Thursday, July 09, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - John Steiger

This week I spoke with John Steiger, a long-time friend who has just published a book of plays called The UFO Trilogy – Dramas for the Stage. You can, of course, listen to the show here:

Although I hadn’t planned on spending so much time on the Roswell “trial,” the discussion just went in that direction. John’s idea was to present the Roswell case
Sheridan Cavitt. Photo
copyright by Kevin Randle.
as a civil trial by questioning the “witnesses” on the stand. Although the majority of the witnesses are those who saw some aspect of the Roswell debris, or participated in the recovery of that debris, there were witnesses on the other side, including Sheridan Cavitt, Charles Moore and Irving Newton. We did spend some time identifying who the witnesses were so that everyone would be able to understand the relevance of the people called to testify.

The second drama is a Board of Inquiry that is investigating the Rendlesham Forest events of December 1980. Here there are only three witnesses, Jim Penniston, John Burroughs and Charles Halt. Each has his own act, and providing their perspective on the observation and landing of a craft. The idea was to have a single
John Burroughs.
Copyright by
Kevin Randle
interrogator, but fill out the other four Board slots with members of the audience. As John put it, they might have the best seats in the house.

The last of the dramas is “Will to Believe: The Brooklyn Bridge UFO Investigation.” This involves the Budd Hopkins’ investigation into the Linda Cortile abduction which might have included a Secretary General of the United Nations. John expressed his concern for the accuracy of the information as reported by Hopkins originally. I would have been a little more forceful, suggesting that this case wasn’t nearly as strong as Hopkins might have suggested.

I fear that we didn’t have enough time to properly examine the last two dramas. All three are intriguing. The dramas are available in a single volume which can be found at Amazon, quite naturally. They were published by Flying Disk Press, and in the interest of full disclosure, my recent book, The Best of Project Blue Book has the same publisher.

Next up is Rob Swiatek, who will be telling us a little bit about the beginnings of MUFON, which is the outgrowth of an accusation levelled a number of months ago. Of course, we won’t be limited to that and will delve into the current crop of UFO sightings as well. If you have questions for Rob, submit them here and I’ll get them asked during the program.

And a follow up for last week... Philip Mantle, by way of Robert Fischer, supplied the following link to an interview with Charles Hickson. It might be of interest to those of you who were intrigued by last week’s interview with Calvin Parker about their abduction in 1973. You can listen to it here:

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The General Exon Quotes... Again


I had some fun the other day that had nothing to do with the Fourth of July holiday. I received an email from a woman who had stumbled across an article about Brigadier General Arthur Exon. She wanted to know the source of the quotes I had published. Her tone was nearly accusatory. She wrote, “… I'm wondering if you have any corroborating source material for what you are attributing to General Exon?”

Arthur Exon. Photo by Tom Carey
She went on to explain that her father had been a close friend of Exon and that her father said that reports he had ever discussed Roswell were “completely false.” She added that her father had once asked Exon about Roswell and that he, Exon, refused to talk about it. She said that it was hard to believe that “during those later years he would not have told my dad that he went public with military secrets.”

She then wrote, “I would so appreciate a response. I’d like sources that I can trace.”

I emailed her almost immediately, which is something I rarely do. But I thought of this inquiry as a treat. I told her that I could provide the source of the quotes in two words. “Arthur Exon.”

I went on to explain that I had interviewed Exon in May 1990. Don Schmitt interviewed him a few weeks later. Both interviews were recorded, though Don’s was intermittent, given his recorder and the lawn mowing going out just outside the window. A few months later I met Exon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base but it wasn’t recorded, given the circumstances.

To make this even better, I mentioned that I had a letter from Exon attesting to the accuracy of the quotes. Stan Friedman, in one of his many attacks on my integrity, said that I had misquoted Exon. I told Friedman that I had the quotes on tape, but he said he didn’t care. Exon had told him I had misquoted him and Friedman was going to continue to push that point.

I sent a copy of the book, UFO Crash at Roswell, to Exon where the “offending” quotes were published and copies of the taped interviews, as well as the transcripts. Exon responded with a handwritten letter saying, “Although I believe you did quote me accurately, I do believe that in your writings you gave more credence and impression of personal direct knowledge than my recordings would indicate on their own.”

I also sent her a link to an article that Greg Sandow had written about the Exon episode. Kal Korff, that perigone of journalistic integrity, had made several allegations about Exon’s testimony. Sandow, a disinterested third party, responded to those allegations at length. For those interested in that, you can read it here (reprinted in the post with his permission):


With that, I believe that the questions about the source of the information was established. We had the tapes, I had the letter from Exon, and later Tom Carey became involved so that he heard many of the same things and took a picture of Exon as well.

There is one other thing that came from all this. Friedman never again raised the issue of misquoting Exon. I believe that was because he’d look a little bit vindictive by continuing the allegation when Exon himself had called the quotes accurate.
In the end, I gave her the information about the sources she could trace, provided documentation that the quotes were accurate, and told her I would be interested in her response to all this. She sent a longer email, giving some additional information about her research. The important line in all this was, “E[xon] intimated, though he could not claim first-hand experience, that it was all true.”

I will note that is not exactly true since Exon did talk about having flown over the crash sites, sometime later and could describe that he had seen burned areas and tire marks. Not exactly reporting on the downed craft, or the soldiers cleaning the area, but of some interest to us all.

But I think the questions about what Exon said have been laid to rest once again. I am certainly glad that I recorded the conversations and Friedman’s allegation inspired a handwritten response from Exon. It put all this to bed… again.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Frank Williams and Levelland


Some time ago I interviewed Robert Sheaffer about UFOs and I brought up the Levelland landing and EM effects case. Robert said that four of the witnesses had been discredited. I asked for the source and he provided it. You can read about all that here:


and here:


and you can listen to the interview with Robert here:


As you can see there is some question about the original source of the material. It seems, based on what I have found, that all four of the mentioned witnesses were
not discredited. However, there is a problem with one of them. Here’s what I know about Frank Williams, or more accurately, what Williams was reported to have said or done:

At about 12:05 a.m. or maybe a few minutes later, Frank B. Williams, of Kermit, Texas, reported that he had seen a large, egg-shaped object sitting on the ground. Williams said that his engine quit and his lights faded immediately. The object was pulsating as it glowed and it seemed that the lights might have been synced to the pulsation of the craft. He said that every time the object came on, his car lights would go off.
Williams got out of his car and the object rose to about 200 or 300 feet with a roar like that of thunder. It stopped glowing and disappeared. When the object was gone the headlights came on and Williams was able to start his car.
Although it was reported that Williams had actually gone to the police station to make his report of his sighting, other sources suggested he had telephoned the police instead. Don Berliner, writing in Official UFO nearly twenty years later seemed to confirm that Williams had only called the sheriff rather than visiting him.
Williams, it seems, then fell off the face of the planet. According to newspaper sources, Sheriff Weir Clem, the Hockley County sheriff, which included Levelland, wanted to interview Williams the next day, November 3. Clem asked his counterpart, Winkler County Sheriff L. B. Eddins, which includes Kermit, to search for Williams. “Eddins said he ‘turned Kermit upside down’ today, even to having an appeal broadcast on the Kermit radio station but he was unable to find Williams or any trace of the man having lived in Kermit.”
What can we deduce from this?

First, it could be suggested that Williams lied about who he was because he didn’t want people to think he was crazy, but felt the need to report what he had experienced.

Second, it could be that he lied about where he was located for the same reason given above.

Third, he might have lied about both his name and his location for the same reason given above.

Finally, he could have made the whole thing up for reasons of his own.
Given the timing, that is, Williams had called the Sheriff just after midnight, there is no way that he could have heard about the other sightings. They hadn’t made the news at that point. Unless there had been some discussion over the police radios and Williams was able to monitor those radios, then his report is independent of the others.

However, that is just not a good argument for Williams. The sheriff, either Clem or Eddins, couldn’t find the man, and they had resources that should have allowed them to do it. Although it seems that Clem did speak with Williams, by the time they were ready to gather additional information, Williams was gone. We have nothing more on which to judge his tale or his credibility.

That, of course, does not negate the other three witnesses that were named with Williams, nor those who interviewed by the Air Force, law enforcement officers or by various newspapers. Those other three specifically, Long, Wheeler and Alvarez, hadn’t disappeared as had Williams.

What might have happened is that the information about Williams, which was published and which suggested he might not have existed or had been involved in some sort of a prank, suggested that others might not have been real as well. Long, for example, was from Waco, Texas, several hundred miles from Levelland, though he was attending college in Lubbock. Given that he didn’t tell his story until the next day, suggested the possibility of contamination. The Sheriff accepted Long’s report as real.

Anyway, we can, if we wish, eliminate Williams from the mix or assign a lower importance to it, but that in no way negates all the other stories that have been told about the Levelland case. Yes, this has taken us deep into the weeds, but in the effort to be fair, I thought I would point out that Williams is sort of a non-witness. It means that Robert was not completely off base, only that he extended his net a little farther than the data warranted… And I have discovered a little more about this aspect of the whole Levelland event.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Calvin Parker (Second Interview)


This week I spoke with Calvin Parker who appeared on the show several months ago. We began with a brief recap of his original experience. For those who might not have been familiar with his story, you can listen to that earlier show here:


We talked about other witnesses to the case, that is people who had seen the original abduction in 1973. These were people who had not come forward then, but
Calvin Parker
who had made comments later. According to Calvin, Philip Mantle followed up on some of this, locating several witnesses who either saw Charles Hickson and Calvin carried into the craft, or had seen the craft. You can listen to that show here:


I had wanted to talk with him about something he had said at the end of the last show. He had mentioned then of another experience that took place twenty years later, in 1993. This seemed to be another encounter and he thought that it was with the same crew that had abducted him in 1973.

I also was curious if anyone had written anything down in 1973 that might provide some documentation about the events. Calvin suggested that the Coast Guard had some sort of record from 1973, but it seems that the event then was not directly related to the abduction. There should also be a Coast Guard record from the 1993 event because his wife called the Coast Guard when he didn’t come home for hours. While they hadn’t gotten the search off the ground before he returned, there should be a record of the missing person call having been made. And, of course, a record of the search being cancelled when Calvin returned home about 3 a.m. This all becomes clear when you listen to the interview.

Next up is John Steiger, who had created a series of plays, courtroom dramas, to examine, in that sort of arena, the evidence for some of the most famous UFO cases including Roswell and Rendlesham. This is an interesting way of looking at the evidence. If you have questions, append them here, and I’ll attempt to get them asked during the program.

In following weeks, I hope to talk with another former cast member of Treasure Quest for his insights into that program. For those who missed it, I spoke with another cast member, Keith Plaskett months ago. You can find the link here:


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Len Stringfield - Liar?


When Don Schmitt and I discussed Len Stringfield’s contributions to the UFO community, I thought we had covered all the problems. However, it seems that there are still some out there who believe that Len was a liar. I think these comments were made because they disagreed with Len’s work and they disagreed with Len’s belief structure but there really is nothing in any of it that would suggest Len was a liar.

Len Stringfield
In the last decades of his life, Len was collecting tales of UFO crash retrievals. He produced a series of “Status Reports,” providing the information that had been given to him. He made no judgments about the information without additional knowledge and shared these reports with the hope that others might have a chance to verify that information. He was not advocating a position on the cases but sharing information that had been given to him.

An example of this was the tale of a crash/retrieval near Del Rio, Texas, in 1948. He reported the information as provided by Robert Willingham, who claimed to be a retired Air Force colonel and former fighter pilot. Len did note some trouble with the case as he learned of it, and reported the new information in his Status Reports.

Now, I should point out that there were many in the UFO field who accepted this case as legitimate. I was one of those, reporting on it in A History of UFO Crashes. I accepted the information because Willingham had signed an affidavit about the veracity of the tale and I believed that others had vetted the information by checking his military credentials. That I found it credible at the time
Civil Air Patrol officer,
Robert Willingham
doesn’t make me a liar because I was accurately reporting what others had told me about Willingham and his tale. These others believed the story as well because Willingham was a retired colonel and had signed an affidavit.

However, as I was working on Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky, I thought I would see what new information about this case was out there. In one of Len’s “Status Reports,” he mentioned that the date had changed from the original 1948 to December 1950, which, of course, was a red flag.

Worse still, as I followed up on it, I learned that no one had bothered to verify Willingham’s credentials. I requested information about Willingham from St. Louis, where NARA houses military records and learned the only documentation available was that Willingham had served a mere 13 months in the military, was a low-ranking enlisted soldier and that he left the military in early 1947. He you read the whole, sad tale here:





The point is, that I hadn’t lied about Willingham, and Len hadn’t lied about him. He, as had I, reported what others had told us. We were wrong, but we hadn’t lied.

And that is what I’m trying to say here. You might disagree with Len’s conclusions or with the information he published, but that doesn’t make him a liar. You might believe, as many do, that there is no alien visitation and anything that suggests otherwise is in error, but believing in alien visitation doesn’t make you a liar.

I have advocated for a long time that we tone down the rhetoric but there are those who just can’t seem to make a point without calling names and attempting to assassinate character. Believe what you will, but make the point without slandering those with whom you disagree…

And please, understand what Len was attempting to do. He wanted to get the best information, regardless of what that information might be. He was priming the pump to get to the bottom of the reports because he couldn’t do it all himself.

But lying? Nope. Just a search for the truth.

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Secret Base in New Mexico - 1957


While working on something else, I stumbled across a short article from the United Press which has escaped notice by many people. It was published in a number of newspapers on November 6, 1957. It said:

A United Press story also told of a Fort Worth chemical engineer, Arthur P. Ticknor, who said he and two companions had happened onto a secret American airfield which on a hunting trip in the vicinity of Clovis, N.M. in1953.
They were suddenly surrounded by U.S. Soldiers, carrying drawn weapons. Then, Ticknor said, the first thing he knew a flying object “so enormous it blotted out the stars” took off.
“Almost immediately another went up,” he said. “there was no noise, only a swish of air.”
The engineer said that he was sure the objects seen in Levelland were American inventions.
As far as I know, there was never any follow up on this story. I do know that Cannon Air Force Base is in the Clovis area so it is quite possible that Ticknor and his pals stumbled onto the airfield, which might explain his tale. I’m not sure what aircraft might have been seen that would fly with no noise other than a swish of air and that would blot out the stars, which, BTW, doesn’t really tell us much. A low flying B-52 would blot out stars but would make more noise than a swish of air.

At any rate, I have found no follow up to this, though I haven’t looked very far. Taking a page from Len Stringfield, I just repeat the information without endorsement nor critical comment. If someone happens to know about this, here is the place to report it. I suspect that it only made the news wires because it followed the national splash of the Levelland sightings by a couple of days.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Dr. Eric Davis and Admiral Thomas Wilson - Redux


The Devoid (Billy Cox), columnist at the Miami Herald, reignited the Admiral Thomas Wilson debate several days ago. Although it seemed that most of mainstream Ufology had realized that the story told by Dr. Eric Davis about his clandestine meeting with the Admiral was probably more hyperbole that truth, there are still those who believe the information is leading us to disclosure. You can read the article here:


I bring all this up because, a while back, Dr. Davis had suggested, on Coast-to-Coast, that the Del Rio UFO crash was real. That crash is based on the information of a single witness who had claimed to be a retired Air Force colonel, a former Air Force fighter pilot, and a veteran of the Korean War. I explored all this at length in a posting on this blog that you can read here:


Given that the Del Rio story is a hoax, and the lone witness to it has been less than honest about it, this does cast a shadow over the credibility of Dr. Davis. I mean, if he truly had inside information, he would have known the Del Rio crash
Dr. Eric Davis
was a hoax. I exposed it as such in 2010 in my book, Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky. I also gave a presentation at the MUFON Symposium in Denver about Willingham and why his tale should be rejected. This merely means that the information I uncovered was available long before Dr. Davis had his conversation with Admiral Wilson (which, BTW, Wilson has denied ever having taken place).

In the last few days, a number of people have been discussing this on the Internet, and I wouldn’t mention it but their experiences seem to match my own. As I said in the post, I had emailed Dr. Davis a couple of times, even asking George Knapp for some help in making contact, but never heard a word back from Davis. The excuse was that Dr. Davis was getting plenty of emails from all over the world and I certainly could understand his failure to reply to me.

However…

I wasn’t the only one having that sort of problem. AndrĂ© Skondras told Philip Mantle had he had attempted to contact Dr. Davis but hadn’t heard back. Given that had been less than twenty-four hours after he had sent his email, that wasn’t all that surprising. Now, several days later, he still hasn’t had a response.

Don Schmitt
That’s not the end of it. Don Schmitt reported, “Tracy Torme had asked me to contact Davis after his failure when he and James Fox were shooting the forthcoming docu-film. He never responded to email or personal calls. Next, because Davis was listed at that time as a MUFON consultant, I asked Jan Harzan to make the same effort. Same result.

This was important because of Don’s efforts and the suggestion that MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan was involved. While I fully understand Dr. Davis ignoring some of these requests, as a consultant to MUFON, you’d think that a response to the Executive Director would be forthcoming.

This has now taken a different path with a suggestion that we contact Admiral Wilson, who has repeatedly denied that he knew Davis and wouldn’t recognize him if he walked into the room. Since the Admiral has been contacted and responded a number of times, I don’t know what good it will do to bother him again. He’s not going to change his mind.

I’m reminded of the note Kent Jeffrey received from the late Colonel Robert Barrowclough, who, in 1947, was one of the senior officers at the Roswell Army Air Field. In that note dated June 15, 1997, Barrowclough wrote, “Thank you for the copy of the [MUFON] UFO Journal on the Roswell Myth. Maybe some of those crack pots will quit calling me up and say I’m covering up a deep gov’t secret.”

Even if Admiral Wilson did know something, he would be obligated to deny it if it was still classified. I’m not saying that he does, only that continued pestering of the man will not yield any positive results… especially since he is on the record, repeatedly, as saying he had no such discussion with Dr. Davis.

The key here is Dr. Davis, but it seems to be a key that is lost. Since Dr. Davis has proclaimed a well-known hoax (Del Rio) as being authentic, I fear that there is nothing more to learn from him. All we end up doing is chasing a claim that cannot be verified and it does nothing to advance our knowledge. It only diverts us from a path that could yield better results.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Ann Druffel has Died


It has been reported that Ann Druffel, whose work in the UFO field has been extraordinary, died last Friday, June 12.

Ann provided her own biography to the Internet Movie Database, which is short, but covers the things she thought most important.

Ann Druffel has been in the writing/research fields of UFO Phenomena, and other ancient unsolved world mysteries since 1957. She was an investigator/researcher for NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial PhenomenaK since its inception in 1957 and then with MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) since 1973. She has authored six books including the most recent, Firestorm! Dr. James E. McDonald's Fight for UFO Science and How to Defend Yourself Against Alien Abduction both of which have had huge impact on the scientifically-oriented UFO field. It's the former book, Firestorm! that follows the extraordinary years of atmospheric physicist James McDonald's contributions to both the public and the scientific communities. Firestorm is also the book that her screenplay, "A Man With Wonder", is based on. She has six other screenplays as well that are devoted to the field of UFOs and worldly phenomena, including a science fiction version of a "Man With Wonder", which is entitled "The Red Hand of the O'Neills".
The sad news was passed by her daughter. Ann Druffel was 93.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Levelland and the Four Witnesses, Part Two


For those of you who have been keeping score at home (which I probably say more often than I should), you know that I looked into the idea that four of the witnesses quoted in the Levelland UFO vehicle interference cases had been discredited. Robert Sheaffer mentioned it on my radio show and did send a link to the site run by the Iron Skeptic. After the show I asked for the contact information for the site host, Aaron Sakulich. When I posted the article about Levelland, I had not heard back from him. In case you missed all this, you can read that article here:


and listen to the show here:


The point is that I received a very cordial response from Aaron. I was looking for the source of his information because I had never heard anything like that, and I have been studying the case for, shall we say, decades. I had looked at both skeptical and believer sites, have the complete Project Blue Book file on the case (with a copy with all the names in it), have been to Levelland, twice, and talked with a few of those who have done some original research on the case. In other, more precise words, I had done my due diligence in the research of the case so that
Levelland, Texas, Obviously.
I could say that I hadn’t seen this particular issue raised…

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. If that information was out there on a website and I didn’t find it, then how can I say I had performed my due diligence? Because there becomes a point where you have all the information necessary to properly analyze the case and what you might have missed probably isn’t all that relevant. Or, I suppose, that when the issue was raised, I was able to refute it without having to make any further study. To properly refute it, I did additional research, which, BTW, was out there for others to find. Again, if you look at my original post about this, you’ll understand what I mean. The question shouldn’t have been raised…

The real point, however, is that the information wasn’t published on the website until after I had completed my research. When I looked, on the web, for new information, this particular site did not appear in my search engine.

But I digress…

As I say, I received a very nice response from Aaron that should put this aspect of the case to rest. He wrote, “At any rate, I had to go back and re-read my article about Levelland to remember which case it was about. I must admit that even it was not my finest work. I am sure that at the time I only had access to whatever came up on google or whatever books I may have had around the house. So, I am afraid that I cannot provide a great deal of new information - and since I didn't cite my sources at the time, I don't even know what books those might have been.”

And that’s where this ends. We don’t know the sources so we can’t see what those sources might have said. We don’t know how the information was developed. We can say that it might have been someone who was writing about the case in the pre-Internet days so that he or she extrapolated from the lack of additional information about those four witnesses. Without access to the body of data I have, the writer might have thought that those witnesses had not been interviewed, or that those witnesses might have only called in reports. It might just boil down to a guess based on the lack of information and nothing particularly nefarious.

What we can do is eliminate this criticism of the case because we don’t have good information on the way it was gathered. And since I was able to find evidence that two of the witnesses had, in fact, been questioned by the police, if not by the Air Force, then we know that the criticism is inaccurate. We can leave it there. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Don Schmitt and I Discuss the Legacy of Len Stringfield


This week I reached out to Don Schmitt to do a two-part show on the research of Len Stringfield. Len was the man who revitalized the idea that there had been flying saucer crashes, moving that research from the lunatic fringe into the main stream of ufology. You can listen to the shows here:



We talked about the history of the idea that flying saucers crash and how it had
Don Schmitt
turned into something that almost all UFO researchers avoided for decades. Len began gathering the tales of UFO crashes and in 1978 presented a paper to the MUFON Symposium that included the first public reference to Jesse Marcel Sr. It should be noted that the Marcel story wasn’t included in the printed version of the Symposium Proceedings because Len received that information too late for inclusion.

We did talk about those who attempt to insert themselves into the Roswell events, and talked specifically about the Gerald Anderson tale of the crash on the Plains of San Agustin. I have published information about that on this blog in a couple of places. You can read them here:


And another example of Friedman altering the evidence to support his points of view that you can read about here:


There were some questions provided by listeners and we did address some of those, but one point we did make, several times, was the allegation that Len was a liar. The point was made, I believe, by someone who “knows” that there is no alien visitation and therefore Len must be a liar. But the truth was that Len was a focal point for those who believed there had been some sort of crash retrieval program.
Len Stringfield
He didn’t vet the information, but passed it on in the form of his status reports. He was hoping that someone else who had knowledge of the event, had participated in it, or who had investigated it would provide additional material so that we all could understand what had happened.

I think one of the best examples is that of Robert Willingham who claimed he had been an Air Force colonel who had been involved, in some fashion, with a crash retrieval. If you follow the information as published through the various volumes of Len’s Status Reports, you end up with a clear picture of Willingham’s veracity. I have explored it as well and you can read about it here:



And there is this posting that lists a number of other postings about Willingham for those who wish to get the entire picture:


Between Don and me, there was a great deal of information packed into the shows because we had worked with Len and he had been a great help to us during our research. It gives a new take on the work that Len did and the value that it has in the world today.

Next up is Calvin Parker of Pascagoula abduction fame. During my first interview with him last year, we learned more about his experiences. This time will get a little deeper into that information. As always, if you have questions, post them to the comments section… I don’t always put those questions up here but do get them asked during the show.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Levelland and the Four Witnesses


During the interview with Robert Sheaffer on A Different Perspective, I mentioned the Levelland UFO case as one that seemed to have quite a bit of evidence. Here was a case with multiple, independent witnesses who reported the close approach of the UFO that stalled their car engines, dimmed their headlights and filled the radios with static. It is a case that fascinates me and seems to suggest that there is no plausible, terrestrial explanation for it. Robert suggested that four of those
independent witnesses had been discredited and it might have been just one or two guys calling the Levelland police or sheriff’s office and making multiple reports. Frankly, I had not heard about that, and given the nature of the show, just didn’t have the time or ability to explore the claim then. For those who haven’t listened to the show, you can find it here:


Actually, during the show, Robert sent me a link to a website that provided the information. I just couldn’t get to it then, in the middle of the show, but have, of course, looked at it since. (I will note here that we take short 30 second breaks between segments so that the commercials can be inserted later.) You can find that link on Levelland here:


The relevant comments, from the site provide four names and a little about their importance to the case. It says:

Their names were James Long, Jim Wheeler, Jose Alvarez and Frank Williams. For some reason, they are considered witnesses of the highest caliber; any analysis of the Levelland case is likely to refer to them with words such as honest, sincere, truthful, sober or reliable. The fact that prisons are filled with honest, sincere, truthful men notwithstanding, the UFO enthusiast neglects to mention that all we know about what happened to these men comes from a phone call each of them placed to a UFO investigator.
They were never interviewed by the police, the Air Force or other reputable sources; we have but their claims, telephoned to a single UFO investigator, on which to hang their veracity. Let me call forth all of my powers of understatement and say that I feel this is insufficient justification to take their word for it.
These men aren’t the only ones who reported an encounter with the object that night but it was these four who had been singled out. Although it appears, as mentioned, that those four were not interviewed by the Air Force, they were interviewed by law enforcement. It is not true that UFO researchers have referred to them as “witnesses of the highest caliber.” Please note here the use of the word, “likely” when mentioning that any analyst “is likely to refer to them with words such as honest, sincere, truthful men…” In my survey of various sources including those that I have written, I did not find any such praise. Just the raw facts of their sightings.

I’m not sure of the relevance of suggesting the “fact that prisons are filled with honest, sincere, truthful men.” I’m actually not sure how you can claim that prisons are filled with honest, truthful men. This seems an inappropriate comment and wonder if a better analogy might have been used rather than this somewhat oblique smear.

The “official” investigation of the sightings lasted for most of a day (seven hours) and was conducted by Staff Sergeant Norman P. Barth, a mid-level NCO with the 1006th Air Intelligence Service Squadron stationed at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Barth did interview a couple of the witnesses including Pedro Saucedo, the first man to report the UFO stalling the engine of his truck.

Barth was unimpressed with Saucedo and the passenger in his truck, Joe Salaz (though his last name is spelled several different ways in the various reports). Barth reported that the “source,” that is Saucedo, had no concept of direction and gave conflicting answers. He also reported that Saucedo’s truck had been recently repaired and a piece of the distributor rotor in the ignition system had broken off, possibly causing the truck to stall.

There were those interviewed by Barth that did corroborate Saucedo’s claims. According to Newel Wright’s statement found in the Project Blue Book files:

I was driving home from Lubbock… at approximately 12:00 p.m. [I’m sure he meant midnight] when the ammeter on my car jumped to complete discharge, then it returned to normal and my motor started cutting out like it was out of gas. After it quit running my lights went out. I got out of my car and tried in vain to find the trouble. When I found nothing I closed the hood… It was at this time I saw the object. I got back in my car and tried to start it but to no avail. After that I did nothing but stare at the object until it disappeared about five minutes later. I then resumed trying to start my car and succeeded with no more trouble than under normal circumstances.
Although it seems that Ronald Martin was not interviewed by the Air Force, he did report some of the same things as did the other witnesses. He said he saw an orange ball of fire hovering in the sky. At about a quarter mile, the lights and motor of Martin’s truck failed. Once it was gone, he was able to start his truck. Martin then, is another witness to the object and it’s EM effects.

Ray Jones, the local fire marshal was one of those out chasing the object. He said that he saw a “streak of light” and his headlights dimmed and his engine sputtered. This is not the most dramatic report, but it does, to a point, help corroborate Saucedo’s earlier claim. And there might be more to that story than is first seen.

Sheriff Weir Clem
The Levelland Sheriff, Weir Clem, told his family, contrary to what the Air Force reported, he had been closer to the object than it was claimed and had his engine stalled and his headlights dim. Don Burleson collected that information in 2002, nearly fifty years after the fact, and given that it is second hand, could be rejected outright, if there wasn’t additional information.

In 1975, Don Berliner interviewed the sheriff. Clem said the object was shaped like a football and had bright white lights. This suggests that Clem was closer to the object than the Air Force had reported and that he saw something more than a streak of light in the distance.

On November 4, 1957, the Indianapolis Star provided some additional information. Clem is quoted in the article saying, “It lit up the whole pavement in front of us for about two seconds.” He said it was oval shaped and looked like a brilliant red sunset.

To be fair, there is other documentation about what the sheriff had to say. In a radio interview conducted shortly after the sighting, Clem told the reporter, “I did not see the object. I seen (sic) the lights, I will say the beams from the object.”
Although Clem did not fill out the official Air Form, a sergeant at Reese Air Force Base, took his telephone call early on November 3 and filled out the form based on what the sheriff said. There was nothing particularly illuminating on the form, other than the names of two of the witnesses and a reference to Saucedo.

While this all provides information from others who were involved and who were interviewed by the Air Force, this doesn’t validate the information provided by Long, Wheeler, Alvarez and Williams. The Lubbock Morning Avalanche reported on what each of these men said, which removes it from the idea that they can be dismissed because a UFO investigator also found them. The article, written by Bill Wilkerson, said, “Others who reported sighting the object were Jim Wheeler of Levelland, Jose Alvarez of Levelland, Frank Williams of Kermit and James D. Long of Waco.”

Wilkerson also wrote, “Wheeler, Alvarez, Williams and Long, all traveling in separate cars, each said their car engines died and their lights went out when they drove near the object. They all described it as being ‘egg-shaped, and about 200 feet long.’”

It is also clear, from interviews conducted with Sheriff Clem, that he had spoken to several of the witnesses. In a radio interview conducted on November 3, 1957, Clem said this:

Clem: James D. Long, a colored [I left the reference intact, though I fear it might offend some… I thought the original flavor of the sheriff’s statements required accurate reporting] male from Waco, Texas, working here in the cotton harvest, he drove up on it settling in the highway, on the farm to marker road, we call the Oklahoma (word missing) [Flat] Road. Runs north and a little west of Levelland. And he said, just as he drove up to this object, turned his car lights and drove up. It was sitting in the road, (word missing) his car lights shined on it, just as plain as could be, and he had made his stop, and presumably to get out, and this thing lit up, and when it did, to take off, why his lights went out and his motor died.
Clem: … And he said it was egg shaped (words missing) the best he could figure it looked like a big egg. 
Interviewer: Was it spherical – I mean by that, was it a solid object or did it appear to have windows, or openings in it?
Clem: That he did not give us at all. He said it just looked like an egg shape, big oval egg-shaped object.
Clem was also asked about other witnesses and he did mention Frank Williams. Although not as detailed as the information about Long, Clem said this, “Mr. Frank D. Williams, from Kermit, Texas. He said he done him the same way on highway 51, about 9 miles north of Levelland.” He added, “He didn’t report the noise. By this time, I was out there trying to find it and he called in to the dispatcher and they did not report any noise to me. I am trying to locate Mr. Williams on the phone at this time.”

There was another man who reported the object and was interviewed by the Air Force. J. B. Cogburn is important because he was the fourth person whose name appeared in the Blue Book files to say he had seen an object. The Air Force, in their press statements said that only three people had seen an object. The others reported lights or streaks of lights, according to the Blue Book files.

There is one other factor to mention here. At the end of the Air Intelligence Report, it was noted, “Prime sources could not be located for interview or interrogation by USAF investigator.” That means, of course, that Barth didn’t talk to some of the witnesses, but given that he only spent seven hours in his investigation, and given that the witnesses were scattered all over west Texas, it’s not surprising that he failed to interview some of them.

In another report, the Air Force officer writing it suggested, “Other witnesses reported in newspaper accounts as having observed an object had either disappeared or returned to their homes leaving no forwarding addresses.”

At least two of those witnesses lived in Levelland and another in small Kermit, Texas, not all that far away. Long lived in Waco, Texas, but given the Air Force mission, all these witnesses should have been simple to find had any one wanted to do so. This suggests that the Air Force investigator didn’t try very hard to gather additional information and no one in his chain of command did anything to reverse that decision.

Also found in the Air Force files are a number of notes about the cost of conducting the investigations. An Associated Press story mentioned a figure of ten thousand dollars (which is in 1957) for these investigations, using the cost as a reason that not all witnesses were interviewed.

What we know is that of the four men mentioned on the skeptic’s site I found information suggesting at least two of them were interviewed by members of law enforcement. It is clear from the documentation in the Air Force files and in the newspaper articles that all four acted independently and were reporting, as best they could, what they had seen. There is no evidence that they were reacting to the news media reports with the exception of Long from Waco.

It seems that this was a series of sightings of something strange seen around Levelland, Texas, for a couple of hours during the night of November 2 and the early morning of November 3. It seems, based on the documentation, that those calling into the police department or the sheriff’s office, or who walked into those facilities, had no knowledge of what the others had seen. The skeptical posting that began this has been shown to be in serious error. And the Air Force attitude to this series of sightings as well as the whole of the UFO phenomenon has been less than candid. Although, by regulation, they were required to investigate the sightings of UFOs, it is clear that they rarely followed those regulations other than to do as little as necessary so they could claim compliance.