Sunday, June 14, 2020

Ufology Deaths on June 24

In a few days, it will be Saint John's Day, June 24, 2020, a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of John the Baptist. All over Europe "Saint John's fires" have been, historically, lit on mountains and hilltops on the eve of his feast (the critically significant St. John's Eve). As the first day of summer, Saint John's Day is considered in ancient folklore one of the great "charmed" festivals of the year. 

It is a day about new beginnings, birth, and rebirth. But in ufology, it often is about endings and death.

I have written earlier that due to the Anniversary Syndrome, ufo-related deaths do infrequently occur on June 24ths. The Anniversary Syndrome or Effect is tied to birthdays and important dates in a person's life that some people "wait" for on which to die. There is no more important date in ufology that it's "birthday," June 24, 1947.

For ufologists June 24th is of critical importance. On June 24, 1947, the modern era of UFOs began with Kenneth Arnold’s dramatic sighting of “saucers” flying between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams in Washington State. The primary significance of this particular date, St. John’s Day, cannot be diminished within ufology.

In 2020, let us look at one more wrinkle in time connected to June 24, 1947.  Instead of deaths, how about examining a birth?

Who was born on this exact date? One remarkable figure is the popular culture individual ~ Peter Weller, who was born on Saint John's Day, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and grew up to be a well-known actor, as well as a tv director and Ph.D. art historian. Weller is famed for several roles among his 70 films and tv series, including RoboCop (1987) and its sequel RoboCop 2 (1990), in which he played the title character, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). He has also appeared in such films as Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite (1995), the Oliver Stone-produced The New Age (1994), David Cronenberg's adaptation of William Burroughs's novel Naked Lunch (1991), and the Christian Duguay-directed adaption of a Philip K. Dick short story, the movie Screamers (1995).

As we move towards June 24, 2020, let us ponder the past June 24ths' duels with deaths, from 1947 to 2019.

Here is a quick overview of the notable ufo-related deaths on or near June 24:

June 24 or 23, 1964, Frank Scully, 72, author of one of the first crashed-saucer books, Behind the Flying Saucers (1950), dies.

June 24, 1967, two British UFO contactees, Arthur Bryant, a contactee, and Richard Church, an author and chairman of CIGIUFO, die.

June 23, 1967, Frank Edwards, 55, popular UFO author and radio personality in the 1950s, dies a few hours before Arthur Bryant. James Moseley stunned the delegates assembled for the 1967 Congress of Scientific Ufologists at New York City’s Hotel Commodore on June 24th, with the news of the sudden death of Frank Edwards.

June 24, 1969, Willy Ley, 62, a rocket scientist and Fortean author, dies. Willy Ley was one of the first respected modern scientist to attempt to answer the question of what is a flying saucer. In 1952, he was one of the first, if not the first person, to say that 85% of UFO sightings are misidentified craft, leaving the other 15% open to notions of "interplanetary travel," that he began writing about in 1926.

June 24, 1978, Robert Charroux, 69, the best-known pen-name of Robert Joseph Grugeau dies. Charroux was a French author known for his ancient astronaut theories and writings on other Fortean subjects, in such books as Masters Of The World: Groundbreaking New Revelations About The Ancient Astronauts (1979).

June 24, 1987, Jackie Gleason, 71, the actor, who was an early advocate of flying saucer research, dies. Gleason's known interest in UFOs allegedly prompted President Richard Nixon to share some information with him and to disclose some UFO data publicly.

June 24, 2006, Lyle Stuart, 83, the renegade publisher who published anomalist writer Frank Edwards’ Fortean book, in 1959, Stranger than Science, a paperbook full of information on ufology and other unexplained accounts, dies.

June 24, 2013, James Martin, 79, a former rocket scientist, computer scientist, and author of After the Internet: Alien Intelligence (2000), is found floating dead in the waters off Agar's Island. Dr. Martin bought Agar’s Island in 1977 and made his home in Bermuda. The multi-millionaire kept a relatively low profile in Bermuda.

June 24, 2013, Alan Myers, 58, the most prominent drummer (1976-1987) of the band Devo, dies of stomach cancer in Los Angeles. Devo played punk, art rock, post-punk and new wave music, and performed stage shows that mingled kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary. Devo recorded at their own self-named "UFO Studios." More.

June 24, 2015, Mario Biaggi, 97, dies.  The former Bronx congressman was involved in the "UFO disclosure" movement, and was once pictured on the cover of Ideal's UFO Magazine, December 1978, Number 4. Within the periodical, there appears the article, "Interview: Mario Biaggi 'There Is A UFO Cover-Up By The Government.'" On the cover, an image of Biaggi is shown with President Jimmy Carter. More.

June 24, 2018, RoswellX-Files, and The Shining television guest star Stanley Anderson dies. 

June 24, 2018, the Voice of New York radio during the Great Northeast Blackout (caused by UFOs?), Dan Ingram dies.

See further information on Anderson, Ingram, and others who died in 2018, here.

June 24, 2019, news reporter Sean Dunleavy, dies. The journalist was a witness to and a participant in the famed Linda Cortile UFO abduction case of November 30, 1989, Manhattan, New York. Read more.


In 2014, in response to a contemporary blog posting I wrote on the possibility of another ufologist dying on June 24, the self-described "ufo skeptic" Robert Sheaffer (born 1949) commented: "June 24th is coming up soon, so I'm going to be hiding under the bed."


Obviously, getting tired of me talking about these deaths for years, Nick Redfern decided to write a book about them (I'm joking, of course):

Nick Redfern is to be congratulated for finding detailed material to fill this "aware and awoke" book, Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind: Suspicious Deaths, Mysterious Murders, and Bizarre Disappearances in UFO History (Weiser, released six years ago on June 23, 2014).


Everyone interested in this topic should acknowledge the work of Otto Binder, who wrote 1971's investigative article for Saga, "Liquidation of the UFO Investigators," looking at the mysterious deaths of many researchers' deaths. 

Binder's early publisher (EC, Entertaining Comics) overlapped with the Fayette Factor, as it was located at 225 Lafayette Street, New York, New York, for his horror comic work. He was the co-creator of Supergirl and for his many scripts for Captain Marvel Adventures and other stories involving the entire superhero Marvel Family. From 1941 to 1953, he penned 986 of 1743 the Marvel Universe stories. 

Binder passed away after his own incredible personal tragedy.
Otto Binder's daughter Mary [at the age of 14] had been on her way to school one morning when a car jumped the curb, went into the driveway in front of the school and killed her. As film producer and comics historian Michael Uslan, a family friend, recalled, "Otto never recovered. His wife never recovered. She had a breakdown, and Otto started drinking, and eventually he dropped dead of a heart attack. And the three of them were gone, like in a flash." Source.
Binder died, at age 63, in Chestertown, Warren County, New York, on October 13, 1974. [The county is named in honor of General Joseph Warren, an American Revolutionary War hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill (which occurred on June 17, 1775).]

Binder is honored in the first episode of the 2015 television series Supergirl as the title character prevents a malfunctioning jet from crashing into the "Otto Binder Bridge."


Do other religions have an acknowledgement of June 24th? In 2017, June 24th was Muslim's beginning of Eid al-Fitr, the beginning of the end of Ramadan, the breaking of the month of fasting. But the date shifts, year to year.

Why are no women on the list above? Why no people of color? More research needs to be done on this, sociologically. A broader net must be thrown out for more data. Send along any new information you have.

For now, be careful on June 24th.

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