Each Monday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets around Los Angeles.
UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe
Author:Donald R. Burleson, PhD
Publisher: Black Mesa Press, Roswell, NM
Discovered at: Counterpoint Books, 5911 Franklin
The Cover Promises: Put a blonde wig on a sketch of Joyce Carol Oates, and, hey, you've got Marilyn!
"Make no mistake - I consider Robert F. Kennedy one of the most detestable people I've ever heard of, and I would not for a moment try to excuse anything he did. In fact, I can never forgive John Kennedy for telling her Marilyn the things, in the first place, that got her in trouble, and I can never forgive Bobby Kennedy for the ruthless manner in which he saw to it that Marilyn would remain silent." (page 88).
I'm serious about the Joyce Carol Oates thing.
More full of ugly crazy than a locked and flaming clown car, Daniel Burleson's UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe gathers all the usual rumors about the April 1962 suicide of Marilyn Monroe in her Brentwood home and gives 'em a made-for-SciFi twist: What if she were murdered? And what if that murder were covered up as a suicide? And what if that murder were ordered by her lover Robert Kennedy? And what if that murder were to prevent her from spilling secrets about John -- her other Kennedy lover?
And what if one of those secrets was that JFK had told her all about touring an air force base stocked with materials from the UFO crash at Roswell?
Like al thoughtful freshman debaters, Burleson - the state director of New Mexico's MUFON branch - kicks off his case with things we can all agree upon. Yes, it's true that John Kennedy enjoyed women: 1300, claims Burleson, without citation.
He adds, "These guys sent out for whores the way most people send out for pizza," an ingenious comparison worth further consideration.
Prostitutes are exactly like pizza because:
You can choose between thin crust or deep-dish.
You need a paper towel to blot up grease.
SliceTruck - one of my favorite Los Angeles delicacies - is aptly named to deliver either.
Besides proving that the Kennedys enjoyed sex with ladies, Burleson picks at the official records of Marilyn's death, discovering cover-up everywhere. He asks why her infamous diary - alleged since about '74 to contain dirt on Castro and the CIA - never turns up in police reports.
He asks why L.A. county coroner's aid Lionel Grandison would sign off on the official death certificate's pronouncement of suicide when hundreds of pages from the autopsy report had gone missing. Burleson's speculation:
"He was a young black man, fairly new to his profession, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if, given the social climate of the times, his ethnicity played a part in the pressures brought to bear upon him to sign a document that he strongly suspected to be fraudulent (which indeed it was.)"
Marilyn Monroe, undone by racism!
At one point, accusing the Kennedys of murdering "the quality of her memory as well," he imagines her as absolutely Christlike:
"The thought that one has taken ones own life is one of the most tragic stigmata that can be imposed."
Bleeding hands aside, she did have problems:
"Marilyn wasn't perfect, certainly. She was sometimes petulant, sometimes possessed of unrealistic social ambitions, and - ultimately her downfall - sometimes naïve in her choice of companions."
Burleson's technique is to gets his readers to agree that there's something fishy about isolated bits of weirdness in the official record. Then, once we're nodding along, he insists that each fishy bit fits snugly within a much bigger weirdness.
Discussing the high levels of toxicity in her blood, and Marilyn's own difficulty swallowing pills, and the curious fact that investigators found no water glass near her body, Burleson presents his hunch as conclusive:
"The evidence is decisive, from her blood toxicity. Marilyn was killed by lethal injection."
Just paragraphs later, Burleson discounts the possibility of suicide by arguing that April, 1962, was a month of career triumph for Marilyn. Note the increasing strength of his modifiers:
"It makes it exceeding unlikely - even virtually inconceivable - that she might have been thinking of taking her own life."
Burleson then argues that Robert Kennedy slapped her around the night before she died, shrieking that she cough up her diary and cancel the press conference she had announced at which she would divulge the truth about Roswell - yet he still clings to the idea that Marilyn would not have been emotionally distraught enough for suicide. His evidence for this blow up with RFK: the testimonial of friends of Marilyn's who allege to have heard the official and private surveillance tapes recorded of her home - tapes that have never turned up.
Burleson even seems to identify with Marilyn at times, bonding with her over books:
"Dumb? Blond? Airhead? Not on your life. What can one say about a woman who loved the music of Bela Bartok? A woman who quoted freely from the novels of Thomas Wolfe and the poetry of Robert Browning? A woman who sat down and read James Joyce's notoriously difficult novel Ulyssess? I once read Ulysses too, but in a graduate course with a professor who guided her students through the novel's labyrinthine complexities. Marilyn read it on her own, for pleasure."
Allegations that the Kennedys murdered Marilyn to keep her mouth shut date back to as early as '64, when Frank Capell alleged Communist involvement in his book The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe. Burleson dismisses this nonsense ("that old bugaboo of the mid-twentieth century") in favor of nonsense of his own: the crash of a UFO at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1943, which he takes as established fact.
The Kennedys' infidelities, though, he proves over pages.
To follow Burleson, you must practice an on-and-off skepticism: all official documents are suspect, proven disreputable through the minor mistakes of bureaucrats, yet any document or testimony that supports Burleson's interpretation of events is held up to nowhere near the same rigorous examination.
The Kennedys were motivated, he claims, by a CIA memo turned up in '94 by UFO investigator Stephen Greer. Dated just one day before Marilyn's death, this memo appears to confirm in the plainest of language Marilyn's plans to hold a press conference to reveal to the world what JFK had told her about Roswell.
Here, Burleson imagines that press conference.
The memo's provenance is, of course, every bit as fishy as the alleged missing pages of her autopsy. Yet Burleson accepts it at face value, even finding evidence in it that his fellow investigators missed. In 2001, he published an article about all this - for his own safety, he insists, to be sure the story is out there, already, just in case the government acts again.
So far, they haven't . . . unless we believe Burleson's online defenders, who attack anyone who demands stronger evidence as "government agents" spreading "disinformation."
Also, it's worth mentioning at this point that Burleson has penned studies of H.P. Lovecraft as well as novels with titles like Arroyo -- which refers to the so-called "canals" on Mars - and A Roswell Christmas Carol -- which refers to the fact that somebody actually wrote a novel titled A Roswell Christmas Carol.
"JFK, let's face it, was something of a jerk, in that her viewed his countless women only as conquests and made very little effort to hide his dalliances. Bobby was a jerk, too, big time, but he was a more careful jerk."
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I bet this is one of those books where every copy is a signed first.
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