Helen and Rear Admiral Herbert B. Knowles

The Admiral, the CIA, and Mrs. Swan

What the Government Knew in 1954

                                                                      ©Kathleen Marden

The history of the investigation of contact with purported extraterrestrials has been predicated on the idea that the scientific evaluation of physical evidence will build a royal pathway to the truth. It is of vital importance if we are to gain scientific proof of visitation by one or more extraterrestrial species. However, physical evidence, not of this Earth, has been analyzed by numerous scientists and some samples defy an earthly explanation. For example, many anomalous samples have been analyzed in scientific laboratories. Ted Phillips (1942-1920) collected more than 5000 physical trace evidence samples from landing sites in 80 countries. The November 2, 1971, Delphos, Kansas, physical trace evidence case was one of his best and has been analyzed by three outstanding scientists. (See my book with Stanton T. Friedman Fact, Fiction and Flying Saucers.) Additionally, Dr. Roger Leir sent an anomalous suspected implant to two laboratories. They determined that it had an isotopic ratio not found on Earth. An implant transmitted into deep space but stopped transmitting 30 days after it was removed. The implant’s nanotechnology was far in advance of anything manufactured on our planet. These are only three examples of many.

Anyone who has been an investigator, for as long as I have, realizes there is ample evidence to conclude that we are being visited by aerial craft with properties far beyond our second-generation technological development. The US Navy has admitted that the aerial phenomena off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts is mind-boggling. It can hover at 80,000 feet for hours and descend to the ocean in the blink of an eye. It can travel under water and ascend into the air. Our most advanced radar has photographed it. Uncannily, it seems to anticipate a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pilot’s next move, as if the craft or someone in it can read his mind. It might jump around erratically but not move in any specific direction, or it might zigzag like a water bug crossing a pond. Yet even today many mainstream scientists are not convinced that extraterrestrial visitation is real.

Dating back to the mid-twentieth century seasoned investigators have sought to understand why E.T.s are visiting our planet and why they are interested in our flora and fauna, including humans. The preponderance of evidence eventually convinces the most skeptical of honest investigators that we are not alone. The most curious seek an understanding of the messages conveyed by non-human E.T.s to humans for insight into their intentions. Why are they visiting our planet and interacting with humanity? My thirty-year investigation of Betty and Barney Hills’ close encounter and abduction, along with hundreds of others, aroused my curiosity. Most experiencers have received messages from their non-human visitors. Pioneer researcher Budd Hopkins introduced this information in his numerous books.

Others, such as the Betty and Barney Hill, have attempted to communicate with E.T.s telepathically. The Hills cooperated with a team of scientists who sought to collect information and hardware. (See my book with Stanton T. Friedman Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience for the whole story.) My investigation of the Hill case led to additional scientists who have attempted to communicate telepathically with non-humans. All sought scientific verification of the messages the communicators received. Betty Hill informed me that she knew of a retired rear admiral and a Canadian government scientist who had conducted contact experiments. They were retired US Navy Rear Admiral Herbert Knowles (1894-1976), and Canada’s Department of Transport official Wilbert B. Smith M.Sc. (1910-1962), whose cooperative effort to verify or refute telepathic messages from an alleged extraterrestrial presence engendered interest from the US and Canadian governments.

When Betty Hill conveyed this message to me it seemed like an extraordinary claim. I was highly skeptical. But soon I discovered FBI documents in her archival collection. She had received them from the highly esteemed Canadian UFO researcher Grant Cameron. The  US Government Office Memorandum spoke of government interest in a woman who believed she was communicating, telepathically, with space aliens. The method of contact was highly suspect, so my research findings remained locked in my file cabinet for several years until the time seemed right. In 2018, I wrote of my initial research findings in the Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Encounters book “Beyond UFOs: The Science of Consciousness and Contact with Non-Human Intelligence, Volume 1.” (I was on FREE's Advisory Board.) As in all research my investigation is ongoing, but this is what I have learned to date.

Who were Rear Admiral Herbert Bains Knowles and Wilbert Brockhouse Smith?

Rear Admiral Herbert Bains Knowles graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy in 1917, as an ensign, and served in the submarine service during WW I aboard the early R-boats in the Orient. After the war, he taught in the engineering department at the Naval Academy.  During WW II, he commanded several submarines and two troop transport ships, the USS Neches and the USS Heywood. He was Commander of Transport in the South Pacific aboard the USS Monrovia. He had a long successful career in the US Navy and retired as a rear admiral in 1947, after he decommissioned the Naval Station at Portland, Maine.

Following his retirement, he and his wife Helen lived in Eliot, Maine, across the river from the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home of Betty and Barney Hill. His retirement from the US Navy provided the time required to seriously pursue his interest in the extraterrestrial presence on Earth. He joined the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena and served on its board of directors. Additionally, he worked cooperatively with Wilbert B. Smith and members of the Canadian military on a quest to examine UFO evidence, communication with E.T.s, and to seek answers to countless questions regarding extraterrestrial visitation.

Wilbert Brockhouse Smith, M.Sc. was a radio engineer and expert on electromagnetism and telecommunications for Canada's Department of Transport.  He was the director of Project Magnet (1950-1954), Canada's UFO study group committed to collecting, correlating, and cataloging UFO sighting reports. On April 22,1952, Canadian government agencies formed a second committee called Project Second Storey. Wilbert Smith was a high-level member of this committee, which was sponsored by the Defence Research Board. The project officially ended in 1954 after several metallic samples of alleged alien technology had been collected for analysis. 

Late in 1950, Smith traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend a North American Radio Broadcasting conference. Upon his return he met with Dr. Omond Solandt, chairman of Canada's Defence Research Board. On November 21, 1950, he wrote a three-page Top Secret Intra-Departmental Memorandum regarding geo-magnetism and his recent trip to the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. While there he made discreet inquiries regarding the US government's involvement in UFO investigations through the Canadian Embassy staff. He wrote, “We believe that we may be on the track of something which may well prove to be the introduction to a new technology. The existence of a different technology is borne out by the investigations which are being carried on at the present time in relation to flying saucers." Additionally, his memorandum disclosed that he had received the following information: 

  • The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States government, rating higher even than the H bomb.
  • Flying saucers exist.
  • Their modus operandi is unknown, but a concentrated effort is being made by a small group headed by Doctor Vannevar Bush.
  • The entire matter is being considered by United States authorities to be of tremendous significance. 

On December 2, 1950, Commander C.P. Edwards, Canada’s Deputy Minister of Transport for Air Services, gave Smith a grant for Project Magnet, a classified program to study geo-magnetism for commercial applications. Smith suspected that the Earth's magnetic field could be harvested for practical uses and had the full support of Dr. Soldant and Commander Edwards to carry out his project. He operated the Project Magnet sighting station at Shirley’s Bay, near Ottawa, on an experimental basis, employing a magnetometer, a gravimeter, a gamma ray detector, and a powerful radio wave receiver to detect and record magnetic fluctuations and mass changes in the atmosphere, radio noises, gravity, and mass changes in the atmosphere. His letters to Rear Admiral Knowles reveal that he had an additional goal, to detect UFOs in the Earth’s atmosphere. 

At the end of 1952, Smith summarized the significant characteristics that UFOs have in common stating,

"They are a hundred feet or more in diameter; they can travel at speeds of several thousand miles per hour; they can reach altitudes well above those which should support conventional air craft or balloons; and ample power and force seem to be available for all required maneuvers…Taking these factors into account, it is difficult to reconcile this performance with the capabilities of our technology, and unless the technology of some terrestrial nation is much more advanced than is generally known, we are forced to the conclusion that the vehicles are probably extra-terrestrial, in spite of our prejudices to the contrary."[1]

A newspaper article dated August 10, 1954, reveals that the Department of Transport issued a press release that revealed they had been secretly studying UFOs for 3 1/2 years. The Toronto Globe and Mail divulged that Smith had received an unprecedented instrument recording on the station’s gravimeter at 3:01 PM on August 8, 1954. Smith said he was convinced that the event was not caused by a conventional aircraft. There were only two possible causes: an instrument failure or something scientists did not know about. He added that it is not possible for anyone to state that the gravimeter recorded the presence of a flying saucer, nor was it possible to conclude that it was not a flying saucer. He attempted to visually locate the craft, but the overcast sky had concealed it behind a thick layer of clouds. Two days later, his Project Magnet funding failed to be renewed. However, he continued his attempt to contact extraterrestrials. Thereafter, he maintained his station, without government funding, until his death from cancer in 1962.

Interviews with Betty Hill Regarding Knowles and Smith and their correspondence files

My aunt and uncle, Betty and Barney Hill met Admiral and Helen Knowles, in 1964 or 1965, when they were invited to a luncheon at their home in Eliot, Maine. Also present were Murl Smith, the widow of Wilbert B. Smith, and members of the US and Canadian military. Betty spoke to me of a metallic sample taken from a crashed UFO in Canada, and the psychic who held it in her hand. This began a long relationship with the Knowles family, and with Murl Smith and members of the Canadian military, at the Knowles home. Additionally, Betty and Barney traveled to Ottawa for meetings with Murl and military staff. 

During my investigation of my aunt and uncle’s UFO experience, Betty spoke numerous times of her friends “Admiral and Helen Knowles.” I was so intrigued by her statements concerning the relationship between the Knowles and Wilbert Smith that I devoted an entire chapter to it in my book with Stanton Friedman Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. I had attempted to locate original documents pertaining to the men's relationship with Frances Swan, a woman from Eliot, Maine, who was allegedly in contact with benevolent space brothers, but all leads led to a dead end. After Captured was published, I continued my search for additional information and was pleasantly surprised when, in 2010, I received a sheaf of correspondence files from the Knowles' granddaughter. She found me at the Exeter UFO Festival in Exeter, NH. The packet contained a treasure trove of revealing correspondence files between Knowles and Smith concerning UFOs. I discovered that Smith and Knowles had cooperated in a surreptitious scientific research project on “communicators” during the 1950’s, to confirm or refute the scientific accuracy of their statements. One of the people they studied was Frances Swan, who was characterized as a shy housewife from Eliot, Maine.

The Correspondence Files Between Knowles and Smith

The first letter in the packet was typed by Smith on May 9, 1955, and addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Knowles. Apparently, they had established an ongoing relationship prior to this date. In it he discussed what we now call CE-5 contact experiments that he was undertaking. He wrote:

"We got a letter the other day from Frances (*Swan) in which she advised that things apparently had been thoroughly messed up. She seemed quite upset and I can't say that I blame her. I don't quite understand what Affa (*the E.T. captain of an enormous spaceship), and his people are up to, unless they are not quite as smart as they think they are. If such is the case maybe they had better engage the services of a few local yokels like myself to act as 'river pilots'.

I wrote a note to Frances and suggested that if Affa wants to land, I can get him down on a pinpoint and back up again with no one the wiser, if he will follow instructions. What I propose is that he start out just before dawn and fly roughly north and/or south just off the eastern coastline (which surely, he could find) at about 50 miles altitude, so that he would be in sunlight and then every four minutes reverse direction and shift westward about 60 miles. In that way, we would be bound to see him overhead on at least one jaunt and Frances could so advise him. Then he could drop right down. Transact his business and be off. At 50 miles higher our radar would be pretty near useless, and if they did tag him, they wouldn't believe it and would write it off as a meteor.

I still think Ottawa is a good place to land as Canadians are not at all trigger happy, and there are many places around here which are quite secluded and yet accessible. Furthermore, they are so close to a big and busy airport that anything, repeat anything, in the air hereabouts is taken for granted. I hope Frances isn't it too disgustipated.”

I intend to quote only the pertinent information between the two men because they discussed information (such as their wives’ health), which has little relevance to this paper. I think you will agree that Rear Admiral Knowles’ letter to Wilbert Smith on December 3, 1956 is significant. He wrote as follows:

“We must bear in mind at all times the human desire to be the big I am, - the desire for fame, prestige, power - the urge to be the first, the biggest, the best, etc. I look with a jaundiced eye upon all these organizations which have a president, a flock of officers, a high sounding name and an axe of some kind to grind. Beware of those who would have one join their ranks - always at a certain cost or sacrifice, perhaps the performance of some duty to prove one's worth, sincerity, willingness to obey, etc. The hard job right now is to maintain one’s sense of balance, one’s sanity and responsibility to those around us. 

Out of all of this I believe the following basic facts to have been established:

  1. Flying saucers are real and come from outer space.
  2. The real important thing to know about them is why they are here; their source and mechanics are merely incidental.
  3. Their people have contacted people all over the Earth, in various ways, trying to get to us a common message about coming events.
  4. No one nation, people or area is being shown preference by them and none will be.
  5. Any technical knowledge gained from them will be so incomplete that no nation can take advantage of it to the detriment of other nations.
  6. Absolute neutrality is a requisite in all their contacts with us; beware of all reports that show preference or partiality on their part.
  7. The days we are now living in come the closest to being the “latter days” described in the biblical prophecies that mankind has experienced in the last 3 – 4 thousand years."


                   See page 1 of Rear Admiral Herbert Knowles' letter to Wilbert Smith below:

Wilbert B. Smith

On December 12, 1956, Smith replied as follows:

“I agree that we must investigate everything carefully. We are admonished to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. You may have wondered from time to time why I have been rather close lipped about certain matters. In these cases, I do not consider that a case has been established one way or another, so I do not pass along information; just collect it and compare it. One big thing that I find very hard is to establish if there exists any common link between these various ‘contacts’, something which they each could have read, or people that they could have known in common.  So far, I have ferreted out quite a bit.

You will also recall how careful I was to keep Frances (*Swan) from contacting any of these people until after I had exhausted the possibilities of cross checking.” Therefore, I am satisfied that her contact is authentic because a) the communications are self-consistent, b) they checked well with similar material obtained through other contexts for the same reasons I think are authentic, c) there has been little or no opportunity for collusion, and d) the predictions given by her contacts have enjoyed more hits than misses...

 ...Nowadays there seems to be almost a conspiracy to keep me from getting any more of the new physics down in black and white. I have done very little since our visit last summer. My information would allow me to go considerably farther, but maybe I am not supposed to do it yet. I did find out that the Gravity Research Foundation had managed to observe artificial gravity changes, but because of an incomplete understanding are bogged down at this point. Furthermore, I find an increasing number of technical articles in physical journals which skirt the truth but fail to face it. I honestly think there actually is a campaign to keep the facts quiet until later. 

I heartily agree with your summary of the saucer situation and I think that you have expressed it very well. We who are fortunate enough to have come as close as we can consider ourselves as custodians of very important information and not to be taken lightly. I am very thankful for what I have received, but I can't help looking out for more."   

Knowles wrote of an alleged alien named Moncar who had informed the study group that the highest authorities throughout the world have been contacted by the space people and few have chosen to listen. For this reason, they had chosen to go directly to the people. (Nearly an identical message was disclosed by an alleged E.T. to a study group in Florida in 2016.) Volthra, supposedly from Venus, explained that the space people were present to neutralize the effects of nuclear explosions in our atmosphere, to help with coming cataclysms, and to engage in open contact after certain governmental and sociological changes had occurred. Given their failure to neutralize the negative effects of an above ground nuclear test in the Pacific, Knowles was skeptical. He wrote that he was attempting to ascertain whether Affa was a real sentient being or only a playful spirit contact who claimed to be the supreme commander of a fleet of space craft, and their benevolent nonhuman occupants. Their stated purpose was to assist Earthlings when the “Prophesies” were carried out.[2] The anticipated date was 1956.

Knowles wrote to Smith of a man, Dick Miller, who claimed to have taken a ride in a flying saucer. He had been distributing false information and even started a rumor that had traveled to England and back to the US. However, it appeared that none of those who had been associated with Miller recognized its source. Knowles cautioned, “I believe wishful thinking is causing a lot of people to being misled in this flying saucer business. I think all sources of information presented to us should be thoroughly investigated before being accepted. Often sources seem to be quoting each other without giving the quoted source, thus establishing a false or unproven premise as the truth… The hard job right now is to maintain one’s sense of balance, one’s sanity and responsibility to those around us.”[3]

Smith agreed that everything must be investigated carefully, and cross checked to ferret out the possibility of links among various individuals who claimed contact with extraterrestrials. He and Knowles agreed that it was imperative to keep Frances Swan from contacting any other communicators until they had exhausted all possibilities. Others had allegedly received messages from Affa, so Smith devised a plan to cross check the information given to each. Affa was to give both Swan and the second communicator a specific message that Smith and Knowles could examine for authenticity. There is no indication, in their correspondence, that this occurred. However, they confirmed that some of Affa’s scientific predictions had been verified. 

In March 1956, Smith wrote to Knowles of scientists who had verified that the solar system was heading on a collision course toward a large, diffuse cosmic cloud. The chief ingredient was hydrogen, the nuclei of which, when moving fast enough manifests as cosmic rays. For the next three years our planet could anticipate an increase in solar activity, minor weather upset, solar flares and sunspots, extreme cloudiness and high precipitation, violent weather upsets, meteor showers, brilliant auroras, earthquakes and would produce violent land upheavals, germ mutations and time changes. In accordance with Affa’s predictions, the Earth would not be destroyed, but it would undergo many destructive changes. With these cataclysms would come a great loss of life. Obviously, it did not happen in 1956.

Frances Swan the "communicator"

I have read elsewhere that Betty Hill met with Frances Swan to discuss their contact events. However, Betty informed me that this is not true. She asserted that Swan refused to meet with her because, in her opinion, she and Barney had met “the evil ones”, whereas Swan communicated exclusively with benevolent space brothers. Hill was highly skeptical of Swan’s attitude, stating that the E.T.s who abducted her in 1961, had treated her well. They most certainly were not evil. Hill perceived them as people from another star system who were studying the Earth and its inhabitants. They had reassured the Hills that they would not be harmed and would be on their way home after a few simple tests had been accomplished. There was certainly nothing nefarious in Betty's memory of the non-humans she encountered.  

My initial investigative intent was to determine who Frances Swan was. Was she rational? Was she stable? Was she honest? Was she easily influenced by others? I discovered that Swan was an obscure “communicator” because she sought no publicity for the information, she allegedly received telepathically from what she termed “benevolent” extraterrestrials. Her curious adventure began on October 30, 1953, when an unfamiliar but fascinating man walked into Eliot, Maine's Grange Hall where Swan and other members of the small community were decorating for a Halloween party. Although their conversation was brief, this man weighed heavily on her mind. She said there was something unique and mystifying about him. More mysterious was the strange craft with red flashing lights that paced her vehicle at treetop level on her drive home.

I attempted to assess the veracity of Swan's messages by first determining whether she was fantasy prone, the type of woman who tends to read mystery into common events. Additional research revealed that in early 1954, she read a set of books entitled Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East by Baird T. Spalding, an author and mining engineer, who made three expeditions to the Far East in search of esoteric knowledge of the great mystical masters of Tibet and India. He stressed the importance of Christ consciousness on the path to enlightenment, thoughts that appealed to the devoutly religious Swan. It is not clear if she meditated to connect with Jesus, but she stated that his visage materialized before her. Soon bright flashes of light filled her home, and she received the first of a chain of telepathic messages.

We are informed in an article written by writer Randall Fitzgerald, Messages: The Case History of a Contactee that Swan had a long history of interest in spiritualism and astrology, dating back to her childhood in rural Maine. She used a Ouija Board, with reasonable accuracy, to assist local farmers when they could not find their cattle. If this information is true, we might conclude that Swan was psychic or intuitive. But this is not an indication that she was fantasy prone. She also had been elected to the school board and was the president of the Girl Scout Leader's Association. She was active in the Congregational Church and in community affairs. There appears to be nothing to suggest that she was anything but an average American citizen with a desire to remain active in community affairs and had a longstanding interest in the esoteric. But the strange meeting with a mysterious man at the Grange Hall, and the craft that followed her home, were the precursors to a longstanding relationship with alleged E.Ts.

Fitzgerald wrote that April 30, 1954, marked the date when she received her first message from Affa, who claimed he was a voyager from the planet Uranus. He conveyed to her the telepathic message, "We come, will keep peace on EU. Do not be frightened." On May 3, she was awakened at 2:30 AM by an earsplitting tone in her ear. Soon she received the following message: "We are on the moon. We are being watched constantly." Affa and his officers informed her of their readiness to travel to planet Earth for the benefit of humanity if it could be arranged. Swan believed that the messages might hold some importance to Earthlings, so she rose at all hours of the night and transcribed them as quickly as was possible.

According to Randall Fitzgerald, Affa had agreed to appear to the Rear Admiral Knowles and other observers at 1:12 PM on May 26, 1954. According to a US Government Office Memorandum to the Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, from the Strategic Air Command, Washington Field Office (62-0), dated August 2, 1954, this date is one day before Affa communicated with Swan for the first time, and before she handed her first sheaf of messages to Rear Admiral Knowles. Fitzgerald wrote that the group gathered at the Swan home in anticipation of the appointed meeting, but the minutes passed and Affa did not appear. Then suddenly, at 1:25 PM Affa sent a telepathic message to Swan- an apology for his failure to arrive on schedule. 

The date discrepancy between Randall Fitzgerald’s dates and a FOIA released FBI Office Memorandum is confusing. The US Government Memorandum contends that Swan's first important message had arrived on May 27, 1954 and continued to stream in throughout the day and night. All researchers seem to agree that the onset of each message she received was punctuated by an annoying and painfully loud high-pitched tone in her left ear. Then the messages streamed into her mind at all times of the day and night, making restful sleep impossible. Rising to the occasion, she sat with pen and paper, recording the messages as rapidly as possible. It seemed that they would never end, so she advised the sender (*Affa) that she was willing to receive messages at 8:00 AM, 12:00 noon, and 8:00 PM, to better accommodate her schedule. Thereafter, she had ongoing UFO sightings and mystical contact experiences with what she believed were spiritually advanced space aliens, who claimed to be here to monitor planet Earth’s activities.

Fitzgerald reported that Affa spoke of his people's similarity to humans in appearance and attire. He informed Swan that his planet Uranus is very much like Earth, and his people’s form of government is much like our democracy in the United States. He also mentioned the fireplace in his kitchen where his wife cooked over an open flame. Fitzgerald's cooking story is different than has been written by other researchers and casts doubt on who Affa really is. 

Affa’s time on Uranus surely must have presented great difficulty because the climate is harsh. The average temperature is 353 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind speeds range from 90 to 360 miles per hour. These conditions would certainly require solid construction and exceptionally large fires in the kitchen. Over the decades, these invisible “E.T.s” have claimed residence on many planets and star systems and used several different names. When a skeptic inquires why their planet of origin has changed over many years, they claim that they visit many places, or reside on many planets, but predominantly live on enormous spaceships. They claim to belong to a galactic federation or council of concerned souls who have arrived to assist Earthlings in our development as a pathway to  overt contact in the future.  

Statements of this kind are to be viewed with skepticism. My studies indicate that it is not unusual for alleged but unseen E.T.s to report that they are not too unlike humans only more spiritually developed and technologically advanced. Yet there appears to be a trickster element that interferes with scientific attempts to verify the reality of these communications. There is always an indignant justification, even when the explanation is deemed unacceptable by humans. Additionally, the benevolent purveyors of supportive messages for planet Earth, in the 1950’s, claimed to live on what have been deemed uninhabitable planets in our solar system.

Swan did not understand the scientific information she had acquired, but she understood that the messages were of vital national importance, so she visited the Knowles home and delivered a sheaf of papers containing the telepathic messages that she had transcribed. Additionally, the folder contained her letter to federal authorities. She asked Knowles to examine her documents, emphasizing that it was imperative for the highest levels of government to be contacted immediately, if he assessed them to be of vital national importance.

Helen Knowles wrote of Swan "Someone came to our door to find out [how] a letter to our Department of Defense should be addressed. (This statement appears to contradict Fitzgerald's contention that Knowles had met with Swan prior to receipt of her sheaf of documents.) 

Additional messages pertained to flying discs, their location, their reason for being here, life on other planets, life after death, and prophecies in the Holy Bible. The non-humans were ostensibly here to protect Earth from destruction caused by the explosion of the nuclear fission atomic bombs and the more destructive nuclear fusion hydrogen bomb, which they stated was disrupting the Earth’s magnetic field. They claimed to be repairing magnetic fault lines for the benefit of mankind and for the preservation of the universe, because, they said, if Earth’s fault lines became broken, it would have a destructive effect upon the entire universe. (Theoretically, a nuclear blast will tear into the membranes between dimensions and bleed into alien worlds, causing destruction.)   

When Rear Admiral Knowles examined the documents, he realized they contained “extremely pertinent scientific data far beyond Swan’s level of knowledge or understanding”. [4] He could not understand how she, a woman with no scientific education or training, could write about electromagnetism, solar winds, planetary orbits, and distances, with such an advanced level of scientific knowledge. He not only helped her out, but personally endorsed her letter after he read it. Then because its contents were of “vital national importance,” he addressed a personal letter to Washington.[5] Rear Admiral Knowles wrote that Swan had been receiving messages from outer space, through mechanical thought transmission, and had transcribed them as she received them. The letter stated that the messages were transmitted day and night, and Swan would “write without any effort on her part and would write continuously for four or five hours at a time without getting tired.” [6] 

There is an apparent contradiction between Herbert Knowles' reaction to Affa's messages indicating an advanced level of scientific knowledge and Randall Fitzgerald’s assertion that the messages were mundane and unimportant. Fitzgerald cast doubt on Swan, Affa, and Knowles. However, I can find no indication that Knowles was gullible or unhinged. His naval career was outstanding, and he had friends and colleagues in the higher echelons of the government and military. He conducted a careful analysis of the content of the messages Swan received and agreed they were significant. Their correspondence files clearly indicate that Knowles and Smith were seeking scientific verification regarding messages they considered of vital national importance. It appears that Fitzgerald presented a biased view of the Swan-Knowles-Smith relationship.

Fitzgerald wrote that two intelligence officers, Captains John R. Bromley and John W. Baltazzi, arrived in Eliot on July 8 for the first experiment, which turned out to be a failure. It is difficult to believe that a failed trip from Washington, DC, in early July, would generate interest in a visit by the FBI and CIA in late July. However, the documented evidence in the US Government Office Memorandum confirms a meeting was held in late July. Is this another example of bias by a skeptic?

Knowles sent the sheaf of documents and a letter to Maine’s US Senator Margaret Chase Smith, and she forwarded it to the US Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson. Additionally, Knowles wrote letters to Rear Admiral Carl Espe, Director of Naval Intelligence, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The information went to the Strategic Air Command and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Not surprisingly, (as is mentioned above), it also drew attention from the FBI and the CIA. On July 24, 1954, a group of departmental top brass descended on the Knowles' home and remained in Eliot for three days.

Fitzgerald wrote that Admiral Espe contacted Admiral Knowles to follow up on the experiment. Essentially, he expressed his dissatisfaction stating that since the method of communication was not conventional and the radio transmission did not occur, there would be no further interest, unless Affa could communicate through radio transmission. (Note: Affa had become angry when he was initially asked for evidence that he could communicate using conventional means. One must question if Affa is who he claimed to be.)  

Helen Knowles elucidates on this information in a letter dated January 14, 1980. She wrote to Betty Hill, "Herbie not only helped her out but personally endorsed her letter after he read it. Then because its contents were of vital national importance, he addressed a personal letter to Washington, which brought a group of departmental top brass to our home. Much correspondence ensued and when they learned that the information described in her letter was not orthodox or obtained by conventional means they withdrew their interest and went home. (And I was getting tired of making sandwiches for that crowd during that time.)" Officially, no further action was to be taken by U.S. federal agencies. However, Admiral Knowles' granddaughter contends that the family's phone line was tapped—an indication that federal interest did indeed continue. Fitzgerald contends that government officials their relationship with Knowles and met surreptitiously with Swan. 

In response to the disappointment, Affa and Ponnar reconsidered by offering a different form of evidence. The US Government Office Memorandum, mentioned above, states that “Affa” and “Ponnar” offered to reveal their craft by descending to within 100 miles from Earth and would appear in 5000 bells or flying saucers to many nations of the world, in August 1954, providing that the nations of planet Earth would provide protection.

Office Memorandum * United States Government * August 2, 1954

The US Government Office Memorandum gives us insight into their investigation. It states that Mrs. Swan believed she was in contact with the commanders of two exceptionally large motherships, commanded by Affa from Uranus, and Ponnar from Hatann. Purportedly, their spaceships were 150 miles wide, 200 miles in length and 100 miles in depth. Aboard the motherships were space craft of different shapes and dimensions.

Witnesses to Swan’s communication with Affa and Ponnar stated that they too had heard buzzing sounds in their ears but were not able to receive messages. However, there is evidence that confirms others did learn to communicate with the alleged extraterrestrials. 

Commander Julian M. Larsen, a “Communicator”

In June 1959, Admiral and Mrs. Knowles hosted Commander Julian M. Larsen, a liaison officer between the Office of Naval Intelligence and the CIA's Photographic Interpretation Center, and a Navy pilot, at their home for the weekend. According to two reports, Swan successfully taught Larsen how to establish telepathic communication with an invisible entity via automatic writing. Swan attempted to convince him that it was not Affa, because whoever this entity was, he did not communicate in the style of Affa. But the young, enthralled man would not listen to her warnings. 

When he returned to Washington, Larsen continued to communicate in writing with the unseen entity who claimed to be Affa. In fact, he demonstrated his ability to CIA officers Lt. Commander R. S. Neosham and Arthur C. Lundahl, the top photographic intelligence officer in the United States and Assistant Director for Photographic Intelligence. This time, Affa agreed to show his craft to six CIA officers and Project Blue Book Director Maj. Robert T. Friend. 

Jacques Vallee adds insight into the CIA’s interest in communication with Affa in his book Forbidden Science. He writes that Project Blue Book’s astronomical consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek had passed information to him concerning a meeting that took place at a CIA office in Washington, D.C., in July 1959. This time Commander Larsen was successful and Affa did show him and his associates a flying saucer. Affa instructed them to look outside their office window and suddenly a disc-shaped craft appeared. One CIA officer called the Washington, D.C. airport radar station and was informed that electromagnetic signals in the craft's direction had been blocked.[7]

Additional evidence has been uncovered by UFO researcher Grant Cameron that confirms the second meeting at the CIA office in Washington, D.C. on July 9,1959. This verifies the statements made by Jacques Vallee and carried to him by Dr. J. Allen Hynek. 

The following people were present: 

    • Com. Julian M. Larsen, ONI
    • Lt. Com. D.W. Linker, CIA
    • Lt. Com. R.S. Neosham, CIA
    • Mr. C.F. Camp, CIA
    • Mr. H.F. Schenifele, CIA
    • Mr. W.S. Stallings, CIA
    • Mr. Arthur C. Lundahl, CIA
    • Maj. R.T. Friend, ATIC

Fitzgerald advises us that the only existing evidence concerning the above-mentioned contact experiment is based in notes scrawled on note paper by Major Robert T. Friend and expanded upon by others. This is a direct contradiction to the statements made by Dr. J. Allen Hynek and the meeting document discovered by Grant Cameron. In his position at Project Blue Book, Hynek had ample opportunity to speak with Friend. Additionally, Cameron has the memorandum that pertains to the meeting. It appears that the meeting did occur, and the CIA and military officers were in attendance. Furthermore, Commander Julian M. Larsen, ONI, was at the top of the list. This suggests that he fulfilled an important role at the meeting.  

Fitzgerald argues that Affa was the product of Swan’s imagination, an advanced being derived in fantasy who exemplified the characteristics that Swan desired. Fitzgerald contends that Affa was a philosopher bursting with love and spiritual well-being, yet his messages were no more advanced than the knowledge of Frances Swan. This is in direct contradiction with the details in the correspondence between Rear Admiral Herbert B. Knowles and Wilbert B. Smith. Both men were scientifically trained engineers. Both were sufficiently skeptical. They insisted on evidence and were not prone to unverified belief.

As had occurred with Frances Swan, Commander Julian M. Larsen could not halt his contact with the unseen entities. He complained they were in his head constantly communicating with him telepathically. Exasperated, he wrote to Swan to seek assistance in ridding himself of Affa and his associates. Swan told him to pray and to demand forcefully that they relinquish control over him. I could not find additional information regarding Larsen's success or failure in ending what began as a curiosity and ended as a nightmare. I know only that he was greatly troubled by his predicament.

Frances Swan perceived her situation differently. She viewed her positive communication with Affa, Ponnar, Moriaden, and others, as desirable. They taught her the history of mankind, lessons in the bible, spiritual consciousness, the birth of human souls, etc. It appears that she looked forward to the day when she and Affa could be together.

In 1980, after 26 years of communication, Frances Swan and Affa continued to speak of Earth changes that would be the result of mankind's neglect of its planetary environment and to offer prophesy on the latter days, as was described in the Holy Bible. He echoed the words of many of the early contactees that when the people of planet Earth have learned to live in peace and harmony with one another, and with God, mankind will be ready to take its proper place in the universe. Until then we have much to learn. 


[1] Wilbert Smith, “Project Magnet Report”, 1952. 6. www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ufo/002029-1400.01-e.html, (accessed November 10, 2017).

[2] Correspondence from Herbert Knowles to Wilbert Smith, Marden’s collection, December 3, 1956.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Correspondence from Helen Knowles to Betty Hill. January 4, 1980.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Correspondence from Smith to Knowles, Marden’s collection, December 12, 1956.

[7] Jacques Vallee, Forbidden Science, (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1992)123.

*(A quick Internet search produced information from an alleged E.T. named Hatonn, from the confederation of planets in service to the infinite creator. He states that he is from the planet of Hatonn, as light warriors in service to the One fighting against the forces of darkness. https:/Hatonn (floating-world.org). And so the communication between invisible E.T.s and humans continues...


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