As you may know, Walter Haut's affidavit on the Roswell crash legend has been making a big stir in the news in the last week. Here's an example
The actual affidavit can be read here. It is reproduced in Tom Carey and Donald Schmitt's new book, Witness to Roswell. I am not going to reproduce it, but I do refer to specific points in the text below.
I have compared the affidavit of the late Captain (at the time of the incident, first lieutenant) Walter G. Haut to other versions of the Roswell Incident. Most of it is pretty standard, but one part sticks out like a sore thumb: the presence of General Roger Ramey in Roswell on the morning of July 8. Below are my general notes on Haut’s affidavit, and then my conclusions.
First off, I should note that almost nothing in Haut’s affidavit squares at all with the infamous story told by the late Colonel Philip J. Corso (Corso and Birnes 1997). Many of the dates simply do not fit, the description of the debris isn’t even close, and the sort of activity Corso has occurring in and around town does not jive at all with Haut’s testimony or other Roswell narratives. I don't consider this a problem, as Corso's story doesn't really agree with any of the others very well.
The Date and Location of the Crash(es)
Haut’s affidavit states in point (5) that he spent July 5 and 6 at his home on the northern edge of town. In point (6), he states
“I was aware that someone had reported the remains of a downed vehicle by midmorning after my return to duty at the base on Monday, July 7. I was aware that Major Jesse A. Marcel, head of intelligence, was sent by the base commander, Col. William Blanchard, to investigate.”
The phrasing here is ambiguous, but lets assume that he became aware by midmorning of the report, not that the report happened during the morning of July 7. This would agree with the standard story of the crash, that rancher “Mac” Brazel brought wreckage to the Sheriff’s Office, that Col. Blanchard sent this wreckage up the chain of command, setting in motion the eventual cover-up of the entire affair.
Presumably, Haut as the base Public Information Officer, is out of the loop of these activities, and only hears about them when he returns to work Monday morning on the 7th.
What this would not agree with, however, are some of the more dramatic stories. As alluded to above, Corso’s story does not jive with Haut’s at all. Corso has the military on high alert, military intelligence officers arriving in Roswell in early July, radar at the Roswell base tracking UFOs starting on July 1. This was at one point (2001) echoed on the IUFOMRC website when it had a more detailed narrative of the incident than is currently on their site. Furthermore, Corso has major civilian rescue and recovery operations, and very major military operations (including the discovery of a spacecraft and aliens), occurring north of Roswell in the early morning hours of July 5. If something of this magnitude was going on, we would except Haut might have been called back to duty, might have noticed all the commotion in a small town, and certainly the base would have been in more of a state of activity than he suggests on the morning of July 7.
Again, I don't see this as a problem, as the best researched and most complete narratives also do not agree with these dramatic set-pieces.
From 1980 to 1992, the UFO crash or crashes in New Mexico were reconstructed as having occurred in the night of July 2, with the debris field discovered by William “Mac” Brazel on July 3 (Berlitz and Moore 1980; Berliner and Friedman 1992, 2004; Randle and Schmitt 1991). By 1994, these dates were pushed farther back to the night of July 4, and discovery by Brazel on July 5 (Randle and Schmitt 1994). This date is used by the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell. It is not concrete in their current website narrative, but it was the date on previous versions of the website, and on a timeline handed out at the museum in 2002, as well as in exhibits at the museum. Corso (Corso and Birnes 1997) also has this date, but rather than the two day process of Brazel bringing word to Roswell, the fiery crash north of town brings the fire department, other civilians, and a major military force within hours. Brazel himself would later claim to have found the debris in June, only deciding to bring it to Roswell in early July, though advocates of a cover-up suggest Brazel was coerced into changing his story.
A crash date of July 2 or of July 4 would work with Haut’s affidavit, so long as the crash does not involve in immediate major recovery operations, but instead an investigation starting on the afternoon of the sixth. Most accounts have military recovery begin on July 7, though not all (Berlitz and Moore 1980; Corso and Birnes 1987; earlier version of the IUFOMRC website). On the seventh, in point (7), Haut says that as the day progressed, he learned of a second crash site reported by other civilians. The idea of a second site and of other civilians goes back to the original book on the topic, initially focusing on a crash site in the western part of the state (Berlitz and Moore 1980; Berliner and Friedman 1992).
Haut’s affidavit, however, places the second site forty miles north of town, an area first brought into the literature in 1994 (Randle and Schmitt 1994) but echoed in a number of other narratives. Civilians, most famously an archaeological crew, are responsible for discovering this site, and in various accounts recovery begins by the end of July 7. It is at this second site that the main craft and occupants are found, and not at a site closer to the Brazel/Foster Ranch debris field, as discussed in other versions, including the original Majestic documents (Berliner and Friedman 1992; Randle and Schmitt 1991).
An interesting point emerges in Haut’s testimony at this point. In point (7), he notes that he heard of these reports, but that he heard little more for the rest of the day and continued about his duties at least into the late afternoon. This suggests that if recovery of a crashed UFO and alien bodies was going on, and large numbers of personnel from the base were involved, it was not apparent enough for Haut to notice. Haut later notes in point (12) that the craft he views in the afternoon of July 8 had “just” been recovered, though there are no further chronological details. In other words, if a major recovery is going on, one that has been at least partially compromised by civilian eyewitnesses, Haut was not needed either in his role as the Public Information Officer, nor simply as additional manpower in the recovery.
The Retrieval and Cover-Up
Haut’s testimony picks up again in point (8) the next morning at 7:30 AM, July 8. The standard staff meeting is held, but in addition to Roswell personnel, General Roger Ramey and his chief of staff Colonel Thomas J. Dubose are in attendance, having traveled the 415 miles from Fort Worth, Texas. As far as I know, no other version of the Roswell incident suggests DuBose or Ramey were in New Mexico. Instead, they are in Fort Worth on the eighth for Marcel’s infamous photoshoot with balloon wreckage. The primary topic of discussion is a briefing by Marcel and Cavitt on the Foster Ranch debris field, investigated during the course of the day on the seventh. Other testimony suggests Marcel did not arrive back in Roswell with debris until 2 AM on July 8, and that he did not brief Blanchard until 6 AM, who then calls the Army Air Force headquarters sometime on the eighth (Randle and Schmitt 1991). There is also a preliminary briefing, by Blanchard, on the second site, forty miles north of Roswell, which is already considered more important. We do not know if Haut is told about a crashed craft or bodies at this point.
This is possibly the most interesting part of Haut’s affidavit. If Ramey is present, it cannot be in response to Marcel’s report to Blanchard at 6 AM (the B-29 could conceivably make the run in just under 1.5 hours at high speed, but accounting for organizing the flight and getting Ramey on a plane makes this pretty unlikely). Instead, Ramey would have to be present because of the importance of the second site, and that importance must have become clear during the recovery efforts late on the seventh or in the early morning hours of the eighth. But this would then again raise the question of a major recovery operation going on at this time.
Ramey is not mentioned as being in Roswell in other accounts. His role is instead in Texas, and largely confined to providing the weather balloon explanation, humiliating Jesse Marcel. By contrast, General Nathan Twining is not mentioned in Haut’s testimony, though there is some suggestion that he cancels previous plans and goes to Alamogordo on July 7 because of the crash (Friedman 1992; Randle and Schmitt 1997). In Haut’s affidavit, Twining’s role is instead played by Ramey, who travels to Roswell, relays the plan to draw attention to the Foster Ranch site and away from the second site, and then the same day flies back to Texas to debunk Marcel’s debris … which has been sent to Texas for inspection by DuBose and Ramey (Berliner and Friedman 1992; Randle and Schmitt 1991).
This is strange, but it does limit the number of main players in Haut’s testimony to those most iconically involved in the various versions of the Incident. By contrast, Twining is well known to ufologists because of the Twining memo written in September 1947 (Dolan 2002: 43 – 44), but doesn’t play a very visible role in Roswell narratives.
At this meeting, Haut and the other staff members handle some of the debris, presumably recovered by Marcel. Haut describes thin but strong metal foil, which was mentioned from Jesse Marcel’s testimony on (Berlitz and Moore 1980: 72 – 74), though no mention of the memory metal aspect focused on by Marcel’s son in his testimony. Foil of course also goes back to the debunking press conference in Ramey’s Office on July 8, 1947, and Mac Brazel’s second interview on July 9, but normal foil as part of a radar reflector array. The recovery of unusually strong materials from saucer crashes first appears in print in Scully’s (1950) Behind the Flying Saucers, but even if this is discounted as a hoax, strong and light materials make sense if one is describing the materials used to build an advanced spacecraft. Haut also discusses unusual markings along the length of more solid pieces, echoing the discussion of hieroglyphs and I-beams that again goes back to the testimony of the Marcels in the 1970s and 1980s. Haut does not comment on whether the solid debris was lighter than expected. No wire or string, a persistent element of descriptions of Roswell material, is mentioned by Haut.
Later on the morning of July 8, according to the affidavit, Haut’s main role in the Roswell incident occurs when Col. Blanchard gives him the famous press release announcing the Army’s capture of a flying disc. According to Haut, this was part of General Ramey’s (or his superiors) plan to draw attention away from the second site. Haut releases the news in the afternoon, and after some time being bombarded by international media interest, Haut goes home on Blanchard’s suggestion.
The Debris and Bodies
But before he does, Blanchard shows Haut a large piece of wreckage and alien bodies recovered from the second site. This is where Haut’s new testimony differs radically from his previous affidavit. Haut gives little description of the bodies, seen at a distance, other than to note that they were roughly four feet tall with large heads. Not all descriptions of the Roswell bodies note larger heads, but most do. Likewise, the height is the most commonly accepted (Berlitz and Moore 1980; Randle and Schmitt 1991). The bodies are stored in a temporary morgue on base, bringing Glenn Dennis (who is no longer considered a trustworthy eyewitness by many Roswell researchers) to mind.
But while the bodies don’t get much description, the wreckage or craft does. Haut says the craft is egg shaped, if it is a craft and not just a part of one. With the exception of some no longer trusted testimony in the mid 1990s (Corso and Birnes 1997; Randle and Schmitt 1994) that suggested the Roswell craft was a delta-wing, descriptions of the ship are hard to come by. Popular depictions usually include a disc-shaped ship, as do some eyewitness testimonies. The object haut describes is also small, only about five meters on a side and two meters tall. This could be the small reconnaissance craft mentioned in the original Majestic briefing documents, but size measurements for the ship are not common in Roswell narratives.
After viewing the bodies and wreckage on his way home, Walter Haut largely exits the Roswell Incident. He does note that Jesse Marcel was angry about having the debris he recovered be substituted in Forth Worth for balloon debris, and to be publicly ridiculed. Haut goes on further to note that he did visit the crash sites to help ensure the recovery of any additional material.
What do we make of this?
Content-wise, Haut’s story is fairly similar to the general Roswell narrative that has developed since the late 1970s, to the point of causing some problems. Haut claims to be in the know about bodies and wreckage, and is a knowing part of Ramey’s cover-up on the morning of July 8. Yet Marcel’s activities get nearly as much attention as does the more important and earth-shaking second site. In the larger literature and history of the Roswell Incident, Marcel has loomed large as the first major eyewitness of the modern era, the man who recovered the materials actually mentioned in the press, and the man humiliated in Ramey’s office when his flying saucer becomes a weather balloon. Marcel was used as the focus of the narrative in the 1994 film Roswell for this reason.
Since Haut is a knowing part of the conspiracy according to his affidavit, it makes dramatic sense to have him in the same room with Ramey, but since we know Haut wasn’t present in Ramey’s office with Jesse Marcel (he was in Roswell, dealing with the press release), Ramey comes the 415 miles to Roswell, and then immediately leaves to get back to Fort Worth to humiliate Jesse Marcel. I can’t say for certain that Roger Ramey wasn’t in Roswell that morning, but given that no one else has ever mentioned this, given the fact that debris was being repeatedly sent to Ramey in Fort Worth, and given Ramey’s public appearance in Fort Worth that afternoon, an account of his presence in New Mexico is highly suspicious. But it makes for a tidier story than bringing in Nathan Twining, who is also a more difficult character (he’s not a villain like Ramey is in the Roswell narratives, as Twining in turn becomes an advocate for the idea that UFOs are extraterrestrial).
A secondary issue is the nature and scale of the recovery on the evening of the seventh. If such dramatic finds are being recovered to bring Ramey to Roswell (when a phone call could otherwise do), would we expect the air base and the town (remember, civilians are involved at this point, and as Haut says, so is the press) to otherwise be going about its business enough that Haut (who would be called on to deal with the public in this matter) would be able to call it a day on the seventh, rather than to also be pressed into dealing with a time-senstive operation? I don't know, but it does seem somewhat strange.
Paul Kimball believes that Haut’s affidavit doesn’t amount to much, in part due to his support for fraudulent witnesses in the past, and possibly due to the continuing financial interests Haut’s family has in the UFO business in Roswell. In addition to any of those reasons, the strange presence of General Ramey makes me highly suspicious of Haut’s testimony.
Berliner, Don, and Stanton T. Friedman
1992 Crash At Corona: The U.S. Military Retrieval and Cover-up of a UFO. Marlowe Company, New York.
Berlitz, Charles, and William L. Moore
1980 The Roswell Incident. Berkeley Books, New York.
Corso, Philip J., and William J. Birnes
1997 The Day After Roswell. Pocket Books, New York.
2002 UFOs and the National Security State, Vol. 1: Chronology of a Cover-up
1947-1973 . Revised edition. Hampton Roads, Charlottesville.
Friedman, Stanton T.
1992 Crashed Saucers, Majestic-12, and the Debunkers. In UFOs: The Ultimate Mystery of the Millennia (MUFON 1992 International UFO Symposium Proceedings), pp. 68 - 87. Twenty-Third Annual MUFON UFO Sumposium. Albuquerque, New Mexico, July 10, 11 & 12.
Randle, Kevin D.
2000 The Roswell Encyclopedia. Quill, New York.
Randle, Kevin D., and Donald R. Schmitt
1991 UFO Crash at Roswell. Avon Books, New York.
1994 The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell. Avon Books, New York.
Saler, Benson, Charles A. Ziegler, and Charles B. Moore
1997 UFO Crash At Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
1951 Behind the Flying Saucers. Popular Library, New York.