Sunday, January 18, 2009

Project Mogul, Personal Attacks and Me

Well, it’s happened again and I find myself in the middle of a controversy that I seemed to have started but didn’t mean too... well, not completely. I did send out the original question, but I thought the tone of my missive was reasoned and restrained but some of the responses have been, shall we say, overheated.

Here’s the deal. We have learned that the name of Project Mogul was not the big secret we were lead to believe. It was known to project members as evidenced by the Air Force when they reprinted the notes from Dr. Albert Crary’s diary that mentioned Mogul more than once.

Brad Sparks has a copy of a letter that he got from Charles Moore in which Moore is introduced to Dr. James A. van Allen as one of the engineers for Mogul. Moore, however, said that he hadn’t even known the name until Robert Todd told him it was Mogul in 1992.

In the course of all this, I asked a couple of people if Jesse Marcel, Sr. didn’t deserve the same courtesy they were extending to Moore. Marcel had said some things that didn’t agree with the record and he was immediately labeled a liar of the first order. Moore said some things that didn’t agree with the record and it was just that he didn’t remember, or if he had heard the name, it didn’t penetrate into his stream of consciousness. He wasn’t a liar, just forgetful.

I had thought that I had made it clear that I didn’t believe Moore to be lying. I thought he had forgotten the name until reminded by Todd. If I was on the other side of the fence, or rather Moore was, I would have smeared him as a liar and the proof was in the documentation. In UFO research there is no room for mistakes. Everything is a lie or a fraud, a slander, or some other crime.

Anyway, I didn’t really think Moore lied about this, though I do believe his memory is colored by the reception he and his fellow "college boys" received when they traveled to Roswell to solicit the help of the Army. Payback is a bitch.

I also suggested that Todd had received the entirety of Marcel’s service record illegally because there were things in it, sure as his evaluations that aren’t part of the public record, and are should not be released under FOIA. I pointed out that the Privacy Act trumped FOIA.

And I had suggested that Karl Pflock had interpreted the transcript of the Bob Pratt with Jesse Marcel interview one way, but that it could be interpreted in others. The changing of a comma in one sentence, for example, changed the meaning.

There were those who thought it unfair that I attack two people who were dead and one who was critically ill and couldn’t respond. I believed that their writings were still open to interpretation and was still fair game. I expect to be attacked long after I’m gone, though I do plan to live forever or die in the attempt... but I digress.

So, Todd was a vile man who respected no one who didn’t agree with him and wasn’t above writing nasty letters to let those people know what he thought of them. He believed that he was right on every point and everyone else was wrong. When he died, I posted a note to this blog acknowledging his good work and ignoring his lack of personality and his other many flaws. I make no apology for suggesting these things now and anyone who has been at the far end of a Todd attack knows what I mean.

I will point out that Americans often have a bad reputation in the rest of the world. I believe that we should be respectful in our communications with those in other countries. I thought we all should act as good will ambassadors, and if we disagreed, we could word our responses in a diplomatic fashion.

Not so Todd. He was an arrogant man who hammered at everyone who disagreed with him no matter what their location. His was not the image we should embrace when communicating with our colleagues in foreign nations.

One of his letters was so nasty that I sent an apology to the man, letting him know that not all Americans were that vulgar. Some of us could act civilized.

Todd deserves no respect, and if I offended anyone by saying the above, sorry, but it is the truth and you know it. It shouldn’t matter that he held up your end of the debate. You should recognize him for what he was.

Karl, on the other hand, was a colleague and when he died, I was asked to provide an obituary for him. We had also worked on a couple of projects together, including a suggestion that Barney Barnett hadn’t been a part of the Roswell events and his description of seeing the crashed saucer had more to do with Aztec than it did with Roswell. The only tie we could find was that of Fleck Danley, Barnett’s boss who wasn’t sure when Barnett had told him about the crash. A diary kept by Barnett’s wife seemed to eliminate July 1947 as the proper time frame.

Karl and I disagreed on a number of things, but I believed him to be intellectually honest about most, something I can’t say about Todd. Karl and I had planned another project together, but his illness prevented it.

I don’t think I said anything particularly negative about Karl, other than suggesting that his interpretation of the Pratt interview with Marcel wasn’t black and white, but shades of gray, which is the point about the comma makes.

For those who are interested, here is what I mean. Karl interpreted various unclear parts, and once again, I have pointed this out to others. Marcel was talking about having been shot down and that he bailed out. Pratt asked, "Everyone survive," and Marcel said, "All but one crashed into a mountain," which suggests that only he and one other survived. However, if I insert a comma, Marcel said, "All, but one crashed into a mountain," which could mean all survived but one who crashed into a mountain.

Here’s where we are. I believe that Charles Moore was playing a little "catch up" with the Army by suggesting that they couldn’t tell the difference between a balloon and an alien spacecraft. His thinking was colored by his treatment back in 1947. But I don’t think he was lying about anything and the discrepancies between what he said in the 1990s and the records of the 1940s say more about the human memory than it does about Moore’s truthfulness.

Todd, on the other hand, wasn’t above name calling and distortion and I can think of no reason to defend him now. His record speaks for itself and it isn’t a good one. He clearly didn’t understand interpersonal relationships and if he did, he simply didn’t care.

Karl, I count as a friend and if we disagreed on some points UFOlogical, we agreed on many more. He made mistakes in his Roswell book and I see no reason not to say that just because he’s no longer with us. We all make mistakes, we all believe people we shouldn’t and we all have our opinions colored by our own beliefs. (Yes, one of those Karl believed was the witness he named reluctant who was Walt Whitmore, Jr. who radically altered his story over time.)

So, I don’t really understand the venom directed at me about this. I don’t understand why it is necessary to resort to personal attacks rather than just state the facts. If I don’t believe in your pet case it is because, to me, the evidence isn’t as persuasive as it is to you. Doesn’t make me right or you wrong, it just means that on this point we disagree.

I have been on the receiving end of many of these attacks recently. I ignore most simply because they are borne of ignorance and mean little in the grand scheme of things. But sometimes I simply do not understand them, especially when I believe I have been fair in my assessments.

Anyway, this will suggest another side to the debate and maybe suggest that we can elevate our discourse to a civilized level. If not, well, I won’t be very surprised.


Jerry Clark said...

All of this is well said, Kevin, and true enough to my observation, though I am probably a bit more cynical about Pflock -- my experiences with him were not uniformly pleasant -- than you are. Nonetheless, we can agree that he was a bright guy who, whatever his faults, brought more to the discussion than most. He certainly was no Todd who had the maturity of a three-year-old.

Even when I have arrived at a different conclusion, I am always struck by how well thought-out and measured your judgments are. You know how to weigh evidence and how to incorporate the inevitable ambiguities into your analysis. That's a whole lot more than can be said for the howling lynch mob on your case.

Bruce Hutchinson said...

There a couple points in your essay that needs correction, Kevin.

Most important is your claim the Bob Todd got a hold of Maj Jesse Marcel's records "illegally". Nothing could be farther from the truth.

You state that the Privacy Act of 1974 should have prevented release of Marcel's records... wrong!

The Privacy Act protects the records of ONLY the living! There are many references to this on the web, but this one at the National Archives Electronic Code of Federal Regulations ( is very complete, and very clear:

"(i) Deceased Individuals. The Privacy Act confers no rights on deceased persons, nor may their next-of-kin exercise any rights for them. However, family members of deceased individuals have their own privacy right in particularly sensitive, graphic, personal details about the circumstances surrounding an individual's death."

Bob Todd's FOIA request asked for all of Jesse's military records EXCEPT medical (sensitive, personal details), and this request was the one that was granted. Perfectly legal. I believe this has been pointed out to you before, so I do wonder why you persist in this campaign using false information.

You then spend rather a lot of time venting your dislike for Todd, falling into the "shooting the messenger" trap. Your obvious problems with Bob's personality is immaterial to the realities of Jesse’s records, and what they reveal about him. Karl may have had a couple of problems with Pratt's tape, but why didn’t you mention that Jesse made many of the same claims to Bill Moore, some of which ended up in "The Roswell Incident"?

These claims include "3000 hours as a pilot" and shooting down 5 enemy planes. Those yarns were not the result of a fading memory—equating forgetting whether you had ever heard or seen the term "Mogul" 35 years ago… to being a bit fuzzy about 3000 hours behind the stick? Not even close.

I will confess that this recent effort by you, and others, to attack Charles Moore’s memory puzzles me. You are obviously trying to “resurrect” Jesse’s testimony here by pleading equal consideration, but your analogy way off target.

Lance said...

I agree with all of Bruce's comments above. Were Karl's mistakes of the misplaced comma variety?

Despite your attempts to foster the image of a careful researcher, I find your "Roswell is real or I am nothing" approach to be tiresome.

I remember when Pat Packard was alive and we frequently debated Roswell.

When your book came out and described a contemporaneous log entry describing a UFO by the Roswell nuns, I knew that this was a rare REAL piece of evidence. Your book was quite cagy in not really describing the actual entry. Why was this?

I knew that Pat was in contact frequently with you and I asked him to please find out more about the nun's actual entry. Pat told me that you were working on it. I never got an answer.

Later I find that there is no nun UFO entry. How did it end up in your book?

I know the answer but am curious as to your rationalization.

Rationalization is always out in full force with Roswell.


cda said...

Is it Matt Graeber's letter in Saucer Smear (Jan 10) that bothers you? I agree that what he says about you is a bit over the top when compared with what you actually wrote in Smear in November. Yet some of your comments sound bizarre. Why should you have to "apologise" for what other Americans say or write? I certainly do not apologise for what other Brits say, nor shall I ever do so. You are stereotyping here, unnecessarily. Also, why say things like "In UFO research there is no room for mistakes; everything is a lie, a fraud...". Of course there is room for mistakes. We all make them, some more serious than others. And plenty of ufologists have, over time, changed their views more than somewhat.

Moore did forget about the Mogul name (judging by the evidence you produce). Marcel certainly did forget some things. Other events were, perhaps, embellished. But again, we cannot be certain, or by how much. We can be reasonably certain of what he said in 1947 (as far as it was published at the time). We can be far less certain of his claims 30-35years afterwards.

I maintain that Marcel never, at any time, until perhaps the mid to late 1970s, entertained the idea that the debris he recovered was extraterrestrial. However, we may be pretty certain that his mindset was influenced by his early interviews with, and the reading of numerous pro-ET UFO papers by, Stan Friedman. So, of course, was his son.

I should add that David Rudiak has labelled Charles Moore a liar in strong terms over his Mogul trajectory figures. But that is another story.

Joseph Capp said...

Dear Kevin
Maybe I am too simplistic, but I know some types of memories stick with you. I didn't remember that we had a small kitchen table in the house I grew up in until recently, my sister, who has now passed , reminded me of it.
Yet I can remember the event of seeing the two flying disk go over my head in 1962 in the daytime. I can remember my friend who was with me but I can't remember if he had a girlfriend at the time.
I met my friend 30 years later and he remember it immediately after I made this statement "do you remember what we saw one day on the beach in Atlantic City"
His answer was "the day we saw the two flying saucers?"
What I am getting at, is certain memories are burned into your head. I am not putting anyone down here but we are never going to find the perfect witness. I think we should admit that and let the public address these debunking issues as what they are; not that important to the whole story.
For every one human mistake in memory, how many words back and forth have been debated . The end result, we are here. Wouldn't it be better just to say " who cares if he made a 30 year memory mistake. The memory we are talking about is different. The memory we all talking about is the type you don't forget. A example that drove this home to me was. I have a friend a scientist he has a great deal of memory loss. He forgets allot. He still remember the day he witnessed a large object on radar release smaller objects. Yet he can't remember details of what happen two years ago.
I think because I am sixty five and have listen to the arguments so many times that I find the answer simple I think many of these debunkers distrust anyone who disagrees with there ideas of life. It's like a doctor who a lawyer hires to prove his side of an argument. If this doctor, or even scientist is asked to produce some it is usually found they only have to produce doubt. But I knew some good lawyers in the past have told me the best way to counter that type diversionary tactic is to make the argument itself ridiculous That's what I think it forgotten a great deal. Most of these arguments are irrelevant. of course Marcel knew what a weather balloon look like even radar detectors. Their kites made with balsa would and sticks, I made them myself in the fifties. The trick was not to break them. We also have to better defend the atmosphere around what happens. Because a witness may after years try to find new things to remember and deludes themselves doesn't mean they are liars. I hope we are trying to convince the type of people that can see humans as complex and not easily judgmental,
I must be getting old but these arguments are tiring and a smear campaign against some who served us in the Military at our country's greatest need seemed sour to me even after all these years. Kevin I like your attitude in all of this. I am very sorry however that even to this date, I have never read a debunker write with this generously about a UFO Witness.

Joseph Capp
UFO Media Matters
Non Commercial Blog

Bob Koford said...

I just can't put into proper words the sadness that comes upon me every time someone makes improper statements about Jesse, Sr. just to rip him.

cda said:
"I maintain that Marcel never, at any time, until perhaps the mid to late 1970s, entertained the idea that the debris he recovered was extraterrestrial. However, we may be pretty certain that his mindset was influenced by his early interviews with, and the reading of numerous pro-ET UFO papers by, Stan Friedman. So, of course, was his son."

As much as I would defend you as a brother, this is exactly the type of statement I am referring to.

To maintain this thought, you would have to completely, and utterly discount the events of that fateful evening, when Jesse Marcel, Sr. woke his son and wife to show them the debris he had brought home. Jesse, Jr. is certain that his father was unusually excited that evening, and is also absolutely certain that his father used the term "flying saucer" to describe the possible origin of the debris on the 1947! He knew it wasn't from anything he had seen before!

How is it that some can ignore the simple truths, such as that Brazel couldn't identify it, and neither could the Sheriff recognize the material. If it had been mundane, IN ANY WAY, all of them would have recognized it for what it was --on the spot. Also, if Mogul was --in any way-- a secret, there would never have been a press conference, with photos of the object shown to the press. That, in of itself, is an absurdity!

KRandle said...

I hadn’t expected to get much response to this posting and I have to say that I am surprised.

Jerry -

Thanks for the kind words.

Bruce -

Let’s talk about the illegally of Todd’s getting Marcel’s record. I know that others have addressed this, but their answers, and their suggestions that he possessed it legally are without merit.

I too, went after Marcel’s record, contrary to what Todd claimed. I received a reply on January 22, 1996 that it was not necessary to file a FOIA to get the records which, of course, didn’t get them to me.

I received a reply on April 18, 1996, that told me that the records might have been destroyed in their fire on July 12, 1973, but we all know this is not true.

Now the pertinent part in a document they sent entitled “Genealogical and Public Assess to Records.” The relevant part is paragraph 3, “Releasable Information.” They wrote, “ Under the provisions of the FOIA, as amended in 1974, only the following items can routinely be released from a record to a member of the general public: name, age (date of birth), dates of service, source of commission, rank/grade and date attained, martial status, promotion sequence number, salary*, office phone number*, city/town and state of last known address and date of the address, serial/service number (those issued prior to the use of the social security number as the service number), decorations and awards (NOTE: Actual decorations and awards are not releaseable. Information concerning entitlement and copies of awards are releaseable.), place of birth; date and geographical location of death; and place of burial+, military and civilian education level, photograph (or photocopy if only one photo is available, place of induction and separation, duty assignments (including geographical location), dependents (including name, sex, and age), records of courts-martial (unless classified), education/schooling (military), future assignments which have been finalized*, duty status#.”

The notes are: “*These items obviously relate to active duty personnel and are not likely to be in the records at this Center. #For records at this Center this generally means discharged or retired. +If person is deceased, these items also may general be released.”

Nowhere does it say that the Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs, which were called Efficiency Reports back in the 1940s) are releasable yet that material was provided to Todd.

Let’s talk about this claim that he was a pilot... Please note that Marcel didn’t claim to be a rated pilot, nor did he say he was a licenced pilot, only that he flew as one which might be splitting a hair but I believe it to be a valid point. He did tell Pratt that he had been flying since 1928, which is another important point.

Now, I went to the FAA, the Department of Transportation, and a number of other places and there is no record of Marcel having a licence. Does this end it? No, because I also learned that there had been no real push to licence pilots until the middle 1930s, so Marcel could have flown a lot before these requirements came down and like many others at that time, just ignored it because enforcement was limited then.

We also know from his records that he was a topographic map maker and he did this from aerial photographs. What we don’t know is if he was in the aircraft when the pictures were taken... I can speculate and say yes, but I don’t have any evidence of that.

Still, I’m not bothered by this. He clearly had many hours of flight time and he was awarded, at least two Air Medals... I’m not going to hang him out on this. We just don’t have any real evidence that this was a lie.

I did go through the record again and saw nothing to suggest civilian flying time and he did not mark the box for aviation as a hobby. I’m not sure that means much. On this point, I’m willing to give him a pass... and yes, I hear the groans already but I just can’t get too worked up on this.

On his awards, I did notice that his records are inconsistent. To find the citations for the Air Medal, I went to the Unit Histories and I found them. There is nothing there to suggest he was awarded an Air Medal for shooting down an enemy aircraft but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he had done that... not five times, but once. However, there is no record to support this and that is somewhat worrisome. Again, I’m not sure this is a big deal. Please groan again.

Okay, I’ve wiggled my way through some of this. I have pointed out that he hadn’t claimed to be a pilot, but had flown as one and I believe that to be an important distinction. You might not, probably don’t, agree with that.

Here’s where I run into trouble and that was with the claims of college education. I did investigate that back in the 1990s, and I looked into it again not too long ago thinking we might have asked the wrong questions. I found nothing to indicate that Marcel had gone to any of those colleges, except Louisiana State. I asked about extension courses, night courses and anything that a soldier might have taken and was unable to find any record. The best we could say is that he might have audited courses at these colleges while stationed near them, but that is grasping at straws. There is no way to spin this, sugarcoat it, or ignore it. If there is a lie in the Pratt interview, this is it.

If we are going to burn Marcel, it is at this point we do it. The other stuff, the flight time, the Air Medals and the like just don’t fit into the same category. This is the place we have caught him. Is this enough to reject everything else he said? Is this a reason to reject him as a witness? That’s up to everyone to decide for him or herself. If Marcel was the lone voice, then this might be the end, but he wasn’t... and we have to agree he was who he said he was in 1947... that is, the Intelligence Officer at Roswell.

Jerry Clark said...

Kevin, None of what you address amounts to anything except, at worst, some modest resume inflation. Resume inflation is so ubiquitous that if all who ever practiced it were cast into outer darkness and judged therefore credible about nothing else, civilization itself would probably collapse.

I don't pretend to know what the truth about the Roswell incident is. There are problems with all explanations so far advanced. I see no reason, however, to doubt that the Jesse Marcels -- Sr. and Jr. -- were/are speaking truthfully to their experience and judgment, prominently including their belief that the materials they handled were of an extraordinary character. No one has demonstrated otherwise. Frankly, the attempt to discredit them, on the same endlessly recycled specious grounds, evolved long ago into the most tiresome of exercises.

Maybe these guys need to find another, more productive hobby. The Roswell debate deserves better. It needs to be waged on other fronts which might actually get us somewhere.

KRandle said...

Lance -

No, the mistakes go beyond the absent comma. And I’m not sure that was a mistake. It was just a different interpretation. I was using it as an example of how the placement of a comma could change the meaning.

If you want, I could mention Karl’s use of the testimony of Reluctant that was so radically different than what he had been saying in earlier interviews. But, is that Karl’s mistake?

I could mention that he challenged the testimony of George Agogino based on his interviews with Agogino’s wife while I had the interview with Agogino himself. Which is the better source?

Karl and I exchanged a series of letters about some of this years ago and we agreed that we each might have been more enthusiastic about some witnesses than we should have been.

My point was simply that Karl’s interpretation of the Pratt interview was just that, an interpretation of it. There were other interpretations that were as valid and that is why I asked Pratt if he had the tape. I thought it might clear up some of this but Pratt said the tape was long gone.

Don came up with the nuns lead and he provided me with notes as to what the entry said. We were told that the diaries were stored in Roswell, but we learned that they had moved everything elsewhere. Don followed that lead and talked to a number of nuns about it.

I worked from the notes that were supplied by Don. I understood that he knew what the entry said and was only searching for the document itself so that we would have that. That’s how the nun story came to be.


First, I wouldn’t normally apologize to anyone for something someone else did, but this was such an egregious example of a hate-filled letter that it demanded some sort of response. I didn’t want the recipient to believe that all Americans act that way. Maybe apology was not the right word... I sent him a note telling him that not all Americans were that ignorant and that some of us were well aware of all the contributions made by our colleagues in other countries. You really would have had to read the letter to understand how vile it was.

Second, in conversations with Jesse Marcel, Jr., he mentioned to me how, over the years, he or his father would mention the debris found in Roswell and how it was not something created on Earth. This was long before the story blew into prominence in 1978.

Third, remember that Marcel was talking about finding pieces of a spaceship to his ham radio buddies which is why the station manager in New Orleans pointed Stan at him. So, before Stan had a chance to contaminate him with all sorts of articles and notes in his packet, Marcel was already talking about it being a spaceship.

Finally, I think you prove my point for me. Yes, David Rudiak has called Charles Moore a liar for his manipulation of the winds aloft data... He does extrapolate the winds above 20,000 feet because that is all the farther the data extended in 1947. Moore, as I understand it, rounded a number up and when Ruidak checked the math, he rounded two figures down, which produced the different results. I don’t believe choosing one method over the other makes one a liar... though it might suggest a hint of intellectual dishonesty, and no, I’m not suggesting that of either man.

But my point was that we allow no mistakes. Look at some of the nasty stuff on the internet. People calling those with whom they disagree frauds, threatening lawsuits here and there (and I’m not comfortable in the new year unless someone has threatened to sue me... My record is the first threat that came on January 4).

Sometimes a mistake is just a mistake, not a false claim, not a deliberate distortion, just a simple mistake. I would think that we all could tone down the rhetoric somewhat and attempt to engage in civil dialogue, which, I think we do here.

Lance said...

"I worked from the notes that were supplied by Don. I understood that he knew what the entry said and was only searching for the document itself so that we would have that. That’s how the nun story came to be."

So you are saying that you knew that even Don had not seen the actual records? This is EXACTLY what I was trying to get to in my earlier message.

Let me remind you how you footnoted the nun record in your book, The Truth About the UFO Crash in Roswell":

"4. Records held by the Franciscan Catholic Nuns."

Historical writing uses the convention of footnotes to support the written text. In no case can I imagine that anyone might read this footnote and assume that the authors had never seen the cited material!!!!

Is that the kind of writing that you can support?

To how many more of your footnotes must we add the phrase "which the authors have never seen but it supports our case so we put it in"?


KRandle said...

Lance -

Oh, for cying out loud. How long have you worried about this? I'm sorry that I didn't make it clear. I worked from the notes that Don supplied me. We learned that the records were not held in Roswell and Don chased them down. He made notes from them... I wanted a copy of the actual document which we were not able to secure. And no, I don't know why he didn't get a copy of the document. The footnote accurately reflects the situation.

I write (well Don and I wrote) a 100,000 word book and you take exception to seven?

Lance said...

LOL--you are right that I have thought about this for a while!

My contention is that there are no records. That Don never saw anything. That he made it up.

Nothing on these nun UFO records has ever surfaced.

Are you saying that you believe that they exist? Do your notes show where Don tracked them down?

As for the rest of the book, I think you are well aware of the witnesses therein whom are not spoken of so much anymore, no? They took up quite a bit more of those golden 100,000 words.


RRRGroup said...

Kevin, et al...

You disregard Jerry Clark's quite sensible advice: that you (and a few others here) are putting too fine a point on Roswell minutiae.

The Roswell incident won't be resolved by the continuing scrutiny of Marcel scraps.

The answer to Roswell (and the UFO enigma itself) lies in places far from the contaminated Roswell witness testimony

Jerry Clark's observation that you (and the rest of us) should be looking for the UFO/Roswell answer in other places than Marcel's kitchen table is a view that seems to be ignored for some reason.

If you, Kevin, want to create an accurate history of the Roswell episode, which you've already spent a lot of time working at, that's fine.

But the UFO mystery's explanation lies elsewhere, and your "obsession" with Roswell orts is either a fixation caused by age or something else that doesn't make sense to Clark or others who wish you'd spend your time and expertise on the phenomenon itself.


KRandle said...

For those interested, here is a note that Jesse Marcel sent to me about his father's bail out while serving in the Pacific.

Marcel wrote, "I just read the article that you wrote about Todd and Karl which mentioned my dad bailing out of his B-29 after it lost three of the four engines. Apparently a B-29 did not fly very well on one engine especially if it had to climb over some mountains. Many if not all the crew survived. My dad was not the first out of the A/C and before he left, he counted many chutes that had opened. When he jumped his primary canopy did not open and he had to tear into his chest pack for his back up chute. Those who jumped after him did not think he survived because his primary chute did not open and they did not see his secondary chute open. He was rescued by some natives who got him back to the airfield. He sent part of the canopy home and my mother made a blouse out of the silk from the chute. I wish I knew where that blouse is today."

Thought it might be of interest to those here.

KRandle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KRandle said...

Lance -

The diaries are now located in Oklahoma. Have fun.

Lance said...

Nice to see that you still work at the UFO level of scholarship.
You admit that you have never seen the records, you cannot relate the precise text in question,

And yet for you this is a fact.

Judging from what you accept as facts in the rest of your work this is no surprise.

cda said...

Even if the nuns' diaries were found, it would not advance the Roswell ET case one iota. The entry, according to Randle/Schmitt: "The Truth..." merely says the nuns saw a brilliant light plunge to earth. Big deal. A bright meteor maybe? The Wilmot's sighting was on July 2, so why does a sighting of a bright light on July 4 take precedence in establishing a date for the Roswell crash? The nuns' report is trivia in the extreme.

Lance said...

Agreed. But in the UFO world, evidence is often not judged by its quality but by the sheer poundage you manage to shovel into your arguments.

Note the oft-touted large number of witnesses that are frequently cited as proof of Roswell (despite the ever-changing landscape where the biggest liars eventually fall our of favor).

I point to the supposed nun's diaries because they are a rare piece of tangible proof. While alone they mean nothing to the case, I was struck when first reading the book that Kevin resorted to an obvious paraphrase. And, while he piled on with other documents in his appendix C, this document was left out.

When the book was released, I asked Pat Packard (whom I understood was in regular contact with Kevin) if he could find out what the actual text said. As the weeks went by, it became clear that Kevin was not gonna supply that info. As a newly disillusioned former UFO believer, I was pretty sure I knew why.

Anyone can see from the above that Kevin somehow justifies wriggling out of actually answering the simple question of exactly what the nun entry said. While it is hard to precisely pin him down in his above weasel language, he seem to be saying that:

1. He never saw the document.
2. Don told him the contents of the document but Kevin knew that even he might have never seen it.
3. If Don did see it, he had to make a trip to Oklanhoma.
4. The actual text was never given to Kevin (which make citing it disingenuous at best).

Back when I was interested in this I also followed the records to Oklahoma but was unable to find anyone who knew how to get access to them or exactly where they were--I was only working by telephone, however.

Read the above KR responses to see the cagy way Kevin avoids manning up and actually answering the question.

What I suspect happened is that the "researchers" heard a story about the nun's entry, and were never able to track it down (Did Don ever make a trip to Oklahoma, Kevin?). They still included it in their book because, hey, it supported their current theory.

In fairness to Kevin (even though I am sure that my comments may seem terribly unfair to the Roswell faithful) he was working with a questionable person and maybe it was hard to follow up on all of his questionable "research."

My point, as demonstrated in the above responses, is that when it comes to scholarship and research and fairness and accuracy, those qualities STILL take a backseat to whether of not they support your story in the UFO world.

In this field. Kevin is a very fine writer and by all accounts a careful researcher but his zeal for Roswell makes it clear that his judgement can be cloudy.

When faced with hard questions, even on a little point like this, he takes the fundamentalist approach and admits no fault. Sad, really.

KRandle said...


I didn’t believe that the Wilmot sighting had anything to do with the crash and I believed this because I had a copy of a diary that put the crash on July 4. The specific entry was “7– 4– 47 OBJECT DOWN – 2317 – RADAR TARGET GONE.”

Since we had copies of the diary entry and we considered the source reliable, this seemed to date the crash for us.

He also supplied other documents that were on paper of the right era, and he had his military papers that seemed to prove that he was who he claimed to be. Besides, Walter Haut had told me more than once that anything he said was golden.

Given all that, we knew that the object crashed at seventeen minutes after eleven, or forty-three minutes before midnight on July 4.

Yes, this is Frank Kaufmann, and given what we had and the evidence provided, we, which is to say, I, believed him. It was the military documents that undid him. We found the original of his separation papers and saw that he had altered them to make his story more plausible. Call me naive, say I had the “will to believe” but I just didn’t think someone would doctor those papers... until I read Stolen Valor and realized that so many others did... including the last ten men who claimed to have been soldiers for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Besides, we had the Barnett diary and for Barnett to be in the right place for the retrieval, if the year was 1947, the Wilmot sighting was either a day too late or completely irrelevant.

Lance -

I’m not sure what your problem is. I thought I had answered your questions, so let’s try again.

The initial lead to the nuns came after a lecture in Alamogordo. Don talked to the guy and introduced me. The next day (I believe) we went over to Roswell and talked to a former nun there named Day who told us that she had personally seen the diary and described what was in it. (What she said matched similar stories told by William Woody and CPL Pyles.) Don, since he was Catholic, was going to follow up on the lead and provided me with his notes after his investigation.

I told this to Pat long ago and I don’t know why it wasn’t communicated to you then. The entry in the book was based on what the man in Alamogordo said, what the former nun said, and what Don Schmitt wrote and the additional information supplied by other first-hand witnesses who saw the same thing.

No, I did not see the diary, just as I was not present at all the interviews, nor did I received all the letters, notes, files, records and other documents that Don had gathered (and no, he didn’t see all I had, but if he had asked, I would have copied what he wanted). Yes, I did get some of the transcripts and tapes including video tapes of various interviews and used all that material. Also remember that Don supplied material in the book, meaning that he wrote parts of it. I rewrote the whole thing so that it would have the same “voice”, questioned him on his end of it and then submitted the manuscript. I spent 24 hours (not all at once), on the telephone to the attorneys of the publisher answering all their questions, satisfactorily, in 1990. Please look at that date.

Also notice that the nun diary did not evolve in a vacuum. There was other information to support it. William Woody and CPL E.L. Pyles to name two who described something that was just like what those who had seen the diary said was in it. Had there not been that other information, then the nun diary entry might not have made the cut... Just as had Marcel been the only source for the Roswell story, it would never have gotten as big as it has.

At the time I was confident that the information was accurate. Today I have learned that some of it was not accurate and have attempted to set the record straight when possible such as insisting to the Center for UFO Studies that we publish an article about Kaufmann as quickly as we could.

I did, with Karl Pflock, publish an article that suggests that Barney Barnett was not involved in the Roswell case, I have published information about Glenn Dennis that is not favorable to his story, and tried to correct the mistakes I have made. I leave it to others to correct theirs.

I always liked Brad Steiger’s philosophy which was to believe that people were honest until you learned otherwise... therefore, I wouldn’t call Frank Kaufmann a liar simply because he was talking about a UFO crash. I would call him a liar once I learned that he had forged documents and that he invented his involvement with the Roswell case. Just as I didn’t call Gerald Anderson a liar until I had the evidence in hand that he was (twice). Anderson’s tale unraveled faster than did that of Kaufmann.

But remember, you said that you didn’t believe the diary existed... have you now changed your mind on that? Do you believe that the diary exists? I know of two people who said they saw the specific entry in it.

Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

I should have been clearer--it is not that I don't believe that the nuns had a diary. I just don't believe that the entry described in the book exists.

The sequence of events you describe above really proves my point. I am sure that you know--even if you stubbornly insist on denying it--this is not the way footnotes work.

You describe two people remembering an entry in a diary many years after the event. The form of your footnote proclaims that you reviewed the actual entry. You did not. Don did not.

Having someone tell you in a UFO lecture that they saw something is not the same as you seeing it.

You do know how citations (honest ones) work, no?

In UFO books, I have to admit, the level of scholarship is just as low as you are relating here.

I notice that in your above response you bring in a whole lot of unrelated blather about things unrelated to the topic. The is UFO believer's most common form of argumentation:

"Talk a LOT!"

I am focusing on one little thing on purpose. And realize that some of my own blather is pretty silly. I do feel that your responses are not only silly but quite disingenuous.

I see that a lot in this field.