Date: Sun, 01 Feb 1998 02:19:29 -0800
From: "Charles T. Oliphant III" <email@example.com>
Organization: UFO Chronicles
MUFON, The Church of Scientology & The Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
Copyright 1998, Ted Oliphant III
Recently, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) has garnered a lot of attention due to the arrest of it's Puerto Rican Director on firearms charges. It's all the more interesting because the gentleman in question is also an employee of the F.B.I. Many people complained about the appointment of this man by MUFON Chief, Walt Andrus. Long before this recent scandal for MUFON, many Puerto Rican MUFON members were disturbed that an "outsider" not from the island was forcibly placed in this position by Mr. Andrus. What seems like a one of kind, embarrassing fluke for MUFON, is actually the result of an on-going situation created by Walt. That is, the apparently cavalier appointment of persons with highly questionable backgrounds at the top of many MUFON organizations. It happened before in 1994 in Tennessee where the principle players became entangled in politics, Scientology, espionage, a death and an F.B.I. investigation that led to the silencing of a law enforcement officer.
Leslie Mitts had been with Tennessee MUFON for several years, she conducted field investigations herself and it was during her work with MUFON that I first came in contact with her when I was a cop. During the cattle mutilation cases of 1992-1993 Leslie Mitts arrived in Fyffe, Alabama to conduct her own investigation. When she started putting radiation tags on affected cattle and interviewing affected ranchers and witnesses, she also came to the Fyffe Police Department, where we talked for the first time.
Almost two years later, in the Spring of 1995 Leslie contacted me again with what she thought were some strange occurrences within Tennessee MUFON. Leslie or Stacey McGee was next in line to become MUFON's State Section Director, but for some reason Walt Andrus inexplicably appointed a stranger, Jon Spears, to take over the post. This didn't sit well with Leslie or anybody else in Tennessee MUFON, particularly because of Spears abrasive personality and his penchant for appearing on TV not knowing what he was talking about.
Jon Spears was originally from Carlsbad, New Mexico and had served as a State Section Director in Texas after becoming interested in UFOs. Spears moved to Tennessee in 1993 after being advised by Leo Sprinkle to get involved with MUFON. Spears joined Tennessee MUFON in July of1994 and soon took over the reigns of it's leadership. Spears had no visible means of support and people assumed he had inherited a lot of money. He also had a brand new truck with the stencil "Research Organization" on it. When asked about what the "Research Organization" was, Spears would be evasive though he would show MUFON members his computer files, 75% of which involved the words "Research Organization". He called up his stock portfolio and showed it to some people, thusly they concluded he was independently wealthy. "He was very closed mouthed" according to one acquaintance.
Soon MUFON members began to feel something wasn't right when Spears showed them maps and blue prints of high security buildings at Oak Ridge. Spears would go out of town, and spend lots of time in Coral Gables, Florida. Spears was associated with the Spiritual Frontiers Foundation, and some MUFON events were co-sponsored by the SFF. Many locals thought Spears was a pathological liar when he started making claims that he was "receiving threatening phone calls". But people couldn't tell for sure what was up with Jon Spears. It seemed he would "do anything to boost his own ego and self image", according to another MUFON member. Some people felt sorry for him. Some thought he had a "James Bond complex" because he carried around a mysterious big bag that weighed over thirty pounds, everywhere he went. Nobody ever saw what was inside it. Despite his strange personality, Spears was an excellent organizer. He never went home for Christmas, instead he went to Coral Gables, so people thought he might be a black sheep. Jon was enrolled part-time in school and had an address at The University. He also had many more addresses, four at last count. This made many MUFON people nervous, they thought he was up to no good but they couldn't put there finger on it.
Then someone in MUFON responded to an ad they saw in a Knoxville newspaper. The ad mentioned that "Dianetics has come to Tennessee", the phone number in the classified ad turned out to be Jon Spear's voice mail. John Spears was a recruiter for the Church of Scientology. But few people in Tennessee had ever heard of Dianetics or Scientology. It was something new.
Jon told many people that he "had a new method of regression that didn't involve hypnosis" and he thought it would be ideal for "abductees". The new method of regression turned out to be "Dianetics", and it turned out that Jon wanted to use MUFON as a means of getting "abductees" to join the Church of Scientology.
Soon Jon applied for and received a pistol permit, afterwards he bragged to MUFON people that he "Could now legally blow anyone away". This gave everyone the creeps. Spears arrogant personality continued to estrange him from the MUFON membership, many people stopped coming to meetings.
At one MUFON meeting Spears started making irreverent statements about unknown phenomenon, challenging it to make an appearance. It was a strange take for a MUFON leader. A man who was in the audience, challenged him and said that "There are certain rules you have to observe when dealing with this phenomenon". This shut up Spears for a second, but then he lashed out at the man, demanding an explanation. Here's what the man, Phil, told him...
"Seeing UFOs or believing in them is a personal experience. If you've had paranormal experiences yourself, you know the really deep ones aren't being talked about. The one's that are, have been changed somewhat, they probably aren't exactly the way they are described. But one of the ways you can tell when you're getting bad information is when someone says to you 'Look, I know what it is, it's real.' That's your indication that the person may be enthused, but one of the early indications of this phenomenon is that it really doesn't like people speaking for it." Said Phil.
Phil went on to say "No one speaks for the phenomenon" and "You may not assume you have the right to do the phenomenon's PR.. work. Whatever you say about UFOs has to be what you believe. It doesn't have to be right, but it does have to be what you believe. You have to take responsibility for what you say, or what you say will become true for you. If you really do believe it, do you understand the requirements those beliefs place on you? You can't change your opinion day to day for no reason. You can't exaggerate or make statements you don't know to be true, just to attract attention to yourself. And If you project evil thoughts, you'll get them back."
Spears stood wide eyed at Phil's statements and started challenging him on all points. Phil just shook his head and said "Well, you can't say you haven't been warned". The next day several people noticed a change in Spears' personality. He was friendly, polite and started telling people he loved them. Nobody could believe the change, it was like day and night. Nobody could figure out what had gotten into him, or figure out what made him become nice. Jon Spears appeared to be a new man.
Two weeks later Jon Spears was involved in a bad automobile accident, a truck plowed into the back of his car like it didn't see it. Jon was taken by an ambulance to the hospital. The Highway Patrol took possession of his pistol. His legs were badly mangled and he was going to be in a wheel chair for a long time. But before Jon Spears even made it into the Emergency Room, two strangers were on his trail. Two men showed up at the wrecking yard immediately after it was brought in by the tow truck. They approached the owner of the yard saying they wanted to inspect Spear's vehicle, they showed fake IDs. The man refused them entrance and called the police. The men quickly exited the yard. Jon Spears WAS being followed. But by whom?
Soon word about the accident got around and many MUFON members started showing up at the hospital. Spears was very angry, he didn't want any visitors. In front of his guests he called for a nurse and demanded that she establish a "no visitors" policy. He was again very rude, a switch back to his original personality. Spears said "It wouldn't be too pleasant if certain people showed up." He didn't want his family notified. The next day Jon Spears was dead. An embolism had formed in his legs due to his extensive injuries.
Larry Thurman is the Constable in Dandridge, Tennessee; a place where Jon Spears had spent a lot of time. He was independently investigating Thurman's cattle mutilation cases, sightings of aircraft and UFOs. When word of Spears death got to Constable Thurman, he decided to run a check on Jon and entered all the information he had into the NCIC computer. What he found surprised him, there was no record of Jon Spears. No address, no driver's license, nothing. It was like Jon Spears didn't exist.
Shortly after logging into the NCIC Computer, Constable Thurman was contacted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (T.B.I.) They told him not to pursue the matter anymore, that they were taking over the investigation and were then going to turn it over to the F.B.I. What investigation? There was no crime here, just the death of a man in a an automobile accident. Right?
Soon Larry Thurman learned that Jon Spears had multiple fake IDs, with pictures that didn't look like him at all. He had three MUFON ID cards with photos of other people on them. He had come into the United States on a "Hong Kong" Passport, and he had a Hong Kong driver's license. He also had a fake Tennessee ID card. The vehicle Identification numbers on his cars were fake. The T.B.I. told Constable Thurman not to discuss the case at all. In fact the T.B.I. said they would be watching to see who is investigating Jon, besides themselves. Subsequently Thurman found out that Jon Spears apparently had lived simultaneous lives in Texas and Hong Kong before moving to Tennessee in 1993. What's the deal with this guy, everybody started asking. Especially Constable Thurman. Thurman assembled all his MUFON friends one day and told them about the T.B.I. & the F.B.I. and asked everyone not to talk about the Jon Spears investigations.
When I contacted Spears family, they refused to talk about Jon at all. They didn't list his death in the obituaries of any newspaper and there was no funeral. When Jon's brother Shane arrived in Tennessee to claim the body and Jon's belongings, the local police made him promise to come to the station after he was through. Instead he packed everything up and evaded the police, leaving town quickly.
Three years have gone by since I investigated this case and interviewed the Spears family and ten other people who knew John when he came to MUFON. The only thing we know now for sure, is that Jon Spears joined MUFON with the intent to, in his own words "round up abductees" to recruit them for the Church Of Scientology. When I phoned up Jon's voice mail, I just got a professional sounding woman who wouldn't tell me anything. It was the same phone number Spears had placed in the Knoxville newspaper "Dianetics" advertisement. When I spoke to Jon's brother Shane, he was very concerned that I was looking into the Scientology Connection. "Why are you trying to link Scientology to all this?" he asked.
When I called Walt Andrus to ask why he had appointed Spears as State Section Director over people who were waiting in line, Andrus told me "Because of the excellent recruiting job he did in for us in Texas". I pursued his membership in Scientology and Walt said "A lot of movie stars are Scientologists, we still go see them in the theater". It seemed a fair enough defense at the time, but now I wonder.
I sat on this story for the last three years, out of respect for the deceased's family, I decided to leave it alone, let it rest. I would have left it that way, but when I received Bicycle Bob's post from Jorge Martin and the new MUFON scandal, it rang a bell. MUFON is just a club of UFO enthusiasts, at least that's what it should be. But at the Walt Andrus level, MUFON is a political organization. When Walt doesn't like somebody, he gets rid of them. An example of this behavior was the Gulf Breeze case of Mr. Ed Walters. When Florida State Section Directors Rex and Carol Salisberry uncovered evidence that Ed Walters was a hoaxer and a charlatan, they were dismissed from their position. I've heard from many other former MUFON directors that they've experienced similar treatment. The methods and means used by Mr. Andrus to run MUFON really deserve more attention and scrutiny.
This second MUFON involvement with the F.B.I. and Andrus-appointed shady characters really has me scratching my head. At least in both of these cases, the bad guys ended up getting caught. I just wonder what's going in the mind of Walt Andrus? Will he learn from his mistakes now that his bad decisions are common knowledge? Let's hope so. It's these amazing, twisted tales that leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth and make people suspicious. It makes me ask the same question Peter Gersten asked in the first UFO documentary I ever saw: "What's going on?"