Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rob Mercer and the Black Vault

I learned this morning (February 19) that many of the documents from the Project Blue Book days located by Rob Mercer through some very nice detective work, can now be accessed at the Black Vault, hosted by John Greenewald. As most of you know, the Black Vault is a huge site of documents recovered through FOIA
John Greenewald
(Photo copyright by Kevin Randle)
requests filed by John, and other documents provided by those who had recovered them in the past… which is to say, I suppose, that it is a huge sharing site that provides an important feature for those of us interested in UFOs including information on the people involved and what the government has learned and stored.

Rob Mercer had discovered that a box of Blue Book material was for sale on Craig’s List and bought it. Turned out it was a treasure trove of important information that had originally belonged to Carmon Marano, one of the last officers who worked at Blue Book. You can learn more about this here:

And you can listen to my interview with Rob Mercer here:

And you can listen to Carmon Marano talk about his time at Project Blue Book and how he obtained what turned out to be boxes of the UFO related material here:

Or read about it here:

I did ask Rob how the material had ended up at the Black Vault and he told me (well, answered an email):

I joined up with John last November to help with his UFO investigations team.  He knew about my Blue Book find and told me I could share some on his site if I wanted.  I had been sharing a few of them on my site for a few years, but never really got them on there the way I wanted because of the volume.  I had been wanting to put a collection together called "From the Desk of Project Blue Book" 
for some time, because that’s pretty much what it is.  I still have the case files to scan and put on, along with slides correspondences and some other miscellaneous papers. 
      For the last several weeks I have been going through them again and have found a few items that did not make it into Blue Books archives as far as reports. One item that comes to mind is a three page hand written letter from a gentleman in 1969, that witnessed an event in the 1920s in Phoenix Arizona. It is on the Black Vault.
As you can see, there is more to be scanned and digitized. As anyone who has scanned almost anything knows, it can be a long and involved process, but Rob has been working toward that end. Now, some of it can be found and viewed by those interested in it.

As a side note, I found that the information Rob had on the Socorro UFO sighting to be useful in my research and in the writing of my book, Encounter in the Desert which was published last October. For those interested, it can be found in your local bookstore and online at Amazon at:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Project Blue Book and the Missing Cases

As happens so often, I’m working on one project and get diverted to another. This time I was looking through the Project Blue Book file index and noticed that many of the reports were labeled as “case missing.” There was a solution attached to the sightings, but, of course the index told me nothing of the case.

I made a quick count, and given that there are a couple of pages missing in the copy of the index that I have, and given that the notations are sometimes obscured and some of the pages are barely readable, my count isn’t the most accurate. It does, however, reveal a trend that is somewhat alarming.

Part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one time how to Project Blue Book. Photo courtesy of USAF.
By my count, there are over 300 cases that are missing. Most have cards in the files with a little information on them… but this does demonstrate some of the rather sloppy gathering of information that went on… or maybe just suggests that some of those working at Blue Book over the years weren’t as careful as they might have been.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking. Just what were these cases?

I went through a couple of the microfilms to see what the project cards had listed so that we all would have an idea about them. Following is a sample of what I found.

On December 26, 1956, in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, the witnesses, who were civilians and military, watched a white, egg-shaped object with a red tinge around the edges. It was the size of a small grapefruit. It flashed with a very bright red light that was around a tenth of the size of the object. It was in sight for fifteen to twenty-five minutes.

An unidentified officer noted on the project card, “Concur with the reporting officer that sighting caused by a/c. Although there was a helicopter in the area and the details of the sighting indicate that this was the cause, the helicopter landed ten minutes before the object disappeared. However, time in sight might have been incorrectly estimated. Therefore, prob [sic] aircraft is evaluation of this sight[ing].”

The details are somewhat sparse but the report seems to indicate that the object looked to be the size of a small grapefruit rather than actually being that small. I’m a little amused that the “concurring officer,” whoever he might have been, tells us that the sighting was caused by an aircraft because there was a helicopter in the area, but adds that the helicopter landed before the object disappeared. Seems to be a bit contradictory to me.

However, it is fair to note, without knowing more about this case, and basing it only on the few lines on the project card, that it is difficult to argue with the conclusion. But then it is difficult to believe that one or more of these witnesses (and I deduced there was more than one based on the “source,” which was labeled as civilian and military), wouldn’t have been able to identify the object had it been that helicopter.

In another of those missing cases, that would have sent me on still another diversion a couple of years ago, we learn that on January 27, 1957, near Hellenburg, Germany, a civilian witness said that he (yes, I’m assuming the witness was male based on the period of the sighting, meaning more than half a century ago) saw a bell-shaped object that was intense black-white [and yes, it says that on the card] with a fiery red trail… [It] was observed for only 3 -  4 seconds. Exploded before it hit the ground.”

In the comments section, an officer wrote, “Everything here suggests that the object was, without a doubt, a bolide (fireball). See Dr. Olivier’s and Dr. La Paz rpts [reports].”

While it is probably a meteor and even with the officer writing that it was identified without a doubt, the case I labeled as “Probably Astronomical.” I just find that a little funny. And those reports by Olivier and La Paz were nowhere to be found as the index suggested.

The last one I’ll mention here is from Georgetown, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1957. The source is listed as a civilian and a FBI report (yes, a FBI report is listed as a source), which is somewhat curious. The summary said, “A very lengthy report to the FBI, which outlines a number of theories concerning ‘flying saucers,’ makes only brief mention of a UFO sighting. A few days after reading books by so-called UFO experts Scully and Keyhow [sic] source ‘saw a group of saucers.’…”

According to the comments, “Only the date is firmly established. Files show no reports of any strange or unusual objects for that particular date or area. Source is obviously a strong believer in ‘saucers’ which may have colored his very limited report.”

This case is somewhat revealing, providing clues about the thought processes at Blue Book. Their search of the files was only a search of the Air Force files at Blue Book and if a case was not in their files, then it simply didn’t exist, at least to them.

In searching the databases available to me in 2018, I found a listing that suggested that this as a disk-shaped object, but the source for that information was the Blue Book files. There is no indication on the project card of what shape the objects might have had. It only mentions saucers and that it was a daylight sighting.

Of course, with my access to many additional databases, I carried the search a little further but I wasn’t able to find anything more on the sighting, which is to say, that I didn’t find anything. Something might be there, especially for those who can access newspaper files. I did try the Black Vault, but could find nothing relating to this particular case there either.

I will note here, that most of the cases that are labeled as missing are of the same caliber, which means that I attach no significance to the fact they are missing. The problem is probably more related to sloppiness rather than attempting to hide anything because if you were hiding something, you wouldn’t list it in the index, noting that it was missing.

This rather quick survey, which allowed me to see some other things, is that many of the early cases were, in fact, classified. I found nothing listed as “top secret,” but there were many listed as “secret,” or “restricted,” and later as “confidential,” when the classification system was reorganized. Later, most of the files were not classified at all unless there was a national security aspect to them. That normally related to collection methods, though in the Belt, Montana case in 1967, the intrusion of a UFO over missile silos had national security implications.

The significance here is probably that some 300 cases are missing, but the cases themselves don’t seem to be all that important. It shows that those at Blue Book weren’t taking this seriously. They had reached a conclusion, or it might be said that their superiors had reached a conclusion, and they weren’t going to do anything to suggest those superiors might be wrong.

One thought did cross my mind. When there were inspections of their operation, and there would be inspections, how did they explain the missing cases? Could they just blame the earlier administrations… or did the inspectors, knowing the overall opinion of UFOs, just ignore the missing cases? There is nothing to suggest the missing cases were classified, and given that, there probably wouldn’t have been repercussions.

Anyway, this was something that I discovered that I found to be somewhat amusing. I thought I would share it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Project Moon Shadow, Randy Cramer and the Templeton Spaceman

Yes, I have hit a dry spell. There really isn’t anything new to say about Curse of Oak Island as they chase the Knights Templar and other false leads. They haven’t found anything significant but you have to give them credit for keeping this thing going for so long with so little to show for it.

But, in the last couple of days I have been asked a couple of questions and saw a picture of a “spaceman” on the Internet, so I thought I might combine a couple of these things. I suppose I could break it up into a couple of new posts, but there just isn’t that much to say about any of this that hasn’t been said before.

I was asked about NASA’s, or maybe the US’s “secret space program,” a ridiculous concept that belongs right up there is with the contactees of the 1950s and the gunman on the Grassy Knoll.

First, there was this nonsense of Project Moon Shadow, which apparently recruited kids as young as four to introduce them to the military operations on Mars and in space. Sounds like Ender Wiggin, recruited to fight the “buggers” in the science fiction novel, Ender’s Game. Anyway, Randy Cramer, who originally came out as Captain Kaye, said that he would taken from his bed for days or weeks at a time and then returned to his bed within minutes of his disappearance so it was never apparent that he had been gone. At 17, he was “involuntarily recruited” (I think the real term is “drafted”) to help protect five civilian settlements on Mars. Never mind that there is no corroborating evidence for this, that we’ve had spacecraft (as have other nations) in orbit around Mars for decades and we’ve had rovers on Mars since the 20th century. There is nothing seen there that would suggest any of this… oh, wait, I forgot, NASA and the other world space programs routinely delete anything that would suggest this is true which is why we don’t see it. It is a secret after all.

Nope. I don’t believe any of this, and while the stories being told aren’t even good science fiction. I’m not sure why anyone would accept any of this as true, but apparently there are many who do. If you’re interested in these tales as just stories, fine, but if you believe this nonsense you are in need of some professional help.

Solway Spaceman aka the Templeton Spaceman
Second, on one of the news feeds, was the Solway Spaceman or the Cumberland Spaceman. The picture was taken back in the 1960s by Jim Templeton so it is also known as the Templeton Spaceman. Anyway, he didn’t see the figure in the viewfinder of the camera as he took a picture of his daughter. It looked like someone in a space suit complete with visor and this puzzled Templeton. He took the photograph to the police, who did investigate but didn’t find a solution that was satisfactory.

British UFO investigator, David Clarke, has proposed what seems like the best solution. According to him, Templeton’s wife, Annie, who was wearing a light blue dress and had short dark hair, wandered into the frame, unseen by Templeton. The camera viewfinder only showed about 70% of what would be captured on film. With her back to the camera, and her light blue dress washed out by the bright sun, it is possible that it was her in the picture. According to Clarke, other pictures taken at the same time, showed the dress in the same washed out color and the haircut that suggests some sort of helmet.

To me, this very plausible explanation makes sense. I mean, if there had been a spaceman wandering around the park that day, wouldn’t there have been other reports, and possibly other pictures. Looking at it with the thought it might be a woman with her back to the camera, you can see that as well.

The problem here, with both these stories is that one is absurd and the second is an optical illusion. Both have solutions. One you don’t believe because there is no reliable, corroborative evidence and the other we know what was seen. Yet, both of them have popped up again, this week and we shouldn’t have to deal with either of them. As I have said in the past of many other UFO cases, these two should be relegated to footnotes if not forgotten completely. That, of course, will never happen and in ten years I’ll probably have to revisit these reports to explain all this again.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Curse of Oak Island and the Knights Templar Cross

I now understand why the Laginas boys are chasing the Knights Templar again. It has nothing to do with that lead cross recovered during one of the recent metal detector sweeps. I believe it has to do with the upcoming programs on History about the Knights Templar. It is known as cross (forgive the unintentional pun) pollination.

But first, I journey into the past. Remember that old program, Chasing UFOs? They went to Roswell, camped out on the debris field (or so they said) and found a button off an Air Force uniform that some said proved the Air Force had been there… but all it really proved was that someone didn’t know his or her history. In July 1947, when it is said the UFO crashed, the Air Force didn’t exist as a separate branch, and if a button from a Class A uniform was found that had any relevance, it would have been from an Army uniform. It was clear to me that someone had planted that button out there for those camping to find. Someone who didn’t know the history of the military and someone who didn’t know that the debris field had been searched many times by many people using a variety of methods and the button had escaped detection. For more information on this, see:

So now we move to the Curse of Oak Island, and it had seemed that they had abandoned the Knights Templar connection a couple of seasons ago. Now they were back following those leads, which took them again to Europe, particularly France, where they found a Templar cross carved into the stone of a dungeon. It was a strange looking cross, with the left arm longer than the right and a bit of a loop, or maybe an “eye” at the top. They point this out to us, calling it a Templar cross… But you can find the images for the Knights Templar cross here:

And none of them look like the cross on Oak Island or the one carved into the wall of that dungeon which is seen here.

And then, coincidentally, a cross made of lead, was found on Oak Island that bears a striking resemblance to the cross craved in the dungeon. Extraordinary coincidence, or maybe something a little bit sinister?

It seemed to me, as mentioned on the program, that the cross was in very good condition, and had it been hiding there on the island all these years, you would expect it to be somewhat degraded… but not it was buried and they had unearthed it during all their boring around on the island. It wouldn’t have been exposed to the elements they way it would have been on the surface.

I’m not sure that I buy that because even if buried, it would have been exposed to chemicals in the soil and to the water that seems to be so close to the surface. To me it looked too pristine.  But hey, just my opinion…

Until I saw the promo for the upcoming programs about the Knights Templar. Now it seems to be cross promotion and a way to spin off a new series because it is becoming clear that the Laginas aren’t going to find any treasure. They’ve played around on the island for years, brought in amazing technology, dug down to the bedrock in what they said was the original money pit and they have no treasure. The string has just about played out.