Roswell New Mexico UFO crash mystery
Basically the Roswell New Mexico event is one of the most intriguing of all UFO reports. The most evidence of this event has multiple witnesses and is hard to ignore.
Roswell UFO facts
In the summer of 1947, a rancher discovered unidentifiable debris in his sheep pasture outside Roswell, New Mexico. Although officials from the local Air Force base asserted that it was a crashed weather balloon, many people believed it was the remains of an extraterrestrial flying saucer; a series of secret “dummy drops” in New Mexico during the 1950s heightened their suspicions. Nearly 50 years after the story of the mysterious debris broke, the U.S. military issued a report linking the incident to a top-secret atomic espionage project called Project Mogul. Still, many people continue to embrace the UFO theory, and hundreds of curiosity seekers visit Roswell and the crash site every year.
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THE ROSWELL “UFO” INCIDENT
One morning around Independence Day 1947, about 75 miles from the town of Roswell, New Mexico, a rancher named Mac Brazel found something unusual in his sheep pasture: a mess of metallic sticks held together with tape; chunks of plastic and foil reflectors; and scraps of a heavy, glossy, paper-like material. Unable to identify the strange objects, Brazel called Roswell’s sheriff. The sheriff, in turn, called officials at the nearby Roswell Army Air Force base. Soldiers fanned out across Brazel’s field, gathering the mysterious debris and whisking it away in armored trucks.
Did You Know?
The Project Mogul team invented a number of high-tech materials for its balloons and other equipment, including ultra-lightweight and ultra-strong metals, fiber-optic cables and fireproof fabrics. This is part of the reason why some people who saw the debris thought it came from outer space: It didn’t look or behave like anything they’d ever seen. Many of these materials are still in use today.
On July 8, “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region” was the top story in the Roswell Daily Record. But was it true? On July 9, an Air Force official clarified the paper’s report: The alleged “flying saucer,” he said, was only a crashed weather balloon. However, to anyone who had seen the debris (or the newspaper photographs of it), it was clear that whatever this thing was, it was no weather balloon. Some people believed–and still believe–that the crashed vehicle had not come from Earth at all. They argued that the debris in Brazel’s field must have come from an alien spaceship.
DUMMY DROPS AND UFOS
These skeptics grew more numerous during the 1950s, when the Air Force conducted a series of secret “dummy drops” over air bases, test ranges and unoccupied fields across New Mexico. These experiments, meant to test ways for pilots to survive falls from high altitudes, sent bandaged, featureless dummies with latex “skin” and aluminum “bones”–dummies that looked an awful lot like space aliens were supposed to–falling from the sky onto the ground, whereupon military vehicles would descend on the landing site to retrieve the “bodies” as quickly as possible. To people who believed the government was covering up the truth about the Roswell landing, these dummy drops seemed just as suspicious. They were convinced that the dummies were actually extraterrestrial creatures who were being kidnapped and experimented on by government scientists.
ROSWELL AND THE MYSTERIOUS PROJECT MOGUL
It turned out that the Army knew more about Brazel’s “flying saucer” than it let on. Since World War II, a group of geophysicists and oceanographers from Columbia University, New York University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod had been working on a top-secret atomic espionage project at New Mexico’s Alamogordo Air Field that they called Project Mogul. Project Mogul used sturdy high-altitude balloons to carry low-frequency sound sensors into the tropopause, a faraway part of the Earth’s atmosphere that acts as a sound channel. In this part of the atmosphere, sound waves can travel for thousands of miles without interference, much like under the ocean. The scientists believed that if they sent microphones into this sound channel, they would be able to eavesdrop on nuclear tests as far away as the Soviet Union.
According to the U.S. military, the debris in Brazel’s field outside Roswell actually belonged to Project Mogul. It was the remains of a 700-foot-long string of neoprene balloons, radar reflectors (for tracking) and sonic equipment that the scientists had launched from the Alamogordo base in June and that had, evidently, crashed in early July 1947. Because the project was highly classified, no one at the Roswell Army Air Field even knew that it existed, and they had no idea what to make of the objects Brazel had found. (In fact, some officials on the base were worried that the wreckage had come from a Russian spy plane or satellite–information that they were understandably reluctant to share with the public.) The “weather balloon” story, flimsy though it was, was the simplest and most plausible explanation they could come up with on short notice. Meanwhile, to protect the scientists’ secret project, no one at Alamogordo could step in and clear up the confusion.
ROSWELL AND “FLYING-SAUCERISM” TODAY
Today, many people continue to believe that the government and the military are covering up the truth about alien landings at and around Roswell. In 1994, the Pentagon declassified most of its files on Project Mogul and the dummy drops, and the federal General Accounting Office produced a report (“Report of Air Force Research Regarding the Roswell Incident”) designed to debunk these rumors. Nevertheless, there are still people who subscribe to the UFO theory, and hundreds of thousands of curiosity seekers visit Roswell and the crash site every year, hoping to find out the truth for themselves.
In the 1850s, Mexican farmers began settling in the Pecos Valley.
Some established Missouri Plaza on the Hondo River about 15 miles south of what is now Roswell. Others established a settlement they called Rio Hondo on the river in what is now the Chihuahuita section of southeastern Roswell. Another settlement, called El Berrendo, was established a few miles north of Rio Hondo on what is now the Berrendo River.
Meanwhile, Fort Stanton was established near the Mescalero Apache Reservation in 1855 and Fort Sumner near the Bosque Redondo Reservation in 1863.
Goodnight Loving PhotoIn 1866, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving brought their longhorn cattle from Texas up the Pecos River to the Bosque Redondo, where most of the cattle were sold to the Army to feed the Navajos and Apaches on the reservation.The rest were taken to Denver and sold. Eventually the Goodnight-Loving Trail extended north to Cheyenne, Wyo.
John Chisum PhotoAnother Texas cattleman, John Chisum, joined the Goodnight-Loving partnership and began driving cattle up the Hondo River to Fort Stanton on what became known as the Chisum Trail.
Meanwhile, a trading post and gambling halls grew up at a Goodnight-Loving Trail camping site. In 1869, gambler Van Smith purchased these buildings and named the place “Roswell” after his father. Smith established a post office at Roswell in 1873.
In 1875, Chisum purchased the South Springs Ranch near Roswell. The ranch was the headquarters of what became one of the largest ranches in the United States.
Capt. Joseph Lea, whose Lea Cattle Co. raised cattle west of the Pecos, bought up most of Roswell in 1877 and began developing the community. Lea has been called “the father of Roswell.”
Chaves PhotoThe next few years saw explosive growth in the Roswell area. In 1889, part of huge Lincoln County became Chaves County, named after Col. José Francisco Chaves, a Civil War military leader in the area and a friend of Lea.
In 1890, the first artesian well was drilled in the Pecos Valley, providing what seemed at the time to be an NMMI Paintingunlimited supply of agricultural water. In 1891, Roswell was incorporated, and Lea and Col. Robert Goss founded Goss Military Academy — now New Mexico Military Institute — offering high school and junior college classes. NMMI alumnae include artist Peter Hurd, newsman Sam Donaldson, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and hotelier Conrad Hilton.
Locomotive PictureIn 1894, the Pecos Valley Railroad, which originally ran from the railroad tracks in Pecos, Texas, to Eddy, N.M. (now Carlsbad), was extended to Roswell and subsequently extended up to the tracks in Texico, N.M., by 1899.
Hotel PhotoSoutheastern New Mexico was transformed when a gusher oil well was drilled near Artesia, 40 miles south of Roswell, in 1924. The oil came from the Permian Basin, which covers parts of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. No wells were drilled in the Roswell area, but the city became a business hub for the oil industry.
In 1941, during World War II, the Roswell Army Air Field was established south of Roswell to train bomber crews.
RAAB PhotoSix years later, in 1947, RAAF personnel became involved with the remains of an unidentified flying object Aliennorthwest of Roswell. Whether the UFO was an alien spaceship, a weather balloon, or something else is still debated, but since the 1990s the Roswell Incident has been the basis of a flourishing tourist industry in Roswell (See Roswell Incident). RAAF was renamed Walker Air Force Base in 1948 and became a major Strategic Air Command base.
Walker Air Force Base was closed in 1967, resulting in a major population loss — and subsequent drop in property values. The base became the Roswell Industrial Air Center, housing several small industries and home to Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.
Today, Roswell has a diversified economy which includes agriculture, small industry and tourism. Its centralized location — some 200 miles in any direction from any larger city — makes it a business hub for southeastern New Mexico.
The Roswell UFO incident took place in the U.S. in June or early July 1947, when an airborne object crashed on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Explanations of what took place are based on both official and unofficial communications. Although the crash is attributed to a secret U.S. military Air Force surveillance balloon by the U.S. government, the most famous explanation of what occurred is that the object was a spacecraft containing extraterrestrial life. Since the late 1970s, the Roswell incident has been the subject of much controversy, and conspiracy theories have arisen about the event.
The United States Armed Forces maintains that what was recovered near Roswell was debris from the crash of an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to what was then a classified (top secret) program named Mogul. In contrast, many UFO proponents maintain that an alien craft was found, its occupants were captured, and that the military engaged in a massive cover-up. The Roswell incident has turned into a widely known pop culture phenomenon, making the name “Roswell” synonymous with UFOs. Roswell has become the most publicized of all alleged UFO incidents.
On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut, issued a press release stating that personnel from the field’s 509th Operations Group had recovered a “flying disk”, which had crashed on a ranch near Roswell. Later that day, the press reported that Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force Roger Ramey had stated that a weather balloon was recovered by the RAAF personnel. A press conference was held, featuring debris (foil, rubber and wood) said to be from the crashed object, which seemed to confirm its description as a weather balloon.
Subsequently the incident faded from the attention of UFO researchers for over 30 years. In 1978, physicist and ufologist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris in 1947. Marcel expressed his belief that the military covered up the recovery of an alien spacecraft. His story spread through UFO circles, being featured in some UFO documentaries at the time. In February 1980, the National Enquirer ran its own interview with Marcel, garnering national and worldwide attention for the Roswell incident. Additional witnesses added significant new details, including claims of a large-scale military operation dedicated to recovering alien craft and aliens themselves, at as many as 11 crash sites, and alleged witness intimidation. In 1989, former mortician Glenn Dennis put forth a detailed personal account, wherein he claimed alien autopsies were carried out at the Roswell base.
In response to these reports, and after United States congressional inquiries, the General Accounting Office launched an inquiry and directed the Office of the United States Secretary of the Air Force to conduct an internal investigation. The result was summarized in two reports. The first, released in 1995, concluded that the reported recovered material in 1947 was likely debris from Project Mogul. The second report, released in 1997, concluded reports of recovered alien bodies were likely a combination of innocently transformed memories of military accidents involving injured or killed personnel, innocently transformed memories of the recovery of anthropomorphic dummies in military programs like Operation High Dive conducted in the 1950s, and hoaxes perpetrated by various witnesses and UFO proponents. The psychological effects of time compression and confusion about when events occurred explained the discrepancy with the years in question. These reports were dismissed by UFO proponents as being either disinformation or simply implausible. But at the same time, several high-profile UFO researchers discounted the possibility that the incident had anything to do with aliens.
On June 14, 1947, William Brazel, a foreman working on the Foster homestead, noticed strange clusters of debris approximately 30 miles (50 km) north of Roswell, New Mexico. This date—or “about three weeks” before July 8—appeared in later stories featuring Brazel, but the initial press release from the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) said the find was “sometime last week,” suggesting Brazel found the debris in early July. Brazel told the Roswell Daily Record that he and his son saw a “large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper and sticks.” He paid little attention to it but returned on July 4 with his son, wife and daughter to gather up the material. Some accounts have described Brazel as having gathered some of the material earlier, rolling it together and stashing it under some brush. The next day, Brazel heard reports about “flying discs” and wondered if that was what he had picked up. On July 7, Brazel saw Sheriff Wilcox and “whispered kinda confidential like” that he may have found a flying disc. Another account quotes Wilcox as saying Brazel reported the object on July 6.
Wilcox called RAAF Major Jesse Marcel and a “man in plainclothes” accompanied Brazel back to the ranch where more pieces were picked up. “[We] spent a couple of hours Monday afternoon [July 7] looking for any more parts of the weather device”, said Marcel. “We found a few more patches of tinfoil and rubber.”
As described in the July 9, 1947 edition of the Roswell Daily Record,
The balloon which held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been 12 feet long, [Brazel] felt, measuring the distance by the size of the room in which he sat. The rubber was smoky gray in color and scattered over an area about 200 yards in diameter. When the debris was gathered up, the tinfoil, paper, tape, and sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated, the entire lot would have weighed maybe five pounds. There was no sign of any metal in the area which might have been used for an engine, and no sign of any propellers of any kind, although at least one paper fin had been glued onto some of the tinfoil. There were no words to be found anywhere on the instrument, although there were letters on some of the parts. Considerable Scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed upon it had been used in the construction. No strings or wires were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment may have been used.
A telex sent to an Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office from the Fort Worth, Texas office quoted a Major from the Eighth Air Force (also based in Fort Worth at Carswell Air Force Base) on July 8, 1947 as saying that “The disc is hexagonal in shape and was suspended from a ballon [sic] by cable, which ballon [sic] was approximately twenty feet in diameter. Major Curtan further advices that the object found resembles a high altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector, but that telephonic conversation between their office and Wright field had not [UNINTELLIGIBLE] borne out this belief.”
Early on Tuesday, July 8, the RAAF issued a press release, which was immediately picked up by numerous news outlets:
The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, who in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters.
Colonel William H. Blanchard, commanding officer of the 509th, contacted General Roger M. Ramey of the Eighth Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas, and Ramey ordered the object be flown to Fort Worth Army Air Field. At the base, Warrant Officer Irving Newton confirmed Ramey’s preliminary opinion, identifying the object as being a weather balloon and its “kite,” a nickname for a radar reflector used to track the balloons from the ground. Another news release was issued, this time from the Fort Worth base, describing the object as being a “weather balloon”.
See also: Witness accounts of the Roswell UFO incident
Witness accounts, emergence of alien narratives
In 1978, nuclear physicist and author Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Jesse Marcel, the only person known to have accompanied the Roswell debris from where it was recovered to Fort Worth where reporters saw material which was claimed to be part of the recovered object. The accounts given by Friedman and others in the following years elevated Roswell from a forgotten incident to perhaps the most famous UFO case of all time. By the early 1990s, UFO researchers such as Friedman, William Moore, Karl T. Pflock, and the team of Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt interviewed several hundred people who had—or claimed to have had—a connection with the events at Roswell in 1947. Additionally, hundreds of documents were obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests, and some were supposedly leaked by insiders, such as the so-called Majestic 12 papers. Their conclusions were at least one alien craft had crashed in the Roswell vicinity, aliens—some possibly still alive—were recovered, and a massive cover-up of any knowledge of the incident was put in place.
Over the years, books, articles, television specials, and a made-for-TV movie brought the 1947 incident significant notoriety. By the mid-1990s, public polls such as a 1997 CNN/Time poll, revealed that the majority of people interviewed believed that aliens had indeed visited Earth, and that aliens had landed at Roswell, but that all the relevant information was being kept secret by the US government.
Various narratives evolved, starting with Friedman’s 1978 interviews with Marcel, through publication of the first book on Roswell in 1980, to new accounts and new books appearing into the early 1990s. Many new witnesses had by then emerged, as had new accounts that detailed recoveries of alien corpses and alien autopsies. Skeptics such as Phillip Klass and Richard Todd published objections to the plausibility of these accounts, but it was not until 1994 and the publication of the first United States Air Force report on the incident, that a strong counter-argument to the presence of aliens was widely publicized. Various authors enumerated different alien scenarios which often contradicted each other, based on what the documentary evidence suggested and on which witness accounts were accepted or dismissed. This was especially true for the various claimed sites for the crash and recovery sites of alien craft (various authors had different witnesses who described different locations for these events).
The outline from UFO Crash at Roswell (1991) by Randle and Schmitt is common to many of these accounts:
A UFO crashed northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, in the summer of 1947. The military acted quickly and efficiently to recover the debris after its existence was reported by a ranch hand. The debris, unlike anything these highly trained men had ever seen, was flown without delay to at least three government installations. A cover story was concocted to explain away the debris and the flurry of activity. It was explained that a weather balloon, one with a new radiosonde target device, had been found and temporarily confused the personnel of the 509th Bomb Group. Government officials took reporters’ notes from their desks and warned a radio reporter not to play a recorded interview with the ranch hand. The men who took part in the recovery were told never to talk about the incident. And with a whimper, not a bang, the Roswell event faded quickly from public view and press scrutiny.
The Roswell Incident (1980)
The first book on the Roswell UFO incident was The Roswell Incident (1980) by Charles Berlitz and William Moore. The authors claimed to have interviewed over ninety witnesses. Though he was uncredited, Friedman carried out some research for the book. The Roswell Incident featured accounts of debris described by Marcel as “nothing made on this earth.” Additional accounts by Bill Brazel, son of Mac Brazel, neighbor Floyd Proctor and Walt Whitman Jr., son of newsman W. E. Whitman who had interviewed Mac Brazel, suggested the material Marcel recovered had super-strength not associated with a weather balloon. The book introduced the contention that debris which was recovered by Marcel at the Foster ranch, visible in photographs showing Marcel posing with the debris, was substituted for debris from a weather device as part of a cover-up. The book also claimed that the debris recovered from the ranch was not permitted a close inspection by the press. The efforts by the military were described as being intended to discredit and “counteract the growing hysteria towards flying saucers”. Two accounts of witness intimidation were included in the book, including the incarceration of Mac Brazel.
The book included a report of Roswell residents Dan Wilmot and his wife seeing “two inverted saucers faced mouth to mouth” passing overhead on July 2, as were other reports of mysterious objects seen flying overhead. The Roswell Incident introduced an alien account by Socorro, New Mexico resident Barney Barnett, who had died years earlier. Friends of Barnett said he described the crash of a flying saucer and the recovery of alien corpses in the vicinity of Socorro, about 150 miles (240 km) west of the Foster ranch. He and a group of archaeologists stumbled upon an alien craft, and its occupants on the morning of July 3, only to be led away by military personnel. Further accounts suggested that the aliens and the craft were transported to Edwards Air Force Base in California. The book suggested that either there were two crafts that crashed, or that debris from the vehicle Barnett described had subsequently landed on the Foster ranch after an explosion.
Marcel said he “heard about it on July 7″ when the sheriff Brazel had called him, but said, “[On] Sunday, July 6, Brazel decided he had better go into town and report this to someone,” and that Brazel in turn called Marcel, suggesting—though not stating that Marcel was contacted on July 6. In 1947, Marcel was quoted as saying that he visited the ranch on Monday, July 7. Marcel described returning to Roswell the evening of July 7 to find that news of the incident had been leaked. Calls were made to Marcel’s house, and he had a visit from a reporter, but he would not confirm the reports to the press. “The next morning, that written press release went out, and after that things really hit the fan.” The book suggested that the military orchestrated Brazel’s testimony in order to make it appear that a mundane object had crash landed on the ranch. “Brazel […] [went] to great pains to tell the newspaper people exactly what the Air Force had instructed him to say regarding how he had come to discover the wreckage and what it looked like […]”.
UFO Crash at Roswell (1991)
In 1991, with the benefit of publicity from new witness interviews, Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt published UFO Crash at Roswell. In this account, the timelines of the incident were slightly altered. The date when Brazel reported the debris and Marcel went to the ranch was said to be Sunday, July 6, not the next day, as some of the original accounts suggested, and The Roswell Incident left unclear. Marcel and an unidentified counter-intelligence agent were said to have spent the night at the ranch. The two gathered material on Monday, then Marcel supposedly dropped by his house on the way to the Roswell base in the early hours of Tuesday, July 8.
Some new details emerged, including accounts of a “gouge […] that extended four or five hundred feet” at the ranch and descriptions of an elaborate cordon and recovery operation. Several witnesses in The Roswell Incident described being turned back from the Foster ranch by armed military police, but extensive descriptions were not given. The Barnett accounts were mentioned, though the dates and locations were changed from the accounts found in The Roswell Incident. In the new account, Brazel was described as leading the Army to a second crash site on the ranch, at which point the Army personnel were supposedly “horrified to find civilians [including Barnett] there already.”
Glenn Dennis had emerged as an important witness in 1989, after calling the hotline when an episode of Unsolved Mysteries featured the Roswell incident. His descriptions of Roswell alien autopsies were the first account that said there were alien corpses at the Roswell Army Air Base. No mention, except in passing, was made of the claim found in The Roswell Incident that the Roswell aliens and the craft were shipped to Edwards Air Force Base. The 1991 book purported to establish a chain of events with alien corpses being seen at a crash site, the bodies then being shipped to the Roswell base as witnessed by Dennis, and then flown to Fort Worth, and finally to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, the last known location of the bodies.
The book introduced an account from General Arthur E. Exon, an officer stationed at the alleged final resting place of the recovered material. He stated there was a shadowy group, which he called the “Unholy Thirteen”, who controlled and had access to whatever was recovered. He later stated:
In the ’55 time period [when Exon was at the Pentagon], there was also the story that whatever happened, whatever was found at Roswell was still closely held and probably would be held until these fellows I mentioned had died so they wouldn’t be embarrassed or they wouldn’t have to explain why they covered it up. […] [U]ntil the original thirteen died off and I don’t think anyone is going to release anything [until] the last one’s gone.
Crash at Corona (1992)
In 1992, a third book, Crash at Corona, was published. Written by Friedman and Don Berliner, it suggested a high-level cover-up of a UFO recovery, based on documents which were anonymously dropped off at a UFO researcher’s house in 1984. The documents were purported to be 1952 briefing papers for incoming president Dwight Eisenhower, describing a high-level government agency whose purpose was to investigate aliens recovered at Roswell and to keep such information hidden from public view. Friedman had done much of the research for The Roswell Incident with William Moore, and Crash at Corona built on this research.
The title of the book was Corona, New Mexico rather than Roswell, New Mexico, because Corona is geographically closer to the Foster ranch crash site. The timeline of events that the book gives is the same as the previous account, with Marcel and Sheridan Cavitt, a counter-intelligence agent who was likely the “man in plainclothes” described by Brazel in 1947, visiting the ranch on July 6. The 1992 book says, however, that Brazel was “taken into custody for about a week” and escorted into the offices of the Roswell Daily Record on July 10, where he gave an account that he had been told to give by the government.
A sign of the disagreements between various researchers is evident, as Friedman and Berliner moved the Barnett account back to near Socorro and introduced a new eyewitness account of the site. This new account is from Gerald Anderson who provided vivid descriptions of both a downed alien craft and four aliens, of which at least one was alive. The authors note much of the evidence had been dismissed by the authors of UFO Crash at Roswell and that this had been done “without a solid basis”. The 1992 authors also mention “a personality conflict between Anderson and Randle” meaning that Friedman was the author who investigated his claim. The book, however, does largely embrace the same sequence of events as the account in UFO Crash at Roswell, where aliens are seen at the Roswell Army Air Field, based on the Dennis account, and then shipped off to Fort Worth, and subsequently to Wright Field. The book suggests that as many as eight alien corpses were recovered from two crash sites: three dead and perhaps one alive from the Foster ranch, and three dead and one living from the Socorro site.
The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell (1994)
In 1994, Randle and Schmitt published The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell. While it restated a majority of the case as laid out in their earlier book, new and expanded accounts of aliens were included, and a new location for the recovery of aliens was detailed. Additionally, an almost completely new scenario for the sequence of events was laid out. For the first time, the airborne object was said to have crashed on the evening of July 4 instead of July 2, which was the date used in all the previous books. Another important difference was the assertion that the alien recovery was well under way before Brazel traveled to Roswell with his news about the debris on the Foster ranch. Apparently several objects had been tracked by radar for a few days in the vicinity before one crashed. In all previous accounts, the military was made aware of the alleged alien crash only when Brazel came forward. Additionally, Brazel was said to have given his news conference on July 9, and the 1994 book claims that his press conference and the initial news release announcing the discovery of a “flying disk” were all part of an elaborate ruse to shift attention away from the “true” crash site.
The book featured a new witness account describing an alien craft and aliens from Jim Ragsdale,[who?] at a new location north of Roswell, instead of closer to Corona on the Foster ranch. Corroboration was given by accounts from a group of archaeologists. Five alien corpses were supposedly seen. The book states that although the Foster ranch was also a source of debris, no bodies were recovered from it. The book also features expanded accounts from Dennis and Kaufmann, and a new account from Ruben Anaya which describes New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Joseph Montoya’s claim that he saw alien corpses at the Roswell base.
More disagreement between Roswell researchers forms part of the book. A full chapter is devoted to dismissing the Barnett and Anderson accounts from Socorro, a central part of Crash at Corona and The Roswell Incident. “[…] Barnett’s story [and] the Plains [of San Augustin, near Soccoro] scenario, must be discarded”, say the authors. An appendix is devoted to describing Majestic 12 as a hoax. The two Randle and Schmitt books remain highly influential in the UFO community; their interviews and conclusions widely reproduced on websites. Randle and Schmitt claimed to have “conducted more than two thousand interviews with more than five hundred people” during their Roswell investigations.
UFO community schism
By 1994 when The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell was published, a schism had emerged within the UFO community about the events in the Roswell UFO incident. The Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), two leading UFO societies, disagreed in their views of the various scenarios presented by Randle–Schmitt and Friedman–Berliner; several conferences were held to try to resolve the differences. One of the center issues under discussion was where Barnett was when he saw the alien craft he was said to have encountered. A 1992 UFO conference attempted to achieve a consensus among the various scenarios portrayed in Crash at Corona and UFO Crash at Roswell, however, the publication of The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell had “resolved” the Barnett problem by simply ignoring Barnett and citing a new location for the alien craft recovery, including a new group of archaeologists not connected to the ones the Barnett story cited.
Alien autopsy footage
In 1995, film footage purporting to show an alien autopsy and claimed to have been taken by a US military official shortly after the Roswell incident was released by Ray Santilli, a London-based video entrepreneur. The footage caused an international sensation when it aired on television networks around the world.
In 2006, Santilli admitted that the film was mostly a reconstruction, but continued to claim it was based on genuine footage now lost, and some original frames that had survived. A fictionalized version of the creation of the footage and its release was retold in the comedy film Alien Autopsy (2006).
Air Force and skeptics respond
Air Force reports
Main article: Air Force reports on the Roswell UFO incident
During the mid-1990s, the United States Air Force issued two reports which accounted for the debris that was found and reported on in 1947, and which also accounted for the later reports of alien recoveries. The USAF reports identified the debris as coming from a top-secret government experiment called Project Mogul, which tested the feasibility of detecting Soviet nuclear tests and ballistic missiles with equipment that was carried aloft using high-altitude balloons. Accounts of aliens were explained as resulting from misidentified military experiments that used anthropomorphic dummies, accidents involving injured or killed military personnel, and hoaxes perpetrated by various witnesses and UFO proponents. The Air Force report formed a basis for a skeptical response to the claims many authors were making about the recovery of aliens, though skeptical researchers such as Philip J. Klass and Robert Todd had already been publishing articles for several years that raised significant doubts about the accounts of aliens in the incident.
Books published into the 1990s suggested there was much more to the Roswell incident than the mere recovery of a weather balloon, however, skeptics, and even some social anthropologists saw the increasingly elaborate accounts as evidence of a myth being constructed. After the release of the Air Force reports, several books, such as Kal Korff’s The Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don’t Want You To Know (1997), built on the evidence presented in the reports to conclude “there is no credible evidence that the remains of an extraterrestrial spacecraft was involved.”
Problems with witness accounts
Hundreds of people were interviewed by the various researchers, but critics point out that only a few of these people claimed to have seen debris or aliens. Most witnesses were repeating the claims of others, and their testimony would be considered hearsay in an American court of law and therefore inadmissible as evidence. Of the 90 people claimed to have been interviewed for The Roswell Incident, the testimony of only 25 appears in the book, and only seven of these people saw the debris. Of these, five handled the debris. Pflock, in Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe (2001), makes a similar point about Randle and Schmitt’s UFO Crash at Roswell. Approximately 271 people are listed in the book who were “contacted and interviewed” for the book, and this number does not include those who chose to remain anonymous, meaning more than 300 witnesses were interviewed, a figure Pflock said the authors frequently cited. Of these 300-plus individuals, only 41 can be “considered genuine first- or second-hand witnesses to the events in and around Roswell or at the Fort Worth Army Air Field,” and only 23 can be “reasonably thought to have seen physical evidence, debris recovered from the Foster Ranch.” Of these, only seven have asserted anything suggestive of otherworldly origins for the debris.
As for the accounts from those who claimed to have seen aliens, critics identified problems ranging from the reliability of second-hand accounts, to credibility problems with witnesses making demonstrably false claims, or multiple, contradictory accounts, to dubious death-bed confessions or accounts from elderly and easily confused witnesses. Pflock noted that only four people with supposed firsthand knowledge of alien bodies were interviewed and identified by Roswell authors: Frank Kaufmann; Jim Ragsdale; Lt. Col. Albert Lovejoy Duran; Gerald Anderson. Duran is mentioned in a brief footnote in The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell and never again, while the other three all have serious credibility problems. A problem with all the accounts, charge critics, is they all came about a minimum of 31 years after the events in question, and in many cases were recounted more than 40 years after the fact. Not only are memories this old of dubious reliability, they were also subject to contamination from other accounts the interviewees may have been exposed to. The shifting claims of Jesse Marcel, whose suspicion that what he recovered in 1947 was “not of this world” sparked interest in the incident in the first place, cast serious doubt on the reliability of what he claimed to be true.
In The Roswell Incident, Marcel stated, “Actually, this material may have looked like tinfoil and balsa wood, but the resemblance ended there […] They took one picture of me on the floor holding up some of the less-interesting metallic debris […] The stuff in that one photo was pieces of the actual stuff we found. It was not a staged photo.” Timothy Printy points out that the material Marcel positively identified as being part of what he recovered is material that skeptics and UFO advocates agree is debris from a balloon device. After that fact was pointed out to him, Marcel changed his story to say that that material was not what he recovered. Skeptics like Robert Todd argued that Marcel had a history of embellishment and exaggeration, such as claiming to have been a pilot and having received five Air Medals for shooting down enemy planes, claims that were all found to be false, and skeptics feel that his evolving Roswell story was simply another instance of this tendency to fabricate.
Contradictory conclusions, questionable research, Roswell as a myth
Critics[who?] also point out that the large variety of claimed crash flights suggests that events that spanned years have been incorporated into one single event, and that authors[who?] have uncritically embraced anything that suggests aliens, even when the accounts contradict each other. Pflock said, “[T]he case for Roswell is a classic example of the triumph of quantity over quality. The advocates of the crashed-saucer tale […] simply shovel everything that seems to support their view into the box marked ‘Evidence’ and say, ‘See? Look at all this stuff. We must be right.’ Never mind the contradictions. Never mind the lack of independent supporting fact. Never mind the blatant absurdities.” Korff suggests there are clear incentives for some people to promote the idea of aliens at Roswell, and that many researchers were not doing competent work: “[The] UFO field is comprised of people who are willing to take advantage of the gullibility of others, especially the paying public. Let’s not pull any punches here: The Roswell UFO myth has been very good business for UFO groups, publishers, for Hollywood, the town of Roswell, the media, and UFOlogy […] [The] number of researchers who employ science and its disciplined methodology is appallingly small.”
Gildenberg and others[who?] said there were as many as 11 reported alien recovery sites and these recoveries bore only a marginal resemblance to the event as initially reported in 1947, or as recounted later by the initial witnesses. Some of these new accounts could have been confused accounts of the several known recoveries of injured and dead servicemen from four military plane crashes that occurred in the area from 1948 to 1950. Other accounts could have been based on memories of recoveries of test dummies, as suggested by the Air Force in their reports. Charles Ziegler argued that the Roswell story has all the hallmarks of a traditional folk narrative. He identified six distinct narratives, and a process of transmission via storytellers with a core story that was created from various witness accounts, and was then shaped and molded by those who carry on the UFO community’s tradition. Other “witnesses” were then sought out to expand the core narrative, with those who give accounts not in line with the core beliefs being repudiated or simply omitted by the “gatekeepers.” Others then retold the narrative in its new form. This whole process would repeat over time.
Finally, critics have expressed profound frustration at the very notion that crashed saucers have been, as often claimed, repeatedly recovered—in the United States, U.S.S.R., Germany, and Iran, reportedly.
Prominent skeptics Joe Nickell and co-author James McGaha identified the myth-making process, which they called the “Roswellian Syndrome”. The authors used the Roswell event as an example, but pointed out that the same syndrome is readily observable in other reported UFO incidents. The authors identified five distinct stages of development of the Roswell myth:
Incident: The initial incident and reporting on July 8, 1947
Debunking: Soon after the initial reports, the mysterious object was identified as a weather balloon, later confirmed to be a balloon array from Project Mogul which had gone missing in flight.
Submergence: The news story ended with the identification of the weather balloon. However, the event lingered on in the ‘fading and recreative memories of some of those involved’. Rumor and speculation simmered just below the surface in Roswell and became part of the culture at large. In time, UFOlogists arrived, asked leading questions, and helped to spin a tale of crashed flying saucers and a government conspiracy to cover up the true nature of the event.
Mythologizing: After the story submerged, and, over time, reemerged, it developed into an ever-expanding and elaborate myth. The mythologizing process included exaggeration, faulty memory, folklore and deliberate hoaxing. The deliberate hoaxing was usually self-serving for personal gain or promotion (for example, the promotion of the 1950 sci-fi movie The Flying Saucer) and in turn fed the folklore.
Reemergence and Media Bandwagon Effect: Publication of books such as The Roswell Incident by Berlitz and Moore in 1980, television shows and other media coverage perpetuated the UFO crash story and cover-up conspiracy beliefs. Conspiracy beliefs typically mirror public sentiments towards the US government and oscillate along with those attitudes.
The authors predicted that the Roswellian Syndrome would “play out again and again”, not only in the Roswell story, but also in other UFO and conspiracy-theory stories.
Developments since 1990s
Pro-UFO advocates dismiss Roswell incident
One of the immediate outcomes of the Air Force reports on the Roswell UFO incident was the decision by some prominent UFO researchers to view the Roswell incident as not involving an alien craft. While the initial Air Force report was a chief reason for this, another reason was the release of secret documents from 1948 that showed that top Air Force officials did not know what the UFO objects being reported in the media were, and their suspicion that the UFOs might be Soviet spy vehicles.
In January 1997, Karl T. Pflock, one of the more prominent pro-UFO researchers, said “Based on my research and that of others, I’m as certain as it’s possible to be without absolute proof that no flying saucer or saucers crashed in the general vicinity of Roswell or on the Plains of San Agustin in 1947. The debris found by Mac Brazel…was the remains of something very earthly, all but certainly something from the Top Secret Project Mogul….The formerly highly classified record of correspondence and discussions among top Air Force officials who were responsible for cracking the flying saucer mystery from the mid-1940s through the early 1950s makes it crystal clear that they didn’t have any crashed saucer wreckage or bodies of saucer crews, but they were desperate to have such evidence […]”
Kent Jeffrey, who organized petitions to ask President Bill Clinton to issue an Executive order to declassify any government information on the Roswell incident, similarly concluded that no aliens were likely to have been involved.
William L. Moore, one of the earliest proponents of the Roswell incident as a UFO event, said this in 1997: “After deep and careful consideration of recent developments concerning Roswell…I am no longer of the opinion that the extraterrestrial explanation is the best explanation for this event.” Moore was co-author of the first book on Roswell, The Roswell Incident.
In a podcast interview with Canadian filmmaker Paul Kimball released on August 25, 2013, Kevin Randle stated that while he still personally believed that an extraterrestrial spacecraft crashed in New Mexico, the evidence does not support that conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt. “We really can’t get to the extraterrestrial,” stated Randle. “We can eliminate practically everything else that you care to mention, but that still doesn’t get us to the extraterrestrial.”
Shoddy research revealed; witnesses suspected of hoaxes
Around the same time in the late 1990s, a serious rift developed between two prominent Roswell authors. Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt had co-authored several books on the subject, and were generally acknowledged, along with Stanton Friedman, to be the leading researchers of the Roswell incident. The Air Force reports on the incident suggested that basic research that was claimed to have been carried out was not in fact carried out, a fact verified in a 1995 Omni magazine article. Additionally, Schmitt claimed he had a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and was in the midst of pursuing a doctorate in criminology. He also claimed to be a medical illustrator. When checked, it was revealed he was in fact a letter carrier in Hartford, Wisconsin, and had no known academic credentials. At the same time, Randle publicly distanced himself from Schmitt and his research. Referring to Schmitt’s investigation of witness Dennis’s accounts of a missing nurse at the Roswell base, he said: “The search for the nurses proves that he [Schmitt] will lie about anything. He will lie to anyone … He has revealed himself as a pathological liar […] I will have nothing more to do with him.”
Additionally, several prominent witnesses were shown to be perpetrating hoaxes, or suspected of doing so. Frank Kaufmann was a major source of alien reports in the 1994 Randle and Schmitt book The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell. He was the witness whose testimony it was charged was “ignored” by the Air Force when compiling their reports. However, after his 2001 death, he was shown to have been forging documents and inflating his role at Roswell. Randle and Mark Rodeigher repudiated Kaufmann’s credibility in two 2002 articles.
Glenn Dennis, who testified that Roswell alien autopsies were carried out at the Roswell base, and that he and others were the subjects of threats, was deemed one of the “least credible” Roswell witnesses by Randle in 1998. In Randle and Schmitt’s 1991 book UFO Crash at Roswell, Dennis’s story was featured prominently. Randle said Dennis was not credible “for changing the name of the nurse once we had proved she didn’t exist.” Dennis’s accounts were also doubted by researcher Pflock.
Photo analysis; documentaries; new claims
UFO researcher David Rudiak, and others before him, claimed that a telegram which appears in one of the 1947 photos of balloon debris in Ramey’s office contains text that confirms that aliens and a “disk” were found. Rudiak and some other examiners claim that when enlarged, the text on the paper General Ramey is apparently holding in his hand includes key phrases “the victims of the wreck” and “in/on the ‘disc'” plus other phrases seemingly in the context of a crashed vehicle recovery. However, pro-UFO interpretations of this document are disputed by other photoanalyses, such as one facilitated by researcher James Houran, Ph.D., which suggest that the letters and words are indistinct. Other objections question the plausibility of a general allowing himself to be photographed holding such a document, raise issues with the format of the memo, and ponder the logic of Ramey having in his possession a document he, as Rudiak argued, has supposedly sent, which says “…the wreck you forwarded…” and yet is supposedly addressed to the Headquarters of the Army Air Force in Washington, not the Roswell Army Air Field.
Enlargement of Gen. Ramey’s held message in the original photo.
In 2002, the Sci-Fi Channel sponsored an excavation at the Brazel site, in the hopes of uncovering debris that the military failed to collect. Although these results have so far been negative, the University of New Mexico archaeological team did verify recent soil disruption at the exact location that some witnesses said they saw a long, linear impact groove. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who headed the United States Department of Energy under President Clinton, apparently found the results provocative. In 2004, he wrote in a foreword to The Roswell Dig Diaries, that “the mystery surrounding this crash has never been adequately explained—not by independent investigators, and not by the U.S. government.”
On October 26, 2007, Richardson (who at the time was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. President) was asked about releasing government files on Roswell. Richardson responded that when he was a Congressman, he attempted to get information on behalf of his New Mexico constituents, but was told by both the Department of Defense and Los Alamos Labs that the information was classified. “That ticked me off,” he said “The government doesn’t tell the truth as much as it should on a lot of issues.” He promised to work on opening the files if he were elected as President.
In October 2002, before airing its Roswell documentary, the Sci-Fi Channel hosted a Washington UFO news conference. John Podesta, President Clinton’s chief of staff, appeared as a member of the public relations firm hired by Sci-Fi to help get the government to open up documents on the subject. Podesta stated, “It is time for the government to declassify records that are more than 25 years old and to provide scientists with data that will assist in determining the true nature of the phenomena.”
In February 2005, the ABC TV network aired a UFO special hosted by news anchor Peter Jennings. Jennings lambasted the Roswell case as a “myth … without a shred of evidence.” ABC endorsed the Air Force’s explanation that the incident resulted solely from the crash of a Project Mogul balloon.
Top Secret/Majic (2005 edition)
Stanton T. Friedman continues to defend his view that the Majestic 12 (also known as Majic-12) documents, which describe a secret government agency hiding information on recovered aliens, are authentic. In an afterword dated April 2005 to a new edition of his book Top Secret/Majic (first published in 1996), he responds to more recent questions on their validity and concludes “I am still convinced Roswell really happened, [and] that the Eisenhower Briefing Document [i.e., Majestic 12] … [and others] are the most important classified documents ever leaked to the public.”
Witness to Roswell (2007)
In June 2007, Donald Schmitt and his investigation partner Tom Carey published their first book together, Witness to Roswell. In this book, they claim a “continuously growing roster of more than 600 people directly or indirectly associated with the events at Roswell who support the first account – that initial claim of the flying saucer recovery.” New accounts of aliens or alien recoveries were described, including the account of Walter Haut, who wrote the initial press release in 1947.
A new date was suggested for the crash of a mysterious object—the evening of Thursday, July 3, 1947. Also, unlike previous accounts, Brazel took the debris to Corona, where he showed fragments to local residents in the local bar, hardware store, and elsewhere, and to Capitan to the south, where portions of the object ended up at a 4th of July rodeo. Numerous people are described as visiting the debris field and taking souvenirs before Brazel finally went to Roswell to report the find on July 6. Once the military was alerted to the debris, extensive efforts were undertaken to retrieve those souvenirs: “Ranch houses were and [sic] ransacked. The wooden floors of livestock sheds were pried loose plank by plank and underground cold storage fruit cellars were emptied of all their contents.”
The subsequent events are related as per the sequence in previous books, except for a second recovery site of an alien body at the Foster ranch. This recovery near the debris field is the same site mentioned in 1991’s UFO Crash at Roswell. The authors suggest that Brazel discovered the second site some days after finding the debris field, and this prompted him to travel to Roswell and report his find to the authorities.
Neither Barnett nor the archaeologists are reported to be present at this body site. While noting the earlier “major problems” with Barnett’s account, which caused Schmitt and previous partner Randle to omit Barnett’s claim in 1994’s The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell, the new book further notes another site mentioned in the 1994 publication. This site closer to Roswell “turned out to be bogus, as it was based upon the testimony of a single, alleged eyewitness [Frank Kaufmann] who himself was later discovered to have been a purveyor of false information.” Jim Ragsdale, whose alien account opened that book and who was claimed to have been present along with some archaeologists, is not mentioned in the new book.
The 2007 book includes claims that Major Marcel saw alien bodies, a claim not present in previous books. Two witnesses are cited who say Marcel briefly mentioned seeing bodies, one a relative and another a Tech Sergeant who worked with Marcel’s intelligence team.
Much additional new testimony is presented to support notions that alien bodies were found at the Foster ranch and at another main crash site along with a craft, then processed at the base in a hangar and at the hospital, and the bodies finally flown out in containers, all under very tight security. The book suggests Brazel found “two or three alien bodies” about two miles east of the debris field, and describes the rest of a stricken alien craft along with the remainder of the crew remaining airborne for some 30 more miles before crashing at another site about 40 miles north/northwest of Roswell (but not the same site described by Kaufmann). The authors claim to have located this final crash site in 2005 where “an additional two or three dead aliens and one live one were discovered by civilian archaeologists,” but offer no more information about the new site.
Walter Haut, the Roswell Army Air Field public affairs officer, had drafted the initial press release which went out over the news wires on the afternoon of July 8, 1947, announcing a “flying disc”. This was supposedly the only direct involvement Haut had in public statements and signed affidavits. The book presents a new affidavit that Haut signed in 2002 in which he claims much greater personal knowledge and involvement, including seeing alien corpses and craft, and involvement in a cover-up. Haut died in 2005.
Another new firsthand account from MP Elias Benjamin describes how he guarded aliens on gurneys taken to the Roswell base hospital from the same hangar. Similarly, family members of Miriam Bush, secretary to the chief medical officer at Roswell base, told of having been led into an examination room where alien corpses were laid out on gurneys. In both accounts, one of the aliens was said to be still alive. The book also recounted earlier testimony of the Anaya family about picking up New Mexico Lt. Governor Joseph Montoya at the base, and a badly shaken Montoya relating that he saw four alien bodies at the base hangar, one of them alive. Benjamin’s and Bush’s accounts, as do a few lesser ones, again place aliens at the Roswell base hospital, as had the Glenn Dennis story from almost 20 years before. The book notes that Dennis had been found to have told lies, and therefore is a supplier of unreliable testimony, but had nevertheless told others of incidents at the Roswell base long before it became associated with aliens in the late 1970s.
Walter Haut controversy
The 2007 publishing of the Walter Haut affidavit in Witness to Roswell, wherein Haut described a cover-up and seeing alien corpses, ignited a controversy in UFO circles. While many embraced Haut’s accounts as confirmation of the presence of aliens from a person who was known to have been on the base in 1947, others raised questions about his credibility.
UFO researcher Dennis G. Balthaser, who along with fellow researcher Wendy Connors interviewed Haut on-camera in 2000, doubted that the same man he interviewed could have written the affidavit he signed. “[The 2000 video] shows a man that couldn’t remember where he took basic training, names, dates, etc., while the 2002 affidavit is very detailed and precise with information Haut couldn’t accurately remember 2 years after he was video taped.” Witness to Roswell co-author Donald R. Schmitt, he notes, admitted that the affidavit was not written by Haut, but prepared for him to sign, based on statements Haut had made privately to Schmitt and co-author Tom Carey over a period of years. And further, notes Balthaser, neither he nor Carey were there when Haut signed the affidavit and the witness’ name has not been revealed, casting doubt on the circumstances of the signing.
Balthaser had further questions about what he saw as problems with the 2002 account. If the cover-up was decided at a meeting at Roswell, he asked, “why was it necessary for Major Marcel to fly debris from Roswell to General Ramey’s office in Ft Worth, since they had all handled the debris in the meeting and apparently set up the cover-up operation?” He also wondered which Haut statements were true: a 1993 affidavit he signed, the 2000 video interview, or the 2002 affidavit.
Bill Birnes, writing for UFO Magazine, summarizes that whatever disagreements there are about the 2000 video and the 2002 affidavit, “I think Walter Haut’s 2002 affidavit really says it all and agrees, on its material facts, with Walter’s 2000 interview with Dennis Balthaser and Wendy Connors. Dennis said he agrees with me, too, on this point.”
A comparison of the affidavit and interview shows that in both accounts Haut said he saw a craft and at least one body in a base hangar and also attended a Roswell staff meeting where General Ramey was present and where Ramey put a cover-up into place.
Birnes also says that Carey said that while Haut may not have written the affidavit, “his statements were typed, shown to him for his review and agreement, and then affirmed by him in the presence of a witness… The fact that a notary was present and sealed the document should end any doubt as to the reality of its existence.”
Julie Shuster, Haut’s daughter and Director of the International UFO Museum in Roswell, said that Schmitt had written the affidavit based on years of conversations he and Carey had had with him. Writing in the September 2007 MUFON newsletter, she said she and Haut reviewed the document, that “he did not want to make any changes,” and in the presence of two witnesses, a notary public from the museum and a visitor, both unidentified, he signed the affidavit.
UFO FBI document release, 2011
The 2011 FBI document claiming to find “three so-called flying saucers”
In April 2011, the FBI posted a 1950 document from agent Guy Hottel which discussed a report by an investigator for the Air Forces (sic) of “three so-called flying saucers” and their occupants having been recovered in New Mexico. The document says:
Office Memorandum • United States Government
TO: DIRECTOR, FBI [and then across from it, right justified] DATE: March 22, 1950
FROM: GUY HOTTEL, SAC, WASHINGTON
SUBJECT: FLYING SAUCERS
Flying Discs or Flying Saucers
The following information was furnished to SA [redacted] by [two lines redacted].
An investigator for the Air Forces stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.
According to Mr. [redacted] informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed that the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers.
No further evaluation was attempted by SA [redacted] concerning the above.
Though no dates are mentioned regarding the events, the memo has a typed date of March 22, 1950, and two differently-sized date stamps: one March 29, 1950 (larger, at bottom) and one March 28, 1950, the latter of which has a handwritten number above it: 62-838-94-209, the last part with “-209” being somewhat widely spaced from the former. (Other things are typed and handwritten on the copy of the memorandum that is included with this article.)
No location more specific than “New Mexico” is seen.
Some sources connected the memo to the Roswell UFO incident of 1947. Other sources said the memo had been in the public domain for years, and was revealed as a hoax as far back as 1952 in an article in True magazine. They said the hoax was perpetrated by several men who were peddling a device purported to be able to locate gold, oil, gas or anything their victims sought, based on supposed alien technology. The two men, Silas Newton and Leo A. Gebauer, were convicted of fraud in 1953.
In 2013, the FBI issued a press release regarding the memo. In addressing the memo’s context, the Bureau wrote, “Finally, the Hottel memo does not prove the existence of UFOs; it is simply a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated. Some people believe the memo repeats a hoax that was circulating at that time, but the Bureau’s files have no information to verify that theory.”
Area 51 (2011)
American journalist Annie Jacobsen’s Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base (2011), based on interviews with scientists and engineers who worked in Area 51, dismisses the alien story. It suggested that Josef Mengele, a German Schutzstaffel officer and a physician in Auschwitz, was recruited by the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to produce “grotesque, child-size aviators” to be remotely piloted and landed in America in order to cause hysteria similar to Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds (1938). The aircraft, however, crashed and the incident was hushed up by the Americans. Jacobsen wrote that the bodies found at the crash site were children around 12 years old with large heads and abnormally-shaped, over-sized eyes. They were neither aliens nor consenting airmen, but human guinea pigs. The book was criticized for extensive errors by scientists from the Federation of American Scientists.
There was a listing on the US military website about the event:
Harassed Rancher who Located
‘Saucer’ Sorry He Told About it
W. W. Brazel, 48, Lincoln county rancher living 30 miles south east of Corona, today told his story of finding what the army at first described as a flying disk, but the publicity which attended his find caused him to add that if he ever found something else short of a bomb he sure wasn’t going to say anything about it.
Brazel was brought here late yesterday by W. E. Whitmore, of radio station KGFL, had his picture taken and gave an interview to the Record and Jason Kellahin sent here from the Albuquerque bureau of the Associated Press to cover the story. The picture he posed for was sent out over AP telephoto wire sending machine specially set up in the Record office by R. D. Adair, AP wire chief sent here from Albuquerque for the sole purpose of getting out his picture and that of sheriff George Wilcox, to whom Brazel originally gave the information of his find.
Brazel related that on June 14 he and 8-year old son Vernon were about 7 or 8 miles from the ranch house of the J.B. Foster ranch, which he operates, when they came upon a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper and sticks.
At the time Brazel was in a hurry to get his round made and he did not pay much attention to it. But he did remark about what he had seen and on July 4 he, his wife, Vernon and a daughter Betty, age 14, went back to the spot and gathered up quite a bit of the debris.
The next day he first heard about the flying disks, and he wondered if what he had found might be the remnants of one of these.
Monday he came to town to sell some wool and while here he went to see Sheriff George Wilcox and “whispered kinda confidential like” that he might have found a flying disk.
Wilcox got in touch with the Roswell Army Air Field and Maj. Jesse A. Marcel and a man in plain clothes accompanied him home, where they picked up the rest of the pieces of the “disk” and went to his home to try to reconstruct it.
According to Brazel they simply could not reconstruct it at all. They tried to make a kite out of it, but could not do that and could not find any way to put it back together so that it would fit.
Then Major Marcel brought it to Roswell and that was the last he heard until the story broke that he had found a flying disk.
Brazel said that he did not see it fall from the sky and did not see it before it was torn up, so he did not know the size or shape it might have been, but he thought it might have been as large as a table top. The balloon which held it up, if that is how it worked, must have been about 12 feet long, he felt, measuring the distance by the size of the room in which he sat. The rubber was smoke gray in color and scattered over an area about 200 yards in diameter.
When the debris was gathered up the tinfoil, paper, tape, and sticks made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 5 inches thick. In all, he estimated, the entire lot would have weighed maybe five pounds. There was no sign of any metal in the area which might have been used for an engine and no sign of any propellers of any kind, although at least one paper fin had been glued onto some of the tinfoil.
There was no words to be found anywhere on the instrument, although there were letters on some of the parts. Considerable scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed upon it had been used in the construction.
No strings or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment may have been used.
Brazel said that he had previously found two weather observation balloons on the ranch but that what he found this time did not in any way resemble either of these.
“I am sure that what I found was not any weather observation balloon,” he said. “But if I find anything else besides a bomb they are going to have a hard time getting me to say anything about it.”
An unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, sometime during the first week of July 1947.
BrazelRancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel said later he found debris from the crash as he and the son of Floyd and Loretta Proctor rode their horses out to check on sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. Brazel said that as they rode along, he began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal debris scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, he said, he saw a shallow trench several hundred feet long had been gouged into the ground.
Brazel said he was struck by the unusual properties of the debris and, after dragging large pieces of it to a shed, he took some of it over to show the Proctors.
Mrs. Proctor, who later moved from the ranch to a house closer to town, said she remembers Brazel showing up with the strange material.
The Proctors told Brazel he might be holding wreckage from an alien spacecraft — a number of UFO sightings had been reported in the United States that summer — or a government project, and that he should report the incident to Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox.
Maj Jesse MarcelA day or two later, Brazel drove into Roswell, the county seat, and reported the incident to Wilcox, who reported it to Maj. Jesse Marcel, intelligence officer for the 509th Bomb Group, stationed at Roswell Army Air Field.
In their book, A History of UFO Crashes, UFO researchers Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle say their research shows military radar had been tracking an unidentified flying object in the skies over southern New Mexico for four days. On the night of July 4, 1947, radar indicated the object had gone down about 30-40 miles northwest of Roswell.
The book says eyewitness William Woody, who lived east of Roswell, said he remembered being outside with his father the night of July 4, 1947, when he saw a brilliant object plunge to the ground.
The debris site was closed for several days while the wreckage was cleared, and Schmitt and Randle say that when Woody and his father tried to locate the area of the crash they had seen, Woody said they were stopped by military personnel who ordered them out of the area.
Col William BlanchardSchmitt and Randle say Marcel, after receiving the call from Wilcox and subsequent orders from Col. William Blanchard, 509th commanding officer, went to investigate Brazel’s report. Marcel and Capt. Sheridan Cavitt, senior Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) agent, followed the rancher off-road to his place. They spent the night there and Marcel inspected a large piece of debris Brazel had dragged from the pasture.
Monday morning, July 7, Marcel took his first step onto the debris field. Marcel would remark later that “something … must have exploded above the ground and fell.” As Brazel, Cavitt and Marcel inspected the field, Marcel was able to “determine which direction it came from, and which direction it was heading. It was in the pattern … you could tell where it started out and where it ended by how it was thinned out …”
According to Marcel, the debris was “strewn over a wide area, I guess maybe three-quarters of a mile long and a few hundred feet wide.” Scattered in the debris were small bits of metal that Marcel held a cigarette lighter to to see if it would burn.
Along with the metal, Marcel described weightless “I”-beam-like structures that were three-eights inch by one-quarter inch, none of them very long, that would neither bend nor break. Some of these “I”-beams had indecipherable characters along the length, in two colors. Marcel also described metal debris the thickness of tinfoil that was indestructible.
After gathering enough debris to fill his staff car, Marcel decided to stop by his home on the way back to the base so he could show his family the unusual debris. He’d never seen anything quite like it.
“I didn’t know what we were picking up,” he said. “I still don’t know what it was … It could not have been part of an aircraft, not part of any kind of weather balloon or experimental balloon … I’ve seen rockets … sent up at the White Sands Testing Grounds. It definitely was not part of an aircraft or missile or rocket.”
Under hypnosis conducted by Dr. John Watkins in May 1990, Jesse Marcel Jr. remembered being awakened by his father that night and following him outside to help carry in a large box filled with debris. Once inside, they emptied the contents of the debris onto the kitchen floor.
Jesse Jr. described the lead foil and “I”-beams. Under hypnosis, he recalled the writing on the “I”-beams as “Purple. Strange. Never saw anything like it … different geometric shapes, leaves and circles.”
Under questioning, he said the symbols were shiny purple and they were small. There were many separate figures. This too, under hypnosis: [Marcel Sr. was saying it was a flying saucer] “I ask him what a flying saucer is. I don’t know what a flying saucer is … It’s a ship. [Dad’s] excited!”
Marcel reported what he found to Blanchard, showing him pieces of the wreckage, none of which looked like anything Blanchard had ever seen.
Meanwhile, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon from the RAAF morgue. The base’s mortuary officer was trying to get hold of some small, hermetically sealed coffins and also wanted to know how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for a few days and avoid contaminating the tissue.
Dennis later said that evening he drove to the base hospital, where he saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. He entered the hospital and was visiting with a nurse he knew when suddenly he was threatened by military police and forced to leave.
The next day, Dennis met with the nurse, who told him about bodies discovered with the wreckage and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few days she was transferred to England; her whereabouts remain unknown.
Roswell Army Air Field Press Release
Lt Walter HautAt 11 a.m., July 8, 1947, Lt. Walter Haut, RAAF public information officer, finished a press release Blanchard had ordered him to write, stating that the wreckage of a crashed disk had been recovered.
Roswell Daily Record, 8 July 1947 He gave copies to the two radio stations and both of the local newspapers. By 2:26 p.m., the story was on The Associated Press wire:
“The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been found.”
As calls began to pour into the base from all over the world, Lt. Robert Shirkey watched as MPs carried loaded wreckage onto a C-54 from the First Transport Unit.
To get a better look, Shirkey stepped around Col. Blanchard, who was irritated with all of the calls coming into the base. Blanchard decided to travel out to the debris field and left instructions that he’d gone on leave.
Headquarters Gets Involved
Blanchard had sent Marcel to Fort Worth Army Air Field (later Carswell Air Force Base) to report to Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, commanding officer of the 8th Air Force.
Gen Ramey and Maj MarcelMarcel told Haut years later that he’d taken some of the debris into Ramey’s office to show him what had been found. The material was displayed on Ramey’s desk for the general when he returned.
Upon his return, Ramey wanted to see the exact location of the debris field, so he and Marcel went to the map room down the hall — but when they returned, the wreckage that had been placed on the desk was gone and a weather balloon was spread out on the floor. Maj. Charles A. Cashon took the now-famous photo of Marcel with the weather balloon in Ramey’s office.
It was then reported that Ramey recognized the remains as part of a weather balloon. Brig. Gen. Thomas DuBose, the chief of staff of the 8th Air Force, said, “[It] was a cover story. The whole balloon part of it. That was the part of the story we were told to give to the public and news and that was it.”
Roswell Daily Record, 9 July 1947 Later that afternoon, Haut’s original press release was rescinded and an officer from the base retrieved all of the copies from the radio stations and newspaper offices. The next day, July 9, a second press release was issued stating that the 509th Bomb Group had mistakenly identified a weather balloon as wreckage of a flying saucer.
On July 9, as reports went out that the crashed object was actually a weather balloon, cleanup crews were busily clearing the debris. Bud Payne, a rancher at Corona, was trying to round up a stray when he was spotted by the military and carried off the Foster ranch. Broadcaster Judd Roberts and Walt Whitmore were turned away as they approached the debris field.
As the wreckage was brought to the base, it was crated and stored in a hangar.
Rancher Harrassed Back in town, Walt Whitmore and Lyman Strickland saw their friend, Mack Brazel, who was being escorted to the Roswell Daily Record by three military officers. He ignored Whitmore and Strickland, which was not at all like Mack, and once he got to the Roswell Daily Record offices, he changed his story. He now claimed to have found the debris on June 14. Brazel also mentioned that he’d found weather observation devices on two other occasions, but what he found this time was no weather balloon.
The Las Vegas Review Journal, along with dozens of other newspapers, carried the AP story:
“Reports of flying saucers whizzing through the sky fell off sharply today as the Army and the Navy began a concentrated campaign to stop the rumors.”
The story also reported that AAF Headquarters in Washington had “delivered a blistering rebuke to officers at Roswell.”
The military has tried to convince the news media from that day forward that the object found near Roswell was nothing more than a weather balloon.
New USAF Roswell Report Relies Upon Questionable “Witnesses” To Support Its New “Dummy Explanation” For Tales Of ET Bodies
“The Roswell Report: Case Closed,” the USAF’s new 231-page report, may prove as embarrassing to the USAF as the press release issued 50 years earlier by the Roswell Army Air Field stating that it had recovered one of the “flying discs.” Not surprisingly, the new USAF report’s effort to explain a few accounts of seeing ET bodies was immediately dismissed as ridiculous by those who promote the crashed-saucer cover-up view and was challenged by much of the news media. But the new report also is viewed by some skeptics (but not all) as based on credulous conjecture which is likely to generate more allegations of “government cover-up.”
The new Roswell Report was authored by Capt. James McAndrew, who helped research the first USAF Roswell Report released on Sept. 8, 1994, authored by Col. Richard L. Weaver, which provided hard evidence that the debris found by rancher “Mac” Brazel on June 14, 1947, was from a string of weather balloons, radar targets and instruments for a then Top Secret Project Mogul [SUN #30/Nov. 1994]. McAndrew co-authored with Weaver the follow-on USAF report in 1995 offering extensive details on the Project Mogul balloon program. McAndrew, now in his mid-30s and an officer in the Air Force Reserves, was assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force’s Declassification and Review Team.
During SUN’s first meeting with McAndrew in late 1994 following the release of the first USAF Roswell Report, he indicated that he then believed that a handful of (alleged) witnesses who claimed to have seen a crashed saucer and ET bodies were basically honest persons with flawed memories. McAndrew was convinced that their claims of having seen a crashed saucer and ET bodies in mid-1947 resulted from having seen “anthropomorphic” [human-like] dummies parachuted from high altitude balloons and recovered by the USAF in New Mexico in the mid/late 1950s. SUN challenged McAndrew’s view, pointing out that our own interviews with some of these alleged witnesses indicated that they were knowingly spinning tall tales. Still other alleged witnesses recently had been, or soon would be, exposed as spinners of tall tales by other Roswell researchers, as reported in SUN—copies of which were provided to McAndrew.
McANDREW—AS A HIS-TORIAN AND DECLASSIFICATION SPECIALIST—LACKED EXPER-IENCE IN DEALING WITH INTENTIONAL SPINNERS OF TALL TALES. SO HE OPTED TO BELIEVE THAT THE FEW PERSONS WHO CLAIMED TO HAVE SEEN A CRASHED SAUCER AND ET BODIES WERE HONEST BUT THEIR MEMORIES WERE SERIOUSLY FLAWED. THIS RESULTED IN MAJOR FLAWS IN McANDREW’s NEW USAF ROSWELL REPORT.
Discredited Gerald F. Anderson Is McAndrew’s Star Witness
In an effort to support the anthropomorphic dummy parachute test hypothesis, McAndrews provides a chart which lists 53 examples of some minor details, related by alleged ET-bodies witnesses, which seem to correlate with the appearance of one of the dummies or with USAF equipment or vehicles used to recover the dummies. Of these 53 examples, nearly two-thirds come from Gerald F. Anderson, who was a key witness cited in the book “Crash At Corona” by Stanton Friedman and Don Berliner, to substantiate their claim that a flying saucer crashed on the Plains of San Agustin—150 miles west of the Brazel ranch. McAndrew makes no mention of the fact that by early 1993, Anderson had been caught using counterfeit documents and falsehoods to support his crashed-saucer tale. (One of Anderson’s staunchest early supporters, UFOlogist John Carpenter, in an article published in the March 1993 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal, wrote: “One thing I know for certain, I can no longer trust anything my old friend Gerald Anderson wishes to tell me.” McAndrew seems far more trusting.)
McAndrew quotes Anderson as saying “they didn’t have a little finger,” and notes that sometimes one or more fingers on the anthropomorphic dummies would break off when they hit the ground. To reconcile Anderson’s claim that the creatures were no more than four or four and a half feet tall with the fact that most of the dummies were about 6 ft. tall, McAndrew rationalizes that the dummy’s legs broke off on impact. Yet none of his witnesses reported this notable detail. McAndrew cites Anderson’s account, that the creatures “were all wearing one-piece suits…a shiny silverish gray color,” as being similar to the flying suit worn by the dummies, and refers readers to Fig. 14 in his report. But McAndrew omits Anderson’s statement that he “saw no zippers, no buttons.” Fig. 14 clearly shows a large zipper running down the front of the dummy’s flight suit.
ANOTHER INTERESTING DETAIL THAT McANDREW—NOT SURPRISINGLY—CHOOSES TO OMIT FROM HIS ANALYSIS IS ANDERSON’S CLAIM THAT ONE OF THE FOUR CREATURES AT THE CRASH SITE WAS STILL ALIVE ALTHOUGH SERIOUSLY INJURED, WHILE A FOURTH WAS MOVING AROUND, SEEMINGLY IN GOOD SHAPE.
Another Key McAndrew Witness: Jim Ragsdale
Another of McAndrew’s key witnesses, cited in 21% of the examples used to support his dummy hypothesis, is Jim Ragsdale, who was a key witness for Roswell researchers Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt until he drastically changed his crashed-saucer tale with a new sworn statement on April 15, 1995. McAndrew opts to quote from Ragsdale’s original (1993) account and ignore Ragsdale’s revised scenario. McAndrew quotes Ragsdale:
“It was either dummies or bodies or something lying there.” But in Ragsdale’s 1995 sworn statement he said: “When we looked into the craft we saw four bodies…”
“Weapons carriers, six by six Army trucks, a wrecker, 47 Ford car” which were used by the USAF dummy recovery teams. But in Ragsdale’s later sworn statement, he reported: “We heard what we believed was trucks and heavy equipment coming our way, so we left and were not there when whatever it was arrived.” (Emphasis added.)
Still another of McAndrew’s key witnesses in Vern Malthais, who in late 1978 told Stanton Friedman about his friend Barney Barnett’s account of a crashed-saucer encounter on the Plains of San Agustin in the late 1940s. McAndrew cites seven examples of Malthais’ 40-plus-year-old recollections of Barnett’s tale, which seem to substantiate that Barnett might have seen USAF dummies. But Malthais first heard Barnett’s story when he visited Socorro in early 1950—at least several years before the USAF began it anthropomorphic dummy tests.
So far as is known, McAndrew made no effort to look for similarities between the tales told by his key witnesses and those shown on an “Unsolved Mysteries” TV program on the Roswell Incident, which was first broadcast in September of 1989 and rebroadcast in early 1990. This Roswell TV show was seen by tens of millions of viewers, including Gerald Anderson, who called in to report a major error in the show—that two of the ETs had survived the crash.
McAndrew’s conclusions: “When the claims offered by UFO theorists to prove that an extraterrestrial spaceship and crew crashed and were recovered by the U.S. Air Force are compared to documented Air Force activities, it is reasonable to conclude, with a high degree of certainty, that the two ‘crashes’ were actually descriptions of a launch or recovery of a high altitude balloon and anthropomorphic dummies….Since one witness, Gerald Anderson, described procedures consistent with the launch and recovery of high altitude balloons, it is likely that he witnessed both of these activities, with at least one that included an anthropomorphic dummy payload.” (Emphasis added.)
McAndrew’s Research Challenges Mortician’s Nurse/ET Autopsy Tale
The first account of ET bodies related to the Brazel ranch debris was reported by Glenn Dennis, on Aug. 5, 1989, in an interview with Stanton Friedman, and was first made public in mid-1991 in the Randle/Schmitt “UFO Crash At Roswell.” The book included a recreation of the nurse’s ET sketches, drawn by Dennis based on memory. Initially, Dennis’ story was strongly endorsed by Randle/Schmitt, by Friedman, and other crashed-saucer promoters because it seemed to rule out any prosaic/terrestrial explanation for the debris. According to Dennis’ account, a nurse-friend at the Roswell Army Air Field hospital confided to him that she had participated in the autopsy of three strange ET-like creatures, and she gave Dennis sketches of the creatures after extracting a “sacred oath” that he would keep the story secret. Immediately afterwards, according to Dennis, his nurse-friend was transferred to England and his letter to her was returned marked “Deceased.” He said he later heard that she had been killed in a military aircraft accident, although efforts by Roswell researchers failed to find any record of such an accident.
When Roswell researcher Karl Pflock published his report “Roswell In Perspective” in mid-1994, he challenged the veracity of many of the key witnesses endorsed by Randle/Schmitt and by Friedman. But Pflock strongly endorsed Dennis’ nurse/ET-autopsy story. SUN was the first to point out significant discrepancies in the nurse/ET autopsy story. [See SUN #31/Jan. 1995.]
Roswell researchers, including Friedman and Randle/Schmitt, hoping to locate the “missing nurse,” prevailed on Dennis to provide her name: Naomi Maria Selff. They were soon joined by another rigorous researcher, Vic Golubic, and by McAndrew. McAndrew’s research, which included the “Morning Reports” that list all military personnel at a base, revealed the following:
* Five Army nurses were assigned to the RAAF hospital in July 1947, but not one of them was suddenly transferred overseas or later killed in an airplane crash. None of the nurses was named Naomi Maria Selff—or any name resembling that. Search of files in the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis failed to locate anyone by that name who had ever served in the Armed Forces. * One of the five nurses—1st Lt. Eileen M. Fanton—bore some resemblance to Dennis’ description of Naomi Maria Selff, including having been raised in a Roman Catholic family. She was transferred on Sept. 4, 1947, because of a medical condition, and admitted to the hospital at a base in Texas. Another of the Roswell nurses was transferred to the Fort Worth Army Air Field, but that occurred on July 23, 1947—not early July as Dennis claimed.
In August 1952, a Florida Scoutmaster reported a close encounter with a UFO that had burned his arm. When a USAF investigation indicated that theScoutmaster’s tale was spurious, the USAF called the case a hoax. This prompted a strong protest to the USAF from the Scoutmaster’s influential Congressman. As a result, the USAF adopted a policy—never put in writing—that henceforth there would be no more “hoax” explanations. Suspected hoaxes would henceforth be included in the USAF’s “Insufficient Information” or “Other” categories.
Pentagon lawyers and public affairs officials who reviewed McAndrew’s manuscript insisted on a number of revisions—including a change in its original title from “Case Solved” to “Case Closed.” Although the reviewers probably were not aware of the 1952 Scoutmaster incident, they were wary of accusing any alleged witness of intentional falsehood. This may well have influenced the report’s treatment of the Glenn Dennis nurse/ET-autopsy story. If other alleged witness tales were the result of flawed memories, this might also explain the nurse/ET autopsy tale. Perhaps the autopsy did not occur in July 1947—but nine years later, on June 26, 1956, when a KC-97 aerial tanker had crashed nine miles south of RAAF, killing and badly burning 11 crew members. Their bodies had been brought to the base hospital for identification and autopsies on three of the victims.
In one interview, Dennis said that when he chanced to visit the base hospital in 1947 while the autopsy was under way, he had been harshly threatened by a “red-headed Colonel.” McAndrew’s research located a red-haired Colonel—Lee F. Ferrell—who had been commander of the base hospital starting in 1954—seven years after the Brazel ranch incident. In several other interviews, Dennis said he had been threatened by a “red-haired Captain.” McAndrew located a red-haired (former) Captain, Joseph Kittinger, who was briefly present at the RAAF hospital in May 1959 as the result of a balloon accident near Roswell. But in 1959, Dennis was no longer employed by the Ballard Funeral Home in Roswell. He was managing a drug store near Aztec, N.M., according to McAndrew’s report.
USAF Report Offers Dennis A “Flawed Memory” Option
The USAF’s new Roswell report concludes: “This series of actual events contains extensive similarities to the account provided by Dennis. The numerous and extensive similarities indicate that some elements of this actual event were most probably included in Dennis’ account. This aircraft accident provided an explanation for the following elements of the research profile—the very mangled, black little bodies in body bags, the odor, the two strange doctors, and the report of a red-headed colonel.” (The report avoids any mention of Dennis’ sworn statement of Aug. 7, 1991, in which he says the nurse told him that the doctors performing the autopsy said: “This isn’t anything we’ve ever seen before; there’s nothing in the medical textbooks like this.”)
A similar “flawed memory” explanation option was offered to Dennis by Roswell researcher Karl Pflock this past January when Pflock reluctantly concluded that the nurse/ET autopsy tale was not literally true and so informed Dennis by letter [SUN #43/Jan. 1997].
STOP THE PRESSES!
William L. Moore, co-author of the first Roswell crashed-saucer book, drops a major blockbuster in the August issue of Saucer Smear newsletter: In a letter to editor Jim Moseley, Moore admits: “After deep and careful consideration of recent developments concerning Roswell…I am no longer of the opinion that the extraterrestrial explanation is the best explanation for this event. I concede that it remains in the running as a possible explanation…” This is a remarkable admission from Moore, especially because of its implications for the “Top Secret” MJ-12 papers which Moore, Stanton Friedman and Jaime Shandera released in 1987. If no crashed saucer, then the MJ-12 papers MUST BE COUNTERFEIT. We predict that Friedman will join the growing number of crashed-saucer defectors when the sun begins to RISE in the WEST.
Dan Wright Provides The “Right Stuff” On UFO Abductions
While “Abdufologists” such as Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, and Harvard University’s Dr. John Mack have achieved fame (and fortune) as experts on the UFO-abduction phenomenon, the efforts of little-known researcher Dan Wright have provided more scientifically useful insights into the true nature of the phenomenon than all other Abdufologists combined. Wright heads a MUFON committee which painstakingly transcribes the tales told by “abductees”—typically under hypnosis—which Wright then analyzes in a search for patterns. The results of Wright’s latest analysis were reported at MUFON’s recent conference in Grand Rapids, Mich. [SUN’s editor was unable to attend because of spinal surgery, so the following highlights are based on Wright’s paper in the conference proceedings.]
Wright reported that his latest analysis is based on 906 taped transcripts of 254 abduction accounts obtained from 20 abduction researchers. These included David Jacobs but Budd Hopkins and John Mack did not participate. In Wright’s recent report, which occupies 48 pages in the conference proceedings, he provides many verbatim transcripts to show what he perceives to be significant patterns. Of the 254 subjects, 64% were female, 30% were male and 6% involved couples.
SUN Comment: As you examine the statistics from Wright’s analysis (below), recall the claim made by many Abdufologists that they accept the reality of UFO abductions because of the great similarity of abductee reports.
54% of the female subjects reported being subjected to some gynecological procedure. Of these, 19% reported having a fetus aborted while 7% reported having an embryo implanted in their womb. Nearly a third reported having ova or tissue removed. The remainder were unsure of what transpired. [But 46% reported no ET interest in such matters.]
32% of the male subjects reported having sperm extracted, or “implied” that such had occurred. [SUN Comment: Seemingly, more than two-thirds of the male abductees failed to meet ET standards to “father” a hybrid. How humiliating!]
4% of the female subjects reported being forced to engage in sexual intercourse with ETs, one by a “short greenish-brown reptilian” who was trying to arouse her with its “metal claws.” One male subject reported being forced to engage in sex with another male abductee.
11% of the female subjects reported they had breast-fed a hybrid baby, even though none of them had been pregnant or lactating at the time.
17% reported one or more of the following: “Underground government, alien or shared government-alien facilities; Government personnel acting in concert with alien beings; Government intrusion or harrassment in the same timeframe as an alien abduction.”
Although Wright acknowledges his belief in the reality of UFO abductions, he offers a wise caveat: “Regressive hypnosis, the cornerstone of the Abduction Transcription Project, offers only evidence—not proof—of alien abductions. Some of the people in the study [subjects] might have a penchant for fantasies or a need to be part of an exclusive ‘club.’ Moreover, many were less than carte blanche subjects, having read one or more abduction-related books prior to undergoing hypnosis sessions.” (Emphasis added.)
What convinces Wright of the reality of UFO abductions are the “details, sequences, cause and effect. These to the author are the proofs of an alien abduction reality.”
He cites the following as an example: “Dozens of subjects said they were shown one or more infants or a room full of incubating fetuses. But, if these were only copycat images, how is it that each person placed the ‘baby’ presentation sequentially after—never before—procedures on an examining table. No book or TV documentary has emphasized that.” (Emphasis added.) [SUN suggests that Wright analyze the sequence in books and TV shows on UFO abductions and predicts he will find essentially all follow the traditional scenario: Examination comes first.]
Possibly Wright’s most significant commentary appears early in his MUFON paper: “Regressive hypnosis cannot irrefutably uncover truth stemming from significant events in one’s life. Whether such episodes entail emotional or sexual abuse, a fanciful personality, or some other prosaic explanation, the subjects in this Project nonetheless have concluded that unearthly beings are responsible for their recovered memories. Further, in that there are no conclusive means to discern fact from fiction in their recorded accounts, no greater weight is given to a particular case over any other.” (Emphasis added.)
Thus, it is impossible to determine FROM THE CONTENT OF THE TALES whether ALL 254 abduction accounts are literally true, or if some are true and some are fantasy, or if ALL are fantasy. No “abductee” claim is so wild as to prompt Wright to label it as fantasy.
New Report Claims Many UFOs Were Really Secret “Spy Planes”
A recent 17-page report which highlights the CIA’s involvement in the UFO controversy from the late 1940s, authored by historian Gerald K. Haines, erroneously claims many UFO reports in late 1950s and early 1960s which the USAF knew were generated by U-2 and SR-71 spy planes were falsely identified as “natural phenomena such as ice crystals and temperature inversions.” Haines’ report, which appeared in the 1997 unclassified edition of CIA’s quarterly “Studies in Intelligence” publication, is entitled: “CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90. The report was posted on Internet and its cover-up charge has generated wide media interest.
Project Blue Book records show that from the first U-2 flight in April of 1955 until its covert mission was revealed when Gary Powers was shot down over the USSR in May of 1960, the USAF offered “Mirages & [Temperature] Inversions” or “Clouds & Contrails” explanations for only 1.2% of all UFO sightings reported to Blue Book from 1955 through 1960. U-2 flights could more easily be “hidden” in the 2.3% of the UFO reports which were categorized as “unidentified,” i.e., unexplained. In the early 1960s before the SR-71’s existence and mission were revealed by President Johnson, the USAF offered “Mirages & Inversions” or “Clouds & Contrails” explanations for only 1% of its UFO reports while 3% were logged as “unidentified.”
Much of the generally accurate Haines article has been in the public domain since late 1978 when the CIA released about a thousand documents. (Their highlights are contained in my book “UFOs: The Public Deceived,” published in 1983, to which Haines makes frequent reference.) Additional material—primarily internal
memoranda revealing Agency concern that the USSR might exploit public interest in UFOs—was declassified in 1993-94 when CIA Director James Woolsey ordered a new review of the Agency’s UFO files. Haines confirms that CIA’s UFO interest and activities peaked in the early 1950s, as a result of a White House request prompted by the reports of “UFO blips” on the then-new radar at Washington’s National Airport. This led to the convening of the Robertson Panel in early 1953 to examine the USAF’s best UFO evidence. When the Panel found no evidence to indicate that UFOs were either extraterrestrial or Soviet spy vehicles, the CIA quickly lost interest, as reported in my book.
Haines concludes: “Like the JFK assassination conspiracy theories, the UFO issue probably will not go away soon, no matter what the Agency does or says. The belief that we are not alone in the universe is too emotionally appealing and the distrust of our government is too pervasive to make the issue amenable to traditional scientific studies or rational explanation and evidence.”
(Once) Respected Army Officer Leaps Onto “Tale Tales Bandwagon”
A very revealing commentary on the new book “The Day After Roswell” and the modus operandi of its author—former Army Lt. Col. Philip Corso—was a press release statement issued on June 5 by Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) which read: “I am deeply disturbed that the foreward [written by Thurmond] which appears in ‘The Day After Roswell’ by Philip Corso was originally, and expressly, written for a book which was supposed to be entitled ‘I Walk With Giants’ and recounted the wartime activities and recollections of a retired Army officer.
“I did not, and would not, pen the foreward to a book about, or containing, a suggestion that the success of the United States in the Cold War is attributable to the technology found on a crashed UFO. I do not believe in UFOs, do not believe that the United States is in possession of such a vehicle, and do not believe that there has been any government cover-up of a UFO crash. (Emphasis added.)
“The outline of ‘I Walk With Giants’ provided me by Mr. Corso [who was employed as a member of Thurmond’s staff in 1963-64 and again in 1973-74] indicated he was writing a book of his recollections and observations on topics such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnamese Conflict, intelligence, espionage, and counter-espionage operations. There was absolutely no mention, suggestion, or indication that any of the chapters and subjects listed dealt with Unidentified Flying Objects and government conspiracies to cover-up the existence of such space vehicles.”
SUN suspects that Corso was unable to find a publisher for his book based on its original theme and perhaps his agent (or co-author) suggested the change to exploit the 50th anniversary of the UFO era and the Roswell Incident. Although Corso seemingly remembers many details dating back 50 years, he “forgot” to inform Sen. Thurmond of the new theme.
Thanks To Corso, U.S. Decipher ET Technology And Won The Cold War
Corso’s book, co-authored by William J. Birnes, claims that the debris recovered on the Brazel ranch in 1947 included microchips, optical fibers, lasers and particle-beam accelerators. No such items were ever mentioned by any of the persons known to have seen the original debris, including rancher Brazel, Maj. Jesse Marcel (who had expertise in electronics), or by Marcel’s son. According to Corso, for more than a decade much of the Roswell ET debris remained under wraps in the Pentagon and its scientists were unable to comprehend this advanced technology—UNTIL 1961 WHEN CORSO WAS ASSIGNED TO THE ARMY’S FOREIGN TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT DESK IN THE PENTAGON. CORSO WISELY DECIDED TO COVERTLY “LEAK” THE ROSWELL DEBRIS TO INDUSTRIAL SCIENTISTS AND THEY SOON MASTERED ET TECHNOLOGY. THIS ENABLED THE U.S. TO WIN THE COLD WAR WITH THE USSR, ACCORDING TO CORSO.
In fact, the transistor—which is the cornerstone of the microchip—was invented by Bell Laboratories scientists and first demonstrated on Dec. 23, 1947—less than six months after Maj. Marcel recovered the Brazel ranch debris and more than a decade before Corso was assigned to the Army’s foreign technology R&D desk. The invention stemmed from earlier research in semiconductor diodes for radar in the early 1940s. The first published report that U.S. scientists had created primitive microcircuits by fabricating multiple transistors and resistors on a single silicon chip appeared in the April 8, 1957 issue of Aviation Week magazine. (I myself wrote that article as well as many subsequent articles on advances in microcircuit technology. Contrary to Corso’s claims, it was the USAF, not the Army, which took the lead in sponsoring advances in microcircuit technology—primarily for use in its new Minuteman ballistic missiles.)
Roswell researcher Karl Pflock demolishes many of the other wild claims in his review of Corso’s book, published in the July issue of the MUFON UFO Journal.
In Stanton Friedman’s talk at the recent MUFON conference, he tried to “put down” my upcoming Roswell book by claiming that in three pages of my 1983 book, “UFOs: The Public Deceived,” I had “made over 20 factual misstatements about Roswell.” He referred listeners to his 1995 MUFON conference paper for specifics. Here is one example from Friedman’s 1995 paper: “Klass claims that according to Berlitz and Moore [book], General Eisenhower was not told of the crashed saucer because ‘he did not possess the necessary clearances’ and was not informed officially even after he became President. No such claim is made in the book.” (Emphasis added.)
Page 111 of the hard-cover edition of the Berlitz/Moore book “The Roswell Incident” contains the following: “During his first term as President, Eisenhower began to make inquiries into the reality of the ‘Roswell saucer capture.’ One of his first problems, as outlined by a former high-level CIA operative who shall remain nameless, was his startling (one might even say frightening) discovery that even though he was President, as well as a former general of the Army, he did not possess the necessary clearances to be permitted access to such information.” (Emphasis added.)
RIDDLE: What famous UFOlogist, after more than 20 years of UFO research, offered the following assessment? “…there have been no extraterrestrial spacecraft in our atmosphere except for the brief period of October 1973. Prior to that time, there were misidentifications, hoaxes and lies. Afterward, there were more misidentifications and lies….Except for this brief period of activity, then, there have been no flying saucers. They were invented in the fertile imaginations of a hundred newspaper and magazine writers and kept alive by movies and books. The UFO field has been horribly overmined, overstated and overstressed.” ANSWER: KEVIN RANDLE, in his UFO book “The October Scenario,” published in 1988—a year before he “discovered” Roswell.
A small chunk of silicon, allegedly from the Roswell crashed saucer, was characterized as “one of the most extraordinary discoveries of our time” by Paul Davids, executive producer of the 1994 Showtime film “Roswell.” At a July 4 press conference in Roswell during its recent week-long 50th anniversary celebration, San Diego chemist Russell VernonClark [sic] said: “It is impossible for it to be from Earth” based on its chemical composition. Subsequently, when his claim was challenged by skeptical scientists, VernonClark conceded that the evidence is “inconclusive,” according to an article in the July 25 edition of the Albuquerque Journal.
How ironic: Cable News Network’s popular “Crossfire” evening talk show on July 4, scheduled to discuss the Roswell Incident (with Kent Jeffrey and Kevin Randle as guests) was preempted at the last moment by a momentous extraterrestrial event: the first scenes of Mars provided by the just-landed Sojourner spacecraft. The pre-taped “Crossfire” Roswell show was broadcast in the pre-dawn hours the next morning.
The Results of a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll on Roswell, taken June 24-25—shortly after the release of the new USAF/McAndrew Roswell Report—were included on the “Crossfire” show. When asked “Do you believe Aliens landed in Roswell?” 52% of the respondents answered “No” while 31% answered “Yes”. When asked: “Do you believe the U.S. Air Force explanation for Roswell?” only 25% answered “Yes” while 64% answered “No”. Thus, while more than half of the persons polled did not believe Aliens had landed at Roswell, nearly two-thirds of the persons questioned the USAF’s explanation.
Roswell New Mexico UFO festival!