1 June 2010


Kevin D. Randle, Crash: When UFOs Fall From the Sky, New Page Books, NJ, 2010

The more interesting UFO crash stories in this book will be familiar to most UFO enthusiasts. It is not the stories themselves, but Randle's treatment of them, which is of interest to the keen ufologist. Indeed, one would need to be keen to read through this book and and compare Randle's findings with those of other writers and investigators.
Most of the crash stories described are obviously misinterpretations of natural phenomena, such as bolides, or fairly obvious hoaxes. Many of them were first published by ufologists not noted for their reliability or honesty.

One of the cases that is particularly interesting, especially in view of the fact that the sceptics have remarkably little to say about it, is the Shag Harbour incident of 4 October 1967. That evening, a number of witnesses reported seeing a large object with four flashing lights on it descending towards the harbour. It seemed to land on the water and then apparently sank. It was eventually announced that underwater searches had failed to find anything. This incident was brought to the attention of the Condon Committee, and Randle mildly criticises them for failing to go there and conduct a thorough investigation. He fails to point out, though, that the Committee's resources were limited and they would obviously find it easier to investigate reports in the USA than in other countries.

The incident did not apparently arouse much interest among ufologists, and it was not until 1993 that Chris Styles decided to investigate it, and was joined in this work in 1995 by Don Ledger. Interest in this case has no doubt been maintained to some extent by the reluctance of the authorities to release documents concerning official investigations of the incident. Like so many other cases, the long delay before ufologists began serious investigations must inevitably have caused the loss or distortion of some of the evidence and testimony.

There is a lengthy section on the Kecksburg "crash" of 9 December 1965, with an interesting account of the confusion caused by some people thinking that an object had crashed into nearby woodland. Randle is confused by the conflicting testimony and concludes: "It seems reasonable to accept the military and official answer that the sighting was the result of a bolide, but, to do that, too much eyewitness testimony has to be discarded."

In his discussion of the Roswell incident of July 1947, Randle rejects the Project Mogul explanation and writes: "Something strange fell and it has yet to be identified. There is a very good chance that it was extraterrestrial."

Incidentally, it appears that Randle's former colleague, Don Schmitt, whom he repudiated publicly some years ago for making false claims about his occupation and academic qualifications, and his alleged incompetence as a UFO investigator, has now been quietly rehabilitated. Not only is he mentioned in the text, but there are even two pictures of him, including one of him giving a lecture about Roswell.

Randle's desire to believe that at least a few of the incidents he describes are really ET craft is obvious. I also suspect that he allows only a few to be possibly genuine because he realises that it would be impossible to conceal proof of their reality if there were too many. In this way he can preserve the fantasy of the great secret which will one day be disclosed. It's a bit sad though, isn't it? -- Reviewed by John Harney


  1. Yes it is a bit sad. I have for some time tried to reason with Kevin Randle, on his blog, about Roswell and despite his fairly consistent stance I do detect a slight wavering now and again, as if even he was beginning to have his doubts. "There is a very good chance it was extraterrestrial". How good a chance is this? Would he care to name a figure? He seems quite happy to accept that perhaps the greatest scientific discovery of all time has been kept a very tight official secret by a few top brass in one branch of the military of just one country, for over 6 decades. This secret has been passed down to a select few through the generations since that time. But still the great cover-up remains. Most strange.

    Kevin otherwise sounds a very sensible and reasonable guy. Which is why I get the impression that his reluctance to admit he might (just might) be wrong over Roswell (and maybe a few other crashes as per his book) is in reality due to not wanting to have to face the music from his large band of followers.

    Christopher Allan.

  2. Dear Writer,
    first I wish to commend Kevin for seeing that although Don made a mistake he was redeemed by his serious future investigations. That speaks a great deal for the continuing growth and maturing with age good people like Kevin go through. I also feel it strains the credibility and common sense to believe UFOs are crashing all over the place.
    So we should be very careful in lumping a case as well investigated and documented as Roswell with every other "spaceship" crash that comes along.

    Joe Capp
    UFO Media Matters
    Non-Commercial Blog

  3. Anonymous7.5.11

    I believe that Kevin Randle is an extremely sage and perspicacious ufo investigator, very much in the great tradtion of both Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe.