Jan 2008 Fate Magazine
The release of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK in 1991 reminded many of the national brouhaha brought on by Jim Garrison’s 1968 investigation of John Kennedy’s murder and taught many others about it for the first time. Stone’s movie carefully notes that Garrison believed the man he wound up prosecuting, New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, represented only a toehold on a much larger conspiracy. Among the other players in the crime that Garrison never had enough on to bring to court was a man named Fred Lee Crisman. Garrison had Crisman pegged as one of the trigger men on the grassy knoll. Although the details of this aspect of the Garrison prosecution remain obscure for most, those alive when Garrison’s case grabbed national headlines knew Crisman better than they thought they did. Since the fall of 1967, they had watched fictionalized adventures from his life weekly in the form of a science fiction program called The Invaders.
At least that’s how Crisman saw it. To many, Crisman came off as a scurrilous publicity hound and a teller of tall tales. Nevertheless, the verifiable facts about Crisman’s life make his possible connection to The Invaders the least of the biographical stories he could embellish for publicity. Crisman had witnessed the earliest flying saucer sighting of the post-war UFO era, three days before Kenneth Arnold’s famous Mount Rainier sightings in 1947. Known as the Maury Island incident, it involved several spinning discs that spewed a weird substance over the shore near Puget Sound, and Arnold was later hired (by Fate co-founder Ray Palmer) to investigate it. The Air Force sent in two investigators as well, and they died in a plane crash trying to bring the substance in for tests.
Crisman’s connection to both UFOs and the Kennedy assassination is strange enough, especially considering claims that JFK was killed because he was going to expose the Roswell crash. Roswell happened a month after the Maury Island incident. Some researchers think that Roswell, Maury Island, and Arnold’s Mount Rainier sightings might all involve the same craft.
Serious JFK scholars usually tangle up the assassination in a tapestry of anti-Castro Cubans, Mafia figures, and the CIA, and try to stay clear of the alien connection for the sake of already shaky credibility issues. Of course, credibility issues surrounded the Maury Island case early on.
The chief witness at Maury Island was a man named Harold Dahl, who worked with Fred Crisman salvaging runaway logs in a harbor patrol boat. Dahl later claimed it was all a hoax. Many UFO researchers have dismissed it that way ever since, even though the slightest review of the historical records shows that Dahl made that claim only after his business was sabotaged, his son kidnapped, and his wife threatened. Dahl suffered an early visit from the infamous Men in Black and was told to keep quiet about what he saw. Thereafter, Dahl declared it all a hoax.