The Five Biggest Myths About AB of Seattle’s Investigation of the D.B. Cooper Case

blastcoverfrontMYTH:  We’ve had all sorts of offers for the movie rights to Into The Blast, the book that looks at Kenny Christiansen as the famous skyjacker.

TRUTH:  There have only been TWO offers. The first came from an anonymous client of Paradigm, the rep agency in New York City. They merely asked if the rights were available. We said yes. Later, they revealed themselves as representing CBS Films, and made a modest five-figure offer for the movie rights to Christiansen’s story. When they warned us that they planned to take ‘serious liberties’ with Kenny’s life story, and that some portions of the film might be ‘comedic,’ we turned down the offer. Soon afterward, CBS Films purchased the rights to author Geoffrey Gray’s book Skyjack, but later sold the rights to director Will Gluck’s (Friends With Benefits, Annie) production company.

The second, and only other offer, came from a film company in the Los Angeles area who had been researching the Cooper case for over a year, including visits to the biggest website on Cooper, the famous ‘DB Cooper Forum’. After some negotiations that included a certain amount of control over the script, we signed with them on January 23, 2017. Exactly one year later, since production shooting had not yet begun on the movie, they extended the option for an additional year. We are told that a third extension will almost certainly not be needed, since they are close to a partnership deal with another studio to do the picture. On a side note, we also provided the production company unlimited access to all public and confidential files collected during our seven-year investigation into Kenny Christiansen. Due to a confidentiality agreement we signed with the company, we are not allowed to reveal their name until they go public with a film announcement first.

shruggingMYTH: Adventure Books has hosted multiple online forums, which were closed down due to Terms of Service violations.

TRUTH: There is actually some truth in this one. We hosted two previous forums, and yes, both of them were shut down for Terms of Service violations. These violations stemmed from our responses to lies being told about us, and personal attacks being done, at another website discussing the Cooper case. Our newest forum has a policy of ignoring comments made by the other site, and we no longer discuss them there, even though they continue to bait us to the present day with hateful and insulting comments.

MYTH: Some of the witness testimony against Kenny Christiansen was simply ‘made up’ by the staff of Adventure Books.

TRUTH: All witness testimony is properly sourced by providing the true names of these witnesses, their locations, the dates of interviews, and are backed up by extensive notes and photographs. These files take up two large sets of drawers in our main office.

MYTH: Kenny Christiansen’s brother, Lyle Christiansen, was just trying to sell movie companies on the idea of a film about his brother, and really didn’t think he was the hijacker. He simply wanted to ‘cash in’ on Kenny’s story.

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One of many cartoons created over the years by Robert Blevins of Adventure Books regarding the hijacking.

TRUTH: Lyle Christiansen, a retired postal worker, was already about eighty years old when he came forward about his brother. He has actively participated in the investigation into Kenny, providing extensive documents, letters, and photographs. Later, on behalf of his family and for the estate of Kenny Christiansen, he signed a full release allowing the film company to tell his brother’s story – without being paid a dime. He has said that if Kenny’s story were made into a motion picture, that this would result in the truth at last. (We agree with him completely) On a side note, the family of the alleged accomplice, Bernie Geestman, has refused any money to disclose ‘Uncle Bernie’s’ role in the hijacking. Much of their testimony has been kept confidential for the upcoming movie.

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Adventure Books of Seattle and the D.B. Cooper Case – UPDATES

From Robert M. Blevins, managing editor, Adventure Books of Seattle –

Some brief updates regarding our investigation into the famous ‘D.B. Cooper’ case, as well as the upcoming film about the life of Cooper suspect Kenny Christiansen:

All further updates regarding Christiansen, the Cooper case, the movie, etc will be posted here, or at our main website at Adventure Books.

Continue reading “Adventure Books of Seattle and the D.B. Cooper Case – UPDATES”

D.B. Cooper -The Bomb and What the FBI Withheld on it

no6-a-cells-x4When the F.B.I. or any law enforcement agency investigates a major crime, one of the things they do is to hold back a known fact or two from the public. They do this to weed out false confessors to the crime, or to eliminate (or confirm) suspects. The D.B. Cooper hijacking case was no different. It has recently come to light that the F.B.I. decided to hold back a key bit of evidence about the bomb the hijacker used to force Northwest Airlines to hand over $200,000 in cash and four parachutes.

Over the last forty-six years, only four things have ever been revealed about the bomb itself. First, that it was housed in a briefcase. Second, that there was a battery inside similar to the one in the picture. Third, that there were wires attached to both the battery and the bomb. Fourth, that the bomb was composed of red sticks. This last bit originated from stewardess Florence Schaffner, who was allowed a quick glance inside the briefcase. Schaffner was passed a note from the hijacker shortly after takeoff from Portland, OR that read:

Miss. I have a bomb here and I would like you to sit by me.

As soon as Schaffner did as she was told, the hijacker opened the briefcase for a quick moment. She later told the flight crew what she saw. Red sticks, lots of wires, and a battery bigger than one you would put into a flashlight. That’s been the story for several decades now, although FBI agent Ralph Himmelsbach has said occasionally that he was sure the bomb was phony because dynamite sticks are generally tan in color, and not red.

Red sticks. Could they have been road flares? The problem with road flares isn’t that they are red. It’s that they have an ignitor on one end, and a lot of instructions printed on the outside. Even a stewardess who only got a quick look would be able to tell the ‘dynamite’ was phony. So if they weren’t dynamite, and they weren’t road flares, then how could they pass for a real explosive? If the F.B.I. had even a clue that the bomb was a phony, they probably would have stormed Flight 305 right on the tarmac after it reached Seattle. But something created doubt in their minds about the whole thing, and somehow they assumed the bomb could be real, even if the alleged dynamite was the wrong color.

The answer was both simple – and a brilliant move by the hijacker. He not only fooled the F.B.I. and the flight crew, but the bomb itself had a purpose beyond just being a bomb.

It was a key part of the hijacker’s escape plan.
Continue reading “D.B. Cooper -The Bomb and What the FBI Withheld on it”

D.B. Cooper: Book on Christiansen Optioned for Feature Film

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Depending on your attitude or opinion on whether Ken Christiansen and Bernie Geestman were the actual perps in the D.B. Cooper hijacking, you might be ecstatic and wish us well…or hope I accidentally fall off a cliff on one of those camping trips to the Olympic Mountains I do occasionally. (We have our detractors, as well as our supporters.)

Yes, it’s true that a Los Angeles-based film production company has picked up the option for our book, Into The Blast – The True Story of D.B. Cooper. It’s the story of Kenny Christiansen, a former US Army paratrooper and an employee of the airline that was hijacked by Cooper. This doesn’t mean they will actually bring the book to market in a picture, of course. That remains to be seen. However, here’s how it all came about and where it’s going now –

About two weeks ago, I received an email from three people at the same time. They wanted to make sure any reply I made went to all of them. They told me they had been following me (and the investigation into KC) for quite a while and wondered whether the film rights to the book were still available. I said yes, but I also warned them that I wasn’t interested in doing a comedy on the Cooper story, or Kenny’s life, and that I had rejected a previous offer over that same point. (The inquiry by CBS Films, via their rep at Paradigm in New York City.)

The three men were execs from the LA film company, and came back with a message right away.

No, they said. They were not looking to do a comedy, but the first serious feature film on the DB Cooper case. And they wanted to name Kenny Christiansen as the hijacker, and present it not as a theory, but as historical fact. This surprised me, because I have stated many times for the record that I can’t be 100% sure Kenny and Bernie were the perps. Yes, I believe they are guilty as sin. Could I prove it today beyond a reasonable doubt? Maybe…if I had Bernie Geestman and a few other folks on a witness stand somewhere. Maybe.

Continue reading “D.B. Cooper: Book on Christiansen Optioned for Feature Film”

Less Than Zero: History Channel Lays an Egg With Their ‘DB Cooper – Case Closed?’ TV Special

tomandbillyLMNO Productions out of Encino, CA ran commercials for weeks on History Channel about their upcoming four-hour special on skyjacker ‘D.B. Cooper.’ The commercials hinted strongly that not only did they have a suspect who was alive, but they were certain he was the man who pulled off the only unsolved skyjacking in U.S. history. They bragged about using a team packed full of ex-FBI agents and crime reporters, including Billy Jensen, a well-known crime reporter out of New York. They said they had been secretly working on the case for five years, and that the four-hour special for History Channel was the result. For D.B. Cooper fans, the anticipation built to a fever pitch as the show neared its premiere date.

The show, D.B. Cooper – Case Closed? begins with a basic history of the hijacking, and then moves on to interviewing both civilian sleuths of the case, as well as actual witnesses. The show was presented in two-hour increments over two consecutive nights. About halfway through part one, the show finally announces their Main Suspect – Robert Wesley Rackstraw. They show a filmed interview with him that was shot in 1979, when Rackstraw was being questioned for an unrelated crime.

At that point the wheels began to fall off on the whole thing.

Continue reading “Less Than Zero: History Channel Lays an Egg With Their ‘DB Cooper – Case Closed?’ TV Special”

Life Imitates Art? REAL FBI Agents Raid TV Production Company Where EX-FBI Agents Were Researching Upcoming TV Special on ‘DB Cooper’ Hijacking Case

It’s a strange deal for sure, and the details are only slowly coming together. LMNO Productions, creators of content for cable television such as The Little People and Killer Confessions, put together a team to investigate a new suspect in the unsolved ‘D.B. Cooper’ hijacking. This team consisted of more than forty people, many of them ex-FBI agents and other Federal officers. They recently completed their work, and the end result was a four-hour special for History Channel that will premiere on Sunday, July 10th at 9PM-11PM, and conclude on Monday the 11th at 7PM-9PM. (All times Pacific) There is also a book on their investigation, which will be released in paperback and Kindle on July 12. The show is titled, D.B. Cooper – Case Solved?

However, in the last few weeks before the premiere, a complex situation arose that was so weird it could only have come from Bizarro World in a Superman comic. Continue reading “Life Imitates Art? REAL FBI Agents Raid TV Production Company Where EX-FBI Agents Were Researching Upcoming TV Special on ‘DB Cooper’ Hijacking Case”

‘If They Did It’ – A Demo Map on a Theory

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When confronted by History Channel researcher Marisa Kagan in 2010, Geestman tried telling her he hardly knew Kenny and thought he was a dishwasher. She sent him 20 photos of the men together spanning a 20-year period. He changed his story after that and agreed to come on the Brad Meltzer’s Decoded show.

While Flight 305 was on the ground at SeaTac Airport, hijacker ‘D.B. Cooper’ requested that the airstairs be left DOWN on takeoff. This was refused on the grounds of safety. The stairs would drag on the tarmac and possibly cause the jet to crash before it could even leave the ground. Here at Adventure Books of Seattle, we’ve always wondered WHY the hijacker wanted them left down. Seemed a bit premature, since he told everyone he wanted to go to Mexico, and there was going to be a refueling stop in Reno, NV along the way. The only good answers we could think of were that the hijacker didn’t plan to stay aboard the aircraft very long, and had no intention of trying for Mexico. And that he had a plan involving someone on the ground a little closer to home. The idea that he would try jumping from a jet at night without a ride home seems unlikely, unless he was planning to just stick his thumb out while packing a bank bag full of cash.

And…if Cooper had help somewhere on the ground…that both men would know where that help was waiting. And that this help would probably come via a payphone, which were virtually everywhere back in 1971. 

Now we do know a couple of facts regarding Bernie Geestman from our investigation, the man we allege was Kenny Christiansen’s guy on the ground. For example, we know Geestman bought an Airstream trailer approximately six weeks prior to the hijacking, and instead of bringing it home to Bonney Lake, he parked it down at his shop property in Oakville, WA. We also know he took the station wagon he used to haul the trailer back to Bonney Lake. (And that his wife Margie did serious bitching about him leaving the trailer in Oakville unattended. He told her ‘Don’t worry about it’.) We also know Mr. Geestman left Bonney Lake in the station wagon a day or two PRIOR to the hijacking. And since he told his wife he was going camping in his Airstream (over the Thanksgiving holiday no less) that he ended up at Oakville, at least initially. She did some serious bitching about that, too…reminding him that they were supposed to attend Thanksgiving dinner at Helen Jones’ place down in Sumner, WA that year. As they had the previous year, and DID do the year AFTER the hijacking. Coincidentally, so did Kenny Christiansen, although the year of the hijacking, he told several people he was planning to take a free NWA flight back to Minnesota to do the family thing for Thanksgiving.
(His family said he never did.)

Witness Helen Jones stated that Kenny Christiansen told her a few weeks after the hijacking that the reason he hadn’t attended Thanksgiving dinner at her house, as he usually did, was because he was with Geestman. (He didn’t give details, of course.) She ran into him at the Sumner Laundromat, she said in her interview. Jones also noted how angry Mrs. Geestman was when SHE turned up at Jones’ place for Thanksgiving and had to tell Jones that her husband skipped the dinner to go camping over the holiday week.

So…we can place these men together in Oakville before the hijacking.
We HAVE done this.

Okay, let’s say for the sake of argument these guys pulled it off. We don’t know for sure, we will just theorize here. We think they stayed at the trailer in Oakville overnight, made last-minute plans (probably over a bourbon and a road map of Washington State) and Kenny told Geestman where he would try to jump. And that spot was probably NOT down by Ariel, Amboy, or Woodland, but further north. Maybe within the area shown by the circle on the map below. That area, especially back in 1971, was not heavily populated. A lot of empty space, lightly -traveled country roads, and the landing zones mostly not too dangerous. The next morning, Geestman drops Kenny Christiansen off at the Portland Airport and returns to the shop property in Oakville, which may even have had a phone installed.

But not everything went according to plan. For example, when the ground folk at SeaTac said ‘No way’ to leaving the airstairs down. Now, the door has to be opened in flight, and that took a bit of time with the jet cruising along at three miles a minute. And the hijacker had to take time to secure the money bag and put on the parachute. By the time Cooper was ready to jump, the jet was far south (we think) of the jumpzone he had originally planned, and that’s why he ended up down there.

It’s just a theory, but IF Christiansen was really Cooper, and Geestman his buddy on the ground, we think the map shown below is a good rendition of what really happened that night. And then a long walk out of the woods to a payphone. 

Geestman on the telephone with Kenny a day or two later:
“You’re WHERE?”
Kenny tells him where he is.
“Oh, crap. How the hell did you end up clear down there? Okay. I’ll be there in about 90 minutes. You’ll have to tell me what happened…”

JumpMap1