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 little man.
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.