1953 Hunrath and Wilkinson Disappearance
Source: "Strange Skies – Pilot Encounters with UFOs" by Jerome Clark, pages 158-164 "Gone to Maser"
The 1950s was a time of major UFO activity but it was also a time in UFO history known by a group of persons known as "UFO contactees". These individuals claimed to have made contact with the alien occupants of the flying saucers. For some these contacts were face to face, for others the communications were telepathic. Some claimed to have been given rides on alien spacecraft. Most of the mainstream UFO organizations of the time gave little credence to the contactees, and believed most to be hoaxers or people suffering from delusions. These opinions are shared by most Ufologists today, although some see the contactees as predecessors to the UFO abductees of the following decades. Nonetheless, many of these contactees developed quite a following through books and lectures. One of the most famous contactees was George Adamski.
George Adamski was born in Poland and immigrated to the US at a young age. By the 1930s, he was living in California as a sort of guru practicing "Universal Progressive Christianity". He set up a small observatory at a restaurant "Palomar Gardens" below the famous Mount Palomar Observatory. By the early 1950s, Adamski was taking photographs of flying saucers with his telescope and writing science fiction and articles about the occult. On November 20, 1952, Adamski reportedly met an angelic looking man named Orthon who emerged from a landed flying saucer, claiming to be from Venus. During this encounter at the base of the Coxcomb Mountains, not far from Desert Center, California, Adamski was accompanied by six people who were told by Adamski to stay behind while he made the contact with Orthon.
After this encounter, Adamski attracted a small group of followers. One of these was Karl Hunrath, a tempermental electrical engineer, who had invented "Bosco" a device which was intended to bring down flying saucers. After a dispute with Adamski, Hunrath moved away from Palomar Gardens and rented an apartment in Los Angeles with Jerrold Baker, a handyman at Palomar Gardens who had also had a falling out with Adamski.
Karl Hunrath was soon working as a radio technician. In June 1953, a old friend of Hunrath's from Racine, Wisconsin, Wilbur J. Wilkinson, arrived in Los Angeles with his wife and three children. Wilkinson, a co-inventor of Bosco, had left his job as a foreman at an electrical appliance plant, to join Hunrath in his efforts to see a flying saucer and meet an alien.
The two men developed an interest in channeling aliens, meeting other contactees and using psychic techniques and mechanical contractions to communicate with the "Maserians", beings who allegedly lived on the moon.
On or about November 10, 1953, Karl Hunrath made phone calls to several associates telling them that some people had left Earth for other planets and that no one should be surprised if this might happen to him. On November 11, 1953, Hunrath and Wilkinson rented a small plane at Gardina County Airport near Los Angeles. With three hours of fuel, one hour paid rental, and no filed flight plan, Hunrath flew off with his passenger Wilkinson with the likely intent to meet a grounded saucer which they apparently presumed would take them to Maser, Venus or some other off-Earth populated celestial body.
Apparently to this day, no trace of the aircraft or the two men has been found. Most people presume that Hunrath, an inexperienced pilot, probably crashed somewhere in the mountainous terrain east of Los Angeles. If this is so, the aircraft wreckage may be out there still.
I include this account as I find it an interesting coincidence that Hunrath and Wilkinson's plane disappeared about two weeks before the fateful Kinross Incident. I'll leave it for the reader to judge the relevance of disappearance of two UFO contactees with the disappearance of two Air Force pilots a few weeks later. I find it an interesting coincidence that all men had recently been living in southern Wisconsin.