Suicides, Murders, and Mysterious Deaths Prevalent Among UFOlogists
Could Ufology be one of the most dangerous professions in the world? Throughout the last few decades, Ufologists have been the unfortunate subjects of a wide range of mysterious deaths, leading to an equally varying number of conspiracy theories.
Many UFO researchers believe that these deaths are at the hands of the government, but a few believe that they are the work of aliens themselves, in order to cover up their presence on Earth, according to Nigel Watson, author of The Haynes UFO Investigations Manual. "Many of these cases could be coincidences or people trying to make something out of nothing - but there are certainly some strange incidents," Watson said.
This pattern has been theorized since as early as 1971, when science fiction author and UFO researcher Otto Binder wrote an article discussing a pattern composed of up to 137 deaths of "flying saucer researchers, writers, scientists, and witnesses" during the 1960's, "many under the most mysterious circumstances." Today, UFOlogists who believe in this conspiracy place death toll estimates at up to 300.
Leading UFO researcher Steve Basset, who won Researcher of the Year at the 2014 International UFO Conference, discussed his perception of a pattern, or "cluster," of mysterious deaths of UFOlogists that may be connected to the government, a pattern which began as early as 1947. "What we are looking for are death clusters which by their nature and proximity sit out from the background noise. I try to be careful with my language in order to minimize upset with family members. There are a number of death clusters relating to various issues over the past 20 years. If government-connected then that's not good. Not good at all.
"This is a difficult matter to engage as it is impossible to prove individual events. What I am doing is raising concern over a death clusters which stands out from the background noise. This is risky as family members could be offended. I never say with certainty that a particular case is a murder. And I wouldn't go there at all if it wasn't the only option to perhaps prevent further such deaths - publicity."
Here are a few of the strangest stories:
According to UFOlogists, after giving a series of lectures about UFOs and government conspiracies, UFO researcher Phil Schneider became increasingly concerned about his own safety and the safety of his family. He told friends that government vans were following him and had occasionally tried to run him off of the road. Then in January 1996, a friend found his body in his apartment after it had been decomposing for several days. The medical examiner found that he had committed suicide by wrapping rubber tubing around his neck. His wife insisted that he had previously told her, "If I ever 'commit suicide,' then you'll know I was murdered," and that all of his research materials on aliens and UFOs were missing.
UFOs also played a role in one of the many conspiracy theories involving the death of Marilyn Monroe. There were rumors that she was murdered and her suicide staged as a result of her knowledge of extraterrestrials at Roswell. A purported CIA wiretap document, dubbed The Marilyn Monroe Document and dated two days before Monroe's death, contains references to Monroe's plans to hold a press conference and "tell all" about Roswell, as well as a reference to the alleged secret government agency Majestic 12, an organization tasked with concealing the existence of extraterrestrial life from the public.
Milton William Cooper
A prominent conspiracy theorist, Cooper spent much of his life trying to convince the public that the government was not only concealing the existence of UFOs, but that they were working with the Illuminati to create a New World Order. Cooper believed that aliens "manipulated and/or ruled the human race through various secret societies, religions, magic, witchcraft, and the occult" and claimed to have seen classified documents that detailed the Navy's direct contact with extraterrestrials (although other UFOlogists claimed that they had written some of the documents cited by Cooper as pranks). In 2001, local Arizona police attempted to arrest him for aggravated assault. He tried to flee the premises, and then opened fire on the deputies. One of the police officers was shot in the head, and Cooper was fatally shot by US Marshals. He had been pursued by marshals ever since a 1998 charge of tax evasion, and had vowed that he would "never be taken alive."
In February 2009, the body prominent crop circle researcher Paul Vigay, who was a consultant on the M. Night Shayamalan film Signs, was found floating in the sea off the coast of Portsmouth. He had ended a long-term relationship the night before, and was $10,000 in debt, but his family insisted that he didn't believe in suicide and his autopsy was inconclusive. The Telegraph termed his death "a mystery."
In December 2008, Claudie Haignere, the first French woman to go to space and a scientist who was supposedly at the forefront of alien-human DNA research, was rushed to the hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. She was rumored to have said, "Earth must be warned..." before slipping into a coma induced by an overdose of sleeping pills.
Is there enough evidence to suggest that foul play is at foot? Probably not, but if you're out there researching the UFO phenomena, there's probably enough to make you look over your shoulder every once in a while.