Tuesday, July 09, 2013

USS Helm Revisited

A few weeks back, I mentioned a UFO sighting from the USS Helm that had been reported in the MUFON UFO Journal in July 1983. This was of a disk-shaped object that had circled the Guadalcanal invasion fleet and had been fired on by a number of the ships. The UFO reacted to the hostile fire and sped off.

USS Helm
I mentioned that on the dates the source, who was not identified, gave, there was nothing in the deck logs to support the report but allowed how he might have gotten the dates wrong. I suggested that a more thorough search be attempted simply to be sure that we had the facts straight.

First, let me point out that in 1983 we didn’t have the research sources available that we have today. I can go on the Internet and usually in a matter of minutes, if not find an answer, I can find out how to get an answer. As an aside, just today, through email, I received an answer to an inquiry that I would never had been able to make in 1983, simply because everything seems to be on the web… more on that in another post.

A search of the deck logs of the USS Helm for November and December 1941; and for July 1942 through November 1942 has been completed. A day-to-day search for anything that remotely resembles the story first reported in 1983 has failed. The closest we can come is to an entry on July 6, 1942 (a Monday if anyone cares) that at 0325 (or 3:25 in the morning), those on watch “Sighted steady white light bearing 061 [degrees], distance about 10 miles; unidentified.”

Deck Log, July 6, 1942
Not really much here and no reason to assume the light was anything other than something of a terrestrial nature. Granted, showing a light in a combat zone with all kinds of trigger-happy people around, on both sides, isn’t very smart but there is no reason to assume anything else about it. This light didn’t buzz the ship, or the fleet, and no one fired on it.

While it seems that the USS Helm was involved in the Guadalcanal invasion in the beginning of August 1942, there is nothing to suggest they fired, or anyone else fired, on a disk-shaped object at any time in August. And there was nothing to suggest the incident took place in October 1942 either. The USS Helm wasn’t near Guadalcanal but was operating off the coast of Australia.

With no documentation to support the tale, it must be rejected. We have no source that has been named, we have two separate dates for the event, and we have now reviewed the deck logs of the ship involved and found no support for the tale on those dates. A search of the deck logs covering several months has failed to find anything even remotely like the story told. The only conclusion to be drawn is that this event, as described, did not happen… and since it was not reported to anyone prior to 1983 or more than forty years later, there is no reason to accept it today. This should be removed from the list of UFO sightings.

Let me add this. I can see no blame to attach to Paul C. Cerny or Robert Neville because, in 1983, they didn’t have the resources to take this to the end. I’m not even sure the deck logs would have been available to civilian researchers then and if they were I’m not sure what you would have had to do to access them. Today, we all have access to a wide range of documentation from all kinds of sources and we should use them to verify our reports. We ignore the documentation at our peril.

But, to me, this case is now closed.


Sentry said...

I'm glad you took the time to report on negative findings. Surely not as exciting as finding positive evidence, it's the only scientifically valid way to go about it.
At least recording your findings should save other researchers some time in the future, and eliminate the citing the case.

David Rudiak said...

The problem here is that things can be left out of logs, even if they happen. I ran into that reviewing the October 7, 1965 UFO incident at Edwards AFB. Chuck Sorrels was the tower operator and later became a Disclosure Project witness. According to Sorrels, the UFOs (up to 11) were spotted on radar by four different bases. The Edward's base "UFO officer" ordered a jet scramble and submitted a case report to Project Blue Book along with some of the radar records, from which we found out about the case. All communications were recorded, but the tapes were cut into pieces afterward, but not destroyed, so much of the conversations have since been reconstructed.

But when I personally went to Edwards to check the base logs, not one thing was mentioned about this incident, even though we know with certainty that it happened from parallel surviving documentation. Nothing appeared in the base newspaper, though it apparently caused quite a stir. I think it was Edgar Mitchell who said he was at Dryden research center there at the time attending a conference and was aware that it had happened (but wasn't a witness).

But nothing in the base logs. I think it was also Jan Aldrich of Project 1947 who said he has observed the same thing in logs where UFO incidents frequently are not recorded.

Same thing with the multiple sightings over Muroc (Edwards) in July 1947 that made it into Project Sign as unknowns but are not in base records.

(Of course, reverse logic also does not say that if something is missing from the logs, then it is evidence that something may have happened, as in the USS Helm.)

KRandle said...

Sentry -

Really... the alien from Earth vs.
the Flying Saucers. Didn't think I'd notice did you?

David -

The difference here is that there is no reason for the sighting not to have been noted in the deck logs. It is the sort of anomalous event that would have been logged and given the date, meaning 1942, there would be no one around to edit that log. No one was thinking in terms of UFOs then. It was just one of those strange things that would have been noted by the ship's crew and contained in the deck log...

More important, we have no name for the single source, which means we can't verify that he was on the ship at the time. How many people have claimed to be at Roswell in 1947 and we learn they simply weren't there?

I believe this case should be eliminated from any listings of UFOs because there is nothing to it except the word of an unidentified man. I suppose we could get the names of the other ships in the Guadalcanal invasion fleet and check the deck logs for them but I also believe there comes a point when we just have to let go. There is nothing substantial to this case and there is no documentation for it. There should be.