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The Roswell Incident

Roswell is the most well known UFO crash in History. Here is the full story of the events that happened at Roswell, New Mexico in early July, 1947

William W. "Mac" Brazel was a stereotypical cowboy, although he actually tended sheep. He was foreman of the Foster Ranch in rural Lincoln County near Corona, New Mexico. Brazel was married, with children, but his wife and kids lived in Tularosa, New Mexico, near Alamogordo (so the kids would be near a good school), while he mostly lived in an old house out on the ranch where he worked.

From all accounts, he was happy with his life, riding the range and tending the sheep, shearing the sheep and selling the wool. Pictures from that time show a man who might have stepped out of an old Roy Rogers movie, a real cowboy. He was the type who would tip his hat and say "Howdy, ma'am!" when he passed a lady on the street.

On the evening of either July 2 or July 4 (the various sources disagree) there was a severe thunderstorm in the area with lots of lightning. Mac had often wondered why lightning struck the ground repeatedly in the same spots on the ranch. He wondered if it might mean that there were metal deposits underground at those spots and probably considered doing some prospecting in the area. But this time there was a different sort of sound amid the booming thunderclaps. Mac later said it sounded like an explosion. Two of Mac's children were staying with him at the ranch that night, as they often did, but they didn't notice the "different" sound.

The next morning, July 3 or 5, Mac rode out as usual to check on his sheep and to "ride the fences". A seven-year-old neighbor boy, William D. "Dee" Proctor, accompanied him. Dee Proctor loved riding horses more than anything, so he rode with Mac whenever he could.

Riding south of the ranch headquarters, they suddenly came upon an area about a quarter of a mile long and several hundred feet wide that was strewn with debris, shiny bits and pieces unlike anything Mac had ever seen. The sheep refused to cross the debris, and had to be herded the long way around to get to water. Mac picked up some of the material and carried it with him back to the ranch headquarters, where he put it in a shed.

Bessie Brazel Scheiber (Mac's daughter):

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 you were able to make out. Some of the metal-foil 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. The writing] looked like numbers mostly, at least I assumed them to be numbers. They were written out like you would write numbers in columns to do an addition problem. But they didn't look like the numbers we use at all. What gave me the idea they were numbers, I guess, was the way they were all ranged out in columns. No, 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. I have never seen anything resembling this sort of thing before - or since..

Later that day, Mac put a small piece of the debris in his pocket when he drove Dee Proctor to his home about ten miles away from the ranch headquarters. He showed the debris to Dee's parents, William and Loretta Proctor, and tried to get them to go back and look at the debris field with him.

Floyd Proctor:

[He said] it wasn't paper because he couldn't cut it with his knife, and the metal was different from anything he had ever seen. He said the designs looked like the kind of stuff you would find on firecracker wrappers...some sort of figures all done up in pastels, but not writing like we would do it.

Loretta Proctor:

The piece he brought looked like a kind of tan, light-brown was very lightweight, like balsa wood. It wasn't a large piece, maybe about four inches long, maybe just larger than a pencil." "We cut on it with a knife and would hold a match on it, and it wouldn't burn. We knew it wasn't wood. It was smooth like plastic, it didn't have real sharp corners, kind of like a dowel stick. Kind of dark tan. It didn't have any grain...just smooth.

We should have gone [to look at the debris field], but gas and tires were expensive then. We had our own chores, and it would have been twenty miles.

The next night, Mac went into Corona, where he told his uncle, Hollis Wilson, about the debris. Wilson and another man who was present told Mac about the "flying saucers" that were being reported around the area and advised him to report his find to the authorities.

So, on July 6, when Mac was going into Roswell to see about trading for a new pick-up truck, he took some of the debris with him and stopped off at the office of Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox. At first, Wilcox paid little attention, but when Mac showed him a piece of the debris, he realized that this might be important, so he called Roswell Army Air Field and spoke to Major Jesse A. Marcel, the base intelligence officer. Marcel told Wilcox he would come into Roswell and talk to Brazel.

Meanwhile, Frank Joyce of radio station KGFL either called Wilcox looking for news, or Mac called him. Sources differ on this point, but since Mac was hardly the type to seek publicity, it's less likely that he called KGFL. Either way, Joyce interviewed Mac over the phone. Marcel arrived at the Sheriff's office, questioned Mac, and was shown the debris. Then Marcel went back to the base to make his report. He reported to Colonel William H. Blanchard, the base commander, and they decided that Marcel should go out to the site and investigate further. Marcel took his Buick, and an Army Counter Intelligence Corps officer named Sheridan Cavitt drove a Jeep carry-all, and they followed Brazel back to the ranch.

By the time they got to the ranch it was too late in the evening to go to the site , so they spent the night in an old house on the ranch and ate beans for supper. Next morning, Brazel saddled two horses, and he and Cavitt rode out to the site while Marcel followed in the carry-all. After showing them the debris field and watching for a few minutes, Brazel left them to their task and went back to finish his chores. Frank Joyce of KGFL had told his boss, Walt Whitmore Sr. about Brazel's find, and Whitmore drove out to the ranch and picked up Mac. Whitmore took him to his own home in Roswell, where Mac spent the night. There, on a wire recorder, Whitmore recorded an interview with Mac that would never be aired.

Next morning, Whitmore took Mac down to KGFL and called the base. The military came out and picked Brazel up and carried him back to the base, where Mac was kept under guard in the "guest house" for several days.

On July 8, Mac was escorted by the military to the offices of the Roswell Daily Record, where he gave a press interview. The story he told them was a bit different from what he had told before, however. Now he said that he and his son had originally discovered the debris on June 14, but that he was in such a hurry that he ignored it. Then, on July 4, he and his wife and two of his children rode out to the site and picked up some of the debris, which consisted of smoky gray rubber strips, tinfoil, heavy paper, and some small sticks. He said that he had twice before found weather balloons on the ranch but that this material in no way resembled what he had found before.

"I am sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon," he said. "But if I find anything else beside a bomb they are going to have a hard time getting me to say anything about it." Brazel's military escorts then led him out to a car and drove him to KGFL. People who saw him leave the newspaper office said he kept his head down and pretended not to see any of his friends.At KGFL, he was allowed to go in alone while his escorts waited outside. He went in and began telling Frank Joyce the same story he had told at the Record. Joyce interrupted him and asked why he was telling a different story than he had told earlier. He later said that Mac became agitated and said, "It'll go hard on me." At the end of the interview, Brazel went back out to where his military escort was waiting, and they took him back to the base.

When he was finally released by the military, Brazel refused to say anything other than that he had found a weather balloon. He privately complained of his treatment by the military, who he said wouldn't even let him call his wife. He told his children that he had taken an oath not to talk about the incident. Within a year, he moved off the ranch and into Tularosa. There he opened a refrigerated meat locker rental establishment where people could rent lockers to keep their frozen meat in those days of few home freezers. Mac Brazel passed away in 1963.

Roswell Army Air Force Base was an elite facility, home to the only atomic bomb group in existence at the time, the 509th Bomb Wing. All the personnel at the base had to have high security clearances and thus were hand-picked.

The intelligence officer at the base was Major Jesse A, Marcel. Marcel had been a highly skilled aerial cartographer before the U.S. entered World War II, and after Pearl Harbor, he had been sent to intelligence training by the Army. He did so well that he was kept on for a time as an instructor. Fifteen months later, he applied for combat duty and was sent to New Guinea. He logged 468 hours of combat duty as a pilot, bombardier, and waist gunner, receiving five air medals for shooting down enemy aircraft. At the end of the war, he was chosen to become part of the 509th Bomb Wing, and as such handled security for the 1946 atom-bomb tests called "Operation Crossroads". He was awarded a commendation for this work. In 1947, he was intelligence officer for Roswell AAFB.

Major Marcel was eating lunch when he received the call from Sheriff George Wilcox that a rancher had found a lot of debris from some sort of aerial craft out in a pasture. He went into town and talked to Brazel and then returned to the base to report to Colonel Blanchard, the base commander. Blanchard told him to go out and check out the site, so he and a CIC officer named Sheridan Cavitt followed Brazel in his pick-up out to the ranch. Marcel took his old Buick and Cavitt drove a Jeep carry-all. It was late when they arrived, so they spent the night in their sleeping bags in Brazel's old house and ate cold pork-and-beans and crackers for supper.

The next morning, Brazel led them out to the site. Brazel and Cavitt rode horses, but Marcel didn't ride, so he drove the Jeep.

Major Jesse Marcel:

When we arrived at the crash site, it was amazing to see the vast amount of area it covered. scattered over an area of about three quarters of a mile long, I would say, and fairly wide, several hundred feet wide. It was definitely not a weather or tracking device, nor was it any sort of plane or missile.

I don't know what it was, but it certainly wasn't anything built by us and it most certainly wasn't any weather balloon.

...small beams about three eighths or a half inch square with some sort of hieroglyphics on them that nobody could decipher. These looked something like balsa wood, and were about the same weight, except that they were not wood at all. They were very hard, although flexible, and would not burn at all. There was a great deal of an unusual parchment-like substance which was brown in color and extremely strong, and great number of small pieces of a metal like tinfoil, except that it wasn't tinfoil. I was interested in electronics and kept looking for something that resembled instruments or electronic equipment, but I didn't find anything.

...Cavitt, I think, found a black, metallic-looking box several inches square. As there was no apparent way to open this, and since it didn't appear to be an instrument package of any sort, we threw it in with the rest of the stuff.

It had little numbers with symbols that we had to call hieroglyphics because I could not understand them. They were pink and purple. They looked like they were painted on. I even took my cigarette lighter and tried to burn the material we found that resembled parchment and balsa, but it would not burn - wouldn't even smoke....the pieces of metal that we brought back were so thin, just like the tinfoil in a pack of could not tear or cut it either. We even tried making a dent in it with a sixteen-pound sledgehammer, and there was still no dent in it.

Marcel and Cavitt filled the Carry-all up with debris and Marcel sent Cavitt back to the base with it. He then took his Buick out and filled it with debris as well. He later said that even the two vehicles full was just a minor portion of the debris. Marcel headed back to base, but on the way, he stopped off at his home to show the debris to his wife and son, Jesse Jr.

Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr. (Marcel's son):

The material was 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." "Imprinted along the edge of some of the beam remnants were hieroglyphic-type characters.

When Marcel got back to the base, Colonel Blanchard ordered him to load the debris on a B-29 and fly with it to Wright Field in Ohio, stopping at Carswell AAFB in Fort Worth, Texas on the way. Marcel did so, but as soon as he landed at Carswell, Brigadier General Roger Ramey, Commander of the 8th Air Force, took over. The debris was taken to Ramey's office and spread out on brown paper. Marcel said later that one photo was taken of him with the real debris, then Ramey took him into another room, and when he came back, a weather balloon had been substituted for the debris. A weather officer, Warrant Officer Irving Newton, was brought in, and he immediately identified the material he saw as a weather balloon and a Rawin radar target. A Rawin radar target was a reflector made of metal foil and balsa wood sticks that was attached to a weather balloon so that it could be tracked on radar. Ramey announced to the press that the "flying saucer" was only a weather balloon. After more photographs with the weather balloon, Ramey ordered Marcel back to Roswell with a strong hint to keep quiet about the incident. When Marcel got back to Roswell, he found that he had been made to look rather foolish for not recognizing the debris as a "weather balloon."

Three months later, Marcel was promoted to Lt. Colonel and assigned to a program for determining whether the Soviets had detonated a nuclear weapon by analyzing particles in the atmosphere. When he was interviewed in 1978, he maintained that the debris he found on the Foster ranch was definitely NOT a weather balloon. He insisted that it was like nothing he had ever seen...

Was there a second crash site?

Was the debris found by Mac Brazel just part of a craft that got struck by lightning or collided with something? Did the main part of the craft crash somewhere else, and were there aliens aboard?

The stories that there was a second crash site are what keeps the Roswell story going. No matter what explanation the Air Force gives for the debris that Mac Brazel found, it's never good enough if there was a second crash site...

The Roswell Incident and Crash at Corona make a case for a second crash site on the Plains of San Agustin near Magdalena, New Mexico. Thistheory is heavily based on second-hand testimony from a couple named Vern and Jean Maltais. The Maltaises said in 1978 that in February, 1950, an engineer friend of theirs named Grady L."Barney" Barnett told them that he had been working out in the field near Magdalena, New Mexico on July 3, 1947 when he came upon a crashed disc-shaped object with dead, non-human bodies both inside and outside the craft. But a diary kept by Barnett's wife was subsequently recovered that stated that Barney Barnettwas not on the Plains of San Agustin on July 3, 1947.

The San Agustin story was given new life when a man named Gerald Anderson came forward after television's Unsolved Mysteries telecast a segment about Roswell in January of 1990.

Anderson claimed he and his family had been hunting rocks on the Plains of San Agustin in early July, 1947, when they came upon a crashed UFO with four alien bodies inside. Although Gerald was only six years old at the time, he told of vivid memories of the scene, including the presence of an archaeologist named Dr. Buskirk and five of his students. But Anderson's testimony soon began to fall apart, and with it the likelihood of a crash on the Plains of San Agustin. Dr. Buskirk turned out to have been a former teacher of Anderson's, and he was in Arizona at the time, not New Mexico.

Crash at Corona also makes the first case for a second crash site near Roswell. This case is also heavily based on very little testimony, that of Glenn Dennis and the second-hand stories of Captain Oliver Wendell "Pappy" Henderson, whose daughter and wife said he claimed to have flown debris and bodies to Wright Field. There are discrepancies in Dennis' story as given in Crash and in Truth.

Randall and Schmitt, in The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, introduce new testimony from Jim Ragsdale, William Woody, Frankie Rowe, Frank Kaufman, and W. Curry Holden. All this seems to point to a second crash site with bodies recovered, followed by a massive military cover-up. But the testimony of each of these witnesses can be questioned. No information is given about Ragsdale that would bolster his credibility. We know nothing about him, yet his story is presented as if it were gospel. Sources on the net say that with each passing year, his story gets more elaborate and less believable. W. Curry Holden was 96 years old when interviewed by Randle, and his family made a point of mentioning that he "gets confused". Randle says that when he asked Holden if he was at the crash site, he answered in the affirmative. But why couldn't he name any ofthe students who were with him? The students, being younger, might have clearer memories about what happened.

It's important to be discriminating in our search for the truth. We must question every "fact", every bit of "testimony", and every bit of "evidence". It's far too easy to fall into the trap of believing what people tell you when they tell you what you want to hear. Those providing "evidence" must give as much detail as possible and not just throw some testimony out and expect us to accept it.

If you want to get enough information about Roswell to make up your own mind, you should read Crash at Corona by Stanton Friedman and Don Berliner, The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt, Conspiracy of Silence by Kevin Randle, and Watch the Skies by Curtis Peebles.


Peebles wants to say the whole thing is solved because the debris in the newspaper photos is obviously a weather balloon and radar reflector. But that's just the point! The debris in the pictures isn't the real debris, according to Major Jesse Marcel and Colonel Thomas DuBose, two of the three people present. I'm not counting Warrant Officer Newton because he was not even aware that there might have been "other debris”. Witnesses said that the foil-like debris wouldn't crease, and that it regained its shape immediately when you crumpled it. The material in the photos is wrinkled badly.

Skeptics keep going back to the story that Mac Brazel gave to the newspapers AFTER he had been "talked to" by the military. But we know that "Dee" Proctor was with Mac when he found the debris field, so we know that he changed his story! Why keep going back to a story that we know contains intentional misinformation?

Skeptics also rely heavily on the testimony of Sheridan Cavitt. Cavitt at first denied even being at the debris field, then denied having ever met Mac Brazel, and then claimed he knew it was a weather balloon as soon as he saw the debris. (Yet he let a comedy of errors ensue without saying so???)

The Air Force and C.B. Moore would have us believe that the debris was a top-secret Project Mogul balloon train. Sigh... Neoprene balloons, balsa wood, and tin foil such as were used in the test flight that Moore claims was the source of the Roswell debris were not top secret. Mac Brazel and Jesse Marcel had seen neoprene balloons and radar reflectors before. They both insisted that the Roswell debris was not the same thing. C'mon! Saying it was several balloons and reflectors instead of just one doesn't change anything! The test flight of which Moore speaks didn't carry any top-secret devices. Neither does this theory explain the behavior of the military. It certainly doesn't explain the testimony of several witnesses who said the "i-beams" were not balsa

Does coating balsa with Elmer's glue make it unbreakable? If it does, then I want my next car made of a balsa & Elmer's glue frame, with an uncreasable & unburnable aluminum foil skin. Should get great gas mileage, wouldn't burn, and that a grown man couldn't break one of them. It doesn't explain why the "foil" wouldn't crease, but resumed its normal shape immediately after being crumpled.

To repeat: Most importantly, it doesn't explain the behavior of the military. Cordoning off the area and practically sifting the dirt, keeping Mac Brazel as a "guest" for a week, threatening him and others that were involved, and substituting a weather balloon for the real debris does not make sense if itwas a test balloon train made of neoprene balloons and tinfoil and tape and balsa wood radar reflectors.

Whatever Roswell was, it's obvious that we don't have the real answer yet..or do we?

Time for the truth about Roswell

By Kent Jeffrey

Forty-seven years ago, an incident occurred in the south-western desert of the United States that could have significant implications for all mankind. The incident was announced by the U.S. military, subsequently denied by the U.S. military, and has remained veiled in government secrecy ever since. Although it is in a category fraught with false claims and hoaxes, it is not a hoax or false claim, but rather a known event that is thoroughly documented. It is the objective here to summarize the details of that event, affirm the right of all people throughout the world to know the truth about what occurred, and propose a course of action that will allow that truth to emerge.

The event took place during the first week of July 1947 and involved the recovery of wreckage by the military from a remote ranch northwest of Roswell, New Mexico. There is now considerable testimony from former members of the military known to have been involved, including two brigadier generals, that the recovered material was not of terrestrial origin. Admittedly, such a claim taxes the limits of credibility for discerning and rational individuals. It also tends to evoke a response of immediate dismissal. The preponderance of evidence, however, indicates the event occurred.

On January 12, 1994, United States Congressman Steven Schiff of Albuquerque, New Mexico, stated to the press that he had been stonewalled by the Defense Department when requesting information regarding the 1947 Roswell event on behalf of constituents and witnesses. Indicating he was seeking further investigation into the matter, Congressman Schiff called the Defense Department's lack of response "astounding" and concluded it was apparently "another government coverup."

Most people are not aware that there exists an event of this nature so well substantiated. In the next year public awareness of the Roswell incident should grow. A new hardcover book has been released, a television movie will premiere, and a serious documentary is forthcoming. Questions, controversy, and a general distrust of U.S. government policy in this area are bound to increase.

Detailed information on the recovery of the wreckage at Roswell and of related events is extensive. Some years ago investigators were able to obtain a copy of the 1947 Roswell Army Air Field yearbook. This enabled them to locate witnesses throughout the country. Newspaper accounts show that during late June and early July 1947, there was a wave of reports of "flying disks" (UFOs) throughout the United States and Canada. Many of those reports came from credible witnesses, including pilots and other trained observers.

Sometime during the first week of July 1947, a local New Mexico rancher, Mac Brazel, while riding out in the morning to check his sheep after a night of intense thunderstorms, discovered a considerable amount of unusual debris. It had created a shallow gouge several hundred feet long and was scattered over a large area. Some of the debris had strange physical properties. After taking a few pieces to show his neighbors, Floyd and Loretta Proctor, Brazel drove into Roswell and contacted the sheriff, George Wilcox. Sheriff Wilcox notified authorities at Roswell Army Air Field and with the assistance of his deputies, proceeded to investigate the matter. Shortly after becoming involved, the military closed off the area for a number of days and retrieved the wreckage. It was initially taken to Roswell Army Air Field and eventually flown by B-29 and C-54 aircraft to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.

Roswell Army Air Field was the home of the 509th Bomb Group, which was an elite outfit--the only atomic group in the world. On the morning of July 8, 1947, Colonel William Blanchard, Commander of the 509th Bomb Group, issued a press release stating that the wreckage of a "crashed disk" (UFO) had been recovered. The press release was transmitted over the wire services in time to make headlines in over thirty U.S. afternoon newspapers that same day.

Within hours, a second press release was issued from the office of General Roger Ramey, Commander of the Eighth Air Force at Fort Worth Army Air Field in Texas, 400 miles from the crash site. It rescinded the first press release and, in effect, claimed that Colonel Blanchard and the officers of the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell had made an unbelievably foolish mistake and somehow incorrectly identified a weather balloon and its radar reflector as the wreckage of a "crashed disk."

One of those two press releases had to be untrue. There is now solid testimony from numerous credible military and civilian witnesses who were directly involved, that the "crashed disk" press release issued by Colonel William Blanchard of the 509th Bomb Group from Roswell was true and that the subsequent "weather balloon" press release from Eighth Air Force Headquarters in Fort Worth. Texas, was a hastily contrived cover story.

Those who knew and worked with William Blanchard say he was a solid, no-nonsense, businesslike individual, and not someone who would make a fool of himself and the Air Force by ordering a press release about something as out of the ordinary and dramatic as the event at Roswell without being certain he was correct. In other words, if Blanchard issued a press release saying there was a crashed disk, there was a crashed disk. Colonel William Blanchard would later go on to become a four-star general and Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.

The first witness located by investigators who was willing to testify and allow his name to be used was retired Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell. He was a highly competent individual and one of the first two military officers at the actual crash site. In a 1979 videotaped interview, Jesse Marcel stated, ". . . it was not a weather balloon, nor was it an airplane or a missile." As to the exotic properties of some of the material, he stated, "It would not burn . . . that stuff weighs nothing, it's so thin, it isn't any thicker than the tinfoil in a pack of cigarettes. So, I tried to bend the stuff. It wouldn't bend. We even tried making a dent in it with a sixteen-pound sledge hammer. And there was still no dent in it."

It is inconceivable that a man of Jesse Marcel's qualifications and experience, the intelligence officer of the only atomic-bomb group in the world, would have mistaken any kind of conventional wreckage, much less the remains of a weather balloon and its radar reflector, for that of a craft or vehicle that in his words was "not of this earth. " Even if he had initially made such a gross misidentification, he would certainly have been able to see his mistake later after it had been brought to his attention. When returning to the base, he stopped by his house with a few pieces of the unusual wreckage to show his wife and eleven-year-old son. One piece, a small section of I-beam, had strange hieroglyphic like symbols on its surface. His son, Dr. Jesse Marcel, Jr., now a practicing medical doctor and qualified National Guard helicopter pilot and flight surgeon, remembers the incident well. He has been able to produce detailed drawings of some of the symbols. During his career, Jesse Marcel Sr., went on to other important assignments, including the preparation of a report on the first Soviet nuclear detonation, which went directly to President Truman.

The late General Thomas DuBose was a colonel and General Ramey's chief of staff at Eighth Air Force Headquarters in Forth Worth, Texas, in 1947. Before his death in 1992, General DuBose testified that he himself had taken the telephone call from General Clements McMullen at Andrews Army Air Field in Washington, D.C., ordering the coverup. The instructions were for General Ramey to concoct a "cover story" to "get the press off our backs."

Retired General Arthur E. Exon was stationed at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, as a lieutenant colonel in July of 1947 during the time the wreckage from Roswell was brought in. In a 1990 interview, General Exon said of the testing, "Everything from chemical analysis, stress tests, compression tests, flexing. It was brought into our material evaluation labs. (Some of it) could be easily ripped or changed . . . there were other parts of it that were very thin but awfully strong and couldn't be dented with heavy hammers. . . ." Of the men that did the testing, he said, " . . . the overall consensus was that the pieces were from space."

The testimony of Mr. Glenn Dennis leaves little doubt about the nature of what was recovered in 1947. Glenn Dennis still lives in the Roswell, New Mexico, area and is a respected businessman and member of the community. He is down-to-earth and straightforward. In 1947 Glenn Dennis was a young mortician working for the Ballard Funeral Home, which had a contract to provide mortuary and ambulance services for Roswell Army Air Field.

Prior to learning about the recovery of the unusual wreckage at Roswell, he received several telephone calls one afternoon from the mortuary officer at the airfield. He was asked about the availability of small, hermetically sealed caskets and questioned about how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for several days. There was concern about possibly altering the chemical composition of the tissue.

Later that evening, as a result of unrelated events, he made a trip to the base hospital. Outside the back entrance he observed two military ambulances with open rear doors, from which large pieces of wreckage protruded, including one with a row of unusual symbols on its surface. Once inside, he encountered a young nurse whom he knew. At that same instant, he was noticed by military police, who physically threatened him and forcibly escorted him from the building.

He met with the nurse the next day, and she explained what had been going on at the hospital. She was a very religious person and was upset to the point of being in a state of shock. She described how she had been called in to assist two doctors who were doing autopsies on several small nonhuman bodies. She described the terrible smell, how one body was in good shape and the others mangled, and the differences between their anatomy and human anatomy. She also drew a diagram on a napkin showing an outline of their features. That meeting was to be their last--she was transferred to England a few days later.

The main part of the craft apparently came down some distance from the "debris field" at the Brazel ranch. Researchers were only recently able to confirm this second site because few people knew about it. According to witness testimony, this is also the site where the bodies were found. Most of the witnesses to this site have not, in fear of government reprisal, allowed their names to be used. A prestigious law firm has recently been retained to provide legal counsel to any such witnesses who might consider going public with their testimony. Attorneys from the firm have already met with several Roswell witnesses.

In addition to Glenn Dennis, other witnesses were physically threatened or intimidated. According to members of Sheriff Wilcox's family, he was told by the military, in the presence of his wife, that he and his entire family would be killed if he ever spoke about what he had seen. The rancher who originally discovered the wreckage, Mac Brazel, was sequestered by the military for almost a week and sworn to secrecy. He never spoke about the incident again, even to his family. In the months following the incident, his son, Bill Brazel, found and collected a few "scraps" of material, which he kept in a cigar box. The material was eventually confiscated by the military.

Despite the fact that there has been publicity about the Roswell case since 1980, no witness involved in the recovery has ever come forward to corroborate the "weather balloon" story or to provide some other explanation for the wreckage, such as a V2 missile or experimental aircraft. (Both possibilities have been thoroughly checked out and eliminated.) If there had been a more mundane explanation for the unusual debris, it seems certain someone would have come forward with it by now.

While it is possible that the Roswell witnesses, who live in diverse parts of the country, have been engaged in a perfectly orchestrated, long-term hoax with no clear motive, it is unlikely. It is true there are a few minor gaps and inconsistencies in some of the accounts, but that is to be expected. There were many individuals involved and it has been a long period of time. Human memory is not perfect. For those familiar with the Roswell evidence, however, it would be hard to imagine a scenario in which the core event is not true.

With Roswell so well documented, the question that arises is why the mainstream media has not pursued the story. Two factors stand out. The first is that of a negative mindset. There is a tendency in human nature to resist anything that challenges our preconceived perceptions of reality. In most cases, such an attitude serves us well and manifests itself as a healthy skepticism. In other instances, it may result in a close-minded refusal by otherwise intelligent people to consider compelling evidence--especially when that evidence seems to defy common sense or prevailing scientific theory. Many past revelations of science, for example, have met such resistance--a round earth, evolution, relativity, continental drift, quantum theory, an expanding universe--to name a few.

The second and most damaging factor is ridicule. Unfortunately, UFOs have long been associated with tabloid stories, hoaxes, and the "lunatic fringe." In addition, people tend to put UFOs in the same category as ghosts, mysticism, magic, and other forms of the occult or the supernatural. As a result, anything even remotely related to the area of UFOs is a difficult subject to broach without risking a loss of credibility. Consequently, members of the mainstream media rarely approach the subject, much less treat it with any degree of seriousness or depth. No one wants to make himself an easy target for cynicism or ridicule.

Moreover, it is not necessary to resort to the supernatural to explain UFOs any more than it is necessary to resort to the supernatural to explain the Space Shuttle. UFOs could probably best be looked upon as an extrapolation of where our own technology might be thousands of years from now. A television, jet aircraft, or nuclear bomb would have seemed magical or supernatural to a person from the Middle Ages. Similarly, by virtue of the fact that they apparently violate the laws of known physics, UFOs are perceived by us as an aberration of reality. They are, however, probably quite explainable under laws of science we aren't even close to discovering yet.

Further exacerbating the credibility problem has been the extreme negative position taken by the U.S. government. Almost everyone has heard pronouncements from government officials claiming there is no evidence to support the existence of UFOs or extraterrestrial intelligence. Ironically, no matter how high their rank or position, those touting this line may be uninformed, yet telling the truth as they know it. With the U.S. government's high degree of compartmentalization and need-to-know philosophy, chances are that few agencies or individuals would be briefed on or have access to such information.

Agencies in which something might be known, such as the CIA, have refused to cooperate with investigators. When seeking Roswell or UFO-related documents through the Freedom of Information Act, researchers have been repeatedly stonewalled. Claims are made that documents don't exist or can't be released for national security reasons. The few documents that have been released have often been so blacked out that they are rendered meaningless.

By way of contrast, in 1991 the Belgian Ministry of Defense released radar tapes from two Belgian Air Force F-16s that had been scrambled to pursue a UFO detected by four ground-based radar stations and seen by numerous citizens and by police. The tape was impressive--showing digital readouts of incredible altitude and speed changes made by the UFO. Under present government policy, it is hard to imagine such a scenario ever taking place in the United States. Perhaps the world's greatest democracy could learn a few things about a free and open society from its small NATO ally.

There was actually hope at one time that U.S. policy might change. It came when Jimmy Carter was elected President in 1976. In October 1969 while Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter had reported a UFO sighting. Later, in 1976 as a presidential candidate, he pledged: "If I become president, I'll make every piece of information this country has about UFOs available to the public and the scientists." He then somewhat mystifyingly never said one more word about it publicly after taking office. If he found there was no information to release, why did he not announce it? Doing so would have been a natural and easy way to honor his commitment.

Why the U.S. government defiantly maintains there is nothing to the UFO phenomenon and why it would want to withhold evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence remain a matter of speculation. Three possible reasons have been suggested: fear of mass panic, perceived national security problems, and concern about offending religious groups. Whether arguments in any of these areas have merit is questionable. Most would agree, however, that whatever reasons there may be for withholding such information, they are far outweighed by those for releasing it.

The classic argument for government withholding of information on extraterrestrial intelligence from the public is that it might cause a response similar to that of the famous 1938 Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. (The program featured a simulated news broadcast announcing an attack by Martians on Grover's Mill, New Jersey, which panicked a small number of listeners who had tuned in late.) The argument, however, is flawed and the comparison is invalid. It is not realistic to compare a simulated emergency news broadcast graphically describing a devastating, ongoing attack or invasion to a low-key, formal announcement confirming that other intelligent life exists in the universe and occasionally visits earth.

Furthermore, we are nearly 35 years into the Space Age and at the brink of the 21st century. This is a generation that until recently lived for years under the threat of nuclear destruction and that now must deal with such threats as AIDS, rising rates of violent crime, international terrorism, etc. The possibility that the confirmation of extraterrestrial intelligence would cause mass panic in this day and age is so remote that it hardly merits mention.

The arguments for maintaining secrecy based on national security are just as specious as those based on mass panic. Assuming the wreckage the military retrieved from Roswell was that of an extraterrestrial craft, it would be understandable that the U.S. Government would want to reverse-engineer the technology. It would be reasonable that the government would want to keep certain details of that technology secret. As with any technology with the potential for misuse, such precaution would be prudent and justified. However, the very existence of such a craft would have profound implications. The mere knowledge by the public of that existence would not pose any kind of threat. Denying the public such knowledge would not be justified and would be an abuse of the power entrusted to those who oversee the country's national security.

When the Carter campaign pledge was not carried out, it was speculated that concern about offending certain religious groups was the reason. If true, it would represent a violation of the principle of separation of church and state. It would also be placing the interests of a small minority above those of the majority.

Like the discoveries of Darwin and Copernicus, the Roswell evidence could have implications that challenge certain religious doctrines. Darwin's theory that there could be fossil evidence linking modern man and other present-day higher primates to a common primate ancestor conflicted with the creationist view on the exalted position of man with respect to other forms of life. Likewise, the Roswell evidence, which would imply the existence of a superior nonhuman intelligence, could be seen as equally threatening to the creationist viewpoint It could be interpreted as implying that on a scale comparing the evolutionary development of different advanced species throughout the universe, human beings may not rate very high. Such a humbling realization might bother some people, but probably not most.

Copernicus' finding that the earth along with the other planets circled the sun contradicted the teachings of the time that the earth was the center of creation. That notion persists today in that many perceive the earth to be the center of intelligent life in the universe. The Roswell evidence could dispel such an ethnocentric view by confirming that the human race is just one single member in a large community of other intelligent races in the universe. Specific effects, if any, that such a revelation might have on society would be purely a matter of speculation. Generally, however, when knowledge replaces ignorance, the long-term result is positive. There is no reason to think that that would not be the case here. If nothing else, the knowledge that it is possible for a civilization to survive the growing pains of becoming technologically advanced, without completely destroying itself and its environment in the process, would in a sense provide a renewed hope for the future of man and his environment.

Despite the media's inattention to the matter, and contrary to what some in the U.S. government would like people to think, Roswell is not a figment of someone's imagination or the product of modern folklore. It involves real people and a real event. The man who issued the press release announcing that event, Colonel William Blanchard, was not someone prone to making mistakes, much less monumental blunders. He would go on to achieve the highest peacetime rank attainable in the U.S. military, four-star general. Credible witnesses, including retired generals, have testified that the original press release issued by Blanchard was correct and that the Roswell wreckage was of extraterrestrial origin. A United States Congressman was recently stonewalled by the Defense Department on the matter and has expressed his belief that there is a cover-up. Yet the U.S. government steadfastly maintains it has no evidence indicating extraterrestrial intelligence. Something does not ring true. There is a gross inconsistency here, and it involves an issue of great magnitude, an issue that should transcend domestic politics and that demands an explanation. It is time to lay the cards on the table so that this matter can be resolved, one way or the other.

History has shown that unsubstantiated official assurances or denials by government are often meaningless. Nevertheless, there is a logical and straightforward way to ensure that the truth about Roswell will emerge: an Executive Order declassifying any information regarding the existence of UFOs or extraterrestrial intelligence. Because this is a unique issue of universal concern, such an action would be appropriate and warranted. It is essentially what presidential candidate Jimmy Carter promised and then failed to deliver to the American people eighteen years ago in 1976. Additionally, it would cost nothing, offend no one, and be applauded by all.

To provide positive assurance for all potential witnesses, the Order would need to be clearly stated and written into law. Security-clearance violations can bring heavy fines and long prison sentences. In addition to the original witnesses from 1947, there are most certainly individuals involved with the Roswell material today who would be affected by such a declassification. Undoubtedly, many of them, along with the original witnesses, would want to see this information shared with others--be they friends, family, grandchildren, or all mankind.

If, as is officially claimed, no information on Roswell, UFOs, or extraterrestrial intelligence is being withheld, a declassification order would be a mere formality, as there would be nothing for anyone to disclose. What legitimate concern could there be about declassifying "nonexistent" information? If, however, information is being withheld, there could be significant resistance to officially disclosing it. This resistance could range from contriving excuses as to why an Executive Order should not be issued, to ignoring the matter altogether.

In the end, however, whether information is being suppressed or whether it is not, the effect of an Executive Order declassifying it would be positive. If nothing is being withheld, the result of such an Order would be to set the record straight once and for all. Years of controversy and suspicion would be ended, both in the eyes of the United States' own citizens and in the eyes of the world.

If, on the other hand, the Roswell witnesses are telling the truth and information on extraterrestrial intelligence does exist, it is not something to which a privileged few in the United States government should have exclusive rights. It is knowledge of profound importance to which all people throughout the world should have an inalienable right. Its release would unquestionably be universally acknowledged as an historic act of honesty and goodwill.

Michael D. Swords is professor of natural sciences at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, and a former editor of the Journal of UFO Studies. Article from the International UFO Reporter, Fall 1997, Volume 22, Number 3

Roswell: Clashing Visions of the Possible
By Michael Swords

Roswell is obviously a highly divisive topic in ufology. People accept or reject it, often emotionally, for reasons which seem to the listener unclear, even after patient attention. The possibility of a crashed disk, and the necessary astoundingly successful security required, alternatively violates or coheres with visions of reality held dear by the loudest, and occasionally less civil, discussants. But these deeper visions of reality, or what the writers and speakers of these schools want to believe, remain largely undescribed. This paper would like to pretend for the moment that such individuals and their constricting views of reality are not part of the serious Roswell exploration, as I believe they are not, no matter how much we are lumbered with them.

Instead I would like to present a few thoughts on what is a more intriguing and potentially productive aspect of the Roswell debate: that intellectually honest and unprejudiced ufologists also differ markedly in their views about the crashed disk hypothesis, and what the mode of reality is that seems to be acceptable to some and not to others. I have sat around tables with reasonable people (and good friends) such as Mark Rodeghier and Tom Deuley, and listened as one researcher fails to convince another, and they end by amicably agreeing to disagree.

The main problem in these discussions between reasonable people has been the unique complexity of the Roswell case. Nothing in ufology has been remotely like it in terms of numbers of witnesses, variety and quality of researchers, fragmented information, and the lack of a comprehensive, clear research document to which all discussants can refer. Because of this complexity, perhaps no single researcher can wrap his mind completely around the case, and so all commentators work partly from ignorance. Whereas this situation should inspire humility in the intensity of conclusions, it unfortunately encourages the opposite in persons of strongly constricting visions of reality, and even muddies the exchanges between good, honest seekers of the truth.

Documents like the recent Air Force releases can appear to be reasonable to many people, only because of the case's complexity and the absence of a clear, comprehensive research document. This, and this alone, allows shoddy, incomplete research and "explanation" to address tiny elements of the case and pretend to address the entire complex. Some anti-Roswell ufologists have become masters of the "cut-a-branch-and-say-you-killed-the-tree" methodology. And Kent Jeffrey's recent change of mind about the case seems also influenced by this style of analysis. In many simpler UFO cases this approach might be reasonable. They are usually dependent upon very few elements. In the Roswell case, potshots and tree trimmings are important, but some humility and perspective should be applied when it comes to claiming what that trimming has actually done to the tree. In the real world, trimming often makes a tree healthier. Again, I want to emphasize that without a clear and comprehensive research document defining the ease, no one, supporter or detractor, has a clear idea of what they're aiming at. My friends and colleagues, Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt, wrote good books but not this sort of document. That was not their intent in made-for-the-public publications. We are still looking for the research-usable publication from some source, however.

Because I cannot unravel the whole Roswell case in an article (due mainly to my patchy understanding of the details, let alone the length it would take), I would like to present what I believe to be the general hypothetical model that the reasonable pro-crash researchers are working with, and examine its strength and weakness. The pro-crash researchers base their views strongly in the historical context of the UFO phenomenon of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The anti-crash researchers seem to base their views in a different historical context: not UFOs, but their view of the way government and the military "should really work."

What ingredients interest the pro-crash researchers from which they build their working hypothesis? The first stone is really the foundation stone, and surprisingly almost never enters the discussion: that there was a huge wave of flying disk sightings being reported all over the country in the summer of 1947, and which continued intermittently as essentially the same phenomenon through 1952. This outbreak of anomalous aerial events was apparently well-witnessed and very convincing to those who studied it. What were they convinced of? That these were flying disks; technical craft performing beyond our own capabilities of the time, and of a very unusual configuration. Almost every discussion of the Roswell event skips lightly over this UFO context, and most begin talking as if the report were to be properly viewed as an isolated event.

This apparently stems from the time-honored tendency in UFO research to view each case separately and to admit that X never can prove Y.

This, of course, is true. But at the same time, X very often can form a relevant context for Y, and make of Y a reasonable working hypothesis. This seems to me to be important in the sociology of the discussion. Accepting that Y is a reasonable working hypothesis due to its context in the 1947 wave, would take some of the ridicule and attack-dog mentality out of the discussion at the beginning. "I can see where you're coming from, but here's where I disagree." Perhaps, the debate could then proceed upon hypotheses, rather than ad hominems ("how could anyone be so foolish... etc."). And a second, perhaps unresolvable, concern: We should generally be more willing to credit the context of individual cases in ufology. As long as everyone insists on fighting every case in isolation to the death, there will never be any ufology. A field of study is always composed of a whole constellation of related or potentially related phenomena, for which there exist theories and working models which organize the pieces, have a remembered history, and direct subjective discussion. Our pseudoufology tends to feature isolation, no memory or history, and subjective argument.

Every pro-crash researcher that I know well feels that there is strong evidence of a large wave of aerial anomalies taking place in 1947, and that a reasonable and strong hypothesis for this is that craft beyond our current technical capabilities were being seen. I am not certain that the anti-crash researchers (again, I am not speaking of debunkers or other intellectually dishonest writers) feel as strongly about the 1947 wave and key cases such as Kenneth Arnold, C. J. John, and E. J. Smith. For the pro-crash researcher, though, the wave and its several-year continuance of disks and radar reports form a powerful context within which the possibility of a crash is reasonable.

So what of the case itself? Lying on top of the foundation stone context are the three "columns" from which all the rest of the research on Roswell has sprung:

A. The news story release by the air base that they had in fact captured a flying saucer;

B. The testimony of Major Jesse Marcel, combined with his job responsibility, qualifications, and presumed character; and

C. The several descriptions of the Brazel ranch debris and the site.

The news release

At least this is something no one doubts happened, and apparently no one doubts that it was ordered by the base commander. Pro-crash researchers view this in regard to the simplest hypothesis: the release meant what it said. Any other hypothesis is entertainable, but it must make a case for a not insignificant reinterpreting of the release. When the second release comes out denying the conclusions of the first, the roles of the pro- and anti- crash researchers are reversed, but, I believe, not equally. The first release clearly inspired the second. Almost as clearly, that "inspiration" came from somewhere off the base. In that sense, it is reasonable to view the first release as originating at the site which was in contact with the material in the fullest and most direct way; and the second release not. There is still much latitude for rationalization upon this either way, but the fact of the release exists, and the simplest hypothesis is that the commander meant it.

One can imagine that the commander issued this press release whimsically or without much thought or having even bothered to look at the materials and the facts themselves, but that sort of behavior too would require some major rationalizing or guesswork. I submit that it is not unreasonable to suppose that base commander Blanchard familiarized himself quite extensively with whatever in formation and materials he had available before composing his release. If so, one is left with the problem of how Blanchard could have looked over and handled whatever his personnel had brought in, and decided that it was a flying disk, if in fact it was nothing more than U.S. produced balloon technology? For the school-of-nothing- really-happened, one would hope that the required hypothesis of:

A. Blanchard didn't even look at the materials and still ordered an astounding release; or

B. Blanchard didn't think the stuff was really unusual, but wrote this anyway would be at least a little uncomfortable. And, in a civilized ufology, it would be nice to hear the anti-forces admit the discomfort, as, I believe, the reasonable pro-forces do when it comes to the "how could you keep that secret?" problem.

Major Jesse Marcel

Rightly or wrongly, pro-crash researchers view Major Marcel as a responsible and competent soldier, of good qualifications to distinguish between mundane balloon debris and something extraordinary, and of good character well beyond the creation of elaborate public hoaxes on potentially important matters. This characterization of Marcel may be in error, but, given his position in July 1947, some serious rationalization by counterviews must be made to cast him into a light of incompetence, irresponsibility, and/or dishonesty. Realizing how important Marcel is to the case has apparently spawned just such attempts to attack him.

I might add that the ad hominem attack is becoming a standard weapon in the arsenal of ufological debaters. In a field so dependent upon testimony and researcher competence and honesty, maybe one can understand this, but in today's climate it seems well out of control and terminally destructive. We have often seen that debunkers fall back on this as a last (vicious) line of defense: Father Gill messianicly lording it over the "primitive," impressionable Papuans; Cash and Landrum trying to rip off the government for "faked" injuries; Levelland or Saucer inventing cases to boost tourism. But perhaps we can do better as a community of cooperating colleagues. We have gone for years without good reason to doubt Jesse Marcel's character and competence. Now that the anti-forces recognize that the Roswell case is unlikely to fall as long as Major Marcel stands, we are seeing a variety of attempts to chop him down. Let us hope that this"analysis" is at least done civilly, honestly, sensitively.

The debris field and the debris

It is the (apparent) fact that not only Major Marcel but several persons saw the crash debris (piecemeal or at the ranch) and that the descriptions are roughly consistent. Some people describe a self-forming metal (crumple-up, uncrumple by itself) which, if real, would be extremely strange even now (even given Nitinol as its cousins), let alone in 1947. Marcel does not describe this. But even without the miracle fold-out metal, the debris seems very unusual for strength and lightness, and inconsistent with things like balloons and their instrument packages. The amount of debris stated to be at the ranch site also seems inconsistent with any balloon project.

Taking these three elements together in the historical context of the UFO wave, pro-crash researchers have reasoned this way:

1. There seem to have been a lot of reports of technological disk-shaped craft of superior aeronautical performance flying about.

2. Roswell Army Air Field's commander reported that he and the base had found a crashed one.

3. The head of base intelligence reported (many years later) that this was true and that it wasn't any balloon, and that as far as he could tell the material was unearthly.

4. The characteristics and amounts of the debris reported seem inconsistent with any known U.S. (or other) technical project which could have crashed there.

Conclusion. 'The Roswell event was a crashed non- terrestrial technology" is a reasonable working hypothesis.

A large amount of research and writing then exploded from there, as we all know. Some of the testimonies seemed to fit nicely with the hypothesis, some not. Everyone chose how and where they wanted to rationalize. But a second major debate front occurred. This was the anti-crash writers' context: How in the world could you have a real ET-Roswell, and also have the near-total silence from military, science, NASA et al, as if it never happened? The simple anti-answer: It didn't happen. Who knows what went on with the 1947 UFOs, the release, Marcel, and the debris, but it must have been mainly a packet of errors of some kind. This is not an unreasonable set of concerns, and it taxes the pro-crash researcher to model what could have happened. Here is a rough characterization of the pro-crash reality model vis-a-vis what happened post-crash and "cleanup."

The pro-crash view of the importance of the military gaining possession of materials from a piece of extraterrestrial technology is that this would be seen by the Pentagon immediately to be of highest importance and needing highest secrecy. Therefore, extreme precautions would be taken and plans made to place all aspects of this under such secrecy. Other than the mess at Roswell itself, this sort of plan should have been doable, maybe easier than we know. There have been many secret projects kept very "dark," and many, apparently, with very few persons aware of what the whole picture was all about. I am reminded of the following situation from (roughly) the same era.

In 1954 Eisenhower was scared to death about the possibility of a surprise nuclear attack by the USSR. He had grave reasons for keeping his feelings and what he might do about this problem absolutely secret. Ike had an Office of Defense Management which contained a Science Committee with many of the nation's elite and war-tested scientists on board. He spoke to J. Robert Oppenheimer and the good doctor suggested this committee.

Normally Ike would have discussed such momentous matters with his National Security Council, but, in his mind, this was too big even for them. Science Committee bigwheels, James Conant of Harvard and James R. Killian of MIT, were called in. They suggested a special group of highest secrecy to make the necessary study. Its name was the Technological Capabilities Panel, and it was composed of an elite group of academics, industrialists, and the military. There were only 50 (or so) persons involved who knew what was going on, and they reported only to Ike.

The structure of the Panel was a Steering Committee with three Project Teams, plus a military advisory committee, and a "communications working group." I don't know what this latter was, but perhaps it was the "service" group which handled all the materials, documents, communiqué's, etc. for the big brains. When their study was done, Ike listened to their report without inviting his National Security Council to attend.

What the pro-Roswellians imagine is something like the model in Diagram 1: an unavoidably messy situation in the Roswell area, both physically and socially, which was "cleaned up" by whatever means available as quickly as possible. Lots of leaks and unauthorized knowledge would be part of that mess, and lots of leaks occurred as expected. Secondly, almost no one would have to be in the know at Fort Worth, and that would be easy to secure. Thirdly, almost no one (other than a few lab scientists) would have to be in the know at Wright Field (or wherever), and that would be easy to secure. The number of people in the Pentagon (and related D.C. scientists) would initially be a little messier, but the problem could be kicked far upstairs very quickly and generally organized and controlled. The vast majority of military, political, and intelligence functions would be left entirely out of this situation, as it would be imperative for them to go forward with their business as if we had nothing hot to hide. Only if anything of real technical importance ever emerged from the testing would a decision have to be made to "alter human history." That decision would not be a crude decision, but as subtle an "interference" as possible. All decisions made would be driven by security issues alone. None would be driven by "science" or desire to explore.

This sort of highest-level elite program and security is what the pro-crash people require (and feel would be reasonable) in order to deal with the post-cleanup research and information blackout on the crashed disk. They see this project as being set up in principle (i.e., minimizing the number of persons, even within the Pentagon or at the research labs, who would be exposed to the materials or information in any way which would be suggestive of their non-terrestrial provenance) immediately; and tightening the security to a narrower need-to-know group with time. This is why pro-crash researchers aren't shocked by highly placed intelligence officers (like General George ,Schulgen or Colonel Howard McCoy) acting like they knew nothing about the reality of a crashed disk. People in their same positions weren't in on things like Ike's TC Panel; small elite extra-secret projects can be extremely selective, and should be. In analogy to the TCP, if there were only about 50 persons in the know totally, who would they be? There were only about a half-dozen military in Ike's group. The bulk were the Conants and Killians of the country.

This scenario seems unacceptable to the anti-crash researchers. They (apparently) feel that either:

A. You couldn't form this program effectively; or

B. Leaks would occur all over the place in time; or

C. Certain persons should have been in on this no matter how elite it was and that those persons (in their opinion) didn't act as if they were in on the secret.

Well, who really is to say? Without documentation either way this falls apart into another rationalization debate. As a person who tends to defend the reasonability of the ET-hypothesis for Roswell, I will (without grave claims of certitude) offer this:

A. It seems to me that the military, CIA, et al., have formed all sorts of extremely effective secrecy programs, and had ready-made secret labs at Wright-Patterson T-3 Engineering (and elsewhere) immediately available to lock almost anything up tight.

B. Same answer as above, regarding "leaks." I would add that although no catastrophic leaks have occurred other than Major Marcel himself, a case could be made for a slow but steady number of minor leaks occurring over the whole 50-year period.

C. And as for who should or should not have been in the inner circle, that is guesswork, and I haven't heard many compelling arguments that any one person lower than someone like Vandenburg absolutely had to be part of this. To speak to the case of one of my favorite guys, Colonel Howard McCoy of Wright Patterson's T-2 intelligence division: As bright a guy as Mack was, he was the wrong guy for this task. His division was for analyzing intelligence reports, not testing metals and materials, or even biological specimens. I realize that many reasonable people will not be able to accept this sort of scenario, but we should (I believe) accept one another's viewpoint to the extent that we recognize where we're coming from, and admit that neither side knows what the upper echelons of the Pentagon would do or were capable of doing in the face of such a problem.

Schools of thought on Roswell are numerous, and every person seems to have his own unique take on it. I believe that it is informative, however, to break the schools of people who have an opinion down into four: the extra positive (X+), the positive (+), the negative (-), and the extra negative (X-) The extra positive and extra negative schools write and speak as if they have concretely made up their minds, and that there's nothing any longer to be said except monitor one another and release occasional nuclear volleys. Maybe something can come of this sort of behavior, but I doubt it. Almost by definition, concrete does not meditate, grow, and evolve. Unfortunately for most of us and the public, these nuclear volleys are all we tend to hear. They polarize the issue so strongly, and create false impressions of the unity of all elements of testimony at play, that people begin to see the case as an all-or-nothing situation (accept everything that I believe or none of it). Even worse, some people get the impression that the entirety of ufology is riding on the ease, a peculiar notion only explainable by watching too much pop media.

But more quietly, positive and negative individuals try to discuss the issues with more give and take and civility to their colleagues. We need to hear more of this sort of exchange and less from bomb-throwers.

In my observation of these debates (the saner sides of them anyway), the responsible anti-crash discussants cannot buy the level of secrecy and selectiveness of need-to-know personnel required by the pro-crash people to understand Pentagon and Project Sign behavior. They, therefore, doubt the crash evidence.

The responsible pro-crash discussants begin by being impressed with the debris-related testimonies, and therefore are led to imagine secrecy scenarios of an extreme nature. I believe that the pro-crash researchers (like pro UFO researchers) tend to trust testimony, especially when it is corroborated somehow, and the anti-crash persons do not. Also, the pro-crash side tends to see the case as a large constellation of many elements, and the anti-crash side tends to isolate bits, pick away at them, and, sometimes, forget case elements which are less easy targets.

My article has had the goal of clarifying a little of the different worlds that even good UFO scholars live in when it comes to Roswell. In my opinion there has never been a good focused debate on critical aspects of this ease, nor a research resource that would make such a debate feasible. But it's something that the serious people in the field need to do if the status of the crash event is ever to be made more understandable to any of us and to the history of our field. We need a workshop of rational and respectful give-and take on this ease, and a solid research document on case elements and their sources to emerge from it. Is anyone interested?