Charlette Mann wrote to Ray Fowler, a long time and
well-trusted UFO researcher, who sent the letter on to Len Stringfield because
Fowler thought Stringfield would be interested. Mann wrote that her
grandfather, a minister, received a telephone call asking him to go to the
scene of an aircraft accident. Stringfield, quite naturally, called her to ask
for more detail and convinced her to rewrite her letter into a more structured
report which he published in his UFO Crash/Retrievals: The Inner Sanctum and
which is dated July 1991. He shared his report with many of his fellow UFO
researchers, especially those interested in crash retrievals.
According to Mann’s letter, her grandfather, Reverend
William Huffman was “born in August, 1888 and he grew up in Missouri. He
attended college in Bolivar and after graduation, he went to a seminary. He was
an ordained Baptist minister... he was a quiet man who was well respected.”
|Alleged crash site. Photo copyright by|
Which, of course, means that his credentials are just
fine. He was a well-educated man for the times and he was a minister which
suggests he was also an honest man... again for the times. But he died before
telling Mann about the case. This information came from her grandmother, known
as Floy and I don’t believe I need to point out that it is, therefore, second
hand and as related by Mann, third hand.
In her May 6, 1991 letter to Stringfield, she provided all
the details that she had heard from her grandmother. She wrote:
It happened in the Spring of 1941. About 9 to 9:30 one
evening, granddad got a telephone call from the police department, saying they
had received reports that a plane had crashed outside of town and would he go
in case someone needed him. Of course he said yes. A car was sent to get him,
but my grandmother said it wasn’t a police car.
After grandfather returned that night, he explained what
he had seen to grandmother, my father, Guy, and Uncle Wayne, but that they were
never to speak of it again...
He said they drove out of town 13 - 15 miles or so, then
parked the cars on the side of the road and had to walk 1/4 of a mile or so
into a field where he could see fire burning.
Grandfather said it wasn’t an airplane or like any craft
he’d ever seen. It was broken and scattered all around, but one large piece was
still together and it appeared to have a rounded shape with no edges or seams.
It had a very shiny metallic finish. You could see inside one section and see
what looked like a metal chair with a panel with many dials and gauges – – none
familiar looking to him. He said that when he got there, men were already
sifting through things. There were some police officers, plain clothes people
and military men. There were three bodies not human, that had been taken from
the wreckage and laid on the ground. Grandfather said prayers over them so he
got a close look but didn’t touch them. He didn’t know what had killed them
because they didn’t appear to have any injuries and they weren’t burnt. It was
hard for him to tell if they had on suits or if it was their skin but they were
covered head to foot in what looked like wrinkled aluminum foil. He could see
no hair on the bodies and they had no ears. They were small framed like a child
about 4 feet tall, but had larger heads and longer arms. They had very large
oval shaped eyes, no noses just holes and no lips just small slits for mouths.
There were several people with cameras taking pictures of everything. Two of
the plain clothes men picked up one of the little men, held it under its arms.
A picture was taken. That was the picture I later saw. Then, one of the
military officers talked to granddad and told him he was not to talk about or
repeat anything that had taken place for security reasons and so as not to
alarm people. Granddad returned home, told his family. That was all. About two
weeks after it happened, he came home with a picture of the two men holding the
After my grandfather died, my Dad kept the picture and was
very interested in UFO info. Then when I was 10 or 11, a close friend of my
Dad’s asked if he could borrow it to show to his folks so Dad let him have it
and never got it back.
Stringfield was concerned about that picture. First, as
has happened in all similar stories, the picture has disappeared, so we don’t
have that bit of physical evidence. Of course, you have to wonder if there was
actual security on the field, why were there people taking pictures… unless in
an official capacity. Then you have to ask why Huffman was given one.
But Stringfield was also worried because he had seen, as I
have seen, a picture that sounds similar and has been published around the UFO
field for many years. In it are two military men holding the long arms of what
is supposed to be an alien creature but what is clearly a monkey. It is an
obvious but not a particularly well-known hoax.
Mann, in her May 6, 1991, provided a lengthy description
of that photograph. She wrote:
My recollection from what I saw in the picture was a small
man about 4 feet tall with a large head and long arms. He was thin and no bone
structure was apparent; kind of soft looking. He had no hair on his head or
body with large, oval, slightly slanted eyes but not like oriental from left to
right, more up and down. He had no ears at all and nose like ours. His mouth
was as if you had just cut a small straight line where it should have been. His
skin or suit looked like crinkled-up tin foil and it covered all of him... I
believe he had three fingers, all quite long, but I can’t be sure on this.
Stringfield got a copy of the picture he remembered from
Michael Hesemann and sent it on to Mann. She replied, “It is nothing like what
I saw. Your picture showed men in overcoats while in my picture, the man had no
coats (sic)... Your picture shows two women; mine none. The alien in yours
looks like a tiny doll, much smaller and shorter than mine.”
Mann has now granted interviews to many others and some of
the details of her story have expanded. For example, in a 2008 interview she
said that when her grandfather arrived, two of the alien creatures were dead
but the third was still alive. She said that it, or he, or possibly even she,
died while her grandfather was praying over it. He then moved on to the other
two to offer prayers for them.
She also said that the symbols he had seen inside the
craft “looked similar to hieroglyphics.”
Neither of these details were in the original story and
I’m not sure that makes much difference. Oh, the skeptics will grab on to this
and suggest it is proof that she is inventing the tale. I think a more likely
situation is that she either remembered more as she thought about it or it
could be a simple case of confabulation, which is not exactly lying, but just filling
in missing details. That does nothing to negate the core of the story.
And, according to other reports, there is some
corroboration. In what might be considered a not very persuasive bit of
evidence, Clarance R. Schade, who is the brother of the sheriff in the Cape
Girardeau area in the 1940s said that he remembered hearing of a crash and he
seems to remember talk of little people
associated with it. Certainly not
startling information, but not a quick denial either.
|Ryan Wood. Photo copyright|
by Kevin Randle.
Ryan Wood, in his Majic Eyes Only, reported that
Mann’s sister provided a sworn affidavit, confirmed the story. In other words,
other members of the family are aware of the family history and report they too
have seen the photograph.
In February 2008, Tyler, Texas, television reporter
Gillian Sheridan interviewed Charlette Mann. According to that report, Mann
said, “We got validation by going to the archives in Washington D.C. and to see
a top secret declassified document that stated that there was in fact a crash
retrieval in 1941 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for me, I have not forgotten
holding that paper in my hand and realizing that my families story was real,
was solid, and for me was just an answer to a long time question.”
Samples of that document appeared on Frank Warren’s blog
(found at www.theufochronicles.com) but they seem to be almost too good
to be true. One of the samples said, “Based on all available evidence collected
from recovered exhibits currently under study by AMC, AFSWP, NEPA, AEC, ONR,
NACA, JRDB, RAND, USAAF, SAG and MIT, are deemed extraterrestrial in nature.
This conclusion was reached as a result of comparison of artifacts (small part
redacted) discovered in 1941. The technology is outside the scope of US
science, even that of German rocket and aircraft development.”
The problem with this statement is that it proves that
there have been extraterrestrial recoveries, and even uses that term. This is
apparently part of a leaked MJ-12 document and is dated 24 Sep 47. The MJ-12
documents themselves are wrapped in controversy.
Which returns us to the original story. At the moment, the
major witness is Charlette Mann. Her sister has corroborated hearing the family
talk of the night their grandfather, Rev. William Huffman, was called out to
pray over the bodies recovered from the wrecked craft, and the brother of the
sheriff also seems to remember something about this.
The problem for me is simply this. If there had been this
crash in 1941, then the military would have been aware of the possibility of
interplanetary (as opposed to interstellar because people in the era thought in
terms of interplanetary) travel, they would have been on the lookout for other
examples. That means they wouldn’t have been caught by surprise with the flying
saucers were first reported in June
1947 and would have been better prepared
for the Roswell crash when it happened in July 1947.
In fact, Ed Ruppelt, the one time chief of Project Blue
Book, reported that in the summer of 1947, those in the Pentagon were in a near
panic because of the stories of the flying saucers. Ruppelt wrote:
The memos and correspondence that Project Blue Book
inherited from the old UFO projects told the story of the early flying saucer
era. These memos and pieces of correspondence showed that the UFO situation was
considered serious; in fact, very serious. The paper work of that period also
indicated the confusion that surrounded the investigation; confusion almost to
the point of panic. The brass wanted an answer quickly and people were taking
off in all directions.
That argues against the extraterrestrial nature of this
case. If there had been a crash near Cape Girardeau in 1941, then the answer
was already held at the highest levels. There would be no panic because they
would know what was happening. They wouldn’t create a project to find answers
in a hurry, because they had the answer already. Such an investigation ran the
risk of compromising the classified project. A quiet word would have been
issued and the whole investigation never have been started.
But there seems to be more than enough here. Additional
investigation for the case is deserved. There is an old prospecting saying,
“You don’t always expect to find the gold, but you have to look.” This is a
case where you have to look. There are interesting leads that need to be
followed and there are certainly witnesses that could be located, though time
is growing short.