Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WANAQUE 1966: part two.


I don't believe that the experts have a lot to be proud of here, but I don't know the whole story, and should keep my opinions moderate.

The Air Force was in top form throughout. They didn't even investigate the case formally as far as I can tell. This did not stop various representatives from voicing their theories that the BOL sightings were planets seen under odd atmospheric situations [maybe some were but that three-arc passage on January 11th... Sheesh!], or helicopters, which didn't exist with strobe beams [which turned out also not to exist], to ECHO satellite spottings, which is so preposterous as to make one wish that you could make citizen arrests on military people for violations of brain function. Yep, the good ol' Air Force was in its prime.

This case was NICAP's. They were the only big UFO group which was properly placed geographically AND with responsible intelligent personnel. And, on the surface, it seems that they rolled into Wanaque in force. The big mystery to me is : WHERE is the full case information on this very complex series of incidents? It MIGHT be somewhere buried in files or lost, but I've not seen even good hints of it.

NICAP published its January/February 1966 UFO Investigator with a two-column write-up of the investigation. The illustration above was its lone picture. Here are some of the highlights:

1]. NICAP taped the first witness, Howard Ball, newspaperman, who saw the thing in the north about 6:20pm. Well, that's good. Very little content was revealed, but Ball's statement that the thing moved away from him to the NNW is the wrong way for the rest of the scenario. No concern about this is mentioned.
2]. Next it's reported that the thing is south at the dam. I'd have wondered about that, but NICAP did not seem to be bothered. The fact that the FATE Magazine article writers seem to have gotten the sequence correct indicates to me that it was POSSIBLE to string these observations together. NICAP allegedly had something like SEVEN people there.
3]. Officer Dyckman was apparently interviewed [by Katchen and Paz?] and this too is good. Some quoting of him is made. Were the other officers interviewed?? They certainly were a cooperative friendly bunch to everyone who asked.
4]. The bogus rumors of a beam burning a hole in the ice was debunked [Standing applause on that] by interviewing engineer Fred Stein [this fellow is called Steines and Stennes also in print, so who knows what his name is].
5]. It is simply stated that officer Theodora saw the thing blinking on and off in the am hours and head off north --- other sources said west into the mountains. Was this an interview?
6]. January 12th evening Wardlaw and Cisco [actually Sisco, they got the two guys mixed up] are stated as seeing a disk which maneuvered faster than a jet. NICAP language seemed straining a bit to maximize "strangeness".
7]. No further comment was made about reports from the 13th, 14th, 19th, nor any civilians whatever. I'm not at all "happy" with the effort here.

Well, SOMETHING at least was done, fragmented as it was. There has to be a reason for this: too busy, bigger fish to fry, not "strange" enough --- who knows? No mention of this occurs in other NICAP publications, and Dick Hall doesn't think enough of the case to put it in his UFO Evidence Two. ... Sigh.

Well, in consolation, everyone else was worse. Hayden Hewes was next to publish about the case in his Interplanetary Intelligence Report of March 1966. He was quick because Augie Roberts was on his board of experts. THAT of course spells immediate doom and the half=page report has exaggerated enthusiasms. Several Hundreds of people saw the thing , for example. Augie Roberts contributed the photo above for Hewes, claiming to have camped out several days and finally snapped this on January 22nd. You be the judge as to how impressed you are with this streak of light on a photo filled with streaks of light. Roberts claims to have interviewed a person not named anywhere else, Tom Garrison, who saw the thing come down to treetop level, dimming and brightening. If that last is true, it adds something.

FLYING SAUCER REVIEW was next with its April 1966 issue. In its World UFO Roundup pages, a fellow from Florida sent the newsclipping from the Newark Evening News of January 12th, and FSR transcribed it. This clipping could actually have been written by one of the witnesses as two different newsmen from east of Wanaque supposedly had observations. The information in this news story seems pretty good, so that FSR didn't misinform its readers much. However, the "bolt of light" directed out of the object towards the water is repeated. {I am going through these "references" because they are opening my eyes a bit as to how the UFO community's newsletters themselves embed bad information which will then stick in people's heads. In this case, unless you read, and believe, the NICAP work, you will come away thinking that this BOL beamed energy at the reservoir and burnt a hole in the ice. THAT, in turn might build up in your mind some odd theories about BOLs or UFOs.}.

APRO followed in its May/June BULLETIN with a column=length report. This case was WAY out of APRO's territory and they probably should have just left it alone. Working it seems entirely from newsclippings, they put forward some accurate information, then restate the bogus "bolt-of-light" comment which Stein/Steines/Stennes refuted, and claimed wild maneuvering at the dam for two-and-a-half hours.

Lastly, the main clown of UFOlogy, James Moseley, decided to cover the incidents in his June 1966 version of Saucer News. This was about a page and a half. Stating that he himself lived only twenty miles away [something which, I guess, authorizes his opinion], he says that he led an investigation of these matters with Augie Roberts, Timothy Green Beckley, and two other members of his staff, The writeup is mainly from newsclippings but, if you can trust it, does mention a few interesting things.

1]. It perpetuates the allusion that the thing produced a hole in the ice [negative points for that];
2]. It knows that Officer Cisco's wife saw the thing in the daytime, despite misspelling her name;
3]. It knows about the CBRangers' "fat cigar" case, with radio e-m effects--- missed by NICAP;
4]. It knows about Wallach's case, though it doesn't quite get it right [also missed by NICAP];
5]. They seem to have actually interviewed David Sisco, who wondered about draining water;
6]. It knew of a later March case where the Mother Superior of the local convent spotted the thing;
7]. And of course it took a shot at NICAP, Don Berliner, and the Air Force.

This COULD have added something to the case if any of the civilian observers had been really interviewed and those findings written up. But no way --- hard field work and analysis is no fun. As usual, there is no depth whatever in anything Moseley did.

The final "contribution" of the external UFO community at this time was an extensive article written for [maybe] the New York Daily News [his employer] but available to the UFO community via one of DELL's Flying Saucers: UFO Reports [#2]. The author's name: Joseph Goodavage. Some of you might recognize that. I will try not to let it prejudice me.

Goodavage goes to Wanaque early on with an assignment from his newspaper. He finds the local Reservoir Police extraordinarily friendly and cooperative, even staying over at one's home. On the evening of the 13th, Joe Cisco takes him out on the perimeter road to a "private" type viewing area. It's 10pm and cold. Cisco stays in the car, but Goodavage braves it out. Then:

"... something hanging in the sky, its light flashing bright and dim in rapid sequence. It first moved with a lazy pendulum-like action, then spurted at breath-taking speeds for short distances. Every few seconds it made completely impossible 'angular' turns. Once, it shot vertically upward, came to an incredible dead stop, then spiraled downward until it came to rest --- seeming on top of some trees between two small mountains. I estimated its distance at about two miles. ... Then it fluttered-wobbled slowly off toward the west".

This description, if one assumes that the mad gyrations were of somewhat short distances, is quite in keeping with other reports and may in fact be a good one. The object, by the way, seems to have been simply a bright white BOL. Goodavage was hoping to see more detail than this and employed the trick of looking slightly to the side of the BOL when it hovered. He thought that he might be seeing discrete portholes. We should not value this limits-of-vision remark too highly however. Then, sudden vanishment.

At the moment of disappearance, Goodavage had three "impressions", which each of us can take as internally or externally caused.
1). He felt a prickling sensation all over his body, as if hair was rising on hands, legs, head, and torso;
2). He felt that some pressure was pressing on him all around;
3). and after a few steps toward the squad car: a crackling whining electric motor sound all around, seeming to come from overhead.

Officer Cisco felt nor heard any of this.

He says quite a few other things, about other possible reports by witnesses, but his own experience is the dramatic element of the piece. He speaks of another newsman who is sold on the beam and hole-in-ice element, and seems to credit the story himself. He speaks of witnessing with other locals a distant red BOL. He speaks of another case of a flickering BOL which just goes out. [seen by him and two of the police]. He talks about the Wallach case, getting his name right and a more detailed story. Peculiarly he names Don Berliner as a guy who came along shortly after the event and suggested testing the stopped car to the police. Now, if Don knew of the Wallach case, why in the Hell is it not in the NICAP newsletter report?? Something messed this up at NICAP HQ. Goodavage shows his feet-of-clay by publishing the picture above as a picture of the thing, when any mildly educated sciency person recognizes it instantly as a galaxy. [ I've taped the reader's "hey you got fooled" letter about this on the top of the picture as you see]. Pretty embarrassing. He also accepts a pretty nearly preposterous statement by an acquaintance who claims to be friends with CIA director Allen Dulles, who just happened to sloppily inform him that the CIA was setting up a special UFO study unit. Yep. Dulles. Very wide-between-the-teeth type of guy.

I take two things away from Goodavage's article:
A). He made a honest effort to get information on the events, and proved that the local police were beyond cooperative so as to allow him to do so;
B). His own case is interesting and probably legit. We would need an interview with Joe Cisco to nail that down. The strange element in his sighting is however up for debate. Not only does it honestly bring up subjectivity, but there is another small reason, for me, to doubt it.

Goodavage was one of "us" folks in a very recognizable way: he loved all manner of anomalies and "forbidden mysteries". When he wasn't wasting his time on conventional astrology [whoops, I said I'd try NOT to downplay his good sense by going there --- so apologies], he flirted rather heavily with the effects of magnetic fields on the human nervous system, once volunteering for some rather high intensity exposures. These interests led him to the work of Michael Persinger, and Persinger's theories that you can explain essentially any anomalous report, honestly made, by the brain of the reporters being zig-zagged by fluctuating magnetic fields. I'll go no further into Persinger's claims. They are precisely like Menzel's. They might just explain an occasional odd report, but generally they miss the mark by miles.

Rather, what I think is at least a little interesting is that Goodavage wrote the above book, all about Solar Storms altering the ionosphere and affecting central nervous systems. This, in its way, is precisely in the wheelhouse of his own Wanaque experience. In fact the alleged CIA-knowing buddy told him that electromagnetic fields from the UFO were exactly what caused his three "impressions". Well, maybe [if so the UFO went invisible and right over his head]. But here's why I regard this weakly: I don't think that Goodavage believed it himself. Here was this book, screaming for him to mention his own form-fitting experience, and ... nothing. No mention at all.

Perhaps that's too much surmise on my part, but I'm going to take his case only so far.

That's enough for part two.

If you're wondering what the above picture is, too bad. I know and I'm not tellin'. Why should I have to do all the work anyway...

Hint: it's completely meaningless.

Was Wanaque??

Till next time, when things begin to get more interesting. [how's that for a teaser?]


  1. It should be noted, for what it's worth in the chronology, that Dell's "Flying Saucers UFO Reports" No. 2, in which Joseph Goodavage's Wanaque article appears, was printed in the spring of 1967, not 1966 (and Dell's Issue No. 1 of their UFO series dates to the first quarter of 1967--there were four issues in 1967), so it wasn't part of the immediate reportage at the time of any of the prominent Wanaque sightings throughout 1966, even though Goodavage's article in issue No. 2 is based on his visit to Wanaque within a day or two after the Jan 11 1966 sightings. In his article, he dates his Wanaque sighting to Jan 13 1966, about 10 pm. As The Professor says above though, since Goodavage was employed at the time by the New York Daily News, maybe his article first appeared in that newspaper, and was reprinted by Dell more than a year later, but I've looked for archives of the New York Daily News online, and haven't found any earlier than 2007, other than the occasional page from other issues of the newspaper that someone has scanned and posted. But it would surprise me, if Goodavage wrote his article shortly after visiting Wanaque in January 1966, that he would wait more than a year to publish it, or that it would take more than a year to find a publisher for it, given the widespread excitement about the Wanaque sightings during 1966. So maybe someone can track down copies of the New York Daily News for January 1966, and for a few months afterwards if Goodavage's article doesn't appear in the paper during January 1966.

    Also for what it's worth, issue 2 of Dell's "Flying Saucers UFO Reports" is mistakenly identified in many articles online as being the first mass periodical in which the Wanaque "light beam UFO" photos were printed. The source of this mistake seems to be an article by Berthold E. Schwarz in Flying Saucer Review, 1972, Vol. 18, No. 4, p. 17 (at, in which this incorrect Dell issue number is reported in a footnote to Schwarz's article. The photos actually first appeared in one of Dell's later issues in this 1967 UFO series (No. 3, I think) in a short article titled "How It Was At Wanaque". The only photos from this second article that I've found online are the semi-famous ones of Elaine Conroy holding the issue open to its two-page photo spread--all the other, better photos of the "light beam UFO" that one sees online, are of the single photo supposedly taken at a different time elsewhere (supposedly in Pennsylvania in 1961, but there's some dispute about that), which appears to faintly show some lines of snow on the hills behind the object, and lights on the shore of the reservoir, and in the uncropped versions, a circular blob of light on the right side of the frame. I haven't found any scans online (or even the text alone) of the two Wanaque articles in Dell's 1967 issues 2 and 3, except for the non-UFO photos of the witnesses, etc. from issue 2's article. I recently bought copies of Dell's "Flying Saucers UFO Reports" issues 2, 3, and 4 because I became curious about the discrepancies in online articles about where the photos first appeared, but so far I've received only issue 2, which is why I'm not completely certain that issue 3 is the one with the two-page spread of the light beam UFO, but the article's title "How It Was At Wanaque" appears in a list of article titles for issue 3 that I found at a bookseller's website from which I ordered issues 3 and 4. Some articles say the light beam UFO photos (also?) appeared in TRUE magazine's competing 1967 publication, "The TRUE Report on Flying Saucers" (their first of several yearly UFO-related issues), but I've seen no real evidence of that, though of course the way to find out is to just buy a copy and have a look--all these magazines are still available from eBay, Amazon, etc., so I may do that too.

    1. My opinion only: the infamous lightbeam photos are probably an Augie Roberts hoax. He claims that he got these things from someone else but would not name nor describe anything about them. In my opinion Roberts was one of the least dependable "idiots" in UFO history, ruining everything he touched and not caring. Some of his closest confederates were exactly the same.

      Also, I paged through TRUE a couple of times and it was a waste of time... nothing there. Roberts and Wendell Stevens tell the tale of Roberts coming onto the photos in the back of their book on UFO photographs --- Stevens being another character with a very loose relationship to anything truthful. UFO research at its finest.



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