In UFO Crash at Aztec, William Steinman describes his short trip to Aztec, New Mexico in July, 1982, where he conducted an "investigation" into the alleged crash of a flying saucer near Aztec in 1948. Unable to find any witnesses in Aztec itself, or near the supposed crash site (including the man who owned the land in 1948), Steinman wandered over to Blanco, which is a few miles to the east of Aztec. There he was directed by an "oldtimer" to "V.A.," who Steinman trumpets in his book as "AN EYEWITNESS AT LAST!"
V.A.'s story went as follows (UFO Crash at Aztec, pp. 259 - 259):
"V.A. told me that he had witnesses an incident involving a flying saucer, so close up that it left a vivid impression in mind ever after [Steinman's emphasis]. One morning, somewhere between 1948 and 1950, V.A. was out performing his usual chores for the day. Suddenly he heard a loud explosion, like a jet breaking the sound barrier. He looked in the direction of the sound, and saw a huge disc-shaped flying object with a dome on the top. This object appeared to be larger than his house, and was within 200 yards of him [Steinman's emphasis]. It appeared to be in trouble, skimming about 100 feet above the ground, and it wobbled as it flew."
"V.A. pointed to a cliff which jutted about 150 feet above the Animas River on the back side of the farm. 'That thing, or flying saucer, tried hard to clear that cliff; but it hit the very corner up there, shooting sparks and rocks every which direction. Finally it made a straight right angle turn in mid-air and headed straight north. That's the last I saw of it.' (Straight north was a bee-line for the Heart [sic] Canyon crash site.). V.A. proceeded to say, 'I ran into the house and I called the military in Albuquerque. I never heard from them about it.'"
Steinman's response to this story?
"Here we have testimony which could be one of the most vital pieces to the puzzle, and to solution of the Aztec flying saucer recovery story. I have to admit that V.A.'s testimony started, at that point, to make me a believer!"
One can only laugh at this point - for those who have been following this little saga, it should be clear that Steinman started his "investigation" as a "believer" of the first order.
If Steinman had been an objective searcher for the truth, he would have immediately noticed some major flaws in V.A.'s account.
First, there is the statement that what V.A. saw left "a vivid impression in his mind ever after." Apparently, however, that vivid impression did not include a recollection of the year in which the incident happened, as the best he could do was peg it at "somewher between 1948 and 1950." Now, if something like this happened to me, I would certainly be able to recall at least the year in which it happened, if not the precise date. Note that V.A. was very specific about details that he could invent, such as what he saw, but was much vaguer about details that Steinman should know, or could check, like the date / year of the incident. This is a clear sign that someone is being, shall we say, less than truthful.
Of course, it could have just been a faulty memory, as the Aztec proponents would no doubt reply. I find this unlikely, given the momentous nature of the event, but I will agree that if this was the only flaw in V.A.'s story, there would at least be room for doubt.
However, there is an even bigger problem. V.A. described a flying saucer clearly in trouble. According to him, there was "a loud explosion," "the disc appeared to be in trouble... and wobbled as it flew," and then, after it passed low over his house, it failed to clear the corner of a cliff, hitting the outcropping and "shooting sparks and rocks every which direction."
Unfortunately, this "saucer in trouble" bears no resemblance to the saucer described by Dr. Gee (aka Leo Gebauer) in Behind the Flying Saucers. Other than a single broken window, there were no marks on that ship. As Dr. Gee explained to Scully, "the outside surface showed no marking of any sort, except for a broken porthole." The alleged saucer had not been in trouble in the manner V.A. described it, but rather had "gently pancaked to earth like a slow motion of Sonja Heine imitating a dying swan" (Behind the Flying Saucers, p. 115). This is also what Scientist X (aka Silas Newton) claimed at his infamous University of Denver lecture, when he stated, "Thos connected with the research... believed that all three craft landed under the guidance of their own instruments and did not crash, despite the fact that their crews were dead. They may have landed on instruments or they may have been guided the whole distance. But they did not crash (Behind the Flying Saucers, p. 28).
So what's going on here? The answer, undoubtedly, is that V.A. had indeed heard some rumours of a flying saucer crash near Aztec, all of which can in one way or another be traced back to the Newton and Gebauer story, which would explain why he was uncertain about the year. When Steinman wandered by, V.A. had a little fun with him, taking the basic rumour and spinning his own version that placed him at the center of events.
If Steinman had really been interested in the truth, rather than being desperate to find someone who would corroborate what he already believed to be true, he would have seen the major problems with V.A.'s story immediately, and moved on. But, as we have seen, finding the truth was not the purpose of Steinman's "Aztec investigation" back in July, 1982.
To be concluded...