Brown’s wife Velma was suspicious, stating in a letter to Kenneth Arnold "I have
never thought Frank’s death was an accident." However there is no available
supporting evidence of sabotage. These ‘co-incidences’ become even more suspicious when
linked to the firing of the Ray Palmer, editor of ‘Amazing Stories’, the
publication that had initiated the Maury Island Investigation. This editor had
even increased the magazine’s circulation from 80,000 to 130,000, making his
sacking even more of a puzzle. He went on to found ‘Fate’ magazine with
Curtis Fuller and published early accounts of UFO sightings including those of
Kenneth Arnold. Ted Morello, the United Press stringer at Tacoma was also dead
within months (15).
Then, on 2nd August 1947 Arnold decided to fly home,
however less than 200 feet above the ground, his engine stopped. It was due to Arnold’s skills as an experienced pilot that
allowed him to bring the plane down safely. Later inspection revealed that his
plane had been sabotaged by someone turning off the fuel line valve (16).
Edward J. Ruppelt, who later headed up Project Bluebook in
1951, considered the flying saucer aspect of this story a hoax (17) as did
Edward Condon’s Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects which was
similarly dismissive referring to it as a hoax three times (18). However the Director of the FBI was not so readily dismissive.
In a teletype of 14th August 1947 J. Edgar Hoover (left) stated "It
would also appear that Dahl and Crisman did not admit the hoax to army
FBI Special Agent George Wilcox advised Hoover: "Please be advised
that Dahl did not admit to Brown [Army Corps Officer] that his story was a hoax
but only stated that if questioned by authorities he was going to say it was a
hoax because he did not want any further trouble over the matter. (20)" Fred
Crisman, himself, not only didn’t admit to it being a hoax, but in the January
1950 issue of ‘Fate’ magazine he called such accusations of a hoax as
being a "bare faced lie." (21)
Palmer didn’t believe it to be a hoax either. He published the case in FATE,
vol. 1. No. 1 in 1948, then in ‘The Coming of the Saucers’ in 1952 and
again in ‘The Real UFO Invasion’ in 1967. Arnold concluded in 1980 that
the incident was not a hoax either and at the First International UFO Congress
in Chicago, Arnold discussed the Maury Island incident at length (22). Following the event, the Army Air Corps Intelligence Officer at
Hamilton Field, Lt. Colonel Donald Springer, made the following recommendation
in respect of Crisman in a report dated 18th August 1947, "That in
view of the reported statements made by Mr. Crisman that consideration be given
to revoke his Air Reserve commission and flying status as an undesirable and
unreliable officer." (23) This recommendation was not followed as history records that
Crisman served thirty months flying during the Korean War (1950-53) (24). So what was going on at Maury Island?
The object in the sky was certainly a UFO at the time, but
there is no evidence to conclude it was an extraterrestrial one. The slag
fragments dropped by the ‘UFO’ were identified by experts as smelter refuse.
Arnold also confirmed the light metal material was only aircraft alloy, however
one detail puzzled him. "There was only one unusual thing about this white metal
that made us stop and wonder. On one piece that Crisman handed us we could
plainly see that two parts of it had been riveted. I had never seen that type of
rivet used in aircraft manufacture." The rivet in question was square. All
aircraft rivets were round. Yet at the time,
scientists from Germany were entering the US as part of a relocation programme
(of which more later) bringing with them alternative advanced aircraft designs
and technology. As later chapters will detail, the US Navy was at the forefront
of developing these craft with the German scientists, craft that appeared to
resemble the popular conception of UFOs.
And the Navy certainly had a presence in the area, with a Naval
Air Station on Whidbey Island, another station at Everett, a submarine base at
Bangor and a Naval shipyard at Puget Sound. Originally established in 1891 as a Naval Station, this base (right) at Puget Sound built new ships during WWI and following
WWII the shipyard was engaged in an extensive programme of modernising carriers.
The shipyard itself is located on the west side of Puget Sound, thirty miles
from Tacoma and within miles of the McChord Air Force Base.
By 1965, the shipyard had been confirmed as having a nuclear
capability. It is likely, however, that it had this capability much earlier, for
history also records that in Washington State there is one of the oldest nuclear
processing facilities in the world. In fact, just one month after Enrico and his
team conducted the first controlled nuclear chain reaction, the leaders of the
top secret ‘Manhattan Project’ chose to build the world’s first,
full scale plutonium production plants near the farming village of Hanford in
later, Hanford produced the plutonium used for the world’s first nuclear
At this Hanford Plant (the 221-B building pictured right was the second
radiochemical processing facility constructed during WWII pictured in 1995),
plutonium was manufactured for the Nagasaki ‘Fat man’ bomb and for
many years during the Cold War weapons-grade material was produced there for
America’s nuclear arsenal.
It is not improbable that the military had been dumping illegal
radioactive waste from Hanford facility on Maury Island. (This would also
account for Dahl’s film being foggy; as radioactivity has this effect on
photographic materials) and the burn’s on Dahl’s son’s arm. It is also now known that Fred Crisman himself was no lowly
harbour master nor salvage collector. As Anthony Kimery, publisher and former
organised crime investigator in Washington DC commented, Crisman "knew a lot
more about the aircraft [witnesses] saw than he admitted"