Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chasing My Own Footnotes

(Blogger's Note: This probably not all that interesting to many people, but I thought of it as important, if only to improve the quality of footnotes and endnotes that we see in many books... Besides, at the moment I'm tired of the whole Roswell Slides saga and there is nothing new happening there at the moment. So, enjoy if you can.)

While I continue my quest to improve the footnotes used by us all, I thought I should detail my latest challenge. While working on another project, I was looking at the Spitzbergen UFO crash. I was aware that there was a report for it in the Project Blue Book files, but I couldn’t seem to lay my hands on it. I looked at my A History of UFO Crashes which had a footnote reference that said, “Project Blue Book files, September 1952.”

That didn’t tell me much and I pulled out the master index for Blue Book but couldn’t find the file there in September. I went back to the files and notes I had created for the Spitzbergen case but could find nothing there that was helpful. I went to a number of other sources, none of which seemed to have drawn on Blue Book for their information or if they did, they didn’t mention it.

There are, in the Blue Book index, a large number of cases that fall outside of the investigation. These are newspaper clippings and other sources that have provided information on a case but that is all that is available about them. I thought Spitzbergen would be included among these but that didn’t help.

Frank Edwards and Ryan Wood, who both had written about the case, provided some source material, but according to Ole Jonny Braenne, who wrote a detailed account of the sighting in the November/December 1992 issue of the International UFO Reporter, the story couldn’t be traced to any specific individual or organization. Some of those sources, as quoted by Edwards and Wood, couldn’t be verified and were nothing more than dead ends. An article was attributed to a reporter with the initials J.M.M. but no one was able to identify him. These various sources seemed to be circular meaning one lead to another that eventually led back to the first.

All of this was interesting, and Braenne’s report suggested that the story was a hoax, but that didn’t get me to the Blue Book source. I tried using Fold3 and their Blue Book archives but Spitzbergen didn’t come up in the search engine. I finally went back to the Blue Book Index and starting with June, ran down through them, searching for anything from Norway or Spitzbergen. I finally came to a notation for a sighting there on July 9, 1952, but the solution was “aircraft.” That didn’t seem right but it was the only reference I could find to Spitzbergen in the files in the right time frame.

I went to the microfilm and searched for the case. There is no “Project Card” for it. The case follows another in which there is no Project Card but I did find it. After all this, I found that the footnote should have read, “Project Blue Book files, July 9, 1952, case no. 1411.” That tells you everything you need to know about it, even to the handwritten case numbers that appear in the index and if you went to the NICAP Blue Book site, you could have gotten to it quickly and easily providing you knew the proper date.

I will note here that there are several different dates associated with the case which complicated my search and I knew that it was in the Blue Book files when I started. In A History of UFO Crashes the date is September 9, 1952 and in Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky it is listed as September 12, 1952. Frank Edwards in Flying Saucers – Serious Business quotes from a newspaper report dated September 4, 1955 (as if this wasn’t complicated enough already) published in the Stuttgarter Tageblatt (which apparently is the Stuttgarts Dagblad). The Stuttgarter Tageblatt does not exist. The first mention of the Spitzbergen crash, at least according to Braenne was in the June 28, 1952 Saarbrucker Zeitung and mentions that the disc-shaped object was apparently tied to the Soviet Union. Markings and lettering in the craft were in Russian. The original story did not mention an alien craft. Although this is the source of the following stories, as it spread, the information about the Soviet origin of the craft was lost and it soon became an alien spaceship.

For those interested in Spitzbergen, avoid most of the articles about this case and look for the IUR article by Braenne (though in Crash I do cite the Braenne article and provide a more detailed analysis that I have here). Braenne provides the most comprehensive examination of the information. For those who don’t want to look at all this varied information in varied sources, I tell you this case is a hoax … even though that is suggested in the documentation, it is listed in the Blue Book files as an Earth-based aircraft.

In today’s world, if I was to write a footnote for this case, it would be a little more comprehensive and would look like this:

For the most comprehensive analysis of the Spitzbergen crash, see Braenne, Ole Jonny. “Legend of the Spitzbergen Saucer.” International UFO Reporter, 17,6 (November/December 1992): 14 – 20. See also, Randle, Kevin D. Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books. 2010:  146 – 152: Wood, Ryan. Majic Eyes Only, Broomfield, CO: Wood Enterprises, 2005. 102 – 104; Steinman, William S. and Wendelle C. Stevens. UFO Crash at Aztec, Tucson, AZ: Wendelle Stevens, 1986: 353 – 357; Edwards, Frank. Flying Saucers – Serious Business. New York: Bantam Books, 1966: 44 – 48.

I could also mention that Donald Keyhoe in Flying Saucers from Outer Space, Harold T. Wilkins in Flying Saucers on the Attack and Jimmy Guieu in Flying Saucers Come from Another World do mention the story briefly, but I only have the Wilkins’ book which contains no index. I haven’t bothered to search out the information in it simply because I know that the case is a hoax. In fact, I mention these other works, including those in the footnote to provide a balanced view of the report. I could have avoided all this effort had I properly provided the information in my original footnote, but then, I did cite the source and in the end I did find the information there. It just wasn’t all that easy to do.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chasing Footnotes Again

When not bogged down in the Roswell Slides controversy, I sometimes engage in what I think of as chasing footnotes. One of the purposes of a footnote is to tell where the information originated so that the reader or others interested can review that source for reliability, competence, and any additional information that might be relevant. Too often I find that the footnotes do none of that leaving us with questions about how good that information might be.

Although I don’t mean to pick on Dick Hall and his The UFO Evidence, I find that sometimes the footnotes just don’t add much to our knowledge. On page 121 of that book, Hall wrote:

Venezuela also has a history of sightings by airline pilots and other experienced observers. An orange light closed in on a Venezuelan airliner at 6:45 p.m., January 2, 1955, in the vicinity of Punta San Juan. When the UFO was at close range, the bright light from it shone into the cockpit of the plane intermittently.

According to the footnote, the information came from The APRO Bulletin of April 1955. That entry said:

An orange-tinted light closed in an [sic] a commercial airliner in the vicinity of Punta San Juan, Venezuela at 6:45 p.m. January 2, 1955. The pilot, co-pilot and two other crew members watched the thing until, at close range, it focused some kind of bright light into the cockpit of the plane, at intervals of a few seconds.

And that is all the information that is available. There are no crew member names associated with this, no airline name, it assumes there is a “thing” close by and there is nothing to help us find out what might have happened. There is no way to verify the information, which makes the footnote provided by Dick Hall worthless. It doesn’t provide additional information other than a source that contains the same information and nothing more.

In today’s world, if I was writing the book which was supposed to provide solid evidence for UFOs, I would leave this case out. The only reason it is interesting is the alleged flight crew involvement. If it wasn’t for that, this would case would be ignored. In fact, had it been reported to Project Blue Book (which it wasn’t according to the Blue Book Master Index), it would have been stamped “Insufficient Data for a Scientific Analysis,” and rightly so.

There is another issue with footnotes as well. Richard Dolan, in his UFOs and the National Security State, reported on what Bill Brazel had said about finding some small pieces of debris on the infamous ranch in the Roswell region (page 21). The footnote credits Don Berliner and Stan Friedman for the data (page 84 – 85) of their book, Crash at Corona. They provide some long quotes attributed to Bill Brazel, but there is nothing to tell when or where the interview was conducted. The implication is that they had conducted the interview themselves at some point probably in Brazel’s home, but that isn’t the case.

The interview in question was conducted on February 19, 1989 in Carrizozo, New Mexico by Don Schmitt and me. I created the transcript of the taped interview, and that was shared with Berliner and Friedman. Dolan’s footnote takes you to one source but not the other, original source. You might disagree with the information provided by Brazel, but the tape of that interview does exist so it can be proven that the information as outlined in UFO Crash at Roswell by Schmitt and me contains an accurate transcription of the interview. This gets you to the original source for the quotes which are the point of this exercise.

The problem with the Berliner and Friedman version is that they have altered the interview so that it tends to corroborate the tales told by Gerald Anderson. They added, in brackets, the word “black” in front of the word “sergeant” who had come to interview Brazel much later. There is nothing in the transcript or in the later interviews with Brazel to suggest that any of the soldiers who visited him were of African-American ancestry. In fact, he flat out denied it and that he never said it.

In fact that point came up several years later when another researcher asked me about the discrepancy. Although it had been suggested that Brazel used another derogatory word for the sergeant, that wasn’t true. The racial makeup of that team never came up because they were all Caucasian.

These two footnotes illustrate the importance of proper collection of data and providing that data to the reader… oh hell, I know, I could point a finger at myself for that. I have used footnotes that referenced other work that failed to take it to its ultimate conclusion. Sometimes that just isn’t possible, but in other cases, especially in the world of the Internet, it is extremely simple.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Roswell Slides - A Matter of Provenance

I have said for a long time that one of the major hurtles in this slides controversy is the lack of provenance. According to the various inside sources including Tom Carey, Tony Bragalia and even Adam Dew, they simply don’t know who took the pictures, when they were taken and where they were taken. To make matters worse, there is no solid chain of custody for the slides. There are gaping holes in this important part of the story.

Back on February 20, 2015, Adam Dew, under the user name SlideBox Media, posted to Rich Reynolds UFO Conjectures blog the following:

A quick timeline as I understand it: Hilda died in 1988. Slides were discovered when emptying out a garage outside of Sedona (Cottonwood we think) in 1998. Slides were deemed interesting (obviously old color slides) but not fully examined until around 2008. While I think that the home may have belonged to Hilda’s lawyer, there is no way to know for sure as the woman who found them [the slides] didn’t keep records of the homes she cleaned out… I don’t think the slides came from Hilda’s home.

Could this be any vaguer?  The home might have belonged to Hilda’s lawyer but they don’t know. The house might have been in Sedona, but they’re not sure. There is no way to verify whose house it was and there is little to link the slides to Hilda Ray other than some of the other slides were marked with her name. He doesn’t think they came from Hilda’s home.

And with that we return to the question of provenance. They have absolutely nothing to go on given that statement. By comparison, the Ramey Memo has a provenance that is iron clad. No, I don’t want to discuss the various interpretations of the memo; I just want to establish how solid a provenance can be.

General Ramey is in the picture holding the document in question. J. Bond Johnson, the man who took the picture has been interviewed repeatedly about it, and while he certainly slid off the rails as time passed, there is no doubt that he was in Ramey’s office and he took the photograph. Even without his statements we would know this because the picture was transmitted over the news wire (INS) back in the day. Attached to the picture from the Bettmann Photo Archive, was a noted that it had been sent at 11:59 p.m. on July 8, 1947. Even if we didn’t have this, the picture had been published in various newspapers on July 9, 1947. The negative, which can be matched to picture, was stored at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram until it was given to the Special Collections at the University of Texas at Arlington so that the chain of custody has been preserved as well. I can’t think of another document dealing with the Roswell case that has such a provenance or chain of custody.

But you can see the difference. With the Roswell Slides, all that information simply doesn’t exist and I don’t know how you can ever gather it given what the current owner of the slides says. The chain of custody is broken in several places and because Dew has not revealed the name of the woman who supposedly found the slides so that she could be interviewed by independent researchers (and I doubt that he will give up the name) then that is just one more hole.

So why do we believe that these slides show alien creatures recovered outside of Roswell? Well, the film was apparently manufactured in 1947 which is not to say that it was exposed in 1947. The slide holder was used from something like 1940 to 1949, which opens up the range. Photo experts have suggested that the range could be even greater, though that isn’t much of an issue given all the other problems.

I have yet to hear a good reason for looking at these slides which were unlabeled and apparently separated from the others in the collection and concluding that they showed an alien body. If you’re the average guy, sitting out there looking at the slides and see a strange body on them, I don’t see how you can (a) conclude they are of alien creatures and (b) that they have anything to do with Roswell. The Rays lived in Midland, Texas and not Roswell and the slides were found in Sedona and not Roswell and are now in Chicago. Right now we don’t even have a good chain of custody from Sedona to Chicago.

This also generates another question that can be easily answered. Were all the slides in the box stamped with Hilda Ray’s name? Were others stamped with her husband’s? And if so, then how do we conclude that the slides belonged to the Rays other than proximity? Or I should say alleged proximity.

At this point, with Dew making so many claims, it seems that there is no way to provide a provenance or chain of custody. Any such attempt will be seen in the same light as that of Ray Santilli as he continued to change the story about who had owned the Alien Autopsy film and how he had come into possession of it. Dew has sort of locked in the tale of a house owned by someone, that was cleaned by someone who found the slides, which sat around for basically decades before anyone got around to looking at them and then deciding they showed an alien creature, an amazing deductive link.

This could spell the end of the slides saga simply because there is no way to verify how they came into existence or why those who saw them originally assumed they showed an alien creature. Without the important questions of provenance and chain of custody answered, there is no real reason to assume the being on the slides has anything to do with the Roswell case, or that it is an extraterrestrial creature. This is basically the same stumbling block that so many of us interested in the case have encountered before and there is no reason to assume that anyone outside of the UFO community is going to care about this… and there might not be that many inside who do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Roswell Slides - A Brief Recap

Curt Collins, over at his blog has posted a recap of the Roswell Slides history. Rather than repost it here, or to rewrite it (with his permission, of course) I thought the easiest course would be to link to it. It is an interesting recap and covers what we know to this point. For those who wish to read it, you  can find it here:

And yes, we are all playing into the hands of those who will be presenting the information on May 5 in Mexico City, but what the heck, there are tens of thousands interested in this.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hilda Ray, Silas Newton and the Roswell Slides

Is there a connection between the Roswell UFO crash and the alleged crash at Aztec? Is there a reason to believe that the Roswell slides and Hilda Ray are that connection and is there documentation to prove it?

It seems that the connection had been made. It seems that Hilda Ray, an attorney, had represented Silas Newton in a 1946 court case. She was on the defense team that represented Newton. Documentation with her name on it had been found by someone and forwarded to various UFO researchers. It was speculated that Ray, because of her relationship with Newton might have mentioned something to him about the Roswell UFO crash and the alien bodies that sparked Newton’s claim of a crash near Aztec in March 1948.

This seemed to be a rather nebulous connection based in part on speculation. We don’t know when she might have been introduced to the Roswell case, if the slides that might have been hers were, in fact, of an alien killed in the crash or that she had any sort of inside knowledge. It also suggests that an attorney, who understood keeping secrets, would be discussing something like the crash with a man who was being defended engaging in a con… But I digress.

The problem? The court case cited, when accessed through independent sources has no mention of Hilda Ray as being associated with the defense. That site (or cite for those who have a pun oriented nature) can be found here:

Like so much of the UFO world, we are now encountering forged documents to derail the investigation into the slides. This doesn’t mean that the slides show an alien creature. That has yet to be proven to all of us out here. What it means is that someone out here, maybe with an interest in the Aztec case, is attempting to provide some legitimacy for Aztec. Not necessarily that there was a crash there, though there are certainly a number of people who believe that, but that the Aztec case is the Roswell case repackaged. Aztec is Roswell but with much of the information in error.

All that is interesting, but the truth is that currently, there is no connection between Hilda Ray and Silas Newton. Because Ray’s husband was involved in the oil industry, and because the Rays made it to some high profile golf tournaments (Newton, according to the records, was quite the golfer, winning a couple of tournaments) it might mean they ran into Newton at some oil function or at one of these matches, but that connection would be much more difficult to prove. Not to mention that Newton operated out of Denver and the Rays were in Midland… a fairly wide circle, so wide that their paths might not have crossed but if they had they might not have met each other.

Nick Redfern provides much more information on all this, including a column published on March 15, 2015 and a follow up published on March 16. You can read it here:

At any rate we can now close the book on this particular diversion. It doesn’t prove anything other than document forgers are still running around inside the UFO community.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Great Roswell Hoaxes

The Roswell UFO crash case seems to be a lightning rod for all sorts of hoaxes, many of which have gained international attention. They began almost from the moment that we all learned that something had fallen near Roswell that certainly wasn’t a standard weather balloon. After the publication of The Roswell Incident Bill Moore complained that he had taken the investigation as far as he could and told several people that he was thinking of creating a “Roswell” type document in an attempt to convince the reluctant witnesses to talk. The blueprint for this document and the story of it was laid out in a novel Moore wrote with Bob Pratt that was called Majik. Later the first of the MJ-12 papers ended up in the hands of Moore’s pal Jaime Shandera. When the MJ-12 documents were announced, Pratt thought it was time to “dust off” the novel in an attempt to find a publisher. Apparently Moore wasn’t interested in that idea and that never happened.

We’ve gone over the problems with these mysterious documents time and again, from the lack of provenance to the false information included in them. Except for a few hardcore believers, they are all generally considered to be bogus, from the Eisenhower Briefing Document to the Cutler/Twining memo. Rather than deal with the problems they prefer to debate the issue which is not the best investigative tactic. Nearly everyone believes that the thousands of the pages that have appeared in the last couple of decades are faked by those taking real historic documents and retyping them to insert a clue or two about MJ-12. To this day no one has ever found through FOIA or extensive searches through archival material a single reference to MJ-12 that is not tainted by controversy.

The lone exception seems to be the Cutler/Twining memo, but even the MJ-12 advocates admit that the document was planted in the National Archives. Although we have heard for years that they are very strict at the National Archives checking briefcases and note pads to prevent theft. It is far easier to sneak a single sheet in than it is to take anything out. They also believe the Cutler/Twining is disinformation while I think it is just an extension of the original hoax.

About a decade after this all broke, there was the Alien Autopsy. Here was a case with film of the Roswell events, at least according to the original statements. More than two hours of film was available, according to the first “rumors” and that included footage of President Truman walking the crash site. It was said that the photographer had been left holding all this footage because of some sort of an error in 1947. No one ever asked him for the film so he eventually sold it to a record promoter in England. Those of us with military experience dealing with classified material found the story somewhat implausible. We were told that the cameraman’s name was being withheld because he feared retribution by the government. Of course, had his story been true, those with the proper clearances would have found it simple to learn who he was… and charge him with income tax evasion for failing to disclose the alleged $100,000 he was paid for it.

Of course, it is never a good idea to promote the reality of one controversial claim with another. At one point they were using the MJ-12 documents to underscore the reality of the film. They also showed photographs of the film canisters with the classified markings visible. When it was pointed out that these markings resembled nothing that has ever been used by the US military, those photographs disappeared.

Over time, the claims changed. There weren’t two hours of film; there were some twenty minutes of it. Some of the footage, taken in a tent supposedly erected on the scene for preliminary autopsy was so dark that little could be seen and so bad it couldn’t be used. We were told that they had attempted to reproduce that footage but it was still too dark to use (and here I think of all the documents that Bill Moore retyped because the originals were too blurry to be easily read). Those owning the film were admitting to faking some of it but the other footage, the actual autopsy, filmed in black and white in a room that was brightly lit, was the real thing.

There were problems with this since military autopsies, even in 1947, were filmed in color. There was no one recognizable in the film. There was nothing to suggest where it was taken and more importantly, it seemed that those conducting the autopsy seemed to be a little too cavalier in it. They were not making the sort of record you would expect, especially when you consider this would be a unique biological sample. They were sort of hacking away at the body without the still photographs that you would expect.

All this speculation and wasted time ended when those who had created the alien autopsy came forward and admitted the hoax. Interestingly, this is not good enough for some. They continue to believe that the autopsy is real. I do not understand this reasoning given those who originated it said it was a hoax and provided pictures to prove it. I believe that the discussion should have ended at that point rather than a useless debate on why they were lying about faking the film.

During the 1997 Roswell anniversary, we heard about a piece of debris that had a proper chain of custody, had a provenance, and that the name of the man who had picked it up on the field would be revealed at a special presentation. Because this would be physical evidence that could be taken into a lab and tested, and because it had been taken into a lab for analysis by a scientist who would present his findings, the presentation was well attended. This was the smoking gun that proved the Roswell crash was of an alien craft. 

The scientist, Dr. Russell VernonClark who had conducted the analysis, was slipped into Roswell for the presentation and nothing else. If this was an artifact from another planet, as VernonClark claimed, then this was certainly big news. Certainly the biggest at that festival.

VernonClark, during his presentation said, “The atomic mass so differs from that found in known earthly elements, that it is impossible for it to be from Earth.”

That would mean, of course, that it was of extraterrestrial manufacture. It would mean that an alien race had visited Earth and the evidence they left behind was now in the hands of investigators and scientists. VernonClark did not equivocate. He was definite about the meaning of his findings. There is nowhere on Earth that this piece of metal could have been found. It had to come from another world.

Finished with the presentation, he sneaked out the back door and then fled from Roswell in the way that he had arrived. Some say he ran out the back door to a waiting car to get him out of town before anyone could be ask any pointed questions such as who had found the metal and how had it made it into his hands.

There was no back up for the testing presented, although it was alleged that such additional and independent testing had taken place. There was no corroboration for the analysis or the conclusions that had been drawn. It was claimed it had been done but no one involved would say by whom or where or even present the independent lab work.

Other scientists, when contacted by reporters, said that the isotopic ratios described by VernonClark, while not natural, could be produced in any university laboratory. In other words, the artifact didn’t necessarily have to be alien. It could have been manufactured on Earth and in fact that wasn’t all that difficult given the proper lab facilities.

In an article published by the Albuquerque Journal, reporter John Fleck quoted a number of scientists including University of Kentucky chemist Rob Toreki who said, “You can do it here.”

He meant that you could manipulate the isotopic ratios. And VernonClark eventually said the same thing when asked about that. In a telephone conversation with me, he said it could be done so that the isotopic ratios, while not naturally occurring, could be produced in a lab. He added that it was an expensive proposition which is hardly the point. But he also suggested he had been bullied into the presentation. The whole thing was turning into a big mess.

Most importantly, there is no follow up on this. I was in the auditorium when VernonClark made his announcement and I saw the reporters’ reactions. They were very interested in what he had to say, especially when they were promised the information to confirm the chain of custody and the results of additional, independent testing. But none of that ever happened and I saw the reporters’ reaction to that as well. If you are going to make an extraordinary claim, then you had better be prepared to provide the confirming evidence. And when you withhold that and other scientists do not agree with the conclusions you put forward, then you have lost your audience. Yes, the reporters were very interested until they could not corroborate anything about the artifact.

All of this seems to suggest why the news media ignores the newest of the UFO reports out of New Mexico. In the 1980s they were told that there were documents that proved the case and reported this only to learn that the documents were a hoax. In the mid-1990s they were told there was film footage of an autopsy of alien creatures only to have it admitted to be a hoax. The late 1990s they were told that there was metal that couldn’t have been made on Earth picked up on the fields near Roswell only to discover that the metal could have been manufactured on Earth and that none of the supporting evidence was available.

We could always add the alleged witnesses to all these events who were not candid in their tales. Frank Kaufmann sounded good and spun an interesting tale but in the end, he had seen nothing and knew nothing. Gerald Anderson seemed to corroborate the Barney Barnett story but Anderson forged documents and lied about aspects of his tale. Glenn Dennis’ tale of the missing nurse collapsed when no nurse by the name he provided could be found. He then blamed others for that failed corroboration. In other words, there have been many failed claims about the Roswell case which would cause anyone to wonder about all the other information reported. Only those with all the time necessary to unravel all the various threads could be expected to understand the nuances of the case and no reporter (and very few of the rest of the population) could be expected to invest the necessary time to learn the truth. And even if they did, there are various “truths” to be learned out there.

I mention this only to suggest that the less than enthusiastic response by the media and many others is caused by this long and tainted history. I could suggest that it was all part of the strategy to kept the Roswell case hidden, but the truth seems to be that all the competing voices, all the opportunists, all those with their own agendas have complicated the case to the point where it might never be unraveled.

As I look over this, I wonder if anyone else has seen the relation to some of the things going on in the world today. Promises are being made but if the information circulating now is accurate, then the same problems are going to pop up again. But given the history of the Roswell case it is going to be a tough sell for the newest of the revelations especially in light of this history.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

December 18, 1966: Bear Mountain State Park, New York

I thought for fun and to change the tone of the discussion, I'd publish this analysis of a case that appears in the Project Blue Book files. The picture that appears in the files is so poor that it is nearly impossible to see with a magnifying glass. Of course those who wish to see it could take a look at the Fold3 site found here to look at the picture and good luck with that.

The Air Force, after a quick analysis, decided, “Photo: Hoax. Photo does not substantiate the witnesses’ description of alleged UFO.”

The quick description was that the object was long with a hump on its back. The color was silver to brown. The witness said that he didn’t know how big the object was, but thought it was big. He would later suggest that it was it was about twenty feet long. The object appeared to wobble and that it disappeared behind a fire tower on a 1320 foot hill.

The official report, which was gathered within days of the sighting in a telephone interview, revealed that there was a single UFO, there was no sound or exhaust and that it had no wings. The pictures were taken about dusk.

First Lieutenant Thomas A. Knutson was the investigating officer. He wrote, “The initial interview was by telephone. The pictures were received 1½ weeks after the call. A second interview (personal) was conducted after receipt of the photographs and Mr. [name redacted but is Vincent Perna, 23] furnished the negative.” Although it is unclear from the Project Blue Book file, Perna apparently took four pictures before the object disappeared.

This sighting would be of no real value, even with the photographs, except for the Air Force conclusion and Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s response to that conclusion. On February 20, 1967, the Air Force provided its solution to the case. On the official form, located in the Project Blue Book files, Douglas M. Rogers offered his opinion:

Examination of the negative has negated double exposure and/or retouching. The photographs appear genuine insofar as content is concerned, however, no satisfactory explanation could be made of the unidentified object. The object appears to be circular in planform, basically flat in cross section with a domed “superstructure.” The object appears to be situated beyond the foreground trees, indicating a diameter in excess of eight inches, and the relative clarity indicates it to be substantially nearer than the background trees. The object could have a diameter as great as two or three feet. No attempt at “panning” was indicated as evidenced by the sharpness of the general scene. The object exhibits some small degree of blurriness indicating motion, the direction of which could not be ascertained.
The report was approved by Major William L. Turner, who was the chief of the photo analysis branch and Wilber Price, Jr., who was the chief of the exploitation division.

Hynek thought that the conclusion was “completely unfounded and unjustified. He sent a letter to Major Hector Quintanilla, who was the Chief of Project Blue Book at the time. Hynek wrote:

Dear Major Quintanilla:
On re-examination I find no substantiation for the evaluation of hoax, particularly in view of the photo analysis report, No. 67 – 10, dated 20 February 1967, which contains no information upon which a hoax can be based. To the contrary, the report stated that close examination of the negative negated double exposure and/or retouching. The photographs appear genuine insofar as content; however no satisfactory explanation could be made of the unidentified object. The lack of a satisfactory explanation of the unidentified object does not constitute sufficient reason to declare a hoax. Further, the interviewed considers the witness to be a reliable source.
After examination of the print by myself and by Mr. Beckman of the University of Chicago, we feel that the original negative should be requested for further examination. Mr. Beckman, a qualified photo-analyst, disagrees with the photo analysis presented in the report as to the distance of the object. He points out that the depth of field extends much farther than indicated in the report. It will be noted, from the print, that the focus is poor in the entire periphery of the picture regardless of distance; only in the center of the picture is the focus good, and this good focus extends essentially to infinity. Consequently no judgment can be made as to the real size of the object, if this judgment is based on the quality of focus.
My recommendation is, therefore, that the evaluation be changed from hoax to unidentified.

The letter was signed by Hynek who was, at the time, their scientific consultant, but the recommendation wasn’t followed. The “Hoax” evaluation was left intact.

It could be argued, and in fact Hynek does say it, that “…the Air Force was not interested in finding out all of the possible facts – or a more thorough investigation might have been conducted.”

It could also be argued that by this time, that is early 1967, Hynek had jumped ship and was always in conflict with the Air Force. He has said that there was animosity between him and Quintanilla at that time. He might have argued with any evaluation the Air Force made.

But what about this Mr. Beckman? He isn’t employed by Northwestern University where Hynek works, seems to have no stake in the case one way or the other, and he apparently agrees with Hynek’s evaluation. Beakman offers a counter to what seemed to be a solid Air Force analysis that had no other mission than to evaluate a photograph of a flying saucer.

In the end, it seems like a case of picking a side and arguing the point. There is no evidence of tampering with the negative or the prints, so the conclusion that it is a genuine picture seemed to be confirmed. That evaluation, for those paying close attention, meant that no one had doctored with the print of the negative. But it did not mean that the object photographed wasn’t a small model suspended some distance beyond the nearest trees and the farthest. Given that the camera had a set focal length, there simply wasn’t enough evidence to make a positive determination so that both sides could make claims that were hard to justify.

There is one other point to this. In 1967, the University of Colorado was beginning their investigation of UFOs for the Air Force. It would seem that a photographic case that was only a few months old, would be of interest to that project. They could have talked to the witness; they could have evaluated the photograph and then would have been able to examine the camera. It was all very timely for them, but there is no evidence that they made the effort to do so. Maybe they took the Air Force conclusion as an accurate evaluation. Hynek’s letter wasn’t sent to Quintanilla until November. Given that, they might not have thought it was worth the effort to investigate for themselves.