Wednesday, September 18, 2013

UFO Crashes Fifty Years Before Roswell

Zoamchomsky, in response to a comment in the last posting, suggested that there had been stories of UFO crashes for more than fifty years prior to the Roswell case. He was asked to provide sources but that isn’t really necessary. There is plenty of evidence that this is true and for those who would like to see a long listing of them, including a story or two that are centuries old, take a look at Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky.

In 1897 the Great Airship was being seen all over the Midwest and Southern states, with occasional excursions into the West. A report from San Angelo, Texas, for example, mentioned that the airship had flown into a flock of birds and exploded. In Waterloo, Iowa, the airship was found on the fairgrounds, and while not a crash, was certainly a landing, complete with crew members who described their flight.

The big story, and the one that nearly everyone has heard about, is the crash in Aurora, Texas on April 17, 1897. I have believed since I investigated the case in the early 1970s that it was a hoax. I talked to longtime residents, some who had been alive in 1897, to the Wise County historian (Aurora being in Wise County) and searched what records were available. I could find no follow up investigation, and nothing about it was mentioned in the Wise County histories, one published within ten years of the event. In other words, there simply wasn’t any evidence that there had been a crash with the exception of the original story in a Dallas newspaper in 1897.

Why mention this now, after having already posted about it a long time ago (See Aurora, Texas - A Story that Won’t Die, March 27, 2005)? Well, in the process of consolidating files and clearing out duplications and other clutter, I found a strip of black and white photographic negatives. I had not seen them in decades. I knew that I had them I just couldn’t put my hands on them.

When I held them up to the light to see what they were, I saw a picture that had a sign that said, “Aurora” and taken at what had been an Arco gas station on the outskirts of Aurora. There were a couple of other pictures of that, and knew that it was an old habit of taking three pictures at different exposures to ensure that one would be usable.

The prize, however, were the last three pictures. They were taken in the Aurora Cemetery at time I was there. They look as if they were taken in a rainstorm with a dense cloud cover. Given today’s technology, I was able to clean them up slightly so they are better than they were.

There is nothing startling on these pictures. The headstone with the three balls on it is not visible. When I was there, walking the graveyard, I didn’t see that stone and now it has disappeared. It was supposedly the marker of the “Martian’s” grave.

I print the pictures here for the little historical value they have. There is nothing on the negatives to prove when I was there or when I took them and too the real cynic, there is nothing on them to prove that I was actually there. However, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I did live in Texas, not all that far by Texas standards, from Aurora, so I took some time to explore the sighting. I will say, one last time so that it is clear, I do not believe that an alien craft crashed at Aurora and, in fact, don’t believe that anything crashed there on April 17, 1897.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Jesse Marcel, Sr., Bob Pratt and the Interview

Okay, here’s the deal. In my interview with Paul Kimball, I suggested that the Bob Pratt interview with Jesse Marcel, Sr. was not as cut and dried as it seemed. I suggested that there were areas of interpretation that could be altered by the insertion or deletion of a comma. I explained what I meant by this, but apparently that explanation wasn’t good enough or wasn’t completely understood. Seems that some thought I was attacking Pratt’s ability as a journalist and everyone knew how careful he was.

The problem, I believe, is that many of those making such comments have not seen the original transcript. Karl Pflock published it in his book, but he cleaned it up for clarity, and I think that is where the problem lies. Karl put his interpretation on parts of it and that might have reflected the sometimes confusing nature of the interview.

So, I thought I’ll publish the original interview as Pratt typed it himself. Remember, also, that I asked Pratt about the tape from which the interview was made, and Pratt told me that it no longer existed. Once a story was finished, they reused the tape. Nothing nefarious here, just a bunch of people who didn’t understand the value of taped interviews to those of us who came later. It would have been nice to hear Jesse Marcel, Sr., say the things in the transcript to Pratt. It might have answered a question or two.

Following are scans of the eight pages that Pratt typed himself after the interview so that they can be compared to Karl’s cleaned up version… and for those who can’t understand these things, I’m not saying that Karl was engaged in anything nefarious. He was just attempting to make it simpler for everyone to understand the interview. These are scanned from actual copies of the Pratt interview Marcel:
Page 1
Page 2 (Highlighting and underlining is Pratt's)
Page 3
Page 4 (Highlighting is mine)
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7

Page 8