Are UFO experts being murdered? New book to investigate 'pattern' of deaths

A crop circle researcher found floating in the sea and the rapid decline of a UFO expert who believed he had found an alien skull, are the latest in what some claim is a ‘pattern’ of suspicious deaths of UFO experts.

A crop circle researcher found floating in the sea and the rapid decline of a UFO expert who believed he had found an alien skull, are the latest in what some claim is a ‘pattern’ of suspicious deaths of UFO experts.

A crop circle researcher found floating off the coast of Portsmouth and the rapid decline of a UFO expert who believed he had found an alien skull, are the latest in what some UFO researchers claim is a ‘pattern’ of suspicious deaths of researchers into extraterrestrial sightings, stretching back to as early as 1947.

A plane supposedly shot down by the U.S. military is believed to have been carrying fragments of a flying saucer, while the death of first U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, is believed to be UFO related. Some believe that victims number in their dozens.

The pattern of suspicious deaths hit the headlines again this year as activist Steve Bassett spoke on the subject on national radio show C2C in America. A new book, Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind by Nick Redfern, is due out this summer.

“Recent cases include, 44-year-old Paul Vigay, who was a leading crop circle researcher who had worked on Mel Gibson’s film Signs. He was found floating off the coast of Portsmouth, Hants., in February 2009,” says Nigel Watson, author of The Haynes UFO Investigations Manual.

Watson says that while many UFO researchers believe the killings to be the work of government agents, some believe that the killings may be the work of aliens themselves, to cover up their presence on our planet.

“Many of these cases could be coincidences or people trying to make something out of nothing - but there are certainly some strange incidents,” Watson says. “UFO researcher Philip Schneider’s became increasingly fearful for his personal safety; ‘government vans’ followed him and several attempts were made to run his car off the road. Eventually, his worst fears were confirmed in January 1996. A friend broke into his apartment in Willsonville, Oregon, where his dead body had been rotting for several days. At first, it was thought he had died from a stroke, and then an autopsy found that rubber tubing had been wrapped and knotted around his neck.”

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“When you collect the information together there are a surprising number of ufologists who have died in strange ways and circumstances since the 1950s. Prominent activist Stephen Bassett, supports the idea that the U.S. government has regularly murdered innocent citizens who have tried probing into UFO cases like Roswell or who have tried to get the Government to reveal the truth about UFOs.”

Steve Bassett, who won Researcher of the Year at this year’s International UFO Conference, discussed a mysterious “cluster” of deaths that he believes may be related to government agents targeting researchers from the UFO community.

Bassett says, “What we are looking for are death clusters which by their nature and proximity sit out from the background noise.  I try to be careful  with my language in order to minimize upset with family members.  There are a number of death clusters relating to various issues over the past  20 years.  If government connected, not good.  Not good at all.”

“This is a difficult matter to engage as it is impossible to prove individual events. What I am doing is raising concern over a death clusters which stands out from the background noise. This is risky as family members could be offended. I never say with certainty that a particular case is a murder. And I wouldn't go there at all if it wasn't the only option to perhaps prevent further such deaths - publicity.”

The theory that the American government, or other unknown forces, have been murdering UFO researchers is not new, Watson says - with some claiming that suspicious deaths began as early as 1947, and that the death toll is several dozen or even more.

“As long ago as 1971, researcher Otto Binder claimed that at least 137 UFO investigators had died under mysterious circumstances during the 1960s,” Watson says. “A 30-year-long study by UFO researcher Timothy Hood has also revealed that since the 1970s there are numerous cases of UFO researchers and investigators who have been murdered, suffered a sudden death or been the victims of suspicious ‘suicides’ or inconclusive natural causes.”

The earliest reported “death” occurred in 1947, Watson says, and elements of the story are still unexplained.

“Deaths related to UFOs go right back to when Kenneth Arnold first investigated a sighting of a ‘fleet’ of UFOs in June 1947 and brought about a worldwide wave of ‘flying saucer’ sightings.
This involved the sighting of six doughnut shaped UFOs by Harold Dahl, that dropped hot slag like material onto his boat, burning his arm and killing his dog in the process.

The next day his employer, Fred Lee Crisman, visited Maury Island where he found tons of debris and saw another UFO in the area. Kenneth Arnold was called in to investigate the sighting, and feeling out of his depth he invited two Air Force Intelligence agents, Captain Davidson and Lieutenant Brown to help him interview the witnesses. They weren’t impressed with the validity of the sighting, but took away samples of the debris for analysis,” Watson says.

“As they were returning to their base at Hamilton Field, California, the port engine of their B-25 aircraft caught fire and they were killed when he crashed near Kelso, Washington State. An anonymous caller to the local newspaper, named the victims before the crash was made public and claimed the aircraft was shot down by a 20mm cannon because it was carrying fragments of a flying saucer.”

When Kenneth Arnold took off from Tacoma, his engine failed and he had to make a crash landing. On checking his aircraft, he found that his fuel valve had been switched off. Paul Lance, a reporter for the Tacoma Times, who covered this story, died suddenly two weeks later of meningitis.”

“Ufologists today now think this was an elaborate hoax that got out of hand, and could have been instigated by a US intelligence agency to discredit Kenneth Arnold’s original sighting.”

Watson says that if one delves deeper, the theories grow increasingly outlandish.

“Furthermore, according to UFO conspiracy theory, the CIA killed President Kennedy because he wanted to share UFO secrets with the Soviet Union,” Watson says, “In addition, Marilyn Monroe was allegedly murdered because she was speaking too freely about UFOs. The night before her death she had spoken to the TV celebrity columnist Dorothy Kilgallen about the Roswell saucer crash of 1947. Kilgallen subsequently died under mysterious circumstances on 8 November 1965.  This shows how these various deaths can be woven together to support the idea that the truth about UFOs and alien visitations is being suppressed and discredited,” Watson says.

While the rumours remain a constant “hot topic” within the UFO researcher community, Watson says, ““Many of these stories sound outlandish and many of these deaths do have credible explanations. So they don’t go much beyond the UFO community. Government agencies could be at work but it seems very extreme to murder people, especially over decades, when there are easier ways to discredit UFO researchers."
The UFO Investigations Manual by Nigel Watson is available from all good bookshops and direct from, priced £21.99