Thursday, October 17, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Jim Penniston

This week I reached out to Jim Penniston of Rendlesham Forest fame. I wanted to get his take on the events there. He was involved in the first night of sightings, but had not been with Colonel Charles Halt on what was apparently the third night
Jim Penniston
when Halt and John Burroughs approached the landed craft.

Penniston said he walked up to it and actually touched in on that first night. You can listen to his story here:

Penniston also provided some information about the aftermath of his sighting, including the fact that there had been a recording of the radio transmissions that had been made during the sighting. He said that a four-star general had retrieved that recording and that it disappeared into the great maw of the Pentagon.

To get a full picture of the Rendlesham Forest events, told by those who participated in them, you can read about my interviews with John Burroughs and Charles Halt and listen to them on the embedded links here:

To help understand the actual timeline of the Rendlesham Forest events, Penniston has written a book about it. The Rendlesham Forest Enigma: Book 1: Time Line is available at Amazon.

Next week I’ll be talking to Robert Charles Cornett about our experiences in UFO research including our trip into the heart of cattle mutilation country in the mid-1970s.

If you have questions for with Bob Cornett or me, ask them in the comment section here, and I’ll attempt to get them answered during the interview.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Chasing References - Socorro Edition

As many of you know, especially those who visit here regularly, I sometimes chase footnotes because it provides, well, a different perspective on some UFO reports. Finding the footnotes to chase isn’t all that easy and it is usually the result of researching another aspect of the UFO field. Sometimes, however, it can be a single reference in a book or article that triggers a question or two.

Such is the case of an article in the September 2019 issue of The MUFON Journal. Yes, I touched on this in the report on my interview with Don Burleson, and I don’t mean to target him here, but there is a point that needs to be made. As noted, you can hear our discussion in the last half of the October 9 interview.
The statement in question, the one that caught my attention, and frankly the attention of some others, said:

April 24, 1964, when Socorro policeman Lonnie Zamora saw an egg-shaped, whitish object down in a gully and observed a red symbol on its surface. As investigator Ray Stanford discovered, authorities soon published an altered version of the symbol in order to guard against copycat reports, but area military pilots would have been given a classified briefing to warn them to be on the lookout for any airborne craft bearing the insignia the way Zamora had really seen it, an inverted V with three horizonal lines through its middle. Clearly the Socorro object and the Holloman object were somehow related, though I [Don Burleson] infer from various details that the Holloman object was probably larger.
The problem here is that there are errors in the thinking and speculation that is presented almost as if it is fact. The first real problem is the claim that the correct symbol is the inverted V with the three lines through it. This is the information supplied by Ben Moss, Tony Angiola and Ray Stanford. The trouble here is that
Zamora's sketch of the symbol made moments
after the object took off.
Zamora drew the correct symbol, that is an arc over an arrow with a line under it on two occasions. As the object departed, he drew the symbol on a scrap of paper and that scrap can be found in the Project Blue Book files. He signed that illustration.

On the evening of April 24, Zamora was interviewed by Captain Richard Holder of the Army and Arthur Byrnes of the FBI.  They suggested that Zamora not reveal the symbol to others to eliminate copycats, but he did draw it for them and he signed that image as well. This was what I think of as the umbrella symbol.

Zamora's drawing of the craft and the symbol
signed by him.
During the initial investigation, other military officers were involved during the investigation and they too, filed reports. In those documents, the umbrella symbol is identified as the true symbol.

Interestingly, Ray Stanford who was on the scene within days sent a letter to Richard Hall of NICAP in May 1964, a week or two after he had been to Socorro. In that letter he not only identified the true symbol as the umbrella symbol, but wrote that the inverted V with the three lines through it was the fake. Ten years later, when Stanford published his book, he had switched the symbols, now claiming that the inverted V was the true symbol.

Zamora had an illustration made of the craft that he had seen. The Socorro mayor thought it might be a good idea. The artist was Rick Baca. Under Zamora’s direction, the umbrella symbol was placed on that drawing.

The "Umbrella" symbol and the
inverted V with the lines through it,
as well as a couple of other variations.
Both Ben Moss and Tony Angiola believed that there had been a “secret” Socorro file that was separate from that found in the official files. All these official files entered the public domain when the Blue Book files were declassified in 1976. These unofficial “secret” files were obtained from Rob Mercer. The Socorro file was 200 pages that duplicated most of what was in the official file. In that unofficial file were two cards that held the inverted V. It is clear from the context that these cards were based on newspaper articles that were released in 1964. Ben Moss and Tony Angiola believed that this was the true symbol because it was in that file.

Carmon Ramano, who was the last officer assigned to Blue Book, who had the responsibility of closing down the office after Lieutenant Colonel Hector Quintanilla had moved on to a new assignment, said that the information obtained by Rob Mercer was a document put together by those in the Blue Book office to show to reporters and others who were there to do research. You can listen to my interview with Rob Mercer here:

In other words, it wasn’t an “official” document and it wasn’t a classified file about the Socorro landing. It was a briefing document for those without security clearances or who were civilians who had been granted access to the Project Blue Book files.

Rick Baca's drawing of the Zamora craft with the
"Umbrella" symbol added under Zamora's guidance.
What this means is that a suggestion that military pilots had been given a classified briefing containing the inverted V symbol, is in error because that is not the correct symbol. I can think of no reason that such a briefing would even take place. The pilots didn’t need to know what the symbol looked like. If they encountered an alien craft and saw a symbol, they could report that. If it doesn’t match that seen by Zamora, well, it just didn’t match. We can assume here that the military pilots wouldn’t be inventing a tale of seeing an object when they did not.

However, if you’ve told them what to look for, then you have contaminated the operation. You’ve told the pilots what they should see, and that means that they might just see what you told them to see. In other words, the classified briefing has defeated the purpose set out for it.

If you read the wording in The MUFON Journal paragraph carefully, you’ll notice the qualifiers. It said, “…area military pilots would have been given a classified briefing…” I asked Don Burleson for the source of this information. What I learned, from him, is that this was speculation based on what he believed would have happened. The real point is that no such briefing was given. It was pure speculation.

Here’s the problem with this. Someone else, writing a book about UFOs or an article about the Socorro sighting, might quote this particular paragraph, giving
the source as The MUFON Journal article. But there is no ultimate source for the information. The discussion of the symbol is flat out wrong and the classified briefing never happened. We follow it to this point and we can go no farther.

Although I don’t discuss the “classified briefing,” in Encounter in the Desert, my recent book on Socorro, I do discuss, at length, the whole sad tale of the true symbol seen by Lonnie Zamora. Much of that has also been discussed on the blog. You can read about that here:

In the future, as others research this case, I hope that they’ll find this as well. They’ll then know that there is a problem with that information. Maybe they’ll think twice about including it, or, if the do, they’ll qualify so that their readers will understand what has happened.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Don Burleson

This week I spoke with Don Burleson, the State Director of New Mexico for MUFON. We talked about the Levelland UFO sightings and the sheriff’s role in that investigation. Don mentioned his interview with the late sheriff’s daughter, which
Dr. Don Burleson
produced some new information. She suggested that her father had seen more than just a red streak in the distance and that the Air Force had strongly suggested that the sheriff not talk about what he had seen. I noted that I had found a newspaper article from 1957 that supported the idea that the sheriff had seen more than had been reported by the Air Force investigator on the case. You can listen to the Don Burleson interview here:

We also talked about the symbol that Lonnie Zamora saw on the side the landed craft in Socorro in April 1964. This part of the discussion was important because of a claim that Don had published in The MUFON Journal about a secret briefing given to Air Force fighter pilots in 1964. For those interested in the great symbol debate, you can read about it here:

Finally, we talked about the alleged landing at Holloman Air Force Base in late April 1964. Don had an affidavit from a man who was the son of the base commander at the time that suggested the landing was real. Interestingly, I discussed this in my book about Socorro, Encounter in the Desert, which provided a slightly different perspective (yes, I said that on purpose) about that landing. I also discuss the symbol controversy at length as well. You can find the book here:

Next week, I’ll talk with Jim Penniston of the Rendlesham Forest encounter. If you have questions for him, submit them through the comments section here, and I’ll try to get them asked during the interview.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Paul Davids

This week I spoke with Paul Davids, who was the executive producer of the ShowTime original film, Roswell. It was based, in part on the book I had written with Don Schmitt and on the continuing investigation into the events surrounding the Roswell crash story. You can listen to it here:

I began the interview by pointing out that, at best, Paul had little interest in UFOs and, at worst, he thought there was nothing to them. Although interested in science fiction, he really hadn’t thought all that much about UFOs until he had a
Paul Davids
daylight sighting of a domed disk from his daughter’s bedroom window.

Paul, an avid photographer, didn’t take any pictures, and I asked about that. I also wondered if he had searched the neighborhood for other who might have seen the same thing. His search ended abruptly, but not for the reasons you might expect.

We delved into the background of the ShowTime movie and some of the problems with getting it produced in the first place. I thought that our look at some of the behind the scenes machinations was interesting, though it had little to do with UFOs and the normal discussions I’ve held with others.

In the next few weeks, I have programs scheduled with Dr. Don Burleson to discuss the Levelland and Socorro UFO landings. As always, questions are welcomed. Just send them through the comments section and I’ll try to get them answered on the show. And, now that I think about it, if anyone would like to suggest a guest or two, use the same method. I’ll see what I can do.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Assault on Area 51

We’ve hit the big day and the hundreds of thousands of people have arrived at Area 51 to learn the truth. Aliens and alien technology are hidden there and these brave people have been able to penetrate the secrecy. The world as we know it has been altered for all time.

Wait? What?

A hundred people showed up. Local law enforcement was able to handle the “crowd.” Two arrests were made. One guy wasn’t smart enough to “go” before he reached the fence and was arrested for indecent exposure. One woman was arrested, or maybe just detained… or whatever, for “investigation.”

For those who would rather watch a video about this, then you can sort of witness what happened here:

I’m really not sure what the Air Force would have done if ten thousand, or even a thousand, had showed up. They wouldn’t have been allowed on the base, and
Area 51... From the air and not the
front gate.
deadly force is authorized. Air Force officers did make mention of that fact. I can’t really see the Air Force shooting the people but the military would have stopped them in some way… rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas… non-lethal weapons would have been deployed and there would have been arrests.

But that didn’t happen. The joke, I guess, was on the hundred who did show up. And, if I lived in Las Vegas, or one even Kingman, Arizona, I would have shown up just for the pictures and blog post. But, at least, I would have had a real purpose and not a dream of invading… dare I say it, “Dreamland.”

Anyway, September 20 has come and nearly gone. No aliens were found and by aliens, I mean creatures from outer space. There was no announcement by the Air Force that why, yes, we do have aliens on the base. Nothing came of it… and now the media can go back to telling us why it wasn’t shameful for the Prime Minister of Canada to wear dark make up, but it was wrong for Megan Kelly, who never dressed up in a culturally inappropriate costume, to be fired for asking a question about it. (Okay, her ratings sucked and it was a good excuse).

But I digress…

Thursday, September 12, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Nick RedfernNick

This week I talked with Nick Redfern about his new book, The Alien Book” A Guide to Extraterrestrial Beings on Earth. It is a huge compendium of tales of alien creatures, some of them who might have originated on other planets. Nick explains this in the course of our discussion. You can listen to the interview here:
Nick Redfern.

However, he was also of the opinion that some the creatures we think of as terrestrial, might not be from Earth. We talked about the theory that the Loch Ness Monster might be some sort of alien creature, based on the number of UFO sightings in the area. Sure, we understood that sightings of UFOs don’t mean that the monster was alien, only that lots of people had seen UFOs around Loch Ness. But then, we also talked about the recent release of DNA evidence that suggested the monster was a giant eel. Of course, eels have been seen in the Loch for decades so that this was no real revelation because they had no pictures of a giant eel.

We also talked about the Flatwoods Monster from 1952. Nick had mentioned, in his book, that the monster resembled a British psychological operation during the Second World War. We talked about a paper prepared in the late 1940s that examined such ideas. You can read it here:

This led us to the Mothman sightings in the 1960s and eventually into the idea of a race of beings, human or otherwise, that inhabit the Earth with us but remain in hiding. In other words, we talked about just a few of the cases, a little of the information, and some of the theories that are found in the book.

Oh, for those interested, I did open the show with updates from the Mike Rogers interview. Just a couple of points we hadn’t covered and things I thought would interest some of the listeners.

Next week, I’ll be talking with Paul Davids who was the executive producer of the Show Time original movie, Roswell and who has been interested in UFOs since the 1980s. If you have questions for Paul, as always, you can ask them in the comments section here and I’ll try to get them answered during the interview.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Contact and the Williamsburg UFO Sighting

While watching that new UFO program known as Contact, I noticed that one of the things the field investigators did, when they arrived in Waynesboro, Virginia, was access the local archives. They wanted to learn the history of the Waynesboro area, so they searched a bunch of old newspaper clippings. I’ve done that myself, in locations where the newspapers have morgues that have sorted their past articles by type or subject. That means I could ask the librarian for the files about UFOs and not have to search through newspapers using microfilm.  A quick way to learn some of the local UFO lore.

Sarah Cruddas and Nick Karnaze, the field investigators in Contact, sorted through the old sightings, commenting that there had been a number of them from November 1964 to January 1965 and that there had been an official investigation. First, let me point out that not every UFO sighting, even those reported in the newspapers, made its way into the Blue Book system. If it was not officially reported, then it was rare for an investigation to be made.

I found no sightings in Blue Book reported in Virginia in November 1964. There were only two in December. The first was from Falls Church on December 14. The Air Force labeled it as the moon. The second, from Harrisonburg, was listed as radar anomalies. Interestingly, the file contained five photographs that were so faint as to be invisible. It almost looked as if they had microfilmed the back of the photos rather than the front.
Project Blue Book sighting card.

In January, 1965, there were eight sightings reported and two that were just listed as “news clippings,” which meant there was no investigation of them. Most of the sightings were of the same sort of thing as had been reported earlier. That is, mundane, terrestrial based objects and phenomena that were misidentified by the observers. And, the sightings were scattered all over Virginia, so there really wasn’t much of a cluster.

However, the sighting in Williamsburg in January, 1965, stands out. It is listed as “unidentified.” The object was seen at close range for enough time that the witness did get a good look at it. But more importantly, the UFO, whatever it was, stalled his car’s engine.

According to the Project Blue Book file, the witness (who didn’t want to be identified in the press and whose name was redacted throughout), T. F. Mains, said that his car was stalled by a mushroom-shaped object as he approached it. According to the file:

At 0830, 23 January 1965, observer first noted object after his car stalled and he looked to his left. The object was first observed hovering with its bottom four feet off the ground and on an azimuth of southwest from the observer… The object which was observed for 25 seconds began moving horizontally to the west prior to disappearing. The flight path was limited to a steady hover except for the rapid vanishing maneuver.
Observer stated that the object was shaped like a mushroom or light bulb, being 75 to 80 feet in height; 25 feet diameter at the top, and ten feet diameter at the bottom. Color was metallic gray with red-orange glow on the close side and blue glow on the far side. As object was hovering there was a sound similar to a vacuum cleaner.
After the object disappeared, first observer got out of his car and went and asked the witness that was behind him if his car had stalled. Second witness said his car had also stalled and he had also seen the object.
The observer was prompted to report his sighting after hearing of many other UFO sightings in the Virginia. First observer told investigating officer (Lt. Dockum [Air Force officer investigating the UFO sighting]) that he thinks the object was a solid object and thought it was an Air Vehicle that the Air Force has.
The document then commented on the observations. It was noted that the weather bureau reported on a low altitude temperature inversion that could have resulted in the “unusual phenomenon.” There were no weather balloons in the area according to the documentation. And it said that Lt. Dockum, the Air Force officer assigned to investigate, searched the sighting area but found nothing.

Another possible explanation, offered by the weather bureau and Dockum, was that the sun’s reflection on that inversion layer and low hanging clouds might have caused a mirage. But it was also noted, “There is nothing to account for the car stalling as observer so stated.”

The final paragraph is the important one. It said, “Since no conclusive evidence can establish the identity of the object, the case is carried as an unidentified by the Air Force.” Then oddly, it noted, “Although the possibility exists that the sighting was a descending weather balloon, this is not conclusive evidence to substantiate the identity of such.”

Does it really need to be repeated? The weather balloon explanation fails at the point that two cars were stalled by close approach to the UFO. Because there are two witnesses in two separate vehicles, most of the mundane explanations are eliminated.

There are several reports, memos and newspaper accounts that mentioned two Richmond businessmen who had seen the UFO. This verifies that there was another man involved, but nothing in the file nor in the newspapers identify the man, other that he was older. Mains apparently didn’t ask for his name and could only remember that he drove a Chevrolet. He only had asked about the object and if his car engine had been stalled.

I would never have found this case had they not mentioned, in passing, on Contact, that there had been official investigation. It is just another in those inexplicable sightings that have no terrestrial explanation. It is a multiple witness case (well, sort of since we don’t have a clue as to the identity of the second witness), with a close approach of the UFO that interacted with the environment. This was just another opportunity to do some real investigation that was passed to a lower-ranking officer who had no training for the task. It is another missed opportunity.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Faked Documents - More than You'd Think

Normally I wouldn’t watch a Melissa McCarthy movie. I just don’t care for her because of some of the things and positions she had taken in her personal life. However, I was curious about her film, Can You Ever Forgive Me? This is the story of a one-time bestselling writer, Lee Israel, who fell on hard times and her attempts to pull herself up financially.

So, you’re asking yourself, “What in the hell does this have to do with UFOs?”


But it was what Lee Israel (McCarthy) did to earn money… She began to forge documents. And, when it seemed that these forgeries were questioned, she began to sell the real thing. She would go to libraries, archives, and museums that held, in their collections, the real documents, make notes about them including the fonts on the typewriters, the spacing, and other details. She would then recreate the document, go to the holder of the document, and switch them.

The National Archives - Hundreds of Thousands of Documents but Some Are Fake.
Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
The flaw in the security system was that they didn’t really examine the material being brought in but did check the material, the briefcases, purses or backpacks as the person left. She was quite successful, if you can call it success, in her attempts to acquire the documents and then to sell them. Of course, it all, eventually, fell apart.

Here’s the rub. It is estimated that over 400 fake documents, either copies or completely faked, are still held in various collections long after she was caught. Hundreds of fake documents that could be used in historical research, in writing biographies, in reconstructing real events based on alleged eyewitness testimony.

You might remember that I did review the movie Truth, about the documents that suggested President Bush had been less than candid about his Air Guard service. This episode ended up with the firing of a senior producer and eventually Dan Rather. You can read me take on that here:

In that movie, Truth, Mary Mapes, the senior producer fired because of the badly flawed story that CBS reported, said that someone would have had to understand the chain of command, the style of the documents being forged, and have inside information on how those things played out forty years earlier. Apparently, it never occurred to her, or Rather for that matter, that if someone had copies of the originals, they could easily create authentic sounding documents. By altering a line or two, now have a document that had an authentic feel to it and that would cast doubt (throw shade?) on President Bush. And someone who had served in the Texas Air Guard would probably have those sorts of documents in his personal file. (I have dozens of documents from my time in the military including flight and training records that are over 50 years old.)

The point here, reinforced by Can You Ever Forgive Me and Truth, is that you need a proper foundation for the acceptance of historical documents. It isn’t enough for them to appear in plain envelopes or given to you mysteriously without any provenance. Unless you can establish the history of the document, you are going to end up with fakes in your collection that are either created out of whole cloth or duplicated by someone with access to the original. Someone who might have slipped a line or two in, or for that matter, taken a line or two out, and you then have a flawed perception of reality.

And the point?

Can anyone say, “MJ-12.”

Thursday, September 05, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Mike Rogers (Walton Abduction and the Phoenix Lights)

This week I talked with Mike Rogers to get his take on the Travis Walton abduction, since he was one of the main players. He was completely candid in his responses and didn’t even mind my somewhat snarky question about them leaving Travis behind after being struck by the light beam. According to Mike, once the beam hit Travis, the other six took off in the truck. To their credit, they did stop and turn around to go back, but by that time, Travis was gone. You can listen to that interview here:

Although I had planned to talk about Mike’s involvement in the Phoenix Lights, we stayed with the abduction. I got his personal take on some of the events around that, learned that there had been a large-scale search for Travis and then the ultimate ending to the search when the sheriff suggested that they had murdered Travis. The lie detector said otherwise, and, of course Travis’ reappearance some five days later put that theory to bed.

We also talked, briefly, about Philip Klass’ involvement in the case, and his attempts to convince Steve Pierce, another of those with Travis that night, to admit the hoax. I had interviewed Pierce a number of years about this. You can read that here:

One of the things that did intrigue me was the paintings that Mike had done based on the information supplied by Travis. I had thought that the beings described by Travis didn’t look much like the Grays of fame and Zeta Reticuli, but Mike thought they did look similar. I asked for, and was granted permission to reproduce his paintings here so that you might make up your own mind.

Travis Walton abduction as painted by Mike Rogers. Painting copyright by Mike Rogers, reprinted here by permission.
Given the timing, as the show wrapped up, we had not gotten to the Phoenix Lights, so I told him that we’d to that another time. Fortunately, the was a hole in the production schedule so that I had the opportunity to continue the interview right there. Now I learned that Mike had been on the scene of the Phoenix Lights, but what he saw was something different than what had been reported in the major of the stories. He saw a craft and not just lights in the distance.

I had been of the opinion that there had been two events on that night in 1997. One of them was of some kind of a structured craft that traveled the length of Arizona and the other was of the lights over Phoenix. We agreed that the Lights were flares dropped as part of military training, and that one formation of lights was of aircraft. Although Mike had no explanation for the structured craft, he did believe that it was of terrestrial manufacture. You can listen to all that here:

Next week, I’ll talk with Nick Redfern about his latest UFO book. He seems to be intent on writing more UFO books than either me or Brad Steiger. Given his age and mine, I’m sure that he’ll grab this “honor” at some point in the near future.

If you have questions for Nick, send them in the form of a comment and I’ll try to get them asked. For Mike, there were a couple of questions, but they came in while I was interviewing him, and didn’t have the chance to find them until the show ended.

Friday, August 30, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - A Retrospective

This week, given a bunch of unrelated circumstances, I decided to use the show to express some opinions about the current state of UFO research and some of the history that brought us to this place. You can listen to the show here:

The show was divided into four segments. I began talking about why I’m beginning to dislike Ufology. I have written about that in the past and you can read some of it here:

In the second segment, I finished talking about some of the fakers that seem to have nearly overrun the field. I had begun with Robert Willingham and moved onto some of the latest of those claiming extraordinary adventures with little in the way of objective evidence or common sense. I am astonished that some people accept these tales as true.

Carl Hart, Jr. of Lubbock
Lights fame.
But the real thrust in this segment was talking about Project Mogul and some of the issues raised by those who accept this as an answer to the Roswell case without much in the way of analysis.

In the third segment, I got into Project Blue Book and some of the trouble with those investigations. I ended that with commentary on the Hippler letter and the Condon Committee acceptance of the conditions outlined in the letter. You can read about the Hippler letter here:

The final segment was about some of the best UFO cases including the Lubbock Lights, Levelland and Socorro. I touched on these because in each there was an opportunity to advance our knowledge but that chance was lost in the bickering of the various institutions and individuals attempting to advance their personal agendas rather than searching for the truth.

Anyway, I think that I touched on a number of important topics and why some of it is problematic. If you enjoyed this monologue, let me know and I’ll try it again… at least once in a while.

Next week’s guest is Mike Rogers, he of the Travis Walton abduction case. He was also a witness to the Phoenix Lights, though his take on that event is a little different than that expressed by many others.

If you have questions for Mike, send a comment, and I’ll try to get the question asked during the interview. I will note that the questions will not appear on the blog.

Friday, August 16, 2019

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Tom Carey

This week I spoke with Tom Carey of Roswell fame. We had agreed that we’d talk, briefly, about the slides that supposedly showed the body of an alien creature. In 
the end, we didn’t make it to any other topics. The show provided some insight how all this shook out and gives a little bit of additional information. You can listen to it here:

This whole slide thing is quite complicated and I have written about it on several different occasions. My book, Roswell in the 21st Century, contains a look at the whole tale. I also explored it on this blog. You can read much of that here:

Well, this is a long list of the articles devoted to the Roswell Slides. There are more articles there which you can access just by typing Roswell Slides into the search engine. It was quite the topic at the time with many people interested in what could have been the ultimate proof of the Roswell case… well, maybe not the ultimate proof, but it would have gone a long way establishing the credibility of the case.

At any rate, we hear Tom tell us that he is now convinced that the slides show an unfortunate child whose body had been excavated decades before the photograph was taken. It is an interesting coincidence that the pictures were taken in 1947. However, given the location, the latest they could have been taken was May 1947, which, of course, removes them from the Roswell case.

At any rate, this tale, which should have become a footnote to the Roswell case took on a long life. In this interview, Tom puts some of the questions to rest. It is clear, at this point what was in the photographs.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Another Part of the Levelland Investigation

I have been reviewing the Levelland landing with its electromagnetic effects. I have said that an Air Force NCO conducted a one-day investigation and that was it. I have reported that the Air Force made a number of points about the case including that while Donald Keyhoe of NICAP claimed nine witnesses, there were only three. Interestingly, the claim of three witnesses is contradicted in the Blue Book file that contains interviews with a half dozen witnesses and information about others. In fact, in an undated and unsigned summary of the case, the Blue Book file says, “A mysterious object, whose shape was described variously as ranging from round to oval, and predominantly bluish-white in color was observed by six persons [emphasis added] near the town of Levelland, Texas.”

In all, I have found witnesses, on the record in 1957, at thirteen separate locations with multiple witnesses at several of those. And I haven’t even counted the law enforcement officers who had sightings. This, as noted in an earlier post, included the sheriff and the fire marshal.

As confirmed by several sources, we all know that Staff Sergeant Norman Barth made an investigation that lasted part of one day. He interviewed a few of the witnesses. He was hung up on the weather at the time of the sightings, believing that weather had an influence. Ultimately, he and the Air Force, would latch onto ball lightning as the culprit though ball lightning is not a viable explanation.

In fact, a report signed by Captain George T. Gregory, who was the chief of Blue Book at the time, made the case for ball lightning, apparently unaware that ball lightning is a short-lived phenomenon, and the it is rarely, if ever larger than a foot or two in diameter. In the Air Force report on this, also found in the Blue Book files, they say ball lightning is only about eight inches in diameter.

Smyer, Texas, on the same road that many of the sightings took
place in November 1957. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
But there is another problem with this case. According to a document in the Blue Book files, Major Daniel R. Kester, the Reese Air Force Base Provost Marshal, visited the “alleged scene in conjunction with local civil authorities. Negative results.” There was a handwritten note next to that notation that said, “They did not see anything unusual.”

So, while Barth takes the heat for his most of a day investigation with a notation that he failed to locate some of the witnesses, there was another “investigation” going on. I put that in quotes because I can find nothing more about this meeting between the Air Force “top cop” in the area, and the civilian law enforcement representatives.

I’m not sure what Kester would have expected to find in those locations since there is no indication of where they went and what they looked at. I was at the locations in 2012, some 55 years after the fact, and I saw nothing unusual (of course, I didn’t expect to find anything).

I did notice that some of the documents in the file had, at one time, been classified. That would have restricted access to those with the proper clearances and a need to know. That would not have included reporters who had neither the clearances nor the need to know.

While Barth apparently didn’t spend a lot of time investigating the case, though he was commended for his thorough investigation, the Provost Marshal, also conducted an investigation. I find nothing to tell me what he learned, though he must have written some kind of a report about the “meeting.”

For those keeping score at home, I seriously doubt that his report would be in the files at Reese AFB at this late date. Once the investigation was completed, the records would have been kept for a specified period of time and then destroyed, if classified and just thrown out if not. I did the same thing with classified documents while I was serving as an intelligence officer. We destroyed those things that had no more relevance to our operation but were still classified and we threw out those that weren’t classified when we no longer needed them.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Levelland Landing and Sheriff Weir Clem - Updated

(Blogger's Note: After I completed this posting, I found additional, relevant information. It has been added toward the end of this article and has been highlighted.)

As many of you know, I have long thought that the Levelland sightings of November 2/3, 1957, are among the best. There are multiple witnesses in multiple locations who reported their cars stopped and their lights dimmed at the close approach of a glowing red (and sometimes blue) egg-shaped craft.

Dr. Don Burleson, who lives in Roswell which is not all that far from Levelland (which is near Lubbock), made a personal trip there. While he was unable to interview Sheriff Weir Clem, who had died, he did speak to the daughter. According to an article in the Roswell Daily Record, “Aided by the Chamber of Commerce, we [meaning Burleson and his wife Mollie] were able to find one of the late sheriff’s daughters and I interviewed her twice.”

Levelland, Texas. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle
According to Burleson, “She [Ginger (Clem) Sims] described her father having tried to drive close to an airborne object, and having his engine and lights die.”
That, of course, put him in conflict with what had been reported by the Air Force in 1957. The story was that he had only seen something in the distance, described as a streak of red light. The Blue Book files suggest that it was too far away from him, and those with him, including police officers in another car, to have seen anything important.

But if his motor died and his lights dimmed, he was much closer to the object than had been reported by the Air Force. If he was close enough to the object that it would stall his engine, he was close enough to get a good look at it. And if Clem was that close, so were the policemen in the car following behind. How would the Air Force explain four law enforcement officers confirming the stories that were being told by so many others about their Close Encounters?

Site of the first reported encounter in 1957. Photo
copyright by Kevin Randle.
The real question is if Clem was so involved in this in 1957, why didn’t he say anything at the time. Again, according to Burleson and to Clem’s daughter, “The Air Force visited him after his sighting(s) and advised him to ‘drop it’ and forget that he had ever seen anything.”

Such a request by the military is not unprecedented in UFO history. Sheriff George Wilcox of Roswell fame said much the same thing. He told reporters that he was working with the boys out at the air base and their questions should be directed to them. Wilcox offered nothing of value to the reporters who interviewed him.

There are other examples as well, though some were grounded in protecting classified information. A request to law enforcement not to reveal details of a sighting to the media seem to have been routine. To be fair, sometimes it was just to protect the witness. Lonnie Zamora was told by an FBI agent that he should keep the descriptions of the beings he saw to himself. Arthur Byrnes thought it would save Zamora some embarrassment, but by the time the suggestion was made it was too late. The information had already been reported.

So, we come back to the Levelland story, told by Clem’s daughter, that her father had gotten closer than had been reported. Skeptics will point out that the official records in 1957 showed that Clem was only reported to have seen the object, or lights, in the distance, some 900 feet away and they’ll reject, out of hand this new information. It is, after all, from the sheriff’s daughter, a second-hand witness, and was told nearly fifty years after the fact. In today’s world, it is interesting, but it is believed there is no way to verify any of it.

Ironically however, there was some corroboration for this tale that was provided in 1957 and was found in the Project Blue Book file. An article published in the Indianapolis Star on November 4, 1957, seemed to confirm the daughter’s claim. According to that article, “’It [the UFO] lit up the whole pavement in front of us for about two seconds,’ said Clem. He called it oval shaped and said it looked like a brilliant red sunset.” 

There is still additional corroboration for Clem’s closer approach. In the Blue Book files is most of one of the Air Force forms about UFOs. At the top, in a handwritten note, it says, “Sheriff’s statement given telephonically to Sgt. [illegible] 3 Nov 1957 re this case.”

According to that document, the sheriff said that he was within 200 yards of the object, or much closer than has been reported. He said the object was circular, as opposed to a streak of light and that it was dark orange. A drawing made, by the NCO taking the statement verified that it was circular. Inside that drawing it seems to say 50 yards, but the 50 might be crossed out and replaced by 100. That makes it a huge craft.

Yes, I know what the response from the skeptics will be. It’s just a newspaper article and now part of an official investigation and the form was not filled out by the sheriff. To them I say, “It is a claim that was published within 48 hours of the initial reports, and it does add some weight to what the daughter told Burleson. It is the Air Force form filled out based on the interview with the sheriff.” This is some confirmation but each one of us is going to have to decide how much weight to give it.

Just as has been said about the Socorro landing… “If only…” If only the Air Force had been interested in gathering data. If only Donald Keyhoe’s mission hadn’t been to force congressional hearing, but to gather data. If only there had been cooperation rather than acrimony, what might we have learned.