There are many conspiracies surrounding UFO research, but some of the most intriguing surround some of the researchers themselves, more specifically, their deaths. According to some, there have been several deaths, either from natural causes or from suicide, that investigators might wish to take another look at.
With accusations of suicides covering up murder to discreet poisons to imitate a natural death, some of these claims are darkly interesting, if admittedly speculative. Here are ten such cases.
Related: 10 Bizarre Figures From The UFO Contactee Movement
10 Ron Rummel – Too Close to the Truth?
Without a doubt, one of the most controversial deaths on our list is that of Ron Rummel. Rummel had a background as an Air Force intelligence agent. What’s more, in the years leading to his death, he was the publisher of the magazine Alien Digest. Some of the topics discussed in Alien Digest revolved around the idea that aliens were indeed on Earth. And had long-term plans to use humans as a “food source.” As we might imagine, many in the UFO community dismissed such notions.
Then, in August 1993, Rummel died—an apparent clear-cut suicide in which he had shot himself in the mouth. However, there were soon conspiracy claims of foul play. This included no blood being found on the barrel of the pistol nor fingerprints on the handle. It also appeared that the suicide note had been written by a left-handed person when Rummel was right-handed. According to some, Rummel had been silenced because he was “getting too close to the truth.”
How true these claims might be is still discussed by some in UFO circles. However, the official record reflects that Rummel, unfortunately, took his own life.
9 Ron Johnson – Drank From a Poisoned Soda Can?
Another tragic death that some researchers have highlighted as potentially suspicious is that of MUFON investigator Ron Johnson. He officially suffered a sudden fatal stroke at a meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in Texas in June 1994. Johnson, who was 43 years old and recently medically cleared as fit and well, let out a sudden gasp at the meeting before falling forward in his chair. Even more disturbing, his face had turned purple, and blood poured from his nose.
Although the cause of his death was ruled as natural (a stroke), some thought there was more to it. Several people at the meeting recalled him taking a drink from a soda can in the seconds before his sudden collapse and death. What’s more, given his involvement in UFO investigations and his background of working with advanced technology with several corporations, some people wondered if something had been placed around the soda can, or even in the drink that might have caused such a reaction that would have been easily dismissed as a stroke.
We should note that there is no proof of foul play, and the speculation is exactly that.
8 John Murphy – Discreetly Silenced Years After the Kecksburg Crash?
Perhaps one of the most little-known suspicious deaths of a person connected to UFOs is that of radio broadcaster John Murphy. We should note that Murphy was not a UFO investigator but a radio journalist. He happened to be in the right place at the right time during the alleged Kecksburg UFO crash in December 1965. So much so that he obtained audiotapes of witnesses and several photographs of the crash site.
This alleged evidence was ultimately confiscated by high-ranking government officials, an incident that was witnessed by at least one other radio station employee. In short, it appeared Murphy was very credible in his claims.
As much as he was in the right place at the right time to witness and document the Kecksburg incident, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time several years later in California in February 1969 when he was killed in a tragic hit-and-run accident. To some, though, the accident was anything but.
7 Tony Dodd – Tumor Triggered by Dark Agents?
For the 1990s and much of the early 2000s, Tony Dodd was one of the UK’s leading UFO researchers and investigators. That he had a long career as a police detective behind him only made him that much more credible regarding the incidents he investigated.
He was a regular speaker at various UFO events and investigated some of the most intriguing cases of UFO sightings and apparent alien abductions in the UK from the late-1980s to the early 2000s.
Dodd passed away in 2009 from a brain tumor. Given that he had—according to his own writings—received warnings to avoid certain countries due to possible attempts on his life, as well as direct warnings from a mysterious agent in the United States, many wondered if the tumor had somehow been “triggered” by agents of a dark agency with advanced technology. Dodd himself had written of such suggestions before.
Of course, like many on this list, these ideas and proposals are pure speculation.
6 John Mack – Death by Drunk Driver Just a Cover?
Without a doubt, John Mack is perhaps one of the most important people in UFO and alien abduction research, even now almost two decades after his tragic death in 2004 after being hit by a drunk driver while in London. What perhaps made Mack’s study of UFOs and alien abduction claims all the more vital to the UFO community was his position as a professor at Harvard University. He is largely seen as one of the first “academics” to look at such claims with a serious mind—and did so publicly.
There is almost certainly no more to Mack’s death than it being a truly tragic accident caused by a drunk driver. However, there were some in UFO circles who privately raised an eyebrow or two to the fact that someone making such wild (and well-researched) claims from such a lofty position should meet such a tragic end.
5 Ann Livingstone – “Poisoned” by the Men in Black?
UFO investigator and MUFON member Ann Livingstone died in 1994 of a fast-acting and aggressive form of ovarian cancer. However, many of her fellow MUFON members, fellow investigators, and close friends began to wonder if a UFO sighting and subsequent encounters with the “Men in Black” might have been connected to her tragic death.
The incident in question went back to December 1992. One evening, her apartment near O’Hare Airport in Chicago was suddenly lit up by a “silver-white flash.” Then, only a few hours later, several “faceless” entities dressed very similar to the Men in Black arrived at her apartment. Moments later, she blacked out, unaware of what happened next.
As outlandish as it might sound to many, some researchers have suggested that her illness was a result of this strange meeting. Of course, whether there is any truth to such assertions remains open to debate, at least for some.
4 Jim Keith – A Series of Coincidences or a Suspicious End?
The death of researcher and author Jim Keith could very well be a case of several bizarre and unlikely coincidences. However, several strange odds and ends surround his death that have made some believe it to be a little suspicious.
Keith had been involved in examining the work of Danny Casolaro (an investigative journalist whose death was also suspicious). He essentially claimed Casolaro’s statements of an “octopus” of individuals controlling events from behind the scenes was accurate. Further were the claims of drug testing by dark, government “contacts” on residents in areas such as Dulce in New Mexico (against their will) under the bizarre guise of alien abduction to divert attention away from their very real (and illegal) activities.
Whatever the truth, Keith would fall from a stage at a festival in 2004, breaking his tibia and requiring surgery. It was a surgery that he would never wake up from. His official cause of death was a blood clot in his lung that caused him to pass away on the operating table. Incidentally, around the same time as Keith’s death, one platform he wrote for (Nitro News) completely disappeared from the internet for several weeks.
3 James Forrestal – Was He Pushed or Did He Jump?
At just before 2 am on May 22, 1949, the very first Secretary of Defense of the United States, a position he had resigned from only months earlier, jumped from the 13th floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. He was being treated for depression at the facility at the time of his death, but to some, including members of his own family, his death was far from a clear-cut suicide.
According to the official version of events, Forrestal was last seen when a guard checked on him at 1:45 am. He was reading in his room. It is then said that Forrestal immediately left the room and made his way to the kitchen, where he then tied a bathrobe rope to the nearby radiator and the other end around his neck. Then, he jumped from the window. The rope snapped, and he fell to his death.
However, several things leaped out at those who examined this official version. First, the rope around his neck would not have been long enough to allow him to reach the window from the radiator. What’s more, there was no evidence that the rope had ever been in contact with the radiator.
Even more suspicious is the guard who was on duty that evening. He had not been to the facility before and was brought in as a last-minute replacement. He gave his statement—as the last person to see Forrestal alive, remember—and then discreetly disappeared back into anonymity.
Most alarming, though, were the scratch marks discovered on the window ledge it is claimed Forrestal jumped from. This suggested that Forrestal was forced out of the window and then desperately attempted to cling to the ledge before finally falling.
From a UFO perspective, given the events at Roswell and the many other UFO incidents that occurred in the final years of the 1940s, Forrestal almost certainly knew everything there was to know about this strange, new phenomenon sweeping the United States. To some, it was this knowledge that made him a target of an unknown dark government agency.
2 Morris K. Jessup – A Sudden, Suspicious End?
An early name in UFO research is Morris K. Jessup, author of the 1955 book, The Case for the UFO. Unknown to Jessup, the release of the book would spark a series of events that would result in his tragic death. Jessup began receiving correspondence from a mysterious gentleman named Carl Allen, who eventually claimed to have been involved in the legendary Philadelphia Experiment. This correspondence caught the attention of the U.S. Navy, who questioned Jessup at length about it and his UFO research in general.
However, following the meeting, Jessup began receiving strange phone calls. This caused him to be much more guarded in his research. Then, on April 19, he made arrangements with Dr. J. Manson Valentine to meet him the following day regarding a “breakthrough” he had made. Jessup never arrived at that meeting.
He was discovered the following day, dead in his car, a hosepipe coming out of the window leading to the exhaust. Some believe the suicide was actually murder. Perhaps one of the reasons was the soaked towels wrapped around the hose pipe. Not only did they not belong to Jessup, but there was also no water source anywhere nearby for him to have soaked them in.
The real circumstances behind his death are still debated today.
1 Phil Schneider – Murder Covered-Up as Suicide?
Of all the people on this list, without a doubt, the most controversial is our last entry, Phil Schneider. In the early 1990s, Schneider began a series of public lectures where he claimed to have worked for the United States government at various underground facilities. It was during this work that he stumbled into a full-on battle between underground aliens and a military unit below Dulce. He would even claim to have suffered an injury during the fight from a futuristic alien weapon, scars he displayed publicly several times.
As you can imagine, many scoffed at Schneider’s claims, even some from inside the UFO community. Others, however, seemingly bought into what he was saying entirely. And his talks still circulate around the Internet today. He would also state during these talks that “how long I will be able to do this” was not known.
Officially, Schneider took his own life on January 17, 1996. His body was discovered with a piece of wire flex wrapped several times around the neck, an apparent hanging. Many people, including some members of his family, dismissed the suicide claims.