Visiting The Gray Barker UFO collection, based at the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was not a dream come true. It was a dream come true ten years ago on my first visit. This time, it was work.
Of course, Ten years ago, it was work as well. I was finishing the research phase of my MA thesis for the history department at IUPUI. The problem, back in December 2002, was that that I was
(a)not as a good a researcher as I am not (and I’m still not great) and
(b) I was overcome by the awesomeness of being in the town where Gray Barker wrote They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. I was unfocused—not having started the writing on the thesis, I wasn’t entire sure what I needed—and pushed for time.
This time, however, I had more than enough time (a day and a half), resources (better laptop, a scanner, 3G hotspot for quick research), and focus (I needed correspondence with a number of people I’m writing about).
The trip was a success (not least because of lunch at the Ritzy Lunch, home of the best Italian sausage sandwich I’ve ever tasted)—I found some great letters between Barker and figures like George King and Truman Bethurum. I also examined some books that I hadn’t been able to track down myself—Marla Baxter’s My Saturnian Lover is probably the best find, although Bethurum’s Voices from the Planet Clarion is exceedingly useful as well.
David Houchin, who’s in charge of special collections at the library, was a great host; very helpful and full of great stories about Gray Barker and information about the Clarksburg area.
But now that I’m home…back to work.