On the evening of April 20, 1959, an astronomer committed suicide in
Dade County Park, Florida. Inhaling automobile exhaust fumes, which
he had introduced from the tail pipe through a hose into his station
wagon, he died in the same academic obscurity in which he had lived,
unheralded and almost unrecognized in his discipline.
Ironically, the scientist’s only public recognition had come from
lay people, who had read his series of four books about unidentified
Morris K. Jessup’s first book, The Case For the UFO, had tended to
alienate him from his colleagues, though it came and went with
relatively few sales. Its publisher sold it off to second-hand
bookstores at $1.00 each. Today it brings $25.00 or better per copy,
if you can find one.
It was a paperback edition of the same book, published in 1955 by
Bantam Books that enmeshed Jessup in one of the most bizarre
mysteries in UFO history. An annotated reprint of the paperback was
laboriously typed out on offset stencils and printed in a very small
run by a Garland, Texas manufacturing company which produced
equipment for the military.
Each page was run through the small office duplicator twice, once
with black ink for the regular text of the book, then once again
with red ink, the latter reproducing the mysterious annotations by
three men, who may have been gypsies, hoaxters, or space people
living among men. The spiral bound 8 ½” X 11” volume, containing
more that 200 pages, became known as The Annotated Edition. The
reprint quickly became legend. A few civilian UFO enthusiasts
claimed to have seen copies, and it was rumored that a few close
associates of the late Mr. Jessup possessed copies. Many people
claimed it simply had never existed.
Because you are now holding a virtually exact facsimile of The
Annotated Edition in your hands, it is most obvious that the book
existed. But the big mystery still remains: why did a Government
contractor go to so much trouble to reprint a book that had been
rejected by the scientific community, and further to include
mysterious letters to the author and even more bizarre annotations?
And with this mystery goes the suspicion that the book may have been
printed by the manufacturer at the request of the military, which
implies Government interest in some of the weirdest aspects of
“Flying Saucer” study.
Not much detail is known of Jessup’s life before he emerged as one
of the early writers on UFOs, mainly because nobody has taken the
trouble to do the needed research. Probably the most that Ufology
knows about him prior to his involvement with flying saucers is
contained on the jacket flap of his first book.
He is described as having been an instructor in astronomy and
mathematics at the University of
Michigan and Drake University. The Jacket copy also notes that
Jessup completed his thesis for the
doctorate degree in astro-physics at the University of Michigan,
though it does not state whether on not
he was awarded the actual degree. In the academic business, usually
the thesis is the thing that comes
last, and is the final step in the awarding of the doctorate degree.
Sometimes these doctoral candidates are deferentially called
“Doctor” by their associates, though it cannot be used officially by
them. This would seem to be the case of Jessup, who was often
addressed as “Dr. Jessup”, but who never used the title in
correspondence, nor on the covers or title pages of his four books.
Very likely Jessup was never actually awarded the degree.
Apparently, his thesis consisted of a report on his research program
which (again according to the book jacket) resulted in several
thousand discoveries of physical double-stars “which are now
catalogued in the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society of
The short biography also lists other important research activities
by Jessup. It indicates that he was assigned by the United State
Department of Agriculture to study the sources of crude rubber in
the headwaters of the Amazon, though no date is given. He made
archeological studies of the Maya in the jungles of Central America
for the Carnegie Institute of Washington.
Without identifying the source of sponsorship or financing, the
jacket states that he explored Inca ruins in Peru, and concluded
that the stonework he found there had been “erected by the
levitating power of space ships in antediluvian times”. Also:
“Mr. Jessup’s latest explorations have taken him to the high plateau
of Mexico where he has discovered an extensive group of craters.
They are as large as, and similar to, the mysterious lunar craters
Linne and Hyginus N, and he believes them to have been made by
objects from space. They are presently under study by means of
aerial photography and the study will be ready for publication in
approximately eighteen months”.
Apparently the further exploration of the craters was never carried
out. According to James W. Moseley, former publisher of Saucer News,
Jessup sought university, foundation and private sponsorship of the
project, but was unsuccessful in gaining sufficient interest and
The Allende Letters
The mystery of the annotated paperback edition of The Case for the
UFO was preceded by a series of strange letters from Carlos Miguel
Allende addressed to Jessup. Two of these, reproduced as part of the
Annotated Edition, appear in the following pages. The letters
claimed that as a result of a strange experiment at sea utilizing
principles of Einstein’s Unified Field Theory, a destroyer and all
its crew became invisible during October, 1943.
“The Field was effective in an oblate spheroidal shape,” Allende
wrote. He added that “any person within that sphere became vague in
form, and that as a result of the experiment some of the crew went
insane. Further horrifying aspects of the alleged experiment are
detailed in the two letters (See Appendix).
The Allende letters became connected with The Annotated Edition when
the Varo Manufacturing Company evidently got in touch with Jessup in
regard to the latter.
Varo’s unusual involvement in the mystery began a few months after
February 1956, In April of that year Admiral N. Furth, Chief of the
Office of Naval Research, Washington D.C., received a manila
envelope postmarked Seminole, a small town in Texas. Written across
its face was the notation “Happy Easter”. When Furth opened the
envelope he found a copy of the Jessup paperback. We are not certain
of Furth’s reactions, but we can assume that he thumbed through the
book and that his interest was piqued by a series of notes,
interjections, underscorings, etc., in three colors of ink,
apparently written by three different people. Only the name of one
of the authors of the annotations appeared in the notes, that of “Jemi”.
The paperback had apparently been passed through the hands of the
strange annotators several times. This conclusion could be drawn
from the fact that the notes indicated discussions between two or
all three of the men, with questions answered, and places where
parts of a note had been marked through, underlined, or added to by
one or both of the other men. Some had been deleted by marking
The notes had a tone of absolute weirdness. Sometimes they agreed
with Jessup’s original text; sometimes they contradicted it, as they
referred to two types of people living in space. They specified two
habitats for the space people: underseas, and what they termed the
“stasis neutral”, the latter term apparently in agreement with
Jessup’s exposition on points of neutral gravity in space.
They mentioned the building of undersea cities and identified two
groups of spacemen, “L-M’s” and “S-M’s”. The “L-M’s” were designated
as peaceful, the “S-M’s” as sinister.
Some of the terms used would have been familiar to any ufologist of
the 1950’s, yet others expressed an alien-like vocabulary which had
never been previously used in “saucer” literature.
Some of the terms were: Mothership, home-ship, dead-ship, great ark,
great bombardment, great return, great war, little-men,
force-fields, deep freezes, measure markers, scout ships, magnetic
and gravity fields, sheet of diamond, cosmic rays, force cutters,
inlay work, clear-talk, telepathing, burning “coat”, nodes, vortice,
They explained what happened to people and to ships and planes which
had disappeared, as discussed in Jessup‘s original text – and
elaborated upon the origin of odd storms and clouds, objects falling
from the sky, strange marks and footprints, and other matters Jessup
We do not know Admiral Furth’s personal reaction to the strangely
marked paperback. The history of this matter, again from a
confidential source, next surfaces several months later, in July or
August of the same year, when the paperback was passed on to Major
Darrel L. Ritter, U.S.M.C., Aeronautical Project Officer of ONR.
Soon afterward, and no date is available, Captain Sidney Sherby
joined ONR, and, along with Commander George W. Hoover, Special
Projects Officer, ONR, indicated interest in the book.
Sherby and Hoover were deeply involved in satellite development, and
supervising the systems which would later place the first U.S.
satellite into orbit. Some UFO buffs have expressed the belief that
they were also coordinating gravity research, and that this was the
reason for their interest.
The book was evidently taken to the Varo firm by Sherby, possibly in
conjunction with Hoover. At that time, Varo was deeply involved in
aero-space design and manufacturing for the military. One division
was called “Military Assistance”, which may have coordinated the
firm’s activities with the government, and occasionally performed
personal services for military personnel (as any commercial
organization might do).
At any rate, the Military Assistance Division agreed to run off a
limited number of copies of the annotated book, and it was
laboriously typed out my Miss Michael Ann Dunn, personal secretary
to the president of the company, a Mr. Stanton. (Incidentally, Miss
Dunn no longer is employed by Varo. Varo says that personnel records
fails to find a record of her employment!)
Two theories evolve as to Varo’s role in publishing the Annotated
(1) Top military brass passed this down through the lower echelon,
thus avoiding the responsibility should there be any publicity, and
it was published surreptitiously by Varo, the personnel of which may
have had top military security clearance – avoiding sending it to a
government printing source, where word might leak out. The Military
was interested in applications of the notes to secret research being
carried out by the U.S. After printing, the limited edition could be
passed around to interested persons, and distributed to other
contractors engaged in secret military development.
echelon officers, such as Sherby, had deep personal interests in the
UFO mystery, and wanted copies to give to other Naval personnel who
held similar interests. As a matter of personal interest, they asked
the Varo company to make the reprint, knowing that the contractor
would comply, as one of the many personal favors they may have
extended to military personnel. The latter of these alternatives is
the writer’s best guess. No great degree of secrecy seemed to have
been employed. Jessup was called in by Varo and shown the book, and
nothing in his subsequent writings or reported conversations
indicates he was requested to maintain secrecy. Permission was
obtained both from the author and the publisher, Citadel Press, to
reproduce the text of the original book. Jessup was given several
copies, probably the source of the copies a few UFO researchers
One such copy, according to Riley H. Crabb, Director of Borderland
Sciences Research, has been given to the late Bryant H. Reeves,
author of two books published by Ray Palmer.
Crabb told me recently that he saw the Varo Edition while visiting
Reeves at his home in Virginia Beach. Reeves agreed to lend the
volume for a brief period, and Crabb, who told me he felt that both
he and Reeves were “under surveillance”, hesitated to carry it with
him back to his home in California. He posted it to himself, but it
was lost in the mails.
A tradition of bad luck or strange circumstances is connected with
possession of the Varo Edition.
One person’s home, along with the book, was destroyed by fire
shortly after he acquired a copy. Capt.
Edward J. Ruppelt, former head of Project Bluebook, suffered a fatal
heart attack, allegedly shortly after he read a borrowed copy.
Robert Loftin, UFO author, who also died prematurely, was another
rumored owner of the book. Of course, except for the deaths, thus is
purely hearsay, and, if true, could have been the result of
Regardless of the motivation behind printing the Annotated Edition,
neither Varo nor the military could foresee the zeal of civilian UFO
research in its probing of the matter. Intrigued by the mystery, and
questioning the untimely death of Jessup, Ufologists began delving.
At least two national magazine articles explored Jessup’s death and
his connection with the book.
Our Personal Involvement
Our personal involvement with the mystery surrounding Jessup began
after we heard of his suicide and began looking into rumors
involving the above matters. Our findings became the basis for a
book, The Strange Case of Dr. M.K. Jessup, published in 1963 by
Saucerian Books, and reprinted in 1965 and 1967.
The book contained a chapter about The Annotated Edition and
reproduced the Preface with annotations, though not in facsimile.
The Preface was provided by Riley Crabb of the Borderland Sciences
Research Associates Foundation, Inc. Our interest continued, though
we had never seen an actual copy of The Annotated Edition, and often
doubted that it really existed.
One of our correspondents claimed to possess the complete volume in
photocopy form and sent us second generation copies of a few pages
to prove his point. Brad Steiger provided miniature reproductions of
three actual pages to illustrate an article, “Fantastic Key to the
Flying Saucer Mystery,” in Saga magazine, November, 1967. He noted
that the reproductions were from a microfilm copy owned by Stephen
We finally acquired one of the rare original copies in 1971 from a
friend of the late Mr. Jessup, to whom he had given one of the few
copies supplied him by its publisher. Observing the clarity of the
printing and the good physical condition of our copy we began
exploring the idea of a facsimile reprint.
I am president of a small publishing company, Saucerian Press, Inc.,
which specializes in limited editions of works pertaining to
unidentified flying objects. Sales of these books rarely exceed
2,000 copies, and the main purpose of the publisher is to provide
distribution for works, sales of which do not warrant general trade
Publishing a facsimile of The Annotated Edition would present
problems. It contained about twice the number of pages of our usual
publications; it demanded expensive separation negatives and
printing, and its appeal would be much more limited than our usual
books. It would demand a run of no more than 500 copies and would
have to sell at a relatively high price. While prudence urged that
the idea be dropped, two overwhelming considerations urged us on.
The original edition of The Case For the UFO had long been out of
print, was becoming very rare among antiquarian dealers. The
Annotated Edition was almost legendary, surrounded by excessive
mystery and controversy, and unavailable to serious students of the
UFO mystery, either in libraries or by their own personal
In July 1972, Saucerian Press made the positive decision to publish
The Facsimile Edition
We have reproduced the original as faithfully as possible, within
the photo-mechanical means available to us.
The body of the facsimile edition begins with the Introduction on
the following page. No information as to the authorship of this
Introduction is given in the original. It is, however, competently
done, helps to explain what is to follow and comments further upon
the arrangement of the volume.
In our original copy the Appendix is bound between the original
Introduction to Jessup’s text and Part One of the body of the book.
While this could be a mistake in binding, the Appendix, consisting
of the two Allende letters, does help set the tone and scene for The
Annotated Edition and most likely was bound there on purpose. Not
having a second coy for comparison, we have included the Appendix at
the same place, even though this represents a radical placement.
The writer is happy that this work is going to be printed. He
believes it will represent a contribution to the literature of
Ufology, some minor monument to those strange and wonderful times
that began with Kenneth Arnold in 1947.