Sunday, September 24, 2017

Curse of Oak Island: The Fifth Season

I was cruising the net, looking for something interesting to read and came across a story entitled, “Michigan Man Unearths 220-Year-Old Hidden Treasure.” Quite naturally I clicked on the story and came to another headline that said, “Have Two
Oak Island
Brothers Cracked the 220-Year-Old Oak Island Mystery?”

Well, looking at the calendar, I could see that winter was coming (thought in Westros, winter has come) and the treasure hunting season in Nova Scotia would be winding down. I hadn’t heard anything, but maybe this was telling me that the Lagina brothers had finally succeeded in penetrating the Money Pit and put their hands on the treasure. In fact, on the first page leading to the second, there was a picture of a chest that seemed to be filled with old coins that suggested they had found more than just the couple of coins that the last several seasons of The Curse of Oak Island had produced. You can read the whole story (all forty pages to click through if you’re so inclined) here:

http://www.icepop.com/brothers-crack-oak-island-mystery/?utm_source=talas&utm_campaign=M_TS_IP_US_D_OakIsland_v2_1809-Michigan+Man+Unearths+220+Year+Old+Hidden+Treasure-https%3A%2F%2Fstorage.googleapis.com%2Fcaw-uploads%2F67e1fe1e-5f53-4ea5-925a-4199194ecdbe.jpg&utm_term=msn-defaulthomepage&utm_medium=M_TS_IP_US_D_OakIsland_v2_1809&utm_content=newnext

That is if this incredibly long link still works (and no, I didn’t convert to a tiny.url because this one is more fun... sort of).

To save everyone the aggravation of having to click through 40 pages of limited text and piled high with ads, I’ll point out that the story is mostly about the history of Oak Island from the alleged finding of the Money Pit through the various attempts to defeat the booby traps including those encountered by the Lagina brothers. We all know that story, and we even know some of the variations of it that suggest more legend than fact. Eventually we get to the Laginas and their attempts to get deep into the Money Pit.

I had hoped that the tale would tell us something about what they had found this summer, but, of course, that would wreck the ratings for Season Five… apparently the ratings for Season Four were good enough, in fact the highest of the series run, that there will be a Season Five. But I learned nothing about what they had found, if anything, and since the news of a discovery would be difficult to contain, I’m thinking they had no more suggest this summer than they did last… other than the ratings. And if they had found something, I’d think the ratings would be even higher.


The only thing I know, that some of you might not, is that Season Five will begin airing in November… which is, of course subject to change. But they are beginning the buildup, which I think is the point of the article. They’re letting us know that there will be a new season, and, of course, I’ll watch (and be disappointed). I still hope they’ll find a treasure, but I’m pretty sure that if there ever was any treasure there, it’s long gone… but I don’t think there ever was any treasure to find.

Friday, September 22, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Fran Ridge and NICAP

This week I reached out to Fran Ridge who has been hosting the NICAP website for
Fran Ridge
quite a few years. You can find it at
www.nicap.org. It contains a wealth of information about UFOs that might not be found anywhere else, and given Fran’s knowledge about the subject, it is one of the most credible sites on the web. You can listen to the program here:


We did discuss a sighting that Fran had send out to what he thinks of as his “A” team, which is a group of researchers who have some expertise in various areas of human knowledge. They’re not only just those who have been around the UFO field for a long time, but people trained in other fields as well. The point was that he’d sent the limited details of the sighting and within twenty-four hours, a number of us had provided additional detail. That information can be found at:


I thought it was a rather interesting exercise and it did point out the value of having something like the “A” team available. Not only that, but we get to eliminate a sighting from the list that was dubious, but we also found another from around the same time that is much more interesting. All the details are in the posting.

One of the areas that we explored, all too quickly, was the Thomas Mantell case from January 1948. Fran mentioned an analysis that he had completed with a number of others including Brad Sparks. Jean Waskiewicz, and Dan Wilson. Their conclusions do not mirror my own. Fran did send a link to their analysis which can be found at the NICAP website, as can be mine. All that information follows this post as well.

Next week’s guest: Ben Moss

Topic: Encounters in the Desert (my Socorro book) and information that Ben has found in the last few months about the case.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Mantell Analyses

While I was talking with Fran Ridge, he of the NICAP website, http://www.nicap.org/, we drifted into a discussion of the Thomas Mantell UFO sighting of January 1948. Mantell was killed when his F-51 crashed in Kentucky.
Thomas Mantell
The case has been wrapped in controversy since then, mainly because a pilot died attempting to identify the UFO. Various theories have been offered over the years about what happened.

I had written a long analysis of it about a decade and a half ago. My plan had been to create an online peer review for UFO research. I had written the analysis and it was offered over the UFO Updates list when the draft was finished. I had hoped that those with expertise in various aspects of the case would be inspired to provide their analysis of my analysis. There were a few responses but most had to do with the performance capabilities of the aircraft rather than other aspects of the case. You can read that analysis here:


My secondary goal was to inspire some others to examine UFO cases with a similar eye to detail and analysis. Updates would be one of the ways that we would communicate, but no one followed the lead, much to my disappointment.

However, Fran mentioned that he had been inspired to look into the case when a local television station wanted to do a story about the crash just a few years ago. Working with several others, he produced a new analysis with a different conclusion. You can read that here:



Since we now have two detailed examinations of the Mantell crash, maybe we can move into something like a peer review of it. Take a look at both of these documents, try to put aside any personal bias about the reality of UFOs, or rather the alien visitation aspect of the case, and comment about it. I believe it will be interesting to see how this shakes out, given the research that has been done into the case, if anyone cares to comment about it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

X-Zone Broadcast Network - David Booher

David Booher
This week I talked with David Booher who wrote No Return which is about the strange case of Gerry Irwin. I say strange case because it might have nothing to do with a UFO though it does seem he saw something strange in the sky. He believed, originally, that it fell to the ground on the other side of a ridge line but he never found it and those who followed later found no evidence of a crash. You can listen to the whole interview here:


This was a case that fell off the radar back in 1959. Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO had been deeply involved originally, had invited Irwin to their home, and were prepared to help him. But Irwin, an Army enlisted soldier, went AWOL and then was listed as a deserter when he was gone more than thirty days. According to Jacques Vallee in Dimensions, after he was listed as a deserter, “He was never seen again.” And that was what sparked Booher’s interest in the case.

For more information about the case, Booher has created a Facebook page which can be found here:


I also visited the case in The UFO Dossier but that analysis ended at the same place as did the Lorenzen’s investigation. And, of course, there is Booher’s book, No Return: UFO Abduction of Covert Operation? available from Anomalist Books.

Next week’s guest: Fran Ridge

Topic: NICAP and UFOs

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Chasing Footnotes and Cannon Air Force Base

It’s been a while since I had a post about chasing footnotes and while this isn’t quite the same thing, it did sort of begin there.

Fran Ridge
Fran Ridge, who runs the NICAP website (http://www.nicap.org/), which is filled with all sorts of interesting information, posed a question about a UFO sighting that was part of the comprehensive Blue Book Unknown (BBU) list prepared by and updated regularly by Brad Sparks. That sighting was described as:

Like to have more on this RR case anyone has it.
May 18, 1954; Cannon AFB, New Mexico (BBU)

 7 p.m. 2 witnesses saw a house-size lens-shaped object
 land near railroad tracks, kicking up a small
 sand storm in the desert. One witness approached it, then
 ran away in fear. (VallĂ©e Magonia 129; BB files??)

Michael Swords took a run at the question but didn’t seem to have a very good answer about the case. He wrote:

I'm curious to know where the "BBU" comes from. It's not impossible that this is a BBU, but the source cited doesn't lead to that. Vallee's source is listed as Binder. That's Otto Binder, not the best source to begin with. Binder had a newspaper column which would feature readers' UFO accounts that were mailed to him. Some of these had a ring of truth to them, but they were just that --- essentially "letters" to a UFO interested person who did no investigation. Binder was a writer as a profession, so I can't damm him for making some money out of this. He picked several of his more intriguing letters and published them in FATE of February 1968. The relevant letter quoted there sounds good (and it has a second letter in support) but it is only a letter claim. (Vallee is always doing this by the way--- picking some flimsy mention of something and putting it in the MAGONIA catalog. Often these citations have errors. A error here might be that the location of the claim was not in Cannon AFB but more truly might be labeled "Clovis, NM". (a small matter.) ) In Binder's article, he says that the witness claims that a small mention of the case appeared in FATE of November 1954. That would be potentially encouraging to me, but I could not find it there on a thumb-through.
So, two mysteries for me: A) --- major --- how did this get a BBU?
      B) --- minor --- is it actually mentioned in FATE back in 1954?

There is, allegedly, a DATA-NET report of this --- date unknown to me. Hynek also allegedly mentions something like this in his UFOExp --- I got lazy and didn't search after that claim. (hard to believe Hynek would ever mention anything from Binder in that book, but maybe something more substantial could be there.

Following Mike’s lead, somewhat, I looked at the Project Blue Book master index and found that there were no sightings listed for May 18, 1954, and none in New Mexico for the entire month. All that meant was that the mention of “BB files??” as one of the sources could be eliminated. The sighting was not part of the Blue Book system.

This led to another brief exchange. Fran had noted that this was case no. 1018, in the BBU but when I looked at the copy I had it wasn’t the same. I wrote, “I just looked at both Brad’s BBU and the Blue Book master index and the case no. 1018 is from California and not New Mexico. The case from May 18, 1954 is labeled as case 836 in Brad's listing (or at least in the copy I have) but only questions if it is found in the BB files. I can't find anything in the BB master index that matches this, though, I haven't spent a great amount of time looking. I can say that there is no listing for May 18, 1954 in New Mexico in the BB files.”

Turned out that my version of Brad’s BBU was older than the one used by Fran. He had an updated version and 1018 was the Cannon AFB (Clovis) entry. This was becoming somewhat confusing but would become more so as time passed. But that still didn’t put the report into the Blue Book system.

Barry Greenwood seemed to have come up with that connection. He wrote, “There is a listing for Oceanside CA in the OSI records for May 18, 1954 (Roll 90, frame 269. Roll 91, frames 990 – 991, Blue Book Archives.)”

I went back to the Blue Book microfilms (as I keep saying, I have them all), and found that the first reference to the Oceanside sighting is a letter dated June 28, 1954 (the date on the copy I have is a little difficult to read) that has a subject of “Sighting of Unidentified Aerial Object on 18 May 1954 over Oceanside, California. SPECIAL INQUIRY.”

There are no details in that letter other than saying that a “Spot Intelligence” report had been sent dated June 10, 1954 and gave the OSI district that had responsibility for the case. The report was not located with this letter.

The second entry, in Roll 91, that Barry mentioned, was the spot intelligence report which provided some details. The information was that:

SYSNOPSIS: On 27 May 1954, advice was received by letter from the District Intelligence Officer, Eleventh Naval District, San Diego, California, to the effect that [name redacted but is clearly, Higgins, Squadron Leader, Royal Air Force, on duty with the Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron El Toro 542, Marine Base, California, reported sighting an unidentified flying object while flying in the vicinity of Oceanside, California, 1240 hours, 18 May 1954.
Interestingly, the Blue Book entry for this, in Brad’s BBU was number 1017, which is, of course, the one just prior to the case that stared all this. For those interested in the details of the sighting, though sparse, Brad had reported it as:

May 18, 1954; 10-15 (or 6-7) miles SE of Lake Elsinore, Calif. (BBU 2994) 12:48 p.m. RAF Squadron Leader Donald R. Higgin, assigned to USMC All Weather Fighter Sq, El Toro MCAS, Calif., while flying an F3D-2 jet fighter at 15,000-16,000 ft on a heading of 240° magnetic [255° true] at 300 knots IAS and descending, saw a dark blue almost black gun-metal "glint" delta-shaped object, about 22-23 ft long and 20 ft wide, with 3 fins of equal size and shape, at his 11 o'clock position just above the cockpit of his wingman flying another F3D-2 about 250 ft away. Object was on a head on collision course but before Higgin could radio warning it passed under his wingman and between their aircraft, descending at a 25°-30° angle on a heading N of about 30°
There is nothing in the report by the OSI that suggests a solution or much of an investigation and Brad’s entry does nothing to clarify any of this. The names have been redacted, but as I have noted on many occasions, those responsible for removing the names did a terrible job. In fact, in one paragraph, none of the names were reacted, and given the ranks of those involved in the sighting as well as their military organizations, it is simple to put the names back in. We know who had seen what.

I will note that two copies of the spot intelligence report were sent on to ATIC, which, in 1954, had responsibility for Blue Book. That surprised me because there was no enter on May 18, 1954, for any sighting in the United States, but Blue Book should have had a copy given the regulations in force at the time.

There was documentation in the file for the Oceanside case but these were in the administrative section and not part of the investigative files. Fran asked a question then that got me to thinking. He wondered if the Lake Elsinore sighting that was part of the BBU was the same as the Oceanside sighting that were part of the administrative files. It was clear from the documentation that some of the names in the Oceanside sighting were the same as those from the Lake Elsinore sighting which meant that it was the same report. I took a look at the master index again and noticed that there was a sighting on May 10, 1954, for Lake Elsinore.

The illustration of the object
over Lake Elsinor in the
Oceanside UFO file.
I looked at the Blue Book microfilm and found the same pages from the OSI section but this one also included a statement from the pilot and his radar officer and the illustration that was not available in the administrative section. There was, of course, the Project Card, which suggested that the pilot might have seen a lenticular cloud, but also noted that such clouds are rare at the altitude reported and that they persisted much longer than the sighting lasted. The conclusion was that lenticular cloud did not provide a proper resolution and the case was labeled unidentified.

About the time that I was finding this, Brad Sparks pointed Fran to the same sighting. We had all found the sighting from Oceanside and had now resolved the discrepancy between it being at Oceanside and Lake Elsinore. There was no doubt, given the documentation that we were all talking about the same sighting. Lake Elsinore merely pinpointed the location while Oceanside provided a larger, general area.

What are the conclusions here?

Well, it seems that the original source for the Cannon AFB (Clovis) case was Otto Binder and those of us who have been around for a while realize that he is not the most credible of sources. The case was picked up by Jacques Vallee but he apparently did nothing to validate the information. I could find nothing in the Blue Book files about it and believe that it should be removed from the Catalog that Brad Sparks has been creating (I say creating because, as mentioned, it seems he regularly updates it).

The second part of this is the sighting from Oceanside, California. We have the details of the sighting, that include the pilot’s statement. It seems that those at Blue Book did know of it because the spot intelligence report but were unable to identify the cause of the sighting. Interestingly for me, I had included, in my book Project Blue Book – Exposed, a list of all the Unidentified cases. Somehow, I had missed that one. It is not listed by me. *

Here’s what I take away from all this. Fran asked a question over the Internet about 10:00 in the morning. There were responses from a number of people, and by four, we had found some of the answers. We had the documentation and resources to get to the bottom of the case. By noon the next day we had found the Oceanside (Lake Elsinore) sighting in the Blue Book files, but nothing to support the Cannon AFB sighting other than a reference that began with Otto Binder. The Cannon AFB case is mildly interesting but not actually part of Blue Book, and I had reached, at least in my mind, a valid conclusion or two about the reliability of the Cannon AFB sighting. There is nothing beyond what Binder had written and this case should be eliminated from the various listings in which it appears.


* Here’s something I noticed about the list of Unidentified sightings in my book, which I had always thought was important because Bob Cornett and I had been through the files before they had been redacted. We had listed every unidentified case including the names of the witnesses… I have since learned that others managed to do the same thing. I bring all this up because, for some strange reason, I have no unidentified cases listed for 1954. There are a number of them, but when I prepared the list for the book, I overlooked them. 

Billy Meier Beyond the Time Barrier

I know that it is best to let sleeping dogs lie (and you can take that two ways considering where I’m going with this), but I saw something that set me to laughing. I was watching an old 1960 science fiction movie, this one Beyond the Time Barrier. It takes place in both 1960 and 2024 after a pilot in an experimental aircraft somehow “breaks” the time barrier.

The world of 2024 is nothing like I imagine it will be not so far in our future, but in the movie, it is 64 years in their future (and, technically 64 years in the future for those who made the movie). According to their history, we had reached the moon and there were human colonies on both Mars and Venus (and I’ll bet the air conditioning bill on Venus is astonishing). But there was some kind of plague that had devastated the human population turning it into those who were mutated and those who weren’t quite as mutated.

Okay, so at about 33:00 minutes into the movie, we get a little bit of this alternative history. One of those scientists who hadn’t traveled through time said to the major who had, “The plague we’re talking about hadn’t happened in your world in 1960. It began in 1971.”

The major asked, “Atomic war?”

“No, no. The feared nuclear war never occurred…”

“If it wasn’t nuclear war, what caused it?”

And here is where we find the world of the UFO meeting the world of science fiction. The answer was, “A bombardment of toxic radiation from outer space… The people of your world are concerned about nuclear fallout. Well, the danger is in the other extreme. The tons of radioactive dust that has mushroomed up into the ionosphere [though he might have said atmosphere] from the very first A-bomb test… that dust has remained up there and it is slowly destroying the protective screen that has filtered out cosmic rays from outer space since time began.”

Sound familiar? Can we think of anyone who has made a similar claim in our shared reality?

The major then said, “Then all the nuclear explosions that have ever taken place have contributed to this.”

“Yes.”

So, here we have a claim that atomic testing has damaged the ozone layer though they refer to it as the protective screen that was made in 1960. It preceded that made by science by a number of years and beat Billie Meier by what, a decade and a half?

Yes, I know that his supporters will say that he never saw the movie (and yes, it was a pretty crappy “B” movie) but there is no way of knowing if he ever encountered it in his worldly travels. I will note that I saw The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on three continents in the late 1960s, so it is certainly possible. (North America, Australia and Asia, though much later I also saw parts of it in Europe which ups the count to four).


The point, however, is that this sort of thinking, that atomic testing had depleted part of the ozone layer had been around a long time before Meier ever mentioned it. You just can’t say that no one was talking about it before Meier brought it up because the idea had filtered down, into some rather cheap science fiction of 1960 and was an old idea by the time Meier got to it.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The Anomalist, Mysterious Universe and The UFO Dossier

I am not as good at promoting my books as I could be. Oh, I mention them when the opportunity presents itself, and Roswell in the 21st Century gets a plug on every radio show but, for the most part, I’m not out there banging the drum at every opportunity. However, sometimes, I find an opportunity to not only promote one of my books, but also turn the spotlight on a colleague. This time it’s Nick Redfern who just posted, to the Australian website, Mysterious Universe, a very nice review of The UFO Dossier. If you’d like to read what Nick had to say, you can read it here:


I will note, as a writer, I have long ago learned that no matter what you write, it is going to offend someone. He or she will not care for a conclusion you reach, or an analysis of a sighting, or even how the book has been laid out… in one extreme
Nick Redfern
case I was accused of having such a big ego I had to see my name on every page. Of course, it was on every other page, but more importantly, I had nothing to do with the layout of the book, that had been done by the publisher, but I digress.

The point is that it is always a pleasure when someone writes a nice review of a book you have written, and done that without a suggestion from me. Had I not been reading the latest at The Anomalist (see http://www.anomalist.com/), I wouldn’t have known the review existed, but since it does, I’ll point you all to it.


And, in a strange coincidence, I’ll be interviewing David Booher about his book, No Return: UFO Abduction or Covert Operation, published by Anomalist Books, which is relevant to this whole discussion. In The UFO Dossier, I report on a strange case that Coral and Jim Lorenzen were involved in back in 1959, concerning a soldier going by the name of Gerry Irwin. It is a strange case that had no real resolution back in 1959, but Booher, located Irwin some 50 years after the event and provides more information about what happened. This means that I’ll have the opportunity to promote, not only Booher’s book about the case, but also my book which does mention it (pages 134 – 141, if you must know).

X - Zone Broadcast Network - Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop
This week I spoke with Greg Bishop of Radio Misterioso fame. I had thought we’d talk about some of the UFO cases that he found interesting if they weren’t more than ten years old. But he mentioned an interest in trends and patterns and we then ended up talking about some of the trouble with abduction research. You can listen to the show here:


When we finished our discussion of abduction research, which was more of an analysis of the research techniques and how out-of-date they had become, we switched topics. We both seemed to believe that MUFON had lost its direction, moving from UFO investigation and research into a profit driven organization which is to say that money was more important than the research. An analysis of the symposium program seemed to reinforce that view, suggesting the speakers had been picked because they might fill seats with their tales of alien wars on other planets. Although there is no real proof that any of that happened, those wars on other planets, this secret space program as they called it was of great interest to some. It didn’t really matter that most of what was being said was preposterous as long as they paid for their entertainment.

Next week’s guest: David Booher

Topic: The Gerry Irwin UFO encounter 

Monday, August 28, 2017

I Retract My Original Billy Meier Comment

Several weeks ago, I made a suggestion that the speakers invited to the MUFON symposium sounded a little absurd because of the lack of corroboration for their time travel claims. I had also wondered why the Billy Meier supporters hadn’t been offered a similar invitation to support his claims. It seemed if the leadership of MUFON was interested in allowing the membership to come to their own conclusion about some of these absurd claims, then Billy Meier and his supporters should be afforded the same courtesy. But then in the comment section of the post, I had written, “This post was about some of those invited to speak at the next
Billy Meier
MUFON Symposium and not an avenue to promote a contactee [Billy Meier] case that I believe to be untrue.”

This was a fairly innocuous statement. Didn’t really say much other than I thought the claims to be untrue. I wasn’t calling Billy Meier a liar, I wasn’t saying the case was a hoax, only that I didn’t believe it, which I had thought was my right. I was immediately attacked. It was claimed that I had “defamed” Billy Meier, and that I should offer proof that Meier hadn’t been in communication with alien beings. I should either put up some evidence or retract the statement.

I did explain that I was familiar with the case and that the evidence offered to support it was weak at best… well, not in those words. I mentioned that I had read a couple of the books about Meier, but was attacked for being out of touch. I did think that it wasn’t really my responsibility to prove Meier hadn’t met with aliens and traveled around the galaxy, but theirs to prove he had.

Whatever…

So, now I would like to retract that initial and rather benign statement.

I have spent the last several weeks looking at all sorts of material about Billy Meier. I read his predictions, seen many of his photographs, looked at the analyses of the metal he said came from his space traveling pals. I looked at the “pro” sites and those that were “con.” I followed up on the predictions, and tried to learn more about the photographs. I have looked at both sides of the coin, listened to the promoters and detractors and realized that my statement was simply my belief based on what I had found in earlier research. It had been written as a polite and somewhat cordial way of letting the readers know that I didn’t believe the story which was not the same thing as saying it was a hoax.

Today, I’ll say this. The Billy Meier contact case is a hoax. The evidence offered in support is weak, often inaccurate, and those believing Meier will not listen to anything that suggests Meier has not flown around the galaxy in alien spacecraft. Dozens of his pictures have been proven to be fake, but that’s because the Men in Black substituted faked ones for the real ones, we’re told. Meier’s predictions that had seemed to be so accurate were not made before anyone on Earth was aware of the situations mentioned as claimed. When it was pointed out that the trouble with the ozone layer was known and published in a variety of sources before Meier said a word about it, the answer was he couldn’t have seen those sources. The supporters move the goalposts so that any evidence presented is never enough.

I say again, this case is a hoax. Meier has not traveled around the galaxy. He has faked pictures. His predictions are found to be wrong or based on information that is already in the public arena.

Here’s the irony. Had the supporters just ignored the statement of my opinion rather than attacking me personally, not many who visit here would have paid much attention to it. Now, however, I have published a number of articles showing that Meier was wrong, Meier faked photographs, and that he has offered no independent corroboration of his contact claims. Even his ex-wife has said it was all a hoax.

Believe him if you will, but don’t demand that I believe him with such shoddy evidence, faked photographs, and an analysis of metal that came from a man who was deep into the New Age (BTW, telling us of his expertise and credentials, which are quite impressive, is known as “appeal to authority” which isn’t evidence). No, I don’t believe Meier and believe that he had engaged in a decades long hoax that too many have accepted as real.

But in case you have somehow missed it. I retract that original statement as too benign and too cordial. It should have been much stronger. It should have been much more negative. Meier is not in contact with aliens. There is no independent evidence to support it. He has invented his tale and fooled thousands of people. It is all untrue.


Those are the facts. Get over it.