Monday, August 5, 2013

Before the Great Debate: My Review of "The Aztec Incident"

The time of the Great Debate Approaches! On Thursday, August 8, 2013 I will debate the self-styled "Flying Saucer Physicist" Stanton T. Friedman, who has been a major UFO proponent for almost 50 years. The debate is sponsored by Third Phase of the Moon (a well-known UFO advocacy site, the leading UFO channel on YouTube), and carried by the Revolution Radio Network. The time is 5:00 PM Pacific Time (8:00 PM Eastern Time). To listen, go to and click directly on the unlabeled "play" icon for Studio A on the left. At some point the host will open up phone lines for questions. When that happens, the call in number is 818-923-1713.
Stanton Friedman

One of the subjects sure to come up in the debate is the supposed "Aztec, New Mexico UFO Crash" of March 25, 1948, "eight months after Roswell." Long considered a hoax by the great majority of UFOlogists, a new book The Aztec Incident by Scott and Suzanne Ramsey now has Friedman being very impressed by the so-called "evidence." He wrote a Foreward to the book, in which he apologized for his earlier skepticism about the case. Friedman said:
This is a very important book setting new standards for investigation, persistence, and the casting of a very wide net to locate witnesses. There will certainly be shrieks of distress from both noisy negativists and pro-UFO types who have been unwilling to maintain the Aztec story in their "gray basket." It is not gray anymore. It proves there were more than a few crashes.
 In the November/December 2012 issue of The Skeptical Inquirer, I wrote a very detailed critique of the Ramseys' new book. I want listeners to the debate to be able to read that review, so they can see for themselves what a loopy tale it is that Friedman now endorses:

from The Skeptical Inquirer, November/December, 2012. Revised August 5, 2013
  Aztec Saucer Crash Story Rises from the Dead?
The Aztec Incident by Scott and Suzanne Ramsey
Dr. Frank Thayer and Frank Warren, researchers.
Foreword by Stanton Friedman
(Mooresville, NC: Aztec.48 Productions, 2012. 221 pp, $24.95)

    The famous Roswell Saucer Crash claim was born, and died, in the span of about a twenty-four hour newspaper cycle in July of 1947. The story was dead and forgotten for about thirty years, even among those few who believed in saucer crashes, until brought back to life by the book The Roswell Incident by Charles Berlitz and William Moore. Since then, the Roswell story has reached Critical Mass, and thus will never again be forgotten or ignored, no matter what the facts about the case have been shown to be.
    A second saucer crash is supposed to have occurred in New Mexico, at Aztec, in 1948. The source of that story was the 1950 book Behind the Flying Saucers by Variety columnist Frank Scully. That claim had a somewhat longer run, until 1952. That was when San Francisco journalist J.P. Cahn convinced the editor of True magazine that the Scully saucer crash story was either the greatest event of modern times, or the greatest hoax. The editor agreed, and the result was a long investigation culminating in two lengthy and devastating articles in True. Cahn proved that Scully’s sources, Silas Newton and Leo Gebauer, were con men who made a living swindling people by claiming to have devices for finding oil and minerals in the ground.
    In fact, so successful was Cahn’s demolition of the Newton/Gebauer story, that claims of  “saucer crashes” were ignored until at least the mid 1970s. In 1987, UFO researcher William Steinman published UFO Crash at Aztec, trying to legitimize that claim. It got very little “respect” - even Stanton Friedman didn’t buy it (for which Friedman here apologizes, blaming his earlier rejection of it on absurd statements made by Steinman’s co-author, the late Wendelle Stevens). In 1998, the first annual UFO Conference was held to benefit the Aztec Public Library. The last one was held in 2011; there wasn’t enough interest to continue. The Aztec crash seemed to be a hoax, and that was the end of the story.
    Not so fast! say Scott and Suzanne Ramsey. Having spent over $500,000 of their own money over a period of 25 years, traveled to 27 states and collected over 55,000 documents, the Ramseys claim that there are first and (mostly) second-hand witnesses to the crash retrieval operation, and that the honest and successful oilman Silas Newton was pretty much framed by J.P. Cahn, to discredit the crash story, and especially to discredit Frank Scully.
    “Eight months after Roswell,” on March 25 1948, some oil workers went out to battle a supposed brush fire near a company site, and supposedly discovered instead that “a very large metallic lens-shaped craft sat silently atop the mesa.” They found that there were at least two dead bodies inside it, beings that were small but otherwise entirely human. Soon there was a military helicopter hovering overhead, and soldiers arriving. Eventually there were up to 200 persons involved in the recovery effort that lasted two weeks, a few miles outside this town of a few thousand people. However, no word leaked out to the local press or community leaders, probably because, as one man explained, “we were threatened with our lives if we ever spoke out about this.”  
    One of the government scientists who supposedly studied the crashed saucer was a mysterious “Doctor Gee” (obviously Gebauer despite his and others’ denial), who let his friend, oilman Silas Newton, in on the secret as they were driving around trying out a magnetic device for detecting “microwaves” supposedly emitted by oil in the ground. Dr. Gee claimed to be a “master of magnetic energy,” and to have worked on a device called a magnetron that “knocked out as many as 17 Japanese submarines in one day.” The saucers, according to Newton, probably originate on Venus, and use “magnetic” propulsion, traveling along “Magnetic Lines of Force which originate in the sun and revolve around their planets and their moons, keeping the universe in magnetic balance.” The Ramseys don’t seem to realize that these statements are pseudoscientific gibberish.
    For some reason, the magnetic prospectors drove directly to Frank Scully’s house in Hollywood (Newton also lived in Hollywood, and had been in contact with Scully), where they regaled him with tales about saucers, including the one that crashed in Aztec.
The book that started the Aztec Crash story
    Newton, according to the Ramseys, has gotten a bum rap from Cahn. His supposedly “questionable” business deals were “nothing new, as the oil business always has a high level of risk… Newton’s investors were, in the main, all quite happy, as court records show.” (Of course, con men like Newton typically use money from new “investors” to pay off earlier “investors” who threaten to complain to the law.) When Scully refused Cahn’s fervent offer to buy the whole story for the San Francisco Chronicle, say the authors, Cahn set out to destroy the Aztec crash story, and also Newton, Gebauer, and Scully. The authors claim that Cahn’s accusations made to the FBI “resulted in the malicious prosecution of Newton and his friend Leo Gebauer – a prosecution based in envy and a relentless vendetta.”
The FBI, however, takes a different view. Official government records at contain “the FBI’s investigations into Newton’s fraudulent activities between 1951 and 1970.” According to the FBI, “Silas Newton (1887-1972) was a wealthy oil producer and con-man who claimed that he had a gadget that could detect minerals and oil.” Newton’s first arrest was as far back as 1931, with many more arrests following. In 1970 Newton pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to illegal securities sales (but was allowed to withdraw that plea after making restitution to the investor), and was also under investigation for an alleged mining fraud in New Mexico, two years before his death at age 85. And the Ramseys state, “the FBI is still withholding over 211 pages concerning Silas Newton.” Would you buy a used saucer from that man? (By comparison, so far as I am aware J.P. Cahn has never been in trouble with the law.)

In Frank Scully’s Private and Confidential Memo on J.P. Cahn, dated June 15, 1952, and forwarded to the attorney for Newton, some inflammatory accusations were made. Scully claimed that Cahn was “trying out blackmail on me, for size… he even confessed that he had gone in for some larceny to strengthen his case…. He proved himself a louse in the blouse of journalism, a dangerous man.”
However, this Memo was almost certainly dictated by Scully under the direction of his attorney. Thus it must be read not as “here is what happened,” but instead “here is what we’ll say in court, if the matter lands there.” It cannot be taken as unbiased fact. The next time you are in a courtroom, note that while witnesses are placed under oath, the attorneys never are, and thus are under no real obligation to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
I knew Cahn during the 1980s and 90s. I can agree that he had a brash and self-promoting personality, and I can well imagine the verbal battles between the caged combatants Cahn and Frank and Alice Scully as they made the slow drive from Los Angeles to Palomar Mountain to see George Adamski. (The Scullys were Adamski supporters). Cahn wanted Scully to admit that he had been duped, and write an article admitting it. “The fact is, Frank, the information you accepted and passed on to your readers in good faith is not what you were led to believe it was. Gebauer is not one of the nation’s ‘top scientists’”.  Cahn was urging Scully to protect his reputation and admit he had been hoaxed. But in Behind the Flying Saucers we find Scully surprisingly unconcerned about his reputation: “It is generally believed that to be any party to a hoax spells ruin, once the hoax is exposed. Nothing is further from the facts.” Scully remarks that he formerly wrote for the sensationalist New York Sun, which expired with great “notoriety,” about which he seems rather proud. Read all of Behind the Flying Saucers (available as a free E-book from and you will realize the obvious: Scully was a “true believer” in flying saucers, as well as a dedicated follower of Charles Fort, and probably no evidence to the contrary would ever change his mind.

Was Cahn motivated by “envy and a relentless vendetta?” I absolutely do not think so. I always felt the suspicion that old Jape was fond of Scully and went too easy on him.  Cahn always emphasized that Scully was not himself a hoaxer, but had been hoaxed. My web page contains a lot of in-depth information on the Scully controversy, including what is probably the only recording of J. P. Cahn discussing his investigations. The Ramseys have misrepresented Cahn’s feelings about Scully. Cahn told the Bay Area Skeptics “Frank [Scully] turned out to be an absolutely super guy.” (part 1 about 8:15), “And he was outraged, absolutely outraged, that I would question this” crashed saucer story. An honest man telling a hard-to-believe tale expects to meet with incredulity, but a scoundrel is outraged at encountering reasonable doubt.

Whether or not you agree with the authors’ conclusions, you have to admire their zeal for investigation. This is one of the best-documented UFO books I have ever seen. There are documents from the FBI archives, Air Force archive documents, news clippings, and most important, the documents from the Frank Scully Collection at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming (that no researcher previously realized existed!). They even found a transcript of the interview of Denver radio ad salesman George Koehler, an associate of Newton, by two Air Force Office of Special Investigations men, a recording that Scully boasts of having erased to thwart those he calls the “Pentagonians.” In 1950, the Air Force was clearly still concerned that flying saucers might represent something real, and wanted to find out.

Regardless of what flaws might or might not have existed in the characters of Newton, Gebauer, Cahn, and Scully, many problems remain: there is no physical or documentary evidence of any extraordinary object landing near Aztec in 1948; the “scientific” theories expounded by Newton and Gebauer are pseudoscientific claptrap (no real scientists were the source of this information, thus Gebauer is lying about working as a top government scientist); and Newton’s claim to operate an electronic device he would carry around the desert to locate oil and minerals was likewise fraudulent, because such devices do not exist. Anyone who wants to rehabilitate the claims of a saucer crash at Aztec needs to explain why we should believe obvious liars like Newton and Gebauer before worrying about who squabbled with whom over publication rights.

It's interesting to note that I'm not the only one writing a critical review of this book  UFO proponents Kevin Randle and Jerome Clark have each written their own reviews of that book, and while the three of us might agree on little else, all three reviews agree that The Aztec Incident: Recovery at Hart Canyon is not credible or convincing. What's amazing is that there is virtually no overlap in the approaches taken in the three reviews. Three entirely separate lines of investigation lead three very different UFO theorists to the same conclusion. We should also note that Frank Warren, credited as a researcher on the book's cover, also expresses serious reservations about the authors' conclusions. Practically the only well-known UFOlogist who takes The Aztec Incident seriously is Stanton Friedman. (I'm sure that, in the debate, he will trot out one or two others.)

Monte Shriver grew up in Aztec, NM, moving there in 1947, and graduating from Aztec High School in 1952. His mother lived in Aztec until her death in 2006. He has written a long, three-part article on Kevin Randle's Blog demonstrating problems with the "saucer crash" claims in the Steinman and Ramsey books. Despite the claims of military retrievals, harassment, surveillance, roads closed, etc., not one of the local residents ever mentioned anything about a supposed "saucer crash" in Hart Canyon (where Shriver went camping as a Boy Scout). Had there been anything out of the ordinary going on in a town as small as that, it would have been the main topic of conversation for years! He cites local history references to demonstrate many errors concerning roads, rivers, mountains,  etc. in both saucer books.


  1. I believe that STF has painted himself into the corner. Didn't one of the MJ-12 documents mention Aztec a real alien spaceship crash (I haven't looked at this for a long time)? If so, he has to support it otherwise he walks into a contradiction. He will champion this case because MJ-12 says it is so. If not, he is stating that MJ-12 was a hoax.

    I look forward to the debate although I expect a lot of "waffling" from STF and attempts to shift the burden onto the skeptics.

  2. Tim, I believe that STF has already waffled on MJ-12. He has said that he believes at least 3 of the MJ-12 documents are authentic: "Clearly, if the original documents-the Eisenhower Briefing Document (EBD) of November 18,1952, the Truman-Forrestal memo (TFM) of September 24, 1947 (page 8 of the EBD), and the Cutler-Twining memo (CTM) of July 14, 1954 (found in July 1985, in Box 189 of Entry 267 of Record Group 341 at the National Archives by Jaime Shandera and William Moore)-are genuine, then the consequences are enormous."

    I don't know if these say anything about Aztec. If they do, then he has another source!

    1. I looked it over again. The briefing document describes a second crash but it is the one near the Texas-Mexico Border in 1950.

  3. I'm just in shock from reading the authors spent half a million dollars researching this book. Half a million dollars. Sadly, this is all they have to show for it, nothing impressive. A big pile of poor evidence doesn't add up to one shred of proof.

    1. It sounds like they could afford it. It was probably more of a fun, albeit somewhat costly, hobby. Perhaps some of the research funds should have gone to a class on critical thinking before writing a silly book about their adventures.

  4. ================================

    Third Phase of the Moon


    ROBERT "Myth Crusher" SHEAFFER

    RINGSIDE Info:
    Free Admission
    Questions for the debaters?
    Skeptics call 818-923-1713
    UFO Believers call 555-4072

    1. "Klass jaw." You have way too much fun with these ;-)

      And no, I didn't miss the phone number bit either...

  5. Tim Printy is right. Aztec is certainly not mentioned in the MJ-12 documents. In fact, if it had been mentioned, STF would have been in REAL trouble with these documents from the start. Remember that about the same time as the MJ-12 stuff first surfaced, Bill Moore had published a long MUFON paper debunking the Aztec story, and that Friedman and Moore were then collaborating (with Shandera) on promoting MJ-12.

    Friedman must have been slowly converted to being pro-Aztec during the early 2000s. Simultaneously he also denounced some of the later MJ-12 papers (originating from Tim Cooper) as frauds but insisted the original 3 were still genuine!

    During this period it appears STF also joined the Hill abduction bandwagon and also took seriously the 1952 Flatwoods Monster affair, writing a foreword to books on each.

    It will be interesting to see if, in your forthcoming debate, he is introduced as a 'nuclear physicist'. If so, you may well start at a big disadvantage!

    1. > During this period it appears STF also joined the Hill abduction bandwagon

      Friedman wrote about the Hill-Fish map in the early '70s and was a proponent thereafter.

  6. My first thought is, now that you've made it clear that you're ready to hammer Friedman over the weaknesses of the Aztec story, he's going to avoid it as much as possible. He would if he were smart enough to research his debate opponent, anyway, so that remains to be seen ;-)

    What I mostly see tied into this account, however, is the hoary old debate over credibility, and the self-serving perspective of UFO proponents to assume a "credible until proven loopy" rule in regards to witnesses. This ignores that their stories are incredible to begin with, so they've earned right from the start a reasonable amount of suspicion - the more incredible, the more suspect. Thus, any decent investigator would recognize this and attempt to verify as much of a story as possible before proclaiming it "credible."

    (If it helps, "credible" means "considered likely to be correct," and cannot legitimately be applied to any account of things never demonstrated. It does not mean, "sounds honest" or "default state until contradicted." Moreover, it's a value judgment - that "considered" bit in there is an opinion, not a statement of fact. Any account can be credible and still be completely wrong.)

    It's funny. We look at purchases of used items very critically, accepting as given that someone may be trying to screw us over. We dismiss campaign promises routinely. We're more than willing to disbelieve our neighbors' tales of sports glory and fishing. But somehow, UFO witnesses are the epitome of veracity. Where do these people live, since I'd love to meet them?

    Meanwhile, another account over half a century old. UFO proponents are like a grandmother sitting on the porch reminiscing about her first exhilarating ride on a train...

  7. Randle did a radio debate with Scott Ramsey and found himself on the receiving end of what sounds like a either a Gish Gallop or a case of moving the goalposts, so watch out for either tactic, stay on target.

  8. The laughter curtain is already descending -- Robert must have done quite well. See this puerile contribution:

  9. Driving directions to the "Aztec Crash Site"

    Be pepared and bring the Aztec UFO book, bottle water, camera, and your enthusiasm.

    Start from the Safeway store and head north on US 550 for about 20 miles.

    When you get to the 20 mile marker, pull over.

    Park and get out of the car. Your excitement should be mounting.

    You'll see a "No Trespassing" sign defaced with a crude graffiti drawing of an alien stickman giving a Earthling stickman an anal probe.

    You have arrived at the UFO Crash Site.

    Go ahead and trespass and be careful climbing over the barbed wire fence. Rip. Oh well. Follow the dirt path for 50 yards.
    Watch your step for cow patties.. oops, too late.

    You're now at the infamous crash site you read about in the
    UFO book you bought at the used-book store.

    Feel free to look around the crash site as long as you like.
    Take a few photos.

    Not much to see, is there? Dirt, tumbleweeds, thorny bushes,

    Wait! What's that on the ground? Is that a shiny piece of metal from the crashed alien spacecraft? Proceed to pick up the object.

    No, it's a only old beer can (Bud Lite).

    You're thirsty now. Did you bring water like I asked in the above instructions?

    Seen enough? Proceed back to your car.

    Drive back south on US 550 and reflect on your field trip.

    It was a big waste of time, wasn't it?

    Continue reflecting for next 10 miles.

    Was this a productive way to spend your time?

    You're not getting any younger. Depression sinks in around the 15 mile mark.

    A Bud Lite sounds good about now.

    Toss the UFO book out the window and hit the acclerator so you can get home quicker.

    1. I tried to drive out to the "crash site" in my Toyota Sunrader RV two years ago. I found Hart Canyon Road OK, but it's a dirt road in very bad shape. After driving, very slowly, for about 2 miles the vehicle was shaking so badly that I began to doubt that I'd make it in one piece, and I turned back.

  10. Does anyone, e.g. such as Friedman, know if the US govt conducted a DNA test on the bodies recovered from Aztec and compared it with the DNA from the bodies recovered from Roswell?

    If so, did the results indicate the same extraterrestrial source for the two crashes? I am certain scientists are eagerly awaiting the results.

    1. Does alien biology utilize DNA?

    2. CDA, I believe DNA sampling from both sites would reveal the common coyote as the source.:)

  11. Mornin' Robert,

    Pardon the late input.

    First, kudos to you for debating Stan in an obviously "biased" environment. I much prefer to see such a display on a neutral playing field and would be very curious to know of listener reactions, thoughts etc., under those circumstances. That said, off the cuff–I can't think of such a venue.

    You wrote:

    "We should also note that Frank Warren, credited as a researcher on the book's cover, also expresses serious reservations about the authors' conclusions."

    For clarity:

    Since the book has come out I have stated publicly and privately: that even if one disagrees with the Ramsey's conclusions (generally speaking), what the research and book demonstrates–is that Newton was merely a messenger and given that the central counter argument for the Aztec Incident has been–for 60 years, what I call the Cahnian Edict, i.e., that the story originated from Newton and GeBauer, then at the very least it should give the most ardent skeptics "pause" and precipitate another look. (This of course is said–presuming one can lay their respective biases aside–which in itself is debatable).

    I have further stated that what the evidence demonstrates is that an exotic craft came down on Hart Canyon rd in the Spring of '48; was recovered by the military and hushed-up by same.

    There are "elements" in the book that I certainly don't agree with and there are a moderate amount of minor errors (mainly syntax, punctuation, grammar etc.), that Scott is aware of and is editing for future volumes.

    You wrote:

    ". . . there is virtually no overlap in the approaches taken in the three reviews."

    I strongly disagree. All three reviews trumpet the Cahnian Edict, i.e., that conmen Newton & GeBauer were/are the source of the story and it was part of their schema, and Scully was just duped.

    My argument is that Newton, Scully and GeBauer can be removed from the account all together and that there is ample evidence in support of a nuts 'n' bolts craft coming down on Hart Canyon rd as described.

    Finally, the Ramsey book, whatever one might think about it, is not the end-all, or final summation on the matter. Shortly before the book's publication, a sizable amount of new data was uncovered. After the book's publication more data and witnesses again surfaced. All of this is slowly being assimilated.

    The research continues . . ..


    1. Afternoon, Frank!

      Thanks for your comments & the clarification.

      OK, let's suppose we remove all of Newton and GeBauer from the tale, thus removing Scully and Cahn as well. What remains? Kevin Randle has shown that the story of the supposed airman witness, Donald Bass, fails to check out: no such person killed in Viet Nam. Monte Shriver (see above), who grew up in Aztec and was attending Aztec High School in 1948 disputes the claim that there was any discussion of strange goings-on at the time, as did his classmates at the class reunion. He shows that many of the claims of Steinman and the Ramseys don't seem to check out. So what is left? Not very much, as I see it.

      But keep digging, maybe you'll find something!

    2. Hi Robert,

      You wrote:

      Kevin Randle has shown that the story of the supposed airman witness, Donald Bass, fails to check out: no such person killed in Viet Nam.

      To be clear, Kevin checked the “Vietnam Memorial Wall data base” and didn’t find “a Bass,” in the Air Force that was killed by a hit and run driver in Vietnam—this does not mean it didn’t happen.

      As I wrote on “his” blog:

      For those of you who think “data bases” are gospel, I say check your credit files! Most folks who have done archival or documentary research (or just those that have been on the planet long enough) have encountered erroneous or missing files, data etc. (Multiply that by a factor of 10 when it comes to the military and don't forget about the fire of '73 where approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files were destroyed).

      Kevin made a big deal about quickly discerning that no Bass, as described by Scott died and pronounced it as gospel; had he not been in such a hurry, at the same web-site he would have found this statement:

      "The CCAF database is known to contain errors."

      Moreover, accuracy of the information found within the database does not reflect "missing data or files." The site itself is currently, maintained by volunteers time permitting.

      Additionally, when we began looking for Virgil’s co-worker/airman, we didn’t have his correct name . . . that came later. Eventually, his identity would be verified by the RAF Welford yearbook (picture published in the Ramsey book by permission of same).

      The surname of Bass of course is quite common and the hunt for him has been elusive. I have talked to literally dozens of Bass’ that fit the age bracket from coast to coast without success; thus when Scott found a family who described their Bass who died in Nam, it seemed to fit. When Kevin initially said that he couldn’t find a death record as described for Bass I looked at this as a good thing, as perhaps he’s still alive! In either case, Kevin hasn’t offered up anything derogatory to negate Virgil Riggs’ statements.

      Coincidentally, last week I received the records for a "Donald Bass" via the NPRC that I requested ages ago . . . not our guy however.

      You wrote:

      Monte Shriver (see above), who grew up in Aztec and was attending Aztec High School in 1948 disputes the claim that there was any discussion of strange goings-on at the time, as did his classmates at the class reunion.

      When Scott & Suzanne were in Aztec & Farmington for respective book signings and lectures last March, in a room with approximately 70 people (in the latter town), Scott asked for a show of hands of those who had heard about the Farmington "Armada" [UFO] Flyover of 1950; aside from Suzanne and a couple of their friends that are well-versed in Ufology–not one hand was raised!!

      The attendees were locals of all ages and had an obvious interest in Ufology and incidents in their local . . . yet not one had heard of what is arguably one the biggest incidents in the annals of UFO history, where many well-known, affluent townsfolk were witnesses and the story was carried nation-wide with headlines such as:

      'Mass Flight'of Sky
      Disks Seen by 5000

      So although I give credit to Monte for actually reading the book, him "not remembering" talk of a lesser known event, one that was purposely covered-up doesn't carry weight for me.

      Additionally, the bulk of Monte's critiques were in "details" e.g., mis-labeling of a mountain, mis-spellings etc, and some arguments about when certain roads came into existence; Scott is almost finished with his rebuttal to Monte's piece, and will illuminate "his" errors.

      The main point is most of his arguments don't affect the veracity of the Aztec case. One exception "could be" when he camped out as a boy scout on Hart Canyon rd . . .

      —continued below

    3. —continued from above

      Monte wrote:

      "When I was nine, I camped out with the Boy Scouts right where the alien crash was supposed to have happened, in 1948 and '49, and nobody ever breathed a word about a UFO, . . .If they had, we would have certainly heard about it."

      As was often the case back in the day in small towns, "these type events made the paper," as did this one. It turns out that Monte's troupe stayed one night on Hart Canyon rd, according to the Aztec Independent Review.

      So again, nine-year-old Monte Shriver staying one night on Hart Canyon rd in 1948 and not hearing about a Flying Saucer event while proclaiming that "he certainly would" just doesn’t wash.

      Kevin also and perhaps reluctantly stated during the so-called debate on the Paracast between he and Scott re Monte’s written rebuttal :

      "[it was] very trivial and unimportant to the discussion of the case . . . and is irrelevant to trying to figure out if Aztec was real and I agree with you [Scott].

      Finally, none of the witnesses "named" in the book (and others not named) knew of Frank Scully, Newton or GeBauer–they are independent of that element of the case. Also as mentioned above, much information was uncovered shortly before the book went to print and new leads have come in after the fact.

      Just recently, I interviewed an elderly member of a long-established, well-known family of Aztec who recounted the Aztec Incident almost to a T, yet he said it wasn't a Flying Saucer, it was a conventional craft. (He was not a direct eyewitness). He said the military came in and retrieved it; he knew of two police offers that were on site etc. When I asked him about Frank Scully he said he had never heard of him, nor did he put any credence in this Flying Saucer business.

      The irony being is that in over 60 years no one has tried to lay the Aztec Incident to an accident of a conventional aircraft of any sort. The counter argument has always been the Cahnian Edict, i.e., it was a hoax by two conmen, etc.. The evidence on the table, in my view quashes that dogma.

      Like with Roswell–there is no smoking gun, it comes down to the preponderance of evidence, and much of that is anecdotal. To date, as I see it, the recent critics, you included continue to regurgitate the Cahnian Edict, ignoring the fact–that the witnesses (on record) were ignorant to the likes of Scully, Newton and GeBauer.

      The digging continues . . ..


    4. Sorry to come back to this so late - meant to comment sooner and never got to it.

      So, let me try asking Frank Warren a more direct question: what, exactly, is the "ample evidence in support of a nuts 'n' bolts craft coming down on Hart Canyon rd as described."?

      I admit to not reading up on the case, and bluntly state I'm not going to even bother if I hear the kind of nonsense I'm seeing right now. The only thing you've said in three long comments is that the failure to substantiate the witness' claims doesn't mean something didn't happen, which is the typical UFO proponent's approach. The point is, the story only exists if it can be established that something did happen - that's what "evidence" actually means. It has nothing to do with trying to cast doubt on doubt.

      There is no reason to assume witness veracity until proven otherwise, which is what UFO stories seem to rely on, but even when playing by these fatuous rules, I see more than a few reasons to openly question such veracity; the involvement of known con men, no records of the wide public knowledge claimed, and not even having established the existence of witnesses are all pretty solid reasons to question the accounts to me - call me silly. You haven't offered anything that actually counters any bit of that, just vague appeals that the lack of evidence has not been proven. I don't care - no one should, really. What do you have for positive evidence?

    5. Hi Al,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Working backwards:

      You wrote:

      The only thing you've said in three long comments is that the failure to substantiate the witness' claims doesn't mean something didn't happen, which is the typical UFO proponent's approach.

      My comments were in direct response to "Robert's (specific)
      statements/comments" (you'll note that I quoted each and then responded to them in kind).

      You wrote:

      I admit to not reading up on the case, and bluntly state I'm not going to even bother if I hear the kind of nonsense I'm seeing right now.

      I have often said that the Aztec case has more twists and turns in it then a bag of pretzels. In short, it is very detailed with many different aspects etc; attempting to clarify points to someone who is completely ignorant re the events, the case and the books on the matter, not to be rude–that is fatuous, and certainly a waste of time.

      I'm happy to have a rational discussion on the subject-matter and answer questions to the best of my ability; the only (common sense) prerequisite is that the participants are versed in said subject.

      Do your homework (or not) and come back to the table.


    6. Frank Warren said, "Do your homework (or not) and come back to the table."

      Annnnnd that tells me everything I need to know. I have yet to find anyone serious who's incapable of enumerating the evidence they have on hand, especially when they consider it so strong.

      But I do find it amusing, and informative, that after three lengthy posts defending the weakness of the witnesses, and even their questionable existence, you suddenly find it a waste of time to continue. Let it not be said that I did not give you a chance.

    7. Afternoon Al,

      To review:

      Robert republished (originally printed in The Skeptical Inquirer last year) above his critical review of “The Aztec Incident: Recovery at Hart Canyon”; afterwards in his conclusion he cited Kevin Randle, Jerry Clark and Monte Shriver—all whom have read the book (although given all the erroneous comments & queries Kevin has made, I’m thinking he was doing his taxes, talking on the phone and watching football while reading it) and emphasized their kindred spirit. He also mentioned me in that same breath, which precipitated my response (for clarity).

      I then made my position clear, and to that commentary Robert queried me with specific points and I responded in kind. To his credit, Robert read the book; he’s read Scully’s book and I believe he’s read Steinman’s book. Moreover, he knew one of the players, i.e., J.P. Cahn (and been very helpful in my research re Cahn); he’s also traveled to Aztec and made the attempt to get to the crash site. In short—he knows what the hell he’s talking about; he’s taken the steps to not only formulate an opinion, but offer it based on an educated platform.

      Conversely, in your first remarks & query to me, you immediately proclaim your ignorance to the case/book and simultaneously offer up a warning by way of derogatory commentary followed by generalizations and sarcasm.

      I then attempt to (politely) point out the obvious, i.e., arguing points and or elements in a book that someone hasn’t bothered to read or a case that someone is ignorant of—is nonsensical!

      I suggested the obvious . . . read the book, study the case and come back to the table (if you wish).

      You now write:

      Annnnnd that tells me everything I need to know. I have yet to find anyone serious who's incapable of enumerating the evidence they have on hand, especially when they consider it so strong. ,

      Given your tone and posture I have a feeling you had “everything you needed to know” long before you addressed me. Moreover, I would argue that anyone who’s serious would educate themselves on a matter before condemning it (based on someone else's opinions).

      You wrote:

      But I do find it amusing, and informative, that after three lengthy posts defending the weakness of the witnesses, and even their questionable existence, you suddenly find it a waste of time to continue. Let it not be said that I did not give you a chance.

      Given your focus on the “length” of my response to Robert, one would presume you’ve read them; however, beyond the size of said posts, the rest of the description is erroneous. I wasn’t defending witnesses—I was pointing out the flaws/weaknesses in both Kevin and Monte’s critiques (in response to Robert’s specific queries) and the fact that all named critics still echo the Cahnian edict which the book/evidence clearly quashes.

      Finally, we do at least agree on one thing, as your commentary has made me chuckle on more then one occasion.


    8. Well, I'm as happy to drag this out as you are, more probably. Sorry it had to wait until I returned from out of town.

      Let me be perfectly blunt, because my previous comments, in this topic and elsewhere, apparently didn't register. I have not the faintest concern with "he said" testimony, and do not consider it even remotely close to "nuts and bolts" evidence. To go into the myriad problems with testimony would be a huge waste of time - any serious investigator already knows it, and anyone who doesn't isn't even vaguely worth the attention.

      So my question yet remains: what physical evidence has convinced you that there has been a "nuts and bolts" crash in the area, of any kind of craft? And yes, I am well aware that a mundane military aircraft also turns this whole account into a waste of time for UFO proponents, but I am not bothering to make that distinction at this point, since you never specified this yourself.

      If this really is that difficult for you, I'll have to accept that I guess. I have personally never had any problem with listing things like a debris trail, scorch marks, metal fragments, sheared tree limbs, or even the obvious attempts to eradicate all traces of such from a site. If you're referring to something more esoteric, feel free to expound on that as well - I'm game. I amuse myself with NTSB accident reports so please don't feel like you'd be going over my head.

      However, it is not up to me to prove that you have the faintest idea of what you're talking about. As you are no doubt aware, the UFO field is rather rife with blather and hearsay and desperate attempts to derive positive conclusions from vague interpretations. I would think you would be happy to demonstrate how this particular case differs, and why you're convinced there is ample evidence of an actual crash - otherwise I have to wonder why you're even here. But I have no stakes in the matter, and nothing in roughly forty years of personal interest in the topic has demonstrated that I should be spending any time proving, yet again, that it's 99% wishful thinking.

      I stated my terms from the start precisely because I considered it very likely you would try to avoid answering the question directly. And you're still at it. Redirection and pomposity aren't what serious people engage in. Perhaps you would like to try another approach?

  12. Bob, wondering if you were planning to post your thoughts post debate?

    1. Tim, I will have something to say, however I wanted to wait until I could give a URL for people to listen to the debate on-line. That should not take much longer.

      I think it went quite well for me. STF was obviously "dancing" around certain questions, especially about the Fish Map, and wouldn't answer them.

  13. Jim Oberg posted this link on ATS:
    Beware: Frequent ads!

  14. Here's a review by a perceptive observer on ATS:


    Thanks for the link, I'd been waiting for that. First, I question the judgement of both gentlemen for associating themselves with the host program, but maybe both wanted the exposure it would bring.

    Friedman brought very little new to the debate, mostly just a performance in part of his Cosmic Watergate lecture. Sheaffer brought up many good points, and I thought he really scored with the Canadian UFO/booster reentry and the Fish map flop. (Did you notice how Friedman had to retreat on the map by saying eyewitnesses are unreliable?)

    Friedman is verbally dynamic and has a practiced response that almost seems to deflate any skeptical argument, and he's also a master of shifting gears to reach a position of strength.

    I doubt many minds were changed, and the neutral probably weren't even listening to be influenced either way.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. A very interesting and very friendly debate. I think that Stanton could have argued that the complete disintegration of heavy elements (like 116, 117, or 118) could supply much more energy than the fusion of H to He (which is only a change in secondary mass, which converts to energy). Very high explosive speeds could be obtained, possibly faster than light, but then the velocity equation, v = s/t, would flip to t/s, and we would have motion in time, and the craft would leave our sector of the universe. As for Robert, I wonder why he didn't press Stanton more about how most of the "credible" sightings are military craft. There was a bit of discussion about Area 51, but not enough. The rules of argument say that the burden of proof is on he who asserts a positive--which in this case is Stanton. And I don't think he achieved that objective, so the debate win must go to Robert.

  17. Check out this nice little list that explains in simple terms why aliens in flying saucers are utter nonsense.

  18. Recently I had coffee with Frank Thayer and he gave me a copy of the new Ramsey et al book "The Aztec UFO Incident". Contrary to Mr. Warren's assertion, there is no rebuttal to my book "It's About Time". The errors I found in "The Aztec Incident - Recovery in Hart Canyon" were never corrected and in my new edition of "It's About Time" I will point out new ones. Mr. Ramsey repeatedly states how good his research is, yet when I pointed out all the errors in his "road research" he says it doesn't matter yet he still leaves the same information in the new book. I am in the process of updating "It's About Time" which I will present to the San Juan County Historical Society in Aztec, NM on April 13, 2016. New copies will be available for sale with all proceeds going to the San Juan County Historical Society. I invite Mr. Ramsey and all his co-authors to attend the meeting. Mr. Warren has taken me to task for calling my short work a book - he refers to it as a penscript (which I had trouble finding in a dictionary). If he checks the Bible, he may find one or more books that are shorter than mine but I doubt if he would call them penscripts. See you all in Aztec. Monte Shriver

  19. We visited the Aztec Crash Site (you know it's genuine because there is a plaque there), but the concrete slab appeared to me to be a concrete slab that was not particularly impressive since I have seen concrete in much more remote areas. But it also had an Alien mountain bike trail, some nice rock formations, and a geocache so I got it listed on Roadside America.

    I wish I could return for the It's About Time presentation. April would be a great time to be in that area.


Keep your comments relevant, and keep them civil! That means no personal attacks will be allowed, by anyone, on anyone. Commenters are welcome to disagree with me, or with other comments, but state your arguments using logic, and with a civil tone. Comments in violation of these rules will be deleted, and offenders banned.

Comments should be in English, although quotes from foreign-language sources are fine as long as they're relevant, and you explain them. Anonymous postings are not permitted. If you don't want to use your real name, then make up a name for yourself, and use it consistently.