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.