UFOs -- Evolution of a True Believer

by James Parsons

An article from the SEPTEMBER 2011 issue of THE STAR BEACON.

"Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up." -- Stanton Friedman having some fun with a debunker

          One day in May 2011, a Taos man by the name of Andy Byrd phoned me. Byrd and his wife had recently seen a large green fireball pass over their house on Tune Drive, west of Taos.
          “It was huge,” Byrd said. “Green with a purple core.” He told me it made no sound as it traveled east toward Taos Pueblo. He and his wife observed it for four or five seconds.
          It looked like it was on a slant toward the ground, Byrd related. “My wife and I jumped in the car and tried to follow it, or locate the crash if it crashed.”
          They did not see it again, but they did locate a neighbor who saw it.

* * *

          The great wave of green fireballs in the US happened in northern New Mexico in 1948-’49. (Obviously they still show up occasionally.) By chance I was a student at UNM during those years and enrolled in Astronomy 101 and 102. The fireballs were seen by both military and airline pilots approaching Albuquerque on the shared runways at Kirtland AFB. The sightings were numerous and made the daily papers. They were described as round balls of green fire the size of basketballs and not unlike military flares or meteors. The fireballs were also observed over Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.
          On the last day of Astronomy 102 at UNM, we students were given an opportunity to ask our professor, Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, what they were. Dr. LaPaz was not only a full professor of Astronomy, but a nationally recognized expert on meteors.
          Dr. LaPaz said the fireballs were not meteors because the characteristics weren’t right. They were silent and changed direction. They flew slower than meteors and they apparently did not crash because LaPaz had been out searching for fragments without success.
          “Then what are they?” we asked.
          “I can tell you this,” our professor said, “they are not natural.”
          More about these fireballs later.
          In 1953 I graduated from UNM and entered the Air Force for navigation training. The training was like college, only the subjects were aeronautics, map reading, meteorology, electronics, radio, radar, and celestial. Training for me was followed by two years of extensive flying as crew navigator in transport aircraft over the Atlantic, Pacific and Alaskan theaters. On these flights I kept an eye out for green fireballs, but did not see any — nor did our pilots, so far as I know.
          I did, however, discover the books by Major Donald Keyhoe — Flying Saucers from Outer Space (1954) and Flying Saucer Conspiracy (1955). I loved this one case which Keyhoe reports on in Conspiracy. A B-29 was flying over the Gulf of Mexico. The crew spotted three flights of saucer-shaped craft in the air. The date was Dec. 6, 1952.
          The UFOs were sighted near dawn and appeared on the bomber’s radar as well as visually, according to Keyhoe. The crew watched as a huge craft of unknown origin appeared and “swallowed” one of the flights. The giant UFO which Keyhoe called a “mother” ship then took off at 9,000 mph, according to the three radars on board the B-29.
          When the bomber landed, its three radars were inspected and found to be in perfect condition. According to Keyhoe, the Air Force tried to suppress this story, but it was too late. Keyhoe had reported on the sighting and released it. Major Keyhoe, a former Marine pilot, was a great UFO researcher and all ufologists owe him a debt of gratitude as well as for tips on how to be a successful ufologist.
          On the final pages of my well-worn copy of Flying Saucers from Outer Space, Keyhoe shares the official letter he received from the Air Force, saying that if the maneuvers reported are correct, then the saucers are from space. In Appendix II of this book, Keyhoe lists 51 military UFO sightings obtained legally from the Air Force, hard evidence for saucer reality.
          By the time I left the Air Force, I knew UFOs were spacecraft and probably from another planet. How did I know? Because of extreme angle turns, the speeds they attained, and because of the books and sightings reported by Keyhoe.

Nathan Twining
          As time passed I learned other key aspects of the flying saucer mystery. One of the outstanding men in the history of the Air Force was a three-star general by the name of Nathan Twining.
          Twining, in charge of Air Materiel command and scientific labs, flew to New Mexico on July 7, 1947, for four days during the time period of the Roswell crash and recovery. Researcher Stanton Friedman was able to prove the general’s travel plan by uncovering Twining’s and his pilot’s flight logs (Crash at Corona).
          According to The Day After Roswell, Twining reported to President Truman upon his return from Roswell, shared craft recovery details with the president and informed him that the occupants were “not of this world.”
          On Sept. 23, 1947, Twining issued a secret advisory to Air Force Intelligence, saying that flying saucers are “something real and not visionary or fictitious.” Twining’s memo described the saucers as “disc-shaped” and the size of “man-made aircraft,” with extraordinary flying characteristics, according to Crash at Corona and The Roswell Incident.
          A key player in the unfolding story of Roswell and UFOs, Twining became Air Force Chief of Staff (when I served in the ’50s) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. If Twining said, “UFOs are real,” then they are, or so I believed then and now. Another true believer is Nathan Twinings, Jr., the general’s son, a strong advocate for the reality of the saucers. Twining, Jr., lives in Albuquerque and has been interviewed several times by researchers. A friend of this writer asked Twining, Jr., why he was so sure flying saucers were real. “My father told me,” he replied.

UFOs in Space
          Fast forward to the 1970s. I had moved to Santa Fe, N.M., and was in the midst of a fast and furious career as an art dealer. I didn’t have time for UFOs, or so I thought. I did, however, join a discussion and a metaphysical group headed by a woman named Theodora Anderson. At her meetings we often discussed UFOs and occasionally watched videos on this subject. We were also regular visitors to a Santa Fe nonprofit by the name of The Space Science Center.
          At the Center the public and school classes could view videos on the Training of Astronauts, The Bermuda Triangle, and UFOs. One day the Center’s genial owner, C. deBaca, said to me, “I wrote NASA for anything they had on UFOs. Would you like to see what they sent?” Would I?
Soon we were sitting inside the darkened theater, the projector running. On the screen I saw an astronaut aboard a space ship, holding up a sign which said, “Apollo 8 home movies.” Behind him, another astronaut held a camera aimed out a porthole at two objects in space. The two objects appeared to be following alongside Apollo 8. They were oval in shape but hazy, not clearly defined. The film continued for a few minutes, then ended abruptly.
          I stopped by the Space Science Center the next day, to ask deBaca if he would make me a copy of the film. “You’re too late,” deBaca said. “The FBI from Santa Fe called on me and asked for the film. They said NASA wanted it back and they took it.”
          Someone at NASA tried to do us a favor, I recall thinking. This is another example of the alleged government UFO coverup, which all ufologists know about.
          When Above Top Secret by Timothy Good was published in 1988, there were several pages describing what the astronauts saw in space. Good quoted Maurice Chatelain, chief designer of Apollo communications, as saying in his autobiography that all Apollo and Gemini flights “were followed ... by space vehicles of extraterrestrial origin — flying saucers or UFOs ... if you want to call them that.”
          Chatelain wrote that Mission Control then ordered “absolute silence” about what the astronauts had seen.
          When Good contacted Neil Armstrong about what they had seen in space, Armstrong said, “All Apollo observations on all Apollo flights were reported to the public.” The facts remain controversial among ufologists.
Chatelain, in his autobiography, went on to state that “Santa Claus” was a code word used around NASA for flying saucers. When James Lovell rounded the moon in the Apollo 8 command module, the first words he said were, “Please be informed that there is a Santa Claus.” It was Christmas Day 1968. Could Lovell have had a hidden meaning in those words? Could the Apollo 8 film, which I viewed long ago, have shown alien spacecraft, as I believe?
          A few months passed. I had not had a real vacation in years. It was time for a walkabout and our discussion leader, Theodora, had an idea. She wanted me to contact a California group calling itself “The Majic Cirkus,” and travel with them. Soon, with two friends, I headed to a place called Giant Rock in the California desert. But before we practiced the dances with the theater group, we stopped by the home of George Van Tassel, a known flying saucer contactee living near the Giant Rock airport.
          We were welcomed at Van Tassel’s home, but he was at Sunday lunch with his family in another room. After he finished, he came to where we were sitting, and we began a conversation.
Rather quickly he sized us up as well-meaning folks, but without real knowledge of UFOs. He therefore began a history of this subject for our education. He told us of Kenneth Arnold’s now famous sighting of the nine “flying discs” over Mount Rainier in Washington state in June 1947. This he followed with a retelling of his own close encounter with an extraterrestrial being. While sleeping outdoors in his sleeping bag at Giant Rock, he heard footsteps. A being approached Van Tassel and asked him if he wanted to help his people. According to Van Tassel, he was led to a space ship which had “landed” above ground nearby. Later, the being channeled information to Van Tassel on how to build a machine. Van Tassel, an aeronautical engineer, had begun work on the machine which was housed in a structure nearby.
          “Was the machine to be a source of free energy?” we asked.
          “No, it is to be a time machine to rejuvenate minds and bodies as people pass within its force field.”
          Then Van Tassel talked about Roswell and said the case was a true crash of a UFO. A saucer had been recovered by the military, Van Tassel said, near Roswell, and covered up on orders from higher headquarters. He talked about a second crash a year later in New Mexico, and how it also had been covered up. We could read the story of the second crash by Frank Scully in Behind the Flying Saucers, Van Tassel said.
          This was an ear-popping conversation for me because in those days (1977) almost no one spoke of UFO crashes as true events. Many folks still don’t believe. I couldn’t wait to share this information with our group in Santa Fe, and to read Scully’s book.
          When I returned to Santa Fe, I did share the information with our discussion group. As I reported on the story, Theodora, seated across the room, jumped up and said, “I know about this. Let me tell you what I know.”
She then launched into her story, which we had not heard before. She and her husband, Thurston, a pilot, were friends with a colonel at Kirtland AFB. The colonel was in charge of security at the base. The colonel told Theo and her husband that Roswell was a true event, which had been covered up and remained a closely guarded secret. The colonel also related how bodies were recovered, one remaining alive. Our good friends, Theo and Thurston, now deceased, were full of surprises.
          Here in the space of two short weeks was a second report that Roswell was a true crash. Interesting! The next year, 1978, Stanton Friedman, the premier UFO researcher, in my opinion, met face to face with Major Jesse Marcel, the former base intelligence officer at Roswell Army Air Field in 1947. Marcel told Friedman that the materials he (Marcel) recovered at Roswell were most likely from somewhere else, not Earth, and were not the materials which General Ramey exhibited before the press a few days after the crash. Marcel’s statements are vital to the unfolding story of Roswell and later were recorded on video.
          This meeting with Marcel caused Friedman to begin research on the Roswell case in earnest, resulting in the publication, with William Moore, ufologist, and Charles Berlitz, writer, of The Roswell Incident (1980). I inhaled that paperback, a third report that crashes were real. Friedman is known as a careful scientist/researcher who digs for facts and leaves the speculation to others.
          With the publication of The Roswell Incident (1980), it was as if a dam broke. Other pro-Roswell accounts followed: The Encyclopedia of UFOs (1980); Clear Intent (1984); Crash at Aztec (1986); Above Top Secret (1988); Crash at Corona (1992); Conspiracy of Silence (1997); The Day After Roswell (1997); The UFO Book (1998); UFOs and the National Security State (2000); Witness to Roswell (2007); Flying Saucers and Science (2008); The Roswell Legacy (2008), to mention just a few pro-UFO accounts.

An Unforgettable Sighting
          In September 1978, I went with an Edgar Cayce research group to Bimini in the Bahamas. Cayce is widely known in metaphysical circles as America’s foremost psychic, now deceased since 1945. Cayce said that Atlantis was a real civilization with the remains now covered up by the Atlantic Ocean. We were on our way to dive on the “Stones of Atlantis.” Fabulous eight-day trip ... but the story I want to relate here happened on the return to Miami at night.
          I was at the helm of our vessel, a 38 ft. sloop, on the 10 pm to 2 am shift. A lady named Dottie Lange was assigned as our gopher, to go for coffee and the captain below decks if he were needed.
          Around midnight, I had just finished telling Dottie of the Fate of Flight 19, a mysterious aircraft disappearance at sea in Bahama waters.
          Dottie said to me, “Jim, there are two blue lights following our craft. Would you turn around and tell me what they are?” Dottie sat in front of me and could see clearly aft. I crammed my head around and saw two blue lights. “They look like lights on a ship or a ship’s mast,” I said.
          Then I heard Dottie exclaim, “Here they come.”
          The two lights pulled up right beside our open cockpit vessel, only they were huge, one the size of a two-story house, the other two-thirds that size, vibrating blue and white radiations in perfect oval patterns. Awesome.
          “Get the captain,” I told Dottie. “He won’t believe his eyes.”
          One of the two shapes threw a bright light over our vessel, like a searchlight. These objects are no swarm of bees and no mirage either, I recall thinking.
          As our captain came through the hatch doorway, silently, swiftly the lights pulled back. Captain Foster saw only two blue lights in the distance as I had originally seen.
          Dottie: “What in God’s name was that?”
          Me: “Have you ever seen a UFO?”
          Dottie: “No.”
          Me: “Well, now you have. Two of them.”
          A few minutes later, smiling, I said to Dottie, “We are passing through the Bermuda Triangle. What did you expect?”
          There was a second vessel traveling behind us on this Atlantis research trip. When we docked at Miami, the watch on that other larger vessel reported they saw nothing. However, their helm and steering was below decks, unlike the open cockpit steering set-up of our vessel. Their visibility was more restricted. Or perhaps the sighting was for Dottie and I only?
          My study of ufology has been a great awakening as well as a learning experience. Shortly before Bella and I were married in 1988, I learned that my wife had a sighting of a UFO out her bedroom window as a 10-year-old. She is a true believer, as much as I am. Together we go to conferences, talk to folks about their experiences, visit crash sites, read the books, and have a real good time.
          Now back to those green fireballs. Soon after the great Wave of 1948-’49, a two-day conference was held at Los Alamos to determine what exactly was on their doorstep. Scientists who had seen the fireballs, including Dr. LaPaz, were present.
          According to Dolan in UFOs and the National Security State, the majority of scientists believed the fireballs were meteors, or a new type of meteor. An ET (extraterrestrial) explanation was “studiously avoided.” Such an explanation was “off limits,” according to Dolan. So much for the open minds of scientists, except for LaPaz, who told the scientists the objects were “surely artificial.”
          Clark in The UFO Book discussed at length several government and army reports in which green fireballs appeared not only over New Mexico nuclear facilities, but during the same years (1948-’49) over a nuclear storage facility at Killen, Texas, inside Fort Hood. The fireballs, usually intense green or yellow-green, were in some cases tiny, only inches in diameter and observed a few feet above the ground.
          From this writer’s recent study of fireballs, it would appear that balls of fire are of two distinct types: Conventional meteors, which burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, and are seen as white light streaks in the night sky, and green balls, which are not meteors at all. These green fireballs have an intense color, make no sound, exhibit no cosmic dust trail, fly slower than meteors at lower altitudes, and are capable of changing direction or maintaining level flight. Apparently they have never crashed.
          My best guess is they are probes from UFOs in deep space, on surveillance missions.

Crashed Saucers
          One of the UFO conferences which I attended on a regular basis over the past 15 years is the International UFO Congress and Film Festival, which was held at Laughlin, Nevada. There one could meet and talk with researchers, abductees and kindred spirits from all over the planet.
          I became acquainted with Wendelle Stevens, the UFO researcher from Tucson, retired Air Force fighter pilot and founder of the Congress. Stevens shared with many of us a case he had researched concerning crashed saucers. Here’s the case:
          A guard from Area 51, the top secret Nevada base, had deserted and contacted Stevens. The guard told Stevens he was a member of the Delta Force and that one of his jobs was guarding crashed saucers at the underground facility #S4. This is a complicated case and I am going to abbreviate it here.
          The guard drew pictures for Stevens of the saucers housed at Area 51 in underground bays. These were shown on the big screen at the conference. Stevens, narrating, said he sat on this information for 10 years until he could confirm it. Confirmation arrived when another military man, a colonel, contracted a fatal disease at Area 51 and was allowed to go to Italy to die. UFO researchers from that country interviewed the colonel in the hospital.
          At the request of researchers, the colonel painted a picture of a crashed saucer in one of the bays at Area 51. Stevens received photos of the painting, the subject of which was very similar to the drawings from 10 years before. Bingo. Stevens decided to reveal what he had learned. The complete story with photos of drawings is available through the International UFO Congress and Film Festival, www.ufocongress.com (2001).
          One might question the motives of researchers like Stevens in revealing facts which may involve classified information, but in my opinion the people have a right to know that saucers are real, have crashed, and that we are being visited. In most cases, divulging this information doesn’t hurt anybody or get them killed. The Supreme Court has protected whistleblowers where the public interest was great.
          Stevens died in 2010. I will long cherish the two breakfasts I shared with him and his generosity in sharing information with myself and the conference.
          In my opinion, Keyhoe, Stevens and Friedman are national heroes.
          One more Roswell/Albuquerque story and then I’ll close. In July 1947, Albuquerque newsman Frank Joyce worked for KGFL in Roswell. Mac Brazel, the rancher who brought crash debris into Roswell and showed it to Sheriff Wilcox, was put on the phone with Joyce.
          Brazel told Joyce that he had not only observed what is now called “the debris field,” but bodies as well. This part of the Roswell story Joyce did not share with researchers until after he retired from his news job with KOB in Albuquerque.
          In May 1998, researchers Carey and Schmitt interviewed Joyce, the third or fourth interview for Schmitt. Joyce said, “Boys, I am going to tell you something I have never shared before.”
          According to Joyce, when he was on the phone with Brazel in July 1947, Brazel was very upset. Brazel described bodies decaying in the desert. “Oh, the stench,” Brazel said. “The stench. What am I going to do?”
          “What stench? What are you talking about?” Joyce said.
          “Little people,” Brazel said. “Unfortunate little creatures.”
          The full, fascinating story, along with the revised Walter Haut* story, is related in Witness to Roswell (2007).
          Piece by piece, the Roswell Incident continues to unfold. The public should keep an open mind about green fireballs and those mysterious UFOs.

* Walter Haut is the co-founder of the Roswell UFO Museum and an eyewitness to a crashed saucer.

         James Parsons is an art dealer in Taos, N.M. He is a member of several UFO study groups.


This photo shows a UFO flying over Phoenix on July 7, 1947. The photographer, William Rhodes, was interviewed by the FBI and later invited to Wright Patterson AFB (then Wright Field) to discuss his sighting. The flying object is similar to the description given by Walter Haut in his death bed testament of the craft which crashed near Roswell in 1947. Haut was co-founder of the Roswell UFO Museum. Near the end of his life he stated he had seen bodies and a “spacecraft” at the Roswell Army air field in 1947, according to Witness to Roswell. Photo courtesy Carol Syska, former director of the Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center, and James Parsons.





This page updated September 9, 2011


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