Friday, May 29, 2020

Chasing Footnotes (almost) and Frank Scully

It has been a while since I chased a footnote or two because, frankly, I don’t look for these things. I just stumble across them in my research. But sometimes, someone provides a lead. David Gumina, an Australian, provided the information for this, though it’s not exactly chasing a footnote it comes close.

Gumina wrote that he had been listening to a program that mentioned the Aztec UFO crash and Frank Scully’s book, Behind the Flying Saucers. He wrote, “So I thought I would read Scully’s book to get a better idea of the story. However, getting to the chapter ‘The Air Force Reports’, Scully claims an astronomer by the name of Dr. Walter Lee Moore ‘reported that he personally focused his telescope on several flying disks’.”

Given the lead from Gumina, I, naturally, grabbed my copy of Scully’s book so that I could read exactly what he had written. On page 77 of the hardback edition of Behind the Flying Saucers, Scully wrote:

I take it that Air Materiel Intelligence screens its astronomers [a reference to the hiring of Dr. J. Allen Hynek as Project Sign’s scientific consultant]. Had it found itself saddled with Dr. Walter Lee Moore, astronomer of the University of Louisville, instead of Dr. Hynek of [The] Ohio State University, it might have got a different story about flying saucers. Dr. Moore reported that he personally focused his telescope on several flying disks. They headed straight toward Venus. Venus was nearer to the sun – in its pirogee (sic) [perigee] phase. The day was clear. In fact the planet could have been seen that day during the daytime with the naked eye.
According to Dr. Moore the disks headed straight toward Venus on the return trip. This led him to suspect that as little as we know of what is going on behind those Venusian cloudbanks, Venus is the point of origin of those flying saucers which he saw and those which Kenneth Arnold saw.
But Aero-Medical Laboratory men instead of Dr. Moore were called in by Air Materiel Command Intelligence to needle Arnold’s story. They stated that an object traveling at 1,200 miles per hour would not be visible to the naked eye.
But Arnold didn’t say he looked at them with a naked eye, and the Aero-Medical Laboratory men, who of course were not up there with Arnold, never reported how fast Arnold’s eyes might be at spotting objects twenty-five miles away possibly scooting by him as he jogged along at 200 miles per hour. They never checked on Dr. Moore’s either. In fact as far as I could find, Air Materiel Command Intelligence never evaluate, and, if so, never released Dr. Moore’s report at all.
Gumina followed up on this, searching for the original source of Moore’s report, or rather how Moore got involved in this at all. Moore’s report doesn’t really reflect what Scully had written. Moore was quoted in story that was related to the Mantell incident. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal on January 9, 1948:

But when Dr. Walter Lee Moore, University of Louisville astronomer, focused his telescope by measurements given him by Godman Field officers it was trained straight on the planet Venus.
Dr. Moore said Venus was near the sun at this time and added that “very exceptional atmospheric conditions” could have made it visible to the naked eye during the day.
“If they chased Venus in airplanes,” said Dr. Moore, “they certainly had a long way to go.”
Moore mentioned nothing about seeing any flying disks. He was saying that Venus was at the point in the sky where he focused his telescope and suggesting that the viewing conditions were good enough that pilots could have spotted the planet in the daylight. There was nothing about disks and certainly no suggestion that the mythical disks were aimed at Venus. The statements by Scully seem to lack any
Balloons are sometimes mistaken for
understanding of interplanetary flight and that those leaving Earth for another planet don’t aim at where it is, but where it will be.

We also know, today, that the cloud cover on Venus does not hide a tropical planet, but one that has a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead. Given that, we can say that any flying saucers that might have been spotted on Earth didn’t come from Venus.

And, that discussion about what Arnold might have been able to see from his cockpit is also irrelevant. The sentence, “…the Aero-Medical Laboratory men, who of course were not up there with Arnold never reported how fast Arnold’s eyes might be at spotting objects twenty-five miles away possibly scooting by him as he jogged along at 200 miles per hour,” is nonsensical.

Finally, I’m not sure why those at “Air Materiel Intelligence,” which is probably a reference to ATIC and Project Sign, would have needed to discuss anything with Moore. His observations of Venus and its relative brightness adds nothing to the investigation they were conducting, other than corroborate Hynek’s suggestion that Venus would have been bright enough to be seen in the afternoon sky, if someone knew where to look for it.

The point, however, is that Scully took a few basic facts and twisted them around to fit his belief structure. When we get to the original source, we find that he has embellished the account almost to the point that it is unrecognizable. This is just another fine example of the need to get to the original source to learn the truth. Moore’s report is nothing like Scully reported and if he could mangle the story to the point he did, you have to wonder about the accuracy of the rest of his reporting.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Nick Redfern

I reached out to Nick Redfern. I wanted to talk about his new book, Rendlesham Forest UFO Conspiracy. You can listen to it here:

What caught my attention was the information that suggested that what had been seen, or what had happened, in the forest in December 1980, was not something
Nick Redfern
alien, but had to do with scientific or military experimentation that had gone on in the area for years. When I talked with John Burroughs several months ago, he had said much the same thing and I believed that Nick and John might have worked together to some extent on the book. Nick said that he had not interviewed John, and given the confluence of their theories, I find this quite interesting. You can listen to my interview with John Burroughs here:

Although we didn’t go into depth about it, Nick mentioned an attempt by Nazi Germany to land soldiers in England in the war. According to Nick, that small landing force had been wiped out, and if I understood it properly, he was suggesting that some sort of experimental weapon or method had been used.

I also asked him about push back from the UFO community because of this book, and his earlier Body Snatchers in the Desert which supplied an alternative to aliens in Roswell. I had found myself attacked for following the evidence and publishing, with Russ Estes and Bill Cone, a book suggesting a more terrestrial explanation for the majority of the abduction reports. Nick suggested that many didn’t want to know the solution to a mystery. They preferred the mystery, which, of course, I have observed in the past as well.

This sort of leads to next week’s show. I’m going to talk with Robert Scheaffer about the nature of evidence and how those on both sides of the UFO coin seem to reject that evidence that doesn’t fit into their personal belief structures. I suppose we could say the same thing applies throughout our world whether it has to do with politics, history and interpersonal relations.

If you have questions, let me know and I’ll try to get them asked. And remember, if you have read any of my latest books, please think about writing a review for Amazon. This helps spread the word, getting our (or in some cases, my) point of view out. People do need to know about what happened in Roswell and Socorro and how those at Project Blue Book manipulated the data.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Gerald Anderson, Stan Friedman and Winfred Buskirk - Plains of San Agustin Controversy

In an attempt to clean up some things, I was looking at the Gerald Anderson tale of seeing a crashed flying saucer on the Plains of San Agustin back in 1947. This became quite the controversy in 1991 when Anderson identified the leader of the archaeologists seen there as Adrian Buskirk. Tom Carey, who has an advanced degree in anthropology, took on the task of locating Buskirk. While he didn’t find anyone named Adrian, he did find one man named Winfred Buskirk who had earned a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1949.

Could this be the same man that Anderson had identified?

Given the “identikit” sketch that Anderson had created to help identify Buskirk and the photographs of Buskirk that Carey located during his search, the answer is “Yes.” To make the connection even stronger, copies of the “identikit” sketch were circulated in New Mexico and more than one person, upon seeing it said, “That’s Win Buskirk.”

Buskirk denied that he had been involved. He said that he had been in Arizona in July 1947, and that he knew nothing about a UFO crash on the Plains, or anywhere else for that matter. That lead to the question, “Then how had Anderson been able to pinpoint Buskirk as the man on the Plains, if Buskirk had not been there?” (Not to mention how the five-year-old Anderson would have remembered Buskirk after some forty-five or so years?)

Don Schmitt
Once we (and by we, I mean Tom Carey, Don Schmitt and me) had located and talked with Buskirk, we learned that he had taught high school anthropology in the late 1950s in Albuquerque. According to Anderson, has family had moved to Albuquerque in June 1947, and not long after, he had been down on the Plains, searching for Moss Agate, which was how they stumbled onto the crashed saucer. We had them, Buskirk and Anderson, in the same state at about the same time which didn’t mean they had seen each other, let alone known each other.

On July 19, 1991, Buskirk wrote to me. We had aroused his curiosity about all this. He wrote, “Your colleague Tom told me Anderson’s family moved to Albuquerque. He would, if five years old in 1947, he would have been in high school around 1957 – 58 - 59. During those years I was teaching at Albuquerque High School, mostly history but also other subjects… I think it not unlikely that Anderson heard of me and saw me there and that later, somehow the name became associated with his childhood memories. There is also the possibility that Anderson faked his whole story. He might have used a high school annual for a picture of me to provide his sketches. Can a 40-year-old memory of a five-year-old be that good? In 1947 I would have been much thinner faced.”

Buskirk was now interested in the puzzle. How had Anderson selected him as the leader of the archaeologists on the Plains? On August 8, 1991, he provided an answer. Buskirk wrote:

Mary… Klicker called me this evening. I had written her asking her to check her year books. There is nothing on Anderson in them, apparently.
Then Robert Hannan, a former history teacher and Jim Hulsman, the basketball coach at Albuquerque High School, called her. They had been contacted by [Stan] Friedman and both had pointed him to her (Mrs. Klicker, used to be the assistant principal). But Friedman has not contacted her. She was interested enough then to ask Hannah and Hulsman to get on the case. All were good friends of mine.
They went to the Public Schools microwave [I’m sure he meant microfilm) records and came up with this information… Gerald Francis Anderson was born [I’ve left the date out for privacy reasons]. In the fall of 1956 he enrolled at Highland High School… but after less than a year moved to Indianapolis.
Then on 2 (or 3rd) October 1957 he enrolled at Albuquerque High, stayed a little over a year, then checked out on 3 October 1958… His grade point average in Albuquerque was [well, I have it, but leave it out for privacy reasons… I mentioned this only to suggest the depth of the information that Buskirk supplied].
Now – at Albuquerque High he was enrolled for a semester of Anthropology. This was a course I taught in the fall, so must have taken it in 1957… You will probably want to call Mrs. Klicker, Jim Hulsman, and Robert Hannah for a verification and possibly more information…
Quite naturally, I did contact them, and they did verify the information. We had established a contact between Buskirk and Anderson, not in 1947 but in 1957. The records in Albuquerque verified it. What are the odds that they, Buskirk and Anderson, would meet in one of the biggest events in history only to meet again ten years later while Anderson was in high school and Buskirk happened to be
Stan Friedman
teaching in that very high school? Buskirk wrote that he didn’t remember Anderson, but given the circumstances, and since Anderson reportedly remembered Buskirk well enough to produce an accurate sketch decades later, wouldn’t Anderson have mentioned something about it when he recognized his teacher?

Here’s the kicker. Here’s the important point. In a letter dated August 19, 1991, Buskirk wrote, “Dr. [yes, I know he didn’t have a doctorate] Friedman had previously made inquiries of Hulsman.”

This was the first time that we had proved that Anderson had been less than candid with his tale. According to Buskirk, Friedman had been given the information about Anderson having studied anthropology and therefore knew the truth, yet he maintained that Anderson hadn’t known Buskirk and hadn’t seen him at the high school arguing that the high school had three buildings so it was conceivable that Anderson never ran into Buskirk... this despite the fact that the information put them in the same classroom.

When I learned about Anderson’s connection to Buskirk, I called Fred Whiting at the Fund for UFO Research. I wanted him to know that we had not only put Anderson into the same high school as Buskirk, but we’d put him in the class room. I had the information from Buskirk, which I believed to be reliable, but I made the telephone calls myself and talked with those that Buskirk had mentioned who could corroborate it. One of them told me, as I asked questions, that he was looking at the transcript as we spoke.

Whiting, apparently called Friedman and Friedman called Anderson. At that point Anderson called the high school. Anderson later wrote to me:

Be advised, however, I have been in contact with the officials of the Albuquerque High School, one in particular…. [ellipses in the original] Mr. Halsay. Also be advised Sir, that I am more than a little aware of my Constitutional rights under FERPA (Family Education Right to Privacy act [sic]…. Just in case you needed a reminder). Make no mistake about it Mr. Randle, if I find out that you have obtained and altered my high school transcripts (or even if you didn’t alter it) without my permission, you and whoever assisted you are going to find yourselves facing Federal charges and the accompanying suits filed under tort law (my [here he gives his GPA, which confirmed the information that I have been given] notwithstanding).
This didn’t concern me, but I had been talking with people in New Mexico who still worked for the school district. My inquiries could have caused them a great deal of trouble over something that was, in the greater scheme of things, trivial. Why put their jobs in jeopardy? I already had the information but more importantly, Stan Friedman had it as well. He knew that Anderson had identified his high school anthropology teacher as the leader of the archaeologists on the Plains but chose to conceal this information. I knew it too, and obviously, so did Anderson.

This was, to me, the smoking gun. Anderson had been caught in complex lie. He had placed his five-year-old self on the Plains to see the downed disk, had identified the archaeologist of fame and fortune as from the University of Pennsylvania led by Buskirk, and denied that he had seen Buskirk at any time after that day in 1947. We knew that Buskirk had no affiliation with Penn, that he had been in Arizona in July 1947, and that he had taught Anderson anthropology in 1957.

Anderson and Friedman managed to block this information. Anderson with his threats and Friedman with his attacks against me. He had claimed that I was attempting to invalidate (a nice way of saying what he was doing) Anderson with false information. But he knew the truth and actively campaigned to keep it hidden.

Later, Anderson would be exposed forging his telephone bill to, as he put it, make me look bad. Although Friedman and John Carpenter are often credited with the initial discovery, I was the one who proved that the phone bill Anderson had submitted to prove that he and I had only spoke briefly had been altered by Anderson to reflect Anderson’s claim.  I had the documentation from the telephone company with the accurate information on it. Anderson eventually admitted to the forgery when Friedman obtained a copy of the telephone bill from the phone company.

(You can read about this episode in the July/August 1992 issue of the International UFO Reporter and in the January 1993 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal. For those who wish a report about some of these activities from a disinterested third party see:

Although it might seem that I’m beating a dead horse, I will say again that Friedman had the information about the high school classes even before I got it. He just said nothing about it, and when it was clear that I had it, attempted to get it suppressed. At this point, with the people who supplied the information safe from retribution and even though Anderson has been reduced to a footnote in the Plains controversy, it is important that Friedman’s role be exposed.

For those interested… Yes, I have copies of the letters about Anderson’s high school credentials, if we really need that today. He admitted to forgery on other documents and that should be enough to remove him from this UFO controversy.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Bermuda Triangle Wrap Up

This week I wrapped up the information about Flight 19 specifically and the Bermuda Triangle generally. This all began when I noticed that a couple of TV programs were dealing with the topics and I wondered if they would actually do some research or just fall into the old trap of regurgitating the nonsense that had been spewed before. I was pleasantly surprised. You can listen to my recap here:

I looked at the mystery as it has been reported in the past without critical comment. Just the “facts” as they have been told in dozens of books and articles. Planes and ships that have disappeared without warning and with no trace of debris. Some other thoughts on this can be seen here:

One of the things that I discussed was my “first-hand” experiences with one of the aircraft disappearances. Given that I was a member of the Air Force unit that lost a plane, I was able to gather a little bit of information that might have been missed by many of those other writers. You can read about this case here:

After discussing the other disappearances, I did point out some of the problems with the stories as they were being told. In the last few weeks, I have gone into a little more depth in some of these cases and you can read about them here:

One of the stories that I followed up on was the possibility that one of the Marines who flew with Flight 19 had survived and contacted the family. This I thought strange because there was a headstone for him in the Arlington National Cemetery. You can follow that investigation here:

Finally, I talked about Flight 19 and what happened to it. I had interviewed both Douglas Westfall and Andy Marocco about their research and their theories. If you missed those programs, you can listen to them here:

This, I believe, brings all the Bermuda Triangle lore up to date. Some of the ships and planes that were thought to have vanished completely have been found in the last few years. More information about some of the disappearances has been uncovered providing some solutions. I had engaged in a search for the truth, but as I mentioned at the top of the program, and stealing the line from Head Office, “There is no truth. There are only stories.”

Next up is Nick Redfern talking about his new book and the information that came from John Burroughs of Rendlesham Forest fame. If you have questions, let me know in the comments section.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Tom Carey (And an Analysis of Glenn Dennis)

This week’s guest was Tom Carey. He had emailed me about the interview I had conducted with Don Schmitt. He was concerned about Don’s comments about the Glenn Dennis testimony. I thought I would bring him on to talk about his perspective of what Dennis had said over the years. You can listen to that interview here:

For a long time, I have been worried about the viability of the Dennis testimony. He had been caught in telling a number of lies and giving us all a false name for the nurse. That element of the story completely broke down as I, as well as others including Vic Golubic, attempted to find the nurse, or to even verify her existence in Roswell. When all that failed, meaning we had actually proved a negative (that
Tom Carey
she didn’t exist under the name provided), Dennis changed the story and the name.

Tom’s position is that while Dennis did lie about many aspects of his involvement, there was a core element that was true. That is, there had been telephone calls from the base to Ballard Funeral Home asking about child-sized caskets. I wondered about the necessity for child-sized caskets. Wouldn’t an adult size casket worked since the apparent reason was to provide a hermetically sealed coffin? The size didn’t really matter. Although I didn’t say it, I was wondering if the idea the coffins were child sized didn’t appear later in the tale… if, indeed, there had been such a request.

The validity of the Dennis tale had been reduced to this single point and it seemed that both Tom and I agreed that Dennis might not have been a participant in these events, but heard about them from his colleagues. At any rate, it seems to me, that the Dennis tale should be reduced to a footnote in the history of Roswell.

Although I didn’t say it was clearly as I would have liked, I was suggesting that this tale told by Dennis, and the idea of a nurse involved in a preliminary autopsy at the base, simply doesn’t have any first-hand testimony to back it up. I was talking about the level of the evidence to support the theory. That there was no documentation for it and that I didn’t understand why the military would have found it necessary to involve a civilian doctor when there were doctors or equal or
Glenn Dennis
better qualifications assigned to the base. Why bring in civilians which would tend to compromise security?

I was looking for something a little more solid than the children of those involved telling the story that their parents might have told. At best, all this is second-hand testimony, and might be third-hand. I didn’t make the point that we were treading on very thin ice when we moved into the realm of Glenn Dennis’ missing nurse, and the civilian doctor brought into the tale. Not to mention that the original story by Dennis was that he had something going on with the nurse, that she was military, and that she had been transferred off the base in the days that followed the recovery. Tom did say that the name of the nurse would appear in his book Roswell: The Ultimate Cold Case – Closed, which will be available on June 15, for those who wish to follow this thread to its ultimate conclusion.

I looked at the Dennis testimony at length in Roswell in the 21st Century, which would provide, well, a different perspective. You can also read more about this controversy here:

The one question that I shouldn’t have asked was if the failure of the Dennis testimony reflected on the veracity of the Walter Haut tale. Haut, because of who he was in 1947, should have known if Dennis had been involved or not. After all, it was Haut who had given us Dennis’ name. I didn’t really have time to explore this fully and that turned out to be something of a distraction to the overall conversation.

In the end, Tom said that he believed the story, had the name of the nurse (which would be, at the very least, the third name associated with the tale), and that while Dennis might not have been involved, he had heard the story from those who had been, and that he, Dennis, then injected himself into the tale. That’s not the first time that we, meaning Don Schmitt, Tom and I had run into that sort of thing.
At any rate, we did get a different perspective on the tale of the missing nurse and Tom’s reasons for accepting it. I find the testimony weak, but that’s just my opinion on all of this. Tom was much more impressed with it.

Next week, I’ll be wrapping up the Flight 19 disappearance and what I have learned about the Bermuda Triangle, including my nearly first-hand experience (well, I was assigned to the unit that lost a C-119 in the Triangle, though at the time I was still in high school) and the competing theories about what had happened to the flight. If you have a question, as always, plug them into the comments section, and I’ll try to address them during the show.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Demise of History's Project Blue Book

For those of you keeping score at home, you know that Project Blue Book was closed in 1969 after the University of Colorado study, known as the Condon Committee, determined that the Air Force had done a good job investigating UFOs, that UFOs posed no threat to national security and that nothing of scientific value could be learned by further research. Doesn’t matter that the truth is that the Air Force did a half-assed job, that elements of UFO research did affect national security and that there was scientific value of continued research, even that research only helped identify a new natural phenomenon.

But now we learn that Project Blue Book has again been closed and by that I mean that the History Channel’s (yes, I know the name is officially History but does that make sense without some sort of qualifier?) show, Project Blue Book has been cancelled. No more can we follow the ridiculous tales of Dr. J. Allen Hynek engaging in fist fights, Captain Quinn (who, I suspect was a stand-in for Ed
Captain Quinn, UFO Expert.
Ruppelt) flying missions chasing flying saucers, and Soviet aircraft equipped with atomic bombs crashing in Canada.

Though there has been speculation about the reason, I think ratings had something to do with it. In the second season, it seems that the ratings in that coveted 18-49 demographic (because those of us older than 49 apparently don’t have the disposable income to buy products or we’re so set in our ways that advertising won’t sway us), have dropped by just under 33% and overall the ratings are down nearly 22%.

Oh, there are some bright spots, and with Project Blue Book average just over 1.03 million viewers each week, I suspect the ad revenue just couldn’t keep up with the production costs. By contrast, Curse of Oak Island had nearly 3.5 million viewers.
But there is another problem. Those who visit here regularly know that in that first season, I was something of a champion of the show. True, they played with the facts, but I could separate the fact from the fiction and to be fair, their telling of the various UFO stories wasn’t completely off base. It seemed to inspire some to look a little deeper for information about the case presented. I noted this in other posts.

But the second season was completely outrageous. We had an Air Force general subjecting a witness to water boarding, we had Hynek and Quinn finding a huge “underground base,” and the story of the Roswell crash that was so fictionalized that it was nearly unrecognizable, not to mention that Roswell is not a case that was investigated by Blue Book. There is no Blue Book file on Roswell.

In fact, the final season was so bad that I simply stopped watching it. I no longer cared what they did, what their stories were, or how hard they attempted to bend their stories to make them seem as if there might be some semblance to a case in the Blue Book files.

Here’s something else. In typical Hollywood fashion, the writers thought they had to jazz up the stories to make them more interesting because what is a TV show without some murder, some gunfights, a car chase or two, and Soviet spies? I would think that a show about an investigation into the possibility of alien visitation wouldn’t need to rely on explosions and car chases to hold a viewer’s interest. We are talking about alien visitation after all. Surely there was enough in the Blue Book files to inspire some stories that didn’t rely on these tricks.

Sure, we’d expect some embellishments because what is Hollywood if not filled with embellishments? They can take any story that is exciting, interesting, and factual, and add something that they believe with enhance those traits, even when not needed or when they actually detract from the story.

But I digress…

The point is that Project Blue Book is no more. We just won’t get any resolution to what happened to Quinn or if the Soviets penetrated Blue Book to learn their secrets, or if Mimi Hynek ever figured out what was really going on. Personally, I don’t think the demise came any too soon. For me, the program just didn’t work any more and was doing more harm than good. Maybe, someday, someone working on a flying saucer story out there will ask for my advice on how these fictional accounts should be done… oh, they won’t listen, but it would be nice to be asked.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Flight 19: The Last Post (Probably)

This is what I hope is the last posting on this aspect of the loss of Flight 19. To recap briefly, John Steiger sent a link to a headstone for George Paonessa, a Marine sergeant who was lost with the flight. In wondered why there was a grave for him at Arlington National Cemetery and if that meant a body had been recovered. Information sent by Arlington said that those lost at sea, lost in combat or who were buried at sea were sometimes honored by a headstone in a special section of Arlington. The request, according to the information had to come from a family member, and I learned that such was the case of Paonessa.

However, there was other information presented that suggested that he had survived the disaster. This included a telegram, allegedly sent by Paonessa to his brother several weeks after he had been declared lost. Douglas Westfall thought that this was good evidence that Flight 19 hadn’t disappeared completely, and on the radio show/podcast A Different Perspective made a case for this. You can listen to it here:

A week later, I spoke with Andy Marocco who believed he knew where Flight 19 had disappeared, some thirty or forty miles outside the Bermuda Triangle. I asked, specifically, about the telegram, but he said that it was a hoax. His reasoning was that it hadn’t entered the public arena until twenty or thirty years after the loss. You can listen to that interview here:

Doug Westfall believed that George Paonessa had made his way to California and became a contractor. It was his theory that Paonessa could operate out in the open
Douglas Westfall
because President Truman had pardoned those who had deserted after the conclusion of World War II. The theory behind the pardon was that they had served honorably, but with the war over, there was no need for them to remain on active duty. President Carter pardoned those who had fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War, so the idea wasn’t unprecedented.

This George Paonessa, that Doug mentioned, had died in either the 1960s or the 1970s. I was unable to find either a headstone or an obituary for him, which might have mentioned family and allowing us to verify the connection to Flight 19.

Andy Marocco said that he had actually visited the cemetery where that George Paonessa was buried. There was nothing there to connect him to the lost flight or to the family living in New York, home of the original George Paonessa.

I did contact one of the family members, which was how I learned about the request for the headstone at Arlington. In that same email, he mentioned the
Andy Marocco
telegram, so I asked about this. My thinking was that if George had contacted the family in the weeks following the loss, then he certainly would have been in touch with them in the years that followed. There would be no reason for him to avoid the family if he was operating a business under his own name in California and no one was looking for him for desertion.

The answer was that the telegram was the last that anyone heard from him… if it had been him. In the world today, with everyone who had violated a law, if anyone had actually violated a law, beyond prosecution, there is no reason to maintain the fiction that George Paonessa had perished in 1945, if he had, in fact survived. In other words, they would be able to confirm that he had survived if he had. There is no family history to suggest he did. The telegram, even though it mentioned his family nickname, is a cruel hoax.

Here’s where we are, according to what I have learned. All members of Flight 19 were lost on December 5, 1945. The best evidence is that the flight stuck together, just as the Flight Leader said for them to do, and all ditched together. Although neither Doug Westfall nor Andy Marocco have hard evidence for their respective theories, given that Andy’s is based on the official Navy documents relating to the case, and with other evidence, it seems that his theory is the most accurate.

This then, is the end of this part of the discussion. At this moment, none of the aircraft have been found and it seems that the idea that they all ditched at once is the most logical explanation. When there is new information on this particular aspect of the Bermuda Triangle, well, you’ll read it here.