Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper by Ancestryprint logo
Pensacola News Journal from Pensacola, Florida • Page 8
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

Pensacola News Journal from Pensacola, Florida • Page 8

Pensacola, Florida
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Pensacola News Journal Sunday, June 10. 1990 8A Believe in UFOs? Sane people are seeing something err '-5T I 1 COMMENTARY If News Journal file photo Rick Kirkham, a reporter with "Inside Edition," interviews Ed Walters in April. Kirkham is commenting on Walter's new UFO T-shirt. UFOs earn thousands for Walters Age: 43. Residence: Gulf Breeze.

Born: Jacksonville. Education: Attended public school in Jacksonville; two years at Jacksonville University. Wife: Frances. Children: Two. Business: Edward Custom Builders.

Gulf Breeze, for eight years. History: Between 1975 and 1980, Walters lived in Costa Rica. He returned to Florida, living in Milton between 1980 and 1981. Walters moved to Gulf Breeze in 1981. Memberships: Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church, Gulf Breeze Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Breeze High School Band Boosters and PTA.

He also is chairman of the Gulf Breeze Christmas Parade, a member of the city's planning board and has sponsored several YMCA dances. Criminal record: Walters was convicted in 1967 of forgery charges from Duval County, and two auto theft charges from Alachua County, Fla. He served Vh years in state prison, but in March 1990 was granted a full pardon by Gov. Bob Martinez. Local sightings: Oct 14 to 17, 1973 More than 50 scattered UFO sightings are reported along the Gulf Coast in Destin, Walnut Hill and near Crestview.

Most are described as glowing white lights. Eglin Air Force Base workers in Fort Walton Beach report tracking a UFO north of the base about the same time as six motorists watch objects hover over Interstate 10 between Crestview and Milton. April 21, 1975 Twelve Holmes County residents and two sheriff's deputies see a large glowing, egg-shape UFO fly at sharp angles just above the trees nearBonifay. July 6, 1975 Twelve people fishing in Bayou Grande see an object cut across the sky "at Incredible speed." One witness was Ed Gillette, assistant chief of the Federal Aviation Administration radar control tower at Pensacola Naval Air Station. Jan.

31, 1976 Late in the afternoon, Eglin workers take 40 frames with high quality film of a round and brightly lighted UFO over Duke Field. Nothing shows up except background when the film is developed the next day. Feb. 4, 1976 For at least an hour before dawn a Florida Highway Patrol officer watches a star-like UFO move erratically across the Gulf of Mexico south of Navarre. April 24, 1980 A Vernon resident reports that something lands in her pasture leaving a burned circle 26 feet wide.

Nov. 11, 1987 to May 1,1988 Ed Walters reports 20 encounters with UFOs and takes numerous pictures, leading to a debate between UFO and photographic experts that culminates on a nationally televised show. During the same period, dozens of Gulf Breeze residents report similar sightings. Oct. 25, 1988 Two toll- booth operators at the Bob Sikes I Bridge between Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach and dozens of If motorists report seeing 13 bright 1 lights in the sky near Tiger Point.

April 21, 1988 Gulf Breeze resident Truman Holcomb reports UFO stays just ahead of his car and above the trees as he drives on U.S. Highway 98. March 4 to 21, 1988 Six-! teen people report UFO sightings, including a couple driving on Southside Drive after seeing tele- vision special on UFOs. Other wit- nesses include an 11 -year-old boy at Shoreline Park; a newspaper employee driving east on U.S. I Highway 98 at Gulf Islands Na- tional Seashore; a Florida Marine Patrol officer; and an Escambia County sheriff's deputy.

I Sept 12, 1989 Thirty-five people at Unity Church on Ninth Avenue in Pensacola watch a red, glowing object in the sky while Walters photographs them. Jan. 8, 1990 Gulf Breeze City Councilwoman Brenda Pollak and husband Buddy, along with Walters and Duane Cook, watch and photograph a UFO; say helicopters follow it. April 1990 Numerous sightings at several sites, including over Pensacola Bay on April 14, 17 and 18; at the north end of the Pensacola Bay Bridge April 10; over Walters house April 14; Shoreline Park, April 11; and over Tiger Point, April 28. Gulf Breeze UFO enthusiast Ed Walters, who claims to have photographed numerous UFOs since 1987, has made at least $200,000 off his book "The Gulf Breeze Sightings" and stands to make more.

William Morrow Co. publisher of the book, paid Walters a $200,000 advance, and the book is selling well nationally. Carolyn Wright, who works for Waldenbooks in Cordova Mall in Pensacola said sales of the book "have been very, very good." "This book is one of our best sellers," she said. "Not just locally, but throughout the country." Along with the advance for the book and royalties, Walters has said that he has been offered $450,000 by ABC Television for mini-series rights on his UFO encounters. ABC officials in New York could not be reached for confirmation of Walters' claim.

Responding to one of a series of from television or film deals. "I don't ask how much the newspaper makes," he said. "I think it's rude to ask and expect me to tell you." rvA 7v- fv. 'V ON A MOTIVE FOR CRITICS: "God, please tell me. There are professional debunkers.

I don't know if they're getting paid or if they're religious fanatics or and I love my country so I hate to say this if 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 from Eglin." ON WHY HE WON'T TAKE A LIE DETECTOR TEST: "I'm not going to go through that. If you pass it, fine. It doesn't seem to matter. If you don't, it's 'see therel See there! See DOES THE MODEL LOOK LIKE WHAT HE SAW? "It certainly does." DO THE NEWS JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHS LOOK LIKE WHAT HE SAW? "It looks very bright.

It doesn't look like the right kind of coloring. I would say it's a close facsimile." By Ken H. Fortenberry News Journal I believe in UFOs. There is no question in my mind that unidentified flying objects exist. Some very intelligent and reputable people locally and worldwide them.

What's more, these otherwise sane people faced scorn, ridicule and harassment when they went public with their claims. Smart people just don't go have seen out something to back them up. Whether these UFOs are experimental military aircraft, natural phenomena or interplanetary crafts operated by aliens is not for me to say. I can't begin to claim to be a UFO expert. But don't dare call me a "de-bunker," either.

I prefer to be known as a newspaperman who is simply trying to find the truth in a very complex, very controversial matter. I grew up believing in UFOs. In fact, my interest in UFOs dates back to July 13, 1952, when the lead story on the front page of The Miami Herald was about two Pan American World Airways pilots who saw eight UFOs in formation over coastal Virginia two nights earlier. The veteran pilots described the sighting in such detail and with so much conviction that the U.S. Air Force was waiting for them when they landed in Miami.

The pilots were 1, studied Walters' photos and concluded they were not fakes, could not be reached Saturday. In Walters' book, Maccabee wrote that he considered the possibility that a model could have been used in making double But he said he and other investigators never saw Walters with a model or any evidence that he had models. Klass, a former senior editor of Aviation Week Space Technol promptly hauled away for intensive interrogation, and as soon as they were released, they stated their claims again publicly One of those pilots was my father. The Nash-Fortenberry sightings, as they came to be known, were among the most analyzed and reported sightinp of the 1950s. My father was not a liar.

He saw something, and he was not embarrassed to say that he thought the UFOs were craft operated by intelligent beings from another planet. ''A I am giving you this background to let you know that our package of stories today is not intended to poke fun or to discredit anyone who has seen a UFO. Can you imagine the laughs people had at my expense when I was a kid? I know first-hand how it feels to be on the other end of ridicule. There are many fine people, particularly in the Gulf Breeze area, who are seeing something. We are not trying to say they aren't.

Our stories simply focus on one man Ed Walters and his encounters with UFOs in Gulf Breeze. We are printing both sides of the story so you can make your own judgments and draw your own conclusions. Our only mission is the truth, and we're the first to admit that it is sometimes elusive. Ken H. Fortenberry ia the managing editor of the Pensacola News Journal.

1 1 I SvyA xx 'F 4 i' ogy Magazine, bristled at the sug-j gestion that critics may have" planted the model. "He (Walters) is a desperate) man," Klass said. CREDITS Reporter for this protect included Craig Myere, Nathan Domlnrtt and J. Todd Foster. Protect editors: Ken Fortenberry, Joedy Isert.

Photographers: Jerry Kovacn, Gary McCracken. Copy editors: Janet Thomas, Tom Hall. The model UFO found in the attic of Ed Walters' former residence: DIMENSIONS: 9 inches across the top; 5 inches deep (including the dome). CONSTRUCTION: Two 9-inch foam plates attached to two 6-inch foam plates; a 6-inch square blue-color gel (plastic film) and one 6-inch round orange paper ring; a 3.5-inch long plastic tube; and a 2-inch wide paper ring between the 9-inch plates. A short piece of electrical tape was attached to the bottom of the model.

DETAIL: Carefully drawn and punched out "windows" circle two-thirds of the model. They are drawn on drafting paper. Dimensions for a house on Jamestown Drive are printed on the reverse side (the interior) in what appears to be Ed Walters' handwriting. Walters says that someone may have taken some drafting paper from his trash and used it in making the model. Walters has built at least two houses on Jamestown Drive, according to Santa Rosa County building permits.

written questions submitted to him by the News Journal, Walters refused to say how much money he has made from the book, personal appearances or how much he stands to make three-day symposium next month in Pensacola. Nearly two hours after he left the News Journal, Walters called to say his wife, Frances, remembered a neighbor once told her that a stranger in a car with out-of-state license tags entered the garage, pulled the attic stairs down, entered the attic, and then left suddenly. Walter said this occurred after he moved, but before the current residents moved in. The Walters said they moved out of the house in December 1988. The current residents moved into the house in November 1989, Walters said.

"It seems pretty logical to me that in that time someone could have gone into that house and gone up into the attic and left that model," Walters said. "The debunkers will go to any lengths to discredit me on this issue." Gulf Breeze Police Chief Jerry Brown said Saturday that his department has received no reports of any break-ins at Walters' former residence. UFO model found in author's old home 1 is if FROM 1A name not be published because he does not want to be besieged by media. In dozens of experiments by the News Journal, photographers were able to nearly duplicate some of the pictures of UFOs printed in Walters' book, "The Gulf Breeze Sightings: The Most Astounding Multiple Sightings of UFOs in U.S. History." Walters acknowledged Saturday that the News Journal photographs look very similar to the UFOs he has seen, but denied ever using any kind of photographic technique to create the pictures he published in his book.

The News Journal learned of the model when a reporter interviewed the current residents of Walters' former home. "I was going to install an ice-maker and I needed to turn off the water," the resident said. "I was fooling around in the attic and I was moving insulation aside when I saw it. I never would have found it if I hadn't been looking for the pipe." The man said he did not report the model earlier because he was not sure how significant it was. "I don't care one way or the other about this thing.

It's just curiosity with me," said the man who found the model. When shown the UFO model Saturday, Walters responded: "I've never seen that before." "That's not mine. I can tell you that right away," he said. "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," Walters said. Walters had another theory: The government might be trying to discredit him. "Isn't it interesting this happened right before the symposium?" Walters said. The Mutual UFO Network (MU-FON), an organization that investigates and conducts research on UFO phenomena, has scheduled a from Annapolis, said a five-month analysis of a 1 minute, 38 second videotape showed it could not have been a model.

"It would be extremely difficult if not impossible," Oechsler said. "Quite clearly, the videotape shows the object passes on the other side of windscreens (in Walters' back yard)." Oechsler said other photos show the alleged UFO partially behind a tree, an effect he said would be nearly impossible to recreate us Jerry Kovach, Gary McCrackenNews Journal A giant UFO seems to hover over this house in a photograph faked by News Journal photographers using a small model found recently. Photographers were trying to duplicate photos taken by Ed Believers, skeptics debate discovery of model, sightings ing double exposures. "I don't think any models at all were used in any of the Gulf Breeze photographs," Oechsler said. "If he had made a model, I don't think he would have been stupid enough to leave it behind or make it with evidence that was incriminating (the drafting paper)," Oechsler said.

"Someone obviously has made a concerted effort to debunk the Gulf Breeze sightings in time for the MUFON But Klass, Smith, Boyd and other critics have contended for years that the photographs could have been double exposures taking two exposures on the same frame of film. The critics said a hoax photographer could take an exposure of a lighted model, then without advancing the film take a second exposure in the sky. The model would appear to be in the air. Bruce Maccabee, a Silver Springs, researcher who has FROM 1A photographs were probably fakes. MUFON, which will conduct its annual symposium in Pensacola July 6 to 8, has officially supported Walters' photos.

In a position statement on the Gulf Breeze photographs, Walter H. Andrus international director of MUFON. said the case ranks as one of the in the past 40 years. 'Bob Oechsler, a MUFON official.

Clipped articles people have found on this page


Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Pensacola News Journal
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About Pensacola News Journal Archive

Pages Available:
Years Available: