Reinhold O. Schmidt
Reinhold Schmidt (1897–1974) was a 1957 UFO "contactee" in an era that began with George Adamski in 1953. Schmidt was born and grew up in Nebraska, where he worked for most of his adult life as a reputable grain buyer and dealer. He became a contactee after telling of his experience on November 5, 1957 detailed in his book Edge of Tomorrow, when while driving through a rural area near Kearney, Nebraska, he noticed a large, cigar-shaped object resting in a field. He was soon escorted inside the space ship, which turned out to be crewed by completely human-looking space aliens, four male and two female, who apparently spoke perfect German and claimed to be from the planet Saturn. "The Saturnians" also claimed to be interested in the recently launched Russian sputniks, and the satellite-launching plans of the US.
Later Schmidt brought local police to view the "landing site," where they found deep imprints and some "mysterious green residue". Like George Adamski and others, Schmidt also claims subsequent visits to the extraterrestrial space ship and many friendly conversations with its learned crew. Schmidt noticed they drank MJB brand coffee, and also carried in their cigar-shaped craft an ordinary terrestrial MG sports car, which they used for running errands and buying groceries. (A schematic drawing of the ship's interior in Schmidt's later booklet depicts a Volkswagen Beetle, not an MG sports car.) Unlike most space ships the Saturnian ship had large propellers at both ends. Eventually Schmidt got the ride up to earth orbit, and tour of the Mother Ship, that almost all 1950s contactees report.
Schmidt had joined up with Wayne Sulo Aho and John Otto on their lecture circuit across the US, within two months of his reported "first contact." Unlike the majority of contactees, Schmidt did not seem interested in forming a religious cult, although the Saturnians had the usual Space-Brotherly religious message and revealed that they had been around to help Jesus, a Venusian, in his mission to earth. Schmidt relocated to Bakersfield, California, where he continued to present lectures for the next few years, recounting his other-worldly experiences and later sought out elderly women who had been in his audiences and whose addresses he had obtained. He told them that in his rides in the space ship he had observed the location of valuable mineral deposits, including a unique form of quartz crystal which could cure cancer. Having exhausted his funds in purchasing the site, he now needed quick cash to begin mining the crystals and demonstrating their healing properties. Most of the ladies he approached quickly came up with several thousand dollars a piece to aid his "space-directed" mission. He collected sums approaching $30,000 before his arrest and conviction on charges of grand theft. Little is known about his later career, except that after his release from prison, he returned to Nebraska.
In 1963, before his legal troubles began, he self-published a booklet, My Contact With the Spacepeople. He also promoted the making of a short, low-budget film which dramatizes his supposed visits to the Saturnian space ship. The film, Edge of Tomorrow, begins with Schmidt being interviewed by an actor resembling Long John Nebel. In flashback we see his visit to the space ship and his chats with the Saturnians, including the ship's captain, "Mr. X," and two very fetching Space Girls dressed much like Carol and Tonga of Space Patrol. Schmidt's booklet was retitled Edge of Tomorrow to match the film, illustrated with stills from the film, and was clearly intended to be sold to audience members before or after showings of the film. The booklet is still in print. According to the booklet, while in the space cigar Schmidt had looked at some notebooks which contained prophecies for our earth covering the period 1958 to 1998, "the end of the present Earth Cycle." No details are given and Schmidt did not launch a new career as prophet. Schmidt had clearly also just been reading George Hunt Williamson's Secret Places of the Lion (1958), because he recounts how "Mr. X" once took him to the Great Pyramid, and to a secret underground chamber where he got a look at the small flying saucer Jesus had used to come to Earth from his native Venus 2000 years ago and later used to return to Venus. "Mr. X" himself had brought the saucer back to store in the Pyramid.
- Lewis, James R., editor. UFOs and Popular Culture, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2000. ISBN 1-57607-265-7
- Schmidt, Reinhold O. The Edge of Tomorrow, self-published, c. 1964. ISBN 0-938294-94-6
- A page uncritically recounting Schmidt's contactee tales; contains the complete text of his original booklet
- Overview of 1950s contactees; Schmidt is not mentioned in detail