Thursday, November 19, 2020

Coast to Coast - Searching Archives


As you all know, I have been suggesting for years that the answers we seek about UFOs might be buried in the various official archives, in the unit histories of various military organizations and the files of private groups such as CUFOS and MUFON. Many good cases, with a great deal of information are hidden in these resources, though in most cases there is no deception involved. The cases have just been overlooked for way too long.

For example, as I was working on a book and scanning through the Project Blue Book files, something caught my attention. There were four sightings made in September 1960 that were labeled as Moon Dust. That was a classified program that was revealed in the mid-1980s when the State Department inadvertently released dozens of documents to private researchers, many of them stamped Moon Dust.

Those 1960 sightings were little more than streaks of light and were, most probably, meteors. The find was not that the sightings were important but the reference to Moon Dust in the Blue Book files was. Moon Dust was program to recover returning space debris of foreign manufacture or unknown origin. Foreign origin covered a lot of ground including, obviously, UFOs. I should point out that once the code name was compromised, it was changed, according to information received by Robert Todd in answer to a FOIA request. Not that Moon Dust had ended. Only the name had been changed. Todd requested the new name but was told that it was properly classified and could not be released to the general public. There is no indication today that the program has been discontinued.

But, to get back to the gems hidden in various files. In July 1967, Harold Washington, a 41-year-old golf pro, was traveling to Meridian, Mississippi, when his car’s engine suddenly stopped and the radio faded. In the hand written statement found in the Project Blue Book files, he said:

On the evening of 10 July 1967 at approximately 1750 hrs while proceeding South on the old Popular Springs Road just south of Mr. [redacted] home, my car suddenly coasted to a stop, and the radio went silent.  I departed my car and had taken several steps to the rear in preparation of exploring the trouble when an object of excessive size passed forward of my position and perhaps 200 – 300 feet overhead. The object itself seemed to be moving silently… The object was moving in an easterly direction, having I assumed, crossed over Popular Springs Road when I first noticed it. My first impression of the thing was that it was crashing as it appeared to be coming to earth headed for a growth of trees some several hundred yards to the left front of my location, however it tilted upward appeared to be moving to the immediate right and then accelerated rapidly at an angle almost straight up and disappeared into low… clouds. I estimate that I had the object in my vision for maybe 3 – 5 seconds. From the side view I had as it first passed overhead it resembled the cymbal attached to a drum set, and was a dirty metallic Grey in color on the underside, when it tilted upward at the tree line more of the top was visible to me and it was the deep metallic color of the bluing on a good weapon. I noticed no port holes, hatches, etc. no exhaust or heard no sounds of motivation. The flight resembled nothing I have ever witnessed before unless it likened to the sharp darting manner of a humming bird. The overall size in length and width is hard to estimate however its broadest perspective reminds me of one of my #9 green and its side view as it was descending could be compared with the length of a modest house.

After the object had disappeared my radio started again to play and I was able to start the car, however this could be coincidental as the car has been very wet for several days, it was lightly sprinkling at the time and the car has gone through heavy rains 15 or 20 minutes prior to this sighting.

Washington's UFO drawing.

Another important fact is that Washington told the investigating officers that he had a cataract or a growth of some kind that affected the vision in his right eye. Washington said that his vision in his left eye was 20/20.

In that same report, the investigation officer wrote, “Washington then noted that a heard (sic) of black angus cattle that were in a pasture on the right side of the parked automobile were spooked and were running away from the edge of the road toward the center of the field.”

Washington also said he was stopped at a point about 200 – 300 yards south of a residence and he could also see another large brick house and other buildings across the pasture to the west. There weren’t any other cars on the road and Washington could not see anyone else.

A woman, whose name was redacted in the report but is apparently Downer, and was the owner of the residence, said that she could see a small, white car parked on the road at the time of the sighting. Although she could see the car, through the trees, she also said that she didn’t see anything else and heard nothing unusual. However, she said that since her yard is surrounded by large trees with heavy foliage that she would not have seen anything in the air unless it was loud enough to catch her attention.

The search for additional witnesses failed to find anyone who had seen the object, though one person, described as a yard boy, said that he had seen a flight of three, low flying jets at about the time of the sighting.

As a side note, I have found that if you read the file carefully, and there is enough material in it, that the officers assigned to remove the names of the witnesses often miss a name or two. I had a list of all the unidentified cases in the Blue Book files, and I did find the name, Harold Washington on it. I was concerned by that, but I found one place in the Blue Book file where the officer had missed a “Washington,” and later saw the note that said “[Name redacted, but is Washington] was recontacted … by Reporting Agent, who dialed [Washington’s] home and confirmed that he was at his residence. Mrs. Jan [name redacted], wife of Harold, stated that her husband was completely sober and very frightened by the incident.”

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who analyzed the case, provided some insight to the Air Force attitude, even at a late date. On June 4, 1968, he wrote:

Also, characteristic of this type of sighting is the statement that the object “tilted upward, accelerated, and disappeared into the clouds” – all in a matter of a few seconds. In our present scientific framework, of course, this is utterly impossible. Our technology knows of no way of accomplishing this soundlessly, or ever accomplishing it. Therefore, we either hide behind the word “unidentified” or in some cases behind “possible aircraft”, or “psychological”.  I would prefer in most single witness cases simply as a way of pleading ignorance. We have to face the fact that we do not know what causes this class of phenomenon reported so widely from this and other countries the past many years. When instances of this sort have several witnesses, the tempting thing to do is to call it mass hallucination, but this we recognize as simply another label for our own ignorance…

In summary, case should be carried as “unidentified (single witness)” since we have no evidence the person was mentally unbalanced.

This case also suggested something else that is important and demonstrates something more about the attitudes of those who were charged with investigating UFOs. The Condon Committee, that is the University of Colorado investigation, had rejected the idea of vehicle interference, claiming they knew of no way that an electromagnetic field could stall a car and then have the car spontaneously restart on its own when the electromagnetic field was removed. That is something of a misnomer. I looked at hundreds of interference cases and found that in the majority, the witness restarted the car. There are very few cases in which the car was reported to have restarted by itself. That renders the Condon Committee rejection of such cases as invalid. The drivers had to take some action.

This case was reported to the Air Force, labeled as unidentified (single witness), yet it didn’t make it to the Condon Committee for their research. It was reported to the Air Force literally within hours, so that an investigation, following the criterion set up by the Condon Committee could have been conducted. Of course, an examination of this case would have required that they reevaluate one of their conclusions. It might not have altered them in the end, but was an opportunity to do some real science.

The point here is that this is just one of those cases hidden away in various files or archives that can provide us with some clues about the nature of UFOs. That means there is good reason to review some of the research that has gone on before us.


Bob Koford said...
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Bob Koford said...
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Chip said...

Thanks Much Kevin for pulling together this most interesting account. Coincidentally, my father’s parents lived on Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian for many years and both sets of his grandparents were from the area. As I would have been a 13 year old boy at the time of the sighting, and already immensely interested in the UFO subject, to know this happened in a familiar area is simply awesome! Having several relatives as well as close friends who had a variety of close sightings, I found the account credible and of course, Mr Washington’s military background and training all the more so! Thanks again for all your good work, for those of us, who by accident or design have had a life time interest/obsession with this subject!