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Volume 28

The Skeptics UFO Newsletter

Philip J. Klass

July 1, 1994

This volume is available as a PDF file. Download »

“Top Secret” And “Secret” Documents From National Archives Reveal That If UFO Crashed Near Roswell, Top USAF Iintelligence Officials Were Never Told

On July 27, 1948—roughly a year after it is claimed that a crashed flying saucer was recovered near Roswell, N.M.—USAF’s Director of Intelligence, Maj. Gen. C. P. Cabell, directed his staff to conduct a study of UFO sighting reports “to determine the tactics of [unidentified] flying objects and the probability of their existence,” according to a once “TOP SECRET” memorandum from the National Archives recently obtained by SUN. (Emphasis added.)

The “TOP SECRET” memorandum to the Chief, Air Intelligence Division, dated Oct. 11, 1948, prepared by Col. Brooke E. Allen, Chief of the Air Estimates Branch, in response to Maj. Gen. Cabell’s July 27 request, said: "An exhaustive study was made of all information pertinent to the subject in this Division and the Intelligence Division of Air Materiel Command. [SUN Note: AMC Headquarters was located at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where the Roswell UFO debris allegedly was sent for analysis.] Opinions of both aeronautical engineers and well qualified intelligence specialists have been solicited in an endeavor to consider all possible aspects of the questions. Because the subject matter is of such an elusive nature, this study is presented as a preliminary report to be reconsidered when information on hand warrants it.” (Emphasis added.) “Tentative conclusions have been drawn and are as follows:

  1. It must be accepted that some type of flying objects have been observed, although their identification and origin are not discernible. In the interest of national defense it would be unwise to overlook the possibility that some of these objects may be of foreign origin. [i.e. Soviet Union]
  2. Assuming that the objects might eventually be identified as foreign or foreign-sponsored devices, the possible reason for their appearance over the U.S. requires consideration. Several possible explanations appear noteworthy, viz:
    1. To negate U.S. confidence in the atom bomb as the most advanced and decisive weapon in warfare.
    2. To perform photographic reconnaissance missions.
    3. To test U.S. air defenses.
    4. To conduct familiarization flights over U.S. territory.”

[The new book, “The Truth About The UFO Crash At Roswell,” by Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt [SUN #27/May 1994], claims that dozens of Roswell civilians and military personnel saw or quickly learned about the crashed saucer and several ET bodies. Also, that two photographers were flown in from Washington to take pictures and movies of the crashed saucer and ET bodies (p. 10). Yet, a year later, the USAF’s Director of Intelligence—with a Top Secret clearance and an obvious “need-to-know"—had never seen any of this hard evidence or even heard about it through the “grapevine."]

More Than A Year After “Roswell,” Air Materiel Command Is Asked To Determine Whether UFOs Are “Of Domestic Or Foreign (USSR) Origin”

The Allen memorandum prompted Maj. Gen. Cabell to write to the Commanding General, Air Materiel Command, on Nov. 3, 1948. The letter, originally classified “SECRET,” said in part: “Identification and origin of these objects [UFOs] is not discernible to this Headquarters. It is imperative, therefore, that efforts to determine whether these objects are of domestic or foreign origin must be increased until conclusive evidence is obtained. The needs of national defense require such evidence in order that appropriate countermeasures may be taken.” (Emphasis added.)

The last two paragraphs of Cabell’s letter challenge the popular claim that the U.S. Government had adopted an official policy of “UFO/crashed-saucer Coverup” more than a year earlier, following the Roswell incident:

“In addition to the imperative need for evidence to permit countermeasures, is the necessity of informing the public as to the status of the problem. To date there has been too little data to present to the public. The press, however, is about to take it into its own hands and demand to be told what we do or do not know about the situation. Silence on our part will not long be acceptable.

“Request immediate information as to your conclusions to date and your recommendations as to the information to be given to the press. Your recommendation is requested also as to whether that information should be offered to the press or withheld until it is actively sought by the press.”

If Unusual Metallic Debris From Crashed Saucer Was Sent To WPAFB As Claimed, Battelle Scientists Should Have Aided In The Analysis

All Roswell crashed-saucer books report that the thin metal foil-like material recovered from the Brazel ranch—which more than 30 years later Maj. Jesse Marcel and his son would claim had extraordinary characteristics—was flown to WPAFB in Dayton for analysis. If so, USAF scientists would logically have consulted with scientists at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, only 60 miles from Dayton, according to an article in the May/June 1993 issue of International UFO Reporter (IUR), published by the Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). The article was jointly authored by Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of CUFOS, and Jennie Zeidman, a CUFOS board member. Zeidman worked at Battelle in 1952 when it conducted a computer analysis of more than 2,000 UFO sighting reports for the USAF’s Project Blue Book and knew some of the scientists involved. She interviewed several of them for the article.

According to Zeidman, “During the 1940s and 1950s Battelle was surely one of the premier metallurgy research facilities in the world....Battelle was well established as a trusted and respected facility for Top Secret work (including the Manhattan Project). Its staff included top metallurgists, welding technology experts, physical chemists, and fuel application specialists....The supposition that Battelle analyzed Roswell (or other) UFO artifacts is a simple and obvious theory. William of Occam would have approved.”

But Zeidman reported: “Much to our surprise and initial puzzlement, none of our interviews and none of our other research have yet provided any evidence that Battelle has ever been in possession of UFO artifacts, for Roswell or any other UFO case....As for the elderly gentlemen whom we interviewed...their choice of words, their directness, their body language all indicate that to their knowledge no UFO artifacts were ever analyzed at Battelle.” (Emphasis added.)


Hopefully GAO will contact Battelle to see if they have any reports on the Roswell debris. But if there are none, GAO should remember Stanton Friedman’s (famous) Law: “Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence.” Friedman’s Law applies to whether Santa Claus exists, whether your spouse is faithful, as well as to crashed saucers. Skeptics UFO Newsletter -3- July 1994

TIME Magazine Exposes Dr. Mack’s Abduction Tale Credulity

Just as Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack was in the middle of a massive national TV publicity campaign to promote his new book, “Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens,” a “Time-bomb” exploded in his face. The April 25 issue of Time carried a two-page expose under the headline: “THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE: Harvard psychiatrist John Mack claims that tales of UFO abductions are real. But experts and former patients say his research is shoddy.”

The Time article included an account of how a 37-year-old woman named Donna Bassett, during a regressive hypnosis session with Mack, recalled that she had been abducted during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and taken aboard a UFO where she found President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The Soviet leader was so distraught at the prospect of a nuclear war that he was crying. To console him, Bassett said she sat on his lap, put her arms around his neck and consoled the Soviet leader. “Mack became so excited that he leaned on the bed too heavily, and it collapsed,” according to the Time article.

When Mack appeared on Cable News Network’s “Crossfire” talk-show on April 29, he was asked if it was true that he had been taken in by Bassett’s tall tale. Mack replied: “I don’t know whether this is a made-up story or not.” This prompted co-host Michael Kinsley to ask: “Do you believe she really was abducted by Aliens even though she says she wasn’t and that she made it all up?” Mack responded: “I’m not prepared to say I can accept that story that she said that she made it all up. Because a lot of people don’t want to believe this when they get away from the people, the person they're working with. They may deny the whole experience.” But a few moments later, when Mack was asked by SUN’s editor, who also was a guest, “So you believe the story is true about her sitting on Khrushchev’s lap in a flying saucer?,” Mack changed his tune: “No, some people will report things that you simply don’t rely on...” When Kinsley said, "So it’s not true that you indicated to her that clearly you believed her story about Khrushchev,” Mack replied: “Not at all, not a bit true...”

Later, SUN’s editor had an opportunity to hear a tape recording of the session with Bassett, held on Nov. 19, 1992. Mack was heard to coment: “You know, a lot of people believe that this whole abduction business is some form of devine intervention. And what better way to do it then to pull Kennedy and Khrushchev.” Then Mack asked: “Was [Defense Secretary] McNamara there?”


Although the MUFON UFO Journal has not yet published a review of Mack’s new book, its editor— Dennis Stacy—has published a review of the book in Britain’s respected New Scientist magazine. Stacy said that Mack’s book “could rank as one of the most credulous books ever written, primarily because there is so little in the way of follow-up investigation and physical corroboration. The author apparently only has to hear one of his abductees say or emote something to accept it as gospel truth. And if testimony, typically recovered under hypnosis, is sometimes absurd, then we'll just have to overturn a few Western scientific paradigms to accommodate same.” (In the same article, Stacy offers a much more favorable review of Jim Schnabel’s new skeptical book on UFO-abductions, titled “Dark White.”) [See SUN #25/Jan. 1994]

An even more devastating review of Mack’s book appears in the March/April issue of International UFO Reporter [IUR], published by the Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), authored by IUR editor Jerry Clark. Clark is a close friend of abduction-guru Budd Hopkins and his principal deputy, David Jacobs, but has been somewhat cautious in strongly endorsing the reality of UFO-abduction tales. Clark simply rejects all proposed prosaic explanations.

Clark writes: “In other words, to say that ordinary explanations fail—and so far all proposed counterexplanations have indeed failed—ought not therefore to give us free reign to reach for the most extreme possible conclusions. Nonetheless Mack here demands as our response to these tales nothing less than the wholesale rejection of the ‘Western scientific/materialistic world'....He asks us to overturn the world as we know it because people tell bizarre yet curiously consisten stories....He asks us to overturn the world as we know it because people tell bizarre yet curiously consistent stories....[Mack] shows only modest interest in investigative efforts...on the basic question of whether anything really happened...”

IUR’s editor notes that “throughout the book one reads accounts of appalling abuse of human beings, including children, by alleged aliens. These accounts are followed by the abductees’ expression of love for, and even identification with, their tormentors. Some even fantasize they themselves are aliens; those who cannot make that imaginative leap content themselves with the conviction that they are conduits through whom the alien’s message will spread to those of us who have been blinded by the Enlightenment. Mack approves wholly, even hinting that he may be a part of the big cosmic game plan....the aliens Mack would have us follow look not just unbelievable but undeserving of belief.”


Even sympathetic fellow psychiatrist (and “closet-believer”) Dr. James S. Gordon, professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University, revealed his disappointment in his review of Mack’s book in The New York Times. Gordon’s review notes that Mack fails to inform readers that “the experience of abduction seems to have changed in the last several years. People used to report that they felt that their germ plasm [sic] had been extracted. Now it is almost as common for them to say they are ‘remembering’ hybrid babies that have been ‘presented’ to them. Others, among them several who have spoken at length with Dr. Mack, have become convinced that they themselves are part or all alien, strangers left here in this strange land of Earth, sleeping prophets now awakening to alert us to the visitors and their messages of transformation.” (Emphasis added.)

Gordon asks: “Does the change in accounts of alien abduction mean the phenomenon is evolving, or that the aliens are allowing the abductees to remember more, or that the abductees are in the process, consciously or unconsciously, of elaborating a satisfying and ennobling fantasy? And how can we tell the difference? Dr. Mack has omitted more complete consideration of these issues....” (Emphasis added.) [SUN Comment: One should expect that a psychiatrist would have some skill in distinguishing a patient’s fantasies from reality.]

“The cases that Dr. Mack offers don’t provide some of the information that a skeptical reader or, indeed, anyone who wants to seriously examine his thesis, would need: How much did these people know about UFOs and abductions before they came to John Mack? He suggests that the youthful interest of some of his subjects was the result of actual early childhood abductions rather than the source of later memories....” [SUN Comment: If you too were interested in UFOs as a child, perhaps you too are an "abductee."]

Gordon said his “own experience in interviewing reported abductees [at one of Leo Sprinkle’s conferences] for a 1991 article in The Atlantic Monthly confirmed a number of Dr. Mack’s observations...” Gordon said he was “impressed by the absence of gross psychopathology in people who believed they were abducted and by the elusive nature and transformative character of the abduction experience....these people tended to become far more altruistic and more concerned with preserving the planet. On the other hand, my interviews also suggested that this understanding—and perhaps even some of the memories themselves—may have been shaped by the interaction of the abductees and those who were helping them deal with their experiences. Indeed, the accounts of abductees often seemed to reflect the character and concerns of those in whom they confided. The abductees counseled by Leo Sprinkle, a deeply spiritual and optimistic man, saw their experiences as transformative. Other people whose mentors were less sanguine about the phenomenon [SUN Note: Hopkins and Jacobs] tended to focus on their physical violation....” (Emphasis added.)


Mack Discovers New Contender For “Queen-Bee Abductee” Title

Linda Napolitano ("Cortile”), the Manhattan housewife whose tale of being “beamed” through the window of her 12th floor apartment and up into a giant hovering UFO has been called the “most important” UFO-abduction case in history by guru Budd Hopkins [See SUN #17/Sept. 1992], has become famous as the "Queen-Bee Abductee.” Now Linda’s claim to that title is being challenged by one of Dr. Mack’s subjects— Mary Oscarson.

Oscarson, a very attractive and articulate woman in her early 30s, claims she has been abducted more than 100 times, starting when she was only seven, which would seem to qualify her as the “most abducted person” in the world. Oscarson appeared with Mack on Cable News Network’s “Larry King Live” show on April 26 and again with Mack on April 28 on CNN’s “Sonya Live” TV talk-show. She told King her most recent abduction had occurred only 15 days earlier. Oscarson claims she has had an “alien implant” in her arm since age 7 “which actually twinges when I’m going to have an [abduction] experience.” Oscarson went on to explain: “That lets me know that something is going to happen and generally it does happen the same night. So I’m always aware that I’m going to have an experience.”

[SUN Comment: Oscarson’s frequent abductions coupled with the twinging implant in her arm that provides advance notice would seem to offer a golden opportunity for Mack to obtain hard video-tape evidence of UFO-abductions. Simply provide Oscarson with a two-way radio and station a video-camera operator in a nearby parked car. When the arm implant “twinges,” Oscarson could alert the video-camera operator. But if that idea ever occurred to Mack or his associates, he did not mention it.]

Oscarson reported that her ETs don’t enter her bedroom through the door but instead they simply "materialize in front of my eyes.” She reported being transported painlessly through walls and windows. But later, when the ETs (allegedly) removed her ova, Oscarson reported “there is a tremendous amount of pain.” [SUN Comment: If ETs are able to “teleport” their victims through solid walls and windows without any pain, why can’t they use similar tech-niques to painlessly remove ova?] Unlike Linda Napolitano, who claims she was beamed up to the UFO, Oscarson reports her ETs generally use a “smaller ship” for the initial journey “to a larger ship.” [In the early 1950s, “contactee” George Adamski claimed he was flown in a small "scout ship” to a “giant mother-ship.” But serious UFOlogists dismissed his tales as fantasy.]

Oscarson Also Claims Other Witnesses PLUS Audio Tapes

Not only does Oscarson claim many, many more abductions than Napolitano, but she also claims to have independent witnesses. [SUN Note: The element of the Napolitano case that so impressed Hopkins was the receipt of letters from four persons who purportedly had witnessed Linda’s abduction. One of the alleged witnesses—Javier Perez de Cuellar—has since cate-gorically denied being a witness and Hopkins has never been able to locate two others.]

During the “Sonya Live” show, Oscarson said: “There have been several times that I've had people actually staying in my house [at the time of a UFO abduction]. What happens is they're awakened by a very loud tone coming from my room, an unexplainable tone that they've never heard before. They want to cry out and say ‘Mary, what’s going on? Are you OK?’ They can’t move. They can’t speak. And generally they lose periods of time, anywhere from 20 minutes to about two or three hours.” During the “Larry King Live” show, Oscarson said she had “made audio tapes in my room” during her abduction experiences. Regrettably, none was played on the show.

SUN’s editor expected that Mack would speak up to say: “We've talked to these witnesses and they confirm Mary’s account, and we've taken X-rays of the twinging alien implant in her arm.” But no such comments were forthcoming from Mack. Skeptics UFO Newsletter -6- July 1994

Randle/Schmitt Bite Hand That Fed Them, So Hand Bites Back

The Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR) has counterattacked in response to sharp criti-cism from Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt in their new book, “The Truth About The UFO Crash At Roswell.” R/S criticized FUFOR for funding pro-UFO investigator Karl Pflock, who is skeptical about at least one of R/S’s recently discovered “first-hand witnesses.” [SUN #27/May 1994] In a letter dated April 12, Fred L. Whiting—a member of the FUFOR Board—reminded Randle that FUFOR had funded R/S’s early Roswell Incident research with $12,594 in grants. This, Whiting noted, is more than the combined total FUFOR had given Pflock and Stanton Friedman for their Roswell research.

In Whiting’s letter he wrote: “The results of Karl’s independent inquiry into the Roswell case have yet to be published; therefore, I don’t understand how you can state, ‘He broke no new ground during his investigation, learned nothing that hasn't been reported by others, and has made a number of negative statements about the witnesses he did interview.'” Later in the letter, Whiting listed more than a dozen items—including statements supporting claims made by R/S—which he suggested Randle submit to the GAO to assist that agency in its Roswell investigation. Among those receiving copies of the letter were Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of CUFOS, and Walter Andrus, international director of MUFON.

Leaders of two other “crashed saucer camps,” Stanton Friedman and William L. Moore, are readying attacks on the credibility of R/S’s radically revised “crash scenario.” [See SUN #27] SUN predicts the coming battle will make the fighting in Bosnia seem like a Sunday-school picnic. [Stay tuned.]

If The Debris Photographed In Ramey’s Office Was Not What Marcel Recovered From The Brazel Ranch, Where Did It Come From?

One of the fundamental differences between Moore and Randle/Schmitt is the question of what was the debris photographed on the floor of Gen. Ramey’s office in Fort Worth, Tex., on the afternoon of July 8, 1947. Moore, and his current partner Jaime Shandera, insist it was the authentic debris that Marcel had recovered from the Brazel ranch and brought to 8th Air Force headquarters. Moore’s book, “The Roswell Incident,” quotes Marcel (p. 68) as saying: “They took one picture of me on the floor holding up some of the less- interesting metallic debris....The stuff in that one photo was pieces of the actual stuff we found. It was not a staged photo. Later, they cleared out our wreckage and substituted some of their own.” [Moore’s book does not provide a source for this quote, but it is believed to be based on a Moore or Friedman interview with Marcel in the late 1970s—more than 30 years after the incident.] But six photos taken in Ramey’s office, two of them showing Marcel holding debris, all show the same debris. On this issue, all parties [including SUN] agree.

Moore and Shandera claim the debris shown in all the photos is from a crashed saucer. Randle/Schmitt disagree and say that obviously the debris in the photos is from a balloon-borne radar reflector. [SUN agrees with R/S on this issue.] But R/S claim the balloon-borne radar reflector debris was obtained by Ramey and substituted for the authentic Brazel ranch debris. If R/S are correct, where did Ramey quickly obtain debris from a balloon-borne radar reflector? (It’s not the sort of thing a general normally keeps in his office.) The logical place would be the 8th Air Force’s own meteorology office. Warrant Officer Irving Newton, who was the only person on duty in the office at the time, recalls being called by Ramey and told to “Get your ass over here now....”

But Newton has never said that Ramey told him to quickly locate a balloon-borne radar reflector, severely damage it and bring the debris to Ramey’s office. Newton recalls that the debris already was there when he arrived. IF IT WAS NOT THE DEBRIS THAT MARCEL RECOVERED ON THE BRAZEL RANCH, WHERE DID RAMEY OBTAIN IT?

UFO Researchers, USAF Discover What Really Crashed On Brazel Ranch

Independent investigations by two UFO researchers and the U.S. Air Force have discovered what crashed 75 miles north of Roswell, leaving behind unusual debris found by rancher Mac Brazel on June 14, 1947. It was a balloon-borne radar corner reflector that was part of a then-Top Secret Project Mogul designed to use giant, high-flying balloons to detect Soviet nuclear explosions. The first UFOlogist to discover the Project Mogul/Roswell debris connection was Robert G. Todd, Ardmore, Pa., a respected sharp- eyed researcher whose efforts focus on using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain once- classified documents.

More recently, UFOlogist Karl Pflock also discovered the Roswell/Project Mogul connection. It will be reported in Pflock’s 170-page report on his investigation of the Roswell Incident to be published soon by the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR). Pflock is married to Mary Martinek—a senior member of the staff of New Mexico Congressman Steve Schiff who triggered the current General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation into the Roswell Incident [See SUN #26/March 1994.] Pflock recently told a friend: “I’m firmly convinced that something from Project Mogul was involved in the Roswell incident.”

The USAF, which has launched an extensive investigation in response to a GAO request, also recently discovered the Project Mogul/Roswell connection. As part of the USAF’s research effort it has conducted an “electronic search” of several million pages of documents at the Air Force Historical Research Agency archives without finding a single mention of the Roswell incident or of a UFO or ET bodies at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Ironically, the first book on the subject—"The Roswell Incident"—carried a drawing showing one of the Project Mogul balloons on page 39. The book quoted one of the project scientists, Charles B. Moore, as dismissing any possibility that the Brazel ranch debris might have come from one of the balloons he had launched from Alamogordo Army Air Field, N.M.

The Tape With Colored Flowers

But when Todd contacted Charles Moore—now a professor at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology—he discovered that Prof. Moore had never seen Brazel’s description of the debris, published in the July 9, 1948, issue of the Roswell Daily Record. When Prof. Moore read Brazel’s description that "some tape with flowers printed on it had been used in the construction,” this rang a bell. Moore recalled that in the balloon-borne radar reflector, the attachment of foil-covered parchment paper to balsa wood sticks was reinforced with tape on which colored flowers and other artistic symbols were printed. (This explains the "hieroglyphics” later recalled by Major Marcel and his son.) Prof. Moore said he did not know why tape with colored flowers was used but he told Todd that some of the radar targets produced during World War II had been made in Manhattan lofts used to manufacture women’s garments.

During early June of 1947, while waiting to receive the first of the giant polyethylene balloons that would be used to loft the Project Mogul sensors, Moore and his New York University associates launched clusters of weather balloons with multiple radar corner reflectors to calibrate and check out ground tracking radars. It was one of these balloon clusters which Moore believes was responsible for the debris found by Brazel. Moore missed the Roswell crashed disk news stories on July 8 because he was flying back east on that date.

A photo showing a cluster of balloons with radar reflectors being launched from Alamogordo was published in the July 10, 1947, edition of the Alamogordo News. The accompanying article reported that the balloons might be responsible for generating some UFO reports, but it did not suggest any possible connection with the Brazel debris. The article described how—after balloon launch—the triangular radar reflector “opens into a paper covered by tinfoil with six triangles...braced by strips of wood....” (The new Randle/Schmitt book briefly mentions the Alamogordo News article and photograph [p. 126] but dismisses the balloon-borne radar reflectors as a possible explanation for the Brazel debris.)

Short Shrift:

NOTE: Opinions expressed in SUN are those of its Editor—unless otherwise noted—and do not necessarily represent the views of any organizations with which he is affiliated—nor his spouse. We thank Dr. Gary Posner for help in proofreading.

Philip J. Klass

Phil Klass was a UFO researcher with a background in electrical engineering. He was author of seven books on UFOs, including UFOs Explained and UFO Abductions: A Dangerous Game. He was also editor of the SUN newsletter, a UFO-related publication.