Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ivan Sanderson and SITU

Around 1970 or so I joined another organization, but this one's perspective encompassed all sorts of bizarre enigmas, not just UFOs. The Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU), headquartered in New Jersey, existed under the guidance of famed writer, broadcaster and explorer Ivan T. Sanderson. Sanderson was an individual of prolific talents and education, widely known for his multiple roles as zoologist, botanist, biologist and geologist, with a hint of controversy thrown in.

The SITU information sheet posted here, commonly distributed and published in every issue of SITU's journal, Pursuit, beginning in the eighties, briefly explains the organization's origins.

The form letter additionally posted here reflects a terrible moment for Sanderson, having just lost his wife in addition to experiencing internal problems at SITU. The organization, conceived in the sixties, was eventually headed by the late Robert Warth after Ivan Sanderson's death, and collapsed several years later (in the early nineties, as I recall) as membership declined.

During Warth's years overseeing SITU, I wrote a few articles and numerous book reviews for SITU's quarterly journal, Pursuit. Bob Warth phoned me often about reviewing this book or that, and on occasion he would just box up a number of books and send them to me unannounced, hoping I would find some worthwhile (many were not). In SITU's declining years, I suspect the writers, writing quality and interest began to fade as quickly as the cash needed to sustain the organization -- and because proper funding has always been an issue for legitimate enigma-investigative groups, the demise of yet another really shouldn't have surprised anybody. There's probably more to the story of SITU's end of which I am not familiar, but I think I've offered a fair assessment.