Rex and Carol Salisberry were selected by MUFON to investigate the Ed Walters case following the revelations in June and July (History Channel on line video )
Star investigators sent to clarify the situation: August to September 1990
©Tim Printy October 2008
Rex and Carol Salisberry went out of their way to conduct a thorough investigation on the accusations leveled against Ed. They had to determine:
1) If Ed had any prior knowledge of the model before Mr. Menzer had found it
2) If Tommy Smith's claims had any merit
3) If there were flaws in the initial investigation that had not been revealed.
With the controversy surrounding the case hanging over their heads, the best Rex and Carol could do was let the chips fall where they may.
Ed's Photo #14 looks a lot like the UFO model (Walters)
Rex and Carol examination of the model revealed that much of what Klass had revealed in the Skeptic's UFO newsletter was correct. They also revealed that:
If you look on the bottom of page 28 in Walters' book where he provides a description of the "UFO" that he saw: " 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. ( see drawing following page 64)". The drawings following page 64 do not show any horizontal lines except for the seams between the various sections. In the book, " photo 14, light-blasted and enhanced for detail, enlargement" show these same seams, so Walters could not have meant them when he described the horizontal lines. However, the model found in Menzer's attic have neatly drawn horizontal lines around the main body of the model, which is the only place that we can find the horizontal lines as described by Mr. Walters. This seems to indicate that Mr. Walters knows more about the model than he has admitted. (Salisberry)
While the model still did not appear to be anything exactly matching the photographs, it seems it was a prototype. This may have been Ed's first construction attempt and decided it needed to be improved. There were at least three or four types of UFOs in Ed's photographs. This initial prototype may have been hidden upstairs in the attic (where Ed may have stored all his UFO paraphernalia) and simply forgotten about it when he moved. As a result of this part of the investigation, Rex and Carol concluded that Ed had some knowledge of the model before the revelations of June 1990.
Next Rex and Carol examined the claims of Tommy Smith. They could not prove or disprove Tommy's claims but they could examine some of the lie detector tests that had been taken. They first noticed that the PSE test taken by Ed shortly after the model had been found had been worded in such a way that Ed could have told the truth without admitting that he had used the model or had it constructed for him. Specifically, they noted:
Mr. Lauland states in his opening paragraph, " ... and the questions were reworded for clarification ..." (This gave Walters the opportunity to carefully word the questions so that he could answer truthfully without providing any meaningful results.). (Salisberry)
Also important was the initial polygraph test that Ed had taken back in February 1988. Unable to discuss the private test with the polygrapher or to examine the actual test sheets, they had to determine how valid this type of test was. They went to Billy J. Rakes, then president of the Florida Polygraph Association, for a review of the report Ed had published. Rakes was not too impressed because of the self-sponsored nature of the test and that McLaughlin had not been a member of any professional polygraph association. This is important because such associations set standards of practice and conduct. This is mirrored by the concerns of Dr. Frank Horvath of Michigan State University.
Horvath is concerned about the credentials and qualifications of many polygraph examiners in the United States who do not belong to some sort of professional organization. Laws regarding polygraph licensing vary from state to state, and there is no government or private entity that controls polygraph licensing. Horvath also feels that training of polygraph examiners is inadequate. "I just do not think the field is at the state where we would say that any polygraph examiner is the equal of all other polygraph examiners. That's just not so," Horvath said. "We have a number of standardization problems in terms of examiner qualifications that concern me enormously. You could buy a polygraph [instrument] tomorrow and come to Michigan and you wouldn't be able to practice here because we have a rigorous licensing law, but you could move down to Ohio and open a business tomorrow." (Bonsor)
The lack of any such membership for McLaughlin makes his examination suspect. Rakes also noted that the conclusions of McLaughlin seemed to be less than conclusive, noting:
The paragraph under 'opinion' indicated the examiner based his opinion on his 'feelings' by stating it is felt' the examinee answered truthfully. Experts in the field base their conclusions and opinions on careful analysis of the examinee's physiological reactions noted on the polygraphs during the examination. (Randle 74)
He referenced other vague statements in the report such as, "no consistent deceptive responses are seen" (Walters 192). Rakes noted this and asked the question, "Were there any deceptive responses to any questions? (Emphasis added)" (Klass Award 3). It seems that all of Ed's lie detector tests were now suspect due to the conditions under which they had been administered. Since Ed would not allow himself to be tested again by somebody else's polygrapher, it appeared he was trying to avoid having to take a rigorous exam that could show that he was lying. The claims of Tommy Smith could not be verified unless both Ed and Tommy took independent polygraphs, which Ed refused to do.
The Salisberry's now proceeded to look at some of the photographic evidence. They started with the best photograph that presented enough information that could be analyzed. This was photograph #19 taken on the road in January of 1988. They were concerned about the shape of the reflection below the UFO, which was similar to the shape of the UFO "power ring" above it. They conducted a simple experiment using the dimensions that Dr. Maccabee had presented in his 1988 paper on the photograph.
Cut a circle of white paper 7.5 inches in diameter, place the white circle on a flat service and move away 185 inches to simulate the camera location, then raise your eye level to 5 inches above the elevation of the white circle, and you can see how the reflection should look. If you look at this photograph which we took of our own demonstration you can see that the reflection should appear as a narrow horizontal line and not as the much taller reflection as shown in Photo 19 of Walters' book. Walters' photo depicts the reflection as " hanging in mid air " instead of flat on the road as should be expected. It could be argued that the Walters' camera might have been higher than the 5 feet which we have used, but we have shown that the camera height would need to have been about 45 feet in the air to produce the reflection in Photo 19. If you will look at photo 19 in Walters' book, you can readily see that the higher elevation was not possible. Also, here is another photo which we took of our demonstration to show the results of the higher camera height, and you can see that the image of the reflection now approximates those in Walters' photos. This next photo shows the result if the road surface had been slanted up by about 14 degrees under the object. You can again see that this approximates the reflections in Walters' photos. The point here is that there is a strong indication that a small model and double exposure camera techniques were used by Walters' to take photos 14 and 19. There is strong support for this in the work done by Mark Curtis of WEAR TV. He made the same mistake in setting up his model which produces the same " impossible reflection " results as shown in Walters' photos. (Salisberry)
Photograph number 19 would become the focal point of much analysis in the coming years. Photograph #19 would be Ed's eventual downfall and would be the one picture he probably wished he never took.
There was also a check into the stories that Zan Overall had uncovered in 1989. Rex and Carol had also discovered that Nick Mock was not that irresponsible teenager that seemed to have been alleged by Ed Walters and the "inner circle". They agreed with Overall's conclusions that these little parties had shown that Ed was big on conducting pranks and jokes.
Another interesting event occurred in September, when Ed Walters appeared on the Oprah show and contradicted himself. Walters became rather belligerent when asked about his abduction experience and openly stated, "I've never said that I've been abducted" (Klass Ed Walters changes 1). This was very interesting since his book described him as being abducted, he had undergone numerous sessions with Dr. Overlade describing the abductions, and he eventually wrote a book on the subject. It seems that Ed was able to forget all these items in order to present a certain type of individual for television.
Ed Walters would later denigrate the Salisberry's because of their negative reports about the case. In the August, 1991 issue of the MUFON journal, Ed would note that Rex had seen one of his UFOs and reported it. He then added, "That makes him a witness to the UFO that I photographed. [You figure that one out.] Either he was confused about seeing the UFO then, or he is confused about it being a hoax now" (Randle 73). However, Ed failed to mention that this was the Red UFO incident and not an observation of any craft seen during the wave of late 1987 to Mid-1988. Rex and Carol had been sent to investigate the case concerning the UFO photographs that Ed had taken and not the red UFOs, which were a completely different story. Ed was trying to downplay the report that had come out and minimize its impact on his story.
Over a month had passed and the Salisberry investigation had begun to produce very little in positive results for the Ed Walters side of the argument. They phoned Walt Andrus on September 9th, telling him that there were strong signs of a hoax. This was followed by a preliminary report two weeks later. By late September, the silence from MUFON's head caused them great concern. A phone call to Andrus revealed that he had not even conducted the simple experiment they suggested examining the problems with the reflection in photo #19. Rex and Carol now began to realize that things were not as they had seemed. Early on Andrus had told them if he felt they could find evidence of a hoax, he would reverse his earlier conclusion. Now it seemed they had evidence but Andrus was not interested in hearing it. The Salisberry's explained that:
This tends to make us believe that he is not giving serious consideration to our analysis or the supporting analysis of other experts. Also, we have now learned that elements of MUFON are attempting to discredit us as " debunkers " which we deem eminently unfair in consideration of the large amount of time and effort we have devoted to objective reassessment of this case. (Salisberry)
Andrus still failed to give them any feedback and as a result, they felt their investigation would be buried by MUFON. In order to insure that their conclusions were made public, they talked to Craig Myers.
Bonsor, Kevin. "Polygraph examiners." How lie detectors work. Available WWW: http://www.howstuffworks.com/lie-detector3.htm
Hyzer, William G. "The Gulf Breeze Photographs: Bona Fide or Bogus". MUFON UFO Journal. July 1992 3-9.
Klass, Philip. "Ed Walters changes his UFO tale, Again." Skeptic's UFO Newsletter, September 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.
Randle, Kevin. The Randle Report: UFOs in the 90s. New York: M. Evans and Company inc., 1997
Salisberry, Rex and Carol. "Report on the reopening of the Walters' case". On line posting. Available WWW: http://www.skiesare.demon.co.uk/gbreport.html
Walters, Ed and Frances. The Gulf Breeze Sightings. New York: William Morrow and Company, inc. 1990.
Investigation rejected: October 1990
The Ed Walters case directory
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