Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Decline of Roswell

Back in 1988, when Don Schmitt and I began our investigation into the Roswell case, there were no documents available, other than newspaper articles and a single report from the FBI. The newspaper reports were less than accurate with misspellings of names, and descriptions of the debris. The FBI document, which was based on an interview with Major Kirton (misspelled as Curtan in the FBI report) suggested that the object found was a weather balloon and a radar reflector. It also mentioned that this analysis was not verified by other sources.

It is unclear in the report if the FBI called the 8th Air Force to find out what was happening or if Kirton had called the FBI to tell them about the recovery. Given the timing of the telex and breaking news, it is more likely that Kirton had called the FBI. That actually isn’t overly important here. I just thought I would mention it as an interesting observation.

Neither the newspaper articles nor the FBI telex do anything to help us understand the Roswell case. There is too little information in them for any conclusive analysis. We are left with questions about the identity of the object found and both the telex and the newspapers can be used to support almost any explanation for Roswell.

But that isn’t the whole story and here I will probably annoy my pals who accept Roswell as an alien spacecraft crash, and may even offend those who believe the answer can be found somewhere on Earth. Since Don and I began our work, other documents have surfaced and been brought into the discussion.

One the first, which was published in its entirety in The MUFON UFO Journal for July 1985, is a top-secret report entitled Air Intelligence Report No. 100-203-79 and dated December 10, 1948. There is another version of it, or rather the same report, but it is dated April 28, 1949. Neither version of this report makes mention of crash recovered debris, and in fact, says that the origin of the objects cannot be determined. The thinking is that the men responsible for the report, who had top security clearances, would have been able to learn about the Roswell crash had it happened. Since they make no reference to it, this is circumstantial evidence that there wasn’t a crash.

There was a caveat in that report. The officers involved suggested that there needed to be better communication among the military branches to ensure a free flow of information. There could have been some project or information that would have explained everything about the flying saucers if such a free flow existed. In other words, this doesn’t exclude Roswell.

Col. Howard McCoy
Karl Pflock, among others, found another document that reported on the Scientific Advisory Board Conference held on March 17 – 18, 1948, in the Pentagon. Colonel Howard McCoy was discussing Project Sign, the number of reports they had received, suggesting that there was something important going on. He said, “I can’t tell you how much we would give to have one of those crash in an area so that we could recover whatever they are.”

McCoy was the intelligence officer at Wright Field and the Air Materiel Command. He was Nathan Twining’s intelligence officer. If there had been a crash near Roswell, McCoy would have been involved in the study or reverse engineering of anything recovered. In fact, McCoy had been involved in the first of the investigations of unidentified aerial phenomena starting with the Foo Fighters in WW II. He was the guy who knew everything about them and was, you might say, Twining’s “go to guy.” If there had been a crash he would have known about it.

General Nathan F. Twining
There are those who say, me among them, that had Roswell involved the crash of an alien spacecraft, it would have been classified top secret. Given that, McCoy was restricted from mentioning this in a briefing that was only classified as secret and some of the participants in it might not have held the proper security clearances to hear top secrets.

But I have always worried about that analysis. While he might not be able to discuss a crash in a conference that was only secret, I wondered why bring it up at all. If none of the participants was thinking in terms of a crash, he had just planted the idea in their minds. True, he had told them that nothing had been recovered and if you know something doesn’t exist, you are not inclined to look for it. Still this was not a good idea. He planted the seed.

This wasn’t the only time that McCoy had brought up the possibility of crash debris. In a letter sent up the chain of command, to those who would have held the proper security clearances and who would have had the need to know. He expressed the same thought. Crash recovered debris would go a long way to answering questions about the identity of the flying saucers.

McCoy sent that letter to the Chief of Staff on November 3, 1948, discussing flying saucers. This was a recap of what they knew, or thought they knew about the “Flying Objects.” In paragraph 8, McCoy wrote:

The possibility that the reported objects are vehicles from another planet has not been ignored. However, tangible evidence to support conclusions about such a possibility are completely lacking.
This becomes more worrisome. McCoy would have no expectation that this letter would be seen by anyone other than those to which it was addressed and it was going to the top guy in the Air Force. He wouldn’t be telling stories out of school and he wouldn’t dare lie. If there had been a crash, he was writing to those who would know about it; more importantly these were the people who had to know about it. They might not have all the specifics, but they would know that there had been a crash of something that was highly unusual. They would know that the craft had been built somewhere else, meaning not on Earth. McCoy would have no reason to lie to them about a crash because of who he was addressing in the letter.

Here's where we stand on this. The documentation that does exist, that came from identified government sources, signed by the men involved who we are able to vet, suggest that they know nothing of crash recovered debris. Being who they were and what their jobs were, they would have known and the discussion would take a different track.

For those believing Roswell involved the crash of an alien spacecraft, this has to be worrisome. It is arrayed against testimony that suggests otherwise. The problem is that it is just testimony and over the years much of that testimony has been found to be inaccurate. The longer we investigate the more of these testimonies have fallen by the wayside.

There is some compelling testimonial evidence of a crash but there is this documentation that suggests otherwise. While that documentation might not completely close the door, it is certainly narrowing the possibility. As I say, for those of us who do attempt to look at all the evidence, this is quite worrisome.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Treasure Quest - Season Three

Last Sunday (July 29), I blundered into the reruns of Season Two of Treasure Quest – Snake Island. In the last broadcast of the night, they were diving near a waterfall with a series of holes worn in the rock. As we left the team, they emerged with several artifacts, one seeming a gold sunburst of Inca design and several small, metallic llamas. Since llamas weren’t native to that area of South America, the conclusion drawn was that this showed that someone from Peru had been there at some point in the past. This was part of the treasure for which they had searched for two seasons… or at the very least, hints that it was near. They might have found the Treasure of the Trinity, and the only thing stopping them now were their permits from the government that were about to expire. They’d be back.

And now we learn that Season Three will premiere on Discovery on August 24 at 9 p.m. (EDT, 8 CDT and who knows for MDT and PDT). So, we would learn if they had actually found remnants of the Treasure of the Trinity or were they just being led astray by random artifacts that had no real anchor in that area.

But new season this isn’t really Treasure Quest of old, because they’re no longer looking for the Treasure of the Trinity and it is not the same team as the first two seasons. According to the Discovery press release (and who doesn’t trust the accuracy of a press release?), “This season, veteran treasure hunter Shawn Cowles, tech specialist Jeremy Whalen, and demolitions expert Jack Peters set out to Bolivia in search of the biggest land find [yes, that’s what it said] treasure in history – the legendary Sacambaya Treasure [emphasis added], reportedly worth two billion dollars.”

So, now I’m wondering what happened to most of other team and what happened to those amazing discoveries they had made at the end of Season Two that suggested they were close to the Treasure of the Trinity? I mean, it seemed they had found their elusive treasure and it was only a matter of extending their licenses and permits so that they could finish their work. It’s been nearly two years since the last episode aired and I thought the program had been cancelled.

The Highway of Death
Well, that seems to have been the case, sort of. There is a new crew and they’re after a different treasure. The Snake Island part has been dropped, probably because they were never going back there anyway, and they’re off to Bolivia, where the big news is they are going to driving along the Yungas Road, which if I remember my other Discovery shows right is also known as The Highway of Death. They actually mention this in the press release so that you know that they’re serious about it.

Okay, I’ve made enough fun of the press release. What else do we know? Well, they tell us, “Over the last three centuries, many explorers from all around the world have made the journey to unearth this billion-dollar treasure, but have been met with misfortune and death. The last man alive to have hunted for this fortune, Johnny Irwin, provides the TREASURE QUEST team with a crucial lead from his own expedition – after years of research, he has a new theory about the treasure’s whereabouts.”

The press release adds, “This season’s quest begins with a lead that points the treasure hunting team to an old and long-abandoned Jesuit monastery.”

Given that, we are led to Jesuits, who somehow, got their hands on the ransom paid by the Inca to recover their leader, according to some sources. The Spanish took the gold and killed the guy anyway, so the Inca took back the ransom. Now the treasure is called, “Sacambaya.”

Or maybe not…

Some writers who claim to be quoting the work of Cecil Herbert Prodgers tell us that the Jesuits used slave labor to dig a cave (treasure vault?) near the Sacambaya mission. Once it was done, the Jesuits killed the natives and then fled to Vatican City. The Jesuits were imprisoned there and all but one executed. You have to have one guy left to tell the tale or we wouldn’t have a show. There is always that one lucky survivor.

That lone Jesuit eventually made it back to Bolivia where he had a daughter by his mistress… because you don’t have a good story unless there is a little sex in it and a son or daughter to inherit the map or directions to find the massive treasure worth some two billion dollars. Without them, you’d just be wandering around the place with no real purpose.

But that isn’t exactly what we learn from the press release, and isn’t what I learned when I dug a little deeper. According to a book, Adventures in Bolivia, written by Prodgers, this treasure had nothing much to do with the Inca. He wrote that he had talked with Dona Corina San Roman, the daughter of an early president of Peru, who had an original document that had been given to his brother by Father San Roman. This was eventually given to her father, that is Dona Corina San Roman’s father, who finally gave it to her. This document told the tale of the treasure hidden by the Jesuits. She gave Prodgers a copy of the document, though I’m not sure where she got it or how it was copied. While it didn’t have specifics, according to Prodgers, it did mention that the treasure was hidden on the banks of the River Sacambaja, which is close to the current spelling. It then said:

If you find a steep hill all covered with dense forest, the top of which is flat, with long grass growing, from where you can see the River Sacambaja on three sides, you will discover on the top of it, in the middle of the long grass, a large stone shaped like an egg, so big that it took 500 Indians to place it there. If you dig down underneath this stone for five yards, you will find the roof of a large cave, which took 500 men two and a half years to hollow out. The roof is seventy yards long, and there are two compartments and a long narrow passage leading from the room on the east side to the main entrance two hundred yards away. On reaching the door, you must exercise great care in opening. The door is a large iron one, and inside to the right near the wall you will find an image made of pure gold three feet high, the eyes of which are two large diamonds; this image was placed here for the good of mankind. If you proceed along the passage, you will find in the first room thirty-seven heaps of gold, and many gold and silver ornaments and precious stones. On entering the second room, you will find in the right-hand corner a large box, clamped with three iron bars; inside the box is $90,000 in silver money and thirty-seven heaps of gold. Distributed in the hollow on either side of the tunnel and the two rooms altogether a hundred and sixty-three heaps of gold, of which the value has been estimated at $60,000,000. Great care must be taken on entering these rooms, as enough strong poison to kill a regiment has been laid about. The walls of the two rooms have been strengthened by large blocks of granite; from the roof downwards is the distance is five yards more. The top of the roof is portioned off into three distinct esplanades, and the whole has been well covered over for a depth of five yards with earth and stones. When you come to a place twenty feet high, with a wall so wide that two men can easily ride abreast, cross the river, and you will find the church monastery, and other buildings.
According to Corina San Roman, the Jesuits built the monastery in 1635 and left it in 1785. The treasure was accumulated over eleven years of mining in the region. The Jesuits used 2000 Indians. There were nine Jesuits. It is difficult to tell from Prodger’s work if seven of them died there of disease, or if eight of them did. Father San Roman was the survivor or one of the two survivors. It was also noted that of the 500 Indians “employed,” 288 of them died from disease during the last three months of the work.

The original document, given to her father, was given to her before he died, and she hid it in a book. After he died, she couldn’t find it, but there was that copy I mentioned, the one given to the brother, I think. The writing is a little confusing. Anyway, Prodgers wrote that he did see the copy… which had to be handwritten given the timing of all this.

Starting about the turn of the last century, there have been a series of “expeditions” into the area to search for the treasure. One of these was sent by the President of Bolivia, Malgarejo, and a second outfitted in Valparaiso in 1895. Both failed. Then in 1905, Prodgers set off to find the treasure.

Prodgers’ tale becomes a rambling travelogue of his attempts to locate the treasure. Supposedly, he found the cave but somehow failed to gather any treasure or proof of his adventure. Late in the year he was driven from the area by the rainy season. He came back the next year, 1906, but seemed to get diverted with all sorts of nonsense. With his workers, he began to:

…uncover the top of the hill… Exactly fifteen feet I came to a solid mason work, one big square stone and then a slab of stone; this formation went on for twelve feet down. Then I came on a stone cobble path, which I concluded was the bottom of the cave, but there was no sign of any door, so I decided to drill a hole between two blocks of stones… We drilled a hole for three feet and a half, and then pushed a thin bamboo twelve feet long through; it appeared to touch nothing except in one corner where it seemed to prod something soft.
Suddenly a very powerful smell began, so strong that it made us all feel bad; it smelt like oxide of metal of some sort… I got over it in a few hours.
This wasn’t his only misfortune that year. Prodgers told of four locals who joined him in the excavations. Then, one morning, they had disappeared. Prodgers tried to follow them but found only the remains of their uneaten dinner from the night before, which worried him greatly. His fingernails turned blue and he found that he had been poisoned. He was able to counteract the poison and survived.

Although he tried to mount subsequent expeditions, he either failed to do so or to find the treasure, and sold the information in 1920 to a Russian who had been born in Switzerland and was living in England, which I mention only to add another dimension of international flavor to the tale.

In the meantime, the information found its way to William Tredinnick, who had been working with the descendants of the original Jesuit survivor. Apparently, he gave up looking for the treasure, but then his reputation wasn’t all that great having committed a series of crimes in Bolivia. He passed the information on to Percy Harrison Fawcett who didn’t think much of the attempts to find the treasure, or that the treasure was buried in the location that Prodgers had found. Fawcett, it seems, disappeared in Brazil some years later searching for the lost city of “Z”, which was inhabited by people who dressed in a European style. I’m not sure what the importance that bit has, but thought it interesting.

This seems to be a theme throughout these lost treasure tales. A treasure or mine is located and then lost. Somehow a single person has knowledge of it but doesn’t manage to exploit that knowledge for him or herself. Instead, they share it with someone else who then attempts to find the treasure, often comes close but, in the end, fails. We have Oak Island. El Dorado. Treasure of the Trinity. The Lost Adams. The Lost Dutchman. Doc Noss and Victorio Peak. In none of these cases has the treasure been found, but many of them have been exploited to gain money from “investors.”

Which brings us back to what is now known as Treasure Quest. No Snake Island, and the crew from the first two seasons are nowhere to be found except for Whalen. This isn’t going to be the same show. They are no longer searching for the original treasure which must mean they didn’t find it; if they had, we’d have read about it somewhere. Just hints to the public that something big was coming… in the next episode or in the next season.

At the end of this latest season, there will be no treasure found. Why do I say that? Well, in the 1960s, more than half a century ago, two others from England, Mark Howell and Tony Morrison tried to locate the treasure using what for them was probably state-of-the-art equipment, but failed when the monsoons arrived. They were forced to go home.

According to their book, Steps to Fortune (for which I can find no reference other than in a magazine article), they were assisted by Juan Oroya. They asked him about the stories of the treasure, but Juan was less than impressed. He told them, “It’s a Gringo treasure.”

He meant, simply, that it was a tale for the Norte Americanos. Apparently, those who live in the region know better than to waste their time searching for a nonexistent treasure.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved - Again

Well, it’s happened again. Science has solved the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle… except we’ve known what is happening there for decades and the latest merely provides a source for some of the losses. Now we learn that “rogue waves” are responsible. Of course, the cynic in me wonders how a rogue wave could knock an airplane from the sky, but that’s not important now.

I have discussed this fascination of the Bermuda Triangle by the news media in the past. It really is them keeping this myth alive. I would have thought the reporter might have googled Bermuda Triangle just to see what is out there before writing about this. Anyway, you can read my posts here (which is not to say that I would expect the reporter to have read them, only that he searched for additional information before leaping aboard the latest bandwagon):

But to return to this new evidence. Are rogue waves responsible for some of the disappearances? I think that the Marine Sulphur Queen could easily have been swamped by such a wave as this new report
Marine Sulphur Queen
noted. Not much wreckage has been recovered, but given the nature of the area, the depth of the water, and a series of other factors, that’s not surprising. Still some has been found, which makes a lie of the claim that it disappeared without a trace.

The point here is, of course, to mention that it has been decades since Lawrence David Kusche wrote The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved. It made perfect sense to me when I first read it so long ago, and nothing has changed since that time. In fact, his solution was somewhat verified for me when I had an opportunity to talk with officers of the 440th Tactical Airlift Wing. They’d lost a plane in the triangle, and it is listed among the mysteries there… but they know what happened to it and wreckage was found.

Anyway, I just wonder how many more times it’s going to be announced that the mystery has been solved. We’ve known the solution for decades. It’s time to retire this “mystery.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Atacama Desert Alien

Some time back, when all this broke about the Atacama Desert skeleton, I learned that some seven percent of the DNA had not been identified. The other 93% was human. I didn’t want to draw a conclusion then, about this, because, well, all the evidence wasn’t
Dr. Steven Greer
Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
in. Oh, it was fairly conclusive, but I thought, since additional testing is being scheduled, we could wait until all that testing was done.

Yes, I have seen most of Dr. Steven Greer’s documentary, Sirius, but I walked out somewhat early, when it began to delve into the MJ-12 hoax, suggesting that MJ-12 was a real committee. MJ-12 was hiding the proof that aliens were real and had crashed one of their craft near Roswell. Don’t forget, that same document claimed another crash near the Texas – Mexico border was also real but it turned out to be a hoax. I have reviewed that information on numerous occasions on this blog.

Now, it seems that we have the final word about the Atacama Desert being, and it doesn’t suggest alien. A referred scientific paper just published answers the questions about the tiny being. You can read it here:

The abstract for the paper tells us about the topic and some of the information to be revealed. It said:

Here we evaluate Bhattacharya et al.’s (2018) recent paper “Whole-genome sequencing of Atacama skeleton shows novel mutations linked with dysplasia” published in Genome Research. In this short report, we examine the hypothesis that the so-called “Atacama skeleton” has skeletal abnormalities indicative of dysplasia, critique the validity of the interpretations of disease based on genomic analyses, and comment on the ethics of research on this partially mummified human foetus. The current paper acts as a case study of the importance of using an anthropological approach for aDNA research on human remains. A critical evaluation of the ethically controversial paper by Bhattacharya et al. highlights how an understanding of skeletal biological processes, including normal and abnormal growth and development, taphonomic processes, environmental context, and close attention to ethical issues of dealing with human remains, is vital to scientific interpretations. To this end, close collaboration with palaeopathologists and local archaeologists through appropriate peer-reviewed journals will add to the rigour of scientific interpretation and circumvent misinterpretation.
There are a series of conclusions about the study and what they found during their research. I’m not going to publish them all here because you can read that for yourself. I will note, however:

Close collaboration with archaeologists and/or palaeopathologists is a vital part of informed scientific research on human remains from the past. A nuanced understanding of skeletal biological processes and environmental context is essential for accurate scientific interpretation and for acting as a check on the ethics and legality of such research. Unfortunately, there was no scientific rationale to undertake genomic analyses of Ata because the skeleton is normal, the identified genetic mutations are possibly coincidental, and none of them are known to be strongly associated with skeletal dysplasias that would affect the phenotype at this young age. We caution DNA researchers about getting involved in cases that lack clear context and legality, or where the remains have resided in private collections. In the case of Ata, costly and time-consuming scientific testing using whole genome techniques was unnecessary and unethical.
I, of course, would hope that this would close the book on this controversy, but nothing in the UFO field ever goes away. Remember the Alien Autopsy? There are those who believe that some of it, or
Creation of the alien for the autopsy.
all of it, is real. Doesn’t matter that the men who created the hoax have admitted it. Doesn’t matter that we have photographs of them putting the alien together. Doesn’t matter that we have drawings of what they were going to do. There are people who will never let go.

So, I’m sure it well be the same here. No matter what the scientific research says, no matter the qualifications of those conducting the research have, the refrain will always be, “Government conspiracy to hide the truth.” This matter should be closed now, but we all know what will happen. The truth will be buried under a pile of crap because “I want to believe.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thomas DuBose and the Switched Roswell Debris

Let’s chase a footnote or two, something we haven’t done for a while. I was reading a paper that was discussing the debris displayed on the floor in Brigadier General Roger Ramey’s office. Photographs of the debris were found decades ago and some of the
Brigadier General Roger Ramey and
Thomas DuBose (seated) looking at
the material on the floor in
Ramey's office.
negatives are housed in the Special Collections in the library at the University of Texas at Arlington. It is clear in the uncropped photographs that the material on the floor of Ramey’s office is a weather balloon and the torn-up remnants of a rawin reflector. The discussion was that the material shown there had been switched from the real debris that Major Jesse Marcel had brought from Roswell. In this latest analysis, it was said that the debris had not been switched, which, of course, means that a weather balloon had been brought from Roswell by Marcel. You can read about this here:

An Extraterrestrial Flying Disk Crashed Near Roswell in 1947: Not a UFO

The specific quote in that paper concerning all this is, “Decades later, during an interview, DuBose was asked if the original debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched with the remnants of a weather balloon [as Marcel had claimed]. DuBose answered that the material was never switched.”

Footnotes in that article, lead us to Kal Korff. That specific quote is in the middle of information that was attributed to Korff in an article that appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer Volume 21.4, found at:

Specifically, the quote is this:

Q. There are two researchers ([Don] Schmitt and Randle) [parenthetical statement in the original] who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there in its place.
A. [DuBose] Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
Q. So what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought from Roswell?
A. That’s absolutely right.

Later, to reinforce this idea, Korff in that same article wrote:

Q. Did you get a chance to read the material and look at the pictures?
A. Yes, and I studied the pictures very carefully.
Q. Do you recognize that material?
A. Oh yes. That’s the material that Marcel brought into Fort Worth from Roswell.
Given the way the article is structured and the information provided, that would be the end of the trail. Korff provided no footnotes or references for the quoted material, only that DuBose denied the material had been switched. It leaves the impression that Korff might have conducted the interview, though that is not said anywhere in the article. We just have DuBose quoted as the source with no information on how those quotes were gathered.

That might have been a problem for someone not immersed in the Roswell minutia who wished to chase footnotes. I know, however, where the quotes come from originally. They appeared in Korff’s less than accurate account of his alleged investigation into the Roswell case. He wrote on page 129 of the hardback edition of his crummy book:

In a revealing interview he granted to UFO researcher and television producer Jamie Shandera, DuBose put to rest the “mystery” of the so-called substituted wreckage and has exposed it for what it is – another Major Marcel myth! The initials “JHS” stand for Jaime Shandera and the initials “GTD” denote Gen. Thomas DuBose.
In this version, which now gives us more information about who conducted the interview (including the initials of the participants rather than a “Q” and “A”), Korff wrote:

JHS. There are two researchers (Schmitt and Randle) [parenthetical statement in the original] who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there in its place.
GTD. Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
JHS. So what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought from Roswell?
GTD. That’s absolutely right.
JHS: Could General Ramey or someone else have ordered a switch without you knowing it?
GTD: I have dame good eyesight – well, it was better back then than it is now – and I was there, and I had charge of the material, and it was never switched. [Emphasis added] [by Korff in the original].
You’ll note that this is the same interview that appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer. The footnotes in the book take us to Focus, Volume 5, (New Series) dated June 30, 1990. It was also published in the MUFON UFO Journal, No. 273, in January 1991. The quotes are the same in all these various locations, so that we have traced the original back to interviews conducted by Shandera.

Here’s what we learn about those interviews. “…Gen. DuBose was recently interviewed first by telephone and later at his home by Fair Witness Project [Bill Moore’s organization to investigate UFOs] Board member Jaime Shandera.”

We now know who gathered the information, when it was gathered (meaning late 1990 and early 1991), and what it is claimed to have been said. But, unlike many of these chasing footnotes articles, there is more to the story. I have a great deal of other information that affects how this all plays out and it was information available to anyone who looked for more than just their confirming evidence...

First, according to both General and Mrs. DuBose, Shandera neither recorded the conversation held at the DuBose home, nor did he take notes. We’re left with only Shandera’s claims of what was said, and the information in quotation marks is more likely a paraphrase than actual quotes. There is no way to verify the accuracy of the quotes.
Although Shandera has been asked, he apparently did not record the telephone conversation either. He has never suggested that he took any notes during that conversation, so, once again, we have no way to verify the veracity of his claims.

On the other hand, DuBose was interviewed in Florida by Don Schmitt and Stan Friedman on August 10, 1991. That interview was recorded on video tape so that a record of DuBose’s exact words is available for review. In that interview, DuBose was asked pointedly if he had ever seen the Roswell debris and he responded, "NEVER!" That means, quite clearly, that the debris in Ramey’s office was not what had been brought from Roswell.

After the Shandera interview was published, DuBose was again interviewed and asked if he had ever seen the real debris and again he answered, "NO!" And, again, that refutes the information that is traced back to a single source, which is Shandera.

This could be construed as just another debate between two factions with no way to resolve it. However, DuBose spoke to others when asked about this particular point. Billy Cox, at the time a writer for Florida Today interviewed DuBose for an article he wrote for the November 24, 1991, edition of the newspaper. Cox reported that DuBose told him essentially the same story that he told the others except Shandera. Here was a disinterested third-party reporting on the same set of circumstances, but he didn't get Shandera's version of the events.

In a letter Cox send me dated September 30, 1991:

I was aware of the recent controversy generated by an interview he (DuBose) had with Jaime Shandera, during which he stated that the display debris at Fort Worth was genuine UFO wreckage and not a weather balloon, as he had previously stated. But I chose not to complicate matters by asking him to illuminate what he had told Shandera; instead, I simply asked him, without pressure, to recall events as he remembered them...he seemed especially adamant about his role in the Roswell case. While he stated that he didn't think the debris was extraterrestrial in nature (though he had no facts to support his opinion), he was insistent that the material that Ramey displayed for the press was in fact a weather balloon, and that he had personally transferred the real stuff in a lead-lined mail pouch to a courier going to Washington ...I can only conclude that the Shandera interview was the end result of the confusion that might occur when someone attempts to press a narrow point of view upon a 90-year-old man. I had no ambiguity in my mind that Mr. DuBose was telling me the truth.
Cox isn't the only one to hear that version of events from DuBose. Kris Palmer, a former researcher with NBC's Unsolved Mysteries reported much the same thing in 1991. When she spoke with DuBose, he told her that the real debris had gone on to Washington in a sealed pouch and that a weather balloon had been on the floor in General Ramey's office.

Don Ecker
But the most enlightening of the interviews comes from Don Ecker formerly of UFO magazine and now the host of Dark Matters Radio on KGRA digital radio. Shandera had called Ecker, telling him that he would arrange for Ecker to interview DuBose about this issue. Ecker, however, didn't wait and called DuBose on his own. DuBose then offered the weather balloon/switch version of events. When Ecker reported that to Shandera, Shandera said for him to wait. He'd talk to DuBose.

After Shandera talked to DuBose, he called Ecker and said, "Now call him." DuBose then said that the debris on the floor hadn't been switched and that it was the stuff that Marcel had brought from Roswell. It should be pointed out here that Palmer called DuBose after all this took place. Without Shandera there to prime the pump, DuBose told weather balloon/switch version of events. It was only after close questioning by Shandera could that version be heard. It is not unlike a skillful attorney badgering a witness in a volatile trial. Under the stress of the interview and the close questioning, the witness can be confused for a period of time. Left alone to sort out the details, the correct version of events bubbles to the surface.

The point here is that sometimes following the footnotes to their source isn’t enough. You have to explore other avenues of information to ensure that the footnotes are accurate. In this case, because I’m immersed in the minutia of Roswell, I knew where to look for the additional information and that additional information paints a different picture than that found if you only followed the footnotes to Korff.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Ed Ruppelt and Thomas Mantell

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Ed Ruppelt did us no favors. And as you all know, I have been reexamining the Mantell case and found a few problems in the way it has been reported in the past. I don’t think there is anything nefarious in those mistakes, it’s just that I have access to information that they might not have had. Donald Keyhoe didn’t have the case file or the accident report, but I do. Ed Ruppelt didn’t have access to information about the Skyhooks, and I don’t know how good his weather data were, but I have information for both of those.

Ruppelt thought that the Navy Skyhook might solve the mystery of what Thomas Mantell had chased back in January 1948. He thought that a balloon launched from the Clinton County Air Force Base (Wilmington, Ohio) on the morning of January 7 might have drifted far enough south to be the culprit. He wrote:

The group who supervise the contracts for all the skyhook research flights for the Air Force are located at Wright Field, so I called them. They had no records on flights in 1948 but they did think that the big balloons were being launched from Clinton County AFB in southern Ohio at that time. They offered to get the records of the winds on January 7 and see what flight path a balloon launched in southwestern Ohio would have taken…
He also admitted that he couldn’t prove it, but thought it was a good explanation for the Mantell case. He also wrote:
Somewhere in the archives of the Air Force or the Navy there are records that will show whether or not a balloon was launched from Clinton County AFB, on January 7, 1948. I never could find those records. People who were working with the early skyhook projects “remember” operating out of Clinton County AFB in 1947 but refuse to be pinned down to a January 7 flight. Maybe they said.
Sightings reported on January 7, 1948 through the center
of Kentucky. None of these sightings were made or
verified by the Godman AAF tower crew.
When you line up the sightings in central Kentucky with the launch site in south central Ohio, it certainly does suggest a Skyhook launched from there could have easily been over central Kentucky at the right time. Sure, the times are a little problematic, but there are reasonable explanations for that. It seems to work out and a large number of people bought the solution, even if the precise evidence wasn’t there.
The trouble is that we now know that the Skyhooks weren’t being launched from Clinton County AFB until a couple of years later. And we have the winds data from that location as well. Though Ruppelt seemed to believe that the wind was blowing from the northeast, the weather data shows that it was coming from the west. Ruppelt’s explanation fails on those two points. Besides, the tower crew at Godman Army Air Field all reported the object was to the southwest of them. Although alerted to a possible object to the east, over Lexington, Kentucky, they never saw anything in that direction. Other law enforcement agencies told them of the object to the southwest of them, the one they tracked.
Weather data in Lexington, Kentucky on January 7, 1948 showing that the winds were from the southwest
and the west southwest, suggesting a balloon in that area would have been moving in a direction opposite of what
Ruppelt had predicted.

For those paying attention, this simply means that Mantell did not chase a Skyhook launched from Clinton County. The source of the balloon was actually in Minnesota, but we’ll deal with that in another post.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Finding the Ruth Barnett Diary

I recently posted that we had been looking for any documents, diaries, journals, personal letters or anything else from July 1947 that mentioned the Roswell case without luck. That wasn’t exactly the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This doesn’t relate directly to Roswell, but it had been attached to the information about it for decades.

Barney Barnett claimed to have seen a crashed flying saucer on the Plains of San Agustin. There are those who believe that this happened in July 1947 and the wrecked craft had collided with the one that fell on the Foster (Brazel) ranch. I don’t subscribe to that theory and believe the evidence for it is weak at best and more likely nonexistent. But, as I say, that’s my opinion.

Magdalena Ranger Station at the edge of the Plains of
San Agustin. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
As we, and by we, I mean Don Schmitt and I investigated the Roswell case, we were also interested in what Barney Barnett had said. I had been in touch with Alice Knight, the niece of Ruth and Barney Barnett. I asked, as had others, if there were any written documents that related to what Barney had claimed to have seen. The answer had always been, “No.”

Then, one day, a couple of decades ago, as I talked with her, the answer changed to, “I found a diary for 1947.”

This was a “Daily Reminder” book that someone had given to Ruth Barnett. She kept is faithfully for the year of 1947. And for the dates of the crash (and I mean dates because there have been a number of them offer) it seems that Barney was in no position to see anything out on the Plains. He was in Socorro on those days, including July 5, the date that Gerald Anderson claimed he had seen Barney on the Plains.

The point is the diary, however. We know where Barney was and what he was doing. During that first week in July, there is no hint that Barney had seen anything extraordinary. That sort of documentation, from the right time, is difficult to ignore.

Oh sure, the answer is that Barney had been sworn to secrecy and, of course, didn’t say a word about it to Ruth. She wouldn’t know anything about the crash and therefore couldn’t have written anything about it in her diary.

But, there is another aspect to this. According to family and friends, Barney told them about the crash at a Thanksgiving dinner in 1947. That means the secret was out and Barney felt comfortable enough to talk about it to family. But, again, the diary holds no information about this event either.

I think everyone sees the problem. We find a document written in 1947 by someone who might not have seen the crash but whose husband did. She didn’t mention it in her diary. Not when it happened and not when he told her, other members of the family and friends about it. This, I believe, argues forcibly against a crash on the Plains in July 1947. We find a document, and there is absolutely no hint about flying saucers or crashes in it. Somehow, this bit of information is overlooked when we talk about the Plains… It should be one of the first things mentioned.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Jesse Marcel's Journal

Jesse Marcel, Sr.
As you all know, one of the problems with the Roswell case is that we have been unable to find any letters, diaries, journals, or notes that were written in 1947 that would tell us about the crash. There have been hints about this, but to this point, none of those hints produced anything that is conclusive. Inez Wilcox, wife of the Roswell sheriff, had written a story about her “four years in the county jail,” talking about what it was like to be the wife of the sheriff. Although the original article contained nothing about the crash, she added a page later that talked about that. Unfortunately, the document was undated, so didn’t help us at all. She could have written her story sometime after 1978 when Jesse Marcel, Sr. told Stan Friedman and Len Stringfield about picking up pieces of a flying saucer in New Mexico.

Jesse Marcel, Sr. Photo
copyright by Kevin
Now I learn, through emails sent to me by several colleagues, that we might have some of those documents. Christina Stock reported in the Roswell Daily Record, that Marcel Sr. might just have left that sort of documentation. Jesse Marcel III, the grandson of Jesse Sr. and son of Jesse Sr., announced that they had found a “treasure trove” of documents relating to his grandfather’s military service, including a journal kept by the senior Marcel. If such a journal contains references to what he saw on the Brazel ranch that day in July 1947, and if it contains descriptions of the find, and if it makes any reference to alien beings, that would be huge. Here would be a document that contains information written in 1947 while still fresh in the mind and that would not be contaminated by everything that followed when the Roswell case exploded into the mainstream in the late 1970s.

As I say, this could be the sort of documentation that we all have been waiting for. True, it’s not something official from the US government, but it would be something written in the proper time frame and that would make it a very important document. The lack of any thing like that, written at the time in the form of letters, diaries or journals, has always been a worry for all of us. If this pans out, it might be the key to unlocking the mystery.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Donald Keyhoe and Thomas Mantell

For reasons that will become clear later, meaning in the future and not in this post, I have been reviewing some of the Mantell case. I won’t bother telling you that it involved Thomas Mantell who died while chasing an unidentified object. What I want to mention are two things, both relevant to understanding the case, but that have gotten buried in the minutia of the sighting.

Donald Keyhoe
Donald Keyhoe, when he was writing about the case in his book, The Flying Saucers Are Real, thought the balloon explanation was wrong. He wrote, “To fly the 90 miles from Madisonville to Fort Knox in 30 minutes, a balloon would have required a wind of 180 m.p.h. After traveling at this hurricane speed, it would have to come to a dead stop above Godman Field.”

Keyhoe, who didn’t have access to the official file on the case as I do now, made two assumptions that were incorrect. The first was that the object would have had to travel 90 miles in 30 minutes. That was assuming that the object wasn’t seen to the northeast of Madisonville and to the southwest of Godman. This is actually the case. The time calculation is flawed based on his assumptions.

The other problem is that the object was never over Godman Field. Looking at the case file, those at Godman who reported the object were looking to the southwest. Since the object was never over the field, his calculation of the distances are equally flawed.

The record shows that none of those with Mantell saw the object when first asked to intercept it. They had to be directed toward it by those in the Godman Tower until Mantell spotted it in front of him and at a higher altitude.

The point here, which is sort of about chasing footnotes, is that many have used Keyhoe as a primary source. The flaw there is that Keyhoe’s information came, not from the documentation and the investigation, but from his sources inside the Pentagon. While he did get many facts correct about UFOs and the investigation of them, he did not have access to the documents in the Mantell case. Had he had those, he would have known the truth about the distances. This is why I chase footnotes and try to get to the original source. There will be a part two on this, because it is clear that the official file is in error as well.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Curse of Oak Island - Season Six Guesses

As I was sitting around, waiting for summer to officially begin in a couple of hours, I realized that the Lagina boys would be back at Oak Island if there was really a plan for Season Six. I had noticed, at the end of Season Five, as they sat around in their war room, that Dan Blankenship didn’t seem to be too enthusiastic for another assault on the island and said that it wasn’t his money to spend. They also had laid out all the treasure they have found over the five seasons that looked somewhat impressive until you realized that most of it had been found on the surface and not buried deep in the ground. Some of it was completely irrelevant. In those five seasons they hadn’t found much of anything to support the idea of a treasure on the island.

I had said that Season Six might not happen because it seems they had exhausted nearly every possibility of a treasure and without some positive results, they might just chuck it in… unless, of course, the ratings suggested something else. High ratings might be producing a bit of a treasure for those involved with the show.Anyway, I queried a friend in Nova Scotia and asked him if History and the Laginas had returned to Oak Island because, if they were going to return, they should be there by now. Remember, last year they showed up in May and here we are in the middle of June. He told me, “I believe they’re gearing up for yet another season, although I haven’t seen any recent funding announcement from the government.”

I also learned that The Curse of Oak Island is History’s Number One program and that it is the top cable program in its Tuesday night time slot. I know that I was there each week, yelling at the TV because I couldn’t believe the conclusions there were drawing on the material they were finding. But even with those negatives, meaning not actually finding anything of value, the ratings would dictate another season and that seems to be a good guess now. There will be a new season.

Excavations at the Money Pit.
But remember the hype from the beginning of Season Five. They “found” the actual “money pit,” which meant they thought they had located the original hole, though it was hinted at something better and more exciting. And, each week we were left with something of a cliff hanger as they teased about important discoveries to be revealed later. For me, when the season ended, I was disappointed because they had not found the pot of gold (or vault full of gold, or whatever) but just some trinkets close to the surface that in and of themselves weren’t really valuable.

So now, maybe they’ll build that great coffer dam to find out what secrets are hidden on the beach that had been created with the coconut husks and that supposedly contained the drains that booby trapped the Money Pit. Maybe they’ll find the rest of the human bones that suggest two people had died on the island in the late 17th century. I don’t know what they really expect to find, other than high ratings and sponsor’s cash.

Yes, I’ll be watching each week and I expect to be disappointed each week, but on the bright side, I think they are solving the mystery of Oak Island. It’s just not the answer they had wanted.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Levelland Sightings and the Condon Committee

I had always wondered why the Condon Committee, that University of Colorado study of UFOs financed by the Air Force, which is to say us, never bothered looking into the Levelland UFO sightings of November 1957. In their final report there is a single mention of Levelland in which they report, “Magnetic mapping of automobiles involved in particularly puzzling UFO reports of past years, such as the November 1957 incidents in Levelland, Texas, would have been
The Levelland sign. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle.
most desirable, but the cars were no longer available.”

An interesting idea and the scientists working with Condon had pointed out that the manufacture of the cars’ steel components such as hoods and doors would have created a magnetic signature. Even if the cars involved in the incidents had not been mapped prior to the sighting, those manufactured at the same time, at the same place, would have a magnetic signature that matched those from the UFO event. It meant that the magnetic signature of all the cars were similar and any major deviation would have been significant.

They did follow up on this, after a fashion. They reported that two of their investigators, Fred Hooven and David Moyer (actually part of the Ford Motor Company) investigated a case (Case No. 12 in the official report) from the winter of 1967, in which a woman said that a lighted UFO hovered over her car for several miles and that it interfered with the electrical functions of her car. Hooven and Moyer said that an examination of the car some two months later found all the electrical systems working as they should and that they discovered no magnetic anomalies when the magnetically mapped the automobile.

I will note here that it seemed a real effort was made to investigate the case including extensive examination of the car by Ford engineers. What they found was a car in poor repair with a radio antenna that was broken so that it only picked up the local stations, a fan belt that was loose so that it was not charging properly, that the speedometer had been broken, repaired and apparently broken again so that there were speed functions on the dashboard display and that oil gauge was malfunctioning because of leakage in the electrical system. In other words, it seemed that everything the witness had reported about car trouble was related to the car itself and not some sort of outside influence such as the hovering UFO.

They, that is Hooven and Moyer, reported that she seemed to be a nice woman who was not prone to hysteria and who was competent, meaning I suppose, that she was intelligent and wasn’t mentally ill in some way. However, they noted that her memories of the UFO incident were not without problems including that she remembered a bright, full moon when it was actually in its last quarter and that though she claimed to have seen the UFO in her rearview mirror, the configuration of the car and the placement of the mirror meant that the UFO couldn’t have been seen in the way she described.

There was a second case (No. 39) from the fall of 1967 and in a location noted as the South Pacific, that had somewhat similar results. Again, the Condon Committee doesn’t supply the name of the witness, only that he was a businessman who said that his car had been stopped by a UFO sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m. The lights failed and the radio went dead. He also reported that he felt something pressing down on his head and shoulders. Through a break in the fog, he saw a UFO that passed over his car and stopped, hovering over the highway. He thought it was about thirty feet in diameter, red-orange, saucer shaped but with a fuzzy outline. It had rotating lights and wobbled as it moved and hovered about 160 feet above the ground. He watched it for about a minute and a half, before it took off into the fog. When it was gone the radio came back on, the lights brightened and he was able to start his car. (Note here that he had to take an action. The car did not spontaneously restart.)

Once he had started the car, he drove to the nearest town in search of someone to talk to. He didn’t find any additional witnesses. Eventually the case made its way to NICAP. That investigation showed that the car’s clock had stopped at 3:46 a.m. and, according to the unnamed witness, the clock had been working perfectly prior to the sighting. Interestingly, they found that stereo tapes that had been in the car at the time of the sighting had lost some of their fidelity, especially in the lower ranges and that the rear window had some sort of distortion in the glass.

The Condon Committee investigation was carried out by Roy Craig, who recorded the interviews with the witness and gathered additional details. In this case they found a car of similar manufacture and engaged in a magnetic mapping of the hoods of both. There were a couple of points where the magnetic signature differed significantly but for the most part, the magnetic signatures of the two cars were similar.

What I found interesting is that Craig reported that the radio’s FM band no longer worked, though, according to the witness, it had been fine until the sighting. Five days after the sighting all that could be heard was a loud hum across the whole FM spectrum.

And, now, according to the witness, he was no long certain that the clock had been working in the days prior to the sighting. The clock stoppage might not have been relevant.

Craig was bothered by the witness’ vague description of the object and with the inconsistencies in his estimates of the size and distance as they were determined later by measurement. He was also worried that no one else had seen the object and that the car didn’t seem to show an exposure to a strong magnetic field. Craig wrote, “…car body did not show evidence of exposure to strong magnetic fields, a more detailed investigation of this event as a source related to electro-magnetic effect on automobiles did not seem warranted.”

These were the only cases of reported electromagnetic effects stalling cars but they did look into other aspects such as power outages caused by UFOs. In their research of several of these blackouts, they could not establish a causal relationship. In other words, the evidence didn’t support the idea that a UFO had been
Location of the first Levelland sighting.
Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
responsible for a blackout and I have to agree with that assessment.

The purpose here, however, was to try to understand why the Condon Committee seemed to ignore the Levelland case. It differed from those they did investigate because it had multiple, independent witnesses, and included law enforcement officers among those who had seen the object or the light.

The papers, documents, research, rough drafts and other material collected during the project were eventually sent to the American Philosophical Society Library. It turns out that they did make a study of the Levelland case though it seemed to have been based solely on the Project Blue Book files, what NICAP reported, and what was found in Dallas Times Herald newspaper.

Although there seemed to have been no original research, meaning they didn’t interview any of the witnesses and noted that the vehicles involved couldn’t be located (I have to wonder if this was just an excuse, though 10 years had passed and the effort to locate those vehicles would have been extremely difficult) they didn’t take their investigation any further. It amounted to a synopsis of the sources quoted, a short discussion on areas of further investigation that was only about related weather phenomena, especially ball lightning, which was the Air Force final conclusion, none of which made it into the final report.

At the end of the Condon Levelland report, there was a series of hypotheses suggesting solutions. This seems to have been taken almost directly from an Air Force document about the case. They simply did not bother to follow up on this case, though they noted its importance. There were multiple witnesses to the suppression of the electrical system made independently and there were multiple witnesses who reported an actual, physical object either close to the ground or sitting on the ground.

In the end, I’m unsure of the motives here. We know that Condon was instructed about the conclusions of his study prior the beginning of the work, and we know that he adhered to those instructions. We see evidence in other aspects of this research where solid leads were virtually ignored (Shag Harbour, though it could be argued that the Canadian case fell outside the scope of their project), and we see that sometimes they gave little more than lip service to the investigation. I had thought we’d find some more evidence of the committee ignored a solid case, but given the circumstances, it might just have been impossible for them to do more than they did with Levelland.

However, the Levelland case provided some interesting dynamics such as the craft interacting with the environment, multiple independent witnesses, and an opportunity for some scientific investigation. It suggested that they look a little deeper into this idea of electromagnetic interference, which they did, sort of. Instead, they found a way to ignore Levelland and move onto other aspects of their research. This was at best, a missed opportunity and at worst just another example of how not to actually conduct research.