ALIEN SHIPS AMONG THE STARS
By Sean Casteel
(Copyright 2015, Sean Casteel – All Rights Reserved)
Just before his untimely passing, Dirk Vander Ploeg had posted Part One of this article about “Celebrity UFO Encounters.”
We now offer you Part Two of the article as we honor Dirk’s memory.
MEL TORME FATHERS A UFO SCREENWRITER
The expression “Like father, like son” is appropriate to Mel Torme’s UFO sighting.
Mel Torme told Tim Beckley that late one night in 1953, while the singer was out walking his dog, a UFO put on a heavenly show for him. It was around 2:00 A.M. and Mel was standing near his apartment building in midtown Manhattan.
“I happened to see this red light in the sky over the East River,” Mel said, “and it appeared to be moving around quite differently than an airplane would. It moved horizontally, faster than my eyes could follow it, before stopping dead in its path as though it had hit a barrier. Then it did lazy loops, almost like a figure-eight (8). It made a few more circles and then noiselessly It went zap again to another part of the sky.”
For a brief while, the UFO just hovered there.
“Against the pitch blackness of the sky,” Mel continued, “the object resembled the typical description of a ‘flying saucer.’ Eventually, after three or four minutes, it zipped off faster than my eyes could follow.”
Meanwhile, Mel’s dog remained rooted still to the ground, shaking and seemingly transfixed by the UFO. Mel says he still recalls the sighting vividly and the aerial maneuvers he saw the craft make have convinced him that the pilots must have been “superhuman beings.”
Over the years, Mel must have planted the seeds of belief in his son, Tracy Torme, who would eventually write the screenplay and do production work on the CBS miniseries “Intruders,” based on Budd Hopkins’ book of the same name about alien abduction. Tracy also ventured into feature films by writing the screenplay for “Fire In The Sky,” based on the Travis Walton abduction story.
COMEDIAN ROBERT KLEIN IS SERIOUS ABOUT FLYING SAUCERS
Comic Robert Klein makes his living by being funny, but, during the course of a conversation with Beckley, he revealed that he is very serious when it comes to talking about his sighting of a UFO.
It was during the summer of 1957, when Klein was fifteen years old and attending a youth camp in Kent, Connecticut. He and 25 or so fellow campers were playing baseball.
“Before I knew what was happening,” he told Beckley, “a group of my buddies were craning their heads skyward and pointing excitedly at something.
Following the direction of their stare, I immediately saw what had captured their attention. There, in plain view, were these six cigar-shaped objects moving by at an extremely high altitude. They were in formation, one right behind the other, traveling in and out between the cloud layers. Strange as it may seem, they made absolutely no noise. I mean, not a sound. They were just coasting along as if they hadn’t a care in the world.”
None of the youths could make out any detail because the ships were too high in sky.
“But because of their great brilliance,” Klein said, “caused by the reflection of the sun, we could definitely ascertain their shape as being elongated. They went out of viewing range after several minutes. How something this size could travel at such great speeds and not make any noise is beyond my understanding. They defied all the laws of physics.”
Klein hastens to add that he is not an expert on UFOs and that he had never seen anything like the ships before or since. Like Buddy Rich, the boys felt compelled to call a nearby Navy base and report the sighting. The base took the call seriously and even admitted that other reports had been received at about the same time. The base never called back to offer the campers an explanation, which Klein said he has since been told is really “par for the course.”
“I strongly believe,” Klein told Beckley, “there is a rational explanation for the majority of UFO sightings, but there is also quite a bit about which we know nothing and a lot that remains unexplained. I must, in all honesty, put my own UFO sighting into this category.”
IS ROCKER SAMMY HAGAR A LIFELONG ABDUCTEE?
In 2011, classic rocker Sammy Hagar added his name to the list of celebrities who have spoken publicly about UFO and alien abduction encounters. Hagar made his remarks about alien abduction in an interview posted on MTV’s Hive website and the story was quickly picked up by other news outlets. The interviewer asks Hagar at one point about the singer’s consulting with psychics, studying numerology and having “crazy dreams” about UFOs.
“You know how big the universe is?” Hagar replied. “It’s freaking huge! If we’re really the only ones out there, that’s scarier to me than thinking there are aliens. My opinions about the UFO stuff, I could write a whole book just devoted to that. I love it, man. I’m into it deep.”
Hagar then answers the interviewer’s point blank question as to whether he had ever been abducted by aliens by saying:
“I think I have.”
The rock star referred to a story in his autobiographical book “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock” where he talked about being contacted by aliens in the foothills above Fontana, California.
“It was real. Aliens were plugged into me. It was a download situation. This was long before computers or any kind of wireless. Looking back now, it was like they downloaded something into me. Or they uploaded something from my brain…
‘See what this guy knows.’ ”
Hagar also related an experience he had at age four. He saw what he thought at the time was a “car with no wheels.”
“We lived out in the country,” he said, “and I saw this thing floating across a field, creating this big dust storm. I threw rocks at it. And I don’t know what happened after that.”
The interviewer asked if Hagar had blacked out at that point.
“I guess,” Hagar answered. “I just have no memory of it. And that wasn’t a dream. It was during daylight.”
Hagar said that he had been reluctant to talk about his alien encounters largely because he had no language with which to express what had happened to him.
“I couldn’t talk about it because I couldn’t explain it,” he said. “But now I’m pretty sure it was a wireless situation. Either a download or an upload. They were tapped into my brain and the knowledge was transferred back and forth. I could see them and everything while it was happening. There was a visual involved.”
ACE FREHLEY: KISSED BY A UFO
In a section of the book on KISS guitarist Ace Frehley, Beckley reveals how he came by the affectionate moniker “Mr. UFO.” It is not because of all the UFO literature Beckley has generated writing and publishing about the subject for more than 50 years. Nor is it due to all the radio and television appearances Beckley has logged trying to popularize a subject that still goes begging with the mainstream media.
The honor actually goes to Ace, one of the four original members of the blockbuster heavy metal band that was recently and controversially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Considering the large throng of reporters around KISS, all of whom were trying to get the next scoop on the most theatrical rock group of its time, it’s a wonder anyone among the press was recognized at all.
“Ace used to refer to me as ‘Mr. UFO,’” Beckley writes, “because I had once printed a short item about his sighting in a UFO magazine.”
Ace had admitted to Beckley, “It was very strange. We were flying from Los Angeles to New York. This happened sometime before the end of July 1974, following the recording of our second album. The flight had been delayed six hours, and, by the time we boarded, it was well after midnight. I took a seat in the rear section of the 747, isolating myself from the rest of the group and the few passengers who were traveling this late at night.”
Ace said an “eerie feeling” overwhelmed him as he tried to stretch out and get some sleep in the darkened airplane. He noticed a bright ball of light out the window to his right. He blinked his eyes to make certain it wasn’t some kind of illusion.
“But sure enough this ‘thing’ was still there,” he said. “I couldn’t make out any great detail. It looked like an enormous baseball and its actions were completely erratic, moving from side to side. The UFO remained in view for a brief period and then darted off, traveling quite rapidly. I know it wasn’t a satellite or another plane. We were pretty high up when it appeared, leaving me to conclude it was a UFO.”
When Beckley asked Ace how he felt about his sighting, Ace replied that he was sort of elated by it.
“I’d always wanted to see a flying saucer,” Ace said.
GLENN FORD: THE COWBOY AND THE ALIENS
Actor Glenn Ford is best known for his tough guy cowboy roles, such as the outlaw in “3:10 To Yuma” in 1957, as well as for his leading man stint opposite Rita Hayworth in the classic “Gilda,” from 1946.
Glenn knew UFOs are nothing to scoff at, and he made himself clear on that to Beckley.
“Millions of Americans have sighted them,” Glenn said, “and it’s a well-established fact that some twenty percent of such observations remain unexplainable.”
Glenn had his own sighting while in Great Britain.
“I was trying to relax, taking it easy,” he recounted, “and so I decided to spend a few hours alone on a beach near Oxford, England. …
All around me, as far as I could see, was nothing but a beautiful blue expanse of sky and water. “
“Suddenly, my attention was attracted to an object skipping across the heavens,” Glenn continued. “Looking closer, I saw what was definitely a disc-shaped object. What they call a UFO or flying saucer. I watched it for a good half hour as it darted back and forth right in front of my eyes. There is no way anyone can convince me what I saw wasn’t some kind of intelligently-controlled craft. This ‘thing’ made sharp right-angle turns that our fastest and most advanced military jets could not accomplish at the time.”
Glenn also said he saw no reason why our planet could not be receiving visitors from outer space.
“Scientific evidence now exists,” he declared, “which proves that thousands of inhabited worlds can thrive throughout the cosmos. I’m positive that there are other worlds nearby that contain lifeforms of one type or another.”
Taken aback by what he saw on the beach that day in England, Glenn said he reported his sighting to some friends in the military out of a sense of duty.
“Unfortunately, they would not take me seriously,” he said. “In fact, they acted as if I were a bit crazy.”
Glenn believes the UFOs are probably friendly and piloted by creatures coming to Earth “simply out of curiosity.”
TOUGH GUY CHARLES BRONSON’S “INTRUDER”
Perhaps to test his “tough guy” cred, a UFO intruded onto the grounds of the plush Bel Air estate owned by “Death Wish” star Charles Bronson.
Charles was away on location at the time, and the object was actually sighted by his charming actress wife, Jill Ireland.
Jill, being a firm believer in metaphysics and the human potential field, was open to talking about the incident with Beckley in a telephone interview.
“The episode stuck in my mind,” she told Beckley. “My youngest girl was only three months old at the time. I remember it was about five in the afternoon when we had the sighting. I was sitting on the veranda, holding the baby in my arms. Our child’s nurse, Zizi, was standing around talking to me when my eyes suddenly drifted to a bright blue patch of sky. Something up there – which had been reflecting the rays of the sun – caught my attention.”
As is often the case, the harshness of the glare made it difficult to ascertain the exact shape and size of the object, but Jill feels it was “round, with perhaps a dome or tower on top.” She would have had an easier time seeing it clearly if it had been an overcast day, she said.
The idea that it was a weather balloon crossed her mind, but she ruled out this explanation when the UFO began to rapidly rise higher and higher and flew against the wind. Looking back, she says it could have been a secret government aircraft or it may have been a genuine space traveler paying her home “a brief visit.”
Jill was so impressed by what happened that she told husband Charles about it the moment he arrived home. In that same phone call with Beckley, Charles backed up Jill completely.
“There’s got to be something to it,” Charles said. “If Jill says there was something strange in the sky, I see no reason not to take her at her word. I remember she talked about it for quite a while afterwards, and, besides, I know she wouldn’t make the whole thing up. Why would she?”
ANTHONY HOPKINS IS SURE WE ARE NOT ALONE
Beckley interviewed Anthony Hopkins backstage at the Plymouth Theater on Broadway when the actor was a mere 37 years old and garnering comparisons to Richard Burton for his Shakespeare chops. This was long before Anthony’s Oscar-winning turn as Hannibal the Cannibal in “Silence of the Lambs” struck such terror in moviegoers’ hearts.
A deeply philosophical person, Anthony freely admitted that he hadn’t read much about UFOs, at least not enough to comment on the possible arrival of spaceships and aliens, but he is smart enough to realize that the universe must be teeming with life in all manners, shapes and forms.
“It’s really a mathematical certainty that we are not alone,” he opined to Beckley. “It would be a fundamentally lonely joke to think we’re the only ones in the universe. The vastness of the universe alone tells us something. We can safely and mathematically assume that there must be millions and millions of forms of civilizations – civilized life – and that some of these may be highly advanced. I think it’s a high probability – not just a possibility. Otherwise, what the hell is it all about, unless the whole thing is an illusion?”
After quoting philosopher Bertrand Russell to the effect that even the stars in outer space exist primarily in our minds and that material reality is a hard thing to pin down, Anthony offered his opinion on Erich von Daniken and the Ancient Astronauts approach to human existence.
“Writers like this fellow who did ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ are a bit too spectacular in their claims,” he said. “But I think it was Einstein who said that it is possible that we have been visited by superhuman beings. Maybe they exist in a different space-time continuum. Otherwise how could they get here from the nearest other star system that is four and a half light years away?”
MORE STARS THAN ARE IN THE HEAVENS
With typical Hollywood hubris, old-time movie trailers used to boast that a coming attraction featured “more stars than are in the heavens.” While Beckley doesn’t make that particular boast himself, his new book, “Shirley MacLaine Meets the Pleiadians Plus The Amazing Flying Saucer Experiences of Celebrities, Rock Stars and the Rich and Famous,” does offer more stars than are covered in this article.
Some of those additional names are actors Cliff Robertson and Ed Asner, comedians Soupy Sales and Dick Gregory, singers Vic Damone and Neil Sedaka, and the classic era rock bands The Moody Blues and the Jefferson Airplane–Starship.
And even that list is not complete. The book also covers the experiences and opinions of astronauts and U.S. Presidents that include a sighting by Ronald Reagan in which an alien advised him to switch from acting to politics!
Given the fact that, even today, the mainstream misperception of the UFO phenomenon is so completely laced with the kind of pervasive ridicule that places the subject squarely within the “lunatic fringe,” it is much to Tim Beckley’s credit that so many stars were willing to speak so frankly to him about their experiences.
Show business is a very “image conscious” line of work and it’s a bit of a risk for a popular celebrity to talk about UFOs even casually and in private.
However when reading “Shirley MacLaine Meets the Pleiadians,” it becomes obvious that even some among “the rich and famous” have had experiences with UFOs and the paranormal that they don’t completely understand, but which they are willing to share with the world, perhaps in the hope that they are not alone with the great unknown and are instead part of a wider experiencer community that also includes some of the rest of us.
SHIRLEY MACLAINE MEETS THE PLEIADIANS – THE FLYING SAUCER
EXPERIENCES OF CELEBRITIES, ROCK STARS AND THE RICH AND FAMOUS
THE SECRET OF MOUNT SHASTA AND A DWELLER ON TWO PLANETS
THE ASTOUNDING SECRETS OF JAMES W. MOSELEY