Monday, October 20, 2014

Lockheed, the Area 51 Interceptors & John Lear

Al Frickey tells all!

In the article, Ben Rich, Area 51 & Taking ET Home, I focused on the specific remarks attributed to Ben Rich from one particular occasion. It's fairly been pointed out that Lockheed had other connections to UFOs, and that Rich mentioned UFOs to others both in letters and conversations. 


Kelly Johnson

Clarence "Kelly" Johnson

Kelly Johnson had reported spotting UFOs, knew others working with him that had also, and he had a serious interest in the topic.
Kelly Johnson letter fromProject Blue Book files.
http://www.fold3.com/image/6314607/
For discussions of Johnson's sightings, see:

“The Lockheed UFO case, 1953,” by Joel Carpenter

http://conspiracy101.com/ufos/skunkworks/

Kelly Johnson: The founder of Aera 51's UFOsightings
http://ufopartisan.blogspot.com/2010/08/area-51-founders-ufo-sightings.html

The Lockheed UFO Case Revisited
http://www.notaghost.com/2012/03/a-prosaic-explanation-for-a-famous-ufo-case.html



Ben Rich

Ben Rich, the Area 51 Interceptors & John Lear

Ben Rich shared Johnson’s interest in UFOs, as demonstrated in his letter to John Andrews

Ben Rich Letter to John AndrewsJohn Andrews' Correspondence with Ben Rich, Lee Graham and others.

John Andrews was Andrews designer for scale-model kits of cars and airplanes for the Testor Corp. With his contacts in the aviation industry, he managed to get inside information and build models based on secret military designs before their release to the public.


Andrews on "Sightings" 10/02/94 (at 8:33 of this clip)

John Andrews had an interest in UFOs, and was responsible for getting John Lear involved:

John Lear, the delicious part of
every 80s conspiracy theory.
“...up till 1984, my sole interest was SR-71, F-19, Stealth Fighter, stuff like that. As a matter of fact, you can go on the internet: John Andrews, who was Vice President of Testors, and eventually made the ‘Sport Model’. You know he and I had letters going back and forth. He’d say, “Hey, you ought to look into this flying saucer deal.” And I’d say, “No, its bullshit, you know I don’t need to waste my time.”  http://projectcamelot.org/lang/en/john_lear_2008_transcript_1_en.html

Andrews and Lear were also friends with Jim Goodall, an avid aviation author and historian. Goodall was fascinated with the Stealth programs at Area 51, and wondered what else might be flying there. He became a member of the original Area 51 “Interceptors,” and came to share the interest of his friends in more exotic aircraft.

“[Jim] Goodall had come to believe in the saucers.”
By the time he went up to Whitesides to look down on Dreamland for the first time with John Lear in the fall of 1988, his obsession had expanded. At some point during the revelation of the Lazar story, and talking to those who had worked at the base, Goodall crossed the Ridge—or began to straddle it. He came to believe in the presence of alien craft, as did John Andrews, his frequent companion on the trips."There are things out there that would make George Lucas green with envy," he had been told, and he believed. 
The key moment in his conversion was a letter Ben Rich had written to him, in which Rich said that both he and Kelly Johnson believed in UFOs. (But in the account I had, this was a tease.) From Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51  by Phil Patton, 1998.

Jim Goodall, describing has aviation sleuthing

Making George Lucas Drool

Jim Goodall took some of his experience, mixed it with some unattributed quotes and a heaping helping of speculation in a 1988 article for Gung-Ho magazine:

Gung-Ho, Feb. 1988

Rumour has it some of these systems involve force-field technology, gravity-drivesystems, and "flying saucer" designs. Rumour further has it that these designsare not necessarily of Earth human origin - but of who might have designed themor helped us to do it, there is less talk. "Let's just put it this way,"explained one retired Lockheed engineer. "We have things flying in the Nevadadesert that would make George Lucas drool."
Feb. 88 issue of GUNG-HOStealth - And Beyond - A look at Aurora and Some "Unfunded Opportunities" (UFO) by "Al Frickey, "pseudonym of Jim Goodall

See more Jim Goodall quotes from "Area 51 - the Dreamland Chronicles" by David Darlington at 

Larger Than Life

Ben Rich
The Ben Rich rumors circulating are either distortions or gross exaggerations he may have said.

"Ben Rich was well known as both a joker and someone who enjoyed embellishing a good story. I asked one of his former co-workers about the truth of a certain story Ben included in his memoirs and was told that, 'Ben tended to fire for effect rather than accuracy.' That was why I was interested in finding out how true his supposed statements were regarding technology to 'travel to the stars.' The truth became clear after I had a chance to examine Ben's personal papers." - Peter Merlin

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ben Rich, Area 51 & Taking ET Home

In his autobiography, Skunk Works, Ben Rich wrote that while Lockheed was developing the stealth plane, 
Ben Rich

"Some of our senior engineers thought it might be easier to build a flying saucer. The problem was how to build one… We don't know how to do that. The Martians wouldn’t tell us.” 

Rich had a sense of humor, and he could engage in some boastful sensationalizing (BS for short) to improve a story.



It came from Area 51



The myth of the Skunk Works super technology is closely tied to the lore of UFOs. The stories told by Paul Bennewitz were repeated by John Lear, who grafted Area 51 onto the narrative. Shortly afterwards, Bob Lazar surfaced to spotlight Area 51, which soon gave rise to stories of the legendary Aurora.

The Area 51 "Interceptors," Jim Goodall and John Andrews were involved in pusrsuing this, as well as Andrews' friend Lee Graham, who got tangled in the MJ-12 document circus. Andrews and Goodall tried to coax Stealth secrets and UFO stories out of Ben Rich, but he mostly responded in friendly deflecting replies. If Ben Rich ever made extravagent statements about Lockheed spacecraft, there's no indication that it was anything more than words.

Kooks and Charlatans


On the forum Above Top Secret, ATSZOMBIE asked about the Skunk works legends,
Ben Rich, stated during a 1993, Alumni Speech at UCLA, 
"We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity...Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do." 
A traceable context for the quote, if he actually did gave it? 

Peter Merlin

There were several floundering answers, but using the screen name Shadowhawk, aviation historian Peter Merlin joined the conversation:


Ben Rich is constantly misquoted as saying "We now have the technology to take E.T home." That is not what he said. 

At the end of his presentation he showed his final slide, a picture of a disk-shaped craft – the classic “flying saucer” – flying into a partly cloudy sky with a burst of sunlight in the background and he gave his standard tagline. It was a joke he had used in numerous presentations since 1983 when Steven Spielberg’s "E.T. the Extraterrestrial," a film about a young boy befriending a lost visitor from space and helping the alien get home, had become the highest-grossing film of all-time. Rich apparently decided to capitalize on this popularity. By the summer of 1983, he had added the flying saucer picture to the end of a set of between 12 and 25 slides that he showed with his lecture on the history of Lockheed's famed Skunk Works division. 

Rich had long used a standard script for his talks, tailoring the content as necessary to accommodate his audience. Since most Skunk Works current projects were classified, it didn’t matter whether he was addressing schoolchildren or professional aeronautical engineers; he always ended the same way. At a Defense Week symposium on future space systems in Washington, D.C., on September 20, 1983, he said, “Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what we have been doing for the last 10 years. It seems we score a breakthrough at the Skunk Works every decade, so if you invite me back in 10 years I’ll be able to tell you what we are doing [now]. I can tell you about a contract we recently received. The Skunk Works has been assigned the task of getting E.T. back home.” The audience laughed, as it was meant to do. 

If something is successful, it is worth repeating. Rich gave an identical speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on September 6, 1984, and continued using his script during successive appearances. Sometimes he refined the details a bit. “I wish I could tell you what else we are doing in the Skunk Works,” he said, wrapping up a presentation for the Beverly Hills chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution on May 23, 1990. “You’ll have to ask me back in a few years. I will conclude by telling you that last week we received a contract to take E.T. back home.” 

Three years later he was still using the same line and the same slide. “We did the F-104, C-130, U-2, SR-71, F-117 and many other programs that I can’t talk about,” he proclaimed during a 1993 speech at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, home of Air Force Materiel Command, the organization responsible for all flight-testing within the Air Force. “We are still working very hard, I just can’t tell you what we are doing.” As usual, he added his by now infamous punchline, “The Air Force has just given us a contract to take E.T. back home.” 

Within the UFO community, Rich’s words, and additional statements attributed to him without corroborative proof, have become gospel. He is named as having admitted that extraterrestrial UFO visitors are real and that the U.S. military has interstellar capabilities, and although nearly two full years passed between Rich’s UCLA speech and his death in 1995, some believers have touted his comments as a “deathbed confession.” It was nothing of the kind. 

Rich, a brilliant scientist, apparently believed in the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, though only as something distant and mysterious. In July 1986, after Testor Corporation model-kit designer John Andrews wrote asking what he thought about the possible existence of either manmade or extraterrestrial UFOs, Rich responded, “I’m a believer in both categories. I feel everything is possible.” He cautioned, however, that, “In both categories, there are a lot of kooks and charlatans – be cautious.” 


Merlin goes on to say in another comment:

The main point of my earlier posts was simply that Ben Rich did not say what some people claim he said. Most of his so-called quotes are not traceable back to a reliable source. The Keller/Harzan accounts of his 1993 UCLA speech are based solely on memory and were only reported years after the event. The overall description of Rich's presentation matches (for the most part) his standard script, though I'm not sure that I believe he ended that talk with a discussion of the F-117A. By 1993, he was ending with the YF-22 winning the Advanced Tactical Fighter fly-off competition, something the Skunk Works was justifiably proud of at the time. Perhaps he mentioned it earlier in his UCLA speech, or maybe Keller and Harzan simply forgot. It is not really important. I won't hold it against Keller and Harzan that they describe his UFO slide as a black disk flying into space, rather than as a metallic flying saucer in a cloudy sky with a sunburst. Their description is not bad for being based on memory, and I was just looking at a photocopy of the original slide last week. Quoting Rich as saying, "We have the technology to take E.T. home" is a close but memory-distorted version of what he actually said, as evidenced by his presentation scripts, which he followed closely. 


SUNlite5_6.pdf


Merlin later greatly expanded the material, providing documentation in an excelent article for Tim Printy's SUNlite,
 "Taking ET Home: Birth of a Modern Myth." See pages 17-19 at
http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite5_6.pdf




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The APRO Bulletin Archives at Open Minds

At Open Minds, Alejandro Rojas has posted the later issues of the APRO Bulletin collection:

Jim and Carol Lorenzen
"The APRO Bulletin was the official publication of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization which was founded in 1952 by Jim and Carol Lorenzen. APRO continued through the 1980s and below is a nearly complete collection of the APRO Bulletins for research use."


APRO Bulletin Vol 29 #8
The APRO Bulletin is a great slice of UFO history and you can follow how cases were reported, discussed and disputed. APRO was the first organization to get the Cash-Landrum case, but they were unable to investigate it, and passed the job to Project VISIT, led by John F. Schuessler. They continued to follow and report on the case, providing valuable insight and opinion.

APRO Bulletin: Directory of Cash-Landrum articles

Vol. 29 #8 Sept. 1981 
Burns Follow UFO Incident
1st published detailed report on the case, an excellent article, with details never featured anywhere else. Material from this issue were used by Peter Gersten in the claims filed for the witnesses.

Vol. 29 #10 Oct. 1981 
Cash-Landrum Follow-Up, and announcement about Dr. Leo Sprinkle on "That’s Incredible!" with Vickie Landrum, 

Vol. 30 #6 June 1982 
Rumors Permeate Cash-Landrum Case

Vol. 30 #9 1982 
Cash-Landrum Analysis

Vol. 30 #10 Oct. 1982 
More on Cash-Landrum

Vol. 31 #4 March 1983 
Cash-Landrum Update 
(Earliest mention of C-L book in the works by John F. Schuessler and Bob Pratt.)


Vol. 32 #7 Sept.1984 
Ufology-according to whom? 
Response to the MUFON editorial by John F. Schuessler, features summary of APRO’s involvement in the C-L case.

The link again, to the entire collection: 



Some of these articles were used in a heated exchange between the Lorenzens and Schuessler, with notes written in the margins. See this earlier article:

MUFON vs. APRO, Allegations, Accusations & Countercharges