scoutmaster being in trouble down the road. The farmer called the Florida State Highway Patrol, who relayed the message to the county sheriff's office. In a few minutes a deputy
sheriff and the local constable arrived. They picked up the scouts and drove to where their car was parked.
The scoutmaster had no idea of how long he had been unconscious. He vaguely remembered leaning against a tree, the feeling of wet, dew-covered grass, and suddenly
regaining his consciousness. His first reaction was to get out to the highway, so he started to run. About halfway through the palmetto thicket he saw a car stop on
the highway. He ran toward it and found the deputy and constable with the boys.
He was so excited he could hardly get his story told coherently. Later the deputy said that in all his years as a law-enforcement officer he had never seen anyone as
scared as the scoutmaster was as he came up out of the ditch beside the road and walked into the glare of the headlights. As soon as he'd told his story, they all went
back into the woods, picking their way around the palmetto thicket. The first thing they noticed was the flashlight, still burning, in a clump of grass. Next to it was
a place where the grass was flattened down, as if a person had been lying there. They looked around for the extra light that the scoutmaster had been carrying, but it
was gone. Later searches for this missing flashlight were equally fruitless. They marked the spot where the crushed grass was located and left. The constable took the
boy scouts home and the scoutmaster followed the deputy to the sheriff's office. On the way to town the scoutmaster said he first noticed that his arms and face
burned. When he arrived at the sheriff's office, he found that his arms, face, and cap were burned. The deputy called the Air Force.
There were six people listening to his story. Bob Olsson, the two pilots, the intelligence officer, his sergeant, and I. We each had previously agreed to pick one
insignificant detail from the story and then re-question the scoutmaster when he had finished. Our theory was that if he had made up the story he would either repeat
the details perfectly or not remember what he'd said. I'd used this many times before, and it was a good indicator of a lie. He passed the test with flying colors. His
story sounded good to all of us.
We talked for about another hour, discussing the event and his background. He kept asking, "What did I see?" -- evidently thinking that I knew. He said that
the newspapers were after him, since the sheriff's office had inadvertently leaked the story, but that he had been stalling them off pending our arrival. I told him it
was Air Force policy to allow people to say anything they wanted to about a UFO sighting. We had never muzzled anyone; it was his choice. With that, we