of the Modern UFO Mythos
Sub-Figura vel Liber VIII
Hunt Williamson & the Genesis of the Contactees
by Alec Hidel
From The Excluded Middle #3
P.O. Box 1077, Los Angeles, CA 90048
[George Hunt Williamson
-- 1950ís era carnival barker for Adamskiís Venusian UFO Space
Brothers was not only a seminal UFOlogist but also an mysterious
occultist and maverick archaeologist, after who the legendary
"Indiana Jones" was eventually patterned. -B:.B:.]
"It would however, be a capital
error to classify him solely as a UFO researcher. He was above
all an occultist whose activities helped to usher in a new
magical aeon -- the aeon of the Flying Saucer.
"There can be no doubt that, by accident or design, he
[Williamson] and his various collaborators played an enormous
part in shaping New Age thought in all its manifestations.
Together they constituted the single most important occult group
of the post-war era. Their influence is made all the more
remarkable by the fact that it has seldom been acknowledged, or
even perceived, by other researchers in the field.
"Pelley and Adamski ...Hunrath and Laughead ...John Mc Coy and
the Stanford brothers...It was from the tangled lives of these
men that the contemporary UFO mythos first grew and took shape."
The 1950s threw up any number of
space-age mystics and messiahs, each more dotty than the one before.
Among the earliest and most influential of these was American
channeler Dr. George Hunt Williamson, who died in 1986 at the
relatively early age of 60. Williamson was a prolific writer on the
theme of contact with extraterrestrials. It would however, be a
capital error to classify him solely as a UFO researcher. He was
above all an occultist whose activities helped to usher in a new
magical aeon -- the aeon of the Flying Saucer. No attempt can be
made to understand him or his work unless this fact is first taken
Little is known of Williamsonís life.
Jacques Vallee states in
Messengers of Deception that his real name was
Michael dí Obrenovic.
This canard has been repeated in several articles on the early days
of UFO research. I have on file a photocopied bibliography of the
contacteť movement (source unknown) in which it is stated that
"Williamson [frequently] used his Yugoslavian family name of Michael díObrenovic although most of his writing was done under the
Anglicized name." In actual fact, Williamson was born in Chicago,
Cook County, Illinois, the son of George and Bernice (Hunt)
Williamson. Inquiries to the Yugoslav government have revealed that
although there was at one time a family named díObrenovic, it ceased
to exist as long ago as 1903, when the head of the line was
assassinated by revolutionaries.
Williamsonís use of the title appears to have been entirely
spurious, dating from an occasion in 1961 when he attended a wedding
posing as H.R.H. Prince Michael díObrenovic van Lazar, Duke of
Sumadya. Like some latter-day Dr. Mabuse, he routinely used
disguises and aliases to further his own ends.
Williamsonís academic qualifications were equally bogus. In the late
1950s he was listed in Whoís Who in America and American Men of
Science as a leading anthropologist and authority on the Hopi and
Zuni Indians. It later transpired that his various degrees and
qualifications were either self-conferred or, in one notable case,
acquired from an institution known as the Great Western University
of San Francisco, which researcher John J. Robinson was moved to
describe in Saucer News as "a massage parlour." Williamsonís formal
education actually came to an end in February, 1951, when the
University of Arizona disqualified him for further study on the
grounds of poor scholarship. Disdaining to re-register, he instead
moved temporarily to Noblesville, Indiana, and there took up an
editorial position with Valor, the in-house journal of William
Dudley Pelleyís Soulcraft organization.
Pelley was at the time enjoying a new lease on life, having recently
been released from prison after serving an eight-year sentence for
his wartime opposition to Roosevelt. A former fascist and leader of
the Silver Shirts, he also had an abiding interest in occult matters
and compiled 32 volumes of automatic writing on contact with higher
intelligences. In addition to Williamson, his post-war circle is
believed to have included seminal contacteť George Adamski and
others of the same kidney. Some authorities suggest that Pelley and
Adamski first became acquainted as a result of their mutual interest
in Guy Ballardís I AM cult. There is also evidence to suggest that Pelley may have introduced Williamson to Adamski.
Like many a UFO buff before and since, Williamson later gravitated
to the southwestern state of Arizona, settling in Prescott and
attempting to contact the space people by radio telegraphy and
direct-voice channeling. According to investigator Sean Devney,
quoting from eyewitness accounts,
"When Williamson started to channel,
it was something truly inexplicable. [He] would begin speaking
in several different voices, one right after the other."
On November 20, 1952, Williamson and his
wife Betty were among the witnesses to George Adamskiís historic
first meeting with Orthon the Venusian in the desert near Mt.
Palomar, California. This event more than any other seems to have
catalyzed his activities. From then on, he switched into high gear,
publishing The Saucers Speak in 1954 and following it up with a
series of the most remarkable UFO documents ever conceived.
Another little-known but influential saucer cultist was Dr. Charles Laughead, [who was also alleged to have founded the Lockheed
aircraft company -- the name being the anglicized version of
Laughead] who with his wife Lillian published Williamsonís Book of
Transcripts in 1957. (Lillian Laughead was among the dedicated to
Williamsonís Other Tongues, Other Flesh "for her contribution to the Lemurian interpretation of the tracks in the desert.")
thought to have emerged from the same pseudo-occult background as
George Adamski, et al. In 1949-1950 he gave up a position at
Michigan State University to help the famous Marion Dorothy Martin, aka "Mrs. Keech", who had lately been told by spacemen that the end
of the world was imminent.
The full story of what happened next is
When Prophecy Fails (Festinger, Reicken and Schacter,
University of Minnesota, 1956). Laugheadís role in that affair was
basically that of agent provocateur. Without him, it is doubtful
whether events would have turned out as they did. He is referred to
throughout When Prophecy Fails as "Dr. Armstrong." His efforts on
behalf of Mrs. Keech were rather akin to those of Thurberís
Get-Ready-Man, who "used to go about shouting at people through a
megaphone to prepare for the end of the world." When the appointed
hour came and went, and the world continued much as before, Laughead
moved on to other things, and chanced to meet
Dr. Andrija Puharich
in a hotel in Acambaro, Mexico.
Puharich records his impressions of Laughead and his wife in Uri,
referring to them as "charming but naive people." Laughead, for his
part, was delighted at meeting a fellow M.D. in such unlikely
surroundings and immediately launched into an account of his work
with George Hunt Williamson:
"Through the assistance of a young
man who is a very fine voice channel or medium, we have been in
frequent communication for over a year with one of the ancient
Mystery Schools in South America. These sessions covered a wide
range of subjects, from ancient history and life origins on this
planet, to science and religion. This Brotherhood also serves as
a communication center for contacts with intelligences on other
planets and star systems, and on spacecraft. Some of these
intelligences are obviously not human. Their knowledge and
wisdom far exceed our comprehension. For simplicity we referred
to them as Space Beings or Space Brothers..."
Puharich was initially dismissive of all
this, no doubt viewing it as a flight of fantasy. Later, on
returning to continue his research at the Round Table Foundation in
Maine, he received a letter from Laughead containing two space
messages, "each from a different channel." These, together with a
paranormal experience involving a self-renewing piece of carbon
paper, went some way toward changing his mind, laying the groundwork
for the Spectra/Hoova affair described in the latter half of Uri.
Puharichís pursuit of Spectra (a hawk-headed entity said to
communicate through Uri Geller) effectively placed him beyond the
pale of orthodox science. Few people during the 1970s were prepared
to substantiate his more extravagant claims. One who did was Ray
Stanford, himself a contacteť of many yearsí standing. In the autumn
of 1973, Stanford was allegedly teleported a distance of some 30
miles, car and all, while en route to a meeting with Geller. This
happened on two separate occasions and was reported to Saul-Paul Sirag with all due sobriety. For more on the Geller-Stanford
connection, see Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson.
Perhaps significantly, Stanford was a product the same milieu as
Laughead and Williamson. Throughout the early í50s he and his twin
brother Rex were involved in a long-running UFO case involving
telepathic communication and channeling. One of their fellow
contactees at the time was John McCoy, who in 1958 co- authored
UFOís Confidential with Williamson.
McCoy wove many strange new skeins into the tapestry of UFO
research, notably the theory that a cartel of "International
Bankers" lay behind many 1950s sightings. ("International Bankers"
is of course a favorite synonym among far rightists for people of
the Hebrew persuasion.) For better or worse he and Williamson
continue to influence the sensibilities of UFO researchers
The Stanford brothers subsequently went their separate ways, each
distinguishing himself in his chosen field. Rex worked extensively
as a parapsychologist, first at St. Johns University in New York,
and later for the Texas based Center for Parapsychological Research,
while Ray formed the Association for the Understanding of Man (AUM),
a fairly typical Great White Brotherhood setup.
Others of the original Adamski / Williamson circle werenít so lucky.
Channelers Wilbur Wilkinson and
Karl Hunrath, who collaborated with
Williamson during the latter half of 1953, disappeared in November
of that year after setting off from the Gardena Airport in Los
Angeles county to make contact with a grounded UFO. No trace of
their rented plane was ever found
D.J. Detweiler of Carlsbad,
California, the man responsible for processing Adamskiís earliest
flying saucer photographs, died shortly afterwards
Hal Nelson, an
associate of Hunrath and Williamson, was drowned
Streeter, the ham radio operator whose contacteť experienences are
described in The Saucers Speak, [not to mention the delightfully
kooky 1954 Williamson treatise entitled A Message From Our Space
Brothers Via Shortwave Radio which pioneered such concepts as
"density" levels, "photon belts" and so forth -B:.B:.] succumbed to
a heart seizure
Williamson later ventured the opinion that
Hunrath "was working as
an agent for the Blacks of six solar systems of the Orion Nebula."
His own researches continued in an unbroken trajectory, encompassing
hermetics, ancient tribal lore, and Theosophical literature. There
can be no doubt that, by accident or design, he and his various
collaborators played an enormous part in shaping New Age thought in
all its manifestations. Together they constituted the single most
important occult group of the post-war era. Their influence is made
all the more remarkable by the fact that it has seldom been
acknowledged, or even perceived, by other researchers in the field.
As the 50s drew to a close, Williamson ceased to play an active role
in UFO research, and instead founded
a monastery in the Andes
mountains. This occupied his time for several years. Later he
returned to Santa Barbara, California, and was ordained into the
Nestorian Church. Always an enigmatic figure, he died in 1986,
having retained his secrets to the end. Many details of his
involvement with the Soulcraft group and its offshoots are now lost
to us. Others of the circle are either dead or widely dispersed.
Pelley and Adamski ...Hunrath and Laughead ... John Mc Coy and the
Stanford brothers...It was from the tangled lives of these men that
the contemporary UFO mythos first grew and took shape.