With all the public information and literature surrounding UFOs and Ufology today, it makes you wonder when it all started. It wasn’t, contrary to what you may think, in 1947 with the famous Roswell incident. That event merely sparked UFO interest. Rowell set UFOs into mainstream consciousness. Spurning the production of the 50s and 60s B-movies and Twilight Zone episodes about alien invasions. All this created the idea there were beings or “men from Mars.” Roswell was a cultural catalyst. Still, it wasn’t all for the movies—there are true believers out there. It wasn’t until five years later in 1952 that the first major organization of civilians dedicated to UFO research was founded. That organization was founded by Albert K. Bender in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and it was called the International Flying Saucer Bureau or, more simply, the IFSB.
Space Review: International Flying Saucer Bureau’s Newsletter
The primary purpose of the International Flying Saucer Bureau was to investigate UFO sightings and their potential relationship to extraterrestrials. Membership in the organization grew fairly rapidly for something as fringe as it was for the time, including reputable individuals like WWII veteran Col. Robert B Emerson.
Remember, this was literally the first major organization dedicated to the investigation of UFOs. WIthout the International Flying Saucer Bureau, you never get to Ancient Aliens, you dig? The primary way for members to interact with the organization was through the International Flying Saucer Bureau’s newsletter known as Space Review.
The organization had published the first issue of Space Review in October 1952. And it appeared to be a truly international group. “The President announces that branches of the IFSB will soon be in operation in England, France, and Brazil,” the first issue boasts. “People have been contacted there and have shown broad interest. We hope to also have branches in Mexico, Italy, and Australia. We are already formed in two Canadian Provinces, Ontario and Quebec.”
By the second issue, they had named their British and Puerto Rican representatives. This is all in 1952, mind you, with no prior presence, and their founder, Albert Bender, was not a celebrity of any kind.
The generation of such buzz was because of the authentic yearning that was present for just this kind of organization. Each issue was filled with sighting accounts from members all across the world. Each issue seemed to reach further corners of the globe. Always with a healthy amount of US sightings.
The third issue in April 1953 indicates that the BBC actually reported on the International Flying Saucer Bureau. Reporting the organization’s goals due to efforts by their British representative, as well to announce the addition of representatives for France and Australia.
IFSB and Alber K. Bender
Beyond sighting reports and staffing changes, the periodical also published articles from members on a range of topics, and each issue contained an editorial by Albert Bender. The first issue’s editorial primarily deals with the pervasive skepticism of UFO sightings in the mainstream media: “People reading the newspapers today take little note of the small articles that appear from time to time about the “flying saucers”…[t]hey no doubt read them but only laugh or scoff at their authenticity.”
Still, Bender goes on to point out the underlying fear that we all have—that it’s all true: “However, if these same articles were placed on the front page of any newspaper in blaring inch headlines, everyone would be in a panic, such as was created by the Orson Welles broadcast of years back.”
One wonders what Bender would say about the strength and power of social media. Bender also suggested that the United States had already been to the moon a full 16 years before either the actual moon landing or the actual faking of the moon landing.
But by the final issue, coming in October 1953, merely one year since the first issue, the International Flying Saucer Bureau was wrapping itself up. The issue contained a “Late Bulletin,” which said that “the investigation of the flying saucer mystery and solution is approaching its final stages,” without providing any other information. The same issue also contained a “Statement of Importance,” which included similarly cryptic information: “The mystery of the flying saucers is no longer a mystery.
The source is already known, but any information about this is being withheld by orders from a higher source. We would like to print the full story in Space Review, but because of the nature of the information, we are sorry that we have been advised in the negative.” The statement concluded, “We advise those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautious.”
Final Farewell of the IFSB
Also in the final issue is a short farewell message from “The Director,” and a last message from the International Flying Saucer Bureau, declaring that they will dissolve on January 1, 1954. The dissolution was to reorganize a different organization that wasn’t “specialized only in the mystery of the Flying Saucers.”
Refunds were offered to subscribers of the magazine. There is no known record of any successor organization. Still, members of the International Flying Saucer Bureau would go on to publish and continue studying Ufology.
The reason for the sudden shuttering of the IFSB, and the apparent claim of knowledge of the flying saucer phenomenon? You see, Bender did discover the true nature of the UFO sightings. And he planned to publish it what would become the final issue. But just before publishing, Bender was visited by three men in black.
The men wore black suits and struck Bender as not quite human, almost as if they were doing a mock impersonation of a human being. They had knowledge of his unpublished manuscript. They told Bender, “We advise those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautious,” which Bender printed in the issue along with his cryptic claims to knowledge. This event was described in the book.
They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers by Gray Barker (an International Flying Saucer Bureau member and associate of Bender), and later by Bender himself in his book Flying Saucers and the Three Men.
Expect further explorations of the “Men in Black” in the future.
Books to read to learn more about this topic.