Saturday, January 21, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Ruben Uriarte

Ruben Uriarte
Ruben Uriarte was this week’s guest. He is a member of MUFON, has held and does hold various positions with that organization. He had been investigating UFOs and other paranormal phenomena for decades. We talked about his interest in those topics and about cryptozoology, which is the study of undescribed animal species that includes Bigfoot and other such beasts. We did go into some detail on the topic of cryptozoology, something that we haven’t explored on the program. Ruben provided some insight to his investigations. You can listen to the whole interview here:

Next Week’s guest: Nick Redfern

Topic: UFOs, Secret Societies, Men in Black and anything else we can get to.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Roswell - What's Next?

The other day someone asked me, “What’s the next step for Roswell?”

It was a question that I hadn’t thought about much but is one that needs to be addressed though I thought I had made a note of this in Roswell in the 21st Century. (Sure, some of you might be annoyed at these little promotional mentions, but hey, I don’t charge you a membership to visit here.)

One of the displays in the Roswell UFO
Museum. Copyright by Randle.
Let’s look at it this way. If there is a first-hand witness still alive who saw anything, if he or she has not come forward and we all who have been searching for every possible witness hasn’t found that person, I would bet that person simply didn’t see much at all or is long past providing us with any useful information. Certainly nothing that would break the case open and provide the smoking gun. Everyone at the top levels of the Roswell command structure, whether officer or NCO, is dead. Some of the lower ranking and therefore younger members might still be out there, but the odds are that they are deep into their nineties with the 70th anniversary looming. There has been an effort to find papers, documents, diaries, journals, letters, anything that mentions the crash and recovery and written prior to 1978 when Jesse Marcel first burst onto the scene. To this point there is simply nothing of value found, certainly nothing that can be properly dated and nothing that leads us into the realm of the alien.

So, witnesses can no longer be interviewed, unless you resort to talking to the children or the grandchildren of those stationed at Roswell. This is something that I don’t think bears much fruit. Those former service members certainly could have been spinning a tale or two, the listeners could have misinterpreted what was said, or thought they heard things that weren’t said. If someone had written it down in one of those seemingly nonexistent diaries or journals at the time the tale was uttered, then we might have something interesting or something that would provide a lead, but none of that has borne fruit either.

There really isn’t a next step, except for the search for documents, and that hasn’t gone all that well. Personally, I’ve made dozens of FOIA requests and I’m not alone in that. Hundreds, if not thousands, have been made, and I’m still waiting for responses on some of them. (Or I get snide letters such as the one from the CIA… I had asked about the analysis of the Ramey Memo done in the mid-1990s by an organization that was, at that time, part of the CIA… I mentioned that the photo had been taken in 1947 and they told me that the CIA didn’t exist in 1947. I didn’t bother telling that the Central Intelligence Group did but my question dealt with the Air Force inquiry that came in the 1990s not something from 1947).

We can review the information already collected. Many, if not most, of the interviews were conducted on audio and videotape so that a record of them exists that might provide some clues. These can be reviewed. As I was doing that, I did find some interesting tidbits overlooked at the time. Oh, nothing that would alter anyone’s view, but interesting tidbits that helped complete an overall picture. And, of course, we can compare later statements with earlier ones to see if any, or rather how much, those statements have changed. Sometimes it’s just little things and other times it is a major alteration. That also can provide information but that sort of data won’t lead us to the extraterrestrial, or any other answer for that matter.

We can continue the onslaught of FOIA, but the records sought, if they even exist, would be so highly classified that national security would come into play and the records would be withheld. We would be told that the specific agency under FOIA could neither confirm nor deny the existence of the records sought. And that’s if they even bother to look for them. We just might just be told that they have no records that are responsive to our requests. I once FOIAed a document, giving the title, the date it was written, the author, and the overall topic and was told that my request hadn’t been specific enough. I’m not sure that if I have even given them the first page or two that would have been specific enough. I just don’t know what else I could have included to make it clearer to them and there seemed to be nowhere to go with the next request.

Thinking about this carefully, I just can’t seem to think of anything more to be done except another “cold case” review of the information. The testimony has been collected, the documentation has been sought, and archives have been searched. A review might suggest something to someone who has not been immersed in the case for decades, or he or she might think of an avenue of research that hasn’t been explored, but I don’t know what it would be. We are now dead in the water, waiting for inspiration.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Curse of Oak Island - Another Bust

Last week they dug another deep pit, this one wide enough for a diver (though Borehole 10X is barely wide enough, the new one is positively spacious), into what they thought of as a chamber or vault that might contain treasure. This chamber was apparently discovered in the late nineteenth century by one of the many other companies and individuals who searched for treasure on Oak Island. With the hole completed, with a metal casing that nearly penetrated that “vault,” they dug out the last few feet of soil, and were ready for a diver. They found two who would make the descent into what I thought of as a death trap.

One of the divers, with his metal detector, found what he thought of as three points where there were substantial hits that suggested metal and there was talk of having found some of the treasure. We got a description that suggested metal bars that the diver was unable to recover, but given the depth, the visibility and his lack of any real tools to extract anything, it wasn’t surprising. We were left with the impression that these metal deposits would be worked, and in the next episode we would see the results of all this activity.

Well, we did, and it was a bust. Another diver descended into what can only be called the murky depths and with his metal detector could find no trace of all this metal. In the hours or days between the dives, the metal had vanished… or more likely, was never there. The first results came from false readings. Attempts to duplicate the results failed. Attempts to extract any metal failed. It seemed that there had not been anything down there, but the water was so full of sediment and debris that the diver couldn’t see much of anything.

Now, we head back to the mainland and to another stone that might be some sort of giant head carved hundreds of years ago and might be some sort of acknowledgement of the Templars… though to me it looked like a weathered stone and they were seeing a face (which I could see as well) because of the shape and shadows on the stone. I’m not sure anyone, other than Mother Nature, carved that stone but never let it be said that they weren’t willing to draw a connection to Oak Island no matter how flimsy the evidence might be. Why the face was looking at Oak Island even if the island couldn’t be seen from that distance.

And it’s back to the War Room where they discuss their dwindling finances and what they should do next. Although they say that only have enough money left in the budget to either dig another great hole or re-explore Bore Hole 10X, they decide they’ll do both. They’ll watch their nickels and dimes and they’ll be careful, but they’ll do both.

Although the previews suggest something is dredged up (air lifted?) from 10X that is startling, why am I dubious? For four seasons we’ve been down this road and while they keep finding old debris, the island has been visited from what, three hundred or more years. They’ve found old English coins, a Spanish coin, other evidence of people on the island, but they have found nothing to suggest a substantial treasure. It is one tease after another and I suspect if they don’t find something soon, they’ll run out of money and viewers… and if the viewers go away, so will History’s cameras and nothing will be found.

I now suspect that there is nothing to be found and some of those who created all those companies are laughing in their graves… Do you want to buy stock into a company to search for buried treasure? How about stock in a gold mine? Or how about some advertising on a television show about a search for buried treasure that never pays off? At some point we’re all going to cease to care.

Friday, January 13, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Colonel Charles Halt

Colonel Charles Halt
The guest this week was Charles Halt who was the senior officer present for one of the nights of the UFO events in Rendlesham Forest near Bentwaters. We talked about those events, the affect they had on some of those who were involved and Halt’s belief that some sort of disinformation campaign and some sort of intense debriefings were held, including the use of chemicals. He confirmed the statement, “"I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin and that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted – both then and now – to subvert the significance of what occurred at Rendlesham Forest and RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation," is something that he said and he believes. You can listen to the interview here:

He also cleared up, at least in my mind, the controversy over how many nights the events took place. I had asked both John Burroughs and Jim Penniston about that, and they disagreed. One said it was three night and the other said it was two. Given what Halt said, they were both right. The first night involved a number of enlisted personnel who had seen something in the woods outside the base perimeter and went to investigate. The second night only involved two people, a second lieutenant and an NCO. They were the only two who saw anything on that night. On the third night, Halt, leading a small party went out as more lights were seen in the forest. He provides some of his observations that night.

He talked about some of the physical evidence that was recovered, some of the observations by instrumentality, which is to say radar confirmations that he learned of years after the event, and the enhanced debriefings that were undergone by the enlisted personnel. He was not debriefed on the sightings.

Next week’s guest: Ruben Uriarte

Topic: UFO investigations in Texas and Mexico.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The "Harassed Rancher" Roswell Article

Over at UFO Conjectures, hosted by Rich Reynolds, he reproduces the July 9, 1947, newspaper, article from the Roswell Daily Record, “Harassed Rancher Who Located ‘Saucer’ Sorry He Told About It,” suggesting that this is the final nail in the Roswell coffin. But I say, “Not so fast.” There are some disturbing things in that article, things that make no sense when you think about them.

According to the article, “Brazel related that on June 14 he and an 8-year-old son, Vernon were about 7 or 8 miles from the ranch house of the J.B. Foster ranch, which he operates, when they came upon a large area of bright wreckage made up on [sic] rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather rough paper and sticks.”

Okay, there is nothing extraordinary here and it sounds for all the world like the remnants of one of the Mogul balloon arrays that were being launched in June and July from Alamogordo. The article also suggests that “on July 4 he, his wife, Vernon and a daughter Betty [actually Bessie], age 14, went back to the spot and gathered up quite a bit of the debris.”

I’ll just overlook the fact that this seems to be a strange thing to have done on July 4, rather than say, June 15, or July 3. I’ll just move on.

Brazel, then on July 7, according to the Daily Record, visited with Sheriff George Wilcox and mentioned he might have had found one of the flying disks. Wilcox called out to the air base and eventually Jesse Marcel “and a man in plain clothes [Sheridan Cavitt]” arrived and they all, meaning Brazel, Marcel and Cavitt drove to the ranch. They gathered up the rest of it and “…tried to make a kite out of it but could not do that and could not find any way to put it back together so that it would fit.”

Now we get a few specifics about size of this debris. He didn’t see it fall or before it was torn up, “so he did not know the size or shape it might have been, but he though it might have been about as large as a table top. The balloon which held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been about 12 feet long… The rubber was smoky gray and scattered over an area about 200 yards in diameter.”

We learn, “When the debris was gathered up the tinfoil, paper, tape, and the sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated the entire lot would have weighed maybe five pounds.”

According to the newspaper there were no words to be found, although there were letters on some of the parts. Considerable scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed on it had been used in the construction. No string or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment had been used.

Before we look at the final two paragraphs of the article, which do have some relevance, let’s talk about what we know here. If Brazel went to the Sheriff’s Office on Monday, and if, as Marcel said, he was eating lunch when he got the call, then we know that all this took place in the afternoon. According to the best information available, Brazel, Marcel and Cavitt didn’t leave Roswell until late afternoon, maybe as late as four or four-thirty, and if the drive to the ranch took three hours (which is the time it takes on the modern roads today) then the questions become, “When did they gather the material, where did they take it to attempt to put it together, and how did Marcel get back to Roswell in time to meet with Colonel William Blanchard, the base commander by 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 8?” The timing simply doesn’t work because they would have arrived at the ranch about dusk and couldn’t have gathered the material in the dark and do the other things suggested by the newspaper, not to mention that the debris had already been gathered.

But let’s back up even a little more. Bill Brazel said that his father had taken some of the debris into town to show the sheriff. If this is true, and the material that Mack Brazel had found was as described in the newspaper, why did Marcel and Cavitt drive out to the ranch? Wouldn’t one of them, if not both of them, recognize the debris as mundane? Why go to the ranch at all? Brazel, along with family members, had apparently collected it all on July 4, again according to the newspaper. There was nothing to see in the field, and since there were samples of it in the Sheriff’s Office, there was no need to drive to the ranch to see what would have been an empty field.

If we believe this article, neither Marcel nor Cavitt recognized the material that Brazel brought into town. Cavitt, on the other hand, told Colonel Richard Weaver that he had recognized the debris in the field as a balloon as soon as he saw it laying out there. He didn’t explain why he hadn’t bothered to mention this to Marcel at the time or to Blanchard when he got back to Roswell.

If we look at the descriptions about the amount of material, there doesn’t seem to be all that much. Not a field filled with debris, but a small area that had been cleaned by the Brazel family. There was absolutely no reason to pursue this any further. There wasn’t a problem with who would clean it up because the family had already done that. In fact, at one time Bessie Brazel claimed that they had collected it all into three or four burlap bags and stored it under the porch of the ranch house.

The debris displayed in General Ramey's
office, July 8, 1947.
Had this been a Mogul array, there would have been evidence of more than a single balloon; there would have been multiple rawin targets (if you follow the illustration for Flight No. 2, but Flight No. 5 had no rawin targets), lots of cord to link it all, and given the size of the arrays, they probably would have been spread out over more than 200 yards. The descriptions given in the newspaper (and the photographs taken in Fort Worth) were more consistent with a single balloon and a single rawin, not a complete array with multiple balloons and multiple rawins.

When we get to the last two paragraphs, more trouble develops. Brazel said, according to the newspaper, that he had found two weather-observation balloons on the ranch but what he had found didn’t resemble them. He said, “I’m sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon.”

Of course, had it been Mogul, this was technically accurate because the function of Mogul was not weather observation. But, the Mogul arrays were made up of neoprene weather balloons and possibly some rawin radar targets, cord linking all the balloons together in a long line, sonobuoys to detect the sounds of detonation of atomic bombs, and devices to attempt to keep the balloons aloft. These would “dribble” out the sand of the ballast as the balloons began to descend.

The point is that if we read the article, it raises more questions than it answers, suggests that there was no reason for Marcel and Cavitt to drive to the ranch, suggests a time line that is impossible given the timing and the distances, provides a description of a single balloon and single target, exactly what appears in the photographs taken in General Roger Ramey’s office on the afternoon of July 8.

In other words, there is actually nothing in this article that eliminates any of the answers for the Roswell crash including both Mogul and the alien, and nothing in it to support any of the answers. It is a self-contradictory document that obscures more than it reveals. As evidence, it does nothing for either side of the argument. While skeptics can point to the description of the debris and say that it is a balloon the believers can point to the last two paragraphs and say that Brazel would have recognized the debris as a balloon had that been what it was. This is just another of the inexplicable items that pop up in this tale.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Curse of Oak Island - The Fourth Season

I have been waiting for something to happen on Curse of Oak Island before I made comments about it. There seemed to be great promise this season. They had millions to spend on the Money Pit (reaffirming the idea that the term referred to throwing money into a pit rather than taking money out of it). They hinted of things to come, have found some coins that seem to have been minted by the
Oak Island
English, a hint that part of that stone allegedly found 90 feet down with strange symbols on it had been recovered, and that the shiny, glittering thing found so far beneath the surface in their borehole that captured their attention on the remote camera might be part of the treasure.

But so far the show has been basically the same. They drained the swamp again and found wood. (Did anyone notice they all stood around saying things like, “I’ve got wood?) They thought some of it might have been a plank from the deck of a ship and a spike that might also been from the deck of a ship but I’m just not impressed. They assume it was a ship scuttled with treasure on board but I wonder if the more likely scenario isn’t a repurposing of the wood and the spike for something else… but the real point is that they have found nothing in the swamp but trash.

They created a larger borehole as they attempted to penetrate a vault that might have been discovered in 1897… but once they pulled up the wood (Hey, we’ve got wood), it was clearly something from the late 19th century or maybe early 20th and had nothing to do with pirates burying treasure or anything else of real importance. It was just another example of all the tunneling that has been done on the island. I’m surprised the surface hasn’t collapsed entirely.

They’ve also sort of scraped the land around the original Money Pit flat so that they can bring in their machinery for these big projects. As they were looking at the dirt scraped up, Rick Lagina, I think, found a couple of bits of pottery and his pal, found a stone that might have some marking on it… an “X” with a tail that we’re told Scott Wolters had at some point on another show linked to the Templars (though I don’t think the connection is very solid). I wondered why, after finding these artifacts, they didn’t use a shaker box to search for more of the same which might have yielded a few clues but they were content with this pottery debris and single marked stone fragment… so much for archaeological research… but I digress.

I was going to talk about the coins found at an English campsite that they thought significant… Except, of course, the English had been all over the area hundreds of years ago, not to mention during the French and Indian War… so an English camp there in the mid-18th century doesn’t seem to be so significant and wouldn’t have anything to do with the treasure anyway.

Here we get to the point of all this and it’s Samuel Ball. He owned quite a bit of Oak Island in the 18th and 19th centuries. They can’t explain his suggested wealth. They just note he also owned more land on the mainland, indicating he was a rich guy. He is established as a resident of the area who had won his freedom from slavery by serving in the British Army. There is a suggestion that he might have found some of the treasure and that was the source of his wealth…

But what I found interesting was that in some of the very early documentation of the discovery of the money pit, there were three young men involved. In those earlier reports, Samuel Ball was identified as one of the three. Why did his name drop out of the later reports? Did he get one of the chests that some have suggested were already removed? Did he get the only chest and the two have been looking for other, similar chests hoping there was more treasure buried on the island? I don’t know… just found it interesting that Ball had been reported as one of the original three in the earliest of accounts but then his name disappeared.

Randall Sullivan, who had written an article for Rolling Stone about Oak Island, was back to conduct more research for a book. I wouldn’t have mentioned him except that his favorite theory is that the Money Pit housed the original Shakespeare manuscripts which would be worth hundreds of millions if true… but my question is, “If they’re digging into areas that are submerged, in what did they store these manuscripts? Wouldn’t the water have turned them to pulp? I mean, everyone believes that the treasure is under water and has been for what, 225 years. The water would have destroyed a wooden chest, or that chest would have leaked so the manuscripts are probably gone, if they were ever there. Just my thoughts on that theory.

So, where are we after what, eight episodes in the fourth season? Well, they’ve found more coins on the surface. They’ve found wood from deeply buried areas that showed markings proving it was from about one hundred years ago. They’ve seen a map that is dated hundreds of years earlier but don’t seem concerned that the provenance is shaky at best. Really, someone found it in a book… can we be any more vague? They’re still worried about Borehole 10 X, in which nothing they thought was at the bottom, was there but they want to look again just in case the guy who walked around down there wasn’t good enough to make the proper examination.

Or, in other words, they haven’t found anything that can be linked to someone on the island burying a treasure of great importance, no matter how many times they tell us of missing Inca treasure or Templar treasure, and religious relics from long ago. They make leaps of logic but in the end, they have found nothing of consequence, but each “discovery” is labeled significant when all they have is the debris of human occupation from the last two or three hundred years.

Friday, January 06, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - A Retrospective, Sort Of

Yes, it's me... photo copyright
by Kevin Randle.
For this week’s show, I did provided what I think of as my mission statement, something of a retrospective on what has transpired over the last few months, some thoughts on where we might go in the next year, and then some comments on Roswell in the 21st Century. You can listen to it here:

1. Mission Statement –

This was a talk about a search for the truth, whatever that truth might be as opposed to what I wish to believe or others might wish to believe. It was about how some of the old, classic UFO reports have been solved by modern standards of research. For example, the Chiles – Whitted cigar-shaped UFO with square windows was most probably a bolide and that this was underscored by the Zond IV reentry nearly twenty years later. As it broke up, some believed they were seeing a cigar-shaped UFO while the majority of people recognized it for what it was.

2. Year in Review –

I started by discussing the Socorro UFO case and how guests Ben Moss and Tony Angiola had sparked an interest by some of the things they said during that program. I began to look into it carefully with a search for other witnesses that Ben and Tony talked about. While there is nothing in the police log to verify this, their existence was verified by Captain Richard Holder’s interview with the police dispatcher on the night of the sighting. He wrote, in his report also written that night that three calls had come into the police station.

And as you all know, they also sparked a discussion of the shape of the symbol on the craft seen by Lonnie Zamora and how it had been altered in some documents as a way to verify other sightings.

This led me to Carmon Marano who had been an officer with Project Blue Book. He explained the situation at Blue Book at the end of the project and provided some interesting insights into what was going in the late 1960s as the project wrapped up.

3. Preview –

I had also thought we would move into the paranormal as part of our search for A Different Perspective. This would include examining tales of Near Death Experiences. I mentioned a book I had done on the topic, how I came to write the book, my interviews with people who had experienced NDEs, and research at the U of I libraries.

I also mentioned the case of alien abduction that I had researched in the mid-1990s that evolved into the book Conversations, a book about past lives and serial killers and what I think as an interesting read (but, of course, I’m biased).

4. Roswell Recanted –

Since it had come up on other shows, and the question had been asked of me several times, I did talk about what is in Roswell in the 21st Century and how the information was gathered. Also talked about some of the discoveries in the cold case examination of the Roswell crash and some of the things that have been used to support the Roswell story that really tell us something else about the world in 1947.

Next week’s show: Colonel Charles Halt

Topic: Rendlesham Forest, of course…