Good morning from Adelaide, South Australia on a wonderful Sunday, with a predicted maximum of 25 degrees Celsius. I'm posting this while drinking coffee and having breakfast on the Norwood Parade, one of Adelaide's fine eating places.
Another review of a book from my bedside pile. This one is "Crash: When UFOs Fall From the Sky - A History of Famous Incidents, conspiracies, and Cover-ups." The author is Kevin D Randle (Click here for his blog)
The book is published by New Page Books (click here for their website)2010. ISBN 978-1-60163-100-8. 320 pages. My copy came off the shelf from Dymock's Bookshop, Adelaide.
All of us would regard the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico, UFO event as a "crash." Perhaps you would be surprised to learn that "...some lists of UFO crashes top 200, and many are racing toward 300." (p.10.)
Randle's view is that "Most of the UFO crash tales are mistakes, misidentifications, or the reports of single witnesses. But once we push through that mass, we still have a solid core of reports that are not easily explained or rejected." (p.19.)
The purpose of this book is to "Examine the tales of UFO crashes, present the best information available today, and provide some answers." (p.10.)
You will not be surprised then, that the main body of the book (pages 11-292) is a chronology of UFO crashes - from 840 AD in Lyons, France to 27 July 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
For example, chapter one presents 31 pre-1947 events (12 alone during the 1896-1897 US "airship" wave.) The first entry is dated 840AD, Lyons, France and describes a mob lynching men and a woman from a "cloudship." Having just read "Wonders in the Sky" ( see my post here) by Vallee and Aubeck, whose catalogue of 500 wonders does not list this case as 840AD but circa 815AD, I thought at first that perhaps Randle's research hadn't begun on a good note. Randle concludes "...only a reference to a ship that sails on clouds suggests the reason for making this some sort of UFO report. The description could refer to many things, and none of them require an alien spacecraft." (p.13.)
The 12 cases during the period 1896-1897, include, based on Randle's assessments, "a practical joke *Dec 3 1896); "it could have all been a drug-induced dream" (Apr 9 1897); "a hoax" (Apr 15 1897); and "a hoax" (Apr 17 1897.)
A discussion of the Tunguska, Siberia event of 30 June 1908, which has featured in numerous UFO periodicals is ascribed by Randle as "In fact, a cometary impact is the best of the answers available today."
There are a number of observations from 1946, Sweden and Norway, associated with the "Ghost rockets" era, but very few details are given about each case.
Chapter two "1947-Pre Roswell" starts off with the May 31 1947 Nogal Canyon, New Mexico crash and the infamous Santilli "alien autopsy film" which was shown to be a hoax. It is a lesson in the complex nature of some claimed UFO evidence and the time needed to unravel some cases.
In chapter three, the Roswell, New Mexico event, of course, receives a very detailed examination. Randle explores the first hand testimony which he has gathered, rebuts explanations put forward by other researchers, and concludes "There is a very good chance that it was extraterrestrial. We have yet to find the absolute solution, or the absolute smoking gun, but someday we will." (p.94.)
Another reported UFO crash in July 1947, that in the Plains of San Agustin results in Randle concluding that "All of this tells us that the idea of a crash on the Plains of San Augustin in early July 1947 has no solid evidence..." (p.100.)
In the following chapters case after case is reported, analysed and conclusions drawn. Here are some of Randle's conclusions.
Aztec, New Mexico Mar 25 1948
"All of this, from Scully to Carr to Steinmann, seems to suggest that a saucer crashed...Others, such as Cahn, McClelland, Jones and Minshall, seem to suggest the story is a modern fable that might be traceable to a P-38 crash somewhere in the mid-1940s." But then says "It seems, based on the best information we currently have, that the crash at Aztec is actually a stand-in for Roswell. If that is true, then the comments made by some that Scully's book frightened top brass at the Pentagon, was because they knew the truth and any discussion of a UFO crash in New Mexico could lead to Roswell." (pp122-123.)
Spitsbergen Island, Norway Sep 12 1952
"When all is said and done, there seems to be no evidence that the crash took place, and the origin of the story seems to be a newspaper that made up the details." (p.152.)
Helgoland, Germany Nov 1 1952
"The shifting nature of the data, the recycled nature of it, and the heavy borrowing from the Aztec case suggests that the report is nothing more than a hoax." (p.155.)
Ubatuba, Brazil Sep 1957
"We are left with several samples of magnesium that are unique. There is nothing in them to suggest the extraterrestrial, yet there is a hint that these samples might not have been made on Earth." (p.189.)
Las Vegas, Nevada Jul 18 1962
"Something extraordinary happened on the night of Apr (sic) 18 1962...It was a craft from another world. There is no doubt about it." (p.204.)
Kecksberg, Pennsylvania Dec 9 1965
"I confess that at this point I'm so confused...The fireball answer seems logical...The satellite answer does not seem logical...The UFO answer seems logical...the case must remain open." (P.239.)
Shag Harbour, Canada Oct 4 1967
"They...proved that something unusual;l happened on the night of October 4, 1967...None of this proves that this sighting was of an extraterrestrial craft..." (p.253.)
Needles, California May 4 2008
"In the end there are two solutions to this. One is the extraterrestrial, but that seems to be the least likely. The other is that this was an experimental object..." (p.289.)
There are two Australian cases in the chronology.
Gin-Gin, Queensland Jun 20 2009 (for full story click here)
"Although this has been added to some UFO crash lists, witnesses described the object as a fireball that set nearby trees on fire. A search of the area failed to find any debris, or what might have started the fire. The most likely explanation, however, is more mundane. Meteorites rarely cause fires, but space junk sometimes does..." (pp289-290.)
Guyra, New South Wales Dec 7 1999 (for full story click here)
"Reports to radio stations suggested that something had crashed into the reservoir near Guyra. It had skipped across the surface of the lake and left a gouge of flattened reeds...Speculation about the object ran from the natural to the mundane, including returning space junk." (p.282.)
I found that I enjoyed this book. There are certainly some cases which have survived rigorous investigation, despite most being of little value. The book can be used as a reference tool, entries read when you need to research a particular case, or straight through as a comparison of a variety of cases, and explanations.
All in all, a very useful addition to the bookshelf.