James W. Moseley, one of the pioneers in the field of ufology, has died aged 81. He was undergoing treatment for cancer of the esophagus in a Florida hospital when he died on November 16.
Jim Moseley entered the world of ufology at the very beginning, with his first two magazines devoted to the topic, Nexus and Saucer News, being published in the 1950s. He was an associate of many ‘legends’ in the Fortean field, from Gray Barker to James Randi – and like those two individuals was somewhat of a trickster figure, often straddling the line of truth that separates researcher from raconteur. He was most well-known in recent decades for his newsletter Saucer Smear, a much-loved (and also often hated) ‘gossip rag’ that explored the rumours and politics of everything related to the UFO field (from feuds between ufologists through to opinions on skeptics) with a large helping of humour and snark.
No doubt there will soon be a number of testimonials from those who knew him best. Patrick Huyghe of The Anomalist described him as “one of the last remaining old timers from the golden age of flying saucers.” Longtime researcher Jerome Clark, who considered himself a friend of Moseley’s, wrote that, despite his massive presence in the field, “he was less interested in UFOs as such…than in the social world of persons concerned, intelligently or otherwise, with UFOs. His role in the UFO subculture cannot be captured in a single word. And if one has to use two, It was sui generis.” Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman has posted his own obituary.
For those wishing to learn more about the man, and some eye-opening (though perhaps sometimes embroidered) tales from the history of ufology, look no further than his autobiography Shockingly Close to the Truth : Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist (Amazon US or Amazon UK).