Monday, February 22, 2016

A Little Help with Norma Gardner

I have spent too much time recently looking for a specific report and thought that maybe someone here could help out. I think I have found a case of one witness co-opting the testimony of another.

In UFO Crash at Roswell, we wrote about Norma Gardner (not to be confused with Mary Ann Gardner) who told of her experiences cataloging UFO debris. Len Stringfield was the one who supplied this information that appeared in his paper, “Retrievals of the Third Kind,” at, I believe, the 1978 MUFON Symposium. He wrote:

Mrs. G worked in the Foreign Materials Division with a top security clearance rating at Wright-Patterson AFB in the 1940’s and 1950’s, before her retirement in 1959 for health reasons. Charles Wilhelm, who as provided me with some first hand reports, got this one from Mrs. G. in 1959. She had known Charles very well as a teenage on two counts: he was a good honest working in performing yardwork for her, and for his intense interest in UFOs. When she developed cancer, and knew of her impending death, she decided to relate to him some startling information about her secret duties at Wright-Patterson and what she saw in the performance of these duties.
In 1955, according to Wilhelm, she was assigned to a post to catalogue all incoming UFO material, during which time approximately 1,000 items were processed. These included items from the interior of a recovered UFO brought to the air base. All items were photographed and tagged.
In her cataloguing duties, Mrs. G. also was witness to the conveyance, by cart, of two dead humanoid bodies from one room to another. The bodies, preserved in chemicals, were four to five feet tall, had generally human features except that the heads were large relative to their bodies, and their eyes were slanted. There was no word as to whether or not the bodies were brought from a recent crash or had been at the base morgue from an incident occurring in previous years.
After telling Charles Wilhelm some of the barest facts she knew, she commented, “Uncle Sam can’t do anything to me once I’m in my grave.” Six months later Mrs. G. passed away.
Len suggested that these were important, he said, “Vital,” facts and that he accepted the story told by Wilhelm who had believed in Mrs. G. I’m not going to argue that point for two reasons… First, this is second hand at best and second, that’s not the point here.

Sometime in the last few months I have read a similar story about someone having a high level security clearance and having to catalog the remains of a UFO crash. The details stuck with me but it wasn’t until I revisited the story told by Norma Gardner (have you all figured out that Mrs. G. is Norma Gardner?) that I remembered that similar tale. I can’t seem to find it and thought maybe someone else might have come across it and could supply the name of that other witness.

If nothing else, if that other account exists and we can find it, and if it was told after Len’s paper was published and after UFO Crash at Roswell was published, then we probably have a case of contamination if not outright confabulation. We then could eliminate that later tale from our databases so it doesn’t confuse an issue that is already confused.


cda said...

So the sequence of events is this:

A 'Mrs G' (believed to be Norma Gardner) worked at Wright Patterson in the late 1940s and 1950s. In 1955 or thereabouts she saw some dead bodies (presumed ETs) but didn't tell anyone until she met a certain Charles Wilhelm shortly before her death in 1959. Knowing she was near death she felt it safe to relate the story to him (a near-death 'confession' of sorts). Some years later Wilhelm tells Stringfield the tale and of sourse Stringfield accepts it, just as he did all the other similar tales he heard. Eventually we, the public, learn of it from one of Stringfield's 'reports'.

Now Kevin throws serious doubts on the story. Yes I am inclined to agree, there are VERY serious doubts about it, to say the least. I am particularly interested in that phrase "Approximately 1000 items were processed" and the other one "all items were photographed and tagged".

I do wonder what those 1000 items were, and what became of all the photos.

Still 'Above Top Secret', presumably.

KRandle said...


Len's "mission" if you will, was to gather the information and to then see if others had additional information about a case. He knew that some of it was shaky at best, but he wanted to provide what he had so that the case could be carried to its conclusion.

A very good example is the Willingham nonsense that he first published in his paper to MUFON in 1978. If you track that case through his various updates, you'll see that he provided additional information, including the changes in the date and location, questioning it. So his mission in that case was valuable to the rest of us who looked into it later. We all eventually learned that Willingham's story was as bogus as his Air Force career.

If you look at the Project Blue Book files, you'll see that they did receive all kinds of garbage that they did catalog and photograph. So, Gardner certainly could have been involved in that which, of course, doesn't translate into alien craft and bodies.

If there were actual alien bodies and craft, then we can safely assume that they would be classified... please note the qualifier so that we don't end up in an argument about that. Instead, I would be interested, as noted, in that other story that seems to mirror this one.

cda said...


The story you are searching for is probably that concerning a woman named June Crain. She also worked at Wright Patterson AFB during the 'critical period'. You can search it on Wikipedia. I do not know how it first surfaced and I have not followed it through. But it is very likely the one you want.

Unknown said...

What about June Crain/caba. She was a typist, too and also spoke of two (!) alien bodies?

goldfive said...

You don't mean June Crain, aka "June Kaba", do you?

Unknown said...

She also mentioned two alien bodies.

KRandle said...

All -

I didn't want to contaminate the pool here by giving away June Kaba/Cubbage/Crane as the possible source. I had read, on-line, the long interview with her, and had been searching for that. I now find that it is available as a Kindle ebook which explains why I couldn't access the information again. I thought that it was in that interview that she had talked about cataloging the UFO information and wanted to verify that... I did notice in one of the things I saw that it was claimed she had a top secret clearance, but the documentation I have, sent to me from her in 1990 and shared with Jim Clarkson when he began his investigation some years later, does not bear this out. There were other problems with it...

And, according to the documentation, she did not work at Wright Field during the time of the Roswell events... her work record there is quite spotty. It was long after I talked to her that she decided that one of the three crashes she knew about was Roswell.

As I say, I wanted to see if the story she told was reminiscent of that told by Norma Gardner.

Unknown said...

I think the full interview is still online on the ufocasebook site:_

between Mufon Stephensville and NICAP O´Hare Report.

KRandle said...

Zak -

Thanks. That was what I was looking for and for some reason it wouldn't load through the google search for this, but when I used that address, I could get in. Unfortunately, she said nothing that sounded like the information supplied by Norma Gardner. She went off on all sorts of irrelevant tangents and some of the stuff she said wasn't accurate but that really doesn't matter for this particular discussion. Thanks anyway.

Larry said...


You wrote: "it was claimed she had a top secret clearance, but the documentation I have, sent to me from her in 1990 and shared with Jim Clarkson when he began his investigation some years later, does not bear this out. There were other problems with it..."

Can you be more forthcoming? What DID the documentation bear out as far as her security clearance is concerned? What were the "problems with it"?

The reason I ask is because I had a conversation on this topic with another "ufologist" a few years ago and he was unaware of the distinction between clearances granted by the USAF and those granted by the AEC. This distinction can cause the appearance of "problems" when there aren't actually any. I would appreciate any additional information you can provide.

KRandle said...

Larry -

All the documents that I have which provide her level of security clearance are marked as secret, which is not big deal. Every officer in the military has, at least, a secret clearance, as do all the top NCOs. Moving into the realm of top secret is a little different. In our battalion, as we deployed, there were very few of the assigned officers and NCOs who had top secret clearances, but nearly everyone had a secret clearance.

From reading her interview with Jim Clarkson, I don't believe she had a firm grasp on what a "Q" clearance was and might have been a term she came across during her secretarial days... or, she might just have been confused by old age and the length of time between her ending of her work to the interview with Jim. At any rate, at the moment, there is no evidence she ever held a top secret clearance, and it is something that Jim comments on as well.

Larry said...


I attempted to post a reply a couple of days ago--but no joy. I don't know if the hang up was on your end or mine, so I will try again.

Your posting has been jogging my memory. When I wrote (above)

"I had a conversation on this topic with another "ufologist" a few years ago and he was unaware of the distinction between clearances granted by the USAF and those granted by the AEC. This distinction can cause the appearance of "problems" when there aren't actually any."

I was actually referring to Jim Clarkson, but I wasn't remembering his name. As I recall, I cornered him after he gave a presentation at a UFO symposium near here in Silicon Valley a few years ago and was questioning him about June's security clearance record. He said that he could not find any record of the Air Force granting her a Q clearance. I pointed out that this could be because the Air Force has never granted anyone a Q clearance. The Q clearance is granted by the AEC. Jim said he was unaware of that fact and thanked me for educating him on the point.

Jim said that the reason she gave for needing a Q clearance was because she was working on drag parachutes for H-bombs deployed from (as I recall) B-47s. Let me point out (again) that the Q clearance is actually a package consisting of a TOP SECRET clearance granted under authority of the executive branch (ultimately, the President) and a clearance for access to Restricted Data (RD) granted exclusively by the AEC.

On the face of it, this is a perfectly logical and compelling reason for requiring a Q clearance. In order to design such parachutes, one needs to know about the performance envelope of the B-47 (that's the TOP SECRET part) as well as the performance of the H-bomb (that's the RD part).

I will repeat once more: the Air Force can not issue a Q clearance. The Air Force can (and does) REQUEST a Q clearance and the AEC can and does grant one, if the applicant meets their criteria.

If someone HAS a Q clearance he/she automatically has a TOP SECRET clearance as part of the package.

The fact that June had a SECRET clearance means that she had successfully passed a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). Anyone who has passed an SSBI can be upgraded to TOP SECRET, administratively, if their job requires it.

In summary, June's clearance history may be incomplete, but I don't see anything in it that is either inconsistent or incorrect relative to her claims.

KRandle said...

Larry -

While it might be incomplete, we don't know that. All we know is that the documents she supplied (I have the originals as opposed to copies of some of them) to me and those that Jim Clarkson has been able to recover do not contain any suggestion that she had a top secret clearance or a "Q" clearance.

And that she had a secret clearance strikes me as unimportant because, as I have noted, every officer in the military, all the top level NCOs, and many other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have secret clearances as do many civilian employees in various government agencies and a huge number of people working in industry.

But the real point is that we have no evidence to confirm her claim that she had a top secret clearance, and as noted, that doesn't mean she didn't, only that we have no evidence of it.

Larry said...


I don't think we are actually disagreeing about the facts. I am just cautioning you (and others) to be careful about interpreting them. I am actually speaking from experience. For example, your statement "... that she had a SECRET clearance strikes me as unimportant."

When I began my 35 year career with NASA, obtaining and maintaining at least a SECRET clearance was part of my job description. As you say, it's fairly common for entry level uniformed military and civilian employees to have at least that level of clearance. After I had been working there for a decade or so, I had a conversation with one of the Three Letter Agencies regarding a fairly esoteric area of Physics which was of mutual interest. They invited me to stop by for a conversation. When I showed up at the appointed time and location the security guard issued me a badge that was cleared for TOP SECRET. I asked the guard to double check the computer and he assured me that everything was in order. I retained that clearance for as long as I worked with that TLA on that topic. My point is that NASA never knew I had that clearance. It never showed up anywhere in my NASA personnel records. The TLA was able to grant that clearance on short notice because I had a current SSBI on file. So the fact that I had a pre-existing SECRET clearance was quite important in being able to obtain a TOP SECRET clearance from an agency other than my primary employer. Also, it was the fact that the higher level clearance came from an agency other than my primary one that caused that higher level clearance to be absent from my employment history.

This is one of those cases where absence of evidence is very definitely not evidence for absence.

KRandle said...

Larry -

You had me until you came up with that meaningless phrase that is the alibi for the lack of evidence. As it stands today, this minute, everything that we have found, all the documents that June Kaba supplied herself, all the documents held in various governmental and public institutions show that she did not possess a top secret clearance or a "Q" clearance. The only contrary bit of evidence is her claim...

So, until you or anyone else can present evidence that she held a top secret clearance, the matter seems self evident to me. Please note the qualification which is a call for evidence to the contrary. If you asked me today, I would say that she held only a secret clearance which wouldn't be surprising for a clerk/typist in a research facility on a military installation.

I will note that you found the evidence of your higher classification and probably have documents to prove it... I have held top secret clearances in both the Air Force and the Army and have documents to prove it... June Kaba supplied only documents to prove her security clearance was secret... I await additional evidence.

Larry said...

Kevin: I'm not using that "meaningless phrase" as a general purpose alibi. I'm using it in a very restricted and relevant manner. My question is whether--in all the documentation you possess--there is any official documentation from the AEC? As I said, they are the only ones who can grant or withhold a Q clearance. If you have documents from them on the matter then that would be actual evidence either for the presence or absence of the clearance. If they have either not been asked and/or have not provided any information then that is an absence of evidence. Since I haven't seen the documents you possess I can't really have an opinion on the matter one way or the other.

An absence of evidence in no way proves that June's claim is true, but neither does it falsify her claim. In scientific reasoning, such a condition is formally undecidable until such time additional evidence may become available.

KRandle said...

Larry -

Due diligence has been performed and no evidence has surfaced to suggest that she had either a top secret or "Q" clearance and if you look at her employment history, it was quite sporadic and the longest period was employment was about 13 months... so I say again, the absence of evidence here is evidence of absence unless you or someone else has some documentation to prove otherwise.

Gal220 said...

Larry, it wont change anything KR has said, but has anyone ever been confirmed to have a Q clearance? By what means?

KRandle said...

Gal220 -

The is plenty of evidence that these "Q" clearances existed and in 1947 they were working to get many of those assigned to the 509th Bomb Group their "Q" clearances because of their work with atomic weapons.

cda said...

Re 'Q' clearances, see Ruppelt: "Report on UFOs" early on in chapter 8 (about the Lubbock Lights).