Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kerman Police Officer Adds His Perspective

This is one of the reasons I love the Internet. Before it existed we were stuck with expensive telephone bills as we attempted to track down and interview witnesses in UFO cases. When we could afford to do so we might travel long distances to interview a witness in person. Today cell phones have eliminated the telephone charges and allow us to find witnesses much more cheaply and easily. We are able to confirm information that has been published by others and get to the bottom of some of those UFO reports.

Illustration of the UFO encounter.
And, in some cases, the witness himself provides us with the information when he or she finds our postings. Such, apparently, is the case here. I noticed that the major witness in the Kerman, California UFO sighting and burn case has appended comments to this blog. Here I go with my intuition that the comments were made by Manuel J. Amparano and move them from the comments section to a more prominent place. Here is what he had to say about his sighting (I debated about correcting some of the typographical errors but decided to leave it as is because we all can understand it and we can see it in the comments sections):

On May 13, 1978, I Kerman Senior Police Officer, Manuel J. Amparano, had a ride along police chaplain trainee Pastor Tom Johnson, who rode with myself until 02:30 A.M., Kerman Police Officers, Arvin J. Byington and Robert Mueller, were with me until 03:20 A.M., After the sighting, I drove to the Savemart store parking lot on Whitesbridge and Madera Avenues, to make sense of what I had just witnessed. I was shortly met by Phil Maher a retired Special Deputy US Marshal, who reported observing a bright reddish orb flying east parallel to his location at Whitesbridge and Grantland Avenues, where he had stopped his vehicle. I wonder, where did I have time to use a sunlamp. After speaking with Phil, I went to the police station and began to call the Fresno Airport Control Tower, Air National Guard and Fresno Meteorologist Station, located at the airport at the time. It was during this time, when Officers Byington and Mueller came back to the station, to check the work schedule, when they witnessed I was sunburned. They asked me what the hell happened to you while we were gone. It was Officers Byington and Mueller, who said that years later there was an area in the field where the UFO had hovered, where nothing would grow, it was just a circular round spot in the field. I learned about this event years later as I had left Kerman for a position with the Fresno County Sheriff's department. I was also told by Deputy Paul Baker, that a deputy working out of the Town of San Juaquin southwest of Kerman had also viewed the UFO and wrote a report. I ask, did anybody bother to interview these witnesses, before debunking without having the facts. Chief Van Cleaf filled out the workman comp request form from information obtained from Officers Byington and Mueller. Chief Van Cleaf was not the type of police officer, who would fake a report, far from it. It was also reported in the Fresno Bee, that Chief Van Cleaf, reported that he was in contact with an Air force Major, working out of the office of the secretary of the air force at the pentagon. If you travel to the place of occurrence, and view the terrain, interview witnesses as to their location during the sighting and what they observed first hand, then you can give your opinion by obtaining evidence first hand. I did not report to the hospital until fifteen and ahalf hours after the sighting. Officers Byington, Mueller and officer Ed Singh, who relived me and witnessed my burnt condition, pleaded with me to go to the hospital for medical treatment. I delayed as long as I could stand the pain, as I did not want what happened to me to get out to the public. Officer Byington, had called my wife to check on my condition, as he told her while in the station, he and Mueller observed my body twitching. My wife Barbara told Byington , that she had observed the same thing while checking in on me while I was a sleep. Officer Byington told her get him to the hospital. It was my wife who first observed blisters on my ears, and this was reported to the doctors at community hospital. I was told by the doctors that this was new to them and they did not know how to treat my condition. I was given codine pills to help with the pain that they observed, I was experiencing while in the examination room. I was under doctors care for about a month after the sighting.
So here is a first-hand account of the events that transpired in 1978. I will note, so that we don’t have to put up with an endless debate that these words were written nearly three decades after the fact which does not make them inaccurate but certainly subject to unintentional modification over time. Doesn’t mean that there was any modification and the best way to verify it is to go back to the original sources to see what was said and published at the time to compare it with what we have today. I did some of this by including in the original postings what was written about the case in 1978. For those interested in the earlier reports, they can be found at:


Amparano also suggested that some descriptions in the posting were wrong even though many of them came from sources published at the time. He wrote:

I retired officer Manuel Amparano never reported or said, any of the comments that I have read on this blog. I never did report a silver object, I reported an object the color of the setting sun. I also never said, that the object was up in the sky as some of you people are stating. It was reported as below tree top level which made it appear a tree was on fire. There is no known atlas rocket that can hover behind a tree and not make any noise. The report of my encounter mentions that I felt a tingling sensation as I viewed the unknown object. You people got it all wrong read the true reports that were printed by some news media.
There is information reported in various sources from 1978 that seem to suggest something else. The altitude of the object is said to have been between 100 and 150 feet in the air, which suggests that it was above the trees. When he saw it from a distance, it probably did look as if it was in the trees, or a tree on fire as he suggested at the time, but when he approached it, a better estimate of the altitude could be made. In other words, and to prevent a discussion on how difficult it is to estimate size and altitude at night of an unknown object, it would have become apparent that the UFO was above the trees when he got closer to it.

The description of the object seems to have changed. In 1978, Coral Lorenzen wrote, “The object was hovering, was a ‘silver aluminum, round’ craft which the witness approached fairly close.” Amparano, however, disagreed with this when he wrote:

1978 Kerman UFO media reports. Phenomena Research, discription of ufo, orange-reddish glow like a fire, May 24, 1978. Kerman news, saw a reddish glow thought it was a tree on fire, May 24, 1978. International UFO Reporter 9/78 vol.3, no 9. saw reddish glow. February 23, 1979, Fresno Bee, saw large fire color of setting sun thought tree was on fire.
Yes, this is somewhat confusing. Amparano wrote that the Phenomena Research had mentioned the reddish glow and I don’t know if this was APRO or some other organization. The ARPO Bulletin of August 1978 does include the “silver aluminum, round” craft in quote as if it came from Amparano. According to the Bulletin, APRO Field Investigator Peter Escobedo reported that he had talked to Amparano and it appears that Amparano did give him the description of the silver aluminum craft. According to a reporter for Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Steve Comus, and based on the descriptions provided at the time, the object was circular and about thirty feet in diameter… The only objection seems to be the comment about it having a silver color. The APRO Bulletin does mention the orange glow. But, it should be noted that the APRO story was put together based on what Escobedo and Comus had discovered during their interviews with Amparano within days of the sighting in 1978. The source of the silver color quote appears to be in an article that Amparano wants us to review.

In keeping with all this, Amparano takes issue with some of the other information, conclusions or assumptions made by commentators. He wrote:

Albert said, I referred to the ufo as the size less than a full moon, bogus information as nothing of the sort was ever reported in the media or police reports. Lance said, sheriff filled out comp report, I was a Kerman police officer not a Fresno County Deputy Sheriff and no sheriff filled out my workmans comp, bogus information again. It appears someone is spreading false information about the kerman ufo. Please obtain the correct information before you make a false comment. I have copies of all the known news reports and nothing compares with what you people are discussing.
But going back to the other sources, it is noted that this information was reported
Coral Lorenzen
in 1978 and some of the sources Amparano quoted have been used to gather the information. The NICAP website used the Fresno Bee as one of their sources. The NICAP site said the UFO was smaller than the full moon and that it was oval-shaped. Both the sources from 1978 and those from today seem to confirm what was reported here which was based on the interviews and words of Amparano collected in 1978.

And since there were those overly concerned about the filing of the Workman’s Compensation claims, he wrote:

Gentlemen, If a medical employee working at Fresno Community Hospital had not leaked out my medical condition or how I received my sunburn condition to the local media, this debate would not be taking place. I did not wish to cause damage to my police career, and I did receive a setback as Kerman Chief Of Police James Van Cleaf prior to leaving for a position with Dixon Police Department passed me up for a sergeant position because of the UFO sighting which leaked out from the hospital. Chief Van Cleaf was not my friend and he did not want a police officer going in front of the media and confirming he observed a UFO while on duty. Officer A.J. Byington a witness was asked by the chief what he had witnessed that night and was not ordered to write a report as were the other officer;s involved with the sighting. The other officers and police chaplain, my ride along that night confirmed my condition when I reported to work, and what occurred during the night shift. Enough said, "gentlemen".
What is interesting here is not the information about the compensation claim but the information that the report caused Amparano some personal trouble. As we have seen in other UFO reports, those making them often find that their careers suffer. We have heard of police officers who leave law enforcement, pilots who find themselves “flying” a desk, and military personnel who are persuaded to “modify” their reports. This is just another example of it coming from the man who suffered the consequences.

Finally we also get some information about the other witnesses in the case. While, at this point, they can hardly be considered independent of one another, it is corroboration. Amparano tells us:

May 13,1978, UFO chronological order of sighting's by witnesses to event, occurring in City of Kerman. First sighting began at 02:30 A.M., Trinity and Shaw Avenues, by a farmer who notified north central fire department Kerman station of a grass fire in a field. A fire truck from Kerman and one from the town of Biola responded to the given location reported. The firemen found no evidence of a fire in the field. About 03:00 A.M. a farmer Thomas Addis observed a glowing red object flying across his fields in a southeast direction at Trinity and Belmont avenues, at treetop level. This sighting was reported to Kerman police detective Tom Gilpin.At 03:30 A.m. Lisa Harrison, a housewife observed the object approaching the city of Kerman from the northwest at treetop level from her apartment at Del Norte and Kearney Blvd. 03:32 A.M., Kerman police officer Amparano observed what he belived to be a tree fire at Del norte and California avenues, while stopped at Del Norte and Whitesbridge avenues. Officer Amparano drove to the location to confrim a tree on fire before calling out the fire department. Upon arrival Amparano obsevered a reddish object the color of a setting sun behind a tree, below treetop level and just above the field it was hovering over. When the patrol car headlights flashed on the object, it began to slowly rise and stopped approximately a hundred feet up. Ken Westbook Jr. was working in a field near the town of Tranquillity southwest of Kerman,when he observed the object at or above treetop level and he reported the sighting to Kerman Chief of Police James Van Cleaf. Amparano reported that when he attempted to light the object with his roof mounted spotlight, the object emitted a bluish white light toward the patrol vehicle and left at a very fast speed easterly, parallel to California avenue. Westbrook told Van Cleaf that before the object left it flickered or flashed and disappeared. Retired Special US Marshal Phil Maher was stopped at Whitesbridge and Grantland avenues, when he observed a reddish ball in the sky moving east at a very fast speed. Maher gave his report to Amparano and UFO investigator from Probe, Richard Zimmerman who later interviewed most of the witnesses. Meteorologist Carl Smith stationed at the Fresno air terminal reported that a day or two before Amparano's sighting he had observed red orbs flying west of Fresno like crazy airline pilots. A crop duster pilot flying out of an airfield in Tranquillity also reported a red orb that appeared to be a farmhouse on fire until it started to slowly rise and fly away at a speed faster that a jet plane. This sighting was in July during the night after 03:00 A.M. In January of 1979, the Madera Sheriff's Department reported similar red orbs as did Carl Smith flying northwest of Kerman in a crazy manner and there was an explosion like two orbs colliding together. The listed events were reported to the media and military.
So here is a report from the computer of the man who experienced the sighting. There are problems with what was written in 1978 and what is written today. It seems that some of the descriptions of the event are different. I have been accused in other cases of misquoting witnesses but when I return to taped interviews, the original articles published at the time of the sighting, and what has been published since, I find that the witness is often mistaken. For example, J. Bond Johnson, the man who took most of the pictures in General Ramey’s office spent a decade claiming I had misquoted him, that I had altered his statements, and even when he heard the tapes, he denied he had said the things he had actually said. Here we seem to be moving into the same place. What is said today is not exactly what was said in 1978.

This certainly provides us with a different perspective on the case and provides first-hand testimony for it, though that testimony is nearly three decades old. As I review the evidence, the theme here has taken a slightly different tone. It is not nearly as cut and dried as I had expected because much of the information in the original posts was taken from the sources that Amparano demanded that we review now and which he claims to have in his possession. This teaches a little about how these things work and I have seen this time and again. The memory of what was said in 1978 isn’t exactly the same as what was reported in 1978.


Paul Young said...

K Randle..."What is interesting here is not the information about the compensation claim but the information that the report caused Amparano some personal trouble. As we have seen in other UFO reports, those making them often find that their careers suffer. We have heard of police officers who leave law enforcement....."

A perfect example being PC Alan Godfrey, who was eventually hounded out of the West Yorkshire Police Force.

albert said...

Regarding my statement as cited by Ampararo:

"...Amparano later said that the oval-shaped object was twice as wide as it was high and that it was a bright crimson, about half as large as the full moon. ..." -
The source was IUR. Ampararo probably wouldn't have read either publication at the time. I wouldn't call them 'main-stream media'.
In - I later stated:
"...Neither the IUR nor the APRO articles quote Ampararo. Neither are the authors credited. Why should they be considered sources? It's BS. Except for the Fresno Bee, who's quoting Ampararo? Maybe IUR and APRO are quoting the Bee...."
Maybe it's OK to summarize a witnesses statements. Reporters do it all the time. The issues raised years or decades later demand _actual quotations_, preferably back by recordings, or 'witnesses' present at the interview. Otherwise, it's just 'he said - she said'.
Perhaps Ampararo and the various authors are persons of sterling character and impeccable integrity; I can't say. But the discrepancies need un-discrepancing.
. .. . .. o

KRandle said...

albert -

My original intent with this article was to sort of endorse what Amparano was saying because he is the main witness. But I also went back to those sources from 1978 and it seems that some of the quotes would have had to be from Amparano given the context of the statements... Coral Lorenzen didn't make up the silver quote, it came to her from the man who interviewed Amaparano in 1978. He was quick to point us to these two articles, both of which I used in my original pieces, but they don't exactly match what he is saying today. With Lorenzen dead and the Herald Express gone, it would take someone in the area to follow up by getting to libraries, newspaper archives and the like... and as I noted, the "independent" witnesses were all friends of Amparano and I'm just not sure how independent that testimony is today.

The point is, I don't think you need to defend yourself here because the information we all used was published sources which included timely interviews with Amparano.

delusion hunter said...

Ahhh I can breath a sigh of relief! I was beginning to believe this whole UFO thing is a hoax. Now I can believe again! LOL

jim bender said...

Delli Hunter

Just breath in all the swamp gas and think of flying in a weather balloon and all will be alright, you will sleep well at night.

Amparano testimony is good stuff, and I would believe his first hand experience versus your arm chair assessment, so go with the prescribed treatment above and you will be just fine

Lance said...

No offense to anyone but if you can't see that the witness at this juncture is probably not the best place to find objective facts then UFO investigation is a good career choice,


Unknown said...

Hi Kevin,

As you know sometimes we'll never know what a witness saw many years ago. The best we can do is to try to eliminate some of the other possibilities. I contacted Jason Marzec at what appears to be his former website to let him know about the discussion on your blog. He in turn contacted Mr. Amparano. I did communicate with Mr. Amparano via the website mainly concerning the rocket launch theory. He told me that he had seen rocket launches in the past but not that night, he described them as blue green and didn't resemble what he saw. He said that none were reported to any of 14 different police agencies in the surrounding area. He told me that there had been incidents in the area where teens were setting fires in trees, this is what prompted him to investigate. This is all from memory and the Fringe Republic website doesn't exist anymore. A new website with the same name but apparently unrelated to Jason has taken it's place. I'm no internet guru so I don't know if there's a way to recover that information via an archival search.

I have an e-mail address for Jason and his phone number which I can't share by his request. If you think we can gain any further information from Mr. Amparano I could possibly contact Jason and get a message to Mr. Amparano. Jason lives in the area, he may be able to do a search for newspaper articles on the subject but I certainly can't speak for him.

Just as an aside, I knew about his responses on your blog some time ago but felt mentioning them to you would be off topic.

Tom said...

I love the way Amparano slaps down some of the buffoonish nattering nabobs of negativity posting here.

Joe said...

I am new to this blog, but I find it very interesting.

An interesting take on the human mind in relation to memory and witness testimony can be found in the book "The Invisible Gorilla" by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.

The 9/11 vivid memory experiment and the various crime witness testimony examples provide clues that the human mind is not a great recording device. Clues indicate the details of an event may not stay the same over the years, even though you may vividly recall the event.

Anyway, the book may help researchers keep perspective when dealing with witness testimony that varies over time and even differences in multiple witness testimony. The book shows that such things may not necessarily speak negatively to the honesty and integrity of the witness.

Steve Sawyer said...

Here's a copy of Jason Marzek's 2014 "Fringe Republic" article on Amparano, where he interviewed the witness, from

Jeanne Ruppert said...

Marzek also has documents at that link supporting the third-degree severity of Amparano's burns, including doctors' speculation that they might have been caused by microwaves. Also a memorandum from the Los Angeles Sheriff's department reporting a the same kind of sighting by one of its officers three months earlier. Marzek has done good work on this case. Amparano seems very credible to me in what Kevin reports.