Speaking Out After a Long Silence – Frank Scully – 1965
Adolf Hitler, quite a power in his day but now dead, believed that a lie repeated three times became the truth, and the bigger the lie, the bigger it could be passed off as the truth.
I have seen repeated in several places that I repudiated the material in my book, Behind the Flying Saucers, and admitted it was a hoax. The latest to repeat this is the author of Flying Saucers on the Attack. Are flying saucers on the attack, or flying saucer authors?
For the benefit of those who never read beyond the first page of anything, I am stating categorically that not only have I never admitted that anything in Behind the Flying Saucers was a hoax, but I also have never read anything by anybody that proved it was a hoax. “Calling” and “proving” are not the same thing, as Sgt. Joe Friday on “Dragnet” will tell you.
I never thought I had done more than get my foot in the door of a vast and mysterious subject, and the fact that my foot wasn’t cut off within a year fortified my belief that maybe I had something. I was a reporter and presented the facts as presented to me. It was the first time the mystery of flying saucers had been presented to the public in book form, and nothing published since has done anything but strengthen our original position.
Like a pathologist, I dealt with grounded saucers and dead crews. Since then, several personal histories, dealing with active saucers and live crews, have been published, and nobody either in or out of ufological inquiry has seen fit to hang on the historians the word “hoax.”
Certainly nobody has gone around saying these historians admitted their story was a hoax. Just why was I singled out for this dubious honor? Is it because Behind the Flying Saucers is a pioneering, “keystone” work? Do the enemies of honest research believe that if they can knock it down, the rest will fall like a house of cards?
In the spring of 1954, the proprietor of the Pickwick Bookstore in Hollywood drew my attention to a British book called Flying Saucers on the Moon, written by someone named Wilkins. Some days later, I read a notice in The Los Angeles Times that a noted British astronomer named Wilkins (and an authority on the moon), was going to lecture at the University of Southern California.
Gene Dorsey and I went to the lecture, thinking these were one and the same person. It turned out that the lecture dealt exclusively with the moon, and had nothing to say about flying saucers until near the end. At that point, the lecturer said he was being confused with some character who had put a lot of old folklore together into a book, claiming it made new revelations about flying saucers.
In the question-and-answer period, I arose and said I had made the same mistake. I had confused the two Wilkins, thinking they were one and the same person. The students of astronomy let out roars of laughter. I told Dr. Wilkins I was glad I remained, because I had learned a lot of new things about the moon.
By the fall of 1954, the book by the other Wilkins (Harold T. Wilkins) had appeared in America. The moon had been dropped out of its title. Indeed, it had been retitled Flying Saucers on the Attack. Otherwise, it was the same as the British edition. It was subtitled “Startling New Revelations of One of the Most Incredible Stories of Our Age.”
It contained nothing startling and certainly nothing new, except a new accumulation of misinformation, and a curious method of reprinting old stuff with blind credits like “a friend of one of my American correspondents,” “sensational reports of eyewitnesses,” “a friend in Australia, whose son is an officer in the Australian Air Force,” “a man in Oregon wrote a letter to a friend of mine in Oklahoma about what his son, a U.S. Marine, heard,” “a gentleman from Virginia tells me these stories of encounters with saucers are running all through California like a prairie fire,” etc.
In some cases, Wilkins concealed his sources under several layers of ambiguity: “I am informed by a well-educated American who lives in Los Angeles, California that in the summer of 1952, he knew an American scientist and physicist who had been given by a high authority in Washington, D.C., the job of preparing a report to a high authority…”
As Sgt. Friday would say, “Give us the facts, ma’am – just the facts.”
Wilkins has an appendix that runs 16 pages, and a bibliography that runs three pages, but nowhere has he found space to name Scully, Heard, Keyhoe, Adamski, Van Tassel, Fry, and others to whom he is clearly indebted. This is research? This is scholarship?
On page 269, Wilkins quotes a garbled source as follows:
October 8, 1953: Yesterday, in New York City, a high, thin voice interrupted a radio show that was boosting a book on saucers. It said: “You earthmen will soon be annihilated, and your planet, unless you stop talking about flying saucers. I am speaking from a spaceship over Los Angeles, California.”
Later, the same voice came on the air saying: “I am over Salt Lake City. You cannot see me, but I could reach you easily. If you saw my hideous face, it would scare you to death.” It is an admirable coincidence that the unseen speaker should have spoken over the air by using a private, unlisted telephone number of a National Broadcasting Company producer in New York.
Also, the publisher, some years before, had issued a book by a well-known Hollywood character, who subsequently admitted publishing a book about little men from Venus, which he was badgered by the U.S. magazine True into admitting was a hoax.
Let’s start with the last thing first. The only publisher who up to this time had published two books by different authors on the saucer subject was Henry Holt. The books Holt published were my Behind the Flying Saucers and Flying Saucers From Outer Space by Donald Keyhoe in 1953.
This unmasks the first part of Wilkins’ attempt to cover himself, in case he’s threatened with a libel action. There are many “well-known characters” in Hollywood, but I am the only one who is well-known because he wrote a book about flying saucers.
I am charged here by Wilkins with subsequently admitting publishing a book “about little men from Venus” that was a hoax. As I have not admitted anywhere to anybody, at any time, that it was a hoax, it is up to characters such as Wilkins, Desmond Leslie, and Jim Moseley to put up or shut up.
They’ve had a field day, up to now, because I have been so busy writing other books I haven’t had time to bother with these schnooks. But I am serving notice, as of this moment, that they either retract their libels, or else hire themselves good lawyers.
The story of True and Cahn is pediculous with libel. Actually, it started out by Cahn cooing to see me when he was out of a job. He was quite sure he could make a million dollars in exploiting the flying saucer mystery. He subsequently accepted whatever True would give him, to spit on those who had befriended him.
True told the world it was going to publish the real facts of the little men. It allowed Cahn to spend 25,000 words throwing irrelevant mud around – even to admitting he was a self-confessed thief – and never did get to the little men. That’s how much you can believe True.
In assailing the personal lives and characters of two witnesses involved in the saucer story, they never nicked anything off my story itself, but so much of the mud got in the eyes of people like Wilkins, Leslie, and Moseley that they imagined I had admitted perpetrating “the biggest hoax since the Cardiff giant.” But I had never admitted anything of the sort.
Any scholar who would put Behind the Flying Saucers and the True story in juxtaposition and check them page by page, would have to come out with the conclusion that nothing in my book was truly exposed as a hoax. Even the attempts to smear it were done by garbling and misquoting the actual text.
As for James W. Moseley, who lists himself as a writer, he did not make that claim when I first met him. He came to me claiming he was collecting data for a writer who would then write the book in Moseley’s name. He showed me a letter from the writer (Gray Barker) as proof. This is no disgrace. But it does not make Moseley a writer. Truman Bethurum’s book was ghosted for him, too.
Moseley says he considers himself a “thorough investigator,” but who gave him his credentials is not established. He starts out with “a predisposition to disbelieve stories of captured saucers and little men.” He makes the flat statement that “Scully’s book was ‘thoroughly’ (he loves that word!) discredited in a long article in True magazine as elsewhere” (see footnote).
He doesn’t apparently like my use of the pseudonymous “Dr. Gee,” but covers his own tracks with a “Mr. X,” a “Miss Y,” and even a “Mr. Z.” The True article did not disprove anything I wrote on little men or flying saucers. It merely tried to hang a dubious business transaction, in a totally unrelated field, on two of the hundreds of persons I had quoted in Behind The Flying Saucers.
In the main, I gave credit, wherever it was possible to give it, without kicking back on the source. This didn’t work out as a complete success, but nobody – and I mean nobody – has come up with proofs that the story didn’t happen. Of the 20 questions I asked of the authorities (i.e., the U.S. government), only one was answered, which looks as if I still have a passing grade of 95 percent. This seems to “thoroughly” discredit Moseley as a thorough investigator.
That self-styled “thorough” investigator then goes on to say: “If Scully’s book was composed mainly of facts rather than fiction, he was dealt with in no dire cloak-and-dagger manner, but by the manner of ridicule. At first, his book caused a sensation. Now, practically no one believes him, for every possible effort has been made to discredit him and make him look ridiculous. Scully has only two principal characters in his book that he mentions by name: Silas Newton and Leo GeBauer.”
If this Moseley can find anywhere that I name Leo GeBauer in Behind the Flying Saucers, he can have the royalties to my next five books. If he can prove that practically no one believes me, he can have the royalties on the last three, which are still paying off.
In fact, he has made only one almost true statement in the paragraph, which is that “every possible effort has been made to discredit him.” And even that is an opinion of fact. Not “every possible” effort has been made. The attack will go on for years, and much of it will be as sloppy and inaccurate as this contribution of young Moseley’s.
As everybody agrees (and if there is an exception, I have not seen it to date) that the Pentagonians have not given us the whole truth about the saucer mystery, it must be consoling to them to get a new crop each year to attempt to tear down the Scully bastion, and thus, continue to divide and rule.
Our group has done a vast amount of research since Behind the Flying Saucers was published. Some of it had substance. Some of it petered out. Some of it was founded on hoaxes.
My publishers for years have been pushing for another book on this subject, but I have told them that until I get one as good as or better than Behind the Flying Saucers, I am not rushing in to cash in on its popularity with a sequel. I have a five-year writing plan, and my next commitment is due in the fall. It has nothing to do with saucers.
Scarcely a week passes but I get letters from people who say that they have read all the books on flying saucers and that mine, the first, is still the only one that stands up and seems to make sense. That it contains errors, I would be the first to point out. But these are correctable errors, and many are due to the fact that under pressure from my publishers, I had to write the book in 72 days.
Any lawyer worth his salt could read Behind the Flying Saucers and tell you: “The strangest part of this story is that nobody can ever prove it didn’t happen.”
But I am not satisfied with this. I want to prove, or I want some other serious scholars to prove, that it did happen.
In any event, they are no longer free to quote the enemy’s propaganda against me, because I repeat that I have never repudiated the story, and have not yet found any cause to do so.
Rebuttal From Jim Moseley
I have never claimed that Scully admitted his book to be a hoax. Scully is correct in stating that Leo GeBauer is not mentioned in the book (he is called “Dr. Gee”), but this reduces from two to one the number of “principal characters” mentioned by name, other than Scully himself.
The one man remaining is Silas Newton, who was indicted for oil fraud in Denver, Colorado in 1953. Newton’s shady oil transactions do not necessarily disqualify him as a reliable witness in regard to flying saucers, but they do cast a reasonable doubt, to say the least. It is perhaps significant to note that Scully goes to no great lengths to defend Newton, and refers to the oil incident as “a dubious business transaction.”
In the final analysis, Scully is right in saying that no one can prove that the “crashed saucer and little men” events recounted in Behind The Flying Saucers did not happen; I have never tried to prove that they did not. In my article, “The Wright Field Story,” to which Scully is referring, my object was to point out that Scully might be right after all.
Published with the permission of New Saucerian Publishing via Andrew Colvin