Jim Oberg's 6/26/2003 Criticism
of CohenUFO Treatment of his
"In Search of Gordon Cooper's UFOs""
Click here for Gordon Cooper
& 1957 Edwards AFB UFO case
To those people out there that think that Jim Oberg's reply to CohenUFO's dissection of his piece regarding Gordon Cooper's UFOs was the definitive summation . . . I hope you'll read this, links and all. I believe it answers most of Jim's concerns and perhaps helps us realize that criticizing anything without actually reading it isn't the best idea. (First link below is Jim's original piece; my response below that.)
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James Oberg's Rebuttal to CohenUFO (6/26/2003) (<-- Click here)
WHY I WROTE MY ORIGINAL REBUTTAL TO JIM IN THE FIRST PLACE
Jim Oberg's original piece wasn't just about Gordon Cooper. He took swipes at Drs. J. Allen Hynek and James McDonald as well. I wrote my piece because it was impossible, both from what Jim wrote and its lack of footnoting, to be able to check certain portions of what he was saying. However, if by chance some of what he specifically said concerning Hynek and McDonald _was_ true, I did not want someone walking away from reading Jim's piece and thinking that Hynek and McDonald were all smoke and no substance regarding UFOs. This was far from the truth and one had to be aware of a number of excellent cases researched by these men, and located within the deep history of this vast topic, in order to be able to make this judgment. I did not believe Jim would have used some of the comments he did if he himself was apprised of the details I included in my rebuttal. To me this was even more important than what he was saying about Cooper.
Hynek and McDonald were both excellent scientists and researchers. It's why I wrote the 30,000 or so words he points out I included in my rebuttal; i.e. simply so readers could place Jim's comments in an accurate historical context, realize how much solid data was involved in the study of this monumental topic (i.e. UFOs) and realize how easy it would be for anyone to make some mistakes along the way. It was obvious to me, from some of Jim's comments regarding Hynek and McDonald, that Jim was lacking this important historical perspective. (Nor would one expect him to have it since this is not his main area of expertise.)
ON THE MISTAKES OF SCIENTISTS, RESEARCHERS, ETC. AND JUDGEMENT CONCERNING THEIR CHARACTERS
Jim has omitted the main thrust of what I was saying on this topic; the part where I was attempting to demonstrate that one or two mistakes by any scientist or group, including Jim, Dr. Menzel, Dr. Condon or the NAS does not invalidate the rest of that person's (group's) work. I was reminding Jim concerning this in an attempt for all of us to keep our perspective. It is too important a point to ignore.
Some of Jim's comments regarding Hynek and McDonald were the reason I specifically made the points in "More on Second-Hand Accounts" and "On the Human Imperfection of Scientists" on page 1b of my rebuttal. It should additionally obvious _No one's_ character should be judged in a like fashion.
Even though I couldn't be positive concerning Jim's sources, and the fact I felt he was citing a number of "second-hand accounts" regarding Cooper, I still gave James the benefit of the doubt at that other part of my web site where he quotes me as saying "I believe the probability that ex-astronaut Gordon Cooper is telling the truth regarding, at the minimum his early sightings, is extremely high." Jim then says, "What does he mean by 'at the minimum' – that Cooper may NOT be telling the truth about his LATER sightings? The inquiry continues… "
What I mean is that I am not saying second-hand story building didn't occur, and I'm not against looking into blowing away myths which have arisen around Cooper regarding some of his sighting claims. What I am against is drawing erroneous conclusions about Cooper, Hynek and McDonald from the data we gather in that regard. What I am saying is that although I've given Jim some latitude in this regard, from what he has given us so far, I am not yet convinced Cooper falsified his initial testimony to the UN. Even though Jim hasn't said this directly, it is certainly what one might be tempted to think when reading his article.
THREE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS DERIVED FROM READING JIM'S ORIGINAL ARTICLE
1) Are we to take one or two negative instances occurring in Hynek's career, and allow ourselves to totally ignore the really solid parts of his (and McDonald's) accumulated research, or can we see Hynek's mistake(s?), pointed out by Jim, as honest oversight(s)?
2) Do we look at the story building involving Cooper that Jim focuses upon but allow ourselves to miss the fact, as James aptly points out, for many years Cooper apparently tried to keep the record straight?
3) Since many of the Cooper stories Jim has presented appear to be second-hand, how does what Jim wrote effect our thinking concerning the honesty and integrity of Cooper's _initial_ testimony to the UN and what is the actuality there?
As concrete material surfaces which I think directly impacts this, I will be adding it to my site.
Yes, it is important to examine Cooper's claims, etc. but we must be very careful to properly analyze the data we choose to support the _specific_ conclusions we draw from that examination.
I believe the real nitty-gritty of the whole thing resides in that third question; Does Jim want us to extend our thoughts concerning those second-hand accounts and possibly think that Cooper fabricated his _original UN Story_? (i.e. that Cooper is lying about it?) If this is Jim's intent, innuendo certainly isn't enough.
Has Jim given us any solid reasons Cooper would fabricate that initial story? Without positive proof concerning this, Jim is treading a fine line here, verging on character assassination. Not having this proof is obviously the reason he hasn't come out and said directly that Cooper was lying concerning this.
Let's see what we do know. Here are some statements about or from Cooper which Jim has provided for us.
"15 That statement attributed to him was finally too much for ex-astronaut Cooper. In August 1978 he filed suit against Columbia Pictures Industries for false use of his name. The suit sought two million dollars in damages and a "fair percentage of the profits, totaling not less than $750,000, for the use of his name and reputation. Part of the problem was that the quotation, according to Cooper, was entirely counterfeit: " is entirely a fabrication", he wrote in 1978, calling it fakery."
"26 Stringfield added that Cooper denied reports "he had seen the UFO during his overflight of Australia."
"30 In an OMNI interview published in March 1980, Cooper was asked about the reports of astronauts seeing UFOs in space. He replied, "It got so bad that there were deliberately falsified tapes of communications with the astronauts, where UFO material was simply edited in." Cooper explicitly denied that there had been UFO sightings on his two flights. In a 1978 letter to me, Cooper stressed "the non-occurrence of a sighting on Mercury 9. I have the original on-board tapes in my possession which also refute this."
Therefore, from what Jim himself has said, we can see that Cooper did indeed attempt to keep the record straight on these three separate occasions, when the media was tending to skew it.
In his rebuttal to me, Jim Oberg said I (J. Cohen) am presenting other cases that haven't been researched . . .
Oooops! To say the least, this statement by Jim is not exactly accurate. I do understand that we all get involved working on our own research and don't always get a chance to read the other person's efforts, however, clicking the next URL will dismiss Jim's allegation in an instant. It's the first case in my "Author's Select Cases," Kirtland Air Force Base (11/4/57 - same year as Cooper's claim of a landing at Edwards AFB), and is found in paragraph five of my rebuttal.
Either the Condon Committee (Colorado Study) , the National Academy of Sciences, James McDonald and Project Blue Book _don't_ count as researchers and research, and aren't reliable to Jim Oberg, or, he just doesn't know about them or, didn't find time to read the case I provided.
As I said, it is what I saw as Jim's lack of factual historical knowledge in certain instances that caused me to write my rebuttal to his essay in the first place. What occurred (or didn't occur) here is the perfect illustration. Folks, if you haven't read it, you absolutely must read McDonald's investigation of Kirtland (11/4/57). I believe it is a critical piece and an eye-opener to serious researchers who, as best they can, try to remain honest with themselves. (Some important research on this case can be found at the NICAP web site.)
When McDonald's presentation regarding Kirtland is read in its entirety, it should immediately make most people realize that even certain pronouncements from the mainstream body of science sometimes need to be reviewed and taken with a grain of salt, and that mistakes can be made on either side of the coin.
When one takes the time to review the Condon Study, one discovers the large number of unresolved cases therein and is forced to realize something was amiss in the study's conclusion. What's more, the cases they studied weren't even the best cases available. The Kirtland case, by itself, is important enough to be one of the primary reasons (but most certainly by no means the only reason) for the formation of the Standford Study led by Peter S. Sturrock and its re- evaluation of the original findings of the Colorado Study.
WHY IS A CASE LIKE KIRTLAND IMPORTANT TO COOPER'S CLAIM?
If Kirtland (11/4/57) is what it appears to be, especially with the thorough investigation it apparently has undergone, then one should be forced to at least consider the possibility Cooper may well have been telling us the truth in, as I stated, "at the minimum, his early reports" even if some of what Jim has said concerning "story building" on Cooper's part was specifically due to Cooper himself. (and I don't think this has been proven concerning the early years.) Is Kirtland absolute proof regarding Cooper's claim to the UN or likewise regarding his Edward AFB statements? . . . No it isn't, but the Kirtland case and others like it should give us adequate reason to be _extremely_ careful when arriving at our final judgment regarding same. What if the description of what two witnesses observed at Kirtland is exactly what it appears to be? An awareness of the Kirtland case (11/4/57) makes it virtually impossible for the honest researcher to totally ignore it. It has to be factored into the mix. There just isn't any getting around it, like it or not.
HOW IT IS POSSIBLE FOR RESEARCHERS IN GENERAL TO NOT ACQUIRE A COMPLETE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE REGARDING UFOS
I'm really not attacking Jim for missing some of the historical pieces, I'm just pointing it out as a matter of fact. We most certainly cannot dismiss Jim's technical expertise and comments concerning building rockets, the functioning of same, knowledge of the space program, engineering, NASA, etc. We all have our specialties. However, the following is an important point concerning all researchers, myself included, of which we should all be aware.
All of us being busy working on our research, theories and other jobs we do to make a living don't always get to read the other's research to the depth we would like, especially when that research is out of our specialty. As a matter of fact, because there is only so much time allotted to each of us in life, it is almost humanly impossible for one individual to accomplish this in a proper manner. By the time you finish reading this essay I will have pointed out a few instances of this type regarding James. I am sure he can find instances where I am equally as guilty.
To give a prime example of what I stated above, one need only look at one of my discussions with Paul Devereux, progenitor of the "earthlights" (Tectonic Strain) theory. During the discussions we had on our list, Paul wouldn't read "Sky Thing" or "Exeter" to see if his or Michael Persinger's theories could explain those. (If he had read those articles, he would have discovered they _can't_.) Again, I'm not saying this to berate Paul but to again prove that this situation does occur. However, when we do accidentally close ourselves off from absorbing information which relates directly to our theories, it is possible we may wind up missing something really important.
JEO: First, Cohen omits a full description of my research . . .
JC: 100% false. Actually, I didn't omit any part of Jim's research. I posted it on my site in its entirety, numbered each of his paragraphs for easy location of same by researchers, and anything I criticized was connected to the exact place in that entirety by direct links so one could see the whole thing in context. By Jim's saying this, it almost appears he never read what was at my site. I placed it there, with the links . . on purpose as I was making sure I would not be accused of exactly what James has claimed. I also didn't want to be accused of putting words in his mouth. It's been posted there so that everyone could read it and make up their own minds. Click on the link above to see it for yourself. Of course I didn't expect it, but Jim certainly didn't do this for me.
SOME EXAMPLES OF LOOKING FOR JIM'S SOURCES IN HIS ESSAY
As I read his piece I was looking for items to verify what James was saying. Many of these were nonexistent. Whatever else he says about it, certain things just weren't there and they bothered me.
JEO: so, I wrote, "In 1979 I wrote to contacts in Munich and received a negative reply:
JC: An example, "contacts in Munich." Some people might write "I wrote to Frank Smith or Tom Jones." From James we get "a former wing commander" and "contacts in Europe."
JEO: I wrote Wolfgang Kuchler of "P.M." magazine," and I later expanded this inquiry to German UFO clubs that had records in that region dating back to that period – again, no independent corroboration.
JC: Again, Jim doesn't say which UFO clubs; and I asked myself, "would these clubs necessarily have known about it, especially if it was strictly a military incident?" How many people knew about this May 5th, 1965 case found by Hynek in military files in his tenure at Blue Book?
JEO: Lastly, I reported an account of a man who knew Cooper circa 1960 and he recalled Cooper's story of the `fleets of UFOs' as occurring not in Germany but in the American middle west.
JC: and this proves what . . . _another_ "second-hand" account? So why bother even including it?
The bottom line is, the more second-hand accounts we investigate, the easier it is to fall into the trap I mention at my web site.
JIM ATTEMPTED TO PROVIDE CHECKABLE CITATIONS OF ALL PASSAGES
JEO: He never wrote me to share his interview notes, etc. from witnesses . . I attempted to provide checkable citations of all passages I quoted and would have been willing to provide more details as requested.
JC: To be fair here, since he never made the effort to discuss it, how was I supposed to get this information from him or even know that he had it? He never gave us a clue he was intending to use this material in a book. He didn't supply us with any footnotes to check his information. He wouldn't discuss it, period. When you write an article of this sort, you have an obligation to assist the reader and back it up with footnoted facts. Those facts weren't there for a number of items.
Incidentally, just for the record, he obviously knew about my postings about same, he wrote the list to say so.
However, for whatever reason his sources weren't included, we're certainly willing to put this behind us. Researchers are most certainly still open to give them some credence, if he has them now, and what he provides is somehow externally checkable.
JIM ON "COOPER'S VISIT TO THE UN"
JEO: Cooper's visit to the UN is often presented as part of a UN-sponsored study of UFOs. My comment was intended to clarify that Cooper went to meet Waldheim as part of the delegation of Grenada, and Waldheim was obligated to receive Grenada's head-of-state and his entourage, purely as a diplomatic courtesy.
JC: Had Jim stated _that_ straight out without embellishment it would have sufficed, but instead he said "the madcap "Sir" Eric Gairy. Gairy's excesses and crackpottery, added to his alleged corruption and brutality at home . . ." (I felt the way it was said implied his views on UFOs made him, anyone in any way associated with him, or anyone believing in the possibility of UFOs appear crazy; i.e. Guilt via association.)
JIM ACCUSING ME OF PRESUMING THE RATIONALE AND MOTIVES OF THE UN
JEO: Cohen – who complains in the same paragraph about my `lack of documentation' – simply presumes the rationale and motives of the UN with no pretense of any actual supportive evidence even existing.
JC: Is Jim trying to say "Let's ignore my error, we'll look at Cohen instead"? But no matter, I think he misinterpreted me on this one. Anyone who knows how the UN works knows what I said didn't require documentation, it was basically correct. I never said Cooper's visit was a "UN-sponsored study of UFOs"; those are Jim's words, not mine. The UN is a collective body and it would seem obvious that things that are discussed are usually petitioned by various member states. How else would you schedule a session? That's all I was saying.
The main point I was making, and I believe clearly, was that difficult-to-solve UFO reports were a world-wide phenomenon. Hynek mentions this in paragraph three of his presentation and Jim, himself, proves my point by giving us an example of it being brought up by another country when he informs us Grenada initiated it.
Submission of the original resolution: http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc1037.htm
or HERE if not available.
Hynek's speech (with summary): http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc580.htm
or HERE if not available.
McDonald's speech: http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc758.htm
or HERE if not available.
Testimonies of various other presenters also established my main point. Occurring prior (and since), other countries were also having provocative, difficult to solve, UFO reports of their own. They still are today. They obviously had much documentation to support this back then or one would have had to be totally bonkers to go in front of the entire world saying so. (This point is important to seeing the testimonies in context and it's why I found the necessity of mentioning it. Hopefully, this will clear up any misunderstanding regarding same.) As an article at the "UFO Evidence" web site points out, U Thant was interested in the UFO situation but other more pressing issues forced him away from it. This is essentially what I said in my presentation.
BACK TO "SECOND-HAND" ACCOUNTS
JEO: These were not "supposed" enhancements, but documented descriptions that were at variance with Cooper's own accounts. As to "what Mr. Oberg would have us believe" (Cohen seems to think I claimed that professional UFO researchers are never skeptical of second-hand accounts – he made this up out of imagination)
JC: Another instance of James not reading what I wrote. I never said "he claimed that professional UFO researchers are never skeptical of second-hand accounts." What I was trying to point out, and perhaps didn't make clear enough or he just didn't want to see it, is that it was obvious Jim himself was focusing on a number of second-hand accounts (I listed some of them above with red numbers in "Care in Specific Conclusions Drawn"). He was focusing on things _other_ people had written. It wasn't really getting to the really important stuff. Although it is good to blow away the smoke from some of the myths, I was trying to point out that we really should be focusing on Cooper's first testimony . . . that to the U.N. Working backward from second-hand testimonies which occurred later on, and where extraneous things injected into a case may muddy the water, is not the best way to do this.
JIM'S RATIONALE RE "THREATS OF PUNISHMENT"
JEO: Lastly, Cohen invokes the trump card reserved for inconvenient testimony, that such people are lying on account of threats of punishment
JC: My answer - First, I _never_ said anyone was lying. I just wanted to know exactly who _all_ the people were that Jim was using as sources.
Yet, if you give honest, thought to this, if the intelligence service knows no one is going to believe you, they don't have anything to worry about . . . Then again, if they did do something like actually penalize the person in this sort of case, might we not say "look what they did to that guy. There must be something to this whole thing."
I guess these two arguments (from Jim and myself) cancel each other out. Neither one proves or disproves the case. Since they nullify each other, we can remove both Jim's and my argument in this regard from the table.
JIM ACCUSING ME OF SAYING THERE WAS A MASSIVE COVERUP
JEO: It's another self-fulfilling circular pseudo-proof: "The other guys say nothing happened there? That's further proof that there's a massive cover-up forcing everybody else to falsify their statements."
JC: Once again, I don't think Jim took the time to read what I wrote. I never said there was a "massive coverup which forced everyone to falsify their statements." Those are strictly Jim's words alone. What I was indicating first was that without names that people can check, Jim hadn't given us anything _we_ can check. And, secondly, whether or not OMNI Magazine found anyone that was penalized in the fashion mentioned, that doesn't prove that
1) the majority of professional people who have actually seen a UFO will readily come forth to admit to seeing something they can't prove exists (clicking above will take you to a sighting by Hynek, himself. It was discussed in a Richard Dolan piece, "Some Thoughts on J. Allen Hynek),
2) that there had been no such thing as a ridicule factor which kept many people who had seen something of this sort from reporting it (preceding link to an essay by Richard Hall), or that
3) people in some cases haven't been told not to talk about it by investigating personnel. Obviously we only have certain people's word for this. Unfortunately, their word alone is not enough for us to be able to accept it, even though it's not impossible it may have occurred.
I have a friend who works for a defense contractor and would never say one word to me about certain parts of the work he does because he's taken this exact oath. (or at least, it's in his guidelines.) There are federal penalties. Another gentlemen who lived behind me who worked on electronics for the Lunar Module was as equally tight lipped during _that_ project.
This does extend into other areas and people do take it seriously, whether Jim wants to admit it or not. Ask him if he goes around talking about the details of the jobs he's performing for the government. As a matter of fact, ask Jim details about any of the classified work he's doing (assuming he does some of this) and see what kind of answers he gives you.
Some things just aren't discussed.
Every person that has done this type work, even as outside contractors, knows exactly to what I'm referring. You have to be careful what you say to whom, even to someone you might be dating, especially if they're not from your own country. The government, and the firms themselves take some things _very_ seriously and something of the magnitude of what UFOs may represent would certainly fall into this category, especially when one considers some of the military cases we have on record such as Malmstrom, Rendlesham, Belgium, Kirtland, etc.
Timothy Goode (Above Top Secret, New York City, Quill, 1989) has had a lot of interesting things to say concerning this as well as Charles Halt, the ex-commander of the base at Rendlesham, and Lord Peter Hill Norton in interviews taped for the Sci-fi channel's program this year revisiting the Rendlesham case.
In any event, irrespective of Omni's findings and Jim's protestations to the contrary, these rules do exist and people do follow them. I know that if James thinks about this, he knows I am right; or other people in that line of work are going to be saying "What's with Oberg on this?"
JEO: Cohen found no space, as far as I can tell, to ever mention the Mercury-9 myth and how his favorite UFO investigators fell for it, and caused people who trusted them to fall for it too.
JC: Just as a point of information, I wasn't one of them. If I was, we'd all be seeing some of those astronaut reports on my web site . . . but you won't find one of them there. (jc 7/24/2006: Ooops, not exactly correct here. Recently added this one since I originally wrote this.) To be honest, I never focused deeply on them because some researchers had problems concerning some of those accounts. They weren't to be trusted without in-depth study (technical aspects of same not my expertise) and therefore couldn't be included on my site for that very reason. That includes the Mercury 9 story.
At the time I thought about them briefly however, I did find it fascinating to note that Edgar Mitchell, sixth man to walk the moon, is one of the NIDS personnel, a group which has been composed of a number of PhD's studying various UFO reports, including some which researchers have wondered are possibly connected. One of the cases they have studied is one involving police and other witnesses which occurred in Illinois, USA in the year 2000. Although it doesn't relate to Cooper's case time-wise, it demonstrates yet another excellent, well-reported, well-detailed, well reconstructed and thoroughly analyzed case, this one taking place in relatively recent history. How many of this type case do we need to at least consider the possibility that Cooper may have been telling us the truth when he testified at the U.N.?
It is also interesting that after examining more data, NIDS recently has revised its thoughts on triangular craft sightings, points out an "out of norm" aspect of these, and has given an alternative from the possible "military" solution they were at first contemplating in their analyses;
"The trend of open deployment of the flying triangles is not consistent with secret operation of an advanced military craft."
JEO: Cohen appears not to have understood irony, or perhaps my words were obscure enough to give rise to an honest misunderstanding. Concerning the cameraman who took the photographs in May 1957 at Edwards AFB, I wrote: "When I told Gettys in 1982 that McDonald had used his case in congressional testimony, the UFO witness was pleased but surprised McDonald had never gotten back to him about the use he'd put his testimony to. So the pro-UFO people kept some secrets, too!." My intent was comic relief in a narrative in which accusations of withholding information had been widely thrown at government and military personnel. Meanwhile, I quoted the McDonald passage as an example of an accurate reportage.
JC: Perhaps I misinterpreted what Jim was trying to say there so, again giving him the benefit of doubt, if that was his intent, that clears it up for all of us, except for one thing; what Jim did prove, at least to me, is that we seem to be left with a _very_ interesting unknown here. So, what did they see? No matter what proof people come up with concerning balloons that _may_ have been flying in the air at the general time, I still find it a bit difficult to believe that the two people in that case would miss identifying a weather balloon only 500 yards away, especially considering their combined highly detailed observational descriptions and job expertise. Oh, by the way, if James used the McDonald passage as "an example of an accurate reportage", should we then ask him if he feels the same way about McDonald's investigation of Kirtland?
COHEN THE LAWYER & "REASONABLE DOUBT"
JEO: Cohen gets the legal presumption precisely on its head. The question is not to be positive that Cooper was NOT providing an accurate account ("telling the truth" is another lawyer trick to semantically stack the deck of a supposedly innocent question). The question is, is the veracity of his account certain `beyond reasonable doubt'? Here, Cohen's argumentation ends….
JC: Or does it? I guess Jim doesn't count the above well-researched 11/4/57 Kirtland case as "reasonable doubt" regarding Cooper's Edwards case. Anyone besides me think it should?
Hmmn, if Mom was still alive she would love this. She told me I should have been a lawyer.
4th INSTANCE REGARDING COOPER AND "STORY-BUILDING"?
JEO: But it's worth recalling some of Cooper's own comments from a quarter century ago. His own words on the Edwards case, told in 1977 to interviewer Lee Spiegel for the "The Credibility Factor" (the UFO record), are as follows: he recalled "...the case of one that landed out on the dry lake bed right out from a number of camera crews we had who filmed it. And the film was there and was sent forward to the safekeeping somewhere in Washington, never to be seen again." It's not HIS camera crew, it's our crews (more than one), and what did HE actually see? In 1978, in his second interview with Spiegel (this time for OMNI magazine), he evaded any discussion of the Edwards case by saying, "I'd just as soon not get into the Edwards incident. I didn't get to see anything personally, it was all second hand evidence really." But in the recent SciFi channel `Out of the Blue' show, the story has become that Cooper is out on the lakebed watching the UFO land and then take off again.
JC: Assuming there was some story building that had crept into that 1977 interview with Lee Speigel (N.B. twenty years after the fact), it sounds to me that Cooper may have realized this afterwards and, when he gave his second interview in 1978, tried to correct it, going so far as to say he "didn't actually see anything personally, it was all second-hand evidence . . ." So now we apparently have a fourth instance of Cooper keeping the record straight and another example of Jim digging into "second-hand" evidence.
As far as the Sci-Fi channel's rendition, I didn't see that special, but it's really important to know without a doubt, who made the decision to portray him on the lakebed watching the UFO in the special. If Cooper did, then James has proved story-building from Cooper _in this particular instance._ (Was Cooper there personally for the Sci-Fi channel filming and editing of the entire show before it went on the air? That would be a big clue.)
However, if someone else took it upon themselves to say this in their script because they read it somewhere else or whatever, we can't really blame Cooper. Many researchers have experienced what can happen when dealing with newspapers and shows of this type. Paul Devereux wrote me of a similar instance when a show he had done claimed his earthlights theory and Michael Persinger's electromagnetic helmut-induced hallucination theories could explain _all_ UFOs. As Jim pointed out, it happened to Hynek too.
Regarding the May 2nd, 1957 Edwards AFB case, after carefully examining what Jim Oberg says about it (and checking it against others' research), it appears we have to give him his due here and say astronaut Gordon Cooper did indeed insert himself into this case which he apparently wasn't actually involved in. Jim is correct about Cooper in this instance.
However, it is to be noted Fran Ridge from NICAP wrote me concerning some research on that Edwards AFB case posted at the NICAP site, which includes a statement by Brad Sparks concerning Cooper's non-role in same, but which also mentions specific photographs that had been taken during the actual incident. Included is
a statement by Dr. James McDonald who had investigated the case back in 1957 (Blue Book #4715) and interviewed Gettys, Bittick, and Frank Baker, their supervisor. (N.B. The same James McDonald Jim Oberg previously agreed was a basically competently, accurate investigator.) Evidentially, the men had definitely taken approximately 30 photographs of the object they had at first seen only 500 yards away, as Baker had ordered them taken when the men reported the incident.
What they saw "had a golden color, looked somewhat like an inverted plate with a dome on top, and had square holes or panels around the dome. Gettys thought that the holes were circular not square. It was moving away from them, seemed to glow with its own luminosity, and had a hazy, indistinct halo around its rim." (Again, this from McDonald's research . McDonald, as Jim Oberg hinted at previously, is known as a generally meticulous investigator.) All three of the men interviewed emphasized that the shots taken at the closer range were very sharp, except for the hazy rim. They said the dome and the markings or openings showed in the photos. Gettys and Bittick were positive what they had seen was not a balloon. The photos were shortly taken by Base military authorities and were never seen again by the men. (editor's note: four of the "distance" pictures have been supplied at the NICAP site by Jan Aldrich.)
JC: If the pictures we have of balloons launched at the time fit the exact description these men gave, that might possibly solve the case, however, Brad Sparks states
". . . there is an analysis by a Col. Klein (Kline?) at Edwards AFB in the BB file that destroys the balloon explanation and rejects it based on the known tracking of the balloon. "
If it wasn't a balloon, what did they see and where are the rest of the pictures, especially the closeups? I suspect it would be extremely difficult to find them in any ordinary search, but it seems rather obvious, at least to this researcher, *someone* at a higher-level most likely got to see them.
(jc 1/26/2010): Additionally, just because we haven't found these pictures, does this really mean they don't or didn't exist? Do we think these men lied to McDonald or that he all of a sudden became less-competent in his investigation and misheard what they said?
A FINAL NOTE: TWO ADDITIONAL REASONS THIS REBUTTAL TO JIM REGARDING COOPER IS IMPORTANT FOR READERS' CONSIDERATION
Since Jim originally made a point of saying on his web site he was "a founding fellow of CSICOP (now called CSI) and a longtime associate of Phil Klass, who performed the analysis in this link concerning the previously mentioned Illinois 2000 UFO case, one can understand some researcher's concerns that association could possibly compromise Jim's objectivity in his overall analyses. We are hopeful Jim is his own person and his mind will remain open to the various data gathered and carefully researched herein.
Also, although Cooper's inserting himself into the case when he had nothing to do with it was one of the topics of Jim's original essay, it appears the actual Edwards 5/2/57 AFB case itself has interestingly become an important part of the overall discussion, if for nothing else simple curiosity concerning its resolution. One of the main purposes in discussing Cooper in the first place is to discover whether or not there are true UFOs.
Jerry Cohen (Please see below)
Addendum (12/23/2004): Just for the record, in case anyone out there might be curious as to whether there were any other UFO events reported in 1957 around the time of any of these cases, this exchange of letters between Jan Aldrich (Project 1947) and myself should be of interest.
Addendum (8/18/2011): I just viewed UFO Hunters case #65102 Code Red. It concerns a sighting at Edwards Air Force Base Oct. 7, 1965 . . . eight years after the 5/2/57 Edwards case discussed above and two years before my own personal sighting. Objects were seen and recorded by five bases in southern California. The information has been declassified and recordings, radar records from five bases, and personal testimony from a tower operator and others support the fact that UFOs in groups of three (colors red, green, white) were sighted visually and on radar and that a plane was scrambled to intercept. All this occurred from 1:30 AM to daylight. (Drop the following into Google to locate the video: ufo hunter 65102)
A thank-you to Bill Birnes and UFO Magazine for the great effort put forth in providing this information to the public. One can note portions of the 1965 Edwards case are strikingly similar to the group of three UFOs that were sighted at Rendlesham-Bentwaters in 1980.
For another really close and instantly checkable look at the testimonies from the Rendlesham case, and a critique of Ian Ridpath's "The Rendlesham Forest UFO case" please see the CohenUFO presentation titled Rendlesham - Another Perspective. It demonstrates Ian may not have all the answers.
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