Friday, December 28, 2007

Aeroshell Flying Saucer

A while ago I was wandering around on the White Sands Missile Range, looking at the various missile displays when I found something interesting... a flying saucer in among the rockets and the missiles.
The legend said:


This spacecraft was a section of the Voyager Balloon System which was launched near Rosewell [sic], NM. and landed on White Sands Missile Range. These bright, shiny aeroshells projected an illusion of flying saucers. Aeroshell was designed for slowing down a missile for landing on Mars. This display is believed to be the only one "in captivity".

U.S. Air Force

PROPELLANT: Liquid/Solid
SPEED: MACH 1.6 (1,100 mph)
RANGE: Maximum 140,000 Ft.

I’m not sure why the Air Force didn’t trot this out to explain some of the Roswell case. Although launched some twenty years after the crash, that time problem would mean little to the Air Force. I mean, they came up with the anthropomorphic dummies (seen here, Photo Courtesy US Air Force) that weren’t used for testing until the 1950s with the first drop near Roswell in 1957. Dates never seemed to get in the way.

In reality, this craft might have explained some of the later UFO sightings in New Mexico and there seems to be no suggestion that it ever flew anywhere else. And, if nothing else, it does look like a flying saucer.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Walter Haut's Affidavit

I have some problems with the new affidavit (if we want to call the document an affidavit) by Walter Haut and thought maybe we all could discuss this. I have waited to post on this so that I might gather additional information. Speculation about my reasons by others is just that, speculation. I wanted to understand the circumstances under which the document was created, how it was signed, and if it fit the definition of affidavit.

First, I have no problem with Don Schmitt (seen here) drafting the thing and having Walter review it prior to signing it. All Schmitt did was pull it into a cohesive whole for Walter’s review and then signature. I understand that both Walter’s doctor and his daughter were present when he signed the document. So far, so good.

But then we run into some trouble. As many know, Wendy Connors and Dennis Balthaser interviewed Walter prior to this latest document being created, but after a French film crew had been to New Mexico to interview Walter and he told them that he had seen the bodies... or body, depending on which statement by Walter you wish to accept.

This doesn’t include research by Gildas Bourdais who recently said that in he had talked to the French crew director and that Walter said nothing about bodies on camera to him. On UFO UpDates, Bourais wrote, " He [Vincent Gielly] told me that, when he did his filmed interview of Walter Haut, with Wendy Connors, Haut looked like someone who wished to say more, but could not. This lasted a long time, and he finally decided, a little disappointed, to end the interview. But then, he found Wendy, alone in another room, extremely disappointed because, she told him, she felt Haut was just about to talk when he ended the interview. That's what Gielly told me. He did not tell me that Haut had talked about seeing the craft and bodies. If he did, he may have promised not to repeat it, I don't know."

So, there is now a question of just what Walter (seen here on the set of the ShowTime original movie Roswell) did say to the French crew and what he said on camera as opposed to what he said in private. Connors and Balthaser say that Walter said something to the French which inspired the two of them to seek an audience with Walter to explain his earlier years in the military, and, according to them, ask a few questions to clarify the situation Walter found himself in back in 1947.

For those of us who have seen the Connors/Balthaser interview, there are some very disturbing statements by Walter... he is either badly confused, he is deeply conflicted about revealing secret he had kept for more than fifty years, or he just couldn’t keep his new story straight. It leaves us with a rambling mishmash of contradictory information.

Here is just a short portion of that rather confused statement:

"That’s a rough one I haven’t even thought about it low these many years and I honestly can’t even visualize it, whether still in it’s shape, but a lot of dings in it.... I do not remember... I would venture a guess that probably a diameter of, uh, somewhere around 25ft... To the best of my remembrance there was one body... it was relatively a small body comparable to uh, oh maybe a 11 year old, 10 or 11 year old child. It was pretty well beat up. I cannot come and give you, to be honest, anything other than that. I remember something about the arms and I am trying to visualize that and all of a sudden it starts going through my little head that that they show some of those long arms in the cartoons... I thought there was several bodies... for some reason I feel there were several bodies... the more I think about it the more I start to get an idea it was single body."

And then to thoroughly confuse the issue, Walter retreated to the line he had been using from the very beginning, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He said, "I didn’t even see one. I just wrote a press release."

So, Connors then said, "I am talking about when you saw a body in the hanger partly covered by the tarp. You only saw the one."

Walter said, "Yes."

But so we can get real confused, Walter also said, in that same interview:

"I don’t really know. I hurts me to try and give an answer because I am not certain of the whole thing. I feel there has been information released that uh maybe shouldn’t have been released, maybe the information that we got in the operation of releases maybe something you can put out to anybody. I just... I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about a lot of the detail number one because I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the detail, everybody thinks that I saw them, I didn’t, I put out a press release that Colonel Blanchard told me what he wanted in the press release and I ran it into town and gave it to the news media and went home and ate lunch."

In the affidavit we have a very clear and concise statement about all this. Walter said (or rather signed the statement that said... and that is probably a distinction we should make at this point because of some of the controversy):

(12) Before leaving the base, Col. Blanchard took me personally to Building 84, a B-29 hangar located on the east side of the tarmac. Upon first approaching the building, I observed that it was under heavy guard both outside and inside. Once inside, I was permitted from a safe distance to first observe the object just recovered north of town. It was approx. 12 to 15 feet in length, not quite as wide, about 6 feet high, and more of an egg shape. Lighting was poor, but its surface did appear metallic. No windows, portholes, wings, tail section, or landing gear were visible.

(13) Also from a distance, I was able to see a couple of bodies under a canvas tarpaulin. Only the heads extended beyond the covering, and I was not able to make out any features. The heads did appear larger than normal and the contour of the canvas suggested the size of a 10-year-old child. At a later date in Blanchard's office, he would extend his arm about 4 feet above the floor to indicate the height

I could pull up other statements that Walter made over the years, including ones that he made to me, but there is little point in that. We all know that he said, for decades, all he had done was write the press release. Now we have a new statement in which he is in the middle of this with all the inside knowledge that anyone could hope for.

The problem is not that his earlier statements contradict his later statements but that his later statements were highly confused, and highly contradictory even inside one interview, and inside one statement in that interview.

The skeptics are going to seize these later statements and contrast them to the earlier statements and it’s going to be nearly impossible to spin this. Walter is on the record in too many places saying that all he did was write the press release. He is seen in the Connor/Balthaser interview giving that same story but wrapping it around tales of bodies and craft.

There are those who suggest that Walter was conflicted about all this. He wanted to honor the oath he had taken so long ago. He wanted to honor the promise he had made to Colonel Blanchard so long ago. But he also believed that the information was too important to be withheld and that it belonged, not to the Army, the Air Force of the government, but to every one. So even as he provided hints about what he had seen and what he knew, he wasn’t able to take us directly there. He had to come at it from the side.

You simply can’t hide the information about Walter’s confusing statements. There are too many of us out there who have seen and heard most of the witnesses and while some of us have the will to believe, there are many others who want to learn the truth. You can’t cherry-pick the information and make it seem as if it all fits together.

Had Walter’s later statements been consistent inside the context of the interview and had they been consistent throughout, then we could say that he was providing us with information that he’d had all these years. But that’s not what we have here. We have contradictory statements.

And I know that many will say that Walter was an honorable man trying to provide us with information that we all seek and all want. The problem is that it doesn’t come to us in a straight forward manner, but in a couple of interviews that have more curves than a NASCAR speedway. He twists and turns and doubles back on himself. Straightened out, as it is in the affidavit, it seems crisp and clear, but when we review the tapes of the interviews we find it is not quite as direct.

On the other side of the coin, I do have one confirmation of Walter’s new story that came from a man who lived in Albuquerque and who was the assistant finance officer for the 509th Bomb Group.

I first met Richard C. Harris (seen here) in the mid-1990s when I visited him at his home. He was a frail man then, with live-in help. He was, naturally, quite interested in the Roswell UFO case, having served at the base in 1947. And yes, he’s in the Yearbook, so we know he was there at the right time.

In his living room was a small bookcase and I mention this because there was a stack of books dealing with UFOs, the Roswell case and MJ-12. Harris was a firm believer in MJ-12.

What all this means is that he was familiar with the case as it had been written about in the various books. He had seen many of the documentaries of the case so he could have been badly contaminated as a source. Having seen the documentaries, read the books and magazine articles doesn’t mean that what he told me was based on what he had read and seen and not wholly on his memories, we must be aware that it all could be colored by those other sources.

Anyone who has served in a command position or a position of responsibility in the military knows that everything must be paid for. There are all sorts of funds that are designated for all sorts of purposes and it is considered illegal to take funds appropriated for one purpose and use them for another. This means that funds meant to pay for a unit’s flight training, for example, can’t be used to transport alien bodies and craft from one location to another. Funds must be designated for that purpose. (Unless, of course, it’s a cross country navigation problem and therefore training... if some of the wreckage, or an alien body or two are on the aircraft, hey, that’s just a bonus.)

No, it doesn’t have to say moving an alien body from Roswell to Wright Field, but the funds will have to be appropriated for moving equipment from Roswell to Wright Field. The money must be juggled. (I might point out here that, for example, money paid to the state of Iowa for National Guard training or equipment maintenance can’t be used for firefighting in California. That doesn’t mean that Iowa will allow California to burn if Iowa has a means to help, it means that funds for that assistance must come from California and not Iowa... yeah, it’s complicated, but it shows how these things work.)

Harris told me that they worked hard to find the money from legal sources, that they worked hard to cover the real purpose because there would be audits and there would be examinations that had nothing to do with the crash but everything to do with looking for fraud. So the money spent to house those brought in, for the aircraft flights to and from various locations, for the special equipment and to pay the soldiers were all juggled around so that it was properly annotated and properly spent. Harris was proud of the job they had done covering the paper trail (not unlike comments that Patrick Saunders, the base adjutant had made earlier to family members who shared these thoughts with me).

The key point of Harris’ story was this little anecdote. He said that he had been out near one of the hangars and ran into Walter. Walter told him what was on the other side of the door, meaning one of the dead aliens and told Harris he could take a quick look. Harris said that he put his hand on the door knob, but didn’t turn it. For some reason his curiosity failed him at that point. He didn’t take the look that Walter had told him to.

This, of course, suggests that Walter had deeper knowledge and Harris told me this more than a decade ago. It is, sort of, some corroboration for Walter’s new story. It’s not a very good corroboration, but it is some.

I have been looking for something to suggest that Ramey and DuBose traveled to Roswell for a morning staff meeting. It’s hard to move the commanding general around without leaving some kind of paper trail but I have found none. I have searched the records of the 509th Bomb Group and the 8th Air Force without finding a clue.

It seems to me that there would be no real reason to hide this trip... except that it would have put Ramey on the scene and that might be the reason to erase the record. If some clever person put Ramey in Roswell on July 7 or 8, then the next question can always be, "Why?"

So far, I have failed to find anything, but there are avenues to be searched.

So, here’s where we are. Walter has told us he was on the inside. He has told us that he saw the craft and, at least, one body. He gave us a couple of points that would allow for some corroboration, but we have yet to find it. Harris provides a little piece of that but not enough. So, we continue to search for the truth.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Let’s talk for a moment about CSICOP which has changed it’s name to CSI which I suppose it a marketing ploy to snag the unwary. I mean, if you type CSI into your search engine, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many do and have, you’ll eventually find your way to what used to be CSICOP. They’re probably less than pleased to have me decode their plan.

CSICOP, which originally stood for Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (a worthy endeavor) is now know as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, another worthy endeavor. Unfortunately, my experience with them, and the experience of others suggest that they are more of an advocacy group rather than an organization that investigates the paranormal, including UFOs. They would rather make pronouncements about the non existence of these phenomena than actually investigate them. And it seems when the few investigations they conduct provide no real answer, they are willing to accept any conclusion as long as it does not suggest the reality of a paranormal phenomena (With the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting, they continue to offer solutions that make no sense. Recently it was suggested that Arnold had seen B-47s in flight. None of the skeptics, and here it wasn’t a CSI explanation, bothered to learn that the first B-47 hadn’t flown until December, 1947, six months AFTER Arnold made his report.)

Just what does this mean? Well, in one of the anti-Roswell UFO crash books CSICOP, I mean CSI, published, the author wrote, "Finally as the pro-UFO Roswell researchers will admit when pressed, Beverly Bean is the only person in the Brown family who has made these claims about her father. Bean’s sister and her own mother have never confirmed the account."

The Brown in this statement in Melvin Brown who was a sergeant assigned to the Roswell base in 1947 as a cook. He told family members that he had seen the bodies of the aliens killed in the crash, but for several years only his daughter, Beverly Bean, made this claim. Later Brown’s widow, and his other daughter, confirmed that they had heard her husband and their father make similar statements.

The CSICOP inspired statement, is, of course, not true and since the author referenced the 1991 interview conducted with the Brown family (video taped by Brad Radcliffe), he should have known that both Bean’s sister and her mother confirmed the account on video tape. So, even though he must have known the truth but rather than writing, "In 1991, both Bean’s sister and mother who had failed to corroborate the story earlier, are now on the record..." he chose to conceal this evidence from his readers.

This withholding of information is exactly the same thing that the writer had been complaining that I, as well as my colleagues, had been doing. And while I can show, repeatedly, how I attempted to present all the information about the case, allowing the reader to make up his or her mind about the validity of the case, CSI, through this writer was not engaging in scientific analysis, but was involved in a debate. In debate, you never give the other side information favorable to its argument. You allow them to find it on their own.

In on

e more example, on page 91, the author wrote, "After initially refusing to confirm to Randle that he was even there at Roswell, Randle claims that Easley [that would be Major Edwin Easley, seen here, who was the provost marshal Roswell in 1947], on his deathbed, eventually confessed that not only had he "been there," but that he had also seen bodies."
This is a mishmash of testimony and statements. In my initial conversation with Easley, he not only confirmed he had been there, but that he was the provost marshal. In the taped interview conducted on January 11, 1990, I said, "I’m doing some research into the 509th Bomb Group and I understand you were the Provost Marshal there at one time."

Easley said, "That’s right."

I said, "At the 509th?"

He said, "Yes."

And I said, "During July of 1947?"

And he said, "Yes."

I wrote to CSI and asked them, based on their claims of scientific investigation, if they shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than a publisher of books on the paranormal. I mean, if you look at Berkley Books, for example, you’ll find that they publish books on both sides of the controversy. I suspect they don’t do this because they want to provide both sides of the case but because there are business reasons for it. Berkley Books, like so many other publishers, desire to make money and make their publishing decisions based on that.

CSI, h

owever, publishes books only on one side. Karl Pflock told me once that CSI (when it was still known as CSICOP) refused to publish his Roswell in Perspective because it wasn’t skeptical enough. Not that the information might be inaccurate, or that there might be flaws in the reasoning, but because its tone wasn’t skeptical enough. Eventually they published it as Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe.

You might wondering, by now, what was CSI’s response to my inquiry. Well, there hasn’t been one. They have never really responded to anything I asked of them. The main example comes from the late Phil Klass. We corresponded regularly over the years. We traded barbs a number of times and I have often thought that Phil got backed into his anti-saucer and therefore anti-Roswell corner in the 1960s. Phil came up with the idea that ionized air, glowing in the night, was the cause of UFO sightings. The idea was quickly killed by physicists, and Phil went on to other, similar ridiculous explanations but he had become the resident UFO expert.

In the 1990s I hosted a radio show on KTSM radio in El Paso, Texas (as seen here). The topic was the paranormal, and Phil appeared on the show a couple of times. I asked for others from CSICOP (as it was kno wn then) but never got any response. Phil said he’d arrange some interviews, but no one ever came on. I thought this a strange response from a group of skeptics who wanted to get their message out.

My philosophy on the show was to allow the guest to make his or her point, talk with the listeners, and to defend his or her points of view. I was more of a facilitator than a participant. If the guest had a point of view I didn’t like, well, it was his or her opinion and on the next show we might discuss that or move on to another topic.

Irene Hughes, one of the most celebrated psychics in the country appeared once. During a commercial break, she commented that I was protecting my guest very well. I figured if she was a good psychic, she’d be able to defend herself and didn’t need me to step in. Her comment sort of annoyed me because when the tables were reversed, meaning I was on someone else’s show, I always felt it was my job to defend my position rather than rely on the host.

I will note here, apropos of nothing at all, that I asked Hughes who was going to win the Super Bowl. There were four teams left in the running because the companionship games had yet to be played. She said it would be the Packers. After she left the show, I said, on the air, and recorded on tape, "Everyone knows its going to be the Cowboys over the Steelers by 11." In fact, it was the Cowboys over the Steelers by 10 (27 to 17 if you must know). She didn’t even get the two teams right and I missed the spread by a single point.

The point here, however, is that I provided the guest a chance to present his or her point of view without a challenge from me. CSICOP (or CSI) had nothing to fear from me and Phil Klass did the show a couple of times. No one else from CSI even bothered to respond to my invitations.

So I’m not surprised that they didn’t answer my question about having a higher standard. It is clear from some of the books they have published that reality means little to them. Debunking is their business so why allow facts to get in the way.

I could, of course, support their cause because I have debunked my share of stories. I have provided answers to mysteries when I have them. But I do not create answers out of nonsense, I do not invent witness testimonies that do not exist, and I do not enter an investigation believing in one answer because that answer happens to be my favorite. I can, of course, provide more examples of CSI caring little for the truth but there is no point.

And I will mention, once again, that yes, those of us on the other side of the fence are often guilty of selective use of the data (cherry-picking it), or of leaping to far-ranging conclusions, but we do not hold ourselves up as an authority whose only mission is to explain the nearly inexplicable. We don’t claim to be the only rational thinkers on the planet with a self-selected mandate to remove the paranormal, the unusual, or the exotic from the minds of those too dumb, stupid or ignorant to see the light.

CSI does and with that comes an obligation to get it right. Tell us that UFOs don’t exist, that the evidence for the Roswell UFO crash is thin, but don’t wrap that pronouncement around poor research, sloppy investigation and half-truths. Make your case without a superior attitude and you probably will have an easier time with it.

CSI won’t answer questions. They will not consider alternative answers which explains why they believe some of the dumbest things on the face of the planet. Oh, it removes the extraterrestrial from the discussion but it certainly doesn’t explain anything.

(Yes, I know you all want to know what I mean. Remember Lonnie Zamora, the New Mexico police officer who saw a landed UFO and two occupants back in the 1960s? Well, Phil Klass explained the case. Zamora and the mayor of tiny Socorro, New Mexico were attempting to create a tourist interest in their town and would build a museum close to the site where the UFO was spotted... on land already owned by the mayor. No evidence of this ever surfaced, but to many in CSI, the Socorro case is explained as a hoax. It is not.)

CSI should do a better job of policing themselves and they shouldn’t accept a solution because it is mundane rather than exotic. They should take their own advice and they should do what they originally set out to do, which is investigate claims of the paranormal... Oh, wait, they took that out of their name. Now they’re just the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. I guess investigation was too tough for them. Now they’ll just ask questions and ignore the answers they don’t like. They have become what they have accused us on the other side of becoming... True Believers... The evidence be damned.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

In Search Of ... Answers Part II

Back when I began this blog, I had in mind that I would explore those things that interested me, especially in the realm of the unusual and the paranormal. I have, in the past, talked about global warming on Mars (and, apparently on Pluto), how many planets are in the Solar System (eight for those of you who haven’t been keeping track), and if Anna Anderson was really the Russian princess Anastasia. In that column, based on DNA, I thought the answer was no (see In Search Of... Answers in June 2005).

Some disagreed. Although the bodies of the Czar and most of his family had been found ending part of the mystery, two of the children were still missing. That could mean that they had survived and that Anderson could have been Anastasia. Anderson wasn’t the only woman who made this claim. She was merely the most famous. Certainly all of them couldn’t be telling the truth, and as so often happens, it was pretty clear that none of them were.

The story that had circulated for years was that Nicholas II, his wife, five children, a doctor and three servants were killed in the basement of a house where they had been imprisoned after the Russian Revolution. The records of those murders became available to the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union confirming the story that had been a fairly well known "secret". In 1991, the remains of several bodies were found... with a couple of important exceptions.

And, to complicate the story even more, there seems to be some confusion about who was found in 1991. Aleksei, the 13-year-old son, and one of his sisters seemed to be missing from the mass grave. Many believed the missing girl was Anastasia, but others suggested it was her sister, the 19-year-old Maria.

And there the mystery remained until this year. Vitaly Shitov (and yes, that name bothers me too), who is reported to live in the Yekaterinburg (Russia) area where the bodies were found, said that he believed that the two missing children would be located in the same place, just not in the same, common grave. This year, he, and fellow amateur archaeologists discovered, on a raised area about 70 yards from the first grave, a second. It contained two bodies, (or rather bones of two bodies), believed to be those of Aleksei and one of his sisters.

If the information is verified and the DNA tests are conclusive as expected, this ends the mystery once and for all. The Czar and his family were all murdered on that July night in1918. Anastasia did not survive and escape into the West, and the DNA tests on the genetic material of Anna Anderson that proved she wasn’t Anastasia is further confirmed.

I will note one thing here and it is an outgrowth of the tabloid mentality that was so prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. These supermarket newspapers often made claims that couldn’t be verified, naming experts in foreign lands and providing those experts with degrees from equally vague universities. And this is not to mention the nonsense that circulates on the Internet.

Here we’re dealing with a man living in the region with a name that looks like it was invented for the humor it provides. I believe that this mystery has been solved and I believe it was solved with the DNA tests conducted on Anna Anderson and with the discoveries in the Russia archives and in the Russian fields in the 1990s.

So there is really little doubt. Anna Anderson kept the story going during her life and though many thought we would never learn the truth, science, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and amateur archaeologists have given us the answer. Anna Anderson wasn’t Anastasia. The Czar and his family were all murdered and then buried in two graves that were hidden to prevent them from becoming a rallying point for opponents of the Communists. Another of the mysteries of the 20th Century didn’t survive very long into the 21st.