Here we examine some of the controversies surrounding Daniel and his story.
- Was Dr. Daniel Fry really a Doctor? - According to Daniel, he was awarded a doctorate from a "Saint Andrew's College". DFDC managed to track down a photocopy of his degree. [Learn more...]
- Did Daniel make contact in 1950 or 1949? - Even though all his books say the event took place on July 4th, 1950, when asked point-blank years later, he changed the date to 1949. Which is right? [Learn more...]
- Are Daniel's films of UFOs fake? - DFDC weighs in with a close analysis of originals of Daniel's UFOs films - a DFDC exclusive! [Learn more...]
- Did Daniel Fail a Polygraph Test on TV? - Daniel writes an article for the Saucers magazine about the event. [Learn More]
- NICAP's Policy on Contact Claims - Daniel, along with a number of other Contactees, were approached by the then new National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomenon [Learn More]
If you can add any details to these controversies, please contact me.
Below are some common myths about Daniel and Understanding:
- Understanding was a cult
A cult is defined as "In modern general usage a cult is a religious group that follows a living leader who promotes new and unorthodox doctrines and practices, normally a small fringe group centered around a single charismatic individual who uses unethical forms of persuasion to manipulate followers. Usually they conduct their operations in secrecy."
First of all, was Understanding a religion, in other words, did it propagate specific rituals and ideas about God? After reading all the newsletters available and Understanding pamplets, the evidence suggests there was no single coherent idea about God being propagated. There were Christian aspects to the organization, for example, using the Christian cross symbol instead of the "T" in Understanding. Also, late in Daniel's life he reportedly became an ordained minister and even married a couple in the "First Church of Understanding" but overall it was not a religion with set rituals or beliefs.
Did Understanding promote unorthodox doctrines and practices via unethical forms of persuasion? Daniel reiterated many times that a member of Understanding "is perfectly free and is encouraged to examine all aspects of life, all philosophies, with the idea of picking out what's best for his particular use. There isn't anything we require or even urge anyone to accept." ("Understanding Inc. We Don't Sit Around Watching Saucers", Daily Courier, Dec. 26th, 1969)
Some conspiracy theorists would suggest that was all a front, but if it was, then how come no one came forward with stories of secret intiations, rituals or systematic abuse by the founder, like some other cults?
- Daniel was a "NASA Space Scientist"
This myth originates in the introduction to the PDF version of "Can God Fill Teeth" (251KB PDF) which is on Willard Fuller's site. Daniel worked as a civilian consultant at the military White Sands Missile Test Range during the late fourties and early fifties and NASA didn't exist until 1958.
- Daniel was an engineer
Daniel had the unfortunate circumstance of being an orphan at a young age and having the depression coincide with when he would normally would have been at university. He couldn't afford it and never did get a university degree from an accredited institute in the States.
- Daniel was a consultant on Steven Spielberg's "Encounters of the Third Kind".
Like any good myth, it has a bit of truth to it - there was a UFO consultant on the film, but it was Dr. Hynek [March 1977, Understanding]. The myth probably had it's origins here where it states "Immediately, he handed us the phone number of Daniel Fry, author of the book, "To Men of Earth", and consultant for the movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", who just happened to live in Alamogordo."
- Daniel offered to take Gordan Cooper, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, for a UFO ride.
Cooper's biography "Leap of Faith" (2000) is pretty clear that it was Valeris Ransone who suggested the ride, "'In an extraterrestrial spacecraft, Gordon, ' she said. 'Are you interested?' ... Valerie had received mental 'pictures' of where we were to go'"(pg 254) Dan was to be a passenger with Gordon but it never happened.
Gordon does give his impression of Daniel as "Favoring a tweed-jacket-with-leather-elbow patches look, he was middle-aged with a receding hairline, mild-mannered, intelligent, quiet. A devout Christian, he practised his beliefs. I don't suppose he ever said a naughty word in his life." (pg. 247) and further on "I have seen my share of wide-eyed UFO fanatics and lunatics. Dr. Dan Fry was not in that category. I found him totally credible." (Italics his, pg 252)
I believe the myth started here in the review of Leap of Faith which states "This leads to him being offered a ride on a flying saucer by none other than the veteran contactee Dan Fry."
- Was Dan Fry an astrologer and investigate cattle mutilations?
No. There is another "Dan Fry" who was a radio announcer on his program "Cosmic Age", a "right wing" [dougnewby.com] astrologer and a co-author of "Lifesigns: An Astological Casebook : The Incredible Files of Dan Fry" (Published 1979 by Walsworth). Apparently this other "Dan Fry" announced on his radio show his opinion that cattle mutilations were "either by some weird satanic cult or supernatural creatures arriving ion the range in UFOs."[parascope.com] (Thanks to Eric for digging up the info)