Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Aztec Incident: Recovery at Hart Canyon | A Review By Kevin Randle

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The Aztec Incident: Recovery at Hart Canyon

By Kevin Randle
A Different Perspective
     The Aztec Incident, Scott and Suzanne Ramsey, Aztec.48 Productions, Mooresville, NC, 221 pages, no index.

Let me say first that this was a fun book to read. I have been aware of the alleged Aztec UFO crash almost from the moment that I became interested in UFOs. I remember, while still in high school so many years ago, reading J. P. Cahn’s expose of the story in a back issue of True. I was especially interested because I was living in Aurora, Colorado which is, of course, right next door to Denver (and in fact, when most people ask about it I say Denver unless they are familiar with the area), and Denver had a prominent role in the original story.

That said, I found the book somewhat disappointing, but that might be a result of hearing, for the last several years, about a new investigation that had uncovered new and important clues. I had heard about new witnesses to the crash and new information that should be quite persuasive for those with an open mind.

There are two new first-hand witnesses, both no longer available for interview. One of them, Doug Noland, tells a robust tale, but is slightly contaminated because he approached William Steinman who wrote about the Aztec crash in the mid-1980s. While it certainly makes sense for a witness who knows something about the case to come forward, it isn’t as clear cut as if the Ramseys found him through investigation and there is nothing in the book to tell us that.

To make it worse, Noland’s tale mirrors part of the Frank Scully story as reported by Scully in Behind the Flying Saucers. Scully wrote of Dr. Gee and the scientists who watched the crashed saucer for two days before they approached and how, with a pole poked through a small hole in a porthole, tripped a switch that opened the craft.

In fact, the Ramseys go out of their way to avoid much of what Scully reported about the Aztec crash, seeming to ignore Scully’s first, tongue-in-cheek references in his newspaper column, the crashes in other parts of the United States and the world, or that the crew had been dressed in garb reminiscent of the 1890s, but they all had perfect teeth.

Anyway, Noland claimed, and the Ramseys reported, that those on the scene, including workers for the El Paso Oil Company, and an apparent horde of other on-lookers, climbed all over the craft. It was Bill Ferguson, a friend of Noland’s, who used the pole to probe the broken porthole, opening the ship.

It was sometime after that, after Noland and his pals got a look inside, that the military arrived. True, there were some police on the scene early, but they did nothing to dissuade the civilians from their close examinations. But Noland’s tale about the scene differs in these ways, from that told by Scully.

One of the policemen identified is Manuel Sandoval, who was from Cuba, New Mexico, not all that far from Aztec. The problem here is that the Ramseys did not interview Sandoval, though you wouldn’t know that from the book, and it was only a distant relative who suggested that he had heard Sandoval talk about the UFO crash.

The other first-hand witness, Ken Farley, came down to the Aztec area to pick up a friend and saw all the commotion. The friend with Farley, who is never identified, saw the craft and the bodies but the reason for being in the area is a little farfetched.

There is the tale of Virgil Riggs (though on a copy of orders published show the name spelled Virgel... but then, these sorts of things often contain misspellings), who lived in Aztec as a kid, heard the stories of the crash, but saw nothing himself. His own father didn’t believe it happened, but Riggs ran into a fellow while serving in the Air Force in England who had seen it all. This fellow airman, named Donald Bass but who was called Sam, told a first-hand tale, but Bass was dead, according to family, killed by a hit-and-run driver in Vietnam.

The Ramseys didn’t check out that story, and not being Vietnam Veterans themselves, probably didn’t realize that there are many such tales floating around. It took me about a minute to find a web site based on the names on the Vietnam Memorial that listed every American service member who died there. No one named Bass was killed in a hit-and-run in Vietnam and no one who served in the Air Force named Bass died in Vietnam. Clearly the story told to the Ramseys was untrue.

There were some other similar problems. There are many documents in the book, but there is little explanation about them, and some clearly have nothing to do with the Aztec case. One of them that I think of as the Hoover memo, is a handwritten note by Hoover that mentions "...full access to discs recovered. For instance, in the La case the Army grabbed it..."

But this is a reference to the Shreveport, Louisiana hoax of July 1947 and has nothing to do with Aztec. And, since it refers to a hoax, it does nothing to support any crashed disk recovery, regardless of location or time frame.

That is the real problem here, which is information is thrown at the reader, but some of it is irrelevant and some of it unexplained. That detracts from the overall message of the book, which is that Aztec is a real UFO crash.

Although the Ramseys fail to prove the point, this is an amusing book. For those interested in UFO crashes, or the whole Scully story, this provides an interesting take on it. The evidence is very weak and certainly does not overcome the baggage of the Aztec case. For historical purposes, this is an interesting book. For evidence of a crash, it fails to convince.

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