Duane Cook and the first press exposure for Ed's photographs (Evans and Belderson)
The initial encounters: November - December 1987
Ó Tim Printy October 2008
Veteran's day for Gulf Breeze, Florida 1987 was like any other Veteran's day of past years. The usual quiet city celebrations occurred. Across the bay, the Naval Station celebrated and only the duty section had to report for work. The rest of the sailors had the day off and enjoyed the wonderful Florida weather. Small ceremonies were conducted to remember the honored dead and life moved on in the quiet Florida community. Although it was a government holiday, businesses remained open and the normal evening rush hour had started as the sun began to set in the west. However, in one location of town, things were far from normal.
At approximately 5PM, businessman Ed Walters experienced what would be the first of many encounters with an alien race piloting spacecraft. Ed recounts the tale as he was sitting in his office at his home:
... My eyes caught a slight movement of light between the pine's limbs. I sat up and leaned over my desk to get a better look. It was still behind the tree, but I could now see that the glow was unusual ... I went to the front door and opened it. Whatever it was I had seen was still behind the tree. But I could tell now that this glowing bluish-gray craft was like none I had ever seen before ... My first thought was to call the police but then I realized no one would believe me without proof. I rushed back into my office and grabbed the old Polaroid camera I use so frequently on my job sites. Quickly I stepped back out onto the small porch area. I took my first picture (photo 1) as the craft came from behind the pine ... This was a UFO. The camera in my hand almost slipped from my grip ... It seemed to be nearly as big as the houses below it and three times as high. It glided along without a whisper of sound. There was no hum, no wind, not a single disturbance of the air, trees, or houses as it passed over them. While rocking back and forth, it did not seem to spin, so I never saw all sides, only what is in the photographs...A lot of small details don't show up in the pictures. Central between the large black squares that look like windows were small openings that I believe were portholes. Some of the portholes were lit, some were not. There were also some diamond shapes between some of the large black squares and, unseen on the photos, there were definitely horizontal lines going around the main body ... As I lowered the camera I could see the power light clearly, and I ran out into the street to shoot a picture...The inside ring of the power source was throbbing and pulsing with energy ... Bang! Something hit me. All over my body, I tried to lift my arms to point the camera. I couldn't move them ... I was in a blue light beam. The blue beam had hit me like compression. It was pressing me firmly, just enough to stop me from moving ... The best I can tell, this all took less than twenty seconds. Then my feet lifted of the ground. I screamed. A voice groaned in my head. "We will not harm you." I screamed again. The deep computerlike voice said, "Calm down." But it was in my head, not my ears. I screamed, as well as I could, "Put me down!" A few seconds passed as I slowly rose away from the pavement...The voice came back, but now it seemed to be female. An easy him filled my head. Suddenly, from within my head, came the sharp vision of a dog ... The hum continued. I had the sensation I was four feet above the ground. Wham! I hit the pavement hard and fell forward onto my knees. The blue light was gone, The hum was still in my head, but it quickly decreased and was gone, like the hum of a speeding car that races by ... The sound of an airplane passed overhead. I rolled over onto my back. There was no sign of the UFO ... (Walters 27-30)
Walters, bewildered by this event, began to wonder about a course of action to take.
Ed talked to his wife, Frances, about the near abduction by a UFO. He had been attacked in the open. What if the aliens were going to do this to others in Gulf Breeze?
At first we thought we'd keep it to ourselves, not tell anyone. But what if the UFO continued to fly around the community? Didn't we have an obligation to our friends and neighbors? What if that had been our daughter, or some other child outside? Would they have been taken? We finally decided we couldn't just keep quiet on it... (Walters 31)
In the end, Ed and Frances decided that they tell the story to the public but only if they remained anonymous.
On 17 November, Ed went to the editor of the Gulf Breeze Sentinel, Duane Cook, and presented him with a letter to publish along with the pictures. The paper published the photographs on November 19, 1987 along with the letter, which read:
To Whom it May Concern:
On the night of November 11th I took the pictures you now see before you. I was reluctant at first to show them to any one but my family but my wife convinced me to show them to Ed. Ed in turn said that the photos should be shown to the press. That is why he is presenting them to you.
I had just sat down to dinner when I saw the object from my window. I rushed to my bedroom to get my Polaroid. I rushed outside and started taking pictures. I got off four pictures (5,6,7,8) and then had to change film. I got one more good picture (1) before it shot straight up and disappeared.
There may be some reasonable explanation for what I saw but I don't think so. The "ship" looked about the size of a small house. It was, however, quite some distance away and hard to tell. It hovered in the sky for several minutes and then left. It did not spin or rotate but it did seem to bob up and down while weaving slightly. It glowed from the bottom as if that may be the power source. The markings (windows?) on the top there appeared to be a dome or bump that was quite bright. There was nothing colorful about it - no flashing lights, no beams coming from it. None of that "Star Wars" stuff; it was just a dull gray-blue "thing".
I don't think that it was military but you may want to check It was quite big and I don't think I was alone in seeing it. I wish to remain anonymous but if these photos and story spark any interest from your readership I may identify myself. I am a prominent citizen of the community however and need anonymity at this time. I know what I saw and would feel much better if I know if I was not alone.
Let me reassure you that this is not a hoax. I saw what I saw, took pictures of it, and have given these pictures to you. I wish I could come forward but can not; for while I have nothing to gain, I have everything to lose. Thank you for your time and understanding. (Walters 38-9)
Ed wanted to inform the whole community about the events he had experienced and was eager to hear about people's reaction to the story. The next day, Walters listened to his workers talking about the photographs.
A small glow of satisfaction grew in my chest as the workers continued to talk about other people they knew who had seen strange lights in the sky. Maybe my idea had worked. Taking the pictures to the press was the best way of getting people to watch and report on what they saw. (Walters 40)
Ed seemed thrilled that he had piqued the community's curiosity with the publication of the pictures in the Sentinel.
The ink was hardly dry on the newspaper when Ed experienced his second encounter. On November 20, 1987, Ed reports that he started to experience a "hum" inside his head. This prompted him to go outside with his camera to see if the UFO was around:
I stood between the house and a bushy tree looking over the horizon - still nothing .... A rush of air blasted into my head ... Then a small speck of light appeared very, very high in the sky. It was falling at an incredible speed ... "Be calm. Step forward." Came the forceful voice. (Walters 44-5)
Ed started to take photographs, which the aliens told him, was forbidden. He ignored the warning and continued to photograph the UFO. The UFO talked to Ed and, apparently in order to calm him, sent mental images of naked women into his brain. The UFO sent the mental message that they would come for him, moved forward, and immediately shot upward extremely fast. Ed's wife Frances had missed the first two encounters but with the "hum" now alerting Ed of the alien's presence, it could be possible for others, including his wife Frances, to witness the events.
It did not take long before the UFOs were back. Late at night on December 2nd, Ed began hearing voices again. According to Ed, it sounded like a couple talking in Spanish and a baby crying. Ed, armed with a pistol and camera, and Frances both left the bed and began to crawl on the floor to check outside. Ed looked outside to check on the dog and, suddenly, the UFO appeared:
Directly overhead it was coming down--fast. I mean fast: From the size of a dime to half the size of my pool in about two seconds. Panic and shock hit me and I shot back into the house ... The craft stopped about one hundred feet above the pool. It hovered there a few seconds, then sort of drifted to the east, away from the house ... I pointed the camera with my right hand and aimed the gun with my left ... I leaned my left shoulder against the right wooden edge, peeked around it, and watched. The UFO changed color and almost disappeared into the darkness ... Seconds later, as quickly as it had dropped form the sky, the UFO shot straight up. No sound, no wind, just a flash as the bottom turned white and it was gone ... It was so fast that it just disappeared, and I had the feeling that it had gone up. (Walters 57-8)
Ed and Frances went back to their bedroom and discussed the matter for a while and then went to sleep figuring they had their encounter for the night. This was not to be the case, when Ed was awakened around 3:30 AM by the dog barking. Again, Ed left his bed armed with a pistol and his camera. The instant Ed opened the blinds to the window, Ed was face-to-face with a small creature with big black eyes. It was clothed in some sort of box-like outfit and held a silver rod. Ed screamed and fell back. Frances crawled towards Ed. Ed contemplated to shoot the alien if it entered the door but, instead, it turned and walked away. Ed gave chase when:
... bang! The blue beam angled down form the sky. My right leg, from the knee down, was hit. Frozen. Like it was nailed to the floor ... The blue beam began to lift my leg and pull me out from under the roofed porch. I leaned back and grabbed the screen-door jamb. As I leaned back, I was looking straight up into the bottom of the UFO. It was maybe fifty feet up, with the beam just clearing the eave ... I jerked wildly, but my right leg stayed fast in the beam. France held me from behind. I pulled harder. Slowly and steadily my leg came out. I was free. The blue beam disappeared, and the craft hovered toward the field ... By the time I got back with the Polaroid, the craft was near the trees. Suddenly the blue beam shot down to the ground. No way to see the creature, but I figured they were picking up the back-porch visitor ... (Walters 64-5)
The events of this night signaled that the aliens had more plans involving Ed but what were they?
The following day, a UFO photograph, not taken by Ed, appeared in the Sentinel. The photograph was reported to have been taken in June 1986 and was sent anonymously. This person later became identified as "Jane". The true identity of the photographer was never revealed but she would eventually contact Ed at a later date. The release of the photograph from another source demonstrated there were more witnesses to these events and UFO groups began to catalog these reports to indicate something extraordinary was happening in Gulf Breeze.
Ever since the paper published his photographs, the Gulf Breeze Sentinel became inundated with UFO reports/sightings. This is not surprising since many used a phrase something like "...just like the pictures in the sentinel." It seems that any light in the sky was being considered a UFO shaped likes Ed's pictures. For the most part, many of these sightings were never seriously investigated and they were merely listed as confirmation of Ed's story. Unfortunately for Ed, none of these sightings actually confirmed one of Ed's events, as we will later see.
Ed now decided to turn to UFO groups to help him figure out his "problem". This is where Don Ware and Charles Flannigan of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) entered into the picture. They arrived the evening of the 4th and began to ask questions. Ed still did not want to reveal he was the person who took the pictures and just referred to the photographer as Mr. X. Ware and Flannigan did not bother to pursue this and just before they departed, they left Ed a sighting form for "Mr. X" to fill out. MUFON was now involved in one of the most controversial cases in UFO history.
The morning after MUFON had shown up at Ed's door, he experienced another UFO encounter. Around 6AM, Ed got out of bed and went into the kitchen. Looking out the window, he saw a larger UFO hovering low over the field by the school. Ed grabbed his trusty pistol and camera and went out the back door. As he took the photograph, the UFO rose higher. Ed was "called" to again, "Do not resist. Stay where you are. You are in danger. We will not harm you...Zehaas" (Walters 83). After trying to entice "Zehaas" to come out from underneath the porch, the UFO shot away. Despite the alien's apparent attempts to take Ed away, he continued to risk danger by exposing himself to their presence.
The next bizarre encounter occurred on December 17 at 1AM. Ed awoke when a brilliant flash had filled his mind with what he called a "white-out". Ed arose and gave chase to some figures he had seen at the side of their bed. Ed, clothed only in his underwear, proceeded to go outside to take a photograph of the UFO he knew was waiting for him. The UFO was there and immediately began to drift away. Ed took a picture and stuffed it inside the waistband of his shorts for safekeeping. Suddenly, the UFO emitted steam/smoke and dumped a liquid onto the ground. He followed the UFO as it disappeared into the field beyond and wondered if the UFO was in trouble.
By leaving the protection of his home, Ed now exposed himself to another potential abduction. He pressed on and when Ed arrived in the area where the UFO appeared to land, he discovered there was a different type of UFO present on the ground! Ed took another picture and again placed it inside the waistband of his shorts. Frances came outside forcing Ed to return to the house. The UFO rose and appeared to follow. After Ed convinced Frances to go inside, he returned to the back fence. Suddenly, out of the blue, Frances bumped into him and handed him a new flashcube. Ed seemed confused by her rapid return. Ed gave her the two photographs he had stuffed in his shorts and then took another photograph of the UFO as it passed overhead. As the UFO departed, Ed took another photograph. In a series of rapid events, Ed describes running around taking more pictures and suddenly suffering another "white-out". The next thing Ed knew was that he was next to Frances near the fence. It appears that Frances was also out of it because she was no longer her "talkative" self. Ed managed to get a photograph of the underneath of the UFO showing the power source of the UFO prior to its departure. This one sighting required that Ed be hypnotized to get the entire story. Apparently, Ed and Frances were abducted that morning and something odd had happened. Ed had problems remembering the order the photographs were taken. The order of the photographs was different than the order of the serial numbers on their backs. The explanation for this deficiency was that the shock of the abduction had made a mess of Ed's memory. Now that the aliens had kidnapped Ed., what would happen next?
In order to produce evidence of the UFO's appearance, Ed obtained a tub of the liquid that came out of it. Ed wrote that the analytic results stated, "The liquid had a saltwater base in addition to other elements (see report in appendix 2). A very strange mixture to find in my backyard" (Walters 253). Considering that Ed lived in a seaside community, the appearance of something with seawater in it would not be that extraordinary. Nobody seems to have even examined what these results meant and it seems that it was not that extraordinary after all.
Meanwhile MUFON was finishing up their initial investigations into the photographs taken on the 11th. They still did not know that Ed was Mr. X. On the 22nd, they gave their initial report to Ed so that he could deliver it to "Mr. X" for review. Ed figured that MUFON suspected he was really Mr. X and began to wonder if he should reveal his identity. Ed would not remain anonymous very long.
As Ed glanced at the MUFON report, he felt another hum but it passed. Going outside, he looked about trying to see the UFO that was menacing him. It did not appear but only a few blocks away, another photographer, later dubbed "Believer Bill", was taking pictures of three Gulf Breeze type UFOs. These photographs were published in the Gulf Breeze Sentinel on December 24. Like "Jane", the actual identity of this "unknown" photographer would never be discovered. Evidence was continuing to build supporting Ed's claims. The UFOs seemed to be appearing all over Gulf Breeze.
The following morning, around 6AM, Ed saw three more UFOs hovering in the morning sky. He quickly took a photograph of the grouping prior to their departure. What were the UFOs doing? Since the aliens had already abducted Ed and Frances why were they still monitoring the Walters? It was hoped that MUFON's investigation could reveal the answer to these questions and they would confirm Ed's experiences.
MUFON had now become deeply involved and invited Dr. Robert Nathan to inspect the images for possible indications of a hoax. Like a good analyst, he admitted the only thing he could ever say is that he could not find evidence of hoaxing and could never authenticate these images. While Ed writes that Dr. Nathan could find no anomalies in the first four images, others report that Nathan was highly suspicious and would not endorse the photographs for the National Enquirer. Dr. Nathan's reluctance to authenticate the images meant Ed would have to get affirmation from another analyst.
On December 27th, Ed had another sighting but was unable to take a picture. The importance of this sighting was that there was one other witness, who states he was there. Patrick Hanks states he saw the UFO and gave the following account:
I looked through the window, and it was at the far southeast end of the field, just at about tree line. It wasn't real bright, but it was fairly bright ... A craft, about twenty feet wide ... straight edges, power source coming out of the bottom, light on top ... It was ... wasn't real bright, it wasn't very, very glowing or anything ... It wasn't as bright as daylight. But it was bright, it was glowing, it was hovering, and as Ed came in, it moved a little bit toward the southeast and then blinked out, it was gone. (Walters 109)
Patrick Hanks was actually a pseudonym used by Hank Boland. He was a teenage friend of the family and attended some of their teen parties. Boland's testimony verified that Ed was experiencing these bizarre encounters.
This wasn't the last encounter of the year and on the following evening, when a UFO showed up, Ed had his video camera available. As the UFO moved about, he captured over ninety seconds of videotape. Considering that Ed had such success with the video camera, one had to wonder why he did not bother to use it more often. With the video, Ed Walters had provided another piece of evidence of his strange encounters.
By the end of the year, Ed decided to come clean with the UFOlogists. By early January, he told them that he was the photographer. They had probably suspected as much already but humored Ed as he kept presenting more pictures for them to examine. Ed had one stipulation. He wanted to remain anonymous to the public. The UFOlogists were more than happy to keep his name out of any publications. Ed Walters became known as "Mr. Ed" but his real name would not be revealed until later.
Evans, Jeremy and Martin Belderson (Directors).(1996) UFO: Down to Earth - Reason to believe (Film). Discovery Channel.
Walters, Ed and Frances. The Gulf Breeze Sightings. New York: William Morrow and Company, inc. 1990.
UFOs on the attack: Mid-January 1988 to early February 1988
The Ed Walters case directory
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