A torpedo retriever boat
Since Mercury is retrograde until Aug. 8, it’s a good time to review matters from the past, which is preferable to starting something new or signing contracts. So, with that in mind, I decided to work on another chapter of Aliens in the Backyard, our impending UFO abduction tome. But instead of writing something completely new, I turned my focus to a chapter that deals with the Bermuda Triangle and, in part, involves material related to my book, The Fog, which I co-authored with pilot Bruce Gernon.
Part of the chapter deals with AUTEC, the secret navy base on Andros Island, which was the starting point for Gernon’s mysterious time-bending flight through the B.T. We’ve written here about our adventure on the island with the History Channel crew that was filming an episode for UFO Hunters. In fact, we were with Bill Birnes, the lead UFO hunter, and the film crew when they approached the AUTEC gate. Birnes explained to the audience that repeated requests for interviews and a tour had been met with a wall of silence. The powers-that-be at AUTEC didn’t say no; they said nothing.
So, as we approached the gate, the reaction was quite startling. A helicopter lifted from the base and hovered over the gate. Was it an attempt to intimidate the crew, and possibly block out any audio with the noise from the chopper? We kept approaching and then a cop car pulled up to the gate and stopped. It didn’t go inside. It just blocked the gate. At that point, Birnes decided it was time to back off. Whether intentional or not, all the activity seemed to be clear signs that we were not welcome.
Ironically, and synchronistically, four month later while visiting our daughter in Sarasota, we shared a high-top table in a crowded bar with a couple we didn’t know. But they weren’t strangers for long. The man turned out to be the recently retired commander of AUTEC. A bit tipsy from his raspberry martinis, he talked quite openly about the secret base, but denied there were any UFOs hidden there. We should’ve asked about USOs–unidentified submerged objects. But we were a bit tipsy ourselves and even lost his e-mail address, which Trish had requested.
The same day we were turned away from the gate, Bruce and I were interviewed by the three UFO hunters, though my hour-long interview ended up on the cutting room floor. The reason was that, as a writer, I was playing a secondary role, whereas my co-author was the one who had the first-hand experience. Also, the producers had found a couple of former AUTEC employees who were willing to talk and had flown them to Andros. So their interviews took precedence.
One of the ex-AUTEC engineers, Dave Malcolm, later e-mailed me and told me about a synchronicity that happened to him while he was in his hotel room on Andros waiting to be interviewed. He turned on the television and was surprised that to see a UFO documentary airing. The moderator was describing an area in Scotland called The Falkirk Triangle, and the witness who was interviewed was named Craig Malcolm. “Needless to say I nearly jumped out of my skin,” Dave Malcolm recalled.
I remembered that Dave told an interesting story to the UFO hunters that dated back to the winter of ’72-’73, and I wanted to include it in the chapter. But I realized I needed more details. I found the episode of ‘The Underwater Area 51′ on You Tube and started watching. The video clip ended less than nine minutes into the program, right at the point where Dave had just started to describe his sighting. An annoying little trickster synchronicity. So I decided to get in contact with him again.
We’d been out of touch for a couple of years, but when I e-mailed Dave he was happy to help me out. Apparently, he rarely gets an opportunity to talk about what he saw, and when he does mention it, people usually give him a strange look that tells him it’s not worth continuing the story. (I’m always puzzled about why some people just close down when confronted with a mystery of the unknown. Maybe they don’t want to hear anything that might disrupt their view of what is real.)
At the time of his sighting, Dave was working on a torpedo retriever boat. The one pictured above is TRB-82, which Dave thinks might be the boat he was on that day. At the time of the incident, the boat was stopped and the crew was recovering a torpedo. Dave was standing on the ramp, a platform that extends from the boat and sinks into the water. His feet and lower legs were probably covered in water, he wrote.
That’s when he saw a huge object come up almost directly under the back of the boat. Visibility in that water was good, but the day was a little gray and the water a bit rough. “But I clearly saw what at first appeared to me to be a pipeline and remember thinking: What’s a pipeline doing in the middle of the water? I quickly realized it was not a pipeline as it rose closer to the surface.”
The object never broke the surface and he couldn’t tell how far down it extended or how wide it was. It was much thicker than a torpedo and much more narrow than a submarine, two objects he was quite familiar with seeing in the water. It seemed to hover for a few moments and then slowly retreated, sinking until it was out of sight.
No one else was on the ramp so he was the only one who saw the object. He intentionally avoided mentioning it. “This was during a time when a top secret clearance was taken very seriously and it was hammered into us that we would never discuss what we did or saw. I still have the security manual that describes the term in federal prison for violating the need to know.”
Dave had never seen anything like it and had no idea what it was. He thought at the time that it might be a secret experimental craft, but over the years his doubts have grown. Secret crafts, he noted, usually become public knowledge after a time and after all these years he has not seen or heard about anything similar to what he witnessed that day.
Considering its cylindrical shape, extending perpendicular across the stern of the boat, I can imagine that Dave was looking at the outer edge of a UFO or rather USO, a saucer-shaped vessel that was rising vertically. In other words, most of the craft was below the surface, out of sight. He only saw the rim. It detected the boat and retreated into the depths.
There’s one more curious little event this story. When I told Dave about how his interview was cut off at the end of the video clip, he sent me a longer version. Then, one day later, he e-mailed me with this: “Rob, the autec show is on the history channel right now.”
Interesting synchro, especially considering the episode was three years old and UFO Hunters has been off the air for two years.
And here’s one more synchro. A couple days after I wrote the above, I was working on the Bermuda Triangle chapter, describing Bruce Gernon’s mysterious flight from Andros, when I got a call from him. I haven’t seen or talked to Bruce for several weeks. He told me that a French film crew was at his house interviewing him for a new Bermuda Triangle documentary and they thought I was going to be there for an interview. It was news to me, and I told him that I would pass and let him tell the story.
Finally, just last night when I stopped work for the day on the chapter, it was 11:11 PM and then I looked at the word count: 4,444 words.