About 20 followers of Dr. Frank Stranges, friend of extraterrestrials and gatherer of strange stories, were present at the Van Nuys Towne Hall Friday evening for the monthly gathering of the National Investigations Committee on UFOs.
The Van Nuys-based organization was founded by Stranges in 1964 to document encounters on Earth with those from beyond. In those 20-plus years, Stranges has compiled many firsthand accounts, including a few of his own. These are contained in a library of books, pamphlets and cassette tapes.
His titles include “SAUCERAMA: Unbelieveable stories of crashed saucers and bodies. Govt secrecy and UFO photos. $4.50" and “MY FRIEND FROM BEYOND EARTH: The story of an extraterrestrial (Val Thor) and his friendship with the author. $4.50.”
Stranges also publishes the UFO Journal. The spring issue carried an article by him on “The Men in Black.” These men, the article said, are sent from somewhere to follow and harass people who have made contact with aliens and try to tell the world about it. A picture showed a Man in Black hiding in a doorway.
Stranges said the Men in Black are Lucifer’s angels. He offered this defense against them:
“If you have not as yet subscribed to the INTER-SPACE-LINK CONFIDENTIAL NEWSLETTER, please write me WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY. Therein you will read and know the secret of the RING OF FIRE. You will be able to perform the sacred ceremony in the privacy of your own home and you will NEVER AGAIN have to be subjected to the forces of Evil. Send a S.A.S.E. Today.”
A public announcement of Stranges’ event on Friday called it a space and science meeting.
But its style was more ministerial than scientific.
Stranges, a stout, gray-haired and gray-bearded man in a loose gray suit, blue tie and white hop-sack shoes, stood at the front of the small, brick meeting room off Victory Boulevard.
His flock sat still as he preached. Among them were several single men, three middle-aged couples and two elderly women.
The topic was “The Conspiracy of Secrecy.” Stranges said the FBI and the CIA had tried everything to keep him quiet. One agent, he said, even knocked at his door and asked him, “ ‘Why don’t you just go on and preach the Gospel? There’s millions of dollars to be made in religion.’
“I said, ‘That’s what I am doing. The Gospel means good news.’ ”
Stranges occasionally called for testimony from his flock by a show of hands.
“How many of you believe you might see an alien creature but won’t tell anybody about it?” he asked at one point. About half the people in the room raised their hands.
“I’d tell you,” a middle-aged man said.
Stranges nodded. “You’d be picky. You’d be choosy. You’d have anxiety,” he said. “I wouldn’t expect you to call 911.”
He then gave some testimony of his own.
He described a Mrs. Gee, formerly employed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, who, he said, had told him she personally recorded the collection at the base of more than 1,000 crates of spacecraft debris “including the mutilated bodies of aliens.”
Stranges said the latest documented visit occurred in the Pacific Northwest in August.
“A UFO crashed, reason or reasons unknown, the whole side of the ship was apparently one unit. It fell off. Three bodies were recovered. One is still alive. The others they stuck with some kind of needle. We don’t know what was in this needle. But they died. The other they didn’t stick. He’s still alive.”
Next he asked who in the audience did not subscribe to the UFO Journal.
When several hands went up, he gave each person a complimentary copy of the spring issue, the one with the story about Men in Black. The September issue was on sale for $1.
Then he held up what he said was the secret diary of Adm. William C. Byrd, first man to reach the North Pole. Stranges didn’t reveal what was in the diary, but he said it had just been published.
“I’ve got five of these left,” he said. “You want a copy of it, they’re five bucks.”
They sold quickly. Stranges’ wife, who was sitting at the back, collected the money.
Then Stranges held up a hard-cover book about a UFO encounter in New Mexico.
“These sold in the store for $10,” he said. “You can have them for $3.”
Next he held up a booklet made up of photocopied papers inside a plastic slipcover.
It was titled “The Piri Reis Maps.” These famous maps, he said, were drawn centuries ago and could only have been done by someone looking down from above.
They cost $10. Several people thumbed through the book but chose not to buy.
Stranges ended the program with a slide show.
He showed pictures of Jupiter, Saturn and the sun, citing theories that all contain alien life. He showed slides of the changing of the guard in East Berlin, where he interviewed a family that saw a UFO. He showed slides of the pyramids of Mexico.
“Why are spacecraft making contact with people at this particular place?” he asked. “What interest do space people have in pyramids? Why are they meeting more people in these places now than ever before?”
He didn’t answer the questions.
Instead, he promised his flock that they were on the threshold of a new world. He urged them not to become discouraged. He asked them to pray.
His wife took their donations. And they left quietly.
And so it is recorded that, on Sept. 6, 1985, a Man in Gray made brief contact with Earth in Van Nuys and several people paid to see it.