Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"We Are Here"

In 1972 French ufologist Michel Zirger read the classic Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski. Like many others he became intensively fascinated by its content and this ”magic cauldron of ufology” became his ”bedside book” – and still is. But it also, in 1993, initiated a systematic investigation into the life of contactee George Hunt Williamson, resulting in the biography The Incredible Life of George Hunt Williamson (English edition 2016), co-authored with Maurizio Martinelli. I reviewed this work in an earlier blog entry.

What makes the research and documentation of Michel Zirger especially valuable is his access to parts of the personal archive of George Hunt Williamson, which he acquired in 1995: unpublished manuscripts, notebooks, personal diary and correspondence. Based on this unique material Zirger has now published a 365 page sequel to the first biography, ”We Are Here!” Visitors Without a Passport., edited by Australien ufologist Warren P. Aston.  And let me make it clear already at the outset of this review – this book has the potential of becoming dynamite in the UFO research community.

Serious and open minded research on early contactee cases and especially George Adamski has been and is to this day very much taboo among mainstream scientific ufologists. Instead of detailed investigation ufologists like Donald Keyhoe, Coral and Jim Lorenzen, Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee appeared as skeptical debunkers when commenting on the 1950s contactees. In my view, and also clearly emphasized by Zirger, a great mistake made by the otherwise best minds in UFO research history. ”For the last 50 years we have been led by the nose by a small clique of astronomer-statistician-ufologists, allegedly rigorous, who have led ufology down a blind alley to where it is a present”, is the harsh comment by Michel Zirger in his introduction (p. xviii). And he continues with referring to ”Jacques Vallee´s passion for reducing all UFO reports and entities to a single socio-religious explanation”. The last comment is a strange misunderstanding. Vallee has never been a proponent of the skeptical psychosocial school in ufology, although some reviewers of Passport to Magonia have interpreted him as a skeptic.

Michel Zirger was born in France but moved to Tokyo in 1994, where he has worked together with several Japanese ufologists. And it is in Tokyo that Zirger has had three intriguing encounters with ”human-type aliens”. The first two encounters, in 1994, happened at a restaurant near the train station of Senzokuike. Zirger, his future wife and her cousin Yoshimi notice a strange woman at a table: ”Her gaze was metallic, hard, intense, as if full of reproach… At those very moments I definitely felt that she was sending me what is commonly called ”telepathic messages”.”  Two months later Zirger and his future wife encounter the same woman again in the restaurant. And once again there is a telepathic interplay. When the mysterious woman is leaving the restaurant Zirger follows her: ”… although I went out one or two seconds after her, I could not see her…she had disappeared; she had vanished into thin air.”

The third encounter occurred 2010 in a Tokyo café. Zirger share a drink with his friend Yann Aucante when they notice a Swedish or Scandinavian-looking man at a table nearby. Zirger immediately get the impression that this is Orthon, the extraterrestrial who contacted Adamski and he repeat a telepathic message: ”Are you an extraterrestrial?”. Suddenly the man writes something in a notebook and leave it open for all to see. The man had written in French ”On est la” (We are here) and then leave the café. Zirger doesn´t say that this really WAS Orthon but affirm that he ”bore an extraordinary resemblance to the alien known to us as Orthon, as depicted in the drawing made by Alice K. Wells in 1952 and in the oil painting done by the artist Gay Betts in 1954…” This encounter so impressed Michel Zirger that he made the writing in the notebook the title of his second Williamson biography.

Oil painting by Gay Betts

What is somewhat surprising is that Zirger is not aware of that George Adamski did not favor the almost feminine Orthon in the oil painting. In 1959 Adamski told his co-worker Lou Zinsstag: ”Orthon did not look like that at all. He had a very manly, intellectual face, but as his features were so distinct and characteristic it would have been dangerous for him to have had them published.” Adamski then opened his wallet and showed Lou Zinsstag a photo of Orthon. She noticed that ”It was indeed very different from the painted version.” (Lou Zinsstag and Timothy Good, George Adamski - The Untold Story, p.7).

Section II of ”We Are Here”, A Case of Italian Friendship, is a 60 page summary of the controversial Amicizia case. I guess editor Warren Aston is behind the idea to include this section in the book as he is an exponent of the case and has devoted two chapters to Amicizia in his book A Mormon Looks at Aliens and UFOs, co-authored with Nadine Lalich (2012). Warren Aston has also edited 50 years of Amicizia, written by Stefano Breccia (2013). Although open minded I am very dubious of this complicated case and I don´t think it should have been included as the link to George Hunt Williamson and George Adamski is very thin. Michel Zirger writes that Amicizia ”validates the Adamski case”. I find the story to be quite the opposite from what I have read regarding Amicizia. If the aliens described by Breccia and others really exist they are not the kind of people I would buy a used car from.

For those who have not read Williamson´s book Other Tongues – Other Flesh, chapter six in Zirger´s biography, A New Concept: The Wanderers is a very informative overview of  the spiritual worldview of Williamson in relation to visitors from other planets. He introduced today well known concepts such as The Migrants, The Wanderers, The Agents, The Intruders etc. This chapter is followed by a very useful chronology of events in the life of Georg Hunt Williamson. Here we can follow the development of both his personal life, philosophy and involvement with various ufologists, contactees and channellers. Much of this information has not been published before.

There has been several attempts to associate George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson with far-right extremism. In Messengers of Deception Jacques Vallee writes: ”According to some of my informants, contactee George Adamski had prewar connections with American fascist leader William Dudley Pelley, who was interned during the war. Another seminal contactee, George Hunt Williamson… was associated with Pelley´s organization ”Soulcraft”, in the early fifties.” (p. 192). In a very important chapter, The Two Georges and the Far Right, Michel Zirger, presents clear evidence that these accusations by Vallee are unfounded and a misunderstanding. George Adamski never met Pelley and certainly never endorsed his prewar fascist ideas. Williamson did work for Pelley´s magazine Valor a few months in 1954 but his interest in Pelley was the channelled material he had presented in books such as Star Guests (1950). Vallee´s statement that Valor was a ”racist magazine” has no foundation. It was an outlet for Pelley´s spiritual messages and channelings. Michel Zirger has made a great service to UFO research by unraveling these mistakes.

George Hunt Williamson 1953

A chapter that will certainly raise a few eyebrows is titled A Response To An All-Round Debunker (of UFOs, Aliens, Apparitions, Turid Shroud, Jesus, Religion, Bible etc.). Here Michel Zirger presents some very harsh criticism of an unnamed skeptic, called Mr. X, who heavily criticized his first book on Williamson. Mr. X had written ”a long diatribe of such unprecedented  virulence, impoliteness and self-conceit that an answer from me is the only desirable, necessary and legally authorized reaction.” (p. 299). We are further told that ”… he did not hesitate to archive in Sweden, with a Ufological organization, the whole correspondence I had with him, about twenty e-mails, so that any third party can consult them, and this during my lifetime and without my consent… Is it legal to archive my letters in Sweden? I don´t know…” (pp. 299-300). I was somewhat surprised by these statements as anyone with basic information retrieval skills can easily find out that it is AFU, the archive of which I am co-founder and working with, that is inferred. By reading the AFU website or my blog, or the blog of my AFU colleague Clas Svahn, it i also easy to find the name of the skeptic who donated his archive to AFU. Why Michel Zirger prefer anonymity for Mr. X I don´t know but I will not here divulge his real name. As for the legal aspect, collections donated to privately financed NGO foundations is open to anyone, unless the donor has stipulated restrictions regarding some part of the material. The AFU board naturally have an moral responsibility when dealing with correspondence of a controversial och private nature but generally the archive is open to anyone with a serious research interest.

The most sensational part of this book, which could prove to be real dynamite in UFO history is presented in Update. Photographic Validation of the Landing of Orthon on November 20, 1952. On the very day when the final editing of ”We Are Here” was completed Michel Zirger discovered that the George Adamski photographs had been digitally enhanced by the Danish photographer and painter Rene Erik Olsen. These photos are reproduced in the book and on the website of Rene Erik Olsen and clearly show new details never before seen or expected. There is even one photo showing what could be Orthon. If these enhancements prove correct and can be validated the Adamski contact case will have to be re-evaluated even by mainstream, scientific ufologists.

Adamski photo Dec. 13, 1952 from Rene Erik Olsen´s website. Not digitally enhanced 

To receive further details I contacted Rene Erik Olsen. This is a summary of his information: Rene contacted Glenn Steckling of the Adamski Foundation in 2001 as he wanted to do a computer animation of George Adamski´s contact experience November 20, 1952. From Steckling he received copies from the original negatives. But it was not until 2017 when Rene, on his own initiative, made digital enhancements of the photos that he discovered the new details. Rene regard the photos from November 20, 1952 as definitely genuine and revolutionary and the photos of December 13, 1952 as ”probably genuine”. Up until 1995 Rene made some drawings for Danish ufologist H.C. Petersen and the organization SUFOI but wish to be neutral in regard to various claims of contact. Michel Zirger affirms that ”Mr. Olsen is a good, honest, and very generous man, who tries to deal with the evidence at hand without his own bias and ideas about the subject… Of course we have to be careful, and further analysis will be needed.”

”We Are Here” is an important book with a treasure trove on new research data, much better organized than the first volume. Michel Zirger ends by announcing there will be a third book with a follow up on the Adamski photographs enhanced by Olsen. Is this the beginning of a revolution in UFO history?