Friday, April 27, 2012

Carl Sagan's Alien Moon Base and Vintage UFO Sensationalism: Frank Edwards Tells His Tales

As an undirected, wandering student, I used to really enjoy fantastic tales that purported to be real. So, the old, battered 1960’s paperbacks by Frank Edwards, a sort of Art Bell for the 1960’s. His books were collections of short tales of mysterious disappearances, unexplained phenomena, UFO’s…you know, all the stuff that conspiracy theorists think are absolutely true but are being systematically covered up to prevent the people from knowing what’s really going on. 

Oddly, I never really caught the “true believer” bug of the conspiracy theorist, but I always enjoyed the titillation of the breathless narrative that made everything SEEM like it must be a genuine occurrence of the extraordinary. As a child, I wished that aliens would land in my front yard and take me with them. I dreamed of working side-by-side with Mr. Spock as a sort of junior science officer. And somehow, in the misty past of the 1960’s, it seemed that the edge of the unknown was important government business. After all, the whole decade was dedicated to reaching the Moon.

This morning I found a youtube video from those fuzzy-outline days, a series of slides overlaying a radio presentation by that very same Frank Edwards, “Flying Saucers, Serious Business.” I have the paperback here—somewhere. I read it years ago in a fit of bedside dreaminess. 

I was interested to find, right around the 34 minute mark, a reference to Carl Sagan, who Edwards claimed was the “advisor on extraterrestrial life to the military.” Well, I didn’t see that on his other online biographies!  Here, Edwards notes Sagan’s speculation that we have probably already been visited by beings from other worlds. But wait! He also says these aliens (the imagined probable ones that are out there somewhere) could have bases on the dark side of the Moon. It seems there was a common belief in the early 1960’s that we might have already been beaten to the Moon by space aliens, and that we might have to be prepared to fight for our lunar territory. How fascinating to see such popular rumor and how it arises! Edwarrds tells it all in that matter-of-fact vintage reporter style. 

Of course, now that we’ve seen the other side of the Moon, that speculation has to be thrown out. Only the woo types who believe we have never set foot on the Moon can hold on to it now. That’s why it’s “woo.” For those of you out there who want to see the dark side of the Moon, here’s footage!   So far, no alien moonbase.

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