Thursday, October 29, 2015

Digital Image of the Ramey Memo

There has been some discussion that suggests our research into the Ramey memo has been accomplished behind closed doors in a manner similar to the way the Not Roswell Slides were investigated. While we certainly did arrange with those at the University of Texas – Arlington to make new scans of the negative, it was not for sinister purposes. Arrangements, which including several experts in forensic photography who donated their time, were difficult to make in all came together in April of 2015. They spent several long days preparing to make the scans, accomplishing that work, and ensuring that there were no other tests to be done. They then returned to their home bases to make additional observations using the scans they made. Some of the digital files were nearly 250 MB in size, yes 250 megabytes.

It had been hoped that the latest techniques would produce immediate results. Such was not the case. The analysis has not reached any universal conclusions so that little has been said about all of this. Several people, some on the skeptical side of the fence, Lance Moody being one, have been given copies of the scans to see if they can come up with a way to read the memo in much the same way that those working with the Roswell Slides Research Group had done.

There is a journal article that is nearly finished. It lacks the conclusions which, if they are negative, meaning the issue has not been resolved, might not find a publisher. If we had positive results, meaning the memo could be read then a publisher could probably be found… I will note by positive results, I refer only to success in reading the memo and not about the content of it.

However, this process is going slower than any of us expected. Given that, we decided to publish here one of the better scans to see what might be seen by others. As I say, some of the files are gigantic…

Copyright by University of Texas - Arlington Special Collections and Kevin D. Randle

We still have a copyright issue, so for all intents and purposes, the copyright of this particular image is protected and cannot be published elsewhere without permission from us and the University of Texas – Arlington. It doesn’t mean that researchers can’t share it with one another, it just means it can’t be published anywhere including on the Internet without permission.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ramey Memo and Victims of the Wreck

We have been privileged to learn the importance of the Ramey memo based not on the research currently underway but on the opinion that there is no alien visitation so that there is nothing in the memo to lead in that direction. We’re told that even if it says, “Victims of the wreck,” as many UFO researchers suggest, it doesn’t mean that what fell was alien. It seems that we should just give up because we all know there is no alien visitation and continued attempts to read the memo are a waste of time.

Can the Ramey memo clarify this situation?

Actually, yes.

There are some things we can say about it now. The source of it is limited. J. Bond Johnson, the reporter/photographer who took the picture said, at one time, that he had brought the document into the office with him and handed it to Ramey. Later, realizing that this sort of negated the value of it, repudiated that claim. He hadn’t brought it in. Instead, it was a document that he had taken off Ramey’s desk and handed it to him so that Ramey had something in his hand for the photographs. I’m not sure what the rationale for this would be, other than to suggest that it was something inside the office and that makes it more important.

If Johnson hadn’t brought it in, then what is it?

It could be the draft of a press statement that Ramey planned to give or release. If so, then it would be unclassified and would probably not reveal much of anything. The draft would have been sitting on his desk for Johnson to grab, or Ramey, knowing he was meeting with a reporter to grab so that he was holding it when Johnson entered the office.

It could be a teletype message that came through the base communications center. That would give it an “official” status, but not necessarily one of great importance. Unclassified messages did come through the center and they were routine matters. Nothing that would be Earth shattering. It could easily be a summary of what was being reported in the media and provide some guidance to Ramey for his meeting with members of the press or for handling the queries that were being made.

There were also classified messages coming thought the communications center. Given the few words that can be read, it would seem that this memo deals with Roswell, and given the purpose of the reporter’s visit, that seems to underscore the connection to Roswell. If it does say, “Victims of the wreck,” does that change the tone of the discussion?

We’re told by skeptics, or rather one in particular, that the military wouldn’t use “victims,” but rather refer to them as “casualties.” If they were alien creatures, I’m not sure that would apply, but then, I don’t think that single phrase gets us to the extraterrestrial automatically anyway. It would seem that if the message does say “victims,” then the Mogul explanation is ruled out, but then I believe other facts have done that. This isn’t important.

To understand the real meaning of “Victims of the wreck,” we have to view it in context, and the context, if it can be read with any sort of clarity and consensus, would provide the information to understand the use of that term… or, in other words, that statement is not stand alone and cannot be stand alone. It must be viewed in the context of the message and if we can see that phrase with clarity, then the context probably would be understood as well.

While “Victims of the wreck,” might not take us immediately to the extraterrestrial, it would certainly start us on the path. The context would take us the rest of the way, or maybe more accurately, could take us the rest of the way. In some of the interpretations of the memo, there is enough there that the extraterrestrial would be the most likely answer... but before we get into a long discussion about this aspect, let me say that at the moment, we don’t have that context. We have many different interpretations.

And that is the problem. There are many different interpretations, many at odds with one another. We don’t have a consensus. In fact, there is not a consensus on “Victims of the wreck.” There are those who say that the phrase is actually, “Remains of the wreck,” which gives us a completely different interpretation, one that does not automatically rule out Mogul.

So, Johnson might have brought the document into the office. It might be the draft of a press release for Ramey. It might be a message that is unclassified or one that is classified. The question is if we can read the text, can this be clarified?


There seems to be a “signature” block at the bottom of the message. If that can by read, it would provide a clue about the source of the document. If it is a “sign off” from a teletype then it probably came from the newspaper. If it’s Ramey’s signature, then it is probably a press release from his office. If it is someone else’s or a different organization, then we might be able to deduce whose and from where and that would be a valuable clue.

But here’s the real point. Until we learn if the new, improved scans provide us with some additional clarity, all of this is speculation. We really don’t know no matter who says what about the situation. I would have thought the skeptics would applaud the effort to clarify the situation. There has been little push back from the other end of the spectrum, even though a clear message might take down one of the best bits of evidence for the alien nature of the Roswell crash.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chasing More Footnotes

Richard Dolan
Given that we have been discussing some of the testimony from Bill Brazel, and since most of that information came from interviews that Don Schmitt and I conducted on a number of occasion both in person and over the telephone, I thought we’d make another run on chasing footnotes. In UFOs and the National Security State by Richard Dolan, he wrote, “Bill also claimed that sometime after the crash, he discussed the foil with some friends in a Corona [NM] bar. Then in his words, “lo and behold, here comes the military out to the ranch, a day or two later [which is not in the original interview with Brazel… Friedman made the addition in parenthesis and Dolan left those out in his quote… later, in a different interview, Brazel suggested it was the next day].” They told him they had learned of his possession of “some bits and pieces” of debris, and wanted him to relinquish them. They reminded him that his father had turned over everything that he had found. The younger Brazel gave up the pieces. The men told him that they “would rather you didn’t talk very much about it.”

The footnote leads me to Stan Friedman and Don Berliner’s Crash at Corona. There on pages 84 – 85 in a long section that quotes Bill Brazel apparently verbatim. There is nothing in the Friedman book to tell where, when, how or who conducted the interview. The impression seems to be that either Friedman, Berliner, or maybe both had conducted the interview. As happens so often Dolan’s footnote leads to another source, but that is a dead end.

Of course, I know the source of the interview. On February 19, 1989, Don Schmitt and I met Bill Brazel in Carrizozo, New Mexico. We interviewed him for about an hour or so, all recorded, with his permission, on audiotape. The interview was first published in UFO Crash at Roswell, providing the details of the interview. I don’t know why Dolan didn’t acknowledge that because, from the bibliography in his book, it was clear that he had a copy of ours.

The point is that the footnote (endnote technically) in Dolan’s book leads to a dead end. While it was certainly be appropriate to acknowledge Friedman’s book in his footnote, it would be proper to provide the information leading to the original source which, it turns out, is the more accurate source. Friedman added to the interview without appropriate acknowledgement and Dolan quoted it as if it was accurate. Such is the way too often in UFO research.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kepler's Discovery of an Alien Civilization?

Back around 1960 Frank Drake proposed an idea to search for alien civilizations by looking for their radio signals. He thought that any technological society would have developed some form of electromagnetic communication, and any technologically advanced society would realize that the best place to announce their existence was in a specific range of frequencies known then as “the waterhole.” Drake proposed a search of certain stars close to Earth that would most likely have developed life and to scan the waterhole radio frequencies. The effort failed.

There were a number of assumptions that were made here, one of which suggested that most stars had planetary systems. In 1960 we didn’t know if our solar system was rare or common. The assumption seemed to be that as the gases and debris were drawn together by gravity to form stars that the leftover material would form planets. But in 1960 we didn’t know about dwarf planets, the Kuiper Belt, the Oort Cloud and that the Solar System extended nearly two light years from the sun.

In today’s world we know that many stars have planetary systems and our first searches for exoplanets seemed to identify only the huge planets with masses that rivaled and surpassed Jupiter. As the techniques were refined we began to find smaller planets some of them about the size of Earth, or rather just a bit larger.

This was done, not by seeing the planet’s reflected light, but by finding their shadows as they crossed the disk of their stars. By following that, by seeing these regular transits, planets were found and their sizes could be calculated. Today literally thousands of exoplanets have been found.

And while SETI has found some radio transmissions that seemed to suggest an artificial source meaning something created by an intelligent extraterrestrial race, these signals did not repeat. I am reminded of the old days in which we had analog television and large antennae to receive the signals. Sometimes, when the conditions were right, television signals would “skip” around the atmosphere. While living in Iowa I remember a signal from a Miami television station that lasted for some twenty minutes. Another time there was a signal from a station in southern Missouri that lasted for about an hour. These were onetime events that were not repeated which made me wonder if the conditions had been just right for those alien signals to skip through interstellar space to reach us. A onetime event that is not repeated because the conditions weren’t right again.
The Very Large Array on the Plains of San Agustin in New Mexico.

Now we have something found by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope that suggests some of our assumptions about the detection of alien life might have been wrong and we have found an intelligent civilization through their construction of a massive object in space near their home world. A star, named KIC 8462852 (what a horrible name and I suggest we change it to Randle’s World) had provided repeating transits that appear strange.

This isn’t some wild-eyed, tinfoil hat wearing group claiming this, but scientists who have presented a paper to the Journal of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. According to the report, "Over the duration of the Kepler mission, KIC 8462852 was observed to undergo irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20 percent level.”

Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale said, “We’d never seen anything like this star. It was really weird.”

The scientists said that they had thought of various natural phenomena that might account for these irregular dips in light from the star, but nothing seemed to fit. A second paper is being written that will explore the theory that this is some kind of gigantic engineering project by the aliens (which, of course, if they’re operating in their own system means they are the indigenous population and not aliens, but I digress).

While all this is preliminary and there will probably be a solution for the anomaly that doesn’t involve an advanced civilization, it does give us a hope that we have finally found the answer about other life in the galaxy. And, if we have found another intelligent civilization that close to us, it suggests that the galaxy is teeming with life, but most would be very far away.

This star is some 1500 light years from Earth which isn’t exactly our neighborhood, but it is certainly close by, in relative terms… our galaxy is some 110,000 light years in diameter and some 30,000 light years deep. We won’t be dropping in on them for a long time so they have nothing to worry about from us. But, if they can construct something large enough to be detected by us, it means that we might see them dropping in for a visit.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ufology in Decline

Jim Penniston (left) and John
There are many sides to the Roswell case but what might be most disappointing and more evidence of a decline in UFO research is how contentious the debate has become among those investigating the case. The real problem is not the skeptics or the debunkers, but those who supposedly support the theory it was extraterrestrial in origin. Rather than consolidate the evidence and work for an ultimate solution whatever that solution might be, they argue over trivia, are unwilling to entertain another’s explanation and work to destroy the credibility of the witnesses they don’t like for whatever reason. A united front could provide a path to convincing evidence. Instead, the arguments lead to claims of poor investigation and a presentation of contradictory evidence that inhibits proper research and annoys just about everyone else.

Roswell isn’t the only case that suffers from these multiple viewpoints. The Rendlesham landing of December 1980 has the same problems. There were rumors about the case that began when Art Wallace (a pseudonym for Larry Warren) began to talk about the events. Later others came forward including John Burroughs and Jim Penniston who apparently approached closer to the landed object than anyone else. There was even a letter written by then Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt confirming some sort of unusual event had taken place during those nights in the forest.

Peter Robbins
Eventually Warren would team with Peter Robbins to write Left at East Gate about Warren’s experiences during some of the event. Others would investigate the case, learn the names of other service members who were involved and gather additional evidence. Skeptics provided what they thought of as logical explanations for the events, suggesting that the airmen had been fooled by a number of manmade and natural objects.

Burroughs and Penniston would team with Nick Pope who at one time worked for the British government investigating UFOs and write Encounter in Rendlesham Forest. Although they discuss Warren’s involvement in that book, or maybe alleged involvement, they don’t give it much weight. They do, however, credit him with being among the first if not the first to tell the tale.

So there is a point of contention between the two camps, with one side supporting Warren and suggesting that the other side is, shall we say, less than accurate. The other side points to the problems, briefly, with Warren’s account and his ever changing tale. It does little or nothing to provide a clear picture of what happened. In fact, Robbins was inspired to write a long rebuttal to Pope’s book and post it free online. It can be downloaded here:

I suppose, in fairness, I should mention this is not a new problem. APRO fought with NICAP in the 1950s and 1960s and later with MUFON. Each pushed its own agenda and the truth sometimes got lost in the process. This infighting, which has been lamented in the past, seems to have become worse in the age of the Internet and the truth suffers. Or, in other words, Ufology is in decline.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Chester Barton and Roswell

It seems that we keep coming back to some of the same tired questions. No matter what is presented in the way of testimony, it seems that someone has an objection
Chester Barton in 1947.
to it. Lately it has been the idea that all the witnesses were contaminated by the publicity surrounding the Roswell case. Even when I was the first to talk with a witness, the comment seems to be that they had heard about or read about or seen something about the UFO crash so that their testimony is “born” contaminated.

In August 1995, Joe Stefula, who seems to be a skeptic for the alien visitation solution for Roswell was drawn into the investigation because, according to him, “I was retired, and Roswell seemed a chance to ‘play detective’ once again.”

Although he had been given a list of names by a fellow researcher, William P. LaParl, he had learned that most were dead but he did manage to “get Chester P. Barton on the telephone.”

Barton, though only a first lieutenant in 1947 had actually joined the Army in 1929 as an enlisted man. He was assigned to the 509th Bomb Group and he served in the Army until 1954 when retired as a captain. According to Stefula, Barton “Had read none of the books, seen none of the TV programs and seemed entirely unaware of the controversy.”

Yes, I know. It does seem strange that a guy who had been assigned to the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell in 1947 would be so completely unware of the stories about the UFO crash. I was watching Bar Rescue a few months ago when they renovated a bar near Fort Bragg and one of the pictures of military operations they hung on the wall in the background was from the 116th Assault Helicopter Company. I knew this because I recognized the insignia on the nose of the aircraft and I had been assigned to that unit. This was in the background and sort of flashed by but I caught it… Barton said he was oblivious to all that had been said about Roswell in 1947. I guess some people just don’t pay close attention.

Barton said that he had been ordered to report to Major Edwin Easley, who, as we all know, was the provost marshal in 1947. Easley told him to head out to the crash site to find out what was going on. He took a jeep carryall and drove out, taking about forty-five minutes to get there. He said that he passed through a checkpoint and the guards were apparently from the 1395th MP Company which was stationed at Roswell.

He said that he was never really close to the wreckage. He saw parts that he believed were from a B-29 and that there was a burned area associated with the wreckage which suggests this was not out on the Brazel ranch (okay, Foster ranch). He said that no piece he could see was identifiable as parts of an airplane. He picked up nothing because the MPs warned him about possible radiation contamination which might have been a way of convincing people not to handle the wreckage.

He made a verbal report to Easley and there was nothing in writing. Easley told him to forget about the incident but he was not required to sign anything or given a verbal oath for secrecy. Just Easley’s comment about forgetting about it.

Barton, it seems, believed that what had happened was a B-29 crashed that had been carrying atomic bombs. He didn’t see any wreckage he recognized and I have never found an aircraft accident, whether experimental, civilian or military that crashed near Roswell at that time.

While Barton did not participate in the clean-up, he did drive out to the field, did see wreckage and formed his opinion on what had happened. He mentioned there wasn’t enough wreckage if it had been a B-29 unless it had broken up or that some of it had already been removed from the field. The Air Force, during their mid-1990s investigation determined that there was no aircraft accident that would account for the wreckage which eliminates Barton’s belief that it was a B-29.

But the point here is that people want to hear from others who were in the field and talked about what they saw. Barton is just another voice who saw something strange in 1947, didn’t get close enough to see if the wreckage was extremely unusual but did provide some information about the distance to the impact site, did mention debris, did suggest a burned area and that he wasn’t supposed to talk about it. Just another voice that provided a little in the way of first-hand testimony. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Decline and Fall of Ufology

I think that the high point in Ufology was July 1997 when the fiftieth anniversary of the Roswell UFO crash was celebrated. I think that the low point, probably the lowest since June 1947 and Arnold’s sighting was May 5, 2015 when the fiasco of the Not Roswell Slides was presented to the world. This is underscored with many of the UFO documentaries that now populate the cable channel landscape.

The one that I’m thinking of, which I mentioned in another post that will probably annoy most of MUFON and the people in Kingman, Arizona, dealt partially with the
Kingman, Arizona, crash, the MJ-12 SOM 1-01, and a few other ancillary issues. It was the Kingman crash that caught my attention because I have done a great deal of research into this case and frankly, I believe it to be a hoax started by Arthur Stansel.

For those who wish to see an evolution of this case, or rather the evolution in my thinking about it see:

The point here is that Hangar 1 came up with some new information which may or may not have come from Stansel. It was not clear, at least to me, who the source was on this. In this new version, Stansel or someone reported that men in some sort of protective gear had entered the craft. They rushed out, all of them sick and vomiting, which, had I been on the scene would have been frightening. Why were they sick? Have I been contaminated? Is it fatal?

From that point they explained how the disk, whatever it was, had been floated down the Colorado River after retrieval. Kingman is about 90 miles south of Las Vegas and standing between Las Vegas and Kingman is the Hoover Dam. I’m not sure how they got the disc to the river and why they thought this was the best way to recover it, but that’s the claim.

Here’s the point. This case is virtually single witness. There are others who claim to have knowledge of it, but that all comes from hearing the story told by others. And Stansel is not a good witness. His educational background seems to be solid, friends who knew him believed him to be honest, and his assignments put him into the Kingman area, meaning simply he was working north of Las Vegas at the time, so he could have been involved.

But as you can read yourselves in those previous posts, he told a couple of versions of this tale. Some of what he said seems to discredit parts of his story. More importantly, he said that he had lied to the first investigators (who were teenagers with an interest in UFOs) and he said that when he drank, he tended to expand and embellish his stories.

To support the reality of the Kingman crash, they trotted out the SOM 1-01 which is supposed to be the MJ-12 Group Special Operations Manual. Oh, they mentioned frequently that it was controversial, but the language and the tone told us that the controversy was unimportant. The manual contained instructions about the recovery, retrieval and shipping of alien debris. It also suggests that these retrievals be covered by suggesting those in charge say that the debris was from a satellite… but, in 1954, when the manual was created, it didn’t say who had been launching these satellites. This is merely a single example of the flaws that surround the manual.

It struck me as odd that you’d use a controversial manual to support the case for an alien spacecraft crash which is also controversial. The manual arrived in the mail for Don Berliner who himself has said it was a hoax. There is no provenance for it and it violates some of the standards in place in 1954 for such documents. None of this makes any difference to the true believers because they know the manual is authentic.

Finally, to prove their case, they resorted to interviewing Cliff Stone as one of the whistleblowers about alien visitation. You can read about him here:

There is a follow up article about Stone from Dr. Michael Salla, but Stone sinks his own boat with his tales of derring-do in Vietnam. In one of those ridiculous tales he talks about how he would sneak out of the camp, crawling through the wire to engage the enemy on his own. This was a recipe for suicide. Stone served in Vietnam as a clerk and not a combat soldier.

The point is that the episode here was filled with information that was faulty, untrue, fabricated, unverified and unsupported by any facts. It was written in such a way as to suggest that while the authorities might deny it; those at MUFON were telling us all the truth. Just never mind that they had no real evidence for their truth and that their witnesses were less than credible.

And that is why Ufology is in rapid decline. It is not about the research, it is not about finding answers for the unexplained cases and no alien visitation does not answer all the questions… there are many answers.  This is about ratings and making money. When solid evidence for a solution of a case is presented, there are always those out there who will scream cover up, that those offering answers are in the employ of the CIA, the Air Force or even MJ-12 as a way of hiding the truth but these programs often ignore those explanations as they underscore the alien nature of the reports. Alternatives are not offered.

But nothing will change as long as there is an audience for the UFO documentaries that have no truth in them, an audience for speakers who are clearly inventing their tales and people who buy books that do not provide solid information. We are stuck in the dark ages and I don’t see us climbing into the light any time soon.

Oh, for those who can’t deduce what I meant here… Kingman is a hoax and the single first-hand witness said that he lied about the details. The SOM 1-01 manual is a hoax and it provides us with no useful information. Many of the whistleblowers who are invited to tell their tales simply don’t have the credentials they claimed, weren’t in the positions they claimed, or have exaggerated their knowledge. All of this creates the problems for those of us who are more interested in the truth than in validating our own belief structures.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Next Not Roswell Slides Chapter

One of the reasons that the posts here appear on an irregular basis is that I wait for some sort of inspiration to hit. I had put up the post on the size of the debris field with the idea to do the same with descriptions of the debris, or which officers said what about the crash and the like. Rich Reynolds also chastised me for not answering his question about UFO movies and I wanted to do something with the Hangar One nonsense about the Kingman UFO crash which I figured would alienate most of MUFON and the entire population of Kingman. Today, however, a question that I had no answer for appears to have an answer.

I had wondered why Tom Carey had so tenaciously held onto the idea that the image in the Not Roswell Slides was an alien creature. I wondered why Don Schmitt seemed to vacillate between understanding the image was an unfortunate child and it was actually something alien. Given the evidence and documentation, it seemed that the image’s identity was obvious to anyone who looked at it dispassionately, at the other photographs available of that mummy and at the documentation that surrounded its discovery, recovery and display in museums in Colorado and Arizona.

Today, I have the answer in the form of a new book by them, and Jaime Maussan, as part of the BeWitness project or whatever they called it. I’m not going to publish the link because this is not a book that should be in any serious library besides it is currently only available in Spanish. It reminds me of the continuing series of books and programs on the Bermuda Triangle after Lawrence Kusche wrote The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved. It did, in its pages, produce an intelligent and viable solution to the questions asked about the Triangle and seems to be ignored in most documentaries about that nonsense.

We are in the same place with the Not Roswell Slides. The identity of the image has been well established yet we are subjected to another “analysis” of that image based only on what is shown in the pictures and not on an examination of the remains. I suspect they will reject the research done by others that is in conflict with what they say, will trot out the same experts to endorse their original opinions, and continue to promote this as some sort of evidence of alien visitation.

Yes, I am making this prediction on nothing more than the fact the book is available as an ebook (in Spanish for nearly 20 bucks) and one that I have no intention of buying… and yes again, it is difficult to “review” a book without actually reading it, but then I do know the story of how all this came about and what the evidence supporting their conclusions are. Unless this is an expose on how they were duped into supporting the idea that the image was of an alien creature this new ebook will not reflect any sort of reality. If it is just an outgrowth of the fiasco in Mexico City, this marks the further decline in what we now laughingly call Ufology. I thought we had hit bottom in the hours after Mexico City but I see that I was wrong.