I GO TO SEE MR. ED
by James W. Moseley
I must admit I had mixed feelings as my plane began its landing approach at Gulf Breeze.
For many months now, I had filled pages and pages of my newsletter, Saucer Smear, with disparaging remarks about the man known as "Mr. Ed" and the series of strange UFO encounters he purportedly had in the small bedroom community of Gulf Breeze, Florida, near Pensacola.
The entire affair involving dozens and dozens of sightings and related events by Mr. Ed and other residents of Gulf Breeze, had split many of the higher echelons of MUFON between believers and skeptics. A series of photographs taken of strange objects by Mr. Ed had been variously labeled as fact or fiction, depending on who analyzed them.
At the convention of the National UFO Conference in Cleveland Dr. Willy Smith, a Florida-based researcher, said the whole case was a hoax. At the same time, Smith made no bones about telling one and all of Mr. Ed's true identity, and even provided a photo of the man during his slide presentation.
Despite this public disclosure, Mr. Ed still hopes he can somehow keep his real name out of the public eye. In order to discurage the idly-curious, he has had his telephone number unlisted. He has also moved to a new home, and has likewise kept his new address a secret.
Out of respect for Mr. Ed, whom I frankly admit I have come to like, I am going to keep his real name private. The truth or falsity of his experiences doesn't rest on who he is, but on what he has to say and on the evidence he provides to back it up.
In all, I spent 16 hours with him during the weekend. I visited his home and had dinner with him and his wife. I had ample opportunity to evaluate his sincerity and I developed some clear impressions as to the kind of man he is.
In every case, Mr. Ed's wife was most cooperative in amplifying his remarks and supporting him during his lengthy conversations with me. Mrs. Ed was on hand to witness at least some of her husband's UFO encounters. I could not find any way in which they substantially disagreed as to facts or background.
My first meeting with them was at the motel at which I was staying. I invited them both to dinner, and kept the intial conversation on topics of a general nature, as I sized up Mr. Ed.
I got to see Mr. Ed's new residence, to which he had only recently moved, and also the home that was the scene of many of his UFO encounters. I was also taken to other sites where he had had sightings. I was given copies of some of his UFO photos, after discussing them at length.
I asked him question after question. I didn't hesitate to pose a pointed question when I felt it was necessary, and I brought up the many sharp critcisms that were leveled by UFO researchers against his claims.
It would be fair to say that I was not converted from skeptic to believer. The story Mr. Ed told me is in many ways absolutely incredible, and I don't want to jump to any unwarranted conclusions. But he did try to answer all my questions clearly and completely.
I have met all kinds of people during my years in the UFO field. While I admit that recording and analyzing technical information is probably not my forte, I believe I know how to evaluate someone's personality. Mr. Ed struck me as a perfectly normal husband and father. He has two children, a son and a daughter. He has also been honored on many occasions for his work in the fight against juvenile delinquency. In every way, he is a pillar of the community.
The small talk completed, I got down to the question of UFOs. I took lengthy notes as Mr. Ed described his various UFO encounters.
THE COMING OF THE SAUCERS
According to Mr. Ed, his first sighting occurred on the evening of November 11, 1987. It was about 5:00 p.m., twilight. He was seated alone in his office at home. His son was elsewhere in the house and was not a witness. Looking out a window, his attention was drawn to a glow of some sort beyond a tree. He grabbed his Polaroid camera and went out the front door of the house.
The object he saw was described as between 150 and 200 feet away, and was traveling in a northeast direction. Later analysis of the five photos he took of the object supposedly indicated that the circular craft was about eight feet in dimater at its bottom edge.
The UFO had what appeared to be two rows on the bottom half of the structure. The top one seemed to consist of lighted windows, the bottom row possible outlets for the strange beams that were later seen to shoot forth from the strange craft.
My impression from looking at the photos was that the UFO seemed much larger, perhaps 30 feet or more in diameter. Mr. Ed said he couldn't really tell how big it was. He depended instead on the MUFON photo analysis which supposedly indicated a smaller size.
Soon thereafter, Mr. Ed sent a report about the sighting along to the local newspaper, the Sentinel, but he admits that he left out some key informtion about the UFO encounter, which perhaps opened him up to later criticism that he added those details to embellish his report.
In retrospect, those details seemed the most fantastic of all.
During the sighting, a beam or a glow of some sort, blue in color, shot out from beneath the UFO. There was a white underglow to the craft, and Mr. Ed isn't certain if the beam of light originated there, or from the first row of outlets that he observed.
With the arrival of the beam came a psychic communication of some sort for Mr. Ed not to be afraid. At this point, the strangest part of the encounter took place. Mr. Ed claimed that he was lifted or levitated a few feet from the ground for several seconds. It struck him as possibly a half-hearted attempt to abduct him.
He amitted that this portion of his experience seemed so weird to him that he at first thought it was better to leave it out -- only later did he decide to reveal the full story.
In all, he had 16 sightings, and took 36 photographs of UFOs. The sightings ran the gamut from strange aircraft in the sky to reports of odd creatures right out of the frequently reported abduction cases.
On December 2, 1987, a barking dog signalled the presence of a weird, sleazy creature on Mr. Ed's back porch. He and his wife both described the creature as resembling the alien pictures on the cover of Whitley Streiber's Communion, a large head, big hypnotic eyes, a slit for a mouth, and a small or non-existent nose.
Mr. Ed reached for his gun and a camera and walked out onto the porch and along to the backyard pool. By this time, the alien was nowhere in sight, but he saw a UFO in the sky over the roof of his home. Again he was struck by a blue beam, but this time he wasn't levitated or given any telepathic communications. He did manage to capture the image of the craft with his camera.
A UFO was blamed for a near-accident on the evening of January 12, 1988, when the craft passed over Mr. Ed's truck as he was driving to a job site along Highway 191B in Gulf Breeze. As the low-flying UFO passed above his truck, a white beam was flashed at him. Mr. Ed's arms became numb. He panicked and nearly drove off the road, but somehow brought his vehicle to a safe stop. He sought refuge beneath the truck.
The ever-present shotgun and a camera were in hand.
Like something out of Star Trek, an alien dropped down the white beam, and was soon joined by four other creatures. They all looked similar to the alien seen on Mr. Ed's back porch a few weeks earlier. They all carried shields and rods.
The five creatures proceeded to march slowly towards Mr. Ed's truck, but he mustered enough courage to re-enter the vehicle and speed off. He evidently wasn't followed.
The last experience he had was probably the most complex and bizarre of all. It seemed to represent a finish for him of his UFO sightings. He explained that he has not had any encounters since then, at least to the present day.
THE HOODED VISITOR
It was early on the morning of May 1, 1988. Mr. Ed was seated at a picnic table in an area adjacent to a sandy beach. He reportedly had a feeling that something would happen that night that would bring the whole sequence of uncanny events to a conclusion.
At the urging of UFO investigator Dr. Bruce Maccabee, Mr. Ed and his wife had previously erected a series of wooden posts around the area as a kind of marker to gauge relative distances. The posts were located in multiples of ten feet from the picnic table.
Mr. Ed was alone. It was around 1:10 a.m. when he heard or felt a buzzing noise. This same buzz had been sensed on previous occasions, heralding the arrival of a UFO. He was armed with a stereo camera to record the event in three dimensions.
When he saw two objects, though, he became very frightened and started talking to himself. He said he was then "whited out," using that phrase to distinguish between blacking out or being "blued out," as he described earlier experiences.
Somehow he was assaulted physically or psychically. When he came to his senses, he picked himself off the sand of the beach, some 20 feet from the picnic table. He was bruised all over. In a panic, he collected all of his gear, threw it into the truck, and sped off.
It was 2:25 a.m.
According to Mr. Ed, he had experienced incidents involving "missing time" on four previous occasions. He said he had thought little of those experinces till then. But this final "missing time" encounter apparently put the focus on those previous events.
He went on to describe the final event as a "replay" of the earlier experiences, and through hypnotic regression that was conducted by a psychologist at a later date, he was able to recall what had happened to him.
The hypnotic session was part of a detailed psychological evaluation performed on Mr. Ed by Dr. Dan Overland, a noted Florida psychologist who is past president of the Florida Psychological association.
In an account of the examination published in the Pensacola News Journal, Overland said, "He's as normal as the rest of us."
While in a hypnotic state, Ed told of awakening in a pie-shaped room that was small in size. A light was emanating from above.
A creature then came through the doorway. The entity or being wore a gray hood and pink tights. It was the same kind of creature he had seen before.
The being was accompanied by three companions who were similarly garbed, but without the hood. All had shields and white rods, which were about the size of flashlights. The rods had some sort of power source within. Mr. Ed became quite angry at this point and tried to grab the hooded alien, who appeard to be the leader of the party. The other three aliens stepped forward.
The next thing he knew, a wall in the room had bgun to move, and suddenly Mr. Ed was in another room, quite alone. There was a bright light in the room, and a large table in the middle. On that table he saw a series of strange symbols. The room was otherwise bare of furnishings.
In touching the table, some kind of sticky substance got caught between his fingernails. This detail alone seemed like something no contactee could possible make up, unless he wanted his whole experience to seem unbelievably weird.
His abduction had ended. Mr. Ed lifted his bruised body off the sandy beach, and went home. Without doubt, his sleep that night was fitful and restless.
When he awoke he was still tired and aching, but then he sensed a horrible stench, which evidently came from that sticky substance between his fingernails. He scraped the substance off his fingernails, carefully placed it in a jar, and put it in his refrigerator. The jar helped conceal that awful odor.
Days later, the substance, still having a hideous smell, was turned over to a MUFON investigator for analysis. So far there has been no report to indicate that the odd substance is of an unearthly origin.
I left Gulf Breeze with the feeling that Mr. Ed had absolutely nothing to gain from creating such a lengthy and complex series of hoaxes. Although the local residents know who he is, his real name has been kept out of the national media. (It hasn't now!) He doesn't appear on Oprah Winfrey or on any other television talk show. His face has never appeared in print anywhere. He is a perfectly normal looking man who, when traveling outside of his local community, would pass by totally unrecognized by anyone.
Just as important, lots of other Gulf Breeze residents have reported sightings, long after Mr. Ed's own UFO encounters had ceased. It would be stretching one's crediblity to the limit to believe that he was able to fake those sightings too.
Additionally, other photos have turned up, one set from someone who calls himself "Believer Bill," another from a person named "Alice." No evidence has been presented that these photos were actually taken by Ed to substantiate his own sightings.
In looking over all of my notes of the two days I spent with Mr. Ed and the magazine articles and countelss letters I have received about the case, my questions still remain unanswered. If he faked those photos, I don't know how he did it. None of his crtiics have come up with a proven, definitive answer to that one either. Though he lives in a small town, and is known by almost everybody who lives there, no telltale evidence against him has yet been recovered.
Secondly, if the case is a fraud, why did he do it?
Like countless other sightings that I have studied in the UFO field, the Gulf Breeze case may remain unsolved. There will be lots of claims and counterclaims in the years ahead, without any result.
Mr. Ed has taken a lie detector test and a voice stress analysist est, and has passed them both. While such tests are rarely conclusive, he gives every impression of believing he had a bizarre series of UFO encounters. Whatever the ultimate truth behind all this may be, until this case is finally resolved, Mr. Ed surely deserves the benefit of the doubt.