Rhodes 1952

– by Don Ecsedy, May 2012

1952 -- Project Blue Book

Of interest in this section is Fugate's comment reported in May 1949 during the reinvestigation by Project Grudge.

FUGATE further related that about four months ago, approximately February, a friend had shown him an article in the Question and Answer section of a magazine. FUGATE advised that the magazine is titled "Amazing Stories". The article was based on a letter by [] of Phoenix, Arizona. The article stated that Mr. [] had been interviewed by two Federal agents. That he [] had turned over two pictures of "flying discs" to these agents, and that the pictures had never been returned. Mr. [] desired information as to how he could sue the Federal government for these pictures. Mr. FUGATE feels that this individual is the SUBJECT of this investigation, [].

Fugate concluded Rhodes was a publicity seeker. Grudge would leave it at that as it suited the resolution of the case they intended. But they should have followed up on it.

52/06/04

The FBI is the first to respond to new developments in the case. Somehow Drew Pearson, reknowned syndicated political columnist and radio and tv celebrity, had gotten on to the Rhodes photographs story. Pearson was intending a tv program which would present flying saucer photographs and he wanted Rhodes'. Pearson or his staffers said they had the story from Rhodes. But, Rhodes had had extensive contact with Project Sign, and had gotten the information from the FBI in 1950 his negatives were in the Air Force's possession. There is a possibility (and considering Pearson's reputation, a strong possibility), neither Pearson nor his staff had contacted Rhodes.

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52/06/05

Dated the next day, the Air Force writes that "Rhoads" had requested the return of his original negatives. It is interesting to see the misspelling pop up again, the one that Aldrich initiated back in the very first report on the Incident. Once again, we have evidence the Rhodes file had little in it besides Aldrich's 1947 report. If Rhodes did indeed contact the Air Force, I doubt he would misspell his own name.

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52/06/10-11

At this time, Project Blue Book's Lt. Ruppelt, receives a memo

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and replies

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Ruppelt:

ATTIC has no negatives of the unidentified object that were taken by Mr. William Rhoads in July 47. In addition, there is no information available as to whether Mr. Rhoads ever sent his negatives to the Air Force or whether he just sent prints. We do have some rather poor quality prints of the object. As you know, we have concluded that these photos were probably not authentic. It seems as if Mr. Rhoads is attempting to get on the "picture selling band wagon" and if he can prove he sent the negatives to ATIC or to the Air Force and they were never returned, it may lead to a touchy situation. Will you answer Mr. Rhoads or do you request that we answer? Copy negatives of the prints can be made if you desire, however, the originals are not here.

This gives us an idea of what was in the Rhodes case file at this time. Basically, nothing.

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At the same time, the FBI has more information:

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On page two above, we learn True Magazine on April 17, 1950 possibly contacted Rhodes, and then contacted the FBI inquiring about the Rhodes photographs. Due to the redactions it is not quite clear who was contacting who.

On December 26, 1949, True Magazine had published an article by Donald Keyhoe titled Flying Saucers Are Real instantiating the flying saucer public debate in the United States during the period when the Air Force had no official project assigned to monitor or investigate the phenomenon.

Amazingly, the Air Force never once refers to the Arizona Republic story anywhere in the files, which was picked up by the wire services, Nor do they seem to know that the photographs had already been published and the writers and editors who were interested in the saucers were aware of the photos. There may not have been a time when there weren't inquiries. Project Grudge wants to paint Rhodes was a "publicity seeker", wanting to get on "the photo selling band wagon" -- as if the July 9, 1947 news story never happened. The FBI's Brower mentions the newspaper and radio and wire service coverage of the story. Even the eternally present Aldrich memo has the photos coming from the newspaper. The Project files would also not mention True Magazine or Drew Pearson's inquiries, only an inquiry from "Rhoads".

Drew Pearson concentrated the FBI's attention and thanks to the commendable work of the FBI's librarians and file clerks we can read all about it.

Did Rhodes inquire at the Air Force? That's the story Ruppelt and Fournet had. At the same time, the FBI has Drew Pearson inquiring with a story that sounds like the 1948 Rhodes letter. The FBI had referred Pearson to the Air Force, and would itself contact the Air Force about it.

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52/06/18

But the Air Force is still dealing with the inquiry of "Rhoads". Here the advice to ask "Rhoads" for the identifying information that should have been in the Air Forces' file of the case.

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Obviously, Porter is aware of the Pearson issue as his references to "the press" indicate.

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Fournet gathers up what prints they have and the process rolls on:

52/06/16 - 52/08/14

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In "Hamilton" we finally see Rhodes name spelled correctly. It looks like they've not got the negatives, but do have some prints and they are preparing to send them to Rhodes.

In any event, there is no letter from Rhodes requesting his negatives in the PBB files.

Next: 1954 -- Project Blue Book

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