Foundations of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) - Part III
By Dr. Raymond A. Keller, author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising Trilogy, available on amazon.com while supplies last.
It was a Saturday night, 13 September 1952 that the course of UFO investigations forever changed. Up until that time, the case was being made by Coral Lorenzen, the Director of APRO, that the flying saucer occupants looked very much like we human beings, hailing from an extraterrestrial civilization that arose on a planet having evolved under similar environmental conditions as those that existed all along Earth’s biological, developmental history. For on that night, Mrs. Kathleen May of Flatwoods, West Virginia, along with her three children, two other neighboring youths, and National Guardsman Gene Lemon, climbed a hill to the immediate northwest of the nearby rural community of Sutton, West Virginia, attempting to get a good view of an alleged flying saucer that had crashed into this densely wooded area. The guardsman, having a flashlight, led the way through the brush, up a mountain path. After the party crossed over the peak of the mountain to the farther side, they found that the area was still smoldering from an apparent fire, but saw no alleged flying saucer. What they did see was a “monster, ten feet high, four feet wide, with bulging eyes a foot apart; sweaty, blood-red face, and a green, glowing body.”
When Lemon shone his flashlight on the creature, it slowly started toward them in a floating, bouncing motion. The whole group became hysterical, panicked and fled the area, abandoning any previous notion of remaining in the vicinity and looking for the saucer. When they got back to Mrs. May’s Flatwoods home, Lemon used her residential telephone to call the West Virginia State Police and report the incident the frightened party had just experienced up on the mountain. After Lemon finished with his brief rendition of the incident, Mrs. May picked up the telephone and added that the mysterious being made a “hissing noise” as it moved and seemed to be emitting a “sickening, metallic odor.” Following this horrific encounter, Mrs. May calmed down her children as best she could, putting them to bed until a doctor showed up along with the state police to check them out. The guardsman watched over the neighbor’s children and escorted them home after the state police took their testimony and the doctor checked them out as well.
The second issue of the APRO Bulletin, published on 15 September 1952, ran this exclusive “Green Monster” article on its first page. The incident took place only two days before the editorial board of the APRO Bulletin had put their issue “to bed,” as they say in the world of journalism. This meant that all copy was edited and ready for publication. The information in the article came directly from the former high school English instructor and Clarksburg, West Virginia, drive-in movie operator Gray Barker, who was then working with the Connecticut ufologist Albert K. Bender, Director of the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB), as an associate editor of that group’s Space Review newsletter. Barker was the first ufologist on the scene to have investigated the creature that has since come to be known as the “Flatwoods Monster,” so the APRO Bulletin’s reporting of the incident even trumped that of the West Virginia local newspapers.
For Lorenzen and the APRO hierarchy, the existence of the Flatwoods Monster created new paradigms for looking at the nature of the flying saucer occupants. Previously, the APRO director expressed a belief in extraterrestrial life as needing to be akin to “life as we know it,” here on Earth. In other words, it has to be readily identifiable as humanoid in appearance. But now more possibilities were opening up. Surely, the number of different types of beings visiting our world would no longer be limited to coming from planets possessed of limiting life-sustaining conditions and parameters. Extraterrestrial life need not be humanoid, or even carbon-based. And in some cases, the ufonauts may prove to be something other than purely physical, i.e. they might be inter-dimensional, robotic or even synthetically-produced life forms. And then there always remained that sneaking idea that the flying saucer occupants may in some way be connected to the occult realms. Perhaps they hold some linkage to angels, demons, ghosts or sundry other types of so-called “spiritual phenomena.” It was a whole new ball game.
Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus
Cosmic Ray's Excellent Venus Adventure
Frank Scully and the “Little Men”
One of the premier books on flying saucers as manned extraterrestrial vehicles in the early years of ufology was Frank Scully’s Behind the Flying Saucers (New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1950). In the book, Scully provides an account of an alleged flying saucer that crashed atop a desert mesa about twelve miles northeast of Aztec, New Mexico, on 25 March 1948, whence the UFO debris and the remains of the dead bodies of its alien crew were recovered and transported to various top secret government facilities for further analysis. Frank Scully (1892-1964), was a regular columnist for the Los Angeles, California, entertainment journal, Variety, at the time he wrote the flying saucer epic. According to Scully, what the United States government learned about the saucer and its occupants could be summed up as follows:
1. The saucer was approximately 100 feet in diameter and operated in accordance with “magnetic principles.”
2. The occupants were human in appearance, although slightly shorter than the average American. Various experts contracted by the government speculated that the aliens most likely hailed from our nearest planetary neighbor, Venus.
Two years after the publication of Scully’s controversial Behind the Flying Saucers, a reporter for the San Francisco, California, Chronicle, John Philip Cahn, looked into the case and wrote an extensive article about it in the September 1952 issue of True magazine. This article caught the eye of Coral Lorenzen’s husband, Jim, who took Cahn to task in the September 1952 issue of the APRO Bulletin.
Jim L. vehemently disagrees with Cahn because, “Somehow, somewhere along the way, Cahn decided to embark on a voyage of character assassination” when it came to writing about the backgrounds of Frank Scully and the two expert personalities whom Scully interviewed while originally investigating the saucer crash, instead of the details of the actual incident that took place out on that remote New Mexico mesa four years previously.
Jim L. writes, “Instead of showing that proofs of this report do not exist, he (Cahn) tried to demonstrate that Scully’s alleged proofs are not reliable. These are two entirely different propositions.” Jim L. further states that he has personally seen “some corroboration of Scully’s main thesis,” although he would not recommend that Scully’s or anyone else’s book be relied on as the “Bible of Saucerianism.”
Jim L. considered True to be an objective publication when it came to reporting on flying saucers in the past. “By and large,” he penned, “we (the members of APRO) consider the general attitude of the True magazine a healthy one, containing less than the usual amount of journalistic bigotry. The policy of reporter Cahn is another matter, however. We would find his alleged facts and conclusions much more palatable if he did not constantly garnish them with cute-type aspersions concerning the personal habits of his villains, namely Scully, Newton and GeBauer.”
Jim L. provides a jesting conclusion, “These villains are all neurotic paranoiacs while each interviewee who supported this theory was an honest, stable, respectable, red-blooded American-type individual. Of course, anyone who constantly inserts the word ‘see’ into his conversation for no apparent reason can’t be trusted. Anyone who has seen a Hollywood gangster picture knows that, see?”
George Adamski and Leftist Politics
George Adamski was a member of APRO and concerned about the political direction the group was taking. In a letter to Coral Lorenzen and the APRO Board of Directors dated 6 August 1952, Adamski expressed two objections about APRO:
1. Its staunch anti-communist stand and its militant rhetoric.
2. Its propagation of rumors in the expanding circle of flying saucer enthusiasts worldwide.
Of his first objection, Adamski wrote, “Your constitution is very fine, with one exception, which I quote, ‘Communists, parlor pinks, or fellow travelers….’ This is bad phrasing for any organization to use; for do you know that Frank Scully has been called a ‘pink?’ And many great souls in the world have been called that because they were misunderstood in their statements.
“In place of your communist, etcetera, why don’t you put the following in? It will take care of all that:
“The organization should not support any phase of thought which would have a tendency to undermine its members, its society, its nation or any other nation, be it of this world or another.”
Lorenzen stated that for her part, she did not consider this a valid objection because there was nothing in the APRO Constitution that was singling out any specific individual and labeling her or him as a communist, parlor pink or fellow traveler. She did concede in the September 1952, APRO Bulletin editorial, however, that, “We consider the assertion that misunderstanding leads to false accusations a good point. Witness the fact that the Professor apparently misunderstood our intentions in including the qualification concerning ‘pinks.’” She further declared that, “Our comment is this: Our wording was purposely crude, blunt and to the point. We don’t want to play footsies with anyone who would attempt to use our organization for subversive purposes. We’ve given them fair warning. Could we do no more?”
She then proceeded to criticize Adamski’s proposed substitution: “An organization like ours will always attract a certain number of phonies. Any member who attempts to perpetuate a fraud in our name or dangle red herrings in our collective path is not welcome. We would support a phase of thought which would undermine such a member.”
Up to this time Adamski had only received telepathic communications from various extraterrestrials. However, the perceptions he received from them and conveyed to the public in his speeches and writings seemed to provide some indications that the economic and political structure of their interplanetary societies developed along collective and communal lines, somewhat akin to “socialism,” in a general sense. Given the intense anti-communist feelings that were engendered during this period of the Cold War between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it is not unreasonable that Lorenzen and the APRO Board of Directors were enacting measures to limit the infiltration of communist and socialist ideology on many levels. To her credit, though, Lorenzen did leave the matter of an amendment to Article Nine of the APRO Constitution open with respect to the aforementioned wording and actively solicited the membership’s comments.
George Adamski was also concerned about the proliferation of rumors generated in the APRO Bulletin’s “Grapevine” column. Of this section of the newsletter, Adamski considered it to be outright “slanderous.” In addressing this matter, Coral Lorenzen wrote, “I believe his (Adamski’s) reaction stems mainly from his misinterpretation of the abbreviation SF that was used in the second part of the Grapevine. Its intended meaning was SCIENCE FICTION. However, in the Professor’s interpretation, a science fiction magazine became a San Francisco magazine; and as a result it appeared that a personal friend of his was unjustly accused.”
In the July 1952 issue of the APRO Bulletin, under the Grapevine column, Coral Lorenzen wrote: “The old axiom, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ is our reason for including the Grapevine in the APRO Bulletin. Many rumors regarding the saucers have come to our ears; and sometimes rumors can be more interesting than actual facts.
“For instance the rumor that the editor of an SF magazine is in contact with space spies, and because of this, is under constant surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is an interesting tidbit. Our informant, a well-known man in his vicinity, asserts that this is true, and that said editor will soon have his personal freedom greatly curtailed. One indication that this may be partly true is that there has been a large influx of saucer sightings in the vicinity of that editor’s home town since he moved to that location. Of course, names cannot be given for obvious reasons. We are checking.”
Lorenzen understood why Adamski was upset, and quotes the contactee in his letter of complaint to APRO headquarters: “The man is not a space spy. This is slander, if anything. I am sorry to see your first bulletin come out with the slander of an individual…. So I believe that your Grapevine, which is rumor, should not be in the bulletin. For a rumor most always leads to malicious action; and if we want the truth, rumors should not be supported.”
Lorenzen found it somewhat difficult to reconcile Adamski’s allegations with the facts on hand, especially since the rumor of the space spy first came to APRO’s attention through Adamski himself in a letter dated 1 April 1952. Lorenzen explained that she justified the existence of the Grapevine column based on her belief that it was better to pin down a rumor to spike or verify it than to let it fly around unchecked. She felt that, “Spiking a false rumor contributes as much to the truth as the verification of a true one.” Also, she took into account that the absolute exclusion of all material lacking conclusive verification from the APRO Bulletin would result in the elimination of the bulletin itself. After all, the purpose of APRO was the eventual attainment of the same conclusive verification. Following up on rumors was just another way of getting at the truth.
The APRO director did agree that a “clarification of concept” was required with respect to the newsletter in light of Professor Adamski’s “constructive efforts.” To this end, Lorenzen declared that, “Beginning with this issue (Vol. 1, No. 2), no rumor or hearsay will be carried without the simultaneous inclusion of the channel through which the report reached us. This, we believe, will prevent our bulletin from being used by anyone as an organ of vicious, malicious or idle gossip. In the case of a confidential source, the reasons for requesting confidential status will be carefully weighed and no information will be carried that could reasonably be considered slanderous or libelous toward any individual.”
She cited the example of an Reserve airman who reported seeing the space suits of extraterrestrial astronauts in a hangar at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, when he had been on active duty and where such a policy would be followed. In this case, the disclosing of the airman’s name might jeopardize his position in any planned return to active service. It would also lend itself to severing APRO from what appeared to be a valuable source of information from inside the Air Force. The revelations of the airman certainly supported the contentions of Frank Scully, but attacked no one. Therefore, the story could be carried in the pages of the APRO Bulletin without “naming names,” so to speak.
“In closing this little treatise,” wrote Coral Lorenzen, “we (of APRO) wish to commend Professor Adamski for his sincere concern, and invite the comment of all members on this and other matters.”
- Coral Lorenzen, “Green Monster,” APRO Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 1952, P.O. Box 358, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
- APRO Bulletin staff consisted of Coral Lorenzen, APRO National Director and Editor; Ronald Larsen, Assistant Editor; with assistance from Jack Moody, APRO Vice President; Richard Haislet, APRO Secretary and W. T. Hagen, APRO Treasurer. APRO members from around the globe served as correspondents.
- J. P. Cahn, “Flying Saucers and the Mysterious Little Men,” True, September 1952, New York City, New York
- Jim Lawrence (pen name for Jim Lorenzen), “How True is True?” APRO Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 2, P. O. Box 358, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
- For the testimony of Dr. George C. Tyler, the President of the Colorado Shale and Metal Company, based in Denver, whom the United States government contracted a huge crane and heavy equipment to transport the saucer out of the Aztec crash site and over to Los Alamos Laboratories; his correspondence with Sir Desmond Leslie, the premier English ufologist, attesting to the reality of the crashed saucer at Aztec; as well as the first-hand accounts of the incident by some of the police officers, soldiers and civilians who were at the crash site; in addition to an interview with Dr. Baron Nicholas Von Pappen, the Lithuanian refugee who took photos of the saucer and its interior at the Los Alamos research facility at the behest of the government, please see “Chapter VI: The Real X-Files,” in my second book of the Venus Rising trilogy, Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus (Terra Alta, West Virginia: Headline Books, 2017). Another excellent resource regarding this incident is Scott Ramsey, Suzanne Ramsey and Dr. Frank Thayer’s Aztec UFO Incident (Wayne, New Jersey: New Page Books, 2016).
- Silas Mason Newton, Denver oil executive
- Leo A. GeBauer, scientist referred to by Scully as the mysterious “Dr. Gee”
- Adamski was referring to Article Nine in the APRO Constitution.
- I believe that the science fiction editor referred to here by Coral Lorenzen was none other than Raymond A. Palmer, the editor of the well-known Other Worlds and Fate periodicals in 1952, published out of Amherst, Wisconsin. Since the late 1940s, Palmer had launched an all-out campaign against atomic testing in all publications under his prevue, alerting the public to the dangers of radiation fallout. Fred Nadis, Raymond A. Palmer’s biographer, writes in Man from Mars (New York, New York: Penguin, 2013), page 202, that “Palmer’s criticism of militarization left him vulnerable to the era’s Communist hunters….” Nadis provides substantial proof of this allegation, demonstrating how the FBI continually harassed Palmer and maintained a constant surveillance of his publishing activities.
- Coral Lorenzen, “Grapevine,” APRO Bulletin, July 1952, P. O. Box 358, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
- Continued in Part IV, “Government Insiders,” this chapter.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to ask the Cosmic Ray any questions about Venus or life on other planets, do not hesitate to send him an e-mail at [email protected] The doctor will be appearing with Omnec Onec, the Ambassador from Venus, along with premier ufologist Laura Eisenhower, at the Promise Revealed Meet the Venusians Mt. Shasta Summer Conference, to be held Wednesday, 26 August 2020 through Sunday 30 August 2020 at the Siskiyou Masonic Lodge, Mount Shasta, California. For event information or to purchase tickets, please call Rob Potter at (530) 925-3502. Until then, in the profound words of Venusian Moon Base Clarion Commander Aura Rhanes, “Work, study, and meditate on all good things!”
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