Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pease Air Force Base and The 509th's UFO Investigative Officer Revealed


In the wake of the Incident of Exeter UFO sighting, there were many questions and very few answers. The obvious mystery was what exactly did the six witnesses, including two Police Officers, see in Kensington, New Hampshire on September 3, 1965?

Another unanswered question was who was investigating UFO sightings, for the Air Force and Project Blue Book, that were being reported in New Hampshire? And did Pease Air Force Base have a designated UFO Investigative Officer to investigate UFO reports in proximity to Pease and in New Hampshire?

Initially, Major David Griffin and Pease AFB Director of Information, Lt. Alan Brandt were appointed to look into the Exeter case, but a number of Air Force officials, and even Navy officials in the days following the sighting, came to Exeter to investigate the case. Police Officers Bertrand and Hunt were asked by officials to keep their sighting quiet, but the story had already broke.

In Jeff and Jess Finn’s 2011 documentary on the Exeter UFO sighting, Strange Septembers, Jeff interviews Lt. Brandt about the Exeter case, and UFO sightings around Pease AFB. Jeff asks Lt. Brandt to confirm if Pease had a designated UFO Officer at the time. Brandt denies knowledge of the base having a specific UFO Officer in 1965.

Despite researchers’ suspicions and inquiries over the last 50 years, no one from Pease AFB ever has officially admitted that Pease had a dedicated UFO Investigative Officer. The existence and identity of a UFO Officer at Pease has remained a mystery, until now.

While doing research in the Air Force’s Project Blue Book UFO files, I found unequivocal proof that in 1967 Pease AFB did have a UFO Investigative Officer, and was able to determine his identity. 

As I was looking through the Blue Book documents, I came across two correspondences [Doc#1], [Doc#2] between Pease AFB and Project Blue Book that at first appeared to be a set of benign communications about a UFO sighting in Hanover, NH on December 15, 1967. But when I looked at the signature on the document, I realized that I had found something that UFO researchers have been in search of for 50 years: proof, and the identity, of a UFO Investigative Officer at Pease Air Force Base.

Pease’s UFO Investigative Officer was  Colonel Frank Juns, Jr. Colonel Juns was a pilot and Major stationed at Pease AFB in 1967 with the 509th Bombardment Wing, the main component of the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC). Col. Juns was born on May 23, 1922, and died on January 16, 1986. A Missouri native, Juns was a pilot with the 360thBombardment Squadron, the 509th Bombardment Wing, and was a Veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

The 509th Bombardment Wing is one of the Air Force’s most elite bombardment wings, tasked with dropping nuclear ordinance under the order of the President. The 509th were highly trained pilots, the best of the best. It was the 509th that dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago in 1945, bringing an end to World War II.

The revelation that a Major from the 509th Bombardment Wing was given the responsibility to investigate UFO sightings for Pease AFB in New Hampshire is significant, and speaks to how serious the Air Force and the Pentagon were taking UFO sightings at the time, despite the Pentagon’s dismissive tone in the press and to the public.     

Now that a UFO Investigative Officer from Pease Air Force Base has been identified, we have further confirmation that high ranking Air Force Officers at Pease AFB were taking a serious look at the UFO situation in New Hampshire.

© 2015 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved
The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author.


Strange Septembers, Finn, Jeff, Finn, Jess, Z-Machine, 2011

The National Archives, Project Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976), (Publication No.T1206), Roll 076, 1967, Hanover, NH, [Blank], 2015

The National Archives, Project Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976), (Publication No.T1206), Roll 076, 1967, Hanover, NH, [Blank],, 2015

Gobrecht, Harry D., "FRANK JUNS, JR. CREW - 360th BS", 1945, 303rdBGA Archives, Hells Angels 303rd Bomb Group (H), 2015

Fate, Thomas L., "FRANK JUNS, JR. CREW - 360th BS", 1944, Hells Angels 303rd Bomb Group (H), 2015

Frank Juns Jr.,, 2015 URL: 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Exeter UFO Incident Remains Unsolved:
A Rebuttal to "Exeter Incident’ Solved!"

(Photo Credit: Fosters Daily Democrat)
Norman Muscarello

In November of 2011, Skeptical Inquirer published an article written by James McGaha and skeptic Joe Nickell, entitled 'Exeter Incident’ Solved! A Classic UFO Case, Forty-Five Years ‘Cold’ In the article, the authors claim to have solved the "Incident at Exeter", one of New Hampshire's most compelling UFO cases, and one of the most credible cases in UFO history. But upon examining the "solution" presented, it is clear the authors did not research the case thoroughly, and have not provided any concrete evidence to support their theories.

It is important to first note that the authors' "solution" is based on assumptions, and relies heavily on the words "surely" and "perhaps." The authors have ignored the details and witness accounts from the case, and fixated on aspects of the sighting they believe support their theory. They have presented their theories as fact without providing any documentation or persuasive evidence. Believing the authors' assertions about the case requires the reader to show a willful ignorance to the documented facts of the case, and suspend belief in the highly credible and capable observers involved.

McGaha and Nickell's solution to the Exeter case claims that Officers Eugene Bertrand and David Hunt, and civilian Norman Muscarello witnessed a KC-97 refueling plane refueling a jet in the night sky; not a UFO hovering a few hundred feet above the field in which they stood. The authors' theory is that the lights observed by Muscarello and the officers were five lights located on the fuselage of the KC-97. They claim the strange flight characteristics described by the witnesses can be attributed to the KC-97's vibrating refueling boom, which had lights on it as well.

The authors muse that the Exeter case has "finally succumb to investigation." A simple examination of the references used illuminates the lack of depth and nuance with which they approached their investigation and research. Anyone with a detailed knowledge of the Exeter case understands that what has been suggested by McGaha and Nickell does not reconcile with the witnesses statements, nor with the Project Blue Book documents pertaining to the case.

The references listed as sources for their article are virtually all UFO books. One can't help but note the irony. No official Air Force Project Blue Book documents were referenced in their research, nor were the case files of Raymond Fowler, who was the primary investigator of the Exeter case. Project Blue Book documents pertaining to the Exeter case have been in the public domain since 1976, and have been available online for close to a decade, from sources like the Project Blue Book Archive, and Fold 3. The exclusion of these documents from the authors' research is a strong indication of the lack of quality and thoroughness that went into their examination of this case.

Credibility of the Witnesses

The first thing to consider when evaluating the Exeter case is the quality and credibility of the witnesses involved:

Norman Muscarello was 18 years old and a high school graduate. He had assumed the role as head of the household in his father's absence, and joined the Navy to take care of his mother and younger siblings. He was hitchhiking home from his girlfriend's that night because he had sold his car in anticipation of shipping out to the Navy a few weeks later.

Officer Eugene Bertrand was in the Air Force, served in the Korean War, and had four years aircraft refueling experience, which included refueling of KC-97's. He was familiar with all types of conventional aircraft, as well as the military aircraft operating in the area from Pease Air Force Base. 

Officer David Hunt served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1956 to 1962. He began his career in law enforcement in 1961, and spent 31 years serving as an officer for the Hampton, Exeter, and North Hampton, NH police departments, until 1992 when he retired as a Deputy Chief.

Both Officers Bertrand and Hunt were veterans, known as intelligent, no-nonsense individuals who were well liked and respected by the community of Exeter, both before and after their UFO encounter. Norman also went on to become a veteran, serving three tours of duty in the Navy. 

Muscarello and the Officers never received any compensation in relation to their UFO encounter, despite the fact that John G. Fuller's book based on their experience. Incident at Exeter went on to become a New York Times best seller, and one of the most successful UFO books ever written.

Taking into account the quality and credibility of the witnesses, it is hard to accept McGaha and Nickell's assertion that Officers Bertrand and Hunt, even with their prior military and Air Force refueling experience, misidentified a jet refueling thousands of feet up in the sky for a silent, bright, hovering object that exhibited odd flight characteristics, a mere few hundred feet above their heads.

Project Blue Book and Operation "Big Blast"

In their article, McGaha and Nickell muse: 
"Why did the Pentagon not solve the case at the time? Perhaps in the welter of paperwork the clue we found so significant went unseen by anyone who could fully grasp its import and who had time to devote to the case. Naturally, everything is much clearer in hindsight."

This notion is completely absurd and self-aggrandizing. Project Blue Book's staff thoroughly investigated the Exeter sightings, inquiring with Pease AFB and several other Air Force bases about operation "Big Blast," and air traffic in the Exeter area that night. The Inquiries about the training mission were made to Pease AFB, Westover AFB, Griffis AFB, and Loring AFB. Blue Book contacted the 8th Air Force by mail on Nov 16, 1965 [Doc#1], and by phone on Nov 19, 1965 [Doc#2]. Griffis AFB was also contacted by phone in the days following the incident [Doc#3]. Included in the Blue Book Exeter files is a response sent to Blue Book from Westover AFB that is dated Nov 24, 1965. [Doc#2] There were also letters exchanged between Blue Book and Pease AFB Information Officer Lt. Brandt, discussing the Exeter sighting on October 15th and 19th 1965. [Doc#4]

Air Force documents on the operation stated that the operational part of training mission "Big Blast" was over by 03/0430Z (Sept. 3nd 12:30 am) and the ten aircraft involved in the operation from Pease AFB were estimated to arrive back at Pease between 03/0444Z (Sept. 3d 12:44 am) and 03/0535Z (Sept. 3rd 1:35 am) [Doc #2], "Big Blast" ended well before 2:25 am, the approximate time of Officer Bertrand's sighting with Muscarello and Officer Hunt.

Project Blue Book's chief Scientific Adviser, J. Allen Hynek also contacted Pease Information Officer Lt. Brandt, and requested the B-47 pilots who flew in operation "Big Blast" be interrogated in regards to any unusual observations on the operation; specifically whether or not there was any infrared photography taking place in the area at the time. [Doc#5] A reply received by Blue Book on February 11th, 1966 indicates that there were no unusual sightings made by the B-47 crew that night, and use of infrared photography was not likely. [Doc#6]

Project Blue Book had gained a reputation for trying to marginalize credible UFO cases with mundane explanations. Had they been able to, they probably would have jumped at the chance to explain away the Exeter case with Operation "Big Blast", but there was simply too much documentation regarding the time the operation ended to use it as an explanation for the sighting.

Raymond Fowler, The Exeter Investigation, and the 1966 Congressional Hearing on UFO's

Publicly, Project Blue book offered up a number of absurd explanations for the Exeter sightings, none of which subsequently held water. UFO investigator Raymond Fowler investigated the case for NICAP, and did an excellent job of documenting it. His investigation became the foundation for John G. Fuller's book Incident at Exeter.

Fowler, an
 Air Force Veteran, astronomer, and senior weapon systems planner at GTE Government Systems, investigated the case thoroughly, and refuted Project Blue Book's many preliminary attempts at explaining away the Exeter case (weather, planets, lights from Pease AFB, banner plane, operation "Big Blast").

Fowler's report on the Exeter case became part of the first ever Congressional hearing on UFO's in 1966. The Exeter case was one of the key UFO cases highlighted in the hearings, and Fowler's report on the case was entered into the Congressional record. At this hearing, despite of all of the early explanations the Pentagon and Blue Book had offered up to the public, Scientific Adviser J. Allen Hynek, was forced to admit under oath that the Exeter case was in fact unexplained, and considered an unknown.

Massachusetts Congressman William H. Bates and South Carolina Congressman and Chairman L. Mendel Rivers questioned Hynek in regards to the Exeter case during the hearing:

Mr. Bates: "This one is still unidentified?"
Mr. Hynek: "Yes, sir."
The Chairman: "In other words, you make no bones about it, you cannot explain it?"
Dr. Hynek: "That is correct."

The KC-97 Refueling Plane Theory

McGaha and Nickell's "solution" to the Exeter case alleges that the sequence of lights and odd flight characteristics reported by the Officers can be attributed to a KC-97 refueling plane, as part of operation "Big Blast," or was in Exeter airspace at the time of the sighting. 

The authors argue that the sequencing lights on the fuselage of the KC-97 explain the sequence of lights described by the witnesses. They also assert that the exotic flight characteristics described by Muscarello, in which he stated the object “acted at times like a floating leaf,” can be attributed to the vibrating refueling boom on the KC-97. This explanation conflicts with the Air Force's determination that operation "Big Blast" had ended, and all aircraft associated with the operation were on the ground well before the Officers and Muscarello's sighting at approximately 2:25 am. There is also no proof there was even a KC-97 in use during operation "Big Blast." The authors have made an assumption and provided no documentation of the use of a KC-97 refueling plane, either during operation "Big Blast," or in the Exeter area that night.

Pease Air Force Base was a key SAC nuclear base vital to national defense in 1965. It was also home to the 509th Bomb Wing, which 
dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II, and was assigned to Roswell Army Air Base in 1947 during the alleged Roswell crash. The air space surrounding Pease was well monitored and jets were scrambled on numerous occasions in response to UFO sightings in the area.

Another problem with the KC-97 theory is the discrepancy in altitude. KC-97's refuel a B-47 jet at a height of approximately 10,000 to 20,000 feet, and have a flight ceiling of 35,000 feet. It is not realistic or logical to think that two Police Officers, both veterans and trained observers, would mistake a plane refueling a jet, at that high of an altitude, for a silent object hovering a few hundred feet above them on a clear night.

The claim that the sequence of fuselage lights on a KC-97 can explain the sighting is another assertion. The lights on the UFO described by Officer Bertrand and the other witnesses are not consistent with the intensity and range of lights used on conventional aircraft like the KC-97. In Officer Bertrand's written statement he describes the lights as "bright red lights" that were "extremely bright." He goes on to explain: "At one time they came so close I fell to the ground and started to draw my gun. The lights were so bright I was unable to make out any form." Given Officer Bertrand's  Air Force experience re-fueling jets, including KC-97's, and his familiarity with local military and civilian air traffic, it would be very unlikely for him to misidentify conventional military aircraft for a UFO. [Doc#7]

It is also important to consider the amount of noise associated with jets and planes like the B-47 and KC-97. All of the witnesses involved stated that the object was silent. In his statement, Officer Bertrand noted "There was no sound or vibration but the animals were upset in the area." The lack of noise described by the witnesses does not reconcile with the authors' KC-97 theory. [Doc#7]

MaGaha and Nickell further theorize that the unconventional flight characteristics observed by the witnesses can be explained by the vibrating re-fueling boom of the KC-97. The odd, "floating leaf" like flight characteristics described by Muscarello and the Officers have been observed in UFO sightings across the globe. "Pendulum motion," or "Falling leaf motion" is a flight characteristic reported in some sightings where the UFO descends with a floating, curved, side to side pendulum motion. This is not a flight characteristic which matches the KC-97, or any known conventional or military aircraft, in 1965, or present. 

Examination of multiple films of KC-97's re-fueling B-47's, and other jets, show that there is very little vibration by the re-fueling boom prior and during the re-fueling process, which is in direct conflict with the authors' claim.

[KC-97 Re-fueling Video #1: B-47 Stratojet and KC-97] 
[KC-97 Re-fueling Video #2: B-47 refueling from KC-97G ] 
[KC-97 Re-fueling Video #3: F-84 Thunderjets refueling from KC-97G]

The Police Officers' Letters to Project Blue Book

In the wake of all the dubious explanations being offered by the Pentagon and Project Blue Book in regards to the Exeter case, both Officers Bertrand and Hunt wrote letters to Major Hector Quntanilla Jr., Chief Officer in charge of Project Blue Book. The letters emphasized there was no way that the object they witnessed that night could have been explained by a refueling operation, due to the proximity and silence of the object.

In his letter Officer Betrand states:

"Both Ptl. Hunt and myself saw this object at close range, checked it out with each other, confirmed and reconfirmed the fact that this was not any kind of conventional aircraft, that it was at an altitude of not more than a couple of hundred feet, and went to considerable trouble to confirm that the weather was clear, there was no wind, no chance of weather inversion, and that what we were seeing was no illusion or military or civilian craft. We entered this in a complete official police report as a supplement to the blotter of the morning of September 3 (not September 2, as your letter indicates). Since our job depends on accuracy and an ability to tell the difference between fact and fiction, we were naturally disturbed by the Pentagon report which attributed the sighting to "multiple high altitude objects" in the area and "weather inversion." 
Officer Eugene Betrand in a letter to Hector Quintanilla, Jr., Major, DSAF Chief, Project Blue Book Wright Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio Dated - December 2,1965. [Doc#8] [Doc#9]

In his letter to Major Quntanilla, Officer Hunt points out Officer Bertrand's aviation history, and the proximity and silence of the UFO they encountered:

"As we mentioned in our letter to you, it could not have been the operation "Big Blast" you mention, since the time of our sighting was nearly an hour after that exercise, and it may not even have been the same date, since you refer to our sighting as September 2, Our sighting was on September 3.  In addition, as we mentioned, we are both familiar with all the B-47's and B-52's and helicopter and jet fighters which are going over this place all the time. On top of that Ptl. Bertrand had four years of refueling experience in the Air Force, and knows regular aircraft of all kinds.  It is important to remember that this craft we saw was not more than 100 feet in the air, and it was absolutely silent, with no rush of air from jets or chopper blades whatever. And it did not have any wings or tail. It lit up the entire field, and two nearby houses turned completely red. It stopped, hovered, and turned on a dime." 
Officer David Hunt in a letter to Hector Quntanilla, Jr., Major, USAF Chief, Project Blue Book Wright Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio - Dated: December 28, 1965. [Doc#10]


After examining McGaha and Nickell's "solution" to the Exeter case, and comparing it with all the Blue Book documents and witness statements, it is clear that McGaha and Nickell's "solution" is not consistent with the documented facts, times, and statements made by the highly credible and competent witnesses.

The authors have also failed to provide any concrete evidence to back up their theories. They have merely presented vague similarities and assertions. Their use of the word "solved" in such an unequivocal way is irresponsible and troubling, considering it is based on their own unproven theories, and nothing definitive.

James McGaha and Joe Nickell have not "solved" the "Incident at Exeter." The case remains unsolved, as it has since 1965, and it will take a bit more than unsubstantiated, poorly researched "Hardy Boy" theories to solve it.

© 2015 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved
The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author.


"Twenty Five Years After The incident at Exeter: Still no doubt nowadays in those who sighted UFO", Fosters Daily Democrat, September, 3 1985

McGaha, James, Nickell, Joe, "Exeter Incident' Solved! A Classic UFO Case, Forty-Five Years ‘Cold’ Skeptical Enquirer Vol. 35 No. 6 Nov/ Dec 2011

Lent, Colleen, "Exeter UFO Witness Dead at 55" Seacoast Online, March 2, 2003

"Eugene Bertrand Grave Record"

"David Hunt Obituary" 

"Open Mind: Are Flying Saucers Only Science Fiction?" Goldman, Professor Eric, WNBC, 1967

"Strange Septembers" Finn, Jeff, Finn, Jess, " Z-Machine, 2011

Fowler, Raymond, Personal Files Report No. 65-31

Fowler, Raymond, "Casebook of a UFO Investigator" Prentice Hall, 1981

Fowler, Raymond, "UFO Testament" iUniverse, 2002

The National Archives, Project Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No. T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 4, URL:

The National ArchivesProject Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 6, fold.3.comURL:

The National ArchivesProject Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 21, URL:

The National ArchivesProject Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 106, URL:

The National Archives, Project Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 18, URL:

The National Archives, Project Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 20, URL:

"Who's Who In Ufology: Raymond Fowler" URL:

House Report No. 55: Unidentified Flying Objects, Hearing by Committee on Armed services of the House of Representatives Eighty-Ninth Congress, Second Session, April 5,1966 

"History of the 509th Bomb Wing" 

"History: C-97 Stratofreighter" URL:

"History: B-47 Stratojet" URL:

The National ArchivesProject Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 99, URL:

"B-47 Stratojet and KC-97 Stratotanker (1951)" 

"B-47 refueling from KC-97G" 1955 

"KC-97G USAF Stratotanker Crash site story at Box Springs Mountain on 06.26.1954" URL:

The National ArchivesProject Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 9, URL:

The National Archives, Project Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 8, URL:

The National ArchivesProject Blue Book 1947-1969, (1976) , (Publication No.T1206) Exeter, New Hampshire, September 3, 1965, Pg. 11, URL:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finding Out the Truth About
MUFON's Case Files

MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, is widely known as one of the largest civilian UFO investigation groups and the go-to place to report UFO sightings in the U.S. and across the globe. Their stated mission is to "investigate UFO sightings and collect the data in the MUFON database for use by researchers worldwide" and to "Promote research on UFO's to discover the true nature of the phenomenon..." Despite that declaration, there are a significant number of MUFON case files still not available to researchers, and no one in the higher ranks of MUFON seems to be able to give researchers an answer as to why.

In a conversation about the CAIPAN GEIPAN UFO UAP Workshop in the UFO Updates group this past July, UFO researcher and archivist Isaac Koi relayed his experiences inquiring with various MUFON representatives about the state of MUFON research files, specifically MUFON's Pandora Project, a project to digitally scan all of MUFON's physical files. Issac's inquiries regarding Pandora Project scans were in an effort to not repeat digitizing efforts already completed by MUFON.

In his inquiries to MUFON, Koi was told a myriad of things including:  Former International Director James Carrion took all the scanned files when he left, all the MUFON files were already uploaded to the Black Vault website, the files were on the MUFON website, the scanned files were too unorganized to be made available, and the scanned files aren't worth making available because you can find the same information in a Google search.

MUFON state director David McDonald told Koi that he believed that all the files were scanned under former director James Carrion, the overseer of  the Pandora Project, and uploaded to the research website The Black Vault. According to MUFON State Director Rich Hoffman, his cases from the 60's and 70's are not available, and Koi has noted in his work that many of the case files from reports featured in the MUFON Journal are not included in the materials uploaded to the Black Vault and other web resources.

James Carrion joined the conversation and set the record straight, saying that all 30,000 MUFON files had been scanned during the Pandora project and the files available on The Black Vault are only a selection of the MUFON's case files. Carrion went on to say that all board members were provided with a DVD of all the scanned files, and a copy was given to each state director at the 2009 MUFON Symposium.

This revelation seems to be at odds with the prevailing explanation offered up by the higher ranks at MUFON. MUFON representatives have repeatedly attributed the lack of clarity about the Pandora Project scans to the movement of the physical files from different storage locations across the United States, as well a lack of resources to process the data they have collected. But if all the files have already been scanned, and the board members received DVD's of nationwide files, and state directors received a DVD of their state's files, why is it that no one at MUFON can provide answers?

Koi is not the only researcher who has run into road blocks trying to access MUFON data. Many independent researchers have had little or no success in obtaining case files from MUFON vital to their research. Mississippi UFO Researcher Curt Collins, who has been taking a fresh look at the 1980 Cash-Landrum incident over the past few years, has had no luck in obtaining the original case files from MUFON despite emails to MUFON and John Schuessler, NASA aerospace engineer, founding member of MUFON and primary investigator of the Cash-Landrum case.

In a stark contrast to MUFON's lack of accessibility and analysis, the Canadian research group Ufology Research of Manitoba, has recently made its findings available in a 25 year study of their Canadian UFO surveys entitled UFO's Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports. The paper, written by Geoff Dittman, astronomer Chris Rutkowski, and Ashley Kircher, is an in-depth analysis of the UFO data their UFO Canadian Survey has collected from researchers across Canada over the last 25 years.

I asked Rutkowski about the climate of data sharing among UFO researchers in Canada, and he said while there have been some proprietary researchers in the past, things have substantially improved, and researchers are much more willing to submit their data to be part of the Canadian UFO Survey.

A month has passed since the conversation about the MUFON files and despite Carrion's clarifications there has been no legitimate attention or response from MUFON to the concerns raised by Koi, myself, and countless other independent researchers, and there has been no indication the files are going to be made available to researchers.

MUFON's actions and priorities are clearly at odds with their mission statement, and what they purport they are doing with UFO reports. This group ignorance about the Pandora Project files, and their methods of handling the data they collect is far from scientific. MUFON seems content to be oblivious to researchers' questions and concerns in plain view, and continue to ignore their mission statement while perpetrating the facade that they are making their UFO data available to researchers worldwide.

© 2014 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

Image credit: Hangar 1: The UFO Files, History 2, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

New Hampshire MUFON Investigator Misrepresents the "Incident at Exeter" UFO Case on WMUR News

In a recent television appearance on WMUR News, NH MUFON investigator Mark Podell misrepresented the facts in the "Incident at Exeter" UFO case, falsely claiming the case was debunked by the military.

"One was the Exeter incident here in New Hampshire where some military people debunked the incident even though it was observed by three witnesses, two of them were policemen,” Mark Podell MUFON

"Some military people debunked the incident" ? 

Apparently Mark is misinformed.

A.) After trying to debunk the Exeter case (the key word being trying), the military (The Air Force, Project Blue Book) admitted under oath at a congressional hearing on UFO's in 1966 that the Exeter sightings could not be explained.

In direct conflict with the evaluations the Air Force's Project Blue Book had made on the Exeter case, scientific consultant to Blue Book, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, admitted when asked by Congressman William H. Bates at the 1966 Congressional hearing on UFO's:

"This one is still unidentified?" Hynek replied "Yes, Sir."

B.) In 2011, the "Hardy Boys" from Skeptical Inquirer James McGaha & Joe Nickell claimed to solve the Exeter case, but offered no definitive evidence to support their theory and displayed a high level of confirmation bias and ego in their presumptions about the case.

C.) Of these two authors of the skeptical enquirers "solution" to the Exeter case, James McGaha and Joe Nickell, only one is EX-military:

"James McGaha, major, USAF retired, is a former special operations and electronic warfare pilot and now an astronomer and director of the Grasslands Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. He has frequently appeared as a UFO expert on such television shows as Larry King Live. He is a Committee for Skeptical Inquiry scientific consultant." Source: CSI

"Joe Nickell, PhD, is a skeptical investigator and UFOlogist who has written extensively about extraterrestrial visitations in his various books, including Entities and Tracking the Man-Beasts. He contributed to The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters and coedited The UFO Invasion." Source: CSI

So Mark Podell's statement that "military people debunked the incident" is completely misleading and inaccurate, and should be corrected.

The Exeter case has never been "debunked", and most certainly not by the military.  

This is very unfortunate misinformation from a MUFON investigator about a highly credible and still unexplained NH UFO case. Podell clearly does not know enough about the facts in the Exeter case to be speaking publicly about it.

Anyone that has studied the Exeter case closely knows that the CSI solution offered up by McGaha & Nickell in 2011 does not reconcile with the documented facts of the case and they offer no evidence at all to back their claims, only theory and assumption.

Mark Podell's statement, while maybe inadvertent, was inaccurate, misleading, and an improper representation of the Exeter case to the public.

© 2014 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author


The 1966 House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Unidentified Flying Objects Briefing Document

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Oldest Known UFO Photo Refuted

A New Hampshire UFO photo that has intrigued me since the start of my research is the photo that is largely accepted today as the "Oldest known UFO photo." After years of research, and with some luck and helpful clues from others, I have assembled what I feel is unequivocal evidence that the photo is not of a UFO.

The photo first came into the spotlight in March 2002 when an article announcing its purchase appeared in Filer's Files #10 March 6th, 2002. It was purchased on eBay in an online auction for $385.00 by Samuel M. Sherman, president of Independent-International Pictures Corp. In the article, Sherman's photo is described as a stereo view of clouds over Mount Washington, with a long cigar-shaped object clearly visible in the center.

According to the article, Sherman said " this photograph will not be locked up in some collection, but will be submitted to scientists for detailed analysis, and the results made available to the public... the debunkers are already circling around the photo on the internet, even though they have only been able to see poor low resolution computer images and not photographic enlargements of the actual photo." The article also states that Sherman "expects this photo to be very controversial for a long time still to come."

As fascinated as I was by the photo, I wasn't convinced that it was a UFO, so I set out to try and obtain any information I could to hopefully bring better perspective to the photograph. I immediately started scouring the web for any info I could find on Sherman, Independent-International Pictures Corp., and the photo itself. I was unable to find any additional information at the time, and I reached a dead end.

Then in 2008, I tracked down a contact number for Independent-International Pictures Corp. and was able to speak with Mr. Sherman personally. I talked with him about the photo and asked if any analysis had been done, he informed me that no analysis had been done to date.

Over the years I revisited the photo from time to time, checking the web again for any new or additional information. I was hoping that a clue would surface that would help shed more light on whether the object in the photo was actually a UFO.

Finally, in 2008, I found my first new clue about the photo since 2002. I found reference to a 2003 Weirs Times newspaper article unearthed by NH UFO researcher Kathy Brisendine. The article U.F.O.s Over New Hampshire: Many Sightings, Few Answers  identifies the photographers as Amos F. Clough and Howard A. Kimball. The photo was taken by Clough and Kimball in 1871 during a meteorological expedition on Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The expedition spent the winter of 1870-1871 on the summit making scientific observations, and Clough and Kimball documented the expedition in a series of stereo view photographs.

Now that I had the names of the photographers, I ran a Google search and found that the New York Public Library had a copy of the original, untouched photo in their digital library, along with a number of other photos from the same set. Upon viewing the original photo, it is immediately apparent that the version of the photo circulating on the internet since 2002, is a cropped, low-resolution version of the original photo. The object in the photo is not in the clouds, but on the surface of the mountain itself. In the original photo there is a clear distinction between the surface of the mountain and the sky above the mountain range. The brown object is lying on, or suspended in, the snow on the mountain top.

"Photo # 17 "Frost Architecture Photo Credit NYPL Digital Gallery"

In addition to having a number of photos from the Clough & Kimball collection, there were two other interesting images I found related to the expedition. One was the reverse side of the photo showing an itemized list of the photos taken on the expedition, with brief descriptions of each photo. The photo in question, number 17, is entitled "Frost Architecture." This is the second piece of evidence supporting my research  that the picture is of a frost structure, not clouds. All of the photos taken of the sky and clouds on the expedition are clearly labeled as such on the photo list. Another photo included is a scan of an old news article describing the frost formations at the top of Mt. Washington, which were referred to as "frost feathers". It describes Prof. Hunnington and Clough's examination and documentation of the frost formations on the expedition.

"The Summit Of Mount Washington 1870-1871 Photo List Photo Credit NYPL Digital Gallery"
 "Newspaper Article About The Frost Formations The Frost Work Photo Credit NYPL Digital Gallery"

Now armed with the original photo, the photo list, and the article, I dug even deeper and came across a post from a thread on the website Above Top Secret, discussing the alleged Mount Washington UFO photo. Forum user "atc_eh" had also come to a similar conclusion about the photo, and referenced an additional piece of evidence I had yet to discover, a book written about the 1870 expedition.

The book titled Mount Washington In Winter, or The Experiences Of A Scientific Expedition Upon The highest Mountain in New England-1870-71 by Charles Henry Hitchcock, chronicled the long winter that the scientific team and photographers spent on the summit of Mt. Washington. The book contains a chapter devoted to discussing the photography of Clough and Kimball on the expedition, including passages from Kimball's diary describing the process of photographing the mountain. There is no mention of any UFO's being spotted or photographed in this chapter, or the rest of the book. Forum user atc_eh also offered a theory as to what the object in the photo actually is, a wooden ruler used at the time by scientists to measure the depth of the snow, etc.

After examining the original stereo photo, the title card, the book written about the expedition, and the newspaper article about the frost structures on the surface of the mountain, it is clear that the "oldest known UFO" photo is not of a UFO, but of an object on the surface of  Mount Washington. Now that the truth is known, may the actual oldest known UFO photo take its rightful place in UFO history.

© 2013 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved
The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author.


Original photo and photo list:

Article describing frost formations:

Filer's Files #10 "Independent International Picture Corps.Wins Oldest Known UFO Photo"
March 6th 2002

Amsden, Roger. "U.F.Os Over New Hampshire: Many Sightings, Few Answers" Weirs Times and Tourists Gazette March, 3 2005 Vol.14, No.9

The Oldest UFO Photograph Ever Taken, Page 3
reply posted on 26-12-2008 @ 10:03 PM by atc_eh

"Mount Washington In Winter, or The Experiences Of A Scientific Expedition Upon The highest Mountain in New England-1870-71" by Charles Henry Hitchcock Chapter IX Pg.132 -144

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Source of the 1896 Portsmouth Naval Yard UFO Encounter Called Into Question

One of the most fascinating New Hampshire UFO cases I have come across in my research is the 1896 close encounter that two Naval officers reportedly had with a luminous UFO while guarding ships on the docks of the Portsmouth Naval yard.

The article, "Navy Shot at UFO in 1896" , was written by Art Champoux, and appeared on the UFO Digest website in March of 2007. According his account, after being approached by the UFO, the Naval officers shot at the glowing craft with their rifles as the object flew overhead. They heard the sound of their bullets hitting the object before it increased in brightness and flew out to sea.

In an attempt to obtain documentation of the original source of the article, it appears I have stumbled upon a major discrepancy in what is purported to be the original source of the story.

Champoux references the Portsmouth Herald newspaper as being his source for his article, saying: " I read the report of this sighting in the archives of the Portsmouth Herald Newspaper dated November of 1896."

I began my inquiries by contacting the Portsmouth Library regarding the Portsmouth Herald archive and was referred to special collections librarian, Nicole Cloutier.

In speaking with Ms.Cloutier, she informed me that the known archives of the Portsmouth Herald only went back as far as 1898, and that there is a local mystery surrounding the birth date of the newspaper. She also mentioned a  recent Seacoast Online article "Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date" , which delves into the murky beginnings of the Portsmouth Herald and the hunt for the first issues, and the newspaper's accurate birth date.

In addition, Ms.Cloutier reviewed the microfilms for the November 1896 issues of both the Portsmouth Gazette and Portsmouth Journal in the event that the author had mistaken his source, but she was unable to find any articles pertaining to the UFO sighting.

Considering all these facts, this leads us to two possible conclusions: Either a.) author Art Champoux was mistaken about the date or which newspaper was his source. This is quite possible, but seems unlikely. The date is in the title of the article and is mentioned more than once in the body of the article, so one would think the author would be sure of this important detail of the story, and his source. Or b.) the source and story were fabricated, and the encounter never happened.

I contacted the editor of UFO Digest, Robert D. Morningstar regarding the discrepancy of Champoux's source for his article, and was told that they were unable to contact Champoux. It was also suggested by Mr. Morningstar that I address the discrepancy with Champoux myself. This I declined, because I feel it is an editor's responsibility to handle issues regarding the credibility of any articles they publish. Follow up emails sent to UFO Digest have gone unanswered.

Since my correspondence with UFO Digest, Champoux has published additional articles on UFO, and "Navy Shot at UFO in 1896" remains on UFO Digest's website.

If true, this UFO encounter is an incredible part of New Hampshire's UFO history. If the source discrepancy is an honest mistake, it is an opportunity for Champoux to provide the correct source, and allow for further research into the case. Until proper documentation of the source is provided for this case, the credibility is greatly diminished and will weigh heavily in my gray basket.

© 2012 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved
The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author.


Champoux, Art. ""Navy Shot at UFO in 1896", UFO Digest [cited 2012] URL:

Robinson, J. Dennis. "Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date" Seacoast [cited 2012] URL:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Serious Doubts In the Laconia Abduction Case

A little over a year and a half ago, on March 20, 2010, two Laconia, NH
teenagers claimed that their car was lifted off the ground by a UFO, and then subsequently dropped when one of the teens sounded the car horn. After careful examination of both witness reports, and statements made by the police, it is clear that there are some serious discrepancies and red flags in this case. It appears things are being overlooked or ignored by MUFON and those that are touting the Laconia case as legitimate.

The case which was reported to the National UFO Reporting Center and investigated by MUFON New England, received considerable attention on the web and received over 20,000 views on the Examiner website. It has also appeared on many other UFO websites and forums around the world. The case was also the focus of New England MUFON Director Steve Firmani's recent lecture at the 2011 Exeter UFO Festival.

Discrepancies in the case are immediately apparent when comparing the witness testimony with the statements made by the investigating officers in the Laconia Citizen article, "Youths Claim UFO Lifted them."

The first issue that arises is that the witnesses gave conflicting reports to the Laconia Police and MUFON as to where the alleged abduction attempt took place. The police were told by the witnesses that the incident occurred at Opechee Park, but in their account submitted to NUFORC and MUFON, the witnesses claim the incident occurred at The Fun Spot, a local arcade.

According to Chief Michael Moyer "As of Friday evening, however, the case remains uncleared because of a discrepancy between where Moore told Batstone the incident allegedly occurred and where she and her boyfriend later told UFO investigators it happened — namely the parking lot at Funspot — said Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer."

"'The long and short,' said Moyer,' is that we got this call to Opechee Park and the officer basically closed the case because there was nothing for us to do; and then I got a call from the UFO guys and they came and took statements and I didn't realize until yesterday in reading the statement they [Moore and her boyfriend] gave the UFO people the discrepancy in what they told the police.'" Chief Moyer also notes that there was no mention of a UFO until MUFON contacted him.

Looking at the testimony of the male witness, when describing the damage to the windshield of the car he claims "It popped outwards like it was pulled out." The male witness also goes on to say "He [Officer Batstone] said that there was no reason for this to have happened to the car when there are no dents or scratches and no reason for the windshield to shatter and pop out the way it did. He had no explanation for why the windshield popped outwards."

This statement is in direct conflict with what officer Batstone says in the Laconia Citizen article, Officer Batstone clearly states that the damage on the windshield was "consistent with the cover to the air bag being launched into the windshield when the passenger side air bag had deployed." You can also plainly see in the photos taken of the interior of the vehicle by MUFON investigators that the airbag has clearly deployed, and caused the windshield to shatter.

During his examination of the vehicle, Officer Batstone also noted that dirt on the car was undisturbed, and that the inside of the vehicle showed "no indications that any sort of impact had happened." After interviewing the witness and examining the vehicle at her house, Officer Batstone went to Opechee Park to search the site of the alleged incident and found that there was nothing "to indicate that a collision had occurred."

There is also the issue of the actual site of the event, The Fun Spot arcade. The Fun Spot parking lot is known in the area as a place where teens go hang out and jump their cars off a curb in the parking lot. The damage done to the undercarriage of the vehicle and the deployment of an airbag could be consistent with this sort of jumping of a vehicle.

The evidence that New England MUFON Director Steve Firmani has referenced in different lectures, podcasts, and articles consists of: the testimony of the witnesses, marks in the curb at Fun Spot that he claims he was able to match up with parts of the undercarriage of the witness vehicle, and the claim that both witness cell phones ceased functioning after the incident. There was also a mechanic's report of the damage done to the vehicle that supposedly states electrical damage occurred to the vehicle that wasn't consistent with a typical airbag deployment. Pictures of the vehicle and the alleged abduction site can be viewed online at, "UFO picks up Laconia, NH car with teens and drops 180 feet away."

It is unclear to what extent MUFON has analyzed this evidence, but one can only hope that the cell phones and unusual electrical damage to the vehicle were further examined and corroborated, not taken at face value given the problems with the witness testimony. It would be very easy to test the cell phones and request phone records from both witnesses to prove that their phones were functional up until the event, and ceased due to the incident. It would also be very easy to seek out a second opinion on the mechanic's report.

While this is not an all-out debunking of this case, what I have laid out here are some serious reasons to doubt the credibility of the "Laconia Abduction Case." My hope is that by bringing attention to the discrepancies in this case, it will help encourage people to re-examine the facts and evidence involved, and inspire a fresh look at the case.

 © 2012 New Hampshire UFO Research All Rights Reserved
The contents of this article cannot be reproduced without prior permission of the author.


"Youths claim UFO lifted them", Koziol, John. Laconia Citizen. April 24, 2010 [cited 29 December 2011] URL:

Davenport,Peter."National UFO Reporting Center Sighting report from male witness" [cited 29 December 2011] URL:

Davenport,Peter."National UFO Reporting Center Sighting report from female witness" [cited 29 December 2011] URL:

Marsh,Roger."UFO picks up Laconia, NH car with teens and drops 180 feet away" April 18,2010 [cited 29 December 2011]URL: