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America’s First UFO Experts – The HOPI

By John Keel
(Source: UFO Report Summer 1974)

Author’s note: During my flying saucer investigations in 1967 a. “silent contactee” (a person claiming to have had direct contact with UFO pilots) gave me a list of predictions allegedly passed on by the space people. This list included specific information about pending airplane crashes, power blackouts, and proph­ecies about my own future. Each of these predictions later came true with unerring accuracy! The oddest item on the list seemed to be the most unlikely. It stated that the Hopi Indians would soon make headlines. Since America’s first citi­zens are rarely mentioned in the press I regarded this as a very long shot, indeed.

I circulated copies of this ‘list to a few selected ufologists, well in advance of the events. Later I realized that this was just another demonstration meant to prove (to me, anyway) that the alleged space people had precise foreknowledge of hu- man events.

In December 1967, the Hopi. Indians did, in fact, make the headlines in news­papers across the country when a severe blizzard struck the Hopi and Navaho res­ervations. Rescue planes had to fly food and supplies to them. At the time I thought that would be the end of it. But during 1970 and ’71 a series of astonish­ing events took place around the Hopi reservations in New Mexico and Arizona that generated banner headlines through­out the Southwest. These events led me to research the Hopi myths and legends in depth.

J.A.K.

image6On Easter Sunday, 1971, a crowd of over 1,500 people gathered in a field in Prescott, Ariz., accompanied by two TV news crews and hordes of radio and newspaper reporters. They were ex­pecting the arrival of a flying saucer and most of them were waiting in complete se­riousness. This was to be the event of the century; an event long anticipated by the religious leaders of the Hopi tribe. To Chief Dan Katchongva this was to be the return of the “True White Brother” who was scheduled to come down from the sky just before the catastrophic Day of Purification-the Hopi version of the Sec­ond Coming. aerial lights and objects had been flying over Prescott for months and there were rumors of secret landings in the

Strange aerial lights and objects had been flying over Prescott for months and there were rumors of secret landings in the desert, and the comings and goings of mysterious men. Tpere hadn’t been so much excitement in Prescott since the 1950s when UFO contactee Truman Beth­urum had established his Sanctuary of Thought to spread the flying saucer gos­pel there. Bethurum had claimed frequent meetings with the space people, which began with a landing on tl;le remote Mor­mon Mesa in Nevada. He had achieved a certain amount of fame with his stories of the amazing space people and their gentle philosophy of life. In those days UFO contactees were a rare breed and were generally ridiculed and ignored.

But in 1971, nearly 20 years after Beth­urum ‘s first supposed experience, con­tactees were so numerous that the ridi­cule had all but disappeared. In fact, the crowd in Prescott had gathered because they believed such a man – Paul R. Sol­em. Like the majority of contactees, Sol­em had shunned publicity. He finally de­cided to come out into the open because he believed he had knowledge of an event that would benefit all mankind. There hadn’t been so much excitement since Dr. Edward U. Condon of Colorado Univ. had ordered a brass band to the Salt Flats in Utah to welcome a promised saucer in 1967. Solem was about to share Dr. Con­don’s earlier disappointment because the UFO would fail to keep its rendezvous. And Solem, like all the other hopeful con­tactees before him, would have to take the blame and suffer all the accusations. The previous summer, however, the UFOs had literally danced to Solem’s tune. Some fantastic UFO demonstrations took place in Prescott in front of a wide variety of reliable witnesses. One of them was the skeptical, hard-bitten managing editor of the local paper, the Prescott Courier.

hopi10_01Some fantastic UFO demonstrations took place in Prescott in front of a wide variety of reliable witnesses. One of them was the skeptical, hard-bitten managing editor of the local paper, the Prescott Courier. Editor Joe Kraus was a member of the group that stood in a yard on Friday( Aug. 7, 1970, watching as Paul Solem furrowed his brow and concentrated, calling men­tally to unseen flying saucers overhead. Suddenly he cried out, “They’re here. I can’t see them yet, but I know they are here. One just said, ‘We’re· here, Paul!’ There are several people in the saucer. I can hear them talking.”

Then, while Kraus and the others stared in amazement, a “star” appeared over­head. “It rose in the sky, stopped, hov­ered. wavered to one side, and then con­tinued across the sky repeating the maneuvers,” Kraus later reported. “It was a long ways off, but we thought it changed colors from a white to a reddish-orange, and then to a purplish-blue and then a reddish-white. And then it was gone.”

Meanwhile, some distance away at the Prescott airport, a group of people in­cluding a photographer, were watching six unusual lights zigzagging across the sky. Photographs were taken and later published in the Courier. Many other. wit­nesses, including the Reverend John Fos­ter and Mrs. Agnes Liljegran (whose hus­band was one of the designers of the B-47 ), also came forward with corrobo­rating reports. “I know what planes look like. It wasn’t an airplane. I believe this was a true sighting,” Mrs. Liljegran said. “This appeared first near the North Star. Satellites go from one end of the sky to the other in a steady direction. This one didn’t.”. (In any case, there are no man-made satellites visible to. the naked eye remaining in orbit, according to a NASA spokesman.).

image7The rash of sightings and confirmations turned Paul Solem into a local celebrity. And the UFOs seemed to follow him around, endorsing his claims of contact. Actually, Solem is supposed to have had his first encounter with the ufonauts at his ranch in Howe, Ida., in 1948, Four years later he allegedly witnessed a landing near a place called Lost River Sinks and had a conversation with a UFO pilot with long hair, dressed in white coveralls. “At first I thought it was a woman,” Solem ex­plained. “His hair was shoulder-length and his voice was almost musical in tone… There is no reason to fear these people. They are like angels. They come from the p,Janet Venus and they are here . only to lend credence to prophecy, not to harm anyone.

Solem’s Venusian identified hfmself as “Paul :1,” suggesting perhaps that he was the contactee’s alter ego. Such alter egos are common in psychic phenomena and they often resemble the witness physi­cally. Some scientific observers have postulated that all such apparitions are, in fact, merely a product of the witnesses’ psyche; a mirror image produced by some unknown psychological condition. In short, our minds might be able to create the good in us in “angel” form, and the bad as demons.

Among other things, Solem claims “Paul 2” told him of our earthly future when we would be living in a Utopia where money would no longer be used. This same moneyless world has been de­scribed by innumerable other contactees, including St. John of the Bible. St. John’s Revelations asserted that in “the last days” a number stamped on the hand would serve as a substitute for money … and that only people possessing such a number would be able to survive at all!

After his 1952 contact, Paul Solem spent the next 17 years wandering throughout the West, talking with other contactees and mixing with Indians. The Venusians instructed him to go to Hote­villa, Ariz., the center,of the Hopi nation, in 1970. There he met 108-year-old Dan Katchongva and other leaders of the Sun Clan.

“This man speaks the truth,” Chief Kat­chongva declared after listening to Sol­em. ”This is all part of our religion.”

Another Hopi, Titus Lamson, was even more impressed because he had seen a UFO himself. A few months earlier, he said, he had seen a rainbow colored ob­ject above Hotevilla. It had a dome on top and “there was a man inside wearing a gray uniform.”

Shortly after Paul Solem’s UFOs began to appear over Prescott in August 1970, Chief Dan and a contingent of Hopi reli­gious leaders converged upon the city. A long wait began. More UFOs were seen by large numbers of people. Chief Dan nodded wisely.  The “END” was near.

The Hopi have been expecting the “End,” the Day of Purification, for a long time. Back in 1959, a delegation of Hopis traveled to the United Nations in New York, to formally warn the world of their ancient prophecies. Copies of those prophecies have been distributed to world leaders and can still be obtained by writing to Ralph Tawangyawma, Indepen­dent Hopi Nation, Hotevilla, Ariz. 96030

The Hopi trek to New York was inspired by an ancient prophecy which described “a House of Glass or Mica would stand at this time, where Great Leaders from many lands would be gathered to help any people who are in trouble.” They were received politely but their message .had seemingly little effect until years later when, in 1967, U.N. Secretary General U Thant declared that he felt flying saucers were a subject of utmost importance.

Saucers have always been an integral part of the Hopi religion and their legends and beliefs date back long before the White Man usurped their territories. Ac­cording to their ancient legends, much earlier the “Third World” was very materialistic and evil. ”.Some of them made a patuw­vota and with their creative power made it fly through the air.” Waters writes in his. Book of the Hopi, “On this many of the people flew to a big city, attacked it, and returned so fast no one knew where they came from. Soon the people of many cities and countries were making patu­wvotas and flying on them to attack one another. So corruption and war came to the Third World as it had to the others.”

A key figure in Hopi mythology is Sa­quasohuh, a Kachina said to come from a distant blue star that is invisible but will make its appearance in the near future. (In recent years, astronomers have dis­covered a number of red and blue stars on the very edge of the universe, and our modern radio telescopes have located many invisible bodies in space which emit powerful radio signals.) Sasquasohuh is expected to appear and participate in a Hopi ceremony in the days to come. The main reason Indians wear grotesque masks during their ceremonies is to allow the Kact1inas to join them unobserved .. All Hopi ceremonialism wilt end on the day a Kachina rips off his mask during a dance and reveals himself.

In 1914, just before WWI, the Hopis sang a special song during their impor­tant Wuwuchim ceremony This song pre­dicted the spread of evil over the world. They did not sing it again until 1940, on the eve of WW ti. And the last time this song was sung was in 1961-just as our country was heading into Vietnam.
A number of curious and startling sym­bols have long played an. important part in Hopi lore. Some of these resemble the symbols of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. It is welt-known that Hitter adopted symbols from ancient cults and that the swastika was an important symbol in the Orient for thousands of years before the Fuhrer usurped. it. The Hopis believe their “true White Brother” will also use the swastika as his sign.
“With him there will be two great ones both very intelligent and powerful,” the Hopi prophecy says, “one of which wilt have a symbol or sign of swastika which represents purity and is male. Also he will have this symbol or sign which also rep­resents purity and is female, a producer of Life, the red lines in between the sign represent lifeblood of a woman (this sym­bol resembles the German Iron Cross). It is also known that he wilt wear a cap sim­ilar to the back of a Horned Toad. The Third One or the Second One of the two helpers to our True White Brother will have a sign of a symbol of sun. .

This trio “will shake the earth first for a short period of time in preparation for the final day of Purification.” It would seem that this Hopi prophecy was fulfilled over 30 years ago when Hitler allied himself with Japan (whose symbol was the rising sun). But the Hopis believe history is go­ing to repeat itself and a new dictator is due to “come like a big storm.” He will be unmerciful and command great numbers of people. “When he comes he will cover the land like ants,” they say. “The Hopi people have been warned not to get up on housetops to watch as he will come to punish all the people. We do not yet know who this man is from the West, only that he will have a very large population.”

Near Old Oraibi, Ariz., there is a stone with a petroglyph carved deeply into it. This depicts a horizontal line with a half-circle in the center. The head and arms of a human rest on top of the circle. The Hopis claim this carving was the work of Maasau.

“We have seen the flying saucers and have heard their message to us,” Chief ,Dan Katchongva said in 1970. “We know they are real, as their pictures were drawn upon stone for all to see.  Also Hopi Indians know that other planets and worlds have people, and they are watch­ing us.”

Scholars and historians have con­ducted numerous comparative studies and produced a mountain of literature demonstrating that man’s earliest myths and legends were tied to the appearances of strange objects in the sky and encoun­ters with their occupants who were often regarded as gods by the primitive peo­ples. Cave paintings found in France and dating back thousands of years clearly depict UFOs, complete with tripod legs or landing ·gear, and ladders dangling from their hatches. Similar carvings and paint­ings have been found in Caves in China and Africa. The ancient lore of every culture de­scribes how the UFO entities passed along helpful and accurate prophecies and assisted people in other ways. Most UFO enthusiasts today believe’that flying saucers are benign and are coming from some distant planet to help mankind through some impending crisis. The heaviest sightings in the U.S. occur year after year over the Midwest and the so-called Bible Belt. This is because be­lief is an all-important ingredient in the phenomenon. In Prescott, Ariz., the belief was already there. Prescott has gone through many UFO incidnts during the· past 20 years and has served as a center for Bethurum and other contactees. Also, the area is steeped in Indian lore and the ancient UFO-related religious beliefs of the Hopi. In January 1970, Paul A. Solem was re­leased from the Idaho State Mental Hos­pital where he had been since September 1967, according to a report later compiled by the Prescott sheriff’s office. Upon his

The ancient lore of every culture de­scribes how the UFO entities passed along helpful and accurate prophecies and assisted people in other ways. Most UFO enthusiasts today believe’that flying saucers are benign and are coming from some distant planet to help mankind through some impending crisis. The heaviest sightings in the U.S. occur year after year over the Midwest and the so-called Bible Belt. This is because be­lief is an all-important ingredient in the phenomenon. In Prescott, Ariz., the belief was already there. Prescott has gone through many UFO incidents during the· past 20 years and has served as a center for Bethurum and other contactees. Also, the area is steeped in Indian lore and the ancient UFO-related religious beliefs of the Hopi. In January 1970, Paul A. Solem was re­leased from the Idaho State Mental Hos­pital where he had been since September 1967, according to a report later compiled by the Prescott sheriff’s office. Upon his

The heaviest sightings in the U.S. occur year after year over the Midwest and the so-called Bible Belt. This is because be­lief is an all-important ingredient in the phenomenon. In Prescott, Ariz., the belief was already there. Prescott has gone through many UFOincidentss during the· past 20 years and has served as a center for Bethurum and other contactees. Also, the area is steeped in Indian lore and the ancient UFO-related religious beliefs of the Hopi.

In January 1970, Paul A. Solem was re­leased from the Idaho State Mental Hos­pital where he had been since September 1967, according to a report later compiled by the Prescott sheriff’s office. Upon his release he traveled through Idaho and Utah, visiting Indian tribes and producing saucer sightings (which can be documented with newspaper reports).

After visiting Chief Dan Katchongva and the Hopi leaders in Hotevilla, and, in­cidentally, producing UFOs to back his claims, Solem traveled to Prescott and checked into a boarding house.

The stage was set for the grand finale. Solem’s Venusians informed him that they would hold four major demonstra­tions in Prescott, beginning on Easter Sunday, 1971. The site they chose was a field on the outskirts of town. But when Solem visited the field he was furious to find bulldozers had been working there. The owner agreed to pull the bulldozers out of sight and the town band tuned up. Following the disappointment on Eas­ter, Paul Solem issued a press release denouncing the bulldozers, thre1:1tening to sue the owner and canceling the other UFO landings. That week he left Prescott.

Soon afterwards Chief Dan was ousted as leader of the Sun Clan by the Hopi Tribal Council because his relationship with Paul Solem had hurt the image of the Hopis.

“Paul Solem is either a hypnotist, magi­cian, has a vivid imagination, or he is tell­ing the truth,” Joe Kraus wrote. “What­ever he is, he is dedicated to his work.”

It is easy now to dismiss the whole Pres­cott episode as the work of a possible crank. But that does not explain the innu­merable sightings of strange aerial ob­ject,s which have always accompanied Paul Solem. Nor are his claims unique. Other contactees, such as West Virginia’s Woodrow Derenberger, have also stood in open fields listening to bodiless voices in the night while glowing spheres danced overhead in front of scores of open­mouthed witnesses.

No. For some reason the UFO phe­nomenon seems to attach itself to certain people, leading them into a twilight world with prophecies of doom and hope for believers only. Perhaps it has always been so. Perhaps all of man’s philos­ophies, aspirations, and fears are the product of this unknown force. Once men took these entities very seriously and their belief led mankind into the grim Dark Ages. Perhaps we are on the edge of such a new era today. The coming of the UFOs, and their mischievous and some­times even vicious actions may be a part of some larger pattern which will, in time, give us a new, more honest view of the cosmos and of 9urselves.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek has frequently said that he believes there is “scientific pay­dirt” in the UFO phenomenon. Dr. Ed­ward U. Condo disagrees. Scientists all over the world are now beginning to take a serious look at these matters. In Eng­land, a well-funded scientific study into the “religious experience” is underway. tn the Soviet Union, hundreds of top sci­entists are busily investigating mental te­lepathy and psychic phenomena.

Since the days of Enoch, men have been viewing these apparitions and lis­tening to their messages. Their proph­ecies have provided the scenario for all major human events. Paul Solem is but one of many. Nor is he the last. There wilt be other Prescotts in the headlines in the years ahead. Judging from the past record of the phenomenon, none of these events will supply the “scientific pay dirt” Dr. Hynek is seeking. No UFO will ever land to whisk a group of volunteer news’­ men off on a flight to another world. But there will be more demonstrations and more broken promises. And if the long-prophesied Armageddon ever does occur you can be sure that the last man grovelling in the ashes of what was once the Earth will gaze skywards in wonder at the strange luminous spheres hovering overhead.

Meanwhile, somewhere out West, a stocky, middle-aged man, his skin deeply bronzed by the desert sun, is probably sitting around an Indian campfire, telling his hosts about the wonders to come and pointing suddenly to the sky.

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