering or raising their vibrational levels. Ether Ships, as would be expected, came from a place called Etheria which was “Along side, inside, outside of our world.” All of this is explained (more or less!) in Meade Layne’s The Ether Ship Mystery And Its Solution (1950).
Layne was among the first—if not the first—to propose the interdimensional theory when most contactees were content with Venusians sporting long, blond hair and mouthing syrupy New Age platitudes. It wasn’t until a couple of decades later that the interdimensional theory started to gain traction from cutting edge ufologists like Jacques Vallee and John Keel.
1 Tumminia, Diana G., 2007. Alien Worlds: Social and Religious Dimensions of Extraterrestrial Contact. Syracuse University Press.
2 Layne, Meade. 1972. The Coming of the Guardians. BSRA.
Photos of little green (or silver) men have long been a fixture in ufology and, like everything else, these artifacts get dusted off and trotted out after a period of time has elapsed and run through the grinder again. One such retread that has continued to make the rounds—decade after decade—is a photo that first surfaced in the German newspaper Neue Illustrierte on April 1st, 1950, with the title “Der Mars-Mensch” which showed a strange looking little feller apparently from another planet—Mars, in this case. The accompanying article claimed that the Martian had been in a saucer crash that occurred in “Death Valley.”
A few days later, Neue Illustrierte copped that the Martian story was an April Fool’s prank, but that didn’t stop the photo from spreading through the UFO subculture in the years to follow. Since then the photo—sometimes referred to as “Silverman”—has appeared in numerous UFO books, often including the false narrative that it depicted an alien who had survived a saucer crash.
Saucer scholar Isaac Koi (www.isaackoi.com) compiled a timeline of the Silverman photo and the publications in which it appeared. The first book to feature this freaky photo was Major Donald Keyhoe’s Flying Saucers from Outer Space (1953). Keyhoe described it as “two men in trench coats, each holding an arm of a queer, shiny figure about three feet high. Two girls standing nearby seemed to be awestruck by the little man…Eyewitness G-Man McKennerich, from Phoenix, reports “I was astounded by the importance of this great moment. For the first time I was seeing a being from another world. At the same time I was equally amazed by the desperation of this Aluminum Man. His body was covered with a shiny metal foil. The observatory in Phoenix presumes this is for protection from cosmic rays…”
Conflicting narratives surround the Silverman photo, some of which identified the trench-coated gents as U.S. government agents (G-Men), while other accounts described them as German scientists, and that “Silverman” was not necessarily silver-skinned, but outfitted in some sort of aluminum spaceman suit.
In Space-Craft from Beyond Three Dimensions (1959), W. Gordon Allen referenced that the creature in the Silverman photo had crawled out of a crashed saucer:
A “saucer crewman” very much like the moon man (or spirit) described by Swedenborg in his writings about the inhabitants of different planets of the solar system…This photograph is from Germany (note trench coats and North European types), but the “saucer crewman” is from a UFO that crashed near Mexico City; the corpses were sent to Germany for study…
In 1967, a concerned citizen sent a copy of the Silverman photo to FBI headquarters in D.C. inquiring if the trench-coated men were FBI agents, to which J. Edgar Hoover responded: “I can assure you the photograph you mentioned does not represent employees of this Bureau.”
Most recently, Harold Povenmire in UFO’s and Alien Abduction Phenomena: A Scientific Analysis (2016) published a colorized version of the Silverman photo as the real deal, although what “scientific analysis” he conducted is unclear. Thanks to Povenmire, this new iteration of the Silverman photo soon began worming its way through social media, as a new generation of believers clicked and shared to their heart’s content.
In 1963, Wes Bateman—a self-described “Telepath for the Confederation of Worlds”—initiated communications with an extraterrestrial brain trust known as “Outer State.” Soon after, he and his wife Jo-Nell founded Mental Investigations of New Dimensions (M.I.N.D.) based out of their bungalow in Hollywood, California.
M.I.N.D.’s main mission was to announce that mass saucer landings were forthcoming and to prepare mankind for this eventual ET-human hookup. The Batemans appeared on radio and TV programs where they predicted specific times and places where the flying saucers would appear. Some of these predictions apparently came true—at least according to signed witness statements produced by the Batemans.
During the mid-1960s—according to Bateman—he became a major source of inspiration for the producers of Star Trek, and in particular Gene L. Coon, who along with other Star Trek writers attended Bateman’s UFO lectures and cribbed ideas he discussed such as wormholes and warp drives (not to mention the “Prime Directive”) and incorporated these concepts into the Star Trek television series. 1
1 The Jerry Pippin Show. “Wes Bateman Memorial, 3-11-2009.”
Bateman,Wes. 1993. Knowledge From The Stars. Light Technology Publications.