In the last article I examined the events of 1947. Now I’m looking at what set Roswell on the road to becoming the biggest and most written-about conspiracy theory in history.
The events of 1947 were actually rather… uneventful. Everything died down until UFO researcher Stanton Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel in 1978, who recovered the wreckage of the ‘weather balloon’ 30 years earlier. Marcel told Friedman that what he’d handled that day was the wreckage of a crashed spaceship and that his superiors covered up the incident.
This reignited interest and encouraged other researchers to get involved, and other ‘witnesses’ to come forward. Between 1980 and 1994, a series of books, starting with The Roswell Incident in 1980, propagated claims of a spaceship crash and a cover-up by the government.
Balloon or no balloon?
Rancher William ‘Mac’ Brazel, who first discovered the wreckage, didn’t think what he’d found was a weather balloon. However, what he described – bits of rubber, sticks, paper, tinfoil and scotch tape with flowers on – hardly sounds like debris from a spaceship either. Brazel’s daughter Bessie, who was 14 years old at the time and helped him gather the debris, gave a description of it that was very similar to her father’s. She described “double-sized material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like on the other”, “sticks like kite sticks” and “whitish tape” with “flower-like designs on it”.
And what she also said, contrary to her father’s belief, is that “the debris looked like pieces of a large balloon which had burst”.
Jesse Marcel, the first to claim that the debris was from something extraterrestrial, said that he saw beams which resembled wood but were weightless, flexible yet unbreakable and would not burn. He said they had strange markings like hieroglyphics on them.
Stanton Friedman said in an interview:
“There was a material they couldn’t break with a sledge hammer because it was so strong, but very light. There was nothing conventional, no wiring, no propellers or vacuum tubes. But, of course, it was (according to the Air Force) a standard issue balloon. The Air Force’s explanation is baloney. They ought to serve it at a delicatessen.”
Strangely he ignores the descriptions of Mac Brazel and his daughter. I’d say there’s something very ‘conventional’ about scotch tape and tinfoil.
And these don’t sound like very sophisticated aliens to me.
Swap or no swap?
So Jesse Marcel believes that the wreckage he recovered was extraterrestrial. Okay, fine. Photos were taken of this debris when it got to General Ramey, who examined it at the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) base at Fort Worth. The only photos of the wreckage known to exist. Okay, fine.
Ah, but Colonel DuBose – one of the witnesses who alleged a government cover-up and who appears in the photos of the debris – said that the government secretly swapped the spaceship debris for that of a weather balloon prior to the photo-shoot.
Hang on a minute. Both the photos themselves and the photographer – J. Bond Johnson – contend that the debris photographed matches the descriptions given by Mac Brazel and his daughter. But Marcel said this debris was the real wreckage from the spaceship. So his story doesn’t match up with DuBose’s.
But can Marcel’s story be trusted? Debunkers have pointed out Marcel’s history of changing his story and lying about his military career. This led UFO researchers to prefer the ‘swap’ account from Colonel DuBose.
But DuBose was 90-years-old and relaying 43-year-old memories with the, urm, ‘assistance’ of regressive hypnosis when he revealed the ‘swap’ to Friedman and fellow researcher Donald Schmitt in 1990. So why should we trust his story either?
Well, DuBose’s story is more exciting. That’s why.
Aliens or no aliens?
Ah, the big question. Thing is, Jesse Marcel never said anything at all about aliens. But we don’t believe him anyway, so that’s fine.
Enter Glenn Dennis. He was the first person to make a claim about alien bodies being recovered from the Roswell crash site. He worked in a funeral home in Roswell and recalled several phone calls at the time from an RAAF mortuary officer asking for “small caskets”. He said that a friend of his, a nurse for the RAAF Hospital, admitted to him that she had taken part in the autopsy of three alien creatures. Apparently she told him to keep it a secret and was then killed in a military plane crash. However, no records of this plane crash exist, and when he finally gave her name – Naomi Maria Self – research found that she didn’t exist either.
But the alien stories didn’t stop there. Jim Ragsdale said he was in the desert with his girlfriend, Trudy Truelove (what a name!) and discovered a spaceship sticking out of a cliff-face, a number of alien bodies and huge military recovery teams. But his story was discredited too, thanks to multiple changes to his story.
Others have alleged that alien bodies were recovered from the crash site. In the next article, I’ll take a closer look at these accounts, as well as the infamous ‘Alien Autopsy’ that surfaced in the 1990s…
Next week: The real Men in Black…