Sunday, January 06, 2019



Part One
by Alfred Lehmberg

On January 8, 2019, a new and much-anticipated HISTORY CHANNEL UFO series will be broadcast, if TV and internet hype is to be remotely believed, titled "Project Blue Book." ...And here we go... 

The website of the HISTORY CHANNEL states the following information about their new series [please excuse the necessarily bold brackets from this writer]: 

HISTORY’s [...and pause a moment to ponder the implications of that proclamation! Truth! Honesty! Good Faith!] upcoming new drama series [yeah... make that clear at the start...] ‘Project Blue Book’ is based on the true [and where is the provenance of that assertion?], top-secret investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and related phenomena conducted by the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1969. Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen), a brilliant yet underappreciated college professor [part of the "drama" one presumes, Hynek was very appreciated, kept his reputation, and made some legit bank, appearing in perhaps the touchstone UFO film, CE3K...], is recruited by the U.S. Air Force to spearhead a clandestine operation called Project Blue Book. Along with his partner, the debonair Air Force Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey), he is summoned to investigate UFO sightings around the country and use science to discover what really happened [...arms akimbo and eyes askance...]. However, when some encounters cannot be explained away and cases remain open, Hynek begins to suspect that he has been duped by the government into a larger conspiracy to cover up the truth [ close to the facts as we shall sail has been this writer's experience.]. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War and rising Atomic Era, each episode will draw from the actual [...and the reader should note that point...] Project Blue Book case files, blending UFO theories with authentic historical events [...note again!] from one of the most mysterious eras in United States history. [Well, they got that last part right... but to foreshadow our point, what is the provenance, good reader, of those "actual Blue Book Case files"?] 

Dr. J. Allen Hynek in the film CE3K. 

This 10 episode UFO series allegedly based on Project Blue Book casework was created by David O’Leary, also the writer and co-executive producer of this effort. Robert Zemeckis, one can read, is credited as the executive producer along with Arturo Interian, Jackie Levine, Jack Rapke, and Barry Jossen, supporting. Cutting to the chase interestingly enough, and at the focus of this writer's interest, the second episode of this series concerns the unarguably famous, "Flatwoods Monster" of West Virginia. This particular show will air on January 15, 2019. This writer will be watching. 

I say "unarguably famous" because this long lost "Flatwoods Monster" incident, occurring on September 12, 1952, was buried away and long-forgotten, even denied outright, until one individual, Frank C. Feschino, Jr., began investigating the case back in 1991. He became consummately interested in an uncomfortable tale substantiating itself more and more the closer he got to it. Not the usual case with affairs ufological. He's not alone. There are others similarly interested. 

Feschino has many credible luminaries of the UFO Research community as interested celebrants on the veracity of his effort. The reader might recognize the names Robert Salas, Richard Dolan, Stanton Friedman, Robert Hastings, and Whitley Strieber... just to start! Even hard-nosed "paranormalizers" [tm] the likes Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzmann are not entirely revolted with Feschino's assertion. Facts are facts functioning factually, in point of fact, and the likes of the preceding shall have no small respect for that

Ultimately, and for illustration, Feschino has become the top researcher and investigator into this close encounter incident since it happened back in the day, and he is still actively involved in the case as this piece is written. Exceeding far in advancement of respected peers the likes of Gray Barker, Evert Clark,  and Ivan T. Sanderson, he has met, video interviewed, and documented many of the key witnesses involved in the incident, as I've written before. 

He's produced books and articles about the "Flatwoods Monster," appeared on television, done countless radio shows, and traveled the country doing lectures and book signings about this singularly strange and compelling case. He has been indefatigable! 

All this? ...And he's pretty easy to find. He's no cloistered recluse. He's reasonable and not impossibly pecuniary... the reader can afford him... think of an Ivan T. Sanderson for the 21st Century to a degree. 

Yet, and here begins this writer's puzzlement. There is no mention of Feschino anywhere on the History Channel's website and nothing about his book, The Braxton County Monster—The Cover-Up of the 'Flatwoods Monster' Revealed... which blows the hoary lid off the cover-up of the "Flatwoods Monster" case, in the first place... and where a  research has already been completed by the subject matter expert, extant! It's somewhat like the story of the Salk Polio Vaccine told with no mention of or reference to Jonas Salk! 

The History Channel site does lateral the reader a loose link to a decidedly weak July 20, 2018 article written by one Roy Wenzl: 

"In 1952, the Flatwoods Monster Terrified 6 Kids, a Mom, a Dog—and a Nation. It prompted a U.S. Air Force Official Inquiry, part of an Initiative called Project Blue Book." 

No, not at all. This is just another uninformative and mal-informing article not mentioning author Frank Feschino or his substantive investigation into the Flatwoods case. This article, like the work of a plethora of other writers and their articles over the years, misses the point by the obligatory parsec and ignores the abject seriousness of the incident which Feschino uncovered during his very arduous investigation, invariably treating the affair like it was "an amusing little tale of folk history." It's ever been more than that. Air war with ET would fill the bill, one would presuppose. That would change everything... and everything is reluctant to change!

You see, reader, it was Feschino who that got a copy of the Project Blue Book microfilm reel for September 12 and 13, 1952 about 25 years ago and reviewed 170 pages of those documents for those two singular, and very particular, days.

Only, there was a major problem with these files! This created a crisis. 

The Blue Book documents photographed for the microfilm were actually copies taken from the original documents. The originals had been archived by the Air Force, and the copies were then edited with blackout lines to hide witnesses names along with other information the authorities didn't want the public to know or see

The "Thermoflex" copy machine was a standard copier used in the 1950s. Cheap ink on these copies proved that they did not fare well over long periods of time. That wasn't good. 

You see reader, the problem was that these edited copies had actually been sitting around for enough time to be virtually unreadable! They were badly, almost illegibly faded by the time they were photographed for microfilm use and not the best reproduction resolution was to be found there. In other words, the degraded text of many of the documents was too poor to read easily, not without monumental difficulty! The writer is reminded of the Ramey Memo and its tortured, even computer-assisted, translation by Dr. David Rudiak.

Remains, Feschino, a trained artist and illustrator, persisted! He spent hundreds of hours over many years, enlarging, magnifying, deciphering and re-inking page after page of illegible Blue Book documents in order to be able to read them, at all! 

So, how does one reference files when it was quite likely they would be virtually unreadable by the time they'd get to them in the last year or two? Unless... they'd read Feschino's book? That's what the perspicacious person would do, read the paramount work available. Would anything else be even competent? One must be wondering where The History Channel did its research... This writer does.

Next: Provenance asserted. Cover-ups uncovered. Lingering meteors debunked.


scott santa said...

Magnificent article Alfred! Keep them coming! Ever consider writing a book? Maybe a compendium of your blog posts?

Earl Grey said...

Excellent article Alfred, I’ll second Scott Santa’s comment!