Harold J. Berney

From Kook Science

Harold J. Berney
Born 9 July 1898(1898-07-09)
Akron, Tuscola Co., Michigan
Died 19 December 1967 (69)
Montgomery, Maryland

Harold Jesse Berney (July 9, 1898 - December 19, 1967) was an American sign painter and habitual fraud artist who, in the 1950s, promoted a Magnetic Flux Modulator, claiming it was Venusian technology given to him by his extraterrestrial contacts.


Press Coverage

  • AP (28 Mar. 1957), "Space Swindle Venus Package Leads to Jail", Florence Morning News (Florence, SC): 6-B,, "Berney has written a book, still unpublished, relating that he made trips to Venus by flying saucer after making rendezvous with Venusians in Texas. The 'package from Venus' was received by Berney's wife here last Nov. 12. It purported to come from outer space but was delivered thorugh regular U.S. postal service. The package contained Berney's camera, his billfold and a wallet containing his identifications and credentials. Inside also was a letter from a 'Mr. Ucellus,' reputedly a resident on Venus. The letter informed Mrs. Berney that her husband had recently been on a business trip to that planet and had died there of natural causes. The package was postmarked at Eagle Pass, Tex." 
  • AP (4 Oct. 1957), "Earthling Mars Venus Tale with Fraud Ending", Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, MI): 1,, "Harold J. Berney, a sign painter alleged to have claimed that he visited the planet Venus on a space ship, pleaded guilty yesterday, to fraud by wire and false pretenses[...] Berney was accused of claiming that while on Venus he had learned how to produce a 'magnetic flux modulator' having an energy potential far greater than that of atomic energy. He was indicted on charges of obtaining $12,500 under false pretenses from Miss Pauline E. Goebel, a Washington secretary. She said that actually she had turned over about $40,000 to Berney between 1952 and last fall, supposing he was investing the money in his project. Berney, 59, was quoted as saying he had inspected a space ship which had landed in Texas and had flown in the ship to Venus with Prince Ucellus of Venus, with a stop-over on the moon." 
  • Hoover, J. Edgar (21 May 1961), "The Swindler from Outer Space", Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN): 8-9, 11,, "The suave con man persuaded the lady he was just back from Venus, with an invention worth millions. His story may sound cockeyed to you, but it was worth $60,000 to him - before the FBI caught up."