There are those who thought that I had been unfair to Philip Klass when I mentioned the article from the Bangor, Maine newspaper that reported his take on the Loring AFB unidentified craft (and note here that I didn’t use the more pejorative UFO). Turns out, there wasn’t much in that article that didn’t appear in his book, UFOs: The Public Deceived. It was just a little more condensed in the newspaper and some of the wilder assumptions made had been left out.
First, he seemed to be very annoyed that one of the newspaper reporters, in this case Ward Sinclair, had been dismissive of him, telling him, when asked if he had thought about calling Klass for his take on Loring, “No. In no way would I check with you. Why would I check with you? You’ve assigned yourself a credential that I have every right to be as suspicious of as Todd Zechel’s credentials.”
For those out of touch, Zechel claimed many things in his life that turned out to be less than credible and I wouldn’t cite Zechel as a source without checking out his information with other sources first. In fact, I would probably ignore anything Zechel said if there wasn’t any other source for it. In fact, if Zechel told me the sky was blue, I’d probably go out and look.
But I do understand Klass’ annoyance because, on the flip side, I’ve run into it. I was scheduled for an interview at the Chicago Tribune, but rather than a reporter from on staff, the interview was conducted by an intern in the hallway. She said that the editors knew there was nothing to UFOs so they weren’t overly interested in anything that might suggest they were in error. Sort of the same attitude that Klass had run into with Sinclair and sort of the same attitude we sometimes see here. A personal bias that colors thinking rather than an intelligent exchange of competing points of view.
The Bangor newspaper article had mentioned Klass’ theory that some radicals might have obtained a helicopter to acquire an atomic bomb. Well, in his book this isn’t quite as direct, but he is still of the opinion that a helicopter was responsible for the intrusion at Loring and there were radicals at the controls. In a footnote on page 97, he wrote, “At the time some radical groups protesting the war in Vietnam were resorting to violence and the use of explosives.”
And my criticism remains… didn’t these radicals, in October 1975, realize the war was over and the communists were in Saigon? Didn’t anyone point this out to Klass such as a copy editor… or maybe someone who had read the newspaper article about the fall of Saigon. This idea seems to be out of touch with reality but no one seemed to realize it. Not to mention that this has absolutely nothing to do with the sightings at Loring.
Klass did find that a helicopter had been scoping out part of Maine. He talked to a former sheriff deputy, Ivon Turmell, who reported on a helicopter landing at the Moosehead Motel. Klass wrote, “When I called Turmell, he told me that the red and white helicopter, built by Hughes Helicopter company, had created some talk in the small town [Rockwood], when it landed outside the Moosehead Motel and operated from this site for several days, taking off each morning and returning every night. When Turmell had called the owner of the motel out of curiosity, he learned that ‘the whole thing was very hush-hush,’ he told me, adding that the crew and maintenance personnel carefully avoided talking to other guests at the motel.”
Well, this is sort of interesting, I suppose, except for a couple of facts. According to Klass, in his book, this all happened “shortly” after the late-October incidents at the air base. And, Rockwood and the Moosehead Motel are some 120 miles from Loring AFB. Close in time and distance, but probably unrelated to the intrusions at the base. But someone was flying a helicopter, of some indistinct type, (which Hughes helicopter was it?) and they were in Maine. To Klass: Case Closed…
Klass wanted to know, “Could Rockwood’s ‘mysterious helicopter’ have been the same craft that reportedly penetrated Loring’s airspace on the night of October 27?”
No, and there is no apparent reason to connect the two events. Had we on this side of the fence attempted something like that, we would be condemned for “ufological thinking.” This is debunker thinking… just throw out a question about an event that might explain the sighting and then pretend that it does.
One other point should be made. The available documents show that there was an intrusion at Loring, and in at least one case, seemed to penetrate the weapons storage area. Although they mention that it was a helicopter in those documents, they were unable to identify it, catch it, or apparently stop it. Violating the restricted area and flying over the weapons storage area would be a matter of national security and should have caused a somewhat more robust Air Force response. The documents suggest that the Air Force couldn’t identify the helicopter but didn’t work very hard to find out who had committed the crime. I have to wonder if Klass could find a possible culprit by talking to an ex-deputy, couldn’t the Air Force have found the same culprit and wouldn’t they have followed up on it? It would seem to me that the Air Force would have investigated this, and since it goes unmentioned, means the helicopter had nothing to do with the intrusion.
So, they, debunkers and the Air Force, call it a helicopter though the witnesses on the ground, and sometimes within 300 feet of it, couldn’t recognize it as such. They described it as hovering, and dropping below radar coverage in the manner like that of a helicopter. The Air Force, rather than using the term UFO, chose to call it an unidentified helicopter. One witness, in November, did report a mysterious craft that did look like a helicopter, but then, that was in late November and that’s not part of the Loring sightings in late October.
The skeptics line up behind the Klass explanation because they all know that there can be no alien visitation. They accept his information about the helicopter, though it isn’t actually in the right place at the right time. They assume the witnesses, who mentioned a motion like that of a helicopter, meaning it hovered, just couldn’t identify it for some reason, and dismiss everything in that way. Nothing to look at here folks, just move along.
And now I must always add a caveat to these postings. No, this case does not prove alien visitation. It suggests something unidentified was seen over Loring, and the Air Force response seems inadequate given the penetration of the weapons storage area. The mystery helicopter was never found, and given the national security aspects, I would have thought the Air Force would have responded with more enthusiasm.
But, since it was a matter of national security, I don’t believe that all the relevant documents have been seen… nor do I expect them to be released through FOIA. This was, after all, a matter of national security.