1940-1960: From obscurity to world fame

View of Palomar Mountain, California, USA. (Image: © W.P. Armstrong, 2003)


The CalTech Palomar Observatory in 1949.

March 1940: Moves to a property along the Star Route in Valley Center, CA, about nine miles from where the Palomar Observatory is under construction. His aim is to establish a spiritual retreat center, Kashmir-la. According to a report about his move in the Santa Ana Register of 26 January, “…an important part of study equipment to be installed at Kashmir-la is a 40-inch portable Cassegrainian telescope to be constructed by the Tinsley laboratories at Berkeley”. In the event, it seems funds only allowed the acquisition of a 15-inch telescope.


1941: Volunteers as an Air Raid Warden for his locality when the US enters World War II after Japan attacks Pearl Harbour.


1944: Adamski and his group move closer to Palomar Mountain, along the Star Route, where his long-time associate Alice K. Wells sets up a roadside cafe, Palomar Gardens. According to co-worker Charlotte Blodget, “Each member of the group shared in the manual labour that went into this effort, and since heavy restrictions were still in effect regarding materials [in the war’s aftermath], anything available had to serve.”


1944: At Palomar Gardens, “…a small observatory was erected” to house the 15-inch telescope, “designed in a way which enabled [Adamski] to study the skies for hours on end…” (Inside the Space Ships, p.255)


9 October 1946: During a meteor shower Adamski and some friends see a huge cigar-shaped “mother ship”, witnessed also over nearby San Diego by hundreds of others. This sighting (“a giant spaceship”) was also reported on the radio news and the Los Angeles Daily News.
Publishes The Possibility of Life on Other Planets.


1947: On 24 June commercial pilot Kenneth Arnold reports seeing a string of unidentified flying objects over Mt Rainier, Washington State. On 8 July the evening editions of the Roswell Daily Record and other newspapers reported that the US Army found the wreckage of a ‘flying saucer’ that, according to eyewitness reports, had crashed around 14 June. These events signalled the start of what has become known as the ‘flying saucer era’, epitomized in this newspaper front page of 9 July 1947.

In 1947 Adamski also takes his first photographs of a flying saucer as it passes across the moon.


1949: Two members of the Electronic Marine Laboratory at Point Loma, near San Diego, invite Adamski “to join in on the spaceship photographing”, in order to collect as much information as possible.
From October 1949 Adamski is invited to talk about the reality of space ships as a guest speaker for service clubs, such as the Rotary, in Southern California.
Note: George Adamski gave many more talks and interviews than are included on this and the following page. Those listed are merely indicative of his many public appearances from 1953 onward.


1950: Publishes his first article about flying saucers in FATE magazine, September 1950:

The sequence below, taken 6 May 1950, is used to accompany Adamski’s second article about his photos of sightings in FATE magazine, July 1951.


20 November 1952: Encounter with ‘Orthon’ from Venus, who steps out of a flying saucer that landed in the Coxcomb Mountain hills in the Colorado Desert, Desert Center, CA, and telepathically engages with Adamski, as witnessed by George and Betty Williamson, Alfred and Betty Bailey, Alice Wells, and Lucy McGinnis.

Image: A photograph taken by Adamski with his Kodak Brownie camera on 20 November 1952 (left), shows part of the scout ship and ‘Orthon’ in enhancements made by Rene Erik Olsen (centre & right). (Images courtesy of Mr Olsen, www.olree.dk.)

24 November 1952: The first newspaper report about the desert encounter appears in the Phoenix Gazette. In a press conference in September 1955 Adamski explains: “…I will tell you honestly that I, too, would not have come out as much as I have, had it not been for that first contact and the four people who were with me … Williamson and the others (Mrs Williamson and Mr and Mrs Bailey), who went to Phoenix, Arizona, and gave the story to the Gazette. Once that came out I was on the spot completely and there was nothing else to do. And once you stick your neck out you might as well go ahead with it.” (Many Mansions, p.10)


Announcement for Flying Saucers Have Landed, 1953

October 1953: Adamski’s account of the encounter is combined with a book about the history of ET visitations written by Anglo-Irish author Desmond Leslie and published simultaneously in the UK, USA and Canada as Flying Saucers Have Landed. This signals the start of Adamski’s public mission to inform humanity of the reality of the visitors from space.


13 December 1953: Takes the most iconic photographs of a ‘flying saucer’, a Venusian scout ship that appeared over Palomar Gardens.


Hotel Clark, Los Angeles

18 February 1953-onward: Hotel Clark, 426 South Hill Street, Los Angeles is where Adamski usually goes to meet his contacts from Venus or Mars. Together they then drive the car into the desert where a scout ship is waiting to pick them up. These encounters are described in Inside the Space Ships (1955).


1954: Adamski and his group move the cafe to nearby Palomar Terraces.


Large audience at Adamski lecture in Detroit, 28 March 1954

28 March 1954: Following the success of Flying Saucers Have Landed, Adamski is invited to give a talk for the Detroit Flying Saucer Club at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, which draws 4,700 people.

(Image: George Adamski Foundation)


1954: Suffers a heart attack due to the strain resulting from the massive public and media interest, invitations for lectures, and correspondence, and declines an invitation from the UK on doctor’s orders, for what would have been his first lecture tour in Europe. In a letter dated 4 September he writes: “I am indeed sorry that the doctors have forbidden me to come to England this year. (…) through continuous going, day and night as I have been, my health gave way and I was ordered to rest for at least a year.”


Leslie and Adamski, 1954

June-August 1954: Desmond Leslie visits Adamski for three months during the summer, while he is working on Inside the Space Ships.

18 July 1954: Wife Mary Shimbersky dies.


(Image: The Leslie Estate)


7 and 8 August 1954: One of the first UFO conventions in California is held on the slopes of Palomar Mountain, with lectures by George Adamski and fellow contactees Daniel Fry and Truman Bethurum, as well as Desmond Leslie. The convention draws well over a thousand people.


Adamski with Salvador Villanueva Medina in Mexico, 1954

1954: Gives his first talk in Mexico, where he meets with Salvador Villanueva Medina (right), who had an experience with space visitors in northern Mexico in August 1953. Here he also meets Sra Maria Christina de Rueda, the Spanish translator of Flying Saucers Have Landed, who remains a loyal benefactor over the years and whom he visits almost every year during the winter months.


Advertisement for Inside the Space Ships, 1955

1955: Inside the Space Ships published by Abelard Schuman in the US, and Nelson, Foster and Scott Ltd in Canada. The UK edition, published by Arco, follows in 1956.


Adamski lectures at Space Craft Convention, 3 April 1955
(Image: People Today, April 1955)

3 April 1955: Gives a 30-minute lecture at George van Tassel’s Spacecraft Convention at Giant Rock, Landers, CA.
Seeing how the public is increasingly drawn to psychics and mystics who claim to receive “messages” from “space entities” with fanciful names and designations — the convention’s organiser George Van Tassel among them, Adamski decides not to attend gatherings of this kind again: “Space people use neither position nor name to identify them[selves]. These are personality. Nor do they ever prophesy our future.” (Cosmic Science, Q51)


Adamski is interviewed during the convention. (Archive footage from Michael Hesemann, UFOs: The Contacts – The Pioneers of Space, 1996.)


1956-57: “In late 1956, my colleagues and I were spending a few months in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico.” (FSF p.121) En route, he films a huge translucent spacecraft hovering over a banana plantation from the highway near San Blas.


June 1957: Announces the establishment of an international network, the Get Acquainted Program (GAP), aimed at bringing “citizens of each nation … into closer united friendship…, without discrimination or divisions of any kind.”
In October the first Cosmic Science bulletin with questions and answers is published, edited by Lucy McGinnis.


June 1958: In Cosmic Science Series No.1, Part 4 Adamski writes how “on the first and third Sunday of each month, between the hours of one and four p.m., it is my custom to talk with the public at my home; give a lecture on topics of interest and answer questions”. (Q69)
He will carry on this custom, which he began in the early days at Palomar Gardens, whenever he isn’t travelling or lecturing elsewhere.


Latter half of August 1958: Lecture tour of Washington State.


September 1958: In a note on the last page of Cosmic Science Series No.1, Part 5 Adamski writes: “Since the response to our inquiry [in the previous volume] about continuing the Questions and Answers had not been sufficient to warrant the financial costs involved, this will be the last booklet published.” The bulletin continues as the Cosmic Science newsletter on regular US Letter size sheets.


1958: Publishes Telepathy – The Cosmic or Universal Language.


13 January 1959: Leaves for New Zealand on his world lecture tour, where he is invited to speak in countries where GAP chapters had been or were being set up.


18 May 1959: Audience with Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at Soestdijk Palace makes headlines around the world.


18 June 1959: Returns home from Europe, cutting short his world tour on account of poor health, with lectures in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Denmark cancelled.


(Sources: Gerard Aartsen, Lou Zinnstag & Timothy Good, Luis Ruiz Nogues, FATE magazine, Flying Saucers Farewell)


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