Egads Carbondale Again
From: Matt Graeber <Matthewgraeber.nul>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2005 11:25:09 EDT
Fwd Date: Sat, 08 Oct 2005 14:58:58 -0400
Subject: Egads Carbondale Again
I thought you might be interested in this update on my
continuing woes with BUFO - Burlington UFO and Paranormal Radio
of Wisconsin - a.k.a. Mary Sutherland regarding her attempted
resuscitation of the long-dead 1974 Carbondale incident.
An Open Letter From Matt Graeber To Magonia Readers
(Just where do we presently stand in the silt pond at Carbondale?)
As Magonia readers may recall, the Magonia Supplement No.55 was
a special issue devoted to a long article concerning my field
investigation of an alleged UFO crash at Carbondale, Pa. back in
1974. I had written the story concerning the investigation and
my memories and reflections on the incident because, after a 29
year lapse of interest in the matter (as it was merely a hoax),
I was shocked to discover that the case had been "resurrected"
and posted on the internet as a viable UFO incident and cover-
Indeed, a cover-up case that rivaled and surpassed the Roswell
incident in both ufological and historical significance,
according to BUFO's Mary Sutherland, Ronald Hannivig and Frank
In fact, when I happened to use my PC's search engine and typed
in "carbondale,pa. ufo crash", in April of 2004, I was
absolutely stunned to see all the websites and links on the
subject; and how the story had become quite distorted and filled
with conspiratorial inuendo and claims. Indeed, according to the
many posts, the Carbondale UFO crash was a real event, and the
hoax railroad lantern that sparked the entire 44 hour long
fiasco back in '74 was now considered to be the hoax and the
primary evidence of the alleged cover-up too.
Naturally, there were a number of copycat sites (about 40), that
had mistakenly dated the incident, while others had errantly
placed it in Carbondale, New Jersey instead of Pennsylvania.
Then of course, there was the matter of wading through all the
differing website accounts and finally setting my focus on one
group that really seemed to have the story all mixed up.
As it turned out, that group was BUFO (Burlington UFO and
Paranormal Radio, of Burlington Wisconsin), consisting of it's
owner/operator Mary Sutherland (a self-promoting internet
impresario), and her two UFO field investigators, Ron Hannivig
of Simpson, Pa. and Frank Scassellati of Jesup, Pa. (Both of
which are nearby communities of Carbondale).
I decided to contact this group because they had been posting
"pleas" for eyewitnesses to come forward with "any" information
one might have on the incident. I foolishly thought they were
actually interested in the "evaluatiuon" of eyewitness accounts
on the matter - but, quickly learned that what they really were
interested in was the "corroberation" of their own beiliefs on
the incident's reality, and statements to bolster their
suspicions and arguments on the dreadful cover-up of the
incident by police, military,various governmental authorities
and two of the original three UFO investigators who had
allegedly knuckled-under to police demands of them.(that would
be Douglas Dains and I).
Over a period of about a year, my contacts with Mary Sutherland,
led to the realization that BUFO was not at all a UFO
investigative research organization in the traditional sense of
the word but, rather an internet rumor mill, and purveyor of
malicious charges and unbridled ufoology. Furthermore, the
thrust of the entire BUFO inquiry into the alleged UFO crash
cover-up at Carbondale had two very obvious goals in mind.
The first being to establish BUFO as the lone authority on the
matter, and secondly, to create an aura of mystery and renewed
interest surrounding the long-dead incident. Indeed, an interest
that would establish it as another Roswell-like annual UFO
convention industry... sponsored of course, by Mary Sutherland of
BUFO. (As it is common knowledge that both the Roswell and
Azrec, NM UFO festival/tourist and museum inductries have become
rather lucrative enterprises).
So,while Pennsylvania's Ron Hannivig (a self-proclaimed
imvestigative journalist at large, albeit of the unaccredited
variety), and Frank Scassellati (an amateur UFO investigator and
poetic paranormalist), had apparently long-desired to make the
words Carbondale and Roswell synonymous. While Wisconsin's Mary
Sutherland wants people to 'think' Roswell/Carbondale too - and
obviously has a plan in mind to achieve that
synonymous/$ynonymou$ (take your pick) objective.
But, before we go any further with this discourse, it might be
advantageous of me to explain what ufoology is, because the word
will appear quite often in this article.. ufoology is the mental
state of ufological thinking and reverie that permits the UFO
investigator or reasearcher to make "quantum leaps" of illocical
assumption concerning the significance of the cases they are
working on.(e.g., Ron Hannivig believes that the Carbondale UFO
crash is the most significant happening of the 20th. and 21st.
So, according to the intellectual and objective researching
skills of an individual (or the lack thereof), it is entirely
possible that one man's or women's ufology may actually be
another person's ufoology, and vice versa. Thus, further fueling
the time-worn heated controversy between the UFO phenonmenon's
berlievers, proponents, its skeptics and the much hated
However, in the case of BUFO, we find that "Bufoology" goes a
step further and not only makes illogical assumptions..they
actually "alter" the evidence and some of the witnesseses
testimony to back up those Bufological assumptions and outlandish
conspiratorial claims concerning the alleged cover-up of a
downed flying saucer at Carbondale.
A recent example of this is Mary Sutherland's posting of a
photograph of a lantern that an eyewitness at Carbondale had
shown Mary during her recent visit to Pennsylvania's Lackwanna
Cunnty (where Mary filned a documentary on the incident). Mary
Sutherland says, "P L E A S E, let's not be RIDiculous"- and
goes on to explain that if this lantern were tossed into a pond
its flame would be immediately extinguished.
Mrs.Sutherland argues futher, that a flame needs oxygen to burn
so, this type of lantern (i.e, a kerosene lantern), couldn't
possibly have been the source of the light that was observed
beneath the pond's surface back in 1974 as was proposed by the
police authorities and UFO investigators at the scene.
The problenm with Mary Sutherland's Bufological claim is that the
lantern in the photo is a battery-powered lamp, as was the one
which three teenage pranksters tossed into the pond 31 years
earkier. A perfectly obvious fact since the lantern in Mary's
photograph is fittied with two small bulbs that protruded from
its bottom and it also contaimed a six-volt battery.
Moreover, that sort of specific information concering the
lantern has been a matter of public record since 1974. The
lantern's heavy duty six-volt battery was mentioned in numerous
newspaper accounts, periodicals, UFO group journals/newsletters
and UFO group reports that were sent to the Carbondale Police
Department and the Carbondale Historical Society too.
I even supplied Mary with similar information in an essay/report
I sent her back in 2004-and she promised to post that essay on
her website (so as to offer her readership a "fair and balanced"
accounting of the incident)...Mary never followed through on
that promise in spite of my numerous requests of her on the
Moreover, on the same website page that Mary Sutherland makes
this claim about the lantern having a flame (thereby, implying
that the official explanation of the case being a hoax is
entirely in error). On the left side of Mary's post is a news
article concerning an interview by a staff writer (Ms Lisa
Schencker) of the Scranton Times Tribune - in which the lantern
is identified as a battery-powered device from information
gleaned from that newspaper's own archival accounts of the 1974
So, its really quite difficult to believe that Mary Sutherland
and her pair of ace saucer-sleuths simply made a mistake about
the lantern being a "ridiculos explanation" for the UFO crash
and proof of its cover-up.
But you see, a person casually perusing the net and reading
Mary's distorted and incorrect version of the "Lantern Cover-
up", would probably leave the site with the impression that Mary
had indeed exposed an official cover-up of a genuine UFO
incident and had in fact, debunked the debunkers... when in fact,
no debunkers were present at the scene, just three UFO-proponent
field investigators, the Carbondale Police Department and quite
a number of local civilian volunteers.
Then, there is the problem of Mary's identifying one of her own
UFO field investigators as an eyewitness at the pond who saw the
light moving about beneath the water's surface. But her
investigator, Frank Scassellati has denied being there at the
time, and told Mr. Rick Fisher, in a taped interview, that when he
finally did arrive on the scene (a day later), the crowds were
so large he couldn't get close enough to see very much at all.
The plot thickens, as Ms. Dawn Race who was alleged to have been
a child at the time eyewitness to the military's covert removal
of the ill-fated UFO from the pond has decided to ask Mary
Sutherland to remove here name from all BUFO websites because of
shall we say... certain "embellishments and distortions"
regarding Ms. Race's actual testimony.
So too, Mr. Rick Fisher of Paranormal, Pa. has also requesterd
that his name be removed from BUFO websites and links due to a
series of similar distortions of fact concerning his very
limited involvement with the group. To date neither Ms. Race's or
Mr. Fisher's requests have been honored by Mary Sutherland.
Then, of course, there is the completely false claims, charges
and accusations leveled against the integrity, professionalism
and character of retired dective lieutenant Francis X. Dottle,
of the Carbondale police department, who was the acting police
chief during the 1974 incident. On BUFO sites he's said to have
failed to warn the citizens of Carbondale about a high radiation
level reading at the pond. He is also identified as the person
who tossed the cover-up lantern into the pond for the volunteerr
scuba diver (Mark Stamey), to retrieve.
Dottle is, according to BUFO, the man who supressed photographic
evidence, imposed matrial law on the community and threatened
UFO investigators at the scene. In fact, BUFO posts proclaim
that Dottle was not then (in 1974) and is not now a friend of
the people of Carbondale. Moreover, Dottle is credited with
saying that he will take the secret (of the cover-up) with him
to the grave but, then again, the volunteer scuba diver said
that too according to BUFO.
Interestingly, much of BUFO's arguments on the Carbondale matter
are merely reverberations of the totally baseless rants of the
deceased Robert D.Barry of the long-defunct 20th Century UFO
Bureau. Mr. Barry was at the scene in 1974 proclaiming that UFOs
were actually piloted by fallen angels and benevolent angels
But, Barry would later change his tune, and say that a Soviet
missile had "probably" splashed down into in the pond. (BUFO
borrowed heavily from this yarn to create their own 'spin-off'
version of the story after Barry's death).
Moreover, in another brash BUFO post, Carbondale is said to be
a community of "dysfunctional" human beings but, Mary Sutherland
more recently attempts to soften the insult by explaining the
community's not coming forth with "thousands" of eyewitness
accounts of the UFO crash because the '74 incident was "so
shocking and traumatic" it had caused the citizens to suffer
from a sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which has
obviously gone undiagnosed and untreated for 31 years.
But, thanks to Mary Sutherland's amatuer community-wide
psychiatric diagnostics, we now better understand the situation
with these many silent and somewhat dysfuctional Carbondaleans
or, as Mary says, "Carbond-aliens". Just as we also now better
understand how there 'must' be quite a Bigfoot presence in that
part of Pennsylvania - since Mary noticed on highway signs that
Pennsylvania has a Susqueh-anna River, a Susqueh-anna Township
and a Susqueh-anna County too.
So, accoeding to Mary's investigative logic, (a.k.a. rampant
Bufoology), the word "Susquehanna" is somehow a rootword for
Sasquatch-anna. Thus, 'proving' her point about Bigfoot probably
being active along the notheastern Pennsylvania corridor. So, I
guess that Sasquatch-anna is a female Bigfoot, and I wonder if
there's a lot of other Bigfeet running about in Saskatch-ewan
too? Perhaps Mary will bring that up in another of her highly
educational BUFO posts at a later date?
I contacted the Susquehanna County library and asked the
librarian Ms Elwitt, and her research assistant (Jean Pierce),
about the origin of the word Susquehanna. Both informed me that
the native american word "Hanna" means river or stream, and the
the various translations further describe the Susquehanna River
as Long reach river, crooked stream and several other names such
as muddy stream, etc.
The Susquehanna is indeed a long reach river extending from New
York state, winding its way through Pennsylvani and finally
joining with the Chesapeak Bay at Harve de Grace, Maryland. A
distance of 444 miles. The river is also very crooked and flows
in both easterly and westerly directions at times during its
snake-like journey south. But, there is no mention of
"Sasquatch" in the archives of the library concerning a link
between Bigfoot and the word Susquehanna.
Additionally, Mary feels that the many UFO crash eyewitness
accounts she's already heard on the Carbondale incident contain
contradictory information because the military people who
removed the UFO from the pond used "decoy" trucks to confuse the
eyewitnesses and cause their stories to be inconsistant.
(Actually, there wasn't a military presence in Carbondale at the
time of the incident).
But, I feel that since BUFO has posted such an array of highly-
questionanble speculative accounts on the alleged incident,
(along with their pleas for witnesses to come forward). The so-
called newly discoverd eyewitnesses accounts of the incident are
are just about as confused and inconsistant on the matter as the
folks at BUFO appear to be.
To date, BUFO has attempted to link the 1974 incident to a UFO
crash, a UFO soft-landing on the pobd's surface, a Soviet
missile crash, a portion of a Soviet missile crash, a submerged
object that dodged poilce bullets which were fired at it, a
radioactive something or another laying on the pond's floor,
unspecified paranormal activity around and within the pond
itself, a portal or gateway into another dimension that may have
opened up and of course, the cover-up lantern.
Beyond this there is Mary's journalistic investigator Ron
Hannivig's proposal that the submerged UFO was under the water
dredging the pond's silty bottom for hibernating toad specimens.
Thus far, no one at BUFO has mentioned the distinct possibility
that "Carbi" the Carbondale silt pond monster may have been
splash'n about on the night in question - but, who knows, the
story may yet be revealed! (Magonia reader's are advised to
ignore the rumors that Carbi is actually a thirty-one year old
mutant toad caused by the radiation in the pond which the
police, Douglas Dains (Dr. Hynek's representative at the scene),
and I are alleged to hve covered-up.
If one listens to Mary's audio interview with a new eyewitness
named 'Joe', of Carbondale; one finds that ol' Joe has a
completely different account of the well-publicized 44 hour long
1974 incident- and actually extends the timeline of events to
about a week. He also reports seeing armed military personnel at
the pond and adds the erection of a tarp (curtain/wall)
completely around the large pond to conceal the military's
recovery efforts from the public's prying eyes.
He even goes so far as the say the three teenage boys tossed the
lantern into the pond "after" the military had completed their
secretive recovery operations. When in fact, the boys started
all the events of the incident when they first tossed the
railroad lantern into the pond on the night of November 9th.
1974. So, according to Joe the UFO actually crashed into the
pond about four days earlier.(i.e., approximately on the 5th of
November 1974 but, apparently nobody saw that).
Yet, the press, the police authorites, the three original UFO
investigators and the hoaxers who first reported the alleged UFO
crash _all_ agree that the first report of something being in
the pond, came from the teens themselves on the night of
An additional fatal flaw with Joe's story is that he claims to
have witnessed the brightly "glowing cover-up lantern" being
extracted from the pond on the afternoon of the 11th of
November. That's quite astounding, since everyone else at the
pond reported the lantern was unlit and inoperable at the
time it was recovered from the pond. (except for a very dim,
short-lived orange tinge of one bulb's filament as water rushed
from the lantern's cannister-like body).
Mary Sutherland and her pair of saucer-sleuths at Carbondale are
well aware of all these facts yet, Mary posts Joe's story and
proclaims him to be a credibile witness. In her telephone
interview however, Mary asks no pointed questions of Joe... she
does just about as much talking as he does - instead of listening
and evaluating his words. There is absolutely no hint of
investigative inquiry, just complete acceptance of the yarn, and
next to immediate posting of it on the internet at Mary's
Well, I guess by this time one might be wondering why a 63 year
old UFO proponent researcher and seasoned field investigator
would bother to sit down and write this expose on pure Bufological
nonsense. The reason is really quite simple, I believe that Mrs.
Sutherland is indeed the 'Veracity-Challenged' self-promoter
that others had attempted to warn the public about back in her
home town of Burlington, Wisconsin not too long ago.
At that time, Mary Sutherland was boasting that quite a bit of
UFO and paranormal activity was going on around her UFO and
Paranormal gift shoppe in Burlington. A rival and seemingly less
far out UFO group challenged that claim and hired a privite
detective to keep an eye on Mary's shoppe for about a week.
When the private eye's report came back to UFO Wisconsin, it
turned out that the investigator hadn't observed anything
unusual during his surveillance, and the Burlington police
department hadn't a single UFO report or Paranormal incident
claim on file for the entire period of Mary's numerous alleged
Mary, shocked to learn that she was being 'stalked' in turn,
filed a complaint with the Burlington police department. When
confronted with the contadictory detective and poilce reports
data regarding her claims of UFO activity in her immediate
neighborhood (by a reporter from the Milwaukee Sentinental
Journal), Mary explained that the 'seemimgly' contradictory
reports by saying that people would not call the police with UFO
or paranaormal reports when they had her nearby UFO/Paranormal
center to notify about such occurrences.
So, according to Bufological wisdom in this post 9-11 world, if
one sees strange looking aircraft in the skies or, unusaul
things going on in the community one shouldn't bother alerting
the state or local police, the FBI, the CIA, NORAD, the
strategic air command, the pentagon, the department of homeland
security or, the nearest air national guard unit. No, just pick
up the phone and call Mary Sutherland... it makes perfect sense to
do so 'cause she operates an online UFO/Parnormal center and
neighborhood gift shoppe too.
If one should care to further evaluate this story, I suggest
perusing Mary Sutherland's many UFO websites and links listed at
"carbondale,pa ufo crash" using one's search engine. One may
also read Frank Scassellati's poems and paranormal musings by
simply typing in his name or, that of Ronald Hannivig's too.
Then, there is the postings of Rick Fisher at:
as well as my (long story) essay at:
"carbondale,pa. ufo crash" just scroll down to "ms.55"
But, perhaps the most revealing read of all would be that of Ms
Dawn Race's thoughts on her experience with BUFO's Mary
Sutherland. Ms Race's remarkrs appear at Rick Fisher's
In closing, I'd like to respectfully remind everyone that being
open-minded is not the same thing as being empty-headed. Please
remeber too, that there's two sides (or, more) to every story-
so I do encourage you to see what Mary, Ron and Frank have to
say about the perfectly dreadful cover-up going on at
Keep on watch'n the skies.. and the pond! -- Matt Graeber
Sept 18th. 2005
DISCLAIMER: The author of this open letter to Magonia readers
assumes all responsibility for its contents. Those wishing to
contact the author may do so at: