Saturday, December 29, 2012

Philip Klass and the FBI

A while back we discussed Phil Klass’ habit of writing to the employers of those who thought they had seen a UFO, or who investigated them, or just disagreed with him. He seemed outraged that there were people who didn’t accept everything he said, and took great offense at that. He would express his disappointment with those by creating a little trouble for them.

A few skeptics who visit here thought I was being overly harsh and a little unfair to Klass. They thought several examples were needed. But even with some acts I thought were over the top, those skeptics thought Klass had done nothing wrong. With Klass it seems to have been an on-going thing.

While going through the FBI files that dealt with UFOs, I came across a series of letters that Klass had sent to them. Apparently Klass was offended by an article written by Dr. J. Allen Hynek that had appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. It was an article that didn’t actually advocate any particular position but suggested that UFO sightings reported to law enforcement entities would be of interest to those at Hynek’s new Center for UFO studies. It provided a way for law enforcement to respond to the concerns of the citizens without having to actually do anything. A sort of win - win. Law enforcement cleared the report and the CUFOS received it for further investigation, if necessary.

According to a Memorandum dated February 21, 1975, Mr. Heim, reported that Klass had called the editor of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. According to that document, Klass, “In strong terms laced with sarcasm, he derided our publication of the article by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, ‘The UFO Mystery,’ in the February, 1975, issue of the LEB. Klass suggested that by publishing this article, the FBI had given its endorsement to a hoax (that UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin) and to a fraud (Dr. J. Allen Hynek).”

Importantly, according to the memorandum, “Mr. Klass was politely reminded that nowhere in Dr. Hynek’s article appearing in the Bulletin, or in numerous other of his writings which were examined by us, does Hynek suggest UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin…” (Remember, this is 1975, about the time he was establishing CUFOS).

A letter dated June 14, 1975, written to then FBI Director Clarence Kelly, Klass renewed his assault. He wrote, “The enclosed photo-copy of a headline and feature story in the recent issue of ‘The National Tattler’ is a portent of the sort of ‘FBI endorsement’ for the flying-saucer myth that you can expect to see, repeatedly, as a result of an article about UFOs carried by the February issue of The Law Enforcement Bulletin.” While his source for this claim of FBI endorsement outrage is The National Tattler, hardly the pinnacle of journalistic excellence, that didn’t matter all that much to Klass, he quoted it anyway.

Klass added, “That article was written by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the spiritual leader of the vocal group of ‘believers’ and ‘kooks’ who claim we are being visited by extraterrestrial spaceships. And while the FBI did not endorse Hynek’s views per se, the decision to publish his article and to alert law enforcement agencies as to what to do ‘if they land,’ has embroiled the agency for all time.”

The telephone call then, was not enough to slander Dr. Hynek. When he didn’t receive the response he wanted, he renewed his attack, but toned down the rhetoric in the written communication. He just claimed that Hynek was the “spiritual leader” of, what to Klass, would be the other side. But he had learned that the FBI had not endorsed the opinion that some UFOs were alien craft merely that they approved of the idea of the UFO reports being relayed to a non-governmental agency to investigate. Hynek had offered the various law enforcement agencies an alternative to telling the public to call the Air Force or the local college authorities if they felt a need to make a report.

I am not sure what so annoyed Klass about this. Hynek asked for the various law enforcement agencies to relay the reports to the Center. I don’t know why Klass would object to this. It wasn’t as if he was attempting to force his belief structure on anyone. He was merely asking for information. Klass was actually attempting to somehow inhibit that flow.

There is nothing wrong with Klass contacting the FBI to respond to their publication of Hynek’s article. There is nothing wrong with Klass offering to write a rebuttal piece giving his opinions about the reality, or lack thereof, of UFOs. There is nothing wrong with Klass writing, “I would welcome the opportunity to present the other side of the UFO issue in The Law Enforcement Bulletin, and to thereby help remove the earlier seeming FBI endorsement of flying saucers.”

It was the language, the allegations and the name calling which is out of place. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree, but Klass wouldn’t leave it at that. He crossed a line, repeatedly, with his personal attacks and his shading of reality to suit his purposes. He was uninterested in debate; he was in a campaign to inflict his views on everyone else.

The point is that Klass did carry about a campaign against those with whom he disagreed. I know that I don’t attempt to suppress the opinions and beliefs of the skeptics who visit here (except when the insults become too personal) and welcome, for the most part, their view of the issues. But for a few, such as Klass, it wasn’t enough that he had what he believed to be the ultimate truth; everyone had to agree with that truth as well.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Different Perspective - The Return

I spent yesterday in my bunker just in case... Oh, okay, we had a blizzard and we had to dig out. So, I didn't go anywhere, was at home, but once midnight passed, I felt safe. Of course, the question was, midnight where?
Midnight in Japan?
Well, then I felt safe much earlier.
Or midnight in New Zealand?
Same thing.
But since the Mayan civilization was basically in the Central Time Zone, as determined by the United States (though they were in Central America) I suppose we were safe at midnight there.
And since this is now December 22, well, we're now safe...
Except for that damn asteroid that is supposed to hit sometime in the next, what, fifteen or twenty years unless we do something.
But all this is irrelevant now because we have dodged another doomsday bullet, just as we did not all that long ago when we entered the 21st century, or avoided Y2K (remember that?) or the big war predicted for 1999 and everything else.
Next up here... I believe I know what UFO crash Robert Willingham was talking about, but he wasn't there and it wasn't really a UFO.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End of A Different Perspective

As you all know, tomorrow the world ends. I don't know if it will come in a collision with an invisible, undetected planet that will smash the Earth into dust, in a Cosmic Ray Burst that will strip the Ozone from the atmosphere allowing the sun to kill us slowly with radiation, in a swarm of meteors and asteroids, or if the Earth will respond with volcanoes, earthquakes and storms that will kill billions... the power grids will be down and the Internet gone. With that, this blog will fade away like everything else...
Or, if the world does not end tomorrow, well, then, we'll all be back on Saturday to await the next end of the world prediction. I suspect that George Noory is right.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Trent Photographs Reexamined

Through the years, I have often thought that the Trent photographs have only one of two possible conclusions. They are either of a craft that matched nothing in the inventories of various world air forces, or it was a hoax. It was something from another world or it was faked.

For those who need a little background, the Trents, Paul and Evelyn, photographed a UFO that hovered over their farm near McMinnville, Oregon, on May 11, 1950. According to the story, Evelyn Trent was outside feeding the rabbits when she saw a large, slow moving, disk-shaped object traveling toward the northeast. She yelled for her husband who came out, saw the object and ran back in the house for their camera.
Trent took two pictures of the object. According to witness statements offered years later, he took a picture and then had to manually wind the film to take a second. The UFO began to accelerate at that point.

Evelyn Trent ran back into the house to call her in-laws, who lived a few hundred yards away. Her mother-in-law entered the house to answer the phone but her father-in-law would say that he did see the object but only caught a glimpse of it.
Although they had what might have been the first authentic pictures of a flying saucer, Paul Trent said they waited to finish the roll before having the film developed. If they were excited enough to burn up two frames of film, it would seem that they would want to develop the film quickly given what they had on that film.

Then, once the roll was finished and they had the pictures, they didn’t take them to the newspaper but instead allowed the local banker to put them in the window of the bank. That led, of course, to a reporter seeing them and getting them published in the local newspaper. Once the pictures were published, the Trents found themselves in the national spotlight. Life borrowed the negatives and printed them in the June 26, 1950 issue.

The Condon Committee investigated them in the late 1960s, and found no reason to reject them. The investigator for Condon, William Hartman, wrote, “Two inferences appear to be justified: 1)It is difficult to see any prior motivation for a fabrication of such a story, although after the fact, the witnesses did profit to the extent of a trip to New York; 2) it is unexpected that in this distinctly rural atmosphere, in 1950, one would encounter a fabrication involving sophisticated trick photography (e.g. a carefully retouched print).  The witnesses seemed unaffected by the incident, receiving only occasional inquires.”

So Hartmann, with the Condon Committee thought the pictures were authentic, meaning of some sort of unidentified physical object meaning an alien craft. This annoyed Philip Klass and he launched his own investigation. Klass consulted with Robert Sheaffer, who made his own analysis of the pictures. According to Klass, Sheaffer found a shadow under the eaves of the garage and that suggested that the pictures were taken, not in the evening, but early in the morning. If true, then that would suggest the pictures were faked. There would be no logical reason to lie about the timing unless there were some shenanigans going on.

I was never thrilled with that analysis. It seemed a little esoteric and seemed to be the kind of thing just thrown in by the skeptics to discredit the pictures. Just a little crack in the case, but one that many skeptics found persuasive. I was not in that camp. Others, who studied the pictures, argued that the shadows were not significant.

Sheaffer’s findings, however, when sent on to Hartmann, seemed to be enough for him to reevaluate his stand on the pictures. Klass wrote that Hartmann wrote, “I think Sheaffer’s work removes the McMinnville case from consideration as evidence of disklike [sic] artificial craft.”

In 1965, Lieutenant Colonel John P. Spaulding, responding to an inquiry from a civilian, W. C. Case, wrote, “The Air Force has no information on photographs of an unidentified flying object taken by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon. In this regard, it should be noted that all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports have been a misrepresentation of natural or conventional objects. The objects in these photographs have a positive identification.”

Which is their way of saying that there is no such thing as UFOs, meaning alien spacecraft. We can interpret the last sentence to say that we know nothing about the Trent photos but they have been positively identified. Or he might have meant that all UFOs in the photos submitted to the Air Force have been positively identified, which is not strictly true. But I digress…

Getting to the real point here, in a posting on his blog, Tony Bragalia (see has provided some evidence for a hoax that is more significant and more persuasive. Tony wrote, “Found clues point to a prank behind the most cherished UFO photographs in history. For over six decades the two images taken by Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon have continued to generate great debate about their authenticity. But investigation now indicates that the two Trent images were likely ones of invention.”

So what did Tony find that convinces him that the Trent photographs are faked? One of the things is “forced perspective,” which allows a photograph to present different objects in the same frame as if they are radically larger or smaller than they really are. Movies use it all the time to fool us into believing a human is giant-sized, or something else is tiny. To make his photograph work, meaning making it seem to show a large object in the distance, Trent was kneeling, rather than standing upright to produce the suggestion that the UFO is large and in the distance.

In a better bit of evidence, a friend of Trent’s wrote, on a copy of the photograph, “Paul I wish I could have been there shooting with you on this day in 1950. If it’s real, then whoa! But if you faked it, that’s even cooler. We can’t really fake stuff anymore. Years later if it’s all fake… or maybe it’s all real. Same difference. Thanks for this though. CM.” CM is not identified.

Tony also wrote, “This placement of photos in the window of a business reminds me of confessed UFO hoaxer and barber Ralph Ditter of Zanesville, OH. Ditter placed his UFO photos up in the window of his barbershop. Ditter too involved his child [See below and how Trent’s son was photographed on a ladder]. His little girl wanted to see a UFO. So Ditter “made one” using a toy wheel and captured it on camera for her.

 “And some say of the Trents that no money was ever sought for the photos. But in reality, in 1970, twenty years later and realizing their accrued value, the Trents insisted on having their negatives back from the McMinnville Register, which held them. According to Register Editor Philip Bladine, the Trents were not shy to note to him that ‘they had never been paid for the negatives and thus wanted them back.’”

It could be argued that the Trents realizing they hadn’t been paid for the negatives some twenty years later is irrelevant. Money, as a motive, didn’t seem to cross their minds until long after the fact and therefore is not a motive to create the hoax if that was the reason for it.

Tony points out that there is a picture of the Trent’s son up on a ladder, in the backyard where the UFO was photographed, and it seems as if he could have been involved in a scheme to create the pictures. Overhead wires seen in other pictures suggest that something could have been hung from them and forced perspective give them the appearance of something large and far away.

Trent told reporters that he did nothing with the pictures until encouraged to do so by friends. He said that he was a little afraid of the photographs because he thought he would get into trouble with the government. This answers one of the questions that has bothered skeptics.

Now, over at UFO Iconoclasts (see, there has been some discussion of Tony’s theories, and not everyone is on board. There is an argument that the pictures of the boy on the ladder was not on the film used by Trent, but was taken by a Life photographer sent to take some pictures of the area for the article they would publish.

Tony also wrote, “Kim Trent Spencer, the Trent’s granddaughter, told journalist Kelly Kennedy of the Oregonian something of missed importance- the Trents were repeaters. That is, they had multiple UFO “experiences.”

But this wasn’t something that has been ignored as Tony thought. In my book, Scientific Ufology (Hey, as I read various documents and comments around, I see people promoting their books… Why shouldn’t I?) I noted that the Trents were repeaters. I’m not sure of the significance… True, seeing a UFO would be a rare event but then so would be winning the lottery or being struck by lightning, yet there are people who had won several lottery jackpots and one unlucky man was struck by lightning five times.

So Tony provided some interesting evidence to suggest that the Trend photographs were faked. Debunkers, of course, know they were faked because there is no alien visitation and anything that suggests otherwise is faked. For the youngsters who wish to open new investigations into older cases, this is a good place to start. There are some legitimate questions about the photographs’ authenticity and in a case like this, there is always something new to be learned.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Geezers vs Youngsters

Back when I was in graduate school and preparing to write my dissertation, I learned that the first thing you did to prepare was make a search of the literature… well, the second thing, after you have figured out what you wanted to research. You looked to see what others had done before you, if someone had already accomplished what you wanted to, and how you might improve on both your idea and what had gone before.
 Apparently in UFO research, this is not the case.
I don’t know how many times we must revisit cases that seem to have been solved, that seem to have nothing to do with UFOs, or that are hoaxes. Every five years or so another crop of interested people show up and we begin all over again… and somehow the blame is pushed on the “Geezers.” We just haven’t made the case, whatever the case might be.
Take the Allende Letters, that group of correspondence between Carlos Allende or Carl Allen and Morris K. Jessup. Allende/Allen wrote about Jessup’s UFO books. Allende/Allen suggested a knowledge that was based on inside information and personal observation. Part of it was the so-called Philadelphia Experiment in which it is claimed that the US Navy teleported a ship in 1943. Ignore the fact that no documentation has ever surfaced to prove it. Ignore the fact that the allegedly teleported ship’s logs place it elsewhere at the time. Ignore the fact that there is nothing to support this claim except Allende’s allegation.
Allende/Allen arrived in Tucson, Arizona in the 1970s, apparently on his way to Mexico for cancer treatment. While in Tucson he met with Jim Lorenzen, then the International Director of APRO and signed a statement that the whole Philadelphia Experiment, the letters, and everything else associated with it was a hoax. Allende/Allen said he made it up because Jessup’s writing frightened him and he didn’t want Jessup to write anything more.
To me, that admission, by Allende/Allen ends the discussion. It is a hoax. It is an admitted hoax. They guy who started it said it was a hoax. What more do we need?
Remember, that was in the 1970s. I even did a magazine article about this in the 1970s. Robert Goerman, a UFO researcher interested in the Allende Letters found Allende’s family who told him, Goerman, that Allende was slightly unhinged… bright but unhinged. There was nothing to the story he told…
But then the youngsters enter the field, bringing their “fresh” perspective to it, and we begin again to hear about the value of the Allende Letters. We hear there might be something to them. We hear how they might be the key to solving the UFO mystery… and away we go again, covering the same ground because Allende/Allen’s admission of hoax was forced by the CIA and should therefore be ignored.
Or take the latest of the Aztec “re-investigations.” We have a new book that suggests that there might be something to the Aztec UFO crash. Once again, this is a case that should have been relegated to a footnote a long time ago. It is clear that Aztec is a hoax started by a con man, Silas Newton, who is probably laughing his ass off in his grave because there are still people who believe it.
Newton told the story to Frank Scully who made fun of it in his newspaper column in 1948, but a couple of years later Scully seemed to have changed his mind and suddenly began to believe the tale. He wrote a book about it that became a bestseller… and then J. P. Cahn wrote an expose about it that should have put the whole thing to rest… but didn’t.
In the 1970s Robert Spencer Carr said that he had found five witnesses to the Aztec crash and the case was revitalized… but even the reinvestigation failed to find much in the way of evidence. Carr relied on unidentified witnesses and rumor and we don’t know who his witnesses were or why he accepted what they said. There was nothing new… until the 1980s when William Steinman began his new investigation, “proving” there was something to the crash tale. Of course, Steinman offered little evidence of anything other than he is a fan of garage sales and that he had been to Aztec annoying the locals with his less than gracious manner.
But even with all these investigations and the failure to find anything substantial, Aztec is back. We’re told that the proof is now incontrovertible, but it is weak at best. Though we’re told to ignore Newton and his con man buddy Leo GeBauer, they are still tied to the case. We are treated to links between alleged witnesses and the event, but when we look deeper, we find the links broken. There is simply nothing there that hasn’t been discussed before, yet we’re supposed to roll over and accept this new data as if it is proof.
I could go on in this vein. We have arguments that maybe the contactees had something important to say, but in reality, they merely cluttered the UFO field with their nonsense making it easier to hide the truth, whatever that truth might be. We hear about great air wars between the aliens and our Air Force, but the evidence doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. We have phenomenon, such as crop circles linked to UFOs, but that really should be another field of research…(get it? Field?).
True, there are some things that do need to be reexamined. The Majorie Fish Star Map that was based on Betty Hill’s memory needs new work now that we have better information. Some of the stars she used are not where we had thought them to be and she excluded red dwarves because she didn’t think there was anything interesting to be found near them, not to mention there are so many of them. Fish’s work was great when she did it, but it is now badly out of date. Maybe a youngster who plays with computers could do the work in minutes rather than the months it took Fish.
The point is that we geezers have something to add, if only it is to direct the youngsters into areas that should be explored. We don’t really need to study the Allende Letters again. We have all we need to know about Aztec, and if Scott Ramsey really spent a half a million dollars on his research, I can think of better areas that he could have explored with that kind of money.
So rather than dismiss us all as failures, maybe some should look to what we have learned. It just might save someone a half million dollar mistake; years of research that will go nowhere, or help focus the spotlight on areas that could provide a breakthrough or two.
And rather than pit the geezers against the youngsters as some are attempting, maybe we should all work together. Why does it have to be an either or propostion?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Estimate of the Situation: A Different Perspective

While studying the legendary “Estimate of the Situation,” the document written in secret in 1948 by Air Force personnel in Dayton, Ohio, I came to understand some more about it. The Estimate, or EOTS as it has come to be called, was described by Ed Ruppelt, one time chief of Project Blue Book and Dewey Fournet, the Pentagon’s liaison for UFOs in the 1950s. They provided a limited listing of the cases included in it, and in today’s world, it is possible to access some of that information.

What struck me was the poor quality of some of the cases reviewed. Yes, the Arnold sighting that sort of began everything was in there. Today there are those who believe that Arnold was fooled by mirages, or by drops of water on the windshield, or snow blowing off the mountaintops, or by pelicans. None of the solutions is very satisfactory. The thing we don’t know is if the Johnson sighting, a prospector who was on the ground and seemed to have seen the objects about the same time as Arnold, was included in the report.
Many of the sightings that I have reviewed are not as strong as the Arnold case. Some are single witness and I believe were selected because they involved pilots or technically trained people. I would guess that those making the selections believed that pilots, especially fighter pilots, would be familiar with what was in the sky around them. Fighter pilots would have to make snap decisions about what they were seeing and their skills would have been honed during the war when a single mistake could kill them. Those selecting the cases respected the abilities of the pilots to quickly and accurately determine what they were seeing. Not too long before their lives would have depended on that ability.
And in the world of 1948, those with college degrees, especially those in the sciences or engineering would be given a higher credibility. The thinking was that these people had been exposed to a great many startling sights and would be able to identify a balloon, a celestial object, a weather phenomenon, when they saw it. If they reported something strange in the sky, then it probably did defy identification… which is not to say that it was an alien spacecraft.
At any rate, these seemed to be the sightings selected for the EOTS. Pilots, military officers, scientists, and technicians were those whose tales were taken, almost at face value. But when we look at the sightings today, they are very thin on evidence other than the observations of the witnesses. As but a single example taken this case from the Lake Meade area:

On 14 July 1947, 1st Lt Eric B Armstrong… departed Williams Field, Arizona at 1400 CST on 28 June in a P-51 for Portland, Oregon, by way of Medford, Oregon. At approximately 1515 CST on a course of 300 degrees, and a ground speed of 285, altitude 10,000 feet, approximately thirty miles northwest of Lake Meade, Nevada Lt. Armstrong sighted five or six white, circular objects at four o’clock, altitude approximately 6,000 feet, courses approximately 120 degrees and an estimated speed of 285 MPH. Lt. Armstrong said the objects were flying very smoothly and in a close formation. The estimated size of the white objects were approximately 36 inches in diameter. Lt. Armstrong stated that he is sure the white objects were not birds, since the rate of closure was very fast. Lt. Armstrong was certain that the white objects were not jets or conventional type aircraft since he has flown both types. 

This report is from a single witness and the UFOs described are only three feet in diameter. He said they weren’t birds, based on the rate of closure, which meant that they were coming at him faster than his speed and that of the birds would account for. He didn’t believe the objects were meteors and he didn’t think they were conventional aircraft. The Air Force eventually determined that Armstrong had seen a cluster of balloons.
I don’t know why those in Dayton were impressed with this sighting, unless there is something more about it than is in the Project Blue Book file. There is no physical evidence, no photographs, and no radar tracks, nothing other than the observations of the pilot.
As I said, this is an example of the sightings reported in the EOTS. There are no indications from either Ruppelt or Fournet that there was anything more. While the document might have been thick, and it might have contained dozens of sightings (177 by one estimate), without some sort of tangible evidence, I’m not surprised that General Vandenberg rejected it. Hell, I’m usually on board with those who think that some UFOs might represent alien craft, but from what I’ve seen of the EOTS and the reports contained in it, I wouldn’t have found the conclusion of spacecraft supported by the evidence either.
That is why it was rejected, I believe. Not because of a culture at the Pentagon that thought all UFOs could be explained in the mundane, but because, in the words of Jason Robards in All the President’s Men, “You don’t have it.”
Robards meant that the conclusions of the reporters were not supported by the evidence and with the EOTS we see the same thing. To make it worse, this failed attempt to impress those outside the halls of ATIC at Wright Field damaged their case beyond repair. It might have signaled the beginning of what Ruppelt would call the “Dark Ages,” when all UFOs were to be explained… period.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Decline and Fall of FOIA

There are those who believe that the Freedom of Information Act is the gateway to all knowledge about UFOs. If you have a question, just file a FOIA request and the information will be sent to you. Anything you wish to know, you can learn, if you can find the right agency, form your questions intelligently, and if you have a little patience.
And I say crapola…
Here’s why. In the last century, which of course, means fifteen years ago, I wanted a report that had been issued at the White Sands Proving Ground. I provided the precise name of the document, the name of the author and the date it was published. Their response? They I needed more precise information. I confess I don’t know what more they could have needed other than where the file cabinet in which it was stored was located and in what office on the base.
I bring this up now because in the last year my attempts at FOIA have gone astray. I have, since the report was published in the mid-1990s, attempted to learn more about how the Air Force Roswell reports were ordered. I have asked the Secretary of the Air Force’s office, repeatedly, for all information about this including memos, letters, orders, minutes of meetings, and all the other nonessential waste of paper that you would expect from a government bureaucracy.  And I have been given the run around.
First I was sent to the Government Printing Office and their response was a catalog of documents available. Now I knew that the GPO would not have anything I wanted, but I sent a FOIA to them so that I could say that it wasn’t the right place.
Second, I was told that the documents had all been transferred to the Air Force Archives, but they said they had sent them on to the National Archives. NARA said, “No,” they didn’t have them. I returned to the Air Force Archives which gave me the details of the transfer, so it was back to NARA. They said that they did have the records, but they had not been reviewed and that would take a while. Get back to them later…
Which I did. But all they had were the records produced in the investigation including the video tapes made by the Fund for UFO Research, a court martial record of a doctor from 1957 that had no significance to the investigation at all, copies of documents that I and other private researchers had sent them, and nothing that filled my request.
In the last year I have attempted to get these documents again. I have sent four FOIA requests to the Secretary of the Air Force FOIA office and have not received a single reply. I would have thought that at the very least they would have let me know they received the request as the law requires.
The other day, I sent another FOIA request and this time I had to pick a category. Was my request commercial, educational/new or other. I fall into the commercial category, which from the sound of the emails, means they are going to charge me for the service. It seems to suggest they have a new way to stop FOIA. Make it clear it will cost money… and yes, I agreed to pay for the service because it is for a book but the information isn’t all that spectacular.
The point here is that it doesn’t seem that FOIA works as well as it used to. It seems that they can ignore repeated requests, and I really don’t want to pay an attorney two hundred dollars an hour to sue them for a response, only to learn that the information is considered vital to national security which would launch another lawsuit. They have the resources to dance, but we out here do not.
Oh, I get it that lots of people file FOIA over trivia… but then, if the records weren’t hidden away, there would be no need for FOIA. And yes, I understand that some things are a matter of national security, but I’m not sure how that might relate to the Air Force investigations of Roswell since the Air Force said it was a balloon, or how it relates to the radar tracks of a commercial airliner more than two decades ago.
FOIA just doesn’t work the way it used to and that is really all I’m saying.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jim Moseley is Dead

James W. Moseley, who for decades has poked and prodded the world of UFOs, died Friday in Florida. He was 81.

Moseley is best known as the editor of Saucer Smear, the final evolution of his self-published newsletters that were sent on an irregular schedule to his “non-subscribers.” In its pages he printed his opinions which were sometimes radical and sometimes rational. He welcomed responses, often soliciting them to keep the controversies going.
James W. Moseley, J. S.
He was the son of an Army general, whom he seemed to dislike and a self-described grave robber, trading in antiquities from South America. He faked, according to his book, Shockingly Close to the Truth, written with the late Karl Pflock, a UFO landing, and the a letter supposedly from the Department of State to contactee George Adamski. In other words, he often had fun with those in the world of UFOs which might have been his ultimate mission.
In later life he moved from the idea that UFOs might be Earth-based craft to an opinion that they were more terrestrially based (or as Jerry Clark pointed out to me, extra-dimensional, which is not necessarily terrestrially based). But that didn’t stop him from keeping his fingers in the UFO pie.
Mosley lived, for the last many years in Key West, Florida, where he avoided the Internet as much as possible, and enjoyed his position in the world of UFOs. He died of cancer on November 16.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Samalayuca UFO Crash?

Here’s a bit of a conundrum. I have been looking into a report of a flaming object crash on October 12, 1947. According to a short article that appeared in an unidentified newspaper:

El Paso, Tex, Oct 12 – (AP) An unidentified flaming object soared over the Texas-Mexico border today, apparently smashing into the Samalayuca mountains of Mexico with a loud explosion and billows of smoke.
The approximate impact area was estimated to be less than 10 miles from the point where a V-2 rocket off its track crashed south of Juarez May 20.
The public relations officer at the White Sands proving grounds where the V-2 rockets have been launched said none of the missiles had been fired since Oct.9.
Maj. Gen. John L. Homer, Fort Bliss [near El Paso] commander and military officials at air fields and other installations in the southwest, said that no guided missiles had been fired today and no rocket planes were missing from the fields in the area.
At least four persons saw the fiery object darting through the skies “with the speed of a falling star” at approximately 9:30 a.m. 

For those keeping score at home, this is case number 93 in the Project Blue Book files (and yes, I know it was Project Sign in 1947). It shows multiple witnesses and is “solved” as a meteor.
Yes, it sounds like a meteor. The witness descriptions of it moving “with the speed of a falling star,” the loud explosions and the billows of smoke are all characteristics of a bolide, that is, a very bright meteor.

However, there is a teletype message in the file that came from “Helmick CO AAFLD Alamogordo on Oct 15,” and was sent to the Commanding General, AMC at Wright Field in Dayton that suggests otherwise. It said that the Mexican government in Mexico City had reported the “unidentified flaming object that landed about 35 miles from Juarez, Mexico [across the border from El Paso] was definitely a rocket to have been launched from some Texas base.”
There is also a report from an officer in charge of the Juarez military garrison who claimed the false report of a rocket crash came from the Mexican Department of War. He said they were continuing their search for whatever had hit, but that implies they had not found any wreckage.
I do have another newspaper clipping that provides additional information, an official letter dated October 13, 1947 to “D/I Army Intelligence,” a letter from the Military Attache in Mexico City dated October 16, an unclassified teletype dated October 21 and signed by Colonel Millard Lewis, another signed by Lt. Col. Douglass Eiseman dated October 24 and a diary page for General Hoyt S. Vandenberg. I mention that so we all don’t have to run through those documents several times. I have them and have seen them on the Internet at the Project 1947 historical group.
I’m hoping someone in El Paso, West Texas, and that general region might be able to learn a little more. The newspaper article is an Associated Press story so it could have been published anywhere and I believe that both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times were interested, but don’t know what their conclusions might be. Message traffic, which are the other documents, are routinely destroyed when they have served their purpose, though the originator might retain file copies but after 65 years there seems unlikely I’ll be able to find them.
If anyone out there can point me in a direction that might yield a little more information, I would appreciate it. I suspect, given the description and what I know about bolides, is that this is the answer (because there is just no evidence that this was a stray missile from White Sands or Fort Bliss) but there are enough questions now to continue the search.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kathleen Marden - Commonalities Study Final Report

I received an email from Kathleen Marden (which is not to say that it came just to me, but one that she had sent to many of us interested in UFOs), niece of Betty Hill, about a statistical study she and Denise Stoner had been working on. “The Marden-Stoner Study on Commonalities Among UFO Abduction Experiencers,” as it is called, was a multiple-choice survey of those who believe they have been abducted by aliens, and a core of non-abductees as a control group.

Kathleen Marden
According to Marden, “Nearly a year ago, Denise Stoner and I met to discuss the commonalities that alien abduction experiencers share. As longtime abduction investigators/researchers, we were aware of certain repeating patterns of information and characteristics. The pertinent literature, the academic social science studies and the works of David Jacobs, PhD, Thomas Bullard, PhD, and the late Budd Hopkins, John Mack, MD, and others had identified several commonalities among abduction experiencers. But we had not been able to locate an academic study that was specific to our particular interests.”
This is something that should have been done years ago, after it was clear that something was happening to these people. It is not necessarily alien abduction, but there is something going on there. When Russ Estes, Bill Cone and I conducted our research in the mid-1990s, we had noticed some trends and wondered if there was any significance to them. If a trend could be spotted, then we might learn something that would help understand this aspect of UFOs or, at the very least, the people who were reporting it.
As Kathleen noted, other abduction researchers had also noticed some of this, but there had been no attempt to gather statistics about it. Although a long time in coming, this is the sort of scientific research that needs to be conducted, and it seems that Kathleen has the background to attempt it, based on her academic and work experience.

The study, as it stands, has had about 50 participants, and some of those are self-reported. She wrote, “Participants for our study were solicited via the MUFON UFO Journal and several alien abduction and UFO oriented websites. We also appeared on several radio shows and invited listeners to participate. Last, there were questionnaires at my vendor table at several UFO conferences and at Denise’s meetings. I posted the questionnaires, a letter of explanation, and an informed consent notice on my website at We communicated to participants that all questionnaires would be kept in a locked and secure location and destroyed at the end of the study. All personal identifying information that was volunteered would remain confidential. As a cautionary measure, we advised all potential participants that they should only complete the questionnaire if they could do so without feeling uncomfortable.”
After analyzing the data, there were a couple of interesting conclusions drawn. Marden wrote:

The vast majority was revisited—some more than 10 times—and was taken from their homes to an alien craft. Often the abduction experiencers sensed an impending visitation by alien entities before it occurred. The mode of communication between alien entities and humans is almost entirely telepathic. A new psychic awareness has emerged in the majority of experiencers and about half have found that they now have new healing abilities.
Immediately before or soon after a visitation they become aware of paranormal activity in their homes, such as light orbs, objects flying through the air or from walls, doors opening and closing without assistance, etc. The majority noticed malfunctioning electrical equipment, appliances, watches, computers, TVs, radios, cameras, etc.
Slightly more than half developed a new sensitivity to light and now crave salt. They feel a foreign object in their body and are fearful of being abducted again. Most have difficulty falling asleep and remaining asleep throughout the night. Those who have resolved their fearfulness are more likely to sleep restfully.
Finally, we want to express our sincere gratitude to those who participated in this study. It wasn’t an easy task. We asked them to visit my website and copy the 45 question or 16 question form. Then we requested that they fill in the multiple choice questions and add their comments and accounts of their personal experiences that would elucidate us regarding their specific information. They were then asked to mail their questionnaires to me or to return them via email. Although it required some effort on their part, it reduced the possibility that hoaxers would intentionally sabotage the study. In the end, we were very pleased with the knowledge we gained and the opportunity it gave us to support abduction experiencers and expand the UFO research community’s knowledge of the alien abduction phenomenon.
Those who wish to read the entire report, who want to see the statistical breakdown and the questions addressed, should visit her web site, address noted above. It is under the tab labeled “Commonalities Study Final Report,” directly under the banner (at the end of a list of places on the site). It is an interesting read.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Aztec Incident - Review by Jerome Clark

(Blogger’s Note: This review was written by Jerome Clark and appeared in a slightly different form in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, 26, 3 (Fall 2012) pp. 707 – 714. Reprinted with permission. And a thank you to Jerry Clark as well.)

Reviewed by Jerome Clark

The Aztec Incident: Recovery at Hart Canyon by Scott and Suzanne Ramsey, Dr. Frank Thayer and Frank Warren. Mooresville, N.C.: Aztec 48 Productions, 2012.  217 pp. $24.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-9850046-0-6.

            One scarcely knows where to begin.  Perhaps with this quote from a June 19, 1951, letter – reprinted in these pages (90-91) – written by San Francisco Chronicle editor Paul G. Smith to Variety entertainment columnist and author Frank Scully: “Frankly, I recall that when I first saw your book I thought you were merely having fun with your readers.”  The book, the already notorious Behind the Flying Saucers, which Henry Holt had issued the previous September, was a marketplace success but a disaster in every quarter that did not involve commerce.  Even so prominent an early UFO proponent as Maj. Donald Keyhoe, the first outsider to investigate Scully's claims of a 1948 saucer recovery near Aztec, New Mexico, rejected them as absurd and fanciful.  When I read Scully's book in junior high school, my impression – even as a naive adolescent -- was the same.
Scott Ramsey
Photo courtesy Paul Kimball
            In fact, though they circulated freely through the larger society, because of the Scully taint rumors of UFO crashes were spurned by mainstream ufologists until the late 1970s.  Around that time, a respected colleague, the late Leonard H. Stringfield, began collecting what he called “crash/retrieval reports” from mostly anonymous sources with whom he privately communicated.[1]   In 1980 the first major book on the subject, The Roswell Incident by Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore, saw print.  Other books, mostly though not exclusively focused on Roswell, followed (and an Air Force refutation followed them in the late 1990s, succeeded by refutations of the refutation, and so on in continuing loop to the present). 

            Inevitably, Scully's tale – at least in a cleaned-up version that did not incorporate the dead Venusians of the original – would get a second look.  The first book-length treatment was William S. Steinman and Wendelle C. Stevens's UFO Crash at Aztec (1987), a work notable only for its levels of paranoia (high) and coherence (low).  The second is the new The Aztec Incident, based on what we are told is a $500,000 investment in research expenses and more than two decades' worth of inquiry.

            First, so that future authorial references will be clear, the crowded by-line is courtesy of a writing novice's error that no experienced author would have committed.  There is only one author – Scott Ramsey – who refers to himself in the first person throughout.  The other three, who participated in one way or another in accumulating the material that made the book possible, ought to have been cited in the credits, and not represented as co-authors.    Thus, in what follows, I refer to the real author in the singular. 

            Since there is much to pan and little to praise in the comments that follow, let's start on the most positive note circumstances render available.  Aztec Incident reprints some of the private correspondence, never before seen as far as I know, of the principal figures in the episode.  As one who has written at length on the history of the UFO controversy in all its dimensions, including its less lucid moments, I like that.  The off-stage voices, I have found, are illuminating. 

            Here, however, the revelations are modest. One never imagines for a moment that Scully appreciated the efforts of investigative reporter J. P. Cahn (who memorably uncovered the confidence swindle behind Behind in a couple of hard-hitting, entertainingly documented True articles[2]), but it is interesting to read this record of his personal complaints about Cahn's hard-charging approach.  And who can blame Scully?  Though as late as 1984 Cahn observed that he had always liked Scully personally, clearly the affection was not destined to be reciprocal.  At the end of the job, Cahn had exposed Scully as -- in the most charitable interpretation -- a fool.

            Unfortunately, one thing Incident does not address – cannot address by its very purpose, which is to turn dross into gold – is to what degree Scully was a party to the hoax.  To his death in 1964, Scully professed his confidence in what his informants, whose probity he endorsed in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence, had told him about the crash in New Mexico along with others, less detailed, in Arizona, Maine, and elsewhere in the late 1940s.[3] My supposition, for which I make no larger truth claim than I can glean from observation of his behavior over the years, is that Scully was initially gulled into acceptance of the yarns, then grew eventually to perceive that he'd been bamboozled.  By that time, he was sufficiently invested in the bamboozlement that he felt he could not disown his silly book and the attendant controversy; if it took whopper-forging to sustain his otherwise untenable position, then smalltime grifter Leo A. GeBauer – top magnetic authority “Dr. Gee” in BFS – would become, years later, a composite figure representing not GeBauer but some of the leading magnetic scientists in America.  (In reality, a waitress had given GeBauer the nickname “Dr. Gee,” according to GeBauer's widow, and Scully merely borrowed it for the book.)  In other words, Scully was complicit in the hoax.  The only remaining question is if that complicity happened sooner or later.

            Obligingly, Ramsey devotes an eye-glazing chapter (4: Dr. Gee and the Mystery Men)  to profiles of eight leading magnetism-studying scientists of mid-century America.  “Without a doubt,” he insists (p. 51), “they possibly knew or worked with Silas Newton, a man of science himself.”  Only a book as rhetorically hapless as Incident could cram “without a doubt” and “possibly” into the same pronouncement without betraying the faintest cognitive dissonance, and then proceed to characterize lifelong swindler Newton not only as a “man of science” but as a major one at that, sharing his purported colleagues' access to the U.S. Government's classified extraterrestrial bodies and technology. Having declared as much, Ramsey feels no obligation to provide a fragment of actual evidence that links these eminent scientists to Newton.  For that matter, he fails even to document his repeated assertion that Newton was an imposing figure in the oil industry.

             It is Newton who was the intellectual author, if that's the phrase, of the Aztec legend.  His stories would almost certainly have been forgotten months after their concoction if not for Scully.  In the consensus-reality version, here highly condensed and necessarily incomplete, is how BFS came to be:

            The print record – no prior press references to the described event, said to have taken place on March 25, 1948, have ever been located and are almost certainly nonexistent – begins with Scully's Variety column of October 12, 1949, where he reports having learned from unnamed “scientists” of two saucer retrievals, one in the Mohave Desert, the other in the Sahara.  The latter vanishes from the story hereafter, but in Scully's account the scientists examined the American ship (intact but for a small hole in a port window), presumed to be from Venus and housing 16 humanlike midgets – all dead and “charred black” – clad in 1890s-style clothing.  The ship, it turned out, flew along “magnetic waves.”  All of its dimensions are equally divisible by nine.

            BFS, published 10 months later, mentions two Arizona crashes but provides few details beyond the allegation that the bodies were identical to those found at Aztec and that the alien mathematics appeared nine-based. 

Hart Canyon Crash Site
Photo Courtesy Paul Kimball
             It developed that Newton and GeBauer had imparted these tales on to Scully in August 1949.  GeBauer had shown Scully parts from the saucer, among them a tubeless “magnetic radio.”  It is generally assumed that the location for the story has its origins in a trip GeBauer took early that same month to Hart Canyon near Aztec – a small town in the northwestern Four Corners part of the state – to demonstrate his alleged oil-detection device (the sort of thing known derisively in the industry as a “doodlebug”) to locals.  Hart Canyon would evolve into the location where the ship came down and was recovered.

            As Cahn and – much later and in considerably more detail – ufologist William L. Moore[4] would determine, Newton and GeBauer had devoted their lives (the smart and polished Newton more lucratively than the relatively slow-witted GeBauer) to various confidence scams, many involving oil-finding schemes.  Characterized wryly by Moore as “the type of character best avoided by anyone with money in his pocket,” Newton got into trouble in the 1930s in New York, Kansas, and California for assorted shady dealings.  “Newton's tactic in every case was to suck in additional investors,” Moore wrote, “and pay off the complaining  party with the money raised – in exchange, of course, for the dropping of charges against him.”  When he died in Los Angeles in 1972, Newton had 40 legal claims filed against him based primarily in fraudulent oil and mining schemes.  Two years earlier, he had been indicted for grand theft.

             The saucer story was intended to draw the interest of the well-heeled, who would soon learn that GeBauer's doodlebug (the “magnetic radio”), in reality made up of ordinary mechanical parts (as Cahn determined), was a product of extraterrestrial technology.  In other words, if not for Scully's broadcasting the story to a national and international audience, it would have been no more than another of Newton/GeBauer's ephemeral efforts to separate fools from their hard-earned.

            In attempting to rehabilitate the Aztec “case,” Ramsey falls into the fatal tactical error of defending the indefensible, namely Scully, Newton, and GeBauer, rather than conceding their manifest flaws and drawing up an Aztec episode that is not so fundamentally dependent upon their being who they clearly weren't..  From one way of viewing it, Ramsey's approach is ill considered.  From another, his book wouldn't exist without BFS and all it brought into the world.  There's little else outside Scully's pages, and even there, there isn't much. One thinks of Woody Guthrie's famous words: “That stew was so thin even a politician could have seen through it.”

            Ramsey's defense is unlikely to sway any but guile-free readers.  To any critics Ramsey responds with the self-serving, unverified words of Scully, Newton, and GeBauer, presented as the equivalent of divine revelation standing unshaken against the darkly driven contrary assertions of Cahn, portrayed relentlessly as pursuing a “petty vendetta” motivated by pure “envy,” or else – and what else? – doing the dirty work of some sinister official agency.  To any sensible  observer, Cahn emerges as an old-fashioned, aggressive shoe-leather reporter of a type sorely missed in this era of celebrity journalism.  If Moore is mentioned, it is so briefly that I missed it in the extensive notes I took during multiple readings of Incident.  The back pages that should have been devoted to an index are taken up with irrelevant photographs of historic Aztec.

            Affirmation of unswerving faith in Scully's severely flawed sources is not quite all of Ramsey's book, however.  After half a million dollars and more than two decades, he has his own evidence to put forward.  That evidence, he boasts, makes the Aztec recovery “true beyond argument.”  Or maybe not.

Aztec, New Mexico
Photo Courtesy Paul Kimball
            First, however, it must be stressed that for as long as they have been interviewed on the subject, Aztec residents have with virtually one voice denied that anything like a UFO retrieval happened there on March 25, 1948, or any other date.  That includes the man who was newspaper editor during the period, the 1948 county sheriff, the son who succeeded him in that office (all of whom actively sought out local informants without success), the family that owned the property, and other longtime residents.[5]     They first heard of an extraordinary UFO incident through the publicity surrounding Scully's claims or its revival in subsequent decades.  This contrasts tellingly with residents of another New Mexico town, Roswell, to whom an incident many tied to the crash of an unknown object – however conflictingly interpreted -- was widely known.  No one has to prove that something happened in the Roswell area in July 1947.

            The book opens with Ramsey's two claimants to first-person experience at the site.  Both contradict the original – Scully – account in notable ways.  Newton's drawing of the craft, shown to a University of Denver class to whom he lectured sensationally on March 8, 1950, depicts, in researcher Joel Carpenter's words, “a bizarre contraption that … resembled a can on top of a [spinning] saucer.”[6]  The alleged witnesses, on the other hand, speak of a disc with a dome on top and a corresponding one on the bottom. In Scully's account as related by Dr. Gee, it took a team of scientists two days to break into the craft, where as in Ramsey's version it took a few hours for locals to gain entry well before the arrival of official personnel.  (In both stories a pole poked through a small porthole opening manages to push a door handle, exposing the craft's interior.) 

             There are two, and only two, named persons who tell the story from what is supposed to be first-hand experience  One, Doug Noland, was interviewed by Ramsey after a “series of strokes.”  The other, Ken Farley, since deceased, was “dying of a respiratory disease.”  Ramsey has their alleged experiences occurring on the Scully-approved date of March 25, 1948, without ever explaining how they remembered it with such precision decades after the alleged fact.  One can only suspect an editorial insertion into the narrative, hardly the first one.

            Even as these narratives would have us believe that dozens of civilians congregated at the site, independent testimony to that effect is hard to come by.  Ramsey's rhetoric is slippery enough to mislead a careless reader, one who notices other names appearing in the testimony and is lulled into thinking they amount to verification.  A police officer said to be present has “since been identified as Manuel Sandoval” – even in the absence of any testimony from Sandoval (presumably dead or otherwise unavailable; clearly, he was never interviewed) pertaining to the event.  Noland's friend Bill Ferguson “died long before we got involved in our research” (p. 5).  Later (p. 201) Ramsey casually remarks that Ferguson “revealed his Aztec knowledge to very few people” while offering no reason, in the first instance but for Noland's testimony, that Ferguson possessed such “knowledge” and, in the second, that Ferguson told anybody at all.

            Two other informants claim to have participated in aspects of the recovery operation.  One is identified only as “George,” for whom Ramsey vouches, which – all else considered – does not  reassure.  In any event, his story of a large operation run out of Roswell's Walker Air Force Base lacks any supporting evidence.  Such supporting evidence, Ramsey notwithstanding, certainly does not come from Fred Reed.

             He writes that in April 1948 – take notice of the date – Reed's military “team was dispatched for a 'crash clean-up' as Fred would describe it to me years later [in 1999].”  The clean-up, at the Hart Canyon site, was to be of anything tied to the craft (which he later learned was a UFO) and to a subsequent military presence at the site.  But this was not the story – as Ramsey does not inform his readers – that Reed provided in a strikingly different account just a few days before he faced questions, perhaps seriously leading ones, from the “investigator.”  Here are Reed's words as expressed in a March 27, 1999, letter to the Aztec newspaper: 

Today, my wife and I … went out to the site of UFO crash in late 1948 [note: not March 25] in Hart Canyon..... The aliens had built stone cairns marking the path from the oil field road to the crash site.  These cairns are             still in place today.  The trees around the crash site open to the south, which is a typical distress signal for extraterrestrials. 

The area looked basically as it had in 1948 when the OSS [Office of Strategic Services, which disbanded in 1945] sent our group there.... We had heard rumors that a UFO had crashed there.  But it did not look like     a crash site.  And we had heard that army personnel had rushed in there and cleaned up the site.  But it did        not look like a clean-up site either....

So what it boiled down to was this: No UFO crash.  Instead, the UFO landed there for some specific intent to place (bury?) some instrument or thing there.  Then they got into their saucer and flew away.

            While failing to mention that his “witness” (whose eccentric beliefs about aliens and their ways also go missing)  had flagrantly contradicted the testimony he solicited from him, Ramsey effects his own (unacknowledged) clean-up.  Knowing, one infers, the OSS reference to be unsupportable, he revises Reed's resume so that “he had worked for the OSS … back in the early 1940s, [and] was now working for the military.”  In Incident everything that fails to serve the narrative either undergoes revision or gets dropped into the memory hole.

            Among other reported witnesses is a pastor who allegedly confided to a church officer and his son that he had witnessed dead aliens and a saucer at Hart Canyon on (Ramsey would have it, again without justification) on March 25, 1948.  Ramsey located the minister son's, also a pastor, who remarked that he had never heard his father talk about such an experience, though he had expressed interest in press accounts of the Roswell event at the time.  An Air Force man who supposedly participated in the Aztec cover-up in 1948 confided it to a fellow Air Force member, an Aztec native, in England in the 1960s.  The informant, Donald “Sam” Bass, cannot be found.  Experienced investigator Kevin D. Randle learned that the claim related here that Bass was killed in an accident while serving in Vietnam cannot be verified in military records.

            In Ramsey's judgment of his own work, he has established that an Aztec recovery occurred and nobody can any longer argue otherwise, unless I suppose on the payroll of a sinister intelligence agency.  Ramsey's credulity is awesome and bottomless.  In a passing aside (p. 203), he outs himself as a member of that small army of far-right cranks who discern a conspiracy to  conceal President Obama's birth certificate, apparently to protect his true identity as a Kenya- born socialist Islamic jihadist.  In fairness, Ramsey is not always impossible to take seriously. Earlier in the book (p. 31) he acknowledges that in high school he “was never a superior student” and that he has always been “disappointed in how history is taught.”  To those assertions, if to no others, The Aztec Incident offers compelling testimony.

 I would like thank Kevin Randle and Joel Carpenter for their generous assistance in the research on which this review draws.


                                                                                                            JEROME CLARK
                                                                                                            Canby, Minnesota

[1]    Stringfield died without ever revealing their identities.  To the extent that subsequent investigations were possible, none seemed to lead anywhere, leaving only speculation about the informants' motives.
[2]    “The Flying Saucers and the Mysterious Little Men” and “Flying Saucer Swindlers,” September 1952 and August 1956 issues respectively.
[3]    A  secret diary/memoir allegedly composed by Scully informant Silas Newton professes uncertainty about  Scully's true attitude.  The late ufologist Karl T. Pflock claimed to have examined it under peculiar circumstances, though no one else has seen or been able to verify its existence.  See Pflock's  “What's Really Behind the Flying Saucers?  A New Twist on Aztec.”  The Anomalist 8 (Spring 2000): 137-161.
[4]    See Moore's “Crashed Saucers: Evidence in Search of Proof,” esp. pages 133-154, in Walter H. Andrus Jr. and Richard H. Hall, eds. MUFON 1985 UFO Symposium Proceedings. Seguin, TX: Mutual UFO Network, 1985.
[5]    See Moore, p. 147-148.  Also Mike McClellan, “The UFO Crash of 1948 Is a Hoax,” Official UFO, October 1975, pp. 36-37,60-64, and William E. Jones and Rebecca D. Minshall, “Aztec, New Mexico – A Crash Story Reexamined,” International UFO Reporter, September/October 1991, pp. 11-15,23.  Ramsey says that the son of the owners of the Hart Canyon property in 1948 refused to speak with him (p. 199), but in 1991 that man, Jack Dunning, told Jones and Minshall that, in their paraphrase, “his father [the now-deceased Harold] knows nothing about such a crash, though they are both aware of the rumors, having met [Aztec crash advocate William] Steinman when he came to Aztec” (p. 15).
[6]    See Cahn, 1952, p. 19, for the similar drawing Newton later provided for the True writer.