Sources: The Gulf Breeze Sightings, Ed and Frances Walters; http://paul.rutgers.edu/~mcgrew/ufo/don.allen/gulf-breeze2; http://www.freewebs.com/donware/; http://www.ufocasebook.com/gulfbreeze.html; http://ricksblog.biz/gulf-breeze-ufo-hoax/; http://ufos.about.com/od/visualproofphotosvideo/p/gulfbreeze.htm; http://uforn.bravehost.com/copyright.html; http://j_kidd.tripod.com/b/203.html; http://www.history.com/videos/gulf-breeze-florida#gulf-breeze-florida; http://www.ufoera.com/articles/report-on-the-reopening-of-the-walters-ufo-case_1190311230.html
Also, snippets of videos which I can no longer find, and several emails between myself and Don Ware, the MUFON State Director for Florida at the time. He and several other Field Investigators researched the Gulf Breeze case as soon as Ed Walters decided to take his story to the public.
Just when MUFON thought it had found the gold standard of UFO events in the Gulf Breeze, FL sightings of ’87 to ’88, the case began to unravel in a horrendous way. The site that best conveys an overview of the 1990 developments is http://www.ufocasebook.com/gulfbreeze.html.
The press had a tendency to camp out at the Walters’ home in Gulf Breeze, so they decided to move. It was an ominous sign that three times Ed thwarted people going through his garbage. His house laid empty for almost a year before it sold. At some point a reporter (from the Pensacola Journal?) came to the door with a TV camera in tow. The reporter was allegedly looking for the Walters, but since they had moved on, the new resident, a middle-aged man, was asked if any photos or mementos of the Gulf Breeze sightings had been found in the house. The answer was no. Were there any models of the UFO left behind. Why yes. It just so happened that 3 months previous, the new owner was trying to turn off the water to fix a refrigerator, so he was moving insulation in the attic and found a model of the Gulf Breeze UFO. It was made of pie plates and pieces of Ed’s architectural drawings. The reporter asked if he could have the model. The owner reckoned it would be OK. The story was headlines in the Pensacola Journal.
It was an explosive charge. When I saw this charge on the youtube segments, I thought, “No way! What kind of dummy would leave that behind?” In fact, Ed made the same claim. “Only a fool would leave that kind of evidence behind.” Furthermore, it turned out that the model was made from drawings of a failed house deal from two years after the Gulf Breeze sightings. Considering that it was a newspaper competing with the Sentinel that broke the story, that Ed’s home was long vacant, and that the date of the model material suggested planted evidence, the Walters rode out the first storm with relative ease.
Rick Outzer, a columnist for the PJ, was always dead certain that the Walters were hoaxers. Of course, it’s easy to say that Ed is a genius and knew how to double expose his little old camera, especially if one ignores all the other photos and videos, the claims of others that saw ‘Bubba,’ the investigations and interviews done by the MUFON investigators, and the claim of Duane Cook, editor of the Sentinel, that he was filming Ed when Ed took one of the photos. Cook actually stood by as the photo came out of the camera.
For some reason, Ed Walters was the lightning rod for the debunkers. Destroy Ed’s credibility and Bubba will just disappear like a bad dream, like it never happened, like there were no other witnesses or sightings.
But Cook was not the only one who claimed to be beside Ed as he took a photo. I recently tracked down Don Ware, the MUFON State Director for FL at the time. In an email he wrote: “I saw the lighted objects near Gulf Breeze seven times myself, often while standing beside Ed as he photographed them, once with a diffraction grating on his camera. That time it changed from the red phase to the white phase while slowly moving away, appearing the same size to my eye in both phases. Yet the Polaroid image in the white phase was 15 times the diameter of the red phase image. This shows that the object was ionizing a volume of air around it that changed between the red and white phases.”
In June of 1990, a week after the PJ story, a second challenge arose. A teenager named Tommy Smith claimed that he watched Ed hoax the photos, using the model, by double exposing them. One of the documentaries shows Tommy recreating the procedure. It looked a lot like what Bruce Maccabee described in the appendix of the book, which had been published that March. What gave the charge additional credibility is that his parents backed up the claim.
I asked Don Ware if he thought Tommy was part of a plot, if a lot of money had perhaps changed hands. After all, there is the issue of other photos from people who had no connection to Ed Walters. And why would a clever hoaxer show his work to some random teenager and use the boy to send the phony photos to the newspaper? That is about as logical as Ed leaving his one and only model in the attic. Don wrote that he thought Tommy had taken his own photos of the UFO but didn’t want to admit it to his dad. He and his dad had issues. The dad never changed his story in supporting Tommy.
I don’t know if Don’s suggestion comes from an interview with Tommy or if he is just speculating. Tommy’s story sounded real enough to shake up the whole community. BUT, to believe Tommy is to ignore a mountain of other evidence supporting the reality of the sightings.
Tommy’s claim caused MUFON to send out a Florida couple to review the photos. Much had been made of the fact that an independent lab would neither affirm the photos as genuine or fake. What slips through the cracks about that is the fact that the lab stated before examining the photos that they would be able to spot a double exposed photo, but lacking evidence of a hoax, they would not be able to affirm that the photos were real.
Rex and Carol Salisberry reproduced a detailed report, found at http://www.ufoera.com/articles/report-on-the-reopening-of-the-walters-ufo-case_1190311230.html, which called into question photo number 19, the ufo on the road. From there they extrapolated that all of the photos were hoaxed. The report is full of mathematical charts and graphs. Almost no one reading it would understand it.
That wasn’t the end of it. I found a website, included above, that claimed that Ed invented the first two people to send photos anonymously to the Sentinel were inventions of Ed and that Ed actually took the photos. He tried to prove it by examining copyright laws. I asked Don if he knew who Believer Bill was. He answered, “I think 'Believer Bill' was actually R. G. [I am withholding the full name]. R--- demonstrated mysterious powers, and he was associated telepathically with the UFO occupants. He was also a participant in our monthly MUFON/Truthseeker meetings.”
This post is way too long, so I will close here with a quote from another MUFON investigator:
“It should be noted that statistically speaking, there are now on record over 50 sightings of UFO activity in the Gulf Breeze area that have no connection to the noted photographer Ed. There are now on record five photographers of UFO’s only one of which has not been in direct contact with MUFON investigators. There is now reported to be a second video tape of a moving and hovering UFO; the photographer is in no way related to Ed. And, there are over 100 witnesses of sightings who have asked to file reports, with some accounts involving five and six witnesses.” (See bravehost above, Bob Oeschler)
Addendum: Here are Don Ware's comments regarding the above information: Dear Janet, Thanks for your informative Part 2 on The Golf Breeze Sightings. I have two comments;
I just recieved Ed Walters other book in the mail UFO Abductions in Gulf Breeze. At some point in the near future I will blog about that as well.