The correspondence discussed below is for Sign Incident #187, and located at:
and is very legible.
Is this really a pro-UFO statement or simply the obvious observation that the calculated positions of Venus in paragraph 3 conflict with the observed positions reported in paragraph 2? It is quite clear that the measured positions reported in the letter are far from the known positions of Venus during the afternoon of 7 Jan 1948. This was a serendipitous discovery arising from an inquiry into another sighting, probably of Venus, from Godman Field in August 1948.
You don't answer my question: Since when in the AF files have you EVER seen an anti-IFO or pro-UFO conclusions stated in writing as "conclusive"???? If you look at the historical context of the time, 1948, and the AF's efforts to make this sensational case go away, then this kind of blunt anti-IFO statement is indeed very unusual and significant -- and in light of Deyarmond's next step of declaring the Mantell case "unexplained." No one in all of 58 years of UFO history ever knew that the AF had internally concluded the Mantell case was "unexplained" and had covered it up with weasel-worded. Today in 2006 we find out about it for the first time.
Curiously, the positions cited by Col Hix and Lt Orner do not agree.
They are at different times.
Col. Hix reports 215°, but the letter attributes a 240° azimuth measurement to Orner at 1400 hrs. This measurement is not what Lt. Orner reported in his statement at:
It's obviously a mistake in the analysis memo.
There, he reports that the 240° azimuth, 8° elevation measurement was taken at 1735CST. He gives no time for the 250° azimuth at which his object went below the horizon.
We are only reading a part of Lt Orner's reporting including his theodolite tracking at Godman Field. Cpl. James Hudson at Clinton County AFB heard the azimuth-elevation readouts from Orner's tracking over the Plan 62 Interphone System, linking several airfields in the region which was activated during the Mantell incident. Hudson at CC AFB heard and recorded the exact readouts and times 6:54 - 7:02 PM (CST) of Orner's theodolite tracking at Godman Field from around 250 degs (254.6 to 253. 9 to 253.0 degs).
I initially presumed that this was Venus (it was almost an hour after sunset), but Venus does fit. Venus set at 249° at 1907 CST, but was nowhere near 240° , 8 at 1735 CST. It would have been there around 1818 CST, however. Did Orner make a mistake in his notes? 240° points a little south of Madisonville. I reason that the 1400 time in the above letter seems almost certainly incorrect, since the aircraft were dispatched toward 215°. But what of 1735CST? Was something seen at that time and azimuth? I can only note the discrepancy in these theodolite measurements. Daniel Wilson made an interesting related find, which seems to cloud things even more.
In this affidavit Cpl Hudson reports theodolite measurements from Godman Field with azimuths around 254° (a little off from Venus, but not too bad) and elevations and times that correlate very well with Venus. Fine on the surface, but how many theodolites were tracking objects that evening? Does this infer that Orner's measurements were taken in afternoon after all, and not at 1735 CST or later. Very confusing!
No, Hudson recorded what he heard of Orner's readings over the interbase interphone system (see above). This does not match Venus too well, especially the sequence of DECREASING azimuths (254.6 to 253. 9 to 253.0 degs), whereas Venus' azimuth must INCREASE as it set. Here is what I found around the time my computer crashed last week:
Godman Field Control Tower
Latitude N 37 54.4
Longitude W 85 58.0
Jan 7, 1948
TIME OBJECT (UFO) VENUS
Azimuth Elevation Azimuth Elevation
5:35 PM CST 240 degs + 8 degs 232.9 degs +15 degs 23.0 mins
6:54 PM CST 254.6 + 2.4 246.3 + 2 11.7
6:56 PM CST 253.9 + 2.0 246.7 + 1 51.6
7:02 PM CST 253.0 + 1.2 247.5 + 0 52
7:06 PM CST disappeared 248.0 + 0 12
7:07 PM CST Venus set below horizon
(Corrected for refraction, parallax, etc.)
The problem with this being Venus is that the azimuths are off by 7 to 8.3 to 7.2 to 5.5 degs and the elevation by 7 degs at first, but more troubling is that the object WENT SOUTH from 6:54 to 7:02 PM, instead of Venus which WENT NORTH. A setting celestial body cannot do this. However the nearly simultaneous disappearance of Venus and the object is troubling too.
Even if we postulated that the theodolite was miscalibrated by 7-8 degrees, that would mean all the directions are shifted consistently by that same angle (it's called a "systematic error"). The amount of that shift does not CHANGE from minute to minute!!! Once the theodolite is anchored that is it, a 7 degree error stays 7 degrees from then on. How then can we get only a 5.5-degree error if the hypothesized miscalibration was 7 (or was it 8?) degs????
Even so a miscalibration still doesn't explain the RELATIVE azimuth changes heading SOUTH when they should have been heading NORTH. Also the magnitude of azimuth change is problematic. The object moved South (to the left) by 1.6 degs in 6 minutes when at the same time Venus moved 1.2 degs (in those 6 minutes) to the North (to the right).
Ah, yes. The money shot. It was worth the wait. The UFO was mimicking the balloon and Venus. It's a fact that there were several interesting sightings of anomalous objects by Skyhook technicians while they were tracking their own balloon.
I have received a copy of this report (AccRep) from Rod Dyke. It is 127 pages long.
Wow. It keeps getting smaller and smaller. I think it was first described as 400+ pages, then the next figure I saw was like 250 pages and now we find out it's only 127 pages. I wonder what's going on here?
The documents below were found by researcher, Dan Wilson. Page three of this restricted routing slip had something we all had missed. Venus, we knew, had been ruled out a long time ago. But Brad brought to the attention of the UFO community, the statement by A. Deyarmond, made in November of 1948 (11 months after the incident), that the case was considered unexplained.
Col Garrison Wood wrote a letter to Keyhoe in 1960 about the case, and said that as he recalled it, "Patterson Field" had contacted Godman _before_ their sightings that morning and told them to report any. It would be interesting to see whether this was documented at the time.
As you mentioned to me offline Wood has serious credibility issues to say nothing of whether to rely on 1960 memories of exact timing -- did Wright-Pat contact Godman BEFORE or AFTER the first sightings??? Wood was forced out of the AF for corruption charges.
If the 1960 letter to Keyhoe survives, it will be in the NICAP files at CUFOS, probably in the Mantell files. I have just discovered some relevant news clippings about the Mantell case, transcribed by Ted Bloecher, and will scan them for you.
Because of all the recent discussion about this case, Mary C. borrowed the CUFOS Mantell and is reviewing them at home. So you can contact her about looking for this document.
Mark, This may be real important. I'd love to see this posted with a CUFOS credit on the dir. Can you check into this for us?
June 14, 2006
Greenwood/Carpenter Map overlay (1.5 GB)
Newsclips, map, skyhook launch charts (Original link no longer works)
June 15, 2006
Notice my subject line: "MANTELL CASE COVERUP." Well no one has commented on 58-year-delayed revelation of the AF COVERUP in the Mantell case -- the AF's stunning "unexplained" conclusion after "conclusively" ruling out Venus, in secret Nov 1948 documents including one by Albert Deyarmond at AMC Intelligence. No one ever heard of or knew about this before I discovered it recently *, we're finding out only after 58 years. It rivals the AMC TOP SECRET Estimate of the Situation and at least we have copies of the relevant documents.
* (Dan Wilson had discovered the Deyarmond document and posted USAF-SIGN-28 on June 3rd. MAXW-PBB3-704 is a composite of that document. It was later discovered that Michael Swords had mentioned this in 2000 in his paper on Project SIGN & the Estimate of the Situation)..
Your points are all valid, even taking the hyperbole into account. I am sure this subject is trying the patience of the list, so I won't prolong it except to note that I agree with you in general. Obviously, if this case was straightforward, it would have been buttoned up by the emeritus ufologists decades ago. It's not straight-forward. The evidence is internally contradictory. Which data you choose to accept, and which you choose to discard, either way it says something about where you stand relative to the whole phenomenon,
I second Joel's sentiment. The new discoveries are quite fascinating and a thorough re-analysis certainly is called for. However, I am not particularly troubled by some internal inconsistencies. That is virtually always the case in human testimony. Further, I am now thoroughly convinced that a Skyhook balloon (or equivalent) definitely was observed from Nashville, Tennessee. We need to pin down the tracks of all such balloons in the area about that time.
June 16, 2006
The Blue Book papers report "Seyfert's balloon" as SSE of Nashville, moving SSE, then West at 10 mph. I suggest that might should have been "moving SSE, west of Nashville at 10 mph."
The problem with this theory is that the AF document actually says Seyfert said it was "moving FIRST SSE, then W" so it's much more alteration required to force-fit it into your suggested emendation. It's an extended discussion of MOVEMENT.
June 19, 2006
Don't think that we have this document yet. 12 April 1948 letter states:
"Capt. James F. Duesler is no longer a member of this Organization, therefore status of investigation promised Mr. A. C. Loedding by subject officer can not be determined."
June 21, 2006
Loedding clamps down on UFO reports.Dick Hall:
These are the same documents that Dan Wilson found and we posted on May 28th. Those were MAXW-PBB3-713 & 714. USAF-SIGN1-377 is a clearer version of MAXW-PBB3-714.
Fran, The data I submitted had to do with sunrise and sunset, not Venus setting times. I was comparing the sunset times to the changing colors seen on the "UFO" in that one story. That and the Seyfert observation and a couple of others show pretty definitely that a Skyhook-like balloon was in the area. They reflect sunlight very brightly, as my own 1956 or so sighting indicates. Also, Venus as you know doesn't sit still for 1-1/2 hours as Hix reported. Venus has practically nothing to do with the Mantell case, I agree. If a Skyhook weren't brightly illuminated by sunlight no doubt his calculations about how far the human eye can see something would be close to the mark. The light reflection changes that altogether.
Fran, Would you be available next week, say after Wednesday, to do another interview? We want to run our follow-up piece to the Mantell story the second week of July. You will probably be the only person we interview for this one. We want to talk about how the investigation was reopened because of our stories. I think we can mention how you are looking at Blue Book files now, etc., as well.
Depends on my analysts' final comments. The re-investigation is ongoing and we are going over the skyhook path charts. No question a skyhook was in the region, but not everybody could have seen it. We think we can prove Mantell could not have seen it at all, let alone risk his life going after it. Also found evidence of a cover-up. But we have to get this right, FTR, and everybody caught the interview we had. And who knows, somebody reading it might be another key witness. We found another F-51 crash; pilot killed. BEDFORD, Indiana. UFO involved, and radar. And no records in Blue Book files as yet, but we are only up to mid-1952 on those.------------------------------
June 22, 2006
Brad, I want to do this (interview), but I don't want to go out on a limb. What do you think we have at this point?
You can say that we still don't know it was a UFO rather than an IFO. But the 70-foot Skyhook balloon that is now known to have been in the area was south of Nashville, Tenn., and at about 160 miles distance was too small or far away to be seen from Godman Field at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The balloon would have had to be something like 1,000 feet in size to be both visible and prominent enough for anyone to pay attention to it. The AF secretly concluded the Mantell case was "unexplained," a fact that was not discovered until this renewed investigation, after almost 58 years. The AF had always dismissed it as either a Skyhook balloon or the planet Venus, neither of which were visible, apparently. Other sightings that day are still being investigated, but some may be actual UFO's. The Mantell Accident Report is still to be analyzed (by the way what is the progress on that???).
June 25, 2006
Jean, Thanks for the crash report. Looking it over carefully. Perhaps I am a bit too suspicious but page 14 of 76 (Richard L Tylers's report) and page 20 of 76 ( Glenn T. Mayes's report) sound very much alike. Both talk of the plane doing three circles and then go into a power dive and slowly rotating, and did not burn on impact. A power dive? That is okay for Tyler of the ANG but for a civilian (Mayes) to say a power dive, that sounds like he was being coached--told what to say--get your stories straight , etc. Great job!
Mantell Incident Crash Report
Frame (15 of 33) says only one pilot in the flight (the element leader) had an oxygen mask. Mantell was the Flight Leader.
June 26, 2006
I have created a PDF file of all the pages in the package I received leaving out the duplicate pages for now. It is 22.17MB and I loaded it onto my site at:
I'm already seeing that the Accident Report has more complete versions of the seemingly same statements of the same witnesses than what appears in the Sign/BB files. The editing has been done smoothly enough that you would never know you are reading an edited version if you didn't have the complete version to compare with.
June 27, 2006
Did we ever run into any of these documents on Mantell?
Ruppelt: "I dug out the file. In 1949 all of the original material on the incident had been microfilmed, but something had been spilled on the film. Many sections were so badly faded they were illegible. As I had to do with many of the older sightings that were now history, I collected what I could from the file, filling in the blanks by talking to people who had been at ATIC during the early UFO era. Many of these people were still around, "Red" Honnacker, George Towles, Al Deyarmond, Nick Post, and many others. Most of them were civilians, the military had been transferred out by this time."
In 1956 a former head of Project Blue Book (Capt. Ed Ruppelt) stated in his book ("The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects", page 41):------------------------------
"According to the old timers at ATIC, this report (Chiles-Whitted case) shook them worse than the Mantell Incident. This was the first time two reliable sources had been really close enough to anything resembling a UFO to get a good look and live to tell about it." When I mentioned the AF being shook up on the original TV interview, somebody asked me where I got that. Well, two places: Lewis Blevis in 1960 and Ruppelt in 1956.
June 28, 2006
The 9 Oct. 1961 letter mentions the Mantell Case, saying that there was no radioactivity connected with the remains of Capt. Mantel's aircraft, a P-51.
Clingerman Request for Transcription of a recording made 7 January regarding an unidentified flying object and the discussion that took place between the three P-51 National Guard aircraft and the tower operator at Godman Field. During an investigation 9 January 1948 at Godman Field it was learned that such a recording was made. Maj. Matthews says his office has no record and refers to Detachment Commander, 733 AFBU, Godman AFB.