Despite the fact that I own at least forty-four of the hundred-plus weird and rare UFO books on display in Jack Womack’s latest—and perhaps most eccentric—book, Flying Saucers Are Real! (Anthology Editions, 2016), my mind was still blown away by the revelations lurking within its glossy, transcendental pages. Some of these books are so strange that I’ve never even heard of them much less seen copies, and I’ve been known to haunt antiquarian book fairs all around Southern California for the express purpose of discovering previously overlooked UFOlogical treasures.
Here are just a few of the nightmares waiting to leap from the pages of Flying Saucers Are Real! and wriggle inside your brain cavities with catastrophic intentions:
▪ Hands by Margaret Williams and Lee Gladden (Galaxy Press, 1976) is a “true account” of a Beverly Hills psychiatrist who summons into the material plane a disturbing Boschian entity from another world, a “nameless, headless, eight-handed space alien nicknamed ‘Hands.’” The cover looks like a detail from a Henry Darger painting, but considerably more disturbing.
▪ In UFO Warning (Saucerian Books, 1963), UFOlogist John Stuart chronicles his formation of the New Zealand Flying Saucer Investigation Society and “tells of meeting beautiful young Barbara Turner—real name Doreen Wilkinson, the only other member of the NZFSIS—and how his wife failed to appreciate their demanding need to investigate the saucers, most evenings. The narrative takes a very disturbing turn as a ‘loathsome, hideous, evil, disgusting, horrifying’ being appears to them, making sexual advances toward Turner before vanishing; a few nights later, thirteen such beings manifest in her bedroom, and three of them rape her.” The book includes Gene Duplantier’s black and white illustrations of the aforementioned debaucherous beasts that look like they were drawn by Basil Wolverton while recovering from a particularly debilitating brain fever.
Robert Guffey is a lecturer in the Department of English at California State University – Long Beach. His most recent book is Chameleo: A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security (OR Books).