Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Wit & Wisdom of James W. Moseley, Vol. IV

After many years of studying not just UFOs, but the people who study UFOs, Jim Moseley has opinions about most of them. Here are some of the more interesting ones, for good or ill, as found in his book Shockingly Close to the Truth.

Paul Kimball

Donald Keyhoe
I felt - correctly, I still believe - that Keyhoe routinely made too much of too little, at least in part just to sell books. After all, he was a professional writer, who got his start in the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. I suppose that is where he picked up a literary device he used in his saucer books and which I hated, and still do: fictitious characters and fictitious "reconstructions" of fictitious conversations dramatizing UFO cases and Keyhoe's own musings on the Significance of It All. (p. 45)

James "The Amazing" Randi
In September, 1964, I made my first guest appearance on James "The Amazing / Amusing" Randi's all night radio talk show... At the time, Randi was relatively open-minded about saucers and other weirdness. We became friends, and I was a regular on his show until he was somewhat mysteriously fired in January 1966. As time passed, Randi's cautious open-mindedness dissolved, and eventually he went well beyond thoughtful skepticism and off the deep end into dogmatic debunkery. His "colorful" statements about spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller led to costly legal battles and have generated much controversy. Because of what I consider to be Randi's hypocrisy, arrogance, and philosophical extremism, I eventually became disillusioned with him, ending what had been an interesting freindship. (p. 189)

Stan Friedman
I think Stan semisecretly yearns to be considered Hynek's successor as ufologys' leading statesman. However, he lacks a Ph.D and has never held an academic or research position of the sort required to gain a real-science stature anything like that enjoyed by Hynek. He also comes across as too glib and too hucksterish, while at the same time exuding evangelical true believerism, nothing at all like Hynek's low-key, tweedy-academic style... While Stan is an excellent speaker, like any aging comedian, he really needs some new material. (p. 202)

Jerry Clark
... Today the leading historian of ufology... As many in The Field know, over the years, Jerry and I have clashed frequently, mainly because I rather unkindly enjoy pushing his buttons to bring out the worst in him - a quick temper and harshly opinionated views. However, I do respect him as a Leading Authority, and there is no question he has made many important contributions to ufology. (pp. 178 - 179)

Coral Lorenzen
Coral was opinionated, prejudiced, and just not a very nice person - but she was a hoot to drink with, and once matched me martini for martini, although she claimed she only got drunk at saucercons. It is amazing to me that Coral was the head of a major UFO organization for such a long time (maybe it was her capacity for martinis that made the difference). (p. 223

Dick Hall
Sometime in 1958 or 1959, Hall and I had a telephone conversation concerning my "attacks" on NICAP. Almost before we began, he asked me if I was taping our chat. I truthfully told him I wasn't and that I didn't own a tape recorder (I still don't). He kept coming back to this, alleging he could hear clicks on the line and so on. I kept denying it. Finally, Hall practically shouted into the phone that I was lying, that he knew I was taping the call. I saw red, yelled "Paranoid!" into the phone, and slammed down the receiver. Things haven't been the same between the suspicious, ill-tempered, and very full of himself Dick Hall and me since." (p. 131)

Linda Moulton Howe
In her career, she has covered the ufologcial waterfront, and claims to have established links between animal mutilations, UFO landings, little-green men sightings, and even abductions. She has also been an important second-string player in the crashed saucer saga (including as a booster of the seemingly immortal Aztec case). Somehow, she's managed to bring all these things together in a way that make her and her many fans happy, and I think she genuinely believes what she says and writes, at least at the time she says and writes it. (pp. 255 - 256)

William Moore
I've had enough "quality time" with Bill that I should be able to figure him out, yet he remains an enigma. I do remember that he once told me his religious beliefs are consistent with the idea that there are humanoid beings from other planets visiting here and the notion that Jesus was one of them. Did he invent MJ-12 and the Aviary and misconstrue Roswell to confirm his own religious beliefs? Or were his motivations more down-to-earth, mere fame and fortune? Or was the whole thing a semiclever ploy to get the government to release The Truth by making up and promoting stuff that Moore considered shockingly close to the truth?... Bill Moore, an enigma wrapped in a questionable maybe-classified document, perched in an aviary from which all his birds have flown. (pp. 267 - 268)

George Adamski
I felt, and still do, that although Adamski's claims were absurd in many provable and almost-provable ways, and despite the anti-Semitic overtones of the "agent of Wall Street" slur [against Moseley - PK], his "philosophy" was harmless, and that therefore he represented no threat to society and wasn't all that bad a guy. My rather base motivation for the expose [of Adamski in Saucer News - PK] was that, if he could build his reputation on mythical interactions with spacemen, I had an equal right to build mine by exposing his con. One is as kosher as the other. Adamski was fair game, and I think I treated him fairly. If he were still with us, I suspect that he would agree that I did." (p. 70)


Don Maor said...

¿Does Moseley have any avidence about what he is saying about Keyhoe?

Paul Kimball said...


As Moseley makes clear, these are his opinions. I disagree with him about Stan, for example (although Stan CAN come across as glib sometimes, but that's what happens when you deal with the media a lot). The remarks about Keyhoe, however, I have heard from more than a few others who were not impressed with his more sensationalistic style. In his book, Moseley offers some interesting examples of this beyond the impression I've quoted.

The again, more than a few people, including friends of mine, have less than flattering opinions about Moseley - and I expect I'll be hearing some of them over the next few days! :-)


Paul Kimball said...

As for Keyhoe's pulp writings, here are a few examples:

* The Mystery of the Golden Skull [Dr. Yen Sin], (n.) Dr. Yen Sin Jul 1936, High Adventure #32

* The Mystery of the Singing Mummies [Dr. Yen Sin], (n.) Dr. Yen Sin Sep 1936
High Adventure #39

* The Squadron in Scarlet, (ss) Sky Birds Nov 1931
Action Adventure Stories #23

* When England Vanished [Philip Strange], (ss) Flying Aces Nov 1939
Action Adventure Stories #122

See also:

There's nothing wrong with someone writing fiction AND investigating the UFO phenomenon (although Stan Friedman has more than once used Kevin Randle's career as a fiction writer to undermine his credibility as a researcher) - I think what Moseley is saying is that it had an impact on Keyhoe's writing style, and that it wasn't terribly academic.

I would agree.


Don Maor said...

Well, Keyhoe was not a scientist. No one can ask him to make an academic work. He was the first, so obviously his work carried some mistakes. His UFO books are enough serious to me.

Looking the links you posted here, i see that Keyhoe's science fiction productions were made before the beggining of the UFO age, so i wouldn't say the blame is the same that Randle's one. He has worte fiction on Roswell, and

In the television of my country, there are some guys that are called "opinologists", by the people. Opinologists are always trying to create tension between the TV actors, TV speakers, and similar TV people and crazies.

Is Moseley an UFO-Opinologist? If yes, then i can see no reason to take him seriosuly.

Paul Kimball said...


You don't have to be a scientist to write in a professional, objective, academic manner. Indeed, historians write like that. It inlcudes the provision of footnotes, and sources.

As for offering opinions, there's nothing wrong with that, so long as the opinion is informed, as is the case with Moseley. It doesn't mean he's right, of course, but he is more qualified, by dint of 50 years experience, and having actually known these people, to offer the opinion than most.


Don Maor said...

OK, he is an opinologist.

Paul Kimball said...


I've got news for you - everyone in ufology is an opinionologist, because nobody knows for sure what the UFO phenomenon really is.

Now, while all people may be created equal, not all opinions are. But Moseley has earned the right to his, which is more informed than most.


Kyle said...

You know, this whole idea of a fiction writer being suspect if he dives into the UFO research pool seems a little off to me. An interest in UFOs can spring from the most diverse of people, even writers.

I think a definite warning sign is when a fiction writer becomes interested in UFOs and THEN starts writing UFO fiction or non-fiction with the same literary devices found in his fiction.

My best example is Whitley Streiber...he was a fair writer of horror...who had a unique experience and wrote Communion. I feel less confident in his motives because of the fictionalized telling of the Communion story. If it had not been so "Amityville Horror-esque", I'd have been much less wary.

But either way, UFO enthusiasts come from all areas, and how one spends ones time outside the study of UFOs should not necessarily taint ones work in the field.

Excellent note also Paul about opinionologists...I wish more in the field would remember and reflect that basic truth.


Paul Kimball said...


Welcome back to the blogosphere! :-)


The Odd Emperor said...

One of my favorite bits; a letter to Mosley from one Harry Lime of Vienna.

“The ancient tradition of the wise fool, he who could with impunity tell a crowned head The Truth—including especially pointing out his majesty’s own stupidities—is an honorable and most valuable one. The jester combines wisdom with humor to convey unpalatable realities. Isn’t that what you do O' Wise Ufool?