By Timothy Green Beckley
While its open for debate, I can trace my UFOlogical roots back to 1957 when I sighted two objects revolving overhead in the sky. One was hovering over an abandoned factory building across the street from where I lived in New Jersey, while the other stood still almost directly above the house that my grandparents owned. I didn’t observe any portholes, “little green men” didn’t wave to me, but I fully realized — despite a pronouncement by the authorities in the paper a couple of days later to the effect that we were all hypnotized by the appearance of a couple of weather balloons — that these lights, objects, craft (call them what you may) seemed to be under intelligent control. Indeed, they were not bobbing and weaving in the air current. In fact, they seem to know what they were doing (whatever that was), which I think — at least partly — was to get my attention and to push me into unknown territory.
And boy did they ever!
I went and purchased all the material I could find on the subject (including a copy of Fate magazine), started writing letters to the local newspaper and harassing a couple of reporters who I knew kind of went along with my thinking on the subject, that we were being observed by someone — or something — else.
So its been more than half a century now since I threw my hat into the flying saucer ring ding. As fate had it (there are NO coincidences my dozens of personal synchronicities have proven to me) I became an “authority” on the subject, published several nationally distributed newsstand magazines on UFOs, and today as a publisher of my own micro mini “empire,” can lay claim to having published nearly 300 volumes on the paranormal (to see most of them simply go to Amazon.com and type in Inner Light – Global Communications under books).
To commemorate my more than half a century UFOlogical folly, I decided to reprint the first book we ever published back in 1964. Its a real collectors item, and we have to thank Flying Saucer Digest’s Rick Hilberg for photo copying this rather “rough looking” tome which was printed on a spirit duplicator (how fitting). The material, even by today’s standards is interesting, exciting and probably covers a lot newbies may not be familiar with as its origins are almost prehistoric.
The following is my thinking on UFOs today versus yesteryear. The book has been reformatted by associate Tim Swartz, some new art drawn and revised by Carol Ann Rodriguez, and a handful of photos added to “dress up” the book. We also have to thank Sean Casteel for finding a few typos that might have been overlooked during the glorious Sixties. So here then is a brief preview of the collectors item known as INSIDE THE SAUCERS (with special thanks to all our friends).
BACK A BIT IN TIME – FLYING SAUCER STYLE
A lot of boys my age were probably starting to think about girls and sneaking a peek at their father’s Playboy collection. Well, it took me a few years to get into the sins of the flesh. (As it turned out, about ten years later, I became the adult movie review critic for “Hustler Magazine.”) Instead, at 14 or 15, I was reading magazines like “Fate” and “Flying Saucers From Other Worlds.” And, along the way, I hooked up with a small collective of other would-be teen UFOlogists.
Let me clarify: we weren’t particularly geeks or nerds (such terms hadn’t even been coined yet), but we did have some fairly lofty ideals when it came to the subject of flying saucers and their presumed alien crews. Lured by the magic of NASA’s earliest missions and a full-blown nationalistic battle to beat the Russians into orbiting a satellite, we were more into the cosmos than into what we possibly thought at the time were more mundane earthly matters…like keeping our grades up in school.
By “coincidence,” we all met through a column in Ray Palmer’s digest magazine. “Flying Saucers” was an offbeat, bantam-sized publication that cost a whopping thirty-five cents and which you either had to subscribe to or hunt for in the back rows and racks of some pretty obscure newsstands. Palmer had edited a pulp science fiction magazine out of Chicago called “Amazing Stories,” where he tied in underground civilizations, lost worlds and the sightings of some pretty strange, fan-dangled, whirling disc-shaped objects that were just beginning to be seen in the sky all over the United States following World War II.
It was 1962-63 and we were thirsty for knowledge. There was no Internet. No cell phones. So, if you had an inquisitive mind, you read. And if you were into UFOs, Palmer’s zine was about the only ballgame in town devoted entirely to the subject. And I know I was eager to seek out others who shared my interest and might have information to exchange. And so on my manual typewriter I wrote a letter to Palmer Publications about my interests and he published it alongside similar communiques. Correspondence was exchanged through the mail with others who had gotten my address from the pages of this strange little magazine devoted to a very fringe topic. In fact, we were making friends all over the world, in countries that we couldn’t immediately pinpoint on the map.
I suppose I think of myself as a second generation UFO researcher. Or more accurately as a Fortean mindful of the depth and scope of Charles Fort’s contribution to unexplained phenomena and his dedication of hours spent going through dusty newspaper files and scientific journals gathering dust in libraries in the U.S. and the UK.
Truth is, I wasn’t on the scene when the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena was formed, nor did I ever become a member of APRO, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, which was a bit more liberal-minded when it came to UFOs, who was inside, and what their mission in coming to earth might be. NICAP was strictly “nuts-and-bolts,” as we say, and was determined to prove that UFOs were physical craft from outer space. They went after reports by pilots, cops and scientific types, while APRO was keen on collecting reports of humanoid beings seen in association with the craft. They were picking up reports from all over Europe and South America, while NICAP centered its attention on butting heads with the Air Force over what they felt was an attempt to stonewall the topic and to keep the saucers a closely guarded secret from the American public.
At some point – circa 1963/64 – I decided to throw my own saucer-shaped hat into the UFOlogical ring and start my own organization as well as an affiliated publication which we called (no drum roll necessary on this uninspired name) “The Interplanetary News Service Report.”
The organization and its publication quickly grew from a few dozen members to over 1500, probably making us the third largest organization of its type in the country. Some members knew my age, others didn’t – none seemed to care! I was putting out a pretty impressive 40 page publication with the aid of some very credible – and incredible – associates, until I got an offer from Jim Moseley which I couldn’t refuse, allowing him to take over our rank and file membership roster and combine our subscriptions with his more professionally-produced magazine “Saucer News.” To sweeten the pot, he offered to make me Managing Editor of his magazine and to pay me a weekly salary. Hell, how could I say no? I guess this sort of officially ended my career as a teenage UFOlogist, but not as a “teenage werewolf” as I went on to produce a couple of B-movie horror films under the moniker of Mr. Creepo.
I could blow by you a lengthy list of names of those who started out around the same time as I did in a quest for the truth about the “Space Brothers,” but the majority have disappeared, if indeed they even stuck around long enough to be considered part of the scene.
I do remember fondly several aspiring individuals who have passed on to some heavenly realm or other dimension, but should be acknowledged as to the role they played, both in the development of my career and in UFO matters in general. There would be Al Manak of “Flying Saucer Digest” fame, Gray Barker, my first major book publisher and the editor of “The Saucerian,” and, of course, “Saucer News” publisher Jim Moseley, the court jester of a budding field of research who managed to keep things moving and grooving, even during the periods when the saucers weren’t flying so thick and fast through our atmosphere. (Made a crank phone call when in doubt to stir up the pot and get the likes of contactee George Adamski to espouse another fanciful story, real or imagined.)
But we digress and are getting off the topic of teenage UFOlogy just a bit. In fact, those who want to pursue the beginning of my career and the smiling cherub faces of those who set up camp at around the same time are welcome to hear a recent pod cast of TheParaCast.com, hosted by a graduate of those same teen years. Gene Steinberg, perhaps a year or two older, but not any wiser, was one of the original teens now turned senior – and serious – UFOlogist, like the rest of us. In any regard, we were all pretty wet behind the Martian ears in those days, and you can rest assured that it can be said that we are still floundering about looking for answers to the same questions that perplexed us in the 1960s and Seventies.
With the help of a section called “Saucer Club News” in Ray Palmer’s “Flying Saucers” magazine in the 1950s and 1960s, enterprising young people got together to form their own UFO clubs, or just looked to meet up with others with the same interests. That’s where such people as your humble host of The Paracast and such notables as Tim Beckley, Jerome Clark, Allen Greenfield and Rick Hilberg got their starts. In a single virtual room, Gene’s old friends will reminisce about their early work in the UFO field. The political and cultural climate, how both may have impacted early research efforts, are also debated. Guest co-host is J. Randall Murphy.
Okay, in addition to yours truly who was busy grinding out the latest news on an old fashioned mimeograph machine (a printing device first patterned by Thomas Edison), there were others putting staples into printed sheets of 8.5×11 paper to create their own zines.
I always felt I had the best “amateur” publication around, though crude by today’s standards, thanks in large part to Jerry Clark, who typed the master stencils for our issues, thus giving us a nearly perfect newsletter free of the typos and grammatical errors that would creep in when I tried to do the job myself.
Clark quickly went on to bigger and better ventures, eventually penning the monumental “UFO Encyclopedia” (in three huge volumes), becoming editor of Fate magazine, and winding up “at the side” of the late astronomer Dr J. Allen Hynek at the very prestigious Center For UFO Studies in Chicago. (Enthusiasts may do a search for Jerome Clark on my YouTube channel, “Mr. UFO’s Secret Files” to hear a reflective, personal account of his adventures over the ensuing decades.)
I don’t need to go into detail here regarding the others, i.e. Steinberg, Hilberg, Halperin and Greenfield since I have specifically requested they add a bit of color to this publication by outlining their humble roots, how their interests and beliefs have developed, and where we can expect to go from here (at seventy, not very far, I would assume).
And speaking of this publication, I should mention somewhere along the line – this being the first ample opportunity without backtracking and rewriting everything – that the publication you decided not to resist our highly polished pitch for – and paid your hard earned cash to obtain – is an exact duplicate of my first book that came off our mimeograph press circa 1963.
In order to defray the cost of printing our “Interplanetary News Service Report” (far from being covered by the $2.00 subscription fee), we needed to invent a way to keep our asses out of debt and pay the hyperbolic postage and shipping costs (out of hand even in those days before rampant inflation). We hit upon the concept of publishing some sort of book or booklets of around 70 to 100 pages. “Inside The Saucers” was the first project of its type. Today, my company, Inner Light – Global Communications, has around 270 titles posted on Amazon that I hope you will consider adding to your paranormal library.
As stated, we have done virtually no editing here. What you read in 1963 is what you will read here today. Sean Casteel, my editor, has maybe found a few commas out of place and an occasional typo that got past Jerry Clark’s initial eagle eye and the white out process. (Remember white out? It was used to correct stencils if you found an error, but it made such a mess that you might have been better off letting the original error go through just as it was.)
Reading over the retyped manuscript, I must say I am impressed with the tone of this work. We had some original thinking going for ourselves, and I do believe I have to take credit for having come forward with the idea that some of the flying discs being observed might be of Nazi origin (see the crudely sketched facsimile of a German built saucer within these pages).
We also tore into the reputed appearance of the Men In Black (done so before my softcover book “UFO Silencers” hit the bestseller charts) and offered researcher Ken Larson a speculative arm to espouse his theory that there was a sort of synchronicity between UFOs, the Great Pyramid and the Salton Sea (a rather bleak and barren California wetland-like watering hole that time has forgotten – and it’s no wonder why, if you care to Google photos of the Salton Sea as it exists today). There is also an inspiring section by the late George Fawcett, who at one time had the largest private collection of UFO photos, and a detailed report on saucers sightings from 1962. Perhaps the most credible case described herein involved a UFO flap at the Oradell, New Jersey Reservoir. Old timers will recall the excitement caused by UFOs that bored a hole in the ice at the Wanaquee, New Jersey Reservoir, but the incident at Oradell seems more impressive and never got any recognition. Deserves being scrutinized very carefully for its possible relevance and importance as a historical benchmark.
Anyway, as far as I am concerned, “Inside The Saucers” is a forgotten treasure and we can’t thank Rick Hilberg enough for discovering one of the few remaining copies in his files in Cleveland and making a photocopy from which the original work was retyped most meticulously by Sean Casteel.
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