When Raymond Szymanski arrived at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a college co-op student, he was intrigued when a mentor mentioned aliens and the base in the same sentence.
Szymanski, 65, spent 39 years at Wright-Patterson before retiring in 2011, and while he said he never saw any aliens, he went on a truth-seeking quest that took him from New Hampshire and Arizona across the Atlantic to England to track down those who claimed they had encounters with UFOs.
The Dayton area resident, a former Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate senior engineer, wrote “50 Shades of Greys: Evidence of Extraterrestrial Visitation to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Beyond.” He is set to speak about his findings in two weekend local appearances.
“The book is actually a documentary for my quest for the truth,” Szymanski said. “Were the stories I heard about Wright-Patterson true? What about some of the other famous places” where UFO sightings were claimed.
RELATED: Little Green Men from UFOs? WWII mural at Wright Patt a mystery
Szymanski points to Wright-Patterson as the home of the Air Force’s past UFO investigations, such as Project Blue Book in the 1960s, and decades-old reports that “exotic” material was brought to Wright-Patterson in 1947 after claims a UFO crashed in the desert near Roswell, N.M.
“Obviously, the Air Force took this seriously to an extent because they had collection and analysis of programs for nearly a quarter of a century, so certainly I took it seriously,” he said in a recent telephone interview.
“The tipping point” to write the book, which is written in a first-person, humorous style about his on-the-road adventures for “the truth,” came in 2015 when he visited the place with a former logger who claimed he was abducted in 1975 by a UFO in the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest in Arizona, he said.
“This was some kind of a strange moment where I decided, ‘Hey, I’ve been doing all this research all these years, I’ve got to write a book,’” he said. “So I didn’t really do all my research and say, ’I’m going to write a book, but it was that kind of an encounter with that kind of person who had these kinds of experiences that just motivated me.”
RELATED: Wright-Patt was Ground Zero for UFO investigation program
Szymanski also details in his book travels to UFO sightings near Exeter, N.H., in 1965 and Rendelsham Forest in England in 1980 – along with investigating claims about Wright-Patterson.
“And now the million dollar question,” the author writes in the foreward in the book. “Does Wright-Patterson actually house aliens and their artifacts?
“At this point of writing this book, I’m not sure,” he wrote.
In an interview, he was certain whatever crashed in the desert near Roswell in 1947 was brought to Wright-Patterson, but he said he saw no evidence that it included alien beings.
“The Roswell alien thing is still a little squishy,” he said. “But that’s different from me believing we’ve been visited. Yes, I’ve talked and interviewed (UFO) experiencers and I’m convinced that what they’ve had is a real encounter, and so somewhere along the line people have encountered alien entities on this planet.”
RELATED: CIA: Most UFOs sightings in ’50s and ’60s were of spy planes
More than three decades ago, the Air Force issued an official denial that Wright-Patterson housed alien space technology and the bodies of beings from another planet.
“Periodically, it is erroneously stated that the remains of extraterrestrial visitors are or have been stored at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” the January 1985 statement said. “There are not now, nor have there ever been, any extraterrestrial visitors or equipment on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”
Project Blue Book, a Wright-Patterson-headquartered Air Force investigation into reports of UFOs, concluded in December 1969 and found no threats to national security or evidence of extraterrestrial vehicles, the Air Force has said.
RELATED: Stealth bombers, UFO rumors, test pilots part of Wright Patterson’s past 100 years
In 2013, the CIA reported high-flying spy planes spotted in the 1950s and 1960s were mistaken for UFOs more than half the time.
Szymanski, a Dayton area resident, said the UFO phenomenon came close to home for him.
“For me, there’s no doubt because as I documented in the book, I saw a UFO in my own neighborhood from about 200 feet away and 75 feet in the air as it slipped into a low bank of clouds,” he said. “That was kind of an up close and personal verification of what I pretty much was leaning towards anyway. And the people that I talk to about the cases and the evidence that they have is pretty much insurmountable, unassailable.”
Meet the author
The author and retired Wright-Patt engineer is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 at the Centerville Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Road, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at the Fairborn Senior Center, 325 N. 3rd St., as part of a Fairborn Area Historical Society presentation.