The binary X-ray source GX 1 + 4 was observed during a balloon flight in 1986, November. The source was in a relatively high intensity state. Time analysis of the data shows that the pulsation period was 111.8 ± 1.0 s indicating that one or more episodes of spin-down occurred between 1980 and 1986. Folded pulse profiles are very broad with an indication of a notch at the peak. Evidence has been found for a correlation between hard X-ray intensity and phase of the proposed 304 day orbital period. The time averaged intensity since 1980 is an order of magnitude lower than during the 1970’s. A survey of the post 1980 data shows that several reversals of the period derivative have occurred. Spin-up at the rates typical of the 1970’s has been followed by a dramatic spin-down episode with dP/dt>2.4 × 10−7 s/s.