Saturday, November 30, 2013

The USS New York - Update

Back on July 30, I posted a column dealing with an alleged radar sighting aboard the USS New York. The claim was that the ship had fired on a UFO. The story appeared in a magazine back in 1945, and it was suggested that the solution was Venus. Someone had seen Venus in the daytime, thought it was some sort of a Japanese attack and they opened fire. The ship’s navigator rushed up on deck and made the identification. To me, that ended the story. At best it was an IFO.

But as happens in the world of the UFO someone just didn’t like that solution and without much in the way of information started an argument. I said at the time I would look into it and have attempted to find out more. The National Archives responded with a request for money and suggested it would take three months to get what I needed. I hadn’t counted on the government shut down (what a boondoggle that was, but I digress), but I now have the information based on the deck logs of the ship.

These logs were reviewed from January 1, 1945 through April 30, 1945 and there was nothing to suggest any sort of UFO related event in that time frame. (And so that I don’t have to explain this further, I used the generic UFO as opposed to the more specific Foo Fighter which would be period appropriate.)

Here’s what I know. The USS New York was in dry dock from March 1 to March 19 and left Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island and arrived at Ulithi Harbor on March 22. During the remainder of the month, the ship was moved to Okinawa. The only entries that relate to firing the guns was target practice which happened sometime each month, meaning there was no regular schedule for it. There were notations for warfare engagements at Okinawa in March.

There were no entries referencing any unknown objects or Venus or anything that could have been taken as such. In other words, there is no corroboration for this tale from the official documentation available and even a loose interpretation of what has been written does not allow for this.

This, I believe, should resolve this. We have tales told by sailors which were reported in magazines, but there is nothing from the ship to support this. I suppose someone will say that the captain, embarrassed by his attack on Venus, left it out of the deck logs. But we were searching for anything that would match the facts and could find nothing. The logs should have provided a hint, had there been one. There was nothing.

The ball now resides with those who believe this to be a Foo Fighter or some sort of anomaly. They need to provide some new and better documentation. Unless that happens, I believe the case to be resolved.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Project Moon Dust Revisited

As I worked on a new book about the UFO secrets found in various government files, I was scanning one of the Project Blue Book microfilms, searching for a specific case. As the files slipped by I thought I saw the words “Moon Dust.” I stopped and reversed course much more slowly. On one of what they called the “project card” which was a short summary of the case, I did see the term Moon Dust.

I located several different project cards that contained “Moon Dust” references. In those few files, I found indications that there was coordination between Blue Book and Moon Dust, at least briefly. Several of the cases do reference Moon Dust though they seem to have conventional explanations, at least according to the information in the file.

The first of these cases came from Ramey Air Force Base (which was not named for Roger Ramey of Roswell fame), Puerto Rico on September 15, 1960. This file, which noted one of the addressees on the message as Moon Dust, said:

Round object with a tail, size reports vary from the size of a pea to half dollar, color reports vary from bluish-white to dusky red. Tail aprox [sic] 3-5 times the size of the object. No sound. Object reported to have broken up into several fireballs. One report stated that object finally fell into ocean.
It is possible that this object was a very slow meteor. However it is more probably a reentry of the 1960 Epsilon vehicle, parts of which reentered during Sep and Oct 1960. Epsilon had an inclination of 64 [degrees], therefore the heading would be about 26 degrees.

A series of sightings on September 21, 22, and 23, 1960, from Bermuda, were listed as “ATIC possible Mon [sic] Dust. The witnesses are identified only as civilians. The case said, “Reported sightings by local people of dull orange object on 21, 22, 23 Sep [sic] accompanied by weird [sic] whirring sound, in evening.”

The original message said that further investigation was being conducted but no follow up information had been received. There was insufficient data for any sort of scientific analysis and I suspect that if anything interesting was found, it would not have become part of Blue Book. I also suspect that if nothing more was found, no one bothered with a follow up report.

Another of these Moon Dust cases took place on September 23, 1960, at Bitburg AB, Germany. The source of the sighting was listed as “Moon Dust.” It said:

Luminous streak, like shooting star, colors red and yellow. Object left a trail. Object appeared very suddenly and was red in color, gradually changing to bright yellow. Appeared much larger than meteor… Path momentarily broken and when reappeared was red in color, no smoke but numerous sparks.
Description conforms to satellite reentry. As to direction, color and breaking up. 1960 Lambda II (rocket body) reentered this date. Case evaluated as satellite reentry based upon general description, although duration of sighting was omitted.

This seems to be a reasonable explanation, especially since there was documentation to back up the solution. A few days later, on September 26, 1960, northeast of Bermuda, an object that was yellowish-green and described as a “falling star or object” was seen.

A teletype in the Project Blue Book files, received on 26 Sep 60, said, “PD Moon Dust falling star or object sighted by GULL special at 0527Z 26 Sep.” There was no explanation or definition of Gull. It might have been the name of the mission or the name of the witness. It was in sight for one second.

A Moon Dust case, like these others, meaning with little information, came from Thule, Greenland. A teletype message said, “Bright comet like object presumably MOONDUST sighted at Thule AB Greenland… on 24 Sep 60. Estimated elevation less than ten degrees. Direction: Appeared from south east and disappeared into the west… Observed time 5 seconds.” It was written off as a possible meteor.

Finally in September, a sighting was made in Wethersfield, England. The teletype message said, “Flare-like appearance, light green to white in color. Travelling northwest to southeast.” It was noted that the “Information too limited for valid conclusion.”

These cases are of importance because of the connection to Moon Dust. It proves that Moon Dust had a UFO component but more interesting is the fact that after this point, that is late 1960, I have found no other references to Moon Dust in the Project Blue Book files. This doesn’t mean that someone else might not find such a connection, just that I didn’t find one. My mission, at the time of the discoveries was research on a book about the secrets in the government files, so my research took in a wide range of government organizations. Just think how vast that target is.

These were cases that I stumbled across as I worked on one chapter of the book, but of course, will be found in the chapter in which I deal with Moon Dust. I believe that research will add to our knowledge of that project, taking us beyond what has been reported in the past.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Coyame UFO Crash

Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte have become two of the most prolific writers of UFO lore and they had produced a new book, The Coyame Incident. This tells the tale of a UFO crash in northern Mexico in 1974, at first recovered by the Mexican Army
but later captured by American military forces. The crash was the result of a collision between a small, general aviation airplane that had taken off from El Paso, Texas, enroute to Mexico City, and a UFO that was tracked by radar into American airspace and then into Mexico.

The story was first reported by Len Stringfield in his UFO Crash/Retrievals: Search for Proof in a Hall of Mirrors, Status Report VII published in February 1994. His source was Elaine Douglass, a UFO researcher active with Operation Right to Know, who received her copy of the report from JS, who is never identified, and who was apparently a member of something called the “Deneb Team.” This document was entitled, Research Findings on the Chihuahua Disk Crash and was dated March 23, 1992.

Stringfield wasn’t too happy with the data and wrote, “Despite the risk of publishing a bunch of baloney, the full text of the report is reproduced herewith, hoping the incident can be verified or exposed as mis-or-disinformation.” The whole of that report as published by Stringfield follows:

Torres and Uriarte took up the challenge and began an investigation into this tale with the hope of adding to the information available. The result of that investigation is their book.

It is an interesting book that is a fast read. It is loaded with names and dates, but most of it is a description of their travels into Mexico and their attempts to find verification of the crash. From the photographs it is clear that both of them were in Mexico and on the field where a small aircraft did crash in 1974. They found bits of wreckage and evidence of a hot fire. That debris, along with soil samples, was analyzed by an independent laboratory and while not all elements could be identified, that does not lead to the conclusion that there was something alien in it.

They interviewed a man who was retired California police officer who told of seeing a small, strange creature when he visited his grandmother in the Coyame area in 1974 when he was 13. The creature he described was similar to that seen much later in Varginha, Brazil.

But the creature can’t be tied to the UFO crash simply because the officer said that when he told his grandmother about it, she said she had seen the same thing. Her sightings preceded the UFO crash and she had said nothing to the family about it earlier because she didn’t think they would believe her.

Ruben Uriarte and Noe Torres
And here is the problem with the book. It contains other, similar tales that might or might not be related to the UFO crash, if one did take place. The witnesses, interviewed so long after the event remember seeing something that might have fallen in 1974. They might have seen the plane crash. There might have been soldiers in the area.

The major problem is told in an email sent to me. Noe said, “The evidence is definitely thin, as we always say in our presentations. It's an amazing story but one that cries out for more data. We're approaching this continuing research effort with the assistance of our fellow investigators in Mexico.”

And that sums up everything about the book. The evidence is thin but it demands more data. This is the same thing that Stringfield said in 1994 when he first reported the case to a wider audience.

What we have here is an interesting account of an investigation into a reported UFO crash that has little in the way of evidence. That fact is underscored by the lack of information about the small plane crash. That one did crash in the area is not in dispute, but other than that, almost nothing is known about it including the name of the pilot.

Torres and Uriarte are to be commended for their attempt to learn more about this incident. They have added a little data to the report but the real importance of their book is the descriptions of their research. Here we see how they have approached the case, how they investigated it, and what they have found. If for no other reason, this is why the book should be in every UFO researcher’s library. There is something to be learned about research methods here.