MY LIFE WITH DB COOPER
The particulars of D.B. Cooper's clever airborne crime and daredevil getaway have been pondered, picked over and recapitulated for more than three decades now. In 1971, D.B. Cooper hijacked and threatened to blow up an airliner. He demanded $200,000 dollars and while flying over southern Washington he bailed out of the back of a Northwest Airlines plane a 10,000 feet
The case remains unsolved 40 years later, and D. B. Cooper has become the paranormal legend of crime, evading one of the most extensive and expensive American manhunts of the 20th century. The whereabouts of the man (or his remains) is one of the great crime mysteries of our time.
The D.B. Cooper case for me has always been one of those mysteries that sat on the back shelf. It was always one of those stories that lost its flavor after many years of dead ends and people who could just out of the blue claim that they are D.B. Cooper or have a friend of a friend that is the infamous Hijacker. No one can imagine the shock that you get when you find out that one of your old friends, one of your mentors is named as a suspect in the case.
That happened to me one Saturday morning as I was having coffee with my friend Jonathan Burgess. I was still recovering from my bout with Cancer and sipping coffee at the Ross Island grocery, when Burgess was talking about D.B. Cooper. I was thinking, there was a name in History I hadn’t heard about since I was a young radio producer at a gospel station in Bountiful Utah.
D.B. Cooper was a mystery that was big in Utah because one of the alleged suspects Richard McCoy was nicknamed “the real McCoy and was said to be the real D.B. Cooper. McCoy. McCoy was a hijacker who was a Brigham young University student, he also taught Sunday school and for the longest time seemed to be the one who everyone said was the infamous Hijacker. McCoy was shot and killed in a gunfight. McCoy was later dismissed as a suspect in the DB Cooper case because of an alibi saying he was with his family that day of the hijacking.
Drinking coffee and hearing about a new suspect in the case I was skeptical. Burgess insisted that the new D.B. Cooper suspect was air tight and that I should contact the investigator Galen Cook and ask for an interview for my online Ground Zero presentations.
I turned on my computer and did a search for Galen Cook and found that he had appeared on Coast to Coast AM. The site had a link to pictures of the suspect and that Cook was going to reveal the name of the suspect on the show at a later date. As I looked at the pictures I realized that he didn’t have to reveal anything to me. I knew the man in the pictures and as my mouth had dropped I immediately yelled in the coffee shop – “Wolfgang Gossett.” I said it again “Wolfgang Gossett – this guy is Wolfgang Gossett—Oh My god—HE IS D.B. COOPER I KNEW IT!
Jonathan looked at me and said “Who is Wolfgang Gossett? His name is Bill.”
I said --- “NO! This guy is an old friend of mine, an old mentor—he is the reason why I do a paranormal show—this guy is or was a priest who investigated the paranormal and did a radio show at KCGL 106 FM in Bountiful UTAH!”
There was more I told him. I also went on all kinds of adventures with him, we would eat cheeseburgers together at Dees and he would investigate ghosts, reports of demons, he even taught a class on how to investigate the paranormal at East High school in the 1980’s. I was so overwhelmed because he was the reason I decided to do Ground Zero—I did it because Wolfgang Gossett did a show about the paranormal and inspired me to do the same thing.
I dug through the internet to try and find contact Information for Galen Cook. I wrote him an e-mail and the first thing I wrote were the words “Wolfgang Gossett—I knew him—I know a lot about him – you need any information – I have it!”
I then made an attempt to contact an old friend of mine Steve Stay. Stay was the guy I worked with at KBBX- KCGL. I was an Intern for his radio show and it was there I met Wolfgang Gossett.
I couldn’t reach him but I left a message at his son’s house to have him call me. I hadn’t spoken with Steve since I was in High school.
He finally rang me back,
I said “Steve I know we haven’t spoken in a while – but I had to call. You wouldn’t guess who I have been talking to.” I told him that I was in contact with a private investigator with the D.B. Cooper case. I said ‘You would never guess in a million years who they just named as a suspect in the D.B Cooper case. Steve paused and said “Not Wolfgang Gossett.” I said “YES! Can you believe it?” And he said that with Wolfgang anything was possible. We both were in agreement that if anyone were to be the real D.B. Cooper it would have to be Wolfgang.
It was such a shock and yet it all made sense. Gossett at the time I knew him was a man of mystery. He reminded me of an old wizard. He had a white goatee and white hair always had a story to tell and always involved with some strange adventures. He was known as Utah’s chief ghost buster and would go out on calls of hauntings in Utah. He wore a priest’s collar, and he always told me that he was an Antioch catholic priest. He hosted a paranormal radio show on KCGL.
During my tenure as a broadcasting student I was able to Interview Gossett about the paranormal and ghost busting. We had also interviewed several religious leaders in my community about the paranormal and their opinion on the occult. One of the interviews was with Mormon Bishop Lynn G. Kenley who cast a dark eye on the practice of investigating such things. Kenley worked with Gossett at the time ( something that I thought was major coincidence) . Both were juvenile councilors for Davis County. Kenley was also a neighbor and warned me not to get to close to Gossett because he believed he had some ties to some shady people. During one of our conversations I had asked Gossett if he had shady ties to anything. He had told me about how he had a military background as a paratrooper. He also was a public defender investigator in Ogden Utah and was well acquainted with the notorious Hi-fi Killer case. He also was tied to the FBI investigation into the Bhagwan Rajneesh. I saw Gossett as a harmless old man with a wild streak in him, He was flirtatious and a gentleman. He didn’t strike me as being even close pious as a priest. He was an undercover smoker, and was friendly to a lot of people he came in contact with.
One day after his paranormal show I had told him I was going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. He said to me that he fancied himself as a psychic and said that I wouldn’t go on my mission. He said that something would go wrong with my health and that I wouldn’t be able to go. When I got my calling to Argentina he said:”Well you got your papers to
Argentina—hmmm I said that your health would keep you from going but now I see that it is your health that will keep you from going to Argentina. I then asked where I would end up and he told me Seattle Washington or Hawaii.
I went on my mission, he wished me well.
Three months into my mission in Buenos Aries, I developed a painful cyst in my upper back that required surgery. The surgery required me to stay at the mission home. It was advantageous because I was able to teach the family Spanish and entertain the children who arrived with the Mission president’s family. I was having complications with my healing and the doctors and the Mormon leaders called me in for a meeting. They said to me that due health reasons I had my choice of either serving a health mission in Seattle or in the warmer climate of Hawaii. I had expressed them that I preferred to remain in Argentina because I expressed to them my concerns about Gossett’s predictions. I had remembered the advice of Lynn Kenley and thought that perhaps Gossett was practicing comes psychic occult scrying.
Being a Mormon and having the devil drilled into your head made you wonder if the Priest that I knew was not a priest bust someone else entirely, someone that has ties to some darker practices.
I came back to Salt Lake City after serving a full mission. I started to fall away from the church and was excommunicated a year after my return. I contacted Wolfgang again to tell him about my experience and he agreed to meet with me. He was excited to see me and told me that he had just returned from an investigation he was making this outrageous claim that somewhere out in Duchesne Utah, in The Uinta basin was a time portal. He presented to me an aged coin and said to me that he couldn’t believe how clean it was and that the coin was from somewhere other than earth.
Again I was always amazed at some of the experiences that he was sharing with me. He always sent my imagination reeling and every time there was something new he would talk with me about. If there was anything about Bigfoot, time dimensional doorways, the JFK assassination or even DB Cooper, he always could run with that information and keep me entertained.
I ended up getting married and lost track of Wolfgang. The radio station KCGL became a modern Rock station. It wasn’t until 1995 that I ended up with my own paranormal show Ground Zero.
I investigated various cases as the host of my own Paranormal show and it wasn’t until a year later that I was hearing of strange UFO activity happening in the Uinta basin – I contacted Mildred Beasley of MUFON Utah and asked her about the situation and she told me that there are only two people in the state that know of paranormal activity in that area, Frank Salisbury and William Gossett. It didn’t even hit me that William Gossett was Wolfgang until she gave me his phone number and when he answered I heard a familiar voice.
He was a guest on my show with Frank Salisbury where they talked about UFO’s and time portals over the Uinta basin and the area near a bluff where Wolfgang found his coin.
The UFO activity in the basin turned into a Deseret news investigation into the “Sherman Ranch” – a ranch that was situated beneath a bluff or mesa in the Fort Duchesne area. Dan Sherman was a farmer who claimed that he was seeing large portals of light opening up on his ranch, UFO landings, large muscular black men roaming the area and upright walking wolves. The ranch was later called the “Skinwalker ranch” after it was purchased by Robert Bigelow of the national Institute of Discovery Science.
It was Gossett who knew of the portals and he had discussed them with me years prior to the commotion and reports that were filed in the newspaper and later in a book by reporter George Knapp.
I moved to Oregon in the summer of 1999 to take my show Ground Zero to the national stage. Never heard anything about Gossett again, not until I was told he was the suspect in the DB Cooper case.
After I was notified of the situation, I finally met up with Galen Cook, the chief investigator in the case. Cook told me about Gossett and we caught up on what happened to him after I left Utah.
He told me that Gossett moved to Depoe bay Oregon about the same time I left Utah. Cook also told me that by some strange coincidence his Widow lived about 10 blocks away from my home in SW Portland. He also told me that I lived 20 minutes from Cooper’s alleged landing site.
It was then I realized that the DB Cooper case was somehow the case that drew me to the Northwest. Cook came to Oregon and as I was recovering from my cancer surgeries. I was able to go on an investigation at the place where some of the money of Cooper’s was recovered. A group of Ground Zero lounge supporters Galen Cook and myself went out with “Team Tosaw” to an area known as Tina’s bar on the shores of the Columbia river.
It was there that I came to the conclusion that perhaps the official investigation carried out by the FBI was flawed and that Cooper didn’t land in Ariel Washington.
I believed that if he jumped somewhere over Battleground Washington on a stormy November night, the winds from the Columbia River gorge would have blown him west. I believe that Wolfgang Gossett jumped from the Northwest plane into history and landed in St. Johns Oregon. I theorize that he ditched his parachute and flagged down a truck or car and hitched a ride to the Port of Portland then purchased a plane ticket and flew to Reno.
I have put together my own pictures and comparisons with the FBI photographs.
Galen Cook has prepared his investigation and is preparing a book on the subject. I just have my experiences with Gossett that bring back great memories. I told Galen when I met him that if anyone could be DB Cooper it would be Gossett. I prepared a presentation about Gossett and presented it to the public at Dante’s pub along with Cook and Gossett’s widow. She expressed that Gossett would have loved this. That this is what he would want to be remembered for. It was like a delayed wake for a man who died in 2003. I visited his grave at Willamette National Cemetery with my friend Jonathan. Since then I have attended D.B Cooper days in Ariel Washington. As I perused the names of the people in the registry who have attended the celebration, I was able to see the name of my old friend, ‘The reverend William “Wolfgang” Gossett. It was like his ghost was speaking to me saying ‘You’re on the right track.”
LISTEN TO THE SHOW!
Ground Zero 8.10.11 - Clyde interviews Galen Cook and reveals he knew William "Wolfgang" Gossett! This was an amazing show!
(Originally Published 2011/08/11)