Edward Walters rose to fame when he claimed that he has captured a photograph of a UFO flying over Gulf Breeze in 1987 which was later popularly known as the Gulf Breeze UFO Photo. The claim was intriguing among the Ufologists fraternity. However, after a certain passage of time, several witnesses claimed that the incident was a hoax, which was denied by Walter stating that these accusations were made with the purpose of concealing the facts and discrediting his sighting.
According to the story, Florida businessman Edward Walters had his first experience with a UFO on November 11, 1987, in Gulf Breeze. He noticed something shining behind a thirty-foot pine in his front yard at around 5 o’clock when he was working in his office. He was driven by curiosity and he ran outdoors to get a better look at the source, which was an edge craft with a middle row of black squares and smaller gaps between them. On the bottom was a dazzling, fluorescent ring. When the object emerged from the tree, Walters stepped back inside his desk, grabbed an ancient Polaroid camera, and headed back outside to take a picture.
As the object, which was about fifty feet away, continue to glide northeast, he shot three additional images of the mysterious object. Walters snapped another photo after getting more film. The UFO was now getting closer to him. In order to take yet another photo, he ran out onto the street. A blue beam struck him, rendering him unconscious and elevating him multiple feet off the ground, as the UFO suddenly appeared above him.
He was engulfed with a bad smell. When a female voice started speaking, a “computer-like” voice inside of his skull replied, “We will not harm you,” and images of dogs flashed, “exactly as if they were flipping pages of a book,” Walters would later recall. He hit the ground hard after the blue beam vanished. He rolled over onto his back and turned to search for the UFO. It was also gone.
Duane Cook, the editor of the Gulf Breeze Sentinel, was visited by Walters and he showed him the images. He revealed to Cook that Mr. X, who did not want exposure, had handed him the pictures. Walters also generated a letter that was purportedly from X but was actually written by Walters. Two days later, the letter and the pictures were published in the newspaper.
The Aftermath Of Publishing Of Ed Walters Gulf Breeze UFO Photo
Ed Walters was busy taking yet more photos of what he claims were gigantic UFOs frolicking in the sky at night over Gulf Breeze as Walter and his family began to make an astonishing array of close encounter claims, including abductions. The other locals also reported seeing similar objects. Additionally, several stated that their UFOs matched those they saw in the local paper (Walters’ photographs as well as additional images from anonymous correspondents, both of whom signed their correspondences with “Believer Bill”).
The Gulf Breeze incident sparked a raging debate among ufologists by the beginning of 1988. The case was effectively supported from the start by the Mutual UFO Networks (MUFON), whose investigations were the first to arrive on the scene. In addition, nearly from the start, the J. Allen Hynek Centre for UFO Research (CUFOS) was brutally critical since its local investigator was convinced Walters was lying.
Walters was subjected to polygraph tests on February 18 and February 23, 1988, by Harvey W. McLaughlin, Jr., a qualified individual who had never been involved in UFO disputes. Both his sightings & his images were tested. McLaughlin came to the conclusion that Walter was telling it as if he really saw it. Walters underwent a battery of psychological examinations in June, which revealed to well-known Florida clinical psychologist Dan Overlade that Walters did not exhibit any psychopathologies or other mental problems.
According to UFO skeptics, Walters most likely had a psychopathic mentality, which would account for how well he performed on the polygraph tests. This, in Overlade’s opinion, was not the case. Although the Walters apparently rejected a six-figure book offer from a hardcover publisher early in the scandal, Publishers Weekly stated in its issue of April 7, 1989, that Publisher William Morrow had paid the Walters dollars 200,000 for a book. A production team had put down dollars 100,000 of the $450,000 required to get the miniseries rights.
The Gulf Breeze Sightings, a book, was published in February 1990. UFO Abductions at Gulf Breeze, the sequel, debuted in January 1994. Photo analysis produced radically divergent conclusions about whether the images showed enormous objects (likely real UFOs) or tiny models, but eventually damaging material surfaced to call Walters’s credibility into question. For instance, Zan Overall, a Californian ufologist, proved that despite Walters’s denials to the contrary, he was proficient in double-exposure photography long before he began taking pictures of UFOs.
A discovery that appeared in the Pensacola News Journal on June 10, 1990, was far more critical and controversial. The model was discovered in the house the Walters had lived in during the alleged UFO visitations, and according to the opening sentence, “A design spacecraft remotely similar to the UFOs reportedly shown above Gulf Breeze has indeed been discovered in a house once occupied by the guy whose pictures started a UFO craze that has concentrated global attention on this community.”
Before the Manzer family moved in, the home had been vacant for 11 months. Robert Menzer stated:
“I was going to install an icemaker, and I needed to turn off the water. I was fooling around in the attic, and I was moving insulation aside when I saw it. I never would have found it if I hadn’t been looking for the pipe.”
The model was five inches deep and nine inches long across the top. Myers mentioned that:
“Two nine-inch foam plates attached to two six-inch foam plates; a six-inch square blue-color gel (plastic film) and one six-inch round orange paper ring; a 3.5-inch long plastic tube; and a two-inch wide paper ring between the nine-inch plates.”
Two-thirds of the way from around the model, there were drawn and punched-out “windows” all around the rim. They were written in Walters’ handwriting on drafting paper, which had home proportions on the back. When questioned, Walters asserted that he had no knowledge of the model and said that, if he had been a hoaxer, he would be insane to leave behind this perilous evidence.
He objected to being subjected to a polygraph test, stating that he had already undergone two others in which the question of whether or not he had faked his pictures was raised, and that, furthermore, the fact that these tests had been completed didn’t seem to deter people from accusing him of lying. Later, Walters went to New Orleans to participate in a contentious lie-detection test called the voice-stress-psychological-stress evaluation (PSE), which is based on the theory that audible strain in the voice indicates a speaker is not being truthful.
Soon, a local guy confirmed that the house Walters had drawn for him in September 1989, more than a decade after the alleged UFO events had stopped, was really the one that Walters had designed (it was never built). The draught paper, according to Walters and his supporters, had been stolen from the trash at his new house and the model had been set there by adversaries who intended to undermine the case.
However, the situation did not end there. The News Journal published the admission of a 22-year-old former Gulf Breeze resident, eventually identified as Tom Smith, Jr., on June 17, exactly one week later. Smith claimed to have observed Walters fabricate UFO images using double exposures in a 30-minute phone interview with Mayor Ed Grey, Police Chief Jerry Brown, and two reporters.
He said that he witnessed Walters photograph a model of a flying saucer that was lighted by a flashlight in November 1987. He then went outside with the camera, aimed it at the sky, and took a second to expose the same piece of film. A “UFO” appeared to be flying across the sky above them as a result. Soon after, according to Smith, Walters requested him to take five images and submit them to the Gulf Breeze Sentinel, which had been the case’s initial supporter, on the pretense that Smith had taken them. He further stated that:
“He wanted to use me as another witness,” Smith said. “I had about a day to think about it, and I talked it over with Ed, and I just said it was fraud, it wasn’t real smart. I can understand a practical joke. But when I realized that he was going to go all the way through with it, I just didn’t want to hurt my father’s reputation, and I didn’t want to get in the middle of a court case.”
Smith’s parents supported his statement and stated that they had encouraged him to come forward. They said that they had been aware of the fake photographs for a very long time. Young Smith said that the entire Walter family was complicit in the deception and that the alleged landing footprints discovered behind the house were created using a trampoline that had been turned upside down.
The matter was not resolved despite the confession, though. One of the top photo experts in ufology, Bruce Maccabee, persisted in defending the veracity of Walters’ images. He and Walters co-wrote UFOs Are Real in 1997. With Walters giving the images and videos and Maccabee providing an analysis of each, this is the Proof.
What do you guys think of the Gulf Breeze UFO Photo?