Friday, December 31, 2010

Rhodes Photo Poll Results

Well, the results are in... even if so many of you decided not to bother to vote in the Rhodes photographs poll. Only 38 people voted, which suggests that the interest in the pictures isn’t all that great. Most seem to have ignored the possible significance of them and I’m not sure why.

Clearly the majority of the votes, or about 64% thought the pictures represented something other than an alien spacecraft. Many thought it was a hoax and I know they believed that because Rhodes seemed to have been less than honest in his educational background.

Only 34% though the pictures showed something of extraterrestrial origin. I’m not sure if they were persuaded by the story told by Rhodes, his genius, the seeming connection to the Arnold sighting of about two weeks earlier, or they would just believe about anything that leads to the extraterrestrial.

One thing I haven’t researched is if the Arnold drawings, now available to us because the Project Blue Book files have been released publically, might have influenced Rhodes, if the case is a hoax. His photographs match, to some extent, the drawing offered by Arnold to Army investigators... that is, his original drawings and not the much more stylized illustrations he produced later.

I’m not really sure on this one. That Rhodes apparently lied about his education is bothersome. That he seemed to have embellished his job with the Navy is worrisome. But I’m not sure that we can reject the photographs on that basis alone.

That they sort of match with Arnold is a plus for them, but is it enough to overlook his embellishments on his "resume"? I really don’t know.

The best solution here is to slip this one into the "unidentified" file because there is no proof the pictures are faked... but to keep our eyes open for any better solution. This simply is not the case on which I’d want to argue for the reality of alien visitation, and in the end, I think that is the most important point

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mel Noel/Guy Kirkwood in the 1960s

I was working on my book, Confessions of a Ufologist, and reviewing the section on Carroll Wayne Watts, who was the man who claimed in 1967 and 1968 that he had been accosted... abducted... invited by alien creatures from Mars to ride on their ship. A lie detector test was failed, according to Watts, because he was threatened by two men as he traveled to Amarillo to take it.

In my file on Watt’s, I have a typewritten version of a paragraph about Watts that appeared in the March 1968 issue of the NICAP UFO Investigator. In today’s world, I have, on my computer, a complete run of the UFO Investigator. I wanted to know if the typewritten version agreed with the printed version. So I looked it up and found that it did.

Here’s the real point, however. Right after that short paragraph, in which they suggested they didn’t believe Watts, was another paragraph, this one from Mel Noel. It caught me by surprise because I didn’t know that Noel’s UFO activities had gone back that far. I only knew of him after his name and story was mentioned in Timothy Good’s Above Top Secret, where it was claimed that Noel had been an Air Force pilot on some kind of top secret UFO mission.

But here was another contactee claim, by a man calling himself Mel Noel, who described meeting with pink-haired, platinum-skinned, fish-eating Martians said to be running a Mars-Earth transportation system to introduce Earthlings to Martians.

This was wild enough that I wondered how Noel had managed to reinvent himself some twenty-five years later as a former Air Force pilot and why Good had given any credence to the story. Was it possible that no one was aware of this earlier claim?

As I have said, the Internet is a wonderful tool and I found that there were some who had made the connection, after Good had published his book. Don Ecker, at one time the Director of Research at UFO magazine did an expose on Mel Noel, who was also identified as Guy Kirkwood.
The relevant part of Ecker’s expose is this:

However Don Dornan had a different explanation. "Noall Bryce Cornwell(Noel/Kirkwood's actual name) is a red hot amateur scam artist. He has never pushed himself to the point where he will destroy himself on a national level. He loves doing his gag, that is now obvious. I was working for *Life Magazine then, and they were just getting into the muckraking stuff and they were getting impatient. I told them it would take a little longer for what I thought was Noel and Tomlinson's setting of the hook for their scam. *Life wanted to know just where the beef was. Just when would the fraud be committed? Who was going to lose money? There is always someone who loses money in a scam.

"I don't know where he (Kirkwood) was getting the money. He had to have been getting money, but I think he enjoyed the scam more than the money. It's funny, Kirkwood thought I was some kind of spy, but I wasn't. The real spy there, and he was sure that this was a scam and Kirkwood was a fraud, was Bob Klinn. (Klinn was an associate of J. A. Hynek)
"All this time" Dornan continued, "Mel (Kirkwood) was using his "Air Force" background that established his credibility. My brother (now Rep. Bob Dornan) had been a pilot in the Air Force, and when he had met Mel knew he had to have been a fraud. He (Bob Dornan) used to sneak in little things just to check out Mel, facts that if you were a pilot then, you would have known. Mel didn't pass the test. Also, some checks were made then to see if Mel held a pilots license and NOT ONE THING WAS FOUND. The Air Force was also aware that Mel had been passing himself off as an officer, and were considering filing criminal charges on him."

Dornan continued with "I always thought that Kent Tomlinson was the brains behind this scam. He was using Kirkwood and I finally brought it to a head in a meeting with Genovese. In front of everyone I asked Mel if he had ever been arrested? He said no and I ticked off the first couple of instances. I then asked him if he were a Fuller brush salesman. He said "yea". I then asked him if he were a dance instructor and he answered yea. I was then hoping that everyone else was getting it as I ran down the list. You know what? Almost total denial. `How do we know you're telling the truth, or I don't believe it!' I said to myself, I gotta tell these folks to get off the denial kick here. I told Mel that we didn't have anything to bring charges but that (he) played with these peoples emotions. They (group) did not want to hear this, but as I kept going on they finally got the point that they had been had. I told them that I was working for *Life Magazine. Several people were worried that the story would run in the magazine and I told them no, but that Mel had abused their friendship and he had abused their emotions.

Mel "crapped out" and did not deny anything. I asked him if he were ever an Air Force pilot and he said no, if he chased saucers and he said no. That was the end of the story there."

In October 1969 Mel Noel/Guy Kirkwood walked onto the studio of Channel 9. The program was Robert Dornan's *TEMPO, and when Kirkwood came out he said "Hi Bob, I know your brother." Host Bob Dornan had invited both Mel and Don Dornan onto the show to "Hash" the story over. Don Dornan immediatly called Kirkwood on the carpet to state his real name.

"Noall Bryce Cornwell" replied Kirkwood. Then Dornan said "Noall Bryce Cornwell is not a pilot and never has been a pilot. (Kirkwood later did get a 2nd Class Pilots License) All known aliases also show no record of you holding a pilot's license."
Bob Dornan then said "Were you a commissioned AF pilot at anytime?" Kirkwood said "No sir." And until Timothy Good's book "Above Top Secret" no more was nationally heard of him until the Fox Broadcast where once again he appeared as a former officer pilot with the U.S. Air Force.

But that didn’t take me back to this 1960s claim. It just showed that Noel/Kirkwood/Cornwell had no credibility. Here was another guy claiming to be a former Air Force officer, former military pilot, who turned out to be none of those things.

Further searching did reveal that some knew of the earlier story and while it suggested to a few that Noel wasn’t credible, there were others who thought nothing of it. After all, didn’t the CIA or the Air Force control those records so that a lack of documentation meant nothing about the guy’s credibility.

Of course, there were Noel’s admissions that he hadn’t been any of those things, but in the world of the UFO, even a claim by the man, denying that he had ever been in the Air Force isn’t good enough. I can’t tell you how many of these people, once exposed, managed to return, often with a new story and new claims.

So, once again, I have provided information about someone who said that he had been an Air Force officer, but who was not. I have shown that his tales go back to the 1960s, but few bother to mention that. Here is just another case where we shouldn’t be fooled by someone who isn’t who he said he was. How much longer are we going to put up with this?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ART, LIFE and UFOs by Budd Hopkins

Very early on in reading this book, I stumbled across a sentence* that got me thinking about other aspects of the UFO field and I sent a note to Budd Hopkins, telling him that I was reviewing his book and that I planned on looking mostly at the UFO aspect of it. Budd wrote back saying that the book was not just another of his UFO books, but more of a memoir that covered his life’s work. The UFOs were important, but so was the art and so was his life’s story.

I had thought that his book would be segmented into his early life, his art and his UFO research but it wasn’t. I think of my life with my military career separated from my writing career and my UFO research, but Budd has integrated all parts of his life so that his art is influenced by his UFO research and his UFO research is influenced by his art as he suggested to me and throughout this book.

On page 306, for example, Budd wrote, "...I was keenly aware that few people in the UFO research community had any knowledge of abstract art, mine included, and very few artists cared a fig for the idea of UFOs. I was pained by the disconnect between two groups with which I was so deeply involved..."

In a similar vein, just two pages later, he expressed surprise that science fiction writers have little regard for UFOs. He was writing about two specific examples, Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. Vonnegut "coldly dismissed it [UFOs] as ridiculous. Bradbury, it seems, knew little about UFOs, the evidence for them and probably cared even less."

Those of us who have written science fiction and who have moved through the science fiction community know that it is the writers who most often express disdain for the idea of alien visitation, but the fans of science fiction seem to love it. They have a captivation with UFOs that is curiously lacking in the writers of it.

But this book has nothing to do with science fiction and it is certainly more than just a UFO book. It’s about his life and I confess that I was fascinated by the short look into the history of the Second World War through the eyes of a boy too young to join the military and whose father was a soldier involved in that war. Hopkins takes pride in his father’s position and high rank but clearly did not follow in his footsteps as a military officer or in his political philosophy.

In fact, in exposing his liberal leanings (can one really believe that an artist living in New York would be anything else?) he laments using student deferments to avoid the draft in the 1950s as the Korean War wound down, as did George Bush the Younger, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in the1960s during the height of the Vietnam War. He didn’t mention Bill Clinton’s attempts to avoid the draft as well. I suppose the argument would be that Clinton hadn’t started any wars but the others had. And, I suppose it should be noted that taking advantage of an opportunity that is offered, when it is offered is not necessarily a bad thing to have done. Especially when it is remembered that the drafted soldier has his life turned upside down for two or more years.

I would have liked more about his early life during the Second World War simply because we have many histories of the war told from the point of view of the soldiers, from the adults who were involved in the war industry, the politicians who made careers at the time, but very little of how it affected the youngsters. At one point Budd tells us of watching military aircraft that is going down and he could clearly see one of the men in it, just before it crashes. This must have had a major affect on him but he writes relatively little about it.

Budd moves into his high school career and then onto college where we learn more about his sex life than I care to know. But this is his memoir and he’s telling us what is important to him.

But he also talks about the "fights" with his father over his choice of career and the college he would attend. This seems to be a fairly normal exchange driven by a father who would like to see his son succeed and a belief that art might not be the best, or the most lucrative of career paths to follow. Here Budd proves that some who have visions of art actually succeed at that as an occupation.

In fact, it seems that he is successful enough that he has a home away from Manhattan and I mention this only because it provides the backdrop for Hopkins’ UFO sighting.

As I say, I was more interested in his history with UFOs and it’s deep in the book when this begins to appear. He finally talks about his UFO experience, giving us all the details, including that it was a lens-shaped object that was clearly visible. He thought that it was as large as a car but also knew that size of objects in the sky without points of reference are difficult to judge accurately.

Budd wasn’t alone during the sighting. There were two others in the car including his wife at the time, Joan, and Ted Rothon, described as "a young English social worker." Budd eventually stopped the car and all three of them got out. They watched as the UFO began to move, into the wind, at the speed of a light plane.

This was 1964 and after the sighting, which changed his perception of UFOs he didn’t do much about it. He talked with friends who told of similar experiences in the area. He talked with his father who took the sighting seriously and he wrote to the Air Force, which did not. I also wonder if his listening to the famous Orson Welles 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast, to which he devoted a short chapter might also have influenced him.

A decade later, Hopkins learned of another UFO sighting, this one in North Hudson Park. He knew the witness and interviewed him. He then set out to find other witnesses and was successful. All of this might not have been important, but he eventually met Ted Bloecher, a long time UFO investigator who was interested after Hopkins told him about the sighting.

All this became important because Budd would eventually write an article about it for the Village Voice which later appeared in Cosmopolitan. This told people that he was interested in UFO sightings and as so often happens, once they have a point of contact, they will call with their UFO stories.

Yes, we do get very abbreviated stories of abduction research, telling those interested where to find more about it. This book is not a UFO book so that evidence to prove the UFO connections just isn’t included in it. Is that a flaw here? Not at all. It provides an interesting background for his UFO research, provides some insight into his thought processes, but in the end, this is a book about Budd Hopkins and not about UFOs or art. Besides, he tells us that it was all detailed in one of his other books.

We do get to see some of his beliefs. On page 287, he wrote, "One of my favorite comments of Mark Twain is his statement that ‘always telling the truth means never having to remember anything.’ For a deliberate liar or an emotionally confused confabulator to avoid mistakes in later testimony, he must first memorize many irksome, even trivial details from what he has claimed so far..."

But confabulation in not deliberate lying, but more of the mind filling in lost details. So, while the point about lying is valid, the detail about confabulation is not... and that, I suppose, would be one of those trivial details that I caught. A tiny misconception that means little in the greater scheme of things.

We move through these later chapters, one dealing with UFOs and another focusing on art, but we also see the intermingling of these two important facets of one life.

One thing surprised me about this book. Budd wrote, "But the truly bad news was the fact that my press and TV appearances on the UFO abduction phenomenon were apparently having a negative affect on the way that people – dealers, collectors, and even some fellow painters – viewed my work."

As I say, I found the book to be captivating, and while much of the UFO related material can be found in Budd’s other books, the condensed version here made it all easier to understand. It brought a bright light on his introduction and then immersion into UFOs and abductions. He had displayed here, simply, and compactly his thoughts and his beliefs.

At the beginning of the book I wasn’t all that interested in the art world aspects of this, but now that I have worked through it, I found that it was worth the challenge. Budd has provided a glimpse into a world that I would never have entered simply because I’m not an artist.

Those familiar with the UFO community know that Budd and I disagree on some major points, but this was a fascinating look into the man. Make no mistake. This is not a UFO book, but a book about one man’s life including his political beliefs and his observations on life. It’s about his struggle as an artist, his insights into that world and his eventual understanding of his father’s personality. He wrote, about his father’s, or rather the household lack of the positive confirming cliches such as "You should try to be a leader and not a follower," that "...he preferred us [Budd and his siblings] to be obedient rather than independent and to follow his dreams rather than our own," which, I think, is the attitude of many parents of the time.

So, in the end, we have a fascinating book about Budd Hopkins. We have a book that is necessary for the student of UFOs, but also for the student of the Arts. We learned how he arrived at the point he reached and if I have a complaint, it is that he skipped over what I think of as the turning points without providing any real motivation. He might have insisted on a career as an artist to spite his father, but if that is a motive, it is a relatively minor one for it is clear that he loves the world of art. His choice was made, not so much in defiance, but in love of art.

He was drawn into the world of the UFO because of his own sighting, but where most let it go at that, he searched for more meaningful and deeper answers. He found an interesting aspect of UFOs with the abductions, providing us all with an understanding of how he got there and what he believes.

There is also an undercurrent of his political beliefs throughout the book. Hints here and then until he reveals late that he is a liberal Democrat to his father’s somewhat conservative Republican beliefs. This seems to be an important point to Budd, but I’m not sure that it is important to the reader. Some might take offense, but the rest of us understand that people have a wide range of beliefs and values and to reject someone because of a political philosophy is to reject so much more without rational reason. And, of course, injecting one’s beliefs into a work sometimes alienates the reader, which is the right of the author to do and the right of reader to reject.

This, however, is a book that should be read by those interested in UFOs, in art, and in the human condition. It also provides, though I don’t think it was intentional, a history of the evolution of American society from the end of the depression to the point we have reached today. His review of his life seems to suggest that we are improving, and though there are bumps in the road, we’ll eventually get there. This, if for no other reason, is a good excuse to read the book.
You can find the book at

*For those who are interested, the sentence that sparked the email was a note that Charles Hickson had been awarded two Purple Hearts for service in Korea and I wanted to know where that information originated.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kal Korff Paint Ball Warrior

I know that in the past I have said that I was done with all things Kal Korff. I know that he attempts to stir hits to his website and his Facebook page by attacking anyone who expresses an opinion that differs from his. I know that no one in his world ever makes a simple mistake. It is always a LIE in capital letters and an attack on his expressed religious preference.

But his latest claim, and his latest rant, deserve some coherent comment. He has been claiming that he has been involved in wargames somewhere along the Pakistani and Afghan border. He is leading, according to his latest set of lies, an international team to fight terrorism. And when he finished with his afternoon of mock combat, he sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with the troops... the inference being that these were American service members because we are the only ones to have celebrated Thanksgiving on the day Kal was making his rounds.

None of this is true. It is a LIE. It is not a mistake, a distortion, or a misrepresentation. It is a LIE. He did not participate in wargames where he claimed he did. He did not feast with American soldiers as he claimed. I would be surprised if he had more than a turkey TV dinner heated in his microwave while staring at his computer wishing that he was a real colonel in a real organization.

Oh, I expect Kal to tell me Pavel Janousek, with whom he dines regularly, will be filing suit in the very near future unless I retract the above statements. I would, of course, inform Mr. Janousek that the truth is an absolute defense in these matters, and I can prove that Kal did not participate in any wargames with real soldiers anywhere in the Middle East.

Janousek, according to Kal, was going to file suit because of my blog postings in March 2007. In fact, in an email to me on March 9, 2007, which Kal claimed I deleted with out reading, Kal wrote, "You may send it [my response to Kal’s demand I remove the offending post] to me, since he [Jonousek] is leaving for Austria for one week (a luxury guys at his level can afford) and he said he expects this issue to be ‘resolved’ and that ‘Randle will step down’ by the time he is back, or he promised that he will be next in touch with you [meaning me] via his lawyers, and will proceed to bill you financially for every minute needed [bill away, but he has no legal authority to do that] to ‘deal’ with this. Not only lawyer time, but his time, and others."

And then the part I really like, which is typical Kal... "He desires to be amicable [Kal knows that word?] and says if you have any questions, to contact him via me... But for now, he said NOT for me to give you his email address, so I won’t." Why am I surprised?

Here we are three years later and not a peep out of Janousek, not a bill to be sent and not an email to me when I not only didn’t take down that post, but actually upped the ante later... but I digress.

So Kal wrote this last week, " Heading back to Pakistan, towards the Afghan border. I will be out doing drills all day and a fast war exercise before taking off... Looking forward to this, I’ll be the commander of a small op for our training."

He also wrote, "Our war game exercises included a FEMALE Indian sharpshooter who is a gold medalist in their country, she's a VERY nice lade. Another marksman who was a bronze medalist. It was interesting to see the different tactics Israel uses compared to India. In India and Pakistan they count their ammo, and measure each shot, as in shoot sparingly and try to get their targets with one shot. Since I am trained the Israeli way, this means to just open fire and advance while firing, so that the target is pinned down and cannot move nor dare show itself. As you advance you keep firing until you are on top of the target and it is then destroyed. The result was interesting...NO "casualties" on the Israeli side of things, the other side suffered mega hits. It was fun and educational. Often other personnel were taken out, leaving sharpshooters exposed and not exactly in the best position for them. It was quite a contrast."
And then, "It is not practical, at least in my opinion, to do one shot, one kill in this situation. I prefer steady firepower, because it paralyzes the potential enemy. Then you advance while the target is trapped and trying to survive. By the time you are within point blank range it is too late for said target. I have seen many such engagements, especially with tracers used on the mix, the poor person on the other end does not stand a chance. It is always easy to revert to one shot, one hit, but it is more risky, since one is more exposed and it is hard to cover 180 degrees in front of you at times."
And to prove what a hero he is, he wrote, "In my exercise, I was pinned down by three very different types of soldiers, so I had to take out all three. I went after the two and SAVED the sharp shooter for last. The sharpshooter should have been peppering me while I was laying mega rounds on them, but I kept suppressive firepower going across the 180 sweeping back and forth and just advanced like there was no tomorrow, using combination os Israeli tactics mixed in with some good ol American improvisation. :-)"

There is so much wrong here that I don’t know where to begin. He knows nothing of fire discipline. Spraying the area might look good in the movies but wastes ammunition and if you’ve had to hump it in with all your other gear, you might not be inclined to burn through it so fast. It might be difficult to get more, unless you happen to be using paintballs... but we’ll get to that in a moment.

He understands nothing about snipers, who would be five hundred to a thousand meters from his, or her, targets... and anyone who was exposed for two seconds would be targeted. A fifty caliber round can take out an enemy hiding behind a wall, as has been done more than once in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jumping up and running forward, spraying the area like you’re using a fire hose is a good way to get killed.

He does not understand fire and maneuver, though he does understand that in paintball war, you can jump up and run forward spraying the area. I doubt the Israelis train with paintball guns, or learn to run and gun.

Why am I so sure that Kal was playing paintball in Prague and not commanding wargames in Pakistan? Well, to show himself the hero, he posted pictures which prove my point. As you’ll see, Kal is holding a paintball gun, not a real infantry weapon, not anything in the NATO arsenal, and nothing used in combat training.

And below, Kal’s buddies are wearing chest protectors used in field hockey and in paintball exercises. You’ll also note that they are wearing helmets and face protectors just like those seen on other paintball ranges, but not something you’d see in a combat arena. No one trains with paintballs, and if you think about it, you’ll know why.

For those who would to see much more about all this, visit There you’ll find more evidence that Kal played his wargames in Prague and additional information about his activities.

The real reason I wanted to go through this has nothing to do with Kal’s claims that he is some sort of soldier, that he is a colonel in some mythical organization, but because he had the audacity to label Jesse Marcel, Sr., a liar. This from a man who can’t even keep it straight that he is married with a genius son or so he has said.

Kal, in another rant, said, "... I also was the first to publish Maj Jesse Marcel's military file which PROVES he was a LIAR — and yes, about Roswell. Since Marcel lied, the very nature of this dynamic ELIMINATES Roswell as being ‘ET.’"

"FACT: Marcel said he was a pilot. He said he flew the wreckage to Texas. Marcel was NEVER a pilot."

Truth: Marcel said he had flown as a pilot, not that he was one which is not quite the same thing. I can say that I flew as a helicopter doorgunner while in Vietnam because I did, but I was never rated as a doorgunner. We sometimes did things like that to learn about other aspects of our mission.

Marcel didn’t say that he flew the UFO wreckage to Texas. That came from Walter Haut, the public information officer, who regretted the line saying Marcel flew the stuff to Fort Worth. What he meant was that Marcel had escorted the wreckage to Fort Worth. So Marcel is in the clear on that.

Kal said of Marcel, "He said he had five air medals. He had two." (Which, BTW, is two more than Kal has.)

Given the nature of the interview in which this surfaced, I’m not sure that Marcel said he had five air medals. That might have been an assumption by Bob Pratt who recorded the interview and then transcribed it. The transcription is sometimes confusing and I asked Pratt if he still had the tape so that we might clarify these issues, but he had long since reused it.

We have found citations for the two air medals and I even went to the unit history in an attempt to discover additional citations but failed. I will note that my own military records were only recently updated to reflect the number of air medals that I had been awarded. Other decorations are not on my "official" record, though I do have the citations. So this is really a "So what?"

Kal, in his rant continuned, "He said he crashed off the coast neat [sic] Australia and was the only survivor. He was NEVER in any ‘plane’ crash and no one was killed."

I’m not sure what Kal means here but Marcel did say that he was in an aircraft shot down off Port Moresby, which, I suppose you could say was the coast of Australia, but he never said he was the only survivor. This comes about because of a comma.

Pratt, in his interview, wrote of Marcel’s answers, "I got shot down one time, my third mission, out of Port Moresby [Pratt inserted in parens] (everybody survive) [and Marcel answered] all but one crashed into a mountain."

This then is confusing. By adding a comma, I change the meaning. Pratt asks, "Everyone survive?"

And Marcel said, "All, but one crashed into a mountain." This suggests that everyone survived except one unfortunate airman who died when he hit a mountain.

Or Marcel said, "All but one crashed into a mountain." This means that everyone, with one exception, died when they hit the mountain. Either way, Marcel made no claim of being the sole survivor and Kal is flat wrong on this.

Kal then wrote, "He said he had a Bachelor's Degree in Physics from George Washington University. I was the ONLY UFO researcher to bother checking this."

This is not true. I actually checked (as did Robert Todd) with each of the universities that Marcel said he had attended, going so far as to inquire if there were any special programs in the 1940s, during the war, that would allow a soldier to attend some classes off campus and earn college credits. GWU told me that they did have some programs like that, but, unfortunately for us, Marcel’s name turns up on no rosters.
Kal said, "Marcel NEVER went to GWU."

And here, Kal has a point. The part of the paragraph in which Marcel made this claim is rather jumbled and unclear, but it does seem to indicate that Marcel told Pratt this. When I talked to Pratt, he had no memory of this specific. And this is apparently the only place that Marcel made such a claim, but it is untrue.Kal claimed that "Marcel said he retired from the AF because they had kept him so busy especially after he wrote the very report that Harry Truman read on TV re the Soviets exploding their first A Bomb."

Marcel said that he had been in the service for eight and a half years as well as the National Guard and felt he had a duty to his family, which is not what Kal said here.

He didn’t say that Truman read his report on TV, but read it on the air, which is not the same thing. Yes, it’s splitting a fine hair, but one that Kal would be quick to split if the situation was different.Kal continues his rant, writing, "Truman NEVER READ ANY SUCH REPORT on TV. Marcel was also NOT the author. The fact is, Project Mogul was as classified as the ABomb project during WW II. It was one of our top secrets."

We know that Truman didn’t read a report on TV, but on the radio, so Kal is wrong. We also know that Project Mogul came into existence after World War II so Kal is wrong here. The Mogul project in New Mexico was not classified as one of our top secrets. In fact, pictures of Mogul arrays appear in newspapers on July 10, 1947; Dr. Albert Crary, the leader of the project used the term "Mogul" in his personal, unclassified diary; and it was only the purpose, that is to spy on the Soviets, that was classified. The skeptics have been getting this wrong for years.Kal said, "Marcel did NOT have a ‘need to know’ and the term ‘flying disc’ did NOT mean ‘ET’ back then, but likely Russian."

Actually they were also called flying saucers, which Kal for some reason can’t comprehend, and one of the theories was that they were interplanetary (as opposed to interstellar), most likely from Mars... or that they might be Soviet.Kal tells us, via Facebook, "If you can disprove it, I will admit I was wrong, no problem. I'll also refund your money [if you bought his book]. Please let me know what you think of my book, I will revise it later, but fighting against Islamofascism is more important to me..."

Well, I proved that a number of Kal’s claims were wrong and I’ll wait for his clarification, but I doubt I’ll ever get it.

I also await the promised lawsuits that have never arrived.

I agreed to three debates... Kal agreed to one and then bailed at the last minute.

I await the KPMG audit of my work that was supposed to be published three years ago... but no such audit was ever undertaken.

I await proof of his 500 (yes five hundred) book deal... or that he will publish any book in the near future.

I await his apology for claiming that there were no black sergeants at Roswell in 1947 when there were, at least, 24.

I await his apology for suggesting that Mack Brazel’s picture never appeared on the front page of any newspaper in July 1947.

I await his apology for claiming that Jesse Marcel, Sr. wouldn’t have use the term flying saucer in 1947 because, according to Kal, that term hadn’t been invented... though the front paper of the Roswell Daily Record said, "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer...

And I wait his apology for calling me a coward and worse at almost the same time claiming he respects all those who served their nation in a combat role.

I could go on, but I believe the point is made.

What set this off was that a guy, Kal, lying about his "wargames" on the Pakistani border would call a man who served in uniform, who was decorated in World War II, who was a real colonel, albeit, a lieutenant colonel, a liar. Who really is the bigger liar here... the man masquerading as a colonel in a pretend organization or the man who might have embellished his educational background, something Kal also does... how goes that Ph.D. Kal?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

UFO Crashes and the Public Record

I got an email from a fellow the other day talking about the Del Rio UFO crash. He said that he had gone through the local newspapers, had interviewed various long time residents, and completed other research without finding out anything about the crash. That got me to thinking.

True, you could say that the government had effectively covered up the whole story. But then I thought about the big five in UFO crash reports and realized that they had never effectively covered up the stories.

Roswell, as you may remember, was reported in the newspapers all around the world as a flying saucer crash for about three hours. Then the cover story of the weather balloon kicked in and everyone forgot about it.

Jesse Marcel, Sr., then told Stan Friedman and Len Stringfield about it and the race was on. Newspaper clippings were found. Government documents were found and here I’m thinking of the FBI Telex as a good example and not the laughable MJ-12 papers. And, there were many witnesses who were there in Roswell who did remember something about it.

The Las Vegas crash of 1962 was reported in newspapers, especially those in the west. There were illustrations of the object that flashed through the sky and there are many official documents in the Project Blue Book files about the event including the report from a general officer. I talked with a couple of dozen witnesses who saw the thing in the sky, who reported it interacting with the environment, and police officials who went in search of the wreckage.

The Kecksburg crash of 1965 was reported in the newspapers and I have lots of clippings from them. There are many official documents in the Project Blue Book files and Stand Gordon has talked to dozens of witnesses. There are reports of something being taken out of the woods on a flatbed truck.

The Shag Harbour crash of 1967 was reported in the newspapers. The Condon Committee, the Air Force sponsored study of UFOs even mentions the case. Chris Styles and Don Ledger have uncovered dozens of official documents, there is a picture of the object (well, light) in the sky and they have talked to dozens of witnesses including police officials, military officers and many civilians.

The Washington state crash of 1979 was reported in the newspapers. There are few official documents but Jim Clarkson has talked with dozens of witnesses who were in the area. There are some police reports and Clarkson has learned of a possible military connection, meaning they cordoned off the crash site.

So how do these cases differ from Del Rio, and a few of the other, well known hoaxes? There is a paper trail to them. There are multiple first-hand witnesses who have been identified and who had spoken about what they have seen...

And, no, here it really matters little whether these crashes are the result of a natural, though extraterrestrial cause, or if the object that fell had been manufactured on another world. The point is that any researcher can find lots of documentation even if that documentation suggests a natural event rather than an alien craft.

With Del Rio there was nothing in the local newspapers and the first mention I have been able to find is 1968 in Pennsylvania. There are no independent witnesses in the area who can verify something strange. There are no military witnesses either.

The conclusion to draw here is simple. Even if the event was eventually classified there is some kind of open source to lead us to it. We can find newspapers and government documents. We can find independent witnesses who share part of the story with us... witnesses who have a demonstrated connection with the area and the time. But with Del Rio, and some of the other crash reports, there is nothing like that. It is just one more reason to suspect that nothing happened in those cases.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Rhodes vs Willingham

There are those who had suggested that my opinions on Robert B. Willingham and William A. Rhodes are inconsistent. They wonder why I have suggested that there might still be something to the Rhodes photographs after he was caught without a degree and why I have written off Willingham completely. Why do I believe there might be something to Rhodes and not Willingham’s tale?

The answer is simple. Rhodes’ belief that he had the equivalent to a Ph.D., or that he had received an honorary degree from Columbia University, does not impact his being in Arizona, in his backyard, when the UFO flew over. In other words, we have him in a place where we could expect him to be and the Ph.D. doesn’t alter that.

You can argue, and I would agree, that this episode with the college degree, and the differing versions of how it came to be, suggest that he could spin a tale or two when the mood moved him. It impacts his credibility and if we were in court, such a discrepancy could be used to impeach his testimony. If he would lie about that, what else would he lie about?

But that doesn’t change the fact that he could have been in his backyard when the mysterious object allegedly flew over. Yes, I said allegedly because we could argue that nothing flew over and that the photographs are faked but that doesn’t flow directly from the nonexistent degree.

With Willingham and the Del Rio UFO crash, his story of being an Air Force officer and fighter pilot directly affects his story. If he was not an Air Force officer, then he wasn’t a fighter pilot and he wouldn’t have been in a position to see what he claimed. He could not have been in the cockpit of an Air Force fighter unless he was an Air Force officer.

The high rank he claims, which suggests credibility, works against him if he never achieved that rank. In other words, his lie about being an Air Force colonel directly impacts the validity of his story. He couldn’t have been in a position to see the UFO crash if he was not in the cockpit of the fighter and he couldn’t be in the cockpit unless he was an Air Force officer.

So, Rhodes claim of a Ph.D. is not a disqualification for his story. It impacts his credibility and requires us to take a deeper look at the photographs and what they show. To some, this embellishment is enough to reject Rhodes out of hand. For others, it "beclouds" the issue but doesn’t mean that the photographs are faked.

With Willingham, his claim of high military rank does disqualify his story. If he was not an Air Force officer he wouldn’t have been in the fighter and he wouldn’t have seen the craft. This should be enough for everyone to reject the story, especially since there are no other witnesses, no photographs and no physical evidence. This does mean the story is faked.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rhodes Wrap Up

I said that I would let you all know about the results of my investigation into the Rhodes photographs. When this began, I had hoped for positive results simply because it seemed that too often I was exposing hoaxes and false information. It would be nice to underscore the unknown nature of a sighting.

Rhodes, it seemed, was a genius with multiple patents, who had a Ph.D. and who had photographed some kind of unknown object over Phoenix back in 1947. The Army, and later the Air Force, investigation seemed to be geared more to smearing him than it did to finding an unbiased answer to this case. That smear has little to do with the evidence that surround the pictures.

Here’s where we are today. Rhodes told, at least, two versions of how he received his advanced degree without spending the time and energy earning it in a more traditional fashion. While I could accept one version, that is, he had been awarded some sort of equivalency based on testing and his work with the Navy, the other didn’t make any sense to me.

That he gave two versions eliminates, at least in my mind, the validity of his degree. He had inflated his educational background more for his own ego than for any other reason. Because of this, his story is more than "beclouded" as Dr. James McDonald suggested.

In my research, I talked to or communicated with a couple of people who knew Rhodes. It seems they held him in high regard, were impressed with his genius, and knew that he was a clever man. One of those, Dr. Aden Meinel, who had worked with him in the mid-1950s would not confirm the story that Rhodes told about his "90 day wonder" degree, and I find that telling.

In the course of my work, I learned that what Rhodes had photographed, according to one source, was some sort of balloon-borne telescope and it was part of a then classified project that had been directed by SAFSP which is the Secretary of the Air Force Special Projects. Most of these were related to aerial reconnaissance and photography. In other words, they were attempting to determine how well objects on Earth could be photographed using a variety of platforms at a variety of altitudes.

There was also a mention of ITEK Corporation, but this organization wasn’t started until several years after Rhodes took the pictures. However, the man who started it, Richard Leghorn, had been knocking around Arizona before the beginning of the corporation he started and had been involved in this aerial reconnaissance research. From his own website I learned:

He was recalled to active duty to plan and photograph the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. What he saw changed the course of world history. It was obvious to Mr. Leghorn that there could not be another war using nuclear weapons. His vision; a new approach- deterrence and arms control- to prevent military conflict and to prevail if deterrence failed. So began his pursuit into aerospace reconnaissance, where he became one of the unsung heroes of the Cold War.

Richard Leghorn has been described as a true visionary in conceiving, planning and implementation of activities in the field of airborne and space reconnaissance developments, including origination of the "Open Skies" concept subsequently in preparation for Eisenhower’s conference of the four powers (US, USSR, Britain and France) at Geneva on July 15 1955. As a consultant and then active participant to the USAF Scientific Advisory Board as special assistant to the President for Disarmament Affairs, he was principal contributor to the early CORONA camera development. He was Chief of Intelligence and Reconnaissance Systems Planning and Development at the Pentagon. In "the Secret Empire- Eisenhower, the CIA and the Hidden Story of America’s Space Espionage", Philip Taubman of the New York Times wrote "no one person can fairly be called the progenitor of the reconnaissance revolution, but Richard S. Leghorn comes as close as anyone to fitting the description. Without Leghorn’s incredible skills and dedication our space reconnaissance technology would never have developed." Mr. Leghorn was among six pioneers inducted to Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame on August 24, 2006 for his development of early airborne and space-based photographic reconnaissance systems.

So, it is possible that Rhodes photographed something that had been created to test cameras and photographic capabilities from high altitudes. The problem is that craft, as has been described to me, is about only about three feet in diameter. If it was balloon-borne, it should not have made noise, and would be drifting with the wind, not flying about at several hundred miles an hour.

However, if it was only three feet in diameter, then Rhodes miscalculated the size, and if he had done that, then his estimates of speed and altitude would be way off as well. All his calculations were in error.

And I would expect other photographs to be made of something strange that hung in the air for two days, unless it was small and at low altitude. We do have the suggestion that Lewis Larmore also photographed the object, but, unfortunately, that information came from Rhodes and as far as I can tell has not been corroborated. If Larmore did photograph something, I have been unable to find either those photographs or a follow up in the Air Force files.

At this point, this is all the information that I have. I’m hoping that someone in Arizona or New York(where Leghorn lives) might be able to check the local libraries and newspapers to see if there are any follow up stories or examples of other photographs. A look at the city directories for Phoenix and William A. Rhodes might be interesting if not very useful.

At this point, given what I now know, I have little faith that the Rhodes photographs will lead us anywhere useful. The reputation of the man who took them is tainted by his own "resume enhancements." We have not found anything to suggest the other pictures he mentioned ever surfaced and it seems that his interest in anything was fairly short term. In the end, I suppose we can ignore the photographs and the implications, unless and until someone finds something more. This was not the result that I had hoped for.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

William Rhodes and His Ph.D

I seem to have ignited a firestorm with my original piece about the Rhodes photographs. I was just passing along information that I had, thinking others would be interested in it. I guess I got that right.

One of the stumbling blocks of the case was Rhodes’ claim of a doctoral degree. Given what I knew then, I figured it was something that was of only tangential importance. The explanation offered by Rhodes seemed reasonable to me, and if others thought it was an exaggeration, it wasn’t a very big one. I had heard that others, in the government, had been awarded jobs based on tests and equivalency. That Rhodes attached more importance to this than others might was just one of those things.

But I have heard from a number of others who thought that Rhodes’ claim of a doctoral degree was more than an embellishment. To them it meant that Rhodes couldn’t be trusted and it was enough to reject the photographs he had taken. To them, Rhodes had faked the photographs as a way of increasing his importance.

We have already seen the posting he made a number of years ago telling us how all this had come about. He had taken tests while in the Navy, had passed with a high enough score that he could work on projects at a doctoral level, and that this had somehow been translated into an official degree. I know of others who operate in a similar way.

I was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially when he was able to produce, for Dr. James McDonald, a small, plastic covered replica of his degree from Columbia.

In the February 18, 1967 letter to Dick Hall, McDonald described this writing:

I did a lot of checking on Rhodes [sic] degrees, because there seemed something odd about an honorary PhD based on the kind of work I could image him doing. Columbia said no record of any such degree. Geo. Washington [University] said no record of a BA ever given to Rhodes in the period I specified. So I made a trip up there... he showed me a photo-miniature in plastic of the alleged Columbia degree, and he said he had the original somewhere in his files but did not show it to me. I kept probing, already having the information that Columbia had no record of any degree. As I kept going over the thing he finally volunteered the remark that he, himself, had checked with Columbia about a year after [Lee] DeForrest presented him with the certificate, found no record and confronted DeForrest with the information, and was non-plussed by D F putting his arm over his shoulder and saying something to the effect, that, "Well, my boy that’s the way those things happen sometimes," and saying no more about it.
Okay, this is little hard to take and McDonald said that "we have to view the case as somewhat beclouded."

But that was 1967 and it is not what he had said to others earlier. According to an Air Force Inspector General report of August 17, 1949, Rhodes apparently told the investigator, as well as neighbors that, "[He] wrote scientific article for nationally known magazine [not identified by either Rhodes or the investigator] and received honorary Doctor of Science degree from [redacted but probably Columbia] University for this article."

So, here is a different version of how he came to obtain a doctoral degree without leaving the necessary footprint. And while I would cut him some slack for the story told to McDonald, this different version is quite difficult to believe. It stretched credulity to the limit.

Now we go to the Internet posting by Rhodes to explain his degree. The key sentences are these, "One day, my boss summoned me to his office and explained: ‘We have a total absence of degree'd doctorates, and having already passed requirements, you have been selected to receive a Ph.D in Physics.’ The degree would be known by the nickname ‘90 Day Wonder’, and my work would not be disrupted to gain it."

Nothing was said about what university was granting these "90 Day Wonder" degrees and nothing about who his boss was. In addition, his work with the Navy terminated early in 1942, or not that long after the war started, so you have to wonder about the importance of that work. He suggested that it had ended, but I think a physicist working at the Ph.D. level would be someone to retain.

He claimed a conversation with Dr. Aden Meinel, who corroborated that he too had such a degree, at least according to Rhodes. But the Internet tells me that Dr. Meinel, who might have had such a "90 day wonder" degree at one point, had a doctoral degree granted by the University of California – Berkeley in 1949. And, worst still, Dr. Meinel has not confirmed the conversation.

In my correspondence with Dr. Meinel, I asked about this, specifically. Both times he did not answer the question, telling me, instead that Rhodes was a clever guy... a genius... who helped him, Meinel, with some of his work in the mid-1950s. Valuable help, it is clear but that he, Rhodes, lost interest once he had solved the problems.

At this point I’m ready to suggest that Rhodes is no more trustworthy than those fellows who claim high military rank to improve their credibility. It seems to me that Rhodes had invented this tale of the mysterious degree to improve his credibility and to suggest to his neighbors he was more important than he was.

And, like those people claiming high military rank, he had some documents to prove it but the university didn’t back him up. He offered no names, other than Dr. Meinel, probably because he believed Dr. Meinel was dead and couldn’t dispute him.

As for the pictures, I have been told what he photographed, but I have been unable to verify this. I’m attempting to find pictures of the real object, which is a terrestrially–made craft of limited size, speed and capability.

But even without that, and even with Rhodes making money off his inventions, his holding of various patents, and his somewhat erratic life style, I don’t think there is much of a case left here. If I can nail down the explanation, then we’re done. If I can’t, then there is still that small hole left that suggests there might be something of value in the case... but at this point, I doubt it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The End of MJ-12?

My plan had been to hold off on this until later, but with some suggesting there is still life in MJ-12, I thought I would attempt to drive a nail into this particular coffin. It is clear, based on some early research, that MJ-12 is a hoax created in the early 1980s, probably by Bill Moore and Richard Doty.

Here’s what we all seem to know. The information contained in the Eisenhower Briefing Document (EBD) reflects the state of UFO crash research in the early 1980s. Bill Moore told a number of people, and you can find their names on the Internet, that he was thinking of creating a "Roswell-style document" in an attempt to smoke out additional witnesses. Moore had said that he had taken the investigation as far as he could.

By this time it was clear to many that the Barney Barnett (who died in 1969 long before he was interviewed) connection to Roswell was weak at best. Barnett, who told his tale of seeing a crashed UFO on the Plains of San Agustin, did not have a date associated with it. Barnett was important to the earliest Roswell investigations because he mentioned seeing alien bodies and that was the only mention of bodies. That made it clear the event was extraterrestrial in nature.

The connection was drawn by J. F. "Fleck" Danley who had been Barnett’s boss in 1947, and Danley said that he had heard the tale directly from Barnett. Pushed by Moore, Danley thought the date of this story might have been 1947, and based on sighting in Roswell on July 2, Moore and others assumed the crash to have happened on July 2. This sighting, by Dan Wilmot, has little relevance to the Roswell case other than Wilmot lived in Roswell and it happened on July 2, 1947. There is no reason to connect the sighting to the crash.

When I talked to Danley it was clear that he had no real idea of when Barnett had mentioned the UFO crash. It could have been 1947, but if I pushed, I could have gotten him to come up with another date. Moore knew of the shaky nature of the Danley date.

To make it worse, I learned, in the 1990s, from Alice Knight, that Ruth Barnett had kept a diary for 1947. It is clear from that document that the crash could not have taken place on July 2, if Barnett was there. In fact, there is nothing in the diary to suggest he had seen anything extraordinary or had been involved in anything that would have been upsetting. In other words, the only document about Barney Barnett that we could find suggested that if he had seen a UFO crash, it didn’t happen in 1947.

Of course, in the early 1980s, Moore wouldn’t have known about the diary, but he did know how he had gotten Danley to give him the 1947 date. He would have known that it wasn’t true and that the Barnett story had nothing to do with the Roswell UFO crash.

This is important because it explains why there was no mention of the Plains crash in the Eisenhower Briefing Document. Moore knew that those on the inside would know that the Barnett story did not fit into the scenario. Moore left it out because it would expose the MJ-12 hoax for what it was to those who knew the truth.

And now we come to the other crash mentioned in the EBD. This is the Del Rio crash that was dated in the EBD as 1950. This is the story being told by Robert B. Willingham, who it was claimed, was a retired Air Force colonel who had seen the crash. Because he was a retired colonel, his story had credibility with those in the UFO community. I believed it for that very reason. A retired Air Force colonel would not be making up something like this.

W. Todd Zechel, a UFO researcher of limited ability, in pawing through the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena files, found a newspaper clipping about Willingham and his alleged UFO crash. Back in the mid-1970s, when Zechel found the clipping, no one was taking much notice of such stories. They were considered, at best, to be mistakes and at worst, to be hoaxes. But Zechel believed the tale, and tracked down Willingham. At Zechel’s insistence, Willingham signed an affidavit about the crash, proving to many that this was a solid case. Even the Center for UFO Studies included the Willingham story on the LP (vinyl) record they produced of interesting UFO sightings.

Moore knew of this story because Zechel had told him. In Moore’s book, The Roswell Incident, he devotes a brief mention to the case which establishes the link between Zechel, Willingham and Moore. More to the point, Moore believed the story for the same reason that the rest of us did. Willingham was a retired colonel.

The thinking is easy to follow. Del Rio is a real crash, but Moore didn’t have all the details. Those belonged to Zechel and what he had learned from Willingham. But Moore believed this to be real and if those on the inside were going to believe MJ-12, he had to mention this crash. Without the details, he simply added a single paragraph to the EBD that suggested the craft had been nearly incinerated upon impact, which, in reality, wasn’t that far from what Willingham originally said.

So, the MJ-12 document, using the information developed by Zechel and supplied by Willingham, said, "On 06 December, 1950, (sic) a second object, probably of similar origin, impacted the earth at high speed in the El-Indio – Guerrero area of the Texas – Mexican boder [sic] after following a long trajectory through the atmosphere. By the time a search team arrived, what remained of the object had been almost totally (sic) incinerated. Such material as could be recovered was transported to the A.E.C. facility at Sandia, New Mexico, for study."

The situation, then, in the early 1980s was that Roswell was a real crash, the Plains might be but the date was wrong, Aztec was a hoax, as proven in repeated investigations, and Del Rio was real because there was an Air Force officer who said so. Which, of course, explains why both the Plains and Aztec were left out and Del Rio was included.

I learned, as I was working on Crash – When UFOs Fall from the Sky, that no one had checked on Willingham’s credentials. I became suspicious when the date of the crash shifted from 1950 to 1955. I asked, but no one had ever looked into Willingham’s background. Apparently everyone thought someone else had done it, most believing that Zechel had conducted that research. The whole case hinged on the credibility of Willingham.

But Willingham had not been an officer, had not been in the Air Force, had not been a fighter pilot and had not been in a position to see a UFO crash. In fact, though I didn’t find the newspaper clipping, I did find a one paragraph report in the February/March 1968 issue of Skylook that gave the crash date as 1948, and suggested that there had been three objects. Nearly everything about that original case had changed, some times more than once. It was clear that Willingham had invented his Air Force career, was not a retired colonel, and had served just 13 or 14 months from December 1945 to January 1948 as a low-ranking enlisted soldier.

If Willingham, as the sole witness to the crash had invented the tale, then there was no Del Rio crash and the MJ-12 documents, or rather the EBD, was a fake. But in the early 1980s, Moore didn’t know this, most of the UFO community didn’t know this, and Willingham was still talking about the 1950 date.

Yes, I know what the answer to this will be. What relevance does Willingham have to MJ-12? Two separate issues. Except, they aren’t. There is no other witness, document, indication, suggestion, or mention of the Del Rio case without Willingham. If not for his discussion about the case in 1968, if not for Zechel’s interview of him in the 1970s, there would be no mention of a Del Rio UFO crash anywhere. That it is mentioned in the MJ-12 EBD, and we can draw a line from Willingham to Zechel to Moore, that suggests all we need to know about this. There was no Del Rio UFO crash and if there was none, then it shouldn’t have been mentioned in the Eisenhower Briefing Document.

If we look at the state of UFO research today, we realize that much of what was said in the EBD about Roswell was not quite right and the information about Del Rio completely wrong. The more we learn about the events in Roswell, and the more we learn about the lack of detail for Del Rio, the better the case against MJ-12 becomes.

Couple the other problems to this, the lack of provenance, the typographical errors, the incorrect dating format, and the anachronistic information, then the only conclusion possible is that there is no MJ-12. There never was, except for a 1980 unpublished novel written by the late Bob Pratt with the assistance of Bill Moore and Richard Doty. The only question left is how long are we going to have to listen to the nonsense that is MJ-12.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Richard Hoagland, Philip Corso and Phobos

I have learned that Richard Hoagland, he of the face on Mars fame, has another startling revelation for us. He is going to announce that one of the moons of Mars is artificial and hollow. This would be, of course, absolute evidence that there is intelligent life beyond Earth.

I would be truly excited about this if this revelation was new. It is not. There has been speculation that the moons of Mars, both tiny and orbiting close to the planet, were artificial.
This from Wikipedia:

Around 1958, Russian astrophysicist Iosif Samuilovich Shklovosky, studying the secular acceleration of Phobos’ orbital motion suggested a "thin sheet metal" structure for Phobos, a suggestion which led to speculations that Phobos was of artificial origin.

Fred Singer, an advisor to Dwight Eisenhower said:

If the satellite is indeed spiraling inward as deduced from astronomical observation, then there is little alternative to the hypothesis that it is hollow and therefore martian made. The big 'if' lies in the astronomical observations; they may well be in error. Since they are based on several independent sets of measurements taken decades apart by different observers with different instruments, systematic errors may have influenced them.

The point is simply this. The idea that Phobos is artificial is nothing new. The new spin is that Philip Corso, he of The Day After Roswell fame, is the source for this. Bill Birnes, who co-authored the book with Corso tells me that Corso made no such claims.

Birnes said that he has been all through Corso’s papers and that nothing of the sort appears in them. I’m not sure why Hoagland wants to drag Corso into this, but according to Birnes, the information is in error. On this one, I think I’ll side with Birnes., Phobos

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Still More on Rhodes

Trying to get to the truth in an event that happened over sixty years ago is difficult at best. While I knew about the photographs taken by William A. Rhodes, had read the newspaper articles about them, and had read the Project Blue Book file about them, I had never delved too deeply into them. I just knew that the Air Force explanation of hoax was not based on any evidence that I had seen.

Rhodes, based on all this, seemed to be an eccentric guy who had a backyard workshop that he thought of as the Panorama Research Laboratory. He had letterhead paper and thought of himself as the Chief of Staff at the lab. He was not the first person to open a small enterprise and give it all a grandiose name. He certainly wouldn’t be the last.

The Air Force dismissed him as a fellow who lived off his wife’s income as a teacher and whatever he could make as a musician. They challenged his claim of a Ph.D. in a not very clever way, and suggested he was a crackpot not worthy of further discussion. His pictures were faked.

I regret that I never tried to find Rhodes and talk to him about his pictures. It wouldn’t have been all that difficult in the pre-Internet days. I mean, I found Delbert C. Newhouse who took movie footage of UFOs over Trementon, Utah. I intereviewd Carl Hart, Jr., in the mid-1990s about the pictures he took of the Lubbock Lights. I found Dewey Fournet and Al Chop who were involved with the official UFO investigations, the Washington National UFO sightings, and even sent Chop a copy of UFO, the movie about his experiences. But I never thought to find Rhodes. So now I have to do everything with Rhodes gone.

Rhodes is considered to be a genius by many who knew him. James McDonald, who investigated Rhodes in the 1960s made it clear that Rhodes was an inventor who held a number of patents, some of which provided a "modest" income. I don’t know how much money that might have been. Surely not more than a couple of hundred dollars a month, but enough to have helped.

His claim of a Ph.D., issued by the government is a little more difficult to prove. I have no doubt that during World War Two he was given some sort of test and scored high enough to be assigned work at a doctorate level. We still have that sort of thing in the world of the UFO. People who have not had the schooling, but who had worked at these high levels. Sort of a "bevet" degree, if you will.

Clearly Rhodes did not have a recognized advanced degree, and if this is enough of an embellishment for anyone to reject his photographs as faked, so be it. I think that Rhodes was honestly reporting what he had been told by a government official during his work for the Navy. He embraced it with an enthusiasm that is similar to that of others in similar circumstances. It’s not as if he invented the degree himself. But it’s not as if what he was told had any real merit in the world beyond that Navy job he held during the war.

Those who knew him tell me that he was very smart. One of those I contacted told me, "I remember Bill as a self-made genius. He even made the first image tubes that were sensitive enough to use at a telescope. But he seemed to lose interest in any of his detector advances as soon as he was satisfied that they would work. Unfortunately he had a knack of offending key persons at ASU [Arizona State University] and no doors opened for him. His portable 16-inch telescope was useful to me years later when I needed a network of independent amateur telescopes to monitor stellar "twinkling" as an indicator of the blurring ground objects as would be seen from a space optical system."

This seems to suggest he might have had an "abasive" personality. Note that it says here that he "had a knack of offending key persons at ASU and no doors opened for him." Doesn’t mean he wasn’t smart, just that he had no "people skills."

In my email to one of these supporters, he mentioned the "Phoenix Photographs" and offered an explanation for them. The object was some kind of classified balloon-borne camera that was being used to determine how crisp and clear pictures taken from high in the atmosphere could be. It seemed like a reasonable explanation and I asked for some additional details.

But, before I got those, I had some time to think and realized that the explanation made no sense because it had not been offered in the more than sixty years since the pictures were taken. To make it worse, the response suggested the object had been over the city for two days.

Not to mention that even if this was a classified project, as alleged, the answer would have been available to both the Air Force and the FBI and there is no indication in the files of this ever having been suggested. Remember, the Blue Book files (or in this case the Sign and Grudge files) were originally classified as "secret" so there would have been no trouble learning of the explanation, if such was the case.

Yes, you’re thinking "Need to Know." But in this case, they had a need to know. Even if the explanation was only offered quietly, those conducting the investigations had a need to know, and such an explanation would have been obvious in the files. Oh, they might not have mentioned the name of the project, but they certainly could have suggested the explanation was a classified project.

I was given the acronym of the organization that would have been in charge of this research, but according to everything I could find, it wasn’t created until the Eisenhower Administration. That would have made it six years too late, at best but this avenue deserves further investigation.

And there was even more trouble. According to a letter written by Rhodes and addressed to Colonel Howard McCoy, Chief of Intelligence (at ATIC at Wright-Patterson AFB), he said that he had been "trying to run down additional photographs of the unidentified object."

Rhodes added, "Mr. Lewis Larmore of this city has some [photographs] in his possession and I believe you can obtain copies of them by writing him. Whether or not they are real I do not know. Some of them look faked while others do not. The general shape of the ship as it was going away from me looked like this: there seemed to be a bubble on top and on bottom." (Rhodes illustration seen here.)

There is no evidence in the files, or anywhere else that I can find of a follow up to this rather startling information. Rhodes was invited to Wright-Patterson a year or so after he took the pictures. This was for another interview, but the government, or more specifically, Howard McCoy, wrote they could provide transportation but could cover no other costs. Rhodes declined.

So, now, though I had thought this would end quickly, there are more avenues to explore. I have found two documents, one running to over 350 pages, that deal with part of this story. No, not about the UFO sighting or photographs, but to the classified experiments that were being conducting and which might, and I stress the might, explain the pictures.

As far as I know, no one has ever found the alleged Larmore pictures, the Air Force did not follow up on Rhodes’ letter telling them about the pictures, they did not attempt to find and interview Larmore, and the pictures did not surface in any magazine or newspaper.

It seems to me that had an explanation been available, even if classified in 1947, it would have been noted in the file somewhere. Many of the documents in the file were originally classified so the mention of a classified project as a solution wouldn’t have been in violation of the regulations.

The Rhodes photographs, it seems, were ignored by the Air Force, the Air Force explanations don’t work, and it is clear they engaged in subtle character assassination of Rhodes. I believe, at the moment, that the follow up investigations were made, but not by the people at Project Sign (meaning Project Blue Book). Somewhere there is a file on this. The trick for me is to figure out where to send the FOIA request and what to ask for when I sent it.

Friday, October 08, 2010

More on William A. Rhodes

I said that I would look for more information on William A. Rhodes (seen here in a bad photograph, but one taken in 1947) and I have uncovered a few addition facts. Seems he wasn’t quite the dummy that the Air Force would have us believe. The Air Force reported that Rhodes was a self-employed musician and the only source of income was his wife’s salary as a fourth grade teacher.

In a report written by Lynn C. Aldrich, (on a form labeled with United States Air Force and dated 17 August 1949), Rhodes is described by a Mr. and Mrs. (name redacted) as "emotionally high strung, egotistical and a genius in fundamentals of radio and electronics.

In another interview conducted on July 15, 1949 of another witness whose name is also redacted, she described Rhodes as "emotionally high strung and egotistical."

In a report dated July 14, 1952, by Gilbert R. Levy, Rhodes is again described as "an excellent neighbor, who caused no trouble, but judged him to be emotionally high strung, egotistical, and a genius in fundamentals of radio. He conducts no business through his ‘Laboratory,’ but reportedly devotes all his time to research."

They also report that he is listed in the telephone book as "Dr." but they could find no reference to Rhodes in the classified section of the telephone directory "under Physicians & Surgeons (MD), Dentists and Veterinarians." Which, of course, would be of great importance if these sorts of people were the only ones entitled to be addressed as "Doctor."

They do suggest his claim of a Ph.D from Columbia University could not be verified, and checks by others including James McDonald, bore this out. We have seen, however, why Rhodes believed that he had been granted the degree and he did have a small replica of the diploma encased in plastic. He said that he had a larger one somewhere but never did produce it.

The Air Force also seemed annoyed that Rhodes claimed he owned or worked for Panoramic Research Laboratory. They could find no evidence that it had ever been incorporated or that it ever conducted any business.

In the AMC summary evaluations, as part of the Project Grudge Report, Appendix 1, they go further in their character assassination of Rhodes. They noted, "In subsequent correspondence to the reporter of this incident, the observer [Rhodes] refers to himself as Chief of Staff of Panoramic Research Laboratory, the letterhead of which lists photography among one of its specialties. Yet, the negative was carelessly cut and faultily developed."

They also note, "there are other undesirable aspects to this case. The observer’s character and business affiliations are presently under investigation, the results of which are not yet known."

The same report continued, "Dr. Irving Langmuir studied subject photographs, and after learning of the prior passage of a thunderstorm, discounted the photographed object as being merely paper swept up by the wind."

And then, as if to reinforce this character assassination, the report said, "AMC Opinion: In view of the apparent character of the witness, the conclusion by Dr. Langmuir seems entirely probably (sic)."

Of course, not mentioned is the complete discounting of the verbal report by Rhodes. He heard a whooshing sound which drew his attention to the craft which, of course, rules out paper blown by the wind. And you must discount the size, speed and altitude estimates provided by Rhodes, though most people, looking up at an object in the sky fail to correctly estimate much about it. But here there were clouds in the sky which gave, to some extent, a point of reference. And, in the second picture, there is some foreground detail.

In other words, the Air Force seemed to go out of its way to discredit Rhodes, suggesting that he was an egotistical man who lived off the income of his wife. Although the neighbors had said he was a good neighbor, the Air Force reported that he hated cats and dogs and has shot several animals that strayed onto his property. I’m not sure that I would describe someone who shot pets as a good neighbor, so you have to wonder about these claims by the Air Force.

And here’s the flip side of this. Rhodes said that he had done experimental work with the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washington, D.C. during World War II. He returned to Phoenix in 1942 and worked as an instructor at Falcon field.

Tony Bragalia and I both found that Rhodes did hold multiple patents which suggested he wasn’t quite the "weirdo" that the Air Force made him out to be. He seemed to be the genius that his neighbors believed him to be. And with patents often come licensing fees, which would be a source of income not readily seen by those who didn’t know about it. I saw nothing in the Air Force investigation that suggested they had looked at his tax returns to learn if his lab brought in any income.

Dr. James McDonald investigated Rhodes in the 1960s and found that he held a variety of patents, and according to a letter dated February 18, 1967, wrote, "...who has made a modest living off an impressive variety of inventions." McDonald, then, did what the Air Force couldn’t, or didn’t, that is, verify Rhodes’ creative genius.

It is quite clear from the files that the Air Force thought little of Rhodes and his "eccentric life style." They made fun of his lab and his research, suggesting he was an unemployed musician and mentioning little about his technical background. Clearly he was a clever man who invented or modified a number of things and was granted patents on them.

I have found nothing in the case file, nor in the investigations to reject the photographs or to suggest they were a hoax. Instead, I noticed that the Air Force drew a line connecting the Rhodes photographs with the first of the Kenneth Arnold drawings. I think that was a connection they would rather not be made in the civilian world because it suggested that Rhodes tended to corroborate Arnold and they would be happier if the sightings were not connected.

But the real problem here, knowing now what I know, is that the Air Force was attempting to belittle the value of the photographs by careful character assassination. Rhodes was a clever man, doing work at a Ph. D. level for the government during the war, but when his name surfaced with UFO photographs, he became a crackpot who inflated his ego with his Panorama Research Laboratory and claiming a degree he had not earned.

In the end, there is no valid reason to reject the photographs. At least there was none I could find in the files. If that is true, then the pictures become more important... as does the Arnold sighting.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Beyond the Rhodes Photographs

Not long ago I got a strange telephone call from a fellow who claimed that he had known William A. Rhodes, the guy who took two UFO pictures on July 7, 1947. He said that he had known Rhodes well and that his expertise extended way beyond his brush with the world of UFOs.

Now I confess that my interest in Rhodes extended to the pictures he took, and the way the object seemed to mirror that being seen around the country at that time, and little else. No, it wasn’t a flying saucer because it wasn’t saucer shaped. It was more of a heel shape that was what Kenneth Arnold had reported when the term "flying saucer" was invented (Arnold drawing on top, Rhodes photograph on bottom). People talked of flying saucers, but the name covered all sorts of objects from circular to cigar shaped to ball shaped and most of anything else.

Rhodes, who claimed to have a Ph.D, but who was unable to produce any document supporting that claim, might not have been the lunatic that some thought. According to what the caller told me, Rhodes held a number of patents and had been working on a "gravity shield."

He said that Rhodes had gone to work for the War Department during World War II, and that had been working on something that either prevented the magnetic mines from detonating or a way of detecting enemy submarines by a means other than sonar.

I knew that the Air Force had written off Rhodes’ photographs as a hoax but the motivation there might have had nothing to do with Rhodes, and more with what the photographs looked like. They seemed to provide a corroboration of the Arnold sighting. Given some of the descriptions of the craft that crashed at Roswell, the photographs might have also shown an object similar to what had fallen there. At any rate, the Air Force was not impressed with either Rhodes or his background.

I did what anyone would do when presented with this sort of dilemma in today’s world; I checked the Internet. I found an article, apparently written by Rhodes defending his degree. He wrote:

Additionally, after being thoroughly investigated by the FBI, I was issued top-secret status. Not even my wife was to know. The creation was a method of neutralizing the earth's magnetic field in ships. Not a single ship or sailor was lost to magnetic mines during the war's remainder. One day, my boss summoned me to his office and explained: "We have a total absence of degree'd doctorates, and having already passed requirements, you have been selected to receive a Ph.D in Physics. The degree would be known by the nickname "90 Day Wonder", and my work would not be disrupted to gain it.
The way this was explained to me was that Rhodes had taken some sort of test for the position he held. Depending on how well you had done, you were assigned work. Some were given work that would have been assigned to those who had the "equivalent" of a MS and some a Ph.D. Rhodes scored high enough for the Ph. D.

Rhodes explained that this evaluation extended beyond his work with the War Department. He wrote:

Working 16 hours daily, seven days a week, my health began failing. The degaussing system was in full production. My resignation was accepted by Commander Bennett from whom I received a letter of regret, and wished me the best. Back home in Phoenix found the same old agrarian system. Ph.D's could only find work picking oranges of vegies, so I began searching for clients nationally. Soon they found me without advertising. Forward to 1955. From the U of Michigan came Dr. Aden Baker Minel chosen by the National Science Foundation to locate what is presently Kitt Peak Observatory. I applied and was hired immediately for development of instruments relating to the observatory's location. He inquired about my education. When I said 90 day wonder, he grinned and said "Me too", and continued, "Why are you not using it." Replying I didn't think it had any value. "It has the same value as one issued by any university. Use it like I have, your research business needs it." After Kitt peak was selected, Dr. Minel moved to the University of Arizona where he developed what is now know as the Hubble Space Telescope. A few years later he died from heart failure. I owe him a debt of gratitude for his insisting my degree should be used.

He also said that his background had been investigated by the FBI for a security clearance so he could do his classified work. It would seem to me that if this is true, then those investigating his UFO photographs should have known that, especially since the file suggests the FBI was involved. And if they were, then the smear campaign that took place about Rhodes’ background and education was just that, a smear campaign. Even if the Air Force didn’t know, and no one told them, someone at the top knew and didn’t mention it.

Right now, I don’t know how accurate this information is. I have been told that Rhodes held a number of patents and I have seen, again, on the Internet, several patents issued to William A. Rhodes. They were assigned to a guy living in Phoenix, which is where Rhodes lived, and I suspect it is the same guy, but I just don’t know for certain.

If the information is accurate, and this is the same William A. Rhodes, then he got a short shift from the governmental UFO investigators. The questions about his degree become somewhat irrelevant simply because the government was the entity that suggested he had the "equivalent" of a Ph. D and treated his work accordingly. Then, later, because they didn’t happen to like what he had photographed, they asked the questions about it, suggesting he was less than honest and therefore his photographs could be questioned. Talk about double dealing.

This is something that I’ll pursue, seeing what I can learn about Rhodes. It seems he might be something of a radical, in the mold of Nikola Tesla, but who didn’t get the same publicity as Tesla.

But that doesn’t say anything about the pictures. I can see no reason for Rhodes to have faked them, it gained him nothing, and given the information released by the government, made him look rather unreliable. This really is something that deserves more work.