JOHN KEEL NOT AN AUTHORITY ON ANYTHING

February 17, 2019

Letters to and from Charles Bowen, May 9 and 12, 1966

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John thanks Bowen for Lou Zinsstag’s address, and requests a bio of Flying Saucer Review contributor Bernard E. Finch and a copy of a photo of the San Miguel Object. The UFO in question was reported in Argentina in January 1965; Bowen wrote about it in the May 1965 article of his magazine. (Here’s a link to it.) Bowen responds with a detailed bio of Finch, the news that C. Maxwell Cade is joining the staff, and the photo. Cade is mostly remembered for his work in biofeedback, but he was apparently interested in UFOs as well.

February 10, 2019

John Keel and Lou Zinsstag

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John did indeed write Lou Zinsstag to order copies of the Monguzzi photos (see the last post). Their exchange is not particularly notable, but they do trade a few optimistic remarks on the upcoming end of UFO secrecy, and we learn that seven UFO photos cost five dollars in 1966, and that both John and Ms. Zinsstag firmly believed in them. From what I understand, Monguzzi had confessed to a hoax back in 1952, but many people didn’t accept his confession.

February 3, 2019

Letters to and from Charles Bowen, April 12 and 26, 1966

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I had posted all the letters in John’s file on Charles Bowen, but I just found several more in another file of his 1966 correspondence. So, I’ll move on to those; they fill in the gaps. The first is John’s initial letter to Flying Saucer Review, introducing himself, buying a subscription, and inquiring about the Monguzzi pictures. Giampero Monguzzi had taken several photos of a saucer and its pilot in 1952; he later confessed to a hoax, and posed with the models he’d used. John’s Playboy article and the book with Ivan Sanderson were eventually abandoned; he reworked the material into Operation Trojan Horse. Bowen directs John to Lou Zinsstag, an Adamski enthusiast who was also Carl Jung’s niece. Bowen is politely cautious about the Monguzzi photos.

January 29, 2019

A Letter from Charles Bowen, January 30, 1967

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The last letter in this file is one from Bowen, written on January 30, 1967. I don’t know why it’s the last; maybe they kept in touch by phone after that; maybe John kept more letters in another file. Bowen had apparently called John out of the blue, to “keep up to date.” It was the first time they’d spoken; he comments on their respective accents. Most of the letter is taken up with his thoughts on Colonel Freeman. George P. Freeman, of Project Blue Book, had made a surprising statement about UFO witnesses being interviewed by people impersonating USAF officers, which is now, I believe, often cited in books on the Men In Black. He also mentions a report about “supermarkets going up in smoke in Florida,” and that he gave John’s address to Jerome Clark.

January 20, 2019

A Letter to Charles Bowen, January 29, 1967

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John writes to Charles Bowen (editor of the British magazine Flying Saucer Review), responding to a phone call. Apparently, Bowen had asked him to write an article on the 1966 UFO flap, and John is rather apologetic about the result. He also mentions his attempt to decipher the papers produced by UFO contactee John Reeves, which contain symbols that remind him of others reported by Antônio Vilas Boas, George Adamski, and Lonnie Zamora (in Socorro, NM). He did keep a file on his research, and published a booklet called The Reeves Papers: A Modern Rosetta Stone? There doesn’t seem to be much mention of it online, so I’ll have to dig it out… He also mentions a story about “a vast complex of underground chambers at the Cape Kennedy launching site.”

January 13, 2019

A Letter from Charles Bowen, January 19, 1967

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Bowen’s next letter, from January 19, 1967, thanks John for a package of ufological material, especially a copy of Saga in which John had apparently plugged the Flying Saucer Review.

He accepts an article of John’s, but asks for more references, and discusses his desire to avoid duplicating material that had appeared in other UFO publications, since many readers read several of them. He doesn’t mention payment; there may have been none. In addition, he notes that FSR‘s circulation in North America had topped a thousand, and suggests that some of the stigma of ufology was waning, particularly for the work of Gordon Creighton, Jacques Vallee, Aimé Michel, Coral Lorenzen, John, and himself. The “Waveney” mentioned in passing is Ian Waveney Girvan, the founder of FSR.

January 6, 2019

A Letter from Charles Bowen, January 11, 1967

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Charles Bowen wrote his next air letter to John on January 11, 1967. He responds to a “stunner” of a UFO sighting John sent him, dismissing the idea that it was a “secret US project.” He also passes on a report from a correspondent, about a newspaper ad for the OS (I assume that’s the Ordnance Survey, the government mapping agency), using the Socorro symbol. The symbol, supposedly spotted on a UFO in Socorro, NM in 1964, had, understandably, intrigued ufologists. Bowen also invites John to contribute to the Flying Saucer Review.

ADDENDUM: As Ozinor notes in the comments, that’s probably “US,” not “OS.”

January 1, 2019

A Letter from Charles Bowen, November 23, 1966

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Happy New Year! We continue with John’s correspondence with Charles Bowen, editor of Flying Saucer Review. Bowen’s next letter was written the day after the last one. He reports meeting with his lawyer to discuss legal action against the Theoharouses, a couple in the US selling pirated copies of Bowen’s book The Humanoids. It’s not clear from the letter if they planned to reprint it, or simply order copies and sell them at a profit. In any case, John alerted Bowen, who was understandably grateful. One provocative detail: Bowen says “what they proposed to do was far worse than anything even Frank Edwards has done.” Apparently Edwards had a bad reputation among some of his colleagues!

December 20, 2018

A Letter from Charles Bowen, November 22, 1966

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John’s correspondence with Charles Bowen grows less formal, as Bowen switches to handwriting and gives John his home address. He was understandably grateful; John alerted him to a certain Mr. and Mrs. Theoharous, who planned to pirate Bowen’s book The Humanoids, then set to appear in a special issue of Flying Saucer Review. Piracy was a continuing problem in UFO publishing: John’s own book Operation Trojan Horse was later pirated by Manor Books under the title Why UFOs.

Coral Lorenzen was the founder of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO). Jim Capello was the Advertising Director for Science and Mechanics. I don’t know who “the Harris spiv” is, but Bowen is obviously not a fan.

December 9, 2018

A Letter from Charles Bowen, October 26, 1966

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Bowen replies to a letter from John, not saved in this file. He thanks John for the copy of Look; I assume it was the October 4 issue, which featured an excerpt from John Fuller’s book The Interrupted Journey, about Betty and Barney Hill’s abduction story. The tall hairy creature is probably this one. The Humanoids was Bowen’s book on UFO inhabitants, first published as a special issue of Flying Saucer Review. And Bowen reveals quite a busy lecturing schedule.

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