Back on episode #152 of Based on a True Story, we covered season 1 of the History Channel’s Project Blue Book. Today, Rob Kristoffersen comes back on the podcast to talk about the events we saw in season 2.
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If you’re listening to this, then I’m going to assume you’ve already listened to episode number 152 of based on a true story where Rob came on the show to talk about Season One of Project bluebook. That sets up a lot of the storylines. And people that we see carry over into season two. But if it’s been a while since you’ve heard that one, let’s do a quick recap of some of the key things that we learned about in that episode. And we’ll also see in season two, Dr. J. Allen Hynek and his wife Mimi are real. The main characters we see in the air force on the show, Captain Quinn and the two generals, Harding and Valentine are all composite characters based on multiple other people, Susie Miller and the whole Russian spy plot is not real. That last one, for example, means we won’t really be covering much of these five plots in this episode since Well, it’s not real. Is there anything else that happened in season one that’s important to keep in mind for the events of season two that I’m missing?
Rob Kristoffersen 02:40
You know, there were some UFOs I think that’s about it. I think you hit the high points.
Dan LeFebvre 02:45
All right. Well, then let’s dive into the second season. In the first episode of the second season, we’re introduced to the Roswell incident. If there’s one name that just about, everyone knows it’s connected to UFOs it’s Roswell. But that does mean everyone knows the details of what happened there. According to the show on July 5 and 1947, there was a major storm around Roswell, New Mexico. And then the next morning a rancher by the name of Mike Connors found a field covered in strange metal. By the end of the day, his neighbors were collecting pieces of the debris and he wasn’t really convinced there was manmade so he contacted authorities. They swooped in, but someone leaked the story out it hit the wire and then it started to run worldwide newspapers in Europe even ran with the story. The show doesn’t really say how the authorities shut the story down, but it does say that once Harding got involved, two days later, Connors bought himself a brand new car in the town stop talking. So I’m going to assume that they were paid off. The wreckage was flown to Texas where Harding held a press conference explaining the saucer was nothing more than a weather balloon. Now I know we could have an entire episode an entire podcast just dedicated to the Roswell incident but In a nutshell, how long did the show do depicting the events of the Roswell incident?
Rob Kristoffersen 04:05
Well, with this particular episode, the bare bones are there you know some details have been changed the storm in question that starts the episode occurred on the night of July 2 1947. And the man in question they call him Mike Connors on the show. Well, his real name was Mac Brazell. And on that night, Brazell claimed to hear a strange sound that didn’t quite sound like thunder and lightning. So he was the foreman of a sheep ranch owned by a man named JB Foster. And the next morning when he woke up to get started. He discovered a debris field outside it was about three quarters of a mile long by about I think like 20 feet wide or so. And the debris itself and the witnesses who claimed to have held it said that it looked like metal but when you touched it it more closely. resemble like plastic. So Brazell was puzzled by it, because it just didn’t look like anything he had ever seen before. So he drove to his closest neighbor’s house, which was about 10 miles away. This was a really remote area. The closest town to the foster Ranch is a town called Corona, which is about 30 miles away. But he showed the debris to his closest neighbors which were Floyd in the red a proctor who own the ranch themselves. And they tried to cut it. They tried to burn it, but they were not successful in doing so. The Proctor’s urge Mac Brazell to report the debris to the authorities and Brazell ultimately did four days later. It’s not exactly clear why he waited as long as he did. It could have been a combination of the July 4 holiday and the hesitation on Brazil’s part to do anything with it. But on Monday, July 7, he brought the debris to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Department, who in turn notified the Roswell Army Airfield, which is known today as the walker Air Force Base. The base dispatch to officers major Jesse Marcel senior, and Captain Sheridan Cavett to actually retrieve the material. Brazell escorted them to the ranch and they actually ended up spending the night there before they head back into town. They gathered up as much as they could and they also tried to cut it they tried to burn it. They also tried to hit it with a sledge hammer and they found that they couldn’t make a dent with it. So it wasn’t until long after they brought it back that the military swarm the place and before Jesse Marcel Jr. There Jesse Marcel Sr. Sorry, actually brought it to the airfield he brought it home, where his son, Jesse Marcel, Jr, and a few of his other family members claiming have actually seen the wreckage, some of them. Some of the pieces, Jesse Marcel Jr. claimed had these like weird hieroglyphic writings on them that were in like this purple kind of script. But he said that it was more closely resembling metal. It’s kind of one of those things that gets debated a lot, but the military just swarmed the place. And they actually sent out a lot of this wreckage. It was ultimately going to be flown to right field, which later became Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which is where Project bluebook was stationed data, but in the meantime, while they were collecting all this stuff, the military decided to send out a press release. And the man that made that decision, was a man named Colonel William Blanchard, and he informed the basis Information Officer Lieutenant Walter hot to send a press release in detail Found in like, pot physically brought these press releases to like the Roswell Daily Record and a few other places in town which seemed kind of odd for the times considering that they could just send it you know via wire. But that that’s like one of the weird parts about this case one of the tiny, weird things but ends up making the paper of the day like later that day saying, you know, Roswell Army Airfield recovers flying saucer. While this was all happening, major Jesse Marcel Jr. He made a stop at Carswell field in Denton, Texas as he was accompanying this wreckage to right field. And a gentleman by the name of Roger Rainey, who was General he had Jesse Marcel senior pose with pictures of what they were claiming was a down weather balloon and ultimately the next day they would retract their initial headlines saying that they recovered a flying saucer and saying no, it was all just a weather balloon. Now, Jesse Marcel senior attested to the fact that it wasn’t the same stuff. He was saying that they made up this mock weather balloon had imposed with it but it was not the actual rescue wreckage that made its way to right field. And he went to his grave saying the same thing. Same with Jesse Marcel’s senior. What’s interesting about this case is after it was retracted in 47. People in the UFO community, by and large, forgot about this case for about 30 years wasn’t until 1978 when independent researcher named Stanton Friedman was actually told while he was conducting an radio interview, that he should talk to Jesse Marcel senior and from there, Rob Well has become this big household name when it comes to UFOs. And, you know, not trusting the government because the government has changed their mind as to what was recovered on multiple occasions. And yeah, it’s just this big cultural touchstone now.
Dan LeFebvre 10:15
I’ve seen the picture of him. I’m assuming Marcel at the front page of the paper. He’s got holding something in his hands. That would then be what they staged as the weather balloon, not the necessarily material that was actually recovered.
Rob Kristoffersen 10:30
Right? Yeah, that’s, that’s what Jesse Marcel bolts Jesse Marcel’s claimed is that it was not the same stuff that was swapped out, you know, they were trying to keep this thing on the download covered up. And that’s really why Roswell is as big a thing as it is because given that the Air Force has changed their mind as to what it was on multiple occasions. Now nobody really trusts their explanation. So you have a ton of explanations out there now. There’s a book called area 51. It was written by a woman named Annie Jacobson. And she proposed at one point through one of her sources that what the Roswell wreckage was, was a Russian craft that had been sent over into American territory to cause hysteria, because apparently Joseph Stalin was a big fan of Orson Welles, the War of the Worlds broadcasts. Apparently he was a huge fan according to her source, and that this was a mock thing dreamed up by the Russian government. That’s probably like the low end of believability on this, but there are a lot of interesting theories when it comes to hustle.
Dan LeFebvre 11:47
I don’t remember if it was in Episode One, but I do remember the show, actually mentioning that very, very briefly. I think that the two generals are talking to each other and one of them talks about how the thing that Dr. Mengele did to those children and that saucer was Soviet propaganda or whatever. Like, they just kind of implied that. That’s what it was, was it was Soviet and then of course, Dr. Mengele, the Nazi doctor doing something to the bodies to make them look like aliens or whatever it was. I just remember that very, very briefly in the TV show. So it sounds like maybe that that’s where that comes from.
Rob Kristoffersen 12:24
There are yellow other theories like that out there. There’s some that get really, really dark but yeah, the it seems like everybody has a theory on Roswell these days.
Dan LeFebvre 12:35
Well, heading back to the show in episode number two. It’s the part two of the Roswell incident and during this episode, we find out about a resident in town named Duncan Booker, and he crashes a massive UFO into the center of town to try to draw attention to what he says is the real story. General Harding agrees to go on TV with Booker two Tell the world that this was nothing more than a hoax. But once they go live, Booker’s friend at the TV station starts playing footage of an alien autopsy and Dr. Hynek comes to the rescue and he realizes that oh you look the studio lighting and the footage is the same this is this footage is a hoax. But then Booker insists that that Yeah, they recreated the footage but it was from something that they actually saw. I thought I remembered something about some alien autopsy footage the showed up quite some time ago, but I don’t remember if it was supposed to be from Roswell or related to that or not, is that real footage and wasn’t tied to the Roswell incident like the show implies.
Rob Kristoffersen 13:39
So the alien autopsy video was huge. It was a real video that came out in the mid 90s. During that time, that’s where UFOs were kind of hitting their cultural boom. This was when Roswell had really blown up in popular culture and it was actually all thanks Unsolved Mysteries Unsolved Mysteries was the first show to really give that case it’s due by this time. Aliens and UFOs are big and they’re appearing on a lot more television shows. And one of the networks that really ran with it was Fox in the in the 90s. And they ran a program in 1995 called alien autopsy factor fiction. And it was hosted by Jonathan frakes of Star Trek The Next Generation fame and a man by the name of racy until he came forward saying that he found footage of an alien autopsy and he had at the time been looking through a retired military camera man’s footage searching for footage of Elvis for like some documentary and he claims that he stumbled upon this autopsy of an alien being that he says was one of the bodies at Roswell. So the fox areas This special and it is huge, so much so that they re air it a couple months later, kind of just dies down for about a decade when in 2006. Ray said until he claimed that the footage was a recreation of footage that he had seen in 1992. And it degraded so bad that he couldn’t actually save it. So instead he he has this convoluted explanation that, in fact, he actually reshot the footage recreated everything in order to like, you know, bolster his claims, but it’s it definitely didn’t help his case. But in 2018, a filmmaker named spiros Belarus revealed that he was actually the creator of the film and he claimed that he created the alien sculpture using foam and stuffing the insides with basically animal parts. So this Video footage kind of keeps like reappearing every now and then there was a leaked government document late last year, in which two guys, one of them was a high ranking military member. The other one had been a consultant with the government saying that this footage was real, but nobody at this point buys but it’s actually real.
Dan LeFebvre 16:23
But sounds like the show is taking that concept. But they’re, I mean, this is happening in the well run Roswell being in 47. But then, you know, this happening after the fact in the 50s, and stuff like that with the, as far as the TV show timeline bounces back and forth, but none of that it sounds like if it surfaced in the 90s It sounds like they’re taking something from decades later and throwing that in there just to add to the narrative.
Rob Kristoffersen 16:47
Yeah, pretty much. There’s always been UFO hoaxes. They’ve always been prevalent. The first UFO hoax, goes back to 1947 in these kids and I forget exactly, you In what town they lived in, I think that it was called Woodworth. And they ended up at this is when Kenneth Arnold had his famous sighting. It was shortly after that, and sometime in July, and these kids mocked up this UFO, and they put it on this one lady’s lawn. And the reason that they put it on that one lady’s lawn is because she was known as the town gossip, and she knew, and they knew that word would get around really quickly, and to the point where the National Guard actually ended up coming to town and these kids got in trouble. So I mean, there’s always been hoaxers, and there’s always been people trying to make a buck and I mean, Ray say until he probably made a killing selling videotapes. So
Dan LeFebvre 17:42
when they’re investigating on the show, Hynek and Quinn, they come across a soldier who was at Roswell and soldiers name is Stuart Terry. He tells them that there wasn’t just one crash site, but there was a second one. And at that second site, Terry talks about how he shot something. Later he recovered the remains buried in his land, and then Hynek and Quinn go to where it was buried and they find some skeletal remains. But then I think there was a mention as well where someone mentions how the authorities asked for five child size coffin. So maybe there was more than just the one being that we see shown on the actual TV show. But what about this concept of two crash sites at Roswell where there were actually two crash sites with multiple being supposedly found?
Rob Kristoffersen 18:23
There have been a few different narratives concerning you know the crash saucers at Roswell one being that the craft in question was hit by lightning over the foster ranch and it created this debris field and that the actual saucer crashed 150 miles away in a place called the plains of St. Gustin, in the late 70s, early 80s. As Stanton Friedman was researching this case he learned of a story through a secondhand and thirdhand sources a lot of people came forward saying that this guy named the Barney Barnett discovered the crash saucer and alien bodies that this place called the plains of St. Gustin. And Friedman was never actually able to talk to him directly. He had died about a decade before he started researching it. But a lot of people came forward. I want to say like maybe five or six people came forward and said, Oh, yeah, Barney Burnett. He told me the story about how he saw these alien beings in this crash saucer all the way in this at this site. And there was also allegedly an archeology class that had walked up upon it at the same time that he did. There’s also speculation that what happened was that there were two saucers that crashed and one ended up at the plains of St. Augustine and the other allegedly crashed two to three miles away from the foster Ranch, but nobody’s ever really been able to, like, you know, pin it down to one again, that’s what makes Roswell, this like narrative that has been built on Over and over again upon time. The child size coffin portion of this comes from a man named Glenn Dennis. He was a part time assistant at the local funeral home the Ballard funeral home, and he claims to have received a call from the Army Air Force. inquiring about the availability of child size coffins. He claims to have delivered three or four of them to the base and he also claimed to have ran into a nurse on the base who had witnessed the alien bodies and even drew a sketch of them on a napkin of which Dennis actually recreated. I don’t think like there are photos if you google Glen Dennis alien sketch, you’ll see you’ll come upon like this. There’s like four small images on what looks like a piece of like white stationery. I think he ended up recreating it, but his testimony has been called into question simply by the fact that They’ve never been able to confirm who this nurse was at the Roswell Army Airfield. So yeah, these uh, these are this just a test to the reason why Roswell is this like ambiguous mound of testimony at this point. Yeah
Dan LeFebvre 21:19
sounds like nobody really knows anything so everybody comes up with different theories and there’s a little little nuggets of fact or nuggets of testimony or something like that, that then just blossoms into different types of theories is what it sounds like. Yeah, exactly. Well, moving right along. We’re in episode number three now and Project bluebook has a case at area 51 and involves two soldiers, Willingham and Miller, and they were doing a routine patrol when Miller was abducted by a UFO. When Hynek and Quinn get to the side of where it happens. You can see the sand there was turned to glass. Other than Rouse, well, of course, everyone knows about area 51 and how it relates to UFOs and top secret cover ups and things like that. But was Dr. Hynek ever there to investigate an abduction like we see in the show?
Rob Kristoffersen 22:09
abductions were something that project bluebook tried to distance themselves from. And we really didn’t get our first abduction account until 1961 when Betty and Barney Hill had their experience, you know, which we briefly talked about in Episode 153. It was inspiration for one of those episodes, and they tried to explain away certain portions of their sighting. So for instance, the only parts that they investigated were the sighting of the actual craft in the sky, which they claimed was I believe, like an advertising search later and advertising like plane or something like that. flying at like, midnight or whatever, which was a really ridiculous explanation. It’s a great time to advertise. Yeah. It’s a great, great time. Let’s advertise to that the single couple that are just driving on the highway.
Dan LeFebvre 23:05
They call that targeted advertising. It’s that one.
Rob Kristoffersen 23:09
salutely Absolutely. But the only abduction investigated through like the guise of Project bluebook was the abduction of a police officer named Herbert SHERMER in 1967. And it wasn’t exactly investigated by Project bluebook personnel but by an independent body that had been brought in to study the phenomenon called the Condon committee and this committee arose in 1966, after a series of sightings in Michigan, to which Dr. Hynek probably made the biggest what many would consider career suicide at that point by labeling a UFO sighting as the product of swamp gas which is where that that term came from these sightings occurred in Dexter Hillsdale in the Dexter Hillsdale region of Michigan. But Sherman’s cases is kind of fascinating because he’s a police officer with the Ashland, Nebraska police department. He was fluent in multiple language, he was a very intelligent man. And in this on December 3 1967, he was on a routine patrol. He was on a roll road when he saw a light, which he assumed to be a vehicle having trouble, and when he drove up on it, it was a UFO. And he stopped this car, and then the next moment the appeared to be missing time. Through the Condon committee, he was subjected to hypnosis It was later revealed that he had been taken on board this UFO been shown around by some really interesting looking aliens and he was ultimate returned. But this case like caused such an uproar, to the point where SHERMER was driving to Colorado, the University of Colorado where this project was being handled, and during one trip, a group of people actually ended up destroying his car. For no real reason I I still don’t understand it to this day was it called it seemed to cause some kind of uproar, but SHERMER ended up serving for a little while longer in Nashville in Nebraska, and then he ultimately moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he died in 2017. But there’s actually a really cool graphic novel created about his sighting. It’s called December 3 1967, an alien counter by a guy named Mike soroka. And SHERMER claim that he eventually read it before he died and he claimed You’d come to seen his see his sighting in kind of a religious sense. So, that’s really the only abduction case that project bluebook either gave the light of day most of them really went unreported until the 80s. When you know more and more people started to come forward. For then you had scattered incidents, most of them would be relegated to the UFO journals and such but abductions just weren’t something that project bluebook wanted to handle and really any incidents involving sightings of alien beings they would downplay they would only investigate certain portions of it, especially when it came to like you the UFO sightings itself, but when it comes to animate beings, Project bluebook said, No, we’re out. We’re done with this.
Dan LeFebvre 26:57
It sounds like they’re almost the TV show is almost doing Something similar to what they did with the autopsy footage where they’re finding an excuse to, in this case, bring in area 51 because everybody knows what area 51 is. So we need to have a reason for Dr. Hynek and Captain Quinn to to be there to basically have area 51 on the show because it’s a show about UFOs. And so you have to have every 51 right.
Rob Kristoffersen 27:20
Yeah. Area 51 is just kind of the hot gossip around town and wasn’t until a journalist named George Knapp and he started talking to a guy named Bob was our and Bob was our he, his credentials have never fully been proven. But that has not stopped him from speaking on the record many times saying that he had worked briefly for the government he had worked like maybe less than a month to two to three weeks or so. Reverse Engineering this UFO which he affectionately called the Sport model which so easily Then kind of funny.
Dan LeFebvre 28:01
Of course, they have like SUVs and this Sport Coupe versions and stuff.
Rob Kristoffersen 28:05
Yeah, I would assume so you know, like there’s got to be a caravan somewhere in there and area 51 I would assume.
Dan LeFebvre 28:13
Of course you’re traveling style. I wanted to ask you about something with area 51 because the show gives the indication that there’s more than just the base. There’s a scene where we see Dr. Hynek and Captain Quinn. There’s like this massive complex, massive doors opening in the side of a mountain and Quinn says something to the effect of what we saw back there at the base with just the cover this is the real area 51 Is there any evidence to suggest that the base that everyone knows is it groom lake is just a cover for some sort of massive hidden base nearby?
Rob Kristoffersen 28:49
Bob Eleazar claimed that he didn’t exactly work at area 51 he worked at a portion of groom Lake nearby that they called s for And that’s for was supposedly this huge underground complex went down for miles. And that’s where they were storing all of these UFOs that had crashed and that the government was trying to reverse engineer. And they also housed apparently aliens that worked with the US government. And I mean, like, there are many places many bases that people claim aliens work with the government on technology and stuff like that. So really, that extends from Bob Azhar and his claim to work at s four. And the interesting thing is that George Knapp in the introduction to Bob bazaars autobiography, which came out late last year, he claims that he called up Nellis Air Force Base and said, Is there an S for a anywhere out there? And the guy’s like, Yeah, there is. So it’s like, well, if George Knapp can call up and ask the And s four out there. Why can’t anybody do like come on?
Dan LeFebvre 30:06
I was gonna say is that all it took somebody just picking up the phone and making a call?
Rob Kristoffersen 30:10
It seems to be that seems to be it like all you need is a phone and you know some you know liquid courage and they’ll tell you that s four does exist.
Dan LeFebvre 30:23
Then we head back into the TV Show episode number four covers an event in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. According to the show, Jimmy J. Shoemaker is in the woods near his house when he sees a UFO flyover. And at the house. His entire family sees creatures in the woods. We can see a shot where his family’s all lined up with rifles and they’re shooting through the walls of the house at the creatures outside. Shoemaker tells Hynek and Quinn when they get there that aliens landed there and tried to kill them all. Then later we find that Shoemaker happens to run a circus. He has monkeys he has costume For them, and a green glaze to make look like alien handprints on the trees we saw. So Project bluebook determines that this was all a hoax, even though again, we have the same sort of theme Shoemaker is claiming that he was just recreating the things that actually happened. It’s similar to what we saw with Duncan Booker in the alien autopsy a couple episodes earlier. So how well did the show do depicting this event in Hopkinsville?
Rob Kristoffersen 31:24
The Kelly Hopkinsville incident is one of the most fascinating UFO related incidents since the 50s. It’s kind of one of those cultural touchstones to the point where it inspired a a character Pokemon. So I mean, it’s one of those cases that you know, it perks up a lot of people’s ears. So, you know, they got the there’s the bare bones there. It occurred in the hamlet of Kelly in Kentucky, on August 21 1955. And it occurred on the farmstead. of the sudden family at 7pm. That evening, a friend of the family the guy’s real name was Billy Ray Taylor claimed to see a UFO with this colorful exhaust. It passed over him. It hovered near some trees nearby, and it came down. And this was as he was going outside to collect some water. Now these folks, they did not have electricity, they didn’t have running water. They had an outhouse. You know, this is rural life to the fullest. So, Billy Ray comes inside and he tells everybody, oh, I saw this UFO. You know, it came down, it’s out back and nobody believed him. But an hour later, he and his friend, the one they’ve used there to visit lucky Sutton. He lived in the house. They went outside when their dogs just started to bark uncontrollably. And at first they saw what they believed to be a story Strange glow coming from behind their property. And as it moved closer, they were able to make out small humanoid creatures about three and a half feet tall. They claim that its head was, it was oversized, it was round and it had really large ears, which was one of the more curious features of this creature because you don’t often see ears reported on aliens, but in this case we do. And their arms were almost as long as its entire body they they hung really low, and its hands had talents on them of all things. So this thing is scary as hell they had eyes that glowed a pale yellow color and the two men immediately went inside grabbed firearms and pointed it toward the this creature that was coming toward them. And this creature had its hands raised as if it’s saying don’t shoot at me, but They fired anyway, this creature did a flip. It fled under the cover of darkness and disappeared. Now, mind you, there are 11 people living on this farmstead at this time. And it’s really in a small three room shack. So you have eight adults and three children and many of them saw creatures appearing at the window after this. So it was about maybe a half hour to 45 minutes later that one of these creatures appeared at the window they fired again, and again, this creature just flipped and fled into the trees. It fully escalated after Billy Ray Taylor stepped out the front door and had his hair pulled by one of the creatures who had climbed up on top of the roof. The family they all packed inside their house, they hold up for a few hours listening to the footsteps on the roof until they eventually fled to their car. and drove the police station and the officer that accompany them back. He claimed that these are not the kind of people that would go to the police to solve their problems. So they were really scared. They were shook up and they accompany them back to their house. But all they found were some spent shell casings there were holes in the screen windows. But after the police left, the the creatures actually came back. It was so that proximately 2:30am, the matriarch of the household, Miss Glenny, Langford saw one of the creatures near her bedside window and it put a hand on the windows screen and I would be scarred for life if I saw.
Dan LeFebvre 35:47
I mean, I’ve seen horror movies that start this way this is
Rob Kristoffersen 35:50
Yeah, exactly. This is a horror movie in the making. It’s happening in real time. So it was about 530 when these creatures backed up And they were never seen again. And the families were deal made national news headlines. And because of the way this case was portrayed in the news, there were a lot of details that were blown out of proportion like a lot of paper said that there were like up to 11 of these aliens when the family claimed that they only saw three of them. But it’s from this case that the term little green men is something that entered the vernacular. And it’s something that kind of exists still today because if you look at many of the popular images of alien heads, they’re usually green, and it’s because of this case. According to documents Project bluebook never took an official interest in this case, though Hynek did later write about it in one of his books. This is definitely I would say the real true to life cases a little more interesting than the way it was displayed in Project Blue. But I think the the problem that I have with Project bluebook is there really isn’t a lot of lifts mystery leftover when you start to explain everything away. And you know, I think that’s one of the fatal missteps of the second season is they just start to explain things more and more.
Dan LeFebvre 37:18
One thing they didn’t mention in this episode was a program in the CIA called MK Ultra, and they’re supposedly doing some work with pre cognition. Is there anything about MK Ultra? Like was that an actual program?
Rob Kristoffersen 37:31
Oh, yeah, project MK Ultra, was a real project. It was a CIA funded study pertaining to mind control through the use of LSD and other psychological measures. MK Ultra is a whole other can of worms. And like you could probably do, I could go on for ever talking about it. But I want to direct people to a few different resources because it is what The more it’s one of the darkest portions to the work the CIA has ever done. But our friends at the not alone podcast did a three part series back in 2019 on MK Ultra and just the extent that that project went to there is another great podcast that just made a five part series on a Canadian physicians part in that program. It’s called the madness and that’s from the the podcast, endless thread as a really great series. One book I’ll recommend, too, that just came out last year because more and more people are starting to take an interest in this case, and it’s a lot of it has to do with the death of a man named Frank Olson, which was the subject of a Netflix series called Wormwood, but there’s a book that came out last year called poisoner and chief by Stephen Kinzer, which is a really fascinating book. So yeah, if you really want to see like the dark And have some of the CIA’s research. Go check out those things. We head back to
Dan LeFebvre 39:06
the TV show and episode number five happens at a place called Maury Island. And according to the show, it happened on June 21 1947. Two weeks before the Roswell incident, a man a fisherman by the name of Ernest Reid was out on Puget Sound, checking his traps. After about an hour, something appeared overhead, he described it as round, there’s silver craft with holes in the middle, and there were bigger than his boat. There were multiples of them. We see kind of a recreation of it and on the show, and they’re hovering less than 100 feet over his boat, but there’s no noise. And then something seemed to go wrong. We couldn’t tell if one of the ships was breaking apart or if it was trying to bomb him on purpose, but there’s pieces falling all over hitting his boat. That’s when he called in a mayday claiming that he was under attack from alien ships. But then soon after, the event, Reed recanted his story and said he was just trying to get some insurance money for fire damage on his boat. And then the show says that this was the first time that quote unquote men and black hats were reported when they showed up to silence the town. How much of that happened? And Was this the first time that anyone saw the men in black?
Rob Kristoffersen 40:20
The Maury Island incident is one of the more controversial UFO cases. But as the story goes, the gentleman’s name was Darrell Dahl. He was recovering logs in the Puget Sound on June 21 1947. That’s when he noticed six donut shaped objects that were heading in his direction, and one of the objects appeared to struggle maintaining altitude. It dropped to about 1500 feet and it floated directly over doll’s boat and it started to drop. What he claimed was slag like metal down into the sound and some of It ended up hitting his boat. The debris ended up hitting his son Charles breaking his arm. And some of the slag actually killed their dog to doll claimed to take a photo of the craft, though no, it’s never surface. Nobody’s ever seen this thing. So you know that’s sketchy, but he showed it to his supervisor which was a man named Fred Chrisman. Chrisman didn’t believe him though, and he went to investigate it for himself and claimed to have seen a UFO while he was out there investigating. So the next morning, a man wearing a black suit showed up at Doll’s House and escorted him to a diner. And he proceeded to recount dolls experience the day before as proof that he knew all about his experience. So doll was told by this man, don’t ever speak of it. Don’t ever tell anybody otherwise bad things are gonna happen to you. Eventually, I mean dollar ended up telling his story to a lot of people, but he eventually recanted his story. But it was investigated by two people. KENNETH Arnold, who I you know previously mentioned. He was kind of the first like independent UFO investigator and I think people look to him just because he had a sighting. And he was accompanied by a number another man named Captain ej Smith, who had witnessed a UFO while piloting a passenger plane sometime in July. They didn’t believe doll or Chrisman, though, the alleged debris that they had, I believe it was Kenneth Arnold had talked to a couple of Army intelligence officers who ended up coming down they were going to escort some of this debris back to have it analyzed and shortly after takeoff, their plane actually did go down in the Pacific Northwest. And there’s been a lot of conspiracies that have come The reason this story and the men and black angle itself was popularized was because of a book written by a man named Greg Barker. called, they knew too much about flying saucers. The book featured the Mari Island case, and a handful of others in which individuals had contact with shady men wearing black suits telling UFO witnesses not to talk about what they saw. And I think the interesting thing here is that after Dahl kind of talked about his experience, his work, which was on the Puget Sound kind of started to dry up and his son went missing for a period of two weeks and was discovered working in a diner in Montana, and he had no clue how he got it, how he got there. And we know that portion of the story is true, because there was an FBI file opened on it. So there are some elements of the story which are true, but I think Think there used to fuel the more sensational aspects of this case? Because I do believe at one point, Harold dolls wife also attempted to stab him because of all of the controversy revolving around the case. She kind of just wanted to cut it out. But yeah, almost stab them. But this is like one of the more controversial cases in that not a lot has been proven. And if I recall correctly, Fred Crispin was one. It was actually one of the people subpoenaed by the Warren Commission when they were investigating the assassination of JFK. And he is had ties to the military and I think maybe the CIA but don’t don’t quote me on that. Exactly. But yeah, it’s a it’s a kind of a whole can of worms, the Maury Island incident and
Dan LeFebvre 44:52
speaking of can of worms, I want to ask you about something else about the men and black because during this episode, we learn more about someone from season one, and in that season, he was simply known as the fixer. In this episode in particular, we find out that his name is William, and he used to be part of a remote viewing program for the CIA. But then he left that program and joined a group simply known as the men in black. The idea that I got from the show was that the men in black isn’t a part of the CIA or the military, but they still seem to have powerful resources. And after I watched the show in this episode, and kind of how they explained to us to really really wasn’t sure if William left the CIA to start them in black on his own or if he just joined a already existing group somehow. Sure, men and Black can be again entire series by itself, but how well do you think the show did just explaining the men and black themselves and who they’re supposed to be?
Rob Kristoffersen 45:48
There are a lot of different theories when it comes to the men and black that’s definitely one that these are government agents. Some believe that they are independent agents that work of their own accord. Some believe that they are actually aliens as during the mouth man series of sightings which you’ve covered with our good friend Sam Frederickson. People had encounters with men and black and they would act as if they didn’t know what random mundane items were like pens. Like there was one case in which the main reporter of the town Her name was Mary hire. She was kind of the woman who led the charge on reporting the Mothman sightings in the paper printing the the reports and she ended up having an encounter with the strange man. When he came into our office. He started asking strange questions like what do you think john keel would do if I if they told him to stop talking about the Mothman and stuff like that. And at one point he reached for a pen, and he was holding it as if he didn’t know what it was and Mary hire said that, you know, he could have the pen, at which point he turned around and laughed and ran out. So like, okay, yeah, there’s a lot of weird stuff around the men and black. There is even one theory that guy named Paul Cornell who wrote this, this comic series called saucer country and in it, his take on the men in black was that they were actually Air Force agents that would, as part of a hazing ritual go and harass UFO witnesses that their reports ended up in the news. So they’d show up on their door, you know, pretending to act like government agents and stuff like that. It’s uh, you know, there’s a lot of takes on the men in black and they never cease to amaze me. Here’s another interesting account from this woman who claimed to be a remote viewer who said at one point she was going to review remote view the men in black, so like remote Viewing is kind of like it’s sending your body or out into the world to like, kind of like see things from a distance, you know? So, this woman claim that these beings were extra dimensional beings from a different dimension. They kept the balance, you know, making sure that evil aliens didn’t interfere in human affairs, and they also had a ton of paperwork to do.
Dan LeFebvre 48:30
Wow, well, it sounds like at least the least the show is going off one of those theories, even though there’s a lot of
Rob Kristoffersen 48:37
Yeah, there’s so many there’s so many angles that they had to work with on this. And they could you know, go a million different places and you know, I’d say I’d say Project bluebook went the more mundane route now. I had a I had a conversation with, with my buddy rich hat on because the guy who wrote the screenplay for the Mothman prophecies. And he said that when they were first pitching this idea for Project bluebook, he actually went in and he was trying to pitch himself as the showrunner for Project bluebook. He didn’t get it, obviously. But you know, it would have been it would have been fitting seeing us how you know, he’s, he’s well versed in this stuff.
Dan LeFebvre 49:25
Speaking of the show, if we head back, we’re in Episode Six now, and this is where we learn about the Robertson panel, as well as someone named David dobrowski. The storyline in the show suggests that there’s a battle between control over UFO investigations between the US Air Force and the CIA. The CIA puts the Air Force on trial with the Robertson panel, which looks into the validity of Project Blue books work. In the hearing, it seems no one is interested in really diving into the reports from Blue Book, they pretty much just skim them and enclose them as if they already have the end. They want and this is just a formality. But that’s when David dobrowski comes to the story he convinces Hynek and Quinn to let him talk to the panel, where he says that he was directed to be there by beings from another planet Planet manoussos, which is two galaxies beyond ours. And he leaves the room and then Queen says, we’re doing our part by stopping people like dobrowski from inciting panic around the nation from people who might actually believe that they’re telling the truth. How well did the show do depicting this at any of that happened?
Rob Kristoffersen 50:33
The Robertson panel was a real panel that was led by the CIA and that did in fact change Project bluebook submission from an open minded investigation to skeptical debunking, but it didn’t really happen. It didn’t really go down like this. Robertson panel was led by the head of the CIA’s Office of Scientific intelligence and they saw the potential to stereo Yeah, that these sightings could cause Life magazine at the time was claiming that the evidence of alien life was like around the corner. They were, you know, they believe that alien life was gonna show up at any second, in the last episode that I was on there was a pair of dramatic sightings during two consecutive weeks over washington dc that I talked about that really got the government a little worried to the point where the CIA felt like they needed to step in and gauge Project bluebook in dictate its mission. The number of UFO reports in 1952, right before the Robertson panel came in, went up dramatically. Most years after 1947 they would get like maybe 30 reports a year 30 to 50. That year, they got over 130 so they saw this as a huge concern. They thought it could be used as kind of like psychological warfare tactics. So they recommended educating the public on debunking sightings. And you know, this isn’t to say that dobrowski his character didn’t exist in the UFO world in the UFO culture, there were a number of people that were dubbed the contactees, who claimed to have contact with Venusian aliens who wanted mankind to basically get rid of its nuclear weapons to protect the environment. So yeah, it’s, uh, didn’t really go down the way it did on the show, but it’s, it’s close. I mean, the Robertson panels there, but I as far as I know, there were no contactees that were led in front of the Robertson panel to testify at any one point.
Dan LeFebvre 52:49
Okay. Well, that was I want to ask you about that because in the show the brzowski character, he is claiming that aliens directed him to go helped prove the validity of Project bluebook. But if aliens wanted to prove the validity, couldn’t they just show up to the hearings themselves? I think there’s even a line in an earlier episode where Captain Quintanilla says something like, why are all these sightings happening way out in the woods? Couldn’t they just come to like Times Square? Why didn’t Why do they have to be so Cloak and Dagger about everything? Are there any examples of stories where the the logic like that just kind of doesn’t make sense?
Rob Kristoffersen 53:25
So many contactees, especially in the 1950s had stories like this, and they would also use that kind of similar logic and facts pretty much all of them did. When it comes to these stories. They’re never truly about going to the government with this information. It’s usually about proving the validity of their own sightings, but I’m pretty much every single one of them. George Adamski who is one of the most well known contactees of the 1950s basically reported the same things. There was George Van Tassel or pheo angelucci, even during the Mothman stuff, Woodrow derenberger was that type of individual, despite the fact that Woodrow wasn’t coming to the government to say, you know, to kind of with the nuclear stuff. Do a lot of them did. A lot of them did, and a lot of them faked evidence to bolster their claims, and a lot of them made money doing it. So in the 50s, that seemed to be the contactee kind of thing, you know, make money claiming that you had contact with aliens, that they’re peaceful, but they just want us to cut it with the nuclear crap.
Dan LeFebvre 54:43
Well, back in the show, were episode number seven now, and it is the curse of the skinwalker. This case takes place at a ranch in Utah owned by the Chapman family. One night their son Billy is sleepwalking outside when three orbs of light fly over and then they fly into the ground forming a creepy sort of shadow monster or something of some sort. The family runs away of course, because that’s creepy and bluebook is called to investigate. Our heroes are looking at the case Hynek and Quinn are told the story of the skinwalker. As the legend goes, the ute nation used to abduct Navajo and sell them on the New Mexico slave market. So the Navajo put a curse on them and the land and that land happens to be where the Chapman’s Ranch is now. skinwalker is the name of the that the Navajo gave to a medicine man who’s chosen to take the form of an animal in order to inflict pain and suffering on others. The explanation that the show gives for all of this is that the scientists at an Air Force Base some 10 miles east of the Chapman ranch are drilling down in the caverns under their ranch. They’re using a high powered water mixture into the fault line. And these released pockets of ethylene gas that can give people are ill and vicious. hallucinations. So it’s quite a connection from the skinwalker to just being a hallucination, but was bluebook involved in skinwalkers. And this idea that they’re just a hallucination, like the show indicates.
Rob Kristoffersen 56:14
The basis for this episode is an actual ranch in the Utah Valley of Utah. It’s called skinwalker Ranch. It was owned by a couple named Terry and Glen Sherman. And they claimed to have experienced rather large wolves strange UFOs portals poltergeists like phenomenon and a variety of other phenomenon on their property. The skinwalker has kind of become this concept appropriated by from like Native American culture, and it’s largely because of a book called hunt for the skinwalker which was chronicle the Sherman’s time on the ranch. safe to say that project bluebook never investigated this case, and never Really would have either it wouldn’t be in their wheelhouse at all. They were really more concerned with investigating like single sightings as opposed to long term areas and stuff like that. But in many ways, this episode seems like a plug for the new show that they had started that was airing after Project bluebook. The season finale, it was called the secret of skinwalker Ranch. And it was all about the new owner of the ranch, Brandon fuel. It’s a branded fuel show. It’s definitely a moment to cash in that well, the property didn’t really come to the forefront until the mid 90s. And really, it didn’t come to the public conscious until about 2006 10 years later. But yeah, it definitely seemed like more of a money grab and Project bluebook wouldn’t be investigating a place like this.
Dan LeFebvre 58:00
Well, if we head back to the show we’re on episode number eight and introduces another concept that is familiar with UFOs. And that would be hangar 18. Hynek and Quinn are told about it by a mechanical engineer named john. He explains that hangar 18 looks more like a storage building, then a hangar but the real lab is six floors deep. That’s where they reverse engineer Soviet technology. But this time john says they have something that’s not Soviet. The suggestion there being that it’s extraterrestrial, but what is hangar 18? And are there reports of reverse engineering UFOs there?
Rob Kristoffersen 58:37
The idea of hangar 18 is actually connected to the Roswell crash and in particular to a few pilots who claim to have flown wreckage and alien bodies to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. One of them is a man named Oliver Henderson, who told his story to like a number of Roswell investigators claimed That he actually flew the child size coffins all the way to Wright Patterson and there’s a world war two flying ace named Marion black Mack recruiter who also claimed to actually see living alien beings walking around in this fictitional hanger. There is really no hangar 18 it’s just kind of been this myth that has been propagated ever since Roswell investigation, but I mean, it did inspire a Megadeth song so I that that’s got to be worth something.
Dan LeFebvre 59:34
It’s got to be worth something. Yeah. There you go. What about the idea that Hynek was there? Because we see in the show that Hynek actually gets there. Is there anything to suggest that Hynek himself was at any place like that?
Rob Kristoffersen 59:50
No, there’s Yeah, there’s nothing to hide. It was really close with his secretary and he seemed to tell his secretary pretty much everything there might have been Some secrets that Hynek you know kept to himself but yeah, I don’t think kind of visited any kind of facility like that.
Dan LeFebvre 1:00:08
Well back in the show and now we’re at episode number nine and this case is a Soviet bomber carrying a nuclear bomb that gets cut into by a UFO over Canadian airspace. And blue book is called in because the Canadian Air Force doesn’t have a UFO program. So Hynek and Quinn make their way to a small logging community in a place called Hartley Bay. Way out in the middle of nowhere, they find the plane along with the two pilots that survived. One is just called Alex but the other pilot is given a full name, Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Alinsky. And that makes me think that maybe Alex is made up but maybe URI is real. How much of this case really happened?
Rob Kristoffersen 1:00:46
The actual case that this episode is based on is honestly a little more terrifying than the one on this particular episode. So on the night of November 23 1953, the US Air Defense Command near the US Canadian border. sec did a blip on radar over restricted airspace above Lake Superior. The Air Force scrambled an f 89 c Scorpion jet from Kinross Air Force Base piloted by first lieutenant Felix McCullough and second lieutenant Robert Wilson. And from the start, Robert Wilson had trouble tracking this thing once he got in the air, and it kept changing course like really quick. But with the aid of ground control, they were eventually able to kind of get a lock on this object, and they pursued it for over 30 minutes getting closer and closer. Eventually monkland Wilson were guided down from 25,000 feet to about 7000 feet. The radar operators watched as the one radar blip chase the other and a short while later, they lost radio contact with monkland Wilson And the witnesses there claim to see on radar. These two objects merge into one and fly off. Now monkland Wilson have never been seen again. Nobody knows what happened to them. wreckage from their plane has never been found. They just disappear. And there have been some like hoaxers coming forward. There was one in 2006 he claimed to be from a company called the Great Lakes diving company. They claim that they found something like a plane in Lake Superior. That was never it was ruled a hoax but like mankelow Wilson have never been seen since. And if you look at my uncle, his tombstone, his memorial it’s it’s explicitly states that he died while in pursuit of a UFO. What about
Dan LeFebvre 1:02:52
the idea? In this episode, we see Dr. Hynek actually neutralize an atomic bomb. Does he ever actually do anything like that?
Rob Kristoffersen 1:02:58
Probably not. He had worked with rocketry but I don’t think he had worked with the atomic bombs specifically and you know, maybe in a situation he’d be able to know how to disarm it, but I don’t know. What I love about this show is like they they kind of treat Jalen Hynek as if he’s like a jack of all trades.
Dan LeFebvre 1:03:20
He’s the hero of the show. So of course he’s gonna save the day no matter what.
Rob Kristoffersen 1:03:25
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Dan LeFebvre 1:03:28
So at the end of that episode, episode nine Dr. Hynek and Captain Queen get to meet senator john F. Kennedy when he stops by the project bluebook office. And the case from Kennedy takes place during Operation main brace. This goes into episode number 10. There’s a massive multinational military exercise that involves some 200 ships 80,000 men, and if anything happens during a war exercise that size near Russian territory, it could spark world war three. So Kinda can quit investigate aboard USS Wisconsin in the North Atlantic near Norway. They find out that this UFO experienced that this sighting that’s happened. It’s not coming from the sky like all the others, but it’s actually coming from underwater. But there’s something else about this. There’s a fishing trawler that was there. It left Shanghai some 11,000 miles away just two days ago, and the fuel tank is still almost full. Needless to say, That’s impossible. At the end of the episode, Quinn takes a mini sub underwater to where the flying crafts are coming from. But the admiral orders depth charges drop anyway. And the last we see of him is a massive explosion outside his sub. We assume he’s dead. Except Dr. Hynek believes maybe he’s not maybe he was transported somehow like that boat from Shanghai.
Rob Kristoffersen 1:04:47
Did any of that happen? operation main brace itself was a real operation like the sensational parts. Yeah, definitely didn’t didn’t happen but operation main brace at the time was composed of dozens of NATO organizations that had sent ships to participate. At the time. It was the largest peacetime military exercise since World War Two. And it was meant to simulate a mock attack on Europe. It was involved 200 ships 1000 planes and over 80,000 men and during this exercise UFOs were spotted. The first sighting came on September 13 1952, the crew of a Danish destroyer spotted a triangular shaped object with blue lights on it, moving through the night sky at high rates of speed. Seven days later, aboard the USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a reporter named Wallace Litwin claim that several pilots and flight crew crew members saw a silver colored sphere in the sky. Following behind the fleet. There is an actual photo of this object as well. Many of you have tried to bunk it as a weather balloon. It doesn’t appear to be a weather balloon and the only places that it could have been launched from have denied launching weather balloons around this time. It was also moving way, way too fast to be a weather balloons and object had been seen the day before that sighting on September 19, as a British Meteor jet was returning to an airfield after conducting exercises in the North Sea. And the pilot of that flight claimed to see a strange silver circular craft. Following the meteor they described its movement says that of a falling leaf from a tree, which is a common thing reported in a lot of UFO sightings is that some of these objects appear to be like doing this slow falling pattern at times. The object stopped in midair, rotated and then took a Fast away from everybody else. But yeah, main brace was a real exercise they saw some UFOs. I don’t know that Kennedy really played a part in it, but it is pretty fascinating set of sightings.
Dan LeFebvre 1:07:17
Was Kennedy associated with Project bluebook at all?
Rob Kristoffersen 1:07:19
No, he was not there have been theories that people have suggested, claiming that Kennedy knew alien secrets that he had told them to Marilyn Monroe, and that that’s why the both of them were assassinated. But there’s really no truth behind those statements at all. It’s just a conspiracy theory.
Dan LeFebvre 1:07:42
Yeah, I think the show kind of alludes that there was I think at the end of Episode Number eight, there was a brief line of dialogue with Daniel bakes in the CIA. He’s talking to general Harding, saying when it comes to the CIA, no one is untouchable, right. It’s hot in my mind ties okay. It’s something with the JFK assassination as a CA plot, somehow To Blue Book.
Rob Kristoffersen 1:08:02
Right, right. And that’s the thing and that’s also like the ambiguity that the assassination of john f kennedy has kind of lended itself to the Warren Commission really didn’t do a good job of explaining themselves and explaining everything that happened. But yeah, it’s just it seems like with some conspiracy theories, and the longer that they are around, the more they get added to, and the more people come out of the woodwork saying, Well, you know, this happened or that happened. Yeah, it’s always it’s always interesting to read them sometimes. But yeah, don’t don’t put a lot of stuck.
Dan LeFebvre 1:08:42
Well, that makes sense. I did want to ask about I think it was an episode three there was a scene where we saw Heineken queen in a Jeep, and big UFO flies over light shine down and then by the time the camera focuses on the Jeep again, Heineken quiner gone, giving the impression that they were both done. Did was Dr. Hynek ever abducted himself?
Rob Kristoffersen 1:09:03
No, he was never abducted. When he came to present his theories and stuff like that he was very guarded. He was always very skeptical. He was never rash to point two one thing he had his theories and he had his leanings, but when it came to a case by case basis, he, he would never go there per se and say, you know that this is true or that is true, and given that Hynek even disputed the one UFO sighting that he claimed to have while looking through a telescope, so yeah, he’s always been that skeptical kind of guy. But as far as I can tell, and through all the research, he has never been abducted.
Dan LeFebvre 1:09:50
Well, we have talked about a lot of different concepts and things that they put into the show things like area 51 and and skinwalker ranch and these other elements. If you were in charge of this season of Project bluebook, was there anything that you wish would have made it onto the show that they left out?
Rob Kristoffersen 1:10:12
I think there are a lot of other interesting sightings that they could have really gone to. And like I say with, especially with the skinwalker Ranch episode, you look at that, and you see that it’s just a kind of a walking advertisement for another show. That’s that’s coming out, but I’m glad that they included things like the Kelly Hopkinsville incident. I think the Herbert schermer sighting is fascinating in the fact that we’re talking about a police officer that claims to have been abducted by aliens. I think that would have been a more interesting case to present in. That means there’s a case known as the RV 47 case and it’s kind of One case that many have put up as like the best scientific evidence for UFO because it It literally involved a UFO following a radar plane in the sky over hundreds of miles. It’s a it’s a pretty fascinating case. Really, I think they did the best that they could with the season. But yeah, the I can’t think of any other cases off top my head right now, but those two are, I think would have made for interesting episodes.
Dan LeFebvre 1:11:33
But thank you so much for your time to come on to chat about Project blue book season two, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a fun chat.
Rob Kristoffersen 1:11:39
Yeah, thank you again for having me on. It’s been so fun.