January 20,1961 - November 22, 1963
"We seek a free flow of information... we are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."-John F. Kennedy, Nov. 21, 1963.
As with many other U.S. presidents, there was a report that Kennedy had sighted a UFO. The event occurred in 1963, while boating off Hyannisport on Cape Cod. The object was "disc-shaped, about 60 feet in diameter, with a gray top, and shiny bottom." It hovered above the water for 40 seconds, emitting a low pitched humming sound. Then it flew straight up in the air and was gone. Kennedy swore those present to keep the incident secret.
A former steward aboard Air Force One Bill Holden, was on board Air Force One with Kennedy flying to Europe in the summer of 1963. A UFO convention being held in Bonn Germany that month prompted Holden to bring up the subject of UFOs with the President.
Holden asked " What do you think about UFOs, Mr. President? According to the account Kennedy became quite serious thinking for a moment. "I'd like to tell the public about the UFO situation" he stated, " but my hands are tied." ( Marrs)
Later after telling his story, some questions arose as to whether Holden could have experienced the encounter with Kennedy as he claimed. Robert Collins, a researcher put some of Holdens claims to his high level sources. They claimed that a loadmaster does not have access to the President and does not "start up a conversation" with the President. A check of an old personnel roster of people close to Kennedy was checked an Holdens name did not appear.
Kennedy and Lundahl
Researchers like officer Robert Collins, a former member of the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, maintains that every President is briefed or "read in" about the extraterrestrial UFO situation. Where Kennedy was receiving his UFO information is not yet fully established, but there have been stories over the years.
One constant rumor that has circulated for many years is that the main source of UFO briefings given to President Kennedy were done by Arthur C. "Art" Lundahl. Lundahl was a high-ranking CIA employee described in White House papers as "perhaps the most distinguished authority in the United States on photographic intelligence...the top photographic intelligence officer in the United States government and, as such, he has been involved in the most important photographic problems affecting national security..."
Lundahl was renowned for his ability to explain complicated technical problems to laymen, presidents, and congressmen. He was characterized as one of the "most gifted and persuasive briefers in American history." President Eisenhower considered Lundahl to be one of his favorite briefers, providing him personal briefing the day after every U-2 flight. Eisenhower compared all other briefings he received to how they compared to the briefings given by Lundahl.
Eight days after Gary Powers and his U-2 were shot down by the U.S.S.R. Eisenhower, trying to justify his actions, sent Lundahl into the Senate to provide a classified briefing about the accomplishments of the U-2 program. When Lundahl was finished, he so impressed his audience he was given a standing ovation. Allan Dulles, Eisenhowers DCI was so impressed his lighted pipe had fallen from his mouth into his lap. Lundahl later stated that during the extended applause he could see Allens jacket smoldering.
Kennedys and his CIA Director, John A. McCone, were equally impressed with Lundahl. McCone, Lundahls boss, described Lundahls accomplishments:
"Mr. Lundahl has made major contributions to the science of photographic intelligence and has had a leading role in the development of an interagency photographic intelligence organization which is credited with accomplishments of great national significance."
This photographic expertise, extending right back into World War 11 led the Navy to install Lundahl as the head of the Navy photo lab that originally analyzed the Utah UFO Pictures (Newhouse film).
This Naval analysis was shared with the January 1953 CIA sponsored Robertson UFO Panel. It was this work, in part, that enticed the CIA to "lure Lundahl away from the Navy in May 1953 to head its nascent Photographic Intelligence Center.(PDI)"
In December 1954, President Eisenhower approved the U-2 program. To handle the photos that would be produced, Lundahl leased 50,000 feet of office space above a Ford repair shop in the Stuart Building. This office space which came with few amenities would in May 1961, after Eisenhower signed National Security Directive 8, become the home of the famous National Photographic Interpretation Center where the most classified photos handled by the government were analyzed.
As a cover the location was in a rundown area of Washington northwest of the Capitol. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, described the location, "Lundahl chuckled at the memory of Richard Nixon, Foster Dulles and other high officials rolling up in limousines for briefings on U-2 findings and having to step across rats and garbage to make it into the building."
Lundahl, also in 1954, developed computer-enhanced image processing - one of the key capabilities held by the CIA. At the CIA, Lundahl supervised the analysis of all the U-2 photographs. In addition, Lundahl was the CIA photo analyst who went into President Kennedys office to produce the photographic evidence to the President that the Cubans had installed nuclear missiles which could be easily launched at the United States.
Lundahl also had briefed President Eisenhower on U-2 photo and other photo reconnaissance developments. Usually Lundahl would brief Eisenhower in the oval office, but when a larger group was involved the photos would be shown in the cabinet room. On occasion Top Presidential Security advisor Andrew Goodpaster would ask for Lundahl to brief in the West Wing basement "with its maps and war-room atmosphere."
According to the CIA, one of Lundahl greatest moments came in a call from President Nixon to the Director of the CIA. Eisenhower had just had rallied from a fourth hearty attack and had asked for an update on reconnaissance. Lundahl put together a special package on the developments that had been made in reconnaissance since Eisenhower had been President and headed to see the former President in the hospital.
"Everything he wanted to know about," said Lundahl, "we had in spades." Eisenhower shook hands with Lundahl and his assistants and said it had been an exhilarating and enjoyable experience. Two weeks later Eisenhower was dead.
It wasnt only photo reconnaissance that Lundahl had in spades. According to Lundahl friend Todd Zechel, the founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, Lundahl was also one of the foremost experts in the world on UFOs. A former CIA colleague of Lundahls stated that Lundahl briefed at least three Presidents his UFO expertise."
It is possible that Lundahl may even have briefed four presidents about UFOs as Lundahl had, according to the obituary written by the CIA, "enjoyed the confidence of US Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon."
In a visit to Arthur Lundahls home in Bethesda, Maryland, Zechel reported that 80% of the massive library were books on UFOs.
"Rather than the shelves being loaded with technical literature pertaining to photogrametry and geology - ostensibly, Lundahls main interest - at least 80% of the collection were books about UFOs. Lundahl had nearly every UFO book ever published. To Zechel this seemed to be an indication the CIA official took the subject very seriously- and perhaps that the Agency took it seriously as well."
Arthur Lundahl also had a long history of involvement in UFOs.
On February 29, 1967 Lundahl met with Dr. Edward Condon and four members of Condon team in change of the $300,000 U.S. Air Force contract to study reported UFO sightings. The "secret" meeting was according to official CIA documents of the event " to familiarize Dr. Condon and members of his team with selected photogrametric and photographic analysis capabilities of NPIC" headed by Lundahl.
This cooperation with the U.S.A.F. had been spelled out in a February 7, 1967 memorandum to the Deputy Director for Intelligence which reported that the U.S.A.F. had awarded a contract with the University of Colorado to investigate the UFO situation. The memo reported arrangements between Brigadier General Ed Giller (USAF) and Dr. Thomas Ratchford (AFOSR) with Arthur C. Lundahl.
In the meeting, Lundahl offered on behalf of the CIA to assist Dr. Condon in his investigation of UFO photographs, provided that at no time the CIA be linked to the analysis. In addition, the CIA would prepare no reports of their UFO photographic analysis. The NPIC would simply provide services of a technical nature, and equipment that couldnt be obtained by Condon elsewhere.
The CIA would "have no part in writing whatever they might conclude on this UFO phenomena Lundahl told Dr. Condon and his assistants. "I might be able to preserve a CIA window on this program for whatever use DRS&T might want to make of it."
On March 24 NPIC provided Condon's people with a document entitled "Guidance to UFO Photographers." It listed a list of ten recommendations to photographers who might have an opportunity to photograph a UFO event, and an information sheet that the photographer should complete.
This document was prepared by NPIC and approved by Dr. Arthur C. Lundahl, Director of
NPIC. On May 1, 1967, the Colorado Project issued a press release calling for
"pictures of unidentified flying objects from private citizens." It provided a
set of recommendations to the photographer, and a list of items of information that the
photographer should prepare. This press release is simply a rewrite of the NPIC document.
NPIC was the top photographic lab in the country and in the world. Over the years it had been rumored that the top UFO photos, including the gun camera footage taken by U.S. Air Force aircraft since the late 40's had been analyzed here.
The lab was also the site of at least one famous UFO encounter. This occurred on July 6, 1959. Major Robert Friend, the acting head of the Aerial Phenomena division (Project Blue Book) had been called to the NPIC to evaluate a "discovery" that had been made. Three days later friend arrived to be met by two Navy commanders and several CIA intelligence officers. They recounted what some have called "the most dramatic event in the annals of government UFO investigation." The vast majority of the details of the events come from a CIA memo prepared by Arthur Lundahl who was present for the dramatic event.
The event had occurred at the end of a five year relationship between Navy Intelligence and a woman in South Elliot Maine, named Francis Swan. Beginning in the spring of 1954 Mrs. Swan claimed to have been in contact with an alien by the name of AFFA who was orbiting the earth in a spacecraft by the name of M-4.
One month prior to Lundahls involvement two Naval officers, liaison officers between Naval Intelligence and the CIAs Photographic Interpretation Center, traveled to Eliot, Maine. There they watched Mrs. Swan become a communications link with AFFA as she had been doing for years. One of the officers, USN Commander Julius M. Larsen, wished to be able to communicate himself and asked Mrs. Swan if she could teach him. "He decided he would like to do automatic writing," said Mrs. Swan, "and would you show me how. I said sure. I just put my hand on his shoulder and he could write."
Arriving back in Washington, Larsen signed in at the guarded entrance of the NPIC, and headed for Lundahls office. Commander Larsen demonstrated the new talent he had learned from Mrs. Swan for Arthur Lundahl and another CIA employee Lt. Commander Robert Neasham. Neasham had worked at the Naval Photographic Interpretation Center with Lundahl in the early 1950's, and had worked on UFO photographic analysis cases with Lundahl for the 1953 Robertson Panel. Neasham, in fact actually testified in from of the committee, stating that their conclusion was that the objects in the Utah ( Tremonton) film were extraterrestrial spacecraft.
Both men were reportedly open to the idea of extraterrestrial craft which is why Larsen approached them. There are no documents yet to support the idea, but, the trip to Eliot Maine may even have been planned and approved by Lundahl.
Larsen sat down and subsequently went into a trance. Lundahl and Neasham asked questions, and Larsen voiced the questions, and through automatic writing wrote out the answers.
Lt. Commander Neasham was very impressed at what was going on, so one of the questions he posed to AFFA was "It is very interesting that we are talking to someone we can see, but can we see proof of your existence?" Larsen switching from writing to speaking: "What kind of proof do you want?
Neasham asked, "Can we see you or your craft?"
"When do you want to see?" AFFA replied.
"Now," Neasham said.
"Go to the window," said AFFA.
The men in the room raced to the window "where they saw a UFO fly by (i.e. not stationary) a short distance away. As they later told Friend it was saucer shaped and brighter around the perimeter than in the center."
Checks with Washington Center Radar, according to Neasham, indicated that the radar returns from the part of the sky where the sighting had taken place "were blocked out" during the time of the sighting. The men involved were impressed enough to ask Friend to come to Washington as soon as possible for an important briefing. Arthur Lundahl wrote up a memo for the record to detail the events that had just occurred. It also included the names of the spacemen, their organization, their purpose. The document, according to Friend also included "times and places of several meetings called to investigate the case."
When Friend arrived from Wright Patterson at the Top Secret photographic lab where the first contact had been made. It was three days later, July 9, 1959. Lundahl and Neasham recounted the events of what had occurred a couple days earlier. Friend reviewed the memo that had been prepared by Lundahl. He suggested that Larsen try to make another contact with AFFA. Commander Larsen sat down and lapsed into a deep trance In an interview done years later Major Friend described what he saw:
Major Friend returned to Wright Patterson and his duties running Project Blue book. He prepared a memo to his commanding general, that has never been recovered in government files. The general told Friend that he would take further charge of the case himself. He never heard another word about the case. The only thing that he knew from discussions he had with Lundahl prior to leaving Washington, is that another trance session was planned for July 11th.
Arthur Lundahl has never told the story of his full involvement of this story. Nor has he described what investigations were made by the CIA, and what the results were. When first confronted with the story Lundahl denied that he had even been involved. When evidence surfaced that he had been involved he admitted that he had been involved but nothing had happened. Lundahl refused to give many details saying that he was protecting Neasham from losing his job, and holding back details about Commander Larsen who made the alien contacts during the meeting, because he felt sorry for him.
The CIA contact with the alien AFFA became the focus of part of a document that surfaced in the 1980's claiming to be a briefing for President Jimmy Carter.
According to Zechel, a former radio operator for the Army Security Agency, Lundahl was good friends with President Kennedy, and briefed him not only on Soviet missiles in Cuba, but on the UFO situation. Checks done with officials records of the Kennedy administration confirm that Arthur Lundahl did have a fair amount of contact with Kennedy, and easily could have provided UFO briefings to the President. White House Records show a public meeting between Lundahl and Kennedy on March 27, 1963, a 33 minute off the record meeting on April 28, 1962, 18 minute off the record meeting September 7, 1962.
During the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, Lundahl provided many briefings to the President about the offensive missiles found on CIA U-2 photographs. He showed these photos to the President and explained what the pictures showed in terms of the types of missiles that had been installed by the Cubans, what the level of readiness in terms of the missiles being used., and what other events were occurring in Cuba which might indicate Soviet and Cuban military plans.
There are also indications that many other meetings could have taken place based on evidence that is now available about President Kennedy. It was his custom to regularly bring women into the White House or into his hotel room while traveling. The names of these women were never recorded. Tape recorded conversations of the discussions surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, shows that participants were asked to enter the White House grounds by the east gate used by the public, rather than the west gate where official visitors were accepted. This was done to hide the identity of key CIA advisors entering every day and arousing suspicions that something was occurring.
Another person close to President Kennedy who was a great fan of UFOs like Arthur Lundahl was Kennedys brother Robert Kennedy.
It is quite possible the two Kennedys discussed the UFO developments, or that Robert Kennedy used his position as Attorney general to help gather information about UFOs for his brother.
President Kennedy, like President Eisenhower, had stories that circulated about him going for a secret meeting to meet with the aliens. Timothy Cooper a UFO researcher, whose father while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, played an active role in the investigation of a rash of UFO sightings in the White sands military missile range in the late 1940s.
Cooper claimed that a reliable source had informed him that JFK "did fly out to an air force base to personally watch an unidentified bogie track from an aircraft under tight security which got no press coverage sometime in 1962." Further Cooper stated that he had been told that Kennedy went to WSMR/Holloman AFB for a tour and a UFO briefing during his administration.
A second invitation to meet with the aliens came from George Adamski, a famous contactee from the 1950's. The story was told by Lou Zinsstag, who was Adamskis Swiss representative for his "Get Acquainted Program." This was a program recommended by the space people to Adamski to inform the people of the space peoples existence. Zinsstag wrote in her book "George Adamski: The Untold Story."
This story is almost impossible to check. A search in the White House Name file did not produce any George Adamski files or correspondence with President Kennedy. According to Madeleine Rodeffer, she had seen Adamskis U.S. government ordnance card which would have given him access to restricted areas - such as the White House. Dr. Jacques Vallee also claimed that a man who had hosted Adamski on a speaking tour of Australia claimed Adamski was traveling on a passport with special privileges.
Adamski in a related matter claimed that President Kennedy had a secret meeting with him at the Willard Hotel, near the White House, in May 1963. The Willard Hotel is a famous hotel a little over a block from the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. Julia Ward
Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic there, and Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Willard Hotel.
The ordnance card shown by Adamski to Lou Zinsstag gives some weight to the chance that this meeting may have occurred. Kennedy White House records show no meeting with George Adamski. Kennedy was involved, according to a July 1965 FBI document, in sex parties at the Hotel Carlyle in New York City. He therefore was therefore accustomed to using hotels for things other than over-night rests.
Adamski also claimed to have had a 15 minute meeting with Senator Margaret Chase-Smith (Maine). Senator Smith was the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for Space Research at the time. There is a good chance that this meeting did occur because Senator Smith was also involved with Francis Swan, another contactee about who a letter was sent to President Eisenhower in 1954. This second contactee involvement would not have been known by Adamski, as it was never made public. It appeared that Senator Smith, a good friend of President Eisenhower, was very interested in the UFO phenomena.