“Another queer happening, of a totally different kind, occurred four or five years ago. A woman‐friend and I were out walking one night in a lane near Auburn, when a dark, lightless and silent object passed over us against the stars with projectile‐like speed. The thing was too large and swift for any bird, and gave precisely the effect of a black meteor. I have often wondered what it was. Charles Fort, no doubt, would have made a substantial item out of it for one of his volumes.”

— Clark Ashton Smith, letter to H.P. Lovecraft (November 1933)

Clark Ashton Smith: Decadent, Horrorist … Fortean? Smith first read Charles Fort’s Book of the Damned in October 1930, according to an earlier letter to Lovecraft: “I don’t care for the style — but the assembled data is quite imposing, and worthy of close study.” (Lovecraft read Fort’s works in March 1927.) By the next year Smith had gotten over his allergy to Fort’s telegraphic prose, writing to one William Whittingham Lyman: “When it comes to fictional inspiration, I had more in the writings of Charles Fort … than in any of the orthodox crew. Fort has spent his life amassing a gorgeous collection of data …” Could Smith have turned to Fort, going to the considerable trouble of checking The Book of the Damned out of the California state library by mail, to investigate his own Fortean encounter? As he wrote to Lovecraft in November 1933, some time in 1928 or 1929 or 1930 he saw “a dark, lightless, and silent object … a black meteor” “too large and swift for any bird” that “passed over us against the stars with projectile-like speed.” Did the Black Meteor leave its shadow behind on the Sorcerer of Auburn? Perhaps, perhaps, and perhaps that is why Smith datelined the letter describing his UFO sighting “Tower of black jade in lost Carcosa. Hour when the twin suns are both at nadir.” The “tower of black jade” crossing the stars on the darkest night of dark Carcosa, in other words.

“Klarkash‐Ton had seen one, had seen something, a year or two before. It was on a hot night and he had been lying outside on his sleeping bag, gazing upward into the depths of space. Suddenly he became aware of a large object, like an indistinct shadow, darker than the night, passing slowly above him, blotting out the stars.”

— George Haas, “As I Remember Klarkash-Ton” (1963)

From left: Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Barbour Johnson, George Haas, and Stanton Levey

Smith didn’t leave Charles Fort’s skies behind with the Weird Tales crew. In 1949, he praised an Arkham Sampler SF issue for “the prominence given to Wells and to Charles Fort.” In 1951 he wrote the foreword to a book of poems (including such Fortean titles as “Cosmic Saboteurs” and “Since We Are Property”) by Lilith Lorraine, the pseudonym of SF author Gertrude Wright (nee Mary Maud Dunn). (Smith may have met Wright in person while she was living in Berkeley and running a Theosophical sex cult, ca. 1923-1927.) And in 1953 he met gardner, Fortean, and SF fan George P. Haas who went on to fame as an early Bigfoot hunter.

Haas also introduced Smith to fellow Weird Tales alumnus Robert Barbour Johnson and to area occultist-photographer-organist Howard Stanton Levey, who would later become the Satan-monger Anton LaVey. (While we’re engaged in Fortean synchronicities, Johnson had worked as a big cat trainer, and Levey kept a pet panther named Zoltan.) Haas talked Fort with Smith on their first meeting in September 1953, and elucidated either a garbled rendering of Smith’s 1928 encounter, or a repeat sighting. Given the different circumstances in each description (alone and lying down in his backyard vs. walking with a girl on a road) we can’t rule out a second encounter of the first kind, around 1951 or 1952.

Smith’s home town of Auburn, California has a smattering of UFO sightings to its credit, dating back to the 1896 “airship” flap for proper Fortean juju. (Does anybody else think the 1896 Airship makes a great Carcosan irruption for a Yellow King RPG game set in San Francisco? No? Just me then.) If flying shadows cruised Auburn’s skies in 1928-29 only Smith seems to have seen them, or written about it. UFOs buzzed Auburn, as well as nearby Roseville and Sacramento (only 30 miles away) in June and July of 1947. Two Air Force officers saw a “cylinder with twin tails, 200 ft. long and 90 ft. wide” over McClellan AFB in Sacramento, moving north (toward Auburn) at “incredible speed” on 13 March 1951, right in the window for Smith’s second sighting. (In 1952, Beale AFB near Auburn was officially on “inactive status.” Sure it was.) Another UFO flits over Citrus Heights on 20 August 1956. Smith dies of a series of strokes in 1961. In September 2009, numerous witnesses see “black triangles” in the skies over Auburn.

“A dark meteor, made of some incombustible, indestructible matter which is seen to fall. It is found to be a sort of shard containing an alien entity in a state of suspended animation. (Such a meteoric object might be found buried in the archaean strata, where it had fallen in the earth’s youth.) The alien being might be a king of some trans-galactic world, who had been ((thus)) kidnapped and dropped on the earth by enemies. His subjects, knowing that he still exists, have sought him for aeons through the universe, using a magnetic detector which would reveal the presence of the strange element which he is enclosed.”

— Clark Ashton Smith, story treatment “The Dark Meteor” (n.d.)

Your Fall of DELTA GREEN Agents may well want to investigate the 20 June 1966 UFO sighting in Auburn, especially given that Beale AFB (just down the hill from Auburn, even closer than McClellan AFB) begins basing the top-secret SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane in January 1966. And when they look back through the records and papers, and ask around town, they discover that a man who knew a whole lot about the Unnatural used to live up on Indian Ridge before a mysterious fire burned down his cabin in 1957. But fortunately, he may have left a clue in his Black Book.

Smith’s notebook, the “Black Book,” describes one possibility. A king of Shonti or Nython, an empress of Sadastor or Xiccarph, lies bound in a black meteor, imprisoned in an interdimensional orbit that emerges over Auburn, California every seven years (1930, 1951, 1966). Alien enemies — Mi-Go? — seek the meteor, as perhaps does MAJESTIC. The Air Materiel Command of Roswell fame (now Air Force Logistics Command) bases out of McClellan AFB in Sacramento, after all. The search for the Dark Meteor, or the flight from the avengers of triple-sunned Xiccarph, may send your Agents deep into the shadows over Auburn and still deeper into the incantations of Klarkash-Ton.


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

“Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it’s wet with rain
Just remember till you’re home again
You belong to me.
I’ll be so alone without you
Maybe you’ll be lonesome too, and blue.”

— Jo Stafford, “You Belong to Me” (1963 cover version)

In March 1952, U.S. Air Force General Charles P. Cabell established Project BLUE BOOK, tasking its commander Captain Edward J. Ruppelt with investigation of the UFO phenomenon. BLUE BOOK was meant to collate, investigate, and analyze UFO sightings and encounters, but not to theorize about the nature or origin of the UFOs themselves. In February 1953, the USAF issued AF Regulation 200-2: USAF personnel may only discuss UFO cases if they have been resolved; unresolved cases receive a Classified security rating.

Your Agent team. (Before the burning.)

General Nathan Twining (commander of Air Materiel Command during the Roswell crash; Air Force Chief of Staff 1953-1957; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1957-1960) removed unsolved UFO cases with a higher potential classification (those with national security implications or touching on intelligence operations) from BLUE BOOK entirely, to the 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron — a.k.a. Project MOON DUST, which is to say, MAJESTIC-12. (After some bureaucratic convolutions, the 4602nd AISS becomes the 1127th Field Activities Group in 1960.) Twining thus de-fanged BLUE BOOK almost before it got started, reducing it to a mere public relations office.

Or did he? If Twining was in fact on the DELTA GREEN ExComm (FoDG, p. 164) he may have run a double bluff. BLUE BOOK still gets huge tranches of UFO data, including the first reports of cases transferred to MOON DUST. Not even MAJESTIC knows which UFO reports might turn out to be Unnatural cases, so BLUE BOOK often has a 24- or even 48-hour jump on them. Although infiltrating program assets into MOON DUST itself remains very risky, MAJESTIC depends on the Air Force and its Foreign Technology Division (FTD) to support its operations — and DELTA GREEN can still get agents into the MOON DUST support system. MOON DUST itself falls under ACS/I (Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff/Intelligence); use AFOSI Investigators (FoDG, p. 030) for program Agents in ACS/I. The program (and the Handler) can easily second FTD assets to BLUE BOOK work, either as a contrived punishment or in response to angry accusations of UFO coverups.

BLUE BOOK operates under the remit of the FTD, based out of Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. The BLUE BOOK staff remains relatively small (roughly the size of the player group, as it happens), although every Air Force base has a designated BLUE BOOK officer to channel reports and to liaise with analysts and investigators.

Project BLUE BOOK Directors in the 1960s:

1958 – August 1963, Maj. Robert J. Friend
August 1963 – 1970, Maj. Hector Quintanilla

Foreign Technology Division

The U.S. Army began analyzing captured German aeronautical technology at Wright Field in 1917, and the USAAF did likewise in the Second World War, most notably perhaps the T-2 team at Wright Field that reverse-engineered a V-2 from crashed parts. Starting in 1944, Colonel Harold Watson headed units tasked to capture, salvage, or hunt down German aircraft and other items on the “Black List.” Even before V-E Day, Watson’s teams accelerated their efforts in Operation LUSTY, seizing prototypes and recruiting German engineers. Eventually LUSTY brought 16,000+ pieces, 200 scientists, and 1,500 tons of documents back to Wright Field; in 1951 under Watson’s general command, that collection became the core of the Air Technical Intelligence Center at the newly expanded Wright-Patterson AFB. Following the 1961 reorganization of military intelligence efforts that produced the DIA, the ATIC moved under the Air Force Systems Command as the Foreign Technology Division.

The mission of the FTD, and ATIC before it, is to obtain, assess, and analyze intelligence on foreign aircraft performance and technology. This incorporates traditional intelligence analysis, especially of aerial and satellite IMINT, as well as evaluation of foreign aircraft in flight tests at Wright-Patterson and (after 1962) at the Tonopah Test Range Airfield in Nevada. Beginning in 1968, FTD takes part in the HAVE DOUGHNUT MiG combat tests at Area 51. Needless to say, DELTA GREEN salivates at the possibility of inserting its agents into MAJESTIC turf like Area 51 on a “legitimate” basis. In addition to the main command at Wright-Patterson, FTD detachments operate from Edwards AFB in California, Ft. Belvoir VA, USAF HQ Europe (Wiesbaden), Yokota AB in Japan, and Buckley AFB in Colorado.

FTD Commanding Officers in the 1960s:

February 1961 – July 1964, Brig. Gen. Arthur J. Pierce
July 1964 – August 1966, Brig. Gen. Arthur W. Cruikshank, Jr.
August 1966 – November 1968, Col. Raymond S. Sleeper
November 1968 – July 1974, Col. George R. Weinbrenner

BLUE BOOK Investigator

11 Investigative, 18 General

You are a serving Air Force officer, but need not be on Active Duty. You can take either Pilot (FoDG, p. 027) or Soldier (FoDG, p. 028) as your previous Military Service template. Your Psychotherapy ability derives from your extraordinarily calming presence, useful when dealing with flying saucer cranks or suspicious MOON DUST officers.

Astronomy 1, Data Retrieval 1, Fringe Science 1, Reassurance 2

Bureaucracy 3, Psychotherapy 3

Pick Six Investigative: Agency 1, Cop Talk 1, Cryptography 1, Fringe Science 1*, HUMINT 1, Intimidation 1, Military Science 1, Notice 1, Photography 1, Physics 1, Reassurance 1*, SIGINT 1

Pick Four General: Bureaucracy 3*, Conceal 3, Pilot 3, Preparedness 3, Psychotherapy 3*, Sense Trouble 3, Stability 3, Stealth 3

FTD Analyst

10 Investigative, 16 General

Agency 1, Data Retrieval 1, Foreign Language (Russian) 1, Physics 1

Bureaucracy 2, Demolitions 2

Pick Six Investigative: Astronomy 1, Chemistry 1, Cryptography 1, Data Retrieval 1*, Foreign Language 1*, Fringe Science 1, HUMINT 1, Military Science 1, Photography 1, Physics 1*, Reassurance 1, SIGINT 1, Traffic Analysis 1

Pick Three General: Bureaucracy 4, Conceal 4, Demolitions 4*, Heavy Weapons 4, Mechanics 4, Pilot 4, Preparedness 4, Sense Trouble 4, Stability 4

FTD Recovery Specialist

You deploy anywhere in the world to recover crashed aircraft or aircrew, especially those hostile to the United States. Sometimes, you must investigate — or negotiate — to determine exactly what crashed, and where. You can use this template for DELTA GREEN Agents embedded in MOON DUST’s recovery program BLUE FLY, if you don’t mind a high-stakes campaign where exposure means “died in a training crash.”

Prerequisite: You must be on Active Duty with the USAF, but may use either Pilot or Soldier as your base template.

10 Investigative, 20 General

Agency 1, Chemistry 1, Foreign Language 1, Notice 2, Photography 1

Demolitions 3, Drive 3, Filch 3, Mechanics 3

Pick Four Investigative: Agency 1*, Anthropology 1, Astronomy 1, Chemistry 1*, Cryptography 1, Foreign Language 1*, Fringe Science 1, HUMINT 1, Interrogation 1, Intimidation 1, Negotiation 1, Notice 1*, Photography 1*, Physics 1, SIGINT 1, Survival 1, Tradecraft 1

Pick Two General: Athletics 4, Conceal 4, Demolitions 4*, Drive 4*, Firearms 4, Heavy Weapons 4, Mechanics 4*, Ride 4

FTD Test Pilot

With minimal tweaking, this template works for test pilots in other departments such as ARPA, CIA OSI, and NASA.

Prerequisite: Pilot template for your Military Service. You must be Active Duty.

8 Investigative, 31 General

Astronomy 1, Inspiration 1, Physics 1, SIGINT 1

Athletics 2, Health 3, Heavy Weapons 3, Pilot 3, Sense Trouble 4, Stability 4

Pick Four Investigative: Foreign Language 1, Fringe Science 1, Inspiration 1*, Military Science 1, Photography 1, SIGINT 1*, Survival 1

Pick Three General: Athletics 4*, Drive 4, First Aid 4, Health 4*, Heavy Weapons 4*, Mechanics 4, Pilot 4*, Sanity 4, Sense Trouble 4*, Stability 4*, Unarmed Combat 4


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.