Pied Pipers of the CIA
The UFO contactee
movement was led by people that worked hand-in-hand with the CIA;
the abductee scenario was created by CIA personnel. It reveals
an intriguing alternative universe of the contactee and abductee
major development in the UFO phenomenon was the emergence in the
early 1950s of “contactees”: people who claimed to
have had direct, personal encounters with aliens. Whereas enigmatic
objects in the sky could mean anything, the birth of the contactee
era provided eye-witness testimony that these crafts were extra-terrestrial.
Furthermore, the contactees claimed that they had been chosen
to deliver messages to the world warning of the dangers of atomic
weapons and impending disasters awaiting the human race if it
did not mend its ways. The aliens, it seemed, were on an interstellar
peace mission, sent by some intergalactic equivalent of the United
Nations – the UP, United Planets, perhaps?
The contactees' tales of rides
in flying saucers and visits to other planets are now universally
dismissed as hoaxes. However, despite their sheer silliness, the
stories did have a profound cultural impact at the time, and the
contactees themselves attracted many thousands of followers in
what was the first appearance of the quasi-religious aspect of
the UFO phenomenon. The contactees were the precursors of the
UFO cults that continue to flourish as part of the New Age movement.
Although many such gurus emerged during the 1950s, the first and
most famous of the contactees to make a public impact were George
Adamski and Howard Menger. Adamski in particular, until his death
in 1965, sold great quantities of books, including the bestselling
Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953), co-written with Desmond Leslie,
describing his adventures with the “Space Brothers”.
He travelled the world giving well-attended lectures, impressing
many people, including leading members of European royal houses.
Menger has largely been identified as someone who saw Adamski’s
success and wanted a part of the money and fame that befell Adamski.
Menger did not state that the aliens gave him a religious message
(though they did give him a diet for weight-loss!), which means
his impact, following and fame have not been as lasting as Adamski.
Adamski is seen as a con-man, Menger as a man who copied a con-man
and whom during one television interview admitted as much. Yet
once again, the situation is not as simple as it seems, because
solid evidence exists that at least these two individuals were
acting as part of an intelligence-backed operation.
Apart from admitting he jumped on Adamski’s bandwagon, in
the 1960s, Menger also admitted that he had worked for the CIA,
and that his story was part of an experiment to test public reactions
to the idea of extraterrestrial contact. In short, Menger’s
story was a CIA experiment to see how easily and whom specifically
could be fooled into believing anything.
More significantly, it is now known that Adamski was the same:
he was not only encouraged in his work, but actively supported
and assisted, by the CIA. This became known – though not
widely reported when scientists attempting to investigate Adamski's
claims (in an effort to discredit him and stop him in his tracks)
were warned off by CIA Director Allen Dulles in person. And research
has shown that during tours of Europe and Australia to promote
his “message”, Adamski travelled on a passport furnished
by the CIA. During a 1953 speech, Adamski even calmed an anxious
crowd by assuring the audience that the CIA and the FBI had cleared
his statements! Interestingly, long before this information became
public, Leon Davidson had already stated that Adamski was controlled
by the CIA.
There is evidence that other
early contactees and the groups that gathered around them were
being controlled and manipulated by outside agencies. For example,
one such group in Michigan, formed around a woman, Marian Keech,
who claimed that she was in telepathic contact with aliens from
the planet Clarion. A team of psychologists and sociologists infiltrated
the movement after Keech proclaimed that the aliens informed here
than in three months’ time, the world would be destroyed
by a great flood. The aliens from Clarion would come to rescue
her and those close to her. The group that formed around her quit
their jobs, gave away their money, houses and possessions and
withdrew from their friends. A few even left their spouses. It
was then that the movement was infiltrated, for they wanted to
study the group dynamics, including what would happen “when
prophecies failed” – which as we know did. Remarkably,
though the flood did not happen, Keech received an alien message
that said that there was no longer any need for the flying saucers
to descend, as the world had been spared because of the unflagging
faith of this small group of believers. The message went on to
say that the little group, sitting all night long, had spread
so much light that the God of the Earth had decided to save the
world from destruction.
What the group did next caused the social psychologists to become
elated. Within 24 hours, the true believers - this group of quiet,
reclusive, shy people that previously had shunned any type of
publicity and had made no drive to gather more followers - began
calling newspapers and TV stations to talk about their prophecy
and why it had failed. They made speeches and stood on street
corners handing out leaflets trying very hard to attract followers.
The psychologists noted that from exiled believers, a failed prophecy
had made them into religious zealots.
The idea that contactees such
as Adamski should have been spreading their message with the blessing
– and backing – of the CIA seems, at first, bizarre.
However, when we consider the very real benefits for psychological
warfare purposes of setting up and monitoring such experiments
into the way that cult beliefs spread, and the influence that
they have over certain segments of the population, the motive
Still, the claims of the contactees adhered to a very specific
format: individuals who make extremely unlikely claims and whom
we have to believe, or not, as telling the truth. Since the 1950s,
the contactee stories have largely been substituted with the “abductee”
stories, which are far more subtle. In short, rather than a person
making a personal claim, it is now an “expert” who
claims to have made a detailed study of someone, and finds that
this person is genuine and has indeed been abducted – often
against his own will and normally even without his knowledge –
by alien beings, for unknown purposes. Whereas Dulles had to personally
intervene when people began to question the likes of Adamski,
trying to get him to admit or prove his hoax in court, the introduction
of the abductee scenario has annihilated this type of dissection
and possible discreditation of the abductees, their stories and
& Barney Hill
first case in which the major parts of the abductee pattern appeared
took place in 1961. This was the seminal “close encounter
of the fourth kind” of Betty and Barney Hill, who claimed
to have been abducted and taken aboard an alien spaceship during
a lonely drive through New Hampshire in September of that year.
The Hill’s case involved the ingredients that would become
the key identifiers of the abductee scenario: missing time (the
abductees cannot account for the period of the encounter); memory
loss or erasure (the abductees remember nothing beyond the initial
UFO sighting, although memories of the experience are released
later through hypnotic regression, implying an attempt by the
aliens to block the memory); an intrusive medical examination
focussing on the reproductive organs; and the large, slanting
eyes of the alien captors.
Whereas Adamski and Menger were used if not paid by the CIA for
their claims, the Hills have always been above any such suspicion;
they were, like most of the other abductees, model US citizens.
However, the circumstances surrounding the Hills' experience reveal
a very sinister story. It is clear that the Hills were being monitored
by USAF Intelligence before the encounter took place, through
Major James MacDonald, who had befriended them some time earlier.
Betty Hill wrote to Donald Keyhoe who, despite the fact that he
received over a hundred letters a day, homed in on this initially
unremarkable case. (At that stage, the Hills remembered only the
UFO sighting, not the abduction.) Within 24 hours, Keyhoe had
arranged for the Hills to be visited by top-level scientists,
including C.D. Jackson, who had previously (definitely not coincidentally)
worked on psychological warfare techniques for President Eisenhower.
Stretching coincidence far beyond breaking point, Jackson already
knew Major MacDonald, with whom he next interviewed the Hills.
Most importantly, it was Jackson who drew the Hills' attention
to their missing time period; until he did so, the couple had
not realised that their memories of that fateful night were incomplete.
It was Jackson who suggested hypnotic regression as a means of
unlocking it. It was Jackson who then arranged for one of the
Army's top psychiatric experts to undertake the regression (as
if a civilian expert was not available?), under which the full
story of the joint abduction “emerged”. However, as
many researchers have since demonstrated, a careful review of
the timings actually shows that there was no missing time at all.
It seems that Betty and Barney
Hill were at the centre of a web that involved USAF Intelligence
and top military experts in psychological warfare. The evidence
suggests that the Hills were the subjects – victims –
of a psychological experiment. This may seem a tall claim, but
the evidence that defence and intelligence agencies undertook
such experiments – in other contexts – on unknowing
and innocent subjects in the 1950s and 60s is now overwhelming.
In particular, the exposure of the CIA's notorious MKULTRA project
into various mind control techniques caused a major scandal in
It is a disturbing thought that the Hills may have been selected
for the experiment because they were – unusually for that
time – a mixed-race couple, who were furthermore active
in the civil rights movement. In short, they were ideal candidates
to be “practiced upon”, for they were part of a target
group. Only the Hills are able to state what impact their abduction
story and subsequent UFO fame had on them, specifically whether
they were able to devote any or as rigorous time to their civil
right activities or whether the claims made about them regarding
these abductions caused their reputation as civil right activists
any harm. No doubt, trying to answer the latter question must
have been part of the psychological experiment that was practiced
upon this couple.
Whatever the motive behind the
Hill’s experience, the most significant aspect is that the
pattern established by that event has, since the late 1970s, been
seen more and more frequently. If anything, the abductee scenario
has become a major part of the manipulation of public belief concerning
UFOs and extraterrestrials. Over a period of several decades,
it mushroomed into the Linda Napolitano abduction story, which
can easily be seen as an attempt to see whether using stories
of alien abductions could discredit the reputation of the UN Secretary
General Javier Perez de Cuellar… or, alternatively, whether
de Cuellar could use UFO abductions as a smokescreen to cover
up extra-marital activities?
is known that the CIA was involved with mind control, psychological
warfare and the study of hypnosis in the 1960s. Despite claims
during Congressional hearings that the work had little success
and had ceased, that claim itself was contradicted when it was
learned that the Remote Viewing experiment had gone on well into
the 1990s. Furthermore, CIA employee Miles Copeland stated that
the CIA was successful in minimising the scope of the Congressional
enquiry (they “got only the barest glimpse”) and Victor
Marchetti has separately claimed that the mind control research
continued post the Congressional hearings. Researchers like Martin
Cannon have equally concluded that “the ‘UFO abduction’
phenomenon MIGHT be a continuation of clandestine mind control
or human implant?
Noting what transpired with the Hills and Napolitano, we should
note what George Estabrooks, a seminal theorist on the use of
hypnosis in warfare, and a veteran of Project MKULTRA, accomplished
when during a party, he covertly hypnotised two friends, who were
then led to believe that the English Prime Minister had just arrived
at the party; Estabrooks' victims spent an hour conversing with,
and even serving drinks to, the esteemed and imaginary visitor.
Cannon asks: “for ufologists, this incident raises an inescapable
question: If the Mesmeric arts can successfully evoke a non-existent
Prime Minister, why can't a representative from the Pleiades be
Cannon even goes as far as to suggest that the UFO abductee mythology
might have been invented as a cover story for what to do with
those people who had been used during mind control experiments:
rather than have them remember their real torture, fill their
mind with UFO abduction stories. At present, the Hill case definitely
seems to be a psychological warfare experiment, not a cover story.
Though Cannon’s theory is possible, at present, there is
no hard evidence for it… but then a decade long preparation,
that would involve Adamski, Menger and the Hills would have laid
the foundation to make sure that hard evidence would never be
If Cannon is right, it would give a totally different meaning
to the so-called alien implants that go hand in hand with the
abductee scenario, noting that in some cases, the existence of
such implants has been proven as genuine and have been surgically
or otherwise removed from people’s bodies. The central question
is whether they are alien-, or human-made. And whatever the answer
to that question is, will also answer of what origin the contactee
and abductee scenario is.