Thursday, May 7, 2015

Some further notes on Paul M. Vest

In my latest book Gudarna återvänder. Ufo och den esoteriska traditionen (Return of the Gods. UFOs and the Esoteric Tradition) and several blog entries I have advanced the theory that some of the controversial physical contactees of the 1950s were involved in a cultural influence test. An experiment implemented by a group of benevolent aliens, earth based or extraterrestrial, a group with access to “vimana” technology. Within mainstream scientific ufology this is a rather heretic theory and can be regarded as an expanded version of Jacques Vallee`s Esoteric Intervention Theory.

A brief summary of my arguments for seriously considering this theory follows:
1. Many years of investigating and documenting physical contact cases have convinced me that some individuals (very few) have actually met and communicated with “aliens” from somewhere.
2. In spite of their faults and personality idiosyncrasies there is circumstantial evidence that the following contactees were involved in a cultural and psychological test: George Adamski, Orfeo Angelucci, Daniel Fry, George Van Tassel, Howard Menger.
3. The contact experiences of journalist Paul M. Vest indicates that the test was a carefully orchestrated plan by this benevolent group.
4. The message or information presented to these contactees is a somewhat simplified version of the Esoteric Tradition with basic ideas such as: a multiverse reality, reincarnation, universal laws for the evolution of consciousness, Earth a quarantined or “prison planet”, man not alone in the universe etc. In order to detect and understand the similarity in ideas between the contactee messages and esotericism a thorough acquaintance with the works of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey is required. Few ufologists have this background.
5. The “hidden hand” similarities between the outbreak of spiritistic phenomena in the 19th century and UFO phenomena in the 1940s and 50s. In the Esoteric Tradition this hidden hand is the planetary guardians, the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom (scientists of the multiverse) using "phenomena" to expand the worldview and consciousness of man, a form of education through astonishment.

A seminal influence on my developing this theory has been the contact experiences and ideas presented by Paul M. Vest in his article Venusians Walk Our Streets, originally published in Ray Palmer´s Mystic Magazine, August 1954. From an esoteric viewpoint this is one of the most fascinating and intriguing articles ever written on the UFO enigma. In an earlier blog entry I discussed Paul M. Vest and his meeting with the enigmatic "Bill".

For many years I have tried to obtain more data on Paul M. Vest, without much success. From Janet Kerschner, National Archivist of the Theosophical Society in America (Adyar), I recieved the information that Paul M. Vest was living in Santa Monica in 1940. He was single and working as a government clerk and living as a lodger. Checking with the Santa Monica Public Library I was informed that Paul M. Vest was listed in the City Directories from 1940 until 1958. Some very good help was provided by Joshua Blu Buhs, author of Bigfoot. the Life and Times of a Legend. Joshua also maintains an excellent blog on Fortean personalities and history.

Joshua Blu Buhs found some additional data on Paul M. Vest and also an old photograph. Paul Maurice Vest was born on August 9, 1906 in Colorado. Parents were George Vest, a rancher and Mary Harding. In 1935 Paul moved to Seattle, Washington and later to Santa Monica, California. In the 1940s and 1950s he worked for the city government in various capacities, including a collector of fees for licenses. He died in Los Angeles on March 5, 1983. In some of the articles that Paul M. Vest wrote for Fate Magazine he presented himself as Ph.D. But I have found no data of where he obtained this degree.

Paul M. Vest

The articles Paul M. Vest wrote for Fate Magazine in the 1950s and 60s indicate that he was an accomplished and erudite esotericist, well versed in the writings of Helena P. Blavatsky and Alice Bailey. He defended these pioneers in two biographical articles. Commenting on Blavatsky he wrote: "One day the world may discover that this magligned and abused woman was even more right than we imagine today." (Fate, October 1951). His assessment of Alice Bailey was given in a biographical article in Fate, June 1963: "No modern voice, however, has spoken out more forcefully and authoritatively affirming the reality of "The Masters" than that of Alice A. Bailey."

Alice Bailey

In the pages of Fate Magazine he also shared several personal paranormal experiences and encounters, presented under the Fate heading True Mystic Experiences. In the December 1952 issue he relates an out-of-body experience when he was close to drowning while swimming in the Pacific Ocean near Sal Beach: “… I was suddenly no longer in my drowning body. As swift as a flash my consciousness, or self, had withdrawn to a distance 10 or 12 feet above and was looking down at my body floundering in the sea… I watched swimmers rescue my body and haul it unconscious to shore… Since that day I no longer think of my body as “I” any more than I would think of one of my garments as “I”.” (p. 65).

In the February 1954 issue Vest relates an experience that happened in 1928 while he spent some time at a summer resort in the Colorado Rockies. He enjoyed walking at night in the forest surrounding the resort. One night he discovered that he was lost in the forest. In a clearing he discover a mountain cabin but when approaching he is overwhelmed by a sense of foreboding and fear. “Then about 10 feet ahead of me a soft glow appeared. Astonished, I saw that the light formed the outline of a tall robed figure, the details of which were not visible. The figure pointed off into the forest to my right.” Vest walked in the direction the figure had indicated and soon found his way back. The next morning he was informed that a very violent murderer had escaped and had been captured in the cabin in the forest. (p. 52-53).

Perhaps it was these experiences that initiated his interest in the deeper mysteries of life and entered his “years of research and experience in occult and psychic phenomena” as Vest relates in Venusians Walk Our Streets: “I´ve always been something of a skeptic. I have met swamis, yogis mediums, clairvoyants, mystics and self styled messiahs by the score, but I have never been duped by any of them, even those who were sincere but self-deceived. Also I have met several persons whom I know without any doubt to be true spiritual adepts; even as I have known several sensitives, or mediums, who are honest, sincere and able to produce authentic paranormal phenomena.”

The enigmatic “venusian” Bill, also known as Mr. Wheeler or Venuto, is a key figure during the early contactee era. Several journalists, ufologists and contactees met and interacted with him. I am somewhat surprised that no one in the U.S. has done any follow up investigation on this case. George Van Tassel met Mr. Wheeler who visited some of the Van Tassel meetings, witnessed by many in his group. In his magazine Proceedings Van Tassel relates: "I personally talked with "Venuto", who figured in the Los Angeles Time`s case, and who worked for Los Angeles County for several weeks. This Venusian, dubbed "Venuto" by the reporters in the case, visited us here several months after he disappeared from his job in Los Angeles. This vissit was in the presence of 23 witnesses." (Proceedings, July 1956, p. 6). In another article George Van Tassel also mention that Mr. Wheeler, when visiting Giant Rock Airport, demonstrated a technical device that made his invisible: "The man didn´t dematerialize. He was still there, because the third time he disappeared I had my hand on his shoulder, and he was solid; still there under my hand." (Proceedings, April, May, June 1977, p. 14)

George Van Tassel

The encounter with “Bill” was obviously a momentous event in the life of Paul M. Vest. He recognized his visitor as “no ordinary man” but a “much wiser, gentler and more highly evolved being than I – and with infinitely greater perceptive ability.” I have not found any more articles by Vest regarding his involvement with Mr. Wheeler. I hope my American colleagues can discover more data on Paul M. Vest, perhaps also his personal archive and correspondence. The cultural impact of the first generation contactees was tremendous and the books they wrote translated and published in many countries around the world. There are still many questions and riddles to be solved relating to this “esoteric intervention”.