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Still Sunny: Continued Investigations into the Gulf Breeze Six, Pt. 3
Ed Walters and the Intricacies of the Gulf Breeze UFO Crowd
Ed Walters was a recurring character in the Gulf Breeze Six fiasco, notably because he was rumored to be the antichrist figure they were seeking. This was almost certainly not the case because of an apparent friendship with Anna Foster, the psychic owner of the New Age Shop in Gulf Breeze. In a section of Unbroken Promises written by Foster, she reveals that she sent her daughter to live with Walters and his wife, Frances, while their life was turned upside down by continual investigations from the military and FBI.Walters was the figurehead of the entire Gulf Breeze UFO flap, his photographs of lamp-like UFOs and claims of being targeted by the UFO occupants had gripped the local—and eventually national—media throughout the late 80s and early 90s. These experiences would culminate in two books, The Gulf Breeze Sightings from 1990 and UFO Abductions in Gulf Breeze from 1994.
Walters’ claims now are largely regarded as an elaborate hoax, but the widespread UFO sightings in Gulf Breeze were not limited to him, indicating that faked photographs or general deception cannot explain the entirety of the phenomena witnessed by residents and visitors. His assertion of ET experiences, while undoubtedly profitable to point, ruined his reputation as an already financially stable businessman. Additionally, I have previously noted that Walters seemed to be genuinely gripped by paranoia at times, claiming at one point in his ordeal: “Two armed men from the ‘Special Security Services’ of the Air Force (…) came around with a ‘material seizure warrant’ and demanded his photographs.”While this allegation makes me raise an eyebrow, further critical analysis of Walters—incoming, to be sure—is necessary to view it as anything other than an oddity or possible continuation of a hoax. Regardless, the sheer volume of strangeness in the Gulf Breeze region combined with a constant military presence has contextualized the area as ripe for psychological operations or disinformation campaigns in the UFO community. The Gulf Breeze Six’s arrival in the area fits right in with the bevy of odd government-adjacent UFO events taking place in Gulf Breeze.
Despite the sudden appearance of the six AWOL army intelligence analysts in Gulf Breeze being a rather big hubbub in the flying saucer scene, the Walters duo only dedicates a short chapter to the subject in their 1994 book. As mentioned previously, while the group was in custody, various agencies were hounding Anna Foster and Diana Gautier at the apartment where the soldiers were housed at the time arrest. Foster left her daughter—called Kathy in the book but Lotus in Unbroken Promises—with the Walters family because Kathy was friends with their daughter Laura. Frances Walters writes: “What we’ve revealed here—all of which has by now been reported in the media—is the extent of what we plan to tell unless circumstances should change.”What they revealed is not much. Purportedly, Foster’s daughter Kathy recounted that most of what was said by the media regarding the case was inaccurate. Their motivations had nothing to do with the Antichrist, cults, or spies. Rather: “The only words she used which later appeared in the newspaper were UFO and government coverup.” While this explanation contradicts the claims of Vance Davis after their release and Kenneth Beason’s comments to a friend a few days prior to their Gulf Breeze arrival, the UFO-centric explanation would be the one that the Walters would latch onto in order to keep their narrative straight. Ed Walters emphasized the blackmail letter sent to different media organizations that called for the group’s release, implying it was integral to their lax treatment. The book includes a rather unimpressive photograph of a UFO that was supposedly included with the blackmail message, although it is unclear where Walters got this photo. Assumedly, it was given to him by the editor of The Gulf Breeze Sentinel, Duane Cook, who was a supporter of Walters and published his UFO photos in the local paper and likely received a copy of the letter, but this is conjecture.
The group is also briefly mentioned in a section of the book where the two Walters describe the bizarre attempts by alleged debunkers to silence them and ruin their reputations. In particular, Ed Walters wrote of a flyer that depicted him “as a nut, a Satan worshiper, and a drunkard.”Walters would ascertain that the culprit was from out of town because Santa Rosa County was a dry county and had no bars, therefore he could not be spotted drunk at local dives. Regardless, he viewed “the accusation of ‘Devil Worship’” as “a standard tactic used as a first effort to distract public attention.” He elaborates that such a tactic was also used to disparage the Gulf Breeze Six—supposedly part of a devil-worshipping “End of the World” cult. Curiously, the gossip of Ed Walters being involved in some sort of satanic ritual makes the rumors of him being the GB6’s sought-after Antichrist figure somewhat more understandable albeit still without much merit. Overall, the Walters’ contributions to the Gulf Breeze Six narrative are unremarkable and unconvincing despite their apparent closeness to one of the main figures—a milquetoast UFO coverup explanation does not explain the group’s actions or later statements. If accurate, it makes the notion that they were influenced by Bill Cooper or Timothy Good’s writing on the MJ-12 documents more of a possibility.
However, the Walters’ connections to the Gulf Breeze Six go even deeper than the simple acquaintance of Anna Foster. While I had originally assumed Hanson was Frances’ maiden name, the couple’s 1993 divorce announcement indicates they both used this name.Craig R. Myers writes that they started going by the Hansons in 1992 after a tumultuous point in their marriage. Frances would remarry in 1995 to a man named Thomas Grow, a one-time professor at both Pensacola Junior College and the University of Florida. To further note the considerable military presence in the region, Grow’s father Harold was “a naval aviation pioneer” considered integral to the organization of the Peruvian Air Force. Also in his resume was a stint as the commanding officer at the Pensacola Naval Station and an experimental flying group at Norfolk Naval Air Station. Thomas Grow and Frances Hanson remain married to this day as far as I can tell. Where this becomes confusing, however, is Anna Foster’s mention of an ex-husband named Tom in Unbroken Promises who had purportedly provided Ken Beason with an updated phone number directly before their unsanctioned trip to the States. Astoundingly, this Tom is also the same Thomas Grow who would marry Frances Hanson in the coming years. A business record for Foster’s “fortune telling” venture in The Pensacola News Journal lists her name as Nancy Anna Foster Grow. A divorce record from June 21st, 1990 in the same paper indicates that Foster and Grow split up less than a month before the AWOL soldiers came to her Gulf Breeze duplex.
To recap: Both Frances Walters and Anna Foster were at different times married to the same man. This finding illustrates the network at play in the Gulf Coast new age/UFO community—many of these people knew each other and this scenario would have presented a remarkable opportunity for infiltration or disruption by the Air Force or other entities. As discussed in the article on Leah Haley’s experiences of alien abductions with military involvement, Ed Walters, Leah Haley, and Anna Foster have a decent likelihood of overlap in local Mutual UFO Network meetings. Further than that, two retired Air Force officers, Donald Ware and Robert E. Reid, were Gulf Coast MUFON leaders heavily involved in Walters and Haley’s cases and both presented explanations for the six AWOL soldiers’ actions.With the nearby Eglin AFB being a persistent tester of advanced or experimental aircraft and weapons, many of the local UFO sightings could be explained by the Air Force’s activities. Likewise, the local UFO scene would provide an excellent intelligence source and a key site for obfuscation to prevent any military secret leakage—actions that it had readily taken before. As research into the Gulf Breeze Six progresses, the various personalities at play in the region and their motivations will be examined to further discern if any military shenanigans were taking place in the UFO community.
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Davis, Vance A. and Brian Blashaw. “Thoughts from Anna Foster Beason.” Unbroken Promises: A True Story of Courage and Belief. Mesa: White Mesa Publishers, 1995. Page 199.
Myers, Craig R. War of the Words: The True but Strange Story of the Gulf Breeze UFO. Self-published, Xlibris, 2006. Page 55.
Walters, Ed and Frances Walters. UFO Abductions in Gulf Breeze: The Amazing True Story of UFOs and the Real Visitors from Outer Space. New York: Avon Books, 1994. Page 230. https://archive.org/details/ufoabductionsing0000walt/.
Ibid., page 229.
Ibid., page 62.
Ibid., page 63.
“Divorces.” The Pensacola News Journal. 13 February 1993. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120484289/pensacola-news-journal/.
Myers, Craig R. War of the Words: The True but Strange Story of the Gulf Breeze UFO. Self-published, Xlibris, 2006. Page 174-175.
“Marriages.” The Pensacola News Journal. 17 February 1995. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120484377/pensacola-news-journal/.
“21 new faces join faculty of Pensacola Junior College.” The Pensacola News Journal. 23 October 1988. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120595741/pensacola-news-journal/.
Brown, Dot. “Aviation pioneer Grow dies.” The Pensacola News Journal. 27 January 1981. https://www.newspapers.com/article/pensacola-news-journal/130811710/.
Davis, Vance A. and Brian Blashaw. “Thoughts from Anna Foster Beason.” Unbroken Promises: A True Story of Courage and Belief. Mesa: White Mesa Publishers, 1995. Page 196.
“Business Licenses.” The Pensacola News Journal. 18 July 1988. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/112616226/pensacola-news-journal/.
“Divorces.” The Pensacola News Journal. 7 July 1990. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120596136/pensacola-news-journal/.
Brewer, Jack. “The Leah Haley Case: The Eglin Expedition.” The UFO Trail. 11 February 2012. https://ufotrail.blogspot.com/2012/02/leah-haley-case-eglin-expedition.html.