Sunday, February 26, 2017

Curse of Oak Island - This Blog's Season Final (I hope)

Back more years than I care to think about, while I was still on active duty in the Army, I bought a book, This Baffling World by John Godwin. It contained information on thirteen mysteries from about the world. I bought the book because of the segment on UFOs, but other segments were about Bermuda Triangle, the abominable snowman (Big Foot in the world today) and, importantly here, Oak Island. This was my introduction to the treasure and it was the source of my interest. Oh, for those of you keeping score at home, the book was published in 1968.

From that point, I kept an eye out for information about Oak Island, though it wasn’t as important to me as UFOs. I did read some magazine articles and I found a book, The Big Dig: The $10 Million Search for Oak Island’s Legendary Treasure, by D’Arcy O’Conner, published in paperback in 1988. This book provided more information about the original find and the history of those who had attempted to get at the treasure. And, in the first edition, published in 1978, there was a discussion about the attempt to gather the funds to truly explore the island and get the treasure. There were plans to dig a hole and use old railroad tank cars with the ends cut off to line the hole in an attempt to defeat the booby traps.

The bibliography contained a list of magazine articles that had been published and in the pre-Internet days, I used the bound periodicals in the University of Iowa Library to read some of them when I had the chance. I was quite interested in what happened to the ten–million-dollar plan to get the treasure back in the 1980s. It seemed that a stock market crash had dried up the funds and the “big dig” was put on hold… permanently it turned out.

Given what I had read in those books and magazine articles, it seemed to me that there was some kind of treasure buried on the island. The drain system that was supposedly found, and the coconut fiber suggesting one of the beaches was artificial, seemed to underscore the theory and offer evidence of something strange. Everything suggested the treasure had been just out of reach of those who came earlier and that technology, improving from picks and shovels to machinery would allow the hunters to find the treasure. Then there was Dan Blankenship’s tantalizing finds at the bottom of Bore Hole 10X made it seem all the more real. He had a video tape that seemed to suggest artifacts and a body some 200 feet below the surface of the island.

When I saw the first ads for The Curse of Oak Island I thought we might finally get the answer. So, I was sucked in and disappointed as they didn’t seem to get anywhere, other than trips to Europe and side issues of Knights Templar and all that other nonsense they have explored. Some of it was interesting but had little do to with getting at the treasure.

Over the years, or seasons now, they have done nothing to prove there is a treasure. It is clear that Dan Blankenship and Fred Nolan believed there was a treasure and it is clear the Rick and Marty Lagina believe there is a treasure, but belief is not proof and proof is not what they have. They threw dye into one of the holes as had been done decades earlier in an attempt to identify the booby trap system, but the dye didn’t show up anywhere and while it is obvious that the water in the various holes is sea water they found no evidence of a drain system. They hired a professional diver who reached the bottom of Bore Hole 10X and the things that we had heard for decades were hidden down there weren’t. No human remains. No chest. No tools. Just an uneven floor that suggested a natural cavern linked to the ocean rather than something created by humans to hide their treasure.

They have pulled nothing from all the holes they dug that has any real value. The coins they found, one of them Spanish from centuries ago and the others from England, were on the surface and found with metal detectors. They only proved that someone had lost them a long time ago but not that there was any treasure.

The big discoveries seem to be a rewriting of the history. Samuel Ball might have been one of the boy, men, who found the original money pit. That does change the history somewhat… but the biggest reveal might have been from three sisters who said they were direct descendants from Daniel McGinnis, one of the three who found the money pit in the first place. The sisters said that three chests had been found. They had a small cross that was said to be very old and probably of Spanish origin and part of that original treasure. If this is true; then the treasure is gone and all we have is an interesting story that will have no resolution because the treasure is gone.


Actually, if there was ever a treasure hidden on Oak Island, I believe that it is long gone. If the boys didn’t get it back in the 18th century, I suspect someone else did. They just don’t find anything other than the evidence of others working the island which proves only that others have worked the island. Each time they tell us something interesting is coming, it isn’t all the interesting and gives us no real hope they’ll find a treasure. The only treasure to be found is for those who own the equipment used to dig, those who are making the TV show and those who appear on it. There is no Spanish gold, there are no the lost manuscripts of William Shakespeare, the lost religious icons from the ancient world or the lost French crown jewels (which I think they mentioned once or twice long ago). There is nothing to be found but if they keep digging holes all over the place the island is liable to sink which might be something fun to watch (though not to those who houses and land on the island). 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - The Return of Charles Halt

For the first time, this week, I invited a guest back to discuss some of the things that we didn’t get to last time. Colonel Charles Halt, who was at Bentwaters, near the Rendlesham Forest, had wanted to discuss some of the misinformation or maybe more accurately, disinformation that had come out about the case. You can listen to both the Halt program here:

https://youtu.be/lQXAFe-8CpQ

and here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEp8htP6O_g 

First, though not necessarily first in the program, I wanted to make sure that Halt accepted the idea that what he had seen was not the lighthouse. He was quite
Charles Halt
clear about that point and also mentioned that the object (or objects) had been tracked on radar. He said that the tapes and other records from the control had been confiscated after the event… and that CIA agents had been to the base within hours of the first sighting.

Second, we talked about some of the problems with the tales told by Larry Warren. Although Warren had been give credit by some for breaking the story, Halt suggested that it was known in England before Warren talked with Barry Greenwood and Larry Fawcett about it. Had Warren not talked about it, they story would have gotten out, and it was already known to some researchers in England.

Third, according to Halt, Warren had appropriated the stories of two or three of the men who had actually been out in the forest on the nights of the incidents. Warren, at least according to Halt, had not been authorized to go into the field given that his training and certification had not been completed. Warren, rather than being in the field, was, in fact in the barracks (though he had told Russ Estes that he had been on a pass to Germany on two of the days that sightings had been made).

Finally, we talked about the interrogations that had gone on in the days that followed the event. This all provides an interesting contrast to some of what has been published in the last several years… and you learn Halt’s opinion on the various books that have been published.
Next week’s guest: Barry Greenwood

Topic: UFO History

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Curse of Oak Island - Season 4 Finale (sort of)

Well, that certainly was a disappointment. After a week of teasing us with the discovery of a gold coin from deep in the fourth hole they dug, and with their archaeological expert (Dr. Lori and whose last name I didn’t write down) saying that it was an important discovery, we finally learn the truth. It wasn’t a gold coin but a gold-plated button and Dr. Lori wasn’t talking about the button when she talked about the amazing artifact but about the cross that a couple of the McGinnis sisters had which had been handed down through several generations. We’d seen it before.

Or, in other words, the tease had been deceptively created to give a false impression that something very important had finally been found during their dig, pointing to a treasure in the Money Pit. That wasn’t the case.

In the two-hour season finale, we got the same old tired rhetoric that they were on the verge of finding proof that there was a treasure hidden in the Money Pit. And when the two, somewhat boring hours were over, they had found nothing to prove there was a treasure, only that lots of people had spent lots of time, lots of effort and lots of money to come up with just a few, tiny gold relics, some old British coins, and lots of wood that had been used in all the other attempts to find the treasure.

The most important revelation, which had been made before, was when the McGinnis sisters returned. One of the three had died of cancer and the remaining two had a small, glass globe with some of her ashes in it to be buried on the island. And while I certainly emphasize with them for their loss, it wasn’t actually relevant to the hunt for the treasure.

They also brought with them that small, gold cross that they had shown to the Lagina boys some time ago, saying that it was part of the treasure recovered by their ancestor. But here’s the thing, or rather two things. First, if what they say is true, then the treasure is gone, found by that ancestor and his two pals, and second, there really is nothing to prove that the cross came from a huge treasure trove. Their expert, Dr. Lori, said that it was old, of a style that suggested it was of Spanish origin, and that at one time it was covered by jewels (emeralds) that had been removed.

Once we have disposed of this, and seemingly forgotten about the gold-plated button, they returned to continue their digging which reportedly has cost three or four million this year alone. They keep pulling up wood until they hit a metal obstruction that others had reported in the past and had failed to penetrate. But in the world today there are methods that weren’t available a century ago and they break through. They had pulled up pieces of metal that might have protected or been part of equipment used in those earlier excavations. They don’t know what they have other than it doesn’t seem to be modern and a suggestion that it is not from a treasure but from the search of others for the treasure.

Having penetrated the metal obstruction, they continued down but had to stop because their casing which guided the equipment wasn’t long enough to protect the equipment. In other words, they could lose a valuable piece of equipment and the owner/operator didn’t want to take the risk. Digging, for the season, was over.

They did pull up another bit of metal that was bent in the middle and had several holes in it. Again, they thought it looked old. They returned to Dr. Lori who told them that the piece of metal was just the sort of thing they would use on treasure chests back in the time of pirates and chests of gold. The problem, as I understood it, was that the metal would be used on all sorts of chests including those storing clothes and other personal but not necessarily valuable items. On Oak Island, everything is related to pirates, treasures or the Knights Templar.

Dr. Lori looked at other things they had found including the spike that she identified as part of an old sailing ship which also suggested pirates, the old coins which were established as British, and then learned about the wooden planks and parts found in the swamp. This seemed to underscore the theory that a ship had been sunk into the swamp centuries ago which bolstered Dan Blankenship’s theory that they hid the treasure, or parts of it, in plain sight.

So, let’s recap the four years of digging, diving, traveling, exploring (and maybe throw in some stuff that went on decades and centuries ago). They have found lots of wood from other attempts to find the money. They remind us that there was a stone found at the 90-foot level that had strange makings on it but that no one bothered to photograph and that has since disappeared. There was a three-link gold chain of which we do have pictures. And then all the stuff that is not particularly valuable or relevant for us. Nothing that proves there is treasure on the island, only that people have been there for centuries, many of them looking for the treasure.

I don’t know how much money has been spent, I do not know what the Laginas or any of the others are paid for being on the show and I don’t believe they will ever find anything of value because there is nothing of value to find. Had they taken the money and invested it in blue chip stocks or even money market or savings accounts (and with the amount of money they had, they could have hit some very favorable rates) they would have made a great deal more.


Next season they will be back but I’m not sure (with the exception of the Blankenships) if they still believe they will find anything of value. It might just be for the excitement of doing a TV show, getting a nice summer vacation without having to pay for it, and getting a nice check for being a reality TV star. If there is money to be made on Oak Island, it is in the TV show and in any books that are written about it and not treasure from the Incas or the Aztecs or the Knights Templar or the Spanish pirates or British pirates. As I have said, the real treasure is in the TV show and not the ground.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

BG Schulgen and His Memo

The other day Fran Ridge who hosts the NICAP web site, posted the following to members of the list:

I just wanted to ask all of you if you consider the ACTUAL Shulgen memo as indicative of Roswell knowledge.

3. Items of Construction

a. Type of material, whether metal, ferrous, non-ferrous, or non-metallic.

b. Composite or sandwich construction utilizing various combinations of metals, plastics, and perhaps balsa wood.

c. Unusual fabrication methods to achieve extreme light weight and structural stability particularly in connection with great capacity for fuel storage.

It is a complicated question and one that caused me a lot of thought. For example, why would this mention balsa wood? It is not a suitable material for constructing aircraft, except for models. It is light weight but not very strong. Why would they
Schulgen
include it in a list of materials used in the construction of any aircraft expect for some small, internal components though I can’t think of any them.

For the first part, the question about the type of material seems to be straight forward and we all know that metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous have been used in the construction of aircraft. Plastics, wood, and other material have also been used. Aircraft from the early days were often had a wooden frame covered with canvas or other clothe-like materials and then painted. By the time of the Schulgen memo (Schulgen was a brigadier general who had an interest in flying disks and was responsible for an early staff study of them that results in the Twining letter), aircraft were mostly metal and far more powerful and complex than those from the beginning of flight.

When I look at the third part, about the unusual fabrication methods, I can still see this as responding to some of the information that might have been captured during the Second World War and later from some of the work done by Soviet scientists. This might be a response to what the Nazis had attempted to develop, especially in their desire to attack the United States where weight and fuel would be a real consideration.

Where I stumble is this mention of balsa wood. While the idea of composites has been around for, literally, centuries, their use in the construction of aircraft, seems to be a natural outgrowth of the search for light weight, strong materials. All of this can be seen as thinking of a terrestrial nature and need not to have been inspired by anything recovered at Roswell… that is, until we hit the balsa wood.

If the Roswell answer, or rather the recovery of debris, included balsa wood strips, and if the nature of the recovery was not immediately understood, then a question about balsa makes some sense. But then you move to the rawin targets, which did include balsa structural members and there was nothing extraordinary or secret about their use in connection with balloon flights. They were being used by weather offices all over the United States.

Everything there makes sense when looking at terrestrial craft with the exception of the balsa wood. Some of those who handled the debris recovered at Roswell commented on the light weight, strong material they held. Bill Brazel said that it was light, like balsa wood, but extremely tough and was certainly not balsa.

So, the one point that stands out here is the reference to balsa. There are a couple of reasons to include that note, one suggesting a balloon as the solution and another that suggests something very advanced. In one case, I don’t see Schulgen as including it on the list because it would be clear that it was unsuitable for any sort of manned craft. On the other hand, if we’re talking about something that was balsa like, then that might suggest a connection to Roswell.


But in the end, I don’t think this is connected directly to Roswell. The information asked for is the sort of information you would expect in such an intelligence gathering function.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Paul Kimball (Oak Island and More)

This week I talked with Paul Kimball about a variety of topics that included Oak Island, reality TV, and some of the best UFO sightings. You can listen to the program here:


For those interested, since Paul lives in Nova Scotia, the scene of the Oak Island program, and since they have teased us with the idea that treasure has been
Paul Kimball
found, I asked if he had heard anything about that. He said that he hadn’t, but that he didn’t pay close attention to the newspaper reports and he wasn’t overly interested in Oak Island anyway. I wondered if the gold coin they found, according to the tease, and that had been brought up during their latest dig, might have been planted. But, of course, he had no idea if that happened or not. We just speculated that it might have happened and I mentioned an Air Force button allegedly found on the Brazel (Foster) ranch in New Mexico during one of these reality shows had obviously been planted there. The Air Force didn’t exist in 1947 and even if it had, no one would have been wearing a Class “A” uniform out to the remote ranch to lose a button.

Back in January of this year, at www.Inquistr.com, they reported that no treasure had been found on Oak Island. They noted the same thing that I suggested, which is if the treasure had been found, the information would have leaked into the mainstream. The news would have been huge and too big to contain. Or, in other words, no treasure was found and they suggested there is none to find.

We did talk about some of the best UFO cases, and how he had determined which ones to use in his documentary. He’s still interested in Shag Harbour and mentioned that he had talked with people who were involved in the case. Like Roswell, everyone agrees that something fell, it’s just not clear what it was. He thought the idea of a cover-up had not been proved, though there was certainly some government secrecy.

Interestingly, he talked with a crew man who had once been involved in the same sort of radar and training flights as had been the crew of the RB-47, which was a radar and visual sighting case in 1957. He mentioned that Brad Sparks had provided him with some of the analysis and that he had challenged Tim Printy, who writes and publishes the SUNlite skeptical newsletter, to come up with a solution. Printy spent on issue of his newsletter on analysis and Paul said that the analysis was interesting. What I noticed was that the man Paul talked to, who had been flying the same sort of mission as those on the RB-47 that had the first sighting, reported a similar incident. Asked what it was, the crewman said, “A UFO.” Sometimes it just comes down to where you sit on the no alien – alien visitation continuum.

Next week’s guest: Colonel Charles Halt

Topic: Rendlesham and Left at East Gate

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Psychic Warriors

Back in the olden days, as I was working on my doctoral degree, I spent a lot of time in the University of Iowa’s psychology library doing research. While there I noticed that, at one time, there were a number of peer reviewed journals devoted to parapsychology and there were many universities, some of them quite prestigious, that had majors in parapsychology and related fields. I also noticed that many of those journals were no longer published and that now very few universities and colleges offered courses of study in parapsychology. Most of them were not top flight schools.

I note all this as preamble to something I read in the newspaper in the last few days which is to say on February 13. It seems (and many of us already know about it) that various governmental agencies had, at one time, employed psychics as intelligence agents which is to say they were gathering information using their psychic abilities in an attempt to learn more about what our enemies and often our allies were doing.

Fort Meade, Maryland
Now the CIA has released many once classified documents that relate to this period in our history. According to a story in the Miami Herald, there was an operation known as Grill Flame based at Fort Meade, Maryland, in which they attempted to locate where the hostages taken in Iran after the embassy was seized were being held. A dozen psychics tried more than 200 hundred times to gather intelligence about the situation including how closely the hostages were guarded and what their general health was.

Although the psychics apparently worked for the Army, it was in the CIA documents that this was revealed. These documents made it clear that the psychics efforts were monitored by a number of intelligence agencies and the top officials, civilian and military, at the Pentagon. They also showed that before the attempted rescue of the hostages in April 1980, the psychics were consulted by an officer representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an effort to ascertain if a situation existed that might require the mission be aborted. All of this, including if the psychics had been of any useful information, became a heated debate.

Once the hostages had been released and debriefed about their experiences, that information was compared to what had been developed by the Grill Flame psychics. According to the story published by the Miami Herald, “‘Only seven reports’ were proved correct wrote an Air Force colonel on the staff of the Joint Chiefs.”

He also noted that more than half were entirely incorrect but that 59 contained information that was partially correct or that might have been correct, but they also contained information that was wrong.

Army officers who supervised Grill Flame responded by claiming that 45 percent of the reports by the psychics contained some accurate information. They added that such information was unavailable through normal intelligence channels… except, if you are saying that 45 percent of the reports contained some accurate information, how do you decide which information is accurate? I suppose the argument is that you couple this with information through other intelligence sources, which might also contain inaccurate information or might be wholly inaccurate to draw proper conclusions. It would be just one more tool in the arsenal of intelligence weapons.

According to the Miami Herald, one of the psychics from Grill Flame, Joseph McMoneagle said that the stuff declassified was garbage. He claimed that they hadn’t declassified the stuff that worked.


I will note, apropos of nothing, that any excuse using the cloak of classification as the reason for disbelief or failure seems to be just that, an excuse. We are unable to evaluate the success, or lack thereof of Grill Flame because the good stuff is allegedly still classified. That may or may not be true, but until or unless more information is released, we simply don’t know how successful this might have been… or maybe do because it seems that this program has been concluded.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Don Ledger

This week I reached out to Don Ledger, a Canadian UFO researcher. My thought was to talk about the Shag Harbour UFO crash and his book Dark Object written with Chris Styles. He mentioned another book about Maritime UFO sightings cleverly called Maritime UFO Files. However, other than a brief mention here and there, the discussion centered around the Shag Harbour case. You can listen to it here:


There were a couple of things that surprised me. First was the suggestion that there had been two objects and according to what Ledger called “anecdotal testimony” they had crossed into Canada from the west, at one point hovered for four minutes (or rather one of them did) and that intercepts by jet fighters had been attempted. In all the paperwork and documentation that he and Chris Styles had reviewed, there seemed to be no corroboration for this aspect of the case.

He also told a couple of stories about reluctant witnesses, found only some forty or fifty years after the event, who had been engaged in romantic escapades but who had been in a position to see the object in the air and fall to the water. While interesting and somewhat titillating, they added little to the case.

Alleged picture of object in the air. Photo
copyright by Wilford Isnor.
I did ask about a picture taken of the object in the air but Ledger didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. Chris Styles, twenty years ago had supplied a copy of the picture to me. Looking at it now, it appears to be a time exposure with numerous star trails visible but nothing that actually looks like a UFO. Maybe they learned that there was nothing extraordinary about the picture so they have ignored it.

During the discussion, it seemed to me that Ledger didn’t answer the direct questions and spent too much time describing the landscape. I had a hard time drawing the description of the object out and that there were many documents both official and those from the media that showed something had happened. It just didn’t take us to the extraterrestrial, or rather directly to it.

Next week: Paul Kimball


Topic: The best UFO cases, as he saw them a couple of years ago, and the fiasco that is known as the Curse of Oak Island.