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BOOK REVIEW: "Flying Saucer Fire and Fury" writings of Gray Barker

New Saucerian Press
Not as good as the recent John Keel collections from New Saucerian.
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BOOK REVIEW: Flying Saucer Fire and Fury: Aliens in the White House and Other Top-Secret Tales of Ufology by Gray Barker and edited by Andrew B. Colvin (New Saucerian Press) 2018

Perhaps, because I recently immersed myself in the writings of John Keel, as republished by New Saucerian Press, the recently-released collection of writings by Gray Barker – Flying Saucer Fire and Fury – I did not come away from this book feeling as rewarded as I felt after diving into Keel’s brilliant writings.

Not that West Virginia native Gray Barker was not an apt observer of the UFO scene and the human condition, but that his writing did not have that zippy punch and incisive wit that jump from the pages of John Keel’s books.

Nevertheless, reading Gray Barker’s writings in Flying Saucer Fire and Fury- primarily collected from newsletters -  are informative about the period between 1975 and 1984, when Barker was particularly active, up until his death that same year of 1984.

Featured in chronological order, we see Barker writing during a somewhat low-activity period for paranormal activity, particularly involving UFOs. Still, we get his coverage of the Travis Walton alien abduction of November 1975, the oddball series of “vegetable man” alien encounters in rural West Virginia investigated by Barker and involving a rattled man named Jennings Frederick.

Also, there are a number of printed letters from readers, over the years, included in this collection. What is interesting is that in the approximately 40 years since the core of this material was first published, not much has changed when it comes to figuring out just what the hell these UFOs are or might be.

In 1981, Barker interviewed writer and researcher Anna Genzlinger about her new book The Jessup Dimension, about the late Morris K. Jessup, a mentally unstable UFO researcher and writer who committed suicide in 1959, troubled in the wake of his research into the alleged “Philadelphia Experiment” and the odd case of Carlos Allende.

While reading about Jessup, in my mind I thought about the middle initial “K” and what it stood for. I thought “Ketchum” because “Jessup” is like “ketchup” and it seemed to go together. And then when I read about Barker and Genzlinger having an “a ha!” moment together, agreeing that Jessup’s middle name was indeed “Ketchum,” well, it was a little weird.

A 1982 article on the “Great Airship Mystery” of 1896-97 is noted here, and to this day is a baffling tale in itself.

And despite the front cover image of Hillary Clinton embracing an “alien,” and giving the impression there is more about the White House links to ET’s, that info is very limited. There’s a bit on President Eisenhower’s alleged meeting with aliens in 1954, but not more than that. Again, Barker died in the mid-1980's, during the Reagan administration.

A lot of the cases are familiar to many who have followed UFO politics over the years, from the different Ufology factions in the years before the 1990's, when Ufology and interest in alien abductions and paranormal (in part, thanks to the popularity of The X-Files) exploded once again.

While not a critically important book, it is a key collection by a man who was a peer of John Keel (even though they had their own rivalry of sorts) and who clearly wanted to know what was really going on and what was behind this strange phenomenon.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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