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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 12

Re: Who Is Jerome Clark?

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 09:05:16 -0400
Fwd Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 20:07:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Who Is Jerome Clark?

> To: "UFO UpDates - Toronto" <updates@globalserve.net>
> From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
> Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Who Is Jerome Clark? [was: Corso,
> Stacy & Birnes]
> Date: Thu, 11 Jun 98 20:51:56 PDT

> > Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 19:54:16 -0400
> > From: The Duke of Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com>
> [Peter Brookesmith]
> > Subject: Who Is Jerome Clark? [was: Corso, Stacy & Birnes]
> > To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

Maybe I can offer a modest clarification.

> > >> There are even people who have thought that Phil Klass
> > >> would chuck them into the Chesapeake Bay riddled with
> > >> bullets, or some such thing, should they take up an
> > >> invitation to go sailing with the Dread Debunker.

> > >Don't know that guy, I'm afraid, though once Klass made
> > >a "joke" to that effect to me, in the course of a fairly
> > >abusive communication.

> My, my. Aren't we hard up for something substantive to debate
> about? One can only conclude that Mr. Brookesmith senses an
> urgent need to bring in the most transparent of diversions.

> > Presumably then it is some other Jerome Clark entirely, of whom
> > no one but Klass - obviously suffering one of his habitual
> > delusions - has previously heard, but of whom Klass writes in
> > SUN #51 (May 1998), page 7 [see note below]:

> > "I concluded my letter [of 8 April 1984] to Clark as follows:
> > 'If business or pleasure should bring you to the DC area, I
> > invite you to join me aboard the "Hanky Pank," but warn you of
> > the dangers of the mysterious Chesapeake Quadrangle in which
> > many UFOPs (UFO Promoters) have disappeared mysteriously. A few
> > have been found with their bodies riddled with bullet holes.
> > Some who are anxious to keep the Cosmic Watergate under cover,
> > will stop at nothing.

> Note, if you are able to read better than Mr. Brookesmith can,
> that Klass here is taking off on something I find as absurd as
> he: the notion that ufologists are at physical peril for looking
> into cover-ups real or imagined.

> > "Clark responded in friendly fashion, indicating that he
> > recognized the foregoing was intended as a joke.

> As why should I have not?

> > So my May 14,
> > 1984 letter to Clark concluded: 'The yacht Hanky Pank made her
> > maiden voyage of 1984... Perhaps you will join us someday (and
> > your body will be found floating in the Chesapeake).'

> Note here further evidence of Mr. Brookesmith's inability to
> read. Here the "joke" has Klass implying that it is he who will
> have me murdered. Let's have a show of hands out there. How many
> of you would take as a "joke" -- not even from a friend here,
> mind you, but a longtime adversary -- a remark intimating a
> desire to have one done in? No, Mr. Brookesmith, you've already
> voted. Any other hands? No?

I haven't had nearly as much experience with Phil as Jerry has,
but I've learned that his remarks do have a context.

When I first spoke to him, I was trying to arrange an interview
with him for something I was writing. He invited me to visit him
in Washington, DC, and to stay over at his townhouse. Twice in
the course of extending this invitation he, with his
characteristically ponderous humor, warned me not to bring any 15
year-old girls, and propose to spend the night with them.

Well, I made the visit, but didn't stay with him. I stayed at a
fine old DC hotel, with my girlfriend of the time. We thought
we'd enjoy a weekend in Washington, and visit some of her
friends. I had a date with Phil the morning after we arrived, and
Sandy decided she'd go to an art museum. I'd join her when I was

Phil very kindly offered to drive me to meet Sandy, even though
by that time he was raging at me, and making extraordinary ad
hominem attacks at J. Allen Hynek, whose name I hadn't even
mentioned. When we arrived at the museum, I spotted Sandy (who's
tall and blonde, hard to miss). I introduced her to Phil, and,
without missing a beat, he launched into a dirty joke. The
connection seemed to be, "You're a woman, so now I talk about
sex." There was no lightness, no real humor in his tone. There
was something hardcore about it, for which the word "smut"
wouldn't be inappropriate. (Note. As the good Duke knows, I'm not
a prude. Anything but.)

From a younger man, this would have been offensive. It would
have verged, in fact, on sexual harrassment. (Not an
exaggeration.) Coupled with Phil's earlier remarks about 15
year-old girls, it could well have indicated a strange
preoccupation. But because Phil comes from another generation, I
didn't take it all that seriously, especially after Rebecca
Shatte (in e-mail some time ago) put Phil's remarks in the
context of his age. (For those on the list who might not know,
he's at least in his 70s.)

Still....here's what I mean about context. His offensive joke to
Sandy goes in the context of his jokes about 15 year-old girls.
His remark to Jerry -- about Jerry's body being found in the
Chesapeake -- goes in the context of his sudden, unexpected joke
to Sandy, and his rage about Hynek. Klass is on one hand genial
and amusing (even if his humor can be ponderous). On the other
hand, there's an unpleasant edge to him, a tendency to rage, and
more than a hint of brutality. Here the context includes his
attempt to get the UFO conference stopped (as Jerry Clark has
related), his threat to sue Omni magazine (also related by
Jerry), and an attempt to get George Knapp, the TV
anchorman/ufologist in Las Vegas, fired from his television job.

Phil can change in seconds from being a nice man to being a
horror. In that context, Jerry's reaction to the "floating in the
Chesapeake" remark isn't entirely unreasonable. I've had letters
from Phil that are wonderfully cordial, and at least one that
bordered on rage. He's a tricky personality.

Greg Sandow

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