Lately, over at UFO Updates (www.virtuallystrange,net/ufo/updates) Frank Warren and I have been discussing the Aztec case, in particular, the accounts of various "witnesses".
The correspondence can be found at, from beginning to end, at:
My original: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m16-003.shtml
Frank responds: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m16-010.shtml
My response: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m17-001.shtml
Frank's response: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m22-009.shtml
My response: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m23-014.shtml
Frank's response: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m30-015.shtml
My response: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/mar/m31-014.shtml
One of these "witnesses" - Fred Reed - is of particular interest, because we have a record of both what he told Scott Ramsey, and what Reed said one week prior to his interview with Scott. The differences are telling, and should sound a note of caution about the Aztec "witnesses" in general, and Scott and Frank's credulous approach to them.
Here, according to Scott, is what Reed told him in 1999 (you can find the original text at www.frankwarren.blogspot.com, at "'Flying Saucer' Recovery at Hart Canyon (Part Three) - The Witnesses"):
"Witness No. 3
While working for the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services), Fred Reed and his group were sent to Aztec, New Mexico to 'clean up the crash site,' early in April of 1948. [Reed didn't work for the O.S.S. - he worked for another clandestine organization of the military. Thi is an 'uncorrected error' that was missed in final editing by Scott - Frank Warren added this note]. Shortly after they arrived, it was apparent to them that something very large had been removed from the site. Their specialty was to make an area appear as if nothing had transpired there.
Fred revisited the crash site in 1999; I was able to interview him one week later.
In 1948 they were ordered to collect any foreign items they found and then bury them eighteen inches deep; to 'soft landscape' any areas where heavy equipment tracks were visible and to do an extensive survey on the entire mesa. He noted a newly cut road and an out-of-place, large concrete pad in the freshly altered and siltey soil, during the cleanup. Reed recalled thinking that they must have poured it to support a heavy structure, like a crane, used to move a large object.
At the time of the cleanup, his group was informed that it was simply a crash site. The entire cleanup was done in the usual quiet manner that they were accustomed to in the O.S.S. [O.S.S. is incorrect - Frank Warren added this note]. Years later, one of Reed's former Senior Officers would explain to him that it was not an aircraft crash, but that of a large metallic 'flying disc.'
In my interview with Reed, he commented on how the crash site today looked as they had left it when they had finished. He recalled that the tops of the trees were broken and was fascinated with how they had weathered time."
Both Frank and Scott proudly trumpet Reed as one of the best witnesses to the Aztec case, to the point where Scott included him as one of five he referenced in his 2004 MUFON article, as well as in my film Aztec 1948.
But what really makes Reed such a valuable example of the Aztec "witnesses" is that we have an account from him that predates his interview with Scott by a week. Better yet, he put it into writing, to the editor of a local Aztec area newspaper. Here is the entire text of that letter, presented in public, as far as I know, for the first time:
Today, my wife and I took advantage of the big celebration and went out to the site of the UFO crash of late 1948 in Hart Canyon. The workers who dedicated their time to this presentation of an important part of New Mexico history are to be commended. The road signs to guide the visitors were strategically placed, and the plaque marking the spot was in the right place. The aliens had built stone cairns marking the path from the oil field road to the crash site. These cairns are still in place today. The trees around the crash site open to the south, which is a typical distress signal for extraterrestrials.
The area looked essentially as it had in 1948 when the OSS sent our group there. We were to make a detailed survey of the area and report back to them, which we did. We were then reassigned elsewhere. We were never told what the OSS was looking for.
But a traveling survey crew like that eats in cafes, sleeps in motels, has no close family, and knows intimately only the men they work with. So, of course, we spect many long nights trying to figure out just what did happen in Hart Canyon.
We had heard rumors that a UFO had crashed there. But it did not look like a crash site. And we had heard that army personnel had rushed in there and cleaned up the site. But it did not look like a clean-up site either. One thing did stand out. There appeared to be some heavy traffic - not on any graded road - leading through the large rock slides to the canyon northwest of the site.
So what it boiled down to was this: No UFO crash. Instead, the UFO landed there for some specific intent to place (bury?) some instrument or thing there. They they got into their saucer and flew away. All of the other stories were put out by the government to cover up what they knew about the event or to cover up what they did not know about it. I guess the answer might be found in the old files of the OSS. But not in my time.
Now, let us compare the original testimony to that which came out after the interview with Scott.
Are there significant discrepancies?
1. Reed, in his letter, specifically states that nothing crashed on the mesa. Instead, the "rumour" that he heard was that a flying saucer had landed, planted a device, and then flown away - NO recovery! After his interview with Scott, this had changed to "a crashed flying saucer" that had been recovered by the military.
2. Reed, in his letter, refers to several stone cairns which the aliens had left in place to mark the road from the oil road to the "crash site" (note the contradictory statement even within this letter - "crash site" vs. "landing site"). After his interview with Scott, we now have the "out of place, large concrete pad" that had been poured to aid in the recovery.
3. Reed, in his letter, states that the "clean-up" operation occurred in late 1948. After his interview withe Scott, this date has been "corrected" back to April, 1948.
4. Reed, in his letter, talks about how the trees around the crash site open to the south, which is a "typical distress signal for the aliens." This ridiculous statement, which shows more than anything else that Reed is blowing smoke (but which Michael Salla would no doubt accept at face value), is nowhere to be found after his interview with Scott.
5. Reed, in his letter, states that his group was sent to the site to make a "detailed survey of the area" and "report back" to the O.S.S. After the interview with Scott, this has morphed into a "cleanup" operation, depsite the fact that in his letter, Reed stated that "We had heard that army personnel had rushed in there and cleaned up the site."
Five MAJOR discrepancies, plus one MAJOR mistake that is made in both accounts by Reed - the identification by Reed himself, not Scott, despite what Frank claims, of his unit as O.S.S., which was impossible, given that the O.S.S. ceased to exist on 1 October, 1945, by virtue of Executive Order 9621 (see www.cia.gov/cia/publications/oss/art10.htm). It was later effectively replaced by the Central Intelligence Group, and then, in 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act, the Central Intelligence Agency.
What does this tell us about the Aztec case?
First, it tells us that Reed's testimony is absolutely worthless. The historical inaccuracies (the O.S.S.??!!), and the inconsistent statements, within a week of each other, indicate he was a guy spinning a story that simply was not true.
To gain himself a small piece of the growing Aztec limelight. Call it the "Anderson - Kaufmann Syndrome." As I keep trying to tell people in ufology, not every "witness" is telling the truth.
More important, however, is the fact that it calls into question both Scott's methodology and his objectivity. It is clear from the "compare and contrast" exercise above that Reed changed his account when interviewed by Scott, possibly the result of leading questions (we won't know until Scott releases the detailed transcripts), but no doubt because Reed wanted to tell Scott what he figured Scott wanted to hear. Like Kaiser Wilhelm II, he wanted his "place in the sun."
As for Scott's objectivity, and his competence to draw conclusions from his considerable research, one must wonder. The O.S.S. statement alone should have raised a major red flag as to Reed's credibility back in 1999, and yet this clearly false statement was repeated by Scott right up until the present day. The same mistaken assumptions can be seen in his analysis of the radar bases he discovered, and in his acceptance of Frank Scully's claim that Dr. Gee was really "eight scientists" instead of Leo Gebauer (there are earlier posts here that deal with each of these issues).
We continue to hear from Scott and Frank that there really was a crash recovery of an alien spacecraft at Aztec in 1948. But if they bought Fred Reed's hogwash, should we place any faith in their overall approach to the Aztec case, and the evidence that so convincingly shows that there was no spaceship, no crash, and no story, other than the one cooked up by Silas Newton and Leo Gebauer?