Saturday, June 09, 2018

Vetting Information or Another Way to Chase Footnotes

Here’s something that relates to my “Chasing Footnotes,” posts. Over the weekend (June 1 and 2), I ran into an article that was related to Roswell told by Raymond Szymanski (which I commented on here a few days ago). As I was working on that article, I had a number of questions that weren’t answered by any of the sources that I could readily access. I was worried about the claim that Raymond Szymanski had worked in some high-level jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for thirty-nine years. I didn’t know if this was true and if those who had written the various articles had bothered to verify the information.

Don’t get me wrong here. I have no evidence that Raymond Szymanski’s self-reported credentials are anything less than the truth. I just don’t know if anyone attempted to verify the information with independent third parties.

Robert Willlingham circa
This is a question that has been raised in the past about other witnesses (and other claims as well). For example, it was reported, repeatedly, that Robert Willingham was a retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot. Everyone seemed to take these facts as accurate but I learned that no one had bothered to check. True, there were pictures of Willingham in uniform from the 1960s and 70s, which tended to support his claim.

Given that, I decided to look a little deeper and learned that Willingham had a mere 13 months of active military service. He left as a low ranking enlisted soldier with no indication of flight training, flight status, or a commission. Those pictures turned out to be of Willingham in the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the Air Force that does important search and rescue work and training for teenagers interested in aviation and the Air
Civil Air Patrol identification on
Willingham's uniform.
Force but that is not the same as being in the Air Force.

The point is that everyone, including me, had reported that Willingham had been a colonel in the Air Force, each of us thinking someone else had verified the data. No one had. They accepted what Willingham said, the photographs he offered as proof, and documentation that he handed them. It wasn’t until I secured the documentation from an independent, meaning government source, the Records Center in St. Louis and another Air Force records center in Denver that we all learned the truth.

CAP collar insignia. In the Air Force his rank insignia
would be pinned there instead. More proof of his
status in the CAP rather than the Air Force.
The same can be said for Frank Kaufmann, who claimed he had been trained in intelligence, had been a master sergeant and was a member of Colonel Blanchard’s staff. He provided a picture from the 1947 Yearbook and other documentation to prove it. When documentation was recovered from an independent third party, again the Records Center in St. Louis, we found that Kaufmann had no training in intelligence, had been an administration specialist, and that he was not a master sergeant as he had claimed.

There is, of course, Gerald Anderson, who told of seeing a crashed disk on the Plains of San Agustin in 1947. He said that Adrian Buskirk was the archaeologist involved… but Buskirk turned out to be his high school anthropology teacher. Other parts of Anderson’s story broke down and it was learned that he had forged a number of documents to prove his tales. That verification took several months. Ironically, when it was learned that Anderson had forged a telephone bill to make me look bad, it was reported that Stan Friedman had discovered the evidence. That didn’t happen until after I had presented that same evidence to CUFOS, FUFOR and MUFON.

Here’s the point. We have had a number of witnesses, and that number continues to grow, who claim inside knowledge of the Roswell case in particular and UFOs in general. Too often, when we begin to check these things out, we find that some have taken liberties with the truth. They weren’t the military officers they claimed to have been, they weren’t involved in the investigations as they claimed to be, or they weren’t at the locations they said they were.

So, when I read about Raymond Szymanski and his pal, Al, I was skeptical. I have no information that verifies the claim but I suspect we’ll learn that Szymanski was at Wright-Pat for all those years and held the positions that he claimed. That, of course, doesn’t mean the tale told to him by the mysterious Al is true. It just means that we have no evidence that it is, and in the world today, we need to see more than just a first name.


purrlgurrl said...

ETH advocates and supporters give far too much credit to claims made by those who say they are or were military, police, or government officials. Whatever people with these alleged backgrounds say is accepted at face value and promoted with no questions asked.

When anyone expresses doubts that these witnesses or their stories are unimpeachable merely because of claimant’s current or former status, the doubter is gang-hammered by a crowd of ET believers.

Meanwhile, it looks to me like a lot of "evidence" for the ETH seems to come from people with backgrounds that are later discredited by documentation to the contrary. But, since believers are so quick to lap up without question any ET story told by anyone asserting to be military, police, or government, it’s no wonder hoaxers make that claim about their backgrounds. They can pretty much rest assured nobody they’re trying to con is ever going to check up on or ask hard questions about their backgrounds or stories.

cda said...

Is there anything more to be said about Roswell now? I suppose someone, presumably from the military or a descendant therefrom, can still occasionally pop up and claim this and that and how it was all hushed up. The sort of evidence that used to impress ET believers and conspiracists but does not any more. In fact this kind of testimony is more likely to deter any would-be believers now, for the simple reason that it NEVER leads anywhere.

So unless someone like David Rudiak, Tony Bragalia or Stan Friedman (now in retirement I believe) can come up with the book to end all books and real hard evidence, it is time we drew a big veil over Roswell and anything associated with it. Surely the era of tittle-tattle is over.

Yes, case closed. But I agree it was fun while it lasted.

John Steiger said...

cda -- Roswell will NEVER, EVER CLOSE as a UFO case of study. The phenomenon that occurred there in July 1947 is too great (or potentially great, if you must) to disregard otherwise.
Dr. Randle and the other investigators of the crash have uncovered sufficient proof to thwart the efforts of UFO deniers to dismiss the event.

It is a futile waste of time and effort for you and other nonbelievers to wish and proclaim otherwise.


cda said...

John S:

I don't waste time and effort on it; at least not for many years now. Surely it is those who profess it to be a real ET event who are the ones wasting their time and energies. I repeat: further attempts to establish this as an ET event are futile.

Kevin must realise this by now, though he is reluctant to admit it.

Paul Young said...

purrlgurrl..."When anyone expresses doubts that these witnesses or their stories are unimpeachable merely because of claimant’s current or former status, the doubter is gang-hammered by a crowd of ET believers."

This generalisation neatly omits the fact that many of the charlatans (Kaufmann, Dennis)...and other distractions (MJ12) were finally put to bed by investigators that hold an ETH persuasion.

John Steiger said...

cda: Roswell is well-established as an ET event by a preponderance of the credible evidence (at a minimum).

Your continuing attempts to deny this are futile, so I agree that you should not waste further time and effort making such unfounded claims.

purrlgurrl said...

Paul Young, go on any pro-ET blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Reddit and then ask a critical question about any ET claim (even the most ludicrous and clearly nonsensical) made by someone saying he/she is or was current or former military, current or former police, or current or former government staff. Then wait for the landslide of personal attacks you'll receive from believers who will excoriate you for daring to question the testimony of these alleged infallible public servants.

Too many claims by too many who turned out to be not what they said they were have been accepted as "proof" and never thoroughly investigated or questioned.

I say these alleged "non-civilians" are just as error prone and likely to hoax as life-long civilians. Their claimed former status automatically does NOT make them more trustworthy or even accurate in their perceptions and recountings.

Daniel said...

I wonder if some of you have considered, that "credence" can be given to a witnesses testimony, when under "oath" to tell the truth & nothing but the truth.

On April 29th. 2013 - Prominent citizens of high ranking & trust in their line of work, be it current or former military, current or former police, or current or former government staff, & Pilots, gave under "oath" their testimony, in the [Citizens hearing to Congress] under the threat of jail. Would you lie & lose your reputation, & why would you lie under "oath" at the risk of jail??? Just something to think about.....

John Steiger said...

Daniel: The Citizens Hearing on Disclosure (April 29-May 3, 2013) held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC was a replica of a Congressional Hearing. As such, the witnesses were not actually under oath or affirmation to tell the truth, and there was no threat or risk of jail resulting from their providing testimony.

Daniel said...

Thank you John;

[If so,] I would say, it was a very expensive "replica" of a Congressional Hearing, with all the TV Cameras running & a large room of witnesses looking on. For what reason?? Just a UFO myth; as many say???...WHY? if there's nothing to it.

Doesn't make sense.......

Daniel said...

Which ever way you prefer to think about this, it is "a good start" for Congress to learn, & understand, what is going on in the world, from the witnesses testimonies of UFO amazement, or as some prefer to think, something else going on.....

John Steiger said...

Daniel: I was a volunteer staffer at the Citizens Hearing (CH) in 2013. From what I gathered the 5-day event cost upwards of $200K to stage. The CH website remains active at In addition, Stephen Bassett the CH event coordinator and now of Paradigm Research Group can be reached at for more information. Appreciate your interest!