Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Cash-Landrum UFO: The Original Case Files



Since I began reviewing the 1980 UFO experience of Betty Cash, Colby and Vickie Landrum, in 2011, I’ve been searching for original reports, documents, photographs, even the earliest media coverage, the best collection of primary sources on the case. The story, early on, was transformed almost into a fairy tale or fable, and most accounts read like a story book tale. To get past the legend, to the facts of the case, I wanted to begin with the Mutual UFO Network original report, but no one seemed to have it. Or if they did, were unwilling to share it.

In pursuit of it, I located other files and correspondence from UFO organizations that had participated the investigation of the case, the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), The Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR), and investigators ranging from the super-skeptic Phil Klass to the wide open minded Dr. Leo Sprinkle. I’ve put most of those files online in the section of the BBL site, The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Resource Guide. However, the original case report filed to MUFON eluded me- until now. and it came with a lot of company.



On November 11, I received a batch of documents from a former MUFON Mutual UFO Network officer, nine folders containing over 700 pages on the Cash-Landrum events, including case files, news clippings, magazine articles, manuscripts of MUFON articles and symposium lectures, correspondence, witness interviews, legal filings and more. There is some duplication from one file to another, often from a document being forwarded as part of correspondence, but that’s interesting, too as it shows how the information on the case was shared- or restricted.

The first week was spent reading and indexing the file collection to isolate the portions that were new to me. Doing so, I took note of what was missing from the files. There was little reflecting the efforts of organizations other than MUFON, and there were also curious absences in the media coverage and conspicuous gaps in the case files themselves, missing primary documents, transcripts of interviews that were quoted elsewhere. It should be noted that there were no medical records of any kind, just summaries and correspondence discussing the health of the witnesses. The file collection, though very large, is incomplete.



A key point of interest in the files are the documents released to reporter Billy Cox in response to his 1983 Freedom of Information Act request. I filed a FOIA for these same information in 2011, but was told the “records are no longer available for retrieval.” The contents of that file (along with some other documents) show a different picture of the military’s involvement with the case than the portrayal in UFO literature. Instead of a cover-up, there are numerous instances of government officials expressing interest in the case, military personnel cooperating and sharing information. The FOIA material does not support the witnesses’ account of a UFO and helicopter near Houston Intercontinental Airport, and much of it has effectively been suppressed, ignored by ufologists chronicling the story.



Having become familiar with the new material, I am now in the process of incorporating the new material in chronological order and incorporating it into my existing case documents. After that, a re-examination of the case files will be necessary to see how the new material fits, if inconsistencies are found (yes, there are some noticed already) and to identify and follow up the cold leads. Also, there’s some further information about the meddling the case by William Moore and Richard Doty, their promotion of rumors of a secret experimental US craft powered by alien technology, and their manipulation of APRO and the UFO community to this end.



I’ve provided three trusted colleagues with copies of the files for safekeeping, and to demonstrate the authenticity of the documents. The work on the files continues, and my plan is to eventually share them, all or in part, in the documents section here. Before that happens, redactions like addresses and phone numbers will have to be made in order to protect the privacy of the living individuals involved in the correspondence. This entire process is going to take some time, but I hope to provide updates along the way.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hocus Pocus: The Roswell Slides Return


A mainstream media piece by The Guardian from the UK is worth a look for it's portrayal of one of ufology's biggest embarrassments. The Curious Case Of The Alien In The Photo And A Mystery That Took Years To SolveWritten by Les Carpenter, a sports journalist, it sympathetically presents the Roswell Slides story from the POV of the promoter of the events, Adam Dew. There, Dew finally names and discloses the role of his silent partner, Joseph Beason. I'm not sure just why the story was newsworthy at this late date, but it does contain a few new bits, chiefly quotes from the perpetrators, and is the first interview with Dew since the events.  It's a nice piece, but there are a few things that need to be clarified, and a few errors that need to be corrected. 
Slidebox Media: Joseph Beason & Adam Dew

I was struck by the lack citation of sources in the article, or links to the source material, but the narrative is more accurate than not. The coverage of the deblurring of the Slides is shortchanged and there’s a only a brief mention of the Roswell Slides Research Group and Nab Lator (who is called Neb). Instead, the story is all about how Adam Dew was drawn into the circus, and how two Roswell ufologists let belief lead their investigation.


Hocus Pocus?

The ufologists in the story, Tom Carey and Donald Schmitt, look bad, making unsubstantiated accusations that they were victims. “It was a very sophisticated hoax,” Carey says. “Dew manipulated the slides. The one clue we couldn’t figure out was the placard, but they played hocus pocus with the placard. We were given something that had been altered.” The story says, “Humiliated, Carey and Schmitt apologized to the Roswell Slides debunkers.” No. RSRG member Tim Printy responded on Facebook, saying, 
“It states that Carey and Schmitt apologized to the Roswell slides debunkers. I don't remember that apology. If it was given, it was some vague comment they made with little meaning. I also see that Carey and Schmitt still believe that the slides were altered by Dew. This is a lie and they are just fooling themselves. Rudiak claimed he could deblur his placard and we know that we could deblur Bragalia's. The problem with Carey and Schmitt is they believe they were too smart to not figure it out. Instead, they were just stupid UFOlogists stuck in the will to believe in the myth they created.”
Printy is correct. Carey and Schmitt’s claim that they received deceptive, manipulated versions of the scans is false. On the April 20, 2015, KGRA show, Fade to Black, a few weeks before BeWitness, Tom Carey said he was sent a high resolution version of the two Slides, and he describes both pictures in detail, the placard and the man and woman seen behind the body. (In other words, the museum setting was pictured.)

Video: "Ep. 241 FADE to BLACK Jimmy Church w/ Tom Carey, UFO Roswell Slides LIVE on air" 
Carey, on receiving the Slides by email: 131:30, describing Slides images: 137 and 140.



Portions of those same scans were sent to David Rudiak and Anthony Bragalia in an attempt to read the placard. After the RSRG deblurred the placard, those scans were made public, and they could be deblurred and read just as easily. The charges of digital manipulation of the slides against Dew and Beason are false. However Dew pleads admits to exploitation being "guilty of not discouraging the talk [of it being alien]. It was good for the project.”

 Accusations, Trolls and Rewriting History

Beason's accusations of the RSRG faking the deblurring with Photoshop. 


The story confirms that after the deblurring, it was Beason who the RSRG was corresponding with, not Dew and Beason who posted at Slidebox Media the RSRG were "internet UFO Trolls" hoaxing the placard. It was later toned down, and proven to be false, but no apology from Beason was offered. The Slidebox site, http://www.slideboxmedia.com, is now dead, but the YouTube account remains. It's reported that "Beason has moved on."

BeWitness, Dew's clip of the Nov. 2013 meeting in Chicago
The most glaring distortion in the Guardian itself is the claim that the show was a last-minute 2015 decision made as a last resort: 
"By early 2015, Beason and Dew knew they had no choice but to reveal the slides. The pressure to do so was extreme and Dew needed money to fund his documentary... The only appealing proposal came from Jamie Maussan, an investigative journalist based in Mexico City."
This is inaccurate. At BeWitness, Dew showed a clip documenting how the deal  deal was brokered in November 2013, with Carey, Schmitt and Maussan traveling to Chicago for the signing the partnership arrangement.

Old Dogs, Old Tricks

The best quote in the Guardian story is how the investigation went off the rails. The pictures looked alien to them, and after pursuing details on Hilda Blair Ray's past, Dew said, “You start to fill in the blanks." Those blanks were filled with wishful thinking instead of evidence.

BeWitness promoter Jaime Maussan didn't get much coverage in the article, and it’s almost sad that "World-famous researcher" Anthony Bragalia who dreamed up much of the Slides narrative was not even mentioned.
If at first you don't succeed...
Jaime Maussan has never given up on the Slides and continues to promote them, and has since used some of the same “experts” to promote a series of Peruvian mummies as alien bodies. The enterprise was was heavily promoted and exploited by the subscription-based video service Gaia, that bills itself as “a member-supported conscious media company.” For further details, see The Atlantic's article, The Racism Behind Alien Mummy Hoaxes by Christopher Heaney, Aug. 1, 2017

The new Guardian piece closes by saying that Dew intends to complete his documentary, Kodachrome, but otherwise life goes on. Of Carey and Schmitt, Dew says, “They got their hopes up,” but “will never get the answers they are looking for.”


There’s an interesting question that may not have been asked. Let’s assume Beason was sincere in approaching Carey and Schmitt,  asking “I want you to help verify” the Slides. If so, doesn’t  Slidebox Media, LLC have a case against Carey and Schmitt for failure to perform the contracted duty? None of the evidence produced in support of the Slides as alien turned out to be accurate.

- - -



For an insider's look of the story of the investigation and exposure of the BeWitness fiasco, there's my  essay on the Roswell Slides Research Group in UFOs: Reframing the Debate, "What's Wrong With This Picture?"Further details on that in a previous article, UFOs: Reframing the Roswell Slides Fiasco.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

UFO Origins: Saucers That Time Forgot & The Outer Limit

There's a companion blog to Blue Blurry Lines, one exclusively focused on the forgotten history, folklore and origins of ufology, The Saucers That Time Forgot.


A five-part series was just completed, at STTF, an examination of "The Outer Limit" by Graham Doar, a science fiction short story from 1949 that deals with an interrupted journey, the test flight of an experimental rocket plane, and features now-familiar UFO case elements, put together for the first time:

A close encounter with a UFO, an alien abduction, missing time, contact with an advanced benevolent extraterrestrial race, telepathic communication, and a dire warning to the Earth about the use of Atomic weapons. At least one adaptation of the story includes the use of hypnotic regression to recover memories of the encounter. It's a prophetic tale of a credible witness of a relatively incredible event, but the colonel in charge chooses not to believe, and there's the strong suggestion that the UFO report will be the subject of a cosmic cover-up.

The series starts with the historical setting of the late 1940s, A-bombs and the arrival of the flying saucers, introduces the story itself, and shows how the tales was further spread through popular culture by being adapted into several radio and television programs, and how it was absorbed into ufology through George Adamski and the Contactees. The finale examines how it was imitated in several movies ranging from The Day the Earth Stood Still to Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, and even echoed in much more modern films.

The complete collection, linked for your convenience:

Flying Saucers, the Atomic Bomb and Doomsday: The Outer Limit (Part 1 of 5)
The Outer Limit by Graham Doar: The UFO Parable (Part 2 of 5)
Radio, Television & The Outer Limit Legacy (Part 3 of 5)
Ufology & The Outer Limit Legacy (Part 4 of 5)
UFOs, Hollywood & The Outer Limit Legacy (Finale)

Other articles focus on weird, warped, and sometimes fraudulent UFO cases that were newsmakers in their day, but lost through the cracks of time, forgotten- or perhaps even suppressed- by UFO historians.  STTF is written by Curt Collins, with the support of Yvan Defoy, backed by the input of UFO buffs- and sages- both known and unknown, of this world and perhaps others.

Fight the UFO cover-up. Read each and every installment of The Saucers That Time Forgot.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Cash-Landrum UFO Prime Suspect: The CH-47, Army Chinook



 “They were far away but yet they were low enough and we set there and watched them 'till they got over the car because I wanted to make sure if it was airplanes or if it was helicopters, which it was helicopters. I counted 23 of them. I don't know what color they were, I can't say. But I do know that they had a double deal on the top, propeller-like thing. And I could hear 'em just as plain as if they were right ready to land"
Betty Cash, from a taped statement made at Parkway Hospital, Feb. 1981
Witnesses, Betty Cash, Vickie and Colby Landrum described large helicopters with two rotors on top, which they assumed to be military. Later they were shown photos by investigators and identified the CH-47 as a match. Identifying the type of helicopters seemed to be a big break, since the CH-47 was primarily used by the US Army. Here's a look at some CH-47 data from helis.com (helicopter history site) https://www.helis.com/60s/CH-47-Chinook.php.

CH-47 specs.
The Boeing Chinook is a tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter that meets tactical and combat support mission requirements for military forces around the world. The Chinook is one of the world’s most reliable and efficient transport helicopter, capable of handling loads up to 28,000 lbs with a maximum gross weight of 54,000 lbs. (24,494 kg), greater than its own empty weight. Its tandem rotor configuration also provides exceptional handling qualities that enable the CH-47 to operate in climatic, altitude and crosswind conditions that typically keep other helicopters from flying. 
The first fully equipped U.S. Army Chinook designated the CH-47A first flight Sep 21th 1961 and entered service in August 1962 with a gross weight of 33,000 lbs. (14,969 kg). 
Specifications
First flight:Sept. 21, 1961
Model number:Vertol 114
Classification:Military helicopter
Length:51 feet
Gross weight:33,000 pounds
Top speed:150 mph
Range:200 miles
Maximum payload:More than 7 tons
Power:2,220-shaft-horsepower Twin Lycoming T55-L-5 turboshaft engines, two 3-bladed rotors
Accommodation:3 crew, 33 troops or 24 litter patients and attendants

The article at Global Security discusses  the modifications made in 1980:
Prior to the introduction of the MH-47D and MH-47E, US Army special operations aviation units had used 12 CH-47Cs modified to allow for the use of night vision goggles (NVGs). These aircraft, assigned to Task Force 158, the predecessor to the 160th Aviation Battalion (which subsequently evolved into the 160th Aviation Regiment), came from the 101st Airborne Division in 1980 and entered active service in 1981. Their primary mission was to provide forward-area refueling operations in austere environments. Upon assignment to TF 158, the 12 aircraft received modifications that included radar altimeters (specifically added for safety during night-vision-goggle flights); long-range navigation and communication equipment; and 4 metal internal auxiliary fuel tanks (taken from M49C 2 1/2-ton fuel trucks).” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/mh-47.htm 
With the extra fuel tanks, CH-47s could fly 330 miles without refueling. But the problem was always: Where did they come from, and where did they go? Part of the popularity of the C-L case in the 1980s was the mystery of the helicopters, since choppers were part of the emerging cattle mutilation lore, overlapping with "black helicopters" in sinister Government conspiracy theories of all persuasions.

The Choppers - and the Choppers: Mystery Helicopters and Animal Mutilations by Tom Adams



An Expert Opinion on the Cash-Landrum Copters

In 2014, I interviewed a veteran helicopter pilot, Russ Hunter, who was a Senior Instructor pilot, in Task Force 160 at Fort Campbell Kentucky. He joined a few years after the Cash-Landrum incident, but served alongside original members of the team and flew the same helicopters said to be involved in the UFO story. Russ assumed the witness testimony was genuine, but found many problems accepting the details of the story. The reported helicopter activity didn't match with the way the actual equipment used even in emergency situations. He tried to make the details fit by assuming the number of 23 helicopters was exaggerated, but even twelve CH-47s would have been detectable on radar and produced enough noise to have disturbed people for many miles around the Huffman area.
http://www.blueblurrylines.com/2014/08/an-expert-opinion-on-cash-landrum.html


Report on the Cash/Landrum New Caney CEII Case by Allan Hendry

Part of the problem was the incident took place during the period between Christmas and New Year's Day, which would leave any military base understaffed for a massive helicopter operation. In early 1981, the Fund for UFO Research contracted Allan Hendry of the Center for UFO Studies to conduct an investigation into the origin of the helicopters in the Cash-Landrum case. His report was completed in April 1981 and delivered to FUFOR. Hendry’s turned up a lot of valuable information on the case, but he found no evidence to support the helicopters reported in the case:
"In closing,  the claim made by all three witnesses in the Cash/Landrum group implicitly implicates a large number of helicopters. This claim cannot be 'objectified' independently." At the time of Hendry's report, there were no additional witnesses to the helicopters, but following media attention, others were produced.

A link to a file containing Hendry's FUFOR report can be found at this link:

The DAIG Investigation of the Cash-Landrum UFO Incident

Due to the publicity from television coverage  of the case, (That’s Incredible!), Oregon Representative Ron Wyden launched an inquiry as to whether U.S. helicopters were involved in the incident. This resulted in the investigation by the Department of the Army's Inspector General’s office, conducted by Lt. Col. George C. Sarran. Concluding his report, Sarran stated, 
"Through the course of inquiry the DAIG investigating officer tried to concentrate on any reason or anyone in or organization which might have been flying helicopters that particular evening in the general area. There was no evidence presented that would indicate that Army, National Guard, or Army Reserve helicopters were involved."
Sarran stated in an interview with Florida Today reporter, Billy Cox, that he also had investigated possible classified operations, but found negative results. Col. John B. Alexander participated in the DAIG investigation in an advisory role and confirmed that no Government helicopters were involved.


USS New Orleans
MUFON's John Schuessler held on to the secret helicopter hypothesis, suggesting that they were temporarily based on an aircraft carrier, the USS New Orleans. An imaginative solution, but once again investigation proved it implausible

If Not Helicopters?

Despite many efforts from UFO investigator, journalists law enforcement and the US government, there was nothing tangible to support the presence of helicopters of any kind. UFO researchers found the witnesses credible, but faced with the evidence, some of them turned to some unconventional ideas. Dr. J. Allen Hynek was interviewed in the February 1985 OMNI magazine, and he considered some paranormal possibilities:
"Let us suppose that a very, very advanced civilization has, as a part of its everyday technology, the ability to project a thought form that, like a holographic image, temporarily assumes three-dimensional reality." 
 Referring to the Cash-Landrum case in particular he said,
"Where would twenty-three helicopters come from? First of all, it was Christmas week, and people at the bases said they would never conduct military exercises at a time like that... But perhaps Cash and the Landrums saw a holographic image of the helicopters. I could buy that more than I buy twenty-three solid, physical helicopters from some unknown base, when no baseman will admit seeing so many helicopters of that particular kind."


An alien projection? It's unlikely, but Hynek conceded that the helicopters were not real. Since the helicopters were reported initially only by the witnesses, and did not interact with the environment, Hynek's notion of a projected holographic image becoming three-dimensional reality is not necessary. It could be more like mental projection, with the advanced civilization transmitting the images telepathically. The helicopters may have been in the witnesses' minds.

 The helicopter trial goes nowhere, but the UFO case remains. John B. Alexander states, "I am 100 percent sure it happened. However, it defies explanation..."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

General John A. Samford's 1952 UFO Disclosure

The new blog, The Saucers That Time Forgot  presents "the cases that UFO historians either missed, or would like to keep buried." This piece was originally written for STTF, but since it's not exactly about a saucer case, and is more about UFO history, culture and the media, it's appearing here at BBL.


Major General John A. Samford

Major General John A. Samford, July 29, 1952 

Most people know the Air Force's Major General John A. Samford from his historic July 29, 1952 press conference given after the Washington, D.C. radar incidents, where he talked about the small but troubling percentage of UFO reports "from credible observers of relatively incredible things." Captain Edward Ruppelt in the notes made in preparation for his 1956 book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects,  described Gen. Samford in his entries on the key figures involved in the Air Force's Project Blue Book:


An earlier draft of Ruppelt's notes.

Samford, Major General John 
 General Samford never committed himself one way or the other on the subject of UFO’s. He was always very much interested and gave me the utmost in cooperation, but he never said much. He used to ask many of the other people at meetings what they thought and there were a lot of “pro” answers but he never agreed or disagreed with anyone. The only time that I ever heard him say anything was when Col Porter got real nasty about the whole thing one day and began to knock ATIC, UFO’s, me and everything associated with the project. Then the General said something to the effect that as far as he could see, I was the first person in the history of the Air Force’s investigation that had taken a serious approach to the investigation and that he didn’t see how anyone could decide until I’d collected more data.
At the present time the General is the one who is so rabid on the fact that nothing will be released. He got “burned” real bad on the press conference in July 1952. His statements were twisted around and newsreel shots of him were “cut and pieced” to get him saying things that he didn’t. He wanted to play along with the writers but they misquoted him so badly that now he is saying absolutely nothing. Donald Keyhoe keeps writing about the “silence group” in the Air Force, those who want to clamp down on UFO news.  Gen Samford is the silence group and friend Keyhoe can take all of the credit for making him that way. 
 (From "Figures Associated With Project Blue Book" http://www.nicap.org/bluebook/rupfriends.htm )

Samford's Dynamic Disclosures in See Magazine


No mention of saucers on the cover.
See magazine, dated March 1953
See was a bi-monthly magazine, sort of a more sensational version of Life, but featuring a heavier emphasis on entertainment. See's covers featured beautiful buxom women, making it look more like a girlie pin-up magazine, but they did cover news and current events. In their last issue for 1952 See made news for its coverage of the flying saucer controversy in an exclusive interview with General Samford of the USAF.


(Full text below)
Indiana Evening Gazette, Dec. 26, 1952

Says Space Visitors Possible

NEW YORK -- It is definitely possible that intelligent beings from some other world have been able to visit our planet, or at least to travel within our atmosphere, Major General John A. Samford, Chief of Air Force Intelligence now investigating the Flying Saucer mystery, said today, in an exclusive interview in the current issue of See Magazine, just released.

"It would be foolhardy to deny the possibility that higher forms of life exist elsewhere," reported the general just as it would be "unreasonable" to deny that we may already have been visited by beings from outer space. Regarding the, unexplained phenomena, and the possibility of the presence of an alien intelligence, General Samford added, "We believe that all of this eventually will be understood by the human mind, and that it is our job to hasten the understanding."

In commenting upon the 20 percent of flying saucer reports which remain mysteriously unexplained, General Samford declared the saucers' behavior indicates they "either have unlimited power or no mass." Many "credible people have seen incredible things," he asserted, "some of which have later been satisfactorily explained, while others so far have defied explanation."

General Samford said that the Air Force is keeping nothing from the public regarding Project Flying Saucer. The only information not disclosed is names of those reporting saucer sightings and the method used by Air Force Intelligence to investigate and evaluate these reports.

A Harvard professor's theory that flying saucers are caused by reflected light has not yet been proved, General Samford reported. Even if it were true, he stated, "It would not account for all reports, by any means."

The general branded as false the rumor that jet pilots have had orders to shoot at saucers. "We have thousands of letters and telegrams begging us to rescind this 'shoot-on-sight order. But no "such order was ever given."

The theory of the late Secretary of Defense, James A. Forrestal, that flying saucers were related to this country's experiments with "man made moons" -- platforms that could be suspended in the atmosphere for defense and observation -- was categorically denied by General Samford. "Saucers are in no way related to these moons," he said.
 - - -

In Loren Gross' UFOs: A History 1952 November—December,  he summarizes the same interview from See, but emphasizes different points than the newspaper article.

See talks to General Samford.
The November issue of See magazine featured an interview with Chief of Air Force Intelligence General John A. Samford by the periodical's Washington editor Serge Fliegers. The General, for the most part, repeated what he said during the big press conference at the end of July. He acknowledged that 25 per cent of UFO reports were made by military personnel, rejected professor Donald Menzel's theories, and insisted that evidence of visitors from space was lacking. Have UFOs been seen over Russia, asked Fliegers? The General replied that the U.S. Air Force didn't know. The Air Force, according to Samford, also lacked satisfactory proof of the supposed "ghost rockets" reported in 1946. Before Flieger left Samford's comer Pentagon office overlooking the Potomac, he questioned the General about the possibility Communist agents were spreading flying saucer reports to put fear into Americans about Russian secret weapons. The General answered: "We cannot discount that possibility. It is under investigation." 
Here's a partial transcript of the See magazine article itself:

Flying Saucers- the last word!

SEE presents an exclusive interview with the worlds best informed military man – Major General John A. Samford – on the worlds most exciting modern mystery 




Frequent Queries Answered Below
What do flying saucers look like?
Why did they make no sound? 
Are they really caused by reflected light? 
Does mass hysteria explain them?
Do they contain visitors from space? 

No other mystery has so inflamed the imagination of The 20th century man as the Mystery of the Flying Saucers. And no one else among us knows more about the flying saucer stand Major General John A. Samford, a tall quiet gentleman with penetrating eyes and a crack record as a fighter pilot, who sits in a corner Pentagon office overlooking the Potomac. General Samford is Chief of Air Force Intelligence. As such, he is head of Project Saucer, which has been investigating the enigmatical objects which have streaked across our heavens.

Last summer, when another rash of saucer sightings spread from coast to coast, General Samford how they press conference to quiet public furor. But that conference left a number of points on answered or unemphasized. Hence, in an effort to fill the gaps in public understanding of the subject, the questions which appear below were put to General Samford by Serge Fliegers SEE's Washington editor, who has followed saucer report from Stockholm to Seattle.

Q: General Samford, what do flying saucers look like? 

A: There is no single pattern. Unidentified aerial objects, as I prefer to call them, have been described as having cone shapes, disc shapes, ball shapes. Reports have them going and incredible speeds. 

Q: When did the reports start coming in? 
A: Here in the U.S., the Air Force started investigating such reports in the fall of 1947. On December 30, 1947, it directed its Air Force Material Command, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio to set up a project to evaluate all facts concerning them. 

Q: How many reports of come in since then?
A: Serious reports analyzed by Dayton center total about 1500. Sixty-odd percent come from the civilian population. About eight per cent come from civil airline pilots, and about twenty-five per cent from military personnel, including military pilots.
 

Q: But doesn't that destroyed the "mass hysteria" explanation of saucer signings? After all, most pilots are pretty reliable man. 
A: The Air Force has never believed that all reports on unidentified aerial objects are caused by hysteria. But careful evaluation by our Dayton center showed fully 80 per cent of the reports concerned natural, explainable occurrences. 

Q: What is your reaction to that Harvard professor's (Dr. Donald Menzel) theory that flying saucers are caused by reflected light? 
A: The theory is appealing, but has not yet been proved. Therefore the Air Force cannot yet accept it as a satisfactory explanation. Furthermore, it would not account for all reports, by any means. 

Q: Violent headlines have declared that jet pilots had orders to shoot at the saucers. Is that true? 
A: We have thousands of letters and telegrams begging us to resend this "shoot on sight "order. No such order ever was given. I repeat, the Air Force never ordered it to pilots to shoot down any of these so-called "flying saucers." The pilots had orders to find and find out what they were all about. 

Flying Saucers Not Hostile 
Naturally, if a jet fighter pilot sees an object approaching at great unknown speed,  heading, say, for New York City, he is going to try to contact it. Then, if it proceed against his warnings and its actions appear hostile, he will try to intercept it. 

Q: Has the Air Force any reason to believe that these unidentified aerial objects may be a danger to us, or may be trying to harm us?
A: None whatsoever. 


Q: You say that 80% of the sources reported could be explain naturally. What about the other twenty per cent? 
A: The Air Force is still trying to answer that. 
 - - -

Something Was Not Right. Fake News?

The part about Gen. Samford saying it was unreasonable "to deny that we may already have been visited by beings from outer space" was a pretty spectacular claim to be coming from the United States government. In response to the See article, the Air Force issued a press release to correct the record. We've been unable to locate the document, but have the fragments from it carried in newspaper articles.

Oil City Derrick, Dec. 29, 1952
"As limited as man is in his knowledge and understanding of the universe and its many forces, it would be foolhardy indeed to deny the possibility that higher forms of life existed elsewhere. 
It would be similarly unreasonable to deny that intelligent beings from some other world were able to visit our planet, at least to travel within our atmosphere. 
"However, the Air Force desires to reiterate emphatically that there is absolutely no evidence to indicate that this possibility has been translated into reality."
According to Donald Keyhoe's Flying Saucers from Outer Space, the See interview was a fake:
"I saw the AP story on it," I said. "But the Air Force is a little sore about that article. (Al) Chop told me they didn't interview General Samford directly—it was supposed to be labeled a hypothetical interview based on public statements he'd made."

Who was Serge Fliegers?

Mike Wallace (L) interviewing Serge Fliegers (R) in 1962.
 "Serge Fliegers See's Washington editor..." was best known as a European correspondent for Hearst newspapers. A mini bio of him appeared in The Freeman magazine, April 1953:
Serge Fliegers was brought up in Switzerland, educated at Cambridge and Harvard. As a correspondent he has traveled in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, speaks eight languages, including Arabic. Between covering the United Nations for the Inter Continental Press and writing magazine articles, he manages to find time for his special interest- opera and instrumental music.
In 1964, Fliegers' name came up during the Warren Commission's investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Word got to them that Fliegers claimed that an anti-Khrushchev, pro-Chinese group in the Soviet Union had trained Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate the President. Investigating the credibility of Fliegers and his sources, investigators contacted Dan Brigham, an editor of the New York Journal American newspaper. Brigham was able to give them Fliegers' location for questioning, and reported that Fliegers was "one of the biggest fakers in the business and anything he says has to be taken with a large grain of salt." 

Warren Commission Exhibit No. 1444
https://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh22/pdf/WH22_CE_1444.pdf

When Fliegers was questioned about the source of his assassination information,  he said that his source may received this information from another source who, in turn, may have received the information from contacts in Russia. Pressed for the identity of his source  Fliegers was evasive and said it was impossible for him to contact him by telephone. The information went nowhere, and turned out to be rumors and speculation repeated by a reporter as if it were facts.

Silenced

Was the See interview an example of what Ed Ruppelt was saying, that Gen. Samford's comments were "cut and pieced” to get him "saying things that he didn’t?" Samford's statements were similar to his remarks from the July 29, 1952 press conference on the Washington, D.C. UFO radar incidents. 

Project Blue Book's files has the AF transcript of Samford's press conference:
https://www.fold3.com/image/1/12428060
Saturday Night Uforia has an easily searchable version of the transcript.
http://www.saturdaynightuforia.com/html/articles/articlehtml/samfordpctanscript.html

If the See "interview" had it's origin there, great dramatic license was taken with Samford's words. Maybe after getting burned by Serge Fliegers in See, Gen. Samford set an example for the Air Force, setting the policy that the best way to handle the press on the UFO topic was silence, "saying absolutely nothing."



Thanks to The Saucers That Time Forgot's Yvan Defoy for the lead on this article, and to Jan Aldrich for additional details on the AF press release refuting the See article.


Footnote: Forrestal's Military Man-made Moons

The man-made moons comment int the See story was referring to data discussed in this story from Mechanix Illustrated, Apr, 1949 :
Secretary James Forrestal disclosed recently that his department is working on a “satellite base” to revolve around the world like a miniature moon, as a military outpost in space.
“The earth-satellite vehicle program, which is being carried out independently by each military service, was assigned to the committee on guided missiles for coordination,” he revealed in his first annual report on the national military establishment.
Mechanix Illustrated, Apr, 1949