James W. Moseley, publisher of Saucer Smear, dies

Jim Moseley, known for the irreverent, humorous, gossipy newsletter, Saucer Smear, has passed away. Loren Coleman writes an obit for a famous name in Fortean and ufology circles who exposed UFO hoaxers and has engineered hoaxes of his own.

Twilight Language: Saucer Smear’s James W. Moseley Dies.

Fortean friend, ufology humorist, and writer James W. Moseley, 81, died Friday night, November 16, 2012. He passed away at a Key West, Florida, hospital, several months after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.

Upon hearing of the death of Moseley, Anomalist Books publisher and editor Patrick Huyghe said: “He was one of the last remaining old timers from the golden age of flying saucers. Goodbye, Jim.”

Moseley co-wrote a memoir with Karl T. Pflock, entitled Shockingly Close to the Truth! (2002), telling many of his own “secrets.” He decided to reveal much about himself, but for the decade after its publication, few were able to decipher which of his “facts” were jokes and which were reality.

He sounds like a genuinely fun and interesting guy. (Edit: I’ve been informed not everyone thinks so. There is some ugly history here, it’s rumored, which is news to me.) I’ve had “Shockingly Close to the Truth” on my reading list for a while. It’s now time to get to it.

  5 comments for “James W. Moseley, publisher of Saucer Smear, dies

  1. November 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    He was an individual of an age and/or temperament that was unable or unwilling to transition to the Internet. I’ve read some of his material, which as I recall was either scanned or transcribed by others to the Internet.

  2. November 18, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Yeah, I think you can say that about a lot of people in UFOs especially. There has clearly been a transition to “Internet age” of paranormal lit.

  3. spookyparadigm
    November 19, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Shockingly Close to the Truth is a very funny history of ufology from someone who was there. I wrote a book contrasting it with Curtis Peebles’ “Watch the Skies,” a more formal and skeptical history (the other histories of the topic don’t do much for me, in no small part because I don’t find the authors credible). That said, I can see why Jim was hated by some, as the gossip columnist and sometimes Court Jester (though really that has to be Gray Barker), he made the “field” look bad. His memoirs (Shockingly) were published by Prometheus Press, because it doesn’t make ufology look good.

    I saw him speak in 2002, bought an autographed copy of his book (which was destroyed in Katrina, I’ve since got just a plain copy). He was at the Roswell UFO festival, and in a huge crowd, I think I was the only one who laughed at his sardonic jokes. They subsequently made sure he would never be invited back because he wasn’t a good salesperson for the crash story.

    That said, in my review, I also talk about how his section on looting should be read by archaeologists. Our narrative is that looting is usually done by impoverished locals and criminal gangs. But in his section on looting in Peru, Moseley really went into some detail about the mindset of another kind of looter, as well as some nature of the business as it once was (whereas today it can be more closely tied to other sorts of smuggling, such as the narco and exotic animals trades).

    Here’s the link


  4. November 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    As a hardcore skeptic and a friend of Jim for 20 years, I can readily tell you that anyone who says that they didn’t like him is almost certainly a pompous ass.


  5. Barbara Snowberger
    December 12, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    I knew Jim very, very well. I met him about 7 years ago, and we spent lots of hours on the phone – he calling me, and me calling him – over the last 7 years of his life. He was VERY funny… Yes, he was a skeptic, and we disagreed over many things, but he never called me crazy because he knew I wasn’t. We traded health problem stories, cat stories, storm studies, family problems, and a plethora of many other things. He was a one-of-a-kind person. I miss him. I sent a card to his family – a daughter and a nephew – I don’t know if they will pick up his mail and acknowledge that they’ve received it, but I loved his personality and his wry sense of humor.

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