- 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.
- Knoxville, Tennessee.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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