Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is This The Flatwoods Monster?





There can be few very people within the realms of cryptozoology and ufology that have never heard of the so-called Flatwoods Monster, or Braxton County Monster, of 1952 - a story that is told in-depth in Frank Feschino's 2004 book, The Braxton County Monster: the Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed.

And as Feschino notes in his book: "On the night of September 12, 1952, a shocked American public sought answers when strange unidentified objects were seen flying through the sky over Washington, DC, and the eastern United States..."

He continued: "One of the strange objects crash-landed on a rural hilltop in Flatwoods, West Virginia..." Feschino also noted that a group of schoolboys were witness to the descent of the device and, with two adults, "...headed off to look for the object. Soon a twelve-foot tall being from the downed craft terrified these innocent people."

So, what was the monstrous entity? A cryptid? An alien? Some form of definitively Fortean beast? Or something else? Over the years, a whole range of theories have surfaced, and, as with so many such cases, the debate continues.

Indeed, check out this link and you'll see that over at UFOMystic, good friend Greg Bishop has dug deep into this puzzle, and has addressed another angle - namely that relative to the involvement of Remotely-Piloted Vehicles of a definitively terrestrial nature.

And, on this latter point of the Machiavellian hand of officialdom possibly playing a role in the Flatwoods affair, I stumbled across something the other day that makes me wonder if it may well have some bearing on what was seen at Flatwoods.

Call me crazy (and doubtless some will!), but I think the following data - which is directly relative to the use of superstitions and paranormal entities and ideas in warfare - may well have a bearing on the diabolical beast of Flatwoods.

A couple of days ago, I obtained a copy of an April 14, 1950 RAND publication titled The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare, written by Jean M. Hungerford, for the the U.S. Air Force.

The 37-page document is a truly fascinating one and delves into some very strange areas. But, what really caught my eye, was a section of the document that quoted from a book titled Magic: Top Secret, which was written in 1949 by one Jasper Maskelyne, a fascinating character (as the name-link demonstrates) who was up his absolute neck in new and novel ways to fool the enemy.

Hungerford quotes the following from Maskelyne in her report, which concerns a truly alternative psychological warfare operation that occurred during the Second World War, and less than a decade before the Flatwoods Monster was seen:

"Our men...were able to use illusions of an amusing nature in the Italian mountains, especially when operating in small groups as advance patrols scouting out the way for our general moves forward. In one area, in particular, they used a device which was little more than a gigantic scarecrow, about twelve feet high, and able to stagger forward under its own power and emit frightful flashes and bangs. This thing scared several Italian Sicilian villages appearing in the dawn thumping its deafening way down their streets with great electric blue sparks jumping from it; and the inhabitants, who were mostly illiterate peasants, simply took to their heels for the next village, swearing that the Devil was marching ahead of the invading English."

Hungerford continued to quote from Maskelyne's book in her report: "Like all tales spread among uneducated folk (and helped, no doubt, by our agents), this story assumed almost unimaginable proportions. Villages on the route of our advance began to refuse sullenly to help the retreating Germans, and to take sabotage against them; and then, instead of waiting for our troops to arrive with food and congratulations of their help, the poor people fled, thus congesting the roads along which German motorized transport was struggling to retire. The German tankmen sometimes cut through the refugees and this inflamed feeling still more, and what began almost as a joke was soon a sharp weapon in our hands which punished the Germans severely, if indirectly, for several critical weeks."

There are a number of issues worth noting here. First, the height of the Flatwoods Monster and the British Army's devilish scarecrow were the same: 12-feet. In addition, the cover of Frank Feschino's book shows the Flatwoods Monster emitting lights. And the 12-foot scarecrow in Italy gave off "frightful flashes and bangs" and had "great electric blue sparks jumping from it."

Second, the RAND report that specifically refers to this Italian escapade - that Jasper Maskelyne described in his Magic: Top Secret book - was prepared for psychological warfare planners in the U.S. Air Force. And, in his book on the beast of Flatwoods, Feschino notes that the Air Force took careful interest in the Flatwoods affair and what was being reported on the affair by the media.

The RAND report was submitted to the Air Force in April 1950, and Flatwoods occurred in September 1952. Is it possible that in this two-year period USAF psychological warfare planners created their very own - albeit updated and modified - version of the British Army's 12-foot-tall flashing monster to try and gauge what its reaction might be when unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace?

There's also the settings, too: the British Army's operation was focused on little, isolated villages in Italy. And Flatwoods is a little, rural town in Braxton County, West Virginia that, even as late as 2000, had a population of less than 350.

Those who suspect the the Flatwoods Monster was some form of cryptozoological creature, Fortean entity, or alien being, may well scoff at my speculations and musings.

However, when we can say for sure that the British Army was using 12-foot, illuminated scarecrow-style critters for psychological warfare reasons in the Second World War, is it really a stretch to think that the USAF might have tried something similar in 1952 with their very own 12-foot-tall freak?

One final thing: the foreword to Frank Feschino's book was penned by acclaimed ufologist, Stanton T. Friedman, who wrote the book Top Secret Majic (with a "j"). This should not be confused with Jasper Maskelyne's Magic Top Secret (with a "g)!

32 comments:

Alfred Lehmberg said...

With all respect, Sir, something I don't give lightly, more up to date information can be obtained at:

http://www.flatwoodsmonster.com/



While it remain that it might be as you say, the book quoted from is hugely flawed in execution —at no fault to the author— and it's cost Feschino's supporters 25 grand plus to terminate the contract with the errant publisher Quarrier Press so as to stop it's being published altogether. That book is dead and Feschino repudiates it.

The book to read (All 150 errors corrected) is —Shoot Them Down— and it makes a damned good data rich case for undeclared and secret air war with ET, where "Flatwoods" is only the "end of the story."

Now there's a story to chub your gnarlies, eh?

alienview@roadrunner.com
> www.AlienView.net
>> AVG Blog -- http://alienviewgroup.blogspot.com/
>>> U F O M a g a z i n e -- www.ufomag.com

Nick Redfern said...

Thanks for the info, Alfred!

spiraldance said...

Wow -- totally fascinating research and to think that an author's supporters spent huge sums to get an author's book retracted from the publisher -- amazing.

Does that pertain to the information Nick has posted in regards to the book in specific? It seems not to as Nick is posting the general description of the Flatwoods Monster. Certainly there would be further details that could lend to one or another interpretation but if the foundation of the incidence is faulty, then any continued analysis will have been misled at best.

Nick -- this is definitely another amazing layer to the psyops strangeness in the ufo paranormal scene. The parallel to the UK disinformation is amazing.

Nick Redfern said...

Spiral:

I don't unfortunately have the answers to the questions. But yes, my reference to Flatwoods is basically one that can be found anywhere on the net. In other words, the basics of the story are well known, and available via various sources, including Feank's book.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Well, it certainly sounds like an interesting possibility. However, right now I'm in the middle of Dolan's UFOs and the National Security State (vol. 1), where he shows the US Air Force was in a state of paranoia during the biggest UFO wave in modern history.

To think they would risk to test the psychological response of a carefully staged hoax under an already-nervous public whose interest in UFOs was growing by the minute, when the US government's main concern was to try to downplay the impact of UFOs and their inability to prevent them from invading the airspace of highly sensitive Federal & military installations —including the White House and the Pentagon!— is IMO akin to test the effect of adding more gasoline to a forest fire!

The idea could only be conceivable, if the psy-ops deception was carried out by a group outside the US National Defense System. Or a group that sought to ridicule the Air Force, and show their incapacity to contain the UFO problem —what's the distance between Langley and Flatwoods? ;)

Jeff Davis said...

Frankly, I think your common sense postulation is right on. Admittedly like any other stab at what "might be, or have been" it's a guess certainly, but it sure seems spot on with respect to basic informed deductive reasoning.

After having closely taken interest in the Fortean realms of the curious, UFOs especially, for the last 30-40 years, the human mind is many times the responsible causal vortex of perception based experience.

Certainly not always, but we just don't give the human mind enough credit do we? Maskelyne possessed one such mind for creating exceptionally formidable displays for what appeared to be real, that was not. I often wonder where we are REALLY at technologically speaking with respect to this same human propensity for the excellence of illusion. From Black Triangles to Phoenix Lights, how many of the things that give a clear visualized solid appearance, are in fact, clearly solid?

Admittedly, for an old UFO buff, not much fun to ponder, but utterly possible nonetheless.

scaife said...

Excellent job Mr Redfern!

What if the Flatwoods mecha-monster was being used to scare the 'villagers' away from the site of a downed UFO, in order to give the military time enough to 'clean up'?

This reminds me of Dr. No's mechanized Dragon, used to keep nosy fisherman away from his island. Remember, Ian Fleming was in the intelligence service in WWII. Perhaps this same Maskelyne beast was his inspiration?

And finally, am I the only one that thinks the Thing on the book's cover looks like a Giant Dalek? That'd sure scare the hell out of me!

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Frank Feschino Writes:

Hey Alfred,

A great post in response to Redfern's scarecrow story. Yes, he should have read the new book and not the old incorrect one.

Just remember what Leavitt stated to me in his interview about what the USAF said about the "Flatwoods Monster."

This segment reads how Colonel Leavitt was called and ordered by the USAF to obtain samples from the Fisher Farm:

Frank: "Now when these samples were sent out, they were sent to
Washington directly. How did that process work."

Leavitt: "Air Force people, that's who."

Frank: "Now, they contacted you?"

Leavitt: "Yeah."

Frank: "Through Washington."

Leavitt: "Yeah, they wanted to know what it was."

The USAF DID NOT know what the so-called "Flatwoods Monster" actually
was...That is why Leavitt was ordered to take samples from the site.

During the summer of the saucers in 1952, the Air Force was desperately trying to keep a lid on the UFO activity occurring over the United States. The UFO press conference at the Pentagon in July 1952 was proof of that.

Now also remember, on Sept. 12, 1952, the damaged/flaming Flatwoods
craft actually passed very low over DC heading west and flew
approximately 200 miles before it landed on the farm. Over DC, it was
seen flying very low by hundreds of witnesses.

Why would the USAF send a large flaming craft over the nation's Capitol with a scarecrow in it, if it were trying to cover up UFOs from the American public? Especially when the public was already panicked by the
July 19-20 and July 26-27 Washington DC scare only 6 weeks before!!!

Furthermore, what about the 102 documented locations where several UFOs were sighted that day!?

http://paratopiary.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-post.html

Frank

Nick Redfern said...

Scaife

You make an interesting point on the Dr. No angle re the machanized dragon. It's interesting to note that Maskelyne was also involved in creating faked tanks (to fool the enemy) and other vehicle-oddities too!

Nick Redfern said...

Frank:

Had I known the first book was incorrect then I would have read the correct one instead, and will now do so.

You state: "Why would the USAF send a large flaming craft over the nation's Capitol with a scarecrow in it, if it were trying to cover up UFOs from the American public?"

They wouldn't! I'm not saying that at all. Why would you assume that even if this scenario was real, that the device would be flown in a vehicle over the nation's capital before being unleashed at Flatwoods? I never even alluded to such.

That there were sightings at DC doesn't mean that this implied the device was flown over DC first. They could have been separate events.

You'll note that I was not dogmatic about the theory, which is precisely why the blog-post was titled as a question: "Is This The Flatwoods Monster?" Rather than: "This Is The Flatwoods Monster!"

The point I was making was that in WWII, we know that the British Army was using a 12-foot-tall construction that was full of lights and that provoked fear, as part of a psychological warfare operation that was targeting little towns.

And, the story was published in a 1949 book (Magic Top Secret).

We know that Rand prepared a report on this story in the following year, 1950, and that the report was specifically for the attention of USAF psychological warfare planners.

Then in 1952, we have this 12-foot-tall thing appearing in a little town, only 2 years or so after the USAF was told about the British psy-op by Rand.

It's entirely feasible that there is no connection. But, whether there is or not, there are some intriguing parallels, which suggest to me we would be wise to study further.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

"It's entirely feasible that there is no connection. But, whether there is or not, there are some intriguing parallels, which suggest to me we would be wise to study further."

_Entirely_ collegiate, I suspect Feschino must stand in agreement with you, only he'd likely add that one might also avail themselves more fully of the pointed study already done. Avail themselves, especially, given the bulk of the evidentiary audit trail comes _first_ from official Government documents, then the written accounts of state and local periodicals... and only _then_ the accounts of first person witnesses.

See if you were told that the Map —linked to above— reflected bona fide UFO activity in the area over ...a whole decade... it would still be impressive. Though, when one discovers that the map reflects bona fide activity over a mere 21.5 hour period... well... the old jaw has to drop and _bounce_, eh?

Feschino, while _not_, I suspect, trying to put words in your mouth, has been "burned" by Docca Nickel's roc-sized and wholly insulting "barn owls." He's going to be a little "shy" with regard to moving robot scarecrows, I submit.

...Apologies up front, Nick, for any insult you may have perceived. It's not there or was not remotely intended.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"The USAF DID NOT know what the so-called "Flatwoods Monster" actually
was...That is why Leavitt was ordered to take samples from the site."


And I lean to agree with that. But we have also need to keep this in mind: the different agencies conforming the US National Defense System did not work as a coherent unified group. For most of their history they have worked as independent factions, carrying their own secret covert ops.

While the USAF was the "public" face for UFO federal investigation, the CIA was conducting UFO research on their own —with file cases that MANY times never reached the hands of Ruppelt and Blue Book. And in the mean time, Old Man Hoover was also instructing his agents to keep an eye on the UFO problem.

The idea that the Flatwoods monster was some kind of psy-ops experiment intended to test the civilian reaction to an alien threat does sound preposterous, had it been orchestrated by the Air Force, who were indeed trying to "put the lid" on UFOs.

But, if it had been performed by the CIA's Office of Scientific Investigation unit —who months later were instrumental in the Robertson panel's conclusion that the public needed to be reeducated about UFOs— well, it kind of sounds more plausible.

The Robertson Panel's agenda seemed to be more concerned with public paranoia than the actual threat UFOs might represent. Maybe the Flatwoods monster case was part of this conclusion.

Anyway, Nick's hypothesis has been great food for thought :)

Nick Redfern said...

Hey Alfred

No need for any apologies, as there was no insult. I see it as a debate on a matter that is worthy of debate, and where people may have differing opinions - and that's all.

Cheers
Nick

Alfred Lehmberg said...

That's a relief, Nick, as I've always counted you as one of the good guys in this "thing," — a real asset for my money... a true contributor, if I may. That said:

A solidly done data driven study of the whole "summer of saucers" affair only _culminating_ at Flatwoods, suggests, as I said before, a secret and undeclared air-war with ET. The fabric of the story is made from vetted cloth and there are no apologies, especially given the recent activities of Lesley Kean and Robert Hastings, that the ironic immediacy of these half- century events... is an ETH so far up the observer's nose one feels alien knees scrubbing ones top lip, eh?

spiraldance said...

Any mention of Hastings requires reading James Carlson's expose on Hasting's research -- newly updated at realityuncovered.net

Indeed the two primary witnesses Hastings relies on -- Figel and Carlson -- both state that there was no ufos at the nuke sites. These are recent correspondences with Figel and Carlson. James Carlson's book, freely readable online, details exactly why the nukes went offline and also why there were no ufos witnessed.

Nick Redfern said...

Alfred:

Yes, I don't deny that Flatwoods could indeed have been alien. However, there is something I have noticed in certain significant cases - namely, that a genuine UFO event is then made more confusing by the insertion of a psy-op to confuse the affair.

Take Rendlesham Forest, for example, where we have some incidents that seem truly anomalous, but then made more confusing by the insertion of stories of mind-manipulation of some of the witnesses etc.

Same with the Contactees: I'm convinced that some of them may have had real experiences with something anomalous, but there's also data strongly suggesting a psy-op link to some of those cases.

On broadly this same topic, when I interviewed Rich Reynolds for my "Contactees" book, he told me that with respect to the French and Italy-based sightings of dwarf-like UFO entities in the 1950s: "...I don't think those cases were set-up or contrived by the government at all. But the CIA didn't know how things might go from there, with the Italian and French cases and other ones, and how they should deal with it if there might have been an invasion. So, they set up people in a UFO contrivance and studied the witness response, and probably studied the public and the media's response too."

And this is something I'm finding more and more - real cases, but that are confused by the addition of a psy-op element.

And maybe that comes into play with Flatwoods and the 1952 cases: real events coupled with a psy-op to further study public perception.

Shadowcass said...

"The USAF DID NOT know what the so-called "Flatwoods Monster" actually
was...That is why Leavitt was ordered to take samples from the site."

No? IF this were a psychological study on the effects of fear (a la Major Maskelyne and his gang of tricksters---(incidentally, anyone who bothered to read Paul gallico's classic novel TOO MANY GHOSTS (1961) has known about the good Major's efforts for years) the government would NATURALLY take the "usual steps" to add verisimilitude to the incident in hopes that suggestible people would then say ""The USAF DID NOT know what the so-called "Flatwoods Monster" actually
was...That is why Leavitt was ordered to take samples from the site."

Sorry, ALF, but one theory is as good as another in an incident this old.
Whether it was giant owls, robot scarecrows, an alien visitor, or hallucination has yet to be demonstrated.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

I beg your pardon "SpiralDance," but any mention of one James Carlson —a fellow seemingly created out of the whole cloth of "daddy issues" and klasskurtxian air to inconsistently crap on Hastings' stalwart initiative— is, for my money, abundantly countered on Frank Warren's very cogent site, _UFO Chronicles_, line, sheet, and toggle.

http://www.theufochronicles.com/2010/09/echooscar-witch-hunt.html

...And my apologies, Nick, but I've always found "Rich Reynolds" to be singularly underwhelming as a contributer where he is not laughably dubious with regard to a hard anthropomorphic and self-centering cant. There are other issues.

I suppose it must be a case of one man's cheese being another's rotten milk.

Say, perhaps Mr. Reynolds would like to debate the quality of his contribution with me... well... anywhere in cyber space where words can be tinkered on an electronic page, eh? Of course, there are prerequisite issues we'd have to wade through first, but I'm betting anybody you'd interview for substantive commentary would be up to it.

All that said, I wonder what Edward Ruppelt could have meant when he wrote on page 61 of his _The Report On UFOs_, "There have been other and more lurid duels of death."

Nick Redfern said...

Shadowcass has had problems leaving comments here today (the usual tech stuff, it seems), so I'm (Nick) posting the following for her:



On the question of "Could the eyewitnesses to the 'Flatwoods Monster' have been mistaken the answer is a resounding 'YES!'"

Case in point: "The Night that Panicked America". You've heard about it, I'm sure. It was October 30, 1938 and Orson Welles was presenting an adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" by H. G. Wells.
Many people who heard the broadcast fled their homes. There were some reported suicides. AND there were people who saw AND SHOT AT the "Martian Machines."
It has been established that what they saw and shot at were water towers and silos that they had seen on every day of their lives...but on THIS night they saw them as "alien machines."

Now...September 12, 1952. The Braxton County Incident.
What, if any, are the similarities? When Orson did his broadcast back in 1938 Hitler had already invaded Austria taken the Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia). Tojo was made "Minister of War" for Japan in July of that year and tensions were high world-wide. Everyone (with the possible exception of Neville Chamberlain) could see that war was coming,

In 1952 the Cold War was escalating. McCarthy's "Red Hunt" is in full swing---as is the war in Korea. And school children are being exposed to "educational films" like "Atomic Alert" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUqJ8XYYliA and "Duck and Cover" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvChsvdPGjA&feature=related

and EVERYBODY was seeing crap like THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V47Qs9Eyus&feature=fvw

In other words, there was (again) an underlying current of fear.

Nick Redfern said...

Shadowcass continues her latest comment:

THEN three children (ages 13, 12 , and 10) see "something" land on Mr. Fisher's farm. "I think that was a FLYING SAUCER!" cries Ed May (who is the oldest). "So do we!" chime in the others. And off they go to tell Kathleen May (mother of Ed and his brother, Fred) and instead of saying "Oh, you boys and your imaginations!" SHE immediately starts off for the farm with the three boys, two OTHER children, and a 17 year old National Guardsman named Gene Lemon. And Gene's dog who, reportedly, is the first to flee the "Thing." (The dog reportedly died two days later---but there are also people who claim it was still alive several YEARS after the encounter).
All the local reporter found the next day were tracks which he said were signs of a saucer landing but which later turned out to belong to Max Lockard's 1942 pick-up (he had been out looking for the flying saucer a few hours earlier).

Now, let's go back. There WAS a meteor that night which crossed three states and finally crashed into a hill about 12 miles away from Flatwoods. There were normal objects present which COULD have been "misidentified" due to increased adrenalin flow in the witnesses (aircraft beacons with flashing red lights and so on).

Kathleen May herself has said that what they saw was a "covert US Government aircraft" (not a flying saucer) which may be possible. As for the sickness the witnesses reported afterwards---this could have been to due the after-effects of the initial "panic" created by the belief that they were encountering a flying saucer and its inhabitant (adrenaline exhaustion and so on). OR it could have been some "relatively" harmless gas used by the pilot of the "covert craft" to scare away members of the public while repairs were being made---OR it could be that robots from space are hazardous to your health.

The truth is that we will probably never KNOW what really happened or didn't happen. What we DO know is that "Mr. Yeti" Ivan T. Sanderson took soil samples in 1952. He never made the results public. Now, we all loved Ivan but this is all of a piece with his "thunderbird picture" which he either loaned to some people (he could never remember who) or just plain lost. In other words, sometimes Ivan played a little fast and loose with the truth. I mean, he was a great guy...but there was a little P. T. Barnum in his soul, you know?

He didn't reveal the results because, in all likelihood, the results had nothing to reveal. It was just dirt.

But the Braxton County Incident remains a terrific story and I can understand why people might want to cling on to it---whether it's true or not.

Nick Redfern said...

And Shadowcass concludes:

I should add that both SPACE PATROL (starring Ed Kemmer who had been a POW in the camp featured the movie THE GREAT ESCAPE) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wymYaJcTrTA and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (starring Frankie Thomas) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imMb8vXEYc8&feature=related were both all over radio, television, comic books, comic strips, lunch boxes and everything else in 1952 so the reaction of the kids should not be surprising.

And the Flatwoods Monster IS immortal. It is the description of this creature that inspired the appearance of Colonel Bleep, the first COLOR cartoon series ever produced for television http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iyb3qzx9Qk

Cass

NickJones said...

Just a bit of a tangent: are there any extant photos of the WWII 'scarecrow'? Are there independent witnesses to the scarecrow, or are we just going by Maskelyne's say-so? (and wasn't there a character with a similar name in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow?)

Nick Redfern said...

Nick:

Coincidentally, I have spent a few hours in the last few days chasing down as much as I can on Maskelyne. I don't have photos of the Scarecrow yet, but I do have dozens of images of some of the other faked contraptions he worked on, such as faked tanks, trucks etc.

I doubt he simply made it up on his say-so, however, as he had a respected, proven background in this field with the military.

Shadowcass said...

It is as well to remember that the book MAGIC-TOP SECRET (ghost written by Frank S. Stuart) was published in 1949 and is not considered (by most) to be historically reliable in certain instances. More is claimed than Maskelyne actuually DID.

Nonetheless---he did a LOT.

And if you'd like to research Maskelyne's career for yourself you can begin here: http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/R/real_lives/jasper.html

and here: http://dictionaryofwar.org/node/672

And Seymour Reit's book MASQUERADE: The Amazing Camouflage Deceptions of WWII is well thought of. SOME used copies (and ojne collectible edition) are available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Masquerade-amazing-camouflage-deceptions-World/dp/0801549310

And Bookfinder.Com shows some 55 copies available from various sellers http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?isbn=0801549310&st=xl&ac=qr&src=dir

I mesn, if that's any help.

NickJones said...

Oh dear. As much as I hate to - er, rain - on this parade, checking the site through the second link at the bottom of the Wikipedia article (http://www.maskelynemagic.com/), it would appear that Maskelyne's veracity is indeed questionable. Not only was he a self-mythologizer, but his ghost-writer, a 'hack-for-hire', was prone to pad his work with pure fiction. The writer of the articles, Richard Stokes, was able to confirm this with Maskelyne's son, Alistair. Many official and nonofficial reports have taken his memoirs on faith.

Nick Redfern said...

Nick:

I think the important issue about Maskelyne is that his story appeared in a RAND report prepared for Air Force Psychological Warfare operatives.

We could hypothesize that even though his work on some highly novel projects can be validated, if this story of his was exagerrated, or born out of his imagination, there might be some irony in the issue of someone thinking that to use such a scenario still might be a good idea.

And, I still think, the vaguely human shape, the same 12-foot height, that both stories concerns sightings in little towns, and that this went to USAF psy-war people (who we know have played a role in UFO events, and taken an interest in such), suggests we should still dig deeper.

And there are, for example, other examples where stories of weird and legendary beasts may have been deliberately exploited by the official world, such as the following from Patrick Huyghe:

http://www.astralgia.com/webportfolio/omnimoment/archives/features/supernatural/index.html

Then there's the 1950 novel by Bernard Newman (The Flying Saucer, which, coincidentally, has just been re-released). This tells the story of a cabal of scientists faking a number of UFO crashes around the world to try and unite the planet into a New World Order - albeit a benevolent one.

Of course, there have since, been rumors of faked UFO crashes to protect crashes of real military hardware, and the idea that governments might use the UFO issue as the next tool of fear to further erode our rights (via some form of hoaxed event), is something often discussed in ufological circles.

Newman's book is undoubtedly a novel, but he moved in official, espionage-based circles, and it'ss interesting that if you read his fictional tale (of 1950), you'll see it contains many themes that did not become commonplace in Ufology for decades (psy-ops to create faked crashed UFO stories; a secret cabal operating separate to the mainstream government etc).

So, in other words, the mere fact that RAND chose to prepare a classified report for the USAF that referenced the "scarecrow" story, may still have had some effect on its usage - true or not.

Sometimes, fiction can inspire reality in very strange ways.

Nick Redfern said...

The Patrick Huyghe link appears to have got muddled. Here it is again:

http://www.astralgia.com/webportfolio/omnimoment/archives/features/supernatural/index.html

Nick Redfern said...

hmmm, it's still not going direct to the link. Instead, copy-paste the link above, go to "Features" and then click on "A Supernatural Cover Story?" and that's the one.

NickJones said...

You're right, Nick - I hadn't considered the idea of a fictional object being the inspiration for propaganda purposes. The Trojan Horse, fictional or not, must have inspired innumerable copycat schemes, so whether 'Il Spauracchio' existed or not is irrelevant to the case.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"This tells the story of a cabal of scientists faking a number of UFO crashes around the world to try and unite the planet into a New World Order - albeit a benevolent one."

Nick: ALL New World Orders are benevolent... in the minds of the people fixed on establishing them, that is ;)

Nick Redfern said...

RPJ:

LOL, yes you're right!

Shadowcass said...

Is THIS the Flatwoods Monster?

http://www.wired.com/underwire/wp-content/gallery/cheesy-sci-fi/07_robotmonster.jpg