Reviews of "SHOOT THEM DOWN"!
U.S. skies were as deadly as Korea
Published Monday, Feb. 18, 2008 at 10:27 a.m.
In the summer of 1952, the Pentagon’s kettle was whistling.
At a time when the U.S. was bracing for Soviet airstrikes, UFOs were
systematically exposing holes in the defense netting with publicized incursions
over Washington, D.C., nuclear plants and military bases. Maj. Gen. Robert Ramey
of the U.S. Air Force went on record saying jet fighters had been scrambled
several hundred times to pursue UFOs. Not surprisingly, the brass decided to
On July 29, the International News Service announced, “The Air Force revealed
today that jet pilots have been placed on a 24-hour nationwide alert against
‘flying saucers’ with orders to shoot them down if they refused to land.” The
order was so provocative that Robert Farnsworth, president of the U.S. Rocket
Society, wrote a letter of protest to the White House. Hostile action against
UFOs, Farnsworth wrote, “could cause unbelievable suffering and death.”
After the '52 wave had subsided, Capt. Edward Ruppelt, former director of the
USAF’s Project Blue Book, revealed that UFOs — contrary to an emerging opinion
suggesting peaceful intentions — weren’t to be trifled with.
In alluding to the loss of military pilots who gave chase, he wrote, "If the
Air Force hadn't slapped down the security lid, these writers might not have
reached this conclusion" about peaceful aliens. "There have been other and more
lurid duels of death. That's what everybody missed.''
Ruppelt didn’t elaborate, but Port Orange author Frank Feschino tries to
connect the dots in his 2007 book, “Shoot Them Down.” Using New York Times
figures, Feschino notes that the military lost 185 fighter aircraft over the
U.S. and its coastal waters from 1951-56, versus 104 fighter planes downed in
the Korean War during roughly half that same time period. On the domestic front,
those crashes claimed the lives of 199 aviators in what were labeled
It may be impossible to get to the bottom of all those “accidents.” As
William E. Burrows pointed out in 2001, deception is the cornerstone of
In “By Any Means Necessary: America’s Secret Air War in the Cold War,”
Burrows described how, from 1950-69, 18 planes with more than 160 U.S. airmen
and agents were lost during covert operations against communist nations. To
avoid embarrassment, authorities told survivors their sons, husbands, fathers
and brothers were killed during routine missions.
Maybe those events include some of Ruppelt’s “lurid” casualties as well — who
knows. But Feschino’s exhaustive research — which includes newspaper accounts of
carnage on the ground when downed jets crashed into residential neighborhoods —
indicates The Times’ accident figures are incomplete. He also establishes a
pattern between UFO sightings and routine-mission “accidents.”
Feschino’s riskiest scenario occurred Sept. 12, 1952, when sightings over the
eastern seaboard were widespread and documented in the press. Thanks to
inconsistencies and contradictions in Air Force records, Feschino projects that
a dogfight started that afternoon over the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, engaged
other jets off the Virginia coast during the early evening, and resulted in
several direct hits on UFOs, one of which went down in West Virginia in front of
eyewitnesses. A military search team was dispatched to recover debris near the
rural town of Flatwoods.
At least one thing about “Shoot Them Down” is indisputable. Based on
newspaper reports, the number of 1952 UFO incidents listed in Project Blue Book
is underrepresented. The relevance for today? The military reported no routine
training accidents during last month’s Stephenville UFO incident in Texas.
“I think they learned their lesson" from 1952, Feschino says.
Feschino: Veni, Vidi, Scripsi...
By Alfred Lehmberg
On the "Strange Days Indeed" radio program with Errol Bruce-Knapp one Saturday night I heard Stanton Friedman say that Frank Feschino's book on the Flatwoods monster would likely never win a Pulitzer. I suspect he's, right-likely, correct.
...Only... hold On. You'd be taking Mr. Friedman well out of contest if you left it, altogether, there, reader. Endeavor not to leave it there. It's likely never there anyway!
Perhaps that Pulitzer denial would not then come as a result of reasons most immediately thought of, you know? You know what I mean...
I refer to those reasons concerning conjectured (if judgmental) mainstream assessments that Feschino's book wasn't good enough. Gifted enough. Polished enough. Detailed enough. Cited enough...
...Appropriate enough. Pertinent enough...
...Important enough? Right?
I'm betting that's not Mr. Friedman's thinking! Plainly, Mr. Friedman seems to have a key understanding just how important Feschino's book actually is.
Perhaps arguably, a close look at Mr. Feschino's work and detailed research begs the question. Is it good enough? Is it gifted, polished, cited, appropriate, pertinent, and important... ...enough?
Consider, the aforementioned Mr. Friedman is willing to put his name on the book and write within it fore and aft!
It's been a long string of decades illustrating the supposition that that honorable gentleman has EVER failed only with regard to disgracing himself professionally, or in any other way! Eh?
I suggest Friedman's studied endorsement is compellingly invested, and a ready tell-tale for your attention, reader. I do this without the slightest hesitation.
Yes! The reader discovers one doesn't have to squint ones eyes very much, if at all, to begin to wonder that the preceding might indeed be so. That's right! Feschino's book might be good enough, after all... Consider further.
What's a "Pulitzer"? What did Mr. Pulitzer exhort the intrepid aspirates of his prize to do, anyway, but:
<a> Unflinchingly study the social, political, and moral realities of fellow human beings.
<b> Make accurate records of the expressions regarding the character displayed by these fellow individuals, and...
<c> Report, equally unflinchingly, on the principles of the aggregate world condition as it is, and has been, reflected by the persons employing these principles.
Unabashedly, I submit the case could be made that Mr. Feschino has abundantly addressed each of the preceding points in turn... and in spades. That's right, too.
...But he'll never win a Pulitzer. No, reader! He can't! How does that work?
To recognize Frank Feschino for a Pulitzer is to knock a supporting cornerstone from the edifice of a stagnant, authoritarian, officious, and largely illegitimate and irrelevant "status quo" we all continue to endure at peril to ourselves! Feschino can't get a Pulitzer, flatly, because the *establishment* lacks the righteous sack it needs to cut its own throat to give him one!
I won't pretend that this is enough justification for an *establishment's* reluctance to take its own life. Some throats, very likely, should be cut, I suspect, but I digress...
Be much of that as it may, Frank Feschino took more than 15 years of his life to rationally actualize on one startling set of very unsettling conclusions! How unsettling? Well... pretend it's something like... "humanity-in-pitched-battle-with-aliens-from-beyond-the-stars...with-a-twist, reader, and get close!
I won't apologize for that. Having looked into it myself, I can't be remotely ashamed that I said it.
See, reader? These aforementioned conclusions themselves were all sensibly kindled by a chance serendipitous interview Feschino had made in Flatwoods West Virginia near the start of his remarkable 15 year quest! This interview was startling ...even during a first investigative wash when he didn't know what he had!
Ufologically? Keys to a big part of the kingdom!
After that propitious interview the data would accumulate steeply over the next decade and change what began as a garden variety school project, patient reader... into a life's work and consuming occupation! That interest is abundantly understandable.
See further! Thoughouhly investigating all aspects of an accident-site which was the result of a UFO forced down in aerial combat operations with the United States...(read again please) ...can provoke that kind of "provoked obsession." No shame, reader, knowing how "B"-movie nuts that sounds!
I'm not making this up! Neither is Mr. Feschino. Relax. Everybody's cheese is squarely on its cracker. That's what should provoke your interest, actually.
Recapping: This reviewed book is the result of an investigative effort employed where Feschino was, again, unflinchingly steadfast in a study of the sociopolitical realities revealed to him! He was made aware of moral and ethical sub-realities that these *larger* realities further implied! Heady stuff, reader, forgetting Feschino's kept his, Friedman confirms, and I so report!
Indeed 'Reality' was revealed, considered, and then assiduously chronicled by Frank Feschino. In the final analysis (and we'd have never heard about it otherwise, good reader!), Feschino came, he saw, and he wrote it down. "Veni, vidi, scripsi," it could be said?
The data are revealing, reader! Feschino reports them to us in detail. Indeed, we weren't in 'Kansas' any more after 1952... and may not, I submit (remembering a wealth of old history scribed in old ink and stone... ...epic poetry indicating same?), have ever been in 'Kansas'!
Roll that and smoke it!
Call the Ayahauscaroes, alert the Shamans, and get Dr. Strassman on the line! The kingdom is at hand. The mundane "plain" is pierced! Let's move on!
...We're not in 'Kansas'... now, reader! Got it?
Moreover, get used to it, even as it is more good news, really, is my suspicion. The future looms.
Back to the discussion at hand, the aforementioned and tumultuous "interview", an interview with the ranking military person peculiarly involved with the Flatwoods affair (...a vetted hard as nails hero of WWII...) ...occurred in a moment of idle interest born of a distracted and tentative conjecture on the part of an unassuming and non-presupposing Mr. Feschino! At the start? Feschino didn't give a tinker's damn about UFOs!
Mr. Feschino's initial interest, actually, in the beginning, was with regard to a little throw-away film documentary he might put together, about the Flatwoods "myth," ...to satisfy a course-requirement for film-school, remember! What it turned into would be a taproot into the most important events of our (...and any other!) time, or... yes...
...Even more compelling evidence that we are not alone in billions of years of space, time, and surface area... a googolplex of alien surface areas and maybe even a googolplex of aliens to inhabit them!
...More, anyway, than the reader can imagine is stealthily hidden behind a grain of sand held at arms length into a night's starry sky, sir or madam! True enough! Be humbled.
The warm breath of an un-guessed infinity of potentiality is only the beginning of the beginning for all of us. More good news, if inexorable in its approach! Feschino writes the preamble of all that.
We are not alone, folks. An antithesis is ludicrous. Moreover, all the major propeller heads, a few of the high-domes, and a smattering of leading-edge, vetted, and credentialed intelligentsia think it's ludicrous, too. I digress, again. Sorry, not.
Something occurred in Flatwoods of Braxton County, West Virginia September 12,
1952 that was just the tip of an iceberg, reader! The data are beyond convincing! See if that isn't so!
Something occurred (is occurring?) as surely as flying saucers came close to landing on the White House lawn in July of that same year... and they did come close to landing on the lawn, reader. Believe that, too!
In the town of Flatwoods, Braxton county West Virginia... on a warm Indian Summer evening and interrupting playing children and relaxing adults at the end of their working day... begins the strangest story never told. Multiple objects interacted with multiple witnesses, people were made ill... ...and a dog ran home in gibbering fright... then subsequently died! None of the participants involved in this eerie affair were ever the same again.
Justifying that aforementioned Pulitzer, Mr. Feschino makes a durable record of the expressions of character displayed by dozens of individuals concerned with, and material to, this matter... people both guilty and innocent in the matter... by persons both truth telling and glibly lying regarding the matter... by folks both brave and cowardly, warm and cold... by persons encountered on a foggy 'audit trail' Feschino was driven to plod... ...a trail rife with dead ends, detours, and official double-dealings...
Feel the outrage with regard to the systemic disrespect with which YOU are treated, reader, by a jealous and corrupted culture of needless secrecy! Feel the burn!
It's quite a ride. Mr. Toad is efficaciously eclipsed Mr. Feschino! Moreover, in truth, the satisfied requirements for Mr. Feschino's Pulitzer seem to steadily resolve! I spit in the mainstream eye!
More coal to Newcastle, I know, but Mr. Feschino risked bodily harm on numerous occasions during his investigation. This threat would come, ironically, as a result of the very persons from which he'd have to draw his story. Consider.
In fourteen years Mr. Feschino was too often mistaken for the same kind of glib cheap-shot-artist-reporter or faux-journalist *investigator* who'd glutted the area since that fateful night... axe-grinding skepti-bunkers coyly generating the disdain, the derision, and the patent disrespect stalwart Flatwoods witnesses had had to endure for half a century ... an unwarranted contempt and ridicule officiously imposed that innocent people unjustly suffered... punished by their own society for having the temerity to stand up and report the highly strange account they had all had on that warm if bizarre September night!
I suspect Feschino had his shirt-front grabbed more that a few times by this angry group of betrayed citizenry. He was so threatened on more than one occasion...
Again, with regard to Pulitzer, the questions remain begged! Has not Mr. Feschino reported on the principles of the aggregate world and the condition reflected by them? Has he not spent many years tirelessly trying to ferret out important details that would have gone undiscovered and unreported but for his painstaking research, tedious dot connecting, and unflinching perseverance?
Has he not validated a couple of generations of innocent persons trying to come to grips with the inexplicable thrust upon them? Has he not vindicated these people to some extent and alleviated some of their suffering as a result of his work? Such a person may have earned more than a mere Pulitzer at the denouement. Verily!
Does 'Nobel' have a category that applies? Unabashed to the last, remember!
All things equal? Feschino earns his Pulitzer. He has more sack than many who've aspired to that prize, I suspect. Moreover, I'll bet Mr. Friedman agrees with me. Feschino wins my award, at any rate.
Along those same lines, Mr. Feschino can not be faulted for his brave attempt to fill the societally imposed "information void" (he suffers with the rest of us) by starting at the end of an incredible story rife with suspicious details and curious facts... and then working arduously -- modeling, graphing, and plotting backwards on that stark and hostile trail... trying, thoughtfully, to connect those aforementioned ephemeral dots... flesh out one more 'official' story that won't add up from the 'official' account... This is a key concept, folks!
Indeed, his admitted *conjecturing* and clearly identified personal (if provoked!) *belief* may actually add up, ironically, to the astonishing story he reports in his book!
It just may be, reader, that given the clear evidentiary audit trail of same...(again please)...that there was an aerial battle with ET out in the Atlantic that night in 1952. It may be that 8 to 10 American jets were destroyed in that struggle, their crews lost. Perhaps one Lt. Jones and crew, valiantly sacrificing themselves, even rammed one of the UFOs, bravely, with his plane in the one-sided fight Humanity likely provoked...
Also consider... given that a postwar American military was aggressively over-touchy and otherwise spring-loaded on the balls of their very twitchy feet... especially after the repeated UFO over-flights of prohibited airspace in Washington D.C. the previous July... it's not that much of a stretch that it would react decisively to multiple UFO's and their blithe transgressions over an imaginary fighting line on the coastal ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone)... ...with folding-fin aerial rockets and exploding 50 caliber machine gun fire! You BET!
Further, Feschino's speculation is not remotely unreasonable given the statement by Benjamin Chidlaw, a four star general commanding the very high-profile "Air Defense Command", to wit: that many "planes and crews" had been "lost" trying to "intercept UFOs"... these are his words, it is reported.
Mr. Feschino is not making the story up, at any rate, I'm confident. Mr. Feschino is trying to make sense of the very real story that is already there, I do believe. Extant is a sincerity in his book, as a result, that this writer can relate to and find some substance in, I not so humbly report.
Additionally, I don't believe, especially after having spoken with him for many hours (where I asked some pretty pointed questions), that Mr. Feschino has it in him to write a sociopathic fiction, fobbed off to the credulous as fact to crab their dollars... then smirk at that betrayed reader's "nose-bubble credulity" as he orders up goth-hookers and greasy-cheeseburgers...
No, Feschino's only telling you the credible story he knows, or... he is otherwise hanging some 'substance' on the astonishing facts that he has, undeniably, uncovered! Veni, vidi, scripsi, friends and neighbors.
There is more there, more to the story, than you get in the published book, reader... witnesses you don't hear from... alluded to are the unsolicited and credible reports about other involvements, other sightings in the area, and still other startling corroborations of fact and circumstance attendant to the whole astonishing affair! It's breathtaking, actually.
Also, it's all very hard to discount. Increasingly so. Try!
An extraterrestrial being (or artifact of ET intelligence) arrived Earth-side in a damaged craft... rightly or wrongly terrorized an entire town of good, sober, and horse-sensed people in September of 1952, and then the government worked furiously to cover it all up... impugning the honor of the aforementioned soldiers and citizenry (and ourselves!) in the process...
Tragic, needless, and suspicious madness, reader.
As Feschino wrote to me in the inscription of the review copy he sent:
"The questions and answers I have provided in this book are only the beginning..." Buckle-up, folks. Extinguish your smokes. Prepare for take-off!
See, I suspect that quote comes up as a bit of an understatement from Mr. Feschino. But that's only my feeling. I'm comfortable going with it. I submit you can too.
Get more info about Mr. Feschino's book: "Shoot Them Down -- The Flying Saucer Air Wars Of 1952" at, http://www.flatwoodsmonster.com/
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