Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chasing More Footnotes


I have complained in the past that I am becoming less than thrilled with the UFO community. The reasons for this are varied but come down to a couple of basic ideas. One of those is that no matter how often a case is proven to be a hoax, a misidentification, a misinterpretation, or an inability to recognize the mundane, there are those who will argue the point forever. A recent post was partially inspired by this. How many times do we have to delve into the Oliver Lerch tale when everything that can be found points to an invention of the tale rather than a real event?

The point here, however, is that part of the problem is that some people who claim to be researchers or investigators just don’t follow the path to its end. This is what lead to the chasing of footnotes because sometimes the footnote is simply inadequate. Sometimes the information is not complete.

Not to pick on Richard Dolan, but just the other day as I was looking for something else, I noticed a couple of problems. These sorts of things are not restricted to Richard because we all have
Richard Dolan. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
fallen into the trap. On page 16 of his UFOs and the National Security State, he reported on a sighting by railroad engineer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who saw ten shiny disks on June 23. His footnote leads us to a number of sources, which cover a number of sightings in that same paragraph. Unfortunately, the information about the Cedar Rapids sighting is wrong, as I have noted in an earlier posting. The report was not made until after the Arnold sighting, was apparently for the afternoon of June 24 rather than the 23, and the railroad man was not in Iowa, but in Joliet, Illinois. Among those who reported this information as Dolan had, were Dick Hall and Frank Edwards. I believe Hall got it from Edwards, who must have seen something in the Cedar Rapids Gazette about the sighting a couple of days after Arnold. Edwards, or those others, had not followed the story to the source, or they would have found the discrepancies.

As I say, not to pick on Dolan, but later, on page 25, he wrote about Bill Brazel and the finding of the metal debris from the Roswell crash. The footnote takes us to Stan Friedman’s Crash at Corona in which he quotes from an interview with Bill Brazel. The quotes are accurate, for the most part, but there is no footnote to explain how the information was gathered because Friedman supplies no information about that. The trail ends there.

However, I know how that interview was conducted because I had
Stan Friedman. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
arranged it, and Don Schmitt and I were there. I recorded it. The more accurate footnote would have taken us not to Friedman’s book, but to UFO Crash at Roswell, where the footnote explained the circumstances of the interview. In other words, the original source was that interview that Don and I conducted and not the information printed in Friedman’s book.

A side problem with this is that Friedman altered one portion of the interview without justification. Those who follow Dolan’s footnote to Friedman will get the inaccurate information… Friedman inserted the word “black” into the interview to describe one the sergeants who came to the Brazel ranch to collect the bits of debris Bill had found. Brazel made no reference to the racial identity of those four men but Friedman inserted the word to bolster the Gerald Anderson fairy tale. You can read the whole story here (if you are so inclined):


This problem is not confined to UFO research. I was looking for information for a post on the new version of the Treasure Quest show and found a couple of sites that provided what seemed to be accurate information. Reference was made to someone named C. H. Prodgers and in this day of the Internet, I thought I would find out what he had said about the treasure.

Twenty-five years ago, I couldn’t have gathered the information. True, one of the articles referred to Prodgers, but in the world today, I was able to find a copy of Prodgers’s book online. I didn’t have to rely on what others had written about it. I could read it for myself. And, I found that much of the information published, that referenced Prodgers, was incorrect. After all, they were quoting Prodgers as the source, but what Prodgers had written did not match what they were reporting. Could Prodgers have been making up the tale of the treasure? Sure. But that didn’t matter because he was the original source. He was writing from the point of view of having been there, lived the adventure, and there wasn’t much documentation that preceded him. The others were quoting him as their source.

That is, I chased the references to the ultimate source. I corrected the errors made by others who had used the same source, and came away unimpressed with the information. It reads more like fiction than fact and there really is nothing to back up the story. And now that the first season is over, we have seen a large number of problems with this treasure hunting quest.

So, now you’re wondering how all this relates to Ufology. It is about getting to the original source. In the past, the only way to do it was go to the location or find a library that had the proper resources in its collections. You had to read the microfilms and search endlessly for the articles. That is what I had done with the Cedar Rapids story. I could search the microfilm of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and I found the original article about the railroad man and his UFOs. Took about an hour. Had I lived elsewhere, I might not have found it… until I could make an Internet search.

Here’s another example. As I point out in another post, Don Keyhoe, in writing about the 1948 Mantell case, got some bad information and therefore some of his conclusions wrong. He didn’t have access to the documents available to us online today. He assumed that the timing of the events fit into a specific sequence. He assumed that the times given in various reports was when the object was seen over that specific town. What this means that the sighting of the object from Madisonville, Kentucky, wasn’t of an object overhead as Keyhoe believed, but of one to the northwest. The claim that the object was over the Godman Army Airfield tower as Keyhoe believed, is not true. The documents in the Blue Book files proved that the men in the tower saw the UFO somewhere to the southwest at the very limits of human ability to see it. Given those two facts, Keyhoe’s estimate of the speed was way off. That’s not Keyhoe’s fault. He was relying on information that had been reported to him orally rather than seeing what the documents said. He couldn’t have reviewed those documents easily until 1976.

Those who cite Keyhoe’s estimate of the speed have not followed up on the information which was published in the early 1950s. Had they done so, they would have realized that his claim the object was moving at 180 miles an hour was badly flawed. Information available today gives us a much clearer picture. This isn’t to fault Keyhoe because he was relying on the information he had, but to fault those who haven’t bothered to update the information when they began their research.

What all this means is that in the world today, we can look much deeper into the past. We have access to nearly all human knowledge through the Internet. We can study newspaper files in cities hundreds or thousands of miles away (though some services require a subscription). The files of Project Blue Book are on line for all to review… and there are other sources of information about Blue Book that we have today that Keyhoe and others in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t have.

There is then, no real excuse for continuing to report information that is out of date or inaccurate. We can clear up these things by taking our research to the next level, which has always been the real point of chasing footnotes. This isn’t about “gotcha” but about cleaning up the information so that we can come to the proper conclusion. It isn’t about making someone look bad, but about searching for the answers to the mystery, whatever that mystery might be.

While I find chasing footnotes to be fun, I guess there are those who can’t be bothered with following the trail. They already know the truth so there is no need to search any further for it. Why clutter up a good UFO report with a lot of facts that provide us with an identification? Sometimes, however, we do learn something important about a case, which is why I do what I do. I just wish that there wasn’t a constant fight inside Ufology, protecting the sacred cows, when the facts take us somewhere else. 

I can cite examples here. Tales that are told and retold by those who are enthusiastic about their favorite cases. They ignore facts that don’t fit into their view of the world. They know the “truth,” and the facts be damned.

The airship crash in Aurora, Texas, in 1897 proves the point. The evidence and documentation shows that the story was invented by a stringer for a Dallas newspaper. Other documentation, in the form of histories of Aurora or Wise County where Aurora is located, that were published within a couple of years of the alleged crash mention nothing about it. Had such an event taken place, even if it didn’t involve a craft from another world, these histories would have contained some information about it. There is none. But we still have to listen to tales of the Aurora, Texas, UFO crash and put up with television documentaries in which they are digging “for the truth.” Of course, when they’re done, they have not advanced our knowledge. They have just added another level of nonsense to the tale.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Tremonton UFO Film and Haddaway


Here’s something that is a little frightening for those of us who accept the idea that some UFO sightings represent alien spacecraft visiting Earth. We have a list of cases, even if we don’t mention it, that seem, on their face, to be inexplicable. They have some form of instrumentality involved which means we are not relying on the observations of the witnesses.

Ed Ruppelt
One of these cases is the film taken near Tremonton, Utah, in July 1952, by Navy Warrant Officer Delbert Newhouse. It shows a bunch of lights dancing around in a bright blue sky. At one point, a single object broke away and is seen crossing the frame in what looks like straight and level flight. Analysis of the film had suggested some sort of internally lighted objects moving at high speed or that the objects are birds seen at the extreme range of visibility, giving the impression of larger, lighted objects. You can sort of take your pick. Newhouse told Ed Ruppelt, one time chief of Project Blue Book, that he had seen the objects close up, that they were saucer shaped, or oval, and he had been unable to get his camera from the trunk before they had moved into the distance. You can read about it here:


and here


and here


Over the years, as I have been out and about, driving cross country, standing in the desert, or hanging around with friends, I have studied the motion of birds. I have seen flocks of them… huge flocks that were clearly birds, through they had dark bodies and I could see no wing flapping, as they maneuvered through the sky. I have watched lone birds, small formations of them, in various lightings and various locations, and never really saw anything that I couldn’t identify as birds. All that seemed to be the flaw in the explanation for the Tremonton Movie. You can watch the film here:


But…

Today, I was listening to music on YouTube as I worked on something else. This was a dance video to Haddaway’s “What is Love.” There are two points that are
relevant to this short discussion. One is at about the 2:40 mark and the other is at the 3:49 mark. Two young women are dancing in from of a blank wall but above them, in the top quarter or so of the video, is bright blue sky. At the beginning point I mentioned, a white bird with black wings flies by. But, if you watch the birds in the background, you’ll see a number of them flash passed and they look like the images on the Tremonton film. This lasts for mere seconds, while the Tremonton images last much longer. The images are seen at the left side of the photo, just about the wall. You can watch the dancing video here:


Had it not been for that first bird, we all might have been fooled. This video, I think, was recorded in HD, so that those of us who wished to look closer might
have been able to resolve those images as birds. I just thought it interesting that the birds in the video did resemble the images on the movie footage (which, BTW, was taken on a 16 mm movie camera film). Maybe this solves the Tremonton case, though given the testimony of the witnesses and a couple of other factors, probably doesn’t. I just wanted to mention this for those who are interested in this sort of thing.

(PS: Yes, I stopped the video, and I blew it up as large as I could, and yes, in that mode, the lights aren’t uniform and you can see an image that certainly could be taken as a bird. Played at full speed, the impression is somewhat different.)

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Treasure Quest - A Few Final Thoughts


Just a couple of things to clear up after the season finale of Treasure Quest. Just a couple of questions that I have about the show, or a couple of comments about what we saw.

First, if I understood it right, one of them mentioned they had spent two months in the wrong place. They had talked to the last man living who had actually looked for the treasure and he told them that he thought it was on the site of the old Jesuit mission. In that first episode, after they had traveled over the Death Highway, trekked in with burros, and made a big deal about how isolated the place was, they apparently found a silver goblet buried among the ruins. Interesting, suggestive of something more to be found, but in and of itself, irrelevant.

That didn’t stop them from crawling all over the area, finding tunnels and caves, and calling in heavy equipment from the “secret” road to Quime. That also told us that they could have driven in, from Quime, in a couple of hours. We didn’t need all the additional drama, but what is a treasure hunting show without some artificial drama.

C. H. Prodgers
Anyway, had they bothered to do any basic research, they surely would have come across C.H. Prodgers’ book telling of his adventures in the area about a hundred years ago. Prodgers made it clear that the treasure was hidden under a huge, egg-shaped rock that he had blown up. Fifteen feet or so under it, he found the roof of the cavern or tunnel that held the treasure. I mean, he told the world where it was and these guys spent two months in the wrong place. Even I, sitting at home with a computer hooked to the Internet, took nearly ten minutes to find Prodgers’ book and then find the relevant chapters. After all this, our treasure hunting crew found the tunnel that Prodgers had described. They could have saved two months time and been able to reach deeper into that underground lake.

Second, are the Spanish coins they found. These were silver, according to Shawn Cowles, and I have no reason to doubt his conclusion. What I did wonder about is why they were in such pristine condition. After they pulled them up, out of the mud in the underground lake, I thought they should show some signs of being under water and stuck in mud for hundreds of years. It seemed to me that he just wiped the mud away and there was a nice, shiny Piece of Eight looking as if he had pulled it out of his pocket.

I did try to find some information about silver buried in the ground. I learned that as a base metal, it doesn’t react to the chemicals in the soil the way other metals, such as tin does. Silver doesn’t rust. It does, however, tarnish, just as the goblet they had found earlier had tarnished. So, I wondered if a silver coin buried in the
Spanish Piece of Eight
mud, under, what, four feet of water (at least four feet at the time they found it) would react with the soil. Would the water protect the coins from the ravages of sitting around in the open air? We all know that silver, just sitting in a cupboard does tarnish. What about coins? What about Spanish coins? What about coins under water? And were they under water for the last three or four hundred years or had the lake receded or died up periodically in that time?

I confess that I can’t answer most of these questions, but they do make me wonder. And, I will say that it seems that silver doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as other metals do. That means that wiping the mud off them might have revealed silver coins that looked as good as these do. I just don’t know the answer.

To end this, I am intrigued by the images recovered using the Go Pro. What it seemed to show were bars of metal which they identified as gold, sitting in the water near the abyss they found. There seemed to be several of them. What we don’t know is if these are all the bars in that tunnel or are there more, maybe at the bottom of the deep hole they found. I do wonder why Prodgers or any of the other expeditions didn’t find more of the treasure… Or, did they? Maybe what the new team found was a few of the items dropped by those carrying the real find out of the tunnel long ago. Maybe the treasure was there and all that is left are just a few bits that were deemed unimportant.

That does make for an interesting ending to the season. We’ll just have to wait to find out what is at the bottom of that lake. Unless, of course, the show is cancelled.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Treasure Quest - Season Finale "Payday"

Late last night (October 2) I received a comment to my last post about Treasure Quest (which now has Snake Island appended to it again). Todo Segalla suggested he had seen the October 5 episode and that, according to him, they had found the treasure. He wrote, “Kevin They found the treasure. I saw the episode that airs Oct. 5, they found the cave… using the drone they located another hill with a cave inside… silver coins, gold bars… it’s flooded and requires expert diving to recover all the treasure. CONGRATS!”

Todo Segalla (I hope)

I don’t know who Todo Segalla is or how reliable this information he has provided is. I do know that in the past, on the treasure hunting shows, we have been teased with big finds that later turn out to be less than spectacular. Remember the old Treasure Quest when they found the Inca sun god icon that they suggested could be worth as much as a quarter of a million dollars, little, silver llamas, and a suggestion that they had found the Treasure of the Trinity… and then nothing.

But the Internet is a wonderful tool and I was able to find something about Todo Segalla, if this is, in fact, the same guy. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 9, 1963. It is suggested that he is a Navy veteran and, of course, was a SEAL… possibly. The Imdb noted that the time of this service is unknown and that he doesn’t talk about it much. He is now a Federal Police Office with the Department of Veteran Affairs. He has abandoned his award-winning acting and his renowned Martial Arts training.

In trying to learn more about this, after looking up Segalla, I blundered into the Discovery Channel website. I noticed that the Friday (Oct 5) episode was available. It was called “Payday.” I clicked on it, of course, and it took me to a list of cable suppliers. Mine was there and I clicked on that. It asked me to sign in but I wasn’t ready to do that but apparently the site checked and the next thing I knew, the episode, commercials and all, was playing on my computer…

So… Spoilers Below

We started with Jeremy Whalen entering the hole they had made in the tunnel, which is where we had left off the week before. He has apparently fallen and another of the treasure hunters repels down after him. Whalen has lacerated his back, a place on his head, and they start calling for the medic. She arrives, advises that he get out of the tunnel, but Whalen rejects that. She apparently stitches him up, and off they all go.

This is just another proof that this isn’t just four guys in the wilderness hunting for a treasure. There is a large support team with them, so much of the drama is artificial, but at this point I’m not sure that I care.

The medic patches up Whalen, and then the rest of the team and the camera crew and the sound guy join them. It’s probably getting pretty crowded down there. They begin the search, find a big hairy tarantula that worries them greatly, but they get it out of the way to continue the journey.

They realize that there are markings on the wall that suggest the high point of water, which is no longer present. They are walking in mud, which tells them the water was there not long ago… and it’s raining outside meaning that more water might enter the cave.

And, as before, they reach the end of the tunnel. This time, however, they realize that it is an artificial wall that isn’t all that thick. Jack Peters, the demo guy, said that he could surgically remove part of the wall so that they could look beyond it for booby traps and they would be able to see deeper into the tunnel.

He has three sticks of dynamite, det cord and other supplies with him, or so it seems. In fact, they seem to have a lot of equipment in that tunnel that we don’t see until they need to do something more. Just one more proof that we’re watching television rather than an expedition into the wilderness as they keep telling us. But, again, I’m not sure that I care about that anymore.

They successfully take down about half the wall, and beyond it, they see the underground lake. Now they are stymied because they don’t like the look of the water, which might have been there for a long time, filled with bacteria and other toxins which could lead to serious illness. Shawn Cowles wonders about flesh eating bacteria and I have to say, I think he’s got a point.

Whalen, however rigs a way to explore the lake just beyond where they are using the underwater metal detector which I’m not sure they had with them when the climbed into the tunnel. Almost immediately he gets a hit, and the rig a way to scoop the soil from the bottom of the lake. They bring up a Spanish coin and we get a lecture on Pieces of Eight.

They continue in that mode, find I think, another half dozen silver coins, which a massive treasure they do not make. I’m wondering if this was a treasure horde, why are the coins scattered in the dirt. Seems more like coins dropped by accident, but then, why are there so many so close to that wall.

Whalen wants to dive into the lake, but Cowles said, “No.” He’s the expedition leader and won’t allow it. Too dangerous. They work out a compromise and Whalen drops into the freezing water. He walks around and using a Go Pro on a stick, films underwater. He eventually reaches a place where it seems the bottom drops out.

If I have this correctly, they take the boom from the sound guy, and rig a way to measure the depth. Sound guy? Someone else in there with them. The real point however, is that their measurement suggests the bottom is under a hundred feet of water. Given that, given the rain coming down, and given the temperature of the water, they had to abandon the search. They’ve had some success, believe they are on the doorstep, but they just can’t get there.

They go back to their base camp, load their pick-up truck… pick-up truck? Where did that come from? I thought this was such a remote area with no roads. I thought they had to pack in using burros. They do seem to have gotten a number of vehicles into the area based on what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.

Colibri Hostal, Quime, Bolivia
As the rain comes down and the storm breaks, they head to Quime and the Colibri Hostal (20 bucks a night) where Whalen is reviewing the footage from the Go Pro on his computer. He stops, goes back, enhances, and calls to the others. Excited, they run down the porch (veranda?) looking for Cowles. Whalen shows him what looks to be a gold bar somewhat obscured by the murky water. Oh, don’t get me wrong, what we see there looks just like those ingots pulled up from wrecks of Spanish treasure ships… and there are hints of other bars beneath it.

They have found the treasure. Or so they say. They certainly seem to have done better than the guys at Oak Island. We don’t know because the rainy season drove them from the site, and they need specialized diving equipment to get to the bottom of that lake. It will take weeks, if not months and a pile of cash to arrange for the equipment and the diving expert, though Cowles might be qualified in that arena.

Given what Cowles has said, it seems that this is the end of the line for this season. They won’t be back in the Sacambaya Valley any time soon. They have to arrange for the diving expedition. I confess that I am intrigued by their finds in the tunnel even though they only came out with a few silver coins and underwater pictures of ingots that might be gold. Now we’ll have to wait for next season to learn just what they have found. I hope it turns out better than the last expedition on Treasure Quest where it seemed they were on the verge of a huge discovery only to have the show semi-cancelled, replaced by this version.

Oh, and to Todo Segalla, they didn’t find the treasure. They found evidence suggesting there is something more there, but they didn’t find two billion dollars of stuff. As I say, I’m intrigued, but not convinced yet… of course, this will ensure a second (or is it fourth) season.