Monday, February 08, 2016

Roswell Update: Jay West and Lieutenant Colonel Duran

I have often wondered why it was that Karl Pflock went after me in his anti-Roswell book. I have often wondered why there are those who quote from it as if it had been written in stone but ignored the mistakes he made in it. I have wondered why the fourth note on the map included on the inside covers of the book said, “The ‘revisionist’ Randle – Schmitt/first Ragsdale/ ‘true’ Kaufmann crash site,” when it was, in fact, the first site that Ragsdale identified. Wouldn’t the new site, out by Boy Scout Mountain and championed by the late Max Littell, be the “revisionist” site since it came after our interview with Ragsdale and his identification of the site we mentioned?

But none of this is overly relevant to the purpose here, and that is to clarify another short group of quotes that is not exactly accurate. These concerned two witnesses Don Schmitt and I had named in our earlier books, which Pflock seemed to believe were misrepresented at best and confabulated at worst. Jay West and Lieutenant Colonel Albert Lovejoy Duran were the men named and Pflock said he couldn’t find them. He wrote:

Also included is Jay West, purportedly in 1961 a United Press International Stringer working in Alamogordo. According to Randle and Schmitt, West “became friendly with the base [presumably, Holloman Air Force Base, formerly Alamogordo Army Air Base] [brackets in original] public information officer. The PIO had found a file that mentioned the Roswell crash that included a map. The PIO got a topographical map of the crash site. According to West, they made trips out to try to locate the crash. West described the map as showing the debris field and then, two and a half miles to the east, a second site.
Curiously, other than the above, which appears in the timeline section of the UFO Crash at Roswell, and the entry in the list of interviewees (“conducted in person, Nov 1989”) [parens in original], West and his story appear nowhere else in the book, including the index [which for those of you keeping score at home neither Don nor I constructed], and he is given similarly short shift in Randle and Schmitt’s second book, The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell. Yet, clearly West could be the key to the Roswell mystery, the lever needed to pry the lid off the crashed-saucer cover-up.
Early on, Fred Whiting of the Fund for UFO Research and I sought to learn more about West from Randle and Schmitt. The answers we got were vague and rather evasive. Meanwhile with the help of a friend with extensive experience in New Mexico, and national journalism, I attempted to track down Jay West. We came up completely dry, rather like Glenn Dennis’s nurse.
A few years later, on August 3, 1999, I received an email message from Kevin Randle asking, “Did you talk to Frank Lovejoy Duran [previously mentioned alleged witness to alien bodies] [brackets in original]? This was a source that Schmitt developed and seemed to be quite impressed with.”
Replying in the negative, I took the opportunity to once again bring up Jay West. The next day, Randle replied, “Jay West was a guy Schmitt met in Florida (if I remember the story correctly [and in listening to the tape again, they were in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the time]) while he was down there interviewing either DuBose or Rickett. West provided him with the information but no documentation. We did search the files at White Sands and I took a FOIA request to Holloman….” Presumably with negative results, although Randle did not tell me that explicitly.
While all this is the truth, it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Starting with Jay West, I will note that I have a tape of the interview that Don conducted. It sounded like they were at an indoor swimming pool for the interview because of the level of noise in the background and the noise sounded like that when I was on the swimming team in high school. There are points where it seems that you can hear the life guard’s whistle reinforcing the idea of an indoor pool.

West spends a great deal of time talking about his experiences at White Sands watching the missile launches and mentioned, specifically, the anti-missile missiles. After a strange gap in the tape, he finally got around to talking about their attempts to find the crash site. He had a map that was found at Holloman AFB and the base PIO was involved in the search. They traveled around New Mexico attempting to find the location.

West said, “So we went back to Roswell… and I’m not talking about the road maps, I’m talking about the topography maps and what they had were little ‘Xs’ all over the place and what [appeared] to be crossed lines… [What we saw during our searches] they could have been gouges… they could have been tire tracks… We walked around for a couple of hours and tried not to step on any snakes…”

He then launched into an explanation of what the map was. A huge topographical map which sounded to me as if he was talking about the kind of map we used in Army Aviation. Not really an aeronautical chart, but something that contained the surface features such as rivers, ravines, mountains, hills, elevations and that sort of thing. He finally said that it was like a military land navigation map.

He then said, “Over here there was a circular object… [here meaning an area on the ground].”

Don said, “There are a lot of sinkholes in the area.”

West replied that it wasn’t a sinkhole or anything like that. He seemed to be suggesting that it was some sort of circular area on the ground but the quality of the tape is so bad that I’m not sure. He could have been talking about some kind of a burned area, or a place where the sand had fused into glass. None of that is particularly significant because this could have been the result of a lightning strike at some point and there was nothing said that would tie it directly into Roswell except for the file in which the PIO said the map was found.

West said, “Now I don’t have… aside from the fact that was circular and the scale wasn’t all that big…

Don asked, “Where would this area have been in relation to…

West interrupted to say that he didn’t know. That he’d have to see a map but that the map they had been using was a photocopy of a larger map. He said that north was not to the top.

He began to describe the area. It looked as if someone had used a bulldozer and that “it looked like the whole area had been vacuumed.”

But the problem was, of course, even though he said the map had come from a file that had been labeled “Roswell,” and he had been out there seeing terrain that varied from that which had not been manipulated, when all was said and done, he had been out there in 1961, at least according to what he said, and he was now talking about this in 1989 or nearly thirty years later. While this had the potential to provide some corroboration for the Roswell crash, and he had said he still had the map, which would, of course provide some documentation, he never produced the map. This was a lead that went nowhere.

We tried to follow up and I spoke to people at the White Sands Missile Range, but they said they knew nothing about this. I hand carried a FOIA request to Holloman AFB and to the PIO office, but again, this was now more than thirty years after the fact, and the request produced no results. I had thought, and still think, that it should be possible to learn who was assigned to the PIO office in 1961 (though my recent attempts to follow up have gone nowhere and there had been no answers to my questions) … though such records might have been moved more than once and determined to be of no importance today. We never did not learn who the PIO was that had talked to West.

So, when Pflock noted that the information about West only appeared in the timeline of our first book, part of the reason was that we had found nothing to corroborate the story. That didn’t mean it was untrue, it simply meant that we were somewhat dubious about it. Had the tape been easier to understand, had we been able to learn the name of the PIO, had we found anything to establish that this was a more important part of the Roswell case, we would have given it a more prominent place in the book. As it was, here was a story that had been told to us, one of which we had no reason to reject, but then, little reason to feature because it provided nothing more than a map we hadn’t seen, file that no longer existed and a description of a site that we couldn’t find.

There were reasons for the somewhat vague answers to Pflock’s questions. I had given him everything that I knew and while we couldn’t prove the information useful, I did have a tape which proved we hadn’t invented it, though that seems to be something implied, vaguely, in Pflock’s book.

There was something else operating here and it was that I had read Roswell in Perspective, that is, Pflock’s report on Roswell to the Fund for UFO Research, some years earlier and realized that I was often the target. To complicate matters, when he had completed that project, I had sent him a carefully worded note congratulating on the completion of a long task but he immediately began telling people that I had agreed with his conclusions. There was nothing in the note to support that claim and I issued a statement explaining that my intent was to note a colleague’s completion of a task but had said nothing about endorsing his conclusions.

Here’s something else that seemed to have been ignored. Pflock never identified this “a friend with extensive experience in New Mexico, and national journalism.” While I suspect that might have been Jason Kellahin who had been one of the reporters sent from Albuquerque to Roswell in 1947, I don’t know this. We don’t have the person’s identity which means we don’t even know if it was a man or a woman, and there is no way to confirm the person’s expertise or to confirm Pflock’s conclusion on this. In other words, this unknown person with unknown credentials adds nothing to our knowledge at all but is used to suggest something nefarious on the parts of Schmitt and me. West might not have been who he claimed to be, but the information provided by Pflock does not allow us to evaluate West’s claim and does nothing to discredit it.

We then move onto Lieutenant Colonel Albert Lovejoy Duran. Pflock didn’t do much with this, other than a vague suggestion attributed to me that Schmitt had found the witness and was impressed with him.

I’m not sure why Pflock would ignore Duran almost completely if he was convinced we had done something that was unfair. We had relegated Duran to a single footnote in the first book and never mentioned him again. This, by itself, would suggest that he was not a source that we had done much with given the facts. Pflock provided no new information about Duran and apparently was unable to find any record of the man, though Pflock did mention the Army Records Center in St. Louis in his attempts, or others attempts, to find the nurses from the base in 1947. Apparently Pflock’s attempt to verify Duran’s military service failed, which is not to say that Duran had not served in the military only that Pflock had failed to confirm it.

The information came to us after a lecture in Alamogordo. A friend told us that her friend, Juanita Valenzuela, whose father had been in the military and who was currently living in Utah, said that he had been assigned to a unit at White Sands Proving Ground (which became the White Sands Missile Range) that had been sent into the desert north of Roswell. She suggested that bodies had been found at that location. Because of this information, which seemed to corroborate part of the Frank Kaufmann story, we had put it in a footnote, naming the name. We had confirmed his military service. I will note here that since Valenzuela didn’t know about Kaufmann, this was independent information which should not be judged by the failure of the Kaufmann testimony.

And, here's why we didn’t do much else with this. We were able to confirm his military service and retirement at the rank provided. Duran was apparently an alcoholic, who eventually moved to Colorado. A friend, Sergeant Arne Oldman, who was assigned to White Sands at the time (meaning early 1990s) attempted to interview Duran, but Duran’s cirrhosis of the liver made that problematic and Duran died before Oldman could meet with him in person though he did talk to him over the telephone conducting a somewhat preliminary interview. After he died, Don did talk to the daughter one more time and she stood by the tale she told. Because all this, and our failure to get Duran on tape, we let go of the story.

However, since someone brought this up on this blog, assuming, I believe because of Pflock’s failure to identify Duran (and his failure to locate West for the matter) that we had fudged the information. No one seemed to think that Pflock might have stopped his search when he had gotten the answers he wanted, spun that information the way he wanted, and made it sound as if we had invented these guys or their stories.

But there was a problem for Pflock and that was he didn’t know anything about Duran, and if he attempted to run the name by the Army in St. Louis, and he didn’t supply something other than the name, he might not have found the guy. On the other hand, I used a government publication, one printed every year, looking for any mention of Duran and found his name in it, confirming that he had retired as a lieutenant colonel. This does not mean the story he shared with his daughter, especially when he had been drinking, was true, only that the man existed and that he had retired as a lieutenant colonel.

This then, should answer all the questions about Jay West and Lieutenant Colonel Albert Duran. They are real people, West was interviewed on tape, and evidence proving Duran was a military officer has been found. They fell out of “favor” when there was no corroboration for what West said and when repeated attempts to interview Duran in person failed. Moving to higher standards of evidence was another of the reasons that they weren’t mentioned. But the claims of Pflock were not proven and while his dismissal of them was understandable, some of the reasons given were as nebulous as the stories told by these two men.

As I have said so often, these two tales, because they are now part of the Roswell case should be relegated to footnotes (which is basically where you can find them). Since they are part of the Roswell story, they must be addressed, but they added nothing significant to the case.


cda said...

Why no comments? Goddammit, this is far more important than those gravitational holes, or whatever, that some guys have just discovered.

KRandle said...


I thought there would be more comments about this. After all, there was a demand earlier for an explanation about these guys. So, here it is, all the information available. I have documentation in hand proving that Duran was a real officer and provided all the information about this source, but now no one seems to care...

Why am I not surprised?

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

I was wondering the same thing. I was expecting a parade of pseudo-skeptics defending their yoda. The facts are always a bit less sensational than the speculation. I think that one driving reason for the interest in this is Schmidt's propensity to keep knocking down his credibility like a blow-up clown. I don't know him as some others do, so I judge him by his work and he has so undermined his credibility that now everything he says or writes is presumed to be dishonest or disingenuous. Fortunately for him, there are some devotees that will continue to buy books and pay speaking fees regardless. Unfortunately, KDR gets some presumed guilt by association. Some day the pseudo-skeptics may redeem some of their own credibility when they repudiate Pflock and his nonsensically unscientific methods. I'm not holding my breath as I expect equivocation that extends to the second coming or ET lands, whichever comes first. Happy Valentines Day.

Lorrie Causey said...

..I believe Pflock is/was one of those "it can't be therefore it isn't" type of UFO skeptics. I noticed in his books that anytime a pro-alien-Roswell witness shows up they are automatically seen to have poor memories, are guilty of confabulation or even worse. But when a witness supports Pflock's view, they are pristine, no questions asked...

cda said...

Lorrie C:

You are wrong. Pflock (KP) at one time went along with Glenn Dennis's claims, even for a brief period acting as his spokesman. Then he slowly saw the light of day and gave up on Dennis. Also KP's first book was partly pro-ET until, once again, he began to separate the wheat from the chaff. Things simply were NOT all they at first seemed.

KRandle said...


Sorry but you're wrong. When Pflock submitted Roswell in Perspective to Prometheus, he was told, according to what he told me, that it wasn't skeptical enough. So, he rewrote it taking a more skeptical stance, not necessarily because he believed it but because he wanted to publish a book (and hey, they did a nice job).

But if you look at the book, you'll find that Lorrie C. is right. Take Pflock's interview with CPL Pyles. While Pflock continued his war on me, he wrote about Pyles, "I asked Pyles when this took place. He replied, 'It was in forty-seven. I don't remember the month or the date I saw it...'"

In the very next paragraph Pflock wrote, "A 'few days later' he saw the "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer' story in the Roswell Daily Record and he wondered if what he and his friend had seen had anything to do with it."

While the skeptics have not pointed out this problem, I would have thought a copy editor would have noticed it. First he doesn't know when it happened and that point is so important that it was in italics, and in the next paragraph he pins it down to the first week in July (well, thinking about it, I suppose the copy editor wouldn't have known the date of the newspaper article referenced).

Or his interview with J. C. Smith of the Roswell Fire Department used to discredit Frankie Rowe. According to Pflock none of the fire fighters remembered making a run out to the crash site. Smith gave me the same information but when I asked if he knew Dan Dwyer (Frankie's father) Smith said that he had taken his private car out to the site and seen the crash... not exactly what Pflock had reported and I have always wondered why Smith didn't give him the same information or if Pflock had stopped the interview when he heard what he wanted...

Or his suggestion that a former member of the Roswell City Council had told him that the fire department didn't make runs outside the city except, of course, that was Max Littell who wasn't on the council in 1947 and wouldn't be for five or more years. Fire fighters asked me when I asked about runs outside the city, "What are we supposed to do? Let it burn?"

So, Lorrie is correct here and CDA is wrong.

cda said...

OK, it is is a long time since I looked at "Roswell in Perspective". You say it was submitted to Prometheus and rejected. It was published by FUFOR, which seems quite a difference!

I do know this first book was a lot more 'on the fence' than was his second book (which WAS published by Prometheus and was certainly anti-ETH). I do recall KP originally accepted Dennis's tale but later rejected it.

I assume KP started out as a partial Roswell believer but gradually realised things were not as he originally thought and finally came out as a skeptic.

Nitram Ang said...

Hello Dr Randle

Perhaps we are being a little too critical of KP. You know of course that I never meet Karl but I did communicate with him via email...

Yes, he did initially believe in Roswell, but then changed his views as a result of his "investigation". However it would not be fair to label him a debunker because he did state very clearly that he believed in the Barney & Betty Bill case as being of ET origin.

I think we can rewrite Lorna's quote:

"anytime a pro-alien-Roswell witness shows up they are automatically seen to have poor memories, are guilty of confabulation or even worse. But when a witness supports Klass/CDA's view, they are pristine, no questions asked... Klass & CDA are those "it can't be therefore it isn't" type of UFO debunkers, as pointed out by KR many times in the past.


cda said...


No I am NOT a UFO debunker, and Karl Pflock did NOT accept the Hill encounter as a literal ET abduction.

The correct version of these assertions is:

I am a 'Roswell is ET' debunker (or rather a disbeliever), but not a complete UFO debunker or complete skeptic.

Pflock DID accept the Hill's abduction tale in that he believed they had undergone a genuine physical or psychic experience of some kind. He did not go along with it being an ET abduction, from Zeta Reticuli or anywhere else. That is what he told me.

Whether Lorrie (or Lorna) agrees that you have rewritten his (or her) quotes correctly is up to him (or her).

Lance said...


You are wrong, as is Lonnie.

Roswell in Perspective is a separate entity and came well before Pflock's later book on Roswell which was called "Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe".

And R.I.P. certainly came from the perspective of supporting Dennis's silly story.

Additionally Kevin, your response to CDA doesn't even address the point CDA actually made (every bit of which was true), instead veering off into about some other inconsequential matter which you pedantically crow about as though you hadn't done the same kind of thing over and over in your own books about the myth.


Nitram Ang said...


We are both wrong - the correct name is Lorrie and not Lonnie or Lorna!

Your latest post was fine (open to a bit of disagreement and interpretation, but fine) except the second half of the last sentence - which again is counter productive to the discussion.


KRandle said...


Sorry but it is you who is wrong. Roswell in Perspective was the prototype for the later book. Roswell in Perspective was written for FUFOR but once that was completed; his vision was to get it published. Submission to a publisher takes months and most do not want submissions to multiple publishers. When no one was interested, he sent it to Prometheus who said it wasn’t skeptical enough. To get his book sold and published it was necessary to become more skeptical, hence the apparent change in attitude… so this does address CDA’s point about Roswell in Perspective being more open to an alien interpretation

The point I was making with the original post, was that Pflock’s analysis of Jay West and LTC Duran was accepted without question by the skeptical community even when Pflock “quoted” an unnamed source whose credentials were not really provided so that no would could verify what was said. Using these anonymous sources was not questioned though that is something that he accused me of doing.

And I do have documentation that Duran served in the military and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

The examples I used might be seen as trivia by those whose knee-jerk reaction is to repudiate what I suggest in favor of Pflock, but they are relevant. With J.C. Smith it seems that Pflock stopped asking questions when Smith told him what he wanted to hear. Which is the same story I got but then I asked one simple question which was, “Did you know Dan Dwyer,” and that was when I learned more about the case. Pflock wasn’t interested in going beyond the fact the fire department didn’t make a run.

No one seems to question the use of Max Littell as a source for what Pflock wished to prove, which is quite relevant. Just what could Littell add to the story? He wasn’t a city councilman in 1947, he didn’t run the fire department and he was a big advocate of Jim Ragsdale. He was only interested in making money off the case. However, Littell is used as source to reject Frankie Rowe.

Oh, and I don’t think I contradicted myself in the space of two paragraphs.

Lance said...


Your response and characterization of Karl is pretty despicable.

Once again, what you are actually doing is saying that Karl decided to lie about how he really felt in order to sell his book.
And you are doing this solely through your own uncharitable assertion against someone who is dead and can't defend himself.

I know that stuff reads well for most of the paranoid saucer nuts who read this but I would have expected better from you (for some reason).

I talked with Karl about his conversion and realizations about the dismal Roswell evidence. He slowly changed his mind over a period of time (in the 7 YEARS (!) between RIP and his later book). You pretending to know and stating as fact what another man was thinking is a stark reminder of the dishonest discourse of those who peddle paranormal claptrap.


KRandle said...

Lance -

Despicable? Really?

And what about Karl's allegations that I have been less than honest? He wrote, "All this seems quite impressive until we learn that Randle did not record his interview with Easley and has no independent of what he recalls the now-deceased officer told him." And this is one of the kinder things he said. What implication do you put on that?

But before you suggest that I'm just attempting to get even, let me point out that I reported what Karl said to me a couple of times. Karl was the one who said that the original version of his book was not skeptical enough for Prometheus. Is there a reason I shouldn't mention it?

And the interview J. C. Smith, the Roswell fire fighter, who Karl used to discredit Frankie Rowe, told me the same thing he told Karl but I give Karl the benefit of the doubt by not suggesting he had edited it. Once he had the information he wanted, he ended the interview. I asked the same questions and got the same information. We seemed to be done until I asked if he knew Dan Dwyer and heard the rest of the story. I believe that Karl never asked that question so that what he reported was accurate but it wasn't the whole truth.

I will also note that if you go back to Roswell in Perspective, you'll see many of the same claims in it as you find in his book. Or, his change in attitude was not one of long, thoughtful investigation between those two works. I have much in the way of documentation that proves that Roswell in Perspective was not as it has been characterized by you and that he waged a long fight against the Roswell case concluding it was Mogul before his Roswell in Perspective was sent to FUFOR. Your characterization is inaccurate at best.

I will also note that his first theory was that the crash of an N9M or the prototype to the Flying Wing was responsible. He abandoned this idea when I pointed out that none of them flew after 1946... then it was Mogul Flight No. 9 which he also abandoned, all before Roswell in Perspective was published.

So, I'm not saying what I think was in Karl's mind, but that Karl told me those things I have reported, and if you have a problem with that, then that is your problem. And your response is a stark reminder of the attack on my integrity because you don't happen to like the facts. It is also a stark reminder of the dishonest discourse of those who peddle their skeptical claptrap.

cda said...

The simple fact is that Karl Pflock had a change of mind during the time he spent investigating Roswell. As far as I can tell, he was initially partly pro and partly anti, but gradually saw that things did not hold together as he originally thought. And if the story does not hold together that makes it suspect and probably false. In other words, witnesses' memories could NOT be relied on, they changed over time and contradicted other witnesses, etc.

Therefore KP decided, after more investigation, that the Roswell ET tale was phony.

Yes I know a few have since claimed that because KP had once served time as a junior guy in the CIA (or was it the NSA?) he at once became a 'suspect', just as anyone with even the minutest connection with the intelligence services becomes a suspect in this highly charged Roswell topic. It is all 'part of the game' isn't it?

Kevin has a slight 'advantage' over Karl here, since his early Roswell books and articles were written in conjunction with Don Schmitt, whereas Karl authored his books on his own. Hence Kevin can, if he so wishes, blame his erstwhile partner over any shortcomings (at least in his first two books). Karl cannot.

But maybe I have gone a bit off-topic here (surprise!).

Lance said...


That you can't understand that saying "Prometheus said that my book wasn't skeptical enough for them" and "Prometheus said that my book wasn't skeptical enough for them THEREFORE I decided to lie about the evidence" are 2 different propositions.

It's this 2+2=5 mentality that drives paranormal buffoonery.

Has an editor ever asked you to make changes to any of your books?

Sure, Karl saw the flying fortress-sized holes in the silly Roswell evidence. Anyone would have to be an idiot or deluded not to.

I have no issue with him being characterized as skeptical about the case. That is good and proper. But he initially believed some of the witnesses and didn't dismiss them out of hand (which was the proposition you decided to respond to).

Of course, I'm sure that the various liars and frauds that you and Don promoted in your books probably led him down the trail of realizing the abject state of the stupid field.


KRandle said...

Lance – (Part One)

I expected your kneejerk defense of Pflock because the skeptics are always right even when they are wrong. I get that you can’t see the forest because of the trees.

You wrote, “That you can't understand that saying "Prometheus said that my book wasn't skeptical enough for them" and "Prometheus said that my book wasn't skeptical enough for them THEREFORE I decided to lie about the evidence" are 2 different propositions.”

I did not say he lied about the evidence. I have suggested that he didn’t explore the avenues completely after he got the information he wanted. If you read the post, you would see that he rejected Jay West because an unidentified, long-time journalist in New Mexico didn’t recognize the name. You seem to accept that even though you know nothing about that journalist, you don’t know his credentials and you don’t know how reliable the information is, but it is acceptable because it fits into your world view. Yet this shows Pflock’s bias and, if as I suspect it was Jason Kellahin, a very good argument could be made that the information supplied by him was tainted by his bias and Pflock knew it. Is that a lie by omission? … And if Pflock didn’t know, isn’t that just willful ignorance used to advance a point of view in an attempt to make the book more skeptical? Of course we will never know because Pflock didn’t identify the man or woman.

You say, “It's this 2+2=5 mentality that drives paranormal buffoonery.”
I say it is the same thing that drives the unreasonable skeptical buffoonery.

You ask, “Has an editor ever asked you to make changes to any of your books?”

I say, “Yes,” and when those changes would reflect an opinion that was not supported by the evidence I had, I refused to do it. And when I was asked to change something to be more supportive, if the evidence wasn’t there, I refused to do it. I might have been wrong about the evidence, but I didn’t make the change just to please the editor.

KRandle said...

Part Two -

You say, “Sure, Karl saw the flying fortress-sized holes in the silly Roswell evidence. Anyone would have to be an idiot or deluded not to.”

I say, this is the kind crap that gives skepticism a bad name. Pflock didn’t see the flying fortress-sized holes in the silly Mogul explanation and isn’t that evidence of his bias?

You say, “I have no issue with him being characterized as skeptical about the case. That is good and proper. But he initially believed some of the witnesses and didn't dismiss them out of hand (which was the proposition you decided to respond to).”

I say, I have no trouble with being skeptical but you are suggesting something that just isn’t in evidence. He rejected Lydia Sleppy, not because of evidence but because he could source Kal Korff as having found the alleged evidence. Korff said that Sleppy’s transmission couldn’t have been interrupted in the way she claimed, but Pflock knew better. The affidavit in Pflock’s book showed that an incoming message would alert the operator about it and then she would have to flip a switch. Pflock had to know that but paid no attention to it because he needed to be more skeptical… And yes, we all get that her comments about the FBI were added sometime later and might be sufficient cause to reject her, but the reason given is not.

You say, “Of course, I'm sure that the various liars and frauds that you and Don promoted in your books probably led him down the trail of realizing the abject state of the stupid field.”

I say, again, this is the kind of crap that gives skepticism a bad name. Yes, we mentioned various liars, such as Glenn Dennis, which Pflock supported in Roswell in Perspective, even though his testimony was crumbling by then, but Pflock and Dennis were in a fiduciary relation that he didn’t want to burn at that point. But the real point is that you don’t have to call it a stupid field and if it is so stupid, why do you bother with it.

Now, if you have anything relevant to say about the posting, I would be delighted to hear it. After all, it was another skeptic whose unreasonable stance resulted in this.

KRandle said...


He claimed to be CIA and this scared the hell out of Frankie Rowe. He sent her a letter with his CV in it and when she saw the reference to the CIA she became frightened.

And I resent your suggestion that I would blame the mistakes on Don Schmitt. I take ownership of the ones I make and give those Don made to him. You suggest that I might not be honest in this and I resent the implication.

Karl's mistakes were his own, but I hesitate to mention more because of the negative reaction by skeptics (please note the American spelling)_here... oh, that's not true, I will point them out as the mood moves me and when some demand explanations.

cda said...


You wrote:

"I say, this is the kind crap that gives skepticism a bad name. Pflock didn’t see the flying fortress-sized holes in the silly Mogul explanation and isn’t that evidence of his bias?"

There are plenty of 'crap' remarks, from skeptics, that give skepticism a bad name. Menzel gave some 'crap' solutions to UFO cases that did precisely that. There are too many ad hominem attacks also - one particular one being that because KP had been a CIA intelligence officer (p.180 of ROSWELL: INCONVENIENT FACTS...) he was unreliable and therefore could not be trusted over his research. (CIA agents lead double lives and are always out to befuddle people, you see). Similar things were said concerning Messrs McAndrew and Weaver when the GAO report appeared. Then someone pointed out that Pflock's wife was an assistant to Senator Schiff (big deal), who had initiated the whole GAO investigation in the first place! The upshot of all this was that because of these interconnections and relationships, everything written by either the GAO or Pflock was misinformation, or even disinformation. I don't think there were many who took this extreme view but there were a few.

The skeptics just could not win, could they? Yes the Mogul answer has flaws, but which do you prefer: Mogul or an ET visit? The two are simply not comparable. Perhaps you think that the more holes you can punch in Mogul gives greater strength to the ET answer. And what would the scientific community say about such reasoning? You don't need me to tell you.

And no, I do not suggest that you blamed Don Schmitt for your mistakes. Not at all. All I would say, and did say, is that it is always easier to blame one's partner when two are involved, IF THE NEED ARISES. In Karl's case, he carried the can on his own and even his wife's position tended to create a slight hostility towards him, at least in the eyes of a few Roswell conspiracists.

Nitram Ang said...

Lance, you must have missed the earlier quote:

"anytime a pro-alien-Roswell witness shows up they are automatically seen to have poor memories, are guilty of confabulation or even worse. But when a witness supports Klass/CDA's view, they are pristine, no questions asked... Klass & CDA are those "it can't be therefore it isn't" type of UFO debunkers, as pointed out by KR many times in the past."

Kevin you wrote:

"Pflock didn’t see the flying fortress-sized holes in the silly Mogul explanation and isn’t that evidence of his bias?"

I agree with you that mogul is not a sensible explanation but to be fair to KP - is it not true to say that some of the evidence disproving mogul came out (or were at least, glaring-lee more obvious) after his death?

Again you knew KP (unlike CDA? and his mentor?) and his evidence for rejecting Roswell seems a lot more scientific (and researched) that the other two people...


KRandle said...


I have said repeatedly, here and elsewhere that the destruction of the Mogul theory DOES NOT lead to the extraterrestrial. Skeptics seem to cling to it, even when it is documented that it was cancelled, even when Charles Moore changed the launch time to explain the atmospheric changes in Alamogordo, and even though we see in the documentation that a cluster of balloons was not the same as an array. I mentioned Mogul because it seems that skeptics cling to it in the same way that those at the other end of the spectrum cling to the idea that the only explanation for Roswell is an alien craft... and for all of you who feel it now necessary to begin the Mogul arguments again, don't bother. I won't post them... my use of Mogul was not an argument against it here, just an illustration to make a point.

I will say one other thing that strikes me as hilarious... to prove his point McAndrew used the Ragsdale description of the alien bodies, but since Ragsdale was lying about what he saw, doesn't that negate part of McAndrew's thesis? Just a wild thought that has nothing to do with the topic of this post, which was to clarify the information about Jay West and LTC Duran... Can we get back to it? I thought it would generate some discussion but certainly not in the direction we have gone.

KRandle said...

Nitram -

All the information about Mogul was available prior to the publication of his book. He met with Charles Moore and should have had a copy of the big Air Force report. It was released six years before the publication of his book, so, no, this information did not come out after the publication of his book. It was all there for anyone to read.

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

I am just shocked that some of our favorite pseudo-skeptics have chimed in supporting their spiritual leader. Once Lex Luther and the Frenchmen show up, we will have a quorum. Just kidding. To be clear, if one were to apply an objective standard to KP, he certainly made some valid points. It is clear, that he was not a skeptic in the sense that he never began with a balanced point of view (ETH or anti) and followed the evidence. Regardless of which of his books, none begin unbiased and follow the evidence. That doesn't make him a bad person or a bad author, it does (did) make him a bad investigator/researcher. While I hesitate to draw a line in the sand, I would offer that if you can't agree with that I question whether you really understand investigation or the scientific method. To my pseudo-skeptical buddies, you can concede a point once in awhile without putting on a tin foil hat and getting an "ET phone me" tattoo.

Brian Bell said...

It's Lex Luther....I just showed up...

By the way, technically it should be B-29 sized holes, not Flying Fortress (B-17).

I don't see KP as a total skeptic at all. Clearly he wasn't. As stated though, he did change his mind on this case and with good reason. He's not alone either. There are many Kent Jeffrey.

Anyway, take a gander from the 50th written in the Albuquerque Journal. Everything said here was basically said there too.

KRandle said...

Brian -


This is your take away?

It should have been a B-29 rather than a B-17? Why not a B-36 which the 509th also flew and was even bigger?

You have no comment about West and Duran?

So, once again you have missed the point.

David Rudiak said...

I don't know why anyone would think Karl Plock was ever "pro-Roswell", i.e., leaned to the ET explanation. His 2001 Prometheus book was just an expanded version of his original 1994 "Roswell in Perspective" (RIP—KP pun?). In RIP, he flippantly dismissed every single “pro-ET” witness as not credible, except for Glenn Dennis, whose story, he said, gave him pause. (Then he dumped Dennis, leaving no “pro-ET” witness he considered credible. Only witnesses who might support a Mogul balloon interpretation remained free from all mortal sin.)

As an example of his propaganda tactics, he claimed senior Roswell pilot Oliver Henderson was nothing but a “practical joker”, this being his flimsy rationale to dismiss the testimony of multiple witnesses who, unlike Pflock, actually knew Henderson personally (like his wife, daughter, business partner), all who said he told them of flying crashed flying saucer debris to Wright-Patterson and seeing alien bodies. (

Roswell CIC agent Sheridan Cavitt referred to Pflock in his 1994 AFOSI interview with head AF debunker Col Richard Weaver as "our debunker", adding "I lean towards him". (Two counter-intel guys talking about one of their own, methinks.)

Pflock was ALWAYS a Roswell debunker (and an early Mogul balloon promoter). He was always a UFO debunker in general. Another example was that he was heir apparent to take over James Moseley's "Saucer Smear" and like Moseley, could never think of one even slightly positive thing to say about any researcher or UFO case. (Really, we're not THAT bad!)

Also remember Pflock was "ex"-CIA/-DOD, and a decade before RIP got exposed promoting a cattle mutilation hoax with two con-men, Pflock trying to wrangle a book deal, going by the alias of "Kurt Peters" (something he could never live down). In their book "Mute Evidence", highly skeptical journalists Daniel Kagan and Ian Summers devoted about 60 pages to their run-in with Pflock and exposing him. Now, if some “pro-UFO” researcher was involved in a hoax like that, they would never hear the end of it. But debunking heroes always seem to get a pass on bad behavior. (Phil Klass and Kal Korff also leap to mind, not to mention Mogul engineer Charles Moore.)

And finally, when N.M. Congressman Schiff launched his Roswell investigation in 1994, none other than Pflock's wife acted as point person on Schiff's staff handling the matter for Schiff. Thus all materials went through her (and presumably Pflock--talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop). If I remember correctly, Kevin and Don Schmitt complained that their best evidence that they submitted to Schiff's office always seemed to disappear into a black hole, never getting to Schiff. (Kevin, please do comment here--it's 20+ years.)

I also remember going to Schiff's Roswell website page back then and discovering that facts had been deliberately altered, particularly Roswell Daily Record stories, changing the meaning towards a debunking interpretation. E.g., Brazel was ACTUALLY quoted saying "I am sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon," got changed by someone to "I am NOT sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon." Elsewhere, where the RDR main Roswell story referred to the base "intelligence office" inspecting the object and refusing to disclose further details, someone substituted "intelligence officeR", in other words trying to make the whole thing solely due to Marcel, whom Pflock bashes in RIP and then in his book.

Yes, I certainly do strongly suspect KP being behind this. He certainly had both means and opportunity.

I wrote a great deal more about Pflock and his suspicious activities 10 years ago on UFO Updates in response to a certain Christopher Allen (AKA CDA here).

(No doubt you'll notice the various arguments have not changed in the preceding decade.)

KRandle said...

All -

I will say it once again. This wasn't about Karl Pflock being a debunker or if he lied about who he was to Kagan and Summers, but about what he claimed about West and Duran. He failed to get accurate information about them and dismissed them with no real thought.

Can we attempt to drag this back into the proper arena?

Brian Bell said...

I think you missed my obvious aircraft humor...

But yes there are points made in my previous note:

1) Pflock should not be painted as a total skeptic because he wasn't. If anything he was an ET "believer".

2) Pflock, after taking an in depth look, thought Roswell a nonevent as did many other UFO believing supporters. He wasn't alone.

3) Pflock wrote a book about his opinion on Roswell - so what - you've done the same. No harm in that. Maybe he made some errors, you've done the same.

Regarding West and Duran, the main point of your post -

If you and your former partner determined both stories were insignificant or incomplete and therefore non-supportive of the Roswell ET theory, why on earth did you reference them in your books at all? If anything Duran's footnote leaves the reader thinking it's SUPPORTIVE evidence of your opinion. You should have left that out or placed it in the appendix stating these were all dead ends.

KRandle said...

Brian -

I think you missed the obvious humor in my upping the size of the aircraft... which, of course, is the opposite of what you would think I would have said.

Pflock was a total skeptic on the Roswell case, first proposing the N-9M explanation, then Mogul Flight No. 9, which is also missing from the records and was cancelled because of an accident at White Sands, and finally settling on Flight No. 4 because everything else was accounted for in the records.

Pflock entered the discussion back in the early 1990s as a skeptic and while he maintained that he was investigating the event from a fresh perspective it is clear that he was looking at it as if it wasn't true because almost from the very beginning he was offering explanations... not exactly the most objective of points of view.

The point was that he didn't carry out the questioning to the point he should have, gathering the information that fit his opinion rather than attempting to find all the answers.

I didn't say they were incomplete... And you're hindsight is 20/20... no, actually it is not very good and here's why. There is nothing that has disqualified either of those stories. If you read the entry about West in UFO Crash at Roswell, it was in a timeline (sort of an appendix), you would realize that we were reporting what he had said and qualified that statement by pointing out that was what he said. It was a mere data point listed with many other data points and was of interest in the overall picture.

Duran was listed in a footnote, which in and of itself should have told you something, especially when it didn't show up anywhere else. It was information that suggested others had been involved and seemed to support the Kaufmann nonsense.

At the time of the book, neither of those points were dead ends. They were placed where they were carefully so that that astute reader would understand that the information had surfaced in our investigation (and not be taken so far out of context)... it was Pflock who made a bigger deal out of them, and it was Pflock who did nothing to advance that information, suggesting however vaguely that we were somehow dishonest. He was wrong on that point about these stories and all the information about these two guys has been published. Remember too, that UFO Crash at Roswell was published twenty-five years ago and that newer and better information has been developed.

But your original demand was for more information about this and you got it, now you wish to change the course of the discussion.

Brian Bell said...

"But your original demand was for more information about this and you got it, now you wish to change the course of the discussion."

>> Not really...I don't get the gist of your claim here. We are talking about West and Duran. Aren't we? Or are back to Pflock?

"Duran was listed in a footnote, which in and of itself should have told you something, especially when it didn't show up anywhere else."

>> Footnotes aren't usually used this way. They are used as supporting documentation, additional insights, clarifications, and so on. An obscure and unclear footnote for many makes no sense at all. Like I said it looks supportive when in fact it really wasn't at all.

"At the time of the book, neither of those points were dead ends. They were placed where they were carefully so that that astute reader would understand that the information had surfaced in our investigation (and not be taken so far out of context)"

>> Yes I can see that. But placing things as footnotes hoping only "astute" readers will comprehend the true (hidden?) meaning seems a bit off to me. I think that alone is why so many people have criticized Duran. They can't all be dumb.

KRandle said...

Brian -

The footnote, when written, as I have explained, seemed to support the tale told by Frank Kaufmann. We had no reason to suspect Kaufmann at that time. His name was provided by Walter Haut, who told us that he was someone we might wish to talk to. When we asked Haut later, about Kaufmann's reliability, we were told he was "golden." The story we had about Duran seemed to support Kaufmann, especially since nothing about Kaufmann had been published at that time, so the source couldn't have known what Kaufmann said.

Your demand was about Duran and West, and the information was provided. Karl used an unidentified source to reject West but we don't know who it was... though I believe it was Jason Kellahin... at the time, why did no one attempt to learn who this anonymous source was, or did he say what you wished to hear so the information much be good.

And who are those "so many others," who have criticized Duran. The information about him was accurate and could be verified by those who wished to independently do so rather than take my word for it... or Karl's for that matter.

Brian Bell said...

I'm thinking Klass, Printy, Jeffery....

But I'm sure within the UFO community (at that time) there were others who began to question the Albert Lovejoy Duran reference since no other info on him was included.

KRandle said...

Sorry Brian -

I reject your "thinking." Kent Jeffrey never said anything like that to me and we conversed long and hard about Roswell. Philip Klass never brought it up and as far as I know didn't mention it in his book. I don't know if Tim Printy even worried about it but he might have... though he and I never discussed it. So, I must ask, did you just grab some names out of thin air or do you have some documentation to support you allegation here?

And, three is not "many others," especially when two of them are completely critical of anything suggesting alien visitation and one of them fell off the Roswell band wagon long ago, but I still don't think he said anything about Duran.

KRandle said...

Brian -

I decided to check with Tim Printy myself. This seemed to be so unimportant to him that he doesn't remember much about it. I was going to paraphrase and I hope this won't annoy Tim. He wrote:

"I was curious long ago. The footnote in “Truth” had me wondering what he had said that confirmed Kaufmann’s story. I think in an earlier version of my Roswell page I mentioned something about him and the footnote. I could have relied on what Pflock wrote. I don’t recall and the latest version only mentions him in passing as being part of Kaufmann’s special unit from White Sands. I assumed that Lovejoy was either some name that was dropped by somebody (like Kaufmann) or was a story told second hand. When Kaufmann’s story collapsed, I figured Lovejoy’s story collapsed as well. Your new blog entry on this tends to confirm what I thought when I read it twenty years ago – a second hand story with no confirmation."

But you see, Duran was criticized not only because there was so little information about him but because Pflock had criticized him. No one knew that we had verified that Duran was a real officer who retired as a lieutenant colonel, that we had found him, and there seemed to be some first-hand corroboration for his tale. We had even arranged for an interview. So Tim is sort of right in that it was a second-hand story, but there was limited corroboration and unlike so many others, Duran was actually an officer of the rank assigned to him.

And yes, I have done your homework for you again... I actually contacted Tim Printy to find out what he thought. Something you should think about doing once in a while.

Brian Bell said...


So if you wanted me to reference a few dozen prominent UFO investigators you already know that really isn't possible. There aren't that many.

Of course any pro-Roswell ET investigator (or believer) is going to accept the position that your footnote is supportive evidence of an ET crash, so why would I mention them? Obviously we know now it isn't.

I think Printy's position is quite clear and also probably similar to other skeptical viewpoints then and now.

Regarding "homework"...well you chose to contact him...I didn't ask you to. But you did so "thanks".

KRandle said...

Brian -

The point was you made a statement but had nothing to back it up. You hadn't checked with those you quoted, didn't cite any source for the statement. You just threw it out there. The only information you had was from Karl Pflock and you extrapolated from there...

And the Duran story IS supportive of the Roswell crash. It is evidence for it. Oh, its not very good evidence but then, twenty-five years ago, given the situation, we believed that we would get the opportunity for an interview with Duran, we had talked with his daughter and we had confirmed his military career. We arranged for another, closer to him to interview him in person. So it wasn't something that came with no support for it.

Your position, based on the information you had, is inaccurate and you did nothing to validate your belief. You made too many assumptions here and were caught at it once again.