Flying saucer investigator Gray Barker (May 2, 1925-December 6, 1984) was born in Riffle, Braxton County. He grew up in Braxton County and spent most of his life in central West Virginia. After receiving a B.A. from Glenville State College in 1947, he taught school and became a booking agent for theaters in the area.
Barker became interested in unidentified flying objects in the 1950s after investigating the sightings of the Flatwoods Monster. He became acquainted with Albert K. Bender and Bender’s theory of the ‘‘Men in Black.’’ Barker published his best-known book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, in 1956. At various times Barker published flying saucer magazines and newsletters. Through these publications, he came in contact with people worldwide who were interested in UFOs, many of whom claimed to have been contacted by aliens.
In 1970, following the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, Barker published his next book, The Silver Bridge. This publication related the popular legend of the Mothman sightings. Although he published many other books on strange phenomena, Barker is best known for these two books and a 1983 publication called MIB, The Terror Among Us, about the Men in Black. He was the subject of the 1995 video by Ralph Coon, Whispers From Space. For this production, Coon collected stories from various people who knew and worked with Barker.
After his death Barker’s collection was acquired by the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library and is housed there in the Gray Barker Room. When asked if he believed in flying saucers, Barker replied, ‘‘I am not sure, but anything that generates that volume of interest is worth collecting.’’
This Article was written by Merle Moore
Last Revised on September 25, 2012
Story, Ronald D, ed. The Encyclopedia of UFOs. Garden City, NY: Dolphin Books, 1980.
"Interviews by author," 1970-80.
Cite This Article
Moore, Merle "Gray Barker." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 25 September 2012. Web. 27 August 2014.