I have argued for years that the Eisenhower Briefing Document (EBD) is not authentic. I have argued that it was created in the early to mid-1980s because the information contained in it reflected the UFOlogical thought of that time. The one paragraph that seemed to prove that more than any other was the one referring to the December 6, 1950 crash near El Indio – Guerrero area of northern Mexico. I had suggested that this is the sighting made by Robert Willingham and that we know that he has changed so much of the information about it that it is clear that it never happened.
“Why bring this up now?” you may ask.
Because I have additional information thanks to Isaac Koi, Greg Long, and James Carrion. Let’s take this all one step at a time.
Apparently on October 19, 1994, Greg Long received a telephone from W. Todd Zechel, who then launched into what was pretty much a monologue according to a document created by Long (which makes sense since I too received one of these Zechel telephone calls in which he talked and talked and talked until his father yelled for him to get off the telephone). Long made notes, and the important part of that document, at least to us here, said:
Zechel talked about his research into the Del Rio case. He described how John Acuff [one time director of NICAP] had put NICAP’s cases in storage. Maccabee stole documents from the NICAP files. There was a particular file that Zechel read regarding a crashed object in Del Rio. Zechel tracked down a name, Colonel Willingham, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, flew to Pennsylvania, and interviewed him. Willingham admitted that he saw the crashed object. To assess Willingham, Zechel got the colonel’s military records and proved he was authentic.
Later in this same document, in a section labeled “Hoax,” Zechel again alludes to the Del Rio case. He wrote, “[Brad] Sparks responded that he felt only two of the cases showed some promise: the Roswell incident of 1947, which Moore had written about, and one that reportedly occurred in Dec. 1950 near the Texas/Mexico border.
And later still, Del Rio is connected to the El Indio – Guerrero case, when talking about the EBD received by Shandera, Zechel wrote:
Billed as a briefing paper prepared for ‘President-elect Eisenhower,’ the document ‘ contains a rather lengthy description of the Roswell incident – which just happens to verify Moore’s contentions and misrepresentations of the facts – but only a spare paragraph describing a second incident in December 1950. According to the new, improved model:
On 06 December 1950, a second object, probably of similar origin, impacted the earth at high speed in the El Indio – Guerrero area of the Texas – Mexico boder (sic) after following a long trajectory through the atmosphere. By the time a search team arrived, what remained of the object had been almost totally incinerated. Such material as could be recovered was transported to the A.E.C. facility at Sandia, New Mexico for study.
Zechel then explains how this information about the crash had come into the hands of Moore and one of his cohorts, Richard Doty. He suggested that a manuscript that he had written was “either given or sold… to Bill Moore…”
To follow through on this linkage, and to prove that the information about the El Indio – Guerrero crash is that from Del Rio and Robert Willingham, Zechel wrote:
The point is that Moore… obtained two separate manuscripts I had written about the crashed saucer case which reportedly occurred in Dec. 1950, near the Texas – Mexico border. The first manuscript… gave the location of the incident as near Laredo, Texas. The second manuscript… gave the date of the incident as happening between Dec. 5 and Dec. 8, 1950, and the location as near Del Rio, Texas… No witnesses that I know of support the El Indio location given in the ‘briefing paper,’ but, on the contrary several eye-witness accounts have verified the Del Rio site. Moore, however, would not have known that, since I myself did not know these facts until a couple of years after I left Hollywood.
More telling than this is what Zechel believed about how this particular case came to be part of the EBD. Zechel wrote:
What I’m saying is that he [Moore] clearly knew, based on my manuscripts and Brad Sparks’ input, that he had to acknowledge the 1950 case in the ‘briefing paper,’ but with all the bitterness, acrimony, jealousy and hate he feels toward me … he just had to burn that sucker up!
And, in case that hasn’t made the connection between the Willingham tale and that from the EBD, in a letter to Walt Andrus at MUFON, dated December 8, 1978, Zechel wrote:
What I did say is that I had an affidavit from the retired Lt. Colonel (emphasis in the original) – the former pilot who flew down to the crash site – about his knowledge of the incident, which is limited to seeing the object in the air and covered by a canopy on the ground.
This retired Lt. Colonel is Robert Willingham who did sign an affidavit about the crash. So, we know that Willingham is the source of the Del Rio case, who also suggested that the crash was near Laredo. We know that Zechel was sharing information with Bill Moore, though it isn’t clear that the sharing was voluntary or if Moore acquired the information through some devious means. We know that in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, many in the UFO field believed the Willingham story because he was a retired military officer who signed an affidavit and Zechel claimed that he had verified his records (which by the way is untrue because it is clear that Willingham’s records reveal he was a low-ranking enlisted man with 13 months of active duty). We also know that Zechel was claiming other witnesses, but none have surfaced to this point.
But now the Willlingham story is in tatters. As mentioned here before, he was neither a retired Air Force officer nor a fighter pilot and if that is true, then he was not in a position to see any crash of anything. We know, based on the available documentation that Willingham originally claimed that the crash had taken place in 1948, and while Zechel attempted to vilify Len Stringfield for saying this in his 1978 presentation about crashed UFOs, we know, from the available documentation that Willingham himself is responsible for this “error.” Zechel moved the date to conform to information about a security alert in December 1950, but there is nothing to suggest the alert had anything to do with a flying saucer crash.
What all this does is prove that one segment of the EBD is based on a hoax and that does not bode well for the remainder of the document. If this paragraph is faked, then what else in it is faked and isn’t a reasonable conclusion that it is all faked? I think that we now have all the information we need to connect all the dots and with that, we can draw the conclusion that the EBD is a fake based on faulty information and complete invention. We can now move onto other, more important things.