Saturday, September 26, 2020

George Filer and "Strange Craft"

 

Given that we were without electricity for more than 8 days, and that my iPad is filled with books that I haven’t read (thank you Book Bub*), I used the time to catch up. I mention this because one of the books I read was Strange Craft: The True Story of An Air Force Intelligence Officer’s Life with UFOs by John L. Guerra with Major George Filer III, USAF (Ret.) and published by Rayshore Publishing Company in Tampa, Florida.

Before we start, let me say that I was a little annoyed with one of the first pages that said, “What reviewers say about ‘Strange Craft.’” Oh, not that the reviews were all good but that none of the reviewers were named. In most books which quote reviews, there is a source mentioned. That none were identified is a little, dare I say it, “Strange.”

As a retired military officer myself, I’m always interested in the career paths of those who took a similar journey. In that respect, I enjoyed the book. I thought Filer’s description of his UFO sighting was vivid and interesting, if not a bit frightening. I did think it strange that the aircraft commander would put his aircraft into a dive that pushed the envelope and red lined the airspeed, but hey, I wasn’t in the aircraft and don’t really know what pressures were put on that officer to intercept the UFO.

The 116th AHC, preparing for a combat
assault, 1968. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle

I learned that my tour in Vietnam overlapped Filer’s, though his began at the very beginning of 1968 (well, the last couple of days of 1967) and mine some months later. During the Tet Offensive, Filer mentions the helicopters landing on Ton Son Nhut, and the gunships attacking the VC attempting to overrun the air base. I mention this only because one of those units was the 116th Assault Helicopter Company, which I would join a few months after this.

And, since I have leaped right into the Tet Offensive, I thought I’d mention a couple of points. Filer suggests that he, and his pals in the Air Force, predicted the Tet Offensive and advised MACV (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam) and General William Westmoreland, that an attack was planned. According to Filer, his warnings, and those of his cohorts, fell on deaf ears. Once the attacks were launched, to the surprise of the Army, both American and Vietnamese, his predictions were validated. Westmoreland was demoted and replaced by Creighton Abrams… but the truth is, Westmoreland was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Army. He’d already been in Vietnam for four years and he wasn’t all that surprised, except, possibly by the tanks used to attack Lang Vei Special Forces camp.

The trouble here is that history doesn’t reflect the theory that the Army and the Vietnamese were ill-prepared for Tet. Filer suggests that Westmoreland had rejected the idea because Tet was such an important holiday and both sides had honored a tacit cease fire during Tet. There would be no attack because of that.

Except… the Vietnamese, centuries earlier, had launched a surprise attack on the Chinese during Tet. General Earl Wheeler, who was in Australia in November, 1967, told an audience that they expected a big attack, probably around Tet. American forces in Vietnam were moved into more centralized locations in late January 1968 so that they would be able to redeploy quickly into hot spots expected during the attacks. The only people really surprised by the Tet Offensive were the reporters who didn’t understand military strategies and were astonished by the initial gains and the politicians who would be expected to have something negative to say because they just don’t know better. In the years that followed, it would be acknowledged that it was a defeat for the VC but seen as a psychological victory for them… again an assessment by a press who simply don’t understand what happened… and, once again, I digress.

As I say, I was interested in the track of Filer’s military career and the problems that he faced during it. I was surprised when he was offered an opportunity to go to Vietnam at the invitation of a general who wanted Filer on his staff but Filer declined. Seems that he missed a golden opportunity, but then he had young children and such a deployment is tough on the family. He went a couple of years later. I think, during our military careers we all face tough choices and sometimes we chose wrong. I believe I always chose wrong, but that’s a tale for another time.

After twenty years in the Air Force, Filer retired as a major. He believes that his interest in UFOs, and possibly his involvement in a big UFO sighting might have derailed his career. He believes he missed promotions because this.

But, his interest in UFOs didn’t stop with his retirement. Instead, he jumped into the world of the UFO with both feet. According to him, he had been involved in the shooting of an alien creature at the Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base complex. Well, maybe involved is too strong a word. He was assigned to McGuire when the events took place and was near the scene as the military police and Air Force officials took care of the problem. Filer was to brief a general about what had happened, based on his interrogation of some of the participants. Unfortunately, events intervened so that Filer didn’t see the alien, didn’t see the photographs of the alien, and was just around the periphery of the event… but then he was there on the morning of the incident so that provides him with a better perspective than those of us who just read about it much later.

And now, for those interested in the workings of MUFON and the UFO field, we learn how Filer joined MUFON, what he did in the beginning and what he continues to do today, even though he is in his eighties. He helped establish or refine some of the procedures that MUFON uses and eventually became a regional director.

The problem for me here, is that he accepts, as authentic, some of the UFO events that worry me. He talks of multiple crashes and suggests that General George Marshall, who was the Chief of Staff of the Army during WW II and later was the Secretary of State under President Truman, was on the scene of two UFO crashes. I might have missed it, but I don’t believe that those crashes were ever identified by Filer and I don’t believe that Marshall was involved in any such activities.

Filer hints at other crashes as well. The problem for me is that I can accept one or two, but this idea of many crash retrievals has moved into the realm of fantasy. It seems to be illogical to believe that there could be so many UFO crashes without much better evidence slipping into the public arena. Too many crashes and so many of them with dubious testimony.

I guess the long and the short of it is that I enjoyed reading the book and was especially interested in a fellow Vietnam veteran’s military career. I was interested in his insights in the world of the UFO but reject much of the information provided there. True, many will accept it, but I found the lack of names, dates and locations of this to be troublesome. There is no way for us to independently verify the information because there are simply too few clues for us to find or paths for us to follow.

Bill Brazel, 1989. Photocopy 
right by Kevin Randle

I get that UFO witnesses, once their names are known, are subject to many, many UFO investigators, or maybe just UFO enthusiasts, wanting to talk with them. Too many of those enthusiasts have no social skill when it comes to talking with witnesses, meaning they call at all hours, demand all sorts of information, and don’t realize they are intruding on another’s life without invitation. Bill Brazel told me that he would sometimes receive calls from drunks in bars at 2 or 3 in the morning, wanting to know if the Roswell story was true… for those interested, I sent him a letter with my telephone number in it and asked him to call me collect if he could help me. He called and he did.

Oh, I do recommend the book but remember, the evidence for many of the tales is lacking. If that doesn’t bother you, well, good for you. For me, I’d have liked a little more detail, a few more documents, and some hints of where to look for corroboration. Other than that, it was fun.

And, yes, I have invited him on the radio show, twice, but have yet to received a response to that invitation.

*Book Bub is a website that sends out a daily list of books that can be picked up for free or for a buck or two, rather than the full price. This explains why there are something like 100 titles on my iPad which I haven’t yet read, but thought those books would be interesting. You can select the type of books that interest you (science fiction, true crime, biographies, history, action adventure, etc.) and the list sent is tailored to your personal tastes. Check it out when you have the chance. This is my small gift to those of you visit here regularly.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast - Robert Sheaffer Discusses Klass and Friedman

 

I invited Robert Sheaffer back on the program as a response to another radio show in which the host and the guest attacked Philip Klass. I didn’t think that it was a fair assessment of who Klass was and that his personality was similar to that of Stan

Robert Sheaffer

Friedman, who had partnered with that guest. You can listen to my show here:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/41089664

and the second hour here:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/41089667

We did examine some of the things that Klass had done that were fairly nasty, but then we did the same thing with Friedman. You can get a better idea, along with some documentation here:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2020/08/stan-friedman-vs-philip-klass-whats.html

And to learn a little about what Klass has done, in a somewhat similar vein, you can read it here:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2011/09/philip-klass-and-his-letter-writing.html

I did look at other aspects of some of Klass’ UFO investigations and you can see them by typing his name into the search engine on the blog. I also looked at Klass’ investigation into the Travis Walton abduction and Klass’ attempts to convince Steve Pierce to “confess” to the Walton hoax. Pierce never did, even with an offer of a large amount of cash offered by Klass.

In other words, we looked at how Klass had operated in the past and compared it to some of the things that Friedman had done in his campaign to become the Number One Guy in the world of UFOs.

As we discussed this, we also looked at some of the famous UFO cases, such as the Coyne helicopter sighting. I explained why I found some of what Klass had said about it to be inaccurate based on my experience as an Army helicopter pilot who had been through the same training as Coyne and his co-pilot. Naturally, you can read about that here:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/search?q=Coyne

We also talked about the Lubbock Lights case and in a discussion that was reminiscent of our Levelland discussion on another edition of the radio show. That means, simply, that Robert offered a possible explanation for the Carl Hart photographs taken in Lubbock. He supplied a link to that analysis, which, with luck, you can read here (I say that because the link might not work for everyone):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/470983769757563/permalink/688177534704851

I am not a fan of the explanation but will note, as I did on the show, that there seems to be only two solutions here. Hart either perpetrated a hoax or he photographed something that is truly anomalous. Having interviewed Hart in the 1990s, I accept his statement to  me that “I still don’t know what I photographed.”

The best part of the show, I believe, is that you had two guys on it, who look at the UFO phenomenon from opposite sides of the room. We could agree on a number of points without the discussion devolving into insults and accusations. We might disagree, but we did look at the other side to see if there were good points to be made. We also, in the course of the show, tried to provide references for those who were interested to follow up on what we said.

We pretty much left it at that point. What we did prove, if that is the right word, is that Klass was no worse than Friedman, and Klass might have been more honest in his assessments. He might have been blinded by his bias but there seemed to be no evidence that he fabricated or suppressed evidence… the same can’t be said about Friedman.

Note: Before I published the article about Klass and Freidman, I invited Kathleen Marden on this program. She declined the offer.

Friday, September 18, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Joe Murgia's Investigation into the Davis/Wilson Meeting

 

Joe Murgia, aka UFOJoe, sent me a comment about my posting about Dr. Eric Davis and his mention of the Del Rio UFO crash. We had a brief email exchange, and I asked him to talk about this on the radio show/podcast version of the blog. We didn’t limit the conversation to the fifteen pages that were notes of an alleged meeting between Admiral Thomas Wilson and Dr. Davis but did explore related topics. You can listen to the conversation here:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/40941141

Joe had written a 24,000-blog posting about the meeting and his investigation into it. This document provided a good analysis of what

Joe Murgia

allegedly happened. The trouble was, as we worked our way through it, we learned, or rather, I learned, that the fifteen pages of notes surfaced in the UFO related papers of NASA astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. It wasn’t until Mitchell’s papers were being reviewed after his death that the tale of this meeting with Admiral Wilson was exposed. The results of the meeting, and the point of the fifteen pages of notes was that the US had a captured (retrieved?) alien craft. You can read his posting, in four parts, here:


http://www.ufojoe.net/wilsondavis1

http://www.ufojoe.net/wilsondavis2

http://www.ufojoe.net/wilsondavis3

http://www.ufojoe.net/wilsondavis4

 

When all was said and done, and after having read, carefully, that 24,000-word treatise on the meeting, I found no solid evidence. Admiral Wilson denied, repeatedly and vehemently, the meeting had taken place and Dr. Davis, when asked about it, said, “No comment.”

Oh, there was a meeting with Admiral Wilson but it wasn’t the one referenced in those fifteen pages of notes. This one took place in the Pentagon, in Wilson’s office, and didn’t seem to have the same surprising outcome. In other words, it was only a discussion about UFOs that didn’t seem to turn into anything other than a discussion about UFOs. I believe the meeting was arranged because Edgar Mitchell was involved and for no other reason. Who wouldn’t want to sit down with the sixth man to walk on the moon?

This discussion seemed to provide little in the way of illumination but certainly demonstrated the problem with UFO research and dealing with bureaucrats (not that I would consider Admiral Wilson as a bureaucrat).

Anyway, we do learn about the depth of some research into specific UFO related questions. A lot of people talking about what they claim to know, but with nothing that would be considered hard evidence and too many unnamed sources.

Next week, I’ll be talking with Robert Sheaffer about Phil Klass and Stan Friedman and their contributions to UFO research. Or maybe I should say their attempts to limit the research to what they believed. This interview was originally scheduled for August 12, but a storm took down both the power grid and the Internet around here, so I had to postpone. I’m finally able to get this all put back together. If you have questions, append them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to get them answered.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Eric Davis, Again

 

The Devoid (Billy Cox), columnist at the Miami Herald, reignited the Admiral Thomas Wilson debate not all that long ago. Although it seemed that most of mainstream Ufology had realized that the story told by Dr. Eric Davis about his clandestine meeting with the Admiral was probably more hyperbole that truth, there are still those who believe the information is leading us to disclosure. You can read the article here:

http://devoid.blogs.heraldtribune.com/16000/eric-who-the-admiral/#comment-588557

I bring all this up because, a while back, Dr. Davis had suggested, on Coast-to-Coast, that the Del Rio UFO crash was real. That crash is based on the information of a single witness who had claimed to be a retired Air Force colonel, a former Air Force fighter pilot, and a veteran of the Korean War. I explored all this at length in a posting on this blog that you can read here:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2018/09/dr-davis-confirms-del-rio-ufo-crash.html

Given that the Del Rio story is a hoax, and the lone witness to it has been less than honest about it, this does cast a shadow over the credibility of Dr. Davis. I mean, if he truly had inside information, he would have known the Del Rio crash was a hoax.

Robert Willingham, pretend
Air Force Officer.

I exposed it as such in 2010 in my book, Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky. I also gave a presentation at the MUFON Symposium in Denver about Robert Willingham, the discredited source, and why his tale should be rejected. This merely means that the information I uncovered was available long before Dr. Davis had his conversation with Admiral Wilson (which, BTW, Wilson has denied ever having taken place).

In the last few days, a number of people have been discussing this on the Internet, and I wouldn’t mention it but their experiences seem to match my own. As I said in the post, I had emailed Dr. Davis a couple of times, even asking George Knapp for some help in making contact, but never heard a word back from Davis. The excuse was that Dr. Davis was getting plenty of emails from all over the world and I certainly could understand his failure to reply to me.

However…

I wasn’t the only one having that sort of problem. AndrĂ© Skondras told Philip Mantle had he had attempted to contact Dr. Davis but hadn’t heard back. Given that had been less than twenty-four hours after he had sent his email, that wasn’t all that surprising. Now, several days later, he still hasn’t had a response.

That’s not the end of it. Don Schmitt reported, “Tracy Torme had asked me to contact Davis after his failure when he and James Fox were shooting the forthcoming docu-film. He never responded to email or personal calls. Next, because Davis was listed at that time as a MUFON consultant, I asked Jan Harzan to make the same effort. Same result.

This was important because of Don’s efforts and the suggestion that MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan was involved (made long before Harzan’s arrest). While I fully understand Dr. Davis ignoring some of these requests, as a consultant to MUFON, you’d think that a response to the Executive Director would be forthcoming.

This has now taken a different path with a suggestion that we contact Admiral Wilson, who has repeatedly denied that he knew Davis and wouldn’t recognize him if he walked into the room. Since the Admiral has been contacted and responded a number of times, I don’t know what good it will do to bother him again. He’s not going to change his mind.

I’m reminded of the note Kent Jeffrey received from the late Colonel Robert Barrowclough, who, in 1947, was one of the senior officers at the Roswell Army Air Field. In that note dated June 15, 1997, Barrowclough wrote, “Thank you for the copy of the [MUFON] UFO Journal on the Roswell Myth. Maybe some of those crack pots will quit calling me up and say I’m covering up a deep gov’t secret.”

Even if Admiral Wilson did know something, he would be obligated to deny it if it was still classified. I’m not saying that he does, only that continued pestering of the man will not yield any positive results… especially since he is on the record, repeatedly, as saying he had no such discussion with Dr. Davis.

The key here is Dr. Davis, but it seems to be a key that is lost. Since Dr. Davis has proclaimed a well-known hoax (Del Rio) as being authentic, I fear that there is nothing more to learn from him. All we end up doing is chasing a claim that cannot be verified and it does nothing to advance our knowledge. It only diverts us from a path that could yield better results.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Levelland and the Dust Theory

 

A new theory about the cause of the Levelland car stalling incidents has been offered and it was noted in one of the comments to a posting here. The theory is that there was electrically charged dust, in the atmosphere, which had not been reported. This dust, sucked into the engines of the cars, caused the spark plugs to fire continuously, causing the engine to stall. Since many (half) of the cars in 1957 had six-volt batteries, this caused the headlights to dim. Once the discharge ended, then the car could be restarted. It was noted that the idea that the cars restarted spontaneously had been disproved by the original testimony. (Actually, one of the witnesses insisted that his car had restarted on its own). You can read the whole theory here:

https://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/ufoclass.htm

A cursory reading of the information in the Project Blue Book files would tend to refute this theory. According to that documentation, there was light mist. A light mist would suggest there was no trouble with dust in the atmosphere.

In a report on November 7, 1957, and from the commander of the 1006th AISS, the idea of bad weather was reinforced. It was noted, on a single page that seemed to be

Location of one of the UFO sightings.
Photo copyright by Kevin Randle

detached from the rest of the report, that “In the opinion of [the] investigator [Barth] following possibilities exist… 1. With amount of rain in area…”

Another message, sent about the same time, provided additional weather information about the conditions in Levelland. It reported that it was cloudy with a light drizzle. There was a handwritten comment that said, “Note!”

In a teletype document that seemed to have been separated from page one, page two of it said:

…conditions might have developed to bring St. Elmo Fire or the like pd [period]. 2. Possibility of excess burning gas from oil operations reflecting off 400 foot cloud cover pd [period]. 3. Possibility of downed power line sparking off wet ground. pd [Period] Southwest public service co. is checking with REA Coops (sic) on any other concern with power lines into area for failure pd. … Dr. Ralph S. [Underwood] cmm [comma] Texas Tech astronomy expert cmm [comma] stated that the following oossipilities (sic) existed as he understood the sighting cln [colon] natural phenomena not fully understood cmm possibly caused by rain cmm and he stated that the possibility existed they came from outer space but he personally did not believe this… Dr. Underwood also concured (sic) with numbers one and two above.

On page three of another report written by the commander of ATIC on the Joint Messageform – Continuation Sheet, and addressed to AFCIN (Air Force Chief of Intelligence) and to the attention of Major Byrne, there is more information about the Air Force belief in wet weather. The document said:

The following possibilities, repeat, possibilities, being checked, which could result in unusual phenomena observed particularly under darkness, mist and rain…

The Air Force was pushing the idea that weather, rainy weather, with low hanging clouds had something to do with the sightings. Each of the reports returns to the idea that rain, drizzle and clouds were responsible for the sightings.

In keeping with the Air Force explanation for the Levelland sightings, or rather using the information supplied by the Air Force and assuming that it was accurate, Dr. J Allen Hynek wrote a half page, single-spaced report that repeated much of what the Air Force had said. According to Hynek:

The phenomena reported seen causally interlocked with the meteorological conditions prevailing at that time; viz, low ceiling (400 feet), fog, mist, light rain and periodic lightning flashes. Our knowledge of such well-attested phenomena as ball lightning and related electrical discharges is not sufficient to pinpoint the exact cause of the present sighting. But there is no need to hypothesize “space craft” etc. in this matter since lightning flashes, alone, in a foggy, low-ceiling nocturnal meteorological setting is sufficient to produce weird effects, especially to imaginative minds…

Coming now to the phenomena of motor stoppage, etc. This was reported in three (3) cases [this is inaccurate]. One case momentary – loud noise of radio and momentary flutter of car light (typical of electrical storms). The other two cases indicated definite stoppage. Might not be possible, if indeed these occurrences were causally connected with the phenomena reported (rather than ascribable to coincidence -- after all, two car engines stopping one hour apart, in a lightning storm with high humidity [emphasis added], does not strain coincidence) to ascribe stopping to sudden deposition of moisture on distribution parts [emphasis added], especially if moisture condensation nuclei were enhanced by increased atmospheric ionization.

At some point, the low ceiling and the fog cited by those analyzing the sighting appeared, but, ironically, other documentation in the Blue Book files simply does not bear this out.

In fact, according to the local newspaper, Levelland Sun-News (found in the Blue Book file) on November 5 reported, “Weathermen said they could not explain away the sightings. There were no thunderstorms in the area and they scoffed at St. Elmo’s light.”

Don Berliner, who interviewed the Levelland Sheriff, Weir Clem, wrote, “Sheriff Clem remembers the night very well: ‘The moon was very bright. There were a few, thin, wispy clouds in the sky but not enough to obscure the moon.’” A bright, clear sky does not suggest that there was any dust in the atmosphere.

Some of the weather data found in the Levelland file, seems to bear out Clem’s memory. The sky was reported to have only four-tenths coverage, which means that the majority of the sky was clear. There is no information about the height of the clouds, only that they covered part of the sky. Various altitudes would suggest that the sky was not obscured by clouds and that there was no ceiling at 400 feet. Four-tenths coverage does not constitute a ceiling.

There is more trouble with the idea that the night was drizzly, misty or had a low overcast. * Dr. James McDonald, wrote, “[Troy] Morris was emphatic that the early hours of Nov. 3 were clear or nearly clear. He, himself, when he heard the reports, went out to have a look on the roads. He said he couldn’t understand why the Air Force would say that there were storms since there were Air Force investigators the following day.”

McDonald, to check out the weather aspect of the case said, “I dug out the weather maps and rainfall data. A large, high-pressure area was moving southward over the Texas Panhandle, completely antithetical to convective activity and lightning of any sort, and a check of half a dozen stations in the vicinity revealed that there was not even any rain falling during this period, nor had more than a small amount fallen hours earlier that day when a cold front went through.”

What this means is that even if there was no drizzle or mist at the time of the sightings, there had been rain earlier in the day. That, too, would have, dare I say it, dampened the dust. The weather data, available from various sources says that the surface winds were light and variable. This would suggest that there simply wasn’t the dust in the atmosphere to cause the engine problems suggested by the theory.

There is one other thing that I’m hesitant to mention and it’s simply that the stalling car engines and the dimming headlights were not regularly reported in the Levelland area. It would seem that it happened only on this one night and that would seem to negate the dust theory, especially when it affected only a few cars.

But the real point is that the weather conditions on that night, as documented, do not support the theory. Too many cars in too many locations in and around Levelland with drivers reporting trouble. Too many people independently reporting an object to law enforcement. And no replication of these conditions at other times. The evidence argues against the solution.

*Although I don’t accept all the Air Force reports on the weather, I mention them to underscore that I have examined the entire record. If you believe the Air Force, then the dust explanation fails. If you believe the information from the newspapers and the witnesses, and the data uncovered by Dr. McDonald, then the dust explanation fails. I wanted it understood that I looked at the entire weather record.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Chasing Footnotes - Howard Lake, Minnesota (UFO Occupant) Edition

 

It has been a long time since I was able to chase a footnote or two but I have finally had a chance to do it again. I was working on another project and came to a case that fit into that framework. In UFO Reports Involving Vehicle Interference written by Mark Rodeghier and published by CUFOS, he cited the following:

January 25, 1967: 0430 –

U.S., near Winstad, Minnesota: The engine of a car stalled and the driver got out and saw a bright light coming nearer. It landed on the road on a tripod: it was 25 meters (75 feet, more or less) in diameter, longer than it was wide. A man-like figure got out of the object, checked the exterior of it, then got back in. The object then departed and the car could be restarted.

According to the notation at the end of this short entry, Rodeghier cited a report by Jacques Vallee in his Passport to Magonia. That reference said:

812 [Numerical sequence in the listing of cases]

January 25, 1967: 0430 –

Winsted (Minnesota). A civilian man, 32, driving to work in his 1964 Chevy truck, had to stop and inspect the vehicle when its engine stalled. Only then did he observe an intense light to his right, coming closer. He saw it land on the road, and locked himself inside the cabin. The craft settled on a tripod landing gear; it measured 25 m in diameter and was 10 m high. Something similar to an elevator came down from it, and a man dressed in blue coveralls “with something like a glass fishbowl on his head,” of medium height, seemed to check something and left.

This was attributed to Atic, which seems to mean ATIC, which in turn suggests the case is part of the Project Blue Book files. There is no listing in the files for a case in Winsted, Minnesota, on that date. There is, however, a case from Howard Lake, Minnesota, on that date with a time of 1100Z (which translates to 0500 local time in Minnesota, if I have calculated the time zone differences correctly). For those with a map, you will find that Howard Lake and Winsted are not all that far apart in the southcentral part of Minnesota. I’m not sure if that information is overly relevant.

The Howard Lake Project Card

The Project Card provides enough information so that we can see that this is the correct sighting. The Air Force listed the case as “Insufficient data for evaluation.” This means that I have found another case in which an occupant was seen that wasn’t immediately written off as some sort of psychological problem with the witness.

The case, as reported in the Blue Book Project Card, said:

Observer was working on his truck when he noticed a very bright light to his right. It came closer and landed on the highway. The object was approximately 75 feet long and 30 feet wide. It made a loud whistling noise and the witness could hear it from within his truck. A man left the craft dressed in a silver blue tight fitting suit with a fish bowl on his head. This man walked around the craft then walked back inside. The craft then took off.

Contact was not made with the individual because of no such address. Also personnel at AF Reserve Unit were unable to locate the individual at the Gleason Construction Company for additional information.

There is another document in the Blue Book files which seems to be a narrative as reported by the witness. His name is redacted but the report was made by Howard Lenz of Howard Lake, Minnesota.

This is the one-page narrative in the Blue Book file. It is clear that the document is the result of Lenz calling in on the morning of the sighting. Lenz reportedly said:

SUBJECT: REPORT OF A UFO                                    25 January 1967

A Mr. [name redacted but is Howard Lenz], Howard Lake, Minnesota [handwritten zip code 55349 written about the town name] age 32 years, called to report the following incident [hand written telephone number and a note that said Winsted, Minn].

He was on his way to work this morning (works for the J. B. Gleason Construction Company) [handwritten telephone number noted] and between 4:30 and 5:00 AM, south of Howard Lake near highways 101, 5 and 212, his pickup truck quit. He drives a 1964 Chevrolet pickup. He went out and looked under the hood and he noticed a very bright light to his right “like a light from a welder’s torch”. It came closer and landed on the highway. He became freightened [sic] and ran into his car and locked the doors. This light was approximately 75 feet long and 30 feet wide. While he was watching it three legs came out of the bottom like they were on springs. It made a loud whirring noise and he could hear it through the windows of the car. Then an elevator like object came out of the bottom and a man walked out. He was dressed in a silver blue tight fitting suit with a “fish bowl” on his head. He was of average height and build. He walked over to the side of the “thing” to check on something then walked back in. It then took off. It all took about three or four minutes.

Mr. Lenz sounded quite upset. He asked what he should do. I asked if he had called the newspapers. He said no, and wondered if I had had any other calls reporting this incident. I said no. He said he was going to call his wife and then decide further what should be done. I told him I would contact him if we hear anything further concerning this UFO. He said he wasn’t drunk and doesn’t read science fiction and is of sound health. He does wear glasses but his eyes…

That is where the narrative ends. There is no additional information in the file, other that an envelope that shows the letter had been returned because “Addressee unknown.” More disturbing than the letter being returned was that an inquiry made to the Gleason Construction Company failed to find an employee named Howard Lenz.

According to a letter in the file, signed by Colonel James C. Manatt, they had sent Lenz a copy of their UFO report form, FTD Form 164, along with a return envelope but as seen, that letter was returned. There seemed to be no follow up.

This is where the trail ends. Just the report written by an unidentified member of the Air Force, an attempt to communicate with Lenz, the returned envelop showing that the man apparently didn’t live in Howard Lake and his alleged employer who didn’t know who he was.

I have to admit here that I don’t find this report credible if only because it seems that Lenz is a fake name. I also noticed that in the descriptions of the sighting published later, there seemed to be facts added that were not in evidence. Rodeghier, for example, reported that once the object departed the car, truck actually, could be restarted. This is a logical assumption, but I’m not sure that it is a relevant conclusion. Clearly, the truck was restarted, but I don’t have any idea if the departure of the craft was a factor. This could be because we don’t have the second page of the narrative.

In fact, I’m just not sure that the alleged arrival of the craft is the reason the truck stalled in the first place. There is a great deal of information that needed to be gathered. The missing, second sheet of the narrative might have answered the question. I searched not only my digital copy of the Blue Book files, but went back to the microfilm copy to see if that page had been left out. I believe, based on this, I have seen the entire Blue Book file.

Although it seems to have been reported only to the Air Force, I did check both the APRO Bulletin and the NICAP UFO Investigator to see if there was additional information. I found nothing relating to this sighting but did learn that a major flap was in progress at that time. APRO printed several photographs taken in late 1966 and early 1967. NICAP announced “Major Sighting Wave.” This suggests that the Lenz tale didn’t appear out of nowhere. UFOs were in the news, as was the beginning of the Condon Committee and its investigation. In fact, according to NICAP, “Two more U.S. newspapers in December joined the growing ranks of publications endorsing the need for scientific study of UFOs.”

There are no other sources of information on it that I can find, and I have traced it to its origination. If Lenz is still alive, a real possibility, he would be nearly 90 and probably wouldn’t be able to add anything, if Lenz was his real name. There seems to be nowhere else to go.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Randle Predicts the Future

 

In the last few weeks, I have heard that certain people have claimed to have predicted our worldwide pandemic as if this is further evidence of their alien contact. However, I don’t believe it. Let me explain.

In the 1990s there was a series of books that warned of pandemics. Ebola was one of those emerging diseases that could be dangerous. But Ebola, which was considered a “slate wiper,” meaning mortality rate was 80 or 90%, was not an airborne virus. It was spread through contact with bodily fluids and it could be halted by carefully treating the sick.

AIDS had a simpler flaw. It was not airborne and required intimate contact. It did, however, hint at the problem in the world today and that was air travel. With millions of people traveling to every country in the world everyday a virus could be

Me (2015)

spread quickly before we were aware of the danger. This explains the worldwide nature of the AIDS epidemic.

In books, such as The Hot Zone published in the 1990s, there was a warning about the coming pandemics if we weren’t careful. There were other books and other warnings and those of us who were paying attention knew that at some point there would be another worldwide pandemic. All the science pointed to it, those books and articles pointed to it and even the movies made such predictions about it. Remember Outbreak? (1995). Or how about Contagion (2011), which deals with a deadly disease coming out of China?

I mention all this because back in 2005, I was working on a science fiction novel that I had originally titled Forever. It was the story of a woman, who through some twist in fate, found herself not aging as those around her did. I happened to look at one of the chapters just the other day and was struck by an inadvertent prediction I made. I wrote that she had been working at home because of flu-like pandemic that was shaking the world. Granted, I didn’t name it a covid virus, I just called it “flu-like,” but hey, how close do you have to come?

The point here is that I had based that little bit of “science fiction” on what I had read and heard about pandemics, and that there was a trend, out there in the world, where people were “tele-commuting” to work. Isolate people to prevent the spread of the disease and build on the idea that our interconnected environment allowed us to stay at home to do the job… didn’t really envision Skype and Zoom and other ways that we could “get together, face-to-face,” but I did address two of the problems we face today.

In other words, making a predication about a pandemic caused by a flu-like virus and people working from home isn’t a great insight, given what had been published in the 1990s and the push for telecommuting in the 2000s. I just wanted to note that sometimes science fiction isn’t exactly all fiction and that a claim of a prediction of a virus causing a pandemic isn’t all that impressive.