Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Philip Klass Explains It All - Part Two

There are those who thought that I had been unfair to Philip Klass when I mentioned the article from the Bangor, Maine newspaper that reported his take on the Loring AFB unidentified craft (and note here that I didn’t use the more pejorative UFO). Turns out, there wasn’t much in that article that didn’t appear in his book, UFOs: The Public Deceived. It was just a little more condensed in the newspaper and some of the wilder assumptions made had been left out.

First, he seemed to be very annoyed that one of the newspaper reporters, in this case Ward Sinclair, had been dismissive of him, telling him, when asked if he had thought about calling Klass for his take on Loring, “No. In no way would I check with you. Why would I check with you? You’ve assigned yourself a credential that I have every right to be as suspicious of as Todd Zechel’s credentials.”
For those out of touch, Zechel claimed many things in his life that turned out to be less than credible and I wouldn’t cite Zechel as a source without checking out his information with other sources first. In fact, I would probably ignore anything Zechel said if there wasn’t any other source for it. In fact, if Zechel told me the sky was blue, I’d probably go out and look.

But I do understand Klass’ annoyance because, on the flip side, I’ve run into it. I was scheduled for an interview at the Chicago Tribune, but rather than a reporter from on staff, the interview was conducted by an intern in the hallway. She said that the editors knew there was nothing to UFOs so they weren’t overly interested in anything that might suggest they were in error. Sort of the same attitude that Klass had run into with Sinclair and sort of the same attitude we sometimes see here. A personal bias that colors thinking rather than an intelligent exchange of competing points of view.
The Bangor newspaper article had mentioned Klass’ theory that some radicals might have obtained a helicopter to acquire an atomic bomb. Well, in his book this isn’t quite as direct, but he is still of the opinion that a helicopter was responsible for the intrusion at Loring and there were radicals at the controls. In a footnote on page 97, he wrote, “At the time some radical groups protesting the war in Vietnam were resorting to violence and the use of explosives.”

And my criticism remains… didn’t these radicals, in October 1975, realize the war was over and the communists were in Saigon? Didn’t anyone point this out to Klass such as a copy editor… or maybe someone who had read the newspaper article about the fall of Saigon. This idea seems to be out of touch with reality but no one seemed to realize it. Not to mention that this has absolutely nothing to do with the sightings at Loring.
Klass did find that a helicopter had been scoping out part of Maine. He talked to a former sheriff deputy, Ivon Turmell, who reported on a helicopter landing at the Moosehead Motel. Klass wrote, “When I called Turmell, he told me that the red and white helicopter, built by Hughes Helicopter company, had created some talk in the small town [Rockwood], when it landed outside the Moosehead Motel and operated from this site for several days, taking off each morning and returning every night. When Turmell had called the owner of the motel out of curiosity, he learned that ‘the whole thing was very hush-hush,’ he told me, adding that the crew and maintenance personnel carefully avoided talking to other guests at the motel.”
Well, this is sort of interesting, I suppose, except for a couple of facts. According to Klass, in his book, this all happened “shortly” after the late-October incidents at the air base. And, Rockwood and the Moosehead Motel are some 120 miles from Loring AFB. Close in time and distance, but probably unrelated to the intrusions at the base. But someone was flying a helicopter, of some indistinct type, (which Hughes helicopter was it?) and they were in Maine. To Klass: Case Closed…
Klass wanted to know, “Could Rockwood’s ‘mysterious helicopter’ have been the same craft that reportedly penetrated Loring’s airspace on the night of October 27?”
No, and there is no apparent reason to connect the two events. Had we on this side of the fence attempted something like that, we would be condemned for “ufological thinking.” This is debunker thinking… just throw out a question about an event that might explain the sighting and then pretend that it does.
One other point should be made. The available documents show that there was an intrusion at Loring, and in at least one case, seemed to penetrate the weapons storage area. Although they mention that it was a helicopter in those documents, they were unable to identify it, catch it, or apparently stop it. Violating the restricted area and flying over the weapons storage area would be a matter of national security and should have caused a somewhat more robust Air Force response. The documents suggest that the Air Force couldn’t identify the helicopter but didn’t work very hard to find out who had committed the crime. I have to wonder if Klass could find a possible culprit by talking to an ex-deputy, couldn’t the Air Force have found the same culprit and wouldn’t they have followed up on it? It would seem to me that the Air Force would have investigated this, and since it goes unmentioned, means the helicopter had nothing to do with the intrusion.
So, they, debunkers and the Air Force, call it a helicopter though the witnesses on the ground, and sometimes within 300 feet of it, couldn’t recognize it as such. They described it as hovering, and dropping below radar coverage in the manner like that of a helicopter. The Air Force, rather than using the term UFO, chose to call it an unidentified helicopter. One witness, in November, did report a mysterious craft that did look like a helicopter, but then, that was in late November and that’s not part of the Loring sightings in late October.
The skeptics line up behind the Klass explanation because they all know that there can be no alien visitation. They accept his information about the helicopter, though it isn’t actually in the right place at the right time. They assume the witnesses, who mentioned a motion like that of a helicopter, meaning it hovered, just couldn’t identify it for some reason, and dismiss everything in that way. Nothing to look at here folks, just move along.
And now I must always add a caveat to these postings. No, this case does not prove alien visitation. It suggests something unidentified was seen over Loring, and the Air Force response seems inadequate given the penetration of the weapons storage area. The mystery helicopter was never found, and given the national security aspects, I would have thought the Air Force would have responded with more enthusiasm.
But, since it was a matter of national security, I don’t believe that all the relevant documents have been seen… nor do I expect them to be released through FOIA. This was, after all, a matter of national security.

Friday, February 15, 2013

An Airship Photograph

I am probably one of the worst people when it comes to promoting my work. I think that others should do that and that each book should generate interest because of what is in it rather than what I have to say about it. But, sometimes, there are reasons to promote what I have written… and sometimes it is important to report what others have done to make the book even better.

Such is the case with Alien Mysteries, Conspiracies and Cover-ups. One of those who was helping find illustrations made a telephone call that I hadn’t thought about. He found a photograph that I didn’t know existed.
Back in April, 1897, the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette carried a story about a Great Airship that had fallen, crashed, came to rest on the fairgrounds of Waterloo, Iowa. There was a human crew, complete with a German professor, and a tale of tragedy.
There was an airship on the ground, though no one, other than the crew, suggested it have ever been off the ground. After hours of telling the story to all who would listen, one of the men was recognized as a Waterloo resident and the tale collapsed. The hoax was exposed.

I had an illustration that appeared in the Cedar Rapids newspaper but since this was a hoax I never made the trip to Waterloo… oh, but I should have. Imagine my surprise and I first saw a photograph of the Waterloo airship from their newspaper, the Waterloo Courier. Not a drawing, wood cutting, or illustration. An actual photograph of the airship sitting in the bright sunlight of the nineteenth century.

As you can see, the Gazette drawing is accurate, but then, it’s not the same as a photograph from the Courier… which might be the only photograph of one of the Great Airships… and please note that I said, “Might.”
The point… the photograph appears in the book. It isn’t the only photograph. There are many, but it was the one that stunned me when I first saw it. Just never thought there would be an actual photograph… but it does suggest something about research. There is always another stone to be turned over, another archive to search, and another government office to deny that anything is out there.
For those interested, the book Alien Mysteries, Conspiracies and Cover-ups, should be available about now.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Aztec in Perspective by Monte Shriver - Part Three

(Blogger’s Note: The following is reprinted by permission. Given the length of the original article, I have broken it into three parts and will publish all three over the next week. It was written by one-time resident of Aztec, Monte Shriver, and provides an interesting insight into the alleged crash. This is Part Three, the final installment. Again, reprinted by permission of Monte Shriver.)


Considering the timing related to the finding of the disc, I think it is reasonable to assume that it landed (crashed?) in Hart Canyon between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.  With sunrise being at 6:08 a.m., it had to be quite dark at the time the disc arrived. Why is this important? Because some time after the sun rose, Mr. Sandoval who followed the disc all the way from Cuba finally arrived at the site.  What we know about Mr. Sandoval is based upon interviews Mr. Ramsey conducted with Johnny Hernandez, Town Historian of Cuba, other residents of Cuba and from what Doug Noland told Mr. Ramsey. 

As related to Mr. Ramsey, Mr. Sandoval worked part time for the Cuba police department with the title of deputy sheriff. He replaced a Sam Sambrano who had been promoted to sheriff. These titles don’t make any sense. Bernalillo is the county seat of Sandoval County and that is where the sheriff’s office is located. In two visits with the Sandoval County sheriff’s office, they were unable to locate a Sam Sambrano who was sheriff in 1948. Normally, a sheriff is elected, not appointed unless there is a vacancy in the sheriff’s office. I suspect Mr. Sambrano was actually the police chief of Cuba. On page 2 of the Ramsey book, Doug Noland told Mr. Ramsey that “…Manuel Sandoval, explained that he was from the town of Cuba, N.M., and that he had followed the low flying disc-shaped craft in a northerly direction during the early morning hours…”. When Mr. Sambrano came to work on the morning of March 25, I suspect he wondered what happened to his night officer and his patrol car.

So what we are supposed to believe is that sometime after midnight on the morning on March 25, 1948, this craft flying very slowly and low enough for Mr. Sandoval to follow it, flew from Cuba to Counselors, turned north and headed down Largo Canyon towards Blanco. Don’t forget, Mr. Ramsey maintains that this was the correct route to Aztec in 1948 and that even today the trip (down Largo) is long and slow. So either the craft flew as slow as 20-30 miles per hour or perhaps it dropped bread crumbs for Mr. Sandoval to follow. Anyway, the craft turned left on SR 17 when it exited Largo Canyon, continued west through Blanco to Bloomfield. Why did the craft turn left on SR 17 when it exited Largo?  Because that is the only bridge over the San Juan River in the area. Why do I know it went west out of Blanco?  Because Sandoval said it almost hit a mesa near Bloomfield which is 9 miles straight west of Blanco. Now a Valentine Archuleta suddenly appears on the scene and says he saw the saucer pass over his ranch in the early morning hours(perhaps around 4:00 a.m.?), strike a ridge and head north towards Hart Canyon. I think this is the first time a Valentine Archuleta is mentioned in the Ramsey book so where did he come from? Is this the V. A. mentioned in Steinman’s book (page 258)? As related by Mr. Steinman, all V.A. could remember was that he saw the craft somewhere between 1948 and 1950!!!!!! In addition, V. A. lived in Blanco (although on the wrong river). So, did it hit the mesa at Blanco or at Bloomfield?

Let’s go back to Mr. Sandoval and the craft. After it hit the mesa near Bloomfield, it must have either turned north and went over Aztec or flew northeast from Bloomfield to Hart Canyon. This is apparently where Mr. Sandoval lost sight of the craft because if it crashed between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m., it took Mr. Sandoval another two hours or so to reach the crash site. If he followed the craft to Bloomfield from Blanco and if the craft flew to the northeast, the only logical way for him to go was through Aztec and then turn north on Highway 550. How did he know to turn up the Hart Canyon road? It must have been those danged bread crumbs again.  There is another option we should consider. Maybe the captain of the craft knew that SR 44 was paved all the way from Cuba through Counselors to Aztec and decided not to force Mr. Sandoval to drive that bumpy road down Largo Canyon in the dark.

On page 146, Mr. Ramsey again demonstrates his lack of knowledge of the New Mexico highway system. Don’t forget, Mr. Ramsey maintains that to get to Aztec from Cuba, the road turns north at Counselors and goes down Largo Canyon.  Yet Mr. Sandoval reportedly  watched for speeders on Highway 44 that connected Bernalillo to Farmington. This is the same road one uses to get to Aztec. SR 44 goes from Bernalillo through Cuba to Bloomfield. At Bloomfield you either continue north to Aztec or turn left and go to Farmington.

Mr. Hernandez told Mr. Ramsey that Andy Andrews, New Mexico State Police from Farmington and Mr. Sandoval got into an argument with Dr. Lincoln LaPaz from the University of New Mexico who was investigating “green light” sightings in the Cuba area. Mr. Hernandez said that one of the two officers “almost came over the table at LaPaz”. I asked Andy’s daughter, Evaleene, if her dad ever patrolled from Farmington to Cuba and had he ever mentioned anything about green lights and the incident with Dr. LaPaz. She said he did patrol to Cuba but that he never mentioned seeing any green lights or the incident with Dr. LaPaz. 




In chapter nine, Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Metzger go into great detail about how one  could move the craft, separated into three pieces, using an Army M26 6X6 tractor and an M15 semi-trailer. I think the equipment as shown on page 159 would have worked quite well for the move of the craft.  According to Wikipedia, the M26 had a crew of seven, a top speed of 26 mph and a 140 gallon gas tank. To me, the devil is in the details and so I pose the following questions:

1.With the craft broken into three sections, were three M26’s used for the move?
2. Where were they located and how long did it take them to arrive on the scene?

3. If two 60 foot cranes were required, how were they transported to the site?

4. Assuming two bulldozers were required, were they driven to the site or hauled in on low-boy trailers?

Given the strange appearance of the M26 (the armored version) and M15 semi-trailer, how could they, along with the 60 foot cranes, not have been noticed on the way to the site, lumbering along at a top speed of 26 MPH.  

We are now all loaded and ready for the move. I assume we will have a convoy of three loaded M26’s, perhaps a fuel truck, 2 semi’s pulling low-boy trailers for the bulldozers (unless they were driven all the way) and an unknown number of support vehicles including outriders to clear the road ahead of oncoming traffic because of a load 50 feet wide. Let’s assume we make it down Pump Canyon to the San Juan River without being seen(Right!!!).  Pump Canyon enters the San Juan River just west of Archuleta, NM and east of Blanco, NM. Now I think it is important to discuss a little history of the area between Blanco and Archuleta.

The following information is taken from The Place Names of New Mexico -Revised Edition” by Robert Julyan: 1998 University of New Mexico Press

 ARCHULETA : “…settlement on S bank of the San Juan River…at Gobernador Wash…The Archuletas were among the first Hispanic settlers in this area in the 1870’s and their descendants still live in and around this tiny community…”.

BLANCO : When Hispanic settlers moved into the San Juan Basin in the 1870’s, Blanco was among their first communities, and because it was more centrally located with respect to Largo Canyon, site of much farming and ranching….”

 The point I wish to make here is that the area between Blanco and Archuleta has been continuously occupied and farmed since the 1870’s. On June 29-30, 2012 my wife and I drove both the north and south sides of the San Juan River from Blanco past Archuleta to the San Juan River Bridge (this bridge did not exist in 1948) on NM 173 and NM 173 did not run this way until 1963 when Aztec volunteers with help from the Ray L. Atchison Construction Company built the Navajo Dam road from Aztec. In 1948, NM 173  was a 14 mile long dirt road from Blanco to Aztec. When we drove the area we found that both sides of the river are extensively farmed and fenced.  I suspect that hasn’t changed much since 1948 or earlier. This is important when you consider how the convoy crossed the San Juan River.

 One can’t cross the river at the Pump Canyon entrance because of the high bluffs on the south side of the river. So you have to start moving down the north side of the river for a few miles until you can find a crossing. You may have to make your own road, go through fences, cross private property and ultimately find a place to cross the river. No matter where you cross the river, the bulldozers would be needed to blade an entrance into and out of the river for the crossing to be made. This convoy would have been the major topic of conversation in the valley and I suspect the property owners might have taken umbrage with their fences being cut and roads being cut across their property. Does anyone find it odd that there is no report of such an event ever happening in the area? Unless, of course, it didn’t happen at all. Certainly George Bowra would have reported it in the Aztec Independent Review. More about him later.

So now the convoy is headed up Largo Canyon as described by Mr. Metzger in his report to Mr. Ramsey: “The tightest clearance on Largo Canyon Road is 39 feet above ground level. Largo Canyon would have been the natural choice, since “U.S. HIGHWAY 550 HADN’T BEEN BUILT YET”(emphasis added) . He goes on to say it would be a simple matter to make it to Counselors. If this is the major road to Aztec, where is all the oncoming traffic and what about all the traffic following the convoy? How did they get around a 50 foot wide load? Apparently it was no problem.

Then Mr. Metzger makes one of the most incredible statements in the book when on page 158, he states “Once out of the canyon, traveling across the high desert north of Cuba, through Gallina, Abiquiu and Espanola northward around to the eastern slope of the extinct volcano where Los Alamos is located would be a relatively easy matter”. He obviously doesn’t know the difference between deserts and mountains and he overlooked the fact that you have to turn south at Abiquiu to head towards Espanola. I suspect he and the Ramseys have never even been on this road (SR 96).Before I get back to all the problems he overlooked in the easy drive from Counselors to Los Alamos, I wish you could all see the map of the recovery route as shown on page 160 of the Ramsey book. His route doesn’t even go through Gallina, Abiquiu and Espanola!!!! Instead, it goes from Cuba south to Bernalillo(not named on the map), through Santa Fe (not named on the map) and then on to Los Alamos. Credibility, Credibility, Credibility!

From Counselors, it is approximately 36 miles to where one turns left on NM  96 for the drive over to U.S. 84 so I will just mention a few issues worthy of consideration:

At Counselors, NM 44 goes SE towards Cuba. The load is 50 feet wide. I recently measured the width of old U.S. Highway 85 south of Socorro. This is the road on which I drove to college in 1952. The pavement is 24 feet wide. I suspect that in 1948, NM 44 was about the same width. That means that if the M26 drove down the center of the road, the load would extend 13 feet past the pavement on each side of the road - and this on the main road from Albuquerque to the San Juan Basin. The convoy could easily have been a quarter of mile long, perhaps even with a state police escort to clear the way of traffic. And no one saw it?????????

SR 96 from north of Cuba through Gallina to U.S. Highway 84 was a graded dirt road about 60 miles long. On this route, you pass by the villages of La Jara, Regina, Gallina and Coyote where you then had  to cross the Chama River to reach U.S. 84. These villages were settled between 1818 and 1911 (The Place Names of New Mexico, Second Edition 1998 by Robert Julyan). Surely, someone would have seen and reported this strange looking convoy. How did they cross the Chama River near Abiquiu? No mention is made of this feat.

North of Abiquiu, SR 96 ends at U.S. Highway 84, the major north/south route from Chama and Tierra Amarilla to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and points south. Again, here is a convoy going unnoticed with a 13 foot overhang on each side of the pavement on a major north/south route. The highway would have to be cleared. It seems that someone would have mentioned it.

And how about the town of Espanola? How do you get a convoy with a load 50 feet wide and 86.5 feet long unseen through a town the size of Espanola?     

How do you get from Espanola to Los Alamos? In the late 1940’s, I was returning to New Mexico from visiting relatives in Kansas. My uncle wanted to see Taos, so we drove from Taos to Espanola and my uncle decided to take a shortcut over the Jemez Mountains to Cuba. We went up a very steep and narrow road and ended up at the entrance to Los Alamos where we were turned around and ultimately found our way across the Jemez Mountains to Cuba. Remembering this steep and narrow road up to Los Alamos, I talked to the Los Alamos Historical Society, related my story to them about my trip with my uncle up the steep road and I asked them if, in 1948, it would have been possible for a load 50 feet wide and 86.5 feet long to have made it up that road. The answer was definite “No.” I was told that when they ultimately widened the road, the trucks moving the rocks had to backup several times just to negotiate the curves.



This, dear reader, concludes my review of the three books mentioned earlier. When I started this review I was a skeptic, but now, like George Bowra before me, I have not seen anything to convince me that a UFO landed in Hart Canyon. In Mike McClellan’s article (as reprinted on page 213 of the Steinman book,)the following is stated about George Bowra: “Bowra had been in Aztec for 70 years. He ran the paper for 44 years. “Nobody could have gotten in there and out (Hart Canyon) without attracting a lot of attention…Bowra stated emphatically that the roads have never been cordoned by anyone. He became interested enough in the story to speak with what he estimates to be over 100 people…None of them recalls the UFO landing or subsequent military movement…”.

Mr. Ramsey relied in a large part on his interviews with Mr. Noland, Mr. Farley. Mr. Riggs and Mr. Hernandez. I don’t doubt their veracity,  but I certainly do question their memories. I have already given my opinion on some of Mr. Ramsey’s research, particularly the highway routing in northwest New Mexico and his lack of detail on how the disc could have been moved. When Mr. Steinman placed Blanco on the banks of the Animas River, he lost credibility with me immediately.

 It is my intent to give credit to everyone whose work I have used. If I overlooked someone, I apologize. I have not used any UFO sites or books other than those I have mentioned. My conclusions are my own. I would encourage everyone to buy and read the three books I have here reviewed and draw your own conclusions about what did or did not happen in Hart Canyon. I would love to hear rebuttals from Mr. Ramsey, Mr. Steinman and Dr. Friedman about my review of their work. I am sorry I never had the opportunity to challenge them during the Aztec UFO Symposiums but I do thank them for helping raise money for the new Aztec Library. It is a far cry from the old one room Altrurian Library where I gained my love of reading. 

If I were to give an overall opinion of the three books I have just reviewed, I would have to quote one of my favorite college professors, Dr.. Claude Dove who would describe something questionable as “PIFFLE, PURE DAMN PIFFLE”. 

I could not close without noting that I have seen three UFO’s but they were just that -- unidentified flying objects. The first one I saw was in the late 1940’s. It was later reported to be a weather balloon. In the mid-1990’s, my wife and I were camped at Snow Lake in the Gila National Forest of SW New Mexico. Well after dark, I pointed out to her what I thought was a satellite moving from east to west in the night sky but when it was directly overhead, it made an abrupt left turn and headed straight south. I had never seen a satellite do that before. The other sighting looked like a hot air balloon on fire moving at low level from east to west. It was a short distance north of our house but then it abruptly turned north and disappeared in the distance. Dear Reader, your guess is as good as mine.




Since finishing my review of the three books about the alleged Aztec flying saucer, I decided to check the internet to see what information was there about UFO’s. It appears there has developed quite a “cottage industry” about UFO’s. This industry seems to feed on itself. I think Frank Scully did a great job of describing this cottage industry, although in a different context when he said “Men stay with what they believe, or fight for buggy whips in an era of automobiles for the simple reason that their livelihoods are all tied up in buggy whips”.

A Mr. Kevin Randle, in a May 30, 2012 posted on the internet, had two very interesting comments about the Ramsey book. As noted in the Ramsey book, The Aztec Incident - Recovery at Hart Canyon, Mr. Ramsey relied quite heavily on information he obtained for Doug Noland and Virgil Riggs. Mr. Randle notes that “Doug Noland tells a robust tale, but is slightly contaminated because he approached William Steinman who wrote about the Aztec Crash in the mid-1980’s”. He also notes that Mr. Riggs relied on a story about the Aztec Crash that was told to him by a Donald “Sam” Bass who was in the Air Force with Mr. Riggs.

According to Mr. Ramsey, his research revealed that Sam Bass had been killed in a hit-and-run accident while in the Air Force in Vietnam. On the other hand, Mr. Randle notes “No one named Bass was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Vietnam and no one who served in the Air Force named Bass died in Vietnam. Clearly, the story told to the Ramsey’s was untrue”.

If Mr. Randle is correct in what he reported, then I think the veracity of both Mr. Noland and Mr. Riggs must be questioned.

Monte Shriver
Las Cruces, NM

Friday, February 08, 2013

Aztec in Perspective by Monte Shriver - Part Two

(Blogger’s Note: The following is reprinted by permission. Given the length of the original article, I have broken it into three parts and will publish all three over the next week. It was written by one-time resident of Aztec, Monte Shriver, and provides an interesting insight into the alleged crash. Again, reprinted by permission of Monte Shriver.)



In his forward to this book, Stanton Friedman  states “In this outstanding new book, Scott and Suzanne Ramsey have done an incredible job of really digging the evidence…and that none of the objections made to the reality of the Aztec Crash story stand up to careful scrutiny”. He concludes by saying “This is a very important book setting new standards for investigation, persistence and the casting of a very wide net to locate witnesses.”. On the contrary, my review of this book has found numerous errors, dubious conclusions and improbable events.

I can find no evidence to support is Mr. Ramsey’s statement on page 27 of -Behind the Flying Saucers - Updated Edition published by Conspiracy Journal in which he states “…Hart Canyon Road used to be the best way to get to Durango, by stage coach….” My research found the following:

William S. Wallace’s  “Stage Coaching in Territorial New Mexico” quoting from the New Mexico Historical Review 32 (1957): 207 “1882 - Aztec, S.E. of Durango, Co. 42 Miles by stage.” I seriously doubt if you could reach Aztec in 42 miles by using Hart Canyon.

“San Juan County, New Mexico - A Photographic History: Volume II” on page 33: “…The normal route for supplies took about a month. The route was from Farmington to Aztec, up the river to Animas City, CO…Arrington started the first daily four-horse mail stage between Durango and Farmington on July 1, 1890.…”

Aztec: A Story of Old Aztec from the Anasazi to Statehood by  C.V. Koogler and Virginia Koogler Whitney: page 66: Circa 1892 in one of the first meetings of the San Juan County Commission “…The first road matter was the presentation of a petition for a county road leading down the Animas River beginning at the Colorado line and running on the west side of the river to Aztec….”  I know that road as the “Ruins Road” and it joins U.S. 550 at Cedar Hill. The book is also full of numerous references of the early settlers going up the Animas River to Animas  City, CO for supplies and how one had to cross the Animas River 9 times between Aztec and Trimble Springs, CO.

Report of the Territorial Governor of New Mexico to the Secretary of the Interior (1902), page 580: “…At present, a daily stage line to Durango…place the people of the county in connection with the railroads. Durango, Colorado…is the nearest station on the north, a distance of 38 miles from Aztec…” 

The following are either small errors or large errors depending upon your point of view:

Page 18:  “…drove 148 miles from Albuquerque airport to Aztec…” Actually, the distance from the airport to Aztec in more like 180 miles or so.

Page 23:  “…the Highway Grill was one of the only restaurants in Aztec in 1948...” I thought it was called the Highway Lounge in 1948, but in the July 1-15, 2011 copy of the Talon, Janelle Osburn remembers it being called George’s Bar in 1948 and was owned by George and Thelma Derby. That now sounds correct to me. Sometime later, I believe the bar was purchased by Bill Faverino and Jack Vescovi and the name was probably  changed to the Highway Lounge at that time. According to Betty Lawson Waggoner, they didn’t start serving food there until the mid-1990’s.

Page 143: “…in 1945 New Mexico was the fifth largest state by area…” Actually, it was the fourth largest state by area until Alaska was admitted to the Union in 1959.

Page 143: “Kirtland Army Air Field was a large fighter base as well as home of the Eighth Air Force”. I can find no record of the Headquarters of the Eighth Air Force ever having been anywhere in New Mexico.

Page 147: Johnny Hernandez was driving from Regina, NM to Cuba with a truck load of logs and turned onto Highway 44 for “the LONG AND DESOLATE RIDE BACK TO CUBA (emphasis added).” It’s about 3 miles from where the Regina road (NM State Road 96) hits Highway 44 into Cuba. That may be a long and desolate 3 mile ride in North Carolina but it sure isn’t in New Mexico. I should note that it is only about 12 miles from Regina to Highway 44.

On the same trip, Mr. Hernandez  saw a bright green light passing over his truck at a tremendous speed and then headed north toward Taylor Mountain.  In Herbert E. Ungnade’s 1965 book Guide to New Mexico Mountains, he does not list a “Taylor Mountain”. Perhaps Mr. Ramsey meant Mount Taylor, but that is 80-90 miles southwest of Cuba, not north and Mr. Hernandez certainly would have known where Mount Taylor was located. More about the green lights later.

Page 194 - In 1946, a radar site was built near El Vado Lake. “The lake was built for Los Alamos as a power plant with one single General Electric Hydro Generator to supply power to Los Alamos.”  Not true about the dam. Actually, the dam impounding the lake was built in1934-35 and is used for flood control purposes and as storage for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. The Los Alamos Utility Department built, owns and operates the 8 MW hydroelectric facility at the dam but it was not put into service until 1988.

Page 199 - In 1948 “... the site was owned by H. D. Dunning or Harold Dunning, as the locals called him….” I never heard anyone, including my Dad, call him anything but “Hy” Dunning. I’m not sure of the spelling of “Hy,” and I didn’t know his first name was Harold until I read it in this book.

Pages 154-5: Five-mile crossing bridge. In checking out the route through Largo Canyon, Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Bill Metzger found a railroad bridge at five-mile crossing that would not have been wide enough to transport the disc. However, during a walking survey of the bridge, they found a nameplate “…showing it to be manufactured long before the flying saucer incident,…”  But “Bill’s encyclopedic knowledge of the railroad industry quickly came into play as he realized this was a narrow gauge railroad bridge…Bill had to explain that…the bridge was probably moved from a dismantled rail line and installed across the dry wash…”.  Mr. Ramsey then states “To our surprise, we learned through research that, indeed, the old bridge was in fact a frontier narrow gauge railroad bridge from the Bloomfield area that was moved to Largo Canyon in the 1960’s to aid oil field development.”

How good was this “research ” (emphasis added)? It is not very good in my opinion. Here is what the New Mexico State Highway Department has to say about the bridge.   

New Mexico Historical Bridge Survey
New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department
Federal Highway Administration Region 6

Largo Canyon Bridge No. 8118 County Road A-80 near Blanco. 

“This bridge was originally constructed in 1928 over the San Juan River at Blanco by the Pueblo Bridge and Construction Company. In 1966 it was relocated about five miles east over Largo Arroyo on a county Road. The Largo Canyon Bridge is a steel through truss and has a total length of 254 feet. Its roadway is only 13 feet wide. A Warren Truss consisting of seven triangular panels was used in its design. The Largo Canyon Bridge is one of the longest truss spans constructed in New Mexico”.


When the new highway bridge was built over the San Juan River in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, the old bridge described above was moved a short distance from the new bridge. A high school friend of mine, Bruce Hare, told me that San Juan County hired his two brothers in 1966 to move the old bridge to five-mile crossing. On page 101 of Marilu Waybourn’s book “Images of America - Aztec”, you will find a picture of the old two-way bridge over the Animas River at Aztec noting that in 1929, it too was built by the Pueblo Bridge and Construction Company. 

On June 30, 2012, my wife and I visited the bridge and found the following nameplate on it. 



Before I discuss finding the disc, I need to discuss why Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Metzger were in Largo Canyon in the first place. To quote again from Dr. Friedman in the Foreword to the book  “Using old maps and their consultant’s expertise, they were able to show…transport of three large segments (of the UFO) was feasible using…existing roads, appropriate maps etc…This was truly research by investigation rather than using the debunker approach of research by proclamation.” 

In Chapter Nine, “Moving the Craft”, Mr. Ramsey maintains that his research revealed that today’s Highway 550, old NM 44, is a far different route today that it was in 1948 when the old road turned hard right (north) at Counselors eventually entering Largo Canyon and reaching the Blanco area. He maintains that “When the Chaco Canyon ruins were excavated in the early 1950’s, the State Highway and Transportation Department decided to re-route U.S. Highway 44 so that it would pass close to the ruins…”(Emphasis added.) This re-route and excavation must come as a surprise to both the National Park Service and the New Mexico Highway Department. 

My research shows that Mr. Ramsey is dead wrong in his conclusions about the road from Bernalillo through Cuba to Aztec. My conclusion is based on my own personal knowledge having traveled all or part of the road since 1940, discussions with Gerald Williams who traveled the road in 1946 and my review of the Official Road Map of New Mexico issued by the New Mexico State Highway Department for the years 1923, 1925, 1936, 1940 and 1947-1951. The 1936 map shows the road in the same basic configuration as it is today(contrary to Mr. Ramsey’s assertion) with the only major differences being road surface and highway number designation as follows:

1936: The road was designated a primary State Route from Bernalillo to Aztec. It was State Road(SR)44 from Bernalillo to Cuba and SR 55 from Cuba to Aztec. The road was gravel from Bernalillo to about 10 miles south of La Ventana and then was classified as graded the rest of the way to Aztec except for small sections of gravel around Lybrooks and Bloomfield.  Interestingly enough, it shows Chaco Canyon National Monument about 25 miles S/SE of the highway just as it is today. I could not find any maps between 1925 and 1936, so I don’t know how long before 1936 the road assumed its present configuration. Also, I think it is worth noting that in the 1936 map, SR 44 reappears as a 3rd class route (the lowest state category) from around Counselors apparently down Largo Canyon to just east of Blanco. This designation and road disappears from all the subsequent maps that I found.

1940: SR 44 is now paved all the way from Bernalillo to Cuba. SR 55 is gravel from Cuba to Bloomfield and graded from Bloomfield to Aztec.

1947: The road is now designated SR 44 all the way from Bernalillo to Aztec and is paved all the way except where it is gravel from about 10 miles south of Bloomfield to Aztec.

1948: The road is now paved all the way to Aztec. At page 152, the Ramsey book states “The 1948 road was improved road for the most part, meaning paved or at least gravel packed with heavy sand”. Of course, he had the road going down Largo Canyon from Counselors.  

I hope the history of the Bernalillo-Aztec road will dispel the assertion that in 1948 the main road was down Largo Canyon from Counselors to Blanco. I should note that the  1925 Road Map shows the Haynes Trading Post 37 miles NW of  Cuba with two roads going northwest, one apparently down Largo to Aztec and the other to Farmington. As best I can tell from the Legend on the map these two unnumbered roads were classified by the New Mexico Highway Department as “Second Class - Under maintenance and all year roads except after continuous rains.” According to the 1954 book Wild, Woolly and Wonderful by Jim and Ann Counselor, the Hayne’s Trading Post was closed sometime in the late 1920’s -- before the Counselor’s built their trading post (circa 1930) where it is located today. I stopped at the trading post recently and they have early pictures of the post taken in either the 1930’s or 1940’s.  

According to the Photographic History of San Juan County - Volume II on page 33 “A trip to Albuquerque meant wagon roads either to Blanco, through Largo Canyon and Wash  to the settlement of Haynes, to Cuba and beyond or all the way to Shiprock through Gallup and then to Albuquerque”. On page 25, there is a 1927 picture of the ferry across the San Juan River at Blanco looking east, 1927 and page 24 notes “The main route from Albuquerque was following Largo Canyon to the river, taking the ferry, and proceeding to Blanco and beyond…”. The ferry was obviously replaced by the bridge which was built in 1928. No later than 1936, SR 44 replaced this route as the road was moved to the west to its present configuration, now designated U.S. 550. 

In all the years I have traveled the road, I can recall only three road relocations. The road immediately south of Bloomfield used to run slightly  west of where it is today. I suspect it was moved to its present location when the road was paved in 1948. The next relocation was from Cuba to La Ventana where the road was moved west out of the foothills to where it is today. As one drives north from La Ventana today, the old road is visible coming down the hill on the right. The next relocation was about 10 miles south of La Ventana where the road was moved slightly east for a few miles. I hope some of my classmates from the class of 1952 can help my memory in this regard. 

I was stunned to hear the allegation that the road had been re-routed because of excavations at Chaco. During 1940-41, my Dad accompanied by me would haul coal from Durango, Colorado to Chaco for the National Park Service. We would take the road from Bloomfield to Huerfano Trading Post (now abandoned), turn to the SW and go by the Otis Trading Post(shown on the 1947 and 1948 maps) and then drive 25 miles to Chaco. In 1961 or 1962, my wife and I turned off SR 44 at Blanco Trading Post en route to Crownpoint via Chaco. We never went in through Nageezi because it was past Blanco Trading Post. The Nageezi and Blanco Trading Post entrances are now closed so you must enter about 5 miles SE of the old Nageezi entrance. The archaeologist at Chaco Canyon National Monument told me that there had been no reroute of SR44 in the 1950’s because of excavations at Chaco. In fact, the 1936 official state road map and all subsequent road maps show the Monument to be approximately 25 miles S/SW of SR 44, now US 550. 

What is really important to note here is that in 1948 NM 44 (now U.S. 550) was not just the way from Cuba to Aztec. Rather, it was the main route to the San Juan Basin from Albuquerque, Santa Fe and the Rio Grande Valley down to El Paso not mention most of eastern New Mexico. NM 17 (now U.S. 64) was considered a third class route (dirt) from Dulce to a few miles east of Blanco where it became a secondary state route on into Bloomfield. The only other paved route from the south was from Gallup to Shiprock to Farmington and Aztec but that route would normally only be used by people from the far western side of the state.


In reading the Ramsey book, I got the impression that most of his direct information about the crash and the crash site came from Doug Noland and Ken Farley. However, at page 200, Mr. Ramsey states that “The story was told to me directly by oilfield workers, particularly Doug Noland…”. I can’t find anywhere in his book where he named any oilfield workers other that Doug Noland.  

As related in Chapter One, “Eight Months After Roswell”, there is a summary of the story told to Mr. Ramsey some 50 years after fact by Doug Noland, a 19 year-old man working for the El Paso Oil Company (I wonder if he means El Paso Natural Gas Company?). The time line of events really seems questionable to me.  Doug arrives in the predawn hours. (Sunrise was

6:08 a.m. local time.) He arrived at the home of his supervisor, Bill Ferguson at 5:00 a.m..  Unfortunately, we have no idea where Bill Ferguson lived, but for Doug to drive from Mancos, Colorado must have taken at least an hour which means he left his home around 4:00 a.m. I would think that would mean that Doug had to be up by at least 3:30 a.m.  To work this schedule five days a week seems a little fishy to me. I base my hour estimate of Doug’s travel time on the fact that during the summer of 1956, I was a tool dresser for John Pool and we were drilling a top-to-bottom hole near the old Fort Lewis College at Hesperus, CO. It took us at least an hour to get from Aztec to the rig. 

Bill tells Doug that a brush fire is burning in Hart Canyon near one of the company’s drip tanks and that they had to get out there fast (There is no mention of how or when Ferguson was notified, how far they had to travel or how long it took them to get there). Upon arrival, they found oil field workers (never identified) already there who told them that the fire was on top of the mesa and that something strange was sitting on top of the hill. I found nothing to indicate the fire was started by the craft. This means someone saw the fire on the mesa around 4:00 a.m. The Dunnings apparently didn’t know about the fire and 4:00 a.m. is a bit too early for oilfield workers to go to work since it is still dark. And, it would have to have been one hell of fire if it was seen from Highway 550! I think the illogical time sequences puts the whole story in doubt.  

Anyway, they found the disc in the pre-dawn light and when the sun came up they were able to see inside the disc. Soon “others” started arriving on the Mesa including local ranchers. No mention of how all these other people heard about the disc. After the ranchers arrived, a law enforcement office from Cuba arrived stating that he had followed the disc from Cuba (more about this improbable happening to follow). Now, even more people show up including a law enforcement officer from Aztec whose name Doug had forgotten.  

At page 4 of Chapter 1, Mr. Ramsey states that “Doug was living in Mancos, Colorado at the time and was familiar with all the Aztec people, as well as county law enforcement, being that the town is also the San Juan County seat.” I find this comment hard to believe. I grew up in Aztec and other than Mims Lane, I didn’t know any of the county law enforcement except for the name of the sheriff. How would a young man, living in Mancos, Colorado who drove 50 miles one-way just to reach his supervisor’s house in the pre-dawn hours and worked in the oil patch all day ever have the opportunity to be “familiar with all the Aztec people as well as county law enforcement”? Mr. Ramsey also states at page 201 that Doug Noland “...lived in Mancos, CO before making Aztec his home, where he worked day and night in the oil patch as well as for the community of Aztec (emphasis added).” On June 29-30, 2012 I attended my 60th high school reunion in  Aztec along with the class of 1951. Almost all of the attendees spent their entire lives in Aztec. Some of them spent their careers with El Paso Natural Gas Company and some were in business there. Not a single person I talked to remembered a Doug Noland ever living in Aztec, much less working for the community of Aztec.  

It is impossible to determine who the local law enforcement officer mentioned was. In 1948, I believe J. C. McKinsie was the Aztec Town Marshall. I remember him walking around the downtown area with his flashlight checking businesses at night. Gerald Williams remembers him patrolling the alleys at night in his Studebaker car. Since he worked at night, I doubt if he would have visited the site. Who would have notified him? State Policeman Andy Andrews lived in Farmington so his presence is doubtful. That would leave the Sheriff’s office in Aztec but in Steinman’s book on page 213 in apparently reprinting an article by Mike McClellan, it was reported by Sheriff Dan Sullivan that “His own father was sheriff at the time and had no recollection of a crash, aircraft being in the area or anything that would support Carr’s claims.” 

Next we have Ken Farley who was driving to Cedar Hill, New Mexico from Durango, Colorado to pick up a friend (unidentified) and drive to San Diego, California. Before I go further, I need to give you, dear reader, some distances. It is 4.4 miles from Aztec to the Hart Canyon entrance and 5.7 miles from the old store in Cedar Hill to the Hart Canyon entrance. Due to the nature of the terrain, it is impossible to see the entrance to Hart Canyon from either Cedar Hill or Aztec until you are effectively at the entrance to the Canyon. With that in mind, let’s go back to Ken Farley. Upon arriving to pick his friend up at Cedar Hill ( we have no idea what time he arrived to pickup his friend), Ken is told “…there was a lot of activity just south of their pick-up point near an old dirt road…” There is no mention of how his friend knew this. He  would have to have been at the entrance to Hart Canyon to see the activity. But the story gets better. The friend then tells Ken that “..there had been some vehicles, including a police car going in that direction…”. And by the time they got to the entrance to Hart Canyon, they were able to follow the dirt and dust clouds the other cars and trucks were making to arrive at the crash site. It must have been quite a caravan charging up Hart Canyon. Anyone having any doubts about the sequence of events yet? 

Well, here is one more event for you to ponder. A preacher, living in Aztec, on his way to his new church in Mancos, also saw the commotion and headed up the canyon.  One would have to conclude that with all the commotion and dust and vehicles going up Hart Canyon, half of Aztec must have been there. Why didn’t people in Aztec know about this event? I think there are two possibilities: 1) The story is true and the government people on site swore everyone to secrecy and told them never to reveal the event to anyone, or 2) It never happened and the secrecy story makes good cover as to why no one knew about it.