There recently has been some discussion about the percentage of UFO reports that are IFOs. I discussed this in my last issue when I answered Stanton Friedman’s complaint that a 90% IFO rate was a “ridiculous proclamation”. This surfaced again and it seems that a certain percentage of UFOlogists claim that the IFO rate is more like 50-80% depending on who is talking. I found these numbers interesting because I would think the one organization that would know the IFO rate would be MUFON, who investigates UFO reports. They give the number of over 90% on their web site.
This really seems like a numbers game to me. UFOlogists seem to want there to be more “genuine” or “true” UFOs, which is why they work hard to only accept the statistics that support their conclusion. I really could care less if the IFO rate is 50, 80, 90, 95, or 99%. I think that UFOlogists really have not figured out what the low IFO numbers imply.
For instance, let’s assume the number for IFOs is 75%. That means that in any large number of UFO reports, we should expect to see 25% of them being observations of inexplicable craft. In 2011, the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) had over 5000 reports. If we assume that the other UFO centers (MUFON, CUFOS, independent investigators, etc) have a combined number of reports equal to this, that means there are roughly 10,000 UFO reports filed every year. With the value of 25%, that means 2,500 cases are actual sightings of “unknown craft operating under intelligent control” (UCOUIC). These are only the observations that are reported. There may be a hidden number of UCOUICs that were not reported. Even with 2500 events, that is an average of almost seven events a day. With such a large number of UCOUICs in the skies over the United States, one wonders why none have been convincingly recorded or photographed. The lack of convincing evidence for all of these UCOUICs inhabiting the sky implies that the “unknowns” in any database can not all be UCOUICs. If this is so, doesn’t this mean that some (possibly a majority) of the unexplained UFO reports really are IFOs yet to be identified?
I look at the NUFORC and MUFON databases pretty regularly and I see a lot of cases that probably can not be explained to many UFOlogists satisfaction. Many of the reports are missing a lot of information that might reveal the IFO that caused them. One can suggest probable explanations (Chinese lanterns, aircraft, stars, meteors, etc.) but it is very hard to pin down simply because there is not enough information. I certainly do not see a significant number of these reports indicating that UCOUICs are operating in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2012
It appears that there has been some argument about what Professor Moore wrote about how neoprene balloons would react to sunlight. In an effort to clear up the matter, I decided to run some tests of my own in conjunction with other Roswell skeptics. I had previously conducted a similar test using a weather balloon I had purchased from Edmund Scientific. However, after looking at some pictures of Professor Moore’s balloons, I realized the type I had probably was not neoprene. Therefore, I put out some money for a neoprene weather balloon from a scientific company in Toronto.
When it arrived, I discovered it was an old KAYSAM corporation balloon which had been designated ML-635. There appears to be a manufacturing date of 3/80. After unpacking the materials and photographing the pristine balloon, I promptly cut it up into sections and sealed them all into zip lock backs to minimize exposure to the air. I then mailed these sections off to my fellow skeptics to perform their own tests.
I ran several tests to help prove/disprove the claims made in the past by Roswell proponents. They ran in the following order:
I first exposed the balloon for six hours on a bright sunny day in NH. I took photographs every half-hour between 10 AM and 4 1. PM on May 27th. Except for a bit of light high clouds, the sun was not obscured.
The second test was a duration test from New Hampshire. On May 28th I placed a test strip out into the sun. I photographed the 2. test strip regularly for over three weeks. I also recorded the sky conditions for the days in question (clear, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, cloudy, rainfall etc.).
The third test was to repeat test 1 while I was on vacation in St. Augustine, Florida. At roughly 30 degrees latitude, it would be 3. a reasonable simulation for the New Mexico sun. I realize that Florida is a bit wetter/more humid than New Mexico but it would be adequate for testing the degree of sunlight exposure.
The fourth and final test was to perform another duration test in St. Augustine. It would only be a seven day duration test but 4. it could be used to compare the first seven days of my test in NH.
In order to simulate that parts of the balloon material would be hidden by layers above, I made sure there was a strip of balloon material beneath the top layer. This would give a good feel for how the material would behave in a shielded and unshielded modes.
The first test was informative. In an effort to maximize the sunlight exposing the material, I tilted the platform the balloon material was mounted on about 50-60 degrees and rotated it every two hours to keep it facing towards the sun. The four images to the right show the initial balloon material followed by the balloon as it appeared six hours later. The bottom left shows what the underneath layers looked like and the bottom right shows the material as it is unfolded and one can look inside. The balloon changed color from tan to a light gray. However, the material was still very pliable and soft. It did not flake off or become brittle. Meanwhile, the material underneath retained its original color and texture. This is consistent with what Professor Moore wrote:
As I remember, these early sounding balloons became dirty-gray or brown after stretching and exposure to solar ultraviolet light during their ascent to high altitudes..1
This test started off with a sunny day that gave the same gray color to the balloon I obtained in test #1. However, the next two days were rainy and cloudy. The balloon did not change much during those two days. This was followed by a day and a half of sun. The balloon darkened somewhat but was still elastic in nature. We then had some poor weather with hardly any bright sunlight and quite a bit of rain. I had to take the material out of the rain and wait for the sun to return. When it did return, I continued to monitor the balloon material. By day 13, the balloon began to lose elasticity and could tear. By day 19, the top part of the balloon material had become pretty dark/black in nature. It could tear with little effort. However, the material underneath was still tannish and elastic (see image above right). The upper layers had shielded the material underneath as Professor Moore had stated:
After several weeks of additional exposure to sunlight, the upper surfaces of the fragments on the ground turned black with a gray sheen....The layers of film that were shielded from direct sunlight darkened more slowly, so the debris recovered after a few weeks often was mottled in appearance..2
I terminated the exercise on July 4th, which was 38 days after the material was put out. Based on my weather log, I would consider the exposure to be equivalent to about three weeks of full sun. It is interesting to note that when using the hourly observations for Roswell in June-July of 1947, I arrived at a similar value of “full sun” time for the period of 4 June to 4 July. This does not even consider the fact that NH has more sun time (sunrise to sunset) during the day than New Mexico. This may compensate for the difference in latitude. The material began to flake on top and deteriorate by the time I saw it on day 38 (I was out of town on vacation for 12 days). However, the material underneath still had some elasticity to it and did not change color significantly (see image top left). The description that Professor Moore gave was an accurate assessment of my test material.
Because of commitments for the day, my six hour test in Florida was actually a five hour test. However, it was a mirror image to my six hour test in NH. The material did not turn dark black and just turned grayish (see image to the left). The material underneath did not change much.
The seven day test in Florida was a wash before I could start it. Tropical storm Debbie happened to dump rain on my vacation for the entire week with only a few days of sunlight so I could nottest the material. As a result, I only tested for two days. The material did not change much from the five hour test even though I had very nice clear skies (see image bottom right on previous page). It still was very soft and elastic even though the color had darkened. I would have to wait for a fellow skeptic at a southern location to confirm my duration test in NH.
Lance Moody provided me with this high resolution scan of the balloon material in Ramey’s office. The scan was provided to him by David Rudiak. What Moody noticed was that there are bits and pieces of black flakes that have come off this balloon material and the edges are shredded. When examining the results I obtained from my tests and comparing them to these images, I can state the following:
The material in these photographs are not from a balloon that has been set out in the sun for a few hours as some have sug1. gested. The material appears too brittle and is flaking. At no point did any of my tests show that brittleness/flaking occurred or the material turned black within a few hours of sunlight exposure.
The portions in the photographs that appear to be fresh balloon material is probably due to the material being shield from 2. sunlight by material that was on top of it. Even after several weeks of sunlight exposure, parts of the shielded balloon material in my test maintained this fresh color/appearance. This confirms the observations of Professor Charles Moore, who stated that the balloon material in the photographs had a ‘mottled’ appearance similar to materials set out in the sun for several weeks.
The balloons do not turn to “ash” after a few weeks as some Roswell proponents have suggested. My tests have shown that Pro3. fessor Moore’s statements in his chapter of the book, UFO crash at Roswell: Genesis of a modern myth, are pretty accurate.
After a month, some of the material on top began to take on the appearance of “parchment” and did not resemble balloon 4. material. It was porous, which is a description Jesse Marcel had for some of the materials he found thirty years later. Other parts of the balloon looked and felt like rubber, which is what Bessie and Mack Brazel described.
Next issue, I will compare my efforts with the results obtained by other skeptics.
Notes and References
Saler, Benson, Charles Ziegler, and Charles Moore. UFO Crash at Roswell: Genesis of a Modern Myth. Washington D.C.: Smithso1. nian Institution, 1997. P.109
The ignored testimonies of Roswell
While many testimonies concerning the Roswell incident are promoted by the various investigators, it is the forgotten/ignored testimonies that are most revealing. The authors of the various UFO books attempt to downplay these testimonies or not even mention them for obvious reasons.
Bill’s younger sister, Bessie, is more consistent in her recollections of the events than her brother, who’s story appeared to change over the years. It is documented, in the Roswell Daily Record, that Bessie was present when Mack recovered the debris and Bessie’s story should carry weight. According to Bessie, her father was afraid that the sheep would not water at the nearby water tank because of the debris field and he got his family to help him pick up the material. Bessie describes the debris as follows:
There was what appeared to be pieces of heavily waxed paper and a sort of aluminum-like foil. Some of these pieces had something like numbers and lettering on them, but there were no words that we were able to make out. Some of the metal-foil like pieces had a sort of tape stuck to them, and when these were held to the light they showed what looked like pastel flowers or designs. Even though the stuff looked like tape it could not be peeled off or removed at all. It was very light in weight but there sure was a lot of it...it was definitely not a balloon. We had seen weather balloons quite a lot--both on the ground and in the air. We had even found a couple of Japanese-style balloons that had come down in the area once. We had also picked up a couple of those thin rubber weather balloons with instrument packages. This was nothing like that.1
Bessie’s affidavit also describes the debris:
(8) The debris looked like pieces of a LARGE BALLOON WHICH HAD BURST (Emphasis added by me). The pieces were small, the largest I remember measuring was about the same as the diameter of a basketball. Most of it was a kind of double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like on the other. Both sides were grayish silver in color, the foil more silvery than the rubber. Sticks, like kite sticks, were attached to some of the pieces with a whitish tape. The tape was about two or three inches wide and had flower-like designs on it. The flowers were faint, a variety of pastel colors, and reminded me of Japanese paintings in which the flowers are not all connected. I do not recall any other types of material or markings, nor do I remember seeing any gouges in the ground or any other signs that anything may have hit the ground hard.
(9) The foil-rubber material could not be torn like ordinary aluminum foil can be torn. I do not recall anything else about the strength or other properties of what we picked up.2
While Bessie is quoted in The Roswell Incident, she is barely mentioned in UFO crash at Roswell and The truth about the UFO crash at Roswell even though the books said they interviewed her twice! In Crash at Corona, she isn’t even listed in the index. It’s as if nobody wanted to acknowledge what she stated or did not want her testimony to appear in print.
Lorenzo Kimball was the base medical supply officer at Roswell and passed away in 1999. He told a completely different story about Roswell Army Air Field activities and did maintain a web site about it for a few years. One can find the page at the Roswellfiles web site (www.roswellfiles.com). He reported that all the medical officers spent more time at the Base pool and officer’s club after hours instead of dissecting alien bodies or preparing them for shipment. Kimball also stated that he had personally talked to Major Jack Comstock and that Comstock told him that there was no unusual activity at the base hospital that July. Kimball finally added that the biggest thing that had occurred on the base that summer and fall, besides winning the bombing trophy, was the formation of a football team.
Jack Ingrahm and the other pilots/navigators interviewed by Kent Jeffrey.
Kent Jeffrey interviewed members of the 509th bomb group, including a very vocal pilot by the name of Jack Ingham. He, according to Jeffrey, was rather blunt about what he thought about the alien crashed spaceship story. He felt it was all a bunch of nonsense. Jeffrey seemed to get this impression from all the pilots and navigators he interviewed:
The men who were at Roswell during July 1947 feel very strongly that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened and that the whole matter is patently ridiculous. The 509th was the only atomic bomb group in the world in 1947 and was composed of a very elite group of individuals, most of whom still feel a definite sense of pride in their former outfit. To them, the crashed-saucer nonsense, along with all the hullabaloo and conspiracy theories surrounding it, makes a mockery of and is an insult of the 509th Bomb Group and its men...Since last September, I have spoken with a total of 15 B-29 pilots and 2 B-29 navigators, all of whom were stationed at Roswell Army Air Field in July 1947. Most of them heard nothing about the supposed crashed-saucer incident until years later, after all the publicity started. The few men who did recall hearing something about the incident at the time of its occurrence said that the inside word was that the debris was from a downed balloon of some kind and that there was no more than “one wheelbarrow full.” Not one single man had any direct knowledge of a crashed saucer or of any kind of unusual material. Even more significantly, in all of their collective years with the 509th Bomb Group, not one of these men had ever encountered any other individual who had such knowledge. As Jack Ingham and others pointed out, the 509th was a very close-knit group and there was no way an event as spectacular as the recovery of a crashed-alien spaceship from another world could have happened at their base without their having known about it...3
The common explanation presented is that these men had no need to know, that they were just repeating what they were told to say over the years, or made these comments for fear of losing their pensions. If it were so secret that death threats were made, why was Jesse Marcel Sr. allowed to speak without fear of retribution?
If you aren’t with us...
When it comes to these types of witnesses, the Roswell crashed spaceship proponents either demonize them for covering up the truth or their responses are twisted to give the impression they are withholding critical information. They are unfairly portrayed, without good evidence, in order to perpetuate a belief in a crashed alien spaceship recovery.
Notes and References
Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. 1. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley, 1988. P. 96-7.
Pflock, Karl. 2. Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe. Amherst: Prometheus, 2001.P. 277.
Randle, Kevin. 3. The Roswell encyclopedia. New York:Harper-Collins. 2000. P. 173-174
Where are the private records?
Amateur photography has always been popular ever since cameras became affordable. There are quite a number of photographs from the time period that exist and are widely published. In the book, UFO crash at Roswell, Juanita Sultemeier is credited with contemporary photographs of various key individuals involved in the events.
With this in mind, I wonder about how important the debris found at the Foster Ranch really was. According to Roswell legend, as it is told in the books, there was intense military activity in town and the surrounding area. Bill Brazel stated that the gouge that existed at the Foster Ranch was visible for over a year. However, there is not one photograph of this huge mark even though I am sure somebody in the area probably did own a camera (like Juanita Sultemeier). The same can be said for all the military activity that supposedly occurred in and outside the town of Roswell. Newspaper reporters were unable to record anything related to what must have been a huge military operation that involved dozens, if not hundreds of troops. While photographs of Mack Brazel were taken, nobody bothered to take a picture of the various trucks, checkpoints, or military policemen patrolling the town.
Then there is the strange behavior of the Marcel family. One can assume they had no camera (or no film for their camera) the night Jesse Sr. brought the flying saucer pieces home. However, why didn’t the Marcel’s retain news clippings of the big event that involved Jesse? As a young boy, one would think that Jesse Jr. would retain the newspaper from this event. After all, it is not every day that your dad does something famous enough to have his picture/name appear nationwide in the papers.
Another bit of documentation that might exist are letters and diaries from the time period. Certainly, some townspeople and servicemen might send a letter to relatives or write in a diary about these earth shattering events that had happened in their little town. Those diaries and letters are nonexistent. No such records have ever been produced. About the only record that was retained were the teletypes by Frank Joyce. They shed very little in the way of evidence for an alien spaceship recovery. The lack of any personal records to confirm any of the Roswell story, as it is told by the proponents, indicates that what transpired is more mundane than exotic.
The omission and editing of documents in Roswell books
One of the most interesting thing one sees in the early Roswell books is the representation of certain documents by the authors. It is almost as if the authors chose only to tell you what they wanted the reader to see. I think it is important to list these “omissions/editing” in the books.
The Roswell Incident
The Twining memo of September 23, 1947 is shown on pages 154-155 of my copy. However, it stops after 2.e. The remainder of the memo is edited out. Missing is this critical section:
h. Due consideration must be given the following:-
(1) The possibility that these objects are of domestic origin - the product of some high security project not known to AC/AS-2 or this Command.
(2) The lack of physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove the existence of these subjects.
(3) The possibility that some foreign nation has a form of propulsion possibly nuclear, which is outside of our domestic knowledge. 1
In addition to the Twining memo, the FBI Telex is also represented...in edited form, on pages 151-152. The part that was edited out was the following:
THE DISC IS HEXAGONAL IN SHAPE AND WAS SUSPENDED FROM A BALLON BY CABLE, WHICH BALLON WAS APPROXIMATELY TWENTY FEET IN DIAMETER.2
UFO Crash at Roswell
The Twining memo does not appear but it is described briefly (page 108 of my copy), where they only give his conclusion that the “flying disks” were “real”. Missing is the mention of the lack of physical evidence in the same memo. The FBI Telex is also mentioned on page 75. Once again, the section about the balloon is not presented.
The truth about the UFO crash at Roswell
The Twining memo appears on pages 104 through 107. After a few years, the authors came up with their explanation for the section that had been omitted in the previous book. The explanation is that Twining was “out of the loop” and did not have a need to know. The book also finally lists the FBI memo in full form (p. 60) but decides not to discuss the implications of what was written.
Crash at Corona
This book briefly mentions the Twining memo but, like The Roswell Incident, makes not mention of the lack of physical evidence. The FBI telex is not mentioned. The book does spend some pages discussing the Schulgen memo. Unfortunately for the authors, the memo they present is not the authentic one but the hoaxed memo.
Additionally, an October 7, 1948 memo from Colonel McCoy is mentioned. Missing from that group of memos is the 8 November 1948 memo from Colonel McCoy to the Chief of Staff USAF, where he states:
The possibility that the reported objects are vehicles from another planet has not been ignored. However, tangible evidence to support conclusions about such a possibility are completely lacking...There is as yet no conclusive proof that unidentified flying objects, other than those which are known to be balloons, are real aircraft...the exact nature of these objects cannot be established until physical evidence, such as that which would result from a crash...3
McCoy’s letter suggests that he either knew nothing about Roswell, Roswell did not involve a crashed alien spaceship, or he was lying to a superior officer in an official correspondence. The more likely choice is that Roswell did not involve an alien spaceship crash. The other choices involve a conspiracy theory for which there is no evidence except for the usual wild speculation.
More of the same
As with many of the other items that were omitted in these books, the failure to mention these documents or omitting pertinent sections demonstrates an intent to deceive the reader. It is the UFOlogists (including Stanton Friedman himself) who are violating Stanton Friedman’s rule for debunkers of “What the public doesn’t know, I am not going to tell them”.
Notes and References
“The Twining memo”. 1. The Roswell files. Available WWW: http://www.roswellfiles.com/FOIA/twining.htm
Pflock, Karl. 2. Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe. Amherst: Prometheus, 2001. P 240
“UFO FOIA Documents - 1948”. 3. Project 1947. Available WWW: http://www.project1947.com/fig/1948c.htm
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2012
In the book, The Roswell Incident, the demise of the alien spaceship is linked to a freak thunderstorm that appeared over central New Mexico. Bill Brazel relates what transpired:
Dad was in the ranch house with two of the younger kids late one evening when a terrible lightning storm came up. He said it was the worst lightning storm he had ever seen [and you can be sure he had seen a lot of them], not much rain with it, just lightning--strike after strike....in the middle of this storm there was an odd sort of explosion, not like the ordinary thunder, but different....1
So began the legend of the thunderstorm that signified the crash of an alien spaceship. In the same book, Jesse Marcel would state:
It seems to me that Brazel told me that he thought he heard an odd explosion late in the evening several days earlier during an electrical storm, but paid no special attention to it at the time....2
His description of what transpired is somewhat different in an interview with Bob Pratt:
I faintly remember he told me he heard an explosion at night and the following day he went out there in that direction and he saw that stuff.3
Missing is the part of the lightning/thunderstorm. It is possible that Moore might have told Marcel about Bill Brazel’s story or vice versa, which resulted in some contamination of their testimony. Marcel would mention the storm story again to Linda Corley.
Some have suggested that the thunder/lightning storm actually caused the crash, while others suggest it was just coincidental. Over the years, people have tried to look for records of this thunderstorm. In the book, The UFO crash at Roswell, Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle wrote:
According to meteorological records, on the evening of July 2, 1947 a thunderstorm hit the vicinity of Corona, New Mexico. 4
No specific weather records are cited or presented for this claim. Karl Pflock would write there were no records of any significant thunderstorms:
...official National Weather Service records have established beyond any doubt that the only thunderstorm activity anywhere in all of southeastern and south-central New Mexico from July 2 and July 7 was at Alamogordo the afternoon of July 2, with a trace of rain reported at Cloudcroft on the same date, both locations far distant from the site north of Roswell.5
Meanwhile, David Rudiak has made the claim that there was thunderstorm activity in the vicinity of the Foster Ranch on July 2nd and July 4th. His evidence appears to be from newspapers from the time period.
Based on these claims, I decided to check the weather data using the media accounts at the time. In SUNlite 2-5, I mentioned some of this but I wanted to look a little closer. I once again checked the Albuquerque Journal weather observations from across the state for those dates (see below), the historical weather maps (see July 1-5 maps on page 16), and even the forecasts from the Albuquerque Journal. The forecasts are really not very informative. Most of the time it states that there would be widely scattered or occasional thunderstorms (See July 2nd Albuquerque Journal weather forecast to the right). The weather reports are more informative. However, the only significant rainfall during this time period seems to have occurred in the northeastern part of the state. Clayton, NM (over 200 miles from the Foster Ranch) received 1.49 inches of rain on the 2nd of July. The stations near the Foster Ranch (Albuquerque, Carrizozo, and Roswell) report only a miniscule amount of rain on the 1st. Albuquerque did report a trace on the 4th but the other two stations recorded none with observations of “Clear” and “Partlycloudy” skies. This is consistent with what the historical weather maps for the time period show:
I also checked the weather underground web site and found hourly observations for Roswell and Albuquerque. The only observations of thunderstorms between July 1 and 4, were Roswell on July 1st at 2:00 PM and Albuquerque on July 1st at 3:00 and 4:00 PM. This confirms the weather observations listed in the Albuquerque Tribune for July 2-5, which states the only time any rain was recorded at these locations was on the first of July (see observations from the July 2nd paper).
In another attempt to identify significant thunderstorm activity in early July of 1947, I decided to consult the July 1947 Monthly Weather Review. It listed all the recorded significant storm activity in the United States for July of 1947.
Notice that there is no record of any significant thunderstorm activity in New Mexico for early July of 1947 except for Colfax County (which is in the northern part of the state, the “south-central” statement is for the location in the county) on the 1st and 6th of July. This is also consistent with what was reported in the Albuquerque Journal.
The same journal presents a map showing the rainfall in New Mexico for the month (see image to the right). This is probably from the same stations recorded in the Albuquerque Journal. The amount of rainfall for central NewMexico was around 1-inch. There were significant thunderstorms in mid-month according to the severe storm table and Albuquerque Journal weather records. There was a heavy storm on the 17th in Mountainair, NM and Carrizozo recorded 0.71 inches on the 16th and 0.12 inches on the 17th.
All of this indicates that there were no significant thunderstorms in New Mexico between the evening of July 2nd and July 4th, which is when the event supposedly occurred. While we can not rule out the possibility that an isolated thunderstorm did appear, we also can state that there is no evidence in the records that such a storm positively occurred over the Foster Ranch during that week. All we have are decades old stories that there was a thunderstorm in early July that coincided (or possibly caused) the crash of “the flying disc”. The weather record does not support this claim and Roswell investigators should either produce the records they claim exist or concede the idea that a thunderstorm was involved is unlikely.
Notes and References
Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. 1. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley, 1988. P. 85.
ibid. P. 71 2.
Pflock, Karl. 3. Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe. Amherst: Prometheus, 2001. P 230.
Randle, Kevin and Donald Schmitt. 4. UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: Avon, 1991. P. 37.
Pflock, Karl. 5. Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe. Amherst: Prometheus, 2001. P 54.
I was watching a NOVA program called “Crash of flight 447” one day and they discussed if it was possible that an airplane could be taken out by a bolt of lightning. According to the program, planes are struck by lightning at least once a year. They even produced a video of an airplane being struck by lightning while in flight (see image to the right). While these pilots were probably very alarmed by the event, the plane appeared to continue on its flight unaffected. Apparently, the design of our airplanes makes it difficult for a bolt of lightning to take out an aircraft.
One can add to this bit of information the launch of Apollo 12, which was stuck by lightning twice after liftoff! Despite this almost catastrophic event, the mission continued and the spacecraft was not permanently damaged.
This brings into question the idea that a lightning strike could have destroyed an advanced alien spaceship. Earthly spaceships and aircraft seem to have no problems handling such an event. Why would this alien spaceship be unable to handle this expected situation? Have any other alien spaceships been destroyed by lightning? It is one of those perplexing mysteries surrounding the supposed crash of an alien spaceship near Roswell.
The Cluster of balloons
One of the endless arguments concerning the New York University flight #4 hypotheses for explaining the Roswell debris has to do with the existence of flight #4, what materials it had, and could the wind data support a flight to the Foster Ranch. Back in 1997, Professor Charles Moore wrote a section in the book “UFO Crash at Roswell: Genesis of a modern myth”, which tried to answer these arguments. However, UFOlogists have raised some questions that are worth examining about these balloons and if it was possible that the flight could have produced the debris.
The documented record is clear that flight #5 was launched on June 5th, 1947 but there is no real record of flight #4. According to Professor Charles Moore, it was not recorded because they could not obtain useful tracking/altitude data from the flight. So, while it was launched/planned, it failed to be listed in the official documentation. However, there is an entry in Dr. Crary’ journal that indicates when flight #4 might have been launched:
Jun 4 Wed. Out to Tularosa Range and fired charges between 00 and 06 this am. No balloon flights again on account of clouds. Flew regular sonobuoy up in cluster of balloons and had good luck on receiver on ground but poor on plane. Out with Thompson pm. Shot charges from 1800 to 2400. 1
At first glance, this indicates that a flight had been canceled and another flight had been launched with a sonobuoy microphone. Professor Moore stated that this entry was taken from Crary’s handwritten field notes and recorded as one item. He interpreted this to mean that a flight had been planned sometime in the middle of the night but clouds had delayed the launching. Once the weather was clear enough, the flight was then launched.
There are some notes in Crary’s journal to support the idea that they had planned a middle of the night balloon launch on their first attempt. He states on June 2nd:
Changed shooting plans to coordinate with balloon flights.2
On June 3rd, he wrote:
Up at 2:30 am ready to fly balloon but abandoned due to cloudy skies.3
On June 5th, he wrote the following in regards to flight #5, which would be launched around sunrise at 0500:
Up at 4 to shoot two charges for balloon flight. 4
This means the charges he set off between midnight and 6 AM in his June 4th entry may have been to coincide with a balloon flight. Moore’s analysis of the weather indicates there were clouds in the area until the early morning and it might have cleared enough for a launch as early as 3AM.
Was it just a microphone?
Flight #4 opponents’ argue that Moore’s interpretation is not correct. They read the entry to mean that the constant level flight configuration had been canceled. The balloon train was then stripped of equipment, and the resultant flight only had a microphone attached. As a result, the only thing sent up was a scaled down flight that had no radar reflectors.
We will never know exactly one way or the other what was on this “cluster of balloons” but there are possibilities that both sides have not considered. As a result, I present the following possible explanation for the “cluster of balloons” flight.
0000 Flight #4 was to be launched but the weather did not support it. Because it was being launched at night, it would have been difficult to track the flight visually even with a nearly full moon present. Prior to radar, it was standard procedure to put a paper lantern with a candle on weather balloons for visual tracking purposes at night. However, that would not be possible with an NYU flight. The possibility that the SCR-584 could track the balloons was not ignored by the team and they probably decided to use the same types of radar reflectors that planned to use on flight #2. Since the weather did not support the launch of the flight at midnight, it was either canceled or delayed.
0300-0600 At some point the weather cleared enough to attempt a launch. If the flight had been canceled, as stated, the balloons would either have been released or used for the flight with the microphone. Assuming that these balloons were used with themicrophone, flight #4 opponents state that everything else would have been stripped off the train because that is what Professor Moore had stated would happen in the event of a canceled flight. It is possible that this might have happened but not to the extent that is stated where only balloons and a microphone were launched. The radar reflectors could have remained on the ‘cluster of balloons” for several reasons:
1. They were expendable items that were not that important for use on the next flight.
2. They were needed to track the balloon flight with the radar if it was still dark.
3. It would be a good test of how good the SCR-584 tracking was for future use in balloon flights.
What may have been removed were the items that would be necessary for the next flight such as the radiosonde and “dribbler” for maintaining altitude. The more items that were stripped from the flight, the more lift the assembly would have. If no balloons were removed to compensate, then the flight would have risen at a much higher rate than planned. All of this would affect the computed trajectory of this “cluster of balloons”.
The cluster of balloons with a sonobuoy was never recovered as far as anyone can tell. The plane gave up the chase when it could not receive a signal. It probably left the range of the SCR-584 radar (about 40 miles) shortly after launch. Professor Moore stated the operators also had trouble tracking the balloon flights even when they had reflectors. It appears that the use of the one short range radar was inadequate to track these balloon flights and the use of radar reflectors would be worthless until they received radar equipment that could track the flights further downwind. As a result, flights 5 and 6 had no radar reflectors and were apparently launched around sunrise in order to allow visual tracking. The next flight that was launched before sunrise was flight #8 in July. It was launched around 3AM and was tracked with radar because it remained in the vicinity of Alamogordo.
Footprints in the desert
The flight path for this “cluster of balloons” that was launched on June 4th has been a point of contention by many UFOlogists. There have been accusations that Professor Charles Moore had intentionally falsified the data in order to compute the trajectory he desired. Dave Thomas wrote in SUNlite 2-3 that Moore did no such thing and Moore had told him:
...the publishers of the Saler/ Ziegler/Moore book mangled the table of values explaining the MOGUL trajectory calculations, and mashed together alternating rows into single, garbled rows of data.5
In either case, the table has errors in it that appear to invalidate the work. Meanwhile, UFOlogists have computed their own trajectories and have implied it is impossible for the flight to have made it to the ranch.
Many years ago, I spent a great deal of time computing various possible trajectories for this flight by varying the different factors that could affect the flight path. On several occasions I had the balloons landing within a few miles of the Foster Ranch. Other variations had the balloons landing in various places dozens of miles of the Foster Ranch giving me the impression that it was possible that these variables produced a general “footprint” of potential landing sites. That “footprint” could include the Foster Ranch. As noted by Professor Moore, the winds do tend to support a trajectory towards the Foster Ranch. The surface winds measured at the time (heading in a direction of about 45-65 degrees azimuth) in conjunction with the stratospheric winds (which were blowing towards the WNW) indicate this trajectory is possible. Variables such as the rate at which the balloons rose, the actual altitude where the winds shifted, the length of time the balloons lasted before bursting, the descent rate of the balloons, and the actual wind speeds at the time can affect the balloon flight and where it might have landed. One can not conclusively state if this “cluster of balloons” made it to the Foster Ranch or not. However, as noted by Professor Moore, the description by Mack Brazel seems to indicate the recovery of an NYU team balloon train made up of neoprene balloons and radar reflectors. A coincidence that it hard to dismiss.
Notes and References
HQ USAF, The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert. Washington D.C.: US Government, 1995 attachment 1. 32/Appendix 17.
The crash site and the materials
One of the most interesting interpretations concerning the Foster Ranch debris field and debris is how the story evolved over the years and different writers have interpreted the testimony and accounts. In 1947, the documented statements by Marcel and Brazel indicated a debris field consisting mostly of sticks, tape, rubber, and paper-backed tin foil. However, this description would change thirty years later.
The gouge/debris field
In the late 1970s, Jesse Marcel Sr., Bill Brazel, and Bessie Brazel were first interviewed regarding the debris field. While the book, The Roswell Incident, asserted that the UFO had dug up the ground, this is not what these individuals stated:
Jesse Marcel’s description of the debris field contradicted the conclusion that a gouge was present:
Whatever it was had to have exploded in the air above ground level. It had disintegrated before it hit the ground. The wreckage was scattered over an area of about three quarters of a mile long and several hundred feet wide. 1
...nothing actually hit the ground, bounced on the ground. It was something that must have exploded above ground and fell...scattered all over. Just like you’d explode something above the ground and just fall to the ground... It was traveling from north-east to south-west, it was in that pattern, you could tell where it started and where it ended by how it thinned out. 2
The area was thoroughly checked, he said, but no fresh impact depressions were found in the sand.” 3
Bill Brazel, who would later state there was a gouge, did not indicate this in his earliest interviews and seemed to state there was nothing there to indicate where the debris had been:
One time I asked dad whether there was any burned spot on the ground where the wreckage was. He said no, but that he noticed on his second trip out there that some of the vegetation in the area seemed singed a bit at the tips - not burned, just singed. I don’t recall seeing anything like that myself, but that’s what he said. 4
Bessie Brazel gave no description of a gouge and basically described the debris field as:
“so much debris scattered over pasture land.” 5
In none of these interviews is there ever any mention of a gouge.
By the late 1980s, the Roswell story was picking up steam. Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt took the idea that there was a gouge and cemented it into Roswell legend with a little help from Bill Brazel. Bill, who did not mention a gouge ten years before, now remembers a huge impact gouge that lasted for over a year.
This thing made quite a track down through there. It took a year or two for it to grass back over and heal up. 6
The debris field was oriented northwest to southeast. Marcel said it was about three-quarters of a mile long and two to three hundred feet across with a gouge at the top end of it that was about five hundred feet long and ten feet wide.7
In addition to getting Marcel’s statement about a gouge wrong, Randle and Schmitt also rotated the debris field’s orientation by 90 degrees. They list the source of their information as being from Len Stringfield’s “Crash retrieval syndrome” paper to MUFON in 1980. This was reprinted in Flying Saucer Review (Vol 28 No. 3) but there is no statement by Marcel describing a gouge and he only stated there were no fresh impact depressions. Stringfield referred to the event in his article as “a violent aerial explosion” 8, mirroring Marcel’s comments to Pratt that nothing actually hit the ground.
Years later, Kevin Randle would state in an on-line web site (that is no longer available but can be found at http://web.archive.org/web/20000612161730/http://www.randlereport.com/report4.html):
And now there is a newly discovered taped interview with Jesse Marcel, Sr. It was made in 1980 and contains a number of interesting statements by Marcel. Among them, reportedly, is mention of a gouge. If true, it means that Marcel had mentioned the gouge nearly twenty years ago. Allegations of contamination simply won’t wash. And it answers the question that if there had been a gouge, why hadn’t Marcel mentioned it. Now it seems that he had. 9
For some unknown reason, we never got to see the text of this interview and it seems far different than what Marcel was telling everyone over the years. Despite the fact that Jesse Marcel Sr. consistently stated there was no evidence of a hard impact, the gouge is an accepted part of the Foster Ranch debris field.
Looking for the evidence
In September of 1989, the Center for UFO studies (CUFOS) performed a scientific study of the crash site identified by Bill Brazel. The results were documented in UFO crash at Roswell but nothing of significance was found. Over a decade later, another attempt was made to find evidence of the crash.
Dr. Bill Doleman headed a dig at the Foster Ranch in 2002 that was funded by the Sci-Fi channel. While they never recovered anything unusual, the did find an “anomaly” when they dug into the earth with a backhoe. The dig revealed a V-shaped pattern on one side of the trench that had been made. According to Dr. Doleman:
These characteristics are essentially consistent with an in-filled and buried furrow or gouge resulting from an impact strong enough to significantly disturb the ground surface....The fact that several characteristics of the feature are consistent with expectations of a now-buried (by natural or human actions) impact mark, together with the feature’s discovery within a few meters of the furrow’s projected location, strongly suggests the possibility that the anomaly may, in fact, be a preserved impact mark. The feature is not evident in the north profile of the backhoe trench, however, nor in any of the other cross-furrow trenches, although it should be noted that none of the others is closer than 30-35 meters. 10
He also suggested other explanations for the anomaly:
Alternative explanations can be offered for the anomaly in SU103. One is that the feature is a large animal burrow (coyote or fox size) that was serendipitously bisected by the SU103 trench. As noted earlier, a coyote or fox burrow was observed near Study Unit 8 and is assumed to be typical of such features, exhibiting a single entrance that enters the ground at an angle of 40-45 degrees, the same angle as the left side of the SU-103 anomaly. 11
A few weeks later Dr. Doleman noted that the anomaly did not maintain its integrity with time:
Because of the potential significance of the SU-103 trench anomaly, it was left undisturbed until subsequent visits to the site....on October 16 and 17, Doleman revisited the site to complete soilstraigraphy studies and investigate the trench anomaly again. By this time, some 22 days after its discovery, it was clear that the anomaly’s defining attributes had faded considerably, with some of the fine grained sediment line marking the left side having disappeared.... 12
In an effort to see if the anomaly extended further into the ground, as one would expect from an impact mark, he scraped away some of the dirt and discovered that there was nothing underneath the surface:
...a trowel was used to scrape away about 2-3 cm of the exposed profile for the purpose of determining if the anomaly was a superficial feature of the profile, or if its outline continued into the deposits behind the profile....Although the scraped profile was re-wetted for the photograph, the original outline of the anomaly largely disappeared after scraping.... The apparent failure of the SU 103 anomaly to extend into the profile suggests that, whatever its origin, the feature was, in fact, superficial.13
While Dr. Doleman gave no conclusion about the anomaly, its superficial nature suggests that it was not due to any impact feature as originally suspected.
The unbreakable materials
Proponents like to make much of some of the descriptions about the materials that were recovered. We are told by the Marcel’s that the beams were unbreakable and the foil could not be dented by a sledge hammer. We are also told by several people that the foil could be wadded into a ball and it would immediately return back to its original shape when released. As exotic as this all sounds, nobody was able to retain one scrap of these exotic materials. Jesse Marcel Jr. had it in his hands but then allowed his father to put it in his car and his mother to sweep the remaining scraps out of the house.
If these materials were so strong and had “self-healing” properties, one wonders how such materials could shatter into thousands of tiny pieces no more than a few feet/inches across. Why didn’t the craft simply heal itself back up? Why did these I-beams break in a manner described in Jesse Marcel Jr.’s affidavit with the ragged ends if they were unbreakable? While the description of the material’s properties decades later seem exotic, the description of the debris field being littered with small fragments indicate a more mundane source of materials.
Collecting all the pieces
Another part of the story has to do with the military collecting every scrap of material from the crash site. Despite the massive use of manpower, Bill Brazel claimed he found scraps of the spaceship while riding about on the ranch. This would later be collected by the military, who learned about his souvenirs.
The truth of the matter is that efforts to collect all the material from a military crash site is never 100% effective. Peter Merlin discussed this in his efforts to locate the crash site for a downed A-12 aircraft near Wendover AFB (see his October 2003 article “Oxcart down”). Despite efforts to locate every scrap of debris and hide the impact site, Peter was able to locate all sorts of fragments from the plane. The actual impact crater still can even be seen in aerial photographs (see Google Earth image to the right)!
Dr. Doleman did collect all sorts of objects at the dig site on the Foster Ranch but nothing was shown to be unusual in nature. He would conclude
The project sought to uncover remnants of the two most commonly reported kinds of physical evidence: a furrow and unusual debris. No conclusive evidence of either was found..... 14Dr. Doleman never identified everything that was recovered but also noted none of the debris looked exotic. He did desire to study some of the unidentified debris further but the Sci-FI channel pulled their funding of the project. This may have been a monetary consideration or it is possible they did not want any one to identify the remaining debris as earthly. The failure to find even a small piece of this exotic debris in the soil indicates that such materials may have never existed.
State of the Foster ranch debris site
To date, there have been two scientific attempts to look at the debris field and locate some unusual debris. The CUFOS and the Sci-Fi channel’s expeditions came up empty. Meanwhile, others have been walking over the terrain claiming to find all sorts of things. None of these items have ever been shown to be alien in nature. All of this indicates that the debris field was as described in 1947 - A bunch of earthly debris scattered over a few hundred yards of ground. The lack of any physical evidence to support their existence demonstrates that they are looking in the wrong place or the exotic materials and gouge never existed.
Notes and references
Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. 1. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley, 1988. P. 69.
Pflock, Karl. 2. Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe. Amherst: Prometheus, 2001.P. 230
Stringfield, Leonard. “The UFO Crash/Retrieval Syndrome status report II: New sources, new data part I (continued)”. 3. Flying Saucer Review Vol. 28 No. 3 Available WWW: http://www.ignaciodarnaude.com/ufologia/FSR%201983%20V%2028%20N%203.pdf P. 14.
Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. 4. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley, 1988. P. 91.
Ibid. P. 96. 5.
Randle, Kevin and Donald Schmitt. 6. UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: Avon, 1991. P. 130.
ibid. P. 50.7.
Stringfield, Leonard. “The UFO Crash/Retrieval Syndrome status report II: New sources, new data part I (continued)”. 8. Flying Saucer Review Vol. 28 No. 3 Available WWW: http://www.ignaciodarnaude.com/ufologia/FSR%201983%20V%2028%20N%203.pdf P. 15.
Randle, Kevin. “The gouge eliminates the balloon”. 9. The Randle report. Available WWW: http://web.archive.org/web/20000612161730/http://www.randlereport.com/report4.html
Doleman, Willam H., Thomas Carey, and Donald Schmitt. 10. The Roswell dig diaries. New York: Pocket Books. 2004. P. 236-7.
ibid. P. 237.11.
ibid. P. 239.12.
ibid. P. 240.13.
Doleman, William H. “Archeology of the Putative Roswell UFO crash site”. 14. Handbook of space engineering, archeology, and heritage. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. 2009. P. 735.
Debris field simulation
One of the arguments presented against the Project MOGUL explanation for the Foster Ranch debris is that there would not be enough debris to match the descriptions given. The problem with that argument is that they misrepresent what has been reported by the primary witnesses.
Dense debris concentration?
All the Roswell proponents state that there was a dense concentration of debris at the Foster Ranch but that is not what was stated by Mack Brazel. He described it as:
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 about as large as a table top. The balloon which held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been 12 feet long, he 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.1
What about the others, who are known to have seen the debris field:
Bessie Brazel: So much debris scattered over pastureland.2
Jesse Marcel Sr. Scattered all over--just like you’d explode something above the ground and [it would] just fall to the ground. 3
Sheridan Cavitt: Some here, some here, some here. No concentration of it.4
When one examines these descriptions, the word that keeps sticking out is “scattered”. The definitions of the word “scattered” does not imply a dense concentration of anything.
What might have the Mack Brazel debris field looked like?
In an effort to get an idea on what the debris field might look like, I decided to perform a scale simulation in my yard. My yards is 21 yards long, which is 10% of the 200 yards Brazel reported. Based on my measurements of the balloon (which is a 170 gram vice 350 gram balloon) the surface area of a deflated balloon is something like 570 square inches. Assuming there were four balloons worth of material picked up, that means there was something like 2300 square inches of rubber laying about in pieces. One tenth is 230 square inches. I cut up some black strips of paper that I will use to simulate the fragmented balloons. Three ML-307 reflectors are equal to 54 Square feet. Since it is my theory that Marcel found a single reflector a distance away from where Brazel recovered the bulk of the material, I decided to take away one resulting in only 36 square feet of reflector material. This is 3.6 square feet of aluminum foil that was shredded into sizes varying from a few inches to about a foot in size. I included two bamboo sticks. As additional material, I added one black tube for a ballast tube and a ring simulator (using a roll of tape). There may have even been a few other items I did not include (parachute, electrical batteries, transmitter, etc.) but this gives a reasonable scale model of the debris field. To me, the term “scattered” is an accurate description.
Notes and References
“Harasssed rancher who located ‘saucer’ sorry he told about it”. 1. Roswell Daily Record. July 9, 1947. Roswell, NM. Available WWW: http://www.project1947.com/fig/1947f.htm.
Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. 2. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley, 1988. P. 96.
Pflock, Karl. 3. Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe. Amherst: Prometheus, 2001. P 230.
HQ USAF, The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert. Washington D.C.: US Government, 1995 attachment 4. 18.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2012
Candidate. Hydrated minerals in the 4-billion-year-old bedrock of Northeast Syrtis Major make it an attractive site for a Mars sample return mission.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA—This time, U.S. Mars scientists not only want rocks made with water but also rocks born in fire.
At a 3-day workshop that ended here today, planetary scientists advocated for igneous rock–bearing landing sites as high-priority targets for NASA’s next Mars rover mission, scheduled to launch in 2020. The $1.5 billion rover, a near-copy of the Curiosity rover, will collect about 30 samples of rock and soil for eventual return to Earth.
Researchers at the Mars 2020 landing site workshop stressed that their site rankings are preliminary and that other sites are still being considered. But the choices, and the discussions that led up to them, shed light on the qualities scientists are looking for in a landing site. Topping the list: diversity. The scientists want lots of different kinds of rocks—especially volcanic ones that hold clues to Mars’s geologic history. “The samples are going to be a legacy and are going to take on a life of their own,” says John Grant, a planetary scientist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and co-chair of the landing site steering committee. “This has the opportunity to become much larger than this single mission.”
Of course, the search for preserved martian life from the past is still of paramount importance. Researchers spent much of the workshop discussing which watery environments would have offered the best chance to preserve biosignatures from nearly 4 billion years ago, a period in which Mars is thought to have been wetter, warmer, and more hospitable for life than it is today. But the nearly 100 planetary scientists on hand were also aware that this mission could end up as the first step in the long-sought Mars Sample Return suite of missions—and that the 2020 rover would have to gather a diverse collection of samples to justify the risk and expense of getting them home. Volcanic rocks are key, because scientists on Earth could subject them to radioisotope dating techniques to pin down a chronology for the surface of Mars. Moreover, the chemistry of these rocks would offer a glimpse into the martian mantle and the planet’s early evolution.
At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees voted informally on the nearly 30 candidate sites that researchers had presented—ranking the sites as being of high, medium, or low scientific interest. Floating to the top was a site called Northeast Syrtis Major, a terrain at the edge of the Isidis Basin, the remnant of one of Mars’s biggest and most ancient asteroid impacts. Jack Mustard, a planetary scientist at Brown University and an advocate for the site, says material from the impact could offer a precise date for that event. Scientists also want a piece of nearby lava flows, thought to have oozed out and cooled several hundred million years later.
The biopreservation potential of the Syrtis Major site is also intriguing. Orbiting satellites have already detected the signatures of carbonate, olivine, and serpentine minerals, which indicate that at one time the area hosted hydrogen-producing reactions that could have provided an energy source for microbes. In that case, the rocks, “could entomb biosignatures,” Mustard says. Mineralized fracture zones at Syrtis Major suggest that the region was at one time a hydrothermal system, with hot, fluid-filled fractures. Hydrothermal sites on Earth harbor ecosystems with extremophilic microbes.
Coming just after Syrtis Major in the informal vote were two nearby sites associated with Nili Fossae, a deep scar in the surface of Mars produced by the Isidis impact. Grant says more sites will be considered in the coming year and that no candidates will be voted “off the island” until a second workshop sometime in 2015.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover provided this nighttime view of a hole produced by the rover's drill and, inside the hole, a line of scars produced by the rover's rock-zapping laser. The camera used its own white-light LEDs to illuminate the scene on May 13, 2014.
Portions of powdered rock collected by drilling into a sandstone target last week have been delivered to laboratory instruments inside NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, and the rover will soon drive on toward its long-term destination on a mountain slope.
Other instruments on the rover have inspected the rock's interior exposed in the hole and in drill cuttings heaped around the hole. The target rock, "Windjana," is a sandstone slab within a science waypoint area called "The Kimberley."
The camera and spectrometer at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm examined the texture and composition of the cuttings. The instrument that fires a laser from atop the rover's mast zapped a series of points inside the hole with sharpshooter accuracy.
The rover team has decided not to drill any other rock target at this waypoint. In coming days, Curiosity will resume driving toward Mount Sharp, the layered mountain at the middle of Mars' Gale Crater. The rover is carrying with it some of the powdered sample material from Windjana that can be delivered for additional internal laboratory analysis during pauses in the drive.
The mission's two previous rock-drilling sites, at mudstone targets, yielded evidence last year of an ancient lakebed environment with key chemical elements and a chemical energy source that long ago provided conditions favorable for microbial life.
This view from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover shows the rock target "Windjana" and its immediate surroundings after inspection of the site by the rover. The drilling of a test hole and a sample collection hole produced the mounds of drill cuttings that are markedly less red than the other visible surfaces. This is material that the drill pulled up from the interior of the rock.
This view is from the 627th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (May 12, 2004).
The open hole from sample collection is 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter. It was drilled on Sol 621 (May 5, 2014). A preparatory "mini drill" hole, to lower right from the open hole, was drilled on Sol 615 (April 29, 2014) and subsequently filled in with cuttings from the sample collection drilling.
Two small patches of less-red color to the right of the drill holes are targets "Stephen" (higher) and "Neil," where multiple laser hits by Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument blasted some of the reddish surface dust off the surface of the rock.
Earthgrazer meteors skim along the upper part of the atmosphere before burning up. This one travelled a distance of 290 miles, quite rare for a meteor. Image released May 16, 2014.
Credit: Marshall Space Flight Center Meteoroid Environment Office
A rare, long-lasting fireball streaked through the skies of the southeastern United States Thursday night (May 15), putting on a show for stargazers lucky enough to see it from the ground.
The space rock entered Earth's atmosphere above Columbia, South Carolina. The basketball-sized meteoroid then moved northwest at about 78,000 mph (125,500 km/h), burning up above Tennessee, according to a statement from Bill Cooke of NASA's meteoroid environment office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. NASA's skyward-pointing cameras captured an amazing video of the long-duration fireball.
"This fireball was not part of any meteor shower and belongs to a class of meteors called Earthgrazers," Cooke wrote in the statement. "These meteors skim along the upper part of the atmosphere before burning up. This one travelled a distance of 290 miles [467 km], which is quite rare for a meteor."
While this fireball is not part of any meteor shower, it does come one week before a new meteor shower is expected to grace the skies. The never-before-seen Camelopardalid meteor shower should peak overnight on May 23 and 24 as Earth passes through a stream of debris left behind by Comet 209P/LINEAR.
The new meteor shower could be as amazing as the annual Perseid meteor shower, which occurs each August. Still, no one knows what to expect; the meteor shower could be incredible, generating a "meteor storm" of 1,000 shooting stars per hour, or it could fizzle out, experts say.
Meteor showers happen when Earth passes through streams of dust and gast sloughed off by cosmic bodies. The debris enters the atmosphere, burning up and creating the light flashes that are sometimes called shooting stars.
A bit of space debris still in space is known as a meteoroid. If that piece of a comet or asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere, it's called a meteor, and any bit of rock that makes it to the planet's surface is dubbed a meteorite.
This map shows the path of the Earthgrazer meteor as it flew over South Carolina and Tennessee on May 16, 2014.
Credit: Marshall Space Flight Center Meteoroid Environment Office
A basketball-sized Earthgrazer meteor, not part of any meteor shower, entered Earth's atmosphere at 78,000 mph above Columbia, South Carolina and burned up just north of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It traveled a total of 290 miles, a rare feat for a meteor.
Looking back as SpaceShipTwo’s rocket engine fires during the third powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
That 12-mile span highlights differences in definitions of the outer-space boundary, as well as questions about the initial capabilities of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane. The spacecraft is expected to go through a series of flight tests over the coming months, setting the stage for commercial passenger operations.
Does going up a mere 50 miles count as spaceflight? That question was raised in a series of reports over the past week that took a close look at Virgin Galactic's policy.
100 kilometers vs. 50 miles
According to the International Aeronautical Federation, a flight goes astronautical when it crosses the 100-kilometer line, also known as the Karman Line. That was also the definition of space used for the $10 million Ansari X Prize a decade ago, and Virgin Galactic has referred to the 100-kilometer definition numerous times since then.
However, the U.S. military has historically awarded astronaut wings to pilots who rose above 50 miles (80 kilometers) during the 1960s. NASA followed that definition for its X-15 test pilots — although three of those pilots didn't get their astronaut wings until 2005, 40 years after they flew. (One of them, Bill Dana, died last week at the age of 83.)
It's the 50-mile definition, rather than the 100-kilometer definition, that's written into the formal agreements for Virgin Galactic's customers. "Fifty miles has been in there from the start," George T. Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's chief executive officer, told NBC News on Friday.
More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for the space experience — which would give them several minutes of weightlessness, a view of the curving Earth beneath the black sky of space, and a roller-coaster re-entry that involves as much as 6 G's of acceleration. That experience would be much the same at 50 miles as at 62 miles, though with somewhat less time spent in zero-G.
Whitesides said Virgin Galactic is targeting the 100-kilometer altitude and beyond, but added that "we have to prove that out in our test program."
"Just like everything else, we'll get better over time," he said. "We're trying to invent a new industry from scratch — we need to do that by stages, and we need to do it informed by safety."
The current plan calls for flying Virgin Galactic's billionaire founder, Richard Branson, on SpaceShipTwo as early as this year. However, Whitesides emphasized that schedule was dependent on the outcome of the flight test program. (Virgin Galactic's development schedules have been consistently overoptimistic: In 2004, Branson was talking about beginning space tourism flights in 2007.)
Whitesides said flight operations may undergo refinements during the early commercial flights. "It'd be unreasonable to think we're going to launch this like a pristine jewel," he told NBC News.
SpaceShipTwo's most recent powered flight test took place in January and rose to a height of 71,000 feet (13.4 miles, or 21.6 kilometers). Since then, Virgin Galactic has been putting the rocket plane's WhiteKnightTwo mothership through rounds of inspections, repairs and upgrades — including the installation of a beefed-up landing gear.
Whitesides said the landing gear was "working well" during an 80-knot (92-mph) runway taxi test at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Thursday. WhiteKnightTwo should resume flights in "a couple of weeks," with SpaceShipTwo tests to follow, he said.
NBCUniversal has established a multi-platform partnership with Virgin Galactic to track the development of SpaceShipTwo and televise its inaugural commercial spaceflight.
The Roswell time line
There are many time lines associated with the Roswell story and I find most of them biased by speculation about the idea that a massive cover-up went into effect the instant the news was announced by Walter Haut. However, if one looks at the media accounts, there is a more reasonable version of events. Usually, when a news story breaks, many of the initial statements or quotes are inaccurate. There is always speculation by reporters, who interpret what they hear, without checking the facts, in order to get the news out first. As a result, you get a mishmash of contradictory information. Only when the principals have been interviewed does everything become more clear. The Roswell story is probably no different.
Perhaps the best source of information of news accounts that July is David Rudiak’s web site (www.roswellproof.com). It is well laid out and contains many of the accounts that are not readily available. Despite strongly disagreeing with his interpretation of events, I still suggest the reader go to his web site to read the raw news accounts for themselves while ignoring his personal bias. I also would like to point the reader to the 1947 accounts at the Project 1947 web site (http://www.project1947.com/fig/1947a.htm). There are some stories not listed at Rudiak’s web site that complement and provide additional information. Finally, there is also the pay site newspaperarchive.com, which contains additional news paper accounts that are informative. Based on this information and some of the earliest interviews from the principal witnesses, the following is what I believe to be a reasonable time line of the events.
There are two versions of the discovery date. The first seems to have come from the initial press release made by Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF). The second is based on what Mack Brazel told the news papers and other individuals, who repeated the information:
The RAAF press release stated that, THE DISC LANDED ON A RANCH NEAR ROSWELL SOMETIME LAST WEEK.1 However, the news wires provided by Frank Joyce quotes Sheriff Wilcox, who talked to Mack Brazel:
SHERIFF GEORGE WILCOX (CORRECT) OF ROSWELL WAYS THAT THE DISC WAS FOUND ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO BY A RANCHER BY THE NAME OF W. W. BRIZELL ON THE FOSTER RANCH NEAR CORONA, ABOUT 75 MILES NORTHWEST OF ROSWELL NEAR THE CENTER OF NEW MEXICO.2
Mack Brazel would give a firm date of June 14th in his interview with Jason Kellahin. In all of the accounts that quote Brazel, or have people quoting what Brazel told them, the three week/mid-June time frame is mentioned. It seems likely that Brazel found the debris on that date and the initial press release was a misinterpretation of when the debris was picked up instead of when it was found. Based on this information, this time line accepts the discovery date of June 14th.
Saturday, June 14th – According to one news account, Mack Brazel discovered the debris field at 7PM.
He found the object around 7 o’clock the night of June 14 about seven miles south of his ranch home. 3
This time of discovering the debris gives good reason for why Brazel would wait to pick up the debris - he did not have enough daylight left to do so.
At the time Brazel was in a hurry to get his round made and he did not pay much attention to it. 4
His neighbor, Loretta Proctor, mentioned that he did show them a small piece of debris, which may have been the item described in the media accounts.
He picked up a piece of the stuff and took it to the ranch house seven miles away. 5
Friday July 4th– Mack Brazel and his family (daughter and wife) went out to the field and cleaned up some of the debris (not all of it), placing it all in bundles.
...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. 6
He bundled together the large pile of tinfoil and broken wooden beams about one-fourth of an inch thick and half-inch wide and the torn mass of synthetic rubber that had been the balloon and rolled it under some brush.7
Saturday July 5th – Brazel, while in Corona, learned about the flying saucer stories that had appeared in the newspapers.
On a trip to town Saturday night to Corona, N.M., Brazell heard the first reference to the “silver flying disks,” 8
This information probably led him to believe that he may have actually recovered one of these “flying discs”.
The trip to town and back
There is, as always, some contention on what date Mack Brazel came into town. In the book, The Roswell Incident, Jesse Marcel Sr. gave two descriptions. In one instant, he states it was Monday but then gave a time line that would indicate Sunday was the correct date. The 1947 sources also gave some conflicting information.
HE DID NOT REPORT FINDING THE DISC UNTIL DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY.9
However, the predominant date that was given was that he arrived on Monday:
The furor started Monday when W. W. Brazel, a rancher living on the old Foster place, 25 miles southeast of Corona, New Mexico, came in the office and reported finding an object which fitted the descriptions of the flying discs. 10
...on Monday headed for Roswell to report his find to the sheriff.11
Monday he came to town to sell some wool. 12
The media stated that Brazel never brought any debris with him into town and had left it back on the ranch:
BRIZELL DID NOT BRING THE OBJECT TO THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE, BUT MERELY DROVE THE 75 MILES FORM THE RANCH TO ROSWELL TO REPORT HIS FINDING.13
Brazel went to the sheriff’s office and reported his find. He told Wilcox that the object was not very big and that he thought it might be a weather device made of tin foil:
SHERIFF WILCOX SAYS THAT BRIZELL SAID HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS, BUT THAT AT FIRST IT APPEARED TO BE A WEATHER METER.... SHERIFF WILCOX QUOTES BRIZELL AS SAYING THAT “IT MORE OR LESS SEEMED LIKE TINFOIL.” WILCOX SAYS THAT BRIZELL SAID THAT THE DIXC WAS BROKEN SOME, APPARENTLY FROM THE FALL. THE SHERIFF SAYS THAT BRIZELL DESCRIBED THE OBJECT ABOUT AS LARGE AS A SAFE IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE. HE ADDED THAT THE SAFE WAS ABOUT THREE AND ONE-HALF BY FOUR FEE.14
Having no idea how to deal with this, Sheriff Wilcox called the RAAF. This is how Jesse Marcel became involved. He and another individual in civilian clothes (assumed to be Sheridan Cavitt), went into town to see Brazel. After talking to Brazel, all three of them went out to the ranch:
Maj. Jesse A. Marcel and a man in plain clothes accompanied him home... 15
We left Roswell early in the afternoon and got there at dusk 16
We got there very late in the afternoon 17
We left Roswell perhaps around 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon...18
Retrieval of the debris
What happened when they got to the ranch is, not surprisingly, also in dispute. According to the testimony that Marcel would give in the 1970s, they arrived too late to go out to the debris field and spent the night at the ranch. However, he also stated that he was eating lunch when the call came in from Sheriff Wilcox indicating it was a regular work day. In another interview he stated he got the call on Monday. Clearly, Marcel’s memory is jumbled. However, he is quoted in the 1947 media accounts, and describes a likely sequence of events where they arrived in the evening and managed to have time to go to the debris field to look around.
...we spent a couple of hours Monday afternoon looking for any more parts of the weather device. We found a few more patches of tinfoil and rubber. 19
Brazel confirmed they picked up more debris and then they went back to the ranch house.
... they picked up the rest of the pieces of the “disk” and went to his home to try and 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. 20
This is probably where the confusion occurs. If Marcel spent some time at the ranch after sunset, he may have recalled this as spending the night there. What is known is that Marcel left for home late on Monday because of what his family stated in the 1970s.
Jesse’s return to base
Having left the Foster ranch well after sunset, Marcel arrived home late. Exactly what happened at the Marcel home is based on the stories told by the family in the 1970s. In “The Roswell incident” and “For the sake of my country”, the time is described as “toward evening” 21, “early evening”, 22 and “late getting home”23. In his 1991 affidavit, Jesse Jr. would state, “I was awakened by my father in the middle of the night”. 24 The Roswell books would start describing this as 2AM. 25 Exactly when he arrived home is not clear but it seems to have been after dark and late.
Excited by his find, Jesse Marcel Sr. brought the debris into the kitchen for his family to see.
So when I got home, I brought some of the stuff and put it in the kitchen....I put a lot of stuff on the floor in the kitchen... 26
The debris he found was described by Jesse Jr. as:
....foil-like stuff, very thin, metallic-like but not metal, and very tough. There was also some structural-like material too--beams and so on. Also a quantity of black plastic material, which looked organic in nature.. 27
After examining the debris, it was picked up and returned to the car. However, it seems that not all the scraps were recovered. Mrs. Marcel reportedly swept the remaining bits and pieces out the back door!
Jesse Marcel Jr: I doubt if all the smaller fragments were picked up from the kitchen, and, indeed, my mother remarked that some of it was probably swept out the back door. 28
Viaud Marcel: All I remember was getting it out of my kitchen....It was a big mess. The kitchen was full of it...I probably did [sweep some debris out the back door] 29
It is assumed at this point the debris was returned to his vehicle and Marcel spent the rest of the night at home. What we learned from these early interviews was that the amount of debris that Marcel had in his vehicle was not much more than what could fit on the floor of a room. Additionally, despite the claims in later years of exotic materials, Mrs. Marcel and Jesse Jr. thought little of it at the time. Some of it was simply swept it out the back door as if it were junk and Jesse Jr. did not bother to retain any of these remaining scraps. Jesse Sr. did not even think much of it since he apparently did not make sure every scrap was picked up and left it unguarded in his car.
The morning meeting and trip to Fort Worth
The usual work day for the Roswell command staff seems to have involved a morning meeting where the daily and upcoming activities of the group was discussed/planned. It is not clear when the morning meeting that day occurred. It has been stated that it was “moved up” because of the debris being recovered. The story told in 1947 indicated that Marcel got to talk to Blanchard first thing in the morning.
Marcel brought back the discovery to Roswell Army Air field early Tuesday morning, and at 8 a.m. reported to his commanding officer, Col. William H. Blanchard, 509th Bomb Group chief. Blanchard, in turn, reported to General Ramey, who ordered the find flown to Fort Worth immediately. 30
At this point, it is important to point out that there appeared to be two different collections of debris that made it to RAAF. The first set, was the debris that Brazel and his family had picked up. This had already been rolled up into a bundle. There was also a second batch that Brazel, Marcel, and Cavitt recovered on Monday afternoon/evening, which was put into Marcel’s car. This was the debris that Marcel probably brought into his house and would show Colonel Blanchard.
While many suggest that Blanchard and his staff should have figured out that this was simply balloon and radar reflector materials, they really misunderstand the circumstances under which these were being presented. There is no evidence that Marcel and Blanchard ever saw these radar reflectors in action and, in July of 1947, nobody really knew what a “flying disc” was. All they appeared to know is from the news paper reports. The day that Marcel appeared in Blanchard’s office with his debris from a “flyingdisc”, the following article appeared in the Roswell Morning Dispatch describing the types of “discs” people were recovering:
Two flying disks were reported found in Texas and at least one is being investigated by military officials as the total number of Texans claiming to have seen the mysterious objects passed the 50 mark yesterday... The Houston Chronicle said a great deal of mystery surrounded the one found near there by Norman Hargrave, a jeweler, Sunday. He first reported that he had found the aluminum disk floating near the beach while he and his wife were walking. He described it minutely, even giving an inscription he said it carried…The second flying disks (sic) was reported found by Bob Scott, a farmer living two and a half miles east of Hillsboro. He said the disk fell on his place Friday, and that it resembled a saucer. He said it was so bright he could not look at it very long…Then he notified O.F. Kissick and Joe Gerick, Hillsboro, who went to the field and investigated. Most of it had melted, they said. Gerick said one piece looked like tin foil, but when he picked it up, it appeared to be celluloid.31
Note the description of the disc being made of “aluminum” and that it “looked like tin foil”. A radar reflector matches this description. According to the news account, the decision was made to contact General Ramey and he directed the debris be sent to Fort Worth for examination.
The debris was loaded on a B-29 that morning but there are two descriptions about what debris was loaded. According to Robert Porter, who was on the plane:
I was involved in loading the B-29 with the material, which was wrapped in packages with wrapping paper. One of the pieces was triangle shaped, about 2 1/2 feet across the bottom. The rest were in small packages about the size of a shoebox. The brown paper was held with tape....The material was extremely lightweight...All of the packages could have fit into the trunk of a car. 32
Robert Shirkey would describe seeing boxes of debris being taken to the plane which included metallic parts and I-beams. This is different than what Porter recalled. The conflicting information can be explained if there were two different quantities of debris being loaded. Shirkey may have seen the bundles that Brazel had created on July 4th, while Porter had seen the debris that Marcel had recovered, which had been packaged prior to being loaded on the plane. According to the press accounts, this happened reasonably early in the morning.
The weather device was flown to Fort Worth Army Air field by B-29 from Roswell Army Airfield at 10 a. m., Tuesday at the command of Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey, 8th Air Force commanding officer here.33
The time of 10 a.m. appears to be confirmed by Robert Porter, who stated, “After we landed at Fort Worth, Col. Jennings told us to take care of maintenance of the plane and that after a guard was posted, we could eat lunch.”34 If the plane left at 10 AM MST, it would have arrived around 1PM CST, which is consistent with a late lunch. Another confirmation for a mid-morning take-off to Fort Worth was the rumor circulated on UP wire at 3:42 PM MST:
REPORTS FROM THE ROSWELL BASE SAID THAT MAJOR MARCEL WAS AT EIGHTH ARMY HEADQUARTERS IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS, BUT THAT “HE MIGHT BE ON HIS WAY BACK TO ROSWELL BY PLANE NOW.” 35
If the source thought the plane may be on its way back at this point, the source must have known the plane left RAAF earlier in the morning.
What happened next is difficult to determine since there is little record of what happened between 1PM and the press conference. Supposedly, the press conference occurred between 4 and 6PM so there are three hours of unaccounted time. The best explanation is that the General was busy with other duties for the day. Marcel would have to wait with his debris until the General would have time to see him. Marcel seemed to confirm this in one interview:
…but when I got to Carswell [Fort Worth AAF], General Ramey wasn’t there.... 36
One possibility is that General Ramey was planning a press conference with the local media. It is known that Jay Bond Johnson was sent with his camera to the base to photograph the debris that was coming in from Roswell. It seems likely that General Ramey wanted to be the one who announced the recovery of a flying disc to the media and he was waiting for the media to arrive.
Meanwhile, something peculiar happened at the B-29. According to Robert Porter, “When we came back from lunch, they told us they had transferred the material to a B-25.”37 Marcel seemed to confirm this by stating, “It [the material] was transferred to a transport”38
Thomas Dubose gave varying accounts but this one appeared to confirm that something was transferred to another plane:
I put the debris in a heavy mail pouch, sealed it and locked it. I then sealed it to the wrist of Al Clark and escorted him out to a B-25 out on a runway and sent him to General McMullen in Washington”39
This was probably the debris gathered by Brazel and his family. Meanwhile, the debris wrapped in brown paper was taken by Marcel to the General’s office. According to Marcel, the material brought to the office was not all of the debris and most of it was still back in the plane:
What we had was only a very small portion of the debris there was a whole lot more. There was half a B-29-ful outside. 40
The press conference was supposed to be Ramey’s big moment but a junior officer at Roswell was about to upstage him.
The press release
While Marcel was in, or on his way, to Fort Worth, a press release was being issued by the base Public Affairs Officer, Lt. Walter Haut. Who authorized it was unclear. The 1947 media referred to “officials” and Lt. Haut. Haut would later claim that it was Colonel Blanchard who gave permission.
The UP wires provided by Frank Joyce indicated the story was released at 2:41 PM MST. The Daily Illini story, which cites the AP wire story as it evolved, stated the first time the story appeared was 2:26 PM MST. So, Haut must have issued the press release at some point after lunch.
The early wire stories are interesting as they tend to confirm what Mack Brazel would later state:
SHERIFF GEORGE WILCOX (CORRECT) OF ROSWELL WAYS THAT THE DISC WAS FOUND ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO BY A RANCHER BY THE NAME OF W. W. BRIZELL ON THE FOSTER RANCH NEAR CORONA, ABOUT 75 MILES NORTHWEST OF ROSWELL NEAR THE CENTER OF NEW MEXICO...SHERIFF WILCOX QUOTES BRIZELL AS SAYING THAT “IT MORE OR LESS SEEMED LIKE TINFOIL.” WILCOX SAYS THAT BRIZELL SAID THAT THE DIXC WAS BROKEN SOME, APPARENTLY FROM THE FALL. THE SHERIFF SAYS THAT BRIZELL DESCRIBED THE OBJECT ABOUT AS LARGE AS A SAFE IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE. HE ADDED THAT THE SAFE WAS ABOUT THREE AND ONE-HALF BY FOUR FEE.41
These remarks first appeared at 3:16PM MST, less than one hour after the story had reached the AP news wires. It seems likely these comments were based on what Brazel had actually told Wilcox the day before and not due to any script provided by the military.
The press release caused quite the stir in the upper chain of command because there are statements in the press that Lt. Haut had received some reprimands from Washington DC about announcing the news prematurely. There is also the possibility that the press release had upstaged Ramey and his staff was the source of these “rebukes”.
Lt. Haught reportedly told reporters that he had been “shut up by two blistering phone calls from Washington”42
AAF headquarters in Washington reportedly delivered a” “blistering” rebuke to officers at the Roswell, N. M., base for suggesting that it was a “flying disk.” 43
The idea that Haut issued the press release on his own was mentioned by Jesse Marcel Sr. during his interviews in the 1970s:
We had an eager beaver PIO (Public Information Officer) who took it upon himself to call the AP on this thing…I heard that the brass fried him later on for putting out that press release, but then I can’t say so for sure… It was the public information officer, Haut I believe his name was, who called the AP and later wrote the press release. I heard he wasn’t authorized to do this, and I believe he was severely reprimanded for it. I think all the way from Washington.44
Nobody will ever know if Blanchard authorized the press release or Haut issued it on his own initiative. However, there seems to be evidence that the announcement was not part of some grand plan to announce the recovery of a flying disk so they could rapidly debunk it.
The press conference
While the news wires were buzzing with the news, Ramey was just beginning his press conference. He seems to have been caught off guard that the media had learned about the debris being in Fort Worth.
Ramey said he hadn’t actually seen it himself as yet. He went to take a look, and called back that it was about 25 feet in diameter. He said he was shipping it on to Wright Field, Ohio, but would have one of the meteorological officers look at it first. . .45
Ramey said he couldn’t let anybody look at the thing or photograph it because Washington had clamped a “security lid” on all but thesketchiest details. “The object,” he said, “is in my office right now and as far as I can see there is nothing to get excited about. It looks to me like the remnant of a weather balloon and a radar reflector.” 46
Eventually, Jay Bond Johnson arrived with his camera from the Fort Worth Star Telegram. According to the MUFON journal of September 1990 (“3 hours that shook the press”), he arrived some time after 4PM. There, he found the debris displayed on top of brown wrapping paper. Several photographs were taken as Marcel, Dubose, and Ramey all posed with the debris.
The only reporter that has ever been identified as being present was Jay Bond Johnson. However, Marcel claimed there were many and they all saw the part of the actual debris:
…they had a lot of news reporters and a slew of microphones that wanted to talk to me, but I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything until I talked to the general. I had to go under his orders. And he said [Marcel Chuckles], “Well, just don’t say anything.” So I said, “General, Colonel Blanchard told me to get this stuff to Wright Patterson.” And he said, “You leave it right here. We’ll take care of it from here.” And that was the end of it – that was the end of my part of it. I still don’t know what I picked up. 47
Just after we got to Carswell, Fort Worth, we were told to bring some of this stuff up to the general’s office - that he wanted to take a look at it. We did this and spread it out on the floor on some brown paper. What we had was only a very small portion of the debris there was a whole lot more. There was half a B-29-ful outside. General Ramey allowed some members of the press in to take a picture of this stuff. They took one picture of me on the floor holding up some of the less-interesting metallic debris. The press was allowed to photograph this, but were not allowed far enough into the room to touch it. The stuff in that one photo was pieces of the actual stuff we had found. It was not a staged photo.48
“The newsman saw very little of the material, very small portion of it. And none of the important things, like these members that had these hieroglyphics or markings on them” 49
What you see there is nothing but a piece of brown paper that I put over so that the news media couldn’t get a picture of what I had.50
According to the crashed spaceship proponents, the debris had been switched before the press conference even started. The source of this story is Walter Haut, who told researchers that Marcel told him this:
Marcel said that he had brought it to Ramey’s office, where the general examined it and then decided that he wanted to see exactly where the object crashed. Marcel and Ramey left for the map room and while they were gone, someone carried the wreckage out, replacing it with the weather balloon long before any reporters were allowed into the office. 51
However, this is not what Marcel told Linda Corley. He implied he was part of the cover-up process:
Linda: .....when they let the press take this picture [Marcel photo] they still told you to cover the stuff up?
Jesse: Right. Well, he didn’t have to tell me that. I knew that. 52
In a controversial interview with Jamie Shandera, Thomas Dubose told him that there was no switch.
Q. There are two researchers who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there.
A. Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
Q. So, what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought in from Roswell?
A. That’s right.
Q. So, not you or anyone else ever switched that material for the cover story?
A. We never switched anything. We were under orders from Washington to look at that material. We wouldn’t have switched anything. We were West Pointers -- we never would have done that.53
When Shandera asked about the material in the photographs, Dubose responded, “That’s the material that Marcel brought into Ft. Worth from Roswell”54
It is interesting that Dubose was never asked in his interviews by the Roswell investigators if the debris had been switched. OnlyBilly Cox got him to say that there had been a substitution. However, when one examines his affidavit, we find Dubose stating, “The material shown in the photograph taken in Maj. Gen. Ramey’s office was a weather balloon. The Weather Balloon explanation for the material was a cover story to divert the attention of the press” 55. There is no mention of a switch in that document.
The general consensus is that the press conference occurred between 5 and 6PM. This was about the time that the AP wire was indicating the object was a weather balloon. At 6:17 PM, the FBI office in Dallas sent a telegram to their office in Cincinnati
MAJOR CURTAN, HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH AIR FORCE, TELEPHONICALLY ADVISED THIS OFFICE THAT AN OBJECT PURPORTING TO BE A FLYING DISC WAS RECOVERED NEAR ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO THIS DATE. THE DISC IS HEXAGONAL IN SHAPE AND WAS SUSPENDED FROM A BALLON BY CABLE, WHICH BALLON WAS APPROXIMATELY TWENTY FEET IN DIAMETER. MAJOR CURTAN FURTHER ADVISED 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. DISC AND BALLOON BEING TRANSPORTED TO WRIGHT FIELD BY SPECIAL PLANE FOR EXAMINATION. INFORMATION PROVIDED THIS OFFICE BECAUSE OF NATIONAL INTEREST IN CASE AND FACT THAT NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY, ASSOCIATED PRESS, AND OTHERS ATTEMPTING TO BREAK STORY OF LOCATION OF DISC TODAY. MAJOR CURTAN ADVISED WOULD REQUEST WRIGHT FIELD TO ADVISE CINCINNATI OFFICE RESULTS OF EXAMINATION. NO FURTHER INVESTIGATION BEING CONDUCTED. 56
It is interesting that the size of the balloon was estimated at twenty feet. Ramey was quoted by some that he estimated the size to be about twenty-five feet in diameter. It appears that the estimates of size had to do with the quantity of debris that had been brought into the office. If laid out flat, along with the balloon material, the size begins to approach twenty feet in size.
At the close of the press conference, Irving Newton would confirm Ramey’s “suspicion” that it was a RAWIN target and balloon:
I was the only weather forecaster on duty … I received a call from some one in General Ramey’s office by a Lt Col or Col who told me that some one had found a flying saucer in New Mexico and they had it in the General’s office … the General suspicioned that it might be meteorological equipment or something of that nature and wanted it examined by qualified meteorological personnel… as soon as I saw it, I giggled and asked if that was the flying saucer. I was told it was... I was convinced at the time that this was a balloon with a RAWIN target and remain convinced… While I was examining the debris, Major Marcel was picking up pieces of the target sticks and trying to convince me that some notations on the sticks were alien writings. There were figures on the sticks lavender or pink in color, appeared to be weather faded markings with no rhyme or reason. He did not convince me these were alien writings. 57
The press accounts stated the time duration between announcement and identification was just three hours, which implies that Newton had arrived around 6PM.
It was a good three hours after the first official announcement before an Army weather officer burst the bubble. The object, he declared, was nothing more than an Army weather balloon and its kite. 58
Later, Warrant Officer Irving Newton, Stetsonville, Wis., weather officer at Fort Worth, examined the object and said definitely that it was nothing but a badly smashed target used to determine the direction and velocity of high altitude winds.59
After the press conference was completed, it seems the debris that was in Ramey’s office was disposed of:
A public relations officer here said the balloon was in his officer said the balloon was in his office “and it’ll probably stay right there”.60
However, the rest of the debris may have been sent to Wright field on the B-25 as described by Dubose, Porter, and Marcel. This would explain the confusion about materials not leaving Fort Worth and materials being delivered to Wright field.
Mack Brazel’s curtain call
Meanwhile, back in Roswell, Mack Brazel finally was able to tell his version of events to the media. Marcel implied that he left Brazel back at the ranch by himself on Monday evening. According to Roswell legend, the military took custody of him at some point and coached him to tell a specific story about finding rubber and tin foil. That is not what was stated by the 1947 news media:
Brazel was brought here late yesterday be 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. 61
So how did W. E. Whitmore find Mack Brazel? Did the military give Brazel to Whitmore? Walter Haut, who claimed to know everything that occurred on base, indicated that Whitmore had brought Brazel into town:
...Walt Whitmore had practically kidnapped him (Brazel). Walt was an old, old time newspaperman. You never could quite tell whether everything he was saying was all the truth...I think the rumor was that Walt was moving him from place to place. This was a big...it’s a much more interesting story when you move a man from place to place...To my knowledge. I did not know he had been on base. 62
Kellahin seemed to confirm the idea that Whitmore was responsible for Brazel when he stated, “Whitmore did his best to maneuver Brazel away from the rest of the press” 63.
We know that the Kellahin interview happened late in the day. Kellahin had stated it was “Late that afternoon or early evening” 64 and a 1947 story stated that “..he told the Associated Press in Roswell early this morning.”65 The same statement would appear in other papers (Twin Falls Idaho -Times-news , Oakland Tribune) This was probably in reference to when the news hit the wire, which indicates the story may have not been sent out until after midnight. Coupled with the phrase “Late yesterday” in the RDR story indicates that it probably was more like 7 or 8 PM local time (or possibly later) when this transpired.
Based on this information, it seems reasonable that Whitmore, when he got wind of the story (either through press release or learning about the story from Sheriff Wilcox), left for the Foster Ranch and got Brazel back into town in time for the interview. The distance was about 100 miles with half of it on a major road. One can assume, under good conditions, it would take about six hours to make the round trip. Based on all this running back and forth to Roswell, is it any surprise that Brazel regretted even mentioning he found the debris when he was interviewed?
The rest of the story that Brazel told is well known and does not require repeating here. However, one has to wonder about the description Brazel gave and how it does not reflect the quantity of debris that was displayed in Ramey’s office. If he had been coached, he would have given the description to fit what was shown in the office and not of some larger quantity of materials.
Conspiracies, lies, and subterfuge...oh my!
If one sees this as a case of a story that became clearer as the details became known instead of a case that became obscured by a conspiracy as time elapsed, the minor inconsistent reports are understandable. Roswell proponents choose another version where they see a massive cover-up machine that went into action right away and left not a shred of evidence in their wake. One might as well be talking about the shooter on the grassy knoll or controlled explosives in the world trade center towers. There is nothing that will ever convince the Roswell proponents that what was found was some sort of balloon and radar reflector mix because they will always rationalize that any paper trail was manufactured or obscured by the conspiracy behind all of this. However, speaking for the skeptics, I would be convinced that it was an alien spaceship crash if some solid and verifiable documentation would surface stating this. So far, that evidence is missing and I doubt that any “dream team” will ever produce such evidence.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2012
Roswell debris goes missing!
Frank Kimbler announced in early September, that he had lost a piece of UFO debris he found at the crash site. He had mailed it via Fedex to a scientific laboratory for analysis. When it made it there, the package was apparently empty! There are three possibilities. The first being that it was never mailed in the package. The second was that the package was opened en route and the piece removed by the individuals/organization that opened it. The third possibility was that the piece was removed when it was opened at the lab by somebody. What is the most likely? Things that may you go hmmmmm.....
Kevin Randle complained about the location of the crash site
Somebody (he who shall not be named?) stated that Randle’s Bill Brazel site is the wrong crash location. Randle pointed out that Bill Brazel showed it to him and, therefore, this makes it correct. I wonder why two scientific digs/efforts (CUFOS and Doleman’s group) in the area turned up nothing significant but Frank Kimbler loitering around in the same area (according to Randle) managed to discover debris of “unusual nature”. What does this say for the two efforts previously conducted and why didn’t they find these things?
Proposed new Roswell UFO museum cancelled?
A new 25 million dollar UFO museum has been cancelled and the plot of land set aside for it is up for sale. The UFO museum plans on staying at its current location. Did somebody really think it was worth 25 million dollars to build a UFO museum? If people were really interested in investigating UFOs instead of promoting them, they could have found a way to put the 25 million dollars to good use instead of wasting it on some tourist trap.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2011
Getting the band back together
Kevin Randle announced that the Roswell “dream team” (Carey-Schmitt-Randle) is assembling and promised new and exciting Roswell revelations. He has forgiven Don Schmitt for his past lies and sloppy/erroneous research and is now working with the infamous Carey/Schmitt authors to create a new opus that will put all skeptics to shame. If it is anything like “Witness to Roswell”, I would not expect much other than more unsubstantiated rumors, second (and third) hand stories, and unverifiable claims made by aging individuals who were located in Roswell at the time.
Randle then announced that Tony Bragalia and Chris Rutkowski were going to join this dream team. Rutkowski is an apparent agnostic about Roswell but we know that Mr. Bragalia makes some rather wild claims that will fit in well with Schmitt and Carey’s approach. I guess that means they are going to endorse his flawed work about Nitinol among other things.
Just as I was finalizing this issue, Randle announced that David Rudiak was also now a member of the “dream team”. This is no shock but he also mentioned that he had asked skeptics to join the “team” but they turned him down.
About a month before this, I had posed the question to several Roswell skeptics as to what their answer might be if they got an “invite” to the dream team (at that point in time, none reported being asked to join). I could not see any condition, where I would want to be involved and neither could anybody else. I am curious as to which “skeptics” were asked. It is not that we are not interested at looking at new information but the usual rumor, innuendo, and tall tales that have been presented seems to be what is going to result here. Actual verifiable documentation that supports the alien space ship crash version of events, is what they should be looking for.
It is noteworthy that the “dream team” did not include Stanton Friedman. Unlike Schmitt’s past transgressions, Friedman’s differing opinions about Roswell seems to make him “unfit” to be included in this august company! Perhaps there was only so much room for all the egos.
Shortly after the initial announcements, Kevin Randle posted the first “discovery” of the group. It was not really new. According to Randle, everyone pretty much knew the debris was weather balloon materials prior to the arrival of Irving Newton. This is supposed to mean it is evidence for a conspiracy. Of course, Randle ignores the testimony of Newton, who had stated that Ramey suspected it was from a weather balloon before he even arrived. Based on this, it is no surprise that before Newton arrived, several individuals had already told the media it was a weather balloon.
What this demonstrates is that, in its first swing at the Roswell case, the “Dream Team” immediately declared the case was a conspiracy/cover-up. So, instead of the promise of a new approach on the case, we got the same old one. I am shocked!
Who believes Roswell involved aliens?
A recent article with the title “Roswell, Aliens & Belief - Who Believes that Aliens
Landed at Roswell?” by Frank Borzellieri, appeared in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine. Borzelleri conducted an on-line poll to see what kind of people believe Roswell involved an alien spaceship crash. The bottom line is the following characteristics apply to those who believe in Roswell:
High School education or less2.
Conservative political beliefs3.
This was something of a shock to me because what I have seen of many Roswell supporters is that they were educated (or claimed to have college degrees) and liberal in their political positions. Maybe I have been talking to the wrong individuals. This poll, while interesting, does not add much to the Roswell story. I figured I would mention it here for information purposes only.
Art Campbell sent me an e-mail alerting me to an upcoming revelation that the crash on San Augustin did occur and they have found debris that prove it.
I have heard this story before. The problem I have with the article I read is that they make all sorts of claims that the debris they found came from 1947 but there is no proof this. Couldn’t it have been left at the site in 1980, 1990, or 2000? I just can’t buy this seriously but we will have to wait. Stay tuned.......
Marcel passes lie detector test!
At least that is what Tony Bragalia’s headline read. Bragalia apparently used the software given to him by this research institute that uses it for determining if people are lying. According to Bragalia, this software takes the transcripts of an interview and analyzes them for deceptive content. It all sounded pretty hokey to me when the claim is that you can take any transcript and tell if somebody is lying or not.
I decided to pull the thread on this and found some interesting information. The Mental Floss blog had a description of the software Bragalia was using. It seems it was primarily designed for looking at fraudulent e-mails/spam. I am not sure how well it transitions to transcripts, which is what Bragalia was doing. Their web site does have an on-line deception detector tool, which is probably what Bragalia used for his article. As a test, I used the deception detector tool by entering several texts from the bible (there is a minimum of 50 words required). Some of the texts were given the label as deceptive. I then lied to the on-line tool several times and it recognized no deception! In another test, I ran a few Frank Kaufmann (who has been discredited as a Roswell witness) quotes into the tool and it still reported no deception. Additionally, I was able to get some quotes made by Marcel and Dubose to come out “deceptive”. This tells me that this tool may work for detecting e-mail fraud but, in my opinion, it is inadequate for what Mr. Bragalia is proclaiming.
Quelle: SUNlite 1/2012
If you are not with us....
Anthony Bragalia continues to try and make something out of nothing. His latest article basically called two elderly gentlemen liars because they did not tell him what he wanted to hear.
Mr. Bragalia tried to interview two men who were supposedly in Roswell in 1947. However, one denied being stationed at Roswell even though he admitted to being a private in the Army Air Force in 1946 and some of 1947. The other mentioned being stationed there in 1946 but not 1947.
Tony Bragalia, as is his custom, implies that he could tell they were lying to him by the way they responded on the phone. According to Bragalia, the yearbook documents they were there and because they refuse to admit they were stationed there, they are being dishonorable.
Because he has a strong belief that there is a conspiracy and that these men will lie, cheat, or steal to hide their involvement, Bragalia has drawn his conclusion. However, he ignores possible reasons why they stated what they did. I can think of a few:
They don’t remember being there. • This is quite plausible especially if they felt they left at a certain time of year or were never there. One item I found revealing was an article called, “Phantom flashbulbs: False recollections of hearing the news about Challenger” (Neisser and Harsh). The study had students write what had happened the day after the Challenger accident and then, two and a half years later, repeat the report. About a third of the memories were inaccurate even though some of those individuals felt the later memories were accurate! One witness even moved their location from the school to her parent’ s house. The lesson here being that one can not consider any of these old memories to be 100% accurate. When talking about a private, who spent just a few years in the military over sixty years ago, it is not beyond the possibility that they would forget details or get them wrong from that time period.
They weren’t there in • JULY of 1947 as they stated. As best I can tell, the yearbook was printed sometime in mid-1947. It shows events from 1946 as well as 1947 so it encompasses that time period and not just the summer of 1947. If somebody was stationed there in 1946 but not 1947, they would probably appear in the yearbook.
There is the possibility that he got • the wrong individual in the case of the person, who claimed they were never stationed at Roswell. Bragalia states the surname is extremely rare. I looked into the RAAF yearbook and discovered three “Robert E.”’s for the first Air Transport Unit. Two fit the description he gave (the other being a sergeant and having a very common last name). While I could not find any mention of one of them in the newspaper archive, I did discover that a Robert E. Walthour (who is listed as a pfc in the 1st ATU) from Greensburg, PA had exited the Army in October 1945 (Connellsville, PA daily courier - Oct 16, 1945). When I pointed this out to Bruce Hutchinson, he followed up by looking into the national archives and discovered that there were three Robert E. Walthours from Pennsylvannia that served in the Army in the 1940s. Two of them enlisted in 1946 (in different locations and with different ages/backgrounds). Could Bragalia have gotten the wrong person (he did not respond to my two e-mail queries on this)? Even if it wasn’t, it demonstrates that it is possible to get two people with the same rare surname, serving in the military at the same time.
The person who denied being pres• ent at RAAF did purposefully lie to him but for reasons other than a UFO crash. Maybe he had military or personal reasons he did not want anyone to discover.
Bragalia misinterpreted what these • individuals told him. We have no recordings of what was actually stated so they can be verified. It is his interpretation of what they said in his article.Bragalia would later tell me that he had talked to two individuals who were at Roswell in July of 1947 and they told him that both individuals were there during that month. Bragalia simply accepts this claim as factual. I find the ability for anyone to remember such specific details after sixty years to be somewhat suspect.
In my opinion, calling these gentlemen “dishonorable” based on what they or others recall is just wrong and simply ignores all possibilities in favor of only one. Bragalia’s motto is apparently, “If you aren’t going to tell me what I want to hear, then you are lying and are part of the conspiracy.” I find this approach to a very controversial subject, highly biased and lacking in objectivity. If Bragalia wants to prove if somebody was or was not present in Roswell in July 1947, I suggest he obtain RAAF records or the person’s service record before calling that person a liar. What he has presented so far is speculative and subject to error.
As a side note, the interviewees did not recall the names of General Roger Ramey or Colonel Blanchard. I assume from Bragalia’s implication is they were denying they had contact with them on purpose. Because Bragalia apparently has little or no military background, he misses the obvious reason why these individuals did not remember them. A private is the lowest man on the totem pole and would not normally associate with high ranking officers in a large command like the 509th bomb group. Unless Blanchard and Ramey were as famous and flamboyant as George Patton, it is unlikely that a buck private, who served in their command but rarely had any close contact with them, would even remember them.
If this is an example of how the “dream team” is conducting its research, one can expect more of the usual wildly speculative conclusions and inaccurate research so common in the writings about Roswell.
Hitting the nail on the head
Nick Redfern’s blog posting about the infamous missing files was on target. I can’t count how many times I have seen various crash proponents make much out of this. It is nice to see that Mr. Redfern looked at it logically and was not blinded by an emotional tie to the case.
More wild speculation
Tony Bragalia once again demonstrated his ability to twist logic in order to link just about anything to Roswell. In this instance, we have a March 10, 1950 letter written from Lt. Col. Robert Blount to a Dr. Robley Evans at MIT. Lt. Col. Blount discusses in the letter, an April 1949 report written by Dr. Paul Fitts concerning the psychological analysis of UFO reports. In the final paragraph of the letter, Blount writes:
It has been recently rumored that one of these so-called flying saucers crashed in Mexico; however, the details are somewhat bizarre at the moment. (my emphasis in bold and underlined).
Bragalia links this all to Roswell. He picks out the “bizarre” comment as meaning that it was “exotic”. However, it could also be interpreted to mean that the details were outrageous and difficult to believe. There is reason to suspect this was the case.
Back in SUNlite 3-3, I pointed out to my readers a lecture on March 8, 1950 at Denver University, where the Aztec story was being discussed. That next day an article in the Greeley tribune mentioned the lecture but also noted that Ray L. Dimmick had recently reported that he had seen or heard about a flying saucer crash outside Mexico City. The Dimmick story appeared in national newspapers on March 9th and 10th. The March 10th Long Beach Independent made it a front page headline (The image of that headline and the first part of the story is displayed above and to the right here). Several newspapers in the east had the story on page one (see story to the left). All mentioned an AF investigation into the story.
Is it any surprise that on the same day the story made news across the nation, Lt. Col. Blount wrote about a recent rumor regarding a flying saucer crash in Mexico? It appears to be just more than a coincidence that Blount would make reference to a recent rumor of a spaceship crash that had the same location as the Dimmick story.
When Gilles Fernandez pointed this story out to Mr. Bragalia, he dismissed it because it was only a rumor and Lt. Col. Blount would have not found the story credible enough to discuss it in this official correspondence. Of course, Bragalia completely ignores the context of the statement made by Lt. Col. Blount. He declared it a recent (i.e. in the past few days/months) rumor that is was bizarre (i.e. outrageous), and described the flying saucers as “so-called”. Since he was talking about UFOs in this letter, casually mentioning this news would not be out of the ordinary especially when he referred to it in the manner he appears to be describing.
In my opinion, Blount was referring to the Dimmick hoax and it had nothing to do with Roswell. As with many of Bragalia’s sensationalist writings, his failure to see beyond the Roswell myth prevents him from looking at more logical explanations.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2012
The missing Brazel interview
According to the latest news, Mack Brazel’s audio interview with Walt Whitmore in 1947 has existed for many years with Dave Aaron. Unfortunately, Mr. Aaron allowed this recording, as well as hundreds of others, to sit in his girlfriend’s garage. When she passed away, the city came in and had to clean it up because it was a health hazard. Apparently, there were lots of cats in the house. The recording apparently was destroyed.
This all sounded a bit strange to me. Am I supposed to believe that this recording, which was thought lost to the world all these years, was sitting in a pile of tapes in this garage for all this time? Why didn’t this UFOlogist get the tape and produce it for Roswell enthusiasts/investigators? He could have made a nice bit of coin selling it or he could have received some publicity. I can think of three scenarios regarding this tape:
The recording does not exist.1.
The recording exists but reflects the 2. same story told by Brazel to the Roswell Daily Record.
The recording exists and it is the 3. Roswell smoking gun where Brazel describes the bodies, the spaceship, and the cover-up.
I think one or two is most likely. #3 is highly unlikely because if the recording did contain this, it would not have resided in a garage all of these years.
About a week after this news became public, Kevin Randle revealed that Don Schmitt interviewed Mr. Aaron to resolve the issue. Schmitt discovered that Aaron had it in his possession since 2003 and hold sold copies of the recording to nine people. He also told Schmitt that he did not recall much of the recording but did remember how it opened. Schmitt recognized the words since they were from scene concerning the interview from the Showtime “Roswell” movie. In other words, it was not the real thing. So option one is applicable. The recording, as advertised (the actual interview and not a recreation), did not really exist.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2012
I know that some people find this a tired topic but I felt that I wanted to do one issue devoted to the subject. I do have some other articles in this issue but the main focus is on Roswell. Much of the content was inspired by some of the articles/books/blog entries written about the case over the last few years. I could have responded in those forums but I really hate arguing endlessly. No matter what argument that is presented, the Roswell proponents dismiss it or dream up some sort of conspiracy to explain away inconvenient testimony/documentation. It is a complete waste of time and achieves nothing. Meanwhile, on June 5th, the planet Venus transitted the sun and was observed/photographed worldwide by astronomers. While, birds, satellites, and airplanes were recorded, nobody recorded a single UFO passing in front of the sun. Sure, the sun is a small area of sky but if UFOs are as frequent as some claim (I recently saw a claim that a majority of UFO reports are unexplainable!), then one would think the odds would improve for at least one astronomer to have imaged such a craft passing in front of the sun. I saw no images of a UFO craft crossing the sun. I can also say the same for all my astrophotographs.
I shot eight five minute exposures of M97 and M108 on June 15th. In that short time period, I managed to record three satellites crossing a small field of view but I recorded no UFOs. I am not the only astrophotographer shooting the sky. Hundreds take images of the sky on every clear night. I am unaware of any recording a unexplained objects crossing their field of view. Doesn’t that say something about the frequency of UFOs?
As I stated last issue, I have changed the format of the newsletter from the three column format to a single column on each page. Some felt the three column format was archaic so I am honoring their request to a more internet friendly layout. I would love to hear feedback on this to see if I want to maintain this format in future issues.
Speaking of last issue, I want to confess that I made a correction to it a few days after posting it on-line. In the article concerning the April 1966 fireball, I showed an image of the Chiles-Whitted sketches and gave a year of 1947. It was actually 1948. I normally don’t go back and correct things but after this blatant mistake was pointed out, I went back and fixed it. I just wanted to publicly admit the error existed.
On a final note, readers should pay attention to Peter Merlin’s article. It is quite amusing and reminds of the behavior of my fellow submariners over the years. Military humor is something some civilians have a hard time appreciating.
Mean old skeptics!
Kevin Randle “dissed” skeptics for being critical of “The Dream Team”. I find it amusing because all he and his fellow dream teamers had to do was keep their mouths shut that such a group even existed. Randle announced that the “Dream team” was being created in October of last year and then mentioned when various people were added to the team. Not surprisingly, the first article describing what the team discovered involved a conspiracy. When I, and other skeptics, comment about the “dream team’s antics, we are simply following their lead. I guess Mr. Randle is upset with those comments because they have not released their results yet. Again, he and his fellow Roswell investigators are the one’s announcing all of this information. I only comment based on what they state.
In the article, Kevin Randle suggests that skeptics will not accept anything but a mundane explanation for Roswell. Well....duh...that is why we are skeptics. Skeptics are more likely to accept a mundane explanation (and it does not have to be MOGUL) than an exotic one (alien spaceship) without something more convincing than memories and conspiracy theories. I will gladly accept good evidence. However, I have yet to see it. All I ever see is people trying to explain away inconvenient facts and promoting their personal point of view.
Randle also mentioned, in his comments section, news about the infamous nun’s diary that appeared in the book, The truth about the UFO crash at Roswell. In that book, it seemed as if the diaries had actually been read. Now Randle suggests that they have leads as to where these diaries are located. Does this mean that the diaries disappeared after they were read back in the early 1990s or that they were simply repeating what they thought was in the diaries? The diary is not that important as it only reports the observation of a bright meteor-like object. However, his recent statements have me wondering again if the diary ever existed in the first place. If it suddenly appears out of thin air, one might wonder if it was because of some clever skulduggery. I hope there will be an effort to authenticate them if they are found. It would not be the first time somebody created a hoax document about UFOs.
Where were the B-29s?
While reading through the newspaper archives, I stumbled across a reference to the 509ths B-29s, in the Amarillo Globe on July 2nd, 1947. Apparently, twenty-seven B-29s were in Vicksburg and some were scheduled to return to Roswell on the 4th of July. On their return to Roswell, they were scheduled to pass over Vicksburg, Little Rock, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, and Roswell. This group of planes was a combination of aircraft from Roswell, Tuscon, and Fort Worth. It is not clear how many were from Roswell but one can assume that probably one of the three squadrons that were part of the 509th was in the air show. The Tuscon bombardment group had B-29s also flying over Seattle and it seems possible that some of the other B-29s from Roswell might have been flying elsewhere for parades/air shows.
What does this say for all the activity that was supposedly occurring at Roswell Army Air Field, in the town of Roswell, and at the “crash site”. Supposedly, the entire base was locked down and personnel being sent out to establish the cordon, collect debris, retrieve the spaceship, etc. However, what the record shows is that probably a third, or more, of the group’s planes and their crews were away doing air shows for the various towns on the 4th of July. When the planes returned, the ground crews would have to be present to support their landing, unloading, and post-flight work.
Strangely, there is little or no mention by the various authors about these B-29s being “out of town”. There is also no mention of the town’s 4th of July celebration, which, I am pretty confident, occurred as planned. Remember, at the same time Roswell was probably celebrating the fourth of July with the usual fanfare (parades, picnics, dances, fireworks, etc.), a massive military cover-up operation was underway north of town. It would have been quite a show for interested civilians just to watch the convoy of trucks moving back and forth. One wonders why that wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2012