Premonitions Of The Future,
Support For "New Revelatiions" In Early UFO Material:
The Arnold Case
First, A Little History
The last few years have been a period of extreme turmoil in the world of the ufologist and ufology, whatever they are. Ideas and concepts that had been laughed out of the field forty years ago have returned, with an absolute vengeance. UFOs, which a short time ago were just "things in the sky," albeit with an occasional back-channel reference to "crashed discs" or "little men," and with a slight nod to the "abduction" problem, have now taken on an aura of unprecedented threat, at least to some. These are not happy times for those people studying the UFO. A monster is out of the closet, looking around the room, and everyone wants to put it back out of sight.
For most of us this era can trace its roots back to the mid- 1960s when the Hill story and the so-called Snippy Case brought abductions and animal mutilations to the public record. But the "threat" level was kept low. Then in 1973 the cattle deaths began to be reported, in the thousands. But no one was ready to accept what these might mean and mainstream ufology (almost a contradiction in terms) went on pretty much as before. Donald Keyhoe had worked overtime to quiet the "scare stories" (including what he called "rape stories") that had begun to appear in 1965. By 1980 and the success of Close Encounters the crisis had passed.
But in the mid-1970s Raymond Fowler and Leonard Stringfield had gone back to the future and had begun to put "crashed discs" and "little men" back into the public record. Reports of this type had been hooted out of court way, way back in the 1950s, in the wake of Scully, Adamski, Fry & company. Fowler and Stringfield were ridiculed for what they reported, their sources almost always refusing publicity and most of the stories just too strange for the main body of keep-them-flying Ufologists. Never mind that if we were being "visited" by another intelligence the chances of that visit NOT seeming strange were just about nil.
In 1980 The Roswell Incident saw print and fell like a rose petal down the Grand Canyon. Few seemed to care. Ditto for Linda Howe's television program Strange Harvest, concerning the cattle deaths in the West. At this same time Raymond Fowler went one step further with The Andreasson Affair, which should have started some things rolling. But that book did not seem to "resonate," nor did Fowler's follow-up effort, Phase Two, in 1982. In between these two Fowler published his Casebook Of A UFO Investigator which outlined CIA machinations in Donald Keyhoe's NICAP as well as, significantly, both the author and his family's UFO experiences. These were hints of things to come.
Another harbinger was Jacques Vallee's much criticized late- 1970s book Messengers of Deception. In this work the author claimed that all UFO groups were shot full of intelligence operatives and that there was a secret agenda behind the "UFO Phenomenon," an agenda that he, Vallee, did not like at all. Of course, he did not mention that his mentor and good friend Allen Hynek had about as many "intelligence connections" as anyone.
No, Vallee was worried about the "anti-science" and "reactionary" activity behind some of those involved with the ufo and indicated that there was much more to be read between the lines. But Vallee could not or would not spell out what he meant. His book didn't resonate, at least not immediately.
As the 1980s went on Stringfield continued to self-publish what he was receiving from mainly military sources. The obvious conclusion from these accounts was a kind of government/alien cooperation. In one case the military were said to have had medical personnel waiting for a "crashing disc" and then wisked the strange little crewmen away as soon as their craft hit the ground. Another incident told of an alien trying to break INTO a military installation and being shot down by a guard. But Stringfield published no speculation and did not extrapolate at all upon what the secret sources had given him. This writer had the pleasure of speaking with Stringfield several times over the last few years and found him to be a great gentleman. He will be missed by all of us investigating this phenomenon.
In 1984 the book Clear Intent put the government's involvement in UFOs out in the open for all to see. But this material did not "resonate" either and it was left to a bestselling author and a famous airline pilot to finally blow the lid off the story. Things were never going to be the same again.
In 1987 Whitley Strieber's Communion hit like a bomb. Your humble servant, who had put his UFO interest on hold for several years, walked into a local book store and saw the cover of Communion on the rack. I was well, stunned, for some reason and immediately bought and read the book. Communion was a catylst for me even though I do not believe I am an abductee or any such thing. Anyway, at this same time the so-called "MJ-12" material, spoken of in hushed terms by the authors of The Roswell Incident, was finally released in document form (in England!) by the author of Above Top Secret, Timothy Good. By now the pot was boiling hard and an explosion was on the way.
It happened late in 1987 when John Lear, whose father founded Lear Instruments, and who himself was a pilot extraordinaire, published his first "letter" detailing some sort of government-alien "deal" including genetic experiments, technology transfers and even some terminations of inconvenient people. Then, in 1988, Strieber's Transformation came out with a section reinforcing some of Lear's contentions and speaking of mysterious leaks about government-alien deals in the early 1980s. The stage was set for the second Lear Letter of October, 1988, which outlined some of the programs set up by the military to handle a "deal," one that had been worked out in the early 1960s and which by 1980 or so HAD GONE BAD.
About this time a widely seen television special called UFO Coverup featured government employees speaking of little men living in Nevada and telling our government about their civilization. They were small, with large heads and lived 350 of our years. They liked ice cream. There was a hint of some kind of cooperation in this program but the unpleasant elements were nowhere to be seen. The show could be viewed, and was so viewed by many, as an anti-Lear innoculation since the general tone was almost, well, friendly, with friendly little "visitors" here to help us out and fill us in on how the Universe was doing. Hmmm.
Early in 1989 Linda Howe published Alien Harvest which once and for all showed the cattle mutilations to be something totally out of the ordinary. Here in Boone county (MO) there had been a truly horrific run of animal deaths late in 1988 and so Howe's book hit us very hard. For us the "threat level" was now reaching high heights indeed and there was little out there that might bring it down. The debunkers, Klass and Oberg, both with heavy Pentagon connections, were working hard but it hardly mattered, things were moving so fast.
Fall, 1989, saw Majestic, Strieber's third book, hit print. This was a novelization of something like the Lear scenario and it contained a shocker--the "greys" were in fact altered human fetuses! But, of course, this was pure fiction, thank God, though if it were true it certainly would explain a few things. During this same time period Bill Cooper published his Secret Government, setting out a different view of a government/alien deal, one that postulated an "end of the world" scenario and a sort of "blackmail" on the part of "them" against our economic and social betters. We could sort of get into this since we thought that if "others" were here from the great beyond they were likely not hanging around for our benefit. And, anyway, this (believe it or not) smacked of what Donald Keyhoe had been writing, circa 1953! Finally, in September of 1989 the TV show Unsolved Mysteries exposed millions of Americans to the so-called Roswell Scenario. The sober tone of this show (and the use of eyewitnesses whenever possible) set in motion events that are still rolling forward today. I believe that Unsolved Mysteries has done more to raise the credibility of the UFO with the general public than any other single factor, ever, period.
But Unsolved Mysteries was not talking about the single element that united all the new revelations -- planetary disaster. Strieber, Cooper, Fowler, Jacobs and others all were getting and publishing information (or disinformation, if you desire) which depicted the end of either the current social dispensation and/or the whole human world. This came against a background of the end of the Cold War and the turning down of the nuclear threat, a nightmare that all of humanity had been living with for nearly two generations. But in its place was coming another bad dream, environmental disaster, driven by human populations that had nearly tripled during the lifetime of this writer, who is not old. Stacked on top of this were things like the so-called "Fatima Prophecy" which had been said for decades to be con- cerned with the end of the world, and the current "apparition" in Yugoslavia, which was said to be about the same sort of thing. For this writer, a Catholic with close relatives giving me running commentaries on what was happening in Yugoslavia, it all was more than a little disturbing.
Into this supercharged atmosphere of mid-1990 came Raymond Fowler's book, The Watchers, a blockbuster which marked, for this writer, the beginning of a new era. The continuation of the human race was in doubt and the mechanism was to be, not nuclear war, not disease, but reproductive failure! What a shocker that was. But it has since been backed up by reports from scientists worldwide on a 50% decline in human sperm counts since 1940, half a decade before the world began to be flooded with clorinated hydrocarbons. Was this what the fuss had always been about? If it was, then a few things actually made some sense, or seemed to, in a new and frightening way. More later.
But no matter, the question was and is -- how much of this UFO material could be accepted even as a basis for a hypothesis? Was it all horsehockey, on its face, as many would say, or were there enough connections to the known world to support further work in this area? We wanted to know and in pursuit of some answers to these questions we began a literature search and went back and looked at some of the very earliest works concerning the flying saucer. The goal was to assemble a complete chronology of events and to address a follow-up group of questions, ones that we hoped would get at the heart of the matter. They questions included:
1) Was the early UFO era strictly a "nuts & bolts" affair, as we had been led to believe, or were there strange references to little men, crashed discs and communication with "others" from the very beginning? We had every reason to suspect that the earliest information would in many ways be the best since it would represent views relatively uncontaminated by later and very well known books and movies, radio and TV shows.
2) Were there strange "psychological/paranormal effects" observed early in the UFO era or were these later additions?
3) What, if any, was the involvement of the uniformed military and the intelligence community at the very beginning? If there was very little or none then one could make a case for their involvment only as a result of public hysteria and its feared effects on the morale of the American people in the Cold War.
Upon the answers to the above questions would depend our final read on the "new revelations." In pursuit of these answers it was only appropriate that we began at the beginning, that is, with the Arnold case.
What do you remember about Kenneth Arnold? That his sighting set off the so-called "modern era?" That he was a private pilot who saw several objects over the mountains in Washington state and said they skipped "like saucers across a pond," thus the name "flying saucers? That he was involved in the Maury Island incident, a hoax perpetrated by the infamous Crisman, Dahl and Palmer? Is that what you remember?
That is all you probably know about Kenneth Arnold because that is about all most widely available UFO literature will tell you. Ufology is not an academic discipline and there are no archives. Each researcher is on his own, re-inventing the wheel, so to speak. This writer was lucky enough to have a friend from the Chicago area (Palmer's home town) send him Arnold's 1952 book, The Coming Of The Saucers, published with Ray Palmer.
Reading this book opened my eyes in a big way. I realized that there was much, much more to the so-called "Arnold sighting" and the Maury Island affair than I had been told. They were both truly bizarre and deserved to be looked at again in the light of what we now know now. I was shocked at what Arnold had written.
Who was Kenneth Arnold? Well, he was an Eagle Scout, no mean feat in his day or any other day. He was a field representative for the American Red Cross for many years. He was an All-State Football player in 1932 and 1933 in his home state of North Dakota. He enrolled at the University of Minnesota in the mid-1930s with the dream of becoming a football coach but a serious knee injury put an end to that. He left school in 1936 with $57.00 in cash and a Model-T Ford car.
He took up selling and by the beginning of World War II was combining a boyhood interest in flying with his job. He began selling fire control equipment throughout the Northwest, flying from small town to small town to do it. By 1944 he was flying over 1,000 hours per year and was a member of an "aerial posse" for the Ada County, Idaho, Sheriff. He was also a relief Federal U.S. Marshall and occasionally flew Federal prisoners to McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary. He was an interesting fellow.
First and foremost, Arnold was a pilot and a good one. He regularly flew into and out of tiny, dangerous airfields. Sometimes he flew into a field that was just a field, literally. He depended upon a small, single-engined plane for his very life.
He was meticulous, careful and alert. The overwhelming impression one gets from his book is of a solid citizen, honest and unafraid. Arnold was brave enough to not be overly concerned about what people thought of him, something rebounding much to his credit today.
On June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold was flying over Mineral, Washington, at 9,000 feet when he saw a procession of very strange objects flying from north to south in front of his plane.
He was amazed at their speed and made very reliable estimates of that speed and also of their size and altitude. They were very reflective and flew slightly erratically. One of the objects was very different from the others. It had a strange double curve at the rear and a light-colored spot on top. The objects together made a powerful impression.
When Arnold arrived at his destination of Yakima, Washington, he told the airport manager and several other people about his sighting. One of them said, "Ah, it's just a flight of those guided missiles out of Moses Lake." Arnold's next stop was at Pendleton, Oregon, and when he got there he had a committee of interested people waiting for him. Before long he was telling a large group of airfield hangers-on all about his sighting. But he did not mention that one of the objects was different.
Arnold ended his day by talking to the editor of the East Oregonian newspaper and it was he who put the story on the wires.
Both Arnold and the editor agreed that the government had taken this way of introducing the world to a new method of flight. In a matter of hours Kenneth Arnold was known to the entire country and the "flying saucer" craze of 1947 was under way. His story was, for some reason, picked up by newspapers and radio stations all over the USA and around the world. Three days later Arnold would say that there would soon be a flying saucer in every garage in the United States.
When Arnold arrived back at his home in Boise, Idaho, the editor of the Idaho Statesman newspaper came to call. After this conversation Arnold began to wonder if the objects he saw were really military after all. The editor seemed to doubt Arnold's story and told him that there was nothing in the possession of the United States that could do what Arnold said these objects did. We now know that this editor, David Johnson, was supplying information to the Air Force and other arms of government.
Johnson told Arnold that he had sent a report to Wright Field in Ohio. But he didn't tell him that he was in fact assembling an intelligence dossier on Arnold, one that included what amounts to the beginnings of an FBI check. He provided both the Air Force and whomever was behind "Project Sign" with information about the character and background of Kenneth Arnold. He was an intelligence agent. His name is to be seen, barely, at the bottom of a document released in 1969 when the Air Force terminated Project Blue Book.
On July 3rd a good friend of Arnold's called. This was Colonel Paul Wieland who had just returned from Germany where he had been a judge at the Nuremburg trials and had investigated the Malmedy massacre. (Interesting, is it not, the friends this free-lance pilot and fire equipment salesman had?) But no matter, Arnold and "Colonel Paul," as Arnold called him, discussed his sighting at some length on a fishing trip they took to Sekiu, Washington. But the fishing was horrible as thousands of salmon were dying in the area from a mysterious "red tide." Arnold flew over the area and said, "it looked as if a gob of something had fallen from the sky, a jelly-like substance that was sticking to the salmon, poisoning them." Those were strange times. Arnold and the Colonel flew home.
Then on July 5th Arnold and the Colonel were at Boeing Field, Seattle, when they heard about Captain E.J.Smith and his co-pilot who had made a spectacular sighting the day before. In the papers that day there was also a photograph taken by a Coast Guard Yeoman of a flying object virtually identical to the ones Arnold had reported. It had been taken in the Seattle area. Arnold went to the offices of the newspaper to see the original of the photo and there met Captain Smith and his co-pilot. They hit it off well.
The photos must have been pure dynamite because on the 10th of July a nationwide ban would be said to have been placed on them. These photos are reproduced in Arnold's book but the country at large never got to see the Coast Guardsman's flying saucer, which was identical to eight of those Arnold had seen.
On July 15th Arnold got a letter from Ray Palmer. He says that if he had known at this time who Palmer was he would not have answered the letter. He thought that the kind of material Palmer published was a gross waste of time for anybody to read. Ray Palmer and his Amazing Stories were still running a series of yarns that began in the mid-1940s and were called the Shaver Mysteries, concerning two groups of aliens living on and under the Earth with man. That should sound vaguely familiar to anyone current in what passes for ufology today.
In any event, Palmer wanted Arnold to write down his experiences for him and offered to pay. Arnold did not particularly care about the money and sent Palmer a copy of what he had sent the Army Air Corps at Wright Field. About a week later came a letter asking Arnold to investigate a strange incident said to have occurred in the Seattle area. Fragments of a flying disc were said to have fallen. Arnold put the letter aside.
Then, about the 25th of July, two representatives from A-2, Military Intelligence, Fourth Air Force, visited Arnold. They were Lt. Frank Brown and Cpt. William Davidson. They took Arnold and his wife Doris out to dinner and were very kind and considerate of Ken's position. They said they did not know what the so-called flying saucers were. Arnold then mentioned that Captain Smith was due in at Boise airport later in the evening and it wasn't long before the Arnolds and the two officers were on their way to the airport.
When they got there they found David Johnson, the newspaper editor who had first de-briefed Arnold, waiting for them. Just a coincidence, you understand. Arnold learned that the two intelligence men had flown over in an A-26 bomber specially to talk to him that evening. Just a coincidence. Arnold and his new friends spoke to Smith and his co-pilot for a few minutes and then left for the Arnolds' home. There Ken gave them his account of his sighting complete with drawings. But he did not tell them that one of the objects he saw was different from the others. He held this one item back.
Arnold had not even told his wife about this "different" object. For some reason he thought it would diminish the story and anyway, it was probably not that important. Wrong.
Then the intelligence officers left, asking Arnold not to discuss the sighting with "outsiders." The next day Arnold was visiting again with David Johnson, who said that he had been asked to supply a report to Wright Field. Arnold asked him if he should take up Palmer's offer. Johnson said he had never heard of Palmer but it would be silly not to take his money. Johnson said that Arnold should write and ask for $200 and see what happened. Arnold wrote, and Palmer sent him $200, to the surprise of both Arnold and Johnson. In 1947, $200 was not trivial. Thus did Arnold turn investigator, at the insistence of an acquaintance known to be supplying intelligence information.
On July 29, 1947, Kenneth Arnold took off for Tacoma, Washington, to look into the Maury Island incident. He did not file a flight plan. No one but his wife knew he was going. His plane did not have a radio transmitter. Half way there he stopped in a cow pasture to refuel. He had left on the spur of the moment as only a true independent businessman can do.
Over Union, Oregon, he saw a strange group of "brass colored objects that looked like ducks" coming straight for him. He tried to photograph them with a movie camera. They appeared to be round, rather rough on top and with a "spot" on the upper surface of each one. They were moving at a speed of several hundred miles an hour. Arnold later found that several people on the ground near Union had seen these same objects.
Late that afternoon Arnold arrived at Chehalis, Washington, and after some thought decided to fly on to Tacoma. He told no-one of his plans. Here, in chronology format, is an account of Arnold's "investigation."
July 29 - Arnold arrives and tries to get a hotel room in Tacoma, is at first unsuccessful. Finally, in desperation, calls the most expensive place in town. Finds that there is already a room reserved for "Kenneth Arnold!" After some discussion with the clerk he accepts the room. Later he cannot find the clerk who he talked to when he accepted the room.
July 30 - Arnold calls one of the men mentioned by Palmer, Harold A. Dahl. His name is in the book. This Mr. Dahl tells Arnold to go home, says that he, Dahl, has had nothing but "tough luck" ever since this business began. Says that it would be better if everyone forgot it. But finally agrees to talk. Dahl comes to Arnold's room, is 6'2" tall, a lumberjack. He is not at all anxious to talk. Says that since he saw the flying discs on June 21, 1947, he had lost his job, his wife had become ill, he had lost much expensive property, his boat had sprung mysterious leaks and its engine would not start. Dahl made his living in part scavenging lost "booms" of logs in the waters near Tacoma. But Dahl had been master of a Harbor Patrol Boat at the time he had his sighting. Dahl tells his story.
Dahl, two crewmen, his son and their dog were on board Dahl's boat near Maury Island, Tacoma, when SIX flying discs came near. One of them appeared in trouble and ejected material out of a hole in its bottom. Part of this material was like "newspaper, a very light-weight, white-type metal." There were "thousands" of pieces of this and most of it fell in the bay. Also falling was a heavier, lava-like rock. This material fell into the bay, onto the beach and onto the boat. It was hot and steam rose from the water where this material fell. Some of this heavier material hit Dahl's son on the arm, burning him. Other pieces hit the dog, killing it. Photos were taken of this material and of the discs.
July 30 - The men picked up some of both types of material. They attempted to radio what they had seen but the radio did not work. The boat had been damaged by the fall of the heavier material. Dahl had to tell his immediate superior, Fred Crisman, what happened. He gave the camera and the recovered material to Crisman, who did not seem to believe Dahl. There was considerable damage to the boat. Dahl's son was treated and released at a local hospital.
The next day Dahl got a visit from a gentleman who wanted to talk to him right away. The man looked like "an insurance agent," not a logger. He appeared about 40 years of age. Dahl followed the man and his 1947 Buick sedan to a cafe in the uptown part of Tacoma. After they had entered a small diner and ordered their food the man began to tell Dahl exactly what had happened the day before. Every detail was correct. Dahl sat there, astounded.
The man said, "I know more about your experience than you will want to believe." The man said that he, Dahl, should not have seen what he had seen and should never discuss this ever again.
Dahl said he was very upset but thought the man was some sort of crackpot, a nut. Dahl said he did not put much stock in what the man had said. When Dahl got to work he found that Crisman had gone out in a boat alone--to Maury Island. Dahl then discussed his experience with several seamen on the docks while he waited for Crisman to return. Early in the afternoon Crisman came back. He did not criticise Dahl and began procedures to repair the boat.
At this point Dahl stopped telling his story and invited Arnold to go out to where his secretary lived and where some of the material still remained. Arnold was now totally out of his depth and he admits it. He had never been an "investigator" before. Dahl took him to a small house on a corner in one of the rundown sections of town. The house was in need of paint and looked about "1912 vintage." There was a woman there working with papers and the place was furnished in an old and poor sort of way. Dahl showed Arnold a piece of rock they had been using as an ash tray. He claimed it was from the disc. By now Arnold's head was spinning; it was almost too much to take in.
Dahl said that he had gotten an anonymous letter several days after his story had become known. It said that the flying discs were manned by beings like us, only "less dense." The discs were there to protect the earth from outside dark influences. It was the Atomic Bomb and its radiation had caused them to become visible. The letter went on to say that the beings flying the discs were under attack by other beings who were enemies of their people and life on this planet. Dahl was quite upset by this.
Dahl said that the "white metal" was all over at Crisman's house and offered to take Arnold there. But Arnold was tired, it had been a long and incredible day. "Tomorrow," he said. Arnold returns to his hotel and goes to bed.
July 31 - At 9:30 am Crisman and Dahl wake Arnold up by banging on his door. Crisman can not wait to tell Arnold about what has happened. He says that the boat looked like someone had tried to sink it from the top down with a sledgehammer. Crisman says that he went out to the island and there was a lot of debris there. As he was inspecting it he said that an object like Dahl had seen came out of a cloud and circled his boat. Crisman is a ball of fire, says he was a fighter pilot during World War II, in Burma. (Crisman was much, much more than that!)
Crisman has now taken over the story. Dahl is saying nothing. Arnold remembers a clipping in his pocket about metal falling out of flying discs near Mountain Home, Idaho, on July 12. Arnold now wants to see the metal, all of it. He also wants some help. So, he calls Captain Smith in Seattle, who happens to have the afternoon off. Arnold then flies up to get Smith and they arrive back at Tacoma about 3 pm.
Crisman and Dahl show up soon after this and Smith talks to them for about an hour and a half--gives them the business. Then Smith says he will stay for a couple of days and help Arnold.
Smith asks Crisman to drive him back to Seattle to get his car and some things. He and Crisman leave together. Dahl then leaves to go home to his sick wife. It is now about 5 pm.
At 7:30 Smith comes back and takes Arnold out to dinner, at a secluded cafe on the edge of Tacoma that he, Smith, seems to know very well. There they discuss the events of the day.
At 8:30 all four men, Arnold and Smith, Dahl and Crisman, are back in the hotel room. Smith wants the following from the men:
1) Samples of both types of material. 2) The photographs. 3) To meet the crew of Dahl's boat. 4) A trip to Maury Island to see what remains.
Dahl and Crisman promise that everything will be provided and leave, to return the next morning. Smith discovers that Arnold is carrying a .32 pistol, a present from his friend, Colonel Weiland, who lives in Provo, Utah. Arnold says that at this time he and Smight were very nervous and had the feeling that they were being watched, that there was something dangerous about Crisman and Dahl. There might be Russian agents about, they felt. Arnold says that at this time he still did not dream that the objects he had seen might have been "from another world."
July 31 - Just as the two men are going to bed the phone rings. It is a man named Ted Morello of United Press. He tells them that he has been getting calls from someone claiming to know exactly what has been going on their hotel room. To prove this Morello tells Arnold what he has done that day, precisely. Since neither Smith nor Arnold have been talking to the press Arnold assumes that Crisman or Dahl have been leaking. But Morello knows things that had been said in the room when neither Crisman or Dahl were present. The two men spend an hour tearing the room apart, looking for a hidden microphone. They are five stories up in a corner room. They find nothing but they do not change rooms.
Aug 1 - The next morning Crisman and Dahl arrive early with fragments of both kinds of metal. They also say that the other crew members are downstairs waiting. Everyone then has breakfast and then goes upstairs to the room to talk. The dark metal is very, very heavy. A piece the size of a hand and only an inch thick is very hard to pick up. The dark fragments are perfectly smooth on one side and burned on the other. The light metal that Crisman hands them seems like aluminum and Arnold knows it is no lighter or thinner that ordinary aircraft metal. This did not correspond to Dahl's description at all. But it does have strange square rivets in it.
Crisman does not have Dahl's photos with him but says he will show them later in the day. Smith and Arnold decide to call in the boys from Air Force intelligence, sure that just saying this would smoke out Dahl and Crisman. But Crisman is enthusiastic. Dahl says he will have nothing to do with intelligence, that the whole business will end up in bad luck for everybody.
Arnold then calls Lt. Brown but he refuses to take the call in his office. Instead he calls back later from an OFF BASE pay phone. Arnold tells Brown what has been happening. Brown says to sit tight and that he and Davidson will be there as soon as possible. Everybody sits down to wait. Two telephone calls come in, one of them from Ted Morello who said his mysterious informer has been calling, staying on the line for no more than 20 seconds at a time.
Then Paul Lance, reporter for the Tacoma Times, calls. They refuse to talk to him so he comes to the room. Smith frisks him and then throws him out. They all know that the Air Force intelligence officers will be there soon.
Dahl says he is going to a movie and leaves. Smith and Crisman leave, for a private conversation, Arnold says. This is the second time the two of them have a "private conversation."
Aug 1 - At 4:30 pm the officers arrive. Davidson and Brown come up to the room. Davidson shows Arnold a drawing of an object, an object that looks like the one Arnold had never talked about. Brown says that this type of object is "authentic" and they had just received several photographs of this object at Hamilton Field. The original negatives had been flown to Washington, D.C., Davidson says. Arnold tells the two officers about the "other object" he saw on the 24th of June, the one with the double curve.
Crisman now tells the officers his and Dahl's story, taking over two hours to do it. Then there is general discussion as the officers handle the material. Crisman says he will get the box of material from his home and give it to the officers. It is midnight. Suddenly the two airmen decide to leave, to fly back to Hamilton Field that very night. The B-25 they were flying had to be back the next morning for Air Force day, they say. It had just been overhauled. The two officers have been flying all over the area inter- viewing people in their investigation.
Arnold is feeling bad. He feels the two men think Crisman and Dahl's story is a hoax. They are not interested in the material. Arnold thinks about telling them about the letter that Dahl had received about the flying discs but decides not to do that. Just as the officers are ready to leave Crisman pulls up with his box of fragments, putting them into their car. Arnold gets a quick look at the fragments. They are not the same as those up in the hotel room. Arnold says he was mixed up and that this was "the screwiest situation he could imagine."
Arnold never finds out much about Crisman, where he lives, whether he is married or not. When Smith and Arnold get back to the hotel room the phone rings. It is Ted Morello telling them everything that has just happened. Obviously there is a bug but the two men still do not change rooms, perhaps because they can't. They go to bed. Questions: What happened to the crewmen of Dahl's boat? The reader never finds out. Nor do we ever hear of Dahl's son or the dog. Arnold is doing his best but he is not, and never will be, a detective.
Aug 2 - This is to be the last day of the "investigation." Smith and Arnold are to meet Crisman and Dahl at 10 o'clock and go out to Maury Island on Dahl's boat. At 9:20 the phone rings. It is Chrisman telling Arnold that the B-25 carrying Davidson and Brown had "blown up and crashed" at about 1:30 that morning.
Arnold says he was too weak to stand up, was white as a sheet. The same for Captain Smith. Smith calls McChord field and learns that two men did parachute out of the plane but neither one was Brown or Davidson. Soon Crisman is at the hotel room, very excited. Arnold calls Palmer in Chicago and says he is through with the whole business, that two men have been killed and a bomber lost because of it and he, Arnold, has had enough.
Aug 2 - Crisman interrupts this conversation from time to time. Palmer says that maybe enough is enough. He warns Arnold not to carry any of the fragments in his plane. Palmer then says that if he or Smith want to keep any of the metal they should mail fragments of it to themselves or to him. Palmer advises Arnold not to let Smith take any fragments, if possible.
Then Crisman talks to Palmer and verifies that the plane has gone down. Palmer later tells Arnold that he recognized Crisman's voice as one he had heard several times before on mysterious long distance calls. Crisman had sent Palmer a letter saying he had been "rayed" by the "underground men." He had also warned Palmer to "lay off" the Shaver Mysteries. Arnold was very suspicious of Crisman by now. Crisman had told Arnold that he knew of Palmer through "Venture Magazine." But Arnold knew there was no such magazine but Palmer's company was called "Venture Publishing."
The United Press building was right across the street from the hotel. That's where Ted Morello worked. Morello had an interview with one of the two men who had jumped from the B-25, a soldier "hitching" a ride. About 25 minutes after take-off the left engine caught fire. Lt. Brown came back and ordered the soldier to jump, all but throwing him out of the plane. The bomber then continued to the south, on fire, all the while the soldier floated down on his parachute. Only one other parachute was seen.
Later that morning Smith and Arnold go down to the docks with Crisman to look at the boat. It is not the same boat, nothing about it is right. The engine does not start. Arnold is by now totally disgusted with the whole affair. He and Smith go back to the hotel not knowing what to think. The phone soon rings. It is Ted Morello who says his mysterious informer is predicting things.
The mystery voice says that Captain Smith will be called to Wright Field on the fifth of August, 1947, that Kenneth Arnold's plane has been shot at on numerous occasions, that Captain Smith's airliner has been shot at on several occasions, that the B-25 bomber had been shot down by a 20mm cannon, that a recent crash at La Guardia had been caused by the gust locks being left on to sabotage it and that the crash in Denmarck that had killed singer Grace Moore had been sabotaged also. Arnold later found out that the gust lock cause for the La Guardia crash was true. Captain Smith was never called to Wright Field, or so he said.
Arnold later learned that there was no distress call from the B-25 and that no one could figure out why Brown and Davidson did not bail out of the plane. The bomber fell near Kelso, Washington.
Arnold, in distress, calls his brother long distance and asks him to take their mother out into her yard and tell her that he, Arnold, felt in extreme danger. Arnold could not explain why he had done this and is ashamed to have done it. It seems senseless. But Arnold indicates he needed some help and knew that his mother would pray for him. He makes a similiar call to his wife and she becomes very worried as well. Arnold fears phone, room bugs.
Tacoma Times, August 2, 1947, headline: "Sabotage Hinted In Crash Of Army Bomber At Kelso." Written by Paul Lance. Stated that a mysterious informer had told The Times that the plane had been shot down or sabotaged to prevent "flying disc" material from being transported to Hamilton Field. Two enlisted men, Sergeant Elmer L. Taff and Technician Fourth Grade Woodrow D. Mathews parachuted. Plane was carrying "classified material." Paul Lance would die quite mysteriously soon after this affair ended.
Arnold takes this paper upstairs, shows it to Smith. He now says he is even more scared. They try to call Crisman and Dahl. No answer from either. They finally find Dahl in a movie theatre where they knew he spent a lot of his time. Dahl says Crisman had called him earlier and said he was leaving town.
Just then Morello calls and tells Arnold that the mysterious voice had just told him that Crisman had boarded an Army bomber for Alaska that very afternoon. Arnold becomes worried about Dahl, whom he still thinks of as a more or less "innocent" bystander. Arnold knows that he and Smith were almost the last people to see Davidson and Brown alive and that the police or military intelligence would be on the scene any minute. Dahl seems to be resigned and goes back to his movie, saying he would be at the theater in case he is needed.
Arnold and Smith go to see Ted Morello at his office. He tells the two men that the B-25 of Davidson and Brown was under armed guard every minute it was in Tacoma. He says, "You are involved in something it is beyond our power here to find anything about. Get out of town until this blows over. I don't want to see anything happen to you fellows if I can help it." Morello tells them of a UPI story concerning Dick Rankin, the famous pilot. Rankin had said that Davidson and Brown were hot on the trail of something and that he (Rankin) thought was endangering their lives. The press release was made by Rankin with the intention of warning Brown and Davidson, Morello said.
Dick Rankin was a world famous pilot reputed to have "extrasensory perception." He had once had a dream that there was something wrong with the tail of his plane. He refused to fly until it was checked. When the fabric was removed several control wires were in fact damaged. Arnold says that he had a lot of respect for any opinion of Rankin due to his skill as a pilot. Smith and Arnold go back to their hotel room and wait for the police or whomever. The phone rings several times and they talk to David Johnson in Idaho and to The Chicago Tribune.
Aug 3 - The waiting continues. Nothing happens. They now have nothing but several dozen "fragments" still scattered around their hotel room. Crisman is gone. Davidson and Brown are dead. Morello is telling them to get out of town. Their room is bugged. Dahl comes by early in the afternoon and does not say much. Arnold calls the airport and inquires after his plane. They still expect the military to contact them. Smith says he has to get back to his airline soon or lose his position. Morale has fallen to an all-time low. Arnold says that, yes, all of this did happen.
Aug 4 - Bright and Clear. Arnold photographs Maury Island which is now visible out of his hotel window. At 9 o'clock Smith and Arnold meet Dahl and his secretary at a cafe for breakfast. Smith makes a phone call, comes back and says he will be gone for an hour. Tells Arnold to go back to the hotel and wait. Arnold very upset to be left alone. Waits hours. At 2 o'clock Smith brings a Major Sander of A-2, Army Intelligence, McChord Field. Arnold tells him the whole story. The major says this could be a hoax. He says that the B-25 crash was just what it appeared to be, an accident. Arnold disagrees but is relieved to have the Major take the case. They could all go home now.
Major Sander picks up the fragments in the hotel room, including one Arnold had put in his pocket as a souvenier. Sander says he doesn't want to leave any fragments behind even though they are fake. He asks for and gets Arnold's fragment. He wraps them up in a hotel towel and puts them into his car. It is a civilian car. Sander then takes Arnold and Smith out to a smelting company. There are piles of stuff that look similiar to what Crisman and Dahl have shown Smith and Arnold.
But when they get close Arnold realizes that the stuff in the piles looks like what Crisman had given Brown and Davidson, not like what had just been taken from the hotel room. Sander will not let Smith and Arnold compare the stuff in his car to the slag on the ground. Sander drives the two men back to their hotel and leaves. Arnold realizes on the way back that the smelter was a long way off the beaten track and had many piles of metal. Sander had driven right to the one that had metal similiar to that in question. Something is screwy. But Arnold is by now glad to be out of it.
Smith and Arnold check out of the hotel. Arnold wants to say goodbye to Dahl, who said he would be working at his secretary's house that day. The two men drive over there. The house is empty, the screen door ajar and there are cobwebs across the main entrance. The windows and door knobs were the same as Arnold remembers but the house looked as though it had not been lived in for months. Arnold feels as if a bucket of cold ice-water has been dumped on him. He gets panicky. He thought things like this only happened in dreams. Could he have had a visit to Dreamland?
The house was empty, with dirt, dust and cobwebs everywhere. There was a severe housing shortage in Tacoma at this time and neither Smith nor Arnold could imagine how any house could stay vacant three months in that area. Harold Dahl has disappeared. Even the phone company would not admit his existance to Arnold even though he (Arnold) had looked the man's number up in the phone book the day he got to his hotel.
Smith drives Arnold to the airport where they inspect his plane. It is OK. It was going to be a four-hour flight to Boise and he would get there about dark. At Pendleton, Oregon, Arnold stops and gets gas, never straying far from his plane. After filling up he rolls out to the runway, checks the tower and then begins to take off. At fifty feet his engine stops cold. By a miracle he gets the plane down, breaking a wing and one landing gear but not injuring himself. His fuel switch had been turned off, how Arnold has no idea.
Thus comes to an end the strage saga of Kenneth Arnold and the Maury Island mystery. As you can see, it was a lot more than met the eye. The situation is one of extreme wierdness and many questions remain unanswered:
1) How did the hotel room get reserved for Arnold, at the most expensive place in town? This took some money, something those with unaccountable funding seem to have in quantity. And it struck Arnold funny that he got so famous so fast.
2) Notice the reference to "newspaper-thick" metal, as at Roswell. Last summer (1994) the Air Force released a report on the Roswell business. In that report it was stated that General Vandenberg was NOT investigating the Roswell business at the beginning of July, 1947. No, he was investigating a UFO event that took him to Washington state! Most interesting.
3) Arnold never did find out about about the injured boy or the dog that was killed. Most disappointing.
4) The business with the house of the "secretary" is most strange. Whomever to set that place up had some money and once again, who has all sorts of money for all sorts of odd things?
5) And what about the strange actions of Captain Smith, who seemed to know Crisman and kept disappearing with him for long periods? Crisman now known with certainty to have been some sort of agent for someone, military intelligence or OSS/CIG/CIA/FBI.
6) Why did Lt. Brown refuse to take Arnold's call on base? This is most strange and hints at competing military investigations of the Maury Island affair and of UFOs in general. Why else would he be worried about a bug on HIS phone or being overheard. Could it have been that he and Davidson were investigating something they were not supposed to be investigating?
7) Why didn't the two officers bail out of the plane when they had every chance to do so? What could they have been carrying that was so important they would risk their lives to get that plane down intact? Could it have been something not known to their nominal superiors, something they had found or been given in Tacoma? And why did those looking into the crash never get in touch with Arnold or Smith? All of this is most suspicious.
8) Who was Ted Morello, whose office just happened to be across the street from Arnold's mysterious hotel room? We know now that many "journalists" work for intelligence agencies. For instance, Richard Helms worked for UPI in Europe in the 1930s and a UPI bureau chief in Chile helped IT&T get rid of Allende in the early 1970s. Morello looks to us like an agent of some sort.
9) Who was this "Major Sander?" He seemed to know a lot about slag heaps in the Seattle/Tacoma area and have a real interest in hoax material. Was Smith gone so much of the time with Crisman and Sander because they were together cooking up the cover story that would be used to discredit Arnold? We think it's possible.
There is no doubt, the UFO business was very, very strange in several ways right from the very beginning. There was strong military and intelligence community interest right from the start and the implication is that these entities were in competition for the same scarce information. There were also bizarre psychic or paranormal elements to the UFO business right from day one. The Maury Island affair and the original Arnold sighting were much, much more than just a nuts-and-bolts apparition. In its own way these two incidents were just as out and out strange as anything occuring today. Plus ca change. . .
In the final analysis a lot of people people were interested in what Kenneth Arnold was doing in the summer of 1947--and they had a lot of money at their disposal. On top of that two men died taking part. And swirling around these incidents were rumors of aliens interacting with mankind, rumors that have "resonances" for those of us interested in "UFOs" today. This theme will be developed further in later segments of this series.