1952-1955 Ararat Account
At age 27, William Todd, was a Photographer's Mate Chief who joined
the U.S. Navy on June 24th 1944 and retired after 21 years in 1965. The Navy Hydrographic
Office from Washington, D.C. and Army Map Service combined with the Turkish Air Force in
Diyarbakir to give the first accurate mapping of Turkey working. Todd's account is another
aerial sighting with some amazing claims about photographing the ark but without any
photographs. Note that 1952 was close to the same summer that George Greene claimed to see the ark.
My U.S. Navy unit V.J. 61 was attached to the Turkish Air Force in both Ismir and
Diyarbakir, Turkey. In Diyarbakir the dust and flies tested the spirit as the summer
temperatures reached 120 degrees. We were flying U.S. Naval AJ2P photographic-configured
Savage aircraft. Our coverage was three 6-inch focal length aerial cameras, mounted in a
trimetrogon mounting to ensure vertical 30-degree oblique. This is a standard
configuration for horizon to horizon coverage. We had a 6-inch focal length in the prime
vertical gyro stabilized mount. Our other prime vertical was a 12-inch focal length in a
static mount. The aircraft was the steadiest platform that the Armed Forces had at that
time. Along with the navigation I was also one of two camera repairmen on the detachment.
Our mapping altitude was 30,000 feet (true altitude) and remained the same for four years
to get a 1:30,000 ratio. I won't go in detail about confirming "true altitude"
over "indicated altitude" at this time, but I will add that daily flights must
use true altitude or the flight lines will not match when laid as a mosaic. In order to
re-set their altimeters perfectly, we would fly our AJ2P aircraft over the Black Sea
otherwise our true altitude was typically off some.
Between 1951 and 1955, the Navy was in charge of mapping the entire
nation of Turkey because most of Turkey's maps were outdated and incorrect. We mapped over
the borders up to 250 miles. Since there were no markings on our aircraft because we
didn't want the U.S.S.R. or Iran to know that we were U.S. airplanes, it was dangerous to
fly into other countries' airspace but we did it anyway.
That afternoon we spotted the anomaly while we were descending to
Diyarbakir. It was interesting and we had plenty of fuel, so we descended and took a long
look-see. When we flew over the summit, we noticed an object above the gorge (their maps
did not have the name Ahora on it at that time) sticking out of the ice at a true altitude
of 14,500 to 16,000 feet. The very thought of the ark would have been ridiculous, as there
was no reason to believe that it existed to modern times. But there appeared this
structure lying on a little shelf protruding from ice and snow. At the base were snow
patches and large to small rocks. The upper part had me additions that looked like a
railing or a roof that was in extreme disrepair. The color was about the same as the
We witnessed the structure from about 2,000 feet above the object.
However, once it was spotted, we flew around the mountain numerous times along the side of
the object. It was a rectangular, slate-colored boat that we all claimed was Noah's Ark.
The object appeared to be of huge size and was filled with ice and snow. In this anomaly
it looked like a craft of some sort. The ground around the structure was broken up and ice
was all around the area. As a Naval Chief Petty Officer, it did not look like a typical
boat and was completely out of place. It appeared more like a barge.
I shot one roll of aerial film 400 feet long by 9 inches wide. Since
we want ed to use all the film, we had to make a number of passes. We proceeded to
Diyarbakir where I personally processed the film and made prints. In the Navy it's said if
you need to do something of extreme importance, "Process it yourself."
Otherwise, some else invariably causes a mishap and ruins the film.
Windows on top of the structure ran all the way from the ice to the
bow. About 35 feet of the structure was sticking out of the ice. Since we were
professional photographers, we measured the photos to determine the width and length of
the object using the formula Scale = Focal Length / (12 * Altitude). It turned out to be
exactly 75 feet wide by 45 feet high using an 18-inch cubit. When we found that it
precisely matched Genesis, we were running around with chills down their back.
I noted that the Tigris River was running high that year because of
the extreme heat melting snow in the mountains. After a few months, I gave my photos to my
Baptist minister (perhaps named Grant?) in Sanford, Florida who kept them and then died.
Later attempts to get them back were never successful. The Naval Photographic Science
Center Archives in Washington D.C. should have the negatives but claim that they could not
find them. We gave four or five copies of the pictures to all of our crew. The whole
squadron of six mapping planes was abuzz about Noah's Ark and everyday some plane
"accidentally" went by Ararat to see it. You practically needed a control tower
around Ararat that summer. After seeing the photos, we were convinced that the
structure was Noah's Ark.
Others in my group who were eyewitnesses included an Uncle Joe
Gorsky (a retired U.S. Naval pilot and commander of Russian decent who spent time in
Guam), Ensign Glacow (navigator who later flew for United Airlines and supposedly found
several million dollars of gold in the Amazon River mud), Mr. Trent and Mr. Finkbiner who
were stationed for a time in Sanford, Florida. I have lost track of them all. I am
confident that the set of photos still exist if we could just track them down. I highly
regret my having given them to my minister.
Although I have read Bill Shea's articles and have conversed with
James Irwin, Barry Setterfield, and John McIntosh, I have attempted to write this without
being influenced by their views.
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- MOUNT ARARAT