Ed was perplexed by a model found in the attic of his old home (L - Myers 112) (R - Jerry Black's on line video UFO update)
Startling revelations: June-July 1990
©Tim Printy October 2008
The summer of 1990 was going to be a hot one for Gulf Breeze when a model was discovered in Ed's old home that could unhinge Ed Walters claim to extraterrestrial encounters. The events surrounding this model are somewhat confusing but the basic story begins when Ed Walters decided he needed to move. The public attention had been too much for him and by the fall of 1988, he moved. Ed's house was put up for sale and bought in 1989 by Robert and Sarah Menzer, who had little knowledge of what had transpired in 1987-88. When Mr. Menzer decided to hook up the ice maker line for his new refrigerator, he noticed the line was crimped coming out of the wall. Figuring that the lines shutoff valve was located in the attic of the house, Mr. Menzer began to trace out the line in order to shut off the water to the line. As he removed some insulation, he discovered something odd. A nine-inch model of a UFO was hidden underneath the insulation! Mr. Menzer, oblivious to what this could potentially mean, simply placed it aside and continued with his tracing of the line. When he could not find the shutoff valve, he called Ed who promptly told him that the shutoff was outside the house. Robert did not see any reason to mention the model in this conversation and it would be interesting what would have transpired had he done so. Instead, the model sat in the Menzer's garage for a few months before something occurred to bring it into the public eye.
In June 1990, Craig Myers of the Pensacola News Journal, who was researching the case for some time, began to take a new approach in trying to see if there was a possibility that the case was a hoax. He felt that it was possible that Ed may have left something behind in one of the homes he had lived in over the recent years.
Soon I resumed my search on the ground, leaving for a while theory and conjecture. I decided to pick up the trail where I seemed to have the closest, at one of Eds former homes. As a contractor he had built several houses in the area, lived in them for a few months while he build another one, then moved on. In mid-May, I began visiting some of those homes in the Milton area hoping to find something left behind by our infamous photographer I began asking the new occupants if they had found anything unusual when they moved in, such as books on UFOs, photos of UFOs, dark rooms, model UFOs, heck, even real UFOs.
Nothing (Myers 110)
Most important to Myers was to complete his research before the MUFON UFO conference that was to be held in the area on July 7-8.. Myers eventually came to the house that Walters had resided in during the 1988-89 UFO events recorded in the book by Walters. The new residents were Robert and Sarah Menzer and they welcomed Myers into their home after he described what he was doing. According to Myers, the discussion went something like this:
Our paper is pursuing a follow-up story on Eds sightings and photographs because of the notoriety this area is getting all over the country and even the world. I continued, ed has written a book and is going on all the talk shows. He has become a public figure, a celebrity of sorts.
The Menzers nodded their heads sincerely as they listened.
I came by because, as I said, this house is where Ed and Frances claimed to have taken several of those photos in 1987 and 1988, I said.. Well, we were just wondering if possibly you had found or seen anything unusual since you moved in?
The Menzers were beginning to look like the couple who had bought the home in The Amityville Horror.
Found something? Like what? Mr. Menzer said.
Well, first of all, what about a UFO? I asked, only half laughing.
No, I cant say we have, Mr. Menzer said, chuckling.
Okay. What about any photographs laying around?
Books about UFOs, photography, unexplained phenomenon?
Cant say we have.
Any models of UFOs
I was ready to write down another no, but there was only silence. I looked up and they were looking at each other. Then they looked at me. My heart was once again pumping like a kettle drum.
Well, we did find something the other day Mrs. Menzer said. Ill get it. .
We found this a few weeks ago.
At first glance it looked like a stack of Styrofoam plates.
Can I see that? I asked.. As she walked closer it became clear what they had found. I recognized it immediately. I had seen it my feverish, restless dreams and nightmares for months. There was no mistaking it
It was the Gulf Breeze UFO. (Myers 111-2)
The Model found in Ed's attic (Myers 112)
Craig, who had written a skeptical article in the newspaper in late April, had already received a lot of heat from the "inner circle" and several prominent UFO witnesses in the Gulf Breeze area. Myers brought the model to his editor, Ken Fortenberry, and they decided to invite Ed into to see what he might think of the model. Myers, who Ed did not want present during the interview, recounts what happened as told to him by the scribe, Nathan Dominitz:
Have you ever made any UFO models, you know, to kind of show what the thing looked like or recreate some photos, or anything like that? Asked Ken, who resembles Stephen King somewhat.
Nohahahahaha, Ed again retorted, squinting his eyes with curiosity mixed with indignation. If I had been in the office, I would have barely been able to suppress my sigh of relief at this point. He had not caught on to what was coming. Now he had burned one of his bridges .
So how do you explain this! Ken said, whipping out the miniature craft and showing it Ed.
Let me see that! said Ed, nearly leaping out of his chair and lunging across the desk to get a closer look at the Styrofoam spaceship. Ken pulled it back just out of his reach and Ed sat back down, saying maybe he shouldnt handle the model because it might get his fingerprints on it. From my vantage point I could hear his spine-tingling laugh and bits of pieces of his rambling denial.
Thats not mine. I can tell that right away, Ed said of the model, found at his former house, which looked exactly like the object tin his collection of UFO photos with a paper mid-section covered in his handwriting.
Nathan, who suddenly found he was enjoying himself, later compared it to a good courtroom drama. Ed, serving as his own attorney, quickly devised a defense: The model was planted by Debunkers or the government while the house was open before it was sold to the Menzers.
The debunkers came to town. My garage door is open a lot, like many garage doors around town. They might have snuck something in there. Or gone through my garbage to get some drafting paper, Ed said. Isnt it interesting this happened right before the MUFON convention?
Why would critics go to such lengths to discredit him, Ken asked.
God, please tell me. There are professional debunkers. I dont know if they are getting paid or if theyre religious fanatics orand I love my country so I hate to say thisif they are involved in a cover-up. I would love to believe that all of this is an incredible government hologram or some kind of craft flying around from Elgin (Air Force Base), Ed said.
They will do whatever necessary to debunk a case .There is no logic to me leaving the object up there. If I were trying to pull a hoaxand Im notthen it would have been stupid to leave it there.
But its logical to think that someone, a debunker, went into that house between the time I moved out and the new residents moved in and planted the object. That what makes sense to me, Ed said.
.Bear in mind, however, that it wasnt sitting on the kitchen table. It was buried under mounds of insulation in the corner of the attic. Menzer had followed the water pipe, feeling his way along beneath the loose insulation until his hands bumped into the paper plate creation. Perhaps it was an early version of the model that Ed would later use, a practice object used to prepare for the photographic finale? I later realize that it looked almost exactly like the sketch he had made for MUFON to show the Gulf Breeze UFO. (Myers 116-7)
Now Myers added fuel to the fire by writing the article about the model of a UFO found in Ed's old home. The revelation of the model by Myers was big news and there was quite the uproar from the UFO community.
Ed denied making the model and then arranged a psychological stress evaluation exam to prove it. The results, as defined by the examiner Ronald J. Lauland, were:
Based on test results, it is my professional opinion that as a certified instructor, court-recognized expert, and licensed in the field of Psychological Stress Evaluation (Voice Lie Detection), Ed Walters truthfully answered all relevant questions. (Walters and Maccabee 2)
Ed now declared that "debunkers" had made the model and planted it in his home to discredit him in time for the upcoming MUFON symposium in Gulf Breeze. But it really was not that simple. The model's midsection was made up from a blue print with Ed's handwriting on it. Again, Ed had a ready-made answer. Some of the notations on the drawings suggested the prints were from a home designed in September 1989, which was before the Menzers had moved into the house. He now suddenly recalls seeing a vehicle stationed near his house during the same time period, which, apparently, was going through his garbage. These plans, taken out of the garbage were then used to construct a model and hidden in the attic of the empty home that was unlocked. Ed also drew conclusions that Myers was in on the "dirty trick" somehow:
The circumstances suggest those of a reporter who received a tip, but a tip from whom? My answer is, a tip from the persons responsible for making and planting the model in the house attic ... When questioned about the tip, the reporter denied that he had received one. The reporter also refused to take a lie detector test. (Walters 214-5)
Myers states there was no tip and he was simply following good investigative journalism.
I knew MUFONs hastily contrived story about the stolen blueprints being used to set up poor Ed was nothing but bilge water. The main problem with the theory that someone planted the model in the attic for someone to find, and me to report, was, again, that no one had tipped me off to it being found. (Myers 173)
Ed pointed out that the model did not resemble any of the UFOs in his photographs (but it did resemble a drawing he published in the book and in the MUFON journal). He also added the point that when he left the house the refrigerator line had a small shutoff valve on it and was uncrimped! Ed proposed a theory that debunkers had stolen the plans and constructed the model from them. They then went into the house before it was sold and hid the model in the attic. To insure that somebody would find the model, the valve was removed and the line crimped. Ed makes a lot of assumptions for this theory. He makes the "debunkers" not very bright. If they really wanted to place a model in Ed's home, wouldn't they have created a model based on one of the UFOs in the photographs? Wouldn't they have placed the model in a location easier for Mr. Menzer to find? What if Menzer had not bothered to go up in the attic and simply went outside to shut off the water? Would Myers have asked to go up in the attic to look around if Menzer denied finding any models? It seems that the scenario that Ed has presented is something that takes a "leap of faith" but the "inner circle" accepted it and jumped to Ed's defense.
Myers and his group began to experiment with the model and discovered that model had some great properties when a light was placed in it.
The more we played with it, the more we discovered there was indeed beauty in its simplicity, and method in its makers madness.
As mentioned earlier, the material glowed when lit from the inside, with the light glowing brighter from the Styrofoam bowls that formed the power ring, from the portholes and from the plastic tube. (Myers 117)
After attempting several methods of getting the UFO to appear the way they did in Ed's photographs, they realized that there was only one good method to be used. That was by using a double exposure. Once this method was employed, the images were strikingly similar to the UFO pictures that Ed had published.
Craig Myers was able to duplicate Ed Walter's photographs with the model (Myers cover)
While the model had been big news, another shocker occurred just a week later when a young man revealed he was aware that the whole case was nothing but a hoax. Nick Mock and the other teens had mentioned that Ed was often a practical joker and sometimes employed kids to help him with his tricks. On June 17, one youth stepped forward to reveal that he had knowledge of Ed Walters hoaxing UFO photographs. Thomas Smith Jr. (aka Tommy Smith) was the son of a local lawyer and a friend of Ed Walters. Now he began to talk to Reporters from the Pensacola News Journal. Tommy told many interesting stories about what Ed Walters had told him and how he had faked his UFO photographs/videos. Ed's motivation was simple according to Tommy:
Ed was in it for the money somewhat, and also for the fact that it was just a big ego trip. He wanted to see if he could get away with it...Ed said he would die and go to the grave with his story. (Myers 128)
He also had photographs that Ed had helped him take of a UFO model behind a palm frond (they were not double exposures contrary to some reports). Ed had wanted him to give the photographs to the Gulf Breeze Sentinel back in 1987-88. At the time Tommy refused and told Ed that the prank was getting out of hand. Smith did not want to be involved further but did not reveal his story to anyone outside of his family. His father and lawyers felt that it was best to do nothing at the time. Zan Overall recounts why Tommy came forward:
When Smith told his attorney father about the hoax in January 1988, as Walters' claims and photos were first being publicized, neither of the Smiths was willing to go public. Both assumed Walters' bubble was sure to pop soon. Young Smith had--and has--good feelings toward Walters personally, "I had some of the best times in high school over there," he told the Gulf Breeze Sentinel (August 9, 1990). Smith's father confided his son's story to an attorney colleague and to Gulf Breeze Police Chief Jerry Brown. The Smiths went public only in June 1990, after the Walterses' book was on the mark and as the 1990 MUFON symposium , set in Pensacola, was about to give further exposure to something the Smiths knew to be a hoax. (Overall 16)
On June 19, Mayor Grey held a press conference and revealed the story to everyone. MUFON could add Tommy Smith on their list of "unreliable youths".
Tommy Smith said he was part of Ed Walter's hoax. (Evans and Belderson)
Tommy Smith spoke of Ed Walters telling him how Ed fooled everyone and that several key people were involved. The obvious participants were there in that Ed's son and wife were involved. However, Tommy added that Hank Boland (aka Patrick Hanks) played a role as well. Recall that Hank Boland was the one witness outside the immediate family that had seen the UFO appear to Ed. This was another blow to the Ed Walters case and more damage control was initiated. According to Craig Myers, Walter Andrus stated:
Smith is 'lying' about being with Walters when he faked UFO photos ... Andrus said he also believes Walters' story that Tommy Smith is lying to protect his parents religious beliefs, which do not allow for UFOs. (Randle 75)
I find it interesting that Tommy would lie about something in order to "protect his parents religious beliefs". Isn't that somewhat contradictory? Actually, their religion says nothing for or against UFOs, so the statement is a falsehood. Others attacked Tommy Smith calling him a liar and pointing out that such techniques described by Tommy would not create the images or that Tommy did not seem to have a lot of details on hoax techniques. Of course, they ignore the fact that his participation was limited and based on what Ed told him. Ed may not have completely revealed all the details or Tommy may not have remembered them exactly. Smith's revelations along with the model had hit deep and now MUFON had to address the ugly possibility that they had been duped.
Shortly after Tommy's accusations about Ed Walters, Walt Andrus ordered the investigation into the case reopened. He needed something to stop the flood of negative reports on a case he had once called "one of the most incredible cases in modern UFO history" (Christensen). Andrus began to look for qualified investigators that could check up on these new revelations.
For those that kept championing Ed's multiple lie detector tests, Tommy's interview was taped and examined later using a voice stress analyzer by two different experts. The first was Dale Kelly, who wrote:
At the request of and under the authority of Chief Jerry Brown of the Gulf Breeze Police Department, I analyzed a tape of a person known only as Chris [Tommy Smith] to me. The subject matter was the taking of photos of 'UFOs' and if the photos were faked. Based on the test results, it is the opinion of this examiner that 'Chris' was telling the truth when he described how he was told how the photos were faked. In answer to all questions put to 'Chris,' in my opinion he was telling the truth. (Randle 65)
Ed Halford, was the second expert and he stated:
I ran a test for the chief of police in Gulf Breeze, El., to determine the truthfulness of a statement made by a male identified as 'Chris' [Tommy Smith]. The statement was recorded by Chief Jerry Brown and Mayor Ed Gray of Gulf Breeze, with the permission of 'Chris.' "In my professional opinion, the answers to all the questions asked of this person were truthful. I used the Mark II Voice Stress Analyzer to arrive at this conclusion. "I have a degree in criminology, twenty years police experience, and thirteen years with the Mark II Voice Stress Analyzer. "This test was analyzed by the authority of the Chief of police, Gulf Breeze, Fl." (Randle 66)
So both Ed and Tommy managed to pass the voice stress analyzer tests making one wonder which ones were accurate or whether any of them were accurate at all. According to Zan Overall, "Smith offered to submit to a polygraph test administered by an independent agency if Walters, his wife, and his son (all alleged UFO witnesses) would do the same. The Walterses have yet to accept this challenge" (Overall 16). Ed had passed one self-sponsored test and seemed to be passing his voice stress tests. He would help his case out if he did submit to such a polygraph. Ed's reluctance to submit himself to an independent polygraph exam raises the question about the validity of these other tests.
In addition to Craig Myers, television reporter Mark Curtis also was able to reproduce shots like the Ed Walters photographs (Evans and Belderson)
Meanwhile, Mark Curtis of WEAR-TV Channel 3 was creating UFO photographs similar (not exactly reproducing) to that of Ed's Road shot using techniques similar (with some modifications) to those described by Tommy Smith. Recall that Curtis was quite impressed with Ed's photographs and Video in 1988 and seemed to have felt his story to be credible. Now Curtis began to look skeptically at Walters. Perhaps he was following the old rule "fooled me once, shame on you ... ". Now, Curtis openly stated, "It was quite easy to reproduce these pictures" (Evans and Belderson). It seems that most of the problems with exactly duplicating Ed's photograph was reproducing the precise methods/conditions he had used. As these photographers understood how it was done, they began to get closer and closer reproductions of the images Ed had taken.
By early July, Ed had managed to get his ducks in a row and issued a press release demonstrating that "debunkers" had planted the model. He had obtained a copy of the plans he had given to Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Thomas of Michigan back in September of 1989. The Thomas' both felt that these plans could have been the plans used in the model. The copy showed many important details but the main thing that Ed wanted to focus on was that the Living area of 1740 square feet and slab dimensions of 2393 square feet were the same numbers on the model blueprint paper. He was making sure everyone was convinced that this was the true "fingerprint" of the origin for the blueprints. Unfortunately, Ed left out many details. In the blueprint on the model, the address is partially hidden but the last digit is definitely the number "2" (with the apparent address of 712 Jamestown Dr). The Thomas plans were designed for 700 Jamestown Drive.
Courtesy of P. Klass SUN #6 Nov 1990 P.5
Another problem was that the outside exterior for the Thomas plans read they were using White Synergy but the model plans state the outside was to be brick (Ed later added that they originally wanted brick thus explaining this discrepancy). Even more revealing was that the garage on the model was parallel to the house with the opening being on the same side as the long dimension for the house. The Thomas house plans had the garage perpendicular to the house's long dimension.
Courtesy of P. Klass SUN #9 May 1991 P.7.
So, the Thomas plans were not a perfect match for the model. According to Phil Klass:
The "original" detailed house plan which Walters borrowed from Mr./Mrs. Thomas shortly after the UFO-model was discovered was never returned to them. Instead Ed sent them a photocopy. (Mrs. Thomas had jotted down the lot dimensions on the backside of their original. These dimensions were not on the copy Ed returned to them.) (Klass Bruce Maccabee 5)
Most important was that when asked about a specific "cut 2" notation on these plans, the Thomas' could not recall if it had been there prior to lending their copy (which was not what was returned to them) to Walters. This "cut 2" is important because it removed 2 feet from part of the house and changed the living area to the required dimensions. It seemed that the plans that Ed had used in his press release could have been altered to produce the required numbers to match those found on the model. UFOlogist Jerry Black talked to the Thomas' years later and discovered that they now were of the opinion that the plans were not for their home:
Ed Walters claimed the model represented the Lynn Thomas family home plans, and indeed they did say that early on. Incidentally, we know that the home was never built for them. However, during the past four or five years, we've stayed in touch with the Thomas family, who have moved to Detroit.
Mrs. Thomas took an extensive course to become a real estate agent after she left the Gulf Breeze area. To make sure that she was looking at the same plans that I was, I sent her a copy of the plans from Sarah Menzer's home. (We could all have this, by simply requesting it from Ms. Menzer.) Mrs. Thomas said the plans were basically the same thing she had received from either Walt Andrus or Ed Walters.
Now, though, since taking her real estate course, and realizing that her house was going to be built on the corner of Shoreline Drive and Jamestown, she said to me that she definitely now does not believe that the model plans she was sent represent the plans of the home that was supposed to be built for her. I asked her why she did not feel that way any longer. She said that, since she had become a real estate agent, and more adept at reading plans and diagrams, the plans she was looking at were for a house that would be much smaller than the home that was to be built for their family, which would have been situated on the corner of Shoreline and Jamestown. She reiterated, "I'm saying to you again, Mr. Black, these plans are not the plans that were designed for our home, to be built on that corner."
Mr. Thomas was on an extension phone during the conversation. He said to me, "Mr. Black, I never felt, all along, that these were our plans. But I bowed to my wife, because I felt she knew better than I." (Black)
An even more startling sequence of events came from Craig Myers follow-up research:
Pulling out the manila folder with Eds name on it, I soon located a building permit for a house that had the same living area as those on the plans in the model. That permit was for a single family brick home at 712 Jamestown Drive built between January and May 1987a good six months before the first UFO tales and photos emerged .I zipped through a shady old Pensacola neighborhood to the BayBridge, then over into the heart of darkness itself. There at City hall, I was shown to the Gulf Breeze build records room, where blueprints for every house built in the city were stashed away in tubes. With hands shaking with anticipation, I soon located the blueprints for the 712 Jamestown Drive home. Heart pounding, I pulled the blueprints out, unrolled them on a table and glanced expectantly at the upper right hand corner to see if the slab area of that house also matched.
But there was nothing there.
The corner of the blueprints had been torn away-the corner that contained both the slab area and living area of the house. It certainly was not accidental. You dont accidentally tear a thick blueprints like that. I looked down into the tube and on the floor, but there was no matching scrap of paper. It was ripped as if someone had turned a page of a book too quickly. But there was no need to turn those blueprints in that manner. It would take no effort to tear just that corner, removing only those two items of information .
Later, Gray called me and told me one of the secretaries at City Hall remembered that Ed had been looking through those blueprints just days before I had. I called the secretary, and she repeated the story.
She said Ed came in and searched through records, leaving abruptly after what seemed like several minutes. The mayor was growling mad. A man of action, he asked a builder friend of his to calculate the dimensions of that house using the drawings left on the blueprints. He called me from his car phone and excitedly reported they were a perfect match. He said the builder calculated a living area of 1,740 feet and a slab area of 2,393 feet. (Myers 133-134)
The application form had a living area of 1740 square feet but not the required "fingerprint" of 2393 square feet for the slab area. However, there seems to have been changes on the actual plans, which moved the slab area to 2393 square feet but reduced the living area size. Even though the plans did not have the two required dimensions at the same time, there is the possibility that the drawings could have had these numbers listed. The implications being the possibility was that these plans that were in city hall for a "spec" house could have been the source of the model blueprints.
Courtesy of P. Klass SUN #10 July 1991 P. 2.
By July, Andrus had decided upon whom he was going to select to reinvestigate the Walters case. Rex and Carol Salisberry of Florida MUFON were considered the best candidates. These two were honored at the July MUFON conference for their "unsurpassed investigative skill" and "setting the standard for proper UFO casework" (Klass Award-winning 1). Most importantly, they did not appear to have an axe to grind and were inclined to believe Ed's claims about his encounters. Rex had actually seen one of the red UFOs that had recently frequented the area. According to Phil Klass, ".... Andrus emphasized that the new investigation would be based on the presumption that Walters is innocent until proven guilty" (Klass Ed Walters 2). It was Walt's desire that the Salisberry's would clear up the mess and restore the case to it's former status.
Black, Jerry. "Looking Back: A Review Of Gulf Breeze". On line posting. Available WWW: http://www.skiesare.demon.co.uk/looking.html
Christensen, Marge. MUFON, 1990 - An Organization At Risk. On line posting. Available WWW: http://www.skiesare.demon.co.uk/gb+mufon.html
Evans, Jeremy and Martin Belderson (Directors).(1996) UFO: Down to Earth - Reason to believe (Film). Discovery Channel.
Klass, Philip. "Ed Walters, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., charges that small UFO-Model found in his former home by its new owner was made by "debunkers" who planted it to "discredit the UFO phenomenon." Skeptic's UFO Newsletter, July 1990.
- "Award-winning MUFON investigators find evidence of hoax in Ed Walters' (Gulf Breeze) UFO Photos--But MUFON director Walt Andrus dismisses their findings." Skeptic's UFO Newsletter, November 1990.
- "Bruce Maccabee, Dan Wright, and Walt Andrus prove that P. T. Barnum was correct: You can fool some of the people all of the time." Skeptic's UFO Newsletter, May 1991.
- "Walters, Maccabee fail to explain "Garage entrance discrepancy" which challenges Walters claim that small UFO-model discover in former Gulf Breeze residence was made by "debunkers". Skeptic's UFO Newsletter, July 1991.
Myers, Craig. War of the Words. USA Xlibris Corporation 2006.
Overall, Zan. "The Gulf Breeze RUFOs". International UFO Reporter. Vol 17 No. 2 (March/April 1992). 14-18.
Randle, Kevin. The Randle Report: UFOs in the 90s. New York: M. Evans and Company inc., 1997
Walters, Ed and Frances. UFO Abductions in Gulf Breeze. New York: Avon Books. 1994.
Walters, Ed and Bruce Maccabee UFOs are real: Here's the proof. New York: Avon Books 1997.
Star investigators sent to clarify the situation: August to September 1990
The Ed Walters case directory
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