Friday, May 02, 2008

Lydia Sleppy: 1973 Interview

Tony Brangalia sent me a note about the Lydia Sleppy story as it relates to the Roswell case and since we can document that she told this prior to interviews with Stan Friedman, Bill Moore and me, I thought I should pass it along.

Tony wrote, "Peter Gutilla, a correspondent with Saga, first learned of Lydia's story (essentially ‘by accident’) in a 1973 conversation he had with Lydia's son, who was employed as a Park Ranger and who was referred to simply as ‘G. Sleppy.’

"Lydia's son was actually relating to Gutilla his own sighting of a UFO that he had seen in the woods sometime prior. He then mentioned to Peter that his mother (Lydia) had a far more interesting UFO story to tell.

"Gutilla happened to relate to Stan Freidman his unusual conversation with G. Sleppy... Today Gutilla seems somewhat circumspect that his unacknowledged lead had helped provide to the world what would one day become the Roswell saga.... Gutilla is still around as a low-key 'hobbyist fortean,' with a few articles he authors appearing on the net from time to time, often on cryptozoological subjects like Bigfoot.

"Lydia's story first appeared in an article (related only in part, and without using her name) in the Winter 1974 issue of Saga (actually it was Saga’s UFO Report on page 60). The article was authored by Stan Friedman and by his co-author Bobbi Allen Slate (deceased.)"

So what did that short note say? "...[I]n New Mexico, a woman with a responsible position at a radio station received a call from the station manager. He had been out checking reports of a UFO which had crashed in a field and was trying to track down the rumor that pieces of the object were supposedly stored in a local barn. In his excited call to the newsroom, the station manager verified the UFO crash report, and also claimed he had seen metallic pieces of the UFO being carried into a waiting Air Force plane which was destined for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

"As the woman began typing out the fantastic news item over the teletype to their other two radio stations, a line appeared in the middle of her text, tapped in from somewhere, with the official order: "Do not continue this transmission!"

Clearly this is the Lydia Sleppy story, published four years before Marcel said a word to any UFO researcher. We know that the "station manager" was a reporter, Johnny McBoyle, who told researchers that he’d seen a craft that looked like a battered dishpan. We know the station owner was Merle Tucker who owned KSWS in Roswell and had been out looking to buy another radio station or two.

I have talked to all these people. Lydia Sleppy confirmed for me that she had been there and had been attempting to put the flying saucer crash out on the wire when she was stopped... ordered to stop. Tucker told me that he was afraid that his employees, Sleppy and McBoyle might have gotten him into trouble with federal regulators. McBoyle told me that he wasn’t sure what he had seen, but knew that it wasn’t any kind of a weather balloon, or array of balloons.

I’m not sure what my friend Christopher Allen (CDA) will make of this. He’s always wanting us to find stories that pre-date the big Roswell explosion of 1980. Clearly this fits the bill. The publication date of the article is Winter 1974, which means the issue was probably on the news stands a couple of months earlier, or in the Fall 1974 and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the article was written in 1973, given the lead time of these things. Six or eight months between submission and publication isn’t unrealistic.

But, we do know when it was first published and this, I believe, makes it more credible.


Bob Koford said...

First off, I apologize if you have already covered this point in previous postings, as I don't have time to search right now, but would really appreciate if you could elaborate on it, in some way.

In the late Karl Pflock's book on the subject, he stated on page 175,

"In his book, The Roswell UFO Crash, author Kal Korff reported that he, too, had learned that a machine of the type KOAT probably had in its office required the operator to switch manually from one mode [send or recieve] to the other. In other words, itr would have been impossible for an incoming message to interrupt Sleppy's transmission without her taking action to permit it...Korff also looked into FBI communications security monitoring in New Mexico in 1947. According to him, his inquiries to FBI headquarters and the bureau's Dallas, Texas, field office revealed the agency had no 'wire' in place at the time the alleged events occurred and they were in no position to monitor any news tranmissions!

cda said...

You wonder what I have to say. I have mentioned this Lydia Sleppy story several times (and yes I do have the Friedman-Slate article). Certainly it predates the Marcel story by a few years, but it is a good example of how a story improves with the telling. The original story, in SAGA magazine, relates it, presumably, as it was first told to Stan. Notice that there is no mention of the FBI. So no reason whatever to suppose the FBI had anything to do with the interrupt. Yet look at the story as it appears in books & papers in later years. All sorts of 'improvements' pop up, things like 'national security' FBI involvement, threats made to Sleppy and so on. These were never in the 1974 article, (which may itself be an 'improvement' on a tale she first told years earlier).
In your own two Roswell books "UFO Crash at Roswell" and "The Truth..." you put out the tale that the FBI interrupted Lydia's message. Friedman & Moore repeat this fiction.
Who is responsible for originating the 'FBI connection'? If it was Sleppy, what does it say about the rest of her story? Thank goodness that, in this case at least, Korff has given the lie to it. As I said, it is a good example of how such narratives improve with time. As for me, I would say that the person who really interrupted her was McBoyle, which is why he refused to talk about the incident again. Also, there is nothing to show the interrupt came from any "official" is there? Yet that is what Stan assumes and writes.

In view of the above, do you still think it makes the tale "more credible"?

Cullan Hudson said...

Essentially, we have nothing more than a (possible) rare mention of the Roswell crash between the events of '47 and the hoopla of the 1980's. Anything beyond that is fanciful and specious.

cda said...

Another indication of embellishment is that KR & Don Schmitt say the interrupt came from the FBI in Dallas. Why Dallas? Because there was a real FBI teletype from Dallas that same day, and the idea has got into Lydia's head (who planted it?) that her supposed interrupt must have originated there too. Strange there is no mention of the alleged interrupt in the FBI weekly summary from the Dallas office (see GAO report). Recall all those teletypes Frank Joyce collected? Any hint of an FBI interrupt in these? None at all. People were perfectly free to type whatever they wanted.

Doc Conjure said...

Hmm...'Battered Dustpan'. Interesting shape. I think it's also fascinating that there are so many supposed eye witness testimony of just what type of craft it was...disk, egg, delta wing, now 'Battered Dustpan'.

KRandle said...

First let me note that dustpan is a typo I made and it should have been dishpan, which is, a circular shape.

Second, let me note that some of the witnesses who described the shape have been discredited. Frank Kaufmann, again, comes to mind and that takes out the delta-wing shape with the bat-like structure on the rear.

Third, some of these people only had a moment to look at the shape and these discrepancies could be the result of perspective. In Levelland, for example, the object was described as egg shaped, round and torpedo like. But if you have a cylinder seen from the end, it looks round, from an angle it might look egg shaped, and from the perpendicular, it would be a cylinder. So, perspective might play a role here.

So, from a vantage point of our 20/20 hindsight, we see that the descriptions aren't all over the board...