Walt Andrus was the International director of MUFON, officially endorsed the Ed Walters photographs as authentic and rejected the findings of the Sailsberry's (UFOs and metaphysics website)
Investigation rejected: October 1990
©Tim Printy October 2008
Andrus had good reason to perform his foot dragging. He wanted to check up on some of the conclusions that Rex and Carol Salisberry had reached. These checks essentially consisted of checking back with the "inner circle" for information. Most important, he wanted Dr. Bruce Maccabee to look at the problems associated with Photo #19. Recall that Dr. Maccabee had written:
... with the wealth of foreground and background information, it was possible to return to the scene and literally match up the tree branches along the horizon until the location of the camera was determined. Once this was done it was determined that the object was about 185 ft from [Ed's] truck. (Klass 2)
With the conclusions of Rex and Carol, he felt he needed to recheck his calculations again. Bruce now discovered that he made some serious mistakes. He recalculated and discovered the UFO was not 185 feet away but 370 feet away. What did this say for the tire tracks (pinpointed by Ed as the ones he created) that were 185 feet away? It is also brings into question how a respected physicist, who was conducting a scientific investigation, could make such a gross error in his calculations. In his original calculations, he determined that the power ring was 7.5 feet across. This value would make the road about 15 feet across, which is unusual for even a narrow two-lane road. Now that he was using a 370-foot value, the power ring was 15 feet across making the road about 30 feet across. This shows that Dr. Maccabee was more than willing to accept Ed's word about where the tire tracks were for him to base his calculations than to try and do a thorough analysis. He had performed a biased analysis and was about to again. With the new values, Dr. Maccabee now concluded that the illumination below the UFO was not a reflection but a "beam" (like that of a car's headlights on the road) that had been projected by the UFO even though there was no source of the beam visible in the photograph. There was no basis for this conclusion other than trying to explain away the inconsistency exposed by the Salisberry's. Maccabee reported these new conclusions back to Walt Andrus, who now had a basis for rejecting the Salisberry report.
In order to circumvent efforts to hush up their conclusions, Rex and Carol issued a press release focusing on the major points they had exposed. Craig Myers of the Pensacola News Journal now picked up the ball and published the article "Investigators doubt UFO author". Myers now talked to Andrus to follow up on what the Salisberry's had claimed. Walt was bewildered, " I don't know how they arrived at that decision ... It is certainly premature. He has no business talking to reporters. It has never been cleared through here. He can't make representations for the organizations" (Myers). When asked about Tommy Smith, Andrus reiterated his earlier remarks and declared, "Tommy Smith can't prove any of his statements- they are outlandish lies" (Myers). Andrus now revealed his hand, which was as Rex and Carol had feared, " They (the Salisberrys ) do not have grounds to arrive at that conclusion until it is submitted to us. We will have to look at their facts" (Myers). Rex and Carol's investigation was essentially over and MUFON was willing to conclude that there was no evidence of a hoax despite what the Salisberry's had revealed.
Faced with such a negative report from these two respected investigators, MUFON deputy director for investigations, Dan Wright, decided that another investigator would have to be assigned. He went to Florida MUFON and picked the chief investigator for the area as the replacement. This was Gary Watson, a member of the Ed Walters "inner circle". With such a choice, MUFON would finally get the report they desired.
In mid-1990, MUFON had been dealt another blow when Marge Christensen finally removed herself from the organization, which she explained:
In my opinion, it is bad enough that trained investigators, including a respected optical physicist and photoanalysis expert, and a former USAF Col. were totally deceived by a con-man such as Ed Walters. However, it is worse yet that these same trained investigators rushed to judgement and made such rash claims not only publicly, but in print. Moreover, these statements were made by these persons not merely as individuals, but as MUFON officers and investigators. Is this serious, scientific investigative methodology? Hardly. Furthermore, making these statements as MUFON representatives is a direct violation of the MUFON public information policy guidelines.
In short, _the party's over and it's time for the charade to end._ Let's face the facts. MUFON is _not_ a serious, scientific research organization. Rather it has become nothing but a pop club for people with the mutual interest in reading good stories about UFO cases. In my opinion, it will not be possible for MUFON to be in reality a serious, scientific research organization unless there is new leadership of the organization. Since that appears to be extremely unlikely, I see no alternative but to resign from the MUFON Board of Directors and to resign the post of Director of Public Education at this time. (Christensen)
Faced with continued internal dissension and the Salisberry matter, Walt Andrus turned towards another source that could save the case from total disaster.
Jerry Black managed to get a professional photo analyst to look into the Walter's photographs (From Jerry Black's video UFO Update)
Around the same time, Ohio UFOlogist Jerry Black had shown some of the images published in the MUFON Journal to one of the nations top photo analysts, William G. Hyzer. Mr. Hyzer was intrigued and was willing to conduct a detailed analysis of the images for free if MUFON would send him the images. When Black talked to Andrus and implied that Mr. Hyzer did not see any initial signs of hoaxing in the images, Andrus responded by promptly sending Mr. Hyzer some copies of the images to analyze. Andrus must have felt that Hyzer's analysis would trump the negative news about the case that continued to crop up. Dr. Maccabee, one of UFOlogy's best photo analysts, had already validated the photographs and it was probably felt that Hyzer would have confirmed Bruce's findings and, therefore, restore the case to its former elite status. Unfortunately for Andrus, Hyzer was not going to be intimidated by Maccabee's credentials and was not going to "rubber stamp" the photograph's authenticity.
Christensen, Marge. MUFON, 1990 - An Organization At Risk. On line posting. Available WWW: http://www.skiesare.demon.co.uk/gb+mufon.html
Klass, Philip. "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.
Myers, Craig. "Investigators doubt UFO author". Pensacola News Journal. 27 October 1990.
BUBBA returns to Gulf Breeze: November 1990 - June 1991
The Ed Walters case directory
Back to My skeptical opinion about UFOs