By Sean Casteel
There are UFOs among the stars. You must to some degree believe this or you would not likely be reading this article. But according to Timothy Green Beckley, a writer, editor and CEO of the Inner Light/Global Communications publishing company, there are UFOs among the stars of the HUMAN kind, celebrities rendered mere awestruck mortals by encounters with ships, occupants and the psychic traces left behind in the wake of a UFO experience.
Beckley’s new book on the subject of celebrity encounters is called “Shirley MacLaine Meets The Pleiadians, Plus The Amazing Flying Saucer Experiences of Celebrities, Rock Stars and the Rich and Famous.” In the interest of total disclosure, I wrote an introductory chapter on Shirley and contributed a section on rock star Sammy Hagar. Beyond that, this one is totally Beckley’s baby.
The dedication to finding the truth behind the UFO phenomenon began for the titular Shirley when she was a young girl living in Virginia. She recorded in her diary the legendary sightings over nearby Washington, D.C., in 1952, and began to collect clippings from the era’s print media accounts.
Later, as an adult, she took time out from her Oscar-winning career as an actress to delve deeply into the UFO mystery. In the first of her bestselling autobiographical books about her spiritual search, 1983’s “Out On A Limb,” Shirley wrote about visiting a UFO contactee named “David,” whom she said was a composite character based on UFO experiencers of her acquaintance.
She journeyed to Peru with “David” to see firsthand the locations where flying saucers are said to have touched down and made contact with the indigenous peoples. While she was initially troubled by “David’s” declaration that he considered himself to have actually met extraterrestrials and shared a telepathic relationship with an alien female, she slowly began to see there might be some truth to what “David” said, including the idea that she had been chosen by his Pleiadian friends to spread their message throughout the world by writing about the alien race in “Out On A Limb.”
The book also includes an account of Shirley and “David’s” visit to Lake Titicaca, where local folklore alluded to a lot of unusual and unexplained occurrences, like strange underground noises, lights and flying objects. At the well-known Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, locals gathered around the two interlopers to excitedly tell the story of a “flying egg” that had risen from a lake in the area accompanied by five smaller black spheres.
“They hovered for a few minutes and then flew out into space,” yelled a tamale vendor.
Eduard “Billy” Albert Meier, the controversial Swiss “UFO Prophet,” also received a visit from Shirley, as recounted in Shirley’s most recent book, 2007’s “Sage-ing While Age-ing.” Shirley traveled to Meier’s village of Hinderschmudruti in Switzerland in 1981 along with Lee and Brit Elders, the authors of a book on Meier called “UFO: Contact from the Pleiades.”
“For about two weeks,” Shirley writes, “I listened to Billy’s stories about contact with the Pleiades.”
Billy had had a lonely childhood, beaten by his father and ignored by his mother. When he was first contacted, while still a child, a craft landed in a field and an older man emerged who gave Billy encouragement and love. As an adult, Billy experienced contact with a craft in the countryside near his village about twice a month, usually around 2 A.M.
Like “David,” Billy claimed to be in contact with a female from the Pleiades who delivered the standard warnings and consolations about Earth’s future given to all contactees. Thus Shirley began to cement her belief – not only in aliens who communicated directly with Earthlings – but also that said aliens came, originally, from the Pleiades star system. Shirley has been taking huge doses of ridicule ever since, even from some within the UFO community.
A BOXER THROWS HIS PUNCHES AT UFO NAYSAYERS
Beckley writes that, of all the famous folks he spent time with discussing UFOs and theories about extraterrestrials, the former heavyweight champ, Muhammad Ali, was the most engaging when talking about his personal experiences.
The two had met for the first time when Beckley got permission to interview Ali as he jogged through New York’s Central Park in training to fight contender Oscar Bonavena. Beckley was grateful that Ali ran at a pace he could keep up with as Ali told the story of his UFO sighting.
“I happened to look up just before dawn,” Ali began, “as I often do while running, and there hovering above us was this brilliant light hanging as if by an invisible thread. At first I thought it was a beacon projected from a helicopter. But moments later a similar object passed in front of us.
“I brought it to the attention of my trainer, who was standing nearby” the fighter went on. “We watched them come from behind the skyline and move slowly across the sky for at least 15 minutes. The best I can describe the sighting is to say they were just round and big.”
A number of reporters traveling with the champ jumped on the story and it was picked up by the wire services. The resulting coverage led Beckley to set up his own follow-up interview to learn more about the anomalous event. The mainstream media, unfortunately, treated Ali’s experience as a joke and the champ wanted to make sure that Beckley understood that he was quite serious about what he had seen. He told Beckley he had had previous sightings, a total of 16 so far. He also invited Beckley to visit him at his hotel so that Ali could tell him some more of his sightings stories.
In the champ’s hotel room, where he had several of his paintings on display, Ali told Beckley and the small assembled throng of reporters and training camp assistants that UFOs have been “watching me for some time now. Many times, in the early morning hours, if you look up in the sky you can see them playing tag between the stars, really high up. I’ve had a good number of sightings myself. The closest one happened when a cigar-shaped ship hovered over a car I was a passenger in one night driving north on the New Jersey Turnpike. What a sight that was. We could see the shadow made by the UFO as it passed over the pavement of the road in the light of the full moon.”
Ali’s voice shifted to a more confidential tone, and he said, “I don’t like to talk about this much, but we all seem to be open-minded here. One day, walking through the Florida Everglades, I saw this ship land, and, as I watched, a door slid open and a ramp projected itself onto the ground. Out stepped a human-looking figure more than seven feet tall who proceeded to walk down the ramp and stand in front of me. ‘Muhammad,’ he said, ‘you will beat Sonny Liston in . . .”
The room filled with laughter at another of Ali’s famous put-ons.
As Ali excused himself to take a shower, he pressed a slip of paper with his unlisted phone number into Beckley’s hand. When the intrepid reporter called three weeks later, the champ asked in jest, “You sure Joe Frazier didn’t tell you to call?”
The champ asked Beckley to bring along any photos, films, slides – anything he had on flying saucers – and come to his home in New Jersey to discuss the material. Beckley vividly recalls the house, set back 500 feet from the road with a Rolls Royce parked in the driveway.
After being warmly greeted by Ali, Beckley and the friends he had brought with him showed the champ some motion picture film taken in West Virginia of possible flying saucers. At Ali’s request, they ran the film three times while the champ pointed out the similarities between the objects on the film and what he had seen personally. Ali then asked if he could have copies of the film made so that he could show them when he lectured at colleges around the country.
“UFOs tie in with what my teacher, Elijah Muhammad, says,” Ali explained. He then read aloud from his teacher’s book, “Message to the Black Man in America,” in which the elder Muslim compared the modern flying saucers phenomenon to Ezekiel’s vision of a wheel in the sky.
Sometime later, Beckley visited Ali at his training camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania at Deer Lake. This time Beckley’s entourage included the super psychic Uri Geller, who demonstrated his preternatural gifts by causing the stone inside the ring of Ali’s ex-wife Belinda to simply disappear. Geller also made a deep impression – merely by lightly touching it with his finger – in the large, metal religious medallion worn by one of the sparring partners at the camp.
After the “magical interlude” was over, Ali told Beckley about a sighting that had taken place over two nights the previous summer. As the champ trained to fight George Foreman, he observed a cigar-shaped ship that reaffirmed the beliefs taught by Elijah Muhammad about the wheels seen by Ezekiel that would one day come to judge the Earth. On the second night of the sighting, the craft was also seen by Ali’s business manager, Gene Kilroy, who acknowledged that he no longer felt the champ’s vivid imagination had been the true source of the stories the champ had told.
During their next and final meeting, Ali told Beckley that he had not regretted speaking openly about his experiences, adding that, “I hope others will listen in the future as I’m convinced UFOs are of tremendous importance to the whole world.”
SAMMY DAVIS JR. REMAINED UNAFRAID
There was a secret side, Beckley writes, to the late Sammy Davis, Jr., who held a little-known belief in UFOs based on his personal sightings experiences.
“I was never afraid of aliens or whatever it is that pilots these UFOs,” Sammy declared in a phone conversation with Beckley conducted from Sammy’s Las Vegas hotel room. “There were a lot of sightings around 1952-53, and I wasn’t to be left out.”
Sammy said he was with a group of people when they spotted discs literally “floating overhead.” He was amazed at how they could accelerate from a dead stop to fantastic speeds. “First they would stand still,” Sammy recalled, “and then they would take off and stop again before finally shooting away in a flash.”
Sammy recounted another sighting that had taken place as he drove to the Boston-area hotel he was staying at along with members of his band. The craft was “immense and glowed brilliantly from the lights that surrounded it. Actually, the object was so bright that I had a hard time keeping my eyes on it.”
Sammy and his friends watched in awe as the object hovered quite close.
“Some of the guys with me were afraid that the object was going to come after us,” he said. “They felt it might attack us, but I didn’t have any such fear, as I felt quite strongly that if they wanted to harm the human race, they could have done so a long time ago.”
Beckley writes that Sammy never told him just what Sammy’s good friend, the “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra, thought of Sammy’s interest in the strange goings-on in our skies.
STUART WHITMAN GETS UFO SUPPORT DURING “THE GREAT BLACKOUT”
The actor Stuart Whitman, known for his gutsy performances in movies like “The Sound and the Fury” and “The Comancheros” (in which he costarred with John Wayne), spoke to Beckley by phone from his home in Hollywood. Stuart told Beckley about an “incredible incident” that had happened in November 1965 on the night of the “Great Blackout” that left 15 million homes and businesses without electricity.
Beckley feels Stuart’s story is an important example of the aliens attempting to reach out to well-known celebrities.
“I was sleeping in my room on the twelfth floor of a New York Hotel,” Stuart said, “when I heard a loud buzzing sound akin to the noise made by a police siren. Then I heard my name being called. ‘WHITMAN, WHITMAN!’ It was as though the voice was being projected over a loudspeaker not far from where I was resting.”
Stuart felt drawn to a window by some unseen force, and he saw two luminescent, egg-shaped objects which were clouded in a haze that made it impossible to discern any specific details. One was bright orange and the other blue. The voices continued, saying that he had been selected for contact because he had no malice or hatred in his heart. The aliens then delivered the standard contactee message about nuclear proliferation and the chaos and evil infecting the world.
Stuart said he thinks the aliens orchestrated the blackout to provide only a small demonstration of what they were capable of, powers they might be forced to use to prevent our self-annihilation through warfare and our negative impact on other inhabited planets. A second blackout, in December 1965, which affected four military bases in New Mexico and Texas and plunged at least a million people into darkness, served as further confirmation of this idea for Stuart.
“I was not frightened, but strangely elated,” Stuart told Beckley. “I had no fear, as I somehow knew they would do me no harm.”
DRUMMER BUDDY RICH: UFO “SUPER BUFF”
Jazz drummer Buddy Rich was what Beckley calls a true “UFO enthusiast,” similar to comedian Jackie Gleason in his fanatical devotion to the subject. Buddy had several sightings and was even a member of the Center for UFO Studies as well as being a friend of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the group’s director.
Beckley spoke to Buddy between sets in the dressing room of Buddy’s Place, his New York supper club, about his initial sighting experience.
“It was back in the summer of 1954,” Buddy said. “At the time, I was appearing with my band in Atlanta, Georgia. My brother was right beside me in the front seat of our sports car. We were driving along, on the way to do a show, when I happened to glance through the windshield of the auto and saw two brightly illuminated objects coming out from behind the dark side of the moon.”
The brothers stopped the car in the parking lot of the club to get a better look. The objects were now doing figure-eights in front of their astounded eyes. The UFOs seemed to be playing tag with each other and were making incredible turns at impossibly high speeds, the G-forces of which would crushed whoever was onboard. Within minutes, 200 patrons of the club who had heard about the aerial ballet came out to see for themselves. After a few more minutes, the objects shot straight up and disappeared into the starry sky.
Buddy dutifully phoned an Air Force base about 20 miles from the club and was told by a base official that they had received over 500 calls reporting the incident but their radar indicated nothing was flying in the area at the time. Buddy says he has since learned that this is the standard military “cop-out.”
Buddy had another sighting in 1966 during which he and his wife were nearly driven off the road by a gigantic saucer-shaped craft. Unable to shake the incident from his mind, he began collecting books, news clippings and photos of these elusive discs, eventually amassing a sizeable file of information.
As part of his crusading efforts, Buddy tried to convince other celebrities that flying saucers are real, including the late “Tonight Show” host, Johnny Carson. Carson continually rebuffed Buddy’s entreaties to take the subject seriously, that is, until the time Carson saw one himself while staying at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. Carson, still stammering from nervousness and shock, called Buddy to tell him the story. In spite of having his own close encounter, however, Carson was never amenable to talking about UFOs on the air.