History, Mystery

A President Killed For What He Knew About UFOs? Or Complete Nonsense?

A genuine connection? Or, a way over-the-top collection of separate material that looks like it’s all connected, but isn’t?

By Nick Redfern | Guest Writer

Over the decades, there have been whispers and claims to the effect that, on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy lost his life over UFOs. Sounds bizarre? Well, yes, it is bizarre. In fact, it’s beyond bizarre. The fact is, though, that connections between JFK, his death and UFOs can be made – if one tries. The questions are: does this mean there is some truth to the story? Or, is the whole thing just a case of reaching way too far, and simply adding pieces and fragments of multiple stories together that, when combined, make it look like a UFO-JFK connection could be plausible? Let’s look at some of the parts of this weird tale. In 1987, John Lear – pilot and UFO researcher – came out with some extraordinary information. Of the alleged Kennedy-UFO links, Lear wrote: “The powers that be had to eliminate President Kennedy because he wanted to release the information on the disks [a little-used term for “UFO”] and the aliens in 1963. Since then, we have talked to people who have heard the recording made in the Oval Office when Kennedy pounded his fist and told the representatives of MJ-12 [supposedly, a top secret group in the U.S. government that oversees UFO secrecy, and that will surface again later]: ‘You guys better get your stuff together because I’m going to tell the public.’ There were several reasons why [JFK] was assassinated. One was the Bay of Pigs fiasco; another was that he had threatened to ‘shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces.’ A third reason was because he threatened to pull all our Americans from Vietnam by 1965. The fourth was that he intended to expose the alien-disk cover-up.”

The Grassy Knoll (Nick Redfern)
The Grassy Knoll (Nick Redfern)

Back in the early 2000s, I shared an intriguing story with Ufologist Bob Wood, a story that may have a connection to the UFO-JFK controversy: “One day before his death, JFK spoke at the dedication ceremony of the Aerospace Medical Health Centre at Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. The base had been chosen to conduct ground-breaking work in space-medicine; figuring out how to keep astronauts free from deadly radiation, learning more about how gravity-free environments can affect the human body, and so on. While at Brooks, Kennedy met with personnel from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; the alleged home of the near-mythical ‘Hangar 18’ – supposedly a storage facility for crashed UFOs and mangled alien corpses, some UFO investigators say, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at Dayton, Ohio. JFK – also on the day before he died violently and bloodied in Dallas – met with staff from Fort Detrick, Maryland. For years, rumours have circulated to the effect that Fort Detrick has been the home to classified research into ‘alien viruses.’” Of course, none of that proves anything at all. Nothing. But, it’s easy to see why such a link could be made. No wonder the “Who killed Kennedy?” community is as complicated as the UFO research community. Now, onto another character in this story.

A man who had the dubious “honour” of appearing in numerous books on the assassination of JFK, Guy Banister entered the FBI in 1934 and made a name for himself in the Bureau in New York. He stayed in the Bureau until 1954. One year later, Banister moved to Louisiana and took on the position of Assistant Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department. Things were sure to go very wrong for Banister, however, all thanks to his hair-trigger temper. One night in New Orleans in 1957, Banister – who was known for getting into fiery rages when hard liquor took hold of him – threatened to pistol-whip a guy in a local bar. Also, he took out his rage on a waiter in the same bar. It was all but inevitable that Banister would lose his position in the NOPD. He did. Banister wasn’t done, though: he put together his very own organization, Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency.

It’s a rarely discussed fact that Guy Banister was one of the very first of the FBI’s Special- Agents to investigate UFOs in 1947 – the year in which the term “Flying Saucer” was created. Altogether, Banister investigated eleven UFO cases in that period, all minor and several fakes. In 1997 one of the most controversial of all UFO books – ever – was published. Its title: The Day after Roswell. Penned by Bill Birnes (of UFO Hunters and UFO magazine) and the late Lieutenant Colonel Philip Corso, it told of Corso’s alleged knowledge of alien technology, artefacts and bodies in the hands of the U.S. military. At the time of his death in 1998, and at the age of 83, Corso was planning on writing another book: The Day after Dallas. The rumour was that Corso’s next book would show how UFOs and the death of JFK were interlinked.

Was JFK Killed by Lee Harvey Oswald? Or, was there a UFO conspiracy? (Nick Redfern)
Was JFK Killed by Lee Harvey Oswald? Or, was there a UFO conspiracy? (Nick Redfern)

Moving on, back in the 1950s, U.S. Senator Richard Russell paid a visit to the Soviet Union. At the time, Russell was the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. The date was October 4, 1955. Russell had a profound UFO encounter – which revolved around a pair of UFOs – while the train he was on was negotiating Russia’s Trans-Caucasus area. Both the CIA and the Air Force took serious notice of what Russell had to say. Official records on the matter state that Russell “saw the first flying disc ascend and pass over the train.” We’re also told: “One disc ascended almost vertically, at a relatively slow speed, with its outer surface revolving slowly to the right, to an altitude of about 6000 feet, where its speed then increased sharply as it headed north. The second flying disc was seen performing the same actions about one minute later. The take-off area was about 1-2 miles south of the rail line…all three saw the second disc and all agreed that they saw the same round, disc-shaped craft as the first.” From 1963 to 1964, Senator Russell was a member of the “Warren Commission” (actually, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy) that sought to find answers to who killed JFK. For the commission, the assassin was Lee Harvey Oswald. And there’s more to come on Oswald.

Area 51 site map, as depicted in declassified CIA documents released via its CREST program (Credit: CIA.gov/Wikimedia Commons).
Area 51 site map, as depicted in declassified CIA documents released via its CREST program (Credit: CIA.gov/Wikimedia Commons).

In 1962, Oswald began working for a Texas company by the name of Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, a graphic arts company. In his book, Conspiracy, Anthony Summers wrote that some of JCS’s work was focused on “material obtained by the very U-2 planes Oswald had once watched in Japan, and only employees with a special security clearance were supposed to see it.” In 2013, the BBC noted: “The U-2 was one of the Cold War’s most infamous aircraft, a plane designed to fly over unfriendly territory too high for enemy fighters or missiles, and take pictures of unparalleled detail – and, as it has just been revealed, helped spur the development of the secret Area 51 airbase.” JFK, Oswald, Area 51, Banister, UFOs and more. A genuine connection? Or, a way over-the-top collection of separate material that looks like it’s all connected, but isn’t?

About the Author

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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