Sunday, August 12, 2018

Alan - The Enigmatic Man From Space

Daniel Fry is one of the most well known of the 1950s contactees. Besides the ride in a saucer on July 4, 1949 he told of several messages received by an inner voice. Not until 1961 did Fry actually meet the spaceman, named Alan, who landed with his spaceship in a secluded area in Merlin, Oregon. Later Fry would help Alan to work covertly as an international businessman while engaged in work for peace. In the cold war era of the 1950s this type of contact claims made some researchers speculate that Soviet spies used space people as a cover to infiltrate the U.S. In 1957 zoologist and Fortean Ivan T. Sanderson said: ”Some of these who tell such stories can´t be dismissed as liars, psychotics or conscious charlatans… So there is a definite possibility that some form a craft have landed here, unknown to the authorities.” There is no indication however that Daniel Fry´s contact Alan was a Soviet spy. But he is definitely an enigma.


In the former blog post I made a brief study of Understanding, the organization founded by Daniel Fry in 1955. There are still some unanswered questions regarding when Understanding was dissolved. In October 1978 Dr. Lloyd Sellman was elected President and Daniel Fry President Emeritus. But already in February 1979 Dr. Sellman resigned because of conflicting views on a lawsuit of which Dr. Sellman had not been informed. This conflict also resulted in the resignation of several other long time members. The last issue of Understanding magazine was published in September-October 1979. The organization was now falling apart, even physically because in September 1978 an arsonist had burned down the kitchen and library at the Understanding center in Tonopah, Arizona. They were never rebuilt. As a additional blow Daniel´s wife Florence died in 1980. At the age of 72 Daniel Fry was now a widow with the Understanding organization in ruins.

Many idealists would have given up under such circumstances. But Daniel Fry came back and on August 22, 1981 he married Cleona Castle and they settled in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Together with his new wife Daniel began publishing a small, two or three page, monthly Newsletter in November 1982. It was essentially a sort of editorial comments on world events, politics and the problems of peaceful co-existence between nations. The first part of the Newsletter was written by Daniel and the second part, often poems and Christian themes, written by Cleona. I have read all the Newsletters published between 1982 and 1989 to try to find out what really happened to the organization during its last years.

Daniel Fry in conversation with Swedish ufologist K. Gösta Rehn 1970

There was obviously a deep conflict among the new board members of what was left of Understanding. This was mentioned in the Newsletter for November 1983: ”At the July board meeting, we were very aware of duplicity, (so thick one could cut it with a knife,) of persons appearing as friends. We KNEW there was undermining and plotting, but we said nothing…. Now we know their plot, which was to overthrow Pres. Daniel W. Fry… They planned to run it in their questionable ways. With `friends`like these, who needs enemies?... They are out.”

In the same Newsletter is mentioned that three new Understanding units had been formed, in Puerto Rico and Texas. But there are no names of Presidents nor any address given to the new units. This kind of presentation continues in the Newsletter March 1984 where Daniel inform the readers of new units in New Orleans and Texas: ”As soon as we get to it, they will receive charters, and become full fledged units of Understanding.” But nothing more is heard of these or other units. Understanding as an organization is now in practice run by Daniel and his wife Cleona. He continous lecturing around the country and the couple distribute the pamphlet The Area of Mutual Agreement to politicians and world leaders. On March 27, 1985 Understanding, Inc. is re-incorporated into World Understanding, Inc. But nothing more is said about the fate of the 90+ Understanding units founded since 1955. ”The Sad Time of Parting” is the title for the last issue June 1989. I have not been able to determine whether World Understanding, Inc. was officially dissolved as a corporation.


Daniel Fry claimed that all this activity and work for world peace and understanding was inspired by the spaceman named Alan. What I find somewhat puzzling is the scarcity of information about this man. Very few ufologists, journalists or even members of Understanding seems to have been interested in finding out more about this individual and his activities on earth. Daniel himself gives very little information, often just clues and hints of the covert work he does together with Alan.

In April 1954 Daniel was contacted several times by inner voice. He had been given much information and Alan now wanted to know whether Daniel would accept the offer to help his group with their projects on earth. Alan made it clear that it would be almost a mission impossible: "The time has come when you must make the final decision as to whether you will be that person. It is a free choice on your part and there is no penalty for refusal. If you do not wish to assist us, you will be permitted to return to your quarters at once. All memory of this meeting and the previous one will be erased from your mind but everything else will be the same. You will be no worse off than before we came. If, on the other hand, you do decide to assist us, you may find yourself in a situation that is not easy to endure. You will have thankless tasks and seemingly profitless investments of time, effort and money. Your reputation will probably suffer, at least in the beginning and you may find yourself much worse off than before. The only reward we can promise you is the inward satisfaction of having assisted in the survival of your race and the acquisition of considerable knowledge and understanding that you would not otherwise be able to gain." (Daniel Fry, To Men of Earth, p. 88).


Why it would be necessary to erase Daniel´s memory of his contacts if he didn´t accept the offer is not explained. But Daniel did accept and he made his first public appearance on April 4, 1954 at the Giant Rock Spacecraft Convention organized by George Van Tassel. On September 18, 1954 Alan helped Daniel to get a picture of one of their spacecraft. He told of this episode in a letter to Dorris Andre (later Dorris Van Tassel). She was a secret or silent contactee who helped other individuals who had been contacted as a sort of booking agent and also healer.

”I have some interesting pictures, or rather seven different views of an interesting object. I took them two weeks ago Saturday near Balwin Park. I had started to drive out to the little shop in Balwin Park where I work on instruments in my `spare´ time. Midway down Garvey Blvd., I was told that if I would get a camera and film, I would get some pictures… I loaded the camera, in the car, and twenty minutes later I had the pictures. The craft is shaped somewhat like G.A.´s but not so streamlined. I will send you a copy but please don´t show it around too much, as I don´t know yet, just what I am supposed to do with it.” (Letter from Daniel Fry to Dorris Andre, October 13, 1954). Daniel mention seven photos but to my knowledge only one has been published.

Photo by Daniel Fry, September 18, 1954

Beginning in 1954 Daniel Fry entered a new life cycle as a public and controversial person. Besides founding and operating the Understanding organization there were endless meetings, lectures, radio- and TV appearances. But it was not until 1961 that Daniel met Alan in person. This encounter was never described by Daniel in his books. The first public mention I have found is from journalist Cleve Twitchell´s article A Conversation With Daniel W. Fry, Scientist Living in Merlin, published in Medford Mail Tribune, January 6, 1963: “In the first part of 1961, Fry said he went up to his cabin in the Merlin area “on an impulse” and met A-Lan face-to-face. The spaceman’s craft was on the ground in a clearing next to the cabin. A-Lan was an ordinary looking person wearing casual clothes, Fry reported. After a conversation of about 20 minutes the visitor got back in his craft and took off. Fry hasn’t said a great deal about the contents of that 20-minute conversation with A-Lan, but from that point on he began making frequent trips to Merlin.” Cleve Twitchell was a good friend of Daniel Fry and President of Understanding Unit no. 1 in El Monte, California 1960-1961. He later wrote The UFO Saga (1966), a 94-page book about the 1950s contactees.


There has never been a description of the craft Alan travelled in when he landed in Merlin and very few details mentioned about Alan himself. When Daniel Fry visited Sweden in 1970 the journalists did ask some relevant questions and were told that ”Alan is a middle-aged gentleman with an appearance that does not disclose his origin. But if a doctor examined him he would probably make some shocking discoveries.” (Helsingborgs Dagblad, Sept. 9, 1970).

Some further details were presented by journalist Ingmar Kommonen in an article September 17, 1970. Fry was asked to describe Alan: ”He is about my height with light brown hair. He looks like us, has blue eyes but is not as fat as I am. You will not notice any difference between Alan and us unless you try to give him a blood transfusion. Our blood types don´t match. He appears to be 45 years, but to him age doesn´t have the same meaning as to us.”

Swedish article published during Fry´s visit to Sweden 1970

As there was no legal way Alan could get a birth certificate, passport and drivers license Daniel helped him in this respect with some special contacts, obviously pre-arranged by Alan. (To Men of Earth, p. 100). Daniel Fry must have been involved in several secret activities and projects with Alan, who found work at an import/export company and in this way could travel all over the world. In his Fry biography Sean Donovan relates this episode:

”In a 1983 trip to Puerto Rico, Daniel stated that Alan had lived and worked in Cairo, which might explain why Fry and his future common-law wife, Tahahlita took a rather impromptu and mysterious trip to Cairo in 1965:
Many people have wondered why your editor and his wife should suddenly take off for Europé with almost no advance notice, and then, after a few days, with no notice at all, to depart from London, bound for Egypt, Jordan, Greece, etc. What were we looking for in Cairo, Sakkara, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Athens, Rome or Paris? The answer to these questions cannot as yet be given in full, not because the answer is a secret from our readers, but because we ourselves do not as yet comprehend the full significance of the trip or why it was necessary to do the things we did. We only know that the trip was urgent, and that the tasks were accomplished” (p. 152). The last time Alan is mentioned in Understanding magazine is 1978: ”There has been a brief message from Alan this Summer. He beamed in one evening at the Fry residence and stated that he might possibly see us in Japan. (He didn´t say we would see him).” (Vol 23, no 6, July-Aug. 1978, p. 24).

Given that Daniel Fry told the truth, who was Alan and the group he was working with? Some of his activities could as well be associated with an emissary from some of the esoteric lodges on earth, especially is this evident in Fry´s last book When In Cairo. Whatever his origin the work he implemented became an inspiration for thousands of people. A message of goodwill, peace and understanding: ”We have expended considerable time and patience in the effort to light a few candles among the many nations of your planet.” (To Men of Earth, p. 95).

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Rise and Fall Of Understanding, Inc.

In the 1950s and 60s a remarkable social phenomenon emerged, basically concentrated in the State of California. It was organizations founded by UFO contactees, individuals who told of physical and telepathic contacts with space people. Three of these contactees, Daniel Fry, George Adamski and Gabriel Green, succeeded in creating large organizations with local units in many U.S. states and even abroad. Understanding was founded in 1955 by Daniel Fry, El Monte, California, with only nine members at the beginning. In September 22, 1960 the organization was registred as a non-profit corporation in the state of California, Understanding, Inc. By 1975 no less than 86 local Understanding units had been registred, the last one documented, founded  in Tonopah, Arizona.

Daniel Fry

In depth research and documentation is still very much lacking regarding the history and development of these organizations. This is probably partly due to the problem of finding archives with easily accessed original documents: newsletters, correspondence, photos etc. At Archives for the Unexplained (AFU) in Norrköping, Sweden we have for many years been working hard trying to salvage organizational archives from around the world, digitizing documents and making them aviable free on the internet. When it comes to Daniel Fry´s organization Understanding we must commend the excellent efforts of Sean Donovan in Canada who has salvaged and preserved the Understanding archive and making much of the data accessible on a website dedicated to Daniel Fry.

Sean Donovan

Based on documents from the Daniel Fry website, Sean Donovan´s excellent Fry biography and data from AFU I have made a small study of Understanding and the life of Daniel Fry. In every issue of Understanding magazine is to be found a department called Bulletin Board with news of Understanding units but also information on lectures, conferences social gatherings etc.by various ”Spacecraft Clubs”. By studying every issue of Understanding magazine I have been able to compile some statistical data that may be of interest. These figures should not be regarded as exact. Understanding magazine never mentioned when units had folded and sometimes units were given the same number.

Between 1955 and 1975 altogether 86 Understanding units were registrered in the Bulletin Board. A unit could be formed if there were five members. The organization was to a large extent California-based. Unit locations in the U.S. states: California (48), Oregon (7), Arizona (4), New, York, Oklahoma, Washington (3), Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin (2), Nevada, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota (1). There were also three units in Canada and one in Nigeria. In 1963 Understanding Sweden Unit no 1 was founded by Sven-Erik and Ing-Marie Asklund. The unit had some twenty members and during 1963-64 gathered at the Asklund home at Bandhagen, a suburb of Stockholm. The unit was discontinued in December 1964.


Daniel Fry in Sweden 1970

Usually between one and four new units were founded every year between 1955-1975. Understanding had its peak activity years in the beginning of the 1960s. In 1960 there were 24 new units registrered, 1962 eight new units and in 1965 ten new units. Directors were named Presidents and represented people from all walks of life, some with a Dr. attached to the name. Of Presidents mentioned in the Bulletin Board 70 were men and 55 women. In May 1963 a unit was formed at Stanford University, California by J. Lynn Mason. Generally members were people involved with various metaphysical, theosophical and UFO contactee groups.

Several of the local Understanding units initiated an impressive amount of activities, lectures and social gatherings. Lecturers were often the well known UFO contactees of the period such as George Adamski, Orfeo Angelucci, George Van Tassel, Dana Howard, Wayne Aho and of course Daniel Fry. A frequent guest and lecturer at the local units was Riley Crabb, from 1959 director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF). As the entire BSRF archive has been donated to AFU I have been able to study the correspondence between Riley Crabb and several of the local Understanding units in the 1950s and 60s. So far I have scanned 757 letters in the Riley Crabb file often giving interesting background information about Understanding units and activities.

Charlotte Sullivan was founder and first President of Understanding Unit no 6, San Fernando, California


The most extensive documentation of Understanding as an organization has been published by Sean Donovan in his excellent biography Contactee. Was Daniel W. Fry Telling the Truth?, published in 2013. Some 60 pages are devoted to the history of Understanding. Donovan relates the ups and downs, successful endeavors and projects, conflicts and crises during the four decades of organization activities. There are still some unsolved issues regarding the final years of Understanding. The last issue of Understanding magazine was published in September-October 1979 (vol. 24, no 5). But in November 1982 Daniel Fry began publishing a one-page newsletter with its final issue in June 1989. Beginning with the May 1985 issue the newsletter was published by World Understanding, Inc. On March 27, 1985 Daniel Fry had re-incorporated Understanding, Inc. As World Understanding, Inc. And the newsletters were published with this name until the last issue in June 1989. I have not been able to find out whether Understanding, Inc. Or World Understanding, Inc. were ever formally dissolved? Recently I sent a request to California State Archives whether there were any documents indicating that Understanding, Inc. or World Understanding, Inc. had been officially dissolved. According to the reference archivist I corresponded with no such documents were found.


Understanding Unit no 15, Inglewood, California was founded already in 1958 and was a very active local unit. In September 1985 newly elected President Bill Hamilton sent out a leaflet announcing a lecture by Al Synder. In this leaflet is also mentioned that ”In the future, we will be changing the name of the group to the Association for Universal Understanding as we are no longer connected to the now defunct Understanding, Inc.” But as the original organization was still functioning with the new name World Understanding, Inc. why not simply rename the unit World Understanding Unit no 15? Perhaps some of my blog readers in the U.S. can solve this mystery?


Daniel Fry wrote of his contact experiences with the spaceman Alan and the philosophy he received in several books. Essentially it is a message of goodwill and peace: ”… creating a greater degree of understanding between all the peoples of the earth, and of bringing to them some of the understanding of those beings who are not of earth.” (Understanding, vol 1, no 1, Jan. 1956, p. 1). Alan explain that humanity will not survive if we do not succeed in reaching a balance between the physical or material science, the social science and the spiritual science. ”Understanding is the key to survival for your race. There is little value in a treaty, a pact or a guarantee between governments, if understanding is lacking between the people” (Daniel Fry, To Men of Earth. Including The White Sands Incident, p. 115).


There is much of philosophical and spiritual value in the messages given by Alan to Daniel Fry. Words of wisdom and inspiration that became the core teachings presented in the Understanding units. As I have stated many times before I have advanced the theory that behind some of the 1950s contactees was a benevolent group of aliens visitors from somewhere who initiated a cultural and psychological influence test, at a critical moment for our civilisation. Some of the people contacted tried their best to implement the projects and ideas received by the visitors. Others couldn´t stand the psychological strain of the experiences or invented fake stories when the real contacts ended.

Alan´s basic message that understanding is the key to survival for humanity has an immediate appeal but still fails to adress the problem of evil. We may understand the ideas and motives of a Hitler, Stalin or ISIS leader but we will still be killed or imprisoned if we have a different idea. No amount of understanding will help us in this respect. Only force or power will do the job. Many of the members in the Understanding were mystics, who often fail or refuse to recognize the problem of evil or admit that an individual can be totally evil. Dag Hammarskjöld, 2nd Secretary-General of the United Nations learned this lesson during the Congo-Katanga crisis in 1960-61. His best friend, Bo Beskow, related a conversation he had with Hammarskjöld in 1961 when he asked whether Dag still believed in the good in man, that there is something good in all people? ”That Summer, 1961, Hammarskjöld was very serious in his answer. You know I have concluded something I never thought possible. I have discovered that there really exist completely evil people.” (Documentary, Swedish TV October 29, 2005).


In the last book published by Daniel Fry, When In Cairo, there are indications that Alan was really very aware of the problem of evil. This is a strange, unfinished book by Fry which he claimed was 70% true. It is a sort of spy novel where Alan is the leader of a secret group fighting an evil society in Egypt (The Shukran), trying to find and use hidden  technological treasures from the Atlantean civilization: ” We simply must find some way to stop this insane organization before they take over all of Egypt and plunge the nation into a hopeless war of conquest. The three leaders are the most dangerous of egomaniacs, whose ambition has absolutely no limit. If they succeeded in conquering the entire earth. they would immediately set up a huge space program just so they could go to other planets and conquer them too!” (p. 12)

Another fundamental idea presented by Alan is the necessity of balance between physical, material science, social science and spiritual science. In the human being this could be compared with balance between the physical, emotional and intellectual/spiritual part of man. The problem is that humanity on this planet has no generally recognized spiritual science, only various religions and more or less obsolete belief systems. The custodians of the science of the multiverse (Esoteric Science) have only recently made some tests in giving this science to humanity. But mainstream academic scholars will probably not take an interest in esotericism until definite empirical evidence of the etheric worlds and their inhabitants can be presented in the form of photos and films. An elementary outline of The Esoteric Tradition was presented by Daniel Fry in his book The Curve of Development. This is actually an excellent, easy to read, introduction to the science of the multiverse but as usual, unfortunately, mostly introduced in old religious terms.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding the contact experiences of Daniel Fry. Who was actually Alan? Is he or his group still around? Why didn´t such a large organization as Understanding survive the death of Fry in 1992? There were many capable local leaders who could have continued Daniel´s work. Further in-depth research on the history of the Understanding movement could perhaps give more clues to this enigma?