Declassified U.S. government documents and military veterans have confirmed repeated UFO incursions at American nuclear weapons sites, decade after decade. (Declassified Soviet documents and former Soviet Army personnel verify that such incidents occurred in the former U.S.S.R. as well.)
During my September 27, 2010 "UFOs and Nukes" press conference in Washington D.C., retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Col. Charles Halt discussed one such incident at the RAF Bentwaters airbase in England, on December 28, 1980, when a UFO was observed directing down laser-like beams of light onto various locations on the base. Radio chatter between USAF Security Policemen indicated that some of those fell within the boundaries of the USAF's Weapons Storage Area (WSA) where tactical nuclear bombs were kept in hardened bunkers.
The WSA-related incident described by Col. Halt is only one of many such cases known to researchers. Declassified files confirm that unexplained aerial activity occurred at Killeen Base in Texas—one of the first nuclear bomb depots—as early as March 6, 1949. One U.S. Army intelligence report reveals that on the evening of April 28th of that year, a total of 12 guards and other personnel were involved in nine separate sightings of small lighted objects, maneuvering southeast of the weapons depot. One sighting involved a group of four lights; another formation was composed of eight to ten lights.1
Other documents released via the Freedom of Information Act discuss UFO incursions at the Loring AFB, Maine, WSA on October 27-28, 1975. As discussed in my book, UFOs and Nukes, an eyewitness to the UFO presence on the second night, Sgt. Steven M. Eichner, described the unknown aerial intruder as an elongated football, as long as four cars, and reddish-orange in color, hovering just above the ground.
In a sworn affidavit, Eichner stated, "The object looked like all the colors were blending together, as [if] you were looking at a desert scene. You see waves of heat rising off the desert floor. This is what I saw. There were these waves in front of the object and all the colors were blending together. The object was solid and we could not hear any noise coming from it."2
Still other declassified documents reveal that such incidents also occurred at the Wurtsmith AFB Weapons Storage Area in Michigan during the same 1975 time-frame. Moreover, according to one of my own ex-USAF sources, former nuclear missile maintenance technician, Staff Sgt. Joseph M. Chassey, a UFO hovered over the Malmstrom AFB, Montana, WSA one night during the fall of that year and played cat-and-mouse with the helicopters sent up to intercept it.
In the 1980s, UFOs were repeatedly observed hovering over the Weapons Storage Area at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, according to former USAF Air Policeman Jay DeSisto. Another incident, as summarized in a USAF Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI or simply OSI) memo, involved a disc-shaped UFO that landed not far from the Manzano WSA, located east of Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, on August 8, 1980.
It is this last case that I will focus on here. Apparently, the August 8th incident was only one of many UFO sightings at Manzano during the 1979–80 time-frame. An excellent new book by researcher Christian P. Lambright, titled X Descending, provides previously unpublished information and evidence—including photographic stills taken from motion picture films of the UFOs—relating to the real reason the Air Force launched a covert campaign of disinformation and harassment against the person who took those films, civilian systems engineer Dr. Paul Bennewitz.
After Bennewitz approached USAF commanders at Kirtland with his films, and subsequently began giving interviews about his sightings at Manzano to ufologists and the press, OSI agent Richard Doty was secretly ordered to neutralize his testimony and evidence through the use of dirty tricks, including providing Bennewitz with forged documents and other bogus information about U.S. government-sanctioned alien operations near Kirtland, and other bizarre subjects—which he was encouraged to publicize—in an effort to undercut his credibility with the media and the public. Bennewitz was also told that aliens were monitoring his own activities and, as a result, he began wearing a sidearm at home. The ensuing psychological assaults on the hapless Bennewitz resulted in his being temporarily hospitalized for paranoid psychosis and, ultimately, his complete, permanent mental collapse.
In short, Bennewitz became a casualty of the Air Force's determined efforts to direct attention away from the real story—repeated UFO incursions at the Manzano nukes storage site—evidence of which he had captured on film. While the tragic outcome, involving lasting damage to his mental health, was probably not deliberately planned, at least to that extreme degree, it nevertheless occurred.
Almost nothing relating to the genesis of the Bennewitz affair remains available for public scrutiny. While the Internet yields a lot of information about the unfolding of this sad, repugnant episode in the ongoing UFO cover-up by the U.S. government, almost all of the commentary about its underlying cause is inaccurate and wildly speculative. As author Lambright correctly notes, "Sadly, most of the information available today on this case focuses on the fallout, often just bizarre claims and interpretations promoted by others, some with little, if any, basis in fact."
Indeed, although books by Mark Pilkington, Nick Redfern and Greg Bishop have addressed the Bennewitz case, those authors naively and uncritically relied on statements about it supplied to them by the same, now-discredited disinformation operative, retired OSI agent Richard Doty. While some of the information that Doty provided is factual—having already been exposed by various researchers, including me, years ago—the key facts about the reasons for the covert operation against Bennewitz were withheld, replaced by claims that Bennewitz had stumbled upon a National Security Agency (NSA) project to monitor Soviet satellite-related communications. As Mark Pilkington ironically told one interviewer:
[As a result of disinformation provided to him by Doty,] Bennewitz believed that he was eavesdropping on the communications of ETs flying in and out of the base. These were apparently [electronic] emissions from an NSA project which he was [misguidedly] 'decoding' to find alien messages in. After being encouraged in his delusions for some years by Doty and others working out of Kirtland, Bennewitz developed serious paranoid psychosis and had to be institutionalised for a month. During this entire time Bennewitz was quite influential in the UFO field, and many of the ideas he promoted, and was encouraged to believe by AFOSI—that there's an ET base next to Dulce, New Mexico, that the ETs have traded their technology with the U.S. government—are still central to the UFO lore. My sense is that Bennewitz was deliberately targeted to distribute nonsense into the UFO community.3
On this last point, Pilkington is entirely correct. Note, however, the absence of any mention of Bennewitz having taken films of UFOs over the Manzano WSA. Unwittingly, Pilkington, and other authors, have assisted in keeping the "classified NSA project" cover story alive, simply because they took Richard Doty at his word on the matter. Consequently, prior to the publication of X Descending, the true story of the origins of the Bennewitz affair remained hidden. Thankfully, Lambright's book nicely and convincingly fills that void with its credible, documented research.
My own investigation of Richard Doty began in the mid-1980s. In March 1989, I circulated within the ufological community a short paper, "The MJ-12 Affair: Facts, Questions, Comments", which summarized my own inquiry into his OSI-related activities. The paper was subsequently published in the June 1989 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal.
Among his officially-sanctioned capers, Doty successfully duped not only Bennewitz but also filmmaker Linda Moulton Howe, regarding all manner of alleged covert developments, including secret alien-U.S. treaties, the supposedly-authorized building of underground alien bases on American soil, and so on. Of course, all of these tales were complete fabrications, meant to confuse the UFO cover-up issue, and the mythology that resulted from Howe's regrettable widespread dissemination of this disinformation is in evidence even today, strewn all over the Internet.
(The latest iteration may be found in the hoax currently being perpetrated by Anthony Sanchez, relating to his alleged interview with a "Mystery Colonel X". The assertion is that this anonymous person worked at the underground alien base at Dulce. Sanchez first marketed the story in the form of an e-book, and is now selling it in print form. As proof of the existence of Colonel X, he included a copy of the officer's redacted DD214 service record in both publications, claiming he acquired it via a FOIA request to the National [Military] Personnel Records Center. A copy of the claimed DD214 was later sent to the NPRC, and they deemed it "bogus". Moreover, it seems, Sanchez has made other unsupported statements about his alleged communications with the records center.)
In any case, my more recent, updated exposé on the still-active disinformation activities of the now-retired Richard Doty was published at this website in 2009.
By the early 1990s—following my interviews with various USAF veterans about their knowledge of UFO activity at WSAs—I began to have suspicions about the real reason Bennewitz was targeted.
Years later, after researcher Robert J. Durant's article "Doty and the Body Snatchers" was published in October 2005, in the journal International UFO Reporter, I wrote to him, saying:
Despite Doty's recent public 'explanation' regarding the reasons for the campaign against Bennewitz, I am of the opinion that Bennewitz may have actually photographed and filmed bona fide UFOs over the Manzano Weapons Storage Area (WSA), which is located just east of Kirtland AFB. It was this nuclear weapons depot, now decomissioned, which directly bordered Bennewitz' subdivision, Four Hills. If you are familiar with some of the nuclear weapons-related UFO sightings—including those at ICBM sites and weapons research labs—then you may also be aware that a few of those sightings have occurred at WSAs.
When I wrote that, I was not yet aware that Chris Lambright possessed still frames from some of Bennewitz' films of the UFOs over Manzano. I did, however, know of references to those films in the ufological literature published years earlier but, by the time I read those articles, the films' whereabouts was unknown, and I had no way to verify their legitimacy.
With this in mind, I further told Durant:
In view of these facts [about other UFO sightings at various WSAs], I have suggested the following scenario to other researchers: Bennewitz—a reputable businessman whose company held contracts to supply engineering components to various government agencies—photographed bona fide UFOs above the Manzano WSA, and then talked about it to anyone who would listen, including the Air Force, ufologists, and the media. Because nuclear weapons-related UFO incidents were/are extremely sensitive, a decision was made by the Air Force to undermine Bennewitz' credibility. Consequently, OSI at Kirtland formulated a disinformation scheme whereby the talkative Bennewitz would be provided with outrageous stories of alien visitations at Kirtland, underground alien bases in the Southwest, secret U.S./alien treaties, and all the rest of it. Once this 'inside information' had been passed along to others by the increasingly paranoid Bennewitz, the legitimate media—as well as the more rational members of ufology—would quickly lose interest in his claims, leaving only the most gullible to oooh and ahhh at these amazing 'revelations'. The net result? The initial, bona fide UFO sightings at a highly-sensitive nuclear weapons facility got lost in all of the hoopla and were only rarely, if ever, mentioned in the articles and news stories about Bennewitz' claims.
So, thank you, Chris Lambright, for verifying my longstanding suspicions on the matter with your well-documented presentation of the photographic evidence gathered by Bennewitz. (Some of the images in your book have been inserted below.) Those persons having an interest in the UFO reality, and the official cover-up of same, owe you a debt of gratitude.
When viewing the hazy, indistinct photographic images above—individual frames excerpted from Bennewitz' 8mm motion picture films—it is important to remember that countless observers worldwide have mentioned the plasma-like quality of UFOs at night, perhaps due to the ionization of the surrounding atmosphere and/or some other phenomenon, which lends a shimmering, constantly shifting appearance to their outer hulls. For example, as Sgt. Eichner at Loring AFB said, "The object looked like all the colors were blending together, as [if] you were looking at a desert scene. You see waves of heat rising off the desert floor. This is what I saw. There were these waves in front of the object and all the colors were blending together."
Additionally, Bennewitz' films were pre-digital and shot on traditional color film, which uses light-sensitive silver halide crystals in the emulsion. When developed in a darkroom, these clumps of interlocking crystals yield a highly-visible "grain" pattern when viewed at high magnification, such as the images above, which are zoomed-in close-ups of the UFOs that only filled a tiny part of the original picture frame. Therefore, the resulting ragged-edged appearance of the unidentified aerial objects is due in part to this effect. Indeed, in any pre-digital still or motion picture image, regardless of the subject being filmed, the same distortion would be apparent if one zoomed-in on any small object in the larger film frame.
The Other Film
The subtitle of X Descending is "Two extraordinary films reveal the lies, deception, and the truth about Unidentified Flying Objects." Because my own research career has focused on UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites, I have devoted most of this article to a discussion of the first, relating to the Bennewitz case.
The other intriguing UFO film discussed in Lambright's book was taken by Ray Stanford, in Corpus Christi, Texas in October 1985 and shows a procession of disc-shaped objects, each one enveloped in a pinwheel swirl of, well, something, with a bright spike of light extending from a tower in its radial center. Successive frames in the motion picture reveal the spikes to be pulsating, as well as growing and shrinking in length. Perhaps counter-intuitively, each vehicle is traveling with one face toward the direction of travel, rather than its more aerodynamic edge.
Without going into a lot of technical detail here, Lambright devotes a significant part of X Descending discussing his exhaustive search for evidence of a technology in existence in 1985 which would account for the bizarre images captured on the Stanford film—only to come up empty-handed.
He did, however, stumble upon the mid-1990s theoretical work of aerospace engineer Dr. Leik Myrabo, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, involving an advanced, ultra-high-velocity aircraft's use of directed-energy technology to improve performance. Intriguingly, as it turns out, Myrabo's "Directed Energy Air-Spike" concept—for the purpose of mitigating shock waves, reducing drag, and aiding in overall propulsion—apparently derived from his having visited Stanford's house in March 1987, where he viewed several still images from the film for himself.
Because Lambright's comprehensive research confirms, beyond a reasonable doubt, that no such disc-shaped aircraft utilizing directed-energy technology existed anywhere on Earth in 1985, the question becomes: If the objects photographed in Corpus Christi did indeed employ some already-functional variation of the Air-Spike system, just who was operating the craft captured on the Stanford film?
- Clark, Jerome. The UFO Book, Visible Ink Press, 1998, p. 259
- Greenwood, Barry and Fawcett, Lawrence. Clear Intent: The Government Cover-up of the UFO Experience, Prentice-Hall Inc., 1984. pp. 41–45
- Wired magazine, Mirage Men: UFO researcher Mark Pilkington on deception and psychological warfare