Monday, July 25, 2011

Corporal Pyles and the Roswell Skeptics

Here’s something that I don’t understand. In the rush to condemn all things Roswell, the debunkers often overlook glaring errors on the part of those UFO investigators they wish to believe. As a point in fact, we’ll take a look at what Karl Pflock wrote in his book, Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and a Will to Believe when he told his version of the story of Corporal E.L. Pyles.

But first, a look at what Don Schmitt and I had to say about Pyles in our book, The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell. I had written, “Fifteen miles southwest of the base, Corporal E. L. Pyles, on a detached facility, looked up to see what he thought at first was a shooting star, but larger. It moved across the sky and then arced downward. There seemed to be an orange glow around it, a halo near the front. Pyles believed the event took place between 11:00 p.m. and midnight because the lights at the facility were turned out after 10:30, and he would normally retire before midnight. He thought it was near the weekend, but couldn’t be sure of the exact day.”

Later in the book, in recapping the witnesses who had reported something in the sky, I wrote, “Corporal E. L. Pyles, southwest of Roswell, saw a falling star. He thought it was a falling star because it was ‘wrapped in orange.’ Like the others, he believed it happened just before midnight. It clearly was something large enough and bright enough to be seen thirty or forty miles away.”

Although we hadn’t actually assigned a date to this story, we do make it clear that we believed it happened in early July 1947 and given what we had been told by others, believed that the day was just before midnight on July 4.

Pflock, in his anti-alien Roswell book also reported that he had interviewed Pyles. According to Pflock, “I asked Pyles when this took place. He replied, ‘It was in forty-seven. I don’t remember the month or the date I saw it [emphasis in original]’ It seems it was summertime.’ I then asked him if he was on the main base, Roswell AAF, when he saw the ‘streak’. He said, ‘Yes, I was... I was walking across the drill field... there on the base... [with a] friend of mine... We both saw it.”

Now I freely admit this looks damaging for my research. We, meaning Don and I, had taken the story of a streak of light told by Pyles and put a date on it. It would seem that we were taking a story of a light in the night sky that could have been seen at almost any time in 1947 and placed it in a very narrow range without benefit of witness testimony and, in fact, in contradiction of what the witness told to Pflock. Pretty sloppy work, if that had been true.

But Pflock then wrote, “Next, I pursued the time of night the sighting occurred. Pyles said, ‘Well, it had to have been between, say, eight o’clock, probably... [and] eleven... [I couldn’t] pinpoint the time, but it was before midnight. I think we had been to the club, NCO club.’ A ‘few days later’ he saw the ‘RAAF Captures Flying Saucer’ story in the Roswell Daily Record, and he wondered if he and his friend had seen anything to do with it [reproduced here exactly as it appears in Pflock’s book, ellipses and all].”

So, after all the fussing around, and suggesting that Pyles couldn’t even give a month for the sighting and suggesting he barely remembered the year, he then provides a signpost in the available documentation. He said it was in the days prior to the newspaper article, or in other words, it could have been July 4 as we had suggested, and certainly was in that time frame according to what Pyles told Pflock. And we had pinpointed the time as prior to midnight, just as did Pyles in his conversation with Pflock.

What all this meant, in the long run, was that I was catching flack for misrepresenting the Pyles testimony when, in fact, what Pflock learned actually confirmed what we (and here I mean I) had reported. What I didn’t understand then, and what I don’t understand now, is why Pflock made a big deal out of Pyles not knowing when he saw the streak of light and a paragraph later limiting it to the first week in July. Didn’t anyone catch that inconsistency?

In fact, we have Pflock reporting that Pyles couldn’t even remember if it was summer (though he thought it might have been) but then saying that it was after eight and before midnight. Strange, selective memory, it would seem to me, though if you are reporting a light in the sky, it was probably after dark (well, dusk anyway).

Not to mention that no one seems to want to criticize Pflock for what might be an inaccuracy in his reporting. They all assume that he got it right without shading or manipulation and that I, along with Don, got it wrong.

This is the sort of trivia that has been going on for too many years. I now must defend my statements about the timing of Pyles sighting when it seems to me that anyone with any reading comprehension would understand that Pyles had confirmed, to Pflock, the timing of the event. He might not have been able to say July 4, but we, and here I do mean Don and me, had other information that suggested that date when we wrote our book.

In the end, what we see here is that Pyles confirmed the time frame for Pflock, but Pflock, for some reason didn’t seem to understand that Pyles put it in the first week in July. And the skeptics didn’t bother to question this. They just accepted the idea that we were wrong and Pflock was right, when it turned out that Pflock had, basically, confirmed what we had said.


Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

What are the other factors that lead you into this date.

I assume you have thrown out the unsubstantiated nuns' diary?



cda said...

The reason, I assume, that nobody criticized Pflock over this testimony is that, in the end, it is too trivial.

I agree that Pflock did no better than you or Schmitt as no date, time or description can be established with any certainty (40+ years afterwards!). Certainly he had no right to 'downsize' your own work when his was no better.

I would merely say that Corporal Pyles' testimony adds nothing of value to the Roswell story, whether you are a skeptic or an ETHer.

His sighting sounds like a meteor. So does that of the nuns. The date and time are unknown. In other words, what value has either sighting?

Sourcerer said...

As an outsider to Roswell ufology, there seems to be a bit personal animosity, territorialness, and competition among factions. Maybe Pflock's rhetoric here expresses something of that.

I agree with CDA that it sounds like a meteor sighting.

Before reading this article, I was browsing Ruppelt's The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, and was reading (in Chapter 1) a similar story to Pyles' of a sighting at Fairchild Air Force Base in January 1952. One difference between the two stories was the color of the object, not orange, but blue-white.

Ruppelt: "When we got the report at ATIC, our first reaction was that the master sergeants had seen a large meteor. From the evidence I had written off, as meteors, all previous similar UFO reports from this air base.

The sergeants’ report, however, contained one bit of information that completely changed the previous picture. At the time of the sighting there had been a solid 6,000-foot-thick overcast at 4,700 feet. And meteors don't go that low."

Cloud cover or not, I'd be interested in Pyles' story re Roswell if he had said the object had a bluish light.



cda said...


Your final quote on the Marcel topic was:

"I doubt CDA will respond and discuss Cavitt's closeness to Marcel, Blanchard, and Ramey. It is a rare experience for me to have a Roswell skeptic respond to anything about Roswell that is not ET-centric."

My response, in part, is that I am as certain as day follows night that Rickett had nothing to do with Roswell, that the Rickett/LaPaz story relates to an incident 18 months after Roswell, and that it is very likely Cavitt also had no involvement with Roswell. Look at the various contradictions in Cavitt's story, what he told Moore, Col. Weaver and later interviewers. Was he there or not? Can you say with any certainty? Even Kevin seems to wonder about Cavitt's part in the saga. Cavitt HAS produced a report, but it refers to incidents 18 months to 2 years later.

To return to the topic here, if what Pyles saw was a meteor, as I am confident it was, and what the nuns saw was a meteor, at an uncertain date and time, without any documentation, where does that take us? Answer: nowhere.

At least the Wilmot's sighting is documented at the time (July 2). But nobody has ever shown it had anything to do with the Roswell affair.

There is a lot of misleading and useless 'evidence' floating about. Some people want to connect it up, some just ignore it. Take your pick.

Just produce me some actual hard evidence, for once. It is long overdue.

starman said...

What about Woody? Seems too bright to be a meteor.

Sourcerer said...

Your response to a question about Cavitt, Blanchard and Ramey is, instead about Cavitt and Rickett, which seems like ET-creep to me.

The "contradictions" do not dismay me. I am not searching for what is true and what is false. My search is for accuracy. The accuracy I'm referring to are statements accurate to the reality of time, place, and circumstances. If an investigator wants to present evidence that the Roswell object was seen in the air, I'd want the evidence to be from 1947 or, if not, it should be accurate to what was recorded as seen in the sky then. Whether the statements are true or false is another matter. If there is nothing in them to rate for accuracy, I don't consider them. In time, maybe something will be learned that brings them back into consideration.



cda said...


What anyone saw in the sky in July 47, and documented at the time, is of no use in confirming what was found in the desert. None whatever.

Reason: nobody knows for sure when the object landed. We know when it was recovered and when (probably) it was first discovered, but we do not know when it crashed.

Thus any attempt to link up a UFO sighting, such as of the nuns or of Pyles, to the stuff found on the ranch is useless. There is simply no way of connecting them.

That is about all we need say on this matter.

As for Cavitt, Blanchard etc., why is Cavitt's "closeness" to Blanchard and others important?

Sourcerer said...

" confirming what was found in the desert".

I leave that to advocates and skeptics. That's their MacGuffin.

"As for Cavitt, Blanchard etc., why is Cavitt's "closeness" to Blanchard and others important?"

I assume you are saying you do not see anything of interest there. That's all I was asking you. I wouldn't find Cavitt's claims important if he weren't a CIC officer.



David Rudiak said...

cda wrote:
My response, in part, is that I am as certain as day follows night that Rickett had nothing to do with Roswell, that the Rickett/LaPaz story relates to an incident 18 months after Roswell, and that it is very likely Cavitt also had no involvement with Roswell. Look at the various contradictions in Cavitt's story, what he told Moore, Col. Weaver and later interviewers. Was he there or not? Can you say with any certainty? Even Kevin seems to wonder about Cavitt's part in the saga. Cavitt HAS produced a report, but it refers to incidents 18 months to 2 years later.

Ah yes, cda and his absolute certainties. Cavitt and Rickett couldn't have been involved just because cda says so.

Besides Marcel, Rickett, and finally even Cavitt himself (plus his wife) admitting Cavitt was involved, we also have Brazel back in 1947 saying Marcel was accompanied by a "man in plain clothes" or "a man in civilian clothes whom Brazel was unable to identify".

Who was that masked man? Obviously couldn't have been Cavitt, because cda in the present says it couldn't be, as certain as day follows night.

Same for the RDR back then reporting "a detail from his [Marcel's] department went to the ranch and recovered the disk."

So however you slice it, Marcel wasn't alone with Brazel out at the ranch.

As for La Paz's involvement with Roswell, we have not only Rickett but also Boyd Wettlaufer and Earl Zimmerman. Wettlaufer was a well-known Canadian archeologist, back then a student of La Paz. And according to Zimmerman in his affidavit, while working with La Paz on the green fireball investigation of 1949 (the one Rickett allegedly confused with Roswell):

"When I mentioned to him [La Paz] I had been stationed in Roswell during 1947, he told me he had been involved in the investigation of the thing found in the Roswell area that summer. He did not discuss the case in any detail, but he did say he went out with two agents and interviewed sheepherders, ranchers, and others. They told these witnesses they were investigating an aircraft accident. I seem to recall LaPaz also saying they found an area where the surface earth had been turned a light blue and wondering if lightning could cause such an effect."

In other words, the same basic story told by Rickett about he and Cavitt helping La Paz soon after Roswell interview people in the area and at one point coming across an area where the sand appeared to be fused into glass.

But Zimmerman must be wrong too, because cda says so.

cda said...

I did not say Cavitt was definitely not present at the scene, only that there is a good chance he was never there. If you doubt me, kindly prove that he was there, by documentation and not by distant memories. Marcel tried to recall this only after 32 years and seemed doubtful about the spelling of his name.

As for Rickett & LaPaz, why not read Pflock's book p.111-114, especially bottom of p.114. Yet you still insist Zimmermann and others are correct in their 46-year old memories. LaPaz was also heavily involved in the Four Corners meteorite fall (thought to be an aircraft crash at first) in Oct 47.

You seem not to realise that both Cavitt and Rickett (as co-author) produced papers on their green fireball field trips, as of course did LaPaz (many reports). So these document at least that Cavitt and Rickett were both involved in late 48 and early 49.

Strange to say, but neither produced anything whatever on the crash of '47. At least, nobody has ever turned up anything to this effect. I look forward to you doing precisely this, and proving me wrong. Kevin, if VERY lucky, might stumble on something too. But I am not holding my breath...

Pflock has said enough for me. Reject him if you wish but the evidence, or counter-evidence, is all there.

KRandle said...

Lance -

It had nothing to do with the nun's diary but came from another source... which I now find to be unreliable.


Thank you for proving my point for me. Pflock gets a pass on everything. He said what you want to hear, so you accept it without question. Yet I can raise legitimate questions about some of the testimony he used, about his interview techniques... and of course, the famous Kurt Peters episode.

Everyone -

Yes, the description sounds like a meteor, which is one of the first things I thought of twenty years ago...

And no, there is nothing to tie it to what fell, other than a proximity in time and a somewhat close event.

David Rudiak said...

cda wrote:
I did not say Cavitt was definitely not present at the scene, only that there is a good chance he was never there. If you doubt me, kindly prove that he was there, by documentation and not by distant memories.

Brazel's documented 1947 newspaper statements that he and Marcel were accompanied by a man in plain or civilian clothes (i.e., an agent of the CIC) totally corroborates Marcel's recollection that Cavitt accompanied him to the ranch.

You seem not to realise that both Cavitt and Rickett (as co-author) produced papers on their green fireball field trips, as of course did LaPaz (many reports). So these document at least that Cavitt and Rickett were both involved in late 48 and early 49.

I am quite aware of this, but all this shows is that the green fireball investigation was declassified a long time ago, hence the documents.

If it was still classified, you would not be seeing the documents. Anything deemed to be of national security interest, such as nuclear secrets or dirty covert operations, can be classified indefinitely. You seem to have this curious naivete that all you have to do is ask politely under FOIA and government agencies must hand over their darkest secrets to you.

Strange to say, but neither produced anything whatever on the crash of '47. At least, nobody has ever turned up anything to this effect.

You should be asking why nobody can turn up anything at all concerning the Roswell incident. Why is that? Even if it were the balloon fiasco the skeptics claim, there should definitely have been an investigation into why senior officers at the AF's one and only atomic bomber base could screw up so badly. This is a classic case of the dog that didn't bark.

This wasn't some confined incident known only to a few around Roswell. It was front page national and international news, an alleged monumental "screw-up" and horrific embarrassment. The chain of command was disrupted right up to the top in the Pentagon (Gen. Vandenberg, who personally got involved).

But there was no investigation into what happened. Nobody lost their job, had their career ruined, got kicked out, got court-martialled, etc., etc.

Nothing negative, e.g., was said about Marcel in his subsequent evaluations. If anything, his numerical ratings went up, he received a promotion, was recommissioned, was recommended for command officer training, received a top secret Washington job a year later, etc.

And Blanchard, the guy who authorized and put out the infamous press release, got promoted right to the top (4-star general, USAF vice chief of staff).

So where are the missing documents that should exist, but don't, even if this was nothing but a big mistake? And why didn't the careers of the main people involved go into the toilet? The AF has a curious way of dealing with serious incompetence.

Sourcerer said...

Besides Kellahin's "civilian clothes" and the Daily Record's "plain clothes", the press mentions an "enlisted man". Throw in "intelligence officers" and the 1990s discrepancies in Rickett's and Cavitt's storires begin to map to them all. 8-)

There is a connotation to "plain clothes" not associated with "civilian clothes". The 'plainclothes man' is a detective or investigator who is in a service which is uniformed (thus ranked).

Although it would not be unheard of for an enlisted CIC Special Agent -- Rickett -- to wear civilian clothes, and perhaps might, if dealing with civilians, I think it is a long shot.

The odds it was anyone but Cavitt who was the man in plain clothes is miniscule.



cda said...


I have conceded that Pflock was wrong to downgrade your own work on the Pyles affair and to promote his own version as better. So much for the idea that he always writes what I want to hear. As far as Cavitt/Rickett/LaPaz is concerned I consider Pflock's research on this is superior to yours (and to Moore/Friedman's).


All you have shown is how trivial the AF thought the whole Roswell affair in '47. There are no documents on how everyone made an ass of themselves because at the time the AF had no such ideas. The idea of a giant 'screw-up' and 'embarrassment' only came about when certain recent researchers got going. The only known rebuke was from Washington to Haut (or Blanchard) over the silly premature press release. Beyond that, no 'documentation' was considered necessary. The case was closed.

The GAO were charged with locating all relevant documents. They found none. Nor has anyone else. Yet you, and Kevin, insist they are still stashed away, as part of this great secret that can never be told, from the scientific world after 64 years. A likely story!

KRandle said...

Don -

Cavitt told me that Rickett was always in civilian clothes and that their ranks (his and Rickett's) were classified. To quote Cavitt, "You couldn't have a sergeant investigating a colonel," meaning that if the colonel knew the rank of the investigator, it could inhibit the investigation.


I have shown, in many cases that Pflock wrote what you all wanted to hear... Take Lydia Sleppy. Pflock went on about the bell to signal an incoming message, suggesting that Sleppy couldn't have been interrupted, yet has, in his book, Sleppy's affidavit where she mentioned the bell.

You have stated repeatedly that you perfer Pflock's analysis of the events... because it fits with your own. I merely point out that Pflock had his own agenda which influenced his writing.

I do like David Rudiak's question to you. Why is it that many of the other "UFO crashes" in that time frame are featured in the Project Blue Book files but the only reference to the Roswell case is a single paragraph in the middle of a news story that suggests Walter Haut was "rebuked" by Pentagon officials. It was front page news, but no mention anywhere else?

Everyone -

This posting was about Pflock's reporting on Corporal Pyles, not about Rickett, Cavitt, Blanchard, or the other issues that have been raised here.

Sourcerer said...

Kevin thanks for the info about Rickett. I don't have anything more to say about Pyles, and a recitation of the flaws I've found in Pflock's Roswell work isn't enticing. Everyone will tend towards information that supports their assumptions at least occasionally. What was the importance of Pyles' time frame for his sighting to you?

It may satisfy CDA that now an official document reports that Marcel, Cavitt and Rickett were at the Foster Ranch. The USAF has accepted Cavitt's affidavit.

"The sheriff contacted Roswell (Army Air Field) AAF, which in turn sent intelligence officer, Maj Jesse Marcel, and two Countintelligence Corps Agents, Capt Sheridan Cavitt and MSgt Lewis Rickett, to evaluate the debris."

Notice how they gloss who "sent" (not 'ordered') the three. It was the field itself, apparently. No mention of Blanchard.

"The following day, the Public Information Office released a statement saying that the Army Air Forces had recovered a flying disc. This press release was provided to local newspapers who sent it out to wire services. Meanwhile, Brig Gen Roger Ramey, Eighth Air Force Commander, ordered that the debris be flowin to Eighth Air Force Headquarters at Fort Worth..."

Setting aside the mistake of the newspapers informing the wire services, the press release refers to Marcel and the "object" being flown to "higher headquarters" (and in the past tense); so there is no "meanwhile" about Ramey ordering the flight to Ft Worth. That was a decision made before the press release was written.

It is an interesting cognitive screwup, repeated endlessly online and found in various forms in Bloecher, The Roswell Incident (page 28), and listed as a possibility in Crash At Corona, for example.

It expresses a desire for a cause and effect relation between the publication of the press release and Ramey's Ft Worth revelation. It glosses the evidence of Ramey's involvement in what was happening at the RAAF.

In any event The Roswell Report contains errors (including referring to Haut several times as William Haut).

"Enough said" about the accuracy of "official documents", I think.



cda said...


"It may satisfy CDA that now an official document reports that Marcel, Cavitt and Rickett were at the Foster Ranch. The USAF has accepted Cavitt's affidavit."

It does not satisfy me. I presume you are talking about Weaver's interview with Cavitt. There is no proper Cavitt affidavit that I know of. Have I missed it? And people can make of Weaver's writings what they like; some choose to portray him as an ex- disinformation specialist, therefore why believe anything he writes!?

As Pflock was at one time in the CIA why should we believe anything HE writes either?

And so on, and on. It gets a bit 'ad hominem' after a while.


How right you are. We have strayed way off course. Not that this is unusual. After all, it is ufology.

And yes, I do agree, Obama is a genuine US citizen.

Sourcerer said...

"There is no proper Cavitt affidavit that I know of. Have I missed it?"

Attachment 17 to Weaver, "Statement of Witness". Do you have a reason to not consider the word 'affidavit' appropriate?

"...people can make of Weaver's writings what they like..."

Is The Roswell Report now merely "Weaver's writings"?

There is no "ad hominem" from me, and I can't figure out where you see one. Counter Intelligence does what its name says: it counters intelligence gathering. I wrote of two examples of countering here: The Roswell Report's glossing Blanchard's and Ramey's involvement in the press release.

As for Pflock and the CIA, if he wasn't in a CI unit, it is of no interest to me.



cda said...


Thanks, and indeed I accept that attachment 17 is Cavitt's affidavit. Obviously I had forgotten.

But what a picture it paints! No wonder the ETHers carefully avoid this document; it tends to destroy their whole thesis. Hence the idea put about by some (NOT you I emphasise), that Weaver's writings cannot be trusted because he was in the disinformation business. Obviously Cavitt was 'steered' towards saying what he did, etc.

I had simply forgotten about it.

As to Cavitt's distant memories, how reliable are they?

I have not read the interview that follows it, yet.

And there are some who also make 'ad hominem' attacks against Pflock (purely because he was once in the CIA).

But as I said to Kevin, we have strayed from the topic. In fact I do not see why he raised that particular topic - it is trivial, and useless as far as establishing any link with the Roswell UFO.

Sourcerer said...

CDA: "I have not read the interview that follows it, yet."

When you do, pay attention to where it displays signs of editing.

It is the only transcript available to me of an interview of Cavitt (I've none for Rickett, either). Maybe there's an archive online that I've missed. I don't find the several reports you mention written by Cavitt or Rickett, either. Are they online somewhere, or can I have them via email?

I am very interested in what Rickett actually said about La Paz speaking Spanish.

Re consideration that the CIC was a very small Corps with not much in the way of resources, it is interesting that they were heavily involved in the '47 Wave and in Green Fireballs, and that their involvement was not limited to reports within the army, but of civilians with no military associations.



KRandle said...


I'll tell you why I began this. I got tired of being called a sloppy researcher because what I found disagreed with what Pflock reported. Everyone seemed to believe that Pflock was correct. Sometimes he allowed his enthusiasm for his own perspective to color his thinking.

He repeated the nonsense of Kal Korff about Lydia Sleppy though he published her affidavit in his book. The only point of disagreement was with the FBI... and it was Sleppy who told me about the FBI.

He ignored the testimony of Arthur Exon because there wasn't much to be said against it and I'm sure his discussions with Exon confirmed what Don and I had reported.

He trotted out the nonsense that Jesse Marcel was not to be trusted because what was in his military record didn't agree with what he said but Pflock, as a former Marine should have known better.

That was the reason I initiated this discussion... so that we all would look at some of what has been reported in the skeptical literature and see that mistakes have been made. Rather than reject my perspective out of hand when it disagrees, maybe we should look at what we have been told...

And I find it interesting that neither Pflock nor Klass dealt with the information provided by Exon.

steve sawyer said...

"'I seem to recall LaPaz also saying they found an area where the surface earth had been turned a light blue and wondering if lightning could cause such an effect.'"

"In other words, the same basic story told by Rickett about he and Cavitt helping La Paz soon after Roswell interview people in the area and at one point coming across an area where the sand appeared to be fused into glass."

As an aside here, since La Paz seemed to be such a careful researcher, does anyone know if there is any record of La Paz's investigation of the fused blue glassy area he, I guess, discovered? It seems dubious that such an unusual "artifact" would not have been analyzed, samples taken, and some report written.

But where is it? This "bluish glassy" area is mentioned in passing by various online sources, but no determination as to what it actually was, or was caused by, seems to have surfaced, from La Paz or anyone else. It also seem doubtful such an effect would have been caused by lightning, based on some research I've done in looling into these questions.

Do you, Kevin, or David/don, have any knowledge or opinion on what this "burned" area suggests or might have been created by, and why no further contemporaneous records or reports as to its nature or source seem to be available?

I'm quite curious as to this aspect of the Roswell incident if anyone here can provide further data.

cda said...

The most likely place for such a report (if one was written) is among LaPaz's several papers on the green fireballs. These have long been declassified.

You certainly won't find it among the supposed myriad of reports on Roswell. These are either non-existent (as I would claim) or they are hidden in top secret vaults in the Pentagon (as the ETHers would claim).

Nonetheless you have raised an interesting point.

Sourcerer said...

Steve, to produce a blue or green glass, the impacting meteor would have to be huge, for example Meteor Crater in AZ and the Darwin, Tasmania (where it is called Darwin Glass) one. I recall another impact site discovered on the Atlantic coast of South America because scientists were given samples of the glassy material by locals and that led them to the impact. The bluish color is due to hematite and magnesium in the impacted ground and the metals in the meteor. It is also found at nuclear test sites.

In La Paz's day, the idea of earth-impacting meteors whose size would be estimated in kilometers was nearly considered pseudoscience. Meteor Crater was long considered an eroded volcanic feature. He might not have associated any examples he came across with meteor impacts.

The desert is full of mysterious things which are labeled and described by geologists, but their origins are only a matter of speculation, if that.

Regarding La Paz's hunt for green fireballs in which Rickett participated, did La Paz have a team besides the CIC agents?



Sourcerer said...

Steve, David quoted from Zimmerman's affidavit above. The other statements were supposedly made by an archeologist, Boyd Wetlaufer. I say "supposedly" because I have yet to find his story. Although it is referred to often enough, I've yet to find a mention of it with a link or any cite to a document.

La Paz wrote an article for Popular Astonomy (58, 400-401) about Wetlaufer's archeological work at Meteor Crater. This might be the connection to the blue glass, if Wetlaufer found some and described it to La Paz. Maybe it is mentioned in whatever text people are referring to when they write "Boyd Wettlaufer discusses the crash of an alien spacecraft with Dr. Lincoln La Paz."

Still seeking info, too.



David Rudiak said...

Does it occur to the skeptics that it makes no sense for the CIC to be assisting La Paz in chasing "meteors"? Yet we know (even excluding Roswell) that is exactly what happened with La Paz and military counterintelligence on a number of documented occasions, the green fireballs being just one of them.

Military CI is not interested in "meteors". They ARE interested in potential craft of unknown origin, whether made here on planet Earth or elsewhere. In other words, La Paz was assisting the CIC and later AFOSI in chasing potentially crashed UFOs, not "meteors".

This I think lends great credence to Rickett's story (also Zimmerman's and Wettlaufer's), of La Paz being involved with Roswell. According to Rickett, his job was to try to determine the trajectory of the crash object.

As for Wettlaufer, a strange item appeared in a Victoria, B.C. Oak Bay News back in 2004, alluding to Wettlaufer's ET connection. It was picked up by an archeology blog, which still has it:

It reads:

"During his storied archaeology career, Boyd Wettlaufer found many interesting artifacts - but he never chanced across debris from an alien spacecraft.

"Wettlaufer, now nearly 90 and living in Langford, collected countless arrowheads, identified a Plains culture 5,500 years old, and found ancient Peigan clothing remnants atop a "burial" rock. He even picked up an 11-inch meteorite. Yet never did he find a trace of little green men."

Like I said, strange, but I assumed it had something to do with Wettlaufer's Roswell story. I tried contacting the newspaper to track down Wettlaufer, but got nowhere.

(La Paz's UFO connection runs through at least 1964, when he publicly vouched for Lonnie Zamora as an outstanding eyewitness. La Paz had interviewed Zamora before in connection with either a green fireball or maybe a real meteor fireball, and discovered he was dead on in his descriptions.)

Sourcerer said...

David, we agree about the CIC out searching for meteor fragments. The agents aren't assisting La Paz. He is assisting them.

I just started reading the Blue Book docs about Rickett and La Paz. So far (which is not much), for example La Paz's letter to Lt Col Doyle Rees, OSI, 2/21/49 -- so far, I've not seen any reference to La Paz having a non-military team. So, no one besides army/usaf personnel are participants. Any info to the contrary would be useful.

Here's the point of my asking about the Spanish language issue.

If La Paz didn't speak Spanish, then who on the CIC/OSI team did? If they are out for the express purpose of interviewing witnesses, how can they accomplish that without a Spanish speaking team member, as they must have known they likely would have Hispanic witnesses to interview?

One of the main skills the CIC recruited on was language. They preferred candidates who were bilingual, multilingual if they could get them (Another skill they recruited on was interrogation skills: trial lawyers, police detectives, FBI agents).

If there were civilians brought in by La Paz, I could see Rickett confusing a civilian interpreter with La Paz. But if the speaker was CIC/OSI and since the people being interviewed were civilians, he might 'cover' the issue by claiming La Paz spoke Spanish.



steve sawyer said...

I appreciate your input, Don and CDA, but I don't think the "bluish glassy" area La Paz investigated, allegedly within weeks of the Roswell incident, in an area several miles away from the "debris field," was or had the appearance of a meteoric impact.

What I've heard is that the area concerned was between 100 feet up to maybe 100 yards across, had a slightly bowl shape or elongated oval, and that the light blue coloring was evident within the sandy surface encompassed within the area, but was "subtle" in appearance (almost like the surface residue was crystallized by extremely high heat and pressure), not visible at all angles of view, and that underlying this area was a relatively thin fused glassy substrate.

It's hard to say just how accurate these details are, as some of the sources seem second or third hand, and without independent verification or adequate documentation, but if basically true, the implication is that some unknown force and/or energy might have been responsible, but not meteoric or astronomical in nature. Or perhaps it was, but of an extremely rare and unusual type, and may not have been initially understood as such by La Paz, or others. What might the CIC have thought, and subsequently done, if anything?

I suppose it might have been possible that if such an area was found, and La Paz did not know or understand its cause or nature, it could have been construed or misunderstood as somehow related to the Roswell incident, or an unknown at least, and could have been classified, although that of course is speculation.

My understanding is that the kind of glassy residue found at surface or somewhat elevated nuclear blasts is a kind of opaque light greenish color, although other colors can be created depending on the composition of the affected surface materials, and is referred to as "trinitite," after the first nuclear explosion from a tower, the Trinity test.


So, bottom line, although La Paz may not have understood the potential significance of an area which seemed to have been subjected to extreme heat and pressure, the question becomes did anyone else within the military, intelligence, or scientific communities which may have been informed of this discovery consider it important--an area that absorbed energy roughly equivalent to a nuclear blast in a relatively small area--might have been perceived as worthy of additional investigation and analysis, particularly if a connection (whether actual or not) to the Roswell incident itself was considered possible.

The implication could have been that a non-terrestrial energy beam or effect of some kind might have been involved, and if so, probably would have been investigated further under highly classified cover and means due to the potential national security threat of an unknown energy source, and the "need to know" the origin and nature of the cause of the effects involved.

That's what intrigues me.

Sourcerer said...

Steve, powdery blue deposits are not unusual in certain strata. They can contain mica-like minerals and sparkle depending on viewpoint and angle of light. However, I've never found a "fused glassy substrate".

The Foster Ranch is in a volcanic region (The Carrizozo Malpais). There's a Dakota Sandstone stratum there. Underneath the Dakota is the Morrison Formation. That's the formation where I've seen powdery blue deposits. The Morrison can be extremly deep. I have no idea whether the layers I've seen in se Utah match what is in central NM.

The above is quickly from memory. I'd have to refer to my files to say for certain.

It should be possible to establish La Paz's whereabouts in September, 1947. He was on the faculty of the University, and it was the start of classes. There would be department meetings etc happening. There should be some record. We know in the first week of November he was investigating a sighting believed to be a meteor in the four corners region. I don't know how that turned out.



David Rudiak said...

Don (Sourcerer) wrote:
It should be possible to establish La Paz's whereabouts in September, 1947... We know in the first week of November he was investigating a sighting believed to be a meteor in the four corners region. I don't know how that turned out.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, they didn't find anything, but it wasn't for the lack of trying. There was a 60+ person search team, including military people, CAP people out of Kirtland AFB, and several interpreters.

Why were the military people there searching for a "meteor"? According to the Journal story 11-7-47, pg. 1:

Elaborate Hunt On for Meteor

"Military members of the party are interested in 'any possible rocket aspects' of the meteor."

"Rocket aspects?" For a meteor? Hmmmmm.... What exactly were they expecting to find--a rocket motor?

The article then goes on:

"Life Magazine is sending Photographer Allen Grant who will arrive in Albuquerque today and will be flown to Shiprock in a CAP plane.

"Another flier who will join the search today is Boyd Wettlaufer, Canadian war ace who has had long experience in aerial reconnaissance.

"Dr. LaPaz doesn't hold any high hopes of immediate success in finding the meteor...."

So another link between Wettlaufer and La Paz.

Allen Grant would claim 50 years later he was also flown out during Roswell, but nothing came of that as well, just like Shiprock several months later.

Another interesting article appeared in the Journal 11/19/47, where another "mystery object" was seen, which La Paz was NOT a meteorite:

Second Strange Visitor in Sky

"Dr. Lincoln LaPaz... reported another mystery object in the sky was seen Sunday evening. He said the object, 'which could have been anything but a meteorite' formed a rosy train and looped over to the southeast.

"Dr. LaPaz and other searchers still have been unable to find pieces of a meteorite see northwest of Albuquerque nearly two weeks ago.

"The first observer of the Sunday phenomenon, who reported it to Dr. LaPaz was D. M. GRagg, University of New Mexico mathematics department.

"Another observe, who witnessed the formation of the train, reported that it took from 16-18 seconds to form. That, Dr. LaPaz said, is far too slow for the formation of a meteorite train, but might be the result of a guided missile, rocket or some other experiment in the desert of New Mexico..."

Sourcerer said...

David: "According to the Albuquerque Journal, they didn't find anything..."

It is a strange story even for 1947. Under the headline: Primitive Beliefs Hinder Scientists

"Dr La Paz said Navajo indians living in the area believed a spirit descended to earth on a firey trail the night of October 30th.

"Apparently badly frightened, the aren't saying anything in answer to our questions"".
(Albuquerque AP, Nov 4)

So far, I haven't found just where the object came down or where the Navajo were located.

All we need now is for the CIC to bring in a code talker and we're in the X-Files.

The 60+ team: according to the AP they interviewed witnesses in seven towns in AZ, eight in CO, and "numerous villages in northwestern New Mexico" (no mention of UT). This was done over four days. Fast work.

"Military members of the party are interested in 'any possible rocket aspects' of the meteor."

They're looking for a flying saucer. It would be awhile before the language becomes standardized. A flying saucer could be called a "missile" (fast, horizontal flight), "meteor" (descending flight), or "satellite" (via telescope, in orbit) in 1947.



cda said...

The reason the military were out in the Four Corners episode is that it was feared at first that an aircraft had crashed. It had zilch to do with UFOs.

LaPaz was involved because of the likelihood of it being a meteorite. In the end some fragments were found, as given in "Out of the sky" by H.H.Nininger, where he talks of "octahedrites with silicate inclusions" being found (p.123). There is even a picture of it.

The Allen Grant involvement at Four Corners is genuine. His involvement with Roswell is a clear result of confusion. Anthony Bragalia obtained this tale from his elderly widow a few years ago, but this has been put down to memory lapses over 50 years later. Tim Printy documented this in SUNLITE (forget which issue).

Yes the military DO sometimes help with meteorite search, if requested. They have both the equipment and manpower to do so. And no, it does NOT follow that because the CIC or military were out in numbers that they necessarily thought a UFO was involved. As I said above, it may be due to a suspected airplane crash or explosion, civilian or military.

Sourcerer said...

"The reason the military were out in the Four Corners episode is that it was feared at first that an aircraft had crashed. It had zilch to do with UFOs."

It has this to do with UFOs: it doesn't matter what it was called when sighted, missle, meteor, rocket, fireball, or flying saucer.

I haven't found an official report yet in BB. Maybe this time it was different. The army was missing a plane or maybe a civilian craft was overdue. Is there such a report?

Dr La Paz was useful because he had a method of locating meteorite impacts. The CIC/OSI were skilled in interrogation (and languages). It's a good match.

"Yes the military DO sometimes help with meteorite search, if requested."

Perhaps they do, however, Dr La Paz was the consultant and helped the military, and not vice versa.



Sourcerer said...

CDA "...the Four Corners episode...In the end some fragments were found, as given in "Out of the sky" by H.H.Nininger, where he talks of "octahedrites with silicate inclusions" being found (p.123). There is even a picture of it."

According to NARA-PBB88-387

"Cmndr. Mandelkorn: Do you think it unusual no fragments are found?

Dr. LaPaz: I certainly do. And I think, it unusual, not only in the case of the green fireballs, but in view of the fact that a great fall, like the...fall of October 30,1947, wherefor the first time we detected a bit of the interest on the party [sic] of the military, there too we recovered nothing. October 30, 1947, about 4:48 in the afternoon there was, what appeared to be, a tremendous meteorite fall over the reservation area - the Four Corners Area. We got there within a very few hours, had excellent observations, went back time and again, exhausted ground search, CAP people in airplanes, we had a radio centered, we had radio controlled jeeps and a lot of people out walking around - not a trace...

Comdr. Mandelkorn: Ordinarily, when phenomena of that nature occurs, you are able
to recover some material?

Dr. LaPaz: Yes, some material is recovered almost always. If proper search is conducted by Gill Field Corps of Intelligence Unit; Dr. Lansberg of the Research
and Development Board, very kindly interested himself in the problem and the air searchers resulted not even in the discovery of a broken branch. The region is heavily forrested. If branches had been broken, I think they would have
been detected." -- Conference on Aerial Phenonmena 2/16/49 (declassified from "Secret")

I don't see H.H.Nininger listed as an attendee.



cda said...

I think I slipped.
The Four Corners episode I mentioned from Nininger's book looks as if it is an earlier fall, where fragments were found. Nininger gives no date so I assumed it was the Oct 1947 meteorite. It actually was a 1923 episode, or so I now believe.

David Rudiak said...

Here is more on LaPaz's Four Corners' search and later Norton, Kansas search. In both cases there was deep involvement of the military. As LaPaz makes quite clear, military participation was in the (unlikely) case that the observed falls and explosions were the result of missiles/rockets, not meteorites. In particular, there was concern about possible "enemy" missiles, something soon raised again by LaPaz in the green fireball incidents of a year later, where LaPaz was on record saying he was sure they were not natural and suspected Russian missiles of some kind.

Of course "missiles" or "rockets" can also be broad enough in interpretation to cover flying saucers. Again, despite cda's fuming to the contrary, the military is NOT interested in meteorites. Nor would they be interested in crashed airplanes, as any missing planes, at least of domestic origin, would quickly be determined. Yet there they were working with LaPaz on the Four Corners search a week and more later.

In the case of Norton, Kansas, many meteorite fragments were indeed found, but nothing was apparently ever found (at least publicly) for the Four Corners search.

"(c) The scale of the light, sound and mechanical effects observed during the falls of both 1947 Oct. 30 in the Four Corners area and 1948 Feb. 18 in the Norton, Kansas area is the strongest possible evidence that genuine meteorite falls occurred in these localities. All experts who have personal knowledge of the facts concur in the belief that meteorites actually fell in these areas. It is true that rocket or guided missile experiments on a colossal scale might give rise to phenomena of the sort observed in New Mexico and Kansas. But if the observed effects are of human origin, then the need for speedy recovery of all possible evidence is far more urgent than in case harmless meteorite falls were involved; for, from the beginning, all U.S. Military Agencies have denied that our forces were responsible for either the Four Corners or Norton incidents. As evidence of the sincerity of the Armed Forces, the writer wishes to point out that the Institute has received every possible aid from them in connection with the searches so far carried out in the Four Corners area. Col. Leslie O. Peterson's letter of 18 Feb. 1948 (of which copies are inclosed) and the elaborate suite of A.A.F. air photographs recently presented to the Institute which you have personally examined, give some indication of the extent to which the A.A.F. has gone and plans to go in order to insure the success of the Institute of Meteoritics' searcher. I have no hesitation in characterizing both the Four Corners and Norton incidents as either genuine meteorite falls or the results of enemy ranging fire. In either case it would appear that the searches conducted by the Institute of Meteoritics are entirely justified. Personally, I believe the odds are of the order of 999 to 1 that genuine meteorite falls are observed."

"(d) The question as to the probability of recovering meteorites (or missile fragments) assuming such objects are actually present in the Four Corners and Norton area can be answered as follows: This probability can be made as near unity as we please by conducting a sufficiently intensive and extensive search."

Sourcerer said...

In the transcript of the meeting, La Paz says the Four Corners bolide was the first instance of the military being interested. La Paz didn't think it was a green fireball; he thought it had to be a meteorite even though it was not found as it should have been.

It's interesting to see who is at the conference. It is not a meeting of meteoricists.

Cmdr Mandelkorn from the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP); Morgan and Newburger from the Atomic Energy Commission (Santa Fe); Bradbury, Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory; Holloway, designer of "Fat Man"; Teller; Plus OSI (Neef from Kirtland) and FBI (Maxwell);

And La Paz.

Also, Major William Godsoe, ACoS, G2 representing Fourth Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Which brings us to

which may explain why all these folks got together.

Col Poland appears to be referring to La Paz's ice projectiles theory of the green fireballs, and possibly some of Zwicky's experiments at Los Alamos (I think some La Paz involvement there).

"Unconventional aircraft", indeed.

However, they are not discussing flying discs (a subject La Paz refers to as "embarrassing" for him). They are mentioned because Grudge has lumped them in with the green fireballs... Maj Godsoe says "most of the military authorities think we are crackpots; that is except for the army air force, which is taking an active interest in details." Referring to the "army air force" seems a 'callback' to 1947.

I don't find anything that might refer to Roswell. It does show that at least four months later, "unconventional aircraft" were taken very seriously.

The report is recommended reading.