James Forrestal, the first US Secretary of Defense, died on May 22, 1949. More precisely, at 1:50 AM which makes the case more mysterious. The circumstances surrounding Forrestal’s dying hours were engulfed in dispute. All we know for definite is that Forrestal’s body was discovered on the third story canopy of the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland in the early hours of the 22nd. Did he take a fatal leap out of the window of the 13th floor of the hospital, his mind in turmoil and suicide on his mind? Was it an accident? Or, was Forrestal assassinated?
The Mysterious Death Of James Forrestal
This is because, for years, there have been suspicions that Forrestal was aware of something (perhaps everything) the US government was concealing about UFOs in the late 1940s. It was only a matter of time before Forrestal began to demonstrate psychological difficulties. Depression, allegedly brought on by his massive workload, was cited as the primary culprit. The situation deteriorated further: the depression worsened, anxiety attacks began, and a significant dose of paranoia overcame him.
This was not good for the US government, as Secretary of Defense Forrestal was a critical component of the country’s infrastructure. However, President Truman secretly designated him as a potential threat to the Department of Defense’s orderly operation due to his psychological problems. By the end of 1948, Forrestal’s precarious mental state had deteriorated further.
At some point, action has to be taken. And it most emphatically was. Forrestal was relieved of his duties as Secretary of Defense. The government’s next step was to assist Forrestal in regaining his health. Naturally, no one wanted the man to suffer or devolve into a life-threatening condition. As a result, the decision was made to admit Forrestal to the aforementioned Bethesda Naval Hospital, where he could hopefully recover.
Most concerning for Truman’s team, though, was the genuine danger that a destabilized Forrestal may run off the tracks and reveal some of the most closely held secrets of the US government. It was a perilous and unpredictably dangerous era. It would quickly deteriorate into a lethal situation. Forrestal had a strange incident a few days before he landed up in the naval hospital that had obvious Men in Black overtones.
On the day in question, Forrestal was visited by one of his friends, a man named Ferdinand Eberstadt, who expressed grave concern about Forrestal’s frail and paranoid mental state. Eberstadt (a lawyer, a banker, and the author of a 1945 paper titled “Task Force Report on National Security Organization”) was taken aback by what he witnessed upon his arrival at Forrestal’s residence.
All of the drapes had been drawn. In hushed tones, Forrestal informed his acquaintance that listening devices were hidden throughout the house. Sinister characters were keeping a close eye on his every step. His life was jeopardized. Perhaps it was.
To explain this to Eberstadt, Forrestal carefully opened one of the slats and nodded knowingly toward a pair of scruffily dressed individuals on the street corner. Forrestal told Eberstadt that “they” were a part of it. Within seconds, the doorbell at Forrestal’s residence was heard ringing. Forrestal had no intention of answering the door.
Fortunately, one of his staff members was on hand to assist him. A brief chat occurred, but neither Forrestal nor Eberstadt could hear it. The facts, however, swiftly came to Forrestal from his houseboy. According to what the two men were told, the visitor at the door was attempting to garner support for a postmaster position in his community.
Could he come in and chat with Forrestal, soliciting his assistance and advice? Due to Forrestal’s erratic behavior, the man was immediately dismissed.
Eberstadt and Forrestal kept a close eye on the man as he walked directly toward the two ill-dressed individuals who had already thrown Forrestal for a loop. When Forrestal observed the three clearly conversing, he believed that this was additional evidence of a conspiracy against him.
Perhaps the entire situation was exaggerated by a guy devolving into a communal state of paranoia, terror, and nervous collapse. Without a doubt, that is what occurred. However, it’s worth noting that this bizarre incident occurred during Eberstadt’s visit and has some Men in Black parallels.
To begin, the Men in Black are frequently characterized as seeming out of place: their complexion is exceedingly pale, their eyes are frequently bulging (hidden behind wraparound shades), and they are occasionally portrayed as wearing wigs and make-up. The implication is that they are not human beings.
On the day in question, Forrestal’s workers described his visitor as quite odd-looking. The man’s attempt to obtain access to Forrestal’s home — claiming to be seeking support for a future postmaster job – parallels 1960s stories of MIBs breaking into the homes of UFO witnesses by posing as military troops or police officials. Women in Black posed as census takers and gypsies during the same time period. Clearly, they were neither. Forrestal found himself in an unusual and scary predicament. Terrifying, too, for the man whose mind was crashing horribly.
On April 2, 1949, Forrestal was admitted to the hospital — for his own safety and that of the United States government as well. Doctors and nurses immediately recognized Forrestal’s perilous condition. Forrestal had a strong suspicion – no, he was certain – that deadly characters were following his every move.
Who those same persons could have been varied considerably according to Forrestal’s frame: at times, they were Russian agents. At other times, it was US government spies. Forrestal believed the latter was headed by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Forrestal’s head was whirling – and not in a pleasant way. Additionally, Forrestal ceased eating for a period of time. This is not a good sign.
It’s critical to remember that when Forrestal was admitted to Bethesda, he was placed in what amounted to solitary confinement, with the room’s windows modified to prevent them from being opened.
Notably, when Forrestal’s family inquired as to why such actions were taken, Captain George N. Raines, Bethesda’s chief psychiatrist, stated that they were taken to prevent Forrestal from leaping out of the windows and killing himself – which, some believe, is precisely what happened on the fateful night Forrestal’s life ended.
After a few weeks in the hospital, Forrestal showed a noticeable, and gratifying, recovery. Doctors and nurses both confirmed. Additionally, his appetite began to return. To the point that Forrestal chowed down on a massive steak in the presence of Rear Admiral Morton Willcutts, who had come to meet an old friend. Indeed, it appeared as though prosperous times were ahead. That everything changed two days later. Or, more precisely, two nights later.
Death was on the horizon. It was a death that was shrouded in secrecy. Let us examine what we do know for certain about those final hours of someone who possessed some of the most vital secrets of the US government.
Edward Prise was instructed to keep a close eye on Forrestal. He was a corpsman in the United States Navy. Due to the length of their time together, the duo developed a strong friendship.
As the night wore on, Forrestal informed Prise that he was not in need of a sleeping drug and would instead immerse himself in a book. That, too, was a positive development. Or, at least, it appeared to be. Following the conclusion of Prise’s shift, he was replaced by another military veteran, Robert Wayne Harrison, Jr. Forrestal’s demise was inevitable.
Harrison, Jr. left the room during his shift to perform an errand. From that point on, everything becomes very foggy and unclear – and almost certainly something that will never be entirely resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. When Harrison, Jr. returned to his room, he was astounded to see Forrestal was not in his bed.
Additionally, the windows of the room were open. Harrison Jr. dashed to the window, where the string of Forrestal’s dressing robe was secured to a radiator near the window. Clearly, the objective was to kill through strangling.
However, it turned out that Forrestal’s weight caused the cable to snap, and Forrestal plunged ten stories to his death; an event that no one could have survived.
The official theory is that Forrestal committed suicide after being left alone in his room, probably in a brief moment when his mind reverted to that perilous state of sadness and worry. The critical question, though, is whether Forrestal was pressured. The reason: to ensure that he could never, ever share whatever he may have encountered while serving in government.
One could argue that Forrestal’s death was staged to appear as a suicide when, in fact, it was a violent murder. This takes us to a critical point: what about the UFO connection to all of this? To begin, there is the Men in Black / Women in Black controversy. Within Ufology, reports have swirled for decades that Forrestal was seriously considering going public with what he had learned about the UFO phenomenon following his appointment as Secretary of Defense.
It’s critical to remember that, as the nation’s first Secretary of Defense, Forrestal would have undoubtedly been exposed to the UFO phenomenon’s deepest, darkest, and most secretive aspects. Additionally, there is a document. However, we should not get too thrilled. The document is one of those vexing purported “secret files” that can only be obtained by whistleblowers.
Bob Wood and Ryan Wood, father and son ufologists, received the document. It was presented to the couple by another ufologist (Tim Cooper). The reproduced document makes it very evident that Forrestal was murdered as a result of his knowledge of UFOs and his plans for all the secrets spinning about his head.
The issue is that the document provides us with an excessive amount of information. And no one in government – ever – would produce a paper that basically says, “Please go ahead and assassinate Secretary of Defense Forrestal due to his knowledge of UFOs.” Such an act is ludicrous. If Forrestal had been assassinated, the facts would never have been recorded.
That is, the document is a forgery. However, it is definitely intended to make it appear as though Forrestal was forced to leave because of alien secrets. Whether a hoax or a piece of misdirection, the document is not authentic. Of course, it is possible that the purpose was to confuse the public regarding Forrestal, aliens, and UFOs.
However, we are certain that Forrestal was murdered: there are so many bizarre components to the entire affair. Concerning the UFO side of the narrative, nevertheless, much more evidence must be discovered to create a truly compelling case.
**By Ansh Srivastava