Thursday, July 09, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - John Steiger

This week I spoke with John Steiger, a long-time friend who has just published a book of plays called The UFO Trilogy – Dramas for the Stage. You can, of course, listen to the show here:

Although I hadn’t planned on spending so much time on the Roswell “trial,” the discussion just went in that direction. John’s idea was to present the Roswell case
Sheridan Cavitt. Photo
copyright by Kevin Randle.
as a civil trial by questioning the “witnesses” on the stand. Although the majority of the witnesses are those who saw some aspect of the Roswell debris, or participated in the recovery of that debris, there were witnesses on the other side, including Sheridan Cavitt, Charles Moore and Irving Newton. We did spend some time identifying who the witnesses were so that everyone would be able to understand the relevance of the people called to testify.

The second drama is a Board of Inquiry that is investigating the Rendlesham Forest events of December 1980. Here there are only three witnesses, Jim Penniston, John Burroughs and Charles Halt. Each has his own act, and providing their perspective on the observation and landing of a craft. The idea was to have a single
John Burroughs.
Copyright by
Kevin Randle
interrogator, but fill out the other four Board slots with members of the audience. As John put it, they might have the best seats in the house.

The last of the dramas is “Will to Believe: The Brooklyn Bridge UFO Investigation.” This involves the Budd Hopkins’ investigation into the Linda Cortile abduction which might have included a Secretary General of the United Nations. John expressed his concern for the accuracy of the information as reported by Hopkins originally. I would have been a little more forceful, suggesting that this case wasn’t nearly as strong as Hopkins might have suggested.

I fear that we didn’t have enough time to properly examine the last two dramas. All three are intriguing. The dramas are available in a single volume which can be found at Amazon, quite naturally. They were published by Flying Disk Press, and in the interest of full disclosure, my recent book, The Best of Project Blue Book has the same publisher.

Next up is Rob Swiatek, who will be telling us a little bit about the beginnings of MUFON, which is the outgrowth of an accusation levelled a number of months ago. Of course, we won’t be limited to that and will delve into the current crop of UFO sightings as well. If you have questions for Rob, submit them here and I’ll get them asked during the program.

And a follow up for last week... Philip Mantle, by way of Robert Fischer, supplied the following link to an interview with Charles Hickson. It might be of interest to those of you who were intrigued by last week’s interview with Calvin Parker about their abduction in 1973. You can listen to it here:

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The General Exon Quotes... Again

I had some fun the other day that had nothing to do with the Fourth of July holiday. I received an email from a woman who had stumbled across an article about Brigadier General Arthur Exon. She wanted to know the source of the quotes I had published. Her tone was nearly accusatory. She wrote, “… I'm wondering if you have any corroborating source material for what you are attributing to General Exon?”

Arthur Exon. Photo by Tom Carey
She went on to explain that her father had been a close friend of Exon and that her father said that reports he had ever discussed Roswell were “completely false.” She added that her father had once asked Exon about Roswell and that he, Exon, refused to talk about it. She said that it was hard to believe that “during those later years he would not have told my dad that he went public with military secrets.”

She then wrote, “I would so appreciate a response. I’d like sources that I can trace.”

I emailed her almost immediately, which is something I rarely do. But I thought of this inquiry as a treat. I told her that I could provide the source of the quotes in two words. “Arthur Exon.”

I went on to explain that I had interviewed Exon in May 1990. Don Schmitt interviewed him a few weeks later. Both interviews were recorded, though Don’s was intermittent, given his recorder and the lawn mowing going out just outside the window. A few months later I met Exon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base but it wasn’t recorded, given the circumstances.

To make this even better, I mentioned that I had a letter from Exon attesting to the accuracy of the quotes. Stan Friedman, in one of his many attacks on my integrity, said that I had misquoted Exon. I told Friedman that I had the quotes on tape, but he said he didn’t care. Exon had told him I had misquoted him and Friedman was going to continue to push that point.

I sent a copy of the book, UFO Crash at Roswell, to Exon where the “offending” quotes were published and copies of the taped interviews, as well as the transcripts. Exon responded with a handwritten letter saying, “Although I believe you did quote me accurately, I do believe that in your writings you gave more credence and impression of personal direct knowledge than my recordings would indicate on their own.”

I also sent her a link to an article that Greg Sandow had written about the Exon episode. Kal Korff, that perigone of journalistic integrity, had made several allegations about Exon’s testimony. Sandow, a disinterested third party, responded to those allegations at length. For those interested in that, you can read it here (reprinted in the post with his permission):

With that, I believe that the questions about the source of the information was established. We had the tapes, I had the letter from Exon, and later Tom Carey became involved so that he heard many of the same things and took a picture of Exon as well.

There is one other thing that came from all this. Friedman never again raised the issue of misquoting Exon. I believe that was because he’d look a little bit vindictive by continuing the allegation when Exon himself had called the quotes accurate.
In the end, I gave her the information about the sources she could trace, provided documentation that the quotes were accurate, and told her I would be interested in her response to all this. She sent a longer email, giving some additional information about her research. The important line in all this was, “E[xon] intimated, though he could not claim first-hand experience, that it was all true.”

I will note that is not exactly true since Exon did talk about having flown over the crash sites, sometime later and could describe that he had seen burned areas and tire marks. Not exactly reporting on the downed craft, or the soldiers cleaning the area, but of some interest to us all.

But I think the questions about what Exon said have been laid to rest once again. I am certainly glad that I recorded the conversations and Friedman’s allegation inspired a handwritten response from Exon. It put all this to bed… again.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Frank Williams and Levelland

Some time ago I interviewed Robert Sheaffer about UFOs and I brought up the Levelland landing and EM effects case. Robert said that four of the witnesses had been discredited. I asked for the source and he provided it. You can read about all that here:

and here:

and you can listen to the interview with Robert here:

As you can see there is some question about the original source of the material. It seems, based on what I have found, that all four of the mentioned witnesses were
not discredited. However, there is a problem with one of them. Here’s what I know about Frank Williams, or more accurately, what Williams was reported to have said or done:

At about 12:05 a.m. or maybe a few minutes later, Frank B. Williams, of Kermit, Texas, reported that he had seen a large, egg-shaped object sitting on the ground. Williams said that his engine quit and his lights faded immediately. The object was pulsating as it glowed and it seemed that the lights might have been synced to the pulsation of the craft. He said that every time the object came on, his car lights would go off.
Williams got out of his car and the object rose to about 200 or 300 feet with a roar like that of thunder. It stopped glowing and disappeared. When the object was gone the headlights came on and Williams was able to start his car.
Although it was reported that Williams had actually gone to the police station to make his report of his sighting, other sources suggested he had telephoned the police instead. Don Berliner, writing in Official UFO nearly twenty years later seemed to confirm that Williams had only called the sheriff rather than visiting him.
Williams, it seems, then fell off the face of the planet. According to newspaper sources, Sheriff Weir Clem, the Hockley County sheriff, which included Levelland, wanted to interview Williams the next day, November 3. Clem asked his counterpart, Winkler County Sheriff L. B. Eddins, which includes Kermit, to search for Williams. “Eddins said he ‘turned Kermit upside down’ today, even to having an appeal broadcast on the Kermit radio station but he was unable to find Williams or any trace of the man having lived in Kermit.”
What can we deduce from this?

First, it could be suggested that Williams lied about who he was because he didn’t want people to think he was crazy, but felt the need to report what he had experienced.

Second, it could be that he lied about where he was located for the same reason given above.

Third, he might have lied about both his name and his location for the same reason given above.

Finally, he could have made the whole thing up for reasons of his own.
Given the timing, that is, Williams had called the Sheriff just after midnight, there is no way that he could have heard about the other sightings. They hadn’t made the news at that point. Unless there had been some discussion over the police radios and Williams was able to monitor those radios, then his report is independent of the others.

However, that is just not a good argument for Williams. The sheriff, either Clem or Eddins, couldn’t find the man, and they had resources that should have allowed them to do it. Although it seems that Clem did speak with Williams, by the time they were ready to gather additional information, Williams was gone. We have nothing more on which to judge his tale or his credibility.

That, of course, does not negate the other three witnesses that were named with Williams, nor those who interviewed by the Air Force, law enforcement officers or by various newspapers. Those other three specifically, Long, Wheeler and Alvarez, hadn’t disappeared as had Williams.

What might have happened is that the information about Williams, which was published and which suggested he might not have existed or had been involved in some sort of a prank, suggested that others might not have been real as well. Long, for example, was from Waco, Texas, several hundred miles from Levelland, though he was attending college in Lubbock. Given that he didn’t tell his story until the next day, suggested the possibility of contamination. The Sheriff accepted Long’s report as real.

Anyway, we can, if we wish, eliminate Williams from the mix or assign a lower importance to it, but that in no way negates all the other stories that have been told about the Levelland case. Yes, this has taken us deep into the weeds, but in the effort to be fair, I thought I would point out that Williams is sort of a non-witness. It means that Robert was not completely off base, only that he extended his net a little farther than the data warranted… And I have discovered a little more about this aspect of the whole Levelland event.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Calvin Parker (Second Interview)

This week I spoke with Calvin Parker who appeared on the show several months ago. We began with a brief recap of his original experience. For those who might not have been familiar with his story, you can listen to that earlier show here:

We talked about other witnesses to the case, that is people who had seen the original abduction in 1973. These were people who had not come forward then, but
Calvin Parker
who had made comments later. According to Calvin, Philip Mantle followed up on some of this, locating several witnesses who either saw Charles Hickson and Calvin carried into the craft, or had seen the craft. You can listen to that show here:

I had wanted to talk with him about something he had said at the end of the last show. He had mentioned then of another experience that took place twenty years later, in 1993. This seemed to be another encounter and he thought that it was with the same crew that had abducted him in 1973.

I also was curious if anyone had written anything down in 1973 that might provide some documentation about the events. Calvin suggested that the Coast Guard had some sort of record from 1973, but it seems that the event then was not directly related to the abduction. There should also be a Coast Guard record from the 1993 event because his wife called the Coast Guard when he didn’t come home for hours. While they hadn’t gotten the search off the ground before he returned, there should be a record of the missing person call having been made. And, of course, a record of the search being cancelled when Calvin returned home about 3 a.m. This all becomes clear when you listen to the interview.

Next up is John Steiger, who had created a series of plays, courtroom dramas, to examine, in that sort of arena, the evidence for some of the most famous UFO cases including Roswell and Rendlesham. This is an interesting way of looking at the evidence. If you have questions, append them here, and I’ll attempt to get them asked during the program.

In following weeks, I hope to talk with another former cast member of Treasure Quest for his insights into that program. For those who missed it, I spoke with another cast member, Keith Plaskett months ago. You can find the link here:

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Len Stringfield - Liar?

When Don Schmitt and I discussed Len Stringfield’s contributions to the UFO community, I thought we had covered all the problems. However, it seems that there are still some out there who believe that Len was a liar. I think these comments were made because they disagreed with Len’s work and they disagreed with Len’s belief structure but there really is nothing in any of it that would suggest Len was a liar.

Len Stringfield
In the last decades of his life, Len was collecting tales of UFO crash retrievals. He produced a series of “Status Reports,” providing the information that had been given to him. He made no judgments about the information without additional knowledge and shared these reports with the hope that others might have a chance to verify that information. He was not advocating a position on the cases but sharing information that had been given to him.

An example of this was the tale of a crash/retrieval near Del Rio, Texas, in 1948. He reported the information as provided by Robert Willingham, who claimed to be a retired Air Force colonel and former fighter pilot. Len did note some trouble with the case as he learned of it, and reported the new information in his Status Reports.

Now, I should point out that there were many in the UFO field who accepted this case as legitimate. I was one of those, reporting on it in A History of UFO Crashes. I accepted the information because Willingham had signed an affidavit about the veracity of the tale and I believed that others had vetted the information by checking his military credentials. That I found it credible at the time
Civil Air Patrol officer,
Robert Willingham
doesn’t make me a liar because I was accurately reporting what others had told me about Willingham and his tale. These others believed the story as well because Willingham was a retired colonel and had signed an affidavit.

However, as I was working on Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky, I thought I would see what new information about this case was out there. In one of Len’s “Status Reports,” he mentioned that the date had changed from the original 1948 to December 1950, which, of course, was a red flag.

Worse still, as I followed up on it, I learned that no one had bothered to verify Willingham’s credentials. I requested information about Willingham from St. Louis, where NARA houses military records and learned the only documentation available was that Willingham had served a mere 13 months in the military, was a low-ranking enlisted soldier and that he left the military in early 1947. He you read the whole, sad tale here:

The point is, that I hadn’t lied about Willingham, and Len hadn’t lied about him. He, as had I, reported what others had told us. We were wrong, but we hadn’t lied.

And that is what I’m trying to say here. You might disagree with Len’s conclusions or with the information he published, but that doesn’t make him a liar. You might believe, as many do, that there is no alien visitation and anything that suggests otherwise is in error, but believing in alien visitation doesn’t make you a liar.

I have advocated for a long time that we tone down the rhetoric but there are those who just can’t seem to make a point without calling names and attempting to assassinate character. Believe what you will, but make the point without slandering those with whom you disagree…

And please, understand what Len was attempting to do. He wanted to get the best information, regardless of what that information might be. He was priming the pump to get to the bottom of the reports because he couldn’t do it all himself.

But lying? Nope. Just a search for the truth.

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Secret Base in New Mexico - 1957

While working on something else, I stumbled across a short article from the United Press which has escaped notice by many people. It was published in a number of newspapers on November 6, 1957. It said:

A United Press story also told of a Fort Worth chemical engineer, Arthur P. Ticknor, who said he and two companions had happened onto a secret American airfield which on a hunting trip in the vicinity of Clovis, N.M. in1953.
They were suddenly surrounded by U.S. Soldiers, carrying drawn weapons. Then, Ticknor said, the first thing he knew a flying object “so enormous it blotted out the stars” took off.
“Almost immediately another went up,” he said. “there was no noise, only a swish of air.”
The engineer said that he was sure the objects seen in Levelland were American inventions.
As far as I know, there was never any follow up on this story. I do know that Cannon Air Force Base is in the Clovis area so it is quite possible that Ticknor and his pals stumbled onto the airfield, which might explain his tale. I’m not sure what aircraft might have been seen that would fly with no noise other than a swish of air and that would blot out the stars, which, BTW, doesn’t really tell us much. A low flying B-52 would blot out stars but would make more noise than a swish of air.

At any rate, I have found no follow up to this, though I haven’t looked very far. Taking a page from Len Stringfield, I just repeat the information without endorsement nor critical comment. If someone happens to know about this, here is the place to report it. I suspect that it only made the news wires because it followed the national splash of the Levelland sightings by a couple of days.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Dr. Eric Davis and Admiral Thomas Wilson - Redux

The Devoid (Billy Cox), columnist at the Miami Herald, reignited the Admiral Thomas Wilson debate several days 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:

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:

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
Dr. Eric Davis
was a hoax. 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 Willingham 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.


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.

Don Schmitt
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. 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.