Thursday, July 30, 2015

Marc Hallet - A Critical Appraisal of George Adamski

Mention the name George Adamski among serious, scientific ufologists and you will without hesitation get comments like: Liar, fraud, cultist, charlatan etc without much argumentation. What scientific ufologists fail to recognize is that this kind of emotional response is simply a reflection of the naïve new age ufologists who already know the answer without investigation. Mere criticism is not enough. You must have facts. It was therefore with great anticipation I received the latest book by Marc Hallet, A Critical Appraisal of George Adamski. The Man Who Spoke to the Space Brothers, written in collaboration with American ufologist Richard Heiden. The book is free for download on the internet.

Marc Hallet has generously donated his large Adamski files to AFU. An important and invaluable collection of material for future research. In many ways Marc and I have the same background in ufology. We were born in 1952 and entered our ufological careers by being rather naïve Adamski fans. Marc working together with Belgian Adamski co-workers May and Keith Flitcroft. And we both after a few years discovered the problems with Adamski and became much more critical of his books and claims. For Marc this discovery entered a lifelong investigation of George Adamski, resulting in several books, mostly in French. For me a 40+ year investigation of both foreign and Swedish contact experiences, including the controversial first generation American contactees.

As I value intellectual honesty I find it important, before I continue my review, to state that my personal views on Adamski differs in several respects from Hallet. Readers of my latest book and blog are aware of that I present an alternative theory, a variant of Vallee´s Esoteric Intervention Theory. Briefly I suggest that some of the first generation contactees, including Adamski, were involved in a cultural influence experiment orchestrated by a group of benevolent alien visitors from somewhere in our multiverse.  This of course makes me a heretic among heretics in the ufological community. But I have reached a similar conclusion regarding Adamski as Dr. Berthold Schwartz mentioned to me in a letter after his investigation of contactee Howard Menger: “The contact claims and case of Howard Menger is far from being an open and shut or black and white matter.” To be fair and intellectually honest I must of course also state that my theory may be wrong.

George Adamski

A Critical Appraisal of George Adamski is a very important book that should be read by all serious ufologists. It is the result of years of research and presents a multitude of new data on Adamski, including an appendix with many interesting documents and a bibliography. But I would suggest readers compare this volume with George Adamski – the Untold Story (1983) by Lou Zinsstag and Timothy Good plus George Adamski. The Toughest Job in the World (2010) by New Zealand journalist and ufologist Tony Brunt.
In fifteen chapters Hallet documents his involvement with the Adamski movement, his defection after discovering indications that the Rodedeffer film of 1965 was manipulated and his resulting detailed investigation of the photographs, films and claims of George Adamski. And Hallet is very sharp in his assessment. Adamski was a simple fraud and con-man who “raised the lie to the level of an art.” There are no question marks in Hallet´s book, no doubts, no ambiguities, all is black and white.  Adamski was a liar. And this is what I find the greatest flaw or problem with this book. Hallet frequently fails to mention facts and data that support a different interpretation. All who have seriously studied Adamski realize he was a mystic and very unreliable in much of what he said, a Janus man. Even Tony Brunt, who makes a different assessement of Adamski, writes in his biography: ”He seemed to be half holy man, half huckster, a fascinating blend of the sublime and the slippery. Adamski was two of a kind”.

Tony Brunt

Much of the book is devoted to elaborate critical studies of the the Adamski films and photographs. As my technical expertise in this field is practically nil I refrain from comments on this issue. Personally I hope that Glenn Steckling of the Adamski Foundation, who is the custodian of the original negatives, will let these be professionally examined and the result presented to the public. One interesting fact is that Adamski was not the first to illustrate the “Venusian scout craft”. This was instead presented in a booklet, Visitors From Space, by contactee  Eugen Drake in 1949 or 1950. On page 127 Hallet mentions the observation of a scout craft and crew made by Lucy McGinnis alone, not together with Adamski. According to Hallet, McGinnis “thought she saw the Venusian saucer up close” and that the observation was probably a dream. This gives a totally misleading picture of what actually happened.  I received the transcript of Timothy Goods interview with McGinnis in 1979. From this it is evident that Lucy was wide awake and stood outside the house in Palomar where she at close range observed a translucent craft with human looking crew. Lucy McGinnis had left as Adamski´s secretary in 1962 when she couldn´t stand more of his wild claims and behavior. When Timothy Good asked why she didn´t reveal the truth about Adamski´s many claims she gave a very interesting answer: “It never bothered me to the extent that I made an issue of it, because, you see, I could have made an issue of it, if I hadn´t seen those ships”.

Page from Visitors From Space by Eugen Drake

There have been many observations made of the Adamski-type craft in various countries, also in Sweden. And not only by Adamski devotees. I personally investigated one such observation made by a bus driver in 1969. He only reported his close encounter to the Swedish military. British ufologist Jenny Randles also mentioned such cases in one of her books. And I have still not found any evidence of fraud regarding the photos taken by Tahalitha Fry in Oregon, November, 1968. AFU are in possession of the letters she wrote to her Swedish friend Edith Nicolaisen shortly after the incident. So even if Adamski did fake his pictures these type of craft obviously exist. As to the Rodeffer film of 1965, was Madeleine simply lying when she in great detail told of the encounter and the three mysterious individuals that came to her home minutes before the craft appeared and told them to get ready? Tony Brunt interviewed Madeline in May 2009 and she said of these men: "They could have been your uncle, or your cousin, or you. I got the impression their role was a supportive one, to be sure we both held up under the excitement of the occasion." Hallet speculates that Adamski could have hypnotized Madeleine to see the craft. Not a very likely explanation. Omitted in Hallet´s biography is also Desmond Leslie´s observation in 1954, together with Adamski, of a small observation disc very close.

Photo by Tahalitha Fry 1969

Carol Honey was an Adamski co-worker in the 1950s and 60s before he became disillusioned with the very extravagant tales and lies Adamski produced in the end of his career. Marc Hallet corresponded with Honey during his last years and they developed a sincere friendship. "Intellectually honest" is Hallet´s assessment of Carol Honey. But I think it would have been appropiate by Hallet to also mention that Honey was a contactee himself, which he mentioned sometimes in his newsletters. "I have had personal experiences myself which proved a lot of things to me but I will not make them aviable to a skeptical public" (March, 1968). "I have met one highly evolved spaceperson who had a bad scar so on this point I speak from personal experience." (June, 1963)

According to Hallet, Desmond Leslie knew that Adamski was a crank. "No doubt, when he realized that Adamski was a rogue, he was not really offended. Maybe he was even greatly amused by that revelation, laughed at it with its perpetrator, and decided to carry the joke further." This speculation has no basis in fact and is a complete misunderstanding of Desmond Leslie, his philosophy and his personality. Desmond Leslie defended Adamski all his life but he was an esotericist and interpreted Adamski´s experiences according to the Esoteric Tradition.

Desmond Leslie and George Adamski

In my personal investigations of contact cases in Sweden I have found independent witness confirmation, that the contactee really did meet some type of "strangers", whoever they are. We find this also in the Adamski case. Lou Zinsstag mention that when Adamski stayed in a hotel in Basel in 1959 he was now and then visited by his contacts. Lou decided to check on this and asked the hotel manager and the porter. Both men answerered: "There are several men who come at nine o´clock, but never more than two at a time". Marc Hallet´s comment on this fascinating information is only a derogatory speculation that Adamski was having secret homosexual meetings. To my knowledge there are no facts supporting such a hypothesis.

With these critical notes I find it important to reiterate that I appreciate Marc Hallet´s book very much. It is an important contribution to our understanding of George Adamski. I am not defending Adamski in the usual sense but my theory is that he, as some other early contactees were involved in an experiment that they often didn´t really understand themselves. And in common with Carol Honey I find the philosophy presented in Inside the Space Ships beautiful and inspiring. I believe the last word on Adamski has still not been written. There is a deeper mystery in the contactee enigma that needs further research. In this controversial field I find it necessary to keep an open mind as well as be critical of critics and skeptical of skeptics.