The "UFOlogy" community has had more than its share of conspiracy
theorists. Moore, Shandera, Bennewitz, and Lear come to mind when the
subject of the elaborate UFO coverup fantasies come up. The common
thread running through all the stories is that the US Government has
been aware of and in contact with "Alien Life Forms" (ALFs- no kidding),
or Extraterrestrial Biological Entities (EBEs) for years, and that a
high level coverup and campaign of disinformation has been in effect
since at least the end of World War II.
William Moore's contribution to the mythos was the Roswell Crash and
MJ-12 (the alleged conspiracy which disposed of the alien bodies after
the crash, and which carries on the cover-up).
John Lear (son of the Lear jet designer) upped the ante with tales
of genetic experiments, abductions by aliens with the tacit approval of
the U.S. Government, and the rumor that "Area 51" (a test site in
Nevada) was a landing strip for UFOs. Lear also introduced the element
of right-wing paranoid fantasy into the picture, which was later
pre-empted by Bill Cooper with an enthusiastic vengeance.
Milton William Cooper popped onto the scene in December of 1988, and
at first contented himself with providing verification for Lear's
stories. Cooper claimed that while working as a quartermaster on a
naval intelligence team for Admiral Bernard Clary, he was shown
documents proving the contacts between the Government and aliens.
In May of 1989 Cooper's claims began getting even more bizarre. He
claimed that Truman had engineered a secret world government, including
the US and the Soviet Union, and that this body was controlled by the
Bilderbergers (which is- in the real world- an international business
group which first met at the Bilderberger hotel in Switzerland). He
further claimed that the conspiracy had assassinated former Secretary of
State James Forrestal because he threatened to expose the conspiracy.
The elements of the story became weirder and weirder, including
Nazi scientists, the Kennedy assassination, the Trilateral commission,
secret bases on the Moon and Mars (which according to Cooper, have
breathable atmospheres), and the Anti-Christ.
To outline the whole thing briefly would be impossible, but suffice
it to say Cooper's story is on the outer edge of the fringe. In
addition to the above Cooper continues to carry on polemical warfare
against the rest of the UFOlogists, often having the effect of making
Linda Moulton Howe and her livestock mutilation fixation, and John Lear
with his human-eating aliens seem quite sane by comparison.
Cooper has a new book out, _Behold a Pale Horse_, which is evidently
selling very well in the New Age bookstores. I hope it's curiosity and
sense of humor that motivate people to buy the book. If substantial
numbers of people take the guy seriously, we skeptics have even more work
in front of us than I'd imagined.