www.ufo-tv.com.

Posts Tagged ‘Klass’

Philip Klass and Frederick Valentich

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

Back some time ago I put together a long article about Phil Klass and some of the dirty tricks he pulled on UFO researchers, investigators and witnesses. In the course of that article I suggested that Klass sometimes provided explanations for sightings that were not in keeping with the evidence available. The case in point was Klass’ claim that Frederick Valentich was a drug smuggler because he had four life preservers on his aircraft. Like many others, I never understood how you could make the leap from the number of life preservers on an aircraft to drug smuggling, but in the world of UFOs, if you can’t fight the evidence, then smear those associated with the case.

Some in the skeptical world were not satisfied with my response that Russ Estes had interviewed Klass a number of years ago and was told the smuggling theory by Klass. Since I didn’t have the direct quote, they wished to reject the information, though Klass’ assertion was widely reported in various other forums. In the world of the skeptic, you just never step on the toes of a fellow skeptic. You support his point of view to ridiculous lengths.

I mention all this because the Valentich sighting has popped up again and Klass’ claim about him has surfaced again. This time links of various statements made by Klass have been posted so that all can listen to his words and decide if the claim is outrageous, a distortion of the situation or if there might be some validity in it.

You can now download the debate between Don Ecker and Klass in which Klass makes the claim again. This is the whole thing so that you can listen to it in the context of that debate. It can be found at:

 For those interested, this debate was covered on the Paracast as well, and those debates can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/nbk2po7

http://tinyurl.com/pnmjw6h

This might not end the debate about Klass and his war on UFOs, UFO researchers or UFO witnesses, but it does demonstrate the point that I was making.

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Spy Balloons and Philip Klass

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

In the last few days I have been fielding some inquiries about the Staff Sergeant Charles L. Moody abduction in August 1965. Moody had mentioned to Jim Lorenzen, then the International Director of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), that after his UFO encounter, he had gone to the news stand and bought a copy of Official UFO. I wondered what might have been in that issue and thought I could figure it out based on the date of the sighting, but the most likely candidate is Official UFO Volume 1, No. 2, which I don’t have and probably would have had a publication date of August 1975. It would have been on the news stand in late July, if the normal distribution procedure held true.

I mention all of this to explain how I happened to see Official UFO Volume 1, No. 4, dated November 1975. As I was putting the magazines away, I glanced at the cover which had a big headline in the middle of the cover that said, “Interview: Philip Klass Tells – “Why I Don’t Believe In UFOs.”

Okay, seeing an interview with Klass so early in his anti-UFO career seemed interesting. The interview was conducted by George Earley, who found himself at FORTFEST ’74 in Baltimore, and had an opportunity to sit down with Klass for several hours.

All that was fine, but not particularly helpful, and most of what Klass told Earley was the same thing that he would say time and again in articles, his SUN newsletter and his various books. One thing I did find interesting was his discussion of secret balloon projects.

Earley asked, “There have been numerous claims of CIA involvement in the ‘UFO coverup.’ Didn’t they suggest debunking UFO reports at one time?”

Philip Klass
Klass said, “Yes, and I go into the reason for that in my new book [which is now, what, 38 years old]. Just briefly – about the time flying saucers were discovered (perhaps “invented” is a better word) [and I point out in my new book to be published later, Secrets in the Government Files… hey, everyone else promotes their work, why shouldn’t I? that the sightings began before the Arnold sighting] in the summer of 1947, the CIA and the USAF and the Navy were involved in a top-secret program involving giant, camera-carrying balloons. [That’s right, Klass is blaming balloons for UFO sightings made in 1947 in this 1975 interview]. They would be released from Western Europe; the westerly winds would carry them over the Communist Bloc countries – Soviet Union, Red China, etc. – snapping photographs all the way. Then, if the balloons arrived over Japan, we would send up a radio signal which would bring the camera down by parachute. We would recover the film. We would get a lot of pictures of Russian farms, but, hopefully, we would also get some pictures of Russian military installations, pictures that might indicate the Russians might be preparing to start World War III. This was 1947 – 48, remember.”

Well, our favorite topic here, Project Mogul was certainly underway in 1947, but they were experimenting with using microphones to detect nuclear explosions as opposed to photographing the Russian landscape, but Klass is referring to projects that actually existed including Moby Dick, Skyhook and Genetrix, to name just a few. And while most of them were operating, in a limited and experimental fashion in 1947, they didn’t actually get going until later.

Klass said, “They were experimenting. It began to become operational about 1949 or 1950. Because it was an intelligence gathering operation, the CIA was in overall charge. The Navy supplied the balloons while the USAF supplied the cameras, radio gear and the parachutes. The CIA knew we were flying balloons over Russia to photograph their military facilities, and now here we are getting flying saucer reports. Did this mean the Russians were doing the same thing – releasing reconnaissance spy balloons from Russia and Siberia to fly over the U.S. and photograph our military installations? In those days, back in the 1950s, where we had our missile sites, our air defense installations, our bomber bases was a very hush—hush operation.”

All well and good but the basic premise here is flawed. Klass is suggesting that these high altitude balloons being flown around were the genesis of the flying saucer reports and speculates that the Soviet Union might have been doing the same thing to us. Except the balloon operations here, in the United States, didn’t begin until after the Arnold sighting in June 1947, with the exception of Mogul, but those balloons were in New Mexico or on the east coast and numbered about a dozen. So, whatever Arnold saw, it wasn’t one of these balloons, and the follow up sightings reported around the country were not these balloons.

 Oh, don’t get me wrong, balloons, weather and experimental, were responsible for some UFO sightings. Although I’m worried we’ll get into a big argument about it, I believe that Thomas Mantell was killed chasing a balloon, so it did happen. But the genesis of the UFO sightings, which actually began earlier than Arnold, was not caused by balloon research.

Earley asked about Skyhook, and cosmic ray balloons. Klass said, “Yes, the same type of balloons as used for that. And they flew at such very high altitudes – 100,000 feet or more – that they could not be shot down by ordinary fighter planes of that day. Of course this was a classified program, but what is [emphasis in original] a matter of record – and you can check on this – is that not all of those balloons made it to Japan. They developed leaks or came down for various reasons, and they came down in Russia and the Russians complained about ‘spy balloons’ in the United Nations. There are accounts in the New York Times about this. The U.S. delegate at the U.N. simply said that these were not spy balloons but scientific research balloons. So the CIA’s interest in flying saucers had nothing to do with the idea they were spaceships from another world; the possibility that they were Russian spy balloons similar to ours was what concerned them.”

Well, that might not be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but there is some truth in there. The Japanese, during the Second World War had succeeded in launching some 200 to 300 attacks on the United States using “balloon bombs.” Six people were killed in these attacks, and some forest fires were set, but given they had launched some 9000 of the balloon bombs, the results were small and the damage done was of little consequence. The tragedy was the deaths of the six people… which given the destruction rained down on England, Germany and Japan during the war pales in comparison.

Anyway, the timing seems to suggest that the balloon explanation offered here is a little more enthusiastic than the data warrant. But what is really interesting was that Klass was floating [pun intended] the idea of balloons before it was fashionable. Kind of like the old adage, “Let’s just send up a trial balloon ….”

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Philip Klass Explains It All – Part Two

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

There are those who thought that I had been unfair to Philip Klass when I mentioned the article from the Bangor, Maine newspaper that reported his take on the Loring AFB unidentified craft (and note here that I didn’t use the more pejorative UFO). Turns out, there wasn’t much in that article that didn’t appear in his book, UFOs: The Public Deceived. It was just a little more condensed in the newspaper and some of the wilder assumptions made had been left out.

First, he seemed to be very annoyed that one of the newspaper reporters, in this case Ward Sinclair, had been dismissive of him, telling him, when asked if he had thought about calling Klass for his take on Loring, “No. In no way would I check with you. Why would I check with you? You’ve assigned yourself a credential that I have every right to be as suspicious of as Todd Zechel’s credentials.”
For those out of touch, Zechel claimed many things in his life that turned out to be less than credible and I wouldn’t cite Zechel as a source without checking out his information with other sources first. In fact, I would probably ignore anything Zechel said if there wasn’t any other source for it. In fact, if Zechel told me the sky was blue, I’d probably go out and look.

But I do understand Klass’ annoyance because, on the flip side, I’ve run into it. I was scheduled for an interview at the Chicago Tribune, but rather than a reporter from on staff, the interview was conducted by an intern in the hallway. She said that the editors knew there was nothing to UFOs so they weren’t overly interested in anything that might suggest they were in error. Sort of the same attitude that Klass had run into with Sinclair and sort of the same attitude we sometimes see here. A personal bias that colors thinking rather than an intelligent exchange of competing points of view.
The Bangor newspaper article had mentioned Klass’ theory that some radicals might have obtained a helicopter to acquire an atomic bomb. Well, in his book this isn’t quite as direct, but he is still of the opinion that a helicopter was responsible for the intrusion at Loring and there were radicals at the controls. In a footnote on page 97, he wrote, “At the time some radical groups protesting the war in Vietnam were resorting to violence and the use of explosives.”

And my criticism remains… didn’t these radicals, in October 1975, realize the war was over and the communists were in Saigon? Didn’t anyone point this out to Klass such as a copy editor… or maybe someone who had read the newspaper article about the fall of Saigon. This idea seems to be out of touch with reality but no one seemed to realize it. Not to mention that this has absolutely nothing to do with the sightings at Loring.
Klass did find that a helicopter had been scoping out part of Maine. He talked to a former sheriff deputy, Ivon Turmell, who reported on a helicopter landing at the Moosehead Motel. Klass wrote, “When I called Turmell, he told me that the red and white helicopter, built by Hughes Helicopter company, had created some talk in the small town [Rockwood], when it landed outside the Moosehead Motel and operated from this site for several days, taking off each morning and returning every night. When Turmell had called the owner of the motel out of curiosity, he learned that ‘the whole thing was very hush-hush,’ he told me, adding that the crew and maintenance personnel carefully avoided talking to other guests at the motel.”
 
Well, this is sort of interesting, I suppose, except for a couple of facts. According to Klass, in his book, this all happened “shortly” after the late-October incidents at the air base. And, Rockwood and the Moosehead Motel are some 120 miles from Loring AFB. Close in time and distance, but probably unrelated to the intrusions at the base. But someone was flying a helicopter, of some indistinct type, (which Hughes helicopter was it?) and they were in Maine. To Klass: Case Closed…
Klass wanted to know, “Could Rockwood’s ‘mysterious helicopter’ have been the same craft that reportedly penetrated Loring’s airspace on the night of October 27?”
No, and there is no apparent reason to connect the two events. Had we on this side of the fence attempted something like that, we would be condemned for “ufological thinking.” This is debunker thinking… just throw out a question about an event that might explain the sighting and then pretend that it does.
One other point should be made. The available documents show that there was an intrusion at Loring, and in at least one case, seemed to penetrate the weapons storage area. Although they mention that it was a helicopter in those documents, they were unable to identify it, catch it, or apparently stop it. Violating the restricted area and flying over the weapons storage area would be a matter of national security and should have caused a somewhat more robust Air Force response. The documents suggest that the Air Force couldn’t identify the helicopter but didn’t work very hard to find out who had committed the crime. I have to wonder if Klass could find a possible culprit by talking to an ex-deputy, couldn’t the Air Force have found the same culprit and wouldn’t they have followed up on it? It would seem to me that the Air Force would have investigated this, and since it goes unmentioned, means the helicopter had nothing to do with the intrusion.
 
So, they, debunkers and the Air Force, call it a helicopter though the witnesses on the ground, and sometimes within 300 feet of it, couldn’t recognize it as such. They described it as hovering, and dropping below radar coverage in the manner like that of a helicopter. The Air Force, rather than using the term UFO, chose to call it an unidentified helicopter. One witness, in November, did report a mysterious craft that did look like a helicopter, but then, that was in late November and that’s not part of the Loring sightings in late October.
The skeptics line up behind the Klass explanation because they all know that there can be no alien visitation. They accept his information about the helicopter, though it isn’t actually in the right place at the right time. They assume the witnesses, who mentioned a motion like that of a helicopter, meaning it hovered, just couldn’t identify it for some reason, and dismiss everything in that way. Nothing to look at here folks, just move along.
 
And now I must always add a caveat to these postings. No, this case does not prove alien visitation. It suggests something unidentified was seen over Loring, and the Air Force response seems inadequate given the penetration of the weapons storage area. The mystery helicopter was never found, and given the national security aspects, I would have thought the Air Force would have responded with more enthusiasm.
But, since it was a matter of national security, I don’t believe that all the relevant documents have been seen… nor do I expect them to be released through FOIA. This was, after all, a matter of national security.

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Philip Klass Explains it All… Loring AFB

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

I hate to keep picking on Philip Klass, but I’ve just stumbled on another of his solutions and thought we might look at it. Back in 1975, at Loring Air Force Base in Maine, Sergeant Steven Eichner, was working with Sergeant R. Jones, when Jones saw a red and orange object over the flight line. To both of them the object looked like a “stretched out football” that hovered and then seemed to disappear as the lights went out. It reappeared over the north end of the runway, moving in what they described as “jerky motions.” They began to give chase, maybe just get closer for a better look, and when they turned onto the road that led to the weapons storage area, they saw the UFO some 300 feet in front of them. It was about five feet off the ground and the air around it seemed wavy, such as heat coming off a desert highway. They saw no doors, hatches or windows on it.
 
It wasn’t long before sirens sounded and Eichner said that he saw many flashing blue lights on the Air Force security team coming at them, or rather toward the weapons storage area. They didn’t want to be close by as the Air Police tried to identify the lights and find out what was happening.
That is a quick rundown of what Eichner and his buddy saw that night. I mention it only because in the newspaper column that we’re going to talk about, Eichner was mentioned and his story recounted. This gives us all a view of what happened without getting into a discussion of whether it was something from space or something from Earth.
 
Philip Klass decided to see what he could learn about this and investigated. He told John Day of the Bangor Daily News, that “…he investigated the 1975 Loring incident. Among other things, he was given access to base Telex communications during the four or five nights when the mysterious object repeatedly hovered over Loring’s nuclear storage facility. According to Klass, the cable traffic shows that Loring officers had strong evidence that the mysterious object cited by Eicher was a helicopter. Their concern was not that the SAC base was being penetrated by spacemen, but that a radical anti-Vietnam group had rented a helicopter and was trying to steal a nuclear warhead.”
I will only note here that any messages that might have affected national security would have been highly classified, even five or six years after the event and I doubt that Klass had access to them. He certainly would have seen the regular traffic, but in this case, with someone or something attempting to penetrate the nuclear weapons storage facility, the classification of the communications would have been increased.
Day wrote, “According to Klass, the cable traffic he obtained pertaining to the Loring UFO incident indicated that authorities established that a well-financed crew operating out of a motel near Moosehead Lake, was flying on the nights the mysterious object was observed hovering over Loring’s nuclear stockpile.
“Klass has no proof that the Moosehead Lake helicopter was the object which buzzed Loring. He says it is unfortunate that the Air Force never followed up on their suspicions, or made public the results of their investigations.”
 
Let’s just think about this for a moment. Klass claims that the cable traffic suggested a “well-financed crew operating out of a motel near Moosehead Lake, was flying on the nights the mysterious object was observed” but that the Air Force didn’t follow up on it. We have this helicopter (and it does sound like a helicopter meaning the maneuvers, hovering, sound like a helicopter but there is no sound associated it which is odd) which the Air Force apparently knew was flown by a crew staying in a local motel, but they do nothing about it. These guys and girls, these anti-Vietnam radicals (who apparently didn’t know that Vietnam War was over, US forces had long been withdrawn and Saigon, renamed Ho Chi Minh City, was in the hands of the communists) were attempting to steal an atomic bomb. But the Air Force didn’t follow up on it, so Klass has no proof for it.
I’m surprised that Day could write this without phoning out to Loring to ask them a couple of questions. Oh, I doubt he would have gotten much in the way of an answer, but he could have asked where these radicals went after they failed to steal an atomic bomb. I would have thought a reporter would wonder why the Air Force didn’t care enough to find those trespassers and have them arrested. Isn’t deadly force authorized to keep intruders out of those weapons stock piles? I mean, if they can shoot you for trespassing, it would seem that they would want to arrest you, even if you were aiding the local economy by renting helicopters, staying in local motels, and I would guess buying food, and probably more than one bottle of bourbon.
 
But no, even though they knew the name of the motel, and surely could have learned where the helicopter was parked and who owned it, the Air Force didn’t follow up on it… or maybe as Klass said, never made public the results of their investigation… which also seems odd. They would have arrested the people and wanted others to know what would happen if you rented a helicopter and flew it over their weapons storage facility.
So, no, I don’t believe Klass’s anti-Vietnam radicals, which is not to say that aliens were responsible, only that there is no evidence of Klass’s theory (ah, but absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, or does that apply here?). Anyway, I thought I’d give everyone a chance to see this wonderful explanation for the Loring UFO sightings.
 
Day finished up writing, “When you think about it, there’s more logic to Klass’s contention that UFOs are more the product of overactive imaginations on earth, than they are of little green men from another galaxy. I’ve chased UFO stories as a reporter and found the bottom line was somebody saw something but only God knows what it was.”
I wouldn’t have mentioned this last paragraph, except it does provide a bit of a clue as to Day’s attitude about this, which is basically even a crummy explanation is better than no explanation. But really, I just wanted to note that he probably meant another solar system rather than galaxy.

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Philip Klass and the FBI

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

A while back we discussed Phil Klass’ habit of writing to the employees of those who thought they had seen a UFO, or who investigated them, or just disagreed with him. He seemed outraged that there were people who didn’t accept everything he said, and took great offense at that. He would express his disappointment with those by creating a little trouble for them.

A few skeptics who visit here thought I was being overly harsh and a little unfair to Klass. They thought several examples were needed. But even with some acts I thought were over the top, those skeptics thought Klass had done nothing wrong. With Klass it seems to have been an on-going thing.

While going through the FBI files that dealt with UFOs, I came across a series of letters that Klass had sent to them. Apparently Klass was offended by an article written by Dr. J. Allen Hynek that had appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. It was an article that didn’t actually advocate any particular position but suggested that UFO sightings reported to law enforcement entities would be of interest to those at Hynek’s new Center for UFO studies. It provided a way for law enforcement to respond to the concerns of the citizens without having to actually do anything. A sort of win – win. Law enforcement cleared the report and the CUFOS received it for further investigation, if necessary.

According to a Memorandum dated February 21, 1975, Mr. Heim, reported that Klass had called the editor of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. According to that document, Klass, “In strong terms laced with sarcasm, he derided our publication of the article by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, ‘The UFO Mystery,’ in the February, 1975, issue of the LEB. Klass suggested that by publishing this article, the FBI had given its endorsement to a hoax (that UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin) and to a fraud (Dr. J. Allen Hynek).”

Importantly, according to the memorandum, “Mr. Klass was politely reminded that nowhere in Dr. Hynek’s article appearing in the Bulletin, or in numerous other of his writings which were examined by us, does Hynek suggest UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin…” (Remember, this is 1975, about the time he was establishing CUFOS).

A letter dated June 14, 1975, written to then FBI Director Clarence Kelly, Klass renewed his assault. He wrote, “The enclosed photo-copy of a headline and feature story in the recent issue of ‘The National Tattler’ is a portent of the sort of ‘FBI endorsement’ for the flying-saucer myth that you can expect to see, repeatedly, as a result of an article about UFOs carried by the February issue of The Law Enforcement Bulletin.” While his source for this claim of FBI endorsement outrage is The National Tattler, hardly the pinnacle of journalistic excellence, that didn’t matter all that much to Klass, he quoted it anyway.

Klass added, “That article was written by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the spiritual leader of the vocal group of ‘believers’ and ‘kooks’ who claim we are being visited by extraterrestrial spaceships. And while the FBI did not endorse Hynek’s views per se, the decision to publish his article and to alert law enforcement agencies as to what to do ‘if they land,’ has embroiled the agency for all time.”

The telephone call then, was not enough to slander Dr. Hynek. When he didn’t receive the response he wanted, he renewed his attack, but toned down the rhetoric in the written communication. He just claimed that Hynek was the “spiritual leader” of, what to Klass, would be the other side. But he had learned that the FBI had not endorsed the opinion that some UFOs were alien craft merely that they approved of the idea of the UFO reports being relayed to a non-governmental agency to investigate. Hynek had offered the various law enforcement agencies an alternative to telling the public to call the Air Force or the local college authorities if they felt a need to make a report.

I am not sure what so annoyed Klass about this. Hynek asked for the various law enforcement agencies to relay the reports to the Center. I don’t know why Klass would object to this. It wasn’t as if he was attempting to force his belief structure on anyone. He was merely asking for information. Klass was actually attempting to somehow inhibit that flow.

There is nothing wrong with Klass contacting the FBI to respond to their publication of Hynek’s article. There is nothing wrong with Klass offering to write a rebuttal piece giving his opinions about the reality, or lack thereof, of UFOs. There is nothing wrong with Klass writing, “I would welcome the opportunity to present the other side of the UFO issue in The Law Enforcement Bulletin, and to thereby help remove the earlier seeming FBI endorsement of flying saucers.”

It was the language, the allegations and the name calling which is out of place. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree, but Klass wouldn’t leave it at that. He crossed a line, repeatedly, with his personal attacks and his shading of reality to suit his purposes. He was uninterested in debate; he was in a campaign to inflict his views on everyone else.

The point is that Klass did carry about a campaign against those with whom he disagreed. I know that I don’t attempt to suppress the opinions and beliefs of the skeptics who visit here (except when the insults become too personal) and welcome, for the most part, their view of the issues. But for a few, such as Klass, it wasn’t enough that he had what he believed to be the ultimate truth; everyone had to agree with that truth as well.

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

La Abducción de Travis Walton: Steve Pierce y los engaños de Philip Klass

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO’s Mexico

La Abducción de Travis Walton: Steve Pierce y los engaños de Philip KlassOtro de los testigos presentes durante la abducción de Travis Walton fue Steve Pierce, el más joven del grupo. En la entrevista exclusiva que realizó Tercer Milenio, Pierce nos contó cómo Philip Klass, uno de los escépticos más famosos, le ofreció 10000 dólares para decir que toda la historia era una mentira. Pierce no cedió ante esta oferta, pero Klass no se dió por vencido tan fácilmente.

Be Sociable, Share!

Philip Klass, Travis Walton and Steve Pierce, Part Two

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

Once again Philip Klass has stirred controversy and he didn’t even have to do anything himself. All of this started, for me, with a column by Billy Cox in which he mentioned the story that Klass had offered Steve Pierce, one of the witnesses of the Travis Walton abduction, ten thousand dollars to say the case was a hoax.
Some have been angry at me for accepting the story. As I mentioned then, my first reaction was to reject it, but then I remembered some of the other things that Klass (seen here with his fans) had done in his efforts to debunk everything UFOlogical (yes, it is hyperbole, but what the heck, it’s not the first time that one side or the other has engaged in hyperbole).
I took a stroll over to “Bad UFOs: Skepticism, UFOs, and the Universe” hosted by Robert Sheaffer so that I might read the other side’s take on this (though saying the other side here is something of a misnomer since I’m not a big fan of tales of alien abduction).
First, (well not first in his article but first in this piece) Sheaffer seemed so outraged that he wrote, “So, because of Travis Walton’s slanderous new charges against Philip J. Klass, I have performed a major Document Drop of papers in my files on Travis Walton…”
Slanderous new charges…?
More hyperbole. I just wanted to point out that both sides often engage in hyperbole and we, who are more or less outside of the particular debate, must be aware of this.
But then we do get to the meat of Sheaffer’s response. He points out that on a “website promoting the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina as a UFO ‘hotspot,’ Sky Ships Over Cashiers, there is a page titled Debunker’s ,000 bribe to stop UFO truth.”
Sheaffer continued, writing, “Someone shouts on the Outpost Forum on February 5 [2012], “BRIBE BOMBSHELL! STEVE PIERCE WHO WAS WITH TRAVIS WALTON WHEN HE WAS ABDUCTED CLAIMS THAT HE WAS OFFERED A ,000 BRIBE FORM (sic) THE LATE DEBUNKER PHIL KLASS TO STATE THE ENTIRE TRAVIS WALTON ALIEN ABUCTION CLAIM WAS A HOAX!”
Walton then replied, according to Sheaffer, “Yes, it is true. I even mentioned this in the 1996 edition of my book. But all I knew then was that Deputy Click had taken Steve the message when Steve still lived in the area. I didn’t know that Klass had also flown to Texas and spent hours taking Steve out to dinner and trying to get him to accept the bribe. And followed Steve to another state or two. Very curious… All this strongly supports the belief that Klass was a paid government disinformationist.”
Well, nearly everyone in the UFO field gets branded with that label regardless of what side you come down on. I have been accused of working with Hector Quintanilla and Project Blue Book, though I was in high school when Blue Book neared its end and was in the Army in Vietnam in the few weeks before it was finally closed. I have been accused of being a CIA agent and even a member of MJ-12. Stan Friedman suggested that I was a government agent attempting to divert attention from the crash on the Plains of San Agustin, so Walton’s allegation doesn’t really mean much in the greater scheme of things. You might say its just par for the course and an indication you have arrived in UFOlogy.
In fact, Klass often said he was a government agent. Oh, I know his tongue was firmly planted in his cheek and his claimed ten million dollar a year salary suggested that he was much richer than his lifestyle showed… and no, I don’t believe any of that, but the point is that Klass made the claim himself. I doubt he would worry about the allegation today, if he was alive to comment on it.
Sheaffer wrote, “In Bill Barry’s 1978 book about Travis Walton, Ultimate Encounter, it says, ‘According to Mike Rogers, ‘Steve told me and Travis that he had been offered ten thousand dollars just to sign a denial. He said he was thinking of taking it.’” (p. 160)
Sheaffer noted, as do I, that the accusation did not originate with Pierce, but was made by Mike Rogers, who Sheaffer described as “Travis’ best friend” (and I have no reason to doubt that… I have seen them traveling together) “and future brother-in-law.”
Sheaffer then wrote that Klass wrote, “…had Barry checked with me, I would have assured him that I never made such an offer to [Deputy] Click or to anyone seeking to ‘buy off’ a member of the Rogers’ crew.”
And while this piece is meant, mostly, to show the other side’s opinion on the Steve Pierce suggestion, I will note that Klass didn’t take his own advice. From his SUN Newsletter of November 1993, page 3, Klass wrote, “Kevin Randle has contracted to author a new book which will be a compendium of crashed-saucer tales dating back to the ‘Mysterious Airships’ of the 1890s and also include the 1908 Tunguska incident in Siberia. Publication in soft-cover is expected in the fall of 1984 [sic]. Randle recently told a friend that he received ‘a great deal of money’ from the publisher.”
Had Klass checked with me, he would have learned that I didn’t receive a great deal of money from the publisher… though I wish I had. I suppose Phil was suggesting a financial reason for writing the book, and a financial incentive for filling it with tales of crashed saucers with little interpretation or investigation. The point here is that Phil repeated the tale without checking with me, which is what he suggested Barry should have done with him.
Sheaffer then launches into the reasons he thinks the Walton abduction story is a hoax and I have no problem with his analysis or his conclusions. There are problems with the Walton abduction and like so much else in the world of UFOs, there really is no consensus. Hardcore UFO believers think the case is a hoax and Karl Pflock, something of a skeptic on much in UFOlogy, after a short analysis of the case, wrote, “I hasten to add that, while I think a hoax is possible, I have not yet made up my mind.”
As for the idea that Klass hounded Pierce, that too is a tough call, given Klass’ attacks on both James McDonald and Robert Jacobs (see Phil Klass and his Letter Writing Campaigns published here on September 11, 2011).
Klass apparently called Pierce on July 20, 1978, which can hardly be called hounding. According to the tape of that conversation, Pierce told Klass, “Uh, well, I thought it was something a deer hunter, you know, rigged up. You know, ‘cause it was deer season, you know, so you could see. You know? And, uh, but I couldn’t see the bottom or a top or sides, all’s I could see was a front of it, you know. You couldn’t tell if it had a bottom to ir or, you know, or a back to it or anything…”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the UFO, given by one of the witnesses to the abduction. This doesn’t read like the experiences of someone who was there making observations, but someone who is confused by what he saw and not sure what to make of everything that went on around him that night. It leaves the door wide open for various interpretations.
Sheaffer wrote, “Klass says that when he told Pierce that he believes Walton’s story to be a hoax, Pierce replied, ‘Me too. If I could ever prove it a hoax I’d damn sure do it.’”
So, the Pierce story of the attempted bribe is not as black and white as it has been made out to be by many of us. I will say here again, I don’t believe it beyond Klass to attempt something like this, given what he had done in the past… but, I will also say that the evidence that he did is extremely weak. Given all that, we’d have to conclude the tale is not true, unless and until we could find something stronger.

Over at his blog, Bad UFOs: Skepticism, UFOs, and The Universe, found at:

you can find a link that will take you to some of the documents that Sheaffer believes should be reviewed before anyone makes up his or her mind about all this.
As I say, this is, sort of, the other side of this debate. I will note that Klass’ personal attitude has influenced this debate. Some of his activities were highly questionable (such as writing letter to the employers of UFO witnesses as noted in that earlier blog posting), which means that many of us see the idea of his attempting to bribe Pierce as a reasonable extension of these other activities.
But, as I said, the evidence to prove it seems weak and the various tales told about it are contradictory. Yes, I believe Klass might have tried something like this but I don’t think we have any proof that he actually did it.

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Billy Cox and Philip Klass

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

Billy Cox, over at the Herald-Tribune has written a short piece called, “Klass act, no principles,” (see http://tinyurl.com/8793hjt). In it he suggests that Steve Pierce, a buddy of Travis Walton, he of Fire in the Sky and abduction fame (see here at the 2011 Roswell Festival), had been offered, by Klass, ten thousand dollars to say that they had hoaxed the whole thing.
My first reaction was to reject this idea because, even for Klass, it seemed a bit excessive. And then I thought back to the long article I had posted here about Klass and his attacks on witnesses and researchers and his attempts to make their lives miserable. For a full analysis, see my September 11, 2011 blog entry about Klass’ letter writing campaign.
Klass was one of those who knew that there had been no alien visitation and because there had been none, anything suggesting otherwise was a misinterpretation at best and an outright lie at worst. He was not above leaping to conclusions or providing information that was, at best, misleading. In the Socorro UFO landing case, he invented a plot between the mayor of the town and Patrolman Lonnie Zamora to create a UFO landing to boost tourism.
Oh, I suppose you could say that he just got the timing wrong, and that the attempt to promote tourism followed the UFO sighting rather than the other way around. It was an explanation that was weak to begin with and I don’t believe there are many who accept it today. But it is out there for those who don’t have much in the way of critical thinking skills.
So, given all that, it really isn’t much of a leap to believe that Klass (see here) would offer money to Pierce to “admit” to the hoax. I’m sure Klass just rationalized it by thinking that he wasn’t bribing him to make up a story, but paying him for his honesty in finally telling the “truth”… or rather what Klass wanted to believe was the truth.
The bottom line here is that Klass was certainly capable of trying something like this. Klass was rabidly anti-alien and anti-saucer, and for some reason thought everyone should believe as he did. He wanted to get his way, and this might just be another example of his zeal for his point of view… which is to say, that it is an example of what should not be done regardless of your belief structure. Klass wasn’t in search of the truth, he was attempting to bend us all to his way of thinking… and if he had to manipulate the data, the witnesses or the world, that was just the way it had to be. He was only protecting us from ourselves…

UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Klass act, no principles

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news

A blast from the past animated the blogosphere earlier this month when a buddy of famed “Fire in the Sky” UFO abductee Travis Walton accused a dead debunker of attempted bribery. Steve Pierce said he — Pierce — had been offered k to say Walton had hoaxed the whole thing back in 1975. De Void has no insight into this moot and meaningless kerfuffle. But De Void knew Phil Klass, the target of the allegation. Or rather, De Void talked… Read More »
UFO updates

Related External Links

Be Sociable, Share!

Video: Randle vs. Klass

Written by Seraphin. Posted in UFO's in the news