Form: 97 Research
Date: 6/4/2006 10:30:37 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Brad Sparks
Subj: MANTELL CASE COVERUP
CC: email@example.com, PROJECT-1947@LISTSERV.AOL.COM
BCC: firstname.lastname@example.org, Bernard.Thouanel@free.fr, Kimballwood,
In a message dated 6/3/2006 11:14:41 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
Subj: Re: Clinton County UFO
Date: 6/3/2006 11:14:41 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet
Venus was not simply in thesky; it set at 19:58 EST in the WSW as seen
from WilminGton on 7 Jan 1948, about as close in time and space to the
disappearance of the UFO over the horizon as might ever be reported.
Red, Green, White, Triangle, Blob, brighter than any star, rapid
movements up and down and side to side (yet never actually going
anywhere)... these descriptions have all been mentioned when
Venus is the culprit. OK, I admit that "triangle" is not
mentioned often, maybe even never, but still...
Of course, Skyhook balloons don't zoom up and down, and neither does
Venus, but witnesses do report those kinds of motions in sightings
later attributed to Venus. Hynek expended one sentence in calling the
sighting "undoubtedly Venus" in the Project Grudge Report (1949).
I don't think it was one of the cases that he later revised.
The more I look into the Mantell case and the allegations of a Skyhook
balloon or Venus as causes, the more problematic it gets. First
though, I find it strange that the AF's official position for many
years was that Mantell was killed chasing Venus, yet the AF (and
Ruppelt) concealed the fact that its files contained analyses by top
intelligence officers at AMC Project Sign flatly denying the Venus
explanation in unusually strong language, based on Godman Field
Commander, Col. Guy F. Hix's azimuth data, and a THEODOLITE TRACKING
from Godman Field of the same or similar object two hours after
Mantell's crash. I have never seen these documents or statements
or THEODOLITE TRACKING ever pointed out by anyone before (Ruppelt
concealed them), so here we are finding out about a coverup of the
Mantell case, now in 2006, 58 years after the fact:
An AMC memo of 8 Nov 48 by C. A. Griffith, Chief of Operations Section,
AMC Intell Dept (written by Sign's Project Officer Capt Robert R.
Sneider) states sharply:
"4. The evidence obtained from MCREXE44 conclusively proves that this
object was not the planet Venus."
Conclusively. Have you ever seen an AF document make such a
strong statement in a pro-UFO direction??? And this was AFTER the
Project Sign TOP SECRET Estimate of the Situation had already been
rejected by the Air Staff in August and Oct 1948, when the Project Sign
staff was demoralized as a result.
Then Albert Deyarmond, Asst Deputy for Technical Analysis in the AMC
Intell Dept, comments on this analysis, based again on the (covered up)
THEODOLITE TRACKING and azimuth data, two days later with his own
conclusion that the Mantell case was "UNEXPLAINED":
"10 Nov 48
"It is apparent from the data given above, that the object sighted at
Godman Air Force Base on 7 January 1948 was not the planet Venus.
Therefore, this sighting must be considered as unexplained.
"A. B. DEYARMOND
Asst Deputy for Tech Analysis
Tech Intelligence Div
I don't know about you but I feel this document is something of a
bombshell, virtually the EQUIVALENT of the TS Estimate of the
Situation, it is just short of stating "extraterrestrial." And as
we ought to know, in the Navy document I found that quotes the
suppressed Project Sign Interim Status Report of 30 Nov 1948 (the
actual Ghost of the Estimate, not the AIR 203 study whuch said nothing
about ETH), they were still asserting in that Interim Report the ETH or
"inter-planetary" as a possible explanation for flying discs.
I also want to convey how amazed I am to find so many AF brass inside
the Control Tower at Godman Field during the Mantell incident. I
have never heard this before. This was not some case of a bunch
of dumbcluck hillbilly enlisted men and low-ranking green
officers. The base CO was there, Col. Hix, along with Lt Col. E.
G. Wood probably his deputy, Base Operations Officer Capt Cary Carter,
Capt James Duesler, and more, this is just off the top of my
head. Also there was a Control Tower shift change at 3 PM in the
middle of the Mantell chase, so an entirely new set of Tower personnel
were then exposed to the whole incident, effectively doubling the
number of personnel involved.
This reminds me that back in 1975 I interviewed Gen. Garland and was
surprised to hear him say "I knew Tommy Mantell" and he said he thought
highly of him (if I can find my notes I can check the exact quotes I
think I made) Clearly Mantell was not a hick barnyard pilot in
some hillbilly Kentucky ANG but was known to important AF brass as
having a high reputation long before his death.
And although Ruppelt lies and covers up a lot in this case, as he does
in so many others, he does let slip (as he sometimes does in other
cases) one intriguing comment of special human interest (p. 37):
"A long-time friend of Mantell's went on record as saying that he'd
flown with him several years and knew him personally. He couldn't
conceive of Mantell's even thinking about disregarding his lack of
oxygen. Mantell was one of the most cautious pilots he knew.
"The only thing I can think," he commented, "was that he was after
something that he believed to be more
important than his life or his family."
Keep that ultimate sacrifice in mind before you dismiss this case as
just a stupid IFO and dumb pilot error in flying too high without
oxygen. There are many troublesome aspects of this case that call
for a fair hearing at last be given to Mantell. Maybe it will
turn out that it was an IFO and was hypoxia/pilot error. But
let's finally review ALL of the available FACTS and DOCUMENTS FIRST
before doing so shall we?
Yes Venus set as would be seen from Clinton County AFB, Wilmington,
Ohio, the time I get by US Naval Observatory online calculations at
7:56 PM EST (19:56 rather than 19:58) or 6:56 PM CST the time zone used
for most of the Godman Field reporting. The Clinton County AFB
Control Tower was about 3 miles southeast of Wilmington so a more
pinpoint calculation based on its exact coordinates might account for
the couple minutes' difference:
Clinton County AFB, Wilmington, Ohio
Control Tower 39 25 47 N, 83 47 32 W elev about 1055 ft
However, at about the same time as the 6-7 PM (CST) sightings from
Clinton County AFB, the same or similar sighting was made from
Lockbourne AFB, Columbus, Ohio, where a key witness in the Control
Tower was an AMATEUR ASTRONOMER with 6 years' affiliation with the
Hayden Planetarium/American Museum of Natural History.
True, witnesses can see Venus or stars on the horizon changing colors,
twinkling, seeming to move up-down, side-to-side, back-and-forth,
without actually going anywhere, due to autokinesis effects of
involuntary eyeball movements viewing largely featureless backgrounds
like the sky where the eye cannot hold its focus perfectly still.
But the amateur astronomer witness in the Lockbourne Control Tower
states that he saw the light in the WSW at about 15 degs elevation, a
very specific figure, at roughly 6:45 PM (CST), TWO HOURS AFTER SUNSET,
and that it was red, changing to amber-yellow for 1-2 secs at a time,
and INTENSELY BRIGHT "greater than that of any star" and comparable to
a RUNWAY LANDING LIGHT AT "FULL INTENSITY" at 500 feet away.
Assuming a runway light is 2 feet in diameter (someone could check on
that) the angular size would be over 1/3 Full Moon, much much larger
than a star or planet or pinpoint.
It appeared to be appeared to be circular with "a thin wisp of tail
extending towards the horizon" and its length about 5 object
diameters. Obviously very specific and hard to imagine anyone
with astronomy background can extrapolate 5 times a pinpoint, it had to
have an extended angular diameter. Presumably this "tail" was
about 2 Full Moons in length.
Then at the very specific time of 6:50 PM this object suddenly dropped
to the horizon in about 4 seconds, hovered there for 3 seconds, then
climbed back to its previous position (about 15 degs elevation) in 3
seconds, but not in a straight line, but in an elliptical course
counterclockwise. That does not sound like autokinesis of a star
or planet Venus. He estimated its speed in this rapid maneuver as
about 500 mph and that it appeared to be about 5 miles away from
Lockbourne. Allowing for human error in estimating the 15 deg
elevation (witnesses usually overestimate) so that it was say 5-10 degs
elevation, in fact, that is roughly correct for a 5-mile distance
moving 5-10 degs in 4 secs (400-800 mph).
Then it lowered to the horizon and faded out of sight at 6:55 PM.
Yes this was the setting time of Venus to within a minute or so, and it
was in the same direction (WSW). Extraordinary coincidence.
This just screams out "astronomical"!!!! But before you decide to
dismiss this as Venus just consider a few more troubling observations
by the amateur astronomer in the Lockbourne Control Tower (and the
sightings by the 6 Tower and base personnel at Clinton Co. AFB at the
same time). And keep in mind this is a PARTIAL analysis based on
only a small part of the scattered files on this case in the BB files
(it is very time-consuming pulling this all togther, a detailed
Chronology minute by minute is desperately needed and it needs to watch
for numerous typos and other errors in the AF files and not just
blindly accept what they read in black and white):
He reported that there was "a high overcast and not one heavenly body
was visible." How then could Venus have been visible? He
concluded "The object apparently being under the overcast, and its
erratic movement proves that it was not an astronomical
So then we have to postulate that the overcast was not overcast but a
haze that Venus could shine through. But that does not explain
the Clinton Co. AFB observations which in fair agreement with the
Lockbourne describe a vertically elongated lighted object, specifically
in a triangular or ice-cream cone shape and colored red in parts.
The Clinton Co. AFB witnesses say the object was so bright that when a
cloud drifted in front of it the light shined right through, even
though the cloud blotted out the stars (from there the weather was not
overcast but scattered clouds). They made several drawings of
this Skyhook-balloon shape, which Ruppelt redrew again to show how they
were so similar to a Skyhook which he drew right next to them.
Yet it was 2 HOURS AFTER SUNSET and a Skyhook could not possibly be
The covered-up THEODOLITE TRACKING from Godman Field raises potentially
insuperable problems for a Skyhook theory and of course it totally
excludes Venus (which was 40-50 degs away), which could hardly be seen
in daylight anyway.
The THEODOLITE TRACKING was made by 1st Lt Paul I. Orner, Airways and
Air Communications Service, ATC (Air Transport Command), Detachment
733-5, Air Force Base Unit (103rd MCS Sq), Godman Field, he was the
Lt Orner was in the Control Tower during the Mantell chase and he
records a number of key facts, including the fact that Mantell's
wingman Lt Clements refueled and went back up to search for the UFO and
for Mantell, but with oxygen, went 100 miles out, (up to 33,000 ft)
which would be over past Franklin where Mantell had crashed (but no one
had heard the report yet) and just over the Kentucky/Tenn border.
Yet he saw absolutely nothing, he saw no object, as he reported to the
Tower at about 4:45 PM. If it was a Skyhook balloon why didn't
Clements see it?
Why didn't Mantell and his 3 wingmen see the Skyhook on their way in to
the Louisville/Godman area? In fact the Mantell flight was
SPECIFICALLY ASKED by Godman Tower when they approached Godman if they
had seen the object on their way in!!! This isn't just assumption
based on a hope, but a specific query put to them while they were still
Godman base Commander Col. Hix was phoned about the object sighted by
the Tower at about 2:15 PM and he arrived at the Tower at about 2:20 PM
to see for himself. Sure enough he saw the stationary white
object at about azimuth 215 degs (bet. SW and SSW) about 1/4 Full Moon
in angular size. When viewed through the 8x binoculars Col Hix
could sometimes see RED COLOR bordering the top or the bottom.
Skyhooks in midafternoon sunlight are WHITE NOT RED. Only sunset
lighting gives them a fiery red coloration. Col Hix and the Tower
personnel lost sight of the object at 3:50 PM when it went behind a
cloud, and it had remained "stationary for 1-1/2 hours" according to
Hix's statement. They did not know yet that Capt Mantell had
already crashed at about 3:18 PM. About this time (maybe 3:45) Lt
Clements had refueled and went up in his F-51D to look for Mantell and
the UFO and he was told by the Tower that the object had disappeared
behind a cloud but gave him the last known heading, apparently 220 degs
(I'm still trying to verify and correct the bad typos in AF's poorly
retyped copies of key witness statements like Clements' and many
others). Then they told him the adjust heading by 5 degs to the
left, apparently to the 215 azimuth at which the Tower had watched the
UFO for 1-1/2 hours. (Mantell had reportedly followed a 210
heading but all these figures need to be carefully checked.)
Lt Orner also saw the small white object stationary obejct in the SW
sky from the Tower with Col Hix and the many other AF officers and
personnel. Orner said that through binoculars it looked like a
white parachute with bright sunlight reflecting off the top.
Sounds like a SKYHOOK balloon!!! EXCEPT that he too saw "RED
LIGHT" on the lower part of it.
This is Lt. Orner's report of his THEODOLITE TRACKING of the UFO from
Godman Field which began at about 5:35 PM (CST), or 1/2 HOUR AFTER
SUNSET for a high-altitude Skyhook balloon (almost an hour after sunset
on the ground):
"At about 1735 CST I returned to the
Control Tower and [saw] a bright light different than a star at a
position of about 240° azimuth and 8° elevation from the
Control Tower. This was a round object. It seemed to have a
dark spot in the center and the object moved north and disappeared from
the horizon at a point 250° from the Tower. The unusual fact
about this object was the fact that it remained visible and glowed
through the haze near the Earth when no other stars were visible and
did not disappear until it went below the level of the Earth in a
manner similar to the sun or moon setting. This object was viewed
and tracked with the Weather Station theodolite from the hangar roof."
We now know that the 1-6-48 Skyhook launch from Milaca, Minn., (NOT
Camp Ripley 43 miles away, that was g.d. lie) reached its MAXIMUM
HEIGHT of 80,000 ft in 3 hours of launch, or presumably at about 11 AM
on the 6th. It could therefore not go any higher. Thus the
nonsense about 100,000 ft is sheer falsehood. It had gone almost
DUE SOUTH from Minnesota, slightly to the W, at about 190 degs.
It did not get tracked heading SE towards Kentucky so it is anyone's
guess where it actually went, unless there are lots of news reports
charting its course along the way. There are no upper winds data
in 1948 from 80,000 ft so no way to check using meteorological
That means that when Lt Orner tracked the object by Godman's theodolite
at 5:35 PM CST at 240° azimuth and 8° elevation, if it was a
Skyhook balloon at 80,000 ft it had to be about 100 miles away to the
WSW, which would be the vicinity of HOPKINSVILLE, Kentucky. YES
THAT HOPKINSVILLE from the 1955 incident. It would NOT be
anywhere near Nashville, Tenn., where famed astronomer Carl Seyfert
sighted from 4:30 to 4:45 PM CST what he called a balloon with cable to
a suspended basket (the Skyhook pictures of 1-6-48 do not show a
"basket" or any other large object hanging beneath, only relatively
Even worse, when Lt Orner lost track of the UFO in the theodolite it
was at the horizon (0 degs elevation) still farther north at 250 degs
azimuth. An 80,000 ft balloon would have to be at about 350 MILES
away at that point over southern Missouri!!! Even more discrepant
with Seyfert's sighting in Nashville, which would also be about 350
miles away. AND IT IS IN PITCH DARKNESS!!!!! The Skyhook
could not have been seen!!!
Finally there is a question about the SIZE of the Skyhook launched on
1-6-48, which affects whether Godman or Mantell could even have seen
the balloon. Claims of 100 ft size are belied by the tracking
report which states that the dozen or so balloons launched there from
late 1947 to early 1949 were 70 ft and 72.8 ft balloons, not 100
ft. Also unclear and being checked is whether this 70-72.8 ft
size applies to the entire package or just the gas bag that is lit up
by reflected sunlight. Photos of the 1-6-48 launch show that
about half its length was the essentially invisible cabling to the
relatively tiny payloads and half the gas bag, which might mean the
envelope was only about 35 ft in size.
Simple physics and human physiological optics shows that the Minimum
Angle of Resolution of about 1 arcminute (for normal 20/20 vision)
would limit the maximum distance a 35 ft Skyhook balloon gas bag could
be seen is only about 23 MILES!!! One could not see ANY details,
it would be a mere PINPOINT at that maximum possible distance for
Skyhook visibility. That would raise the question of how on earth
Mantell could see a Skyhook from 90 miles away in order to chase it 90
miles to his death.
>From: Don Ledger <dledger@NS.SYMPATICO.CA>
>Sent: Jun 3, 2006 4:41 PM
>Subject: Re: Clinton County UFO
>Richard Hall wrote:
>>These are some of the reports (I saw a few that turned up in
>>Hynek's personal files several years ago) that convince me
>>more than a Skyhook ballon was there. Skyhooks simply don't
zoom up and
>>down at high speed.
>>Maybe there was a Skyhook present that caused some of the
>>(even that has not been clearly established, I don't think),
but if so,
>>Brad Sparks has done a pretty good analysis disputing that
>>for the Mantell object.
>>It is quite possible that a Skyhhok intermittently visible
>>been present and caused some sightings. Wouldn't be the
first time in
>>UFO history that witnesses confused two separate objects. I
>>MUFON case where police had a legitimate UFO sighting, then
>>confuse a distant USAF aircraft for the UFO they had seen
>>things happen. - Dick
>Spot on, Dick. Often in electronics and in aviation it's never
>one thing that goes wrong it's two or in the case of aviation, 3.
>Coincidences happen. And that was mine and Fran's mistake for
>suggesting just that.
>There are too many UFO reports tossed because a prosaic marker
>was in the sky such as Venus or an aircraft or the Moon, etc.
>where the witness report is simply explained away as that, except
>if the witness is actually asked, they were aware of the prosaic,
>except of course Jill Tarter who doesn't know the Moon from an
Subj: Re: WFIE Transcript on Mantell Story
Date: 6/2/2006 10:40:02 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Brad Sparks
In a message dated 6/2/2006 10:18:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
Subj: Fwd: Re: WFIE Transcript on Mantell Story
Date: 6/2/2006 10:18:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet
I won't put this on CE and SHG yet. Want you to read it first, then
post it. Be ready to respond to it.
Well in a way it's laughable. Mantell chased the object for 90
miles from Godman to Franklin. A 100-foot Skyhook isn't even
visible to the naked eye from 90 miles distance. That's an
angular size of 0.7 arcminute and Minimum Angle of Resolution is about
1 arcminute. Sorry doesn't wash, it's a violation of the laws of
physics and physiological optics.
Kevin seems to think that Mantell could climb vertically straight up to
a Skyhook at 100,000 ft (notice even Moore does not say the Skyhook
went that high). Does he not realize that the F-51D had a maximum
climb angle of only 17 degrees? It couldn't go straight up like
some later jets could.
Also the 10 minutes at 20,000 ft without oxygen reminds me of a comment
that was reported of Mantell's radio conversation in AF files where
Mantell said he would fly that way for 10 minutes then break off.
That could mean Mantell knew exactly how long he had and was well aware
of what he was doing. Also the oxygen mask blocking the clear
reception of voice reminds me that the last transmission was garbled
and could not be understood.
BTW when I interviewed Gen Garland in 1975 he told me "I knew Tommy
Mantell." Mantell was no hick hillbilly pilot of some
backwoods. He was known to AF command of Garland's rank.
>Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2006 11:48:12 -0400 (EDT)
>Subject: Re: WFIE Transcript on Mantell Story
>Good Morning -
>Read the transcript and I thing there are a couple of points that
>be made for the sake of accuracy. Thomas Mantell was not an "ace."
>a transport pilot who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for
>during the Normandy Invasion, but he did not shoot down five enemy
>aircraft (the requirement to be an ace). That is not to say he
>brave, as the DFC proves, just that he didn't fly fighters during
>Military regulations required the use of oxygen above 14,000 feet
>according to various medical studies, the useful consciousness of a
>at 20,000 feet, without oxygen is about ten minutes. At 25,000 feet
>significantly less, which suggests that Mantell, with his aircraft
>to climb probably passed out at about 25,000 feet. The aircraft
>to climb until it stalled, fell through and began a power
>dive breaking up between 10 and 20,000 feet.
>While the skyhook balloons might not have been classified, the
>and Mantell and those with him and those in the tower were
>the skyhook balloons. The evidence available today suggests that
>was attempting to intercept a skyhook that was at 80 to 100,000
>something like 10 to 12 miles above him. Since everyone that of
>balloons of fifteen or twenty five in diameter, a skyhook that was
>five times as large and made of shiny material, seen at such a
>would certainly fool them. If you look at the drawings of the
>by the men in the tower, it is clear what they were describing.
>Might I suggest you look at the paper I wrote, available at UFO
>(just type that into your search engine and then clink on the lins)
>you'll see the evidence in great and gory detail.
>Thomas Mantell died in a tragic mistake of misidentification
>by his violation of regulations. It is a sad tale but it is time to
>this from the UFO lore.
>Kevin D. Randle