Thursday, July 19, 2007

One Last Mystery From New Orleans

I'm leaving New Orleans soon, to do some archaeology in New York. I'll blog again soon, though perhaps not until after the move. Though if I run into any Fortean or otherwise interesting things on the road, I'll post them here.

But here's one last conspiracy story with some bizarre bits, from New Orleans. With corruption comes conspiracy theories, and Louisiana is known for its corruption (and this week, for its family-values senator getting outed for visiting at least one prostitute). The story combines the intrigues surrounding Jim Garrison's infamous New Orleans investigation of the JFK assassination, an unsolved grisly murder thirty years ago in New Orleans, and an an attempt to kill Castro. But it then stretches into territory much further afield with a conspiracy to cover-up a massive medical disaster that, in my opinion, feels almost bolted onto the rest.

The article is from local paper Gambit Weekly. The link is to their current cover story, so after this week you may need to find the story in the archives, which shouldn't be hard.

An excerpt

Official reports about the murder pointed to stab marks on her body that indicated a link to an alternative lifestyle -- and an apartment fire. The problem, Haslam says, is that one of her arms and rib cage had been incinerated, which could not have occurred in an apartment fire that did little damage to the room. He also learned that the degree of damage could only have been caused by extremely intense heat -- even higher than the 3,000 degrees used in cremation. He believes it was caused by a device called a linear particle accelerator. Such a device was being used to radiate monkey viruses to help develop a vaccine for soft-tissue cancers that could result from the contaminated polio vaccine administered to millions of school children in the 1950s and '60s and/or to develop a super cancer-causing virus that could be used to assassinate Fidel Castro. Haslam found evidence that such an accelerator existed at the U.S. Public Health Services (USPHS) hospital in New Orleans in the 1950s. He even found a witness who claims to have worked there.

Here the story takes a wild turn.

Haslam says Sherman actually worked on a monkey virus project at the secret, government-funded USPHS laboratory under the direction of famed New Orleans doctor Alton Ochsner. She worked alongside David Ferrie, one of the main characters in former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's ill-fated investigation into the JFK assassination, and Lee Harvey Oswald, named by the Warren Commission as the lone gunman who killed Kennedy. The author believes Sherman's arm and ribcage were incinerated during an accident at the lab and that she later was stabbed in the heart, a wound that actually killed her, then stabbed in other places post-mortem to establish a cover story.

More at

Update: I went to the book signing today and picked up a copy, if nothing else as a guide to one of the more famous spooky chapters in New Orleans history.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Evolution of the Crashed Saucer Legend, Part 8: Aftermath and Bibliography

Please start at the beginning if you haven't yet

The Aftermath of a Saucer Crash

Government Secrecy

Even as far back as 1897, there is a relationship between stories of unidentified flying objects and government secrect (Clark 1998:141-159). But it is after 1947 that secrecy becomes one of the enduring hallmarks of the saucer era and later ufology. From the beginning, a vocal part of ufology has blamed a lack of good UFO information and public interest on “silence groups” in the American government. Probably the most influential of these researchers was NICAP czar Donald Keyhoe, who wrote about “Project Saucer” (actually called Projects Sign and Grudge [Swords 2000]), and continued to rail against government secrecy (Peebles 1994:44-48). In particular, throughout his ufological career, Keyhoe’s number one priority was pressing for open Congressional hearings. According to long-time ufological prankster and social historian James Moseley in his memoirs Shockingly Close to the Truth! (2002:46-47), Keyhoe’s persistence actually increased secrecy on the part of the U.S. military.

Jim Moseley signs copies of his memoirs after a lecture at the IUFOMRC. According to his semi-monthly 'zine Saucer Smear, Jim is apparently not welcome for a return performance.

Congressional action and the University of Colorado “Condon Report” (Gilmour 1969) from 1966-1968 silenced this cause to a large degree, but with the 1990s came an increase in popular interest in the concept of UFOs and government conspiracies. This has led toa focus on government documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act, most notably The Black Vault, as well as the branch of ufology called "exopolitics," a topic I will not get into at this time.

At the heart of the Roswell legend is the issue of a government cover-up. Though the UFO issue has had an edge of paranoia about the American government since the 1950's, conspiracy theories and the belief that government officials are hiding information about UFO's have grown over the last two decades along with the Roswell legend. The most successful of these concepts has been that of the “Majestic” (also known as Majestic-12, MAJIC, and MAJIC-12) group formed to deal with saucer secrecy in the wake of the Roswell crash. Majestic came to public knowledge in 1987 with the release of the Majestic documents by William Moore, Stanton Friedman, and filmmaker Jaime Shandera. Shandera says he received the documents on anonymously-sent film. The debate about the validity of the Majestic documents is too lengthy to go into at this time, but as of 2003, many ufologists and critics believe the documents to be fake (Klass 2000), though several in this group support the existence of one or another group similar to Majestic with some cosmetic differences. A smaller number, led by Friedman (1992), hold to the validity of the original documents. A larger number of additional documents have appeared, which have even less support than the originals. On my reading list for the summer is Greg Bishop's book Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth. This book touches on, but is not directly about the MJ-12 documents, but instead documents Air Force disinformation against ufo resarchers, and some of the players in the Bennewitz affair are involved in the release of the Majestic documents.

Despite the direct links to Roswell, Majestic is able to cross between different narrative threads. Roswell researcher Kevin Randle has generally shied away from, or flat out attacked, the Majestic documents. And yet, a dramatic sequence of scenes based directly on the Majestic documents provides the major climax of the 1994 film Roswell, largely based on the work of Randle and co-author Schmitt. Furthermore, while the film relies heavily on Majestic, it ignores the crash site championed by the highest-profile Majestic proponent, Stanton Friedman. The International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell follows the film’s lead, and marries a narrative similar to that proposed by Randle and Schmidt to exhibits about Majestic. This melding of sources is reminiscent of some of the elements of Walter Haut's affidavit, released in 2007.


In addition to looking at the specifics surrounding narratives of airship, saucer, and UFO crashes, we must consider the aftermath posited after these wondrous machines fall from the heavens. Only in a few fictional accounts is a flying saucer revealed to the public after a crash. Typically, the remains of the saucer and its crew are crated up and shipped off to one or more secret locations. As early as 1897, human-piloted airships were tied to (as originating from, not going to) secret military bases in Illinois and Colorado (Bartholomew 1998). By the saucer age, alien bodies and crashed saucers started to be hidden at places like Wright Field (later Wright-Patterson AFB) in Ohio. The history of the relationship between Wright Field and crashed saucers is still murky (though it seems to go back until at least the 1960s), but the base was home to Project Blue Book starting in the 1950s, and before that Project Sign and E.T.-friendly Air Force investigator General Nathan Twining. It should come as no surprise, then, that after the release of the Majestic documents, nearly all later Roswell and many crashed saucer stories would designate Wright-Patterson and its infamous Hangar 18 as a resting place (if not a final one) for bodies and debris.

Fictional film versions of UFO silence groups and UFO crashes began to presage as early as 1971 the next major geographical center in crashed saucer stories. Though not dealing with a UFO, the novel and film (1971) Andromeda Strain depict the analysis of an alien life form within a secret underground government facility under Nevada. Six years later, a multinational silence group (backed up by the U.S. military) seal off a section of Wyoming so they can meet with UFOs and their occupants near Devil’s Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg 1977). In 1980, a crashed UFO is transported from Arizona to a lunar landing facility at Wolf AFB in Texas in the film Hangar 18 (not located at Wright-Patterson in the film). Each of these films depicts a secret government base used for making contact with E.T.s or their material culture, located in the arid American West.

A "mysterious" black, or at least dark, helicopter (Stillings 1989), hovering over the center of the Very Large Array (a not very secret government research facility, located on the Plains of San Agustin in western New Mexico). The helicopter took off, hovered for a few minutes, and landed while I watched. A later visit to the VLA website mentions nothing about a helicopter, crew, or facilities. Secrecy in action?

By the mid and late 1980s, ufologists and others would turn their interest to a secret military facility in central Nevada, referred to as Groom Lake by many insiders, but most famous as Area 51 (Patton 1998). It became a geographical focal point where Cold War paranoia and secrecy, environmental activism, concerns about government overstep, belief in UFO's, and the nascent cyberculture mixed in the 1990s. Glenn Campbell's (aka Psychospy) Desert Rat journal of his activities as an activist at Groom Lake, and the general doings around the site, provide a great historical source for understanding this weird chapter in the history of American distrust of government. A wide variety of stories have grown up in and out of the subculture of Area 51 observers, and several reference the Roswell crash as the seed for alien technology or craft tested and developed at the base. Area 51 doesn’t appear as quickly in Roswell narratives in large part because of the focus on the events in 1947, which predate the establishment of Area 51. The UFO Museum and Research Center has a substantial exhibit on Area 51, but the base does not figure in a major way in most non-cinema versions of the Roswell or other crashed saucer stories. Interestingly, an argument could be made that while these fictional prototypes for Area 51 predate stories about the site, this differs from crashed saucer stories, which typically predate fictional analogs. Area 51 has followed in the footsteps of Roswell in becoming the inspiration for a musical play.

Once a research center is established, the material and crew undergo analysis, which can yield great benefits for society, though in most cases these are hoarded by the secret group in question. A small but persistent thread of ufology links Nazi Germany and flying saucers, and in a couple of crash stories, Nazi scientists are able to study saucers, possibly the origin of many of the German “wonder weapons.” (model below on display at the IUFOMRC).

The concept of reverse engineering to create advanced technology (particularly aircraft) is more commonly applied to the U.S. and Roswell. The most developed version of this thread is Corso’s (1997) The Day After Roswell, within which Corso claims to have been personally responsible for seeding technology from the Roswell crash to defense contractors, and thereby playing a part in the “creation” of nearly every major technological advance in the later 20th century.

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Bartholomew, Robert E.
1998 Before Roswell: The Meaning Behind the Crashed-UFO Myth. Skeptical Inquirer, May/June:29-30, 59.

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.
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Berlitz, Charles, and William L. Moore
1980 The Roswell Incident. Berkeley Books, New York.

Bishop, Greg
2005 Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth. Paraview Pocket Books, New York.

Bullard, Thomas E.
2000 UFOs: Lost in the Myths. In UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge, edited by David M. Jacobs, pp. 141 - 191. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence.

Cantril, Hadley (With the assistance of Hazel Gaudet & Herta Herzog)
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Clark, Jerome
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Corso, Philip J., and William J. Birnes
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Fuller, John G.
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Klass, Philip J.
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Lewis, James R. (editor)
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Mack, John E.
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Patton, Phil
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Peebles, Curtis
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Evolution of the Crashed Saucer Legend, Part 7: The Military Response

If you haven't yet, you should start with the first installment of this article

The Military Response

As part and parcel of crash accounts that involve military radar tracks, a military recovery team leaves soon after the radar-tracked crash, usually at sunup the next day (Berlitz and Moore 1980; Randle and Schmitt 1994). This concept has been present throughout the accounts of the Roswell Incident, especially in relation to a second crash site on the Plains of San Agustin, though it is not limited to those accounts. Typically, the second, more important, crash site with bodies or a saucer is found by the military at the same time or immediately after discovery by engineers, campers, or an archaeological research team. In these accounts, the coverup may already be underway when Brazel informs the Roswell sheriff of his discovery a few days later.

Though not as exciting and action-filled, the narrative thread of the Roswell story concerning Army involvement with the Foster Ranch debris site reported by William “Mac” Brazel is more complex. Most versions agree that soon after Brazel brings debris to Roswell Sheriff Wilcox’s office on July 6, 1947, the military shows up. Specifically, Jesse Marcel accompanies Brazel to his home, stays there overnight, and examines the debris field on the morning of July 7. However, with the exception of the initial July 8, 1947 press release and the 2002 International UFO Museum and Research Center timeline, other accounts of the Roswell story mention that a second military man in plain clothes accompanied Marcel to the debris site. As the Roswell story built steam after 1980, this man was clearly identified as Army counterintelligence agent Sheridan Cavitt. By the early 1990s, this man becomes more anonymous, and is either simply described as a counterintelligence agent (Randle and Schmitt 1991), or as a man in plain clothes (Pflock 1994). The 1994 film Roswell renames him Sherman Carson, but increases his role in the coverup, especially regarding Jesse Marcel. The decreased interest in Cavitt’s specifics may have a lot to do with the fact that Cavitt agreed to describe what he saw in July 1947, and his accounts support the finding of a balloon device, not an extraterrestrial craft, on the Foster Ranch.

The grassroots essence of ufology is reflected in the ample use of personal accounts and affidavits as exhibits in the IUFOMRC.

Relying on Jesse Marcel’s son, Jesse Marcel Jr., as a significant witness, Randle and Schmitt (1991) specifically mention that Marcel brought some of the debris home to show his family in the early morning hours of July 8, 1947. First introduced in 1991, this element plays an important emotional and narrative role in the film Roswell, and has been preserved in the International UFO Museum and Research Center’s presentation in Roswell.

Depending on the discovery of a second site in the particular Roswell narrative, Colonel Blanchard orders a more thorough cleanup of the Foster ranch site and informs his superiors of the debris on either July 7th or July 8th before going on leave. These events are linked to a change in the travel plans of a military inspection group led by Lt. General Nathan F. Twining, who would play a major role in military interest in UFOs in the next few years. The group, including other high-ranking officers, flies to Alamogordo instead of their original planned inspection of a Boeing aircraft on July 7th (Friedman 1992; Randle and Schmitt 1991).

The make up of the gear and personnel of military recovery teams typically include trucks, area lighting for night work, and specialists. The 1973 account of a crashed saucer in Arizona echoes Scully’s informants, specialists flown in to advise on recovery and analysis (Clark 1998:119-141). The 1973 account also foreshadows the stories of specialist transport to Area 51 in the late 1980s, where specialists are flown on private non-descript airplanes, and then loaded onto busses with blacked out windows. In the case of the 1962 Nevada UFO/bolide crash, Project Blue Book flew in its director Lt. Col. Robert Friend and scientific advisor Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Clark 1998:119-141).

In the case of Roswell, the military recovery team becomes more detailed in 1988, as the Majestic documents describe the use of aerial reconnaissance, and by 1991 (Randle and Schmitt 1991) witnesses describe the placement of an MP perimeter to keep out civilians and other unauthorized personnel. The 2002 version of the IUFOMRC website descibes a several day cordon while the site is cleaned up. Few other accounts describe the use of special equipment and biohazard suits as in Corso’s (1997) account.

The debris begins to fly out of New Mexico soon after discovery. Most accounts have some debris flown to Ft. Worth, Texas on July 8 for further analysis, in many cases under armed guard. But Randle and Schmitt (1991) have debris flying out as soon as July 6.

Crash dummy. In 1997, the U.S. Air Force suggested that the recovery of dummies used in testing may have inspired reports of alien bodies (McAndrew 1997). Of course, the IUFOMRC is all to happy to point out that these tests did not begin until several years after 1947.

From the beginning, however, all accounts are unanimous that the U.S. military decides to cover-up the accident, typically to prevent panic ala Orson Welles' 1938 radioplay of War of the Worlds (Cantril 1940), though in some cases looking ahead to the potential for reverse-engineering advanced technology. While fictional accounts of contact between humans and aliens or their material culture utilize more exotic cover-ups such as left-over weapons from WWII (Film Quatermass and the Pit 1967), epidemics (Film 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968), and nerve-gas disasters (Film Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977), the Roswell story has consistently been laid at the feet of a balloon, first a weather balloon in 1947, and then by the mid-1990s a train of balloons to support audio equipment used in the Mogul spying program. This element first arises in the office of General Ramey in Ft. Worth Texas during a press conference on July 9, 1947. By 1991, it is reasoned that the debris in Ramey’s office was switched with that from a weather balloon, and that Marcel was ordered to lie or stay quiet about this act. In the last few years, there has been some interest in attempts to either find real saucer debris in the pictures from this press conference, or to reconstruct a message on a piece of paper photographed in Ramey’s hand that proves there really was a saucer crash.

Citizens are sworn to secrecy as early as 1973 (Clark 1998:119-141), but beginning with Randle and Schmitt’s 1991 account of the Roswell crash, civilians have been threatened with reprisals from the U.S. military if they don’t keep quiet about what they have seen. Saler, Ziegler, and Moore (1996) go into some detail about the various rank and location changes of an angry red-headed Army officer and his African-American enlisted sidekick. Intimidation in crashed saucer accounts usually comes from military sources, and not the shadowy Men in Black that haunt other parts of UFOland (Keel 1991; Rojcewicz 1987). Concerning the use of violence to enforce the cover up, fictional accounts raced ahead of other versions, such as in the case of the ominous Men in Dark Suits that chase astronauts investigating a crashed UFO in the film Hangar 18 in 1980. William “Mac” Brazel is picked up by the military at some point soon after his July 8th radio interview, and is sequestered by the Army for anywhere from one to three days. During this time, he is allowed to make his July 9th statement that he did not find a flying saucer, and in some versions is bribed with money for a new pickup truck and refrigerator shed on his property (Corso 1997; Randle and Schmitt 1991; Film Roswell 1994).

“Mac” Brazel is not the only civilian cajoled into silence by the military in Roswell. Though many researchers today reject his claims, starting in 1991 (Randle and Schmitt) Roswell mortician Glenn Dennis describes being consulted by Roswell Army Hospital about obtaining four small child-size caskets, and about techniques for preparing a body for storage. When he goes to the Roswell Army Hospital to check on the situation, he is escorted off the premises and physically threatened by military men. Dennis also describes talking to a friend of his the next day, a nurse who witnessed alien bodies in the hospital. Prior to 1991, bodies had been associated with the stories involving archaeological teams on the Plains of San Agustin or near Corona, but Dennis’ story puts them in Roswell itself. The nurse, named Janet, is killed in a military plane crash a short while later. This is another dramatic scene in the film Roswell, though as in the case of the counterintelligence agent, Dennis’ real name is not used and is replaced by a sound alike name (one character attempts to remember the mortician’s name and comes up with several possibilities that sound like Dennis). And despite a lack of confidence about Dennis in the later 1990s by most Roswell researchers, the story is still presented (2002) by the International UFO Museum and Research Center. A very similar tale is retold in Corso (1997), but instead of a mortician, the ejected civilian is plumber Roy Danzer.

Continue to the conclusion, The Aftermath

Evolution of the Crashed Saucer Legend, Part 6: Discovery and the Civilian Response

If you haven't, should start with the introduction of this article

Discovery and the Civilian Response


Typically, civilians either stumble upon crashed saucers, or mistake the crash event for that of a conventional plane. On the other hand, from the beginning, fictional saucers have been found by the military, on purpose or by accident, and in later incarnations of the Roswell story, some crash sites are found by the military first. The luck of military search and rescue teams improves through time and begins to mirror the success of their fictional counterparts, though in the 2002 fictional television miniseries Taken, civilians get to find the Roswell sites, but the military makes its own crash site at a later date.

In the case of Roswell, rancher William “Mac” Brazel is usually credited for finding the debris field near Corona. With the exception of his public apology on July 9, 1947 for creating such a stir (Brazel explains he waited several weeks between finding the debris on June 14th and bringing it into town), in most versions Brazel finds the debris field the morning after the crash occurs. In the July 9, 1947 tale by Brazel, he is accompanied by his eight-year old son Vernon, but according to website and the timeline handed out at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in July 2002, he was actually accompanied by another little boy, Dee Proctor, the seven-year old son of Brazel’s neighbors. The presence of a young boy with Brazel mirrors the relationship between Jesse Marcel Jr. and his father’s revelation about Roswell debris in accounts after 1991 (Randle and Schmitt 1991). By 1991, Brazel’s sheep refuse to cross the debris field, perhaps because they sense something otherworldly about the shiny metal?

Since the publication of The Roswell Incident (Berlitz and Moore 1980), the main ship crash site is usually found by an archaeological survey team. There can be minor variations in the specifics (the team may have been geologists, or have included a civil engineer). Peterson (1991) argues through a content analysis of “respectable” and “non-respectable” media that anthropologists are generally associated in the public eye with the strange and unusual. Anthropologists are more commonly represented in the tabloid press (and I would say from a purely anecdotal survey, more commonly in strange fiction such as horror or science fiction) than in the mainstream press. Initially associated with the discovery of a ship on the Plains of San Agustin, the concept of an archaeological team on-site has become a part of the Roswell Incident, though perhaps because of the lack of interest in the Plains of San Agustin crash site (across the state from the town), this team neither shows up in the versions of the story available in Roswell itself, nor in the film Roswell. Of the six versions of the Roswell story analyzed by Ziegler (Saler, Ziegler, and Moore 1997), only one, the original Majestic documents, does not mention an archaeological team, only civilian witnesses that were debriefed.

Speaking of Anthropologists: That's me, seated wearing the white shirt in the middle ground. I'm inside the headquarters of Alien Resistance, a Christian anti-UFO group. Their beliefs and mission are available in more detail on their website, but simply put, they believe "aliens" to be a new guise for an ancient evil, entities referred to as the "Sons of God" in Genesis, who mated with humans and created giant Nephilim. They further believe that modern interest in these creatures is dangerous, most particularly because they are "seeking worship, sacrifice, and some even claiming to be our creators, according to most UFO cults." This stance makes the event in this picture difficult to understand. A representative of the Rael Movement, a religious group based in Canada, was to give a presentation on Saturday, July 6, at the IUFOMRC. At the last minute, this event was cancelled, it appears at the request of the IUFOMRC. Alien Resistance, across the street from the Museum, hosted the event instead. Yet the Raelians are probably the biggest example of a "UFO cult" in existence, and during his talk, the representative laid out a belief system completely in conflict with the stated beliefs and mission of Alien Resistance (Palmer 1995). So bully for the AR guys for letting the other side speak. I would like to thank G. Noel Gross for the photo. He also visited Roswell during the 2002 UFO Festival, where he obsessively retraced the scenes in Six Days in Roswell. Seriously, his site on the festival is amusing and thorough, covering a number of places and events that I didn't visit.

Civilian Response to the Crash

Civilian audience for Stanton Friedman's lecture at the IUFOMRC, July 2002

As stated above, civilians are apt to find more crashed saucers than are military forces, who eventually come along after civilians contact them. In the Roswell case, William “Mac” Brazel waits from one to three days (with the exception of the three week gap he describes in his July 9, 1947 interview) after discovery to contact Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell. In some versions he takes some of the material to the neighboring Proctor household. Most published versions of the Roswell Incident have Brazel contacting George Wilcox on July 6. As earlier versions anchored the crash date to the Wilmot sighting on the evening of July 2, this leaves a three day window between Brazel’s discovery of the material and his contact with Sheriff Wilcox and the Army.

Early versions describe how after finding the debris, he gathered some up and brought it with him on July 5 while taking some wool into Corona. It is here (or on a July 3 visit to his neighbors) that Brazel hears about flying saucers for the first time, including the possibility of a reward for finding one. He then makes a special trip into Roswell the next day with some of the debris, and the chain of events leading to the July 8 press release begins. In these accounts, Brazel is able to show the debris to his family and to neighbors during this time. Starting in 1994, the reassignment of the crash date to July 4, 1947 presumes a much busier Brazel, immediately recognizing the strange qualities of the crash debris (and the gouge in the debris field) and visiting Roswell the day after he discovers the material. Brazel’s own July 9 statements say that he waited several weeks to report the wreckage he found in the middle of June, though this is considered a lie by most Roswell researchers (Berliner and Friedman 1992; Randle and Schmitt 1991, 1994). The exhibits in the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell hint at, but not definitively, a July 4 crash date, though the timeline handed to visitors in 2002 follows the July 4 time sequence.

Brazel himself makes a July 8, 1947 appearance on KGFL radio in Roswell, but at some point is whisked away by military authorities, and coached on lying for his July 9th interview saying he was sorry for causing such a fuss. The exact amount of time that Brazel is in military hands varies in different accounts.

Continue with Part 7: The Military Response

Friday, July 06, 2007

Analyzing Haut's Roswell Affidavit

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.

Dolan, Richard M.
2002 UFOs and the National Security State, Vol. 1: Chronology of a Cover-up
. 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.

Scully, Frank
1951 Behind the Flying Saucers. Popular Library, New York.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Evolution of the Crashed Saucer Legend, Part 5: The Alien Crew

If you haven't, you should start at the beginning of this article

The Alien Crew: Dead and Alive


Though an early 1897 airship tale describes 12’ tall alien beings, the idea that strange craft should be piloted by “little men” has had a strong following since the end of the nineteenth century (Bartholomew 1998). The Martian pilot who struck a windmill in Aurora, Texas in 1897 was small. By the saucer era, little men (typically not green) are measured, presumably after recovery by the U.S. military. Like humans, little humanoid aliens have grown in stature through the twentieth century. Pilots described in 1950 ranged from 23” in height to 40” in height (Scully 1950), or roughly between two and three feet.

As little men crash stories start to proliferate again in the 1970s, the little men are taller, at about four feet (Berlitz and Moore 1980; Clark 1998:119-141; Randle and Schmitt 1994). The aliens depicted in the 1994 film Roswell, judging by the dummy displayed at the International UFO Museum and Research Center, stand about 4’8” and Corso (1997) describes his aliens as being four to four and a half feet in height. While the jump in height to four feet might be attributed to the influence of abduction accounts, it does not explain what appears to be a secular trend for increased stature in the alien population. Assuming a linear growth rate, some rough calculations suggest that we will see our alien overlords eye-to-giant-black-eye in about 2040 CE. (click on image to enlarge)


Alien crewmembers of downed saucers are uniformly humanoid in shape, with two arms, two legs, and head with a human set of sensory equipment. This is a lower level of variation than in the general reported population of alien beings. Most of the differences are in specific small bits that hang off of the human body. Though the time depth of this feature is uncertain, modern aliens have larger than human proportion heads, typically light bulb or upside-down-pear shaped. In some cases aliens have relatively spindly bodies.


Only some crash accounts are explicit about the skin of alien bodies. Giant 12’ aliens reported in 1897 had bronze skin (Bartholomew 1998). Frank Scully’s (1950) aliens typically had a fair complexion, but in most cases their skin had become brown from exposure to the atmosphere. As abduction cases grew more popular, Gray aliens started to be described in saucer crashes. The film Roswell specifically describes the skin of one alien as slightly scaly, but stretchable. Corso (1997) goes into detail about the protective capabilities of alien skin to protect against radiation and shock. In Roswell itself, popular depictions of aliens generally follow some variant on the Gray model, but are split between gray and green skin.

Other features
Just as aliens have grown through the twentieth century, they’ve lost their hair. Nineteenth-century airship pilots were not particularly hairless, and also sported facial hair in some cases (Bartholomew 1998). By 1950, Frank Scully’s little saucer men had a little peach fuzz on their faces, but this soon disappeared as well. If dressed at all, aliens typically wear a one-piece coverall, often with a metallic sheen.

As alien crash victims began to meld with post-Hill abduction reports (Fuller 1966), they took on their distinguishing characteristics: a small or non-existent nose, small or non-existent ears, a slit-like mouth, and large slanted solid-black eyes. Just this pair of eyes, divorced from the rest of a Gray, can be a potent symbol (either by themselves, or added to another context) and were common in and Roswell in 2002.

Probably the most visually impressive exhibit at the IUFOMRC is their "alien" body. In reality, this alien is a prop from the Showtime 1994 Roswell. Penthouse magazine supposedly paid a great deal of money for photos of a real live dead Roswell alien, which ended up being photos of this prop.

Internal Features

While the autopsy of strange beings would seem to be a logical conclusion to a fatal spaceship crash, the explicit description of autopsies or their findings are not common in crashed saucer stories until the early 1990s. During the 1990s, autopsies become de rigueur for crash stories, and videos of such autopsies become a significant part of ufological material culture (Emery 1995; Nickell 1995). Tips for creating your own alien autopsy video can be found here and here. Jerome Clark (1998:119-141) lists one exception, the late 1950s description of an examination of some human-like body parts from a UFO crash. The skeletal or support structure of aliens is rarely discussed, other than to comment on how it is light but strong (like the materials of the saucer itself) in order to deal with the stresses of high-speed travel. Other features are discussed in specific accounts, but are not widespread enough to merit comment in this analysis.


Alien bodies found after days in the scorching sun of New Mexico (whether near Aztec, Corona, or Roswell) are typically roasted to a golden brown. This was particularly true in early SW crash accounts, such as those of Scully (1950) or Los Angeles businesswoman Alma Lawson (Clark 1998:119-141), when in addition to simple exposure, the alien skin was browned perhaps because the air acted as a corrosive agent. Later accounts continue to discuss damage and predator action (as in the Majestic documents). In the 1897 Aurora, Texas case (Bartholomew 1998) and in a fictional 1967 crashed saucer story (film The Bamboo Saucer, discussed in Meehan 1998), local villagers bury the unfortunate crew.

Crew Size

Based on the death toll from fatal crashes, early flying saucers ranged in size from two-seater sports coupes to longer-range sixteen-being craft. Tales of the Roswell crash (and an earlier crash in Missouri) focus on a three to four seat mid-sized sedan.


Early stories of contact with Space People in the 1950s focused on Venus, or previously unknown planets such as Clarion (Festinger, Rieken, and Schachter 1956), as the home world for extraterrestrial visitors. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming number of early crashed saucers came from Venus (apparently not a galactic leader in reliable precision engineering; Scully 1950). The little ship destroyed by a windmill in Aurora, Texas, in 1897 came from Mars (Bartholomew 1998), but most other crashed ships did not. After American and Russian robotic probes began crashing on other planets in the solar system, alien origins became more remote. Leading Roswell researcher Stanton Friedman is also a champion of the claim, stemming from the Betty and Barney Hill abduction, that the small gray abducting aliens come from a planet in the binary star system Zeta Reticuli, as did the dead Roswell aliens. While some researchers or accounts focus on a specific origin for the doomed craft, most crash stories detail the end of the journey, and not the beginning.


A Time magazine article from January 1950 skeptically mentions a story about live Venusians from a crashed saucer being kept alive in a special carbon dioxide chamber (Clark 1998:119-141). The concept of UFO crash survivors is an appealing one, and appears in fictional accounts starting as early as 1951 in The Thing From Another World. Like the frozen pilot of The Thing, crash survivors revive in the early 1980s in films such as The Thing, E.T., Wavelength, and Starman (Meehan 1998), a few years after ufology rediscovered crashed saucers. An influential story of living aliens associated with the Roswell crash originates with Gerald Anderson in 1992, who contacted the television show Unsolved Mysteries and claimed to have seen three dead aliens and one survivor on the Plains of San Agustin as a six-year old boy in 1947. By 1997 (Corso 1997), the surviving alien is a standard part of the story, but is killed on site by military misunderstanding. Surviving aliens can communicate with mental telepathy in Corso’s telling, but such powers are more common in Roswell narratives in other media (Strieber’s Majestic novel, the film Roswell). Fictional aliens have had mind control powers since the 1950s, which re-emerges in abduction accounts stories of telepathy, but this particular element is not a major part of the nuts-and-bolts crashed saucer stories.

Continue to Part 6: Discovery and the Civilian Response

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Evolution of the Crashed Saucer Legend, Part 4: The Crash Site and the Ship

If you haven't, you should probably start with the introduction to this article

The Crash Site and The Ship

Crash Site
By nature of the story, if a saucer crash-site is to be covered up at a later date it should be in a rural or remote area. This was not so much the case with crashed airships in 1897, which could come down in reservoirs, gullies, cow pastures, and even outside of bars. In most cases, the site may be remote, but access is not difficult. The Roswell crash site at Pine Lodge told in the mid-1990s is an exception, requiring a new road to be cut into the wilderness to allow the passage of military trucks. In the case of Roswell, we have a debris field, and a crash site.

The Foster Ranch Debris Field, as Depicted by Larry Elmore. Please visit Elmore's site for more information on the use of his paintings. The appearance of the debris field, the gouge, and "the plain-clothes operative" are similar to that depicted in the 1994 film Roswell. News photographs serve as inspiration for Brazel's face, Marcel's appearance and pose, and for the appearance of the debris Marcel is holding. This image is on display in the IUFOMRC.

The impact of the ship into a rocky outcrop originates in the Roswell literature of the early 1990s, but the details of the ship and other elements of this scene can be attributed to Elmore. Also on display in the IUFOMRC.

The debris field has become larger and more elaborate over time. In his July 9th, 1947 interview, William “Mac” Brazel describes the field as being about 200 yards (180 meters) in diameter. In 1991, the field is only 70-100 (60-90) yards wide but ¾ of a mile (1.2 kilometers) long. By 2002, the field is 300 yards (270 meters) wide and still ¾ of a mile long. In 1991, the debris field also features a gouge and a burned and vitrified circle. Apparently, the craft crashed or crash landed, and took off again before either blowing up or crashing somewhere else. The gouge is roughly 130-160 (120-145 meters) yards in length. It was this gouge that the archaeological investigation sought in 2002 using remote sensing techniques and excavation. The description of the Roswell Incident offered by the IUFOMRC website in 2002 includes a shallow trench or gouge, several hundred feet in length. A similar kind of linear field or gouge is described by a National Guard pilot in 1950 for the site of a saucer crash two years earlier in Ohio.' The following figure is a scale representation of the three descriptions of the debris field and gouge.

Crash sites aren’t as well described as the Corona debris field. In the earliest accounts, a saucer crashed “in a mesa” in 1949 (Clark 1998:119-141), or gently glided to earth in 1950 (Scully 1950). The description of a saucer wedged up against the side of an arroyo is only described in a small number of Roswell accounts (Corso 1997; Randle and Schmitt 1991), but it is one of the most important images of the Roswell incident (as seen in the centepiece mural of the IUFOMRC, below), and ranks only second in iconography in Roswell itself behind images of aliens.

Though the shape of the saucer can change, this image is repeated again and again on restaurant and hotel marquees, in models and dioramas, paintings and murals. The abstract design of the future International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell appears to be inspired by the crashed saucer symbol. Like a religious icon, it can be boiled down to a single element and still be recognized. Any business wishing to attract UFO-related costumers in Roswell need only create a thee dimensional representation of a saucer, and place it in contact with the roof or wall of their building, canted at something approximating a 45 degree angle, and that communicates the message.

The only other equally or more reducibly simple icons in UFOlore that I have encountered are the image of the saucer itself in profile or in ¾ view, and the slanted almond-shaped eyes of a Gray alien (see above).

Debris is at the heart of any crashed saucer story. A UFO that can crash is a physical thing, and a fallible thing at that. In many ways, the fascination with the Roswell Incident amongst ufologists in the 1980s and 1990s was a rebuke of other schools of thought within the field that proposed UFOs to be psychic phenomenon, social hallucinations, or other equally immaterial and inaccessible creatures. In these stories, UFOs are mechanical objects that can malfunction and be destroyed, meaning that their creators are like us, fallible beings that rely on machines for transport and survival. In fact, the death of alien beings in such a crash is a sorrowful thing, it can be related to human tragedy, and is in several actions and accounts of crashes.
Even though these machines are machines, the debris they produce demonstrate technology far superior to comparable earthly vehicles, to the point that the debris holds magical properties. Since 1897 the materials from crashed spaceships have proven to be of metals not found on this world, as in the case of a ring recovered from a crash (Bartholomew 1998). While the Roswell materials in particular are much lighter than they should be if made from earthly metals, the debris from UFO crashes has been abnormally strong and could not be cut since 1949 (Clark 1998:119-141).

The International UFO Museum and Research Center exhibit on the debris, including replicas of the foil, I-beams, symbols, and black rubbery material, as well as documentation of descriptions of the debris.

Early reports of the Roswell material in the late 1970s describe how the metal cannot be broken or bent or burnt, though by the early 1990s, the metal (especially foil) can bend, but immediately returns to its original form, and is compared to shape memory alloy or "memory metal" invented in the 1960s. Strips and beams, of metal or wood, have also been found in crash debris since 1950. These strips or beams have been covered with symbols, engravings, or even alien hieroglyphic writing since 1979, though Frank Scully’s 1950 saucer crashes produced booklets with written script. According to Jesse Marcel, Jr., the writing was purple. Several renderings of these symbols have been made, and the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell has a replica of a symbol-laden I-beam (see the above image). Though written books are not found in crash debris after 1950, paper or parchment-like material is described in a few accounts of the Roswell crash, including Whitley Strieber’s (1989) fictionalized version of the crash in Majestic. By far the Roswell crash is the best well described UFO crash when it comes to debris, again perhaps because debris is central to the original July 8, 1947 media accounts.

The Craft

Crashed airships, saucers, and UFOs typically measure about 30-40 feet in diameter, but have generally gotten slightly smaller over the years. The turtle shaped saucer which crashed in the Sierra Madre of Mexico in 1949 (Clark 1998:119-141) was 100 feet in diameter, and other saucers from 1950 range from 36—99.9 feet in diameter, and around 6 feet in height (the diameter in feet of all of Frank Scully’s saucers is divisible by nine). In later years, UFO size is not as frequently described, but when it is, it typically hovers around 30 feet in diameter.

Early crashed airships, like their flying counterparts, were galvanized metal cylinders, equipped with wings and propellers (Bartholomew 1998). Shiny aluminum-esque round discs dropped out of the skies in the late 1940s and early 1950s (Clark 1998:119-141; Scully 1950). By the 1970s and 1980s, captured discs were elongating again, becoming ovoid or teardrop shaped (Clark 1998:119-141, 1986 film Flight of the Navigator). With the advent of the Roswell Incident in ufology, a plethora of shapes come into vogue, but most fall into the category of the classic disc saucer (Clark 1998; McDermott 1998; 1994 film Roswell),

Diorama of a crashed disc, donated to the IUFOMRC.

or a delta-winged craft with a narrow cylindrical body vaguely reminiscent of the bat-winged stealth aircraft fielded by the U.S. Air Force starting in the 1980s, and mirroring the growing popularity of triangular UFO reports (Randle and Schmitt 1994; Corso 1997).

Diorama of a delta-winged craft, crashed near Corona, New Mexico

While lights in the sky are still probably the most common UFO report, triangles (typically black) have become pre-eminent in reports of structured craft. But modern popular depictions of the crash in Roswell are almost completely dominated by the icon of the classic saucer.
The propulsion and performance characteristics of crashed saucers are rarely described in crash accounts, with the major exception of Frank Scully’s 1950 saucers that propelled themselves along by manipulating gravity waves. Corso’s 1997 Roswell delta-wing craft uses a very similar principle, though the concept of magnetic “waves” is replaced by “vectors.” The Majestic documents state, though, that the propulsion unit of the Roswell craft was destroyed in an explosion. Discussion of the craft interior is also minimal or non-existent in most non-fictional accounts, and the accounts that do describe interior details do not seem to have had much reproductive success. These sorts of details seem to be more in line with stories of crashed saucer research sites, such as the details given by Bob Lazar concerning the saucer he claims to have worked on at Area 51 in the 1980s.

Continue to Part 5, the Alien Crew