All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each
event -- in the living act, the undoubted deed -- there, some
unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its
features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike,
strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except
by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall,
shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis
enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength,
with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is
chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white
whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him.
(Moby Dick by Herman Melville)
In 1979, Paul Bennewitz operated a small electronics company,
Thunder Scientific Laboratory, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was a
physicist, and inventor, and a tinkerer. He also had an avid
interest in UFOs, and was an investigator for APRO (Aerial
Phenomenon Research Organization- based in Arizona), the UFO group
started by Jim and Coral Lorenzen. From his home on the outskirts of
Albuquerque, Bennewitz had, along with others, seen strange lights
in the night sky over the Manzano Test Range outside Albuquerque.
The lights seemed to appear almost every evening and to fly towards
Coyote Canyon, also a part of the Kirtland Air Force Base area that
included Sandia National laboratory and Phillips laboratory, both of
which do ultra-top-secret research.
In 1979 - 1980 (the record of the year is unclear), Bennewitz and a
psychologist/UFOlogist named Dr. Leo Sprinkle investigated the story
that a deeply troubled woman named Myrna Hansen told them. She
claimed that she and her young son had seen a UFO while driving on a
rural road near Cimarron, in northeastern New Mexico. With the
patient's permission, Dr. Sprinkle began hypnotizing her, and over a
three month period, Bennewitz and Sprinkle heard a very unusual
Under hypnosis, the patient said that, not only had she seen several
UFOs that day, but she had seen cattle being abducted and she and
her son had also been abducted by the aliens and taken to a secret
underground base where they saw the cattle being mutilated and
drained of their blood and saw vats containing human body parts. She
further said that some sort of implants were placed in the bodies of
her and her son and that the aliens could control their minds
through these devices.
Bennewitz believed the woman's story, and he believed that it was
connected somehow to the lights he was seeing over Manzano. He began
filming the lights, amassing over 2600 feet of film. He also came to
believe that he could receive signals from the craft that he
observed. He built antennas and receivers to receive low-frequency
electromagnetic transmissions that he believed came from the alien
craft. Bennewitz called his "mission"
Project Beta. Those who have
seen the films and heard the tapes of the low-frequency radio
transmissions say there is no doubt that Bennewitz was filming and
recording real phenomena.
On 24 October 1980, Bennewitz contacted Kirtland AFB to make a
report of what he felt was a real threat against Manzano Weapons
Storage Area by UFOs. He first communicated with Major Ernest E.
Edwards, who referred him to S.A. Richard C. Doty.
Richard Doty and Jerry Miller, Scientific Advisor for Air Force Test
and Evaluation Center, Kirtland AFB, interviewed Bennewitz in his
home on the edge of Manzano Base. They examined Bennewitz' films and
tapes, and Miller, a former
Project Bluebook investigator at
Wright-Patterson AFB, determined that the films did show some type
of unidentified aerial objects. They also noted the array of
electronic surveillance equipment that Bennewitz had pointed at
Manzano. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations declined to
investigate further, but scheduled an inspection of Bennewitz' data
by personnel at Wright-Patterson. AFOSI also did a background check
Taking a step that ultimately led to his later troubles, Bennewitz
wrote a computer program that he claimed could translate the alien
radio transmissions. He now came to believe that he was intercepting
the messages that the aliens were transmitting to mind-control
devices such as those that Myrna Hansen claimed had been placed in
her and her son.
On 10 November 1980, Bennewitz presented his evidence again, this
time to high ranking Air Force personnel including Brigadier General
William Brooksher. In the report of this meeting, it is noted that Bennewitz was advised to apply for an Air Force grant to study the
phenomena. Once again, however, the AFOSI declined to investigate
the matter themselves.
Bennewitz was not to give up so easily. Besides the regular reports
he was sending to APRO, he was contacting U.S. Senator Harrison
Schmidt and Senator Peter Domenici, as well as other UFOlogists such
as Linda Moulton Howe and John Lear.
By 1982, APRO had decided to investigate Bennewitz' claims. They
sent William Moore, one of their directors and a
former-schoolteacher-turned-writer-and-ufologist, to talk to
Bennewitz. Moore had gained a degree of fame in the UFO field by co-authoring (with
Charles Berlitz) The Philadelphia Experiment and The Roswell
By now, Bennewitz' story had become quite complicated. He told Moore
that the alien transmissions he had received indicated that two
types of aliens had invaded the U.S.: The peaceful "whites" and the
evil "grays". The grays, who he said were responsible for cattle
mutilations and the abductions of humans, had a treaty with the U.S.
government that allowed them to build a secret underground base
beneath Archuleta Peak on the Jicarillo Indian Reservation near
Dulce, New Mexico. The aliens, however, were about to break the
Perhaps the oddest twist in this story is that Bill Moore later
claimed in a "confession" that he was recruited by someone with the
code name "Falcon" to help drive Paul Bennewitz crazy. He claimed
that he was given his orders by an AFOSI Agent, and that for four
years, he was asked to feed disinformation, including the forged
"Aquarius Document" to Bennewitz. This disinformation included
"verification" of Bennewitz' beliefs about the "grays" and the
underground base at Dulce.
Paul Bennewitz gradually became more and more paranoid, claiming
aliens came through the walls of his house at night and injected him
with chemicals. He began keeping guns and knives all over his house.
Finally he had to be hospitalized for "exhaustion". It is said that
he recovered and now refuses to grant interviews or to have anything
to do with the subject of UFOs.