By Myth & Mystery | Guest Post
John Reeves claimed that he witnessed a UFO land near his Brooksville, Florida, home in 1965. He also made extraordinary claims that he was afterward transported to the planet Moniheya aboard an alien spacecraft.
John Reeves, 66, was a man so obscure that he was unknown to the majority of inhabitants in the remote area where he lived until he had an encounter with a UFO and its occupant in 1965. Additionally, Reeves claimed to have scraps of paper with messages written in what looked to be an alien language.
Reeves resided six miles west of Brooksville, Florida, in a secluded area known as the “scrublands.” Reeves, a retired merchant seaman on a disability pension, relocated to Brooksville from New York in 1961 with his wife and kid. He established a mobile park but abandoned it in 1963. His wife returned to New York, while his son enlisted in the Navy. Reeves had been living alone since then.
On Tuesday, March 2, 1965, during mid-afternoon, Reeves entered a service station grocery store adjacent to his residence. He informed the proprietor, John (Red) Wells, that he had just witnessed a flying saucer land. Wells, who was acquainted with Reeves, had no difficulty trusting his claim. He then stated that “when the story spread, three different people approached me and said they had witnessed it as well, at the same time and in the same location.”
That evening, Reeves paid a call to another neighbour, Estes Morgan, and showed him two pieces of tissue-like paper with writing on them.
“I positioned them in front of the brightest light in the home and gave them a thorough examination… I had never handled anything like it before; it was so filmy but so tough and included extremely long, very fine, dark purple veins or threads. The tissues emitted a pungent, bitter odour that I couldn’t place. Nothing smells like that around here.”
The following morning, Reeves went to the Brooksville Sun-Journal, a weekly newspaper in the area. Additionally, the Brooksville city clerk examined the tissue paper and its supposed extraterrestrial inscriptions. Reeves was encouraged to see William Johnson, owner of Brooksville radio station WWJB.
After hearing Reeves’ unusual story, Johnson contacted MacDill Air Force Base, which assured him that investigators would be dispatched immediately. He then travelled to the spot with his son Wally, Reeves, and photographer Frank Fish. Meanwhile, someone from the Sun-Journal called St. Petersburg’s WLCY radio station, which immediately broadcasted a report about a landed UFO, its “robot” inhabitant, and the extraterrestrial inscriptions. Evelyn Anderson of St. Petersburg became aware of the incident and alerted another local UFO enthusiast, E.R. Sabo. Sabo called Robert Snyder, a Clearwater resident who headed Florida Unit #2 of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena in Washington, D.C. (NICAP). Brooksville was poised to be overrun by the globe.
The Narration of the Story of John Reeves
Reeves had been traveling through the shrublands early in the afternoon when he noticed a large “flying saucer” perched in an open clearing atop a sandhill. It was reddish-purple and blueish green in colour, stood six feet tall, and had a diameter of 20 to 30 feet.
Reeves crept up to within 100 feet of the craft before crawling into dense shrubs to observe it more closely. He suddenly noticed something moving on the object’s far side and headed in his direction. A “robot” wearing a glass dome or a space helmet observed Reeves and approached him within 15 feet.
Though Reeves insisted on labelling the figure a “robot” because “everything that isn’t human has to be a robot,” he depicted an essentially humanlike entity with a darkly tanned face, standing five feet tall and dressed in a silver-grey canvas material. It had thin white gloves and metallic-looking boots on its hands and feet. Its eyes were slightly wider apart, closer to the ears, and its chin slightly more pointed up than a regular person’s, and it wore a skullcap and wore a “cylinder” on its back.
After a minute and a half of observation, it reached to its left side and produced a spherical, black item with a diameter of six or seven inches. It brought the device up to its chin, and it flashed twice. Reeves attempted to flee, but slipped and fell back into a sitting position facing the person, who flashed the round device at him once more. Reeves assumed the figure was photographing him.
The figure walked toward the object at this point. Reeves could see a short spiral stairway comprised of circular stairs beneath the vessel. The being ascended these stairs and entered the ship.
“Numerous little blades around the saucer’s rim began to move in tandem, much like the slats of a Venetian blind. They remained open and closed. The rim then began to rotate counter clockwise. It generated a whooshing and rumbling sound as it increased the pace at which it spun. The staircase was lowered into the room,… Then, with the whooshing sound, the four stilts or legs retracted and the saucer rose straight up. I kept an eye on it, and it vanished from view in less than ten seconds in the cloudless sky.”
Reeves explained to NICAP investigators
Reeves discovered a significant number of footprints in the clearing where the UFO had landed, circular at the heel and toe sections but thin in the arch. Four landing gear holes stood in a square area, randomly placed within a ten-foot radius of one another. Each hole was four inches broad and four inches deep and was cup-shaped. Reeves saw a bundle of loosely folded paper in the square’s centre; it included, he explained, “two sheets of extremely tough but flimsy tissue… Both were covered in very weird Chinese-looking letters or marks.”
Investigation of the Incident
1st Lt. Edward R. Goettl and three enlisted men landed in Brooksville from MacDill AFB early on the third. They met at Johnson’s radio station, where they met Reeves and Johnson. After an hour of interviewing the witness, they drove him to the location of the encounter, chatted with him further, and photographed the markings, prints, and paper.
Lt. Goettl noted later that day in his official report, “The paper Mr Reeves claims he discovered at the landing location looks similar to silk span paper used to construct model aeroplanes.” The officer deemed Reeves’ reliability “doubtful.” In any event, Reeves had voluntarily turned over the paper for analysis, which presumably would resolve the question of whether or not he had encountered something unearthly.
Around 4 p.m., the Air Force soldiers returned Reeves to the radio station. By this point, reporters from Tampa, St. Petersburg, and other cities had gathered. Reeves fielded questions until deep into the evening, with Johnson serving as a sort of hybrid agent/protector. Thursday morning saw an influx of media and curious onlookers. By dusk, the hundreds of onlookers had destroyed the majority of the site’s supposed “robot” tracks. What little left was washed away in that night’s rain deluge.
Throughout the weekend, the circus continued. Despite the fanfare, a number of those going to Brooksville did so for a serious reason. On Saturday, March 6, investigators from the Air Force and NICAP came separately.
The Air Force team consisted of Lt. Goettl, a sergeant, and C. W. Bemiss, a civilian scientist. Dr Bemiss worked at the Air Force Eastern Test Range, located at Patrick AFB in Florida, as a member of the technical staff of Pan American Airways, a significant Air Force contractor. Bermiss offered to analyse the site for evidence of radiation after reading press stories of the Brooksville event. He and the MacDill investigators examined the location early in the afternoon on the sixth. No sign of radiation or disruption was identified in the soil, grass, or leaves by Bemiss. “This type of trash,” he wrote six days later in his official report, “is extremely loose and could easily be blown away by a reasonably strong wind.” The fact that it had not been reported raised suspicions, except “if a ’sighting’ did occur, the mystery vehicle must have used a propulsion system unknown to our research.” Bemiss also raised concerns about the unusual spacing of the four holes reportedly left by the landing gear.
The Air Force men did not speak with Reeves that day, but NICAP’s Robert M. Snyder and Robert S. Carr did. Carr had contacted MacDill about the matter on the third and was met with resistance from six departments.
Finally, Capt. Richard Henry, the base’s public relations officer, revealed, albeit reluctantly, that MacDill already had investigators on the premises. Carr persuaded Henry to provide him with the name of the guy who had notified the base of the event, and Carr promptly called William Johnson. Carr was unable to travel to Brooksville that day due to work responsibilities, so he sent his wife, who acquired a package of images from Frank Fish, including one exhibiting the extraterrestrial writings. Carr placed the negatives in his safety deposit box the following morning.
Carr and Snyder counselled Johnson, with whom they had developed a relationship, the next day, in a series of phone conversations, to exercise caution in his encounters with would-be exploiters. For instance, WTVT in Tampa desired to have him hypnotically regressed live on air. The NICAP guys pleaded with Johnson to shield Reeves from the press until they could arrive. On Fish’s property, Johnson concealed Reeves.
Meanwhile, Carr was approached on the fifth by Miguel Acoca, chief of Life’s Miami desk. Carr offered that Acoca accompany him and Snyder the following day to Brooksville. Carr later explained to NICAP that he made the offer “with the hope that this would prove an effective strategy to shape whatever appeared in Life magazine to NICAP’s benefit.” Carr would quickly see how incorrect he was.
Snyder, the Carrs, Acoca, and life photographer Burton McNeely arrived at Johnson’s radio station at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 6.
“I examined the tissue closely. I have never seen or touched anything like them: very light, yet very strong, veined with long threadlike fine dark lines, and almost impossible to tear. I took scissors and clipped off a corner to see if it would burn, It did.” – Johnson
The group then returned to Fish’s farm east of town, where they spoke for two hours with Reeves. Snyder and Carr state that “all later agreed that reeves presented the appearance of an honest, innocent, uneducated, and guileless individual who had experienced a deep experience.” He appeared to be suffering from “moderate shock.”
Reeves invited the detectives to his home, where he discussed his life and gave them copies of musical scores he had produced more than a quarter-century previously. The investigators inspected the sheet music carefully for reasons Reeves made no indication of suspecting, and Carr went outside with Fish to allow the latter to photograph one sheet. Everyone but Reeves immediately saw that they now had sampafterwardles of Reeves’s writing to compare to the tissue materials. They found afterwards that there was no evident relationship. They may have overlooked the fact that someone’s handwriting can vary significantly over a 25- to 30-year span.
Snyder and Carr met Wells, Morgan, and other Brooksville residents during this trip and subsequent ones. They all spoke highly about Reeves. Investigators discovered that Life intended to subject Reeves to a polygraph examination. Johnson inquired as to whether Snyder thought it was a good idea, to which Snyder responded affirmatively. He did, however, recommend that Johnson videotape the polygraph interview without informing Reeves. Snyder’s intentions are unknown, but the video would be important to ufologists in the ensuing argument. Johnson installed recording equipment in the office of Tampa polygraph operator David Allison on March 9.
Allison’s examination of the test convinced him that Reeves was lying. Snyder was so outraged when he learned this two days later from Life reporter Acoca that he travelled almost immediately to Brooksville and picked up Johnson’s tapes.
That evening, he performed them for NICAP associates, who unanimously concluded that Alison had done an inadequate job. He had questioned Reeves about his background during the pre-test interview and caused him to recall a horrible occurrence from years ago, when he witnessed a murder perpetrated by waterfront criminals.
Thus, once connected to the polygraph machine, Snyder and Carr reported to NICAP headquarters that “John Reeves was in such a pitiful state that the instrument registered uncertainty, anxiety, and guilt on every question presented – not just the ‘catch’ questions.”
Thus, the ufologists prepared for a more agreeable polygraph examiner, fellow NICAP member E.J. Edwards. On the thirteenth, Edwards transported Reeves to Orlando (where Edwards resided) and administered a polygraph test to him. Edwards determined that Reeves “truthfully answered all of the questions.”
Tissue- A Collection of Lies?
Meanwhile, the Air Force’s Project Blue Book tried to have the tissue papers evaluated. On March 16, Maj. Hector Quintanilla, Jr., chief of Blue Book, wrote to the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin, requesting that an assessment of the material be given immediate priority. On the twenty-fourth, T.A. Howells, chairman of the Institutes Technology Section, wrote in a four-page response, “The sample contains bast or leaf fibres from a variety of plants. Although these fibres constitute a modest portion of the raw material used in the paper industry, their employment in some segments is not rare.”
At the end of March, Blue Book revealed that Reeves had fabricated the narrative. Among other dubious characteristics, it noticed that “the holes reportedly made by the landing gear were straight and seemed to have been scooped or dug, rather than indentations caused by an item of any size.” When decoded, the Blue Book indicates that “On one page, “hieroglyphics” read, “Planet Mars, are you returning soon? We adore you. Why were you gone for so long?”
Representatives of the Florida NICAP challenged the correctness of what the Blue Book referred to as a “simple substitute code.” Snyder and Edwards objected that the Air Force used two distinct symbols to symbolise the same term.
On March 31, Reeves addressed a courteous letter to Maj. Quintanilla requested the return of the tissues. On April 13, two MacDill captains personally delivered them to Reeves. If the purpose of this mode of transmission was to allay worries that the Air Force was concealing evidence of extraterrestrial visitation, it failed. Johnson had scarcely driven away from the officers when he dialed the NICAP number in Clearwater. The Air Force had returned papers that were not the ones it had been given, he stated.
Johnson showed a sheet of lens tissue that he had recently acquired in a nearby photography store when Carr met him on May 1. It was identical to the Air Force’s paper. “”Had the originals been on lense tissue,” he explained, “I would not have believed Reeves, as I continue to believe. The writings appear to be identical, yet the materials have changed completely.” Additionally, Estes Morgan, a friend of Reeves, stated that the tissue material he saw prior to the Air Force’s initial visit was “totally different.”
Snyder and Carr, on the other hand, would disagree on what this meant. Snyder believed the Air Force had swapped ordinary tissues for the genuine article. Carr, on the other hand, was certain that the common tissues were the “genuine” ones. According to Reeves’ perspective, he had a real UFO experience, but thereafter, he returned home, brooded over the matter, and eventually resolved to fabricate his own “evidence.”
On June 15, Elizabeth McCarthy, a document expert based in Boston who studied the writings on the tissues, provided the following information to NICAP investigator Owen Lake:
“It is my opinion that these symbols were made with a common type of pencil of the hard variety. The colour and condition match the condition of the writing line and match rather closely that of a No 4 pencil, such as Mongol 482, Saphir 200 of A.W. Faber or Dixon Oriole 287.”
Trip to Planet Moniheya
“I don’t care what anybody says about me. All I know, I saw the flying saucer and its robot pilot.” – Reeves told a correspondent on April 2
However, that story had begun to expand, or so it appeared to some. He wrote to the same guy several months later:
“There is a lot more to that story than what I told the news reporters. Something happened back in the woods that no one knew about… The robot, after he took the second flash… Didn’t go over to the saucer. He came over by me, and put his hands on my shoulders three times, tapping me on the shoulders. Something happened there that wasn’t to get out, something I knew about. That spacecraft came back in twenty-nine days. I knew it was going to come back. There was three of us that saw it. We got a picture of it, but the picture didn’t come out too clear. We had to do some running from under the trees to get out in the opening. The ship came down to about a thousand feet, and about half a mile away. From what I understand, there was a jet chasing it. So I was told by this other party… When the robot came over to me, he pointed to the sun. Then he pointed to the East, then to the West; then he pointed to himself, then to the saucer; then he pointed to the sky. As he did this he made his hand go round in a circle like; as he pointed to the ground, he was trying to tell me that the sun would rise and set so many times. That was the number of days that would past that he would be back again. I understood what he was trying to tell me. I have the paper he made the dots on. After what he done he put his finger on my lip like and then held his hand out afterwards and closed his hand up like a fist, meaning I shouldn’t let anyone know that he was coming back here again.”
On October 26 the Tampa Tribune reported:
“Two people confirmed the March 2 saucer sighting saying that they had seen one on that day in the area. On March 31, a Brooksville man and his wife went with Reeves to the woody landing place to await the saucer to return and reported that they did see it approaching in the sky from the north and then the Air Force jet approached and the disc-shaped object flipped over on its rim then disappeared. A Pinellas Park resident also reported seeing an unidentified flying object the same afternoon.”
On October 21, Reeves claimed to have discovered footprints and holes around 400 feet from the initial landing site. The footprints, which appeared to have been created by two or three individuals, were two inches longer – 12 instead of 10 – than those at the initial site. Reeves supposedly witnessed a landing on December 4, 1966, in the early morning hours. A few hours later, a group of UFO enthusiasts led by Saucer Scoop editor Joan Whritenour discovered traces and footprints.
To honour his UFO encounters, he built a 23-foot obelisk in his front yard, atop which he placed a crescent moon and a copy of the earth. He also placed a giant wooden saucer elsewhere on his land. He began by donning a jumpsuit and displaying UFO-related items such as newspaper clippings and images in local shopping malls.
In 1968, Reeves revealed a startling anecdote that stunned his admirers into silence. According to him, he awoke at 2 a.m. on August 5 with a strong desire to walk into the woods. He fought it and returned to sleep. The sensation persisted throughout the day, and at 3 p.m., he made his way to the trees. There he encountered two individuals, one of whom was shorter than the other; both were dressed in spacesuits and wore helmets beneath their arms. He was shortly overtaken and gently guided to a waiting flying saucer by the males. He was flown to the moon after meeting a lovely spacewoman.
Prior to dropping him off, the space beings assured him that they would return and transport him to their home planet. He would be gone for a few of weeks, so no one should be concerned about his whereabouts. The space beings, true to their word, arrived two months later and whisked him away to their world, which they named Moniheya and which the earthlings refer to as Venus. He returned home with a Venusian flag in his possession. He installed a plaque with the following inscription where the ship landed: “The spaceship that transported John F. Reeves to planet Moniheya, millions of miles from Earth, arrived here October 5, 1968.”
In 1980, Reeves was had to sell his property to the state in order to pay back taxes, and he relocated to Brooksville in a trailer. Both the home and monuments were demolished by the state. In an early 1980s interview, Reeves expressed disappointment that his dream of being buried at the foot of the obelisk would never come true. The inscription on the stone was to read: “This grave contains the remains of John F. Reeves, one of the greatest men of our time, if not the greatest. Traveller to other planets in our galaxy from outer space.”
Certainly an intriguing idea, if not a little difficult to swallow. Let us know what you think of John Reeves’ allegations in the comments area below.
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