Let’s talk about the Flatwoods Monster one more time. This is a case, because of its high strangeness, that is easy to dismiss. A flying saucer landing on a hill with some kind of floating creature coming from it. One that might have had glowing eyes or one that might have "shot" rays from its eyes. Something that might have left landing traces that no one bothered to document at the time. And one in which the craft and creature disappeared before the corroborating witnesses could get there to take a look around.
And one that I found difficult to believe because one of the researchers, Frank Feschino, had posted on a web site a quote attributed to me about his book claiming that the Air Force had engaged in combat with the flying saucers after an order had been given to "Shoot Them Down."
What have we learned in the last week.
The webmaster, Alfred Lehmberg, came forward and said that Feschino had nothing to do with that mistake. Lemberg said that he had taken the quote from a closed discussion group and attributed it to me because I had started the specific thread. Someone else, posting a comment to that thread had made the comment and Lehmberg didn’t pay close attention to the attribution. An honest mistake, he said.
I can live with that. People make mistakes in attribution.
(Richard Dolan, in his massive UFOs and the National Security State makes something of an error in attribution. In writing about the testimony of Barbara Dugger, he credits, in a footnote, Stan Friedman and his book. If you follow that to Friedman’s book, you find the interview attributed to me. Don Schmitt and I had conducted it and provided a copy of the video tape to the Fund for UFO Research. Friedman, and Don Berliner used the tape as a source in their book. So, the attribution was essentially correct, but the original source of the interview had not been made clear. But I digress...)
What this also means is that Feschino had nothing to do with the misidentified quote.
What it also means that one of the reasons to reject the information in his books has been eliminated. You might find his work sloppy or that he leapt to conclusions, but you can’t say he was responsible for the misidentified quote. That belongs to Lehmberg and he has taken complete ownership of it.
Where does that leave me on the question of the Flatwoods Monster. Well, in this world, in which it would be nice to be invited to speak at all these conventions, where it would be nice to have others buying the books that I write, I find it difficult to say something or embrace something in which I have doubts. If I embraced everything... abductions, cattle mutilations, crop circles, every strange and bizarre UFO story... then I would find myself on lots of convention programs. But I just can’t do that.
I have to believe what I say about the topic and with the Flatwoods Monster, I have difficulty embracing the tale as told. It seems that the bolide explanation for the sighting is reasonable. It seems that the hysteria of the witnesses contributed to their sighting. It seems that, by September, 1952, with the newspapers filled with stories of flying saucers, reasonable to believe that the idea of alien visitation wasn’t all that far from the minds of the witnesses. It all seems a reasonable explanation to me.
But Frank Feschino has found some interesting information. I do not know why an officer in the National Guard would talk about deploying soldiers into the area. Deployment of National Guard forces is strictly controlled, if for no other reason than purposes of pay. An officer can’t order his soldiers into the field unless there is imminent loss of life and then he better have some very persuasive evidence.
So, I suppose as some say, this would be in my gray basket (though I dislike that term) but it would be a very light gray. I don’t believe there is much of substance here, but it never hurts to take a closer look. Sometimes I find that I have been mistaken... but only sometimes.