UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 18

Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 18:53:47 -0000
Archived: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 09:24:51 -0500
Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 21:25:45 -0600
>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:33:25 -0000
>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>My tentative conclusion (I would rather say my strong feeling
>>at this stage) has been fairly clearly stated. It is that the
>>original statements have the ring of truth. Some unexplained
>>event was witnessed by three people, involving an apparently
>>ordered arrangement of multiple blue, red and white lights that
>>appeared to fly among the trees, and at least one of the three
>>was convinced they were attached to a mechanical device seen as
>>close as 50m distance.

>They have the ring of truth, but to some people they might also
>have the ring of being downplayed in comparison to how the
>object was described in the Halt memo. This comment by Burroughs
>sounds like he's spinning his story in a pretty absurd way:

>"A bank of lights, differently colored lights that threw off an
>image of like-a-craft. I never saw anything metallic or
>anything hard."

>So, he says he didn't see an object - sorta kinda. He only saw
>some lights that threw off "an image of like-a-craft." That
>sounds almost as absurd as the "coveralls" story from the
>Socorro incident, although Ray Stanford according to Ray
>Stanford, it appears to have been Hynek's spin and not Zamora's.
>Are you _really_ going to claim that you see nothing at all
>strange about Burroughs' above statement?

First I want to alert you to the fact (evident from scanning
ahead and seeing where you are going with this) that you are
continuing to misunderstand me in precisely the fashion I set
out, over-carefully I had thought, to correct. Apparently I was
not obvious enough, which is my fault I'm sure.

Second, referring to your question "Do I think Burrough's
statement odd?", you need to provide the context and reference
for this phrase, and one's judgment of its oddity needs to be
made in relation to some clearly expressed expectation of what
you think he ought to have said. If you think he ought to have
said without qualification that he definitely saw a metallic
craft then perhaps you think it is odd. I don't know for sure
why I should expect that. One interpretation of it is that _he_
thinks that the questioner/reader/public in general expects him
to say that. He appears to be saying he saw a structured
triangular pattern of lights which, he is ready to concede,
certainly gave the appearance ("image") that they were attached
to a craft; but he is not prepared to go beyond that and say
that he saw the body of a craft itself. This is quite consistent
with his original statement and his drawing and without sharing
your own personal expectations I cannot see anything to object

>>>Halt's memo and his tape recording are by far the most
>>>important and credible evidence and they're only slightly
>>>less sensational than Penniston's later story.

>>Excuse me, but the "most important and credible evidence" in
>>respect of the Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag incident, in
>>which Halt plays no part at all, is not a second-hand summary by
>>Halt but the original first hand accounts by these men, and the
>>original statements of two other men (Buran and Chandler) who
>>monitored the event by way of Penniston's radio commentary at
>>the time. If you focus on these you will be cleaving to your
>>own principle (as stated below, and with which I generally agree)
>>that "what people say at the time of an incident like this
>>should be given far more weight than any new alleged details or
>>revisions they make years later".

>The description of a triangular, metallic object was made a few
>weeks later, not years later.

I didn't say that it was made years later, neither is it at all
relevant to my point that it was not.

>Penniston's later description,
>apparently made first to an Omni reporter in 1994, was that the
>object was triangular and had symbols on it, that he touched it,
>and that it was warm to the touch. These details added years
>later did not greatly qualitatively change the description of
>the object in Halt's memo. If your  characterization of all the
>early descriptions as of a mere "will o' the wisp" were true,

Did you really just  put the words "descriptions of a mere will
o'the wisp" into my mouth for the second time? I'm rapidly
realising the futility of talking about this since you persist
in failing even to even read accurately. In fact this more than
a failure, it is a perverse and wilfull misrepresentation
peddled a second time after I explicitly and with precise
quotation as evidence proved to you that this was neither what I
said nor what any rational reader could have conceived that I

>then the description of a triangular object years later _would_
>have been a radical qualitative change that should arouse
>considerable suspicion. Unlike Buzz Aldrin, Penniston didn't
>contradict himself on the nature of the object he saw, only the
>distance from which he saw it.

In point of fact he did. His original drawing in 1980 was of a
rectangular or rather drum-shaped object; in the mid-nineties he
began to draw a very different triangular type of object.

>And 50 meters is not a terribly
>large distance for viewing a 3-meter wide object.

Dear heaven, give me strength! Yes, his original account is a
perfectly explicit report of an object seen close enough to be
"positively identified" as an unfamiliar "mechanical device". I
wonder how many times I have attempted to make this precise
point using how many different forms of words? I can't be
bothered to even think about it.

>>The most pertinent and reliable evidence we have in relation to
>>the first night is, you will agree, the original statements of
>>those involved.

>The very first statements were not necessarily the more
>reliable.  The description in the Halt memo was made within a
>few weeks of the written statements. Since it clearly was not
>derived from those statements, Penniston must have told Halt
>what he saw at another time, perhaps before he wrote his
>statement. Even if the descirption relayed to Halt came later,
>the differebce of a few weeks is trivial, and the circumstances
>under which a statement is made are as important as when it was

Again let's not reverse blindly over and over points already
made until they are flattened beyond all recognition. First,
recall that your previous argument was that the Halt description
was much more "sensational", and this is the important bit, not
just that there might be some minor differences of nuance and
detail - this in order to support the claim that Penniston must
have given a version to Halt back in 1980 which was tantamount
to his later description of studying onyx symbols on the object
from zero feet range and taking notes and photographs for 45

Now I justified in detail the statement that the all significant
features of Halt's para.1 are in the originals. I'll try once

". . . The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object
in the forest."


"The object was described as being metallic in appearance and
triangular in shape"

Penniston described positively identifying it from only 50m as a
"mechanical device" (what else would that convey - plywood?) and
Burroughs' drawing shows a triangular or pyramidal arrangement
of lights. Check.

[Important note: You may want to object and say, "Ah, but
Penniston's original drawing doesn't really show a triangular
object, does it? It shows a drum-shaped object and the only
thing you could say is triangular about it is the fan of blue
lights raying out below." If so you may also want to consider
how hard to push this because you endanger your parallel
contention that Penniston "didn't contradict himself on the
nature of the object he saw, only the distance from which he saw

"... approximately two to three meters across the base and
approximately two meters high."

No check. This size detail, as I've already clearly conceded, is
the only one which is not traceable to something mentioned in
the written statements. But that doesn't mean that it is a
signficant addition. Is it impossible for Penniston or Burroughs
to have mentioned an impression of size without having at the
same time described studying onyx symbols on the object from
zero feet range and taking notes and photographs for 45 minutes?
Of course not. In fact it isn't even necessary that this
estimate was made from direct observation of the object, since
we know that they went back to what they believed to be the
landing site and observed impressions in the ground that were
about this distance apart. But howsoever one or both of them
provided an estimate of size, it in no way implies anything more
"sensational" than that they thought they saw somethiung about
this big.

"... It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The
object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank(s) of
blue lights underneath."


"The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached
the object it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared."

Check. [Note: this very closely reproduces the story in the
original statements, but very explicitly contradicts Penniston's
later claim that they approached it on the ground and studied it
for 45 minutes]

"At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy."

Check. [Although there were apparently no animals on any nearby
farm. The animals were deer in the forest.]

Now tell me explicitly and precisely what else is in the Halt
memo which is not in the original statements?

>>As I already pointed out, the part of Halt's memo that
>>is relevant to that event is a summary of information already
>>in the witness's statements.

>It was not a summary of those statements. The description of a
>triangular object was not in any of the statements, was it?
>That seems to be a rather important detail.

See above.

>>We appear to be in agreement on this at least. But if it is
>>really the general feeling among ufologists that it's not too
>>important if witnesses jazz up their stories, even if it becomes
>>necessary to gut original documents of their credibility in
>>order to accommodate the jazz, then frankly I despair.

>I didn't say that it wasn't important, and I also didn't say
>Penniston was, in fact, 'jazzing up' his statement. I'll go with
>Dick Hall's opinion of Penniston unless something consiberably
>more serious than the 50-meter discrepancy has been

If a "50-meter discrepancy" is all you've taken away from this
exchange then it has been an utter waste of time for you, and
I'm sorry.

>I mentioned that only as a hypothetical. But it does appear that
>another alleged witness, Larry Warren did  "jazz up" a story
>years after the incident about an alien contact with  US Air
>Force officials, a claim that no other witness even hinted at,
>and then wrote a book about it. That seems considerably more
>suspicious than the witnesses describing (to Halt) a triangular
>object immediately after the incident and Penniston then saying
>he touched the triangular object 14 years later. You,
>apparently, see no difference between Warren's credibility and

I might see a great many things concerning Larry Warren if and
when I concern myself with him. Up to now it has proved such a
struggle to achieve a scintilla of clarity in the matter of
Penniston and co that I doubt the wisdom of going there.
However, in case I should wish to, I'd appreciate it if you put
no more words in my mouth concerning him.

>By the way: are you intending to arrive at the conclusion that
>what the witnesses saw was the Orford-Ness lighthouse? That's
>usually the purpose of these attacks on Penniston's

This is simply gratuitously insulting and very stupid. I have no
pre-meditated "intentions" and (unlike you, it would appear from
this) side with no faction. I have no interest or investment in
"these attacks" except insofar as anyone may develop information
of interest to me in trying to work out what to believe.

>That explanation has always seemed absolutely ludicrous to me.
>Even Burroughs' rather convoluted "image of like-a-craft"
>description doesn't support the "flying lighthouse" theory.

None of the several things I can think of to say in reply to
that seem worth the cost of being even further misuderstood. All
I will suggest is that you check the transcript of that
strangely gallumphing phrase from Burroughs that you clearly
delight in repeating. Are you sure he didn't in fact say "an
image of . . . like a craft", as in:

"A bank of lights, differently colored lights that threw off an
image of [something] _like_ a craft. [But] I never saw anything
metallic or anything hard."

Martin Shough

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com