Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Albuquerque Girl Burned by UFO?

In looking at some of the Project Blue Book files, and learning that late that Edward Ruppelt, the one-time chief of Blue Book, was probably anti-extraterrestrial as opposed to neutral; I came across what I think of as evidence of this bias throughout the history of Blue Book. The case on point is that of Sharon
Edward Ruppelt who wasn't quite as
unbiased as we had all thought.
Stull who claimed that she was burned by a UFO on April 28,1964.

The story, as it appeared in the newspapers and in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, was that Stull had returned to school after lunch and was on the playground with other children. She spotted an egg-shaped craft and watched it for ten minutes or so. Those other children, including her sister didn’t seem all that interested in the object and continued with their games. Later none of them would confirm they had seen anything strange. Stull, returning home complained about a mild burn and trouble with her eyes. There were some other alleged problems but the medical evidence didn’t bear that out. She was taken to the doctor but there were no long-term effects of the burn. It isn’t clear if doctor saw burn or just gave her some suave to placate her mother.

The Lorenzens investigated in person but it seemed that the Air Force did not. The Lorenzens, who were predisposed to accept tales of alien visitation, had some real problems with this case. They wrote that the Mrs. Stull did most of the talking, alluded to a friendship with a local TV announcer that apparently didn’t exist and talked about their “family doctor” who they had apparently just met. Coral Lorenzen wrote, “The whole thing was preposterous and the Lorenzens were hard put to understand the kind of people who would attempt to perpetuate such a fraud.”

The Air Force wrote the case off as a hoax, and while I agree with that assessment, I am disturbed by their analysis. On the Project Card, they summarized the case by writing, “Extensive news accounts of sighting flying saucer with little green men. Witness 12 year old girl. Supposedly burned by ray guns from obj. Seen from school yard. Noon recess.”

This just shows where those working at Blue Book were on the subject of UFOs, alien visitation and conducting a proper investigation in April 1964. There had been no sightings of little green men (LGMs in the world of science fiction) and there had been no talk of ray guns used to burn the child. The suggestion was that she had exposed herself to some sort of radiation from the object resulting in what was described as a light sunburn.

Of course, the real point is that there doesn’t seem to have been an actual UFO sighting, none of the other children said that they had seen anything and the burn was gone (if it was ever there) before any of the investigators arrived on the scene. As I said, the Air Force explanation of hoax is probably the correct one, especially when it is remembered that the Lorenzens came to the same conclusion. It was a rare day when the Air Force and the Lorenzens agreed on anything but the Air Force analysis shows their bias in a way that is over the top.


Bob Koford said...

Good morning/afternoon Kevin.

Based upon my own studies of the files from the three official programs, my assessment is that Ruppelt's "Staff Study", of 1952, is what clearly demonstrates why he, and others appeared to vacillate in their opinions (pro-con).

As per the conclusions arrived at, by Kaplan, et.al.:

1. The continued "volunteered reporting" to the Air Force of sightings was taxing their abilities, and compromising Intelligence functioning. There was a general consensus that there was more than enough good material to warrant "an expanded study".

2. The program should be closed as soon as it can be turned over to the use of "instruments", and "technology" (radar and satellites, etc.).

So by 1952 they were discussing closing the program, but only AFTER they added portable monitoring stations, permanent monitoring stations, and created doctrine/instructions for pilots (civilian and military). In other words, the BB files demonstrate that they considered a portion of the subject as real, and "serious business", but felt the program should be altered to remove the public's connection to the Intelligence departments. So anything that they later wrote, said and did to negate any importance attached to the subject should be taken with a grain of salt, as they say.

RRRGroup said...


Did you have the date of the alleged sighting, that is the time-frame with the egg-shaped Socorro craft sighting?


KRandle said...

Sorry, Rich -

Should have noted the date as April 28, 1964... days after Socorro and after quite a few mentions in the local (Albuquerque) media of Zamora's sighting and many others around the state.

RRRGroup said...

Thanks, Kevin...

That puts the episode in perspective for me, as it does for you: a seeming hoax.


Bob Koford said...

I should have begun my comment by saying, yes...clearly a made up story. It was the attitude I was addressing.

Mark said...

I'm confused. Ruppelt left Blue Book in 1953, more than ten years before this. He was dead by 1960. What does he have to do with it?

Heck, 1964 is the Quintanilla period, and even _Quintanilla_ pretty much agrees he was biased against the extraterrestrial explanation...

Bob Koford said...

Mark, Kevin wrote: "...evidence of this bias throughout the history of Blue Book"

KRandle said...

Mark -

The point was that there had always been an anti-alien bias in Blue Book. It began with the rejection of the Estimate of the Situation and the firing of nearly everyone who had been part of Project Sign. As Sign evolved into Grudge and then Blue Book, that bias continued... even in the so-called golden years of Ruppelt's leadership.

Lance said...

Good lord, the self-delusion of UFO believers is astounding.

Yes, by 1964, the Government had investigated UFO's for more than a decade and they came to the same conclusion that any critically thinking person would: likely nothing exotic about it.

UFO believers suffer under the delusion that their tawdry little religion deserves equal footing with reality. It doesn't.

Assuming that there is likely nothing to any UFO report should be the default starting point for any investigation. UFO investigators have tried and failed to come up with even slight evidence for their mythology.

So that is my position as a hardcore atheist.

In actuality virtually every single UFO "investigator" starts so far in the opposite direction: they already KNOW that the Space Brothers are here so they are just confirming their own psychosis for the most part.

That you think the problem is that mean old skeptics won't take reports like this (a hoax) seriously is quite telling, Kevin.

That isn't the problem. UFO believers have done almost zero useful or scientific work. And any value of that small remainder is more than offset by the way UFO belief has made so many people just a little bit stupider year after year.


KRandle said...

Lance -

I do not understand your point here. I said the case was a hoax. The Lorenzens who were certainly biased in favor of alien visitation said it was a hoax. We agreed with the Air Force that it was a hoax... although it would have been nice had the Air Force actually investigated and it would have taken an officer or NCO from Kirtland an hour to do it... or maybe ten minutes on the telephone which wouldn't have even been long distance. But clearly the case was a hoax and I don't understand how you missed that point...

No, what I was talking about was the Air Force injecting into the case the little green men, when no one said a word about them and that they said the girl was burned by ray guns when that wasn't even an issue. Reject the case because of your personal bias... reject it because the information supplied by the mother wasn't only misleading; it was inaccurate (read lies), but don't then belittle it by adding information that was untrue. All that does is play into the hands of the true believers who see conspiracy everywhere.

My point was that the Air Force officer who wrote the synopsis of the case could have said that the case was a hoax, there was no medical evidence to confirm it and that the mother seemed to be pushing for some sort of notoriety or monetary compensation. It was unnecessary to devolve into sarcasm.

Lance said...


I understand that you don't understand.

What I am suggesting is that some (most?) UFO believers cannot envision a world in which their ideas about UFO's (which are almost completely unsupported by evidence) don't deserve the benefit of the doubt that one might give a more reality-based claim.

Sarcasm against UFO claims is well deserved.

I suggest that those in Blue Book started out looking at UFO's seriously but, being perhaps rational folks, realized that the evidence had become clear over a decade or more that UFO's were almost certainly prosaic.

Although you seem to come back to this idea frequently, even if skeptics are as dismissive and derisive as you claim, by 1964 this was a perfectly reasonable attitude to take towards UFO's (and the 50 years since of nonexistent results bears this out).

It isn't the skeptics that are making UFO evidence so laughable.

And, from my perspective (which is biased toward reality) the mere suggestion that skeptics are the real problem with the UFO idea reveals an astonishing lack of self-awareness among believers.

Alas, it does appear that reality has lost a lot of ground in this new Alternative Fact world. In small part, I think we can thank the UFO believers for laying some of the groundwork for this situation in infantile conspiracy theories and a woeful lack of scientific rigor and critical thinking.


couldbebetter said...

Lance, My beliefs on the subject of UFO's have more to do with the views of certain people who were in a position to know what UFO's actually were. If you understand how the U.S. government handles "sensitive" classified information you might understand how the government can keep the subject covered up. Former SEN Barry Goldwater was the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, he was in a position to find out the truth behind UFOs. Of course, he took his security oath seriously and would ultimately disclose that the subject had become highly classified for him to answer questions related to it. Having copies of his official letters I would always chuckle because whenever he was asked about the "Blue-Room" at WPAFB he would never use those words in the reply. Why? Obviously, at least at the time, that was a classified term so he could not use it or say it in public. There are many good people who have been in positions to know what UFOs are. If you ask the right questions you might actually learn something. But you must also be able to read between the lines. Lance, You sound very certain in your position as an "Atheist" on this subject. At one time I held a TS/SCI clearance and was PRP/NRAP certified. I believe I know a little bit about classified information. James Bamford, author of the book "The Puzzle Palace-Inside the NSA" gave me a good contact when I wrote him in the early 1980's. Whatever UFOs may be they certainly are a subject of great interest to certain segments of our government. One question, if you are an Atheist then why are you here? I do not go to Church to tell the people there that their god is not real.

theo163 said...

What some dismiss as 'hoax', I'd name part of a 'tradition'. Did it actually happen the way the 12-year old girl described? There's still the possibility that it did or that something happened. After all, the story was approached from two investigative sides involving heavy bias: believers in the pro and the contra of the UFO phenomenon.

One side kind of investigated, the other side didn't. The Stull account was doomed from the get-go as there was not an objective investigator in sight. All we have is the retellings through the prejudice of the pro and con- ET believers and a contaminated account.

It may have been a hoax. But there's 'the tradition'.

Stories of people, children hit, wounded, burned or killed by mysterious spheres of light, fireballs, globular lightning or other unidentified atmospheric phenomena stretch a long, long way back in time. Newspapers were full of similar accounts. The Stull girl story is just another chapter in that tradition hat may, or may not have been concocted.

She may still be alive. So track her down and ask her. That would be interesting.

Best regards

KRandle said...

Lance -

The point was that the Air Force was overly dismissive and in violation of their own regulations about UFO investigation. It was the bringing in of other information that was not relevant to the case and making up evidence. It does not advance their arguments to invent evidence but makes it look as if they have something to hide.

The point was that debunkers begin their investigation from the point that there is no alien visitation therefore anything that suggests it is wrong. This is, of course, the polar opposite of your complaint that UFO believers begin their investigation knowing that there is alien visitation and are searching for validation... neither method is scientific.

And as Adam used to say, "I reject your reality and substitute my own." Sometimes things that you know to be true simply are not.

All -

I am astonished that anyone would take this case seriously. Had I known that people would believe it, I would never have posted anything about it. My point was that the Air Force had added elements to the case that were irrelevant and fictitious, not that there was anything to the report. Even the Lorenzens who were clearly in the corner of alien visitation rejected it based on their on site investigation. The case was a hoax and that really should be the end of it.

Nitram said...

Hi Lance

Great to see you back... even if writing at the extreme:

"UFO believers have done almost zero useful or scientific work. And any value of that small remainder is more than offset by the way UFO belief has made so many people just a little bit stupider year after year."

A bit harsh Lance... some researchers have been blinded a bit by their "will to believe" I will agree with you there, but others like Kevin and David have done some very good work which you seem unwilling to credit them for.

Just to clarify:

"It isn't the skeptics or some of the believers that are making some of the UFO investigations so laughable - it is the debunkers. In large part, these debunkers have clearly shown a woeful lack of scientific rigor and critical thinking".


Unknown said...

You sound like a pretentious dick. I’m just looking from the outside in and the “tin hat wearing” LGM believer is making a lot more sense than you. He AGREED that it was a hoax. Got that? He just wanted to see our government do their job no matter what the claim was. You know why? Because IT’S THEIR JOB. If anything it’s possibly something in our airspace that we don’t know about. One thing about me is I KNOW that I don’t know everything. And who am I to say what’s out there or not. Especially when ex military, FFA officials, astronaut, NASA officials, private aerospace industry high-ups,and the list goes on and on, all seem to have a story to tell. Not to mention that I couldnt give a flying f@!& what YOU believe. What you eat doesn’t make ME shit. You just seem so mad at him because he believes something else. That’s the cause for most of the bloodshed throughout history. You just come across as a bully and bullies suck.

KRandle said...

joseph soto -

To whom are you addressing your comment? We seem to be on the same page when I suggested that the Air Force should have taken the time to, at the very least, made a telephone call. So, your post is rather confusing.

Unknown said...

My deepest apologies sir. My comment was directed at the Lance character who just seemed like he was looking for a reason to insult any open minded people. Sorry for the misunderstanding.