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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 13

Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 12:08:25 -0000
Archived: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 08:39:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 22:08:05 -0600
>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 22:24:20 -0000
>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
>>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 13:29:21 -0600
>>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King


>>>I haven't been following the ins and outs of this discussion,

>>Fair enough, but you're missing the point.

>But I think you're missing _my_ point. You said the witnesses'
>statements were will-o-the-wispy, which they were. But someone
>gave a considerably more detailed description of the object in
>Halt's memo that could not be reasonably described as a will o'
>the wisp.

I do see your point, Lan, but it's a misunderstanding. I
described the reported _behaviour_ of the object during the
pursuit as like the classic _behaviour_  of a will o' the whisp:
As they seemed to get closer to it they found it wasn't where
they previously thought it was.

This is very explicit in the description of Chandler:

"Each time Penniston gave me the indication that he was about to
reach the area where the lights were, he would give an extended
estimated location. He eventually arrived at a 'beacon light',
however, he stated this was not the light or lights that he had
originally observed."

I think it is well understood that this type of behaviour is the
defining characteristic of a will o' the whisp, hence the use of
the simile in common speech.

The different point you are making concerns the detail in the
descriptions, but to use the term will-o-the-wisp in that
context would not be useful, neither did I so use it. The
descriptions of a bank of blue lights topped by a red light;
Burroughs' drawing showing this arrangement of lights on a
triangular shape; Penniston's confirmation of having "positively
identified" it from 50 meters as a "mechanical device" - these
all add up to a sighting of something aptly characterised as a
structured object not a vague glow.

Which of course brings us back to my original point: This being
so, what has been gained by the imposture of pretending that 50
meters separated them from this object instead of 1 meter? Why
say you have positively identified as a machine what you wish
people to either a) not know about at all or b) think was merely
some ambiguous little light?

>The description of a metallic object did not come from
>any of the written statements.

Strictly speaking this is correct, but to stand on the
distinction that a "mechanical device" is not necessarily
"metallic" seems to me to be an over-refinement of logical
nicety. This assumption would have been a natural one for Halt
to make from the statement alone. But it would unrealistic to
think that no communication occurred beyond what was written
down. Halt may also have got this impression verbally from
Penniston and/or indirectly from others such as Buran and
Chandler who spoke with Penniston afterwards (although Penniston
now says the surface was actually like "onyx").

>It appears the witnesses may have
>tailored their descriptions from the very beginning, perhaps
>depending on the audience.

Or someone tailored their descriptions on their behalf. Yes,
that is the hypothesis. I'm not yet convinced by the evidence
for it.

>It would be interesting to hear from Halt exactly who told him
>that the object was metallic and triangular in shape, and if it
>was Penniston, whether he said anything about  actually touching
>the object to anyone else at the time. I don't think anyone has
>ever asked Halt that question.

If you argue that Halt got the "metallic" orignally from
Penniston (which I don't dispute is possible), and that this
indicates a close-up fingertip inspection just as Penniston has
recently claimed, then why did Halt give this information in a
report which was supposedly designed to suppress the fact that
there had been a close inspection of a truly metallic object?

Or if Penniston and the others were falsifying their own stories
for an innocent Halt, to deny that they had seen a device, why
did Penniston include a detail which could hardly have been
better designed to reinforce his own description of a
"definitely mechanical device"?

Maybe Halt just assumed that a device would be metallic.
Burroughs drawing showed a triangular shape. The arrangement of
blue and red lights reported represents a triangular shape.
Penniston explicitly described the object as a "mechanical
device", which it would be unnatural for Halt _not_ to
characterise as "metallic" (notwithstanding Penniston's recent
preference for "onyx"). Thus, a metallic triangle.

On the other hand Penniston did report a shape explicitly in his
original drawings. But the shape he drew was not triangular. It
was rectangular or (in perspective) drum shaped, with a line of
blue running around the middle, a red light on the flat top and
a fan of blue lights emanating from the bottom.

Maybe he drew this to represent how he thought it looked when he
was too far away to see it properly? Does that make any kind of

Perhaps Penniston did do another drawing that showed it as a
triangle but that one was suppressed, because they were happy to
be associated with a drum shaped flying saucer, just not with a
conical one?

Maybe there were two sightings and possibly two objects? It's
true that Penniston now claims he had his closer encounter when
separated from the other two (not by a great distance) on the
way back through the trees. He says that he (and others with
cameras and instruments whose exact origin and movements I'm not
sure about) spent 45 minutes examining the object. His original
statement mentioned 45 mins also. It was the length of time that
had elapsed when he walked back to the vehicle. It isn't clear
if he meant this to be the entire out-and-back length of the
excursion, beginning some time shortly after the initial alert
at about 0300, or just the walk back from the point at which
Buran at CSC had terminated their search at 0354, but in either
case it obviously isn't possible to fit in a 45-minute period of
UFO-examining. Once again, it can't be a case of "some details"
being cautiously "left out" by some of the participants, but has
to be a major fabrication of the timeline of this entire corpus
of interlocking accounts including those by Buran back at CSC
and Chandler

Yes, one could ask Halt to recollect the exact circumstances of
how he got the words "metallic" and "triangular". But as I
understand Nick (Pope)'s position it is that Halt would have
been responsible for, or at least acquiescent in, the fabricated
statements he collected, as indicated by the fact that his own
original statement is now also claimed to have been untrue. I
would be surprised if his new statement added anything that
disagreed in a probative way with what Penniston is now

>>The claim now is that they "left out" the detail of actually
>>touching it because they feared for their careers and so all
>>conspired to claim falsely that 50 meters was as close as they
>>got. But the difference, in terms of career damage, between
>>reporting that you have "positively identified" an object as a
>>mechanical device "out of the realm of explanation" from 50
>>meters away, and reporting that you have so identified it from
>>1 meter away, seems to me to be an overly sophistical one that
>>could never reasonably have been expected to serve as a
>>sensible defence.

>Penniston later said that he had touched the object and that
>there was some sort of writing on it. I don't think it's out of
>the question that he might have been a little uncomfortable
>saying that, especially if he felt that his interrogators didn't
>want to hear that kind of crazy talk. It wasn't necessarily a
>coldly logical calculation about career advancement.

Well, just omitting some detail about which you are "a little
uncormfortable" is one thing. Ithink you would have to
hypothesise an imposture of a mo think you would have to
hypothesise an imposture of a more elaborate kind to explain how
the original account came to be.

>In another case that comes to mind, Lonnie Zomora originally
>said that he saw two people in coveralls near the UFO in the
>Soccoro incident. After being ridiculed for seeing little people
>in UFOs, he later omitted the "people" from his description and
>said only that he had seen two pairs of coveralls near the
>object. It apparently didn't occur to him that the image of two
>pairs of empty pants standing by a UFO was even more ridiculous
>that that of two little people, with or without pants. I don't
>think that proves Zamorra was lying; UFO witnesses sometimes
>seem to change their stories in ways that don't make a lot of
>sense when they're under pressure. Maybe Penniston was lying,
>but I think the evidence of that so far as I'm aware is less
>than conclusive.

That's an interesting example, and a point of view worth
thinking about.

Martin Shough

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