Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jim Moseley is Dead

James W. Moseley, who for decades has poked and prodded the world of UFOs, died Friday in Florida. He was 81.

Moseley is best known as the editor of Saucer Smear, the final evolution of his self-published newsletters that were sent on an irregular schedule to his “non-subscribers.” In its pages he printed his opinions which were sometimes radical and sometimes rational. He welcomed responses, often soliciting them to keep the controversies going.
James W. Moseley, J. S.
He was the son of an Army general, whom he seemed to dislike and a self-described grave robber, trading in antiquities from South America. He faked, according to his book, Shockingly Close to the Truth, written with the late Karl Pflock, a UFO landing, and the a letter supposedly from the Department of State to contactee George Adamski. In other words, he often had fun with those in the world of UFOs which might have been his ultimate mission.
In later life he moved from the idea that UFOs might be Earth-based craft to an opinion that they were more terrestrially based (or as Jerry Clark pointed out to me, extra-dimensional, which is not necessarily terrestrially based). But that didn’t stop him from keeping his fingers in the UFO pie.
Mosley lived, for the last many years in Key West, Florida, where he avoided the Internet as much as possible, and enjoyed his position in the world of UFOs. He died of cancer on November 16.


Lance said...

Jim and I had long conversations about once a month for 20 years. I loved talking to him, hearing all of his stories and discussing UFOs and the paranormal. We never had a single cross word even though he knew I was a hard core skeptic.

Jim and I met in person on three occasions:

Once, I interviewed him on camera at the site of the Silver Bridge collapse. There were huge caterpillars all over the grass and crawling around on us. Jim sipped from his drink and took it all in stride.

Jim's most important single research contribution to the UFO subject is probably his devastating Adamski exposé. But the way Saucer Smear steered through the years as a sort of Ufological weather vane is of inestimable value as well.

We spoke about two weeks ago and had an excellent and upbeat conversation. He faced his illness soberly. He also wondered if his life with UFO's had any value--in the end I think he concluded that he had fun and that maybe that was enough.

One of my favorite Jim Moseley habits was that he always sent out postcards with the words "Private and Confidential" on the address side!

I will certainly miss him.

Lance Moody

Randel Smith said...

I got to know him pretty well and will miss him. His humor and true open mindedness were fine character traits.

Randel in Texas

Kurt Peters said...

Too bad. Now he is even more shockingly close to the truth.

JAF said...

Jerome Clark on UFOUpdatesList described Jim Moseley as believing UFOs were some type of "extradimensional phenomenon". I'm trying to reconcile that with Kevin's comment that "they were more terrestrially based". I can see where in a special case of extradimensional travel, a UFO could be said to be terrestrially based - that case being that there exists some one-to-one location relationship between our universe and theirs e.g. if the earth's presence extends into the otherverse, but in a more general sense, I would not consider the two descriptions to be the same. If it is equally or nearly equally difficult to access any location in our universe from this theoretical otherverse, I wouldn't describe such a relationship as terrestrially based. I don't know if Kevin wants to expand on what he wrote or not.

KRandle said...


In my talks with Moseley, which usually didn't take this direction, I always had the impression that when he talked of extra-dimentional, he was talking about something that had Earth at the center... We couldn't see it or interact with it (much) but it was oriented around this planet. Right or wrong, that was my impression. I suppose I have somewaht confused it with his interdimentional theory.

Jerry Clark advises me that Moseley had originally thought of UFOs as earth based as opposed to interstellar. But Moseley presented many different theories, sometimes, I think, just to stir the pot.

Jerry also tells me that Moseley not only disliked his father, but despised him, which I knew from a rather nasty letter (letter instead of one of his "confidenial" post cards) that I got from Moseley a couple of years ago. I suggested that if we were to cut Charles Moore some slack for his mistakes about Mogul (such as he didn't know the name in 1947 because it was so highly classified) we should do the same for Jesse Marcel, Sr. I wasn't suggesting that Moseley endorse the Marcel story, just realize that Marcel, for the most part, was telling the truth as best he remembered, just as Moore was. Besides, I noted that Marcel had served during WW II... which set Moseley off on a rant. The very next Saucer Smear I received had a huge, scribbled "X" on it meaning I was removed as a "non subscriber."

Well, that was okay by me, simply because, for me Saucer Smear had evolved from the funny document it had been, poking good natured fun at some of the overly serious UFO researchers to something that could be mean spirited.

But he got over his snit about that, though he made it clear he disliked the American Army (and I had served in it for a long time), and we talked for what became the last time a couple of months ago. I was finishing a book and had occasion to mention Aztec. Moseley had interviewed Silas Newton on the day Newton was convicted of fraud in Denver. According to Moseley, they have a nice chat about the case. He didn't help all that much with the book, but then he didn't remember much about his interview either... It was just an interesting side note.

So, this wasn't really meant as anything other than a way to let those around the UFO community that Moseley had died. I looked at what Jerry had written in his Encyclopedia, looked at my copy of the book he had written with Pflock, which only confirmed that Moseley viewed himself as a grave robber, and let it go. I'm not sure we need to go into much depth to figure this out. I mean, he was talking about cratures from another dimension...

KRandle said...


To further clarify, I found this quote by Moseley, "I think it's possible UFO's come from other planets, but it's much more likely that, whatever they are, they are a permanent part of Earth's environment."

Which could be interpreted to mean that they are "terrestrially based."

Or, in other words, I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to figure this out, given the cryptic nature of some of Moseley's writings.

JAF said...

Thanks Kevin. I originally mistook your reference to "terrestially based" as having something in common with your explanation for alien abductions, which in your words have "terrestial explanations". In other words, "terrestially based" implied psychological origins rather than external objects. I wanted to confirm that I was misreading what you wrote. And you've confirmed I was!

Wikipedia has an entry describing Jim's father. He doesn't come across as a likable figure.

Lance said...

I posted an interview I did with Jim in 2001 that covers some of the above. It's on my blog at


Paul Kimball said...

In my last conversation with Jim, about two months ago, he and I chatted at great length about my "ghost" investigating experiences in 2008-09 on the Ghost Cases TV show, and things like synchronicity and life-after-death. I definitely got the impression that he knew the end was near. He was a rare bird in the best possible way, and he will be sorely missed.


Ross said...

"Besides, I noted that Marcel had served during WW II..."
That has no bearing at all on Marcel's credibility. I can tell you from experience that WW II veterans lie as readily as anyone else.

KRandle said...

Ross -

Unless you understand the whole conversation, your point is irrelevant. I was suggesting to Moseley, that if he was going to cut Moore slack for things Moore said that were clearly in conflict with the documentation, that we should cut Marcel the same slack. He earned the benefit of the doubt because of his service in a combat zone during the war. Absence of evidence that Marcel was lying, then the benefit of the doubt went to him.

This enraged Moseley, and I believe it was because of his hatred of his father. Marcel earned nothing by his service. Marcel was a liar, end of discussion.

I can make the same argument for Moore, who also served in WW II but not in a combat environment. So, Moseley inconsistently applied his criterion.

I was not saying that we give Marcel a pass on everything. I was not saying that we believe him simply because of his military service during WW II. I was saying that we cut him the same slack we cut Moore.

Can I point to a place where Marcel lied? Sure. He seemed to have claimed a college degree, named schools, but I have been unable to verify this. That he served in WW II doesn't not change these facts.

Other information that others claim prove Marcel lied are not so cut and dried. On those items, because we have nothing to the contrary, I say that we give Marcel the benefit of the doubt... Just as we do with Moore. That was really all I was saying...

As for those WW II veterans who you say lie all the time, I ask you, "Are you sure they are veterans?" Read Stolen Valor, it will open your eyes.

And remember one other thing. During the 1990 census, everyone was asked if he or she was a Vietnam Veteran. Thirteen million people answered, "Yes."

There are but two million, five hundred thousand Vietnam Veterans. That means ten million plus lied about their service in Vietnam.

Ross said...

I don't agree that service in a combat zone earns anyone the benefit of the doubt. It's completely irrelevant. I'm not arguing that Marcel lied; I just think your "benefit of the doubt" argument is silly.

Ross said...

Also, I didn't say that WW II vets I've known lie "all the time."

KRandle said...

Ross -

You still miss the point.

Ross said...

I still miss the point? I guess so, because I have no idea what point you're talking about when you say I still miss the point. :)

Ross said...

Look, I thought your point was that in the abscence of evidence that he was lying, Marcel should be granted the benefit of the doubt because he had earned said benefit through his combat service. Wasn't that your point? And I still contend that combat service should not grant one the benefit of the doubt in matters of personal honesty. I think combat service is irrelevant in this regard. What "point" am I missing?

Terry the Censor said...

I have read a lot about Socrates and during the summer I read Moseley's memoir. Let me suggest this:

Moseley was an ironist, through and through. He may have assented to a specific view from time to time, but was never conclusive or (gasp!) dogmatic. Therefore, anyone who claimed to be CERTAIN was a legitimate object of Moseley's ironic scorn.

Who will replace him?

KRandle said...

Ross -

I was about to give up on this when I realized that since you hadn't been a part of the conversation with Moseley that you might not understand the context. Moseley was suggesting that we all give Charles Moore a pass on the inaccurate facts he mentioned because it could be little more than the foibles of memory. He wasn't lying, or really mistaken about what he said... he was sort of misremembering things.

I thought, "fair enough," but if we were to extend that courtesy to Moore, then shouldn't we extend the same courtesy to Marcel. The same things could be said about Marcel, not to mention that the one real sticking point was in a transcript that was somewhat confusing and the tape backup was long gone (Pratt told me that). FYI: Pflock's version of the transcript has been cleaned up, but Pflock's interpretation on some of it might be in error. There is one point where the insertion of a comma changes the meaning and without the original tape, we really don't know which is correct.

I suggested that Marcel's service had earned him a little consideration... rather than just call him a liar and be done with it, maybe we should look below the surface, which is what set Moseley off. I knew that he hadn't been fond of his father (he had once asked me if a major general would have held the position he did, and I explained in the 1930s, yes, he would. I didn't know of his hatred for his father and the communication deteriorated from there.

And now we digest into a real point of trivia here... about whether Marcel deserved a little consideration because of his military service. I say yes, you say no... and I suspect there will be many who agree with me... and agree with you. But it is really a point of trivia because the point I was attempting to make with Moseley was that he had a double standard based on his own beliefs.

Finally, my point about the WW II vets you suggested lied was that sometimes those claiming military service had none. Oh, crap, I'm not sure what my point there was... forget it.

JAF said...

About three years ago I had to testify under oath about my dog. The testimony was taken by a court reporter and I later read the transcript. I was quite surprised at some of the things I had said. They weren't what I was thinking at the time. They weren't accurate in some details. I was not attempting to lie, although my dog's life was at stake.

I would submit that unless Marcel was given an opportunity to go over the transcript to check for errors, there were likely some made. Since the one interview with Pratt seems to be the source of almost all of the accused tendency of Marcel to exaggerate and dramatize, it would be unjust to declare him guilty of lying without more evidence.

BTW, the animal control board declared that my dog should be euthanized. I had to appeal. He's back home now, safe and sound.

Moseley erred in being too quick to condemn Marcel. He lost his objectivity and held Marcel's service against him - then went further and held Kevin's service against him! I took that to be Kevin's main point.

Doc_B said...

Watching your noble attempt at QandA on 'hypno docu UFO rama mania of the late 90s'. The Psychologists shouldn't have left you to dry on hypnosis for so long. You did a commendable job of putting up a 'here be monsters' flag

Ross said...


Thanks for taking the time to respond to me (again) and clarify your points. Really, the only point I had issue with was the "point of trivia" regarding Marcel's earning the benefit of the doubt because of his military service. We disagree there; fine. I don't have issues with any of your other comments. I do want to clarify again that I'm not trying to make a case against Marcel. I have no bone to pick with Marcel, and I have no axe to grind, pro or con, with respect to Roswell.

I will miss Moseley. I always enjoyed the interviews they did with him over at The Paracast.