In the magical land of Oz, at Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and
in Burlington, Wisconsin,
a self-appointed internet impresario (Mary Sutherland) has been actively involved with a
campaign of distortion, disinformation and outrageous untruths about the integrity and
character of a police Detective Sergeant Francis X.( Mitch) Dottle. Sgt. Dottle served
the community of Carbondale as the acting police chief during the 1974 investigation and
recovery of a railroad lantern which was tossed into a pond by three local teens as a prank.
One of the boys confessed to perpetrating the hoax in 1999, on the 25th anniversary of the
incident, admitting that he made up the part of the story about seeing a fiery flying object
fall to earth and splash into the pond at Russell Park.
The incident was quickly picked up by the world wide press and became a UFO incident that seized the imagination
of many local people and UFO enthusiasts who flocked to the alleged crash site with the hopes of catching a
glimpse of the ill-fated saucer said to have sunk into the murky waters of a silt pond. Of course, the story
was made even more intriguing/exciting because a young rookie cop at the scene actually fired his service revolver
at the sunken lanterns light beam on the water’s surface.
The lantern was a six-volt battery powered device. Not a kerosene lamp as Mrs. Sutherland once claimed and posted
at her BUFO site.
Despite the case being officially closed (By Dr. J. Allen Hynek), and deemed a probable hoax back in late
1974 - along with the later confession of one of the individuals who perpetrated the hoax - there has been
an “aggressive” attempt by Mary Sutherland of Burlington UFO and Paranormal Radio and two of her field
investigators - Ronald Hannivig and Frank Scassellatti - to resuscitate the long dead matter and “turn”
the hoax into a genuine UFO incident which Mary Sutherland might promote as Pennsylvania’s Roswell.
(i.e., a potentially lucrative business venture)
Doing so would vault Mary Sutherland into a kind of "ufological fame" as the chief proponent and authority
on the so-called “Carbondale UFO Crash” while establishing an East Coast saucer enthusiast and tourist Mecca,
like those at Roswell and Aztec, New Mexico. Needless to say, there would be annual UFO conferences, a UFO
museum and educational center, tours, lectures, workshops, books, DVD’s and souvenirs of various description.
That is, if Mary can accomplish this task before promoters of the Kecksburg, PA, "UFO crash" of 1965 beat her
to the punch and snatch the lion’s share of the potential Pennsylvania UFO crash convention and tourist industry
business from her grasp.
But Mary’s “agenda-driven” quest is stymied by the fact that she posted so much misinformation about the matter
without first checking to see whether the key original investigators of the 1974 incident were still alive and
able to discredit her so-called "research" and "investigation." Obviously, if Mary failed to contact the
primary investigators of the incident she has demonstrated her complete lack of objectivity, a shoddy research
methodology and a predisposition towards what she wants to find and what she does not want to hear, or want
other people to know about the incident.
During the last three years I have written numerous entries in the "Carbondale UFO Crash Chronicles" in which
I discuss and refute Mary’s numerous, baseless claims and charges that there was an official cover-up of the
UFO crash at Carbondale.
However, Mary has now brought forth a new witness - the volunteer scuba diver who recovered the railroad lantern
from the pond’s floor and thereby brought the 44 hour incident to a less than dramatic close on the afternoon of
November 11th, 1974. He is Mark Stamey, a New York resident, and a professional journalist.
In 1974, when interviewed by press reporters from Philadelphia’s Inquirer and
Bulletin at the scene of the lantern
recovery, Stamey said there was nothing more in the pond than the lantern - and that he wished there were
something more to be found, because the discovery of something from outer space would have given his fledgling
scuba diving business some publicity.
According to Rick Fisher a paranormal investigator and recent Carbondale researcher, Stamey never said the things
Mary attributed to him, on her webpage. In fact, during the 1½ hour phone conversation Stamey had with Mary
Sutherland, Stamey never knew he was being taped!
Yet, Mary Sutherland continues to insist that an ill-fated, two-seater, sport model flying saucer crashed into
the pond and sank to its murky bottom. This is the only “truth” that Mary wants and will accept. All other
explanations, no matter how well-documented and reliable, are worthless and part of the cover-up. To Mary, I
am a conspirator and a liar. I am in the employ of dark forces who wish to conceal the truth from the American
public and the entire world.
Thus proclaims Mary Sutherland with absolutely no proof, no documentation, no evidence and no reliable field
How does Mary know she is correct with her wild assumptions and accusations? She consulted psychics, and
they “confirmed” her beliefs. That’s precisely what psychics do, or no one would pay them for their so-called
However, Mary may have been forced into this rather questionable investigative venue because her two field
investigators at Carbondale are woefully inept. Mary apparently grew weary of waiting on events to bolster
her beliefs in the Carbondale incident, so she went to the psychic detectives instead.
Like so many other self-proclaimed paranormalists and UFO experts, Mary seeks only the truth she wants and
desires - not the facts, the documentation, the testimony, the evidence, the investigators' findings and
common sense. These things all count for naught in the BUFOnian world of fantasy.
Therefore, this shall be my final entry in the Carbondale UFO Crash Chronicles. There is nothing I can add
or detract to the series which will deter Mrs. Sutherland and her pair of so-called field investigators from
the course they have embraced and so vigorously pursued. Moreover, I have decided that I should not delve any
further into the obvious nonsensical BUFO claims regarding the alleged UFO crash, or question the mental status
of the individuals involved in the continuing saucer crash controversy.
I have defended recorded history. Those who challenge these entries will be obliged to offer more than ridiculous
speculation, silly assumption and flawed rhetoric to bolster their arguments. It is one thing to investigate a case
to find out what may have happened – It’s quite another thing to feign investigating a case to confirm your
I, like you, was not present at the battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill) during the American Revolution.
However, I do believe that the American patriots were engaged in a fixed battle with British troops - not
tea-sipping aliens from outer space. I was present at Carbondale. Mary Sutherland and her companions were
not. I was there to take note of the unbridled nonsense unfolding around the spectacle, which was something
of a spectacle in itself. I personally witnessed the carnival-like atmosphere of the crowds and the press
hype of the incident. I also noted that the matter was undeniably a hoax, nothing more, and nothing less -
the same conclusion reached by the late J. Allen Hynek, founder of CUFOS, and practically a ufological icon
since his passing.
I made these observations as an objective UFO PROPONENT who had traveled many miles through the dead of night
to the scene, fully expecting to find a UFO in the pond - I came not as a UFO skeptic or a debunker.
So, for those who wish to continue believing that a flying saucer from another world crashed into that silt
pond I offer my concerns for your psychic equilibrium, along with my sincere sympathy. You are wasting precious
time on a boyish prank and a battery powered lantern.
As a seasoned, objective UFO filed investigator and researcher, I’ve grown quite weary of well-meaning,
deluded and/or charlatanic individuals perpetuating this crash nonsense and spreading the gospel of the
alien bodies. It’s just pure bunk and they haven’t anything of substance to prove their claims. It is all
anecdotal, passed along with embellishment, much like Mike’s analogy of the tattered shoes.
I also fully-realize there is an all-too-human “Will to believe” at work here, however, belief is an act
of faith not evidence for scientific scrutiny and analysis. I invite opposing thoughts on this matter.
What I’m seeking is some common sense “Clarity” of thought, not feelings and emotional rhetoric over completely
unsubstantiated crash accounts.
Since much of this paper refers to the first-hand subjective/objective analysis of data by a long-time
UFO field investigator and researcher, the reader is advised to formulate his or her own opinions on the
cases discussed. Similar precautions should be made for the works of others in the field.
The primary purpose of this paper is to illustrate that many “Reasonable Doubts” exist in the
popular UFO crash/retrievals stories. Are they merely UFO folklore or, do they represent matters of great
Matthew J. Graeber – The Carbondale UFO Crash Chronicles, entries 2 through 10. UFO UpDates archives.
Matthew J. Graeber – Carbondale, the Reality, the Hoaxes and the Legend - Magonia Journal No.55 U.K.
Matthew J. Graeber – Egads, Carbondale Again! UFO UpDates archives