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Roswell UFO Incident

The Roswell UFO incident was the report of an object—allegedly an extraterrestrial spaceship—crashing in the Roswell, New Mexico area in July 1947. On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut issued a press release stating personnel from the field's 509th Operations Group (509 OG) recovered a crashed "flying disk" in a ranch near Roswell. Later that day, the press reported Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force (8 AF) Roger Ramey stated a weather balloon was recovered by the RAAF personnel instead. The debris was shipped to the United States Air Force (USAF)'s headquarters where press conference featuring the debris was held, which confirmed the weather balloon description.

The incident was forgotten and almost completely ignored, even by ufologists, for more than 30 years. In 1978, physicist and ufologist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris. Marcel believed the military covered up the recovery of an extraterrestrial spaceship. Additional witnesses added significant new details, including claims of a military operation dedicated to recovering alien craft and aliens. In 1989, former mortician Glenn Dennis put forth a detailed personal account, where 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 (GAO) 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 (1995) concluded the debris was from Project Mogul, a top-secret weather balloon project. The second (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 (1950), and hoaxes perpetrated by various witnesses and UFO proponents.

Initial account
Roswell Daily Record, July 8, 1947, reporting the RAAF captured a flying saucer

During the first week of July 1947, William Brazel, a foreman for a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, was examining livestock when he noticed a wreckage of an unknown shiny, metallic material. Brazel collected a sample of the debris and showed it to George Wilcox of the Chaves County, New Mexico's Sheriff Office where the two talked "confidential-like". Wilcox brought down Major Jesse Marcel from the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) to examine the debris. After the discussion, Marcel, Brazel, and Counterintelligence Corps officer Sheridan Cavitt traveled to the debris field. It covered approximately 0.75 miles (1.21 km) long and was several hundred feet wide. Marcel informed the United States Air Force (USAF) of the flyer saucer, and it was handled by the Eighth Air Force (8 AF).

On July 8, the Roswell Daily Record reported the RAAF found a flying saucer in the Roswell, New Mexico region. A press release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was released the same day claiming a weather balloon was found instead of a flyer saucer. The debris was flown from Roswell to the 8 AF's headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas that day on a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Marcel flew, too, and he met with General Roger Ramey, where parts of the debris was set up for the press to photograph. A telex was sent on July 8 from the FBI's office in Dallas, Texas to the Cincinnati, Ohio office. The writer said a flying disc—hexagonal in shape and 20 feet (6.1 m) wide—was found, and the debris was going to be transferred to Wright Field in Riverside, Ohio for a special investigation. The press reported the weather balloon story from Fort Worth, and nothing else was reported.


The incident was essentially forgotten, until Stanton Friedman, a ufologist, interviewed Marcel in 1978, and Marcel claimed the incident was a cover-up by the United States Government. Prior, the incident was so unpopular it was not included in the top 853 UFO cases in Report of the UFO Wave (1967). The first book about the incident, The Roswell Incident (1980) by Charles Berlitz and William Moore, was released three years later. It claimed extraterrestrial life was attracted to the atomic and nuclear research in New Mexico, and one of the saucers was struck by lightning, where it crashed on the ranch. According to the authors, the two interviewed over 90 witnesses of the incident. One report from Roswell residents Dan Wilmot and his wife included them seeing two flying saucers faced mouth to mouth on July 2, as were other reports of mysterious objects seen flying overhead. The Roswell Incident introduced an alien account by Barney Barnett who told friends he described the crash of a flying saucer and the recovery of alien corpses in the Socorro, New Mexico area, 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 the aliens and the craft were shipped to Edwards Air Force Base in California. The book suggested either there were two crafts that crashed, or debris from the vehicle Barnett described, landed on the Foster ranch after an explosion. One claim from the book was Marcel posed for photographs with debris of a weather balloon to help with the cover-up. The book suggested the military orchestrated Brazel's testimony to make it appear a mundane object had landed on the ranch.


Brazel had an interview with the Roswell Daily Record and the Associated Press on July 9, 1947 to report what he saw. He said on June 14, 1947, he and his son was on their ranch where they found a wreckage of rubber strips, tinfoil, and tough paper and sticks. He did not notice the debris too much, and he went back later on July 4, 1947 to collect some of it. After collecting, this is when Brazel brought the debris to Wilcox. According to Brazel, nobody could figure out what the debris was nor reconstruct it into anything. The debris was gray in color and covered an area of approximately 200 yards (180 m) in diameter. Marcel was one of the first military personnel on the debris field in 1947. He said the field contained small beams about 0.75–0.5 square inch (4.8–3.2 cm2) with undecipherable hieroglyphics. The material was similar to balsa wood in terms of weight and flexibility, but he claimed it was nowhere near it. There was a great deal of on unusual parchment-like substance which was brown in color and extremely strong, and a great number of small, tinfoil-like pieces of a metal.

Walter Haut was a public information officer for the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell. He wrote the original press release claiming the RAAF found the flying disc. In The Roswell Incident he originally claimed to not be a witness of the event.With the publication of his 2002 posthumous affidavit, however, he said to be a witness. In the affidavit, he saw a space craft and alien bodies. Haut's affidavit discussed a high-level meeting with General William H. Blanchard and Ramey. Haut states the debris was passed to participants to touch, and nobody was able to identify the material. General Roger M. Ramey suggested to have the press release issued because the residents were already aware of the crash site, but there was a second crash site, which had more debris from the craft. The plan was an announcement acknowledging the first site would draw away attention from the second location. The affidavit discussed a clean up operation, where military personnel removed the debris from both crash sites and erasing all signs of the crash. This ties in with claims made by Roswell residents in which debris collected as souvenirs were seized by the military. He claims Blanchard took him to Building 84, one of the hangars at RAAF, and showed him the space craft, which was a metallic egg-shaped object 12–15 feet (3.7–4.6 m) in length and 6 feet (1.8 m) wide. Inside the hanger, he saw two bodies approximately 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, disproportionately large heads, and partially covered by a tarpaulin. Haut concluded the bodies were from outer space. Ramey returned to 8 AF headquarters at Fort Worth, Texas. During a photo op of Ramey with debris in his office, a picture of him holding a teletype message, called the Ramey Memo by ufologist, was taken. It was from Ramey to Hoyt Vandenberg stating there had been victims. In addition, he mentioned a disk had been found, and something inside was being shipped to his command.

Researchers Tom Carey and Donald Schmitt found a B-29 crew member at Fort Worth in 1948 who said he saw Ramey talking with an officer about the incident. Ramey claimed it was a big lie and extraterrestrial. In 2011, ex-Air Force intelligence officer and UFO researcher George Filer spoke with Mrs. Ramey, who told him her husband was embarrassed and sad about the lie. She said they became good friends with President Harry S. Truman after the incident. Two second-hand witnesses claim Mrs. Ramey told them her husband was involved with a "spaceship". Mrs. Ramey never made a public statement to this effect, however. Friedman spoke with Mrs. Ramey and was convinced she did not know any actual details about Roswell. Roswell funeral director Glenn Davis is considered the main account of the recovery of alien bodies in the Roswell UFO incident. He was summoned to a minor crash in the Roswell area, and upon arrival, was told to back away after seeing purple-colored debris. The commanding office of the area told Davis that nothing happened and to keep quiet of the accident. Davis' account is also based of off information from an unknown nurse, who where stationed to the Roswell International Air Center (RIAC) in 1947. The nurse stumbled upon an autopsy of three mangled alien-like bodies, which were later moved to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio for further investigation. Dennis claimed to never see the nurse again and could not get in touch with her again.

Majestic 12

Harry Truman's executive order authorizing Majestic 12

In December 1984, UFO researcher Jamie Shandera received a package containing 35mm film; inside was FBI documents where Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter told President-elect Dwight Eisenhower of the recovery of the remains of crashed spaceships. President Harry S. Truman, according to the documents, created Majestic 12 (MJ-12), a secret committee to research the recovered spacecraft, on September 24, 1947. The document claimed to have found four bodies from the Roswell UFO crash. Shandera and Moore traveled to the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. to search for MJ-12-related documents. The two found a July 1954 memo from Robert Cutler discussing an "MJ-12 SSP" to be held at the White House on July 16, 1954. In 1987 an unknown person gave writer Timothy Good a copy of the MJ-12 documents. Good was planning to disclose it to the press; Sandera and Moore released the copy they had. The result was a massive uproar, including coverage in The New York Times and an FBI investigation. The FBI concluded MJ-12 was a hoax, and labeled the documents as forged. Despite this, many ufologist believe MJ-12 was real. In 2001, ufologist Robert Wood concluded MJ-12 was real because of the amount of then-classified documents that have been released.

The members of the committee were:

Vice admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, director of  CIA
Vannevar Bush, head of Office of Scientific Research and Development
Lieutenant James Forrestal, United States Secretary of Defense
General Nathan Farragut Twining, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
General Hoyt Vandenberg, director of CIA
Detlev Bronk, scientist
Jerome Clarke Hunsaker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering graduate
Admiral Sidney Souers, executive secretary of United States National Security Council(NSC)
Gordon Gray, United States Secretary of the Army
Donald Howard Menzel, theoretical astronomer and astrophysicist
Lieutenant general Robert Miller Montague, commander of Sandia Base
Lloyd Berkner, geophysicist

United States Government reports

In February 1994, the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), an investigation agency of the United States Congress, told the USAF it was planning to conduct an audit about the Roswell UFO incident. New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff was the first to request the GAO investigation. This report, released in 1995, used information presented in popular literature by ufologist. The GAO attempted to find historical documents and track down interviewees to find information. The report concluded the incident was not an airplane crash, a missile crash, a nuclear accident or an extraterrestrial crash, and it was Project Mogul. The only document that included Roswell and 1947 was the 509th Bomb Group recovering a "flying disc", but it later turned out to be a weather balloon. The GAO report released in July 1995 concluded similar results. It researched all USAF documents to find all accident reports. There was four accidents in the New Mexico region, but all occurred after July 8, 1947 The GAO recovered, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the same FBI document used in the USAF report. Other agencies searched and interviewed included the United States Department of Defense (USDOD), the CIA, the United States National Security Council (NSC), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The NSC, the OSTP, the DOE, and the CIA claimed to have no documents related to the Roswell UFO incident.

The second round of studies were published in 1997. Another report by the USAF was to focus on the aspect of the recovered alien bodies. The research concluded the bodies were anthropomorphic test dummies carried by a weather balloon to conduct scientific research. The author claims speculation of the recovery of bodies did not start until 1978, and most of the information presented was false. The report goes in-depth of Dennis' account of the missing nurse and the pediatrician. The USAF interviewed several people to attempt to verify Dennis' claims; however, it could not verify one aspect and said none of the people Dennis named knew nothing of the incident. One of the final lines in the report say, "This [...] examination [...] found no evidence [...] of flying saucers, space aliens, or [...] cover-ups". The CIA report released in the same year briefly mentioned the Roswell UFO incident and based the conclusion on the 1995 Air Force's report.

Source : Wikipedia
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