UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > Aug > Aug 18

Re: Adamski And The Straith Letter - Clark

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:58:25 -0500
Fwd Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 07:42:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Adamski And The Straith Letter - Clark

>From: Isaac Koi <isaackoi2.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 19:54:40 +0100
>Subject: Re: Adamski And The Straith Letter

>>From: Sheryl Gottschall <gottscha.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 21:32:25 +1000
>>Subject: Adamski And The Straith Letter

>>More information from the book, George Adamski The Untold
>>Story, by Tim Good and Lou Zinsstag. I hope you find it as
>>interesting as I have.

>>The notorious 'Straith Letter' sent to Adamski on 6 December
>>1957, was typed on official white-seal, blue-embossed paper,
>>with the American eagle watermark and the Seal of State
>>impressed. It was signed R E Straith, Cultural Exchange
>>Committee, Department of State, Washington. The Cultural
>>Exchange Committee was a department through which
>>representatives of the United States obtained their visas for
>>goodwill tours abroad.

>Jerry Clark's Encyclopedia has a fairly comprehensive summary
of the history of the letter, with relevant references. See his
"The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon from the Beginning - 2nd
edition" (1998) in Volume 1:A-K at pages 33-34 (in an entry
entitled "Adamski, George") of the Omnigraphics hardback

What follows is a slightly edited (references removed so that I don't
have to retype them, too) version of what I wrote about the Straith
hoax in the encyclopedia

- Jerry Clark


Adamski's most celebrated "proof" of high-level endorsement came
in the form of a letter mailed to him from Washington, D.C., on
December 6, 1957. Written on State Department stationery, with a
department seal impressed on the paper, it began: "For the time
being, let us consider this a personal letter and not to be
construed as an official communication of the Department." It
went on to state that the "Department has on file a great deal
of confirmatory evidence bearing out your own claims.... While
certainly the Department cannot publicly confirm your
experiences, it can, I believe, with propriety, encourage your
work." The letter was signed "R. E. Straith, Cultural Exchange

This remarkable development was first announced in a cautiously
worded article in the March/April 1958 issue of Flying Saucer Review,
which quoted part of the letter. On April 10 the Times of London
reported that the State Department was denying the existence of both
Straith and the committee he allegedly represented. Adamski and his
partisans immediately charged cover-up. Even before he released the
document, according to his biographers, Adamski "made a thorough
investigation of the authenticity of the letter. He was assured that
Straith was an employee of the State Department, whose work was
of such a nature that his name did not appear on any of the published
lists of that Department." Richard Ogden sent a registered letter,
addressed to Straith, to the State Department. When the return
receipt indicated the letter had been accepted, he viewed this a
evidence that Straith was real.

All over the world Adamski's followers were claiming
vindication. South African UFO enthusiast Edgar Sievers declared
the letter to be a "decisive document on imminent developments
on this planet." Wilbert B. Smith, a Canadian radio engineer who
earlier had been involved in an official UFO project, told
[Donald E.] Keyhoe, after the latter expressed skepticism about
the document, that he "knew" the Straith letter to be authentic,
because someone of his acquaintance knew the man personally.
Straith was working in a "supersecret agency partly under State
Department control." C. A. Honey stated flatly that through his
and Adamski's efforts, "Straith was located." More than two
decades later, looking back on the controversy, [Lou] Zinsstag
and [Timothy] Good concluded that while "much of the evidence is
circumstantial ... on balance there is more in favor of the
letter['s] being genuine."

Others felt otherwise. Adamski critic Lonzo Dove believed that
the "Straith letter," as it would be called in flying-saucer
lore, was written on the typewriter of Gray Barker, a well-known
publisher and promoter of contactee materials. Other noted
ufologists of the period, including [Isabel] Davis and [Coral]
Lorenzen, came to the same conclusion. Dove went so far as to
submit a detailed article documenting his findings, but Saucer
News editor Jim Moseley refused to publish it. For years
afterwards rumors circulated that Barker (who died in 1984) and
Moseley had conspired to write the letter, and in 1985 Moseley
confessed as much:

"For many years, your editor used to visit Gray Barker in
Clarksburg, West Virginia, for a weekend every few months.... On
one particular occasion ... a young friend of Barker's [James
Villard] with a relative high in the Government had provided
Barker with a packet of genuine official stationery from various
Government agencies... Barker and I wrote not one but _seven_
... naughty letters that evening - emboldened by the evil of
alcohol and fully enjoying the hilarity of this chance to thrown
long-term Confusion into the UFO field."