Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kingman UFO Crash... Really?

To prove my point, that those who offer solutions to some of the UFO cases are not invited to many conferences, I have just learned of an event in Kingman, Arizona in celebration of the UFO crash there. It seems to make no difference that the sources for this information about the crash is shaky at best. Anyone who has an alleged UFO crash near them seems to be gearing up for a festival of some kind.

Let’s review the facts.

The original story, as near as I can tell, came from a fellow who was originally identified as Fritz Werner. He told of a classified mission he had been assigned in May 1953. According to what he told UFO researchers, he had been flown to Phoenix and then bused to a site in Arizona that he believed was near Kingman. Once on site, he engaged in important and classified work.

He told Jeff Young and Paul Chetham about this in 1971. He said, “the object was not built by anything, obviously, that we know about on Earth. This was 1954 [clearly his memory was in error because he later corrected it to May 21, 1953]. At that time I was out of the atomic testing, but I was still with the Air force and this was the time I was on Blue Book. There was a report that there was a crash of an unexplained vehicle in the west and they organized a team of about forty of us. I was one of the forty.”

All well and good, but there is no evidence that Werner was ever a member of Project Blue Book.

Later he would be interviewed by Ray Fowler. He would give a slightly different version to Fowler, but explained that he’d had been drinking martinis prior to that first interview with Young and Chetham. That would explain the discrepancies because he tended to make things up when he drank, according to him.

Later we would learn that Fritz Werner was really Arthur Stancil and later that his name was Arthur Stansel. The story would be unsupported by any documentation other than a notation on Stansel’s personal calendar for May 20 and 21, 1953.

The May 20 entry said, “Well, pen’s out of ink. Spent most of the day on Frenchman’s Flat surveying cubicles and supervising welding of plate girder bridge sensor which cracked after last shot. Drank brew in eve. Read. Got funny call from Dr. Doll at 10:00. I’m to go on a special job tomorrow.”

The entry for the next day said, “Up at 7:00. Worked most of the day on Frenchman with cubicles. Letter from Bet. She’s feeling better now – thank goodness. Got picked up at Indian Springs AFB at 4:30 p.m. for a job I can’t talk about.”

And that’s it. That’s the extent of the documentation. Jottings on a calendar that could mean practically anything... and a note that he had a job he couldn’t talk about. Not the brightest thing to have written down if he truly had a job he couldn’t talk about.

I will note that searches of the local newspapers, meaning those within 100 miles including Las Vegas, have turned up nothing. No UFO sightings at the right time and nothing to suggest that something crashed. Just the story told by Arthur Stansel, first to two young neighbors and later to Ray Fowler.

And with Stansel telling everyone that when he drank, he told stories, his credibility suffers. He told Fowler that he had had four martinis before the young men showed up. I don’t know why he would continue to push the story when Fowler arrived except that he might have liked the attention the tale drew.

But then Don Schmitt told me of a second witness... well, not exactly a witness, but someone who could corroborate the tale. According to the information he gave to me, Judie Wolcott said that her husband had been in the control tower the night the object crashed. Later, after he had been sent to Vietnam, he wrote her a letter that mentioned the UFO crash. He didn’t supply many details and said that he would tell her more when he returned. Unfortunately, he was killed in Vietnam and the letter he wrote had disappeared.

Okay, that was corroboration, after a fashion. It would have been nice to have the letter, especially since it would have been dated before Stansel told his tale to Fowler and that tale found its way into a national UFO magazine.

Then the daughter of Judie Wolcott called me and told me that her mother tended to make things up and that her father had not been killed in Vietnam. In fact, neither of the men Wolcott had married were killed in Vietnam. There was no letter and no strange confession.

So, there really was no evidence for a Kingman crash. We can find no trace of it in any of the documentation and this includes the newspapers of the time. Remember, all the crashes that have some solid supporting information also have newspaper articles about them. Roswell, Las Vegas, Shag Harbour, Kecksburg and so on. Many of the alleged crashes listed on so many web sites have newspaper articles about them, even when we are able to put a mundane answer on them... but not so Kingman.

Hey, I hope their festival was a great success and that those in attendance learned something of importance. I hope they do it again next year and that it becomes a tradition in the town. Kingman is a nice little city and I have always enjoyed my time there, limited though it might have been.

This little piece is not quite as altruistic as it might seem. I have a long article about the entire Kingman Crash story in Philip Mantle’s UFO Matrix, which has just been published. You can view information about the magazine at

But there was no UFO crash there... there was one a couple of hundred miles northeast in Nevada in 1962 but nothing near Kingman. Maybe Las Vegas incident was close enough.


lance.payette said...

I was the Kingman City Attorney back in the early 1990's and had access to many old-timers. I made many inquiries about the supposed Kingman crash and came up absolutely empty - zilch.

starman said...

There have been suggestions the crash occurred not near Kingman but at Luke AFB. Also, "Kingman" was possibly linked to a report of alien bodies being delivered to WP.

Johnnysean said...

I too have interviewed some of the old timers in Kingman and no one remembers anything about a crash be it UFO or aircraft. Two miners were murdered, however, on 5/19/53 and it makes interesting speculation, but I am convinced there was no crash. I did interview one old fellow, however, who seemed to remember something about June of 53 ... his knuckles turned white and he refused to say too much about it. But he saw something. I have no clue what.

KRandle said...

Gentlemen -

Thank you for those of you who have lived, or live, in Kingman for your take on this. Interesting.

Starman -

There is absolutely no evidence about this case... The major witness, Stansel, told investigators that he embellished his stories when he had been drinking.

Now you attempt to move it toward Phoenix, but without something concrete, I see no reason to go there. Stories of alien bodies at WP have been around for years... Remember Hangar 18?

This case should be no more than a footnote, joining Del Rio, Aztec, Paradise Valley and a host of others.

starman said...

"Stories of alien bodies at WP have been around for years."

Yes of course, but one email from you, dated December 29, 2007, included:

"..the Kingman event is interesting because there seems to be some corroboration for it." I recall you mentioned delivery of bodies in dry ice at WP around the same time.

KRandle said...

Starman -

Yes, I thought there was some corroboration to it because I had the Julie Wolcott story. But that has evaporated as I received newer and better information...

I believed that June Kaba might also provide some corroboration, but that too has vanished.

At this point, there is no longer any corroboration... Stansel admitted he told stories when he drank, there are no newspaper reports to suggest UFO sightings in the right time fame.

Everything adds up to zero. Kingman was once interesting, but the results of the investigations and research led nowhere.

David Rudiak said...

"Stories of alien bodies at WP have been around for years."

Here are two from 1954 and 1955.

The first is from pilot William Nash, of the well-known 1952 Nash-Fortenberry airline sighting near Washington D.C.

"WASHINGTON, March 23 (AP)--A spokesman today termed without basis as assertion that the Air Force has recovered hunks of 'flying saucers' and just isn't telling the public about them...

"Bill Nash, a Pan American World Airways pilot, told the Greater Miami Aviation association recently he was convinced that 'the air force has collected hardware from outer space. I do not believe the air force cares to make all its findings public so long as the United States is threatened by unfriendly powers,' Nash said."

From 1965, Nash was quoted saying, referencing an intelligence debriefing he received immediately after his sighting:

"Before the interview, Fortenberry and I had agreed to ask the Intelligence men if there was any truth behind the rumor that the Air Force had one or more saucers at Wright-Patterson Field. Bill remembered to ask, and on of the investigators said 'Yes, it is true!' Later, when we were all in one room following separate de-briefings, I remembered to ask the question. All the investigators opened their mouth at the same time to answer, but Major Sharp, who was in command, broke in with a quick 'NO!' It appeared as if he was telling the others to shut up..."

The next item after this is the 1955 Flyng Saucer review article interviewing Hughie Green speaking about his memories of the Roswell incident. This was followed by the FSR commenting:

"This is not the first time the story has been heard. But it is the first time someone who actually listened in to the transmissions has been interviewed. The question arising from Hughie Green’s account is: ‘Do the Americans have a Flying Saucer in their possession?’ Reports from America suggest that the U.S.A.F. has more than one. One, or parts of one, at Wright Patterson Field… and another at Edwards Air Force Base… Flying Saucer enthusiasts all over the world believe there is some truth in the story but that it is being as carefully guarded as any atomic or military secret for fear of causing public panic."

Paul Flores said...

There was a crash in Kingman I live here. My grandparents, lived here and were witnesses to the incdent, something huge happened here that frightened the entire town into silence, which is why my grandparents only spoke of it on their death bed

Anon said...

Always like to hear both sides. What do you think about Harry Drew's work that seems to have some good "evidence" with the actual site being found near Kingman and a bit more in depth about what might have happened.

Appreciate you thoughts.

Joyce Mcc said...

Has anyone ever followed up with the rancher/family who owned the land where Foo Tank is located? Was the name "Foo Tank" just a joke and when did it acquire that name?

09rja said...

I was always fascinated by this one ever since I first heard of it on the old series [hosted by Leonard Nimoy] 'In Search of...'. (I was re-watching the episode the other day.)

In the episode, (entitled 'UFO Coverups'; which is also notable for being one the first to talk about the so-called Roswell Incident), the testimony of "Fritz" is presented. He said he was a engineer with the government/Air Force on the blast effects of atom bombs. One day he was asked to report for a special assignment (with others) and they were driven (on a bus with the windows covered) out to where they guessed was Kingman, Arizona. Once there, they were asked to look at a apparent crashed flying saucer. They were not told who/what made it and he said the people there told him the only questions they would answer would be about dynamic loads. Fritz told Ray Fowler (a UFO investigator who discovered the Fritz story) another time that his task was to determine the velocity that the object struck the ground at. Along those lines Fritz said that [in the ISO episode]: "Interestingly enough, one of the questions I needed to know was what the mass of the vehicle was. I could tell a lot of things from the penetration into the desert sand and so forth but I needed to know the mass." (They refused to tell him its mass and he speculated that they did not know themselves.) He also said there was a tent that he didn't look into but somebody he talked to did and the guy said he saw 2 "alien" looking bodies.

My thoughts on the story: It's interesting, but as a engineer myself, a few things always jumped out at me. First off, how could he figure the velocities the object hit the ground at (even if he knew that mass)? I'm fairly knowledgeable on soil dynamics and impact loading (as a structural engineer), and I am aware of no reference (especially one that was out in 1953) that lets you figure that for an arbitrarily shaped object (like a saucer shape) and especially since it went in at a angle. Almost all the references/tests I am aware of came decades later and were for simply shaped objects (like squares, rectangles, etc). He could tell something by its penetration into the sand? What exactly? What data did he have on the soil (i.e. density, SPT data, etc.)?

The people who told him that the only answers he would get would be on dynamic loads.....were they military personnel? Did they indicate they were the ones who could answer that? How could a army NCO (or even an officer) answer questions on that topic? They couldn't ask each other (i.e. those that came in on the bus) because according to Fritz, they were told not to talk to each other.

On the alien looking bodies deal: in the ISO episode he said he didn't look into the tent, but that someone he talked to did. But in a statement to Ray Fowler he said he *did* look into the tent and saw a single body. So I'm not sure what the deal is. Granted memories can change with time, but this is quite a discrepancy.

His background makes it plausible he would be asked to take part in this project.......but blast loading and air crash investigations are different animals. One would think the crash of the century would have a person of that background looking at it. (Of course, then again, it may have been just a experimental gov. craft.)

So all in all......a interesting story but it's just a story unless 'Fritz" could be questioned further.

KRandle said...

Actually, the story was found by two boys who first interviewed "Weaver" whose real name was Arthur Stansel. Stansel said that he tended to tell tale tales when he had been drinking and before the boys arrived for the interview, he'd had a couple. He offered no documentation other than a rather vague calendar entry. His story has some internal inconsistencies and there is no independent verification for it. You've pointed some of them out yourself. The one possible other eyewitness was given to us by Judie Wolcott but it seems she made up lots of stories and nothing she said turned out to be true.

This tale is a hoax.