Author Topic: CooperCon 2021  (Read 16594 times)

Offline Robert99

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #225 on: November 11, 2021, 04:41:59 PM »
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I just posted a blurb on CC21 at the Mountain News, including the schedule:

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Bruce, the times for the events don't check out on your link.
 

Offline Robert99

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #226 on: November 11, 2021, 04:54:54 PM »
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The latest from Doug Perry at the Oregonian:


D.B. Cooper at 50: Push to Solve Case Gains Steam, But Much About Famous Skyjacking Remains a Mystery

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Bruce, on the same Chronline link is a story about a 15-year-old boy who disappeared in Oregon about 1986.  His body was found without identification within a few months but his family had never reported him missing.  So the case went cold and he was only identified recently through DNA when his daughter, who he didn't know existed and had been given up for adoption at birth, started looking for his birth family and joined forces with Ce Ce Moore and the Parabon organization and worked with Oregon cold case detectives to make the DNA match.

The moral here is that there is a good chance that Cooper was never reported as missing even if he died in the jump.  So searching through missing persons records in the Cooper case may not be productive. 
 
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Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #227 on: November 11, 2021, 10:56:53 PM »
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I just posted a blurb on CC21 at the Mountain News, including the schedule:

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Bruce, the times for the events don't check out on your link.

I'll check.
 

Offline EU

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #228 on: November 12, 2021, 02:31:00 PM »
 New today about CooperCon.

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Some men see things as they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

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Offline Dfs346

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #229 on: November 15, 2021, 11:12:37 AM »
Here's Dan Gryder's latest YouTube video in the "D. B. Cooper" series
 

Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #230 on: November 15, 2021, 03:35:47 PM »
CC21 in the News

This just in from the Vancouver Columbian, written by Scott Hewitt.

 
The D.B. Cooper Vortex: Skyjacker Now Part of Northwest Culture
 
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2021 9:50 am
IF YOU GO:
What: CooperCon 2021
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 20-21, plus evening socials
Where: Kiggins Theatre, 1011 Main St., Vancouver
Tickets: $20 for two-day pass
On the web: coopercon2021.com
Scott Hewitt / The Columbian

Fifty years ago, on the night before Thanksgiving, a skyjacker claiming to carry a bomb in a briefcase seized a Boeing 727 en route from Portland to Seattle.

When the plane landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, officials scrambled to meet the well-dressed skyjacker's sophisticated demands for multiple parachutes and $200,000 in ransom money. He let passengers go and forced the flight crew to take off and head south again. He bailed out somewhere over Southwest Washington.

He was never seen again, dead or alive, despite decades of investigation by the FBI — and by legions of amateur sleuths and mystery junkies who find the enigma known as D.B. Cooper simply irresistible. Cooper's astonishing escapade ranks with Bigfoot in the hall of fame of Pacific Northwest myths and oddities.

"It's one unpeeled layer of onion skin after another," said Bruce Smith, a Washington journalist who has written a book about the skyjacking. "There's something exciting and stimulating and scary about the D.B. Cooper case. There's something timeless about it."

D.B. H.Q.
Next weekend, the Kiggins Theatre will welcome Smith and other Cooperologists — self-appointed investigators and authors, parachute experts and pilots, eyewitnesses and their descendants, Hollywood wannabes and just plain conspiracy theorists — for a 50th anniversary, expanded, two-day edition of the annual gathering known as CooperCon.

Participants will comb through evidence, theories and possible suspects as well as the rich folklore that's grown up around the endless Cooper case. And then they'll go out for beers at Vancouver's own Cooper-themed brewpub.

"I am trying to make Vancouver D.B. Cooper headquarters," said Kiggins owner Dan Wyatt, who was born two years after the skyjacking.

Cooper is woven into his family's story: Wyatt's mother-to-be was waiting to catch a flight out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Nov. 24, 1971, so she could go visit her future husband, Dan's father-to-be, when the airport went haywire.

"I can't remember not knowing about D.B. Cooper," Wyatt said.

Guilty pleasure
The FBI closed the case on its only unsolved skyjacking in 2016, but Cooperologists aren't letting the mystery go.

CooperCon founder Eric Ulis, an Arizona resident, visits Clark County frequently to hunt for evidence of Cooper.

"I'm not prone to conspiracies," he said. "I'm not interested in the fantastical or emotional. I'm interested in facts."

Ulis said he discovered the mystery when he was a kid in the late 1970s via "In Search of ...," the Leonard Nimoy TV series that probed murky matters like ancient alien visits and the curse of Tutankhamun's tomb.

"I just got curious when new bits of information popped up," said Ulis, who calls himself an entrepreneur and professional gambler. He has run for Congress, unsuccessfully, as both a Democrat and a Republican.

The longer he followed the Cooper case, Ulis said, the more conspiratorial and outlandish the theories seemed to grow. Thanks to the arrival of the Internet, he started to work the case himself.

"What the heck, maybe I can solve this thing," he thought. He became a frequent writer about Cooper and about what he considers flaws in the FBI investigation, especially after all of the agency's Cooper case files were released to the public in 2016.

"It was a guilty pleasure at first, but it took on a life of its own," said Ulis, who has appeared on several History Channel shows about Cooper and was the focus of the two-hour 2020 documentary "The Final Hunt for D.B. Cooper" on "History's Greatest Mysteries."

Ulis has found a niche delving into prolonged puzzles like the Bermuda Triangle and the JFK assassination.

"I'm involved in larger TV projects and series in the same genre," he said. "This is what I do."

Cooper country
Bruce Smith calls Ulis "the P.T. Barnum of the D.B. Cooper scene, and I mean that in every sense: part showman and hustler, part very good producer who gets things done. The breadth and depth of his expertise about the Cooper case is extraordinary."

Smith, who lives near Mount Rainier, used to write for the Eatonville Dispatch, whose editors and readers were hungry for D.B. Cooper stories.

"Everybody in this area's got a Cooper story or a Cooper opinion," Smith said. "We consider this Cooper country because he flew over here."

Like Ulis, Smith became convinced that the FBI investigation was overly bureaucratized and simply sloppy. Laid off from his paper, Smith started his own local newsletter and looked deep into the Cooper case — and into the no-holds-barred conversations and conspiracies about Cooper that thrive online.

That's another, vaster, stranger dimension of Cooper country.

"There are people who argue about this stuff online, 24 hours a day," CooperCon emcee Darren Schaefer said.

Schaefer grew up in Woodland and became "riveted" by the growing torrent of TV exposés and sleuthing books about Cooper, he said. Dissatisfied with too-short podcasts, Schaefer started his own hours-long show that goes both wide and deep, he said.

"My goal is to collect all the theories and speculation in one place," said Schaefer, now based in Colorado. "I've done 57 episodes."

Cooper choir
The parachuting Cooper is believed to have landed northeast of Battle Ground, or perhaps closer to Washougal. Either way, rural Clark County embraced the stranger as a matter of local pride.
"The Ariel Store with their D.B. Cooper Day — that was Cooper central for years and years," said Schaefer, who loved attending the "straight-up party" that never got too serious about solving crimes or identifying bad guys.

Cooperologists still mourn the closing of the Ariel Store and Tavern, but since then, Victor 23 Craft Brewery opened on St. Johns Boulevard in Vancouver. Victor 23 is the name of the flight path that Cooper's skyjacked jet reportedly followed south out of Seattle and over Clark County.

"It just sounds super-cool. No one else is going to have a name like that," said owner Bryan Ward, who wanted his business to have a strong local connection and personality.

Thanks to that name, Ward's pub has become a favorite of local pilots and cabin crews on layover, he said. Some of the old-timers like posing beside the wall mural of a Boeing 727, "an iconic plane for its time," said Ward, who is also a pilot.

CooperCon attendees always flock to Victor 23 afterward to continue their discussions over food and drink. Ward himself, while interested in the Cooper mystery, doesn't get involved in debates.

"I stand back and I'm happy to sell them beers," he said. "I don't need to solve it; it's just something that happened in our community that we can remember and celebrate."

"People bring guitars and sing their songs about D.B. Cooper," Smith said. "And the Cooper choir sings along. Yeah, even me. A couple beers and I get pretty bold."

While it's all meant in the spirit of real inquiry — and good fun — Smith added that there is a dark side to the Cooper universe, which does attract some extreme people.

"I watch my back," Smith said.

Keep digging
A few days after CooperCon, Ulis intends to return to Tena Bar, a private beach downriver from Vancouver and Frenchman's Bar, and shovel up the sand.

Tena Bar is where three bundles of tattered $20 bills — nearly $6,000 in all — were discovered in 1980 by a kid named Brian Ingram. (The grown-up Ingram is scheduled to speak at CooperCon.) The money was positively linked to Cooper.

"I believe (Cooper) buried it all in two or three small holes," Ulis said. "It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the missing parachute and the missing attache case were there all along, within about 20 or 30 feet of where the FBI looked."

When Ulis goes digging, he'll be joined by Vancouver businessman Robert Bertrand, an aspiring screenwriter, actor and passionate Cooperologist.

"You have to have boots on the ground," Bertrand said, "and you also have to have people talking to their grandparents, going through their old junk, checking those old $20 bills."

Beyond good business, that's a chief reason why Bertrand decided on an "Operation: D.B. Cooper" challenge when he launched his NW Escape Experience business in Hazel Dell: to remind customers about this real, unsolved case.

"It's important to build a fun room for families, but I also wanted to keep the Cooper story alive in their minds," Bertrand said. "The only way the riddle will be solved is by people staying interested in the story."

Epic tales
Bertrand said he learned the name D.B. Cooper from one of his mother's dare-to-believe-it supermarket tabloids. "'D.B. Cooper was my father' — something like that," he said with a chuckle.
"It's a local story, a local mystery that never got solved, and I just fell in love with it," Bertrand said. "I spent a year researching the story and got heavily embedded in the D.B. Cooper investigation community."

The aspiring screenwriter has penned what he calls an "epic" D.B. Cooper movie screenplay, "The Sky Way."

"A movie has never been made that's faithful to the story," said Bertrand. "My D.B. Cooper script ... is told in real time from the moment he boards the plane to the moment he jumps."
Bertrand's script focuses less on Cooper himself than on the forgotten folks who handled him with anxious care, he said.

"Cooper is not the hero of the story," Bertrand said. "To me, that's Tina Mucklow, the flight attendant who kept the situation cool, calm and collected. She was the intermediary between Cooper, the cockpit and the FBI. The situation could have gone a million different ways, but she kept it under control."

The media-shy Mucklow eventually dropped out of view and became a nun, disappearing into a monastery for a decade. That had nothing to do with the skyjacking, she recently insisted in an interview with Rolling Stone. Those comments only inflamed some Cooperologists' suspicions about her long stretch of silence.

Much D.B. Cooper folklore has been spun by popular media. About a decade ago, Vancouver was abuzz about actor Timothy Hutton and a film crew slipping through downtown to film a D.B. Cooper-flashback episode of the crime series "Leverage." "Loki," a new Disney+ series, unmasks Cooper as the actual God of Mischief, escaping from that airplane by magic.

Cooper has also popped up on shows like "Prison Break," "Drunk History" and "Cheers." Somewhere out there lurks a terribly reviewed 2014 film called "Bigfoot vs. D.B. Cooper."

"D.B. Cooper is part of the Pacific Northwest zeitgeist," Smith said. "This is our story."

Too much fun
The FBI is having none of the hero worship. Ralph Himmelsbach, the agent most closely associated with the case, famously called Cooper a "rotten, sleazy crook." But all the Cooperphiles interviewed for this story admire the way their antihero reportedly behaved like a gentleman and harmed no one — except powerful institutions like banks, insurance companies and airlines.

"He's drinking bourbon, he's very polite, and then he jumps out of the back of an airplane. What's more James Bond than that?" Ulis said. "That was at a time in American life when authority was being called into question, so somebody who sticks it to the man — you can see how people would be rooting for this guy to get away with it."

Bertrand echoed that sentiment. "What a rock-and-roll move, to lower those stairs and jump into the abyss," he said. "It's the most intriguing crime story I've ever heard of. Once you dip your toe, you get sucked right in because there are so many details and so many theories.

"We call it the Cooper Vortex," Bertrand said. "We've got people researching wind speeds and directions. We've got people digging up the beach. These are normal, everyday people who get hooked on this story because it's so strange and wonderful."

Ulis thinks Cooper, likely a disgruntled aerospace-industry employee, may still be alive and keeping quiet.

"I don't want to lose sight of the fact that he still might be identified," Ulis said.
Smith believes Cooper will be identified within a few years, thanks either to improving scientific techniques or to the "remote psychic sleuthing" that's already secretly employed by military and intelligence agencies, he said.

Wyatt said he hopes the mystery is never solved because it's too much fun.

If there ever is a solution, it will only send Cooperologists into "a deeper frenzy" of questions and counter-theories, Shaefer said.

"It's been 50 years, and there's no end in sight," Bertrand said. "Welcome to the vortex."
 

Offline andrade1812

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #231 on: November 15, 2021, 09:49:33 PM »
I'm prepping for Cooper Con and have some last minute questions. Among the copycats, how did they get caught? I know McCoy was pegged as Provo's top suspect even before he landed and that Heady was caught at his car. How did McNally get caught? How (or at least why) did Hahnemann get caught?
 

Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #232 on: November 16, 2021, 01:10:09 AM »
1. McNally got turned in by a buddy in Detroit.
2. Hahneman surrendered to American authorities in Tegucigalpa a month after his skyjacking. His money was returned a year later from a back account in the Philippines.

Others:
3. Paul Cini - crew physically restrained him in flight.
4. Everett Holt - captured on the ground
5. Hurst - captured on the ground
6. La Point - captured by Sheriffs in a Coloradan pasture in the snow
7. Spreck - captured on the ground
8. Lomas - killed by Ecuadorian commandos after a six hour stand-off.
9. Carre - captured on the ground
10. Goodell - captured on the ground.
11. Fisher - captured on the ground.
 

Offline Dfs346

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #233 on: November 18, 2021, 07:40:31 AM »
Latest in Dan Gryder's "D. B. Cooper" series
 

Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #234 on: November 18, 2021, 10:02:54 PM »
I'm heading to CooperCon on Friday, leaving Eatonville at about 1 pm and arriving in the 'Couve about 3-4 depending on traffic. See y'all at Von Eberts in the evening.

As for the rendezvous at the Oyster Bar in Portland, it might have to wait until another time.

I'm arriving with books from Marty, Dana/Lynn's The Man in Seat 18E,, and my own 3rd Edition. Eric is coming in with Tee shirts. I'm assuming the Formans will be bringing a ton o' books on Barb. Plus, there's an author from Portland with a fiction work on Cooper. The merch table is gonna be hopping.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2021, 10:04:55 PM by Bruce A. Smith »
 

Offline Dfs346

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #235 on: November 22, 2021, 08:02:25 AM »
 
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Offline DBfan57

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #236 on: November 22, 2021, 01:17:34 PM »
So are we going to get any video like speech's from the big event?  Or not?
 

Offline Darren

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #237 on: November 22, 2021, 07:14:36 PM »
CooperCon was so great great this year. A big thanks to Eric Ulis and Mark Meltzer for putting together such a great event. I had such a great time, and everyone was so cool and friendly. Hanging out with Marty, Dave, Eric, Nicky, Mark, Tom, Dan, Bruce, Marla, Lisa, Cathleen, Bill Mitchell, Cliff Ammerman, Ben, and all the guests was an absolute blast.

I spoke to people that came from Manchester England, Chicago, CDL, Montana and Denver. We had about 200 people show up on Saturday and I’d say like 90ish Sunday. It was so much fun. I’m taking off from PDX now and I’m beat. Too much booze last night. I’ll have more to report later but I have nothing bad to say. If you weren’t there you missed out.

The Cooper Vortex - A Podcast about DB Cooper - Available on most podcast apps
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Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #238 on: November 22, 2021, 07:35:59 PM »
Add in Ohio, DC, Minnesota, and Maryland.
 

Offline EU

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Re: CooperCon 2021
« Reply #239 on: November 22, 2021, 08:45:22 PM »
A big thanks to all who contributed to CC21. It was by far the largest turnout yet. In fact, we sold precisely 200 tickets, plus had another 20 that were gratis. The 220 attendees exceeds 2019’s attendance by more than double.

Most importantly, everyone loved it. It was a quality event the entire two days.

I’m already looking forward to CooperCon 2022.

Cheers!
Some men see things as they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

RFK