By Jim Holt
Signal Staff Writer
Finding author Gordon Lore living, working and writing in the Santa Clarita Valley proved to be a treasure and a thrill this week, having discovered the very grounded writer of “Flying Saucers From Beyond The Earth: A UFO researcher’s Odyssey.”
Thrilling, for a journalist, was to meet one of the pioneers of UFO research who, for more than a half-century, has remained dogged and undeterred in the Herculean task of documenting that event about which millions around the world demand evidence.
His latest book, published by BearManor Media, is the journey of a lifelong commitment, researching the reports of people who encountered something they could not explain, diligently checking facts and pulling on the often tenuous thread of claims that lead to places few writers want to confront.
Outside the lobby doors of the three-story senior living complex on Bouquet Canyon Road, two white-haired women sit quietly on a shaded bench.
Lore’s voice on the cell phone is soft but sure, perfect for radio.
“Come up to the third floor, I’ll come get you,” he said. “I’ll buzz you in.”
When the elevator doors open on the 3rd floor, there’s an easy smile waiting there accompanied by an old school handshake — the kind that comes with eye contact.
His hand is big and pillowy, the grip firm and powerful as if it was padding for a powerful device.
As we enter his apartment, he leaves the apartment door open. Seniors go by it, some call in casually as they pass by: “Hello, Gordon.”
Lore has written a half-dozen books. On the day of the interview, he had them lined up on the floor, propped up against the furniture.
A copy of his first book, “Mysteries of the Skies: UFO’s in Perspective” published in 1968, sits spine-to-spine with his latest book.
So, I’ve got to know, I told him.
In all that time between the two books, a half-century of cultural growing up, surely the book-reading public of the 1960s, when many rolled their eyes and scoffed at the mention of flying saucers, has developed into a tolerant, understanding and welcoming public.
“I think there has been improvement, definitely,” Lore said. “(People claiming UFO sightings) just keeps going on and on, in every country in the world. The sights just keep coming in. It’s incredible.”
When asked if he thought people were more willing to believe in UFO sightings now than they were a half-century ago, he said: “That’s a fair assessment.”
“The investigation continues,” he said. “There is more going on now than there ever has been.”
And when Gordon Lore looks back on “what has been,” he looks back on more than 50 years of documented research.
UFO in water
Lore began his work researching UFO sightings the way he begins his latest book — by describing his own three UFO sightings.
His first sighting happened in the summer of 1955 in his hometown of Solomons Island, Maryland, which he describes as “a pleasant little seafaring hamlet tucked into the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.”
Lore writes having been on a pier, watching a fast-moving light move towards him, which he said dropped suddenly into the water, emerging after 20 seconds, drenching him in water dripping from the craft.
Once the reader gets through the details of Lore’s other two sightings, getting into the meat of the book and into the similar UFO reports of average Americans, arriving at the end of the book comes quickly.
It was soon after he acted on the courage to come forward and share his own experiences, writing about them and sending them off the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, that Lore was hired by Dick Hall to begin work there in Washington, DC.
It was there that Lore met his mentor, one of the first men to try publicly to convince the federal government to begin devoting time, money and attention to the increasing and persistent reports of UFO sightings — NICAP Director Major Donald E. Keyhoe.
“He was my mentor,” Lore said.
Lore ended up working five years at NICAP with Keyhoe and Hall. “It was one of the rewarding and, at times, most frustrating experiences in my life,” Lore wrote in his book’s introduction.
Keyhoe, who cofounded NICAP, wrote several books about UFOs, including “The Flying Saucers Are Real,” published in 1950, sold more than half a million copies.
He and Lore, through their efforts, saw NICAP become one of the largest — if not the largest — civilian research groups researching UFOs in America.
In the mid-60s, Keyhoe and Lore attended Congressional hearings in Washington, urging for a scientific independent probe of UFOs.
At that time, Keyhoe “was for the first time willing to publish some of the reports,” Lore said this past week.
“But, he kept them from public view because he was trying to get Congress to hold hearings. And, he figured if he came out with occupant reports, Congress would just laugh at him.
“But, he managed to get those hearings in 66 and 68,” Lore said. “I was at the hearings in 68.”
Occupant reports are reports of beings claimed to have been seen.
Having picked up the UFO mantle for Major Keyhoe more than a half century ago, Gordon Lore has demonstrated convincingly with this book that he carries that mantle high today, after more than half a century.
In dedicating his latest book, Lore writes: “I also honor the memory of the spirits of my departed friends and UFO colleagues Major Donald E. Keyhoe, Richard H. Hall, and Dr. James E . McDonald. They have made lasting contributions to the ongoing scientific investigation of ‘Unidentified Flying Objects.’”
And, now, so has Gordon Lore.
Lore’s latest book can be purchased through Amazon, $39.95 for hardcover, $29.95 for paperback or at Barnes & Noble.