Tuesday, October 11, 2011

THE SKY IS FALLING: a Walk on the Wild Side with DARPA and the Air Force, Part Three.

Let's try to wrap this up today, folks. It will not be a satisfying wrap-up for some pretty good reasons. Whereas in the two previous posts, we were on pretty solid documentable historic ground, today there will only be some of that, and the rest of the story will melt into mystery. But let's do what we can. I'll try to be clear as to when I'm guessing.

I think that it's useful to begin with a refresher on the main cast-of-characters. Our "star" is, of course, T. Townsend Brown, the eccentric inventor and gravity experimenter, whom we talked about a great deal yesterday.

Our supporting cast is led by Dr. Robert L. Brown, who is the real enigmatic person in this story. He was a legit astronomer at Southern Connecticut College, an accomplished satellite finder, and a member of the SAOs Moonwatch program.

Fred Whipple was the famous Harvard astronomer, meteorite expert, and Director of Moonwatch. Allen Hynek was his occasionally dunce-like second.

Robert Friend was the Major in charge of Wright-Patterson's Project Blue Book at the time.
Victor Cherbak was the head of the Air Force's secret project Harvest Moon/ Star Track for satellite tracking at the time. Dr. John T. Wasson was a physicist employed by the Air Force's Nuclear Studies Branch of its Atmospheric Circulation Lab.

Thumbnail refresher on the event: September 4, 1960 something is seen coming down in Hartford, CT. Some other witness hears it and goes out to find some object disintegrating and burning the lower part of a shed. Fire is extinguished, and pieces are collected, mainly on the criterion of being still hot. Police are called in, they bring Professor Brown, he says "not a meteorite" and says artificial. Reporter publishes story nationally via AP.

CIA may have gotten wind of this early. They have newsclipping on incident. Who knows what they are doing or thinking about it, but within the month they call the Director of the Smithsonian Institution and request that Carl W. Tillinghast, Director of the SAO, write up the entire incident and send the write-up to the CIA, attention: William Sturbitz [I believe the Smithsonian has misspelled his name, it is Sturbitts, and he is pictured above]. The CIAs interest in this is never revealed.

Meanwhile the Air Force Project Blue Book has gotten the news and views this as UFO in nature, and sends Dr. Wasson to the SAO to get the material. He is shocked to find that someone named T Townsend Brown has shown credentials allowing him to collect all the stuff. Wasson finds ways to scrounge what he can, interviews, photographs the site, and goes back to do some tests. [Wasson on the left].

Those tests leave doubts as to what's going on, and Major Friend and Blue Book want more material to work with. [I'll do my best to describe the test results below]. Major Friend is somewhat boggled by the disposition of this material to Brown [as are we], and attempts in the following month [second week of October] to acquire more, and more information generally. He meets with T Townsend Brown and discusses the situation. Brown refuses to give him more material, claiming that it's all being used. [note how Brown can just blow off the Air Force on this, however politely]. Brown does promise to send him complete reports of his investigations and to keep in close coordination with the Air Force. This document is cc'd to four people: Fred Whipple [SAO], Professor Robert Brown, Lt Colonel Gene DeGiacomo [USAF Cambridge Research Labs] [presumably the person that he is "coordinating" with], and Commander R.P.Luker.

A second letter is from TT Brown to Whipple. It is apparently a butt-covering letter, more for Friend's consumption than Whipple's. In it he reminds Whipple that Whipple himself said that the material was not meteoritic and "of no further interest" to Moonwatch. He reminded that Whipple that he personally delivered some samples to Cambridge Research Center at Bedford [this is Project Star Track]. He cc'd the letter to Friend and Commander Luker.

Then there is an exchange between Robert Brown and TTBrown. It contains eye-openers about the materials, which will be gone into later. The cc's there are Friend, Cherbak [Star Track], DeGiacomo [Presumably Star Track --- DeGiacomo was a Cambridge Labs guy who had some interests later in the X-15 project], and R.P. Luker. All of this frustrated Friend as he was politely stonewalled.

Friend is forced to go to Washington DC in December to combine a trip to attempt to foil one of Donald Keyhoe's strategies of affecting congress by using the siegegun UFO case of Red Bluff, CA by meeting with the "congress-manipulation" Pentagon team, led by Lawrence Tacker, and other visits having to do with this Hartford Fall. {Bob Friend and his Blue Book team are pictured below. Hynek isn't there; probably at Moonwatch. Bob is standing in the middle}.

But what in the heck, still, was going on?? OK, here comes what the unkind might call BS, but maybe we can tolerate as speculation. The guy above is Commander Robert P. Luker, in a picture taken as a young officer of a submarine between the wars. I have no idea of his career trajectory, but at the time of our incident he was in the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the Pentagon. ARPA/DARPA was our deep black projects creation and filled with military/CIA double operatives. Doubtless Luker was Navy/CIA too. Somehow, TT Brown had to know Luker. ARPA's big project was Defender. Part of Defender was theory and possible application of anti-gravity propulsion as we talked yesterday. Brown himself was a Navy Lt. Commander. These points-on-a-line are not difficult for me to imagine connected. Having just received patent approval for his system, I am going to speculate that Brown is well on the radar and on talking terms with ARPA personnel interested in Defender.

I don't feel badly about that one. Next? It bothers me. The news comes out in the papers of the Hartford fall. TT Brown is IMMEDIATELY on it. How? Well, he must read it and instantly go to Luker to get permission to go to SAO and take the material; and Luker gives him the muscle [insisting that TT Brown cooperate also with Star Track]. Well, OK, as to that bit. But two things: WHY does Brown think that this stuff is important from reading the newspaper? And how does he convince Luker that it may tell us something about anti-gravity? THIS is profoundly strange to me.

Has TT Brown gotten other information prior to going to Luker? Has someone told him that the materials have odd properties, or at least that they are likely from a spacecraft? No real answer but I'll take a swing at this later. It was only during his December trip that Friend was told by Luker that Luker was interested in the fall because it might be part of Sputnik IV [a BS statement] and, oh by the way, one of the samples seems to be losing mass for no apparent reason. Well....OK...it would be nice to get the tests. But we don't get them, or at least Blue Book doesn't.

Well, let's see what Wasson's and Wright-Patterson's tests say at least. Whether Wasson himself did any actual tests on the material he was able to acquire isn't clear. It seems likely that he did not. He did however report on the details of the fall, including the disintegrating mass burning with a violent [coned] green flame. He described the sorts of materials found [see the panels above and below] and how they were collected. Presumably he sent this stuff on to Wright-Patterson where it was lab-tested by WADD [Wright Air Development Division]. They MAY have done some preliminary tests which we don't have, and may have complained about the quantity of material, sending Friend off on his beggar's journey. Somehow WADD finally got around to some serious tests in April/May 1961 and it is those results we have in Blue Book.

What did they say? The analysts categorized the "collection" as Stones/Slag/Carbonaceous/ and Aluminum. You can see why the meteor idea was dumped quickly. The analyst appears to me to have worked on what interested him. He wasn't interested in what he called "stones" or "slag" so he didn't test them. As we have had numerous "slag" falls in the UFO literature we'll give him an "F" for that.

His analysis of the "coal" and "coke" like samples was uninspired. He noted that one coal-like sample contained Barium in amounts up to ten times or more higher than the background samples taken. He makes no intelligent comments on anything he measures here.

His analysis of the pieces of aluminum isn't much better. Aluminum immediately gives the lie to any "natural" explanation and points directly at the "manufactured". After flailing amount with more lack of clear speaking, he says that the Aluminum samples are also extremely high in Barium particularly on their surface layers. He makes a guess that the samples are 50% Aluminum and 15% Barium.

He then scribbles some pencil notes about radioactivity. There was absolutely no gamma radiation activity. However there was a significantly high beta [electrons] radiation emission. He makes a guess about isotopic presence to explain this.

This analysis inspired Blue Book to evaluate the case as "furnace slag", despite the fact that almost nothing about the case description nor the labwork would allow that. Doubtless, Blue Book was happy to stop thinking about it.

But we can't stop thinking yet. This whole business still stinks. What was going on with TT Brown? Maybe [red-alert: full scale BS ahead] it is the other Brown [above] we should be looking at.

Dr. Robert L. Brown was a closet wonderer about spacecraft himself. When the Hartford fall occurred, RL Brown seems to have already concluded that this "stuff" was not only NOT meteoritic but also NOT an Earth-orbited satellite. It was a different sort of orbiting object, and artificial. How might this have an effect on TTB? Well, that's tough. But what if TTB upon reading the paper called RLB and talked to him? What if RLB said that he thought that this could be linked to a UFO? TTB now would be ready to roll. But how would this get Luker convinced?

Again red-alarm speculation. Brown believed that UFOs ran by having surfaces which were superchargeable with electricity. He thought that this anti-gravity effect would be maximized by exotic materials, perhaps exotic alloys. An off-center Patent Office scientist named Carl Frederick Krafft believed exactly that, and speculated about how such new alloys might be formed. He published some ideas on these matters including an essay on " Anti-Gravity and Saucer Propulsion" in 1956. [or thereabouts].

We don't have enough ammo for our gun here. But something about that fall made TTB think it had something to do with UFOs and possibly anti-gravity. Somehow he was able to use his reasoning to get Luker to authorize him to take the material and work on it. But, something else happened. Hartford was not the only fall that RLB received. He got another ball-shaped, flaking mass from Woodbridge, near New Haven, CT. RLB believed that this fall was from the same "craft" that produced the other one, just on different orbits. He believed he had just proved that an unknown orbiting object existed.

Maddeningly, he does not give the date of the Woodbridge fall. His language sounds as if the dates could have been close, but the social commentary about the witness makes one believe that it occurred after. This is too bad, because IF it had occurred earlier, RLB could have told TTB something that would CERTAINLY have created action in both TTB and Luker. This Woodbridge object seemed to be losing mass.

RLB had a colleague do some preliminary weighings and they noticed this at Southern Connecticut College. He and TTB talked, and RLB sent the sample to TTB. TTB then began his own measurements, finding the same diminishing mass. RLB speculated about some kind of oscillating mechanism, but TTB said that their measurements did not indicate this, but rather a simple downward trend. He then unloaded a last mind-blowing salvo: other materials in close contact with this object "took on" the characteristics of this mass-losing anti-gravity effect. !!!

So, you want more, do you?? Too bad, that's all there is. Could there be missing reports in DARPA files about this?? Come on!! The government would never hold back on us. The thing is, maybe only Brown, his research buddy, JF King, and the other mysterious man in the picture below, may have known the whole story. Was that Woodbridge "particle" really losing mass??

All we can say is that Blue Book knew without doubt that the whole thing was furnace slag. Yep. That's it.

You KNOW they're laughing at us....
Now, the last thing I need to know about this, is why JF King's anti-gravity patent earned a couple of years later looks a lot like an Adamski saucer??

NO. I don't want to know. ..... pass the Excedrin.


  1. Good Evening, Professor.

    Would you mind very much if I point to this series at my own blog? I think some people should be taking a look at this.

    Oh, and LMAO at the Adamski comment. I'll take two Advil, myself. ;)

  2. Bob, you and anyone else are always welcome to reference this blog, and even steal it wholesale if you wish. Knowledge is meant to be shared. Several "robot" blog purveyors steal the thing regularly for whatever their nefarious agendas are---they appear to be money making [via advertisements] schemes. You however are a valued civilized individual in that you asked.

    I doubt that it is an issue, but don't use the illustrations for anything commercial. I have been going along with typical internet tradition and just picking illustrations off the web to make everyone's reading more enjoyable and with no commercial element involved. Two people have already griped about that [despite my use here being thumbnail sized and the images widely available elsewhere previously]. I never use these images for anything in my hard-copy writings unless I know that the source doesn't care.

  3. Welcome to my world.

    The Electrohydrodynamics "fan" unit in the picture went to a demonstration at RAND Santa Monica in 1964. According to daughter Linda, who designed the stand/case for it, and who was there that day, she was directed to pack away the smaller demo models and take them back to the office at Guidance Technology, an Odlum/Atlas subsidiary. But this one, which Linda thought of as almost obsolete for its size and weak 'air moving' ability, never came home again.

    The "fans" all had names, by the way. The big dude was RAND for R&D, the next one was 'Sally' (a pun on a famous fan dancer's name) and the little one was Tiger.

    Regarding Bahnson...he was heard to say that "The Space Brothers" told him to find Townsend Brown. Linda thinks he was 'channeling' or in communion with ETs. I'm dubious. He does not use one single 'other' intelligence in his Sci-fi novel, No Stars too High. Every single thing in it, including the phenomenal UFO and the dissention it caused when it was seen was of human creation.

    BUT, the Dulles brothers were a powerhouse pair in Washington right then. And Townsend and the CIA had recently done State a favor in PROJECT AJAX. And Brother Alan pulled off a major intelligence coup when Ike gave the CIA responsibility for running Space Surveillance programs.

    "Space Brothers" indeed. Sounds like an inside joke to me.

  4. Interesting insider-type information. You should write up the stories you are citing and when possible add some documentation and post them somewhere on the internet and let the world know of all this. [regarding documentation, if none exists, well, OK, just say that and maybe others can chime in with supportive anecdotes]. That is the only way that I know of to raise the information from anonymous "believe-it-or-not" hearsay.

    Many people are interested in what you say. But no serious student of these things can get comfortable with this input in this form. We are intrigued, but I couldn't possibly put such a reference in a paper or book I was writing. I encourage you to make the effort to cast some light on such things; of course if you've already done so just tell us where we can read the more deeply constructed presentation... and thanks.

  5. Linda Brown has written a memoir. As her co-author, I used that vehicle to footnote my sources and that is published in ebook format, as The Good-Bye Man, available in all popular ebook forms from Smashwords:


  6. Oh, very good. Thanks for the source, and I'll double thank you for the other readers.

  7. Fascinating, thanks for publishing this.
    Is there reliable material about the relationship between Adamski's saucer and Brown's designs? Which did come first? What was the relationship between Brown and groups like Borderland Research in the period around the time that Adamski announced his contact? Is there hard information and documentation?
    Another aspect of this story is Leonard Cramp's extremely elaborate engineering designs for nuts-and-bolts antigravity vehicles based completely on Adamski's photos -- a British counterpart to Brown's work.

  8. Wow, this is a real head scratcher. Every time I get to the point where I feel that Jacques Vallee is right -- that the UFO phenom is too strange to be caused by just ET -- a story like this comes along and muddies everything up again. Nice work.

  9. Thank you, Professor.

    Anonymous, this Townsend Brown story has more snarls than a snake having a seizure. It touches upon so many topics and so many real life characters that it's like trying to keep 144 balls in the air at once.

    UFX, All I know is that, in Linda's recollection, there was much discussion that year of the Adamski report and her father asked a houseguest to make some enlarged sketches of the craft depicted in the book.

    As for Leonard Cramp, I would be very curious to know if he knew or worked with a gentleman known to Linda as Richard Hull. As a child she knew Mr. Hull to be the man in Washington, D.C., who crafted prototypes for her dad, both while he was at Bahnson Labs, and later, for the Flame Jet Generator. However, some correspondence turned up in the Gray Barker Archives that indicates that Hull also spent some time in England and was the author of the famous 1956 InterAlia report on anti-gravity research.

    Many of my blog entries relate to the Townsend mysteries and their offshoots, including Adamski. If you are interested, please stop by for a visit:


  10. Dear Professor,

    Very interesting series of posts. I've never quite figured out what TT Brown was all about; depending on the source he strikes me as either a con man, mad scientist, genius or some combination.

  11. Anonymous, If you are at all interested in research based on Townsend's work, a Citation search last year turned up several interesting papers. I dug out that list and posted it to my blog today.

  12. Rose, I see that (and I've seen a lot of documentation regarding Brown's work from a variety of sources), but despite that I still the varying impressions of the man.

    Look, for a man who *seems* to have been doing work that was classified we know an awful lot about the basics of that work. The patents are (for the most part) available and there are people building duplicates of his devices...yet nobody is reporting any breakthroughs. How did he manage to convince his backers to fund him repeatedly?

    The association with NICAP is puzzling; if this work he was doing was, in fact, classified, successful and full of potential then why UFO research?

    There are too many nagging inconsistencies in the story of TT Brown for me to believe it in its entirety.

    1. Dear Anonymous,perhaps the point is that YOU BELIEVE you know about Thomas Townsend Brown's scientific work, however I challenge you to explain the math principles surrounding his work around the violation of Coulomb's law and Dielectrics. When you say "We KNOW an awful lot about the basics"....yes.... well that is fine for the average scientific explanation of the IONIC WIND EFFECT, but what about the ENERGY TRANSFER formulas in Electro-hydrodynamics. Perhaps you are unaware of the impact that Thomas Townsend Browns work had in folding back Shannon's Laws for Communications, or that such work was used in satellite communications. I found the reference to the submarine cruise at JPL pasedena, and I'm here to tell you that Once Brown was cooperating with Beau Alva Kitselman, together they created a completely detailed scientific explanation which could make any physicist salivate for more, and there is a whole lot more still to be discovered.

      Tell us anonymous, is it possible that there is scientific knowledge which is classified so well that EVEN YOU are unaware of it.

      Peetee le Trickfox
      AKA: Raymond Lavas

  13. Anon, If you know the story, I hope you will tell it to me! I'm still researching, and am always thrilled when a new source comes to light.

    I have to apologize for a couple of typos in my previous comments: The 'fan' actually went to Rand in 1967, not 1964. I believe I gave the wrong Hull name....the man I want is Ed, and finally, I mentioned the InterAlia report he admitted to writing. That should have been the Inter Avia report.

  14. im confused about the last paragraph of the post (as usual the prof end his post with cliffhanger) , can you patent something thats unproven ? if so then one can patent a flying saucer without proving how he can make it work ?????

    1. Yes. You at different eras of the Patent Office could get a Patent on a theoretical principle --- they try not to do that now.

  15. How does one get permission to reproduce photographs of T.T. Brown for a book? It seems quite hard to get into contact with Linda Ann Brown - the best I could find was an email address of Linda@ttownsendbrown.com but it no longer works. If anyone knows, please send to sunriseinformationservices@yahoo.com.

  16. I want to know who the People are in that pic of five with Bob Friend standing in the middle. The guy sitting down with hands in pockets looks like My dad. He worked in black projects.....

    1. I'd like to tell you but I don't know at this late date where on the internet I got that photo. There is a second one out there wherein Friend and Hynek are in it, and I believe the same fellow that you're interested in is too. So whoever he is, he was considered by Hynek to be part of the Project Blue Book team, which would be centered at Wright-Patterson AFB in the early 1960s.

    2. Thanks. Not likely My dad then. He worked at Convair in San Diego. But... He WAS going out of town a lot, so I can't be sure. Wish He hadn't passed. I could ask Him. Ah well.



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