Saturday, April 04, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Don Schmitt


This week, I spoke with Don Schmitt. My plan since between the two of us we have something like a century of experience investigating UFOs (which, when I look at that, it is horrifying…), I thought it would be interesting for us to talk about our experiences in the field. I thought it would give an idea about the depth that some of those investigations took. You can listen to the show here:


We both talked about the first investigations we had conducted. In my case, I was
Don Schmitt in Roswell.
looking for a single answer. Time and location weren’t all that important to me at that time. I just wanted to learn if one of the ways the Air Force dismissed UFO investigation by claiming that most sightings were of blurry, blobs of light in the distance, was true. According to the witness, that wasn’t the case. She saw a well defined craft not all that far away.

I did ask Don what he thought of the Glenn Dennis tale give all we know today. At one time the Dennis testimony was an important part of the Roswell case. In the world today, not so much. I hadn’t talked to Don about this in a long time and found his answer to be interesting… yes, I am withholding this statement to entice you all to listen to the program.

If you enjoyed this diversion from the normal course of the discussion, please let me know. I believe that these sorts of, well, chats, provide some insight into the way information is developed and investigations are conducted. If you did enjoy it, I will schedule others periodically.

Next week, I will be talking with Diane Tessman and her theories about the origin of the UFOs. It should be interesting, especially if you are interested in time travel. If you have questions, send them along in the comments section here and I’ll try to get them asked.

And, for a brief commercial message… my latest book, The Best of Project Blue Book is available now. It is a look at some of the best cases in the Blue Book files that might have been overlooked in years past. I bring in research that I have conducted, using resources that were unavailable to the Air Force at the time of the sightings. I believe it gives, well, a different perspective on these cases…

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Bermuda Triangle, Flight 19 and Josh Gates


In a strange coincidence, I stumbled across the second part of Josh Gates’ episode dealing with the Bermuda Triangle. I was able to learn the results of the experiment he had conducted with a couple of scientists. They launched a balloon into the upper atmosphere to find out if there were any anomalies to explain the trouble with compasses and other electronics. Yes, they found a spike in the
Josh Gates and me... published here to show that
I'm not really bald.
electromagnetic radiation that they couldn’t explain. Interesting, but not too illuminating.

He also was involved in an experiment created to explain the disappearance of the USS Cyclops, a strange looking Navy ship designed to carry coal to the fleet. That mission explains the weird metallic superstructure. Using a university’s facilities that had been designed to recreate ocean conditions, they created what is now known as a rogue wave to attempt to sink the ship. I expected it to do so, but not with the rapidity that it did. The wave hit the exact model of the ship and took it down in seconds… no time for a radio call, no time to for the sailors to abandon the ship and no time for any sort of rescue. One minute the ship was on the surface and the next it was under water. I might add that there are some portions of the Bermuda Triangle that are the deepest in the North Atlantic. If a ship or a plane sank there, no one is ever going to find any sign of it.

I was more interested in Josh’s take on Flight 19, a five-plane formation of Avenger torpedo planes that disappeared in 1945. This is the cornerstone of the Bermuda Triangle mystery. It seems inexplicable and I wondered just what Josh would do about it. He gave a good account of the preliminaries meaning that weather at the time of take- off wasn’t great, the make-up of the flight, and its training mission. Everything was fine as they approached the target, Hens and Chicken Shoals, some 70 or so nautical miles from their base.

Once beyond that, they seemed to have drifted off course. The Flight made a scheduled turn, but the Flight Leader, Charles Taylor, said that both his compasses had malfunctioned. From that point, it seems they made several turns, first flying one direction and then another until they ran out of gas. Radio contact had been lost prior to that and when it was obvious that the Flight was down, a Martin Mariner with a crew of 13 was launched to attempt a rescue. That aircraft slipped off the radar and disappeared as well.

But, unlike the Avengers, there were witnesses to this part of the disaster. The crew of a ship in the area saw an aerial explosion. When they reached the scene of the crash, they spotted floating debris but the bad weather forced them to abandon the search. They next day, no one could find the wreckage… but the ship’s crew did get a good fix on the location.

All this is important because Josh, with another crew using high tech sonar, were able to see the ocean bottom in what looked like high definition detail. Scanning the area, they found debris on the ocean floor that looked suspiciously like the remains of an aircraft. Diving down, Josh found what looked like the type of engine that the Martin Mariner had used, and a propeller blade, or rather the engine hub with all three blades on it. Given all that, it is almost certain that they had found the remains of Martin Mariner. Although Josh and crew were unable to recover the engine or the propeller, it was suggested that it should be recovered at some point.

Given that, and what he learned about Flight 19, Josh suggested that a
combination of events doomed the Flight. It was a cascade of circumstances that brought down the planes and had there been any variation in those events, even a slight one, the tragedy might have been avoided. The conclusion is that it wasn’t some mysterious force that brought down the Flight, it wasn’t aliens and it wasn’t some sort of interdimensional warp… it was bad weather, faulty navigation and a series of other events that combined to doom the Flight.

Again, I was surprised by the rationale brought to this. Josh suggested at the end that there might be some weird weather and magnetic anomalies in the Bermuda Triangle but there was nothing supernatural. That was a conclusion that I had reached many years ago after reading Lawrence Kusche’s book.

Of course, having met Josh (yes, I have to bring that up again), I’m not surprised that he came to the conclusions he did, based on the evidence and the experiments in which he was involved. For those who wish to learn the truth about this, Expedition Unknown has done a good job of relating the facts without delving into the wild speculation that obscures the reality of the situation. I believe that we can say “solved” to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. It is delightful to see an intelligent documentary about the Bermuda Triangle when there is so much nonsense out there.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Bermuda Triangle - The New Programming

If I remember correctly, I first learned about the Bermuda Triangle in a book by John Godwin called This Baffling World. It was a compendium of stories of the strange from around the world that included a section on the Bermuda Triangle he
called, “The Hoodoo Sea.” Although he used the terms “Danger Zone,” and “Devil’s Sea,” in his book, he did not say “Bermuda Triangle.” Vincent Gaddis had invented that term (it seems) in a 1964 magazine article.

It was in 1974 that the Lorenzens of APRO were holding a convention or symposium in Denver, Colorado. Circumstances meant that I would be able to attend and one of the few things I remember is Jim Lorenzen on the stage, talking about the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Specifically, he mentioned Flight 19, the five Avenger Torpedo planes that disappeared in December 1945. Lorenzen said that there was no way that all five planes would have crashed as once. What was there that could take all five planes at once, without warning.

Years later, as I was studying some of the cases from the Bermuda Triangle, I learned the answer to that question. According to the available records, at 5:22 p.m., Lieutenant Taylor, the flight leader was heard to say, “When the first man gets down to ten gallons of gas, we will all land in the water together. Does everyone understand that?”

Of course, that might not have happened but that would explain how five aircraft can all disappear at once… but I digress.

In those early years, I believed there was something weird going on in the Bermuda Triangle. Planes and ships just don’t disappear like that… unless there is something strange happening.

I also thought, if you are going to promote a point of view, you should understand what the enemy claims. Given that, I picked up a book, The Bermuda Triangle
Mystery – Solved by Lawrence David Kusche. I wanted to be able to refute what he had to say by examining the evidence he presented. Imagine my surprise when he convinced me, with facts and documents, that he had discovered what was really going on. There was no mystery until it was invented by imaginative magazine and book writers. Sure, Flight 19 seemed to be really strange and once you have found that, well, then there were other strange disappearances to be found as well.
One of the disappearances that Kusche covered was that of a C-119. In his write up, he used the Miami Herald as a source, but the newspaper doesn’t supply much in the way of evidence. He theorizes that the plane might have ditched, but he doesn’t really know. He brings up the UFO sighting by Gemini 4, which is completely irrelevant.

I wouldn’t bother with this if I didn’t have additional information. I covered all that “new” information on this blog a number of years ago. You can read about the disappearance and the solution here:


But the point here is to look at these shows that are now searching for answers in the Bermuda Triangle. I had thought it would just be more of the same hype that solves nothing but adds to the mystery. It seems that this assumption might be wrong.

My pal (and I use the term loosely since I only met him once but did have a late lunch with him), Josh Gates, got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle lore. But the
Josh Gates on the right.
tone of the program seemed to be more about finding an answer or two and the attempts to use science in the search. Sure, he talked to some of those who have had weird experiences in the Triangle, but those experiences don’t really take us outside the realm of modern physics. Nothing that would suggest an otherworldly presence or some sort of interdimensional warp. Just weird weather in an area where weird weather seems to be a regular occurrence.

Although it seems that he is going to attack the problem of Flight 19, I haven’t seen that episode yet. I do know that there have been several Avenger Torpedo Bombers found in the Triangle, but none, according to official sources, have been proven to be part of Flight 19. For example, in 1991, treasure hunter Graham Hawkes said that he had found the wreckage of all five aircraft. The tail number of one of the aircraft came from a crash some two years earlier. Hawkes later said that the Pentagon and therefore the Navy had pressured him to make the case “go away.” Then in 2012, he said that he believed that he had actually found Flight 19, but he couldn’t prove it.

In 2015, there was a claim that an aircraft had been found near Sebastian, Florida with two bodies inside. Although the Navy initially said it was part of Flight 19, they later retracted the statement. FOIA requests for more information didn’t provide any conclusive evidence.

What was more interesting for me, the wreckage of an Avenger was found during the search for parts of the Challenger Space Shuttle. I say interesting because Jon Myhre raised the wreckage, which he thought was part of Flight 19.

I mention this because Myhre did publish a book about Flight 19 which suggested the aircraft had been found. I’m working to learn a little more about this because, if even one of the aircraft has been found, then we might have a solution to this mystery.

But, back to the original point here. I’ve seen a couple of other episodes of Curse of the Bermuda Triangle. While they seem to be doing quite a bit to fill the hour with their investigations, they also seem to have a real mission of finding answers. I mean did we really need to show that a powerful magnet would affect the operation of a compass? We all know this and if I remember correctly, there are documented magnetic problems in the Triangle area. According to the program, the yacht, Yahtzee, which disappeared in the Triangle has been found.

At this point, I’m rather pleased with both the Curse of the Bermuda Triangle and Josh Gate’s Expedition Unknown. Although they talk of thousands of disappearances, none of the research I’ve done suggest anything like that. True, as mentioned, there have been 300 shipwrecks found around Bermuda but a shipwreck isn’t a disappearance. Of course, that report didn’t mention the massive reef system around Bermuda that was responsible for some of those wrecks. Lloyd’s of London did look at the statistics and suggested that the Bermuda Triangle was no more dangerous than some other areas of the world.

While some of those believe that Atlantis and that mythical civilization had some power source that causes the disappearances, others thought that proof for Atlantis had been found. I believe it was Josh Gates who dove on the “Bimini Road” which supposed to have been built by the Atlanteans. But in the program, they concluded that the road was a natural formation based on wave action.

If both Josh Gates and the crew of Curse of the Bermuda Triangle continue to investigate for real rather than ratings, then these programs are both interesting and useful… True, a mystery is more fun than the solution, but ignoring the solution for the sake of the mystery does none of us any good

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Curse of the Bermuda Triangle -- Witchcraft


For several decades I have been of the opinion that the Bermuda Triangle was a manufactured mystery. I thought that most of the disappearances had a rational if tragic explanation. When all the nonsense was stripped away and the facts were examined, then we would know what happened. Much of the Bermuda Triangle lore was based on faulty information. Given all that, it was strange that I was caught up in an episode of Curse of the Bermuda Triangle.

The episode concerned the disappearance of the Witchcraft, what I would consider a pleasure boat or cabin cruiser. The story as told today is that at about 9:00 p.m.
Witchcraft
on December 22, 1967, the Coast Guard received a distress call from one of the boat’s two-man crew. They had hit something and the engine was no longer functioning properly. They were at the Number Seven Buoy in what was called the Government Channel. The Coast Guard arrived in nineteen minutes, but they could find no trace of the boat, the crew, or any debris that suggested it had sunk. The Coast Guard searched a huge area over the next several days, but nothing was ever found. Just another of those mysterious disappearances that haunt the Bermuda Triangle.

In the show, there were two facts that were repeated. They were at the Number Seven Buoy and that the Coast Guard only took nineteen minutes to get there. Whatever happened, had to have been swift and complete. The boat was literally in sight of Miami and it shouldn’t have been difficult to find it no matter what had happened.

My first thought was that the boat hadn’t been at Buoy Number Seven. It had been some place else. The crew had been mistaken but that didn’t seem likely. The buoy is rather obvious. It is lighted and has a bell or something on it so that boaters don’t sail into it at night.

In the program, they took a trip out there and used sonar to scan the ocean bottom. They didn’t find much of anything. The bottom was smooth suggesting no wreckage down there. But they still couldn’t figure out how the boat sank in nineteen minutes, since as they mentioned several times (Did they ever hear of Titanic?) and left no wreckage for the Coast Guard to find.

The real story however, as reported in the Miami Herald on December 24, was that the crew, Dan Burack and Rev. Father Padraig (Patrick) Horgan, had radioed that the boat had become disabled about a mile off Miami Beach. The Coast Guard told Burack to fire a flare in about twenty minutes to help guide them to the disabled boat. The Coast Guard crew never saw a flare, there was no other radio contact and there was no sign of wreckage when the Coast Guard arrived on the scene.

A search was launched by the Coast Guard, the Civil Air Patrol, and other boats and aircraft. It covered about 1200 square miles, reaching from Miami to Delray Beach and Bimini. The boat was carrying all the required safety equipment and Burack was a good swimmer. That seemed to make the whole disappearance inexplicable.

While the show’s narrator continued to tell us that the boat had been at Buoy Number Seven and that the Coast Guard got there in nineteen minutes, I kept saying that the boat wasn’t at the buoy. That was before I saw the article from the newspaper that said they were about a mile off Miami Beach. I believe that one of those who have written about the Bermuda Triangle assumed that they would have been near Buoy Number Seven because it is about mile off the beach in an area traveled by all sorts of boats.

To their credit, the members of the Triangle Research and Investigation Group (TRIG), Moe Mottice, Mike Sill, Dave Cziko and Chuck Meier, who are the investigators on the show, sought out a weather/ocean expert because the weather on that night wasn’t the best. There were winds blowing at some twenty knots pushing the boat to the south of the buoy, so that the search was focused to the south. But what they learned is that the current in the area was to the north, and given the height of the waves, which would have protected the boat from the wind somewhat, and according to the computer model created by the weather expert, the boat would have drifted to the north. The search had been in the wrong place. They recalculated, using Buoy Number Seven as the starting point and the nineteen-minute figure as the time the boat would have drifted to find a new search area. This area had not been searched.

Again, I said, “The boat wasn’t at Buoy Number Seven,” but now added, the nineteen-minute figure is wrong as well because, the Coast Guard was looking the wrong way as they searched for the boat in the twenty knot winds blowing to the south.

Searching the new area with sonar they did find some anomalies on the ocean floor. Thinking they had found the Witchcraft, they dove down. What they found were… Tanks… World War II Sherman Tanks that had been sunk in the 1990s to form reefs. Not sure how well that worked, but hey, they found something.

I was about to give up on the show, but they had one more person to interview. The woman had spent sometime researching the case and she told them that the boat hadn’t been found because… it wasn’t there. Everyone was looking in the wrong place.

The one thing they didn’t do, and the one thing that I haven’t done, is attempt to learn if Burack was in any kind of financial trouble. He seemed to have been leading the life of a millionaire, though it seems, at least to me, that his finances were a little shaky. That would be an avenue to explore. Burack had arranged for his own disappearance and in 1967, that would certainly be easier than it would be today.

The TRIG guys seemed to prefer that explanation, that Burack had arranged his disappearance, to one that suggested the boat had slipped into another dimension or though some sort of parallel vortex into another world.

But the truth is that the boat wasn’t where it was reported to be, that is, near Buoy Number Seven, and that before the search started in earnest the boat would have drifted farther to the north. The thing that impressed me here was that TRIG didn’t just accept the disappearance into some sort of parallel dimension or whatever. They looked for an alternative explanation that had a basis in reality. Even if they hung their hats on the nineteen minutes and the location near Buoy Number Seven, they didn’t tell us that this was proof of anything other than the boat disappeared and that no one knows exactly what happened.

Friday, March 20, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Radio Network - Curt Collins


This week I talked with Curt Collins about research that he and others have been
Curt Colllins
conducting into the AATIP program and the relation between MUFON, Bigelow Aerospace, and research into UFOs. It seems to be a rather complicated relation and I fear that we might not have been able to cover it was well as possible given that complexity. You can listen to the interview here:


And, you can read the first part of the report on how the money flowed from the government to Bigelow Aerospace to MUFON. As I said, repeatedly in the program, there was nothing nefarious in this, it just seemed to be a little too sneaky for me. In the world where we keep calling for transparency, not much of this was public while the program was in operation. You can read the first part of the story here:


Although the show was made up of trying to understand all these links and what they meant, we did speak, briefly, about the Cash-Landrum UFO sighting and the relation to that in Rendlesham Forest at the same time. Both incidents resulted in what seem to be injuries to the parties involved. It is important to note that John Burroughs, one of the Air Force personnel involved at Rendlesham, was awarded full medical disability by the government because of his injuries.

By coincidence, next week, I’ll be speaking with Jan Harzan, the executive director of MUFON. We’ll talk a little bit about the revelations that Curt provided, but the program will reach into other arenas as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - David Halperin


I had the opportunity to talk with David Halperin about his new book, Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO. It is a somewhat skeptical treatise on the subject of UFOs, bringing it, you might
David Halperin
say, down to Earth. It is a new way of looking at UFOs, suggesting the subject is deserving of serious research, but that the emphasis has been all wrong. You can listen to the show here:


The discussion was somewhat wide ranging. I had been going to ask him about the Socorro UFO landing which he mentions in his book, but he brought it up first. Contrary to what we all might have expected, he has no explanation for what Police Officer Lonnie Zamora witnessed in April 1964. Given that the case doesn’t boil down to just Zamora’s observations but has physical evidence in the form of landing traces, there is no good explanation other than Zamora hoaxed the whole thing. The problem is, of course, that others reported the UFO in the sky prior to Zamora seeing the landing, and there is no evidence that Zamora hoaxed anything. I explored the case in depth in Encounter in the Desert.

We talked, briefly, about UFO abductions and the Barney and Betty Hill case. As most know, I’m a bit skeptical about these alleged longitudinal studies which require a huge logistical supply line that would span interstellar space. On the other hand, if there are alien abductions, then it would seem that the Hill abduction, which was more of a target of opportunity than a planned abduction, is a more likely scenario.

David also mentioned a sighting that I had investigated in which I found a solution but noticed the discrepancy between the statements of the two witnesses. This was the sighting from Mount Vernon, Iowa, that took place decades ago. You can read about it here:


Finally, we got around to Project Mogul, which David brought up in his book. I had thought he was going to defend the idea but actually is bothered by some of the evidence suggesting that Mogul is not the answer. He liked the symmetry of the answer, but feared that it simply didn’t work. For those interested in an analysis of Mogul and some of the counter arguments, you can read about it here:


In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking with Curt Collins about the Cash-Landrum sighting and Jan Harzan, the executive director of MUFON. If you have questions for either guest, post it in the comments section and I’ll get it asked during the interview.   

Friday, March 13, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Michael Hall


Michael Hall was the guest this week. The former attorney, well, retired or semi-retired attorney and one of the founders of the UFOiTeam, provided information
Michael Hall
about this investigative group. They seem to have created technology that provides them with the opportunity to see UFOs on many occasions. You can listen to the show here:


We also talked about other aspects of the UFO phenomenon. Although Hall has no memory of an abduction, for example, he does have what he believes to be an episode of missing time. Members of his team do have abduction experiences. I have commented on alien abduction a number of times. You can find them on my blog just by typing alien abduction into the search engine. For those who want the short take, here are a couple of those columns:



And more relevant to our discussion is a posting about leading the witness which you can read here:


Next week I’ll be talking with Curt Collins about the Cash-Landrum UFO encounter. He’s been researching the case for a number of years. If you have questions, post them in the comments section, and I’ll try to get them asked.