Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lighting a Candle for the Cash-Landrum UFO Case

The December 29, 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO event is one of best known, thoroughly documented cases in UFO history.  This is due in part to the investigation led by John F. Schuesller, then deputy director of MUFON. The other reason is the dramatic story itself, with the apparent credibility and sincerity of the witnesses, Betty Cash, Vickie and Colby Landrum. On the anniversary of their encounter, last year, I posted this memorial:
Remembering Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum



This year, the discussion is about how the event itself is remembered.


As time passes, the Cash-Landrum UFO event is in danger of having its significance and place in history forgotten. Its important to remember the era in which it occurred. There was a change in the fabric of the UFO experience. 




The Dark Side

Things were getting darker. Reports of alien abductions were beginning to be taken seriously and there were reports of cattle mutilations and sightings of mystery helicopters. The story of a UFO Crash at Roswell, New Mexico was being circulated, with a massive US Government cover-up, a “Cosmic Watergate.” Paul Bennewitz reported seeing UFOs and contacting the aliens, who told him of battles in secret underground military bases, and of an alliance where they provided the  US with atomic-powered delta-shaped ships.



“The 1980s saw a revival of interest, at least among American ufologists, both in the extraterrestrial hypothesis and in the issue of alleged official cover ups… Speculations about space visitors and government concealment gave birth to the dark side movement, a subculture which fused unrestrained paranoia and far right conspiracy theory into a nightmarish vision of a malevolent Washington in collusion with sinister extraterrestrials and a plot to enslave the human race.”Jerome Clarke, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial, 1997

The Cash-Landrum event was folded into this lore, and the whatever was behind the mystery of the event was seen as something sinister.  The case itself was co-opted and turned into a dark conspiracy parable. The people and the truth of the events were getting lost in the myth.

Shedding some light

Some regard this as an old and cold case, but it’s not too late to learn more about it and from it. Much of value can be learned just from studying the event’s investigation alone. Preserving the evidence and stripping away the layers of apocrypha can help let us examine the truth in this case.  Whatever secrets lie at the heart of this mystery, they have value to other UFO cases past and present. 

The passage of time closes some doors, but others may open. Betty Cash died in 1998, and Vickie in 2007, leaving only Colby Landrum remaining as a primary witness.  The helicopter personnel who would have participated in the operation are at retirement age and could now discuss this case without the fear of risk to their military careers. Others who may have been involved could still be alive, and it is possible that once-secret government documents could now be available. 


The privately held MUFON case files also need to be opened for whatever cold leads it may provide. There is still hope that the curtain of secrecy can be parted to reveal what the witnesses fought so hard to find - answers.


Cash-Landrum UFO Case: Slideshow


Thursday, December 11, 2014

TV takes on the Cash-Landrum UFO case

UFO Conspiracies

(Updated 12/11/14)
The National Geographic UFO series aired in the UK as UFO: Alien Invasion, but in most other countries as Invasion Earth. It was produced by Pioneer Productions for National Geographic Channels and Science, and was broadcast in the US as UFO Conspiracies starting November 19, Wednesday (10 PM - 11 PM) on Science Channel.

In the UK
In non-English thinking countries.

Here's a link to summaries of the 8 episode series:
http://natgeotv.com.au/tv/invasion-earth/episodes.aspx?series=1

I'm only concerned with their coverage of the Cash-Landrum story, featured in episode 4,  "UFO Swarm" which aired in the US December 10. It's the final third of the program, a segment about thirteen minutes long:

“Witnesses in Texas claim their confusing physical illnesses are the result of a massive, fiery object and in the skies above Brazil, jet fighters play cat and mouse with unknown lights.”


Vickie, Colby & Betty, as portrayed by actors.

Дело денежных Ландрум НЛО

I'd originally seen the Russian-language version of the episode featuring the C-L case, but have  updated this article after hearing the show in English. It's mostly a review of the case, but with a few new elements and discussions. Archival footage of Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum telling their story from the 1985 HBO show, UFOs: What’s Going On? is used.  The treatment of the case is serious and respectful, and the production values are good. The re-enactment scenes fairly tastefully done, the big clunker being the awful wig that would have embarrassed Vickie Landrum. 

Not bad, but a little too close.

The portrayal of the UFO is disappointing, but in some shots, not so bad. The scale of the object is good, but it seems to placed be a bit too low, and close to the car, about half the distance reported in the case (but not bad for TV). The flames are pitiful in comparison to description, and should have been about equal to the UFO’s width.



They literally made the UFO a diamond...

The worst is when it's shown to be a literal giant diamond. The witnesses used the diamond description, but just for the outline. It was not described as four-sided, but more ovoid with a bulging midline. Other shots show a big lighted shape that isn't so distinct, which was much better. The only attempt to portray the Chinook helicopters was a short shot of the UFO surrounded by spotlights.


Just pretend those are CH-47 spotlights.

The worst problem was the fact the incident was simplified for television. The case is complex enough it would need at least a full episode to do it justice, but it just gets a hit-and-run treatment. All that is featured in the reenactment is the initial encounter of the UFO and they do not examine the sightings from later locations or the movement by it or the helicopters the witnesses described.



Cash-Landrum UFO, as seen on TV.
They leave out some key elements of the story, such as Betty's account of burning her hand on the door handle as she returned to the car. The actress was wearing a sweater instead of the leather jacket Betty used to open the door.

Presentation of Medical Evidence


Radiologist, not.

Far too much time is given to Dr. Bryan McClelland, the family physician who treated Betty Cash starting in 1983.  McClelland is sometimes misrepresented in the media as a radiologist, or Cash’s original physician or both, and in this program, it’s implied he treated her immediately after the incident. McClelland mentions that he began treating Betty Cash after she moved back to Alabama, but does not say that it was later than that, about 1983. He claims that her symptoms followed the pattern to exposure to radiation exposure. He also said that he'd that he taken a biopsy from Betty Cash and tested it, and insists that she was exposed to radiation that led to her health problems. (This is his opinion, and it is unsupported by any documentation.)

If you don't know, make something up.

Fictionalized wounds on the actor portraying Betty Cash are placed on her face, collar and arms.

Expert Commentary

Nick Pope is prominently featured in the series. Here, he is introduced as having studied the case for fifteen years, and he offers some commentary and speculation on the nature of the UFO, and discusses the charges of a government cover-up. He suggests that the UFO was a nuclear-powered prototype, possibly an unmanned  black project.

Chris Pocock, editor of Aviation International News offers comments on the secrecy regarding the testing of military projects and the locations where they are generally tested. He finds the secret test vehicle scenario unlikely, pointing out that such vehicles are not tested in populated areas.

Jim Thurston is captioned as “Medical Radiation Specialist.” He’s the head of Radiation Protection and Dosimetry at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. He discusses the effects of radiation and the dosage, and points out that a dose of ionizing radiation capable of producing the symptoms so rapidly would have been a lethal one. He dismisses radiation as the cause of injuries and points that exposure to chemicals could have produce the same symptoms.

There’s a discussion of some skeptical theories.

Dr. Robert Bartholomew is captioned as “Medical Sociologist,” and he’s written on UFO and paranormal topics, and believes most witnesses are sincere. He discusses that witnesses may be truthful, but be mistaken in interpreting what they’ve seen. Bartholomew points out that our memories do not playback what happened, but a reconstruction based on our interpretation. He also suggests that the stress of an encounter could produce psychosomatic physical problems such as rashes, headaches and vomiting.

Prof. Randy Cerveny, captioned as “Extreme Weather Expert,” is a professor of geographical sciences at Arizona State, and the author of two books on freakish weather. He discusses the possibility that the UFO was a superior mirage, possibly the reflection of the column of flame of a nearby oil refinery. 

Light pillar is too fancy, just say mirage for TV.

I have a source inside the film making industry, we'll call him PK. He tells me that shows like this shoot segments with "experts" where they talk about different topics, which are edited into bits of several different shows. That's what's happened here, and some of the comments are so generic they could have been used for most other UFO cases. None of their experts had any specific relation or familiarity with the Cash-Landrum case. Some of it is very good, but it lacks depth.

It's not over until the segment's over

The attempt by the witnesses to file a legal claim against the United States is very briefly discussed. They show a made-for-TV army document, then some of the case paperwork, including one from the Texas Department of Health (first published here at Blue Blurry Lines!) The implication is that officials lied under oath to cover up the events.

TDH document from BBL!
They tell the basic story, superficially deal with the pros and cons, and then seem to shrug, and leave it in the “who knows?” category.

Product Contains Less Than 1% Blue Blurry Lines 

I was in contact with Paola Desiderio, Pioneer’s Archive Assistant Producer, and exchanged a series of correspondence helping with getting them images, and putting them in touch with John Schuessler. Besides shopping BBL for ideas, they used some photos from this site, transformed to black and white. In the closing  credits, under Stock Footage, they list John Schuessler for the use of his photographs, but it’s his only acknowledgement in the show. Using my work without credit is forgivable, but Schuessler deserved far better.


I'd like to forget all the little people...

There were also negotiations with other parties to provide material on this case never before broadcast. Why those failed, I don’t yet know, but it gives me hope that it can yet be presented in a more thorough examination of the case. The key item of interest is the audio recording of the witnesses giving a statement to officers at Bergstrom Air Force Base in 1981. When the deal fell through to get the new interviews and materials, they should have just moved on to covering another UFO case.



There are two other programs coming in the near future that will discuss the Cash-Landrum case, NASA's Unexplained Files, and Hangar 1: The UFO Files. Investors are warned that, “past performance does not necessarily predict future results.” In the case of television, I think it does, and that these programs, too will botch the story. 

The best that can be hoped for about these UFO shows, is that people will hear about these cases and be prompted seek out more accurate information on them. Don't laugh. We can dream...

If National Geographic can’t get the Cash-Landrum case right, TV should just give up on it.

Television, you can’t handle the truth.

It's good to try new things, but stick to what you do well.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Photo Fakery: Washington, DC Flying Saucers 1952

The DC Deception



The flying saucers reported over Washington, DC in July 1952 is one of the most famous events in UFO history. Objects tracked on radar, and Air Force planes were sent out to investigate, and reportedly, UFOs were seen by at least one pilot and radar operator. 

It's an important historical event, worthy of examination, but...
There are rumors and myths too, such as it being widely witnessed by panicking citizens or that photos exist of the event.

Weird Science Fantasy #26 from EC 

If you need a recap, it was covered at the time in the August 4, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine

The Fake

There's a photo associated with the event that accompanies almost every article of it online and has been featured in documentaries and television shows. Trouble is it's a phony.

The DC Deception

Well, the photo is real, but it is used as a fraud, then accepted and repeated as genuine by people who should know better. It was taken several years after the event, and instead of UFOs, it depicts the reflection of the Capitol's lamps- lens flares.

Many versions exist, cropped in color...

black and white for a more "historical" look...

tweaked with photoshop and so on...

Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos reports:
FOTOCAT's input follows:
Event date: July 19, 1952
Location: Washington, D.C. (USA)
Date information: Non-event (actually dated 1965)
Event is filed as: Lens flares
Time: Between 23:40 and 06:00
Photographer: Unknown
 http://www.nicap.org/reports/520719washington_report.htm

The first known publication of the picture is in Ray Palmer's Flying Saucers No. 81, Summer 1973

This time, Flying Saucers are not real.

Exposed and Forgotten

As seen on the magazine cover above, it's often cropped to remove the lamps, the source of the "UFOs." It was exposed long ago, in a detailed analysis by Colman von Keviczky that was published in Official UFO Magazine #9, July 1976. A summary by Dr. Bruce Maccabee :
This picture which shows the Capitol dome and lights at the left side is, I believe, just a fraction of the total picture which shows the whole Capitol building, parking lot lights in front of it and numerous "UFO" lights in the sky at both the left and right sides of the dome. Colman von Kevicsky, years ago, showed the "UFO" light images were actually lens "flares"....reflections within the lens of the bright streetlights and parking lot lights in front of the Capitol. 

Reconstruction of the Official UFO Magazine analysis,
showing how the "UFOs" correspond to the lamps as lens flares.

Here's another photo analysis from 2009. 1952 Washington DC UFO (Capitol Building) photo: http://lookathimnow.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/1952-washington-dc-ufo-capitol-building-photo/

and below, a video examination by Fin Handley


The Undead

Nevertheless, once a fake gets into the UFO bloodstream it lives forever. The internet and television assured its immortality. There are even phony motion pictures of it.

Disney's Alien Encounters from New Tommorowland, 1995 features a clip 
of animated UFOs over the Capitol at 10:26.

UFO's: The Secret Evidence 2005 featured 

different animated version of the photo.



Breakdown - 1952 UFOs Over Washington DC Video
explaining the phony film version


Also recycled for Unseen Alien Files, where astonishingly, 

it was labelled a reconstruction.


Recycled in Stephen Greer's 2013 Sirius,
b&w to make it look "authentic!"



Steven Bassett uses the same phony animation in 
this Citizen Hearing on UFO Disclosure promo, seen at 1:04 

Hangar 1: is known for it's imaginative recreations.
Here, they imitate EC comics,


Hangar 1: Presidential Encounters from 2014

National Geographic produced UFO Conspiracies 
aka Invasion EarthTheir recreation from 2014.

Baloney Detection



A Google Image search returns many, many versions.

This is just a tiny fraction of the appearances of the photo. By gathering some of this data, maybe this will show up alongside the search returns, and people can get some better information on the history. We've not seen the last of this one, but just remember that whenever you see it, you are looking at a lie, ineptitude, misinformation or disinformation on the part of whoever is presenting it. 

Use the DC deception's inclusion as an indicator of a high baloney content. It shows that they're not a trustworthy source. 


Thanks to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, Nab Lator, Gilles Fernandez and the others mentioned above for helping straighten out the facts on this picture.


2017 Update:
In 1954, Topps issued packages of bubblegum trading cards based on famous news headlines, called "SCOOPS." Here's their colorful take on the 1952 Washington, D.C.  UFO incident. Since it's closer to the date of original incident, it qualifies as better evidence than a lens flare photo taken a decade later.





Friday, November 21, 2014

Hangar 1, MUFON and Mandate 0463


Hangar 1: The UFO Files, opens with the statement,
"The following incidents are from real case files.
They are from actual UFO investigations."

Here's what Mutual UFO Network's website says about the series:
"The premise of each episode is to examine a number of MUFON cases, looking for patterns that tie in to historic UFO events and try to show what the alien agenda may be. Actual footage and recreations will be used along with expert testimony...  The show will showcase MUFON’s mission to educate the public about the UFO phenomenon. 
Stay tuned because the 'truth is out there' or shall we say, it’s actually in HANGAR 1.” 
Illustration

In the first episode of Hangar 1: The UFO Files episode one, “Presidential Encounters,” there's a clip showing a document used to illustrate the US Government UFO cover-up. 

According to the show, after President Eisenhower met aliens at Muroc Air Force base in 1954, he tightened the lid on UFO secrecy. The narration states, "A secret policy was adopted that stated that any information on the matter of extraterrestrials was a matter of National security and therefore classified." They show and quote from a document, Mandate 0463.
"under no circumstances are the general public or public press to learn of the existence of these entities, the official government policy is that such creatures do not exist."
The problem is, it's a phony


Mandate 0463 seen at 3:26

Public Exposure

Jason Colavito’s blog was the first one to examine the false document:
They show a document on screen labeled “MANDATE 0463” from 1 March 1954, but I can find no record that this paper actually exists outside of the show...
Here’s the MAJESTIC-12 language attributed to “Chapter 5: Extraterrestrial Biological Entities” of the Group Special Operations Manual dated April 1954, reformatted on this show to fabricate a “1 March 1954” memo, by computer, in Times New Roman... "Under no circumstances is the general public or public press to learn of the existence of these entities. The official government policy is that such creatures do not exist, and that no agency of the federal government is now engaged in any study of extraterrestrials or their artifacts. Any deviation from this stated policy is absolutely forbidden.” This is the same text Hangar 1 uses, but they excerpt only some sentences from the MJ-12 manual in crafting their own fake memo.
The whole thing we see on screen appears to be a complete fabrication from this passage of the fictional MJ-12 documents, and no one on this show acknowledges or addresses the deception involved in creating this fake document as an “illustration.” http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-hangar-1-ufo-files-s01e01-presidential-encounters  (3/2/2014) 

A Fake Based on a Fake: SOM 1-01 Special Operations Manual

The SOM 1-01Manual

SOM 1-01 was evaluated as a fake by reputable UFO experts, including MUFON's Richard H. Hall and Thomas P. Deuley:
The SOM 1-01 manual arrived in the mail to Don Berliner as a roll of film from an anonymous source. This immediately raises suspicions, since there is no identifiable source whose veracity and reputation can be checked and no original documents that can be subjected to forensic analysis...We believe this to be a hoax document; a deliberate fake designed to mislead the public and to plant false information in the UFO research community... See http://www.cufos.org/ros5.html 

Robert Hastings has also written about "SOM 1-01" in Operation Bird Droppings
"As was the case with the earlier batch of MJ-12 'documents' that surfaced 25 years ago, the newly-disseminated MJ-12-related SOM-01-I 'field manual' is undoubtedly a forgery."
More recently, in MJ-12: The Hoax That Quickly Became a Disinformation Operation.
For example, MJ-12 was prominently featured during the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure, held in Washington D.C. in May 2013. Linda Moulton Howe breathlessly characterized the MJ-12-related SOM 1-01 Special Operations Manual—which directs military personnel how to recover crashed UFOs and dead aliens—as having “stood the test of time”. Hardly! Military document expert and longtime UFO researcher Jan Aldrich has discovered over 50 factual errors and/or discrepancies in military protocol in the so-called “manual”.
http://www.theufochronicles.com/2014/10/mj-12-hoax-that-quickly-became.html
For some reason, SOM 1-01 was not used in the show. Instead, a different counterfeit document was created.

Mandate 0463: Further Discussions

A blurry look at "Mandate 0463"

Shortly after the broadcast of Hangar 1 episode: “Presidential Encounters,” other authors wrote about the use of Mandate 0463. 
Tim Printy at SUNlite: The show then decides to present something called Mandate 0463 (dated 3 March 1954), which states that the existence of aliens is to be denied by all DOD departments/personnel. Does such a document really exist? The document states that it was created at the 2374th meeting of the DOD on March 1, 1954. The DOD was created September 18, 1947. There were 2356 days between these two dates. According to Jason Colavito’s blog, some of the wording comes from the MJ-12 SOM-1 manual Chapter 5. 5 This document looked fabricated... (May 2014) http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite6_3.pdf


Made for TV document.

Robert Sheaffer also covered the use of Mandate 0463:
MUFON has fabricated documents to look like genuine secret government UFO documents, and presented them in Hangar 1 as if they were authentic, with no explanation or disclaimer. If that isn't downright dishonesty, I don't know what else to call it. (3/13/14) http://badufos.blogspot.com/2014/03/mufon-jumps-shark.html

Sheaffer’s article is particularly interesting because a MUFON representative replied to it:
Terry Montgomery Groff March 13, 2014 at 3:03 PM "No, MUFON claims these programs are based on files in a real storage area in Cincinnati, Ohio that they call Hanger 1. Everything in the program does indeed have associated files in storage including information on Presidential encounters."
Besides the UFO skeptics, there were also online discussions of it at forums such as: 
Facebook, at various pages and groups, including, UFO UpDates and "The 'Official' Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) Facebook Page, with Rich Hoffman and Steve Hudgeons, Jr. 

Hangar 1 producers may not have been aware of the criticism, but members and officials of MUFON were. The Mandate 0463 clip was used again Nov. 14, 2014 in a MUFON promotional film:


Mandate 0463 is presented at 50 seconds in.

Negligence, or willful misconduct?

More documents "made for TV"

The Mandate 0463 document is a fake, made for television. Hangar 1 features plenty of discussion of speculative and undocumented material, but that is really a whole other topic. By displaying phony documents such as Mandate 0463, it seems to indicate that MUFON or the show's producers are having trouble distinguishing fact from fiction. Or, that they are unconcerned with the difference.

The UFO topic is polluted enough with misinformation and mistakes. There's no need to manufacture new ones. Was Mandate 0463's use in Hangar 1 negligence, or willful misconduct? 

In the public eye, this is exactly the situation that prompts the media to ask, Idiot or Liar?”

 - - -






To learn more about Hangar 1: The UFO Files:

Jan Harzan is the executive director of MUFON and is featured on the program. 
MUFON Headquarters: 3822 Campus Drive Suite 201 Newport Beach, CA 92660
949-47MUFON or 949-476-8366

Hangar 1 is produced by Go Go Luckey Entertainment. 
IMDb gives the senior credits for the  “Presidential Encounters” episode as:
Mitch Marcus...director


Amy Cron...senior story producer  
Christopher Lauer...line producer 
Douglas Segal...executive producer 
Kevin Tavolaro...senior story producer 
Paul Villadolid...executive producer

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dateline 1966: A Paranormal Encounter


X? and the witness, circa Fall 1966.


The Witness: Boy, aged 7.5 years, student in elementary school, second grade. 
Conventional nuclear family, two sisters, one older, one younger. Boy exhibited typical activities and interests for his age and gender, although interests skewed towards fantasy, especially cartoons, comic books, monsters and heroes.

Jackson, Mississippi, USA #pinitdown

1960s satellite photo of neighborhood & shot of house exterior.
Exterior of the sighting location.

The Location: 3735 Lee Drive, Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Modest three-bedroom home in a stable suburban neighborhood. The incident occurred in the front room, a den or living room facing East, with two curtained windows.

Key element to the story, television programs establish year, time and day.

The Date:
The day is verified as a Saturday, a morning, the time, between the hours of 9:00 and 11:00 A.M. Exact date unknown, believed to be early Fall of 1966.




The Incident: A single witness sighting of a “ghost” by young boy. Parents were told, but no police or official report was filed. All case information comes from the witness' memory of incident, collected over four decades later.


Yeah, the boy was me. My introduction to the concept of ghosts may well have been Casper the Friendly Ghost on television. I’d watch it when it was on, but all I really cared about was Batman and other super heroes.


False advertising. No cartoon ghosts appear.
I had seen the Ghost and Mr. Chicken sometime earlier the year, my first scary movie in a theatre. There was some creepy stuff, but I don’t recall an actual ghost being depicted. I can’t be sure if I saw or noticed the one in the advertising, which looked like an evil, four-armed Casper. No nightmares or anything afterwards, though.

The Incredible True Saga

In the Fall of 1966, I saw a ghost-like apparition, or perhaps an indoor UFO. It wasn’t a life changing event, but I’ve thought about it now and then over the years, and finally tried to get the facts together. 

It was a Saturday morning. I was 7.5 years old when this event took place, and don’t remember what had happened earlier in the morning, but speculate that our family had breakfast together and then everyone else went back to their rooms. I pounced on the rare opportunity to get the den television all to myself. CBS had an excellent block of Saturday morning cartoons, and I probably came in during Underdog, but may have begun as early as Captain Kangaroo.



Our TV was B&W.
Schedule for CST. Not mine, we had only 2 channels.
  8:30 AM The Underdog Show
  9:00 AM Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles
  9:30 AM Space Ghost and Dino Boy
10:00 AM The New Adventures of Superman
10:30 AM The Lone Ranger
11:00 AM The Road Runner Show

I settled in and laid on the couch with my head on a pillow, ready to enjoy the full run. Sometime, probably during Space Ghost or Superman, I became aware of a presence, a ghostly form hovering beside the couch to my right. It was if about two feet away from me and about as tall as an adult.




My diagram is based on memory, guesswork and photos (which only show the exterior of the house). I can’t even be certain of dimensions or anything, except the placement of the door, windows, television and couch. There were no lights on in the room, just the TV, and whatever daylight got past the curtains.

It reminded me of this, but no legs.

My impression of the figure was that it was a ghost, and though it didn’t look much like it, the match I made for it in my mind was one of the adult ghosts as seen in Casper.


R, similar to the shape. L, similar to the transparency.

It was roughly six feet tall, but the body mostly formless. There seemed to be a head (but no face), possibly arms, but not legs, and it was completely transparent as if made of cigarette smoke. I found two pictures that somewhat resemble aspects of it, one a bit of the shape, and the other the smoky transparency. However, my ghost was not so billowy as either smoke picture.

My distinct impression was that this thing was hovering over me and silently watching. It scared me, and at that age, I had the notion that if you ignored bad things, they would go just away. 
I froze motionless and silent, and pretended not to see it. I focused my attention into tunnel vision on the television screen.
Two avoidance techniques: Ostritching and Playing Possum, 
Every so often, I’d steal a glance over it at, and see that it continued to hang there in the air motionless. I distinctly remember that it was there during the Lone Ranger program. While it was on, I became so focused on the show, that stopped thinking about the ghost. Sometime after the show was over, I turned to look and the ghost was gone. 

I told my family, and they reacted as parents always do, assuring me it was just my imagination, or a shadow etcetera... Parents are the original debunkers. Before there were weather balloons, it was always, “Just the wind blowing.”

Even though I repeated the morning television viewing on many other days, there was never any ghost, cloud or disturbance of any kind, but then the chances to duplicate the event were limited.  In May 1967, we moved to another house on the other side of town.

The Investigation


All we know are the facts.

What was it... a Hallucination?

I remain firmly convinced that what I saw was real, and not a hallucination, dream or my imagination. I’ve caught glimpses of shadows or objects that have fooled me briefly lots of times into thinking I’d seen cats, people or whatever, but this thing remained in place for so long, it was really there. While I can’t recall the plots of the shows I watched today, I could have at the time, I hadn’t fallen asleep and dreamt it.

What was it... a Ghost?

I was under the impression it was a ghost, even though it really didn’t match the depictions of a ghost I’d seen in media. I thought they were spectral people, or maybe looked like Casper’s friends. I didn’t associate it with a spirit of someone dead, but for this project, checked to see if there were any deaths near the sighting. It turns out that in the eighteen months leading up to my ghost, I’d lost three grandparents. At that age, about all it meant to me was those people weren’t around anymore, but it was a bit of a mystery to me why my parents were so worried and sad about it.

I'd recently lost grandparents, but it didn't seem like one of them.
As the ghost experience was happening, I was just afraid of this unknown thing, but never got the sense of an identity or message coming from it. I did feel a sense of menace from it though, mostly due to how near me it was. If this was a messenger from the beyond, they largely failed in the delivery.



The angle of the Sun seems all wrong. 

What was it... Sunlight?

The ghost resembled smoke, but hung motionless for some period of time greater than an hour. My parents smoked, but were in the other end of the house, and there was no source for smoke. Over the years, I’ve often considered sunlight as the best prosaic candidate. The house faced East, and there were windows behind the television. While the curtains were closed, maybe sunlight streamed through a crack and illuminated dust particles floating in the air.

The Sun remains is a "person of interest."

During the part of the year the sighting likely occurred, the sun rises at Approximately 6:45 A.M. and sets at 7:00 P.M.
Adds a bit of color, but no answers.

That might explain how it appeared and then vanished. Maybe. I’ve tried to gather information on the Sun’s position thorough the day, and the angle at the time of the event seems wrong for that theory. Also, the fact that it happened on just that lone Saturday seems to argue against it.


This is the house we used to live in. From Google Maps.

I’d hoped to really test the angles, but the house was abandoned and eventually torn down sometime after 2007. There’s just an empty lot there now, nothing physical to go on, and only one object from the sighting room remains in my possession.

A silent witness.

What do you hope to achieve?

Trying to track down the details  turned out to be an interesting exercise, testing my memory against the facts, and seeing just what can be proven or documented. The memory of the event is a bit unclear, and this point, it’s more like I remember remembering, it, and not so much the original event itself. Checking the facts against my memory revealed several surprises. A whole lot happened to the family in a concentrated period of time, things that seemed spaced years apart as I remembered them. 

One interesting thing about gathering the information: there was an almost irresistible temptation to use imagination to connect one fact to another or use speculation to fill in the blanks. I think many yield to this temptation, and often tell more than they know.

ex scientia vera

Maybe someone can read this and piece together things that I've missed or provide a more professional analysis of how the Sun may have created a ghost effect. I’ve never had another similar experience, and it remains an unsolved puzzle. 
My ghost sighting was not a transformative event, but it has given me some insight into the experiences of UFO and paranormal witnesses, and what they go thorough in not being believed. And I have to wonder, if being scoffed at doesn't somehow make it even more real in one's mind and memory. 

I know it did for me.