Thursday, January 08, 2015

Lighting The Flatwoods Fuse -- Part I of II

Lighting The Flatwoods Fuse
 by Alfred Lehmberg

PART ONE



Here it is, then: proof positive that while I've "...eaten dead burnt bodies and still have veins in my teeth," I'm just another old softy when you boil me down to my component parts.  Indeed, I wouldn't even bring this up but that I had too many witnesses.  Caught blubbering like an old pensioner as a result of certain occurrences; however, poignant, I make my report.

Still, so as to put the first efficacious spin on it, thereby, I'll tell you myself, see?  I was moved.

Seriously, what brought this blubbery verklempt-ness about... forgetting for a moment the "bodies and veins" of the preceding paragraph and the fact that, properly provoked?  I am quite capable of pulling off an offending head and using the resultant neck for a field toilet.  A former Senior TAC at the US Army's only Warrant Officer Candidate School, I've made former Navy SEALS, training for an Army Warrant, tense.  

Pray, then.  What precipitated my teary "verklemptitude (tm)"?

The first "Flatwoods Monster Extravaganza" was held early in the month of September on the 7th and the 8th, 2007.  This was a two evening program celebrating the 55th anniversary of one very puzzling night of many puzzling nights, actually—then and since—in a quiet little town of what remains to be decent and hardworking Americans to this day. The town is Flatwoods, West Virginia.  The time celebrated was one 12th day of September during the Indian summer of 1952.

Very briefly, reader... and brace.  It is not my intent to shock you... but perhaps as a result of an undeclared war with bona fide extraterrestrials involving the United States—let that sink in—there came to be crash-landed an alien craft with at least one seeming occupant, who, before being evacuated near Frametown, WV in a subsequent rescue by fellow ETs (!), provided for an occasion of extreme terror for the brave people of Flatwoods.  This was a courage betrayed and followed by decades of specious, unearned, and suspicious ridicule in regard of that terror!  Let's keep it real.

See, in that late summer night circa 1952 incomprehensible sightings were made, physical evidence was collected by authorities, a sizable contingent of American Military was deployed to the immediate area... ...as numerous persons got strangely ill, and one dog died.

I make no apologies.  I said "war with Aliens."  An air-war, actually, fought between the forces of the United States and Beings, astonishingly enough perhaps, from another star! 

Now, don't worry overmuch about any of the preceding, good reader.  Stranger things, I'm sure, abound in an endless multi-verse none of us, really, has a freaking clue about, eh?  It remains that this article is about a collection of sincere Human beings who, in the past, the present time, and I suspect years into the future... are reacting to the unsettling potentialities of same.  ET war.  It does boggle the mind.

Half a century later the Flatwoods Monster is, still, almost a genetic memory with the good people of West Virginia.  This is a result I think of savvy persons living there who know starships from meteors and aliens from owls... plus a book by an especially diligent and consistently patriotic investigator, Frank Feschino Jr., who has been investigating the unsettling affair for clocking up over double decades regarding his landmark book Shoot Them Down—The Flying Saucer Air War Of 1952!

Enter Gilbert Bailey.  Gilbert is the son of one Larry Bailey, the engaging West Virginian event promoter who fronted the entire two day affair out of his own pocket, and who demonstrated such expansive trust, kindness to strangers, and compassion for struggling community—that he provided a fecund potentiality for my aforementioned tears at the start.

Back to Gilbert.  Gil had encountered Frank Feschino at a book signing a few years ago while pursuing his own very cultivated, rational, and considered interest in the legitimate ufological.  Despite being a successful businessman in his own right every bit as engaging as his father, and an obviously astute person of incisive intelligence... he still found himself captivated and compelled by Feschino's detailed research.  See, on a subsequent and very synchronous visit home he'd noticed a copy of Feschino's book on his father's coffee table.  He then had a surprised, substantive, and very synergistic talk with his Dad. 

One thing leads to another: calls inquire, networking occurs, and decisions are made.  Larry Bailey decides to make something happen and commits to it—putting his money, rare bird he, where his mouth is! 

Thing is, he's never done anything like a UFO conference before, is not remotely ufological himself, and has only the barest clue given his experience very successfully promoting vintage automobiles, farm equipment, and industrial machinery in high visibility Trade Shows. 

He trusts a very capable Gilbert though, who's convinced there's a "there" there with regard to Feschino and the Flatwoods story.  Buffered by two other able sons, Scott and Ken, who fall in with wives and girlfriends to "help out Dad," they begin to provide for something not there before for the economically abused people of WV. 

What's that?

A legitimate and honorable attraction and economic hope.  To a degree?  The Flatwoods Monster could help save West Virginia.  This writer is not the first to say so.  Damned, reader, if I'm not reminded of Ben, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe.

Verily reader, synchronicities occur, serendipities present themselves, and Larry Bailey concludes that it would be a good thing if a looming anniversary of the "Flatwoods Monster Affair" might provoke a positive, far-reaching, and efficacious attention for West Virginia, a West Virginia economically dying, unfairly and unjustly on the current Federal vine... ...but how?

Now bear in mind, reader.  All is risk.  Nobody's getting a paycheck before, during, and after the event.  Larry Bailey fails to break even, Stanton T. Friedman waives his speaking fees, and Feschino's in the hole approaching a half a mill since the start of his investigation, years ago!  Licensed, trained, and experienced sound and production guys, ably lead by presentation guru Robbie Breeze, are busting collective humps for gratis and bupkis!  Named guests expect no honorariums.  Why?

Back to Frank Feschino's stirring book, Shoot Them Down!  Remembering that I've already pointed out in a previous articles that Feschino satisfies, in proverbial spades, all the requirements for a Pulitzer prize he'll likely never receive... it seems I'm not the only one who thinks so!

Indeed, anyone who reads the book or talks to Feschino is justifiably impressed with the single-mindedness of his scholarship, the depth of his unceasing research, and the intensity of his compassionate concern for the, perhaps, hundreds of missing pilots associated with a covert, secret, and otherwise forgotten military action swept under the historical rug!  Moreover, consider, reader!  Can a substantive research activity ever have too long an attention span?

I arrived in West Virginia after a twelve hour drive from Southeast Alabama on the 6th into a parking lot of the assigned Charleston motel.  Surprisingly, I stepped out of my car, a stranger, immediately into a group of strangers, right there in the parking lot... including Stanton Friedman

Everyone had collected at the motel for the evening meal. The only persons I half-way knew were Frank, a few years of correspondence and one meeting over dinner the previous year vouchsafed that, and Don Hobar... who is a kind of Ray Manzerek to Frank Feschino's Jim Morrison... Feschino's friend, acting as infrastructure/organization guy.

Frank and Don broke ranks and walked out to meet me, and when we all walked back to the group, and I was introduced around... well, immediately, there were no strangers anymore!  Stanton Friedman engaged me in an immediate conversation like it had been interrupted just moments before, Larry Bailey welcomed me loudly as his "partner in crime,"—we had teamed up earlier online to cuff and pummel an especially clueless, uninformed, and obnoxious local newspaper reporter disserving West Virginia's readership, imo, but I digress.  All the rest of the guys involved gallantly extended uncomplicated and genuinely welcoming good vibes.  We were crew!

My experience with gatherings of ufological persons is that they are anxious clashes of massive egos and way short on expansive fellowship and effortless camaraderie.  Not so here.  I was among friends right from the start.  Friedman and Feschino were the stars of the show, and I guess they could be allowed a little leeway in standoffishness.  But no, they're just one of the boys. 

This feeling maintained itself for the next four days, reader, something new was in the air, for sure... but whacked out from the long drive I went to bed after dinner, retiring with a cozy, warm, and fuzzy feeling pegged to the high nines!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Part Two, victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat, history is revalidated, and tears are justified as far as this old soldier is concerned.

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