The Airline Stewardess who Starved Herself to Death for Aliens

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A picture of Gloria Lee from her first book, “Why We Are Here.”

In September 1953, 28-year-old Gloria Lee began to hear a strange voice in her head. Fortunately, the voice didn’t claim to be a manifestation of schizophrenia, but a telepathic communication from Jupiter by an alien named J.W. (The Jovians were so utterly advanced that they had no use for names or vocal cords.) Lee, an airline stewardess who had a great interest in UFOs, was understandably thrilled with her psychic visitor. She’d heard stories from pilots and other stewardesses about flying saucers, but in her five years of experience had never actually seen one herself.

Imagine Lee’s disappointment, then, when J.W. refused to physically show himself to her. “Frankly,” she wrote in her first book, I was just plain disgusted J.W. didn’t “drop in for a visit” if he was who he said he was.” For months, Lee decided to ignore J.W., until one day she was hanging laundry outside her home in Westchester, California and suddenly heard a voice telling her to look up.

Not sure what to expect, Lee followed the command, and spotted a giant UFO flying northward. After hearing there were other witnesses who saw the object in near-by Redondo Beach, Lee’s faith was restored, and she took up talking to J.W. again. To further develop her powers, Lee also attended a “psychic development” class. Lee never claimed to have physically met or seen J.W., but a classmate did once sketch his picture after supposedly seeing him stand behind Lee in class.

While this experience by itself was enough to convince Lee, she still had nothing to offer to any skeptics. “I have talked to him in materialized form and via direct voice control, ” she admitted, “but for those of you who may still doubt the existence of a person named J.W., I can give you no concrete proof which would satisfy only the five senses.” Among the 1950s contactee movement, no concrete proof was needed, and Lee put out a popular book in 1959 originally entitled “Why We Are Here: by J.W., A Being from Jupiter Through the Instrumentation of Gloria Lee.”  (The book was allegedly written by J.W., who communicated it to Lee by automatic writing.)

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Lee took her work with J.W. very seriously, lecturing about her communications and even founding an organization called the Cosmon Research Foundation to promote his teachings. On September 23, 1962, J.W. ordered Lee to go on a hunger strike after some government officials in Washington D.C. declined to see her channeled blueprints for a spaceship. The strike was held for world peace, and Lee said she wouldn’t stop until the “light elevator” J.W. promised her would appear on earth to take her to Jupiter.

As everybody else expected, J.W.’s light elevator never arrived, and Lee’s hunger strike lasted for 66 days until her husband William H. Byrd had her hospitalized. Sadly, Lee didn’t recover, and she died in George Washington University Hospital on December 3. This was not, however, the last we would ever hear of Gloria Lee.

 

Shamelessly, or perhaps ingeniously from a marketing perspective, the clairvoyant Nada-Yolanda claimed to have come into psychic contact with Lee two months after her death. In January 1963, she and her publishing company Mark Age, Inc. released “Gloria Lee Lives! My Experiences Since Leaving Earth, Lee’s posthumous account of life on Venus. Mark Age would later release several other books of telepathic messages from Lee, and while these are now long out of print, you can still pick up new copies of Lee’s and J.W.’s first book on Amazon.