RIO RANCHO – By no means is David Marler the only ardent collector in the City of Vision.
But Marler’s UFO collection – encompassing dozens of file drawers, original newspaper front pages, photographs and rare material from the Air Force’s Project Blue Book – is different in that it has a destination after his passing.
Of course, Marler’s only 50, so he’s not going anytime soon. But someday, his growing collection will be handed off to the University of New Mexico, which Marler sees as the future destination for UFOlogists.
“UFO organizations come and go, but the university’s always gonna be here,” he said.
Marler, who makes his living through medical sales throughout the state and El Paso, often spends his own money for travel expenses and accumulating others’ collections, as he recently did on a trip to Tempe, Ariz., to acquire a substantial collection that included a wealth of foreign reports on sightings from South America to the former Soviet Union.
“That shows the global nature of the phenomenon,” Marler said. “People are looking up and seeing things they can’t identify. … There’s a volume of material that even ardent skeptics can’t refute.”
Documentarian James Fox, in the state recently to do a piece on a 1964 Socorro incident, checked out Marler’s photos of the purported landing site of that UFO.
“The Bible’s a collection of books; this is a collection of collections,” Marler said.
A dedicated UFO researcher, he began this hobby in 1990; UFO collectors “are just curators,” he said.
One of his most recent acquisitions came from a dumpster diver who yanked out a collection thrown away after the death of a collector. Among that material was correspondence signed by President Lyndon Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
But it gets expensive, amassing a lot of one-of-a-kind material and documents, and newspapers that may have once been printed in the millions but are rare 100 or so years later.
That’s why Marler recently joined the 21st century – he has a Facebook presence now – and began a GoFundMe page to attract donations. You’ll find Marler’s GoFundMe account online at gofundme.com/ufo-research-fund; his website is at www.davidmarlerufo.com.
In the collection are videos, one of which includes the eyewitness account of late Mercury 7 astronaut Scott Carpenter of the second time he saw an apparent UFO at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 1957. The film of the UFO mysteriously disappeared.
Still, Marler won’t argue fervently to defend the existence of UFOs. He’s never seen one.
He said he refuses to let his feelings influence his frequent conversations about the subject.
As he puts it, “Fact, fiction or folklore, it’s part of our history.”
That “history” began before the acclaimed Roswell incident in 1947.
“I like the ‘battle of LA,’ ” he said of his favorite story.
The incident in 1942 on the West Coast had thousands of witnesses.
“But Farmington’s also interesting, because of one-third of the town looking up over two or three days (and seeing) hundreds of objects,” he said.
The Farmington event took place in March 1950, when thousands of people reported seeing hundreds of “flying saucers” in broad daylight in northwestern New Mexico.
Not much research had been done on it until Marler began investigating, interviewing a few eyewitnesses, and finding newspaper accounts throughout the state of similar events 68 years ago.
Give Marler a few minutes, and he’ll be able to extract yellowed newspaper clippings from the late 19th century, or another item he’s proud of: A bound volume of Scientific American from 1882, in which there’s a very short story about a sighting of “two black triangular notches” seen passing the surface of the moon in July 1881.
“People still report disc-shaped (UFOs),” but there have been more and more reports of triangular-shaped UFOs, Marler said.
And, he’s quick to point out, those triangular-shaped reports were coming in long before the country’s stealth fighter jets.
Accumulating and organizing materials, making occasional presentations – he’s booked for a presentation in Nova Scotia in 2020 – soon writing another book, traveling for his full-time job and being consulted by his fiancée, Kendra, about their May nuptials, Marler has the right to feel exhausted.
“I’m burning the candle at three ends, if that’s possible,” he said. “It’s a fascinating subject.”