On the evening of November 11, 1987, in the small town of Gulf Breeze, Florida, a sedate suburb of Pensacola, an ordinary suburban house was enveloped in a strange blue light coming from the sky. The owner of the house, a building contractor named Ed Walters, rushed outside and saw a flying saucer hovering above the street. Walters ran back into his house, grabbed a Polaroid camera and took several photos of the craft. The UFO reacted, shooting a blue beam at him that transmitted telepathic images. Then Walters blacked out, waking up later on his front lawn. The photos from the Polaroid camera revealed several spectacular shots of the space vehicle that he claimed he encountered.
This was, anyway, Ed Walters’ story. The photos were his chief corroboration: no one had taken such up-close and personal pictures of a UFO before. The fact that the camera was a Polaroid was significant. To those who have never heard of this device, which was nothing short of miraculous when it appeared on the market in the 1950s, it was a camera that used film that developed itself in a matter of minutes! It was thought (erroneously) that you couldn’t fake Polaroid pictures with the same sort of double exposure tricks that have been going on for as long as photography has existed. Ergo, Walters had to be telling the truth! Right?
One of Walters’s famous photos. Most experts concluded they were pretty crude fakes; a minority insisted they were real. Few believe in them anymore.
The November 11 “sighting” was hardly the end of the incident. After telling his story to a local newspaper–which caused an immediate sensation–Ed Walters began to report and document other encounters he said he had with the mysterious craft, the obvious implication being that they were aliens of some kind. In fact, Walters said he saw one of them on December 2, 1987, a strange robot-like device or perhaps a creature wearing a spacesuit. He also took many more photographs, including a shot of one of the saucers that landed on his street. As the media picked up the story, public interest increased, as it always does about phenomena like UFOs. Other people around Gulf Breeze began saying that they too had seen flying craft. Walters himself went on TV, including the popular show Hard Copy, to tell his story. I remember seeing him on one of these shows. The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), a non-profit that investigates UFO sightings, claimed that Walters was genuine. By mid-1988 the sleepy town of Gulf Breeze was known as one of the world capitals of UFO sightings, mainly for the quality of Walters’s pictures, which far exceeded the typical grainy, indistinct and wobbly pictures taken of previous supposed flying saucers.
Walters became something of a local celebrity. His TV appearances and the interest in his story eventually led to a book deal with William Morrow, which published The Gulf Breeze Sightings, authored by Walters, in 1990. Walters sold his house and bought a new one. The same year as the book’s publication, however, the owner of his old house–one Robert Menzer–was mucking around in the attic, looking for a water pipe, when he discovered a strange object wrapped in old drafting paper hidden behind a flap of insulation. Unwrapping it, Menzer revealed a model of a flying saucer, made of foam plates, cardboard, paper, and colored plastic gel.
Soon the gig was up. Walters insisted that he was framed. Someone, he claimed, had built a model of a flying saucer, broken into his empty house and hid it to discredit him. He did, however, admit that the drafting papers the model was wrapped in–which contained plans for the model–were his, but they must have been stolen from his trash. Then someone else in the town stated that he knew Ed Walters had previously been fooling around with photographic tricks, including double exposures that could be used even to fake the irreproachable Polaroids; among those who believed the Gulf Breeze UFO photos were faked, this was the leading candidate for how it was done.
At last, Tom Smith, a local teenager, came forward and said that Ed Walters had shown him pictures of the UFO and urged himto go forward to the press with them. Smith had some of the pictures, and was able to show investigators exactly how Walters had faked the pictures–including how he had created a depression in the ground where one of the “saucers” supposedly landed. It was done with an upside-down trampoline. Thus, it was demonstrated pretty conclusively that Ed Walters had faked the incident, and that the amazing spaceship seen in his photos was, in fact, a cardboard and styrofoam mock-up only 9 inches long –- hardly impressive for an intergalactic spaceship.
Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.