Saturday, July 04, 2015

Flying Saucers and Kenneth Arnold

(Blogger’s Note: Yes, I’ve touched on this before but in the last week or so the MSM, that is to say Time, published a UFO story that made the point that flying saucer was based on an error so of proving there is nothing to the sightings. I thought I’d take another run at this idea.)

I have seen recently more suggestions that the term, “Flying Saucer,” is a misnomer because Kenneth Arnold wasn’t describing the shape of the objects he saw but their motion through the air. Reports from June 1947, however, seemed to indicate that some objects were saucer shaped, and others, who were busy
The original drawing made by Arnold for the Army in 1947.
misidentifying mundane objects, whether natural or human constructed, began talking of flying saucers regardless of shape. It is a point that I find interesting.

When I was working on The Government UFO Files, I tried to track all this down. Looking at the newspaper reporting, at the Project Blue Book files, at the documentation that came from APRO, NICAP and other organizations, I tried to find any story published prior to June 24, 1947, that mentioned disk-shaped or saucer-shaped craft. I found virtually nothing.

Photograph by William Rhodes in July 1947.
There were many stories in the newspapers after Arnold about strange craft, and many of them referred to flying saucers even when the object reported was not saucer shaped. The term became a catchall for anything that people had seen and had been unable to identify. The best seemed to be a report in the newspaper from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that predated Arnold, but the truth was that while it seemed the man had seen the objects on June 24 (as best as I can figure) it wasn’t reported until days after Arnold so was no help in my quest. You can read about it here:


On April 1, 1947, a series of sightings made by Walter Minczewski began near Richmond, Virginia that involved the U.S. Weather Bureau and seemed to meet my rather arbitrary conditions. This would later become Incident No. 79 in the Project Grudge final report. According to the information provided:

A weather bureau observer at the Richmond Station observed on three different occasions, during a six month period prior to April, 1947, a disc-like metal chrome object. All sightings were made through a theodolite while making pibal [balloon] observations.
On the last reported sighting, the balloon was at 15,000 feet altitude, the disc followed for 15 seconds. It was shaped like an ellipse with a flat level bottom and a dome-like top [emphasis added]. The altitude and the speed were not estimated, but the object, allegedly through the instrument, appeared larger than the balloon.
Another observer at the same station saw a similar object under corresponding circumstances, with the exception that her balloon was at an altitude of 27,000 feet and possessed a dull-metallic luster. There was good visibility on days of observation. Report of this sighting was not submitted until 22 July 1947.
AMC Opinion: There is no readily apparent explanation. If there were only one such object, it seems amazingly coincidental that it would be seen four times near the pibal of this station only. On the other hand, there would have to be a great number of these objects to rule out coincidence, and as they number of objects increases so do the chances of sightings by other witnesses.
Project Astronomer’s Opinion: There is no astronomical explanation for this incident, which, however, deserves considerable attention, because of the experience of the observers and the fact that the observations was made through a theodolite and that comparison could be made with a pibal balloon. The observers had, therefore, a good estimate of altitude, of relative size, and of speed – much more reliable than those given in most reports.
This investigator would like to recommend that these and other pibal observers be quizzed as to other possible, unreported sightings.
This series of reports, made by Minczewski, are not mentioned in the Project Blue Book Index, which lists only a couple of reports made prior to the Kenneth Arnold sighting. All were reported after the press coverage of the Arnold sighting, so there is no way to document the actual date of the sighting.

Ted Bloecher, in The Report on the UFO Wave of 1947, added some important details to the case. He wrote:

As early as the middle of April 1947, at the Weather Bureau in Richmond, Virginia, a U. S. Government meteorologist named Walter A. Minczewski and his staff had released a pibal balloon and were tracking its east-to-west course at 15,000 feet when they noticed silver, ellipsoidal object just below it. Larger than the balloon, this object appeared to be flat on bottom, and when observed through the theodolite used to track the balloon, was seen to have a dome on its upper side. Minczewski and his assistants watched the object for fifteen seconds as it traveled rapidly in level flight on a westerly course, before disappearing from view. In the official report on file at the Air Force's Project Blue Book, at Wright-Patterson Field, in Dayton, Ohio, this sighting is listed as Unidentified.
The point here is that we have a case of a disk-like object, and a date assigned by the Air Force about the sighting, but we have no documentation that I can find dated prior to the Arnold sighting. There might be something hidden away in the Weather Bureau records, or somewhere else, but I have nothing that pre-dates Arnold for this case.

And before I hear of all those sightings of disks and saucers from early in the 20th century, I was looking for something in the months prior to Arnold. I arbitrarily set a year as the outside limit though I did look at the Foo Fighter reports. The Swedish Ghost Rockets in 1946 all seemed to be of something that resembled German vengeance weapons as opposed to flying saucers.


While the claim that “flying saucers” are the result of bad reporting and people leaping onto the bandwagon, there is some evidence that saucers had been seen prior to Arnold but there is virtually nothing in the record to show these sightings were reported prior to Arnold. That might be because no one thought much about it until the Arnold sighting hit the national press, but whatever the reason, the point is, I could find nothing about a saucer-shaped object dated in the months prior to Arnold (and to beat a dead horse, I have the reports published after Arnold that refer to events before Arnold, but nothing in the newspapers or anywhere else published prior to it). 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Different Perspective on A Different Perspective

When I began this blog so long ago, I envisioned a place where the various aspects of the paranormal could be intelligently discussed. I wanted to see people share ideas, solutions, questions and information in a way that would lead us to some sort of resolution. Oh, I knew that we wouldn’t solve everything and that sometimes we’d just have to agree to disagree, but I hadn’t expected the nastiness that has developed at times. I didn’t expect the name calling or the superior attitudes displayed by those at both ends of the spectrum.

So, as of now, that will end. I will not tolerate nasty attitudes, name calling, or the silliness that is sometimes displayed. No one’s theories are stupid and if you can’t make the point without using that word or others like it, then I will delete the comment, no matter how elegant the rest of it might be. Call someone a name, or suggest they have little or no intelligence, I will delete the post.

Philip Mantle and Spyros Melaris who were involved with the
Alien Autopsy.
I’m also done with some of the lesser paranormal arenas. I don’t want to hear that there is something of value in the Alien Autopsy when those who made the aliens have admitted it, when the “tent” footage was created as a “joke” or when most of the autopsy is faked but there is some “real” footage in it. The Alien Autopsy is a hoax and we don’t need to revisit it.

The same can be said for the Roswell Slides. They show the image of an unfortunate child who died hundreds of years ago and all the discussion about it should be over. The documentation exists telling us all we need to know and we should have ended the discussion the moment the placard was “deblurred.” Each of the conditions suggested by the proponents have been met and when they were, the conditions were then changed.

The Allende Letters were admitted to be a hoax. Carlos Allende (or Carl Allen) admitted to Jim Lorenzen decades ago that he had invented the whole thing because Morris Jessup’s writings scared him. But even the admission of the main character in the hoax is not good enough and we continue to hear about the Philadelphia Experiment which is all part of the same hoax. I exposed this, based on interviews with some of those involved decades ago, but we still hear about that nonsense today.

And let’s not get into arguments over religion. They are inappropriate here, cause way too much friction and will offend way too many people. The purpose here has never been to talk about religion.


Here’s the deal. Let’s discuss the cases cordially. Let’s take a look at the various points of view and realize that we’re not always right whoever we might be. There are areas for discussion by those who hold competing views. But slide off into the silly, into the nonsense and the nasty; I will delete the post without hesitation. Insult me or others and the post is gone. I am, of course, the final arbitrator of the rules and if you don’t like them, there are many other blogs that might appreciate your contribution.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Defector from the Roswell Slides

Mesa Verde
Once again I’m dragged back into the nonsense that is the Roswell Slides. It should be clear to everyone who is able to think at all that the slides show the image of an unfortunate child who died hundreds of years ago. No one has ever offered an explanation of how we got from the image of what is clearly a mummy to the idea that it was the body of an alien creature. How did they make that first incredibly dumb leap of logic?

This is the latest development, and by latest I mean one that first appeared on Curt Collins blog last week though Jaime Maussan has now produced another document about why the body in the slide is different from the one the rest of us believe to be the same. With Maussan’s latest, the Curt’s posting becomes even more important. The post can be found here:


One of the experts who was defending the idea that the slides showed an alien creature was Dr. Richard O’Connor, who, as you’ll see at Curt’s site, wrote to Linda Moulton Howe that he had been able to confirm the deblurring of the placard to his satisfaction but that the statement on the placard “cannot be correct.”

O’Connor joined the alien body team after the great May 5th fiasco. Jaime Maussan interviewed O’Connor via Skype because he had solid medical credentials and he spoke English. It was used as part of an article that claimed, “Doctors Agree: Roswell Slides Show a Nonhuman Body.”

This interview that was posted to YouTube would be of some value in supporting that idea of “two bodies” as Maussan claims, but all that has changed. O’Connor, having seen the FOIA material recovered by Shepherd Johnson, said, “Yeah, I’ve just, over the past 48 hours more or less, been looking at that, and it seems to me like it's drawing us toward the conclusion that in fact is this photograph probably does represent a native American child. There were some, a couple of photographs in the last pages of that set of documents, one of them in particular on page 176, and in my opinion it really does show a different photograph of what is very likely the same child.”

So, one of those who had once suggested the body was alien, though based solely on an examination of the slide, had now reversed himself. After seeing the available documentation, he changed his mind.

Curt, in fact, sent an email to O’Connor and was surprised to get a response and an invitation to give him a telephone call. According to Curt, at his Blue Blurry Lines website:

He told me that looking at a photograph is fraught with pitfalls, and mentioned the fact that the quality of the Slides photograph was not very good, the details were not clear due to the blurry photograph, which was taken at an angle from the body (and possibly distorted by the glass in the case).

There were some characteristics that he still didn't quite understand, like the condition of the chest cavity, but it occurred to him that the terraced cliffs of Montezuma Castle must have caused the deaths of a number of children from falling off the ledges. He wondered if that could have accounted for the injuries to the child's body, particularly the damage to the head and the fractured femur. I pointed out the shallow grave may have accounted for some of this, particularly the loss of the lower leg. (I [Curt Collins] thought later that the excavation by amateur archeologists could also be a factor.) 
Interestingly, Tom Carey was interviewed on June 2 on a KGRA show about all of this. According to what Curt reported, “Of the placard being read he says, ‘a day or two later, this bombshell hits about it being a mummified two-year-old boy. Well, talk about a right cross, or a left hook. He also seems to feel betrayed by two of the people who he’d asked to help with the placard have since ‘joined our critics.’ Of the critics, he said he’d have worked with them, ‘had they been civil.’ [Though I have to wonder about some of the less civil things that Tom had said in his comments about the placard and how quickly it was read… the data had been there, if the proper investigation had taken place] In the opening, he mentioned having plenty to keep him busy, a new book coming out with Don Schmitt, and another one planned beyond that, but first up is their appearance at the annual Roswell Festival.”

Here’s the thing. Someone in on the beginning of the investigation had to know the truth. The slide placard was deblurred so quickly that any alibi about the failure to do so prior to May 5th falls onto those making the investigation. They should have been able to do that three years ago rather than get caught up in this sideshow. Basic research and a demand to see the original slides probably would have ended this long before we get to Mexico City. A simply question about the sequence of the slides, such as “Where is number ten?” might have done it. (I note here that according to some, the slides shown were number 9 and number 11, which left the question of “Where is number 10?)

If Adam Dew and his pal, Joe Beason, had any thoughts of proving how credulous UFO investigators are for some kind of a documentary, they failed at that. This wouldn’t have worked had they provided high quality scans of all of the slides to researchers. Given that, those researchers would have been able to read the placard in a matter of hours. How do I know? Because within hours of a high resolution scan appearing on Dew’s website, the placard was read.

I’ll throw one other thing out here. I believe that the mystery caller who told Nick Redfern about all this, the man who allegedly overheard a conversation in Midland, Texas, was probably either Beason, Dew or a pal of theirs. The idea that someone in Midland overheard this conversation, heard enough to understand so much of what was going on including the nondisclosure agreements, and then knew Nick Redfern, is just too much of a coincidence. It had to be arranged so that the story would get out and the hype could begin. And the hype did begin right there.


This should have never happened. It was a combination of the secrecy imposed by Dew and Beason and the enthusiasm of the Roswell investigators for the final “smoking gun” evidence. Had anyone looked at all the red flags and asked some very basic questions, this would have been seen for what it was. The majority of the blame probably belongs to Dew and Beason, but there is plenty to be shared by the others who participated in the long investigation and the program in Mexico City. We should all learn from this and change the way we do business.

Monday, June 22, 2015

October 18,1973: The Coyne Helicopter Case and Philip Klass

Since it seems that some in the skeptical side of the UFO question are outraged at the lack of credible research at the other end of the spectrum, I thought it time to turn the tables. Yes, we all know that the Roswell Slides was a fiasco from the beginning but some of the things under discussion now seem to be a little less definitive. I mean, first claiming that we had UFOlogically increased the burns on the California police officer from first degree to second and third degree, and then wondering where the idea of second degree came from because the sheriff’s report only mentioned the third degree burns. Although Lance Moody suggested the idea of the third degree burns came from the sheriff that doesn’t really matter because the documentation for it existed and it was not an attempt by us to elevate the severity of the burns. It was reporting something that could be documented.

But this isn’t about the degree of burns on the officer, but about skeptics making leaps of logic and additional claims that are not supported by the evidence in the cases they have “solved.” Here I’m going to refer to the Lawrence Coyne helicopter case of October 18, 1973. I’m not going to discuss the merits of the case or argue for either an extraterrestrial or a conventional solution. I’m only going to talk about
Combat assault in a UH-1H helicopter.
some of the assumptions that Philip Klass made in his analysis. I base this on my training and experience as a helicopter pilot in the same type of aircraft flown by Coyne that night.

Coyne was, in 1973, an Army Reserve captain and the aircraft commander of the UH-1H helicopter flying northeast from Columbus, Ohio to Cleveland (though in the stateside environment he would be considered the pilot). With him were co-pilot First Lieutenant Arrigo Jezzi, Sergeant John Healey, seated in the left rear and Specialist Five (Spec 5, E-5) Robert Yanacsek, seated in the right rear.

Initially it was Sergeant John Healey who spotted an object or a red light off the left side of the aircraft (or the western side) at about 2300 hours [11:00 p.m.] and heading to the south. He thought it was brighter than the red navigation lights on an aircraft and he could see none of the other aircraft lights required by the FAA. This light disappeared behind the helicopter and Healy thought nothing more about it.

A few moments later at 2302 hours, Specialist Five (Spec 5, E-5) Robert Yanacsek, seated in the right rear, saw a red light on the eastern horizon. He, at first, thought it was a red warning light on a radio tower, but the light wasn’t blinking and it seemed to be pacing the aircraft. He watched for a minute or two. Finally the light seemed to turn so that it was coming toward the helicopter and when it did, he mentioned it to the pilot, Coyne. Coyne glanced out the right window (eastern side) and saw the light. He suggested that Yanacsek keep an eye on it, though there didn’t seem to be any real danger from it.

After about half a minute, Yanacsek thought that the light was coming at them and Coyne agreed. Coyne then took the controls of the aircraft from the co-pilot and believing the object might be on a collision course, pushed down the collective (or technically, the collective pitch, that is a lever on the left side of the seat of the pilot or co-pilot) which changes the pitch of the rotor blades so that the aircraft will gain or lose altitude. He entered a 500 foot per minute descent, which is not very rapid. They had been flying at 2500 feet which over that part of Ohio is about 1200 feet Above Ground Level (AGL).

Healey now left his seat and moved forward, crouching between the seats occupied by the Coyne and Jezzi. The light was getting brighter, or as Healey would later say, brighter than the landing lights of a commercial jet.

The red light was closing on them quickly and dangerously. Coyne again pushed down on the collective to increase his rate of descent, eventually pushing it all the way to the stop. Believing that he was not descending fast enough, he pushed the cyclic (think of the yoke on an airplane here) forward so that he would be descending even faster.

At this point Coyne looked up and said the light, which he could now see was an object, was covering the front of the windshield. Coyne said that there was a red light at the front of the object, a green light that seemed to reflect off the rear of the object, and a green light, like a searchlight coming from the rear. The overall shape seemed to be that of a cigar or cylinder and under the tail was a pyramid-shaped structure from which a green beam came. The overall object was not glowing, but Coyne, and his crew, could see the general shape against the bright, starry background.

According to Jenny Ziedman, who published the results of her lengthy investigation for the Center for UFO Studies in 1979, Yanacsek said:

The object may have hovered over us for 10 to 12 seconds. It seemed like a long time. It seemed like it was there for so damn long. It was just stopped, for maybe 10 to 12 seconds, and I mean stopped. It wasn’t cruising, it was stopped. It didn’t waver, it didn’t put on the brakes, it didn’t gyrate – it was just like in a cartoon. It was coming at us, and then, in the next frame, it was there, just like that. No noise, no flaps. It reminded me very much of a submarine. I really didn’t think we would collide, because the object was obviously completely in control of the situation.
The object hovered there for those long seconds and then took off toward the northwest. They could see the light at the rear of the object was bright white. Coyne glanced at the altimeter and realized they were at 3500 feet. Coyne said the collective was still full down and he couldn’t explain the ascent. With what he was doing, the helicopter should have been descending rapidly. Coyne then pulled up on the collective (which, of course, the opposite of what he should have done to stop an ascent but then the collective was full down so he couldn’t have pushed it any lower) and at 3800 feet, they felt a bump and the climb ceased. With the climb stopped, and Coyne now in control again, began a descent back to the cruising altitude.

Philip Klass, when he heard about the case decided to take a look at it. He was on a television show about UFOs with Healey, and he recorded another show that aired the next night that featured Coyne as the guest. Klass, in his book UFO’s Explained, wrote, “As I studied the transcript of my tape recording [of Coyne on the Dick Cavett Show] my attention began to focus on the possibility that the UFO might have been a bright meteor-fireball.”

Klass explained his long search for a meteoric explanation but found nothing to corroborate his idea. He did bring up the Zond IV reentry in 1968 where a number of people believed they saw a cigar-shaped craft with lighted windows as the rocket broke up. He seems to have confused Yanacsek’s sighting on the right side of the aircraft, with Healey’s sighting of the red light that was seen out the left that slid to the rear, heading south. If it was the same object, then that approach from the other side moments later clearly proves that it wasn’t a meteor.

He also reported that he had asked others in a position to have seen the fireball or bolide if they had, but there were no reports of anyone else seeing it. Given the time of day, meaning not all that late, and the area over which it would have flown, it seems reasonable to believe that someone else would have seen it. In today’s world, a fireball would be widely reported, often with video of the event. In that time, it would have made the news, though the reports probably would have been confined to the immediate area.

Klass mentioned that the cockpit was bathed in green light as the object passed overhead and reported that there are two Plexiglas panels set above the pilots’ heads and these are tinted green. They were called, cleverly by the flight crews, the greenhouses, but they are directly over the pilots and are not part of the windshield. Klass seemed to have confused these green tinted areas for something on the windshield (or canopy as he called it) much as cars used to have a green tint at the top of the windshield. The crew was not looking through the greenhouses and the light was not coming directly through them. Besides, the crew described other colored lights on the object which they were watching through the clear, Plexiglas windshield.

Klass admitted that the climb was the “real puzzler.” He discussed it with Dave Brown, an “experienced pilot with some hours in a helicopter [which tells nothing about his experience in a helicopter and it doesn’t say if those hours are as a pilot or a passenger and if there are very many of them]. Brown suggested that perhaps the pilot or co-pilot might have unconsciously pulled back on the collective [though the proper term here would be pulled up on the collective] and or cyclic-pitch control(s) as he leaned back in his seat to view the luminous object overhead.”

Lieutenant Arrigo Jezzi, the co-pilot, would never have pulled up on the collective in the way Klass speculates. Coyne and Jezzi had both gone through the same flight training as I had. Had Jezzi felt the aircraft was in danger and he needed to take over the controls, he would have put his hands on them and said, “I’ve got it.”

Coyne would have relinquished control taking his hands off and said, “You’ve got it.”

This was done so that the pilots wouldn’t be fighting each other for control. In similar circumstances, meaning if one of them in the cockpit saw something the other didn’t that might endanger the aircraft, this is what was done, and that includes combat assaults under enemy fire, which can easily be even more stressful than seeing a UFO. Every Army trained helicopter pilot followed this ritual even at times like that, so, it is clear that Jezzi didn’t take over control and didn’t touch the controls without alerting Coyne to that. In fact, it would have been quicker for Jezzi to say, “Watch your altitude.”

Could leaning back in the seat, trying to see the UFO above have caused Coyne to pull up on the collective (as opposed to have pulled back as Klass suggested)? Not really given the way the controls are configured. Could he have pulled back on the cyclic in such a circumstance? Maybe, but there would have been other consequences to that action, including a slowing of the airspeed, a change in the engine noise and a change in the orientation of the view in the cockpit which would have suggested that something had happened. Or, in other words, that would have been noticed because that is how the Army pilots were trained.

Klass, continued his speculation about all of this, based on the information he had collected, some of which he failed to report, and he concluded, “…we should all be grateful for the instinctive, if unconscious, reactions of pilot Coyne or co-pilot Jezzi in pulling their helicopter out of its steep descent barely four hundred feet about the ground.”

He then solved the case. He wrote, “…it will not be easy for them to accept the explanation that the UFO was merely a bright fireball, that the seemingly mysterious behavior of the helicopter was due to the unconscious, instinctive reactions of well-trained pilots…”

With absolutely no evidence of a bright meteor that night, Klass has created one out of thin air and the skeptics have not asked him to explain that position. They don’t ask him why Yanacsek’s account is not mentioned, or the confusion about which crewmember saw what and where. Finally no one asks him how it would be for the pilot to have lowered the collective to arrest the ascent when it was already at the bottom stop and couldn’t be pushed down any further. He just speculates, contrary to the pilot testimony, that one or the other had pulled up on the collective earlier (which he could have then pushed down, but said that he couldn’t, so he pulled up). It is clear that Klass does not understand the Army procedures, and that he reports his speculations as if they were facts. None of this means that Coyne and his crew saw an alien craft, only that Klass’ analysis of it is flawed by what others would call “Ufological thinking” if Klass was at the other end of the spectrum. So, now let the defense of Klass begin, regardless of the facts.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kerman, California UFO Case - An Update


As I had hoped, the Manuel Amparano sighting and burn incident has caused some good discussion and a few irrelevant points (let’s look at Stephenville, Hasting’s work and the Phoenix Lights… though I’m surprised that no one mentioned the Washington Nationals, the Lubbock Lights photographs and the Levelland Sightings in their wishes to see information on other cases). The discussion did take a nasty turn when it appears that some couldn’t read what I had posted and when I attributed an International UFO Reporter article to Dr. Michael Swords that he did not write. That article follows:





I also used, as a source, the APRO Bulletin article that was probably written by Coral Lorenzen which follows:




There is also a new assessment of the case written by Jason Marzek for the Fringe Republic which can be found here:

http://fringerepublic.com/kerman-ufo-burning-061401/ 

And there is another assessment with some documentation embedded in it that can be found here:


For those who wish another source, the NICAP.org website has a short article that references the IUR article from September 1978 on pages 10 – 11, which appears above, and articles from the Fresno Bee for May 19, 1978 and February 23, 1979.

Dr. Swords did write an article for the IUR, Volume 34, Number 4 (September 2011) which does mention the Kerman, California case, but only in a table on Foundational “burn-like” skin cases. It gives the date and nothing more. The coincidence here is that both articles were published in September in the IUR, though decades apart. There is no byline on the first IUR article. The only names associated with the IUR then were J. Allen Hynek and Allan Hendry. It would seem that Hendry was the author, though, as I say, there is no byline.

This is, however, a secondary issue. The question seems to be, where did the report of second degree burns come from? Clearly the man was burned as the documentation and the witness testimony establishes. Since there is documentation for third degree burns from both the sheriff and the medical facility, I’m not sure why we have bogged down in the question of the second degree burns.

At any rate, if this was one of the articles on chasing footnotes, I would have mentioned that the article attributed to Michael Swords was not written by him but it does appear in the IUR. I will note that I try to attribute the information to the proper source and give credit where credit is due. Here, I believed that Swords, because of the reference I had found, was responsible for the earlier article. So, we clear that up, and I apologize to Swords for dragging his name into this. We can move on to the other questions.


Oh, just for fun, I will note that most of us know that attempting to determine distance, size and speed of an unknown object seen in the night sky with no points of reference is nearly impossible… if the witness gets it right, I would suggest that it more luck than observational ability and that angular size, angle above the ground and direction would be more important than guesses about precise figures for size, distance and speed.

Monday, June 15, 2015

May 13, 1978: Kerman, California

(Blogger's Note: I attributed an article in the International UFO Reporter to Dr. Swords. The article has no byline on it and my attribution was in error. Dr. Swords did make a reference to the case in the September 2011 IUR, but it is only the name of the case in a table about "skin burn" cases. I have updated this article so that the attribution is proper. It does appear in the IUR in 1978 but the article is unattributed.) 

Dr. Michael Swords has suggested in an article in the IUR, "Can UFOs Cause physiological Effects, Part 2 (September 2011) that there are cases that demonstrate there are side effects to UFO sightings that can be investigate (which I mention here only because it was in that article I found the reference to Kerman). While there is not a bit of metal to take into the laboratory in this case, there are the physical reactions of the witness, police officer Manuel Amparano, who was a veteran of five years on the force. Had the situation developed differently, there was research that could have been conducted, but wasn’t.

According to the information available, including that in the APRO Bulletin of August 1978, Amparano was on late night-early morning patrol when he spotted, what he thought was a fire in the distance. He thought it might be youngsters setting palm trees on fire, but as he neared an intersection, saw that it was something else.

According to an article in the September 1978 issue of the IUR, “…at 3:32 a.m. … he observed a reddish glow ahead of him… he drove to the site and pulled off the road by a cotton field near railroad tracks in time to see an unusual source of illumination… up in the southern sky.”

Coral Lorenzen reported that “The object was hovering, was a ‘silver aluminum, round’ craft which the witness approached fairly close.”

Amparano later said that the oval-shaped object was twice as wide as it was high and that it was a bright crimson, about half as large as the full moon. He said that it was about one hundred to one hundred fifty feet off the ground and that it was twenty-five to fifty feet in diameter. He was close enough to it and it was large enough that there was no question that it wasn’t some sort of conventional craft.

As it hovered overhead, it glowed with an intensity that did not hurt his eyes. He watched it out of the side window of the car for about four minutes until a bright blue beam shot out of the craft that Amparano described like that of a flash from a camera. The UFO then climbed out silently toward the southeast, and finally disappeared straight up in seconds.

Although he felt a slight tingling, he thought it was the results of the cold night. He drove back to the station. There he met several fellow officers and the police chaplain, who mentioned that he looked as if he had been sunburned. According to Swords, the sunburn lasted for about four hours before fading.

The IUR article noted that at 7:00 p.m. that night, Amparano went to the hospital for treatment of second and third degree burns to his face, neck and arms. The trip to the hospital was documented in various hospital records and because of the injury, he applied for, or his boss, the chief of police applied for, worker’s compensation. That too was documented.

It would seem that something that large, that bright and that close to the ground would have been seen by someone else. Although it was very early in the morning, there were others who said they had seen the same thing. Lorenzen reported:

… Lisa Harrison’s husband had driven his cement-mixer truck to Los Angeles for an overnight job and she wasn’t able to sleep, so she was watching the late show on television. She was sitting next to the living room window of her apartment in Kerman… Suddenly, at 3:30 A.M., she heard a strange loud whirring noise and the house began to vibrate. She took three quick steps to the front door to see what was happening. Looking toward the northwest, she saw two lights moving towards the South at tree-top level. The leading light was white and the rear light was reddish, but “not like the red lights on airplanes.” She described the lights as large, but couldn’t estimate how large. Mrs. Harrison ran back into the house after the object went out of sight behind some houses to the south.
Harrison isn’t the only other witness to be found. Amparano, on his way back to the station, had stopped at a parking lot near Highway 145 and Interstate 80 for a few minutes. There he found Phil Mahler, who was delivering newspapers for the Fresno Bee. Mahler said that he had seen what he called “a reddish ball in the sky.”

There were still other, somewhat ambiguous reports. According to something referred to as the “a Seattle-based phenomenon research center,” an astronomer in Fresno reported a “reddish ball” close to the ground.

At about the same time someone called the Fire Department to report a fire that was in a direct line from where Amparano saw the UFO. The Fire Department said that they found no evidence of a fire.

After Amparano’s sighting was reported Ken Westbrook, Jr. who had been raking hay at the Gilory Farm west of Kerman said that he had seen a glowing “orange ball,” at treetop level. He watched it for some thirty to forty seconds as it “just kind of drifted around a little bit.”

At the station, Amparano called the Air Guard, the Fresno Airport and the weather bureau, wondering if they had anything on their radar scopes, or if there had been any other reports. While he was making the telephone calls, police officers A. J. Byington and Bob Muller, saw the burn marks on his face. They then discovered that Amparano had been burned through his shirt as well. At that point, they all returned to the cotton field, but there was nothing there to be seen.

According to other sources, it was at 5:00 p.m. that evening that Amparano woke and was feeling sick. That was when he went to the Fresno Community Hospital emergency room. There his burns were noted and listed as coming from an unknown source. It was also noted his blood pressure was high and later, a private doctor said that he suffered from “high intensity fluorescent pipe light or a gamma ray.”

What is important here is that these injuries, regardless of source, were documented by the hospital authorities, and there was that worker’s compensation claim that was also filed which further corroborated the injuries.

At this point Police Chief James Van Cleaf decided that he wanted nothing about the sighting to be released to the press or to UFO researchers. He told Amparano not to talk to them. According to Lorenzen:

A reporter went to the Amparano home after learning the identity of the officer, but was told that Amparano wasn’t available for an interview. Mrs. Amparano said that Chief Van Cleaf had told her husband not to talk to anyone about the incident, least of all out-of-town reporters. She thought that her husband would be willing to talk – he had nothing to hide – but only if the Chief said it was all right. But Van Cleaf was adamant – no interviews.
This order also seemed to apply to members of other law enforcement agencies. On June 26, 1978, according to a sheriff’s department memorandum that was sent to Amparano, “Saw the article and was impressed with your [sighting] … one of our sgts. (mike soderberg) experienced much the same thing as you did… no burns however… no one really knows at this point what really exists out there in space!!!”

While interesting, it’s not clear if the sighting was at the same time and exactly what Soderberg saw, other than it was similar. This could be further corroboration of the sighting, but at this point no one has followed up on it.

In July 2014, Jason Marzek, writing for Fringe Republic, contacted Amparano, who responded to him. In that email, Amparano wrote:

The UFO… was behind the trees lining the west side of Del Norte Avenue and near the ground hovering midway below the tree tops which gave the impression the tree was on fire… The UFO was first sighted at Trinity and Shaw Avenues by a Fresno County resident who called the North Central Fire Department Kerman Station and reported a grass fire in a field…The fire men arrived on the scene and found no evidence of a fire… A short time later Thomas Addis was working in a vineyard… when he observed a fire ball moving at tree top level… Also five Kerman Police Personnel observed my physical appearance when I reported for duty and confirmed that I was not sunburned prior to going on patrol. Officers A. J. Byington, Bob Muller, Bill McKinney, Jon Crouch and Chaplin Tom Johnson were with me inside a well light police station. Fresno Community Doctors, Allen Mau and T. T. Shigyo reported that officer had a sun burnt condition when examined at community hospital. Dr. Shigyo said that microwaves can burn the flesh through clothing without damaging the cloth. Chief Van Cleaf requested workman compensation for on the job injury.
This case becomes important because it has multiple chains of evidence. There was the physical effect which was the burns suffered by Amparano and documented by the hospital records, and observed by his fellow police officers. There were additional witnesses to the red object in the sky at about the time that Amparano made his sighting which creates another chain of testimony.

Had the chief of police reacted with a more open response, some of that additional testimony might have been documented as well. Tests could have been conducted on the police car which might have yielded some interesting results. Unfortunately, as has happened all too often, the chief was probably afraid of adverse publicity and his response was to limit access to the witnesses.

Here the opportunity was lost to gather additional evidence. This might have yielded something of scientific importance. It might not have been related to alien visitation but some sort of rare natural phenomenon. Whatever the case, the opportunity for a proper investigation was missed.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Final Curtain for the Roswell Slides

(Blogger's Note: Shepherd Johnson has sent this update - But any way, I've seen people say that the photo is from 1896 but if you look, the photo is dated on the back with 8-1-39 which of course would be August 1, 1939.)

In what I hope will truly be the end of the Roswell Slides nonsense, a picture of the mummy, during excavation in 1897 has been located in documents supplied by the National Park Service. Shepherd Johnson filed a FOIA request and according to an email, “The National Park Service just released to me 186 pages of documents concerning the Montezuma Castle / Mesa Verde child mummy. Thought you might be interested in these. The photo of the child mummy is on page 176.”

The 1939 photo found in the documents recovered by Shepherd Johnson from the National Park Service.


Johnson also wrote that the entire 186 page document concerning the mummy can be seen here:


The document outlines everything that those who found the mummy did, their on site observations, and the history of the mummy. This should end the claims that this poor, unfortunate child is an alien, or even a deformed human. It provides precise descriptions that are based, not on guesswork on a slide, but by those who handled the remains in 1897 and documents about its history.

This should end the useless debate that has raged since the May 5th fiasco and the claims that somehow the new photos have been altered in some fashion. The trail has been found and followed. It took several weeks, but only because the requests had to work their way through the bureaucracy that is government work (not to mention that those at the National Park Service do have many other duties).

This also shows what can happen when we all work together as opposed to working against one another in secrecy. Johnson deserves a round of applause from all of us for his efforts.