By Regan Lee (Used with permission)
George Adamski is probably the best known contactee from the contactee era, and his name is recognized by many civilians -- those not involved in the UFO phenomena. while Adamski captured the world's attention at the time, including royalty, politicians, celebrities, and the media, there were other contactees with their experiences of extraterrestrial contacts who shared their stories with the world.
Daniel Fry, author of The White Sands Incident is among those latter contactees. Fry wasn't as glamorous as Adamski. He didn't have the fame, the following, or the charisma. But Fry did have followers, and his book was popular, as were his newsletters and his other books.
Daniel Fry came to the West Coast by way of Mississippi. He eventually moved to the aptly Fortean-named town of Merlin, Oregon in the early '60s after selling his California business, the Crescent Engineering & Research Company, which was a million-dollar success for Fry and his partner.
And his followers followed, although Fry was in no way a cult leader. Fry did create an organization called Understanding, Inc., which is now World Understanding. There were critics who called it a cult, although this was not accurate. Fry insisted that members had differing beliefs and opinions, and there was no particular doctrine that members had to subscribe to. The original Understanding was more of a metaphysical group than a religious or cultish one.
But before the move to Oregon, Fry worked at the White Sands proving grounds in New Mexico as a technician from 1940 to the 1950s. It was at White Sands that Daniel Fry had his encounter with an ET who called himself Alan, also referred to as A-lawn, and A-lan.
During the hot night on the fourth of July in 1949 - Fry later changed it to 1950, which was problematic - Fry went out for a walk to escape his hot stuffy room. He had missed a bus into town and was alone back at the base. Alone in the desert, he noticed an odd star that turned out to be not a star at all, but a craft that was an "ovate spheroid" which landed roughly seventy feet away from where Fry stood. Fry found himself approaching the landed UFO. As he did so, he wondered if he should report the sighting. He explains his reasons why he didn't;
"What should I do next? Should I return to the base and report the advent of the craft? This, at first, seemed the logical thing to do, but then another thought intervened. It would take at least three quarters of an hour for me to get back to the base, find someone in authority, and return with other observers. What if the craft took off in the meantime? There would be nothing but a crumpled patch of brush to substantiate my story. Who would believe me? If any one did believe, who would dare to admit it? I had read enough of the ridicule heaped upon those who had been incautious enough to admit having seen some unexplained objects flying in the air. How much worse would be the lot of one who claimed to have seen one land and to have been close enough to touch it, yet had no proof except a flattened patch of brush!" (The White Sands Incident)
Continuing with his exploration of the outside of the object, Fry touches the smooth metal. At this point, Fry writes, he hears a voice: "Better not touch the hull, pal, it's still hot!" Now this seems absurd, and for some reason it reminds me of the pancakes given to good Wisconsin farmer Joe Simonton. Simonton's was a classic UFO story; In April 1961 a UFO landed on his farm. The aliens gave Simonton a silver pitcher, which he filled with water and returned to the ETs. They then made pancakes from the mixture -- four of them -- and gave them to Farmer Joe. It makes little sense; it makes no sense, and yet many UFO encounters are full of these disconcerting episodes.
Fry, like the other contactees of that era, was magnanimously invited to take a ride inside the spaceship, and he accepted. Fry found himself traveling over the United States to New York and back within thirty minutes. All the while, he communicated with A-lan the ET, who gave him insights into such eclectic topics as physics, prehistory, and the philosophies behind civilizations. For example, Alan told Fry that Alan's ancestors came from earth:
"There is so much to tell and so little time. Our ancestors came originally from this earth. They had built a great empire and a mighty science upon the Continent which your legends call "Mu" or "Lemuria." At the same time there was also a great empire upon the Continent of Atlantis.
There was rivalry in science. Friendly at first, but becoming bitter with the years, as each nation flaunted its achievements in the face of the other. In a few centuries their science had passed the point of development which exists here now. Not content with releasing a few crumbs of the binding energy of the atom, as your physicists are doing now, they had learned to rotate entire masses upon the energy axis. Under the circumstances, it was inevitable that the two nations should eventually destroy each other, just as the two major nations of the earth of today are preparing to do."
This warning of a potential devastating war on earth is typical of messages given by ETs to contactees.
WAS FRY A LIAR?
Photos and 16 mm film were taken of the flying saucer, but, as is usual in these cases, they didn't prove anything and in fact, seemed to point to a hoax -- also unprovable, of course. But as UFO researcher Timothy Good writes:
"I have always been dubious about the authenticity of Fry's 16 mm films of UFOs (copies of which are in my possession), particularly an object he said he saw in Oregon in May 1964, which to me looks like a couple of lampshades or similarly shaped devices fixed together and suspended with fine twine. He went into some detail as to the circumstances of the filming, and claimed that some frames show the limb of a cloud coming in front of the saucer. I remain unconvinced; the movement of the craft gives every indication of being a suspended fake. Perhaps I am wrong. But does this prove that Fry was lying about his previous experiences? I think not. Most probably, he thought that a few fabricated movie films of "saucers" would bolster his unprovable claims." (Alien Base, Timothy Good, from www.daniel-fry.com)
Like all UFO witnesses, experiencers, abductees, and contactees, we'll never know if the individuals involved are telling the truth. Are they outright liars, deluded, mentally ill, hucksters, disinfo agents? Or are they genuine? And even if they are genuine, what do we make of their stories? Such it is with Daniel fry. Was he a liar, victim of manipulation, truth teller, or some combination of these possibilities? We'll never know, of course.
It may be easy to brush Fry off as a liar; he seemed to have failed a lie detector test on national television. Fry wrote about his experience with the polygraph in Saucers magazine, "My Experience With the Lie Detector," in 1954. Fry maintained that the experience could have been a hallucination, although real, and there are questions surrounding test administrator Chris Gouges's credibility and motivation. One thing seems clear: There were those out to disprove Fry, regardless of the truth.
Daniel Fry's credibility naturally has been an issue. He's referred to as Dr. Fry at times; though his doctorate was from a mail order house in England. This is what the DanielFry.com site has to say:
"One interesting data point is that the date on the degree is April 26, 1960 and yet in the first issue of Understanding in January 1960, it lists Daniel as 'Dr. Daniel W. Fry.' The previous issue, December 1950. did not. This suggests that Daniel was expecting the degree.
"Did he pay for it? Hard to know for sure, but there are three pieces of evidence that he didn't. First, the 1960 Understanding announced it as an honorary degree; second, early in its existence the college granted honorary doctorates; and third, Daniel said he never paid for it: "I certainly never paid anything for this one, neither was I asked to." (Alien Base, Timothy Good) Conclusion: That the institute existed and awarded Daniel a degree is certainly not in doubt; however, is the doctorate valid? The history of the institution makes that claim doubtful."
Fry also changed the date of his encounter from July 4, 1949 to July 4, 1950. An obvious question: Why would someone with Fry's background intentionally lie about such events, given his profession and experience? One reason is that he could have been a willing player in a disinformation campaign. This seems as far-fetched as anything else however; why go to such extremes and carry on the ruse for so long, and across many states?
WHITE SANDS IN CONTEXT
Whenever we consider cases with a connection to White Sands, New Mexico and the related areas, it's important to remember the context. White Sands has its own folklore; stories of crashed UFOs, landed UFOs, and interactions with extraterrestrials swirl throughout ufology. Daniel Fry wasn't the only person to experience something highly unusual there.
Whatever happened, it affected Fry for the rest of his life. Like many contactees, Fry was given a directive to tell his story. Fry asked Alan how he could do this; who would believe him?
"But what can I do?" I said, "I am an unknown. How can I reach the public, and who would listen if I could?"
"Those who are not blind to truth will recognize the value of the message, regardless of who the messenger may be. Write what you have learned from us, in a book. You have already met the man who will publish it. Tell the story through your newspapers, your radio and television stations, and if necessary, shout it form the house-tops, but let the people know."
And Fry did. He continued his mission throughout his life. He published a newsletter, Understanding, from 1956 until 1979 with a circulation at one point of 1,500. At the newsletters peak, Fry put out several pages per issue.
When it comes to the contactees, some UFO researchers, and of course, all chronic, cranky skeptics, focus on the veracity of the individual. Did Adamski, Fry, Van Tassel, and all the others lie, or were they telling the truth? It's often a black and white issue; either were lying, and if so, forget 'em. Or, they're telling the truth, which means there really are extraterrestrials form outer space landing on earth and imparting wisdom in American slang.
The question is why did Fry continue on this strange journey? He didn't make much money from it. For a good while he had his own money; he didn't need to put himself out there publicly and become the object of ridicule. He gave away a lot of material and lectured for little or no pay.
In fact, he experienced financial problems later in life. There was the burning of his property in Arizona in 1976, including his library, which is suspicious, and arson was suspected. There's more to Daniel Fry than his initial extraordinary contact at white Sands.
He wrote many books, not just Incident at white Sands; he published the newsletter Understanding, reached out to others, and traveled to Scotland where he was one of the first visitors to Findhorn. He has been described as a mild-mannered Christian man with deep spiritual beliefs. And he seemed to quietly go about his mission until the end of his life.
There are many things about all the contactee stories that, at first glance, seem to scream fake. In Fry's case, the hokey film and photos, the polygraph, the discrepancies in dates of the encounter, the experience itself. Then there's the meeting with the ET Alan -- he never sees the entity.
Communication takes place through voices, through some sort of telepathy. Either Fry didn't have enough imagination left over to describe an alien's appearance, or he was telling the truth, and it happened just as he said. An argument could be made for both possibilities.
These frustrating glitches are just enough, kind of, sort of, to say hoax, but these kinds of little irksome bits are a basic component in UFO and Fortean experiences. Just enough to make one wonder, but not enough to be conclusive. It's that inherent Trickster element in the UFO and Fortean phenomena that is maddening, true, but it wouldn't be what it is without it.
But there are also may similarities in the contactee encounters. There is the benevolent ET who often speaks in a quaint combination of folksy American slang and didactic, academic speak. The ride in the spaceship. The warnings about nuclear devastation, global wars. The history lessons on civilizations along with the lessons on medicine, science, religions, philosophies. The fact that the ETs look a lot like us -- if and when they're seen. Telepathic communication between space brother and human. And the urgent imperative from ET to human to go forth and share the incredible experience with the rest of the world.
Of course, we can never say for sure what happened to Daniel Fry, and the other contactees. Whatever happened, it was strong enough to keep Fry going with is message until his death in 1992. Despite failing finances, personal tragedies, and several moves, he continued to tell his story. It's possible that what happened to Daniel Fry was a combination of many factors, including some sort of manipulation efforts on the part of our own military or government that o into the entire contactee and abductee experience. It's simply too simplistic to make such hard-edged distinctions of liar vs. truth-teller.
I have been to White Sands Proving Grounds. Did you know that the white sand isn't sand at all? It is gypsum. There are signs along the highway not to take any of it. I guess they think it will all disappear.