A.A.R.E. Authors

If you would like to comment on this article, please send it to the


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 1 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 investigations.

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 services.

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 personal biases.

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 historical significance?


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