Wednesday, June 20, 2007

UFOs Will Crash, Part II

White Sands UFO Crash Still
By Mike Smith
My Strange New Mexico

Mike Smith (Sml B)     Last week, in “My Strange New Mexico,” we examined a mysterious film that some believe shows the crash of a UFO in the desert of south-central New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, in 1997. The film depicts a white, football-shaped craft as it plummets from the sky, skips violently across the ground, and explodes.

Over fifteen or so noiseless seconds, this intriguing footage plays out with no commentary, no captions, and no known filmmaker willing to take credit for it. Where it really came from, who shot it, or even when it was first viewed, remains uncertain.

In the last few days, after the column about this unusual film appeared in print and online, a number of interesting e-mails have arrived at the top-secret “My Strange New Mexico” lair, printed and delivered, of course, by a trained staff of flightless five-foot-tall owls.

One such letter, from someone calling himself Light Eye, read simply, “This video was made by Ted Loman. It’s not a UFO crash.”

Another—by Peter Gersten, former Director of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS)—said, “Ted Loman produced the video on UFO crashes and created the opening scene of the skipping UFO.”

Ted Loman is a well-known UFO researcher. In 1973, Loman became convinced he needed to travel to a certain mountain in Baja, Mexico, where aliens were going to land, pick him up, and take him back to his home planet. His family forced him to go to a psychiatrist instead, and for the most part he filed the incident away in his mind for around seventeen years. Then, in 1989, he suffered a severe injury while melting silver in a laboratory—an injury that cost him his sight in his left eye, forced him to don a pirate-style eye patch, and gave his father the opportunity to read to him about UFOs and their supposed role in the universe. In 1991, Loman began hosting and producing a weekly cable access show in Tucson, Arizona, UFOAZ Talks, a live one-hour show that examined the reported presence of UFOs in the West.

In 1997, the show changed its name to Off the Record, and broadened its focus to include alternative medicine and ancient mysteries. Also in 1997, Loman interviewed a group known as “Total Overcomers, One Step Beyond Human”—or, as the world would soon come to know them, the Heaven’s Gate cult. When thirty-eight members of that cult committed mass suicide sometime later, believing their souls would soon be ascending into space to join Jesus Christ on a spaceship hidden behind the then-visible Comet Hale-Bopp, Loman and his footage of the cult became much in demand, appearing on shows ranging from Geraldo! to Larry King Live. In 1997, the show—by then widely syndicated—changed its name to Off the Record, and in 2002, Off the Record went off the air. Loman moved to northern Idaho, and there he finished work on a documentary about UFO crashes entitled It Fell From the Sky. The footage of the White Sands appeared as the opening scene of that hard-to-find 2000 documentary.

Loman is currently on vacation in Mexico, and unavailable for comment, but Peter Gersten—who served with Loman on CAUS’s board of directors—said, “The only thing that isn’t real about [It Fell From the Sky] is that opening scene. That is not real. …I don’t remember if it was actually CGI or some sort of computer enhancement.”

In an undated online clip from UFO Connections, a Sacramento, California cable access show, Loman played the video of the crash as if it were something new, claiming he didn’t know when it was made and saying the footage had not been professionally analyzed.

Of the film, he said, “That came to me through Jaime Maussan. Right. And, uh, uh, I don’t know where Jaime got it. Well, I just don’t know where—it’s best to say I don’t know where Jaime got this. But, I, uh, I believe it to be at White Sands. But I cannot, and I will not, confirm or deny that it is, uh, I’ll leave it up to the viewers to, to, see it and watch it, and decide for themselves.”

This was followed by a cryptic and somewhat evasive exchange between Loman and Cynthia Siegel, the show’s host.

Siegel: “But if you thought it was a complete piece of junk you would not have brought it to the show.”

Loman: “It’s not…whatever it is, it’s fascinating.”

Siegel: “It is fascinating. The question is whether it’s actually a UFO.”

Loman: “No, I never raised that question.”

Siegel: “No?”

“I can tell you that [Loman] would not have made the film up as a visual aid for the show,” Jilaen Sherwood, an artist who has worked with Loman, said. “I do know Ted very well and if he mentioned on the show that he got this footage from Jaime, then he probably did.”

This, unfortunately, hardly improves the film’s credibility. Jaime Maussan is a popular Mexican television host, the self-proclaimed “Mike Wallace of Mexico,” with a reputation as an overeager and perhaps recklessly naive promoter of notorious UFO hoaxes. Many of the videos featured on his website are the sort of alleged UFO footage that almost anyone with a trash can lid and a camcorder could film, though others remain intriguing. He has promoted a joke filmed by the Sci-Fi Channel as an actual sighting, promoted the idea of Comet Hale-Bopp hiding giant UFOs intent on evacuating the planet, repeatedly cited nonexistent evidence for numerous cases, and, for what it's worth, has been included in’s UFO Hall of Shame.

The film of the White Sands crash evidently came from either Maussan—the man who has inspired such online headlines as “Jaime Maussan: Damaging Serious UFOlogy One Hoax at a Time”—or it was made by Ted Loman for his documentary.

The absolute truth still remains to be learned, but—unless Loman tries and succeeds at a little interstellar hitchhiking while in Mexico—the truth will come out eventually, and the record will at last be set straight.

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