First of the 1950s flying saucer contactees who claimed direct
contact with beings who had traveled to Earth in spaceships
from planets in outer space. Adamski was born in Poland
on April 17, 1891. He was two years old when his family emigrated
to Dunkirk, New York. In 1913 Adamski served with the
13th Cavalry on the Mexican border, received an honorable
discharge from the army in 1919, then settled in Laguna
Beach, California. He studied occult metaphysics and in 1936
founded the Royal Order of Tibet, through which he offered
a course in self-mastery. Although he had no scientific training,
he was often referred to as ‘‘Professor’’ by his Royal Order of
Tibet mystical philosophy students. In 1940 he moved to the
Valley Center with his followers, where they established a farming
project. Four years later he moved to the southern slope of
Mount Palomar in Southern California. He had no formal connection
with the observatory there and worked as a handyman
at a hamburger stand.
Soon after the modern flying saucer era began, Adamski
emerged in 1947 as a popular lecturer. He claimed to have
sighted a UFO in 1946 and in 1949 wrote a novel, Pioneers in
Space, to promote discussion of the subject by the general public.
He also began to show pictures of what he claimed were saucers
he had seen near his home near Mount Palomar.
Adamski also coauthored, with Desmond Leslie, Flying Saucers
Have Landed (1953), the book that launched the contactee
phenomenon. Adamski claimed that he had been contacted by
the Venusian occupant of a flying saucer that landed in the California
desert November 20, 1952. Subsequently Adamski
claimed to have had contact with spacemen from Mars and Saturn and to have traveled 50,000 miles into space in their craft.
After Adamski’s revelations, the convention of spaceman contacts,
messages from outer space, and warnings about the welfare
of the cosmos became firmly established. Adamski expanded
upon his revelations in two subsequent volumes: Inside the
Space Ships (1955) and Flying Saucers Farewell (1961).
By the late 1950s Adamski was an international celebrity
who lectured to large audiences in North America and Europe.
He also had his critics. In 1957 editor James Mosley devoted
an issue of Saucer News to an exposé of Adamski. In 1963 Adamski’s
close associate C. A. Honey denounced him after discovering
that Adamski had rewritten the original messages
from the saucer beings in the Royal Order of Tibet materials.
As his following had grown, Adamski had formed his followers
into study groups and offered lessons in cosmic philosophy. In
spite of the critics and defections, he retained a large following
at the time of his death on April 23, 1965, from a heart attack,
in Washington, D.C. His close associates founded the UFO Education
Center in Valley Center, California, and the George
Adamski Foundation, in Vista, California, to carry on his legacy.
Adamski, George. Cosmic Philosophy. Freeman, S.D.: Pine
Hill Press, 1961.
———. Flying Saucer Farewell. 1961. Reprint, Behind the Flying
Saucer Mystery. New York: Paperback Library, 1967.
———. Inside the Space Ships. 1955. Reprint, Inside the Flying
Saucers. New York: Paperback Library, 1967.
Barker, Gray. The Book of Adamski. Clarksburg, W. Va.:
Saucerian Publications, 1965.
Leslie, Desmond, and George Adamski. Flying Saucers Have
Landed. London: Werner Laurie, 1953. Rev. London: Neville
Spearman, 1970.
Zinsstag & Timothy Good. George Adamski: The Untold Story.
Beckenham, U.K.: Ceit Publications, 1983.