Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Thomas Mantell Case Reinvestigated

The Thomas Mantell UFO case has been re-investigated by ace historical researcher Brad Sparks (Brad was the primary consultant for Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings). Brad's work, which disputes the official explanation for Mantell's crash, could well be the "bombshell" UFO revelation of 2008 - at the very least, it will reopen the debate about what really happened to Captain Mantell sixty years ago.

Here is an excerpt from Part 1, which Brad kindly sent to me.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the tragic death of the young fighter pilot, Capt. Thomas Mantell. Mantell crashed in his F-51D Mustang prop fighter plane while pursuing an unidentified object almost a hundred miles across the state of Kentucky, on the afternoon of January 7, 1948. He became known as the first fatality in a UFO encounter. He reported over the radio that he saw an object “metallic and tremendous in size,” a famous phrase that has become legendary in UFO history. He was just 25 and left behind a wife and two little children. The case has spawned 60 years of confusion, mystery, sensation, speculation, controversy and finally disdain.

At the time, the US Air Force and Mantell’s Kentucky Air National Guard (ANG) unit put the “blame” (actual word used) on Mantell for his crash because he pursued the UFO at too high an altitude without oxygen supply. The AF explained the sighting as merely the planet Venus then later changed the official explanation to a large Skyhook balloon, once it was admitted that Venus was difficult to see in daytime. Venus was very unlikely to trigger spontaneous sightings by large numbers of people in widely separated areas.

All this has turned out to be false, the no-oxygen claim as well as the official IFO explanations. The Mantell quote, “metallic and tremendous in size,” though sometimes doubted is in fact essentially correct, but his report was a bit more detailed than this. And, for whatever it is worth, the chief investigator of the Mantell accident speculated in the classified Accident Report on the possibility of an “outside force” causing Mantell’s crash.
If Mantell was not chasing after a Skyhook balloon, or Venus, then what was he chasing 60 years ago? Brad's work definitely makes for riveting reading.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, for more information on the Mantell case, you can check the NICAP website.

Paul Kimball


Mac said...

That's a helluva teaser! Do you know if Sparks has any plans to write about the Roswell finds he mentioned at MUFON?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'd be very interested in knowing how Brad conclusively eliminates the Skyhook theory.

Will Brad's work be in a book?

NickJones said...

Looking forward to more!

Anonymous said...

I thought Kevin Randle had solved the mystery sometime last year. Balloon, he said.

But I find it hard to believe that a trained pilot could not properly identify a ballon. Neither could the observers in the military airfield. Balloon, he said.

Anonymous said...

"But I find it hard to believe that a trained pilot could not properly identify a balloon."

Why? Have you ever seen a plastic balloon in afternoon sunlight? I have, and it was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen: A very bright light, like an aircraft landing light, just hanging there in the sky in broad daylight. I can see how both the tower crew at Godman and Mantell could be impressed and baffled by it, if they'd never seen one before.

I've skimmed over Sparks' piece, which is available in full on the subscription-only UFO Update, and I find it exasperating and unconvincing. Sparks' main claim is that Mantell did too have oxygen, which is based on some pretty Jesuitical reading of the accident report, particularly a phrase about the oxygen system's being "in good working order." To most of us this could mean the system had no known defects, but Sparks insists that it can only mean the system had oxygen in it, or else it was a knowing lie. This may make sense if you consult a mechanic when the gas gauge reads "E." Since most of the rest of the piece rests on this -- Sparks goes on to claim that Mantell's wingmen went on to lie all over the place to avoid being court-martialed for abandoning their leader during what amounted to a combat mission -- I am not inclined to go into the long argument over whether this really could have been a particular Skyhook balloon.

The Godman UFO looked like a balloon -- like an "ice cream cone topped with red," like a "parachute." It acted like a balloon -- it was in sight of Godman for two hours. I think it was Kevin Randle who pointed out some years back that if you subtract Mantell's death, this is a pretty unimpressive UFO case. Sparks isn't really making it any more impressive. But, given this and his performance at MUFON last year, when he made out the MJ-12 hoax to be a real live disinformation operation, yes sir, I'm growing less impressed with Sparks.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a ballon, are you stupid or what?

Mantell said: "a metallic object, and it is of tremendous size"

A ballon isn't that big.

Mantell said: "We're going to need hot guns".

Hot Guns to destroy a simple balloon?

Moreover, no balloon was launched, or could have been in the skies that day.

Plus, pilots are not as stupid as you, they are well trained.

Varun Pendse said...

You have a point