Upon hearing of the death of Moseley, Anomalist Books publisher and editor Patrick Huyghe said: "He was one of the last remaining old timers from the golden age of flying saucers. Goodbye, Jim."
I, Loren Coleman, first met James W. Moseley ("Jim" to his friends) when he, John Keel, and I were speaking at a Fortfest in the D.C. area, in 1973. The most vivid memory I have of that time is sitting with these two gentlemen in the dark and shabby lobby of a motel, listening to the foremost scholars of ufology decide what they would do that evening. I recall politely excusing myself to finetune my next day's presentation, as they skipped off, by foot, across the multilane highway, to visit a nearby striptease joint. And thus I was introduced to the braintrust of ufology, and knew what the end would look like - some sort of cosmic mix of humor and nudity galore!
Did it matter what people thought? Ufology historian and Moseley friend Jerome Clark wrote me: "Well, it did matter. It mattered to Jim, who said he was not gay and who did not like it when people spread such speculation."
James Moseley was a pivotal chronicler of a now-famed mystery that issued from his interest in ancient Peruvian artifacts. It is to be recalled that the Nazca Lines were first discovered by the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, who spotted them when hiking through the foothills in 1927. He discussed them at a conference in Lima in 1939. Maria Reiche, a German-born mathematician and archaeologist, first studied and set out to preserve the Nazca Lines in 1940. Paul Kosok, a historian from Long Island University, is credited as the first scholar to seriously study the Nazca Lines in the USA, on site in Peru, in 1940-41. But it was Moseley who first wrote about the Nazca Lines as an intriguing Fortean phenomena in Fate Magazine, in October 1955, suggesting a mysterious origin, long before they interested alternative writers such as Erich von Däniken (1968), Henri Stierlin (1983) and Gerald Hawkins (1990).
James W. Moseley, who was born on August 4, 1931 in New York City, was more than merely an American ufologist, that's for certain.
Over his career, he has exposed UFO hoaxers and has engineered hoaxes of his own. He is known for the newsletter Saucer Smear.
Moseley was the son of U.S. Army Major General George Van Horn Moseley. Moseley attended Princeton University for two years before dropping out. He became interested in UFOs following the 1947 claims of pilot Kenneth Arnold, but his interest deepened following the 1948 death of U.S. Air Force pilot Thomas Mantell, in pursuit of a UFO.
In July, 1954, Moseley co-founded Saucer News, a periodical known for its unorthodox, "freewheeling" (Clark, 2002) style. Saucer News only occasionally featured serious UFO research; Moseley was among the first to publicize evidence against the claims of leading "contactee" George Adamski. In 1953 he investigated the Ralph Horton flying saucer crash.
Saucer News was sold to Gray Barker in 1968. Moseley became a regular lecturer on UFOs for several years and organized an annual convention. In 1970, he founded a newsletter that went by several titles until Moseley settled on Saucer Smear in 1981. He produce[d] the newsletter irregularly, and [sold] pdf issues and subscriptions from his site. Saucer Smear typically ha[d] a joking, gossipy tone.
Moseley report[ed] (Story, 1980; Clark, 2002) that he has accepted, then rejected, a number of explanations for UFOs. In roughly chronological order, he considered the extraterrestrial hypothesis; a secret weapon/aircraft hypothesis, psychic/supernatural/interdimensional hypotheses in the vein of John Keel or Jacques Vallee; deep skepticism; and agnosticism. According to Jerome Clark, he ha[d] "entertained just about every view it is possible to hold about UFOs, without ever managing to say anything especially interesting or memorable about any of them." (Clark 2005). Source.