Archive for September, 2015

Analysis: Willy Ley on UFOs

September 18, 2015

Willy Otto Oskar Ley (1906-1969) is recorded in the history books as having been a German and then American science writer (fiction and nonfiction), historian, and space exploration advocate, but he was much more. From an early age Ley was deeply immersed in his study of physics, geology, zoology, paleontology, and astronomy with an explorer’s eye, aimed at making new discoveries. PluribusOne™ finds Ley’s research into cryptozoology as especially remarkable although this area of his interest is downplayed in biographies. Also downplayed is his close association with Wernher von Braun and their shared knowledge of Nazi occultism, Nazi development of flying discs, and the July 2-3, 1947 (Nazi/Horten flying wing?) “Roswell Crash.” That a crater named “Ley” is located on the dark side of the Moon bears quiet symbolic testimony to Dr. Ley’s behind-the-scenes role in developing technology and plans for space exploration, some of which shows in a novel he co-wrote titled: Conquest of Space, published in 1949 and made as a movie in 1955.

It is an interesting coincidence that Ley died of a heart attack just a few months after the Condon Report was released fraudulently debunking the UFO phenomenon—in the midst of the ensuing controversy surrounding that centerpiece to the U. S. Government’s cover-up and its agenda to terminate Project Blue Book. Dr. Ley had expressed an interest in UFOs but not in educating the public about them. He never wrote a book, magazine article, or accessible scientific paper on the topic and, unlike physicist Dr. James E. MacDonald and others, Dr. Ley was never an advocate of expanded UFO study and disclosure. We find this interesting considering that Ley’s downplayed study of cryptozoology indicates inquisitiveness regarding cross-species hybridization that could, in our analysis, lead to the development of creatures that would look like ones allegedly recovered from crashed saucers and reported in later years abducting people. Had Dr. Ley been involved in alien autopsies, or was his research perhaps used to fabricate bogus alien corpses? This is an avenue of speculation that we have only partially explored.

Sidebar: The UFO phenomenon is accompanied by weirdness on more than one level and of more than one kind. For example, we see that the date of Willy Ley’s death fell on the anniversary of Kenneth A. Arnold’s June 24, 1947 sighting (about a week before the Roswell Incident) of a squadron of UFOs that were not actually saucer-shaped but looked, in retrospect, suspiciously like the undeployed Nazi flying-wing; notwithstanding, this was the “flying saucer” report that launched the beginning of the era of UFO publicity; the phenomenon itself had been around for millennia before that. Ley’s June 24th coincidental date of death would seem less strange were it not for the fact that other UFO investigators, authors, theorists, and “contactees” have also died on June 24—at least nine. Nevertheless, where many see conspiracy in this, we see synchronicity.

In the mid-1960s, during a major UFO flap in the Hudson Valley—a flap much more significant than the Hudson Valley UFO flap in the 1980s, yet barely publicized in later years—Willy Ley was a featured guest speaker at the State University of New York, at New Paltz. For me, the most significant part of the event was his harsh reaction of (feigned?) disbelief and his rabid ridicule with respect to my co-witnessing a near ground-level soundless rocket/torpedo-shaped object in my backyard in the middle of the day in 1964. Either he genuinely considered my sighting wildly preposterous or he was an adept proponent of the cover-up of such “high-strangeness”—or he was unthinkably out-of-touch with the reality of the phenomenon reflected in the widespread reportage compiled by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and other organizations. Based on decades of my on-again-off-again research into Ley as a scientist, and his relationship with von Braun, nothing has surfaced that would lead me to think he lacked awareness and knowledge regarding UFOs.

My latest opportunity to further assess Ley with respect to UFOs came in the form of a DVD by that presents a rare—perhaps the only—television interview with Dr. Ley, broadcast August 4, 1952, when I was five years old. The venue was the Longines Chronoscope program and the interview lasted only eleven minutes; nonetheless, this is the keystone piece that—when set in the context of an in-depth knowledge of the history of the phenomenon up to today—evidences Ley as having had a central role in the creation and dissemination of disinformation designed to control the public’s reaction to the obvious-to-firsthand-witnesses presence of aerial craft and pilots apparently originating from someplace other than a nation on Earth. On July 19, 1952, just sixteen days before Ley’s televised interview, UFOs had overflown the U. S. Capitol (see “Flying Saucer Drive-By,” September, 2014), making their presence undeniable in that peak year for sighting reports. The Robertson Panel was subsequently commissioned by the CIA to examine the current situation, after which the government aimed to reduce civilian interest and avoid societal disruption by suppressing government-held information and debunking the rising tide of civilian reports.

In Ley’s interview, arranged solely to question him about UFOs, he was asked whether flying saucers are real and what they are. Ley said that he had been following UFO reports since 1947 and admitted that about 15% of sightings were “mysterious” and something “to worry about.” “People,” he said—as if ignorant of the government’s assessment and as if having no ability to formulate a theory himself—had advanced four possible explanations. He dismissed the first two: that the saucers were either secret American or secret Russian experimental aircraft or spy planes, using logic that any citizen might apply, as if he had no inside information. Using similar uninformed simple logic that any kid with a high school education and IQ of 100 might use, he substantially dismissed the idea that the saucers could be interplanetary flying machines because no physical object could fly noiselessly and because 100-foot or smaller vehicles could not carry passengers across vast distances of space. So, he deferred to—and publicly held to, in later years—the fourth explanation “people” had advanced: that UFOs are some kind of “natural phenomena.” He said, further, that American or Russian spacecraft would be rocket-shaped, not disc-shaped. In short, he debunked the whole idea of extraterrestrial visitation.

Nothing in the interview evidenced Ley as a UFO—or science—expert, or as knowing anything more than the neighbor next-door. The interviewers might as well have invited someone who had read a magazine article on the topic. So, clearly, Dr. Ley’s role was not that of information-provider; he was there to provide the authoritative voice associated with a good parental government, the voice intended to help put citizens back to sleep by shoving the monster back under the bed. He, a 1944 German scientist émigré and close associate of former Nazi von Braun, had to have known of Nazi flying disc experiments and of the German scientists and war criminals clandestinely brought into the U. S. under Operation Paperclip (“Project” Paperclip was not revealed to the public until more than thirty years later and much about it still remains classified). He had to have known that some UFOs were actual devices using electromagnetism as the means of propulsion enabling silent flight, extreme maneuverability, and high speeds. He had to have known about or considered the possibility of “motherships” (introduced by George Adamski in 1951) that could carry smaller reconnaissance discs, and/or considered the possibility of an alien base on the Moon from which smaller vehicles could be deployed. He had to have known that the Air Force had already concluded by 1947-48 that some UFOs were real and most likely of extraterrestrial origin. He had to have known of explanations beyond the four he addressed. And he had to have known a decision had been made at the outset to keep as many citizens as possible as ignorant as possible for as long as possible.

Going back to his lecture at New Paltz College, my deduction is reinforced that Dr. Ley’s rabidly ridiculing retort was like the reaction of a startled snake you might step on in the woods. He knew that some UFOs are not natural phenomena and that he could not deceive anyone who had seen for himself the absolute plain-as-day reality of the presence of something “not local.”