Claims: Physical Evidence of Steve Michalak's Falcon Lake UFO Incident

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
He succinctly wrote: "Gloves, goggles, burns, smell of sulfur – knocked off his feet by copper still."
Maybe. First of all, let's look at what the hobby distiller said (bold by me):

A distinct smell of sulfur/sulfide and vulcanized rubber overlays the fine malt aroma.
Content from External Source
While he does say "distinct" he also says it overlays the malt aroma. To clarify, I'm someone that never misses a distillery tour anywhere I visit, though I can neither confirm nor deny that I may occasionally dabble in some home alchemy with a still. So, the smell of sulfur may not be an overpowering note that can coat Michalak's clothes and make him smell bad.

The other people on the forum point out that the sulfur smell often come from problems with fermentation, so he should have noticed it before he attempted to distill his product.

Fermentation can produce hydrogen sulphide, it stinks of rotten eggs, burnt rubber and sulfur. During fermentation, so-called thioalcohols can be formed, in which an oxygen atom is replaced by a sulfur atom (or so).
Content from External Source
https://www.schnapsbrennen.at/discussion/beitrag/raetselhafter-schwefelgeruch-im-destillat/

In distillation, subtlety is key. Making the "cuts" as the alcohol comes off the still is all about the small differences in smell and taste as is the finished product. The hobby guy on the forum can still smell the malt, or smells of the original mash, it's just that the sulfur is overlaying it. So, I would imagine if he spilled it all over himself, he would just smell like alcohol, not really sulfur.

This is a standard, though mini version, of a pot still on the left, that allows the heated vapor to go into the "worm" on the right, where the vapor goes through the small copper pipe that is submerged in cold water, thus condensing it. As for the silver vegetable steamer, I'm not sure what it's for, other than maybe as a strainer. After a mash (if it's grains) or wine (if it's fruits) has been fermented, it is strained before entering the pot still. It appears that the strainer/steamer would fit on top of the bottom 1/2 of the still and act as a rough strainer. In that case it would NOT be in the still when it is heated and therefore wouldn't be hot enough to burn someone.

1666657849629.png

Key points: A distillery still has perforated plates. And the pattern on Michalak's torso was the only real mystery to me.

Sometimes, they have perforated plates. Those types of plates are often found in column or reflux stills. For home hobby distillers, these are often called "flute" stills. Each of the round glass windows in the flute below has a perforated "bubbler plate":

1666658954282.png

The bubbler plates sometimes look like this 2" version:

1666658857760.png

But more often like this 8" one:
1666659109732.png

More importantly, perforated bubbler plates are used in much more sophisticated and expensive set ups, often to get create very high ABVs (Alcohol By Volume). Anything distilled to 95% ABV is vodka. It's supposed to be odorless and tasteless, other than the alcohol.

A backwoods moonshine still, is often cobbled together with whatever is handy, but resembles a classic pot still. No plates. These turn out product that is between 50% and maybe 70% ABV.

It's possible that Mill had some sort of homemade column/flute still out in the woods AND that he happened to have a very sulfur tainted mash that he decided to run through it anyways when it happened to blow up on him. Sounds like a stretch, though moonshining could have been involved in some way.


As noted, that includes the fermentation process, which can take 3-8 days or so depending on temps, yeast and what's being fermented. Once the mash is fermented, it can be run through a still in 3-8 hours depending on amounts, longer if one has to build a wood fire first. Most simple pot stills require 2 passes, a stripping run and a spirit run, to get something in the 60%-80% ABV.

So, assuming Michalak had already fermented his mash, he could have headed up to his "claim" to distill a bit of "shine" over the weekend.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.

Nah, we've had Turboyeast for decades
What is Turbo Yeast?
Jun 26, 2018 11:36:13 AM Published in Liquors 6702 Views.

A turbo yeast is nothing like an ordinary pack of wine or beer yeast. In fact, it is not very good at fermenting beer or wine, it is usually far to fast and brutal for this, leaving nothing of the desired flavours and bouques in your brew if you try. Instead the turbo yeast is designed for the fastest and most reliable fermentation of a pure sugar/water mix, into pure alcohol.

...

Turbo yeast come in many flavours today. The typical groups are
Moderate alcohol turbo yeast - fast

Turbo's in this group are Alcotec 6 (3 day fermentation), Alcotec 48 (which does it in 48 hours, hence the name). The alcohol level is usually around 14% by volume. This is the result of full fermentation of 6 kgs of sugar in 25 litres final volume (the rest being water).High alcohol turbo yeast - slower

...

Speciality turbo yeast - hyper fast, hyper clean

We have the Alcotec 24 - makes moderate alcohol in only 24 hours, it is the most extreme fermentation you have ever seen. There are also a few "super clean" fermenting yeasts such as the Alcotec VodkaStar and the Alcotec Triple Still.
Content from External Source
-- https://www.brewuk.co.uk/faq/what-is-turbo-yeast.html
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Nah, we've had Turboyeast for decades
But is it universally used? Or do some traditionalists prefer doing it the old fashioned way like daddy taught 'em? If nothing else, it would seem to deprive one of the peaceful weeks of vacation out in the woods, away from trouble and strife. (Of course one COULD stay out for weeks and use your newfangled yeast to make multiple batches, maybe...)

That said, I have no dog in the fight of what he might have been doing out there, other than still believing his time frame not totally inconsistent with some shining, possibly with attendant hunting and spitting and whittling and generally enjoying the some time off.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Old thread but I wanted to add this: The photo of the grid of dots on Michalak's stomach is always used to illustrate his original burns but it appeared in a newspaper article in Jan 1968 where he claimed the burn marks had recurred. Hence no singed hair.
grid.jpg
Winnipeg Free Press, Jan 17, 1968

Obviously it does not match the location of the grid on the undershirt - which actually shows the grid of dots on the BACK of the shirt, not the chest:

chest.jpg

His original burns are the blotchy ones on his chest and upper abdomen - that photo was taken 2 or 3 days after the incident probably by the UFO researcher who visited him at home. It appears in Michalak's self-published book (late 1967), in which there is no mention of him suffering a grid of dot pattern of burns and no photo of it.

blotchy.jpg

So, his self-published book came out in Nov or Dec 1967, and in Jan 1968 he's in the paper because his burns are back... presumably he called the reporter with that update, whereupon the article was written, the famous dot-photo photo taken.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Old thread but I wanted to add this:

I'll add more, like a plug for your website.

Seriously, if anyone on Metabunk wants a real good run through on the timeline of this case and how what were told is not what really happened, check out Charlie Wiser's own page threedollarkit.weebly.com.

In addition, there is a great run through on the Travis Walton Fire in the Sky case and the Ariel schoolyard case.

I'm currently reading through her work on the Ariel case and it's everything I love about Metabunk. Contrasting what the children said on video versus what the investigators said they said.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
I'll add more, like a plug for your website.

Hehe thanks. I have a much longer article on Michalak's case that I'll replace the existing one with, at some point, as my website only focuses on the burns and what we could charitably call the photo mix-up. Chris Rutkowski has been the main investigator and knew the family since the 70s. His 1994 report for JUFOS as well as his 2017 book (cowritten with Stan Michalak, the son) caption the grid-dot-burn pattern as "taken a few days after his encounter" and "shortly after the incident" respectively.

The latter book includes the full text of Michalak's 1967 booklet but no images, so the blotchy-burns photo doesn't appear anywhere in that book (or in the 1994 report).

I've been unable to reconcile the discrepancy with Chris. I don't know when the blotchy-burns photo first (re)surfaced but it was donated to the U of Manitoba Library Special Collections around 2019 along with the shirt which is on display with a red RCMP label even though to my knowledge it was never in RCMP's possession. (Photos in the right case are of Michalak and the site.)

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Charlie Wiser

Active Member
On a different note - while I have no doubt this case was hoaxed in every respect (other than perhaps the initial burns, which may have been accidental), I do wonder why he described two UFOs, only one of which landed. In those early days of UFO encounters, I imagine those with an interest in the subject who wanted to hoax their own sighting would have copied off each other. So what story was Michalak copying? Because otherwise I don't know why he'd add the second, superfluous, UFO.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
His original burns are the blotchy ones on his chest and upper abdomen - that photo was taken 2 or 3 days after the incident probably by the UFO researcher who visited him at home.
ouch. the hospital shaved him all around and Over his burns?
i mean that could be like when people lose their eyebrows in a flash fire, but the doctor said the holes in his undershirt matched the burned areas on his chest. so the whole shirt didnt catch.

and he said he had a proper shirt over his tshirt. weirdness.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
the doctor said the holes in his undershirt matched the burned areas on his chest. so the whole shirt didnt catch.


The doctor wrote in his 1968 report for APRO that he "observed the burnt undershirt which had holes with charred (or blackened) edges corresponding to the site of the burn.”

Note the grid pattern on the undershirt is not holes with blackened edges - merely surface marks. So what the doctor is referring to here must be the other burns on the shirt - the huge holes on the chest (in the photo the shirt has been cut open so you need to imagine it back in one piece) which do indeed match Michalak's burned chest.

His description of Michalak's burns also match the blotchy burns photo - no mention of a grid of dots which would obviously be worth remarking on: “numerous reddish, slightly irregular, oval-shaped, slightly raised lesions” on Michalak’s “lower sternal and upper abdominal region… especially to the left of the midline… consistent with a first-degree burn.”

and he said he had a proper shirt over his tshirt. weirdness.

That shirt, he claims, was burned into tiny pieces. When he (finally) located the site weeks later he claims he collected all the remnants but I've seen no reports that anyone else ever saw them, and when the authorities went to the site they couldn't find even one scrap left behind.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Note the grid pattern on the undershirt is not holes with blackened edges - merely surface marks. So what the doctor is referring to here must be the other burns on the shirt - the huge holes on the chest (in the photo the shirt has been cut open so you need to imagine it back in one piece) which do indeed match Michalak's burned chest.
yup.

still doesnt explain where all his chest hair went. why would the hospital shave between his pecks for example, there is no burn there and shaving a burn would hurt.
and the ufo grid i dont think, can flash singe hair off your body if it is under two shirts.

i think he made up the grid pattern burns because he didnt have any evidence of a grid causing the initial burn.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
still doesnt explain where all his chest hair went. why would the hospital shave between his pecks for example, there is no burn there and shaving a burn would hurt.
and the ufo grid i dont think, can flash singe hair off your body if it is under two shirts.

I'm not sure what you mean about his chest hair - are you referring to that asymmetrical patch of missing hair in the 1967 photo? This could be where hair was merely singed when he got the rest of the burn. (I think it's likely he rubbed hot ash on his chest, since that's what the highway officer thinks he saw. He refused to show the officer his undershirt, so I also think it's likely all the damage on the undershirt was created when he got back to the hotel, or back home.)

I should reiterate that Michalak isn't the one who mixed up the photos. Prior to 1968 he never mentioned a regular grid of burns on his body as part of the original injury. Then in Jan 1968 he claimed that pattern was the same as the original. To explain why the original photo is blotchy burns, he said the dots would grow and eventually join up. He said this had already happened before in Sep 1967.

So he invented the story that the recurrence was the same as the original, and when Chris Rutkowski got involved I guess he therefore assumed the dot-pattern photo was from the original incident. He suggested the dot pattern is a chemical burn (whereas the burns elsewhere were thermal), to explain why the stomach hair isn't singed. If he can ever accept the dot pattern photo is from Jan 1968, this explanation also works.

i think he made up the grid pattern burns because he didnt have any evidence of a grid causing the initial burn.

I can't 100% parse your sentence but the grid pattern of burns (on his skin) was never part of the story until 1968. So even the idea of producing evidence of burns matching the dots on the shirt didn't exist until 1968.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I think it's likely he rubbed hot ash on his chest, since that's what the highway officer thinks he saw. He refused to show the officer his undershirt, so I also think it's likely all the damage on the undershirt was created when he got back to the hotel, or back home

its possible if he caught his undershirt on fire and patted it out with his hands it could look like ash smeared on his chest. But yea i always wondered what he was wearing on the road, the officer didnt say "a shirtless guy flag me down". and he said "he showed me his burn" which implies the burn was hidden by something.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
So even the idea of producing evidence of burns matching the dots on the shirt didn't exist until 1968.
the story was always a grid on the ufo burned him. all sorts of things could have burned him, so the only way to give his story oomph was to produce a grid. (vs everyone just dismissing him saying "yea you were drunk and passed out on the fire" etc.) I think that is the only reason he faked the grid burns later on.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
The above post has been flagged and I was asked to edit it but there's no edit button. Whatever. I was trying to provide a helpful resource which was essentially requested, and which anyone reading this thread can see the relevance of. I'm not going to upload 40 jpgs here.
You can describe briefly what is in the link in accordance with the Posting Guidelines. If it is a response to a request you should have replied to the request so it would be included to provide context.
 
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Charlie Wiser

Active Member
You can describe briefly what is in the link in accordance with the Posting Guidelines. If it is a response to a request you should have replied to the request si it would be included ti provide context.

The context of the booklet is abundantly clear.

Two phenomenal researchers, including one retweeted by Mick West, have left this board because of this nit-picking nonsense by overzealous mods against skeptical users trying to have evidence-based conversations. Congrats for making me the third.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The context of the booklet is abundantly clear.
someone would have to be closely paying attention to our conversation. first its called a book , then you answer my question. and then post something else then post a link to a booklet.

but the reason mods don't let people just post unclear links is because they don't want the conspiracy theorists to do it. Conspiracy theorists just posting random unclear links is a real problem on this site, and people complain when there are double standards (which my signature attests to :) )

add: they also are supposed to frown on people stating things as if they are fact, but not providing back up evidence. Again, this is because it's too annoying when conspiracy theorists do this. and we should be modeling good analysis techniques.
 

Nemon

New Member
Link to the booklet - it was published in 1967, no earlier than November.
But this booklet does not show the colour photo as you are stating here (#47):
His original burns are the blotchy ones on his chest and upper abdomen - that photo was taken 2 or 3 days after the incident probably by the UFO researcher who visited him at home. It appears in Michalak's self-published book (late 1967), in which there is no mention of him suffering a grid of dot pattern of burns and no photo of it.

...and the Michalak booklet does show a photo of the shirt with the grid pattern on the cover, doesn't it?

Maybe I got mixed up ...
 

Nemon

New Member
i saw it. page 21
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i think she is talking about the photo with the grid pattern on his stomach.
Okay, thank you! I did not recognize it from the preview pictures.

i think she is talking about the photo with the grid pattern on his stomach.
I'm a little confused now. I understood that in this version the grid pattern was introduced afterwards - not only as an injury, but also on the undershirt.
 
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