Saturday, March 2, 2013

WANAQUE, part four

Yes. A great conundrum.

The unexpected thing to me is that both of these "entities" were playing their roles, symbols of the division occurring in UFOlogy, and setting a background for cases such as the Wanaque Mystery. In this mainly BOL situation, somehow all this stuff was becoming entangled, and it probably shouldn't have. Wanaque was a case which, like all incidents, should have simply and competently been researched. But it was seemingly not "technological" enough for the NICAPs and Condons, and not weird enough for the Keels. More thoughtful consideration of these BOL manifestations, for this writer, would probably have shown both divisions to be wrong.

Onwards... The EXPERTS, Again, Speak:

a). APRO was first this time in their September/October 1966 Bulletin. Again working from newsclippings, they compared Wanaque 2.0 to a sighting in Kanabee, SD, and went on to present Officer Thompson's sighting. Getting most of this minimally correct, they then said that the object had stirred up brush and water, which I believe he did not say. There was also a slightly garbled notice of the Zick siting of October 16th. This presentation probably was harmless in the quest for truth;

b). NICAP followed in the UFO INVESTIGATOR of October/November 1966 with about two-thirds of a page. Relying, thankfully, heavily on John Pagano's interview transcript, they got this one correct and in pretty good "tone" as well. They DID claim "Many" reports without much to support that. Another NICAP member seems to have investigated a case from October 12th by a group of teenagers saying that they had witnessed a mushroom-shaped UFO going up and over a hill.

c). Moseley waited until the Spring of 1967 to put out two pages in SAUCER News. Giving NICAP no credit [of course], Thompson's sighting was presented in some detail. Moseley claims that his information came via a phone interview, so maybe that's why he could ignore the better source. A comment from the Pentagon was quoted as to their having no report and therefore nothing to say. Moseley then shifted to a "monster" sighting in another New Jersey town, obviously with intent of weaving the two together. He and Keel investigated this one personally. Moseley says: the boys story "rang with evident sincerity". Well, you decide. Moseley then characterized Wanaque after the Thompson sighting as an area of "virtual hysteria" over-run by thrill-seekers. This seems more to characterize January than October, but it makes better drama. He then presented three other claims from elsewhere in New Jersey and later in time. He did characterize the obvious hoax as a hoax to his credit.

d). Meanwhile the Air Force was in full goofball mode. There seems to have been no investigation at least as to anything documented. This might not be true due to the incompetence in the attitude at Blue Book at that moment. One would think that with the embarrassment of Swamp Gas and its resultant political problems ringing in their ears that they would have shown some urgency. But to my eye, nothing. Blue Book seems to have gone into Duck-and-Cover mode. Colonel Quintanilla knew that Colorado was starting ---he was about to head out there for an Air Force consultancy--- and he probably realized that the end of Blue Book was in sight. All he had to do was survive the next year or two without much pot-stirring and he was free of this dammed job forever.

 In this particular case, there may be some evidence for this wayward incompetence in the microfilmed record. The only geographical designator for October 1966 which comes close to addressing Wanaque is the file for Hazlet, NJ. What's in there for Hazlet is not at all interesting for our current incident. But what IS in there speaks to "attitude". The Hazlet file is WAY over 100 pages thick. Why? Because several unrelated things are just sloppily stuffed in there having nothing to do with any Hazlet case, nor anything else from even New Jersey. This is the behavior of a crew who doesn't anymore give a damm. So, maybe elsewhere, misfiled, are documents related to Wanaque.

Someone else can find them.

What they might have found if anyone really tried:

A: Split Rock Pond. October 16th, 1966.

SITU consultant and Ivan Sanderson friend, Berthold Schwarz,  had written an article for Medical Times, October 1968, entitled "UFOs: Delusions or Dilemma". Schwarz was, naturally for him, very sympathetic to the possibility that the UFO phenomenon was concretely real. Whenever a sympathetic man gets up on a stage about one of the forbidden mysteries, he becomes an attractive front door for witnesses to walk through and tell their stories {John Timmerman was the Ultimate Storefront Door for relaxing witnesses}.

One of the cases that Schwarz used in the piece was a report that had come to him by being such an open door. The witness had told the case to a mutual friend and agreed to see Schwarz about it. Without this "sympathetic aura" the UFO community would probably never heard of this case.

This fellow was a young forester taking the day off camping and fishing on Split Rock Reservoir, slightly south and west of Wanaque. He had packed up and was driving home at about 5am. He noticed a bright glow out the back of his rear window. He stopped the car and stuck his head out to look. Here's what he saw:

Stunned for a moment, he just stared at the glowing discoidal object with what seemed to be a dome at its top. The thing hung in the air at about 15' or 20' high ["treetop"] and was 25 or 30' wide, and a little shorter than wide. [The above is a rapid sketch]. It was silent.

As he began to clear his head and get out of there, his car malfunctioned. Power seemed to drain away. Headlights... dashboard... engine. Now the object was directly overhead. He rolled up the window, locked the doors "and hoped". When the thing was a little behind or off to the side, his car would function and he beat it out of there. His cue for trying the engine was when his lights came back on. Driving all the way to Charlottesburg Road, the thing stayed with him. He got home, the ground glowing all around him still, but didn't look up as he ran to the house.

Later, the thing gone, he got back into his car and drove to his supervisor's  home [the mutual Schwarz friend] and told the tale. Police were told and went out to the site. Nothing was there of evidentiary nature. Some odd things later took place regarding the engine of his car, which ultimately "exploded" and had to be replaced. The witness was a former race car driver and this weird occurrence completely mystified him.

Shortly after the incident, the witness felt that he was becoming ill. By three months time, he was admitted to Montclair Community Hospital suffering from fatigue, anorexia, soreness and weakness of muscles, drowsiness, chills, and 35 pound weight loss. This syndrome rose for three days or so each month from October to January then retreated for a while until cycling up again. Whether this condition had to do directly with the UFO, or was the product of PTSD, or an allergy [there is some reason to credit this], we don't know. The local physician diagnosed this as "the flu", probably the least likely of the hypotheses. Schwarz did a series of blood tests and found nothing out of line. I'm betting on the allergy and/or PTSD. The witness ultimately made a full recovery. Schwarz remained puzzled as he felt that no theory easily handled the symptoms and their cyclical nature.

Schwarz was a medical advisor for NICAP at the time, and so they knew of it. Ted Bloecher asked him for permission to publish it in UFOs: A New Look [which featured the growing phenomenon of closer encounters] and it appears there faithfully rendered. Dick Hall viewed this as the only Wanaque case deserving inclusion in his UFO Evidence, Two. 

And where was the Air Force?  Or Colorado? 

OCTOBER 17th, 1966: This case is odd in that it was reported twice to NICAP by one of the witnesses who obviously was not about to give up on her interest in UFOs and her own sighting. The event took place on Westbrook Road just about where the words "Wanaque Reservoir" are on the map above.

This lady and her friend and her friend's teenage son were driving down Westbrook road with the intent of watching for the Wanaque BOL, which was hopefully still about despite no public sightings for a few days. They parked. Some woman came up and said: "It's coming down Westbrook Road!". They drove in that direction; and the UFO ended up nearly directly over their heads.

The thing looked like it was standing still, white lights ringing around the edge and one red and one green flashing light on the bottom. It was said to be like a walnut held at arm's length in apparent size. The surface was described as shiny. It was silent. The UFO stood there for about a minute and then moved off behind cedar trees which lined the road.

The witnesses then moved back towards their original spot where many people had gathered. There were claims by others to have seen it from Stonetown Road, which intersects with Westbrook. The local radio said nothing about the event the next day, despite getting many phonecalls. It is likely that the radio stations were being asked by the police to not publish these things anymore due to traffic hazards on certain concentrated "Observation points" on the reservoir.

October 21st, 1966.

It's possible that while John Pagano was in Wanaque interviewing Thompson, he left behind information to be contacted if other cases arose, and, when one did, he was. However it happened, he got a letter from a witness, describing a "late" case of the 21st.

The letter is brief and unfortunately not followed up.

The witness was driving home from her evening job at 11:10pm. She was headed for West Milford on a long secluded road owned by the watershed authority. She was the only person on the road.

She noticed a bright white light in the sky to her right. As it approached, she could see that it was a small object, about the diameter of a clock which might be mounted in a school corridor. She slowed down. The thing then began to make circles around her car [at some distance, not right up close, but still obviously circling her]. She put on a little more speed, but the object kept circling her. Getting close to her home, she now gunned it, and the object rose far up into the air. It still circled as she drove into her driveway and cruised away towards the lake. Her husband was able to see it hovering out there. Then, they heard the sounds of jets, and the object disappeared. Neighbors confirmed this latter part of the story.

This case is a version of the fairly well-known BOL-Stalker cases, which, due to their seeming "interest" are plenty high strangeness to me. Back then? Apparently not so much.

KEELNESS: All these sorts of things were apparently working John Keel into a froth. 

Next time I'll try to squeeze him into the story ... and Ed Condon...

Yeh... and those guys.


  1. On 26 July 2007, 8:12 PM I captured a picture of giant white colored bat like creature from my garden which appeared between the tree and the position where I was standing. It hung in the air about 20 meters from the ground, probably a few meters higher than the top of the tree.
    The creature’s size about 6-8 meters wide (when its wings were open). the body trunk approximately 1.7-2 meters tall. It looks it’s body’s scale is longer than the bat from earth. Eye, limbs and membranes can be seen in the photo. It floated upside down, so the head was facing me. No ears and mouth were visible, instead it had a pipe-like long nose stretch out crookedly. the neck was same size with body and head......

  2. I was browsing UFO sites there seems to be an awful lot of talk lately late night radio history channel . I lived on overlook rd Morse Lake in 1966 we just got married we rented a house there .we were just18 then so we didn't take it seriously .at around 11:00 pm one night in 66 I don't remember the month we were in bed and the whole back yard lit up like a ball park before they had ballpark lights,there were trees in the yard but no shadows just like daylight. We stuck our heads out the window looked up there was an object the size of a car hovering no noise no lights shining down .We didn't take it seriously we put our heads back in laughed and said that must be thatUFO there talking about at the reservoir to this day I wish I would have taken it more serious it seems I'm the only one that seen away from the reservoir I don't think a picture would come out not that we even thought of taking any it hovered about 100feet and was a dark object no noise just there RWP

  3. I just saw a bright orange object coming from route 23 in butler(above my head) moving toward the Wanaque reservoir. Completely silent! As soon as it got to about where the reservoir is, it stopped and started to hover. I say about to where the reservoir is because from Butler its impossible to see the reservoir due to the tree line and distance. I only know it was the reservoir because i looked up the approximate location using google earth. I called others to come observe the object. It then began to come back toward me and suddenly made a 180 degree tight turn back to the area it was hovering in. It did this 3-4 more times. Think of a car on a race track. It then hovered again and dipped below the tree line. Occurred Oct 17th at 10:15PM! I will not be reporting this anywhere else. It was so incredible and I know someone else must have seen it. 3 witnesses!



Blog Archive