"I have seen three objects in the last seven years which defied any explanation of known phenomenon, such as Venus, atmospheric optics, meteors or planes. I am a professional, highly skilled astronomer...I think that several reputable scientists are being unscientific in refusing to entertain the possibility of extraterrestrial origin and nature."
-- astronomer who discovered the now-dwarf planet Pluto, Dr. Clyde W. Tombaugh
"Who the hell are these people?" Arthur wondered, glancing at the passengers around the bus. The soldier at the front of the vehicle made it clear the mechanical engineer wasn't to speak to anyone.
Arthur peeled at the strips of duct tape covering the window adjacent his seat. This stuff was thick. At least four layers. The glass panes encircling the vehicle were encased in it.
He wasn't military. Why the hell was he here? Sure, the company he worked for was contracted out by Uncle Sam, but the bus had been on the road now for four hours.
The vehicle slowed to a halt. Tension heightened amongst his fellow passengers.
The door to the bus opened, and the serviceman stationed at the front saluted whomever stood just outside. A brief conversation ensued before G.I. Joe turned to the ensemble.
"Might I remind you," the officer bellowed, "you're all under contract of the United States government. What you see, hear and experience from this point forward, is held in the strictest of confidence. You will speak of this incident to no one!"
With the final decree, Arthur and his fellow passengers were led into the pre-dawn desert. There, in the sand before them, illuminated by a pair stationary searchlights, awaited a 30 foot wide, circular craft. The collective silence of the passengers spoke volumes.
"What are we looking at?!" Arthur's mind raced. "Did the military crash one of its experimental vehicles?"
The craft, whatever it was, had to have wrecked. A gigantic fissure defaced the otherwise flawless metal of the vessel's fuselage.
"Okay, so this thing ditched," Arthur deduced. "But from where?" The only tire tracks around the vehicle belonged to the military Jeeps now surrounding the craft. This thing hadn't been driven to its current location.
"And what's with all this secrecy?" Arthur pondered. "A covert, military operation undertaken in the dead of night? Why not just wait until daybreak to clean this up?
This was definitely something big. By all indications, huge.
Arthur harkened back to dime store pulp penned about men from Mars. "Hadn't some pilot seen nine of these things in Washington state a few years ago?" He seemed to recall an alleged crash somewhere in New Mexico, as well. "When was that? '47? '48?"
Stancil didn't remember. But the incident had been declared a mistake, right? Damn, he could use a pre-breakfast beverage.
A carved in stone officer from Hell emerged from the darkness, belching chronic halitosis into Arthur's face.
"Stancil!" the prototype for the perfect soldier bellowed forth.
Shocked, Arthur recoiled. "Y-yes?"
"Arthur G.?" the behemoth sensed fear, and pounced all over it.
Arthur got the feeling this Neanderthal didn't give a damn who he worked for: Communists, Nazis, U.S. Marine Corps, it was all the same. Just another excuse to exert control.
The officer glared back at the engineer, as though he could read minds.
Stancil lowered his gaze. Fifteen feet from the wreckage, the military official stopped. Arthur followed suit.
The combative drone turned to the mechanical engineer, "You have one objective, Mr. Stancil. Determine the velocity at which it crashed to Earth. The more quickly you accomplish your task, the more quickly we'll have you home."
Arthur hesitated, glancing at the incredible craft. " 'Crashed to Earth?' " he thought. "So, this is some sort of...whatever.
"Wh-- what is it?" Stancil queried.
Unsnapping the holster on his sidearm, the officer towered over Arthur. "Ask that question again, and it'll be your last."
The engineer stood his ground, although his trembling hands were a giveaway he was a house of cards on the San Andreas Fault during a windstorm.
"This is beyond huge," thought Stancil. "Either this is Top Secret Ruskie, or--" The engineer shuddered at the obvious conclusion.
"I'll...I'll need a slide rule, the longest measuring tape you've got, and a pad. Oh, and a pencil, too."
The officer pointed toward an illuminated tent. "You'll find everything in there. Ask for Sergeant Malloy."
With that, "Major Pain" strode into the night. Arthur would see the supersoldier twice again, both times in fitful nightmares months later.
The calculations went pretty smoothly. Angle of trajectory; distance the craft was embedded into the soil. None of it was precise, but let's face it, these jarheads wouldn't know the difference.
While determining his solution, Arthur queried the handful of civilians around him. He learned of a diminutive cockpit, complete with chairs, located somewhere within the vehicle. He pondered looking inside, but the mental image of the mammoth, armed officer prevented him from doing so.
An hour later, Stancil submitted his conclusion, and was escorted back to the bus. Along the way, he passed a tiny tent wreaking of astringent. The engineer managed a quick look inside. What he saw would forever change his life.
A body. Human, yet not human. An anthropomorphic being, perhaps four feet in height. Whatever it was, it appeared dead. Before attempting a closer look, visions of square-jawed Marines pistol whipping him filled his overactive brain. Stepping quickly from the tent, Arthur continued his walk back to the bus.
Copies of a pledge of secrecy were dispensed. Stancil and the other civilians were ordered to sign the agreement, which forbade them from ever speaking of the incident.
The ride back to Phoenix Sky Harbor concluded around 9 AM. Unless the driver was traveling in circles, the vehicle would have headed northwest during its initial excursion. Within well under four hours, south would place the bus somewhere in Mexico. Due north would take it beyond Flagstaff and into a much more wooded area. Only one solution remained. That was northwest. Highway 93, up through Wickenburg. Kingman, four hours driving time northwest of Phoenix, was still desert by any account.
Whether or not the preceding story is true remains a mystery. Arthur G. Stancil; a.k.a. Fritz Werner, allegedly a mechanical engineer graduating from Ohio University, came forth with this incredible tale as early as 1964. The story gained recognition in 1973 when renowned UFO investigator Raymond Fowler published his own research on the subject. Fowler purports to having conducted extensive background investigation on the individual known as Arthur G. Stancil, and determined him to be of credible nature. Fowler also claims Stancil displayed extensive knowledge regarding the field of mechanical engineering.
Evidence corroborating the fantastical story would later emerge from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Former staff stationed at the military installation attested to the arrival of "three small bodies packed in dry ice," shipped from Arizona during the time frame of the reported crash. According to personnel, the diminutive cadavers sported oversized craniums and brown skin.
A deficiency of physical evidence validating Stancil's claims remains. Combine this with the fact military personnel giving testimony are either unable or unwilling to divulge their names, and you've got a fascinating account that may or may not be true.
Since Arthur's affirmations have changed over the years, any researcher seeking veracity, regarding this case, may wish to approach with a dubious mindset.
Did a UFO of extraterrestrial origin really crash in Kingman, Arizona, on May 20, 1953? Take Interstate 40 west from Flagstaff and find out for yourself. Kingman can also be reached from Phoenix by traveling northwest on Highway 60 and continuing through Wickenburg along the 93. Upon reaching Interstate 40, head west for approximately 20 miles and you'll arrive at your intended destination.
Kingman is located about 25 miles east of Bullhead City, Arizona, and Laughlin, Nevada, both of which hug state line. Traversing Route 66 on your way to Vegas, you'll inevitably find yourself passing through this historic destination. Stop and speak to the locals. Tour the city. Who knows? Perhaps you'll be able to solve a modern mystery.
© 2010. Hugh Mungus
Belzer, Richard. (1999). UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe. p. 164. The Ballantine Publishing Group. ISBN 0-345-42918-4
Randle, Kevin D. (2010). Crash: When UFOs Fall From the Sky: A History of Famous Incidents, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups. pp. 160-175. New Page Books. ISBN: 1601631006