An Early UFO Mystery: Where Did Gen. Curtis LeMay Get His Ancient Astronaut Information in 1950?
Since there was no new episode of Ancient Aliens this week, I am left with a bit of space to fill. Here in Albany, we’re enjoying some unusual summerlike weather on this first weekend of fall. I will confess to feeling a bit lazy, and the fringe history crew seems to be unusually quiet this week. I guess I could write about David Wilcock’s recent claim that unknown forces attempted to murder him by cutting his brake lines, but then I’d have to discuss his claim that this was related to alleged UFO contactee Corey Goode’s allegation that these same forces are responsible for Child Protective Services investigating his admittedly unstable household—after all, he pretends that he spends half his time traveling from his living room to outer space while his kids are presumably sleeping upstairs. (Nothing resulted from the investigation, according to Wilcock, and both men allege that one of their many enemies made a false report to CPS as a malicious attack on Goode.) But the whole thing is just so sad in light of Wilcock’s discussions of his mental health issues that I do not feel comfortable giving this story too much space. Wilcock, for what’s it worth, also now claims that the Jewish world conspiracy tried to recruit him as a double agent against Goode, through the offices of the Rothschild Jewish world controllers. It just gets sadder and worse from there, and the folie à dieux of Wilcock and Goode two depresses me greatly.
Instead I will present a mystery, for which I do not have the answer. Yesterday, a reader of my blog asked me for help identifying the source of an ancient astronaut claim made at the dawn of the UFO era, and I wasn’t able to identify the source. Perhaps one of you knows!
On February 27, 1950, the Associated Press moved a story out of Tucson, Ariz. In which Air Force general Curtis Lemay, later George Wallace’s vice-presidential running mate, opined on the subject of flying saucers while attending a rodeo with other members of the Air Force. He told the AP reporter that he had read a book that mentioned the prehistoric roots of flying saucers: “The best information in my opinion on them is to be found in a book written by an Englishman explaining numerous such mysteries. He says that the first flying saucers were seen in Egypt about the year 3,000 B. C.”
The story ran in the Arizona Republic on Monday, February 27 and in other newspapers around the state on Tuesday, February 28.
The question is what book LeMay was referring to. The first books on flying saucers such as Donald Keyhoe’s The Flying Saucers Are Real were not published until later in the year, and so far as I know, none of them made mention of UFOs in ancient Egypt. The closet I could find was Keyhoe’s reference to Velikovsky’s claim that the Egyptians recorded the passage of the “comet” Venus. Could this be what he was referring to?
The phrasing LeMay used, which implies that the flying saucer passage was just one among many mysteries contained in the book, suggests a different type of volume altogether, more like an omnibus of the unexplained, but I have not been able to find a source for LeMay’s claim.
The first connection between ancient Egypt and UFOs that I knew of arose over the so-called Tulli Papyrus in 1953, the likely hoax papyrus document that heavily implied that fireballs seen in the ancient Egyptian sky were flying saucers. I am not aware of a book that made a connection to ancient Egypt prior to that. My gut instinct is that, given the Air Force and FBI investigations into science fiction writers and their connection to UFOs, he might have been misremembering something he read in a magazine like Amazing Stories, which carried supposedly nonfiction columns on Fortean mysteries. However, since I lack and encyclopedic knowledge of everything published in the pulps between 1947 and 1950, I couldn’t say with any certainty.
I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of a more specific source that LeMay might have been referring to.
9/23/2017 09:17:29 am
Thanks for taking my question public! I hope someone can identify the source of the Egypt passage. This was from an Associated Press article, but I can't find any papers outside Arizona that carried it, which is a bit strange since at the time any mention of saucers was spread far and wide, and often injected into non-saucer stories just because it was a hot topic.
9/25/2017 05:21:41 pm
9/26/2017 09:02:36 am
Thanks, Nick. I'd scanned Scully's book for clues earlier, but wasn't looking for Biblical references at the time. He's talking about William C. Lamb, but I hadn't realized he'd surfaced so early. My quick check didn't produce any pre-1950 mentions of him.
9/23/2017 11:12:48 am
Hi Jason -
9/23/2017 11:21:57 am
Oh, it already has.
9/23/2017 11:38:34 am
Hi Jason -
9/23/2017 03:50:27 pm
I am a little bit skeptical about the statement that Curtis LeMay read a book. Knowing something about his life and career, I don't believe that Curtis LeMay read any books at all after he turned thirty.
9/23/2017 04:38:55 pm
In the article “The Mystic and the Spy: Two Early British UFO Writers”, Philip Taylor writes (http://magonia.haaan.com/1997/the-mystic-and-the-spy-two-early-british-ufo-writers/) that there were only two books by British authors in or before 1950:
9/23/2017 05:33:32 pm
True, but we aren't really looking for a UFO book, more of a "mysteries explained" type book that deals with an aerial anomaly over Egypt that LeMay likened to flying saucers.
9/23/2017 05:45:27 pm
Why must these paranoid AA supporter fringe people think secret agents are out to get them, or aliens? Maybe they just want to be noticed. Maybe there is no conspiracy, and it is just their bad driving. Just picture one of them a little tipsy in the middle of the night returning from a bar, then goes into a hay bail because he's not paying attention, and tells the police, oh it was the alien space agenda and their brake lines must have failed.
9/23/2017 05:46:55 pm
When you said AA I thought you meant alcoholics anonymous? No, I meant ancient aliens, but it's still kind of a pun. No I do not drink.
9/23/2017 05:59:35 pm
For some, AA will always stand for Alien Autopsy.
9/24/2017 11:36:52 am
I attended AA meetings for many years. The different meaning is helping me think of the negatives I experienced there.
9/23/2017 11:17:45 pm
Sorry I cannot help on that one. The earliest 'Ancient Astronaut' account I've run into was the episode 'Sun Gold' from the second series of the science fiction anthology series 'Science Fiction Theater' that aired in 1956. Interestingly that plot line involved the discovery in Peru of alien remains that showed that at least one alien had been the instigator of the Incan civilization.
Jonathon a Mortimer
9/24/2017 06:38:19 am
Not really relevant to this but interesting in its timing; William Francis Brinsley Le Poer Trench, 8th Earl of Clancarty, published 'Son of the Sun', a ancient astronauts in Egypt short fiction story purporting to be dialogue by the misunderstood deities themselves. He was writing as Alexander Blake (a common pseudonym at the time) in Fantastic Adventures November 1947, download able from the Web and well worth a read. Le Poer Trench went on to publish stories as fact books, most famously 'the sky people'.
9/24/2017 09:41:12 am
Yes, a milestone, for sure. I'd read that Trench's wife, Millen Cooke was the author of the story. Is there anything conclusive that proves who wrote "Son of the Sun?"
9/24/2017 08:17:28 am
Could it be the famous "Edison's Conquest of Mars" by Serviss? The first book edition "with an introduction that i haven't read) was from 1947?
9/24/2017 09:44:45 am
Unlikely, but another treasure, and it surely is a good example of the emerging Ancient Aliens narrative. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19141/19141-h/19141-h.htm
9/24/2017 12:42:52 pm
Perhaps the book LeMay read was Desmond Leslie's The Flying Saucers Have Landed?
9/24/2017 12:52:31 pm
At this point we're saying no, unless we can show time travel was involved. The Desmond-Adamski book was published in 1953, three years after his remarks.
9/24/2017 04:08:10 pm
On the topic of ancient Egypt- the UK/Canadian documentary "Egypt's Great Pyramid: The New Evidence" just showed in Britain on Channel 4. One thing it showed very clearly was just how effective simple technologies could be when backed up by good administration (and something the "new evidence" shows clearly is that the administration at all levels was seriously good).
9/25/2017 04:28:49 pm
If LeMay actually said that (I've been 'quoted' by papers too) then he likely got it from some Fortean source. And that's a big if.
9/25/2017 04:46:59 pm
Here's one with aliens founding ancient Egypt - The Glory of Egypt by Louis (Lily) Moresby, 1926. Apparently she was a write of sci-fi & esoteric fantasy including a book titled The Opener of the Way (doesn't that sound familiar?). Can't say its this one but the idea was not new in 1953.
9/25/2017 06:20:33 pm
We have to make quite a number of assumptions to find this reference. (1) The AP reporter got the quote right. (2) Lemay actually read a book. (3) The book was actually by an Englishman. (4) The reference actually was to "flying saucers" and ancient Egypt.
9/26/2017 09:48:12 am
Thanks for all the clues and suggestions, I've incorporated some of them into my article, but the search continues.
9/28/2017 03:11:26 am
You keep insulting me Jason and I am gong to sue you for slander.
3/29/2019 10:52:32 pm
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10/13/2019 09:34:57 pm
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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