Monday, June 4, 2018

Barker and Bender on the Case-Part Seven

By meeting the Three Men in Black and traveling on board their flying saucer, Albert Bender learned the secret behind the phenomenon that had intrigued and vexed him for so long. Further investigations into the flying saucer phenomenon were pointless and might even be harmful, for the aliens had promised to destroy Earth if they were interfered with in their work. As the dog days of the summer of 1953 came on, Bender understood that he had to shut down the IFSB and quit publishing Space Review. How would he explain his actions to the other members of the organization, though? "I would simply tell them it would not be possible to publish anything," he decided, "because such was not the proper method nor was it the proper time for such an action. All information was being withheld by orders from what I would simply term 'a higher source'." (1)

Before that necessity came about, however, Bender was once again visited by the Three Men. This time he was in for the trip of his life, for they took him to their secret base in--where else?--Antarctica. "All our cities are constructed underground," one of the aliens told him at the beginning of his trip, continuing:
We have crater-like openings on the surface, through which we are able to elevate spacecraft stations for takeoffs and landings. When these stations are not in use they descend into the craters, and the landing fields serve as cover for the openings, with only communications towers visible. (2)
Yes, like the dero, Bender's aliens lived in underground cities, and, like the Nazis, they had a secret base in Antarctica. Bender's aliens were a lot friendlier, though, and so they took him on a tour of their home.

Bender's account of the aliens and their society reads like a Utopia, a Lost-Worlds adventure or scientific romance of the pulp fiction era, or the supposed non-fiction written in the 1950s by men such as George Adamski, Howard Menger, and Truman Bethurum. And make no mistake about it, Albert K. Bender went from a seemingly sober and science-minded investigator (his associate editor, Max Krengel, had written in the first issue of Space Review: "The mystery of the 'flying saucers' will be eventually solved by calm, clear-thinking individuals.") to that lowest form of the flying saucer era, the contactee who goes winging his way around the solar system as the esteemed guest of aliens from outer space. The 1950s were crawling with contactees and there were more to come in the decades ahead. (Eventually they evolved into abductees.) But then the flying saucer story always ends with contact, as we'll see.

In touring the aliens' underground city, Bender sees lots of things and asks lots of questions. If he was a Christian before his visitations with the Three Men, his wayward thoughts can be detected in the things he absorbs from them: the aliens don't worship anything and for them there is no life after death. "What about Jesus Christ?" Bender asks. Earth people "are easily convinced of anything" is the reply. A very clever person hid or destroyed the body of Christ, say the aliens, "so that for centuries afterward people would benefit from the celebration of the birth and death of this prophet." (3) The point is that, like Richard Shaver, Bender suffered from mental illness. Perhaps as a result of his suffering, he became, again like Shaver, an atheist or a materialist. And, perhaps in an effort to make up for his lost faith, Bender, once again like Shaver, came into possession of his own brand of gnosis.

To be continued . . .

(1) Flying Saucers and the Three Men by Albert K. Bender (1962), p. 103.
(2) Bender, p. 110.
(3) Bender, p. 123.

The cover of the second issue of The Saucerian (from November 1953), Gray Barker's own flying saucer newsletter, first published in September 1953. The illustration is by Albert Bender and is more or less a depiction of what he had seen in his vision of August 1953, the place where the Flatwoods Monster aliens disguised as Men in Black made their home away from home. The phallic imagery of the towers shown here shouldn't be ignored: like Shaver, Bender almost certainly had psychosexual problems and was very interested in the sex lives of the beings he had dreamed up. Gray Barker observed: "There seems to be a great deal of sex connected with saucers . . . ." (Quoted in The Way Out World by Long John Nebel [Lancer Books, 1962], p. 65.) I wouldn't stop there: There not only seems to be but is a great deal of sex--weird, aberrant, deviant, fetishistic sex--connected with almost every crackpot scheme known to man. Finding out why might take a whole book or even a multi-volume encyclopedia.

Original text copyright 2018 Terence E. Hanley

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