Dorris and George Van Tassel
As several times before I have received excellent biographical help from Fortean researcher and author Joshua Blu Buhs. His blog From an Oblique Angle has not been updated since June 2017 as he is now writing a book on Forteans. Joshua has provided me with much biographical data on Dorris Van Tassel. A woman that has been described as ”mysterious” by other writers. That is certainly a correct description. She had very special and unique insights into the activities of the contactees of the 1950s.
Dorris Van Tassel was born Dorris Jane Andre in Richmond, California September 8, 1912. She later changed her middle name to Ione. Her father was Alfred Nyström, who had emigrated from Finland. Mother´s name was Grace Miller. As a young girl Dorris was a very skilled athlete and received several awards for her achievements. In 1938 she married William A. Andre and they had a daughter, Marie Andre, born in 1938. Dorris studied Physical Therapy and she eventually opened a health clinic, Dorris Health Salon, in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California.
Dorris as a young athlete, upper row, middle
Ad in Sonoma West Times and News, Maarch 8, 1951
In Santa Rosa, Dorris was affiliated with the Meta-Physical Library and Workshop and in the beginning of the 1950s she developed an interest in UFOs. I have not been able to ascertain when her own UFO contacts began but it must have been in the early 1950s. Like journalist and esotericist Paul M. Vest she decided to help the group of space people who implemented an extensive cultural and psychological test in the U.S. by contacting ordinary citizens and suggesting various missions. Dorris became a sort of booking-agent for many of the early contactees. She arranged lectures for George Adamski, Daniel Fry, Truman Bethurum and other contactees. But she also occasionally lectured on flying saucers herself.
The Press Democrat, March 3, 1954
The Press Democrat, February 24, 1955
Dorris corresponded frequently with many contactees and people involved in the UFO movement. In a letter 1954 to George Adamski´s secretary Lucy McGinnis she mentioned having observed ”two disks leave mother craft on one occasion”. (Letter May 24, 1954). So far there has been very little published describing Dorris´ contacts but she gave a detailed account of her experiences at Daniel Fry´s Understanding Convention 1976. A short note of her lecture was published in Understanding magazine: ”Two women were a delightful part of the program. Dorris Van Tassel told the story of her contacts with space people, a fantastic story it was too. Until you have heard her, you´ve missed something.” (Understanding, vol. 21, no. 5, 1976, p. 6).
Dorris had married George Van Tassel after the death of his wife Eva in 1975. They had worked together for many years as contactees on various projects. This was mentioned by George Van Tassel in his magazine Proceedings 1974: ”We left Los Angeles on June 6th and arrived in Atlanta, Georgia on the same day. We rented a car in Atlanta and arried in Lakemont on that evening. I was accompanied on the trip by Dr. Dorris Andre, a research associate and a friend of my family for 20 years.” (Proceedings, vol. 10, no. 5, July-Sept 1974, p. 4).
Much of the work Dorris and George Van Tassel did together with the space people has only been hinted at in Proceedings and by friends of the couple whom I have corresponded with. Not much has reached the public. Like covert agents they used code words in contacs with the visitors and they had the means to know who was really in contact with the benevolent group of space people and who were impostors.
At times Dorris Van Tassel´s home functioned as a sort of safe house for both contactees and space people. One of her close friends told me how he reacted the first time he became aware of this: ”I remember the first time there was about 5 space people in Ms.Van Tassel's house talking with her as I quietly watched, and then suddenly one of the men turned , looked directly at me, smiled gently, and then very slowly turned to the kitchen room wall and walked right through the wall! I watched this very closely as he then came back in. Let me tell you , those kind of incidents have a very deep and troubling affect on our minds because we cannot comprehend it.”
I asked my correspondent whether Dorris was aware of that these five men were space people: ”O yes, she knew them well. It was perfectly normal for her.” (Email February 26, 2012).
Dorris Van Tassel died on June 30, 1991. She was certainly a woman of mystery, involved in many behind the scenes activities with the visitors. Researching the history of the 1950s contactees is like opening Chinese boxes. You open one and find another box inside – with a still deeper mystery.