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First Serious Searches For ETs
Many excerpts on this page and
section of LCM were taken from my book;
The Final Empire
®All Rights Reserved
Even when I was eleven years of age the notion of looking for and
believing in extraterrestrials was well underway and picking up momentum. It seemed the speeding train of
new and expanding science was accelerating to the point of even venturing into outer
space. I will illustrate what I mean by the following.
I have gotten the following information chiefly from "THE ORIGINAL
COAST-TO-COAST BEST-SELLER!" Flying Saucers Serious Business, written by Frank
Edwards and published in 1966. Because this book is some twenty-five years old, and
because the acceptance or rejection of much of what I am will say here will hinge very
much on credibility, I think I should take a few lines to let you know just who Frank
Edwards was during this time frame.
According to the second page of the appendix of this book, Mr. Edwards
formerly served as a news commentator for the American Federation of Labor. His career
began in 1923 at one of the nations first radio stations, KDKA, which was located in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Even though he originally began as a volunteer, he later became
recognized as a pioneer broadcaster and reporter for his time. He later joined the Mutual
network as a political commentator reportedly having "... one of the biggest
audiences in radio." He also became a best-selling author with such books as Stranger
Than Science and Strange People. In addition, he wrote My First 10,000,000 Sponsors and
Strange World. He also made several television appearances as a guest of personalities
such as Art Linkletter, Mike Douglas, and Alan Burke.
Thus, I believe one could safely say what Mr. Edwards had to report was
usually worth listening to. So, if you can bear with me I will refer to some of Mr.
Edwards information to take you on a short trip down the nostalgic road dealing with
On page 71, Mr. Edwards shared a quote which is rather startling when
you consider the date and place it was said and who said it. The statement was reportedly
made on July 27, 1965 before the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in San
Francisco. Following is the amazing statement;
The United States can eavesdrop on more than one
intelligent civilization elsewhere in the Universe anytime we are ready to set up the
According to Mr. Edwards, the speaker was "... Bernard M. Oliver,
famed electronics engineer and Vice President of Hewlett-Packard Corporation." Mr.
Edwards felt Mr. Oliver knew what had already been done with radio-telescopes when he made
this statement. Reportedly, no one in the well-informed audience laughed at Mr.
Olivers statement. Instead they lengthily applauded him.
I believe it is likely those with the American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics responded to Mr. Olivers statement as they did because they were
already familiar with the following, yet little known history concerning early radio
searches of the heavens. I found this information on pages 7383 of Mr. Edwards
book. Unfortunately, Mr. Edwards does not always fully provide the sources for all of his
information. But, at the time he initially wrote the book he may have felt that most knew
about this information already, and his aim was to merely put it all into perspective.
Please take into account this book was a best-seller in the 1960s.
On these particular pages, Mr. Edwards mentions some events which I
believe really burned the breeches of orthodox science. On page 73 he began to relate the
story of the noted Yugoslavian self-taught scientist, Nikola Tesla. Reportedly, Mr. Tesla
was mostly known for the Tesla coil. But his most far reaching accomplishment was winning
the acceptance of alternating current (AC) over Thomas Edisons direct current (DC).
(AC was able to be transmitted more effectively due to transformer action being able to
step AC power up or down. This essentially helped to manage power loss over long
distances.) However, AC transformer action also made the propagation and detection of
magnetic radio waves possible, and it also played an important role in the future of
wireless radio communications.
According to Mr. Edwards, Mr. Tesla had become wealthy by 1899 and some
even considered him to be eccentric. This may have been due to him believing power could
be taken from the Earths magnetic field, and in turn it could be used to send radio
waves to other planets which could signal any who could be listening. This indicated Mr.
Tesla thought intelligent extraterrestrial (ET) life may have possibly existed on other
planets. During his time this was definitely thinking outside the norms of most human
In addition, Teslas idea of extraterrestrial life proved to be
much more than mere cerebral undulations. According to Mr. Edwards, Mr. Tesla actually
conferred with the U.S. Government and selected a place in Colorado Springs, Colorado to
carry out his experiment. Interestingly, the funding for this project reportedly came from
the wealthy and powerful J.P. Morgan himself.
On pages 7475, Mr. Edwards presented information he had gotten
from a book entitled Prodigal Genius, which was authored by John ONeill. This book
provided an account of just what happened when Mr. Tesla conducted his experiment in
Colorado in 1899.
According to this book, Mr. Tesla fabricated a huge coil, "...
seventy-five feet in diameter ..." which fed a "... copper ball atop a
two-hundred-foot tower." Reportedly, Teslas experiment greatly exceed his
expectations. Supposedly, a "mighty wallop" was generated and he produced
"... bolts of artificial lightening which literally rocked the countryside for many
miles around." However, it seems as a result of the experiment, the public was
threatening to have him arrested for disturbing the community.
Nonetheless, before he stopped the experiment Mr. Tesla felt he had
proven his point. He believed "... that somewhere out there in space his gargantuan
dots and dashes had been detected ... and answered." Reportedly, Mr. Teslas
equipment detected radio signals which he claimed had "... such clear suggestion of
number and order that they could not be traced to any cause known by me ... ." Mr.
Teslas feelings had considerable merit because at the time of the experiment,
Earths radio atmosphere was relatively clean. During this time, the inventor,
Guglielmo Marconi was "... barely able to send puny little signals a distance of
fifty milesand it was two years after Teslas experiment at Colorado Springs
that Marconi managed to get the letter "S" across the Atlantic in intelligible
Interestingly, while Tesla was shaking up the hillside in Colorado with
his rig, Mr. Marconi was in Europe sending the letter "V" to his colleagues
fifty miles away. The signal was sent over the English Channel from South Foreland,
England to Wimeraux, France. This experiment ended when his colleagues "... finally
succeeded in intercepting the signals ..." transmitted by Mr. Marconi.
Strangely, but significantly, in 1921 Marconi claimed to have detected
"unidentifiable radio signals" with equipment he had on board his yacht in the
Mediterranean. These signals were reportedly similar to the same type of signals Mr. Tesla
had picked up in his 1899 experiment, twenty-two years earlier. However, this time, part
of the signal was recognizable by Mr. Marconi as the letter "V." He subsequently
authorized his representatives in London to publicly announce his claims to the world.
Thus, it seems there were some in the past who believed extraterrestrial
intelligences existed and also believed people of Earth had made some sort of
contact with them.
Mr. Edwards does not stop here with this story of "reaching out
and being touched" from space. In the ensuing pages, Mr. Edwards does an eloquent job
at describing the events of early twentieth century efforts of searching the skies for
extraterrestrial life. On pages 7578 he related the account of an experiment in
which the U.S. Navy reportedly participated on August 23, 1924. It is claimed the Navy
made arrangements with Charles Francis Jenkins to test one of his new inventions. His
invention was a device he built to record radio signals on "... sensitized paper tape
or on film."
Mr. Jenkins was a well respected inventor. He developed the
"phantascope" between 1891 and 1894 which was a forerunner of the moving picture
projector. He also developed a primitive, but working, mechanical scanning disc apparatus
which could be used to produce television pictures from electric signals. By 1924 he had
perfected his system to the point of being able to record these signals on photographic
According to Mr. Edwards, the U.S. Navy wanted to use this equipment to
attempt to record any signals which could be coming from Mars while it was closest to
Earth during August of 1924. During this time Mars was supposed to be about 35,000,000
miles from Earth. However, Navy personnel did not wish to take a chance on being ridiculed
if their efforts became public and the experiment failed. Thus, they chose to simply
supply the funds and equipment while someone else managed the experiment. This way they
had very little to lose regardless of the results.
The man chosen to lead the project was Dr. David Todd, a respected and
well known astronomer. It was thought a project such as searching for signals from Mars
would be considered acceptable work for someone in his profession with his background
rather than the U.S. Naval Observatory officially going out on such a limb.
The night of the actual experiment was a unique time in the history of
searching for signals from space. To prepare for the event, the U.S. Government ordered
all radio transmitters in the country to maintain radio silence. I believe this would have
been pretty impressive clout for a single astronomer getting ready to try an experiment of
this type. However, if the government was indeed interested in the results and behind the
actual experiment they could also shut down the nations transmitters if they wanted
to doand that is exactly what they reportedly did.
A roll of sensitized paper was put into the "Jenkins
Radio-Camera" and it was turned on. The special paper slowly moved past a point of
light being modulated by electrical radio signals which were being fed from an antenna
aimed at Mars. Reportedly, the special recording paper was about "... thirty feet
long and slightly more than six inches wide."
Reportedly, there were other people simultaneously listening for
signals all around the world while this experiment was being conducted. The other
listeners experienced varying results and some made reports while others did not. However,
reportedly an odd series of signals had been detected at a station in British Columbia.
The signals were reported to have been made up "... of four dashes in code, repeated
for many minutes." France and England also had amateur radio operators (Hams) to
report they had also received "... meaningless code." Yet, our own Navy ships
seemed to have nothing to report. If they did hear something, they were not talking.
However, Dr. Todd did indeed have something to report. It seems the
Jenkins Radio-Camera had functioned perfectly and remarkably. Down one side of the special
roll of paper tape were seen irregular dots denoting the signals some of the other
stations had also reported. However, it was the patterns down the other side of the tape
which really drew attention. That side revealed weird clusters of signals which seemed to
appear every thirty minutes. These strange patterns were reported to the public five days
later in the New York Times. On August 28, 1924, the paper reported the strange
Development of a photographic film record of the
radio signals in a period of 29 hours when Mars was closest to the earth, has deepened the
mystery of the dots and dashes reported heard at the same time by widely separated
operators of powerful stations.
The film ... discloses in black on white a fairly regular arrangement
of dots and dashes along one side, but on the other side at almost evenly spaced intervals
are curiously jumbled groups, each taking the form of a crudely drawn human face.
Reportedly, the scientist who analyzed the patterns recorded on the
special tape were "... bewildered by this strange turn of events." Even Charles
Francis Jenkins himself seemed to be at a lost to explain how his device could have
produced such images.
Even though there were a lot of questions surrounding this development,
the tape was "... finally filed and forgotten." However, the crudely drawn faces
were not the only oddity discovered in the experiment.
It seems some scientist had also noticed how there seemed to be a
chronological relationship concerning the reception of the strange radio signals reported
by Mr. Marconi, Mr. Tesla, and this last experiment by Dr. Todd.
First, in 1899, both Mr. Tesla and Mr. Marconi had transmitted pulses
of high frequency radio energy. While Mr. Tesla had merely blasted the heavens with
irregular patterns of dots and dashes, Mr. Marconi had transmitted the letter
"V" as defined by the Morse code. Twenty-two years later, in 1921, Mr. Marconi
detected the Morse code "V" on his yacht in the Mediterranean. This signal had
reportedly been received under conditions leading some to believe it had been transmitted
from an "... extra-terrestrial source." In addition, Mr. Marconi made his first
broadcast across the Atlantic in December of 1901 by transmitting the letter
"S." In August of 1924, the letter "S" was picked up by various
receivers on Earth. This was just a few months longer than the emerging twenty-two years
pattern seen in the previous broadcast and detection cycles. As a result, some scientist
were beginning to believe the detection of signals duplicating what had been transmitted
twenty-two years earlier was not a coincidence.
Mr. Edwards took this chronological notion a step further by pointing
out the following fact;
Twenty-two years from our space signal
experiments of 1924 brings us to 1946, the year the Unidentified Flying Objects swarmed
over Earth, in this case over the Scandinavian countries and parts of Soviet Russia.
I was amazed when I saw the facts presented in a chronological time
reference. And as Mr. Edwards pointed out, these facts could add up to being merely
strange coincidences. However, he presents one more little known, but documented fact to
demonstrate why he did not believe coincidence alone was the cause of these strange events
occurring at specific time intervals.
He related how another experiment had been conducted which seems to
have also produced results twenty-two years later. This time the experiment was conducted
by Nathan Stubblefield in the summer of 1902. Like Mr. Tesla, some also considered Mr.
Stubblefield to be somewhat eccentric.
In either case, the Washington Evening Star announced the experiment in
its headlines on May 21, 1902 by saying, "By Land and Water First Practical Test of
Wireless Telegraphy Heard for Half Mile." According to the article, Mr. Stubblefield
actually sent "voice messages" from the Bartholdi, a steamer on the Potomac
River. He reportedly exchanged voice messages with prominent members of Congress who where
located at the rivers edge. Some kind of way, he reportedly had accomplished this
feat by attaching two wires to his equipment and dangling them into the river.
Mr. Edwards noted this experiment took place almost "... exactly
twenty-two years before Dr. Todd and the Naval Observatory technicians intercepted those
strange signals ..." resulting in the crudely drawn human faces.
The twenty-two year cycle seems to indicate something intelligent
located approximately eleven light years (the distance light and radio waves travels in
one year) from Earth, detected our signals and then sent us a response to let us know it
heard us. The total time needed for such an exchange would be eleven years out and eleven
years back, a total of twenty-two years. If this was actually the case, it means something
intelligent existed within an eleven light year radius of Earth. There are some who did
calculations which appear to have narrowed the field of possible locations to a pair of
star groups. They were referred to as "Tau Ceti" and
In either case, it seemed somebody with the right clout considered
exploring the heavens a viable investment. In 1926, a rather large wireless receiving
station was built in Nebraska as a joint project of the Navy and the Signal Corps.
Reportedly, this project was managed by Johns Hopkins University and it cost the taxpayers
"... an admitted one hundred thousand dollars ..." That was a lot of money
during that period of time for a venture such as this.
On pages 8283, Mr. Edwards related another bit of relevant
history as I prepare to end this facet of our trip in UFO/ET history. In the early part of
1959, he reported how a large radio telescope was being built to search for intelligent
signals from space. This telescope was being built at "... Green Bank, West Virginia,
by the National Science Foundation." However, the government reportedly denied his
claims very quickly. Mr. Edwards said in the beginning of Green Bank its first director,
Dr. Otto Struve, spent a lot of time stressing how this was a "long-range
program" which was very important. The program was referred to as "Project
Ozma." In addition, Dr. Struve reportedly related how he felt the work held possible
benefits which could result, as Mr. Edwards put it, "... from communication with a
more advanced civilization."
During this time, Dr. Struves assistant, Dr. Frank Drake,
reportedly disclosed during the closing days of "Project Ozma," the radio dish
picked up some odd signals which appeared to come from the "... region of the star
Tau Ceti ..." and they announced their discoveries to the press. The public responded
with great interest. Reportedly, during this same time other receivers on Earth appeared
to be picking up other signals which also seemed to be twenty-two years old.
When reporters contacted Dr. Drake at Green Bank, he would only say a
report would be forthcoming from the National Science Foundation. However, when the report
came out the announcement which had come out of Green Bank had been labeled a
"scare." The report went on to say the signals which had been picked up had been
"... apparently experiments of a secret nature ..." which no one elaborated on.
In my opinion, Mr. Edwards book is a classic, not only for the
time it was written, but also for our time as well. I hope this book will remain in print
so many more can read it. If you do obtain a copy I believe you will find it very
informative to say the least. I believe its historical perspective is very valuable. As
far as I am concerned, this section of Mr. Edwards book is a masterpiece.
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January 08, 2008.