This article was published in the daily newspaper The Durango Herald, of Durango, Colorado, USA, on March 21, 2004.
Chief UFO investigator dies
By Patricia Miller
Roy F. Craig, an investigator who worked on the country's largest, most systematic investigation of flying saucers, died Thursday, March 18, 2004, at his La Boca Ranch, south of Ignacio. He died after a struggle with cancer. He was 79.
[Captionned image:] Roy F. Craig is seen at his La Boca Ranch, a 186-acre former Indian trading post, in late October 2004. He is in his front yard with two of his three dogs and one of his 60 llamas that had given birth to her baby only four days earlier. Craig died Thursday at the age of 79.
Roy F. Craig wrote both the words and music to this song under the pseudonym John D'Arcey. Notice the similarity between the sounds of D'Arcey and the initials R. C.
He enjoyed singing the song accompanied by a tape in which he played the dulcimer backing and worked whooshes, beeps and pings into the music. He said the odd sounds were "whistlers from outer space," never explaining whether the whistlers were a joke or a sophisticated astronomical finding.
The second of the song's four verses reads:
I'm a Ufo from Atlantis
Beep beep beep beep beep beep
(Many more beeps follow.)
Craig was chosen by the project's head, Edward Condon, to serve as chief field investigator for The Colorado Project, the official government search for scientific, verifiable evidence for the existence of unidentified flying objects. He was co-author of the three-volume Condon report.
Although the report debunked mysteries from outer space, Dr. Craig's position on UFOs as expressed to the Herald last October was, "I love them."
"Reports of UFOs have changed popular culture so people are accepting the probable fact that there are intelligences elsewhere," he said. "It's got people out of the rut of thinking the whole universe was created for man."
Years later, he wrote about his experiences in his book UFOS: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence (University of North Texas Press). He donated nine boxes of his papers and research findings to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Texas A&M University's Cushing Memorial Library.
He chose the Texas university rather than Fort Lewis College because the librarian there asked him and because they promised to keep his papers preserved in a climate-controlled building, properly catalogued and accessible.
In 2001, Craig's biography was included in A.M. Marquis's Who's Who in the World, a compilation of leading scientists.
Craig was born on May 10,1924, on the land that his parents, Anna and Philip Craig, homesteaded on the Florida Mesa. He graduated from Durango High School, then attended Fort Lewis College at the old campus at Hesperus.
His college studies were interrupted by military service in the U.S. Army during World War II.
After his discharge, Craig attended Colorado State University, the University of Colorado and the California Institute of Technology before receiving a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University.
During his professional career, Craig worked for Rocky Flats in Boulder, taught physical science at the University of Colorado and helped set up the Four Corners Research Institute, which offered environmental and other scientific investigation services. His teaching career including visiting professorships at the University of Hawaii and at Ponape, an island in the South Pacific.
Craig was a community-minded citizen and a vigilant letter writer. The Herald archive alone contains 44 letters from him since 1995. Land use was a particular concern of his and he once cautioned his neighbors not to get into a shooting war "and wipe the Indians all out" over methane-gas ownership.
He told the Herald that he used to write even more letters to the Boulder newspaper when he taught at the University of Colorado. He was protesting the Vietnam War.
Opposition to the war was a position the former soldier arrived at suddenly. Craig had been making nuclear weapons. He had a staff of 18 and believed in deterrence: "If we make them, we won't have to use them."
Then one night he went to hear an Army general speak. The general said there was no reason they shouldn't use tactical nuclear weapons to blow up bridges in Vietnam.
Soon after he heard this, Craig quit his job and started teaching.
For the past 25 years, Craig has raised llamas on his ranch. He also pastured buffalo for a neighbor and kept two peacocks. His dining room was full of hundreds of peacock feathers last October, which he said were his proof that God exists. He saw no other explanation than God for something as beautiful as a peacock feather.
Craig enjoyed weekly chess games with his friends, Chester Anderson and Hal Mansfield. He traveled frequently to Mexico and the Caribbean and toured South and Central America. A memorable trip was a monthlong journey around the world on a tour ship.
"He instilled in me an appreciation for the beauty of the world," said his niece Gayle Voss Button. "He loved his life and felt he was already in Heaven at his La Boca Ranch."
Craig is survived by his sisters: Carolyn Shryock of Kirtland, N. M. and Dorothy Voss McCormick of Durango; his sisters-in-law Joyce Craig and Helen Craig, both of Durango; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 25, at La Boca Ranch.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Craig-Dyer Scholarship Fund, Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango 81301 or Hospice of Mercy, 3801 Main Ave., Durango 81301.