Reader Requests #1: Wendelle C. Stevens
Bringing Meier to America & the Uncomfortable Truth of Lt. Col. Wendelle Stevens
Taking a short break from It’s Always Sunny in Gulf Breeze, Florida, I wanted to make a quick response to a recommendation that came from Twitter user @humanoidlord, founder of Magonia Research Group. I looked into the work, legacy, and accusations of Lt. Colonel Wendelle C. Stevens, a former Air Force officer turned publisher of UFO literature. His press, UFO Photo Archives, released dozens of books on UFOs and ET contacts. In fact, he published the book by Donna Butts and Scott Corder that was explored in St. Peter at the Sonic Drive-In. More notoriously, he was an eager promoter of Billy Meier, a Swiss contactee with the uncanny ability to take dozens of iconic UFO photographs. Indeed, one of Meier’s shots served as the image for one of Fox Mulder’s “I Want to Believe” posters in The X-Files. Stevens was Meier’s biggest promoter in the United States and it is doubtful that the Swiss farmer would be well-known at all without Stevens’ help.
Stevens did have real credentials, being a former Air Force fighter pilot in the Pacific theater of WWII and eventually gaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His obituary at the International UFO Congress further states that after the war, he participated “in a classified project in Alaska to photograph and map the Arctic land and sea area” which spurred his interest in UFOs—some were captured the equipment onboard the B-29s.1 Other sources, such as the International UFO Library Magazine ad above, list his occupation at some point as the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright Field in Ohio. (Ah, someone with an Air Force intelligence background in the UFO field? What a rarity!) He also served as Air Force Attaché to South America before his retirement from the USAF in 1963 and later became an employee at Hamilton Aircraft. Bill Cooper listed Stevens as one of many people within the UFO sphere who were “active intelligence-agency assets.”2 As usual, it is impossible to believe anything Cooper is saying. If anything, Cooper might have been muddling the subject by saying Stevens was CIA when he was actually Air Force intelligence in the past. Nevertheless, Stevens a likely target or perhaps a progenitor of major UFO disinformation campaigns. He was a the Director of Investigations at the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) at the same time admitted intelligence asset Bill Moore was a member and also a main contact for Bill English, the main source for the infamous Grudge Report #13 rumors.3 Bill Moore would later tell Greg Bishop, author of Project Beta, that Stevens “revolved around (…) information” coming from the AFOSI-targeted Paul Bennewitz. “It was the kind of paranoia that (he) wanted to hear.”4 Again, it becomes hard to tell if Stevens was promoting these things simply because he believed them (I tend to fall in this camp) or because he was helping to build the burgeoning mythology surrounding UFOs, Area 51, and alien races. Regardless of his intelligence background and the possible continuation of this role while a UFO researcher, Stevens had more nagging credibility issues: He was a child molester.
The facts are put quite plainly in Legs McNeil’s 1987 SPIN article, “Loving the Aliens”: Following a variety of stomach-churning charges, “the colonel had (plead) guilty to three out of a possible 10 counts of molestation of a child; four counts of furnishing obscene or harmful items to minors; and two counts on the film and pictures charges. He got handed seven years.”5 Stevens himself tended to blame the arrest on the “Agency,” telling McNeil that he was “under restraint not to discuss any part of it.”6 Stevens was put in prison sometime in 1983 and, according to the September 1983 MUFON Journal, blamed the CIA almost immediately.7 While Stevens was still in prison when McNeil talked to him, the supposed CIA people who put him there must have had a change of heart because it seems they let him out slightly early.
William J. Herrmann, another contactee whose book Contact from Reticulum was cowritten by Stevens, cut contact with Stevens after the charges further noting:
Stevens is guilty of misrepresentation of UFO cases, gross exploitation of UFO case histories—mine included—and attempting to factualize the most elaborate hoax in UFO research—the Swiss case of Billy Meir. That case will go down in UFO research as the best “special effects” since Steven Spielberg filmed Close Encounters of the Third Kind.8
Ufologist Jacques Vallee also found Stevens’ promotion of Meier’s photographs as genuine “patently absurd.” More curiously, when discussing various aspects of Pleiadian culture with Stevens, Vallee recounts some bizarre moments in the conversation with the former Colonel:
The citizens of ERRA (the planet in the Pleiades where Meier’s supposed contacts hailed from) live under a very strict, militaristic organization ruled by definite moral standards: compared with their rigid code, Victorian England was a hotbed of permissiveness. (…) “There is no sex outside marriage in their society,” Colonel Stevens volunteered.9
When Vallee asked what happened to Pleiadians who did not stick to these guidelines, Stevens responded: “They are severely punished. (…) The verdict is exile. The men are sent to a planet where there are only men, and the women to a planet where there are only women.” Hopefully he started obeying Pleiadian law as he seemed to have trouble with the American version. While it goes unnoted in Revelations, Vallee says that he talked to Stevens in his Tucson home which is assumedly after his release from prison rather than before his time in jail for child molestation. If this is the case, I find it highly odd that Vallee does not mention the fact. I suppose he served his time.
Stevens does continue to have some supporters. Kal Korff and Steven Cambian wrote the book The CIA's CONspiracy Against Wendelle Stevens which I really don’t want to read but probably will, if only to have access to the depositions I cannot seem to find elsewhere. To be clear: Wendelle Stevens was not only a promoter of obvious hoaxes and disinformation from government spooks, but he was also a sex offender. Not exactly someone I’d be holding up as a shining example of ufology.
I’ll end this already too-long response with an interesting article by Robert Irving that originally appeared in Fortean Times 85 (December 1995/January 1996): http://www.mythologist.co.uk/henryxfile.html. Within, we see Stevens interacting with one of the strangest (and least talked about) figures in ufology, Habib (Henry) Azadehdel, promoter of the Kalahari incident, orchid smuggler, and all-around weird dude.
Thanks for reading Getting Spooked and hope you have enjoyed this little mini exploration. If you have liked what you’ve seen from the publication, consider a donation through a paid Substack subscription or a one-time donation through Ko-fi. Any little bit helps this research continue. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @TannerFBoyle1 if you have questions, comments, or requests—as seen from this very email, I will respond to some requests. Until next time, stay spooked!
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“Lt. Colonel (USAF Retired) Wendelle C. Stevens passes at 87.” 8 September 2010. https://ufocongress.com/lt-colonel-usaf-ret-wendelle-c-stevens-passes-at-87/.
Cooper, Milton William. Behold a Pale Horse. Flagstaff: Light Technology Publishing, 1991. Page 228.
Dolan, Richard. UFOs & the National Security State: The Cover-Up Exposed 1973-1991. Rochester: Keyhole Publishing, 2009. Page 446-447.
Ibid., page 485.
McNeil, Legs. “Loving the Aliens.” SPIN, July 1987. Page 63. Available at the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/spin-27-july-1987
“Director’s Message.” MUFON UFO Journal, no. 187. September 1983. Page 18. Available here: https://ufoprophet.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-mufon-ufo-journaln187-september.html
Herrmann, William J. “Comes the Dawn on Lt. Col. Wendelle Stevens.” Saucer Smear 10 October 1983. Reprinted here: https://borderlandsciences.org/journal/vol/40/n03/CQC_40_3.html
Vallee, Jacques. Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception. New York: Ballantine Books, 1991. Page 192.