Uncle Bill Installment #5

 

Coming out of the Covid time, I began to delve deeper into the contents of the Ancestry folder:

 

Most items were dated June, 30 1958 and on into July and August of the same year. Between the time of the investigation and the presenting of the actual investigator’s documents, there were many pieces of correspondence between various international government agencies.  At one point my grandmother had requested, yet not received, the government’s investigative report on my uncle’s disappearance. Eventually she contacted the Archbold Buckeye, who in turn contacted then Ohio State Representative Cliff Clevenger. Clevenger’s requests for information on behalf of my grandmother and the newspaper are well documented in the file folder.

“…the press in the state of Ohio are pressing for information …
GAH!

 

Their efforts were thwarted by the Department of State who wrongly believed the death occurred in San Salvador, EL Salvador.  There were letters sent back and forth with no one in El Salvador knowing anything about a William Scales. My mom had shared with me that this had happened, and how frustrating it was at the time. Even now, while reviewing the file, it frustrates me to see so much correspondence and so many people overlook such a simple and glaring geographical error. Eventually the “pressing” press persevered.

 

Now the mother has reported…” Buncha government assholes, trying to pretend my grandmother gave false info. I’m pretty sure she knew exactly where her son had been stationed and it wasn’t Central America.

Once I got past that frustrating part, the report itself contained cool stuff like eyewitness accounts (as noted in the previous installment)  and depositions  … lots of blurred ink.

 

Still, the scans were mostly readable. Such as…

…”underwater camera and light” That line could well bring a sick person immediately to health. (The magnified and highlighted stuff was done by me.)

Holy Tsar Bomba! A camera in the boat? The report had taken me back to cold war era 1958 and I felt as if I’d been hit by the Big Ivan itself. What kind of camera was it? Where did it end up? What had it photographed? Do I have photographs from that camera? Questions to drive a girl mad! (Bob told me I had too much camera stuff in Installment #3. I was, like, “It IS a camera website after all.”)

 

A roll of film was found in the camera in the boat. “The film was developed and found to be negative.”

Found to be negative? “…found to be negative…”? What does that even mean? Was it blank? Were there images, but no clues? Where are these “exhibits” they’re referring to? (Especially Exhibit f’n D?)

I could go into detail about the government report – and I probably eventually will. But I don’t want to hash and rehash the information – though I probably will. Within the report are paradoxes enough to keep your mind smashing potatoes and meat for a week. If you want to read the entire file, I can send it to you. In fact, I invite you to request the folder from me.  junkstorecameras@gmail.com  Fresh perspectives would be a blessing.

I stewed (another food reference) over these findings for quite some time and two things became apparent.

Thing #1.) I needed to get those slides back from my cousin in Minnesota. Those transparencies are the original bits of film that were in the very camera that exposed them. They would help me to determine which images of Bill’s correspond to the cameras I received from my Uncle John way back when.

Thing #2.) The idea for a photographic project began to form. I knew I would take Uncle Bill’s cameras to the place he was last known to have been. My plan is to document, using Uncle Bill’s cameras, whatever remains of the places he might have seen and experienced.

I immediately sent the little Minox IIIs to DAG Camera for repair.

Installment #6.

 

 

6 Responses

  1. So many questions
    Why did they (all of the reports) spend so much time looking for Bill and the other guy? I wouldn’t think there would normally have been so much time and so many reports on two missing men that were lost in the deep ocean. I’ve read the reports you show, but need to read them more closely when I get time. I would like to see all of the files

  2. Marcy, this is all quite fascinating. I dabble in similar searches – I collect antique portraits (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, etc) and especially those with some bit of identification of the subject. A few times (after many, many hours searching genealogy sites, obits, Facebook, etc) I have been successful at locating living descendants of the subjects and manage to send them a high resolution scan of their Great, great, great grandparent whom they had never even seen a photograph of. Please post the next installment soon 🙁
    BTW, I did my DNA test thru Ancestry.com a few years back. The results? Let’s just say that I have discovered that DNA is the great reveal’er of family secrets. Be prepared.

    1. Randy: I would love to read some of your stories and see the photos! I’ve found that there are relatives of the person who disappeared with my Uncle Bill still living, but haven’t contacted them [yet?]. This sleuthing has me captivated. I have another family story on my dad’s side that I will eventually attempt to tackle. That one is so convoluted, I don’t know where to begin. Anyway, thanks for your comments. Gotta go work on installment #6!

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