Instead of thorough investigation accomplished ufologists like Jim and Coral Lorenzen, Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee simply dismissed these first generation contactees as charlatans. Especially Hynek and Vallee should have suspected there was a deeper level to some of these often wild claims as both were, more or less in secret, scholars of esoteric traditions. But they totally missed this aspect and Allen Hynek commented on their philosophy as "platitudes in stained glass attitudes" (Hynek & Vallee; The Edge of Reality, p. 181. A somewhat more profound inquiry could have revealed to these two gentlemen the possibility of an actual Esoteric Intervention behind the scenes, orchestrated by the Higher Intelligence Agency (HIA).
Because of this neglect in research much data is now forever lost. Most of those involved with the first generation contactees are gone. Research will have to be made with second generation data, correspondence and interviews with relatives. My hope is that American researchers will, as soon as possible, initiate research projects with the following contactees: Orfeo Angelucci, George Van Tassel, Dorris Van Tassel, Carol Honey, Helen & Betty Mitchell, Eugene Drake, Howard Menger, Paul Vest and Millen Cooke. This should include studies of the first directors of Borderland Sciences Research Associates (BSRA), Meade Layne and Riley Crabb. Renewed investigations into George Adamski and Daniel Fry is of course also of primary interest although Sean Donovan has made a commendable effort with the biography Contactee. Was Daniel W. Fry Telling the Truth?
Daniel Fry in Sweden 1970
An example of neglected research is the American contactee Eugene H. Drake 1889-1973, director of The Fellowship of Golden Illumination. He is not even mentioned in UFO encyclopedias and data about his life and experiences are exceedingly scarce. From my distant vantage point here in Sweden I have tried to gather as much information as possible about this forgotten contactee. Excellent help with biographical data was provided by Joshua Blu Buhs. A real wizard when it comes to biographical information retrieval as evidenced by his very informative blog on old Fortean researchers From an Oblique Angle. He is a real master detective in finding obscure data on various underground individuals in the Fortean world.
Eugene H. Drake 1951
Not even at AFU is there much information to find on Drake. We have his two booklets, Visitors From Space (no publication date given, but probably 1949 or 1950) and Life On the Planets. A visit to Venus (1950). We also have a single copy of his magazine Golden Light, vol 10, no. 2, May 1962 and two letters written in 1962 and 1963 to Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the new age publishing house Parthenon in 1957.
Golden Light, May 1962
What made me especially fascinated by Eugene Drake was the fact that he, years before George Adamski, claimed physical contact with space people and was actually the first to print illustrations of the classic Adamski type scout ship and cigar shaped space craft. Something that has not been noticed, or at least mentioned, by American ufologists. An additional letter by Eugene Drake is to be found in the German edition of his booklet, Besucher aus dem Weltraum, published by Ventla Verlag 1961. Besides these data there are a few, not very informative, mentions on the internet.
Illustration in Visitors from Space
"Eugene Harry Drake was born 22 September 1889 in Warren county, Pennsylvania, to Zachariah Taylor Drake and Sarah Jane (Jackson) Drake. He relocated to the Los Angeles area no later than 1910, when he was there, living with his grandparents (and a sister), working as a stenographer for a hardware company. He was a private in the New Jersey and California National Guards. Drake married Priscilla Atlee Putnam no later than the beginning of 1917. They had two daughters, Priscilla and Irene. In 1917 and 1918, the family lived in Pasadena, at 539 N. Lake, and Eugene worked as a cashier. Apparently, he also hoped to get into the film industry. In 1920, the family lived in Santa Monica (Eugene’s mother-in-law lived with them.) He told the U.S. Census that he worked as a manager for a film exchange.
In April of 1922, Drake was arrested for embezzling $6,400 from the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he worked as a cashier, to keep afloat his film production business. One source reported that he had been in hiding for a month, trailed by detectives, while the case of his forgery was made. I do not know if he served any jail time; he is in the 1923 city directory for Santa Monica—as a bookkeeper—but his entry could have been put together much earlier. He was also in the 1928 city directory, listed as a salesman. The 1930 directory has him too, but does not list an occupation.
Eugene Drake and family 1920s
The 1930 census has him and his family (minus his mother-in-law) in Santa Monica, where he rented a house. He was a salesman, of building materials. The Drakes lived at 1435 Euclid Street. This census tells us that Drake did not serve in World War I; I do not know why. (He did register for the war, though.) I do not otherwise know what he was up to during the 1930s. In 1942, he was living at 2503 4th Street, apartment 4, in Santa Monica. He listed no employer or employment with the draft board.
Six years later, he may have been living in Bell, California—there’s a city directory listing that may have been him—or Santa Monica, but was going by Dr. Eugene H. Drake. I do not know how he earned the honorific. In November, he was advertised as teaching a series of Thursday classes at the Universal Truth Church in Long Beach. The subject was not stated in the newspaper ads. After this, you probably no more than me about him.
He started putting out his books and magazine. He wrote about Mt. Shasta and its “Little People.” He started building his compound in the desert, where he claimed contact with aliens. He was mentioned in the Saturday Evening Post as using special tools in his research. He spoke at the Amalgamated Flying Saucers Club’s first annual convention (1959). He was mentioned in the ‘zine “Understanding.” And he was referenced in “the Journal of Borderland Research.”
We know that the flying saucer contactee Eugene H. Drake was the same as the white-collar worker from the 1920s thanks to “The Open Way,” number 3, 1952, which listed him as one of its members. It gave his address as 1014 So. Lake Street, which was the address given for the Fellowship of Golden Illumination.” It also gave a brief biography, with his birth date—22 September 1889--and his family situation—married with two daughters—which prove that he is the same man. It gives his occupation as “writer, teacher, spiritual healer.” He does not have an honorific—no “Dr.” title, though others in the directory do.
He died 21 February 1973 in Los Angeles. He was 82."
In his first booklet, Visitors from Space, Eugene Drake present this summary of his contact experiences: "For a long time space craft have had this planet under observation. We have been in contact with them since 1930. At that time we were in Santa Monica, and contact was made in a large field where the Santa Monica City College is now located. Only during the past few years have they chosen to reveal their presence." (p. 1) According to Drake the contacts were physical but the space people live at the etheric level of our multiverse and materialize themselves during the contact events.
In his letter to Karl and Amy Veit, September 19, 1961, published in Besucher aus dem Weltraum, Drake makes these interesting comments (my translation): "There are very few people who have had real physical contact with space ships or space people, like ourselves. I have on various occasions experienced how space people appear in condensed form and I could shake their hands. After the contact they disappeared into a higher frequency." Drake makes it very clear that the space people living on planets in our solar system are not organic physical in the ordinary sense but living at the etheric level. This is in accordance with the Esoteric Tradition and was also the interpretation made by Desmond Leslie as to the reality of space people.
Some of the information and message presented in Drake´s two booklets appear as rather unsophisticated and naive mysticism not always especially reliable. But whatever the ontological status of his experiences he is a very important figure in UFO history. Much of what George Adamski said seems almost copied from Drake´s booklets. Scholars of Western Esotericism as well as ufologists could find many fascinating clues to the origin of the UFO movement in studying Eugene Drake. If some of my research collegues and friends worldwide find more data on Drake I hope you will share the information.