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Above Kook Status: The strange case of Morris K. Jessup and the ‘VARO edition’ of ‘The Case for the UFO’

As an avid collector of vintage flying saucer books, and being particularly fond of the really obscure ones (as I mentioned in the first volume of Darklore), one of my first goals was to get my hands on a copy of the virtually unobtainable “Varo Edition” of a 1955 Bantam paperback entitled The Case for the UFO, by M.K. Jessup. So rare is this book that for a time many doubted it ever existed. And although “a tradition of bad luck or strange circumstances is connected with possession of the Varo Edition” (as one researcher wrote, after investigating a series of troubling incidents and mysterious deaths involving civilians who had managed to acquire a copy), this made it all the more sought after by both serious collectors and intrepid ufologists. 

However, knowing that the book really did exist created an even greater mystery: what information did it contain that attracted the interest of high-ranking personnel at the Office of Naval Research (ONR)? Further, what prompted them to contact a government contractor involved with highly classified military projects about reproducing a very limited number of copies of the book, considering that it was generally discounted by the scientific community? Stranger still, why was the ONR’s version of The Case for the UFO based on a particular copy of the book that had been heavily annotated, with a commentary so bizarre that even the book’s author initially thought it to be the paranoid ranting of a crackpot? In other words – as another researcher asked – what was there about the weird scribbling that caused officialdom to consider it “above kook status?” In order to attempt to answer this question, we should begin with the contents of a manila envelope postmarked “Seminole, Texas, 1955,” that was addressed to “Admiral N. Furth, Chief, Office of Naval Research, Washington, 25, D.C.” and which had the words “HAPPY EASTER” scrawled upon it. But first a slight digression is necessary, for those not familiar with the background to the mystery. 

History of the Mystery

Hoping to capitalize on the growing interest of flying saucers, in 1955 the Citadel press published The Case for the UFO – a controversial book whose author, Morris Ketchum Jessup, had been an instructor of astronomy and mathematics at the University of Michigan and at Drake University, and who possibly completed his doctorate degree in astrophysics. Besides these credentials, Jessup was also an amateur archaeologist who went on expeditions to the dense jungles of Central America and participated in studies of the ancient ruins discovered there. With (or despite) this scientific background, Jessup’s book explored many things for which science offered no acceptable explanation; things which in earlier times were attributed to supernatural agencies. As such, his pioneering work is a catalogue of all kinds of extraordinary occurrences (more commonly referred to today as Fortean phenomena): meteorological oddities, itemized falls of organic matter from the skies, mysterious marks and imprints left on the ground, instances of disappearing people, ships and planes, anachronistic (out-of-place) objects, and other evidence of a technologically advanced ‘mother culture’ in pre-historic antiquity. In short, he was an early proponent of the paleocontact hypothesis: ‘ancient astronauts’. Jessup linked the building of the ‘improbable’ ancient monuments with superior neighbors who visited the Earth millennia ago. Ancient visitors, he theorized, who possessed a mastery of the universal gravitational field. The controlling of gravitational field reactance, he further speculated, was the means of propulsion in modern-day sightings of UFOs. 

Original paperback edition of M.K. Jessup’s The Case for the UFO: Unidentified Flying Objects, from the collection of Blair MacKenzie Blake (photo credit: Duncan Blake)

In both his book and on the lecture circuit Jessup insisted that – when it came to future space travel – modern rocketry was a complete waste of time and money, especially when other theoretical, more exotic methods of propulsion should be explored. In particular, he called for extensive research into Einstein’s Unified Field Theory, convinced that applications of this knowledge (levitation, etc.) had been employed by those meddling with terrestrial affairs as far back as antediluvian times. According to some researchers, it was this appeal to the government to investigate UFT technologies that so disturbed the anonymous sender of the manila envelope to the ONR, shortly after a cheaper paperback of The Case for the UFO was published for sensationalistic mass-consumption.

Without so much as a letter of explanation, the parcel that arrived at the Office of Naval Research contained only a battered copy of Jessup’s book, marked throughout with hand-written annotations and frequent underscoring in three distinctive colors of ink – blue, blue-violet and blue-green. This – and a perceived difference in handwriting styles – led certain higher-ups at the ONR to conclude that the book had been passed back and forth between three individuals whom they referred to as ‘Mr. A’, ‘Mr. B’, and ‘Jemi’, each of which had added their own comments to Jessup’s text. Although it is not known what Admiral Furth thought of his gift (other than the obvious fact that he didn’t toss it into the nearest wastebasket), at some point a Captain Sidney Sherby (who obtained the book from a Major Ritter), and Commander George W. Hoover (Special Projects Officer, ONR) “indicated direct interest in some of the material therein.” This might have been because the various ‘discussions’ of the correspondents seemingly contained intimate insider knowledge of the UFO phenomenon, and at the time, both officers were interested in anti-gravity research. Whatever the reason, so intrigued were they by the utter strangeness of the notations, they eventually contacted Jessup, inviting him to visit the ONR in Washington D.C. in order to discuss these puzzling comments. 

According to some accounts, as Jessup studied the contents he was bewildered by the alien tone of the annotated voices. The seeming familiarity the persons had with esoteric technologies was nothing less than astonishing. These people had the answers to all the questions posed in his book. They knew things that NO one should know. But the events described were simply too fantastic to believe. Was it a hoax to discredit the emerging field of ufology? Mystified at first, as he continued to read, he became increasingly alarmed. Why all the fuss? Why on earth would the Navy be so interested in unsolicited material that was obviously the product of a deranged mind? Flipping through the pages, a curious passage provided the answer to at least one piece of the mystery, this being the identity of one of those who did the annotating. Yes, he was sure of it. The idiosyncratic phraseology, repeated misspellings, careless punctuation, and unnecessary capitalization all matched perfectly with the language and peculiar grammatical style of a series of perplexing letters that, a year previous, had arrived in his own mailbox.

Not Seeing is Believing

Not long after the publication of his book, Jessup had received correspondence from a person who identified himself as Carlos Miguel Allende. These letters were filled with cryptic references to a secret naval experiment in 1943 that rendered a ship and its crew completely invisible while at sea. From a nearby merchant vessel, the letter writer claimed to have witnessed first-hand the vanishing battleship, along with the horrific effects the intensified electromagnetic fields had on its unsuspecting crewmembers. Although Jessup eventually dismissed the man as a harmless crank, here on page 8 of the marked-up copy of his book was the following comment by the one previously labeled as ‘Mr. A’:


The scientist-turned-ufologist must have been scratching his head when he left the Office of Naval Research on that day, but at the officers’ request, he produced the letters that he had received from the enigmatic Allende. Whether or not the ONR was looking for an intelligence leak, or some type of a cipher in the lengthy annotations that could be used to pass sensitive information under the wire, remains unclear. But if they were looking for more oblique references to experiments conducted by the Navy involving Einsteinian physics, they certainly weren’t disappointed. As with the delusional ramblings in the annotated book, the Allende letters contained mind-boggling descriptions of Navy tests with sophisticated electromagnetic camouflage, along with the nightmarish results of unified field theory technologies on the human guinea pigs that participated in the experiment. Those who went “stark raving, gibbering, running mad” after being “caught in the flow” or “stuck in the green.” For as the letter explicitly warned (with some alterations to the nonstandard grammar): “The experiment was a complete success. The men were complete failures.” 

But if the tale of a Navy destroyer enshrouded in a shimmering greenish mist prior to gradually vanishing from the perception of human observers was a hard cookie to swallow (replete with hysterical sailors “going blank”, “freezing”, “burning”, and “getting stuck”, or even more terrifyingly, their bodies becoming fused to metal bulkheads), another claim by Allende must have seemed utterly preposterous. According to him, the same hyper-fields were also responsible for the accidental, nearly-instantaneous teleportation (“to the embarrassed perplexity of the Navy”) of the USS Eldridge (the alleged  ship in question) from its berth in Philadelphia to Norfolk, Virginia, where it suddenly appeared before disappearing again – only to reappear at eyeblink speed back at the Philadelphia shipyard. However, to ‘prove’ this freakish event really occurred, he offered some vague references to tiny articles printed in (unnamed) regional newspapers around the time, which mentioned seamen disappearing before the disbelieving eyes of waitresses in a beer joint near the Navy docks. 

USS Eldridge

Why a Lady Named Michael Didn’t Answer Her Phone

Apparently, the fantastic claims made by Allende sparked enough interest that the ONR – or at least a couple of its officers – took the marked-up paperback to the Varo Corporation in Garland, Texas, a high-tech firm engaged in aerospace research contracts for the military, and had them clandestinely reproduce a small number of copies. The laborious task of re-typing the entire book along with all the copious notes, interjections, underlining, etc. (using mimeograph stencils so that they appeared separately in red ink), including a couple of letters written by Allende as appendices, was said to have been given to a Miss Michael(?) Ann Dunn, the personal secretary to the president of the company. Perhaps not surprisingly, leading researchers of the Jessup-Allende case afterwards found no record of Miss Dunn having ever been employed there. Even so, around 25 copies were produced (some say 127), spiral bound between pale-blue cardstock covers, which were to be circulated among certain military personnel. According to the unsigned introduction to the Varo edition, this was “as a prelude to consideration of further pursuit of this unconventional material.” The anonymous author(s?) of the introduction also states that no attempt was made using ultraviolet light or other known methods to read material that was deleted (i.e. marked-out), and that, although the discussions and underscoring of ‘Mr. A’, ‘Mr. B’, and ‘Jemi’ might seem to be in the form of a code, a superficial examination had thus far not revealed any. And so it was done. Soon there would be dark rumors circulating in the UFO community abou a certain document in the possession of top military brass, through which – if a copy were to surface – the truth about UFOs would finally be known.

As microfilm and other facsimile copies of the Varo Edition eventually ‘found’ their way into the hands of a few persistent civilian UFO researchers, it’s not hard to understand why they considered it to be “the fantastic key to the flying saucer mystery.” The odd, scientific-sounding terminology alone led some to believe that the document represented a leak from shadowy government insiders, while the bizarre phraseology and slip-slop grammar, not to mention the arrogant mockery or cold indifference to humankind, convinced others that the marginalia were the conversations of alien beings themselves. In that the annotators at times referred to themselves as gypsies – “and we are a discredited people, ages ago… yet, man wonders where ‘we’ came from” – it was even supposed that these mysterious wanderers might be related to underground survivors of an ancient space-faring race, who became ‘stranded’ on earth due to some cataclysmic event. After surreptitiously interacting with our species, they were now telepathically illuminating Dr. Jessup, convincing his scientifically trained mind of their unknown existence. Floating derelict worlds, navigable space contrivances, vaulted undersea metropolises, time freezes, abductions, showers of decayed ground-up organic matter from the inhabitants of celestial hydroponic-tanks – all of the suppositions in his book were real. That the government was interested in these things was tantamount to proof. And if handled properly – by utilizing the same UFT principles that the Navy had stumbled upon during the Philadelphia Experiment – controlled transport of manned spaceships, at irrelevant speeds to any desired point the instant it is desired, was possible. 

Only Their Ink Wasn’t Black

Not long after mimeographed copies began making the rounds outside of military channels, darker aspects of possessing “the fantastic key” were reported, and were soon embroidered into the legend. As researchers pondered such things as tremendously compacted tough plastics and metal lamination, measure-markers, sheets of diamond, burning coats, magnetic nets, and level tele-control without inducing a fear-block when mowing the lawn, incidents of ‘bad luck’ plagued their efforts. Those who acquired a copy of the Varo reprint were kept under constant surveillance. Borrowed copies disappeared in the mail. Homes (where the book was) were destroyed by fire. Worse still, there were fatal heart attacks and premature deaths among prominent ufologists. Surprisingly, no one seemed to notice the similarities between the scribbled remarks interspersed with the text by the three annotators, and those sinister UFO silencers known as the Men In Black. Described as being swarthy-complexioned and speaking in a stilted, robotic manner, an analogue with the MIB might explain the idiosyncrasies of the annotators, as well as the awkward composition of their scrawls. Even the clichés and colloquialisms associated with the MIB phenomena are to be found in the conversations between these brothers “of a different blood” – those who speak the black tongue of their fellow gypsies. And like copies of the Varo edition, on numerous occasions the MIB, too, were said to appear and disappear in a non-veridical manner. 

After personally experiencing a strange chain of events that he believed were connected to his involvement with the Allende letters, Jessup – who at first was baffled by the comments, and then skeptical – now began to think that they might be worthy of further investigation. In fact, those around him thought that he had become obsessed with the matter, as he devoted considerable time to re-annotating one of the Varo copies that was given to him by the ONR for his cooperation in its printing. As he grew increasingly paranoid he gave the re-annotated copy to his good friend, the well-respected naturalist and UFO researcher Ivan T. Sanderson, for safe-keeping in the event that something “unpleasant” were to happen to him. Was he being overly dramatic, those close to him wondered? Six months later they would get their answer.

Most published accounts of the Allende Letters and the Varo Edition begin with the discovery of the dead body of Morris Ketchum Jessup, slumped over the wheel of his white Chevy station wagon as a sunset flared through the coconut palms in a park near Coral Gables, Florida on April 20, 1959. The medical examiners would call his death a suicide from acute carbon monoxide poisoning. A hose protruding from the rag-sealed rear window was attached to the exhaust pipe. Due to the mysterious circumstances that surrounded his death – such as no autopsy having been performed (his body was donated to medical research) – there were allegations of foul play. What new information had he dredged up that someone wanted suppressed? But in the midst of a great deal of speculation as to the actual cause of his death, there came the news of suicide notes that had been received by various associates of his. Evidently Jessup had carried out his own death, with the intent of communicating certain findings from beyond the grave during a pre-arranged séance on Long John Nebel’s popular all night radio show. 

Many were stunned by this new turn of events. What had caused him to go off the deep end? If the man who had frightened formal science had taken his own life, was it of his own free will, or was it artificially induced by some flashy comic book technology in a Manchurian Candidate-type scenario, with the suicide notes being part of the cover-up of murder by government agents? Might his bizarre behavior – the “endless stream of coincidences” and “unreality” that he claimed to experience – be symptoms of a mind-control process? But another question was worth asking: was Allende’s bunkum – whether a deliberate hoax or the delusions of a mental patient – directly responsible for the death of a devoted family man and distinguished scientist? 

In the 1960s, books like Gray Barker’s The Strange Case of Dr. M.K. Jessup, Invisible Horizons by Vincent Gaddis, Uninvited Visitors by Ivan T. Sanderson, and Allende Letters: New UFO Breakthrough by Brad Steiger and Joan Whritenour further fueled the persistent rumors that Jessup had been silenced by an alphabet-soup government agency, due to his involvement in the ONR/Varo incident. However, perhaps owing to the moderate success of these and other publications featuring the mystery (along with the buzz the story created in UFO circles), in 1969 a balding, near penniless drifter marched into the headquarters of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) in Tucson, Arizona and introduced himself as Carl Meredith Allen, A.K.A. Carlos Miguel Allende. Not happy about others cashing in on his story, he admitted to fabricating the entire thing. He had done so, he claimed, because he was at the time frightened by Jessup’s book and his public urging for further UFT research, which he felt was dangerous. He then produced a copy of the Varo Edition in which he had underlined in brown ink certain of his earlier annotations, calling them “the crazyest [sic] pack of lies I ever wrote.” Well, not everything was false, he told them. The instantaneous teleportation of the ship really occurred, and could be verified by other witnesses if they could be found. And then there were those old newspaper articles that mentioned a sailor doing a literal disappearing act during a tavern brawl. Much like the ship in question (although presumably without any greenish haze) he then vanished…though he would reappear later to recant his ‘confession’ in its entirety. 

The Strange Case of Dr. M.K. Jessup, Gray Barker ed., from the collection of Blair MacKenzie Blake (photo credit: Duncan Blake)

Moore Problems

Despite Allen/Allende’s retraction, for the next decade the story that he had initiated fizzled – only to reappear in a big way with the 1979 publication of The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility, by Charles Berlitz and William Moore. Although the book was highly entertaining and well researched, critics accused the authors of plagiarizing key elements from a dramatic fictional account of the PX legend that was published a year earlier. 

But even if they had blurred the facts, and embellished the tale with a fantastic conspiracy, it’s possible that some of the information they unearthed offered something of value: in particular, a clue as to the identity of a scientist who conducted a series of tests attempting to apply the UFT hypotheses for military applications. Unless it was just another of Moore’s canards, the scientist in question went by the alias of Dr. Franklin Reno, a pseudonym apparently created from a road sign in Venango County, Pennsylvania that offered a hint as to his current whereabouts. 

It should be mentioned that this Dr. Reno (or Rinehart) was the same scientist who supposedly confided certain technical details to Allende. However, with regards to this new information about Project Rainbow (the alleged code name for the PX), Bill Moore’s detractors would point out that years ago he publicly confessed to have been recruited by government spooks to knowingly pass on disinformation so as to discredit certain UFO researchers. This fact alone would seem to undermine his credibility. At any rate, it must be said that he certainly has an uncanny ability to ferret out information that others aren’t able to obtain – although conveniently, perhaps, many of these breakthroughs come from anonymous sources that can’t be corroborated. A perfect example of this is the elusive newspaper report on the strange circumstances surrounding the tavern brawl. The authors claim to have received a photocopy of a clipping that was sent anonymously, which – if authentic – would seem to verify some of Allende’s claims about “daffy dames” (barmaids) and disappearing sailors. Unfortunately, the source didn’t include the all-important name of the regional paper. Why not, one has to wonder, if they’re sending the clipping anonymously? Also, it seems a bit odd that in the undated article, the actual name of the beer-joint where the incident occurred is never mentioned by name. That the authors mention the “significant fact” that “the column width is a bit greater than was used by any of Philadelphia dailies in the 1940s” seems like a nice touch, though. 

But even if this wasn’t more ‘trickery’ on Moore’s part to smoke out the source (as in the case of his later MJ-12 shenanigans), he was negligent in not checking certain details supplied by genuine sources, as was the case with a Miami housewife named Anna Genzlinger. After mistaking carbon monoxide concentration with blood-alcohol levels in the medical examiner’s report on Jessup’s death, Mrs. Genzlinger passed this erroneous information on to Moore – who, in turn, stated that Jessup’s blood contained a lethal amount of alcohol at the time of his death. Combined with certain medications that he was taking, this would have essentially incapacitated him, a point cited by the authors as further evidence that he may have been murdered because he knew too much about the Philadelphia Experiment, as opposed to committing suicide because of untreated chronic depression. In reality, Jessup’s blood-alcohol was negative, as Mrs. Genzlinger later corrected in her own book about the astronomer’s mysterious life and death.

A Miami Housewife Tries to Ketch ‘Em

In her book entitled The Jessup Dimension, the mystically-oriented Mrs. Genzlinger, when not investigating the strange occurrences and peculiar coincidences of the Jessup/Allende affair by more normal means, attempted to use her psychic abilities to obtain information from Jessup, who she believed to be in a “holding pattern” ever since his tragic death. While searching through a facsimile copy of the Varo Edition at the constant urging of her subconscious, she was stunned by a particular paragraph where the author asks: “Could you freeze a man and instantly lift him out of sight, or cause him to be invisible… Could you freeze the crew of a ship, and remove them from the vessel?” To which “Mr. B” responds in his particular delicate shade of ink:

“Heh! If he only knew by experience he’d keep Silent & Not write or speak of it ever again in his Lifetime. He COULDN’T SPEAK OF IT, for you see, Jemi, It paralyzes ones (sic) Sense of Time & Nulifys (sic) Mental Cognition, functions & Memory, SO HE HAS NO KNOWLEDGE, HE COULD NOT HAVE. ONLY GUESSING.”

But was he only guessing? Or was it, as she was beginning to believe, that Jessup knew more than he was letting on, whether through direct involvement or by accidental observation? And if so, had the scientist been made to forget certain key memories? Delving further into his background, Genzlinger was able to confirm (at least to her own satisfaction) that during the relevant years of 1943-1944 Jessup had been involved in some kind of classified work for the government. That this involved studying sources of crude rubber in the headwaters of the Amazon for the USDA didn’t jibe with the level of investigation that he was subjected to by the FBI for a sensitive position. Being informed that microfilm records for that time frame were badly deteriorated only reinforced her suspicions that the mysterious rubber corporation was a cover for his true employment. When she persisted by filing additional FOIA requests, she was told that the documents were being withheld to protect material that was exempt from disclosure. However, around this time, a promising new lead turned up. A close friend of Jessup’s named Dr. J. Manson Valentine stated privately that Jessup had discovered something “unbelievable” which, unfortunately, he couldn’t prove. According to Dr. Valentine, Jessup had also been approached by the Navy to continue working on the PX, but that he had refused to cooperate any further due to the adverse effects of space-time distortion on humans. 

Intel Capers

Despite these new revelations, the Department of the Navy continued to send form “response” letters to public inquiries about the so-called Philadelphia Experiment, stating that in view of present scientific knowledge they didn’t believe such things were possible except in the realm of science fiction. With their Xerox machines humming, others who were skeptical of the story offered a more prosaic explanation of the invisibility cloak involved. 

One of them, seasoned ufologist Jacques Vallee, suggested that Allende’s claims were a distorted and/or exaggerated account of an actual experiment, which used massive generators to create the powerful electromagnetic fields required for degaussing a ship (in order to make them undetectable to the magnetically triggered proximity fuses of mines and torpedoes). As part of his article in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (“The Anatomy of a Hoax: The Philadelphia Experiment 50 Years Later”) Vallee cited as evidence the testimony of a former sailor who said he was there when the experiment was supposed to have occurred. However, independent researcher Marshall Barnes later attacked Vallee’s journalistic integrity, claiming that the ‘witness’ who said that nothing unusual happened with the Eldridge had made other statements that proved to be false when checked against Navy documents. According to Barnes, by allowing this disinformation (misinformation?), Vallee, himself, was promoting research fraud. Evidently, the bad luck associated with the Varo Edition even applies to the most respected of researchers!

Barnes was also one of the investigators who debunked Al Bielek’s fragmented ‘memories’ of having been one of the Naval technicians who “fell through time” when he jumped off the Eldridge during the Philadelphia Experiment. His fantastic tales of time-travel, hyperspace radiation burns, aliens and UFOs in the underground caverns of Montauk AFB were said to be sheer lunacy. And, obviously still having an axe to grind, Barnes next launched an internet campaign targeting the producers of A&E channel’s investigative television show The Unexplained, after feeling that they did a hatchet job on him by ‘suppressing’ his refutations of certain claims made by professional debunkers of the PX. For the program, he had also arranged a demonstration using diffraction film to create a mirage effect of optical invisibility by refracting light – suggesting that a similar effect could be achieved with intense electromagnetic fields, such as those allegedly produced during the Philadelphia Experiment. 

With all the pranksters, proto-ostension sufferers, and CIA psyopsers we’ve encountered thus far, enter Mr./Ms. Smyth and the ‘real’ story of the legendary Philadelphia Experiment. In attempting to demystify the event, which involved a series of experiments that had the long-term goal of creating a new military arsenal (of electromagnetic countermeasures including optical, magnetic and radar invisibility), according to Smyth, tests involving Einstein’s UFT technologies were all failures. Despite taking precautions, attempts to both eliminate a real ship’s magnetic image and create a ghost magnetic image of a ship where there was no ship had catastrophic results, with the crewmen involved suffering burns, toxicity and “severe” psychosomatic ailments. Yet, the Navy, or someone, was promoting the ‘secret’ that the experiment was a success in a circular intel caper “where truth was afforded real invisibility.” In this way, “while denying the validity of UFO sightings it doesn’t hurt to have a little mystique, an aura of astonishing achievement leak out – because if we’re ever really confronted by an aerial enemy, terrestrial or otherwise, we can always turn around and say that we’ve had it all along, which will keep people from panicking.” In his book Gone Dark (a couple of chapters of which have been posted on the Internet by “Akronos Publishing”), Smyth claims that the mysterious Dr. Reno (or Rinehart) was really Lou Gebhardt, one of those involved in the project, and it was he who ‘handled’ Allen/Allende, and also (or someone impersonating him), William Moore. 

Interestingly enough though, as far back as 1963, an anonymous source calling himself “Colonel B” wrote to researcher Gray Barker (see The Strange Case of Dr. M.K. Jessup) claiming that the ONR was interested in Allende’s notations because he “DID COME CLOSE to some of the circumstances of ACTUAL experiments.”

“A Truth Too Huge, Too Fantastic…”

When I finally managed to obtain a copy of the Varo Edition – and after spending considerable time attempting to decipher the annotations and emphasized passages using the key-words “HAPPY EASTER” – I eventually began to appreciate it for what it most definitely is: a remarkable literary achievement. With the peculiarity of his writing style, and descriptions of things almost beyond sane comprehension, Allen/Allende had transformed Jessup’s decidedly mediocre prose (his ‘scientific’ approach to unraveling many historical enigmas) into a work of epic proportions. And whether or not he was a master leg-puller, had been handled as part of an intel caper, or suffered from a psychological disorder, there was certainly a touch of genius involved – in that he had convinced so many people that his scribbled ramblings were of potentially great importance.

Reproduction of the VARO edition of M.K Jessup’s The Case for the UFO: Unidentified Flying Objects, from the collection of Blair MacKenzie Blake (photo credit: Duncan Blake)

With that being said, having been made aware of Einstein’s curious inactivity during the critical years of 1942–1944, one can’t help but wonder, “What if?” when Allende spoke of “a truth too huge, too fantastic, to not be told.” Especially when today, concepts like anti-gravity propulsion, mercury-based plasma vortex engines, and magnetic field disruptors are used to explain the sightings of enormous, totally silent black triangular craft seen by hundreds of reliable witnesses. With relation to the PX, these massive objects are often described as being able to hang motionless in the sky prior to accelerating at velocities so fast that they virtually disappear before one’s gaze. But as to the underlying science of these genuine unknowns, I sometimes think about poor Miss Dunn having to laboriously retype Jessup’s entire book, along with the annotations of ‘Mr. A’, ‘Mr. B’ and ‘Jemi’ on mimeograph stencils. Unlike the teleportation machinery mentioned, quicker methods of producing the Varo Edition were still a thing of the far distant future.

Update, 28 April 2022: This essay was originally published in 2009, in Darklore Volume 3. The author, Blair MacKenzie Blake, has recently posted an exciting update to the story at the Tool website.

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