Friday, July 27, 2018

The Atacama Desert Alien

Some time back, when all this broke about the Atacama Desert skeleton, I learned that some seven percent of the DNA had not been identified. The other 93% was human. I didn’t want to draw a conclusion then, about this, because, well, all the evidence wasn’t
Dr. Steven Greer
Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
in. Oh, it was fairly conclusive, but I thought, since additional testing is being scheduled, we could wait until all that testing was done.

Yes, I have seen most of Dr. Steven Greer’s documentary, Sirius, but I walked out somewhat early, when it began to delve into the MJ-12 hoax, suggesting that MJ-12 was a real committee. MJ-12 was hiding the proof that aliens were real and had crashed one of their craft near Roswell. Don’t forget, that same document claimed another crash near the Texas – Mexico border was also real but it turned out to be a hoax. I have reviewed that information on numerous occasions on this blog.

Now, it seems that we have the final word about the Atacama Desert being, and it doesn’t suggest alien. A referred scientific paper just published answers the questions about the tiny being. You can read it here:

The abstract for the paper tells us about the topic and some of the information to be revealed. It said:

Here we evaluate Bhattacharya et al.’s (2018) recent paper “Whole-genome sequencing of Atacama skeleton shows novel mutations linked with dysplasia” published in Genome Research. In this short report, we examine the hypothesis that the so-called “Atacama skeleton” has skeletal abnormalities indicative of dysplasia, critique the validity of the interpretations of disease based on genomic analyses, and comment on the ethics of research on this partially mummified human foetus. The current paper acts as a case study of the importance of using an anthropological approach for aDNA research on human remains. A critical evaluation of the ethically controversial paper by Bhattacharya et al. highlights how an understanding of skeletal biological processes, including normal and abnormal growth and development, taphonomic processes, environmental context, and close attention to ethical issues of dealing with human remains, is vital to scientific interpretations. To this end, close collaboration with palaeopathologists and local archaeologists through appropriate peer-reviewed journals will add to the rigour of scientific interpretation and circumvent misinterpretation.
There are a series of conclusions about the study and what they found during their research. I’m not going to publish them all here because you can read that for yourself. I will note, however:

Close collaboration with archaeologists and/or palaeopathologists is a vital part of informed scientific research on human remains from the past. A nuanced understanding of skeletal biological processes and environmental context is essential for accurate scientific interpretation and for acting as a check on the ethics and legality of such research. Unfortunately, there was no scientific rationale to undertake genomic analyses of Ata because the skeleton is normal, the identified genetic mutations are possibly coincidental, and none of them are known to be strongly associated with skeletal dysplasias that would affect the phenotype at this young age. We caution DNA researchers about getting involved in cases that lack clear context and legality, or where the remains have resided in private collections. In the case of Ata, costly and time-consuming scientific testing using whole genome techniques was unnecessary and unethical.
I, of course, would hope that this would close the book on this controversy, but nothing in the UFO field ever goes away. Remember the Alien Autopsy? There are those who believe that some of it, or
Creation of the alien for the autopsy.
all of it, is real. Doesn’t matter that the men who created the hoax have admitted it. Doesn’t matter that we have photographs of them putting the alien together. Doesn’t matter that we have drawings of what they were going to do. There are people who will never let go.

So, I’m sure it well be the same here. No matter what the scientific research says, no matter the qualifications of those conducting the research have, the refrain will always be, “Government conspiracy to hide the truth.” This matter should be closed now, but we all know what will happen. The truth will be buried under a pile of crap because “I want to believe.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thomas DuBose and the Switched Roswell Debris

Let’s chase a footnote or two, something we haven’t done for a while. I was reading a paper that was discussing the debris displayed on the floor in Brigadier General Roger Ramey’s office. Photographs of the debris were found decades ago and some of the
Brigadier General Roger Ramey and
Thomas DuBose (seated) looking at
the material on the floor in
Ramey's office.
negatives are housed in the Special Collections in the library at the University of Texas at Arlington. It is clear in the uncropped photographs that the material on the floor of Ramey’s office is a weather balloon and the torn-up remnants of a rawin reflector. The discussion was that the material shown there had been switched from the real debris that Major Jesse Marcel had brought from Roswell. In this latest analysis, it was said that the debris had not been switched, which, of course, means that a weather balloon had been brought from Roswell by Marcel. You can read about this here:

An Extraterrestrial Flying Disk Crashed Near Roswell in 1947: Not a UFO

The specific quote in that paper concerning all this is, “Decades later, during an interview, DuBose was asked if the original debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched with the remnants of a weather balloon [as Marcel had claimed]. DuBose answered that the material was never switched.”

Footnotes in that article, lead us to Kal Korff. That specific quote is in the middle of information that was attributed to Korff in an article that appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer Volume 21.4, found at:

Specifically, the quote is this:

Q. There are two researchers ([Don] Schmitt and Randle) [parenthetical statement in the original] who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there in its place.
A. [DuBose] Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
Q. So what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought from Roswell?
A. That’s absolutely right.

Later, to reinforce this idea, Korff in that same article wrote:

Q. Did you get a chance to read the material and look at the pictures?
A. Yes, and I studied the pictures very carefully.
Q. Do you recognize that material?
A. Oh yes. That’s the material that Marcel brought into Fort Worth from Roswell.
Given the way the article is structured and the information provided, that would be the end of the trail. Korff provided no footnotes or references for the quoted material, only that DuBose denied the material had been switched. It leaves the impression that Korff might have conducted the interview, though that is not said anywhere in the article. We just have DuBose quoted as the source with no information on how those quotes were gathered.

That might have been a problem for someone not immersed in the Roswell minutia who wished to chase footnotes. I know, however, where the quotes come from originally. They appeared in Korff’s less than accurate account of his alleged investigation into the Roswell case. He wrote on page 129 of the hardback edition of his crummy book:

In a revealing interview he granted to UFO researcher and television producer Jamie Shandera, DuBose put to rest the “mystery” of the so-called substituted wreckage and has exposed it for what it is – another Major Marcel myth! The initials “JHS” stand for Jaime Shandera and the initials “GTD” denote Gen. Thomas DuBose.
In this version, which now gives us more information about who conducted the interview (including the initials of the participants rather than a “Q” and “A”), Korff wrote:

JHS. There are two researchers (Schmitt and Randle) [parenthetical statement in the original] who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there in its place.
GTD. Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
JHS. So what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought from Roswell?
GTD. That’s absolutely right.
JHS: Could General Ramey or someone else have ordered a switch without you knowing it?
GTD: I have dame good eyesight – well, it was better back then than it is now – and I was there, and I had charge of the material, and it was never switched. [Emphasis added] [by Korff in the original].
You’ll note that this is the same interview that appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer. The footnotes in the book take us to Focus, Volume 5, (New Series) dated June 30, 1990. It was also published in the MUFON UFO Journal, No. 273, in January 1991. The quotes are the same in all these various locations, so that we have traced the original back to interviews conducted by Shandera.

Here’s what we learn about those interviews. “…Gen. DuBose was recently interviewed first by telephone and later at his home by Fair Witness Project [Bill Moore’s organization to investigate UFOs] Board member Jaime Shandera.”

We now know who gathered the information, when it was gathered (meaning late 1990 and early 1991), and what it is claimed to have been said. But, unlike many of these chasing footnotes articles, there is more to the story. I have a great deal of other information that affects how this all plays out and it was information available to anyone who looked for more than just their confirming evidence...

First, according to both General and Mrs. DuBose, Shandera neither recorded the conversation held at the DuBose home, nor did he take notes. We’re left with only Shandera’s claims of what was said, and the information in quotation marks is more likely a paraphrase than actual quotes. There is no way to verify the accuracy of the quotes.
Although Shandera has been asked, he apparently did not record the telephone conversation either. He has never suggested that he took any notes during that conversation, so, once again, we have no way to verify the veracity of his claims.

On the other hand, DuBose was interviewed in Florida by Don Schmitt and Stan Friedman on August 10, 1991. That interview was recorded on video tape so that a record of DuBose’s exact words is available for review. In that interview, DuBose was asked pointedly if he had ever seen the Roswell debris and he responded, "NEVER!" That means, quite clearly, that the debris in Ramey’s office was not what had been brought from Roswell.

After the Shandera interview was published, DuBose was again interviewed and asked if he had ever seen the real debris and again he answered, "NO!" And, again, that refutes the information that is traced back to a single source, which is Shandera.

This could be construed as just another debate between two factions with no way to resolve it. However, DuBose spoke to others when asked about this particular point. Billy Cox, at the time a writer for Florida Today interviewed DuBose for an article he wrote for the November 24, 1991, edition of the newspaper. Cox reported that DuBose told him essentially the same story that he told the others except Shandera. Here was a disinterested third-party reporting on the same set of circumstances, but he didn't get Shandera's version of the events.

In a letter Cox send me dated September 30, 1991:

I was aware of the recent controversy generated by an interview he (DuBose) had with Jaime Shandera, during which he stated that the display debris at Fort Worth was genuine UFO wreckage and not a weather balloon, as he had previously stated. But I chose not to complicate matters by asking him to illuminate what he had told Shandera; instead, I simply asked him, without pressure, to recall events as he remembered them...he seemed especially adamant about his role in the Roswell case. While he stated that he didn't think the debris was extraterrestrial in nature (though he had no facts to support his opinion), he was insistent that the material that Ramey displayed for the press was in fact a weather balloon, and that he had personally transferred the real stuff in a lead-lined mail pouch to a courier going to Washington ...I can only conclude that the Shandera interview was the end result of the confusion that might occur when someone attempts to press a narrow point of view upon a 90-year-old man. I had no ambiguity in my mind that Mr. DuBose was telling me the truth.
Cox isn't the only one to hear that version of events from DuBose. Kris Palmer, a former researcher with NBC's Unsolved Mysteries reported much the same thing in 1991. When she spoke with DuBose, he told her that the real debris had gone on to Washington in a sealed pouch and that a weather balloon had been on the floor in General Ramey's office.

Don Ecker
But the most enlightening of the interviews comes from Don Ecker formerly of UFO magazine and now the host of Dark Matters Radio on KGRA digital radio. Shandera had called Ecker, telling him that he would arrange for Ecker to interview DuBose about this issue. Ecker, however, didn't wait and called DuBose on his own. DuBose then offered the weather balloon/switch version of events. When Ecker reported that to Shandera, Shandera said for him to wait. He'd talk to DuBose.

After Shandera talked to DuBose, he called Ecker and said, "Now call him." DuBose then said that the debris on the floor hadn't been switched and that it was the stuff that Marcel had brought from Roswell. It should be pointed out here that Palmer called DuBose after all this took place. Without Shandera there to prime the pump, DuBose told weather balloon/switch version of events. It was only after close questioning by Shandera could that version be heard. It is not unlike a skillful attorney badgering a witness in a volatile trial. Under the stress of the interview and the close questioning, the witness can be confused for a period of time. Left alone to sort out the details, the correct version of events bubbles to the surface.

The point here is that sometimes following the footnotes to their source isn’t enough. You have to explore other avenues of information to ensure that the footnotes are accurate. In this case, because I’m immersed in the minutia of Roswell, I knew where to look for the additional information and that additional information paints a different picture than that found if you only followed the footnotes to Korff.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Ed Ruppelt and Thomas Mantell

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Ed Ruppelt did us no favors. And as you all know, I have been reexamining the Mantell case and found a few problems in the way it has been reported in the past. I don’t think there is anything nefarious in those mistakes, it’s just that I have access to information that they might not have had. Donald Keyhoe didn’t have the case file or the accident report, but I do. Ed Ruppelt didn’t have access to information about the Skyhooks, and I don’t know how good his weather data were, but I have information for both of those.

Ruppelt thought that the Navy Skyhook might solve the mystery of what Thomas Mantell had chased back in January 1948. He thought that a balloon launched from the Clinton County Air Force Base (Wilmington, Ohio) on the morning of January 7 might have drifted far enough south to be the culprit. He wrote:

The group who supervise the contracts for all the skyhook research flights for the Air Force are located at Wright Field, so I called them. They had no records on flights in 1948 but they did think that the big balloons were being launched from Clinton County AFB in southern Ohio at that time. They offered to get the records of the winds on January 7 and see what flight path a balloon launched in southwestern Ohio would have taken…
He also admitted that he couldn’t prove it, but thought it was a good explanation for the Mantell case. He also wrote:
Somewhere in the archives of the Air Force or the Navy there are records that will show whether or not a balloon was launched from Clinton County AFB, on January 7, 1948. I never could find those records. People who were working with the early skyhook projects “remember” operating out of Clinton County AFB in 1947 but refuse to be pinned down to a January 7 flight. Maybe they said.
Sightings reported on January 7, 1948 through the center
of Kentucky. None of these sightings were made or
verified by the Godman AAF tower crew.
When you line up the sightings in central Kentucky with the launch site in south central Ohio, it certainly does suggest a Skyhook launched from there could have easily been over central Kentucky at the right time. Sure, the times are a little problematic, but there are reasonable explanations for that. It seems to work out and a large number of people bought the solution, even if the precise evidence wasn’t there.
The trouble is that we now know that the Skyhooks weren’t being launched from Clinton County AFB until a couple of years later. And we have the winds data from that location as well. Though Ruppelt seemed to believe that the wind was blowing from the northeast, the weather data shows that it was coming from the west. Ruppelt’s explanation fails on those two points. Besides, the tower crew at Godman Army Air Field all reported the object was to the southwest of them. Although alerted to a possible object to the east, over Lexington, Kentucky, they never saw anything in that direction. Other law enforcement agencies told them of the object to the southwest of them, the one they tracked.
Weather data in Lexington, Kentucky on January 7, 1948 showing that the winds were from the southwest
and the west southwest, suggesting a balloon in that area would have been moving in a direction opposite of what
Ruppelt had predicted.

For those paying attention, this simply means that Mantell did not chase a Skyhook launched from Clinton County. The source of the balloon was actually in Minnesota, but we’ll deal with that in another post.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Finding the Ruth Barnett Diary

I recently posted that we had been looking for any documents, diaries, journals, personal letters or anything else from July 1947 that mentioned the Roswell case without luck. That wasn’t exactly the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This doesn’t relate directly to Roswell, but it had been attached to the information about it for decades.

Barney Barnett claimed to have seen a crashed flying saucer on the Plains of San Agustin. There are those who believe that this happened in July 1947 and the wrecked craft had collided with the one that fell on the Foster (Brazel) ranch. I don’t subscribe to that theory and believe the evidence for it is weak at best and more likely nonexistent. But, as I say, that’s my opinion.

Magdalena Ranger Station at the edge of the Plains of
San Agustin. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
As we, and by we, I mean Don Schmitt and I investigated the Roswell case, we were also interested in what Barney Barnett had said. I had been in touch with Alice Knight, the niece of Ruth and Barney Barnett. I asked, as had others, if there were any written documents that related to what Barney had claimed to have seen. The answer had always been, “No.”

Then, one day, a couple of decades ago, as I talked with her, the answer changed to, “I found a diary for 1947.”

This was a “Daily Reminder” book that someone had given to Ruth Barnett. She kept is faithfully for the year of 1947. And for the dates of the crash (and I mean dates because there have been a number of them offer) it seems that Barney was in no position to see anything out on the Plains. He was in Socorro on those days, including July 5, the date that Gerald Anderson claimed he had seen Barney on the Plains.

The point is the diary, however. We know where Barney was and what he was doing. During that first week in July, there is no hint that Barney had seen anything extraordinary. That sort of documentation, from the right time, is difficult to ignore.

Oh sure, the answer is that Barney had been sworn to secrecy and, of course, didn’t say a word about it to Ruth. She wouldn’t know anything about the crash and therefore couldn’t have written anything about it in her diary.

But, there is another aspect to this. According to family and friends, Barney told them about the crash at a Thanksgiving dinner in 1947. That means the secret was out and Barney felt comfortable enough to talk about it to family. But, again, the diary holds no information about this event either.

I think everyone sees the problem. We find a document written in 1947 by someone who might not have seen the crash but whose husband did. She didn’t mention it in her diary. Not when it happened and not when he told her, other members of the family and friends about it. This, I believe, argues forcibly against a crash on the Plains in July 1947. We find a document, and there is absolutely no hint about flying saucers or crashes in it. Somehow, this bit of information is overlooked when we talk about the Plains… It should be one of the first things mentioned.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Jesse Marcel's Journal

Jesse Marcel, Sr.
As you all know, one of the problems with the Roswell case is that we have been unable to find any letters, diaries, journals, or notes that were written in 1947 that would tell us about the crash. There have been hints about this, but to this point, none of those hints produced anything that is conclusive. Inez Wilcox, wife of the Roswell sheriff, had written a story about her “four years in the county jail,” talking about what it was like to be the wife of the sheriff. Although the original article contained nothing about the crash, she added a page later that talked about that. Unfortunately, the document was undated, so didn’t help us at all. She could have written her story sometime after 1978 when Jesse Marcel, Sr. told Stan Friedman and Len Stringfield about picking up pieces of a flying saucer in New Mexico.

Jesse Marcel, Sr. Photo
copyright by Kevin
Now I learn, through emails sent to me by several colleagues, that we might have some of those documents. Christina Stock reported in the Roswell Daily Record, that Marcel Sr. might just have left that sort of documentation. Jesse Marcel III, the grandson of Jesse Sr. and son of Jesse Sr., announced that they had found a “treasure trove” of documents relating to his grandfather’s military service, including a journal kept by the senior Marcel. If such a journal contains references to what he saw on the Brazel ranch that day in July 1947, and if it contains descriptions of the find, and if it makes any reference to alien beings, that would be huge. Here would be a document that contains information written in 1947 while still fresh in the mind and that would not be contaminated by everything that followed when the Roswell case exploded into the mainstream in the late 1970s.

As I say, this could be the sort of documentation that we all have been waiting for. True, it’s not something official from the US government, but it would be something written in the proper time frame and that would make it a very important document. The lack of any thing like that, written at the time in the form of letters, diaries or journals, has always been a worry for all of us. If this pans out, it might be the key to unlocking the mystery.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Donald Keyhoe and Thomas Mantell

For reasons that will become clear later, meaning in the future and not in this post, I have been reviewing some of the Mantell case. I won’t bother telling you that it involved Thomas Mantell who died while chasing an unidentified object. What I want to mention are two things, both relevant to understanding the case, but that have gotten buried in the minutia of the sighting.

Donald Keyhoe
Donald Keyhoe, when he was writing about the case in his book, The Flying Saucers Are Real, thought the balloon explanation was wrong. He wrote, “To fly the 90 miles from Madisonville to Fort Knox in 30 minutes, a balloon would have required a wind of 180 m.p.h. After traveling at this hurricane speed, it would have to come to a dead stop above Godman Field.”

Keyhoe, who didn’t have access to the official file on the case as I do now, made two assumptions that were incorrect. The first was that the object would have had to travel 90 miles in 30 minutes. That was assuming that the object wasn’t seen to the northeast of Madisonville and to the southwest of Godman. This is actually the case. The time calculation is flawed based on his assumptions.

The other problem is that the object was never over Godman Field. Looking at the case file, those at Godman who reported the object were looking to the southwest. Since the object was never over the field, his calculation of the distances are equally flawed.

The record shows that none of those with Mantell saw the object when first asked to intercept it. They had to be directed toward it by those in the Godman Tower until Mantell spotted it in front of him and at a higher altitude.

The point here, which is sort of about chasing footnotes, is that many have used Keyhoe as a primary source. The flaw there is that Keyhoe’s information came, not from the documentation and the investigation, but from his sources inside the Pentagon. While he did get many facts correct about UFOs and the investigation of them, he did not have access to the documents in the Mantell case. Had he had those, he would have known the truth about the distances. This is why I chase footnotes and try to get to the original source. There will be a part two on this, because it is clear that the official file is in error as well.