Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Face on Mars ...in 1958?

On July 25th, 1976, the Viking 1 orbiter transmitted to Earth an image of the Cydonia region of Mars which has since become infamous.

Innocuously known as frame 35A72, a seemingly anomalous part of the landscape in the top left corner of the image is now instantly recognizable as the mysterious "Face on Mars."

Championed by some as an artificial structure - in large part, due to the work of Richard C. Hoagland - and derided by the scientific community as a mere trick of light and shadow, or an example of pareidolia (even being the first image shown as an example on the Wikipedia entry), this Martian face is certainly not staring at us without some controversy.

I, however, am not making an attempt here to legitimize or to debunk any of these claims. I have something far more interesting to share than pareidolian polemics or squabbles over simulacra - another face on mars; this one from a 1958 comic book...

Harvey Comics, best known today for its characters, Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost, published the second (and penultimate) issue of a comic book entitled, Race for the Moon in September 1958.

The 1950's were a monumental time for popular science fiction, particularly films, but there was no shortage of comic books brimming with speculative space tales.

Barely a year prior to publication of Race for the Moon, Russia launched Sputnik 1, closely followed by Sputnik 2, and in 1958 the United States entered the space race with it's Explorer 1 satellite.

In fact, this very issue was probably still being sold on the newsstands when NASA was founded on the first of October, 1958. The science fiction pulps, such as Amazing Stories, may have had their heyday in the 1930's and 40's, but by 1958, it wasn't just fantasy anymore.

The actual "Race for the Moon" was quickly becoming an important reality.

In such an atmosphere, comic books filled with space westerns and space adventures were ubiquitous; anything imaginable concerning space can most likely be found somewhere on those yellowed pulp pages - including, surprisingly, The Face on Mars

A strange case of precognition, perhaps? Or, just sheer coincidence? (much stronger than mere coincidence, as noted by Robert Anton Wilson in various papers) Either way, it's uncanny.

While the face in the comic book does bear a slight resemblance to the actual Face on Mars, it's likely that the inspiration for the artwork was the Colossal Heads of the Olmec. Of course, the Olmec heads do have some striking similarities with the Martian face in the Viking image, most noticeably the unusual, helmet-like head gear.

The "helmet" is missing in the comic book version, and the fact that it's depicted standing upright is, perhaps, the most noticeable difference when compared to the face in the Viking image taken 19 years later.

Another very intriguing aspect of the comic book is the story itself. Hopefully this isn't too much of a spoiler, but it has much in common with a Carl Sagan novel which was adapted into a 1997 film starring Jodie Foster.

Before I ruin the entire thing, I'll get to the links, and let you read it for yourself.

The full, 36-page comic book can be downloaded in either pdf or cbz format. The cbz contains large jpg scans of the comic book, and if you'd like to view or edit the images, simply open it as a zip file, and unpack the contents.

Race for the Moon, issue #2 - pdf

Race for the Moon, issue #2 - cbz

The pencil work for this comic was done by Jack "The King" Kirby, co-creator of such powerhouses as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Incredible Hulk, and it was inked by the recently deceased, Al Williamson. Apparently, the Kirby/Williamson team is much lauded in comic book circles.

Finally, for the completists, I've included the other two issues of Race for the Moon.

issue #1 -   pdf   |   cbz

issue #3 -   pdf   |   cbz

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Deyo Diaires, Volume One (video)

There are plenty of UFO documentaries out there; some great and some worse than terrible, but how many feature a young Steven Spielberg? Just one - Stan Deyo's, UFOs Are Here (a.k.a., The Deyo Diaires, Volume One), produced in 1977.

But, Mr. Spielberg is certainly not the main attraction. Stan Deyo managed to get quite a lineup for his film, including some of the most outstanding luminaries of ufology.

Debunker for the Air Force turned UFO believer, Professor J. Allen Hynek is featured, along with nuclear phsyicist, Stanton Friedman, computer scientist, Jacques Vallée, and one of the first documented abductees, Betty Hill.

Also making a rare appearance, and presumably the last before his death, is Ray Palmer, founder of Fate Magazine, editor of Amazing Stories, and most likely the man responsible for the entire flying saucer craze of the late 1940's. (at least, according to John Keel.)

Palmer, of course, had a bit of help with that endeavor from Kenneth Arnold, whose 1947 sighting is widely regarded as the beginning of the modern UFO age. In case you haven't guessed by now, Mr. Arnold appears in this documentary, as well.

If you want a crash course in ufology, 1947-1977, then watch this film.

To download from the Internet Archive, click here, scroll to the bottom, and choose your preferred format. I strongly suggest downloading the "Cinepack" (avi file). It's the best quality of the three choices.

Depending on your browser, you can also try using this direct download link:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

UFO Report, Summer 1975 issue

UFO Report began it's life as a special issue of reprinted UFO articles from the pages of the popular men's magazine, Saga.

In fact, it was originally titled, Saga's Special UFO Report when it debuted in 1969. By 1974 the the word, Special was dropped, and from Spring 1975 until it's demise in 1982, the magazine was simply known as, UFO Report.

According to the red banner on the cover, it was the "World's #1 UFO Magazine," by 1975. I don't have access to magazine circulation figures from the 70's, so I'm just going to take their word for it. The content certainly backs up such a claim.

I've managed to find a digital copy of the Summer 1975 issue in cbr format. A cbr is essentially a collection of archived images, primarily used for digital comic books.

Most people, myself included, prefer pdf files, so I've decided to make my own. The images in the cbr were a bit off-center, but I wasn't really in the mood to start an editing project, so I left them as-is. The only difference between my pdf and the original cbr is that some of the page borders may be cropped a little tighter. None of the text or artwork in the magazine is affected and the entire magazine is perfectly readable - a great read, at that.

You can grab the pdf version of this full, 84-page magazine by clicking here.

If you'd rather have the original cbr, as I found it, then use this link instead.

Also, here's a look at the Table of Contents, so you know what you're getting into. As I mentioned in today's previous post, there are some articles from a few of my favorites - Brad Steiger, Jerome Clark and Timothy Green Beckley.

Weird Magazines

Magazine publishing is a dying industry. The internet will probably kill magazines - along with books, newspapers, cd's, dvd's, and your grandparents.

But, in the 1960's and 70's, there seemed to be hundreds of magazines devoted to all sorts of Forteana, particularly UFOs. You could also get your fill of Sea Monsters, as evidenced by the specimen pictured on the left.

Today, the pickings are slimmer.

Here in the States, we have UFO Magazine, which debuted in 1986 and is still going - maybe not going strong, though, as their publishing schedule has been a bit infrequent during the past couple of years.

In the UK, there is the venerable Fortean Times, giving us stellar content in the vein of it's namesake, Charles Fort, early 20th century anomalist and satirist. The only downside is that it's pricey on U.S. newsstands, at around $12.00 a copy. Being such a huge fan of their work, I've shelled out that kind of green quite a few times, however ebay can be helpful in finding discounted prices on the latest issue (as well as back issues, of course).

Also from the UK is the promising newcomer, UFO Matrix, edited by famed Yorskshire ufologist, Philip Mantle. Their website is still under construction, but if they continue to deliver a product like their amazing first issue, I'm sure they'll be around for a while - or at least until the internet kills print publishing and dances on it's grave.

There are, of course, a handful of other magazines on mysterious phenomena still publishing in 2010, but let's get back to those golden years. Pictured to the right is The Flying Saucer Menace from 1967, written by Brad Steiger, author of well over 200 books. It was a one-shot magazine; essentially a short book with a bunch of black & white photos. I think there was actually another similar magazine/book written by Steiger, although it's title is eluding me right now. Maybe someone can refresh my memory in the comments section.

One of my favorite things about the UFO-related magazines from this era is that many of them feature numerous articles from a small group of amazing authors; the afore-mentioned Brad Steiger, as well as Otto Binder, Timothy Green Beckley, Jerome Clark, and the well-known Mothman investigator, John Keel.

Pick up any 1970's issue of UFO Report and you're likely to see articles penned by most, if not all of the these guys.

From hearing him speak in various interviews, I know that Mr. Beckley enjoys these mags as much as I do. He seems to have a special affinity for one called Front Page Disasters. I've yet to find any copies of what I'm sure is a pretty spectacular offering, but I have managed to find a random cover. There doesn't appear to be many other mentions of this thing on the internet. Maybe it wasn't as great as Beckley remembers it.

Incidentally, you might notice that the linked image of Front Page Disasters is from badmags.com. That's also where I found the other images in this post. Be sure to give them a visit.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jacques Vallée: A Heretic Among Heretics

Described by Wikipedia as a "French-born venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, ... and former astronomer," Jacques Vallée is also a ufological heretic. He dares to question the established dogma that UFOs are from outer space.

Vallée is a scientist and, as such, realizes that agnosticism is the proper scientific position concerning the origins of Earth's aerial anomalies and the entities who, seemingly, have hitched a ride. It certainly gives one pause when considering the other scientists in ufology who view the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) as a given - or worse, a sacred cow.

The ETH seems to be nothing more than a modern Magonia; looking beyond the clouds, but still in the same general direction. Are we just advanced Cargo Cultists? Perhaps we're applying the same "logic" that tells us the Earth is flat. Something to keep in mind the next time you hear your favorite television ufologist using the terms UFO and ET as if they were interchangeable.

I'm sure that I'll be posting more on Dr. Vallée in the future; for now I'd like to share this great interview with him, courtesy of ufoevidence.org : http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc839.htm

The Expanding Case for the UFO by M.K. Jessup

Not to be confused with MK ULTRA, Morris K. Jessup, noted 1950's ufologist is probably best known as being an inspiration for Carlos Miguel Allende's infamous Philadelphia Experiment tale.

The story of temporal displacement at the Philadelphia Naval Yard was first mentioned in series of letters written to Jessup by Mr. Allende in 1955, however it didn't take very long before Jessup wanted nothing to do with him.

Jessup penned four books on the subject of UFOs, and I present here his final work, first published in 1957.

You can read it on scribd.com, or, if you prefer, simply download the pdf.

Tragically, Jessup took his own life on April 20th, 1959. There has always been some speculation that it was perhaps not a suicide, or that his death was linked to the Allende affair, but Jessup's daughter eventually revealed that when she first heard of her father's death, she immediately suspected that he had committed suicide.