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In the early fall of 1964, Timothy Good toured India as a violinist with the London Symphony Orchestra. The son of a violinist, Good had begun playing the violin at age five and later trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London for four years. Now, at age twenty-two, he had been with the London Symphony Orchestra for a year, playing in the first violins. The tour of India, his first, was to last several weeks, taking Good to all of the country's major cities.
In New Delhi, the orchestra stayed at the Ashoka Hotel, and one afternoon between rehearsal and the concert, Good took some time to browse through an artist's boutique that earlier had caught his eye in the lobby of the hotel. He had been struck by several paintings, especially a collection of oil portraits of Indian leaders including Gandhi and Nehru, surrounded in pale auras. As he looked through the glass at the paintings now, a woman in the shop approached him and invited him in.
Good introduced himself and learned that the woman was Elizabeth Brunner, the artist who had painted the unusual portraits. The two of them talked at length about the paintings and Brunner's inspiration; then the conversation led to things metaphysical, and finally to Good's hobby, the study of UFOs.
In the mid-1950s, while still in his teens, Good had become fascinated with the existence of flying objects no one seemed able to explain. Pilots observed them, radar confirmed the pilots' observations, yet the objects always outmaneuvered and outpaced the fastest jets. Good wondered, as did many people, if the governments of various countries knew more about these mysterious objects than they were telling the public. Now traveling all over the world with the orchestra, he had the opportunity on his own to investigate reports of strange sightings and claims of contact. As he explained more of his hobby to Brunner, he sensed in her someone who also believed in the existence of extraterrestrial societies and their probable visitation to the earth. After they had talked on the subject a short while, Brunner made a suggestion to Good that he found intriguing.
As Good remembered, "She said, 'You ought to meet a chap who's fallen in love with a spacewoman. He's just left India.'"
Unfortunately for Good, the man had been expelled from the country only a few days earlier, allegedly for having no money. Brunner surmised that the man was asked to leave the country for another reason, which she told to Good.
"She felt it was perhaps because he talked too much," he recalled. "It's a dumb thing to talk about UFOs in India. She advised me not to do so, publicly at any rate, while I was there."
Brunner then showed Good an article from the New Delhi Statesman dated a few days earlier, September 30, 1964: "The Flying Saucer Man Leaves Delhi- Swiss Claims He Has Visited Three Planets."
Good began reading. In the article, the writer gave the flying saucer man the pseudonym Edward Albert. He wrote that he found Albert "sitting bare-bodied in one of the cave-like monuments at Mehrauli near the Buddha Vihara." The man had been living in the cave for five months, ever since his arrival in India.
"Mr. Albert sounds rather weird," wrote the reporter. "But then he clearly is not eager to talk about his experiences which, to say the least, are remarkable. Indeed, the little that he has to say has to be pried out of him. He doesn't want publicity; he doesn't care if anyone believes him or not."
The man had revealed to the reporter, "I have not only seen the objects from outer space, but have taken photographs and even traveled in them." He showed the reporter about eighty photographs, "all taken with an old folding camera and neatly kept in an album." But when the reporter asked for two or three of the photos to illustrate his article, the man "politely" declined his request. He told the reporter, "I can't spare them." He said he had taken over four hundred such photos, but most of them had been stolen in Jordan and India.
Since the reporter could show none of the photos to his readers, he took notes on what he saw as he viewed the album and used his descriptions to give the readers a feel for what Albert had photographed. "The objects in the photographs vary in size and shape," he wrote. "One is a globular object with a round disc in the centre; another is funnel-shaped; a third is like a neon lamp; a fourth is a big, bright cross and others, bright zigzag lines. Some of these have been taken on the ground and some flying in the sky." The man now sitting in the cave claimed he had taken the photographs in Greece, Jordan, and India.
Good read on. Besides having photographed the ships, Albert claimed to have been visited frequently by entities from elsewhere in the galaxy and to have traveled to at least one other inhabited planet. On this unusual planet, "all of the objects were white," he told the reporter. And the space people themselves looked very much like earth humans except they were taller, had a certain glow about them, and were spiritually more advanced. They expressed themselves through the transmission of thought patterns.
The reporter noted that the man's belongings consisted of only a few articles of clothing, his photo album, a folding camera, and two small bags. Traveling with him was a pet monkey named Emperor. At the conclusion of the interview, Albert and Emperor were to pack up their few belongings and, with a new friend from Germany who had lent Albert a small amount of money, to begin hitchhiking back across the Middle East and eventually return to Switzerland.
Before they parted ways, he told the reporter, "I have a mission to fulfill," but he refused to say what it was. "I will disclose it when the time comes, positively before a year."
"The story of Mr. Albert is as incredible as it is startling," the reporter ended his article. "He proposes to relate to German scientists his experiences, show his photographs and the objects that he says he has collected from the planets he visited. Has Mr. Albert created history, or is he a mystic who has let his imagination run wild? Time alone will tell."
Many years after the article appeared in the New Delhi Statesman, the reporter, S. Venkatesh, responded to a letter inquiring about the mysterious Mr. Albert. He wrote: "I distinctly remember meeting the man and he seemed, on recollection, very serious about what he was saying. I for one would be eager to know what he did later on, whether he encountered any more space men and ships and whether he disclosed anything to anyone later, as he promised he would."
Timothy Good read the article twice and returned it to Elizabeth Brunner. She herself had met and spoken to Albert, but other than suggesting another friend who might be able to help Good locate the man, she could add little to what was in the article.
"She said he was obviously full of this girl," remembered Good, "in love with this girl from outer space." She added only that she felt he was "sincere, and very enthusiastic." Not certain of the man's name and having only the few clues with which Brunner and her friend could provide him, Good decided nevertheless that the story was sufficiently interesting for him to pursue.
"I don't like to make judgments on people until I've met them myself," said Good later, "so in 1965 I eventually tracked him down. It was very difficult."
The man lived in eastern Switzerland, in the foothills southeast of Zurich. His real name was Eduard Albert Meier. During a winter concert tour in 1965, the London Symphony Orchestra played in Zurich, and while there, Good went looking for Meier and found that he was living with a sister in a small village not far from Hinwil.
"I actually went out there in the snow and got out to his house and he wasn't there," recalled Good, "so I just had brief words with his sister, who didn't speak any English. She gave me a number where I could contact him, and I spoke to him on the telephone afterwards. He told me that he had recently had an accident, the result of which he had lost an arm. I can't remember much more than that. He gave me the impression of sincerity at that time. Subsequent to that, I informed Lou Zinsstag about Meier; however, she didn't do anything about it for a long while. She had difficulty getting in touch with him, he was pretty elusive. But she tracked him down eventually and had lots of meetings with him."
Considered to be the grande dame of European UFOlogy, Louise Zinsstag, now gray haired and in her early seventies, lived in Basle, Switzerland, along the northern border where the Rhine separates Germany from France. An articulate and cultured woman who wrote and spoke several languages, including Russian, Zinsstag was diminutive and energetic. Despite her religious convictions, a colleague once wrote of her, "A true 'bon-viveur,' Lou had a tremendous sense of humor and a healthy appreciation of good food and wine." In addition to her consuming interest in UFOs, Zinsstag pursued her passion for the theater, cinema, museums, and foreign travel.
Zinsstag's mother had fourteen brothers and sisters, nearly as many aunts and uncles, and scores of cousins, one of whom was the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Though her second was more than twenty years her senior, Zinsstag spoke and wrote to him often, especially in his later years. Perhaps their most common topic of conversation was one of Jung's lesser-known works, a lengthy essay published in 1958 entitled Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky. Jung wrote in his introduction to the book:
These [UFO] rumors, or the possible physical existence of such objects, seem to me so significant that I feel myself compelled to sound a note of warning. It is not presumption that drives me, but my conscience as a psychiatrist that bids me fulfill my duty and prepare those few who will hear me for coming events which are in accord with the end of an era.
Taking their cue from the word "myth" in the title, those who denied the existence of UFOs claimed that Jung's essay explained away UFO sightings as "psychic projections" and "mass hallucination." But though Jung did not know what UFOs were, he was certain they did not leap whole from the human imagination.
"We are dealing with an ostensibly physical phenomenon," he wrote, "distinguished on the one hand by its frequent appearances and on the other by its strange, unknown, and indeed contradictory nature."
Jung himself had studied the subject for ten years before he published the book.
So far as I know, it remains an established fact, supported by numerous observations, that UFOs have not only been seen visually but have also been picked up on the radar screen and have left traces on the photographic plate.... It boils down to nothing less than this: that either psychic projections throw back a radar echo, or else the appearance of real objects affords an opportunity for mythological projections.
By the time Jung died in 1961, his cousin Lou Zinsstag had amassed the largest collection of UFO case histories and photographs in Europe. Eventually, she would publish the first UFO journal in central Europe and write two books on the subject. One of the books would be about the famed contactee George Adamski, with whom she began a correspondence in 1957 that lasted for seven years. So active and outspoken on the topic of UFOs was she that a senior official of the Swiss Security Services once summoned her to his office and ordered her to publish nothing more on the subject. On his desk lay a magazine open to the page on which her most recent article appeared.
Zinsstag had met Timothy Good in 1965, not long after Good had discovered "Mr. Albert" and tracked him down to a small village in eastern Switzerland. When Good related the story to her, she recalled having heard about the man even before that, but she could remember nothing of the circumstances, only that in 1956 or 1957, somebody had written an article about a Swiss boy named Eduard Meier who had had his first encounter in 1942, when he was only five years old. In the nearly ten years that had passed since then, she forgot completely about him.
But after Good passed along what little information he had on Meier, Zinsstag made no effort to contact him until the summer of 1976, when news of Meier's experiences made its way to Basle before the first article appeared in Quick. On June 28, 1976, Good received the first of a long series of letters from Zinsstag, as she pursued the Meier case and relayed to Good her impressions of the man and his story.
"I got in touch with Eduard Meier, having found out his address through a schoolboy from Bern who came to see me," she wrote in her first letter. "I wrote to Ed and received a very friendly letter with a dozen of his pictures, some of them quite extraordinarily good. I sent money for more. He said he has about 250 of them, all shot by himself. He also has got some films. I wrote him that I shall come to see him as soon as possible. He says that he is fulfilling a task given to him almost forty years ago, so I expect him to come as a high priest, but never mind when you see his photographs."
Less than two weeks later, Zinsstag became one of the many who began to travel to Hinwil to seek out and speak to Meier. When she returned from her visit, she again wrote to Good on July 10, 1976.
"Eduard is a young invalid, 38, who has lost his left arm in a car accident some ten years ago. He was a truck driver. He looks intelligent and fit and uses his right hand with astonishing dexterity. His wife is a Greek girl spiritually handicapped as far as we found out, but they have three children. They live in a very neglected household in a very old farmhouse with poor furniture, guarded by an enormous dog who loved me. Eduard goes out very seldom and never alone, and never without his gun, so he told me. He has been shot at once or twice.... He's been in contact with ET since his fifth year. Together with his father he saw a UFO and met an ET back in 1942. Since then, it happened with some regularity that every eleventh year he gets new visitors.
"For a hundred francs, I shall get 50 color photos, and the young man promised me to make a good representative choice. Besides the UFO pictures and a splendid film of twenty minutes, he showed us some other pictures which I have difficulty to describe. Eduard told me that he had been in outer space several times and he has seen some of our planets from a rather near viewpoint. First, I could not believe it and just made polite noises, but then he showed us those photos. Among them is one which would make a sensation. In their flying saucer, he and his companions watched the latest Soyuz-Apollo coupling, and for a moment they were at a distance of three meters. In these pictures you see the back of a Russian cosmonaut, his helmet, and the three letters 'COI' on his outfit. On another one you can see the coupling maneuver in action, much better than on TV. Other pictures I will not describe in the letter. It's too difficult.
"I'm still at a loss how to judge the man. His education is even poorer than the one of George [Adamski], but I don't mind that. Yet I don't like his manner.... He is antireligious, and as far as I can see from a pamphlet of his, he defends the witches, attacking the Roman Church for ignoring them, etc. He might very well be a witch himself. His eyes gave me this impression from the beginning. But he's honest, frank, polite up to a certain point, and, I can understand this very well, very impatient and a bit tired of being interrogated all the time. While we were there, he had several telephone calls, one from Budapest, others from Austria and Germany."
Before a few weeks had passed, Zinsstag had traveled again to see Meier and again, on August 6, 1976, she wrote to Good of the latest impressions she garnered during this second visit.
"I have seen Eduard Meier again, the most intriguing man I have ever met. He showed me other photographs of such a nature that I can hardly mention it. When he starts talking, you can well imagine listening to a demented person, everything he says is so fantastic. But lo, there are his photos from outer space, which nobody has ever seen, not even at NASA I'm sure.... He sends his respects and love and looks forward to seeing you sometime in autumn. He still remembers your telephone call. He is so modest and sincere he even told me of his time in jail. His life story sounds so fantastic that I can hardly believe it. But one look at his photos reassures me every time."
For nearly a year, Zinsstag read about Meier in magazines, read his contact notes and teachings, and visited with him for hours in Hinwil. An intelligent woman who for twenty years had known and talked at length with numerous "contactees" besides Adamski, Zinsstag was neither naïve nor gullible, nor was she willing to dismiss all contactee claims as nonsense. Forces exist, she thought, for which we presently have no explanation. But she clearly did not know what to make of Meier. After each meeting and often between her interviews, she wrote to Good about the case. Another letter, postmarked October 24, 1976, closed: "more than ever I think that he is a good man, although Esther [a journalist and friend of Zinsstag's] is afraid that he could be under a magic spell or even a witch himself. I don't think so, but there's something very unusual about this man, as you will notice."
In the fall of 1976, Zinsstag, accompanied by Good, flew to the United States to speak to various people in UFOlogy, to interview alleged contactees, and to gather more material for the book on Adamski that they would co-author. A few months after they had returned from the States and she had had time to visit Hinwil, Zinsstag wrote a letter to Good dated January 3, 1977.
"Re: Meier. I am now on such good terms with him that it won't be a problem to see him anytime I like. However, I am holding back, because I can't get rid of the idea that this woman Semjase does him no good.... I am sure that within a rather short time she will let him drop, because it is out of the question for him to fulfill her wishes.... What he misses is a name, a good one, and he will never get that because he was in prison as a youngster. And most of all he misses a real education, although I must say his technical knowledge is absolutely astonishing. He seems to have gotten a certain pre-education in his twenties while he traveled in Syria and Israel and Jordan, which serves him very well for understanding the difficult things Semjase talks through with him...."
A month later, Zinsstag wrote, "If Meier turns out to be a fake, I shall take my whole collection of photographs to the ferry boat and drown it in the old man river of Basle."
By the fall of 1976, Meier's contact notes had grown to over eight hundred pages, and the run of articles in European magazines had aroused the curiosity of hundreds of people who had traveled to see him. Witnesses later said they saw people lined up outside the Hinwil house as though waiting in line to buy tickets for a soccer match. Perhaps more difficult to know for certain, it seemed that others even followed Meier whenever he left his house, hoping to glimpse one of the silver beamships or the fair-haired Semjase, or catch Meier in the act of fabricating his photographs with models or somehow creating the strangely swirled landing tracks. Once Meier and others swore, he was followed by a Volkswagen with rotating antennas mounted on the roof.
But the contacts continued, and Meier described to his visitors what would happen each time the Pleiadians directed him to a contact site in the hills: first, he said, the silver beamship would appear and wait for him silently a hundred or two hundred feet off the ground. Then with the magnetic force field temporarily reduced, Meier would walk beneath the hovering ship, and in a moment, untouched by any visible force, his body would begin rising toward the hold. During the five-second transfer from ground to sky, Meier could observe the landscape.
"If you have a channel that goes up with the wind, and you put in a feather, you have exactly the same thing," he said, describing the experience.
Those who heard his stories imagined a darkened, secluded site suddenly aglow, with the inner circle of trees seeming to undulate in a pure and gently pulsating light. Though Semjase sometimes landed the ship and met with Meier in the meadow, she now utilized the "anti-gravity" system more frequently. A third, even faster, method was potentially dangerous: Meier could be dematerialized.
Meier called this method the "teleportic," which worked only, he said, "if I am clear in my head and heart." Using it, the Pleiadians could break down Meier's molecular structure as he sat in his office, rematerialize him on board the ship, converse with him for an hour or two, then break him down a second time and reassemble him in an instant inside his office again, or at the edge of a road to be picked up by Herbert, Jakobus, or one of the others who might have driven him to the contact. When he was "upped" by this method, Meier could feel nothing; the danger lay in the return, for Meier would again have to be clear in head and heart. According to Meier, if the ship hovered high in the atmosphere ready to place him back on earth, and he jumped into the teleportic shaft without his head and heart being clear, he would "die for sure."
"You see," explained Meier, "they take me up in this way only when they have checked me over and over. And if there is only a very, very small point which isn't clear, they can't go to it. Then I have to go out on my bicycle or tractor or by car, and they take me up the other way."
The opening in the ship through which Meier entered with the "antigravity" method was round and located at the bottom. Meier had seen it either open or closed and did not know how it worked. The interior of the craft Meier described as looking like "a watching central," or security observation room with many small television screens. The windows around the perimeter appeared to be glass and metal at the same time. As the ship entered different atmospheres, they changed color; in methane they would turn yellow, in other atmospheres a shade of green, blue, or red. As the ship traveled through interstellar space, a scanning device had to be used for navigation, for in space nothing could be seen through the windows.
Near the ship's controls were three chairs, "like normal chairs, but you can use them as very comfortable seats, or two of them as beds." The beds, however, were not like those on earth, not like "a feather bed" where you sleep on top. The beds in the beamship wrapped around you.
The extensive control panel was dominated by an array of "metallic blots" accommodating one to four fingers or the entire hand. The blots were in rows of different colors-silver, gold, red, blue, yellow-and were never touched; the hand or fingers were only placed lightly over them. Small wheels, switches, and rows of levers completed the instrument panels. "The driving of the ships is very, very easy," said Meier. "There is a red knob, with a small leg, and with it you can do every maneuvering thing you like."
At each rendezvous, Meier learned more about the Pleiadians, how they viewed themselves and the earth humans, their purpose in coming to the earth and in contacting him. During one of their meetings, Meier asked, "why do you not appear in mass and show yourselves to the public, and why do you not contact governments?"
"The masses would merely revere us as gods, as in ages past," explained Semjase, "or go off in hysteria. That is why we regard it as prudent to make contact with individual persons only for the time being, to disseminate, through them, the knowledge concerning our existence and our coming to this planet.
"Furthermore, all earth governments are made up of human beings for whom power hunger and a thirst for profits are characteristic. They only want, under cover of peace and friendship, to occupy our rayships, to exercise absolute rule over the earth. But they would not stop there. They would try to capture the cosmos, because they do not know any limits. They, on the other hand, are not even able to create peace and friendship among the nations on earth, not even in their own countries. How then could they be capable of holding such might in their hands as our rayships? We have no interest in revealing ourselves to the general public. It is, for the present, advisable to maintain contact only with single earth humans, and by them slowly to allow the knowledge of our existence and mission to become known, and to prepare others for our coming.
"A further warning: it lies in the frame of evolution that earth man must develop himself spiritually before he will solve certain scientific secrets. Even then, the danger exists, that the barbarous earth man, exercising his technical knowledge, might use it for evil-minded and power-hungry motives. He must remember that when he attains the necessary techniques, he cannot fly to other planets in the hope that he would always be the victor. Other cosmic inhabitants are not helplessly exposed to attack from another race. There could follow deadly defeat for earth humankind and complete slavery, which would equal the falling back to primeval times. When earth man tries to carry his barbarous greed for power into the cosmos, he must consider his own complete destruction.
"This all must be told to the earth beings, for their spiritual reason is still poorly developed. This was the unfortunate experience of a second race of humans in your own solar system. Their planet was lost in a vast explosion, and nothing remained but the desolate asteroids whirling around your sun."
The community of Hinwil had plans to destroy the farmhouse at No. 10 Wihaldenstrasse to make way for more apartment buildings. Though the official reason for the Meier's eviction had nothing to do with the constant presence of so many cars in their driveway, or the strange comings and goings of Meier himself, or his philosophy, the neighbors and town administrators felt relieved when they knew he would be gone soon. In truth, Meier, too, wanted to find a more secluded and private place to live. By Christmas of 1976, he had found a fifty-acre farm that straddled both Kanton Zurich and Kanton Thurgau, near the village of Schmidruti, thirty minutes from Hinwil.
Considerably higher and farther back in the hills, Schmidruti consisted of a primary school, gardening shop, shooting range (made compulsory by the Swiss military for even the tiniest of hamlets), the Gasthaus zum Freihof, a post office, log business, and Subaru dealership with a garage but no showroom. The latter four stood side by side along the cobblestone row bordering the only street winding through the village. Above the farm, at the top of a hill undercut by the road, sat a single military building, used as a barracks and an underground rocket silo, which occasionally opened its doors and pushed into view a huge and conventionally armed missile. Seventy-five people, most of them farmers, lived in and immediately around Schmidruti.
The Herzog farm, which Meier wanted to purchase, sat behind Schmidruti a few hundred yards down the cobblestone way, which quickly turned to a dirt and pebble path. Real estate in Switzerland is difficult to find at any price, and good farmland is even more rare. The price for the Herzog farm was 360,000 francs, approximately $240,000. Meier had no money, but visitors who were impressed by his teachings eventually raised or mortgaged that amount. One woman who had recently received an inheritance secured the loan on the farm.
When Meier moved his family in April 1977 from the Hinwil house to the farm at Schmidruti, Herbert Runkel and several others came to help. They moved everything out of the three-story house and put it into cars, trucks, and a borrowed trailer to haul it up to the farm. Herbert, always suspicious, took the opportunity to investigate even more closely the contents of the Meier home.
"We had a big trailer," he recalled, "and we went, I don't know, seven, ten times, up and down. We worked together several days to bring all the furniture, beds, and goods to the cars - all the things from his office, all the books, all the big printing machines. It was a lot of goods. At that time I looked at everything coming out of the house because some people said, "maybe he used models, maybe there is some equipment to make models, or there is an old model, a special kind of paper, a special kind of aluminum foil, something like that.' But there was nothing. He had no equipment to make anything. It was only a house for living and for writing."
In a letter to Timothy Good, Lou Zinsstag described the Herzog farm as "a large estate." But the reality hardly fit the description. The Herzog farm was an abandoned fifty acres of weeds, mud, and outbuildings falling down.
"You could compare it to a battlefield," Meier's friend Jakobus described it.
The house had no electricity and no running water. Beneath the three-foot flood in the cellar lay two feet of mud. Old and diseased trees on the land bore little or no fruit, and underbrush grew thick in the surrounding forest. Water that could have been used for irrigation flowed at will, eroding the land in some places while leaving other sections dry.
Meier, with more help from friends, immediately began to renovate the place. Electricity and plumbing would come later. First they removed the mud by shovel and replaced it with dry gravel and poured concrete. Then they put in vegetable gardens, dammed and directed the water, filled ponds with irrigation, shored sagging walls on the barns and farmhouse until they could be rebuilt, and reshingled the roofs. They cut down the old trees and planted new ones, provided pasture for cows, and sowed several acres in crops for the animals. They often worked at night, mixing cement, and they always worked on Sunday. Meier taught everyone how to do the work that needed to be done - how to irrigate, plant, shingle, mix and apply mortar, wire, and plumb. He always worked in a beige one-piece coverall and his black cowboy hat, and was often seen at the wheel of an old green tractor. From midnight to three or four in the morning, when it was quiet, he would work in his office. In the middle of the day he often would experience a cooling perspiration across his forehead, turn pale, and suddenly disappear.
One afternoon Engelbert Wachter and two other men climbed a ladder to the top of the old carriage house, whose rotted walls had been replaced one at a time and which now was being prepared for a roof. The ladder rose and intersected with the roof at a point about twelve feet off the ground. The roof itself, a smooth, open surface thirty feet long by eighteen feet high, angled upward at a pitch of nearly forty-five degrees. Nothing stood near the building. Before they began laying shingles, from bottom to top, Engelbert and the other two men nailed a temporary brace from one side of the roof to the other near the lower edge, a simple platform so they would not fall.
Engelbert, with his pile of shingles, stood next to the ladder, and the other two men were farther over on the roof. As Engelbert lined up the wooden shingles and pounded them into place, he saw Meier climb the ladder just to his left and start to pass behind him.
"I looked back to see whether there was enough room for him," Engelbert recalled, "and as I turned around Billy was gone. Not even a second had passed. I presumed that he fell down. I called the others and we all went looking for him. We looked out on the road. Nothing. I would have heard it if he had jumped down. But he had disappeared."
Engelbert later said to Herbert, "I felt his fingers tap me on my shoulder. Then I turned and he was gone."
Herbert had been working down below and had seen Meier climb the ladder, then step onto the roof. He looked away for a few moments, then heard Engelbert asking, "Where's Billy?" Herbert yelled up, "He's on the roof."
"Nobody saw him go," remembered Herbert, "and nobody saw him come. And five or six people were always working around the barn. Always. I saw him go to the barn, I saw how he went up to the roof. But he never came down. Nobody saw him come down. Nobody saw him for four hours." Meier suddenly reappeared, sitting on a cement slab by the barn, smoking a cigarette and appearing peaceful as he always did when he returned from a contact.
Another time Meier had left on a contact earlier in the afternoon, simply walking down the dirt path that passed through the farm and continued into the tall woods. Several people had then heard the singing of the ship. No one had seen him since that moment. Now the sun was about to set, though daylight would remain for another two hours. Engaged in more roof repair, Engelbert sat on top of the chicken coop, a building on the other side of the farmhouse that looked out over the deep and partially wooded valley forming the eastern boundary of the farm. He stopped his pounding long enough to light a cigarette, then exhaled and looked down the valley to a large nearby meadow.
"I was looking around," he later said, "looking at the trees, but somehow my glance was pulled back on that meadow. And as soon as I looked back, Billy stood in the middle. In the middle of the meadow there are no trees. I looked at that meadow and I could practically see Billy appear out of nothing."
For six months, from the spring of 1977 into the fall, Herbert lived at the farm with the Meier family, the only one outside the family who slept there. The rest came in campers and trailers while they worked on weekends, and Jakobus stayed at his parents' house forty minutes away. During the six months he lived at the farm, Herbert constantly looked for but found nothing suspicious, no pictures, models, or equipment. And Meier never left the farm unless it was to go on a contact. All day, day after day, Herbert would see him either supervising the renovation of the house, barn, and outbuildings or out in the field running the old green tractor.
In the fall of 1977, Lou Zinsstag, who had visited Meier again at the farm, wrote a final letter on the Meier case to Timothy Good and a few other close friends. She entitled the lengthy missive, "Personal View of Eduard Meier."
"I had heard about this extraordinary man long before I met him," she began. "In the sixties I refused to believe the rumors that Eduard Meier was a true contactee. I rather took him for one of those numerous transmediums pretending to be in contact with space beings and spaceships, getting messages through trance. But at last, in 1976, I met him at Hinwil in the Kanton Zurich. It was because he had sent me some extraordinarily good UFO photos. I now had a feeling that, at least in thought, I had wronged the man.
"Instead of meeting a sickly, soft-spoken invalid, as expected, we found him to be a person full of vigor and strength, very self-assured with a fantastic story to tell. Although we had read and heard many exciting stories of contacts with extraterrestrials, and although we knew well that truth is often more fantastic than imagination, to hear Eduard Meier talk was a real shock. His friend who drives a car took us at once to a set of fresh traces, three identical circles in high wet grass hidden behind a wood in the neighborhood. Later, we listened for more than an hour to his story, and heard him explain his approximately three hundred photographs, including some he said he himself had shot in space. It was breathtaking. Yet, within me, I missed the feeling of joy and sympathy which I really should have felt. Some funny instinct was giving me a kind of negative pulse, signals which concerned Meier's person rather than the things he said and showed us....
"Observing the man more closely, I saw that his features were worn out and hard, and that he had cold and tired eyes. His forehead was deeply lined, and he looked older than his forty years. But his voice was good and strong and healthy, and so were his movements. He was very adept in using his right arm. His smile was sometimes disconcertingly friendly and pure, but the feeling of discomfort never left me. It is still with me.
"This expose is written for a very few friends who know me well, and also know Meier's story, so I do not need to go into details. With frankness, he told us about his girlfriend Semjase from the Pleiades. At first, I felt much sympathy with her for having contacted a poor handicapped man like Meier. She seemed to be giving him some extremely interesting information on space and astronomy and to take him for a ride occasionally. A few months after my visit, Ilse von Jacobi sent me part of his writings, fifteen conversations with Semjase. They proved to be rather disappointing to me and I did not like at all her manner of speech. It sounded often rather faulty and unfriendly, rather frightening....
"In 1976, Meier started to attack in his magazine Wassermannzeit every religion in the world, all churches and sects, refuting the need for worship or belief in God. It sounded rather familiar, poison for the people, and so on. The articles were written in an offhand but spiteful, even vicious way, and they sounded so superficial I doubt that either Semjase or Meier knew the difference between religions and such in the established church institutions....
"I liked him less and less, and I stopped writing to him. But I continued to bring interested friends to his place. He always liked meeting new people and was always polite, even friendly, with them. I never talked to him about my objections, mostly because we were never alone. His story and his films never failed to impress me. There was, in my eyes, no reason to doubt his veracity, and soon I found out that the man suffered from a deep inferiority complex, that he was haunted by bad childhood memories, by his experiences at school, in a children's home, in the Foreign Legion, in jail, in hospitals. I was ready to take this into account and stayed friendly.
"Due to his lack of diplomacy, prudence, and understanding, he lost some very good friends. As he said, they were replaced immediately by newcomers, but there were some among his former friends who betrayed him and did a lot of damage to his image without his being aware of it. A lot of them even faked some UFO photos, doing pictures on a windowpane, showing them around and telling everybody how easy this was. I've got two of those fakes. I fell for them for only a few seconds, but people without training might readily fall for the trick. I, for one, am sure that Meier's pictures are no fakes. There's too much variety in them. If indeed he would be able to produce such perfect film materials he would be under contract with the best-paying movie companies for science fiction films, and he would be paid in the hundred thousands for each movie to be sure.
"As an invalid, Meier draws a state pension of about 700 francs a month. Nobody in this country can live on such an amount with a wife and three children. Reluctantly, he's now asking for money for his interviews and demonstrations, which he did not do earlier. I know that he does not make money with his photographs, since I bought them for either 1.50 or 2.00 francs apiece, which barely covers his costs. He can't do the copies himself. To fake such extraordinary films anybody would need a lot of money, but obviously, Eduard Meier is a very poor man....
"It was clear to me from the beginning that in due time, Eduard Meier's pictures would come under heavy attack, because it has been the fashion for the last two years to declare all close-up shots, showing clear details, as fakes, by those UFO researchers who pretend to know most and to do their research in a purely scientific manner.... Some of those sophisticated UFO researchers, always ready to call other people hoaxers, fakers and liars, might be helpful in a conspiracy of defamation. Intending to unmask scoundrels, they are keeping back curiosity and interest and good photographic evidence from important people at universities and in government circles..." Signed, Lou Zinsstag, Basle.
In October 1977, a man wearing a sweater and a light windbreaker walked the leaf-strewn gravel path from the Freihof in Schmidruti to the Meier farm a quarter mile away. A handsome man, short in stature, with deep blue eyes and silver hair, Wendelle C. Stevens had retired a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. He now traveled the world investigating unusual UFO sightings and claims of contact.