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The Perplexing Disappearance of UFO Believer Jim Sullivan


If you are a rock fan, you are probably familiar with the rock music of the 1960s and 1970s. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, and Janis Joplin are just a few. The music was loud and raw, with distorted vocals and driving drum beats. It was music to get lost in, to get angry with, to dance to, and to make love to. The lyrics often explored themes of peace and love, which spoke to the social climate of an era of free love and free drugs. It was a time before the internet and social media became the centre of the world.

Jim Sullivan was another famous Irish-born American singer-songwriter who released two albums before he vanished without a trace in New Mexico.

According to his fans, Jim was an attractive personality. His songs were fascinating and mesmerising. His work was distinct from other works in the world of music as he was singing about UFOs and extraterrestrials. His first album was released in 1969 and his songs were about UFOs, abandoned highways, and ghost towns.

In spite of the fact that his albums were unique, they were not that popular and he decided to try to work as a songwriter in Nashville.

‘It will be all right, I will call you from Nashville, sweetheart.’ – he told his wife before leaving.

So he set off on March 4, 1975. The next day, he stopped to call his wife on the way.

‘Hey honey, I am all right, nothing to worry about.’ – he said, his voice reassuring.

‘Good to hear that but how is your trip? Everything is fine?’ – she replied.

‘Well, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.’ – Jim said. Barbara raised her eyebrows in her confusion.

‘Jim, what’s the matter, is anything wrong?’ – she asked.

‘Forget it. Just forget I said anything. I’ll call you from Nashville.’ – Jim answered.

After days passed and the family did not hear from them, they started to worry and called the police. They learnt that the police had stopped his car to do a sobriety test on him but he passed. Later, he checked into a hotel in Santa Monica. Interestingly, his bed was untouched which suggested that he had not slept in that room. There is also information that he bought a bottle of vodka in town. So where was he if he did not sleep at the hotel?

Then he continued his way and his car was found at a ranch which was owned by the Genniti family, the south of the town. He stopped his car there and was seen walking away from it. In his car, his ID, his documents, some clothes and a box of his albums were found but the most worrying thing was that his guitar lay on the front seat.

‘No matter what, Jim would never have left his guitar.’ – Barbara said.

Search parties did not find him and nothing else that indicated his whereabouts.

His body was never found. Some remains were found near Santa Rosa but turned out to be the remains of somebody else.

Travellers often ask for Jim’s room at La Mesa Hotel in Santa Rosa but it is now used as storage.


  • According to Barbara, the fact that he had sung about aliens, must have had significance which led to the assumption that he might have been abducted. Some crime fans also theorise that he might have been abducted by aliens and it could not have been a coincidence that he sang about UFOs and the title of his first album was actually ‘Alien Abductions’. There must have been a link between the two things.

  • Others suggest that he was murdered by members of drug organisations because one of his drug deals was unsuccessful.

  • While others say that he left he committed suicide in the desert because of his unpopular albums but his body could not be found because scavenging animals took it away.

What is for sure is that he left here two things: his memory for his family and his fans as well as his legacy for the music.