M.K. Jessup, Paranoia, and “The Case For The UFO”
Morris Ketchum Jessup was an unusual man who authored three books on UFOs, and is still a subject of controversy in some circles. He unwittingly sealed his fate in the history books when he was found dead in his car on April 20, 1959, a hose running from the tailpipe to one of the windows. Most sober writers and friends of Jessup accepted that he had killed himself, but the paranoid wing of the UFO crowd still maintain that he was silenced by shadowy operatives.
Much of this speculation derives from a strange series of events surrounding his most well-known book, The Case For The UFO, published in 1955. Jessup was one of the first writers to examine the ancient astronaut idea, and placed the UFO subject in the context of other strange phenomena. To fans of Charles Fort it was evident that Jessup had taken the earlier author’s ideas and ran with them. A newspaper reporter who reviewed the book remarked “If Fort guffawed, Jessup didn’t hear it.”
Soon after the book was released, Jessup’s publisher forwarded him a packet of letters from someone calling himself both “Carlos Miguel Allende” and “Carl Allen,” who took issue with some of Jessup’s theories about anti-gravity, stating that this had already been achieved by humans, and that there was no need to theorize about strange aliens in their hovering saucers. Punctuated with bizarre misspellings and capitalizations Allende’s letter stated that “..such a form of Levitation has been accomplished as described. It is also a Very commonly observed reaction of certain Metals to Certain Fields surrounding a current…” He signed the letter “Very Disrespectfully Yours, Carl M. Allen.”
Allende described an alleged experiment by the U.S. Navy which made a destroyer invisible while at sea. William Moore followed up on references in Allende’s writing, as well as interviews with Allende himself to co-author The Philadelphia Experiment, published in 1979. Based on more complete information, Moore later remarked that the experiment was apparently an application of a strong magnetic field which was supposed to make a ship resistant (or “invisible”) to magnetic mines and proximity fuses or radar, but which somehow went awry and caused physiological problems for the crew. Some of these effects were apparently permanent, involving heart and brain damage, which the Navy was eager to keep secret, which likely added to the rumors surrounding the event.
Not surprisingly, Moore says that Allende was a very strange and paranoid individual. On a drive through a raging thunderstorm in Colorado, Allende remarked that the lightning flashes they observed were actually government testing of Tesla technology. To Moore and many others though, Allende looked like a crackpot with access to information that no “lone nut” should have had.
In 1956, Jessup was invited to the Office of Naval Research to talk to some junior officers about a copy of Case for the UFO which was mailed to their commanding officer in the late summer of 1955. An unknown individual (who was later identified as Allende) had taken a paperback copy of Jessup’s book and scrawled hundreds of comments in it in three colors of ink. The colors were meant to identify three individuals who were known only as “Mr. A,” “Mr. B,” and “Jemi,” who were supposed to be “gypsies.” These “gypsies” apparently knew all about anti-gravity, the Philadelphia Experiment, and UFOs and took a condescending tone in describing where Jessup had gone wrong.
Disregarding the weird non-sequiturs and strange references, one entry by “Mr. B” regarding Jessup’s efforts puts the UFO subject and public reaction to it in stark terms:
If he does succeed in such evaluation Nobody cares enough to bother believing him for that would require the effort of Courage & The Gaiyar are such cowards and conformists. Even if believed, Nobody would dare say so for that would require action & They will not act in BEHALF OF A BELIEF THAT INTERFERES WITH USUAL LIVING.
Jessup took the time to read through the comments and added a few responses. The officers took these, added the letters received from Allende, and contracted the Varo Manufacturing Company, a small electronics firm in Texas to print the whole thing in a small edition of 25 copies, complete with the annotations in the original colors. Why the Navy would go to such trouble is perplexing, although an introduction by two ONR officers explained: “Because of the importance which we attach to the possibility of discovering clues to the nature of gravity, no possible item, however disreputable from he point of view of classical science, should be overlooked.”
Letter sent to Capt. Ed Ruppelt, former Project Blue Book head from Varo company Chairman to accompany a copy of the annotated Jessup book
Given other references to rumors of anti-gravity research uncovered by authors like Tom Valone and more recently, Nick Cook and Joseph Farrell, perhaps the Navy people were looking into the subject with the same curiosity of other current and former government employees who have heard similar whispers, and this was in 1956.
In the last couple years of his life, Jessup was depressed and actually warned others (like fortean researcher Ivan T. Sanderson) of his impending death, although he did not make it clear whether this was from outside forces or by his own hand. New York radio host “Long John” Nebel received a letter from Jessup shortly before the UFO researcher’s death, which Nebel described as “a straight suicide note.”
Allen/ Allende was later exposed as a drifter and “master leg puller,” according to his parents and brother, who lamented that he had never been able to hold a job, but read voluminously and sent letters home bragging about the controversy that he had caused. Perhaps Allen had read a few things that made him believe in human-engineered anti-gravity, but his references to and addresses of need-to-know personnel, especially in an age where this was very hard to come by, remain a mystery. Allende died of natural causes in 1996.
- Related News Stories:
- UFOs & Allende »
- Greg’s Occasional Pic of the Moment #4 – Gray Barker »