Chapter 70

Look Ma, No Hands – or Head


On June 9, 1956, a man’s body was pulled from the waters near Chichester Harbor, eighty-some miles southwest of London.

When it was first recovered from those murky Solent waters, the body was believed to be that of Lionel Crabb, a recently retired Royal Navy frogman.  Crabb had served with distinction during World War II, working with mine and bomb disposal units in the waters around Gibraltar, earning all kinds of medals and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He left the military in 1947 but continued his career as a civilian diver, exploring sunken galleons and sometimes taking on special assignments for the Royal Navy.

In the 1950s, Crabb started diving on behalf of the British intelligence service MI6, which, like the CIA in the Unites States is supposed to confine its activities to espionage outside the United Kingdom.  But in April 1956, Crabb was asked to dive on a Soviet cruiser, the Ordzhonikidze, which was berthed in Portsmouth Harbor after ferrying  current and future premiers Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Kruschev to Britain for diplomatic meetings.  Crabb was asked to dive on the Ordzhonikidze to look for anti-sonar equipment and mine-laying hatches. 

But after Crabb dove into Portsmouth Harbor on April 19, his MI6 contact never saw or heard from him again.  After his disappearance, a colleague who had accompanied Crabb to the Sallyport Hotel in Portsmouth gathered up all of Crabb’s belongings, and even ripped the page out of the hotel’s registry that recorded their stay there. Another ten days passed before news of Crabb’s disappearance began to show up in British newspapers.

MI6 — trying to conceal its surveillance of a foreign vessel while anchored in domestic waters — attributed Crabb’s disappearance to an unrelated incident in Stokes Bay, outside of Portsmouth.  But the Soviet Union countered that claim with their own statement that a frogman had in fact been seen near the Ordzhonikidze by the crew of the cruiser.

Almost two months after Crabb disappeared, the body of a man still wearing a diving suit was found in the waters of Chichester Harbor, about 10 miles west of Portsmouth.  Neither Crabb’s ex-wife, nor his current girlfriend, were able to positively identify the remains, nor could police get very far with the forensic techniques available at the time.  No finger prints could be taken, nor dental records compared — owing to the fact that the recovered body had no hands — or head.

The discovery that MI6 had been conducting unauthorized operations in domestic waters caused quite a stir in official Britain, eventually forcing the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, to demand the resignation of the MI6 Director-General, Major-General John Sinclair. 

The coroner was satisfied that the body was that of Lionel Crabb, after a colleague identified it from a scar on the knee.  But the official records of this incident and the resulting bureaucratic fracas have been sealed until the year 2057.

And buried somewhere, in the middle of that century’s worth of classified documents, is the evidence of what the disappearance of Royal Navy frogman Lionel Crabb has to do with the life of Thomas Townsend Brown.

* * *

The morning after Linda and her father discussed their shared “dream” over Josephine’s spaghetti dinner with the Williamses, Robert Sarbacher drove up to the garage at Montressor in his black Cadillac, gathered up Townsend Brown and his leather travel bag, and drove away.

On the 15th of July, 1955,  Dr. Brown’s passport was stamped on arrival at the Orly Airport in Paris.  The passport was stamped again, on departure from Orly, on July 21.

His trip to Paris in the summer of 1955 was the first of two trips to Europe that Dr. Brown made in a nine-month period; the second begins with his arrival at Orly on the 5th of March, 1956 and ends with his departure from Southampton, England aboard the French liner Liberté on March 29. 

The most familiar story about these trips says that he conducted experiments with his 'tethered saucer' apparatus in a large vacuum chamber, supposedly proving that the Biefeld-Brown effect was evident even when there was no “electronic wind” present to confuse the issue.  Reports of these tests have appeared in books and articles about Townsend Brown over the years, and often these reports can be found at the heart of the recurring contention that somebody is hiding “anti-gravity” flying machines in underground hangars somewhere in the Nevada desert.

The first trip to Europe in 1955 was relatively brief, only six days, all of them spent in France (according to the passport). The best guess as to the purpose of the first trip is that Dr. Brown went to France to discuss the specifications for the enormous vacuum chamber, where he would finally be given an opportunity to test his electro-gravitic apparatus in optimum conditions.

But from the additional fragments of information that we have managed to assemble, it appears that those vacuum chamber tests are only one aspect of Dr. Brown’s travels in 1955 and 56.  And our best chance of getting a handle on this period of Dr. Brown’s life may well come from my correspondence with Morgan from the spring of 2004. 

As inferred at the end of the previous chapter, there appears to be a direct correlation between Dr. Brown’s first trip to Europe and the return of “the set” — the communications system that was part of the compromised demonstration at Pearl Harbor in 1950.  As Morgan said, ‘the set’ was returned to Townsend Brown — from wherever it had been placed for safekeeping, by who ever was concerned for its safety — “just before his trip to Paris.”

In that April 18, 2004 letter previously quoted , Morgan elaborates on “the set” and the Caroline Group’s role in preserving its secrecy:

You know that “the set" was made available to the military for that demonstration at Pearl. When the shit hit the fan, acting on Dr. Browns request, it was withdrawn.

It was withdrawn, of course, by the Caroline Group. They did not demand that action; It was Dr. Brown who insisted that they take it to keep it safe and out of other unauthorized hands. If who the core of that group is hasn't become apparent to you yet then lets just call them that for the moment and let it ride. What they are or are not is a matter of your own perception and all of that can wait until later.

His reference to “the core” of the Caroline introduces an expression that would be used again often, suggesting that there was much more to ‘the Group’ than some clandestine international intelligence network.

Addressing himself directly to the events in the field in front of Montressor in the summer of 1955, Morgan continues:

Only one unit was supplied to Dr. Brown but in the years that followed he managed to quietly build other units and a network to go along with them. That tight network established, he continued his various research projects.

And I think those words, “a network to go along with them” may in fact be the subtext that defined those trips to Europe in 1955 and '56.   Speaking of that second trip in 1956, Morgan wrote:

During the trip to London and Paris he handled a couple of "smoking bolt" operations for his host organization but he also turned his attention now to some forms of early computer development.

Of course everything was leaning toward code-breaking and the secure use of codes, which was where his mind seemed to be centered. Look up an operation called “ATLAS” the mid to late fifties. He later called a new organization "Whitehall Rand" in honor of that time span there in England. But his main thrust and interest (besides the propulsion work) was security.

He was still smarting from the Pearl Harbor experience and he kept that interest for the rest of his life. Odd too how that would color my adult existence.

The over-riding interest in matters of “security” is perhaps understandable in the wake of the Pearl Harbor fiasco in 1950, and the subsequent discovery throughout the 1950s of the extent to which U.S. and British intelligence operations had been infiltrated with Russian spies, not the least of which beginning with the notorious Kim Philby. “You couldn’t trust anybody,” an observer reminds us.  So Dr. Brown and his colleagues (whoever they were…) assembled their own network, apparently employing Dr. Brown’s own reproductions of “the set.” 

In a world where “nobody could be trusted,” Dr. Brown carefully assembled a network that was “Caroline to Caroline to Caroline — regardless of nationality.”

* * *

Regardless of nationality? What is that supposed mean?

For an answer to that question, let’s begin by taking a look at a message from Morgan on September 3, 2004. He begins by reminding me of the circumstances in which “the set” was first introduced, and reiterates its importance in a storyline that has been most often  focused on gravitational levitation and flying saucers: 

You may have misunderstood what happened at Pearl Harbor. It had been decided that the Navy Brass and other scientists would be shown… well, yes, it did look like a toy carnival ride.

And “the set” was “the set.” He hadn't really gotten too much opportunity to demonstrate that. They all knew that it had the potential to communicate easily through mountains and in the oceans. You would think that would pique some interest.

Unfortunately when Philby’s mole was detected (they didn't know at the time who he worked for but Dr. Brown was told the fellow was English with Russian contacts), he hit the ceiling because he recognized that the Soviet scientific establishment would actually SEE the potential of what had been demonstrated and that they most likely would proceed with the developments.

Now this is interesting, and adds a dimension we hadn’t really considered before:

A contingent of the Caroline group was splintered off and sent to live and work in Russia, monitoring and assisting the work that they knew would slowly start to take seed.

So, even as Dr. Brown and his colleagues were reeling from the discovery that a Russian spy had witnessed their demonstrations, and even as he was hiding behind his "wounded prairie chicken" routine to divert interest in what he had demonstarted, operatives were being dispatched to “monitor and assist” the work that would surely begin behind the Iron Curtain.  Maybe that explains the need, eight or nine years later, to recruit a strapping young secret agent wanna-be with a gift for speaking Russian.

Returning again to the origins of Dr. Brown’s “wounded prairie chicken” routine, Morgan wrote:

Meanwhile the whole Caroline Group, with Dr. Brown’s development, went into near deep hibernation while he spent five years discrediting his own work and setting up a diversion for future developments. Running a Laundry. Starting NICAP.  At the same time doing "odd jobs" for the facility that he was aligning himself with (as the Russian counterparts of the Caroline Group were doing).

“Starting NICAP” will be addressed in the next chapter.  But “odd jobs” is  a reference to the understanding that Dr. Brown reached in order to finance the vacuum chamber experiments he conducted in France:    In exchange for the resources he needed to build a chamber large enough to test his electro-gravitic theories, he agreed to lend a hand with certain surveillance and espionage activities on the Caroline Group’s agenda.  That accounts for much of the time that he was in Europe, particularly during the second trip in 1956.

“That whole period of time was filled with rather urgent Caroline Group interests,” Morgan told me in the spring of 2004.  “It was the Caroline Group who funded the tests and the trip expenses. In exchange for that he helped with some of the other activities that had already been set up. Some were "smoking bolt" operations. Others involved running a couple of German scientists to the West, out from under Soviet control.”

But of all the hints dropped in the correspondence quoted above from Morgan, the one that is most mystifying is the parenthetical remark about “ the Russian counterparts of the Caroline Group.”  The message continues:

All this worked well. We as two groups came to oppose each other, as is only natural when you split tribes.  Some of our "taking coups and stealing pony raids" have been deadly, but at least they were confined to the US. And it was meant to be that way. Keep the humans out of it…”

“Kept the humans out of it”?? If the “humans” are kept out of it, who — or what —does that leave? Does that imply that there is somebody in the Caroline Group who is not human ?

Just what is this “Caroline Group,” anyway?

* * *

In the autumn between his trips to Europe, on October 31, 1955, Townsend Brown sat down at his desk, opened a black-and-burgundy, hard-bound notebook filled with one-hundred-and fifty-two numbered and college-ruled pages, and began writing in his own hand.  “RECORD BOOK No. 1,” he wrote in blue ink the upper left hand corner of the first page, and then on the center of the uppermost line, “Notes and Ideas.”

This is to be the first of a series of record books of notes and ideas, of greater or lesser importance, just as they occur to me.  The pages are numbered and the subject reference will be given in an index.  Where it appears of importance, at the moment, the entries will be witnessed.

All of my life, it seems, I have jotted down notes on scraps of paper, even on paper napkins and the like, which have ultimately been lost or destroyed*In many cases, these original notes and the dates of conception have turned out to be important and the loss of the record has been a serious handicap.

In the main, the ideas recorded herein and the hypotheses developed from these ideas will relate to the subject of gravitation and the relationship between gravitation and elecrodynamics.  They may present from time to time certain seemingly practical applications which may be patentable.  All entries are therefore dated.

Thomas Townsend Brown
Leesburg, Va.
October 1, 1955

A week later, on October 7, he made his first formal entry, entitled “A Review of the Situation regarding Gravitational Isotopes.”

An announcement has been made both in the newspapers and on the radio (within the last few days) that the contract for the launching gear of the proposed space satellite has been awarded the Glenn S. Martin Co and the contract for the rocket motor to General Electric.

This brings to mind the statement of M. K. Jessup in "The Case for the UFO" --- "If the money, thought, time and energy now being poured uselessly into the development of rocket propulsion were invested in a basic study of gravitation, it is altogether likely that we could have effective and economical space travel, at a small fraction of the ultimate cost which we are now incurring, within one decade".

As to a study of gravitation, there are two phases --- (a) the dynamic and (b) the static. In dynamic considerations, electrical energy causes a local distortion in the gravitational field which results in the generation of a pondermotive force and motion results. In the static considerations, an electric situation exists which causes matter to be lighter (or heavier) than it normally should be.

Dr. Brown continued making entries in this, and subsequent notebooks, for the remainder of his life. 

* * *

On February 26, 1956, Dr. Brown wrote an entry in his notebook entitled “The results of a change of inertial mass following modulated beneficiation (with low persistence).” 

The next entry is dated April 7, 1956, and is entitled “The Impulse Effect in the force developed by a simple capacitor in vacuum.”

In between those two entries, he returned to Paris, where he conducted the first set of experiments intended to disprove his critics contention that the performance of his “tethered saucers” was based entirely on “ionic wind.”

Our knowledge of these experiments comes primarily from Dr. Brown’s own later writings.  In February 1973, he wrote a letter to Rolf Schafranke, who published the letter under the pseudonym of ‘Rho Sigma’ in a 1977 booklet entitled “Ether Technologies.”  In the letter, Dr. Brown wrote:

The experiments in vacuum were conducted at Soc. Nat. Construc, Aeronaut, in Paris in 1955-56, in the Bahnson Laboratories, Winston Salem, North Carolina in 1957-58, and the General Electric Space Center at King of Prussia, Penna, in 1959.  Laboratory notes were made, but these notes were never published and are not available to me now.

The results were varied, depending upon the purpose of the experiment.  We were aware that the thrust on the electrode structures were caused largely by ion momentum transfer when experiments were conducted in air.  Many of the tests, therefore, were directed upon the exploration of this component of the total thrust.

In the case of the GE test, cesium ions were seeded into the environment and the additional thrust due to the seeding was observed.  In the Paris test, miniature saucer type airfoils were operated in a vacuum exceeding 10-6 mm Hg.

Bursts of thrust (towards the positive) were observed every time there was a vacuum spark in the large bell jar. These vacuum sparks represented momentary ionization, principally of the metal ions in the electrode material.  The DC potential used ranged from 70 KV to 220 KV.

Condensers of various types, air dielectric and barium titanate were assembled on a rotary support to eliminate  the electrostatic effect of chamber walls and observations were made of the rate of rotation.

Intense acceleration was always observed during the vacuum spark (which, incidentally, illuminated the entire interior of the vacuum chamber).  Barium titanate dielectric always exceeded air dielectric in total thrust.  The results which were most significant from the standpoint of the Biefeld Brown effect was the that the thrust continued, even when there was no vacuum spark, causing the rotor to accelerate in the negative to positive direction to the point where voltage had to be reduced or the experiment discontinued because of the danger that the rotor would fly apart.

In short, it appears that there is strong evidence that the Biefeld-Brown effect does exist in the negative to positive direction in a vacuum of at least 10-6 Torr.   The residual thrust is several orders of magnitude larger than the remaining ambient ionization can account for.

So the vacuum tests — conducted in disk-shaped electrodes employing a solid dielectric of barium titanate (a fairly common  dielectric material used in capacitors) prove once and for all that the effect is valid.

And the results were so spectacular that there was a danger of the whole apparatus flying apart!

* * *

Of course, there are no details to be found regarding either of Dr. Brown’s trips to Europe in 1955 and 56 in his notebooks.  What little we know about them comes from the references found in correspondence from years later, like the letter he wrote to Rolf Schafranke.  Of the trips themselves, there are no diaries, no journals, and none of the living witnesses have come forth to identify themselves, much less provide any details. 

OK, that’s not entirely true.  There is one witness to the second trip who has shared what he could.  We know him in these pages as “O’Riley.

Townsend Brown was still in France for his fifty-first birthday — March 18, 1956 — when he was photographed outside a Paris Bistro with four unidentified sailors and a smartly dressed civilian about a half-a-head shorter than Brown.  That’s O’Riley, who was again assigned to accompany Dr. Brown during his travels as an escort and liaison.

We have learned from O’Riley — ever so slowly, and over a period of several years — that of the two trips to Europe, the second one, in March of 1956, was the busiest, the most productive —  and the most secretive.  We know from Dr. Brown's passport when he arrived in Paris, when he went to England, and when he sailed home.  But the most interesting stop on the itinerary may be the one that doesn’t show up in the passport stamps.

Two years before Dr. Brown went to Europe, in 1954 — in what has been described as “the most audacious espionage caper of the Cold War” — British and American intelligence services began digging a quarter-mile-long tunnel, thirteen feet under the streets of Berlin.  After excavating some three-thousand tons of dirt over a period of seven months at a cost exceeding $25-million, the tunnel gave the MI6 and the CIA an eavesdropping post almost directly under the Soviet Embassy in the eastern sector of the divided city.  From that high-tech, underground lair, the Americans and Brits could easily tap into the cables that the Russian military and diplomatic corps in Berlin communicated with their commanders in Moscow. 

For more than a year, agents listened in and recorded communications between Berlin and Moscow, confident that they had gained a subterranean advantage in the electronic war with their Russian rivals. They had no idea the extent to which their services were infiltrated and their operations were compromised — even before the first shovelful of dirt was dug.

The Berlin Tunnel was supervised in part by a senior MI6 officer named Peter Wright. One of Wright’s assignments during World War II was supervising the design and construction of a small fleet of “midget” submarines that attacked the German battleship Tirpitz in 1942. It was through Wright — who was also deeply involved in exposing Kim Philby’s spy-ring — that O’Riley was assigned to serve as Dr. Brown’s escort, as he had served during their ill-fated mission behind enemy lines in Germany in the final weeks of the war.

According to O’Riley, during this second trip Dr. Brown was never in one place for much more than 12 hours.   But one of their stops was in Berlin, and much of the time there was spent under ground.

“My attention to Dr. Brown's needs in regards to the Berlin Tunnel were primarily that of a body guard,” O’Riley recounts for us.  “There were many factors at work in the area at the time. All of them were armed with side arms and agendas. Dr. Brown was not a warlike individual. He refused to carry a handgun, even though I know he had been trained in its use. He had said that if it came down to his shooting someone to keep himself alive, he would be prepared to die first. My only thought was ‘Oh shit...’”

Their time in the tunnel often reminded both Dr. Brown and O’Riley of their time on submarines, a mutual experience that engendered some camaraderie between them.

“Dr. Brown and I had never been on the same sub,” O’Riley recalled, “but he did have some experiences with subs at that point, some of them mentioned in his personal history and some of them not. And my experience with the ‘X-subs’ I think I have already mentioned.”  Then, referring to the engineering in the Berlin Tunnel, he says, “Some of the hatches were right out of sub supply, and the damned thing creaked. We would look at each other and he would smile that Mona Lisa  smile of his, and I knew we were reading each others minds.”

O’ Riley continues reminiscing: “Dr. Brown and I agreed at one point that we didn't much like the tunnel. During the winter of 1955-56, it had snowed a good bit. The heat from the building at our end of the line would seep into the tunnel and melt the snow above.  On the surface, if you looked at it just right you could see the outline of the tunnel below in the snow. They fixed that by reducing the temperature in the tunnel, which was damp anyway.  It was all thoroughly unpleasant.”

But all the MI6 and CIA people in the tunnel were elated with the traffic they were picking up from their wiretaps. There were “reels and reels of taped conversations from the KGB,” O’Riley says, “from the Soviet Embassy, from the various military bases in Russia, were all being intercepted and then transferred by special courier to London and Washington.”

Handling those dispatches was part of O’Riley’s job as courier and liaison. “I shuttled between the Berlin offices to London mainly, and then took care of special guests from visiting agencies. Dr. Brown was one of those and I was very happy to see him again.”

Despite the agencies’ satisfaction with the flow of intercepted communications, O’Riley says that he and Dr. Brown “ had an odd feeling about the traffic that was coming through,” but O’Riley “had been thinking that for months but no one was really listening to me. Everyone was just rolling in the good fortune, patting themselves on the back.”

O’Riley showed one of the dispatches he was carrying to Dr. Brown, who looked it over carefully and said “Something’s not right."

“He had picked up too on the kind of intuitive feeling you get when you realize that someone on the other end is moderating their conversation because they know they have ears on them,” O’Riley said.  “We couldn't prove it though — either of us — so we just went on about our business.”

In April of 1956, a crew on the Russian side of the divided city started digging near the Embassy and “discovered” what they had known about all along. 

“All hell broke loose,” O’Riley recounts. “Some of the tunnel people were given a 50-caliber machine gun to protect the radar building on our side.”  In the tunnel itself, a sign was hastily erected that declared in bold type and placed beneath the borderline in the streets above, “You are now entering the American Sector.”

As Peter Wright wrote later in his memoir Spycatcher,

So much raw intelligence was flowing out from the East that it was literally swamping the resources available to transcribe and analyze it. MI6 had a special transcription center set up in Earls Court but they were still transcribing material seven years later when they discovered that George Blake had betrayed the Tunnel to the Russians from the onset.

As O’Riley concludes about the whole adventure, “Turns out that Dr. Brown and I had been right. The entire Berlin Tunnel had been compromised months earlier.”

Five years later, George Blake, the MI6 operative who had tipped off the Russians to the whole Berlin tunnel operation, was arrested, tried and convicted of espionage.  For the full spectrum of his offenses, he was sentenced to a total of 42 years in prison.  But even the formidable maximum security of the Wormwood Scrubs prison would not be able to hold him for much more than five years.

* * *

The final days of the second trip to Europe were a whirlwind tour through England.  Again, the details are sketchy. His activities were… sensitive.

In London, Townsend Brown was reunited with his son Joseph, who was now serving in the United States Air Force and stationed somewhere in the U.K.  Of course, Joseph still had no idea of the real nature of his father’s work, and the photo taken of the two on the streets in London clearly shows the continued estrangement between father and son.

Another stop took Dr. Brown and O’Riley to the city of Cheltenham, in the bucolic Cotwsolds about 100 miles west of London. 

Some O’Riley’s recollections — those that he could share, anyway — about that particular leg of the trip reveal the extent to which Dr. Brown was beginning to take seriously his daughter’s growing passion for all things equestrian. 

At one point during a break in his work, Dr. Brown asked O’Riley if he knew anything about horses. “It was not the type of question I expected from him,” O’Riley recounted, “but he explained that his daughter was ‘horse crazy’ and it was important for him to learn as much as he could about them as quickly and as thoroughly as possible."

Conveniently, Brown and O’Riley were in Gloucestershire during the Chelthenham Festival, one of the most prestigious events in the National Hunt racing calendar. O’Riley figured that would be a good place to start.

“I had some buddies there and knew we could get into the barns for this lesson he was expecting from me. I did not expect that he would insist on getting up at four in the morning so that he could watch the morning works.  He wanted to watch the way the horses were cooled off and bedded down. He talked to the stable boys and the jockeys, he asked me many, many questions in rapid fire.”

Later that day they watched the running of the Gold Cup, the crowning event of the Festival. O’Riley recalls Dr. Brown made a remark that it was too bad that the track seemed so hard, that it must be terrible on the horses legs.  “That was a very astute observation considering that course had a bad reputation for breaking horses down. I think he bet on the winning horse. Then he went back to the work at hand and he thanked me very much. I wondered after that how many busy fathers would have taken the day like that to ‘cram’ on information so that he could keep up with a ‘horse crazy’ daughter.”

O’Riley is much more circumspect about that “work at hand”  that took them to Cheltenham in the first place.  The best clue likely lies in the fact that after the war, Cheltenham became the home of GCHG, the British Government Communications Headquarters.  Knowing that, I asked O’Riley once if Dr. Brown was performing some kind of service there with regard to ‘the set,’ or some form of what we sometimes refer to as “gravitational communications.”  I don’t know how far off the mark the question was, but the answer is interesting:

I can’t say much… but I can say that Dr. Brown developed a listening device at Cheltenham that was far superior. It caused quite a stir, especially the way he sort of just "whipped it out there" full-grown.  And [the British] held on to it as long as [they] could to clean up [their] own backyard. Then the Americans finally made a deal with Dr. Brown to follow his "tunnel diode" ideas with submarines out of Florida. He figured that it was an important "second step" and that he figured was worth having that sort of wherewithal — as he put it — behind him.
He had not been happy with the [American] military up to that point. He was still very miffed over the situation stemming from the break in security at Pearl. In fact, he had his doubts about the loyalty of some very high officials. And he was absolutely right.
Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't but all in all I think we gained precious time by just getting the hell out there. He got very good at looking over our shoulders as we worked, sometimes not in the most comfortable of situations. But with his help we identified and shut down some direct links with Moscow. After that we started going after stuff that they had, not only shutting down their communications.

That last statement sounded to me like the “smoking bolt" operations that Morgan had referred to in his earlier messages to me.  I pressed O’Riley further, asking if there might be any details I could find in open source material. 

“I doubt it,” O’Riley answered. “The object was to not  leave a trail…”

* * *

There were only two more stops on the itinerary in England.

One stop was in Portsmouth, on the south coast, to the harbor where the Royal Navy frogman Lionel Crabb disappeared a few weeks later, after allegedly diving into the harbor to inspect the hull of a certain Russian cruiser. 

On March 29th, Townsend Brown arrived in Southampton.  In the shops there he purchased two Hermes scarves — one decorated with horses for Linda, the other for Helen — and a purse for Josephine. Inside the purse, he hid a bottle of fine perfume and a pair of pearl earrings.

Souvenirs and gifts in hand, he boarded the French liner Liberté and sailed home to America.

*Despite Dr. Brown’s statement here to the contrary, there may be an earlier set of notebooks.  I have corresponded with an individual who tells me that Dr. Brown gave him a set of notebooks from the 1930s, to preserve them for future scholarly endeavors.  Though it would seem reasonable that such a bequest would include research for an authorized biography of Townsend Brown, the individual who professes to be the steward of these notebooks has shown little interest in retrieving them from his personal archives or making them available for the purpose of this effort.  If indeed these notebooks exist, they remain locked up somewhere in California. [return to text]


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