Ron Schaffner, of the former Ohio UFO Investigators
TOMATO MAN REVISITED: The
Alleged Alien Body Photographs
by Ron Schaffner
Generally, the history of
UFO reportage is not a good one. All too often,
researchers are far too eager to latch onto a good
story, to attach themselves to a "major" case, that
important details are not assessed and evidentiary
credibility is not addressed. Perhaps the best example
of this is Frank Scully's Behind the Flying Saucers.
Intrigued by the story of a crashed saucer, Scully
neglected to check his sources, a mistake that came back
to haunt him. J.P. Cahn of the San Francisco Chronicle
did check into Scully's sources and found them to be con
men. Scully was the victim of a hoax.
Consequently, crashed UFO stories are recycled
down to succeeding generations of Ufologists. Many of
these alleged tales are nothing more than "spin-offs" of
previous accounts. When one considers the amount of
disinformation spread over the years, it becomes
difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Stories, such as Roswell and Aztec have graced
the world with accounts of aliens and conspiracies
within the United States government. It is not this
writer's intent to prove nor disprove these particular
stories. Rather, it is to show the reader that with a
little imagination a hoax can be perpetrated using
information from well publicized cases and.
following report is well known within the circle of
senior Ufologists. Therefore, it is recommended to the
freshman Ufologist who may desire to seek the truth in a
sometimes not-so-truthful subject.
The following information was relayed to the
former Ohio UFO Investigators League (OUFOIL) by Willard
McIntyre who was involved with a group calling itself
the Mutual Anomaly Research Center and Evaluation
Network (MARCEN). At that time, this author was the
Investigations Director for OUFOIL. This information
exchange occurred during the years of 1979 and 1981.
Mr. McIntyre claimed to have corresponded with a
gentleman in Tennessee in December, 1978. This unnamed
source sent him an 8X10 glossy print of the charred
remains of a head and torso, which he claimed were
extraterrestrial. McIntyre wrote back saying that he
thought the photo represented a light aircraft crash and
its burned pilot.
In early January, 1979, this
alleged source wrote back and explained in detail a
story of a clandestine operation executed on July 7,
1948, to document the crash of a UFO and its dead
occupant . By November of 1979, the original negative
was mailed to McIntyre. Another negative was shipped the
following May showing a burned body lying in vegetation
on a hillside.
The source was concerned for
possible prosecution of the government, so it was agreed
that he would receive full confidentiality. Allegedly,
McIntyre checked out his credentials and everything
appeared in order.
McIntyre advised us that he
sent the original negatives to Eastman Kodak for
"The conclusion of Eastman Kodak,
which we initially felt was of dubious value because of
the methodology used, pointed to a negative processed at
least thirty years previously. Micro densitometer traces
of the negative showed us that no deliberated hoaxing
had been done, at least photographically, in the
production of the negative."
Negatives were also
mailed to William Spaulding of Ground Saucer Watch
(GSW). This organization speculate that the pictures
represented the remains of a dead monkey used in the V-2
rocket experiments of the 1940s and ‘50s. (1)
The source said that as
a young Naval photographer in 1948, he was flown to
Mexico to document the crash of 90-foot diameter "flying
saucer" and its dead pilot. The photographer claimed he
was assigned to White Sands, New Mexico. Prior to the
incident, he visited atomic test sites and photographed
the after affects of the blasts.
July 7 at approximately 1322 hours, the Distant Early
Warning [DEW] line early warning radar was tracking an
object moving at speeds in excess of 2,000 mph when it
flew over Washington state heading southeast. Upon
hearing about the bogey's flight path, two fighter
pilots out of Dias Air Base in Texas path cruised into
position over Albuquerque to identify or intercept the
As the two F-94's approached the UFO, it
made a 90 degree angle turn towards eastern Texas
without apparently decreasing in speed. At 1410 hours,
other pilots in pursuit said the object was slowing down
and was wobbling in flight. By 1429 hours, the object
disappeared from all radar screens. Using triangulation
from all the radar installations, it was determined that
the object must have went down in Mexico approximately
30 miles south of Laredo, Texas.
the Mexican authorities, Army and Air Force units were
rushed to the crash site, arriving at 1830 hours. The
commander phoned Washington and was told that a
photographic team would be airlifted to the site.
McIntyre's source claimed to be one of those
photographers. They were told that they would be going
to a top secret airplane crash.
The team was
picked up by an Army L-19 Bird Dog at 2130 hours. The
source explained that it was quite uncomfortable with
five team members and their equipment in such a small
plane. They arrived at the designated site at 0215
hours. The plane circled the area and observed a disc
shaped craft still smoldering on a heavily vegetated
There was one body found within the craft.
The photographers managed to get a series of pictures
even though there was intense heat. When the object
cooled down, the body was removed to a hill side and
another series of pictures were taken.
was said to be 4 feet 6 inches long with a head
extremely large compared to the rest of the torso. The
eyes were gone and there were no visible ears, nose or
lips with just a slit without were teeth and a tongue
would be. The arms appeared much longer than a human and
the hands had four claw-like appendages.
source went on to explain that the craft appeared as
unusual, but the debris looked as if it was "earthly" in
origin. There was an absence of any wiring, rubber,
glass, plastic, wood, or paper. The structures were
bound by normal looking bolts, but could not be
unscrewed with conventional tools. Eventually, they were
chiseled off. The metal was very hard. Diamond drills
and saws were used for disassembly. Another metal was
discovered which seemed to be a lighter grade and
cutting torches were used.
Army doctors arrived
on July 8 and preformed an examination of the body. They
could not find any reproductive organs. They compared
the gray skin to the texture of a human female breast.
The bone structure was more complicated than a human and
no muscle fiber was discovered within the torso.
We are also told that a metallurgist was brought
in to determine the alloy of the object. He believed
this alloy had a honey combed crystalline structure
unlike anything know in "earthy" technology. He thought
that it could be silicon based.
The entire hill
side and valley below were littered with foil fragment;
very much like cigarette packages, only harder. The
material could not be bent. All the fragments were
confiscated by the military.
At 1300 hours, the
following day, a C-47 arrived and the body was shipped
to an origin unknown to the source. The remaining
wreckage was loaded on US and Mexican trucks which
headed in the direction of Laredo, Texas. The source
explained that he was not told the destination.
The source returned to White Sands and began
work on the photographic evidence with a team of other
experts. Allegedly, they were constantly watched by
Marine security. The mysterious Commander returned to
Washington never to be seen again.
A few years
later, the source removed 40 negatives from the file and
made duplicates and placed the originals back.
In 1981, McIntyre
and Dennis Pilichis (The UFO Information Network ;
UFOIN) wrote a booklet entitled: "Alien Body Photos: An
Updated Report". Although OUFOIL's name was represented,
we had no contribution what so ever to its production.
Some of our members believed the photos to be authentic,
However the majority, like myself had more questions and
became skeptical of the entire story. After all, we
could only take McIntyre's story at face value. When we
questioned him about certain aspects of the story, he
stalled and would not forward us any documentation that
he claimed to have. It was at this point where we
decided to begin our own independent investigation into
We attacked this problem by using
the correct investigative methodology: Eliminating all
possible prosaic explanations first.
ourselves, "Was McIntyre correct when he stated that he
originally believed the photos were of a crashed plane
and its pilot?" We began with this premise.
first procedure was to verify that Kodak actually did
the photo analysis that Mr. McIntrye claimed. A letter
was sent to Eastman Kodak along with a copy of the
prints. We asked for documentation regarding the quality
of the print, time frames and the person's name and
title who supposedly did the analysis.
not surprised when the response came back that Kodak was
not aware of any photo work done on the pictures
enclosed. Furthermore, their representative said that
Kodak would not preform any type of testing that we
desired for authenticity. (2)
The second step in
our investigations led us to the Burns Institute (
Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, Cincinnati,
Ohio) This hospital is world known for its work with
burned patients. We interviewed the Chief of Staff and
allowed him to study the photographs. It was his expert
opinion that the photos represented an incinerated body
of a human. The swelling of the head would be caused by
extreme heat flash. (3)
It became apparent to us
that these photographs did not depict an
extraterrestrial. We decided to probe a little deeper
into the story. After all, if the pictures were a
deception, then the scenario surrounding them would also
Consider the following:
White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico informed
us that after a search for information, they had no
knowledge of any air disaster on the dates forwarded. In
addition, they said that they did not investigate such
incidents and there are no photographic teams assigned
to the base.(4)
We conducted a mailing to all
newspapers in the region to find out if they had any
records of an air disaster within a three month time
span. All that replied said they had no records of any
such event occurring.
The source said that the
object was tracked by the DEW radar system. The Distant
Early Warning (DEW) is a series of radar installations
to provide a warning of enemy attack by air. The project
began its planning stages in 1946. Construction did not
begin until 1955 and it finally became operational in
1957. If the alleged source was in the military as
described, the he would have known that this was
erroneous. Is it is possible that the person behind this
hoaxed failed to research the DEW Line radar systems?(5)
We are told that two F-94 fighter pilots were
scrambled out of Dias Air Base to intercept the object.
This is quite an achievement considering that the F-94
didn't fly until 1949 as prototypes. The Air Force
didn't fly them until 1950. (6)
there wasn't an operational Dias Air Base in 1948. That
location would have been Abilene Army Airfield and it
was deactivated in 1945. When reactivated in 1956, the
base was called Dyess AFB; not Dias. (7)
source stated that his team was picked up by a U.S. Army
L-19 "Bird Dog" and flown to the site. He described his
trip as being uncomfortable with five people and
equipment being cramped into this small plane.
Unfortunately, the story does not match up to historical
This plane was developed for the U.S. Army
as a light reconnaissance aircraft. The first contract
for these planes were in 1950. Production was completed
on October 7, 1954 and these planes are still in use.
They cannot accommodate more than two individuals and
there is no room for cargo space. (8)
regard to the absence of wire and the metals, consider
the following points:
1. Upon closer examination
of photo #1, what appears to be two conductor cable,
probably "earthly" in origin, can be seen..
Near the right shoulder we find the frames of some type
of eyeglasses. It was our opinion that this was the
remains of flight glasses used by pilots.
Close scrutiny of the structural remains look man-made.
You can see a six-sided hex nut, tubular piping, angle
iron and many welded areas. The welds conform to all
standard procedures indicative of that time.
Photograph #2 was cropped to reserve web space.
The original picture we have on file shows what appears
to be three individuals standing behind the body. The
legs of the person you are seeing is definitely military
since his fatigues are bloused above his field boots.
The others seem to be wearing raincoats. If one of these
persons is an Officer, he is wearing low quarters and a
class "A" uniform (Greens). According to the Air Force,
the class "A" uniform with the black stripe down the
side of the pants did not come into use until 1957. This
uniform is only worn during the winter months. (9)
We have no way to prove nor disprove the
allegations made about the physical make up of the
"aliens" and their craft. However, it should be noted
that the basic scenario is very similar to other crashed
saucer stories. The so-called field examinations of the
craft and body bear similarities to Roswell, Aztec, and
countless other retrieval stories. For instance, this is
not the first time that Ufology was told of
"honeycombed" material. The large head is also
consistent with the stories we all have heard up to
The flight path of the craft is
probably the largest gaff in the entire scenario. If one
takes all the information given and does some simple
calculations, the object should have crashed in Oklahoma
or Kansas. In order to reach Mexico, our ‘spaceship'
would have had to make another 90 degree turn and fly
south by southwest. Mr. McIntyre told other researchers
that he knew the flight path was off. Why wasn't this
mentioned in the previous investigations? (10)
You have been presented with
an extraordinary claim. In order to quantify such
statements, there needs to be undisputable proof that
such an event took place. This applies to both the true
believer and debunker. It is far better to be cautious
with such claims before any endorsement. Simply put,
it's a correct procedure to fully investigate a report
to its logical conclusion before writing any report.
The above case comes down to just two
possibilities. Either the claim is valid as an
extraordinary event, or it is a hoax. The simpler
explanation clearly favors this to be a hoax.
One could argue that ET uses some of the same
hardware as "Earthlings." Maybe you are thinking, "Why
go through all this trouble with a hoax?" or, perhaps,
"The source was confused on some of the finer details."
I could also interject that maybe there is a clandestine
movement within the United States to cover-up this
episode. Perhaps this is disinformation, a ruse to hide
facts regarding another covert operation. As I
previously stated, I cannot prove nor disprove these
What we will say is that the above
incident could not have happened with the information
given. Our investigations indicate this to my
satisfaction. This was a photograph of a light aircraft
crash and its dead pilot. Whether it was military or not
is still an issue open for debate.
is meant to be more of an educational tool for
researchers. In the future, you may be presented with a
similar account. As an objective investigator, you
should pursue every avenue at your disposal, much like
we did. Bear in mind, that not all the crash saucer
stories have this many errors. It may take time to weed
out all the evidence, pro or con. After all, the first
step to defining Ufology as a worthy study is to collect
all the trash and dump it from the database.
Note: Robert Easley is credited with coining the
term "Tomato Man".
stated in their report that they felt the photographs
represented a misinterpretation of a laboratory monkey
from a V-2 rocket test failure. Their hypothesis does
have merit for other UFO crashes, but we felt it was not
applicable to the instant case. OUFOIL Investigative
Report; 1982; Charles Wilhelm, Editor.
from Eastman Kodak to Ron Schaffner dated January 26,
3. Letter from Shriners Hospital for
Crippled Children to Earl Jones dated April 6, 1981
4. Letters from White Sands to Charles Wilhelm
dated February 2 and 17, 1981
5. History of the
DEW Line 1946-1964; K4112 AFSHRC/HD, Maxwell AFB.
6. Letter and information packet sent to Charles
Wilhelm from Lockheed Corporation dated April 6, 1981.
7. USAF Historical Division, Maxwell AFB, AL.
8. Department of the Army; The Center of
Military History and Cessna Aircraft Corporation.
9. USAF Historical Division, Maxwell AFB
10. Letter from Willard McIntyre to Lee Graham
dated June 3, 1981