Fred Lee Crisman

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Person.png Fred Lee Crisman  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
BornJuly 22, 1920
Washington State, USA
DiedDecember 10, 1975 (Age 55)
Interests • Inslaw
• JFK assassination

Fred Lee Crisman was a mysterious figure who appears in several deep political contexts. A native of Tacoma, Washington, his first notable mention is in connection with the Maury Island UFO incident in June, 1947. His next widely-known parapolitical appearance took place at the Jim Garrison trial of the JFK conspirators in New Orleans. His origins, role and activities are largely unknown. There has only been one biography of Crisman, by parapolitics writer Kenn Thomas, called The Maury Island UFO, although his name appears in UFO literature. He was a member of the US military before the Maury Island UFO incident and was returned to service immediately after. He died in relative obscurity in 1975 after serving on the board of directors of the Tacoma Public Library and hosting a right-wing radio talk show - KAYE AM 1450khz - in nearby Puyallup, Washington, during the late 60s and early 70s.


Fred Lee Crisman was born 1920 in Washington state, the only child of Fred Crisman and Eva Pitchers, both of Iowa. His father was a salesman.[1]

The Shaver Mystery

In the mid-1940s, his name appeared in the letters section of the pulp Amazing Stories, adding to editor Ray Palmer's ongoing series known as the Shaver Mystery. The Shaver Mystery began as a series of letters to the editor from Richard Shaver about his knowledge of the remnants of an underground civilization. Shaver developed a vocabulary unique to his stories, including the term 'dero' for "devolved robot" or "degenerate robot" (unrelated to the Australian slang word 'derro'), which caught on as a buzz-word for a time in American pop-culture. Shaver also described modern flying saucers used by the subterranians before the first modern sighting in the United States. Palmer invited readers to send in their own information, memories and stories about the world of the deros. Crisman's letter in the June, 1946, issue of Amazing detailed an alleged experience he and a fellow soldier experienced in cave in Burma during World War II and described a weapon and wounds consistent with a modern high-power laser wielded by a dero there (ray guns were not a novel idea in science fiction circles by 1946). Crisman's appearance in Amazing was an important point of contact for him and Ray Palmer after the Maury Island incident.

Maury Island Incident

Full article: Stub class article Maury Island UFO

The Maury Island UFO incident took place near Maury Island in Washington's Puget Sound just across that body of water from the old Boeing Field, an important and fortified site during World War II. Crisman and Harold A. Dahl were apparently trawling Tacoma's Commencement Bay and harbor for lost logs. The timber industry is an important part of the economy of Washington state and has long been dominated by the Weyerheuser company. Traditionally logs were floated from initial debranching operations into the sound and securely fastened to one another, forming large floating collections for easy transport to sawmills located elsewhere in the sound. Waves, storms and random events would dislodge individual logs from the logjams and send them floating off. These logs still had value as lumber so individual salvagers could harvest lost logs and bring them in for a bounty or just sell them as their own to the mills. Neither Dahl nor Crisman worked for any local harbor patrol, the US Coast Guard or any other official organization during their log-salvaging efforts, as has been often reported in the UFO literature. At best they could claim to be Civil Defense volunteers clearing the waterways for shipping traffic by removing navigation hazards.

While Dahl and Crisman (there is some dispute whether Crisman was there or whether it was his vessel) were moored just off Maury Island (now a peninsula), from four to six doughnut-shaped craft were observed overhead. One craft appeared to be malfunctioning and the other craft came to its aid. The dysfunctional craft began spewing some sort of metal slag and a paper-like material. The slag hit the boat, killed Dahl's dog and injured his son.

The incident took place on June 21, 1947, three days before the Kenneth Arnold sighting near Mt. Rainier in Washington state, and just prior to the Roswell incident as well, qualifying it as the first modern UFO sighting in the United States.

Dahl was also contacted by the first-known Man in Black the next day, who warned him to keep silent and recounted details of the encounter Dahl said he couldn't have known.

Crisman contacted Ray Palmer in Chicago. Palmer over the next days or weeks got in touch with the pilot Kenneth Arnold, just after his famous sighting of discs over Mt. Rainier. Arnold is credited with inventing the term flying saucer, although it was suggested to him during an interview by a reporter following his own description of the phenomenon. Arnold flew to Tacoma. A series of intrigues ensued with bugged hotel rooms, calls to local reporters leaking contents of conversations held in the hotel room and the eventual involvement of military intelligence from a nearby airbase, the McChord Field southeast of Tacoma.

Investigators were dispatched from the Army Air Corps from Hamilton Field in California. Crisman, Dahl, Arnold and the two investigators met, discussed the incident, investigated the local area and, as the two were set to return to California, Crisman produced a sample of the metal slag in a Rice Krispies cereal box for them to take back with them.

The two men were supposed to back at Hamilton Field by the next day for ceremonies marking the official transformation of the US Army Air Corps into the new military service branch, the US Air Force. Both died enroute near Kelso, Washington when their plane caught fire and crashed.

Crisman later hinted that their plane wreckage showed evidence of being hit by an unknown weapon, again described in conformity with a modern high-power laser.

Author Kenn Thomas points out that Jim Garrison was an FBI field agent in Washington state at this time. Clay Shaw was apparently also stationed in Washington state at the time, as was Guy Banister.

The rash of flying saucer sightings and the death of the airmen fueled demands by the executive — J. Edgar Hoover and Truman — in Washington D.C., for further intelligence.

Crisman was supposedly called back to active service following the incident and stationed in Alaska, Canada and/or Greenland. He wrote one more Shaver Mystery-type letter to Amazing on his return alleging an incident in a cave in Alaska involving the death of a friend.

Murder of a City, Tacoma

In the 1960s and 70s Crisman protested Tacoma's adoption of a city board of management over city council and mayor. He created a right-wing radio persona, Jon Gold, at KAYE FM in Puyallup and wrote and published a book called The Murder of a City (Transistor Publishing Company, 1970).

A review [2] of the book says:

"This weird, politically slanted rant about Tacoma in the late 1960s is a window into the chaos and bitterness that led to the 1971 recall of a majority of the City Council and of the fall of Mayor R.L. Slim Rasmussen. The author, Fred Crisman, was a talk radio personality who managed in the book to tie corruption in Tacoma to everything from communist infiltrators to the Kennedy assassination. The paranoid tone of the writing, shameless personal attacks, and naming of names seems like something out of the mid-50s but as a historical artifact is much more than just a novelty."

Crisman was appointed by the mayor to serve on the Tacoma Public Library board.

He also used his media presence on the air, in local newspapers and in the community to push for greater rights for Roma.

John F. Kennedy Assassination

Full article: John F. Kennedy/Assassination

Crisman was subpoenaed by Jim Garrison to testify in his case against Clay Shaw in the John F. Kennedy assassination.[3] When Shaw was arrested, Crisman was allegedly the first person Shaw called.[4] Shaw also made an effort to physically visit Crisman during the early Garrison investigation (check this, it might be Guy Banister).

Various theories place Crisman on the grassy knoll, possibly as a radio operator, or as one of the three tramps taken into custody near Dealey Plaza. The origin of this repeated claim appears to be the Torbitt Document [5] "William Torbitt" is the pseudonym for a 1969 Texas lawyer-author-Kennedy Assassination-researcher who spells Crisman "Chrismon" (check this, too: "Crismon" I believe).

However, a log from Rainier High School where Crisman taught shows no substitute was required for Crisman on the day of the assassination, seemingly supporting Crisman's claim that he was teaching at the time of the assassination.[6] (Does Kenn Thomas really claim this? needs to be checked.) Crisman's Grand Jury testimony is now public (see External Links) and in Murder of a City, Tacoma Crisman claimed no knowledge of a conspiracy, nor was he called as a witness in the Clay Shaw trial (where did he actually testify?).

Inslaw and The Octopus

Crisman died in 1975, but his name continues to resonate in the world of JFK assassination research and other deep politics related matters. Michael Riconosciuto, a witness who testified before the House Judiciary Committee investigating the Inslaw Affair, was described as a young electronics whiz from Tacoma who was a close acquaintance of Crisman's,[7] and helped Crisman sweep (and possibly plant) electronic eavesdropping devices during the years Crisman wrote Murder Of A City, Tacoma

Books that mention Fred Crisman


  • UFO 34 Vol.8 No. 5 The Secret Life of Fred L. Crisman by Anthony L. Kimery pp. 34–38

See also

External links


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Deception and distraction strategies relating to the John F Kennedy Assassinationarticle2017Garrick Alder


  1. 1930 Census of Tacoma
  2. Michael Sullivan - On A Small Tacoma Bookshelf Nov 23, 2009
  3. Crisman, F. Lee; Special Investigation, Orleans Parish Grand Jury, 21 November 1968 pages 1-32
  4. Jim Marrs Alien Agenda
  5. Torbitt Document.
  6. Kenn Thomas, Maury Island UFO: The Crisman Conspiracy
  7. Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith Octopus: The Secret Government and Death of Danny Casolaro Feral House 1996. Appendix Three: Prison interview with Michael Riconosciuto