This is Chapter 47 from The Man Who Mastered Gravity, now available from Amazon and fine booksellers everywhere.
In the spring of 2005, a ghost calling himself ‘Norman Paperman’ showed up in the California desert.
Per his secretary’s request, the letter I sent to Mr. Paperman posed nearly two dozen questions.
For example: Was Townsend Brown a CIA officer? When did he first become involved in espionage? Did he work with the OSS during World War II? When was he recruited, and by whom? Was there a connection between those assignments and his own discoveries and scientific research?
And: What were the circumstances of Townsend Brown’s discharge from the Navy? Why was he so suddenly dismissed, when the service acknowledged that he was one of their most knowledgeable scientists? And how does his dismissal reconcile with showing up at a top-secret aviation research facility just a few weeks later?
. . .
Mr. Paperman explained that Brown’s credentials had come to the attention of a “certain organization” during the early 1930s; that he’d been invited to join a cruise where he was “vetted and recruited” by Florence Douglas on behalf of Eldridge Johnson, and joined the organization immediately.
He stayed with them, intermittently, for years. He was always awarded the freedom to work on his own projects but occasionally was pulled in other directions by the needs of what you have come to call the ‘Deeper Draft Vessel.’ For my own purposes I have called it the ‘Caroline Group.’
These connections will prove nearly impossible to substantiate. Your knowledge of the connections might enable you to make other connections. Only Time Will Tell.
Only Time Will Tell1 was another Buffett lyric.
Three pages later, the now-slightly-less-mysterious Mr. Paperman ended by acknowledging the code name that I’d given him:
“I guess it’s…. Morgan.”
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1 Jimmy Buffett Banana Wind (album)
Jimmy Buffett Only Time Will Tell (lyrics)