Saturday, May 28, 2016

1988 UFO Magazine: John Lennon, Gulf Breeze sightings and more

In the wake of Sunday's post on Galactitags, which I hope you didn't miss, here are some more tidbits from that 1988 issue of UFO Magazine.

1. A short article about the John Lennon song "Nobody Told Me," which was recorded in 1980 and released posthumously in 1984. There's a line in the song that goes "There's UFO's over New York and I ain't too surprised." That line might be referencing a sighting of an alleged UFO by Lennon in 1974. The article quotes an anonymous Los Angeles woman who states: "The space people are using mankind's great love for him [Lennon] as a bridge between the dimensions. They're also using the dolphins for this purpose." Sure.

2. A review of the 1988 book Disneyland of the Gods, by John Keel (1930-2009). UFO Magazine reviewer Dennis Stacy treats the book with a surprising amount of skepticism, given that he's writing for a periodical called UFO Magazine. Of Keel's book, Stacy writes: "The reason why so many of us enjoy Keel, in fact, is because he's such an irreverent, unpenitent cheerleader for the paranormal in general, and his own particular world view, in particular. Like Fort, reading Keel is a headlong ride on a comet. So what if the data snowball is not as pure as it could be?" (By the way, copies of this book range from $14 to $64 on Amazon these days.)

3. An advertisement to buy a VHS tape featuring video of the then-famous Gulf Breeze UFO sightings, which began in 1987 and were centered about witness Ed Walters. The VHS tape, touted as "the real thing" and "the best UFO evidence of all time" cost $39.95, which is the equivalent of $80 today. Ouch! In subsequent years, evidence appeared that strongly pointed toward the Gulf Breeze sightings being a hoax.

4. Speaking of ridiculous prices, there's an advertisement for a $139.95 "UFO DETECTOR" from Klark Kent Super Science in Dayton, Ohio. The device's description: "This scientific instrument is for amateur and professional Ufologists to use at home or in actual field cases! The MAGNETIC FIELD DISTORTION DETECTOR has variable sensitivity for long range detection and can be set in alarm mode as an intrusion warning device."

5. Finally, a classified advertisement for a UFO newsclipping service run by Lucius Farish and Rod B. Dyke and based out of tiny Plumerville, Arkansas. The service was in existence from 1969 until 2011. When it closed up shop, Dyke sent the following email, as posted on UFO UpDates and reposted here, for posterity and because they were, if you think about, fellow ephemeraologists, sorting, saving and archiving paper:

From: Roderick Dyke
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 15:50:29 -0700
Archived: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 09:31:08 -0400
Subject: UFO Newsclipping Service - An End Of An Era?

UFO Newsclipping Service An End Of An Era?

For the record:

Below is the front page editorial & farewell for the last

Edition of the UFO Newsclipping Service (just published)
For August 2011 issue # 505.

- Rod Dyke


Dear UFO Newsclipping Service subscribers,

Dave Marler, (who is only the 4th editor of this esteemed news
journal), has asked for a few words from me on the "passing" of
the UFONS. I started and was the originator of the UFO
Newsclipping Service, (UFONS), whose first issue was published
way back in May 1969 (as a young 17 year old teen, and to save
those mentally doing the mathematical extrapolation, yes, I'll
be 60 in a few months. But I digress...) I was the editor from
the very first issue thru issue #98 (June 1977) and then as co-
editor with Lou Farish from issue #99, (July 1977), thru #258,
(December 1990). So, as the "father" of the UFONS and thus
giving birth to it, I feel honored to say a few "last words".

Over the last 42+ years and 505 issues, the UFO Newsclipping
Service has documented, (without editorialisation on our part,
mind you), the intriguing and amazing, (and sometimes wacky),
world of Ufology, Cryptozoology and related Fortean news as it
happened in the press from around-the-world. All 10,000 pages
and 30,000+ newsclippings!

I want to especially thank Lou Farish who took over full
editorship from me with issue #259, (January 1991), and ended
with #460 (November 2007). Lou really was in the trenches
when it was most needed and carried the torch forward when
other personal and business time commitments precluded me
from continuing. Thanks go to Dave Marler for the heads-up
that Lou was stopping the UFONS back in November 2007.

That let me try my hand once again as editor, along with my very
able co-editor Chuck Flood from issues #461-473 - December 2007-December 2008.

And now to Dave Marler who has unfailingly been a positive
supporter of the UFONS... (see what that gets you Dave? - that's
right, editorship). Dave has been the able 4th (and last) editor
of this journal from issues #474-505 (January 2009- August
2011). He was at the helm when the UFONS proudly saw its issue
#500 published, and as editor of this, the last issue.

Thanks, Dave.

I want to personally give a big Thank You to all those who have
inspired and encouraged this publication over these decades...
Lou, Chuck, Dave, my wife Colleen, and the hundreds and hundreds of faithful subscribers.

A heartfelt thanks to those like me, a kid of the 1950's, who
still after all these years still have a sense of wonder, and
can envision a world and universe of untold wonders, secrets and
mysteries yet to unfold.

We all now say goodbye with this the August 2011 - 505th issue
of the UFO Newsclipping Service.


On a parting note, and as the archivist of the Archives for UFO
Research (AUFOR), here on Bainbridge Island, Washington,
I personally own and retain the copyrights =A9 to all the UFO
Newsclipping Service (UFONS) issues. I'm excited to let all
researchers and historians know that all 505 back issues are
being scanned and will be made available to those who need
them, in either printed or PDF editions. So, all is not lost!

Sincerely yours in research,

Roderick B. Dyke, Archivist
Archives for UFO Research [AUFOR]
Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110

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Advertisement for "Valuable Cooking Receipts" (Yes, "receipts")

This advertising card measures 2½ inches by 4⅝ inches and features a colorful illustration of two girls using parasols to shield themselves from the sun. Besides the fact that it's a nice example of an advertising card from a century ago, what piqued my interest most was the use of the word "receipt" in place of the word "recipe."

Here's the text from the front:
VALUABLE COOKING RECEIPTS By the late Caterer of Astor House, N.Y., and Continental Hotel, Philadelphia. Every receipt test. Price 35 cents. Order it of your bookseller.
And here is some text from the back:
THESE RECEIPTS are the fruit of twenty-five years' experience in catering for the leading hotels and restaurants of this continent, as well as for famous private dinner parties. The greatest care has been taken to so construct each formula that economy can be secured without sacrificing any quality that would contribute to the delicacy of a dish. No one who appreciates good living should fail to secure this very moderate-priced book at the earliest opportunity.
19 Park Place, New York
Valuable Cooking Receipts is the official title of the book, and it was first published in 1880. The price of 35 cents then equates to about $8.67 today, making it a pretty fair value. You can read the whole book online here. Recipes on the first few pages include oyster patties, mock turtle soup (from a calf's head), economical pea soup, broiled lobster (for breakfast), fricasseed eels, eel patties, boiled leg of mutton, calf's head, fried calf's head, calf's head broiled, calf's head collared, calf's brains en Matelotte, calf's brains fried and ... OK, we're done.1

But what about calling recipes "receipts"? There was a time when it was fairly common. As is often the case with the convoluted English language, the tale of receipts and recipes is a long and convoluted one. A 2014 post on the lizzyoungbookseller blog does its best to sum up the etymology:
"The Latin word 'recipere,' from which both words are derived, means 'to receive' or 'to take.' Each is simply a different form of the word. Both forms were first used in the fourteenth century. ... In both instances, the words refer not to food, but to medicine. Indeed, the first receipts were prescriptions for medicinal preparations. They would list ingredients, quantities, and the proper way to mix the ingredients. Most receipts started with 'recipe,' which is the imperative form of 'recipere,' as in 'Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.' ... The first citation for 'receipt' in relation to cooking was in 1716, and recipe followed soon after. Initially, 'receipt' was the preferred term, but it’s now considered defunct in terms of its original meaning."
In addition to that post, some other good discussions on the topic include:

Even today, the usage of "receipts" for "recipes" exists among old-timers in some pockets of the United States. Indeed, Joan says she has some readers who still say "receipts," though they pronounce it Re-SEEPS, which is a whole nother story...

1. OK, I peeked a little further ahead. Additional recipes include chicken toast, braise of duck with turnips, broiled tripe, tripe Lyonnaise, roast pigeon ("A favorite dish of the members of the Club of Lindenthorpe, on the Delaware."), roast snipe, roly-poly pudding, whortleberry cake, blanc-mange, and stewed dandelion.

Perspective is everything in life

Holy stromboli! From the looks of this postcard, the RMS Queen Mary is about three miles long! It appears as if it would stretch across the entire lower quarter of Manhattan.

In reality, of course, the famous ocean liner was not 15,000 feet in length. In fact, the longest ship in the world, the Seawise Giant1, was only 10 percent of that — 1,500 feet.

No, the RMS Queen Mary — which was in service from 1936 to 1967 and is now a tourist attraction in Long Beach, California — was only about 1,020 feet long. One-fifth of a mile. Still, that's about 140 feet longer than the Titanic. The Queen Mary was, in every way, an impressive ship. It had two indoor swimming pools, beauty salons, libraries, children's nurseries, a music studio and lecture hall, telephone connectivity to anywhere in the world, and dog kennels, among other amenities.

This postcard was mailed to my great-grandparents and dated May 16, 1965. The note states:
Dear Greta — your bon voyage card and message greatly appreciated. We arrive in Cherbourg tomorrow. We have had a wonderful trip over on this grand old ship — weather has been perfect and we have met delightful people on board. Love, Gertrude & Mint [?].
We have no idea who Gertrude and her husband are, by the way. Mom says that my great-grandmother "corresponded with dozens of people she met over the years. One was a lady she met on a short bus ride from Corpus Christi to Kingsville [Texas]. They wrote to each other for the rest of their lives."

1. If you're scoring at home, the Seawise Giant was also called the Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, Knock Nevis, Oppama, and Mont at various points.

Friday, May 27, 2016

An unusual and awesome Postcrossing card from Russia

This handmade Postcrossing postcard features a collage pasted on top of heavy cardboard. It was made by Alex, a designer living in Novosibirsk, Russia. "Is this thing weird enough?" he writes in his note? It's actually perfect, Alex. I'm a big fan of original and homemade postcards.1

Novosibirsk is a city of 1.5 million residents located in southcentral Russia. It's an industrial city that also has a nice mix of culture, arts and recreation. The climate features rainy summers with temperatures in the 70s and mostly dry winters with temperatures ranging from 15°F down to -6°F throughout the winter months.2

(Tangent: Joan, who is an expert on these things, informed me that the Vector Institute is located near Novosibirsk. Formally known as the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, it is similar to the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Those two facilities have, under heavy guard, some of the only known remaining batches of smallpox on Earth.)

Stay tuned for another Postcrossing card from Russia in the coming days. I'll just say that it involves dragons.

1. There was, for example, the hand-sewn (yes, you read that right) bingo postcard from Bonnie Jeanne that I wrote about in 2013.
2. That sounds pretty nice to me, to be honest. The older I get, the more I dislike the heat.

Lovers Lane, along the shore of Rangeley Lakes in Maine

This old postcard from the American Art Post Card Co. of Boston is labeled "'LOVERS LANE,' THE SHORE WALK, RANGELEY LAKES, MAINE."

According to the Maine Office of Tourism's website, the Rangeley Lakes region "consists of six major lakes plus hundreds of smaller lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams stretched out below 4,120-foot Saddleback Mountain."

These days, the area is fairly built up for vacationers. Recreational options include "The Ducks," a pair of lakeside camps; a $300-per-night log cabin rental home complete with 1,000 feet of private shore front and DirecTV; regular seaplane trips and much, much more.

I couldn't determine whether there's still a portion of the lakefront that's referred to a "Lovers Lane" and, if there is, whether it's public or private. We're going to need a regional expert to help with that one.

The postcard was never mailed, but a "Vera R." wrote the following note to "Gertrude J.":
"Although this picture isn't in color its [sic] a beautiful place to walk after a day of work. You can't see them but there are lots of cottage along the way."

Related posts

Postcard: 111-year-old photograph of the Milky Way

My god, it's full of stars!

This old postcard features the Milky Way, as someone has conveniently written in ink across the top. Specifically, it's the Milky Way near Rho Ophiuchi.

This postcard, never used, is from the Adler Planetarium and Astronomical Museum in Chicago, which opened in 1930. The image itself is quite a bit older than that, according to the text on the back of the postcard:
"The nebulous matter overlying this region is in part illuminated by the enmeshed stars and in part remains dark, recognized only by obscuration of the stars of the background. The dark lanes extend far beyond the limits of this picture. Photograph by Barnard, 5 April 1905. Exposure 4.5 hours Bruce telescope temporarily at Mt. Wilson."
Barnard refers to astronomer E.E. Barnard (1857-1923), while "Bruce telescope" likely refers to the 24-inch Bruce Doublet, which was first installed at Harvard University in 1893. You can read more about it here.

One of my bucket-list items is to get a good view of the Milky Way with the naked eye. My best bet is probably Cherry Springs State Park, in Potter County, northcentral Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

8 super-cool bookplates from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress website is a tremendous educational and browsing resource, full of millions of pieces of digitized ephemera and other artifacts. In addition to the obvious books, photographs, works of art, maps and periodicals, there are films and audio recordings. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you're looking for a great way to pass time on a quiet afternoon or evening, the Library of Congress has something for you.

Bookplates, for example. There are numerous bookplates in the digital collection. Here are a few of them, to whet your appetite.

Bookplate of Helen Louise Taylor, Cincinnati, Ohio
Circa 1900-1930

Bookplate of Charles Chaplin
Circa 1918

Bookplate of English author Mrs. G. Linnaeus Banks
Circa 1876

Bookplate of Bella C. Landauer with "Lend a hand" motto
Linocut circa 1925

Edward Penfield, bookplate designer
Circa 1900-1925

Bookplate of Jack London
Circa 1900-1016

Bookplate of artist Francis D. Millet
Circa 1870-1912

Bookplate of Buddy Lankes

Also, for the definitive blog on the world of bookplates, check out Lew Jaffe's Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Galactitags: The must-have accessory in the event of alien abduction

Strange and silly stuff should be saved for posterity, too. It all goes toward telling the story and history of our times.

This advertisement for Galactitags is from 28 years ago. It appears in a 1988 issue1 of UFO Magazine, which was published from 1986 to 2012.

The Galactitag concept is fairly straightforward. If you are abducted by Oobagonians and/or find yourself on some sort of star trek, you might end up alone and hopelessly lost. But your Galactitag — basically a dog tag for folks roaming the nebulae — would help you get back home.

As the advertising copy states:
If you are abducted by alien beings, lost in space, and escaped ---- how could you find your way back to earth???


Military dog tags, imprinted with Voyager, Pioneer, 10 and 11's Pulsar Map, created by astronomers to tell alien space travelers earth's location in our galaxy.

IF you are wearing Galctitags™ and are abducted by alien beings, Galactitags™ will identify you with earth and help in your return by friendly beings.

Don't be caught without yours!!!
(Of course, if the aliens who find you aren't friendly, you are pretty much out of luck. Additionally, said antagonistic aliens will now know where to find Earth. They will examine the Galactitag after eating you and have a perfect map to take them to more snacks.)

The Galactitags, made of aluminum, cost $8.50, which is the equivalent of about $17 today. A T-shirt was also available, but I think that would have been less useful. What if you were abducted, but you were wearing your Buckaroo Banzai T-shirt that day, and not your Galactitags one?

According to the Trademarkia database, the Galactitag trademark was registered by John Manion Brisben Jr. of Sea Girt, New Jersey, in August 1986. The trademark is described on Justia, with a straight face, as "Military type dog tag imprinted with the pulsar map for the purpose of identifying humans lost in outer space as an inhabitant of earth."

In the late 1980s, Brisben earned his way into a far more lasting fame than an appearance in UFO Magazine or Papergreat: He was mentioned in The New York Times.2

"The Inspired, the Silly and the Useless," a November 13, 1987, article by Dennis Hevesi, highlights "about 150 of the nation's silliest people" attending Fad Fair III at the Sheraton Centre in Manhattan. The article concludes with this vignette:
Jack Brisben of Sea Girt, N.J., is selling Galactitags, "military dog tags imprinted with what is known as the Pulsar map."

The map is part of the message to inhabitants of other planets that is bolted onto the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft. It pinpoints the location of Earth.

"I contend," Mr. Brisben said, "that if you are wearing your Galactitags and are abducted by alien beings, the tags could help return you to Earth."

Mr. Brisben expects to sell a lot of Galactitags to the other space cadets at the fair.

But wait ... there's more

I thought that would be all for this post. But then, in one final round of Internet sleuthing, I came across a mysterious YouTube video. It is titled "" and was posted by Jack Brisben in July 2011.

Galactitags is still alive and kicking, more than a quarter-century later!!3

The Galactitags website is way spiffier than that 1988 UFO Magazine advertisement. It has a short video scene of an alien abduction (complete with alarmed dog), background info on the product, a list of publicity the product has received (including the mention in The New York Times) and fan mail. Here are two samples of that mail:

  • Michael from Potstown P.A. says: Please let me know if your tags are still available. I am trying to hitch a ride off this rock and want to make sure all my friends have then, thanks.
  • Alix from ID. says: I would like a set of your tags for my girl friend. who is being abducted by aliens almost daily, her birthday is January 27th. I hope there is enough time before she's taken by some Klingons, without a map.

And, of course, Galactitags can still be purchased. They are $15 now. And you can still get T-shirts, too, for $20.

But wait ... there's even more

Now for something really special. On a whim, I contacted Jack Brisben and asked for an email interview. Jack, now 66 and still living in Sea Girt, kindly agreed. So here's a Papergreat Journalistic Exclusive:

PAPERGREAT: I have found references to Galactitags dating back as far as August 1986. When did you first have the idea for the tags, and what was your inspiration?

JACK BRISBEN: I got the idea some time in 1982. I saw a news story about someone who claimed to have been abducted by space aliens. I thought there must be some way to help. I knew about NASA's Pulsar Map on space probes, and thought if displayed on something like a dog tag it could help with the return of abductees back to Earth.

What did you need to do to take Galactitags from idea to reality? What were the obstacles, if any, along the way?

For Galactitags to be a reality I located a company that could make them in large numbers. I also had to make sure I could use the Pulsar Map that was created by Dr. Frank Drake and Dr. Carl Sagan. The map is in the public domain so it was a go.

Was there any reaction (friends, family, etc.) when you were featured in The New York Times in 1987?

The reactions were good, it was the age of the Pet Rock after all. As for the Times article, it was because of the Fad Fair that was held at the Sheraton Center in NYC that the article was written. I entered Galactitags in this Fad Fair contest, and won a booth at a trade show and media event for new product ideas. Galactitags got lots of attention, and world wide publicity. This led to a meeting with the trade minister of Japan at the Marriott Marquis in NYC. We made a deal for ten thousand tags to be sold in gift shops at the World Expo in Tokyo.4 After that Galactitags drifted in a wave of publicity for years.

Were you already a reader of UFO Magazine or is the connection there just that you were looking for the best places to advertise your product?

I was looking for a good place to sell the tags.

It seems there was a hiatus between the original marketing push for Galactitags in the late 1980s and the renewed online marketing, via When did you launch the website, and what inspired you to start selling the tags again?

After the publicity that we got from the trade show there was no need for an online presence until about ten years ago.

Are the Galactitags that you're selling now from the original batch in the 1980s? How many do you still have available?

The original batch is long gone. I still have about 50 in stock.

Are you wearing a Galactitag right now?

I have a tag with me at all times.

What are your favorite science-fiction books and movies?

The Day the Earth Stood Still (the one from 1950), 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Star Wars, Dune. That's just some of them.

1. Specifically, the advertisement is on page 44 of UFO Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 4. The cover price was $3. "UFOS ON TELEVISION" is the main headline on the cover. This magazine was part of a box lot of books and magazines that a used-book dealer was getting rid of, to purge unwanted inventory.
2. Papergreat had its own New York Times mention in August 2011.
3. There is NO WAY that I'll still be writing Papergreat in 2038, although my hope is that it will have been adapted as a Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda by then.
4. Brisben might be referring to the Expo '85, although that took place before Fad Fair III, so I'm not fully clear on the timeline.