UFO Conjecture(s)

Saturday, March 05, 2016

A 1964 UFO episode that intrigues

Perusing The Encyclopedia of UFOs, edited by Ronald D. Story [Doubleday& Company, NY, 1980], I came across an entry by Mr. Story [Pages 73-74] about a 1964 Labor Day sighting [September 4-5] in Cisco California.

It involved a 28 year-old fellow, Donald Shrum, a missile factory worker who, on a bow-and-arrow hunting trip, had an odd encounter.

To save myself the toil of typing from the book’s account, I Googled the episode and found these offerings, one from UFO Casebook

…and a counter from our friend Zoam Chonmsky at his Iron Skeptic site:

The witness account of Mr. Shrum strikes me as authentic but, perhaps, the result of a psychiatric fugue state.

Yet, the rendition of Mr. Shrum has a coherent ring to it, and was presented without hallucinatory elaboration, as you can see from the proffered accounts, even Zoam’s.

Spanish UFO researcher Jose Antonio Caravaca could make a case, and maybe has, for his “external agent” hypothesis, which we’ve covered here many times.

Zoam takes his cavalier skepticism to a speculative arena, with only his antithetical UFO patina making a case for the event to be unreal.

I, on the other hand, think we have something odd here and a UFO event based either in reality or a psychotic episode of a unique kind.

You read the accounts linked (above) and let me know what your take is.

(The image used above is from Coast-to-Coast.)



  • I rarely agree with Zoam but on this one he's dead right. I have the same reaction today that I had decades ago when I first read about this case: There is simply no reason to accept this account as a real event. Sorry, Rich. I don't hear the "coherent ring" that you hear nor do I think any external agent is involved. A psychotic episode? I suppose that anythings possible but absent any confirmation (of anything) I think that "hoax" best explains this tale.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, March 05, 2016  

  • The UFO Casebook account is a little sparse, while the Story article in his book has a better rendition of the event.

    That said, I don't see evidence of a hoax, or fictive story-telling in either.

    Knowing how bow-and-arrow hunters place themselves and Shrum's reaction strikes me as authentic.

    I can accept that Shrum, 28 at the time, like Travis Walton, may have been under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs perhaps, which brought on a fugue state.

    However, without any determination of drug use, I see the episode as possibly real, the reality of it open to scrutiny and forensic evaluation, which wasn't done at the time (1964).

    Why would Shrum create a hoax? Is there any evidence he tried to capitalize on his story? How did the episode affect his job at the missile factory? Has there ever been a follow-up?

    I'm giving Shrum and his account, as proffered by Mr. Story and others, the benefit of the doubt, for now.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, March 05, 2016  

  • That drawing made me think of Iron Man, so I Googled around...

    > a 1964 Labor Day sighting [September 4-5]

    In the September 1964 issue of Tales of Suspense, Iron Man battles arrow-slinging Hawkeye. Coincidence? (Comic books are often published ahead of their cover date.)


    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Saturday, March 05, 2016  

  • Synchronicity, Terry, Synchronicity..


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

  • This is one of those cases that doesn't appeal to me. It seemed like a concoction as if he made it up for attention like an expression of Münchhausen's or an urge to lie.

    In a field where we're constantly faced with wacky tales and bizarre reports, it's hard to explain why I can't accept this one. It seems absurd that 'robots' would be thwarted by a guy up a tree. The length of time is extraordinary and it just has that feel of someone who started a story and really went all in with it.

    Gary Wilcox and his damned 'Martians' I can believe. Monsieur Masse and his little critters I can believe too. Both of which are as absurd as Shrum's and yet his smells like BS and theirs do not. It's puzzling how we differentiate, huh?

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

  • This is perhaps a case of synchronicity, because before reading this, I ordered an e-book from Amazon entitled "Aliens in the Forest", which is the only book I'm aware of that is specifically about this classic anomalous encounter. This order was placed last night, now I see it as your latest blog!

    By Blogger Jimmy Lee, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

  • Jimmy...

    It's synchronicity indeed.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

  • "Synchronicity, Terry, Synchronicity.."

    Synchronicity... or contamination. This kind of robot was popular in comic books and cartoons for children at the time.

    A good source of inspiration for a hoaxed account.



    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

  • Jean:

    Shrum was 28....was he acting infantile by hoaxing his "event"?

    Again, did he try to capitalize on his 'story" or was he just seeking his 15 minutes of fame (or notoriety)?

    The oppositions to his tale are bias-oriented, not based in evidence or information from the episode itself.

    This has been the problem with UFO witness accounts: no one followed up, at the time (or even afterward) to get to the facts, or hoaxing predilection.

    The story doesn't have the fabrication elements one usually finds in hoaxed stories.

    (Maybe I'll have to enumerate what those elements are, as some of you disbelieve, irrationally I'm sorry to say, Shrum's account.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

  • I don't know if this was a hoax or not. I do know people create hoaxes just for their own quiet amusement without any perceived gain at all.

    Either we have a man hallucinating visual phenomenon parallel to (then) contemporary scifi-fi images, or we have a yet to be understood intelligence that likes to replicate and present itself in contemporary images in the public's mind.

    Thinking more along the line of Valle's premise that "some intelligence" likes to play with our minds by appearing as the things that seem most ominous or threatening to people of that era.

    Note few people today report "robots" as occupants of UFOs as they did then. Nor elves, witches, trolls, etc.

    By Blogger Brian Bell, at Sunday, March 06, 2016  

Post a Comment

<< Home