Unlike poor Mrs. O'Leary's Chicago cow, there is apparently no one to blame for the great 1973 fire at the National Archives and Records Center's Missouri cite housing its miltiary records. The National Personnel Records Center in the St. Louis suburbs housed veterans records for millions of men and women who had served their country in numerous branches and government work.

Only 20% of the Army records spanning 1912 to 1960 remained and only about 30% of the Air Force records survived from 1947 to 1964. Millions of records were destroyed ruining the chances of family historians, veterans, and others to access crucial validating records of service.

The lack of a clear cause (it was suggested the files had spontaneously combusted) left the field open for conspiracies aplenty.

For example:

The less than stellar performance of the government in exposing soldiers and airman to radioactive fallout after WW2 was just breaking in the news. With the threat of thousands - if not millions - of veterans falling ill with potentially related diseases...and suing the government...a fire was carefully engineered to erase the evidence.

The full military records of alleged presidential assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald, were also destroyed in the fire. This has fueled the fire for some conspiracy buffs. If his record supported some versions of the story they would implicate government and/or other collusion in the event. This could not happen so a fire was set.

What is known is that millions of Americans had to struggle to piece meal together records to verify service. Countless others searching for some small tibit of knowledge about a hero of a conflict in order to learn something of where they come from and what their ancestors did, were unsuccessful.
The individuals who found, retrieved, cleanup, and researched an alien craft (ala Roswell, NM) were on the verge of being discovered and so a fire destroyed the public records of this service while maintaining the private and classified records housed elsewhere.

Destroying, and endangering the lives of many people nearby, one file would unlikely have been the target.

The Great File of 1973 was a blunt force blow to the history of the men and women who sacrificed, suffered, and sometimes died for their country.



A man who helped make Oklahoma City was it became was Charles Colcord. His lovely residence, 421 NW 13th,was built after he 'made it' in Sooner Land was truly impressive. Today, if this mansion were still standing it would be a major tourist destination, Hollywood would rent it for blockbuster movies, and people would point with pride at the rich heritage of their community.
Sources conflict as to the date of the building. A 1939 article of the Oklahoman says the house was built in 1903 (and has a photograph of the house being built). Wikipedia and the OK digital library indicate 1901. The Jan. 8, 1965 article in the Oklahoman, which shows the mansion after being assaulted by a 800 lb. wrecking ball, says the 11 bedroom house was built in 1901. The article was laconically titled, "Victim of the Times."
When Colcord built his historic downtown office building he leveled some early historic "shacks." The historic and lovely house in 1965 was torn down for the most noble of purposes, and probably one Colcord would have gladly accepted, to build a modern office building.


The lovely and majestic columns on the old Phillips campus in Enid, Oklahoma will be moved according to a new plan to open a Smithsonian quality museum addition in Enid adjacent to the Chisholm Trail Conference Center.
The current location, beside a peaceful pond with arching trees is lovely and in there place would be a destination for tourists, students, and community. The current plans show them moved to the new downtown addition and named for donors. In the fading golden sun of a peaceful November afternoon the thought of these gracious and classic structures being surrounded by traffic seems too harsh and cruel. They are mythic art so at home in their natural setting. Times change, places are forgotten or torn down. Another page of history is turned and what will the result of this urban renewal ultimately reveal? Only the future can tell if this will be a good thing or if , like so many other victims of urban renewals have learned, the realization will be that sometimes, stories and things, should remain.



Many people assume that the Roswell event was the beginning of reported sightings of unexplained things in the skies. An image said to be the first photograph of a unexplained object (what we call a UFO) is said to have been taken in 1870 New Hampshire (see other cases at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO ).
Up to WWII sightings were made of what many claimed were metallic like objects shooting through the skies. In WWII both axis and allied powers reported a mysterious light and objects that they termed "Foo Fighters". In 1946 "ghost rockets" were reported in the skies of northern Europe. In 1947 - a month before Roswell sightings were made in the Northwest by a private pilot and over Idaho by a commercial airliner. Some even claim that such objects may be in ancient images and medieval drawings.
If the "UFO Craze", as some have called it, was soled birthed in the heady post WWII period, it would be a more clear-cut case and much easier to dismiss as mass hysteria related to the fear of the atom bomb being lobbed into our back yards by the "Commies". Although rationale, scientific, and contradictory explanations may emerge one basic fact remains: The fact that unknown objects had been reported 60 sixty years before Roswell....is a little harder to dismiss. Remember...just because you haven't seen something, doesn't mean it is not there....


Several years ago doing research for a social history project I explored the subject of UFO's...
Anyone who has delved deeply into the whole Roswell saga, has come across several names: Jesse Marcel Sr., Philip Klass, Karl Pflock, and ubiquitous kudos to one "Robert G. Todd". Robert Todd was, according to the late Phil Klass, the Grand Master of UFO Debunks, a “believer in his younger days", a "sharp-eyed researcher" who pioneered using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to uncover information and who stated the USAF in its report data, possessed an "encyclopedic understanding of military records" (something hard enough for people with a strong military background - or, so military types tell me). Phil also said “Todd was the first – ahead of the Air Force and Karl Pflock – to discover the connection between Roswell and Project Mogul …Todd has since become so disgusted with UFOlogy, he has withdrawn from the field and discarded his files.” (--Gary Posner, email May 30, 2001)

Todd, along with Phill Klass and others, came to represent all the aspects of Roswell that caused people to say, “something doesn’t add up”. They symbolize the intuitive awareness felt by many that some things in the explanations simply did not add up.
The entire later half of the 20th century was comprised of a series of "preemptive hoaxes" apparently designed to undermine any possible valid information surfacing regarding UFOs or Roswell's famous crash. Consider for a moment, 1) Roswell begins to re-surface after several decades of being a faint rumor or totally forgotten and behold the MJ-12 documents surface and there is the haggling over its authenticity, 2) Roswell gains credibility through congressional investigations spearheaded by New Mexico politicians and the MOGUL explanation surfaces (aw, gee shucks, ma'am, I don't know how I forgot that top-secret project....), 3) yet Roswell continues to be considered seriously by too many people and the notorious "Alien Autopsy" film surfaces... even if this time line is off - search and you shall find the same "counter-moves" being made repeatedly to block potential credibility or serious investigation. Try it....you will find from the 1950's and the "Contactees", through the collapsing from within of major UFO groups (spurred by insiders for that very purpose some claim), to the whole smorgasbord of Roswell. A rise and fall of tide-like consistency, a dance of claim and counter claims serving to keep the whole subject the "fluff" of the evening news and the twinkle in every reporters eye ....


Philip J. Klass was the thorn in the side of just about everybody according to most reports. It is little wonder than that this poster child of debunkers, masquerading as skeptics, should have an FBI file.
In 65 pages of reports, memos, and photocopied articles are revealed a fascinating dark side to this man who was often not above personal, and very ugly, attacks on UFO researchers. The file, located at http://www.cufon.org/cufon/Klass_FBI.pdf, notes that by the early 1960's there was an official FBI file on Klass for a 1953 article that revealed classified information. The Air Force was quoted as saying that one article dealt with something so classified that it could not be declassified for purposes of a lawsuit!
In 1975, the FBI noted he had been twice investigated for publications of classified information and for his attacks on the character of Dr. J. Allen Hyneck. His books are notable for their ability to track down and eradicate a non-issue as if it were the main event. To ignore facts that did not conform to his views.
His lasting legacy is a warning to future researchers and a footnote on the willingness for those who claim to be skeptics but who are, at heart, agenda driven debunkers. A memo of that year (from the FBI's Mr. Kein to Mr. Moore) states: "In view of Klass' intemperate criticism and often irrational statements...we should be most careful in any further contacts." In another place, an agent in 1976 questioned if Klass was in "possession of all his faculties" regarding a 28 page rant that included terms such as "psychic time bomb", "Jewish subconscious transformation", and a device called a "cattle-prod prod" to be used against enemy aircraft.
This is the Klass who was a founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation o Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). He was called by Michael Sokolove 'the voice of cool reason."
In 1983, he published his famous "UFO Curse" ..."you will never know any more about UFOs than you know today." Yes, now there sounds the bell-like voice of a mind that has closed its corridors to anything but what it firmly believes to be truth.
Klass, High Priest of Debunkers and Close-Minded Scientists, died in 2005.

[reprint 2008, Spellbound Stories]

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