The crash

The night of 2nd July 1947, Mac Brazel a rancher from near Corona, New Mexico heard a loud crash during a thunderstorm.

The next day he went out riding with the son of neighbors Floyd and Loretta to check on the sheep and came upon a field with debris scattered about. The debris field was 3/4 of a mile long and 300 feet wide. It was oriented in a northwest to southeast direction. There was a gouge in the northwest side of the debris field that was 500 feet long and 10 feet wide. The debris on the field mostly consisted of I-beams and parchment like, paper-thin pieces of metal material. The material was very light in weight, a dull gray in color, and most pieces were 6 to 7 inches in length. Some pieces that were even thinner than paper could not be broken in half, cut or burnt. Mac Brazel collected several pieces of the debris and went back to his ranch.

The day after, Brazel reports his discovery to the sheriff, who contacts Roswell Army Air Field, headquarters for the 509th Bomb Group. Intelligence Officer, Major Jesse Marcel of the 509 Bomb Group and a few other military personal arrived from the base only a few minutes after the sheriff had finished talking to the people at the base.

Marcel and Senior Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) agent, Captain Sheridan Cavitt, followed a rancher off-road to his place. They spent the night there and Marcel inspected a large piece of debris that Brazel had dragged from the pasture. Monday morning, July 7, 1947, Major Jesse Marcel took his first step onto the debris field. Marcel would remark later that “something… must have exploded above the ground and fell.” As Brazel, Cavitt and Marcel inspected the field, Marcel was able to “determine which direction it came from, and which direction it was heading. It was in the pattern… you could tell where it started out and where it ended by how it was thinned out…”

According to Marcel, the debris was “strewn over a wide area, I guess maybe three-quarters of a mile long and a few hundred feet wide.” Scattered in the debris were small bits of metal that Marcel held a cigarette lighter to, to see if it would burn. “I lit the cigarette lighter to some of this stuff and it didn’t burn”, he said. Along with the metal, Marcel described weightless I-beam-like structures that were 3/8″ x 1/4″, none of them very long, that would neither bend nor break. Some of these I-beams had indecipherable characters along the length, in two colors. Marcel also described metal debris the thickness of tin foil that was indestructible. After gathering enough debris to fill his staff car, Maj. Marcel decided to stop by his home on the way back to the base so that he could show his family the unusual debris. He’d never seen anything quite like it. “I didn’t know what we were picking up. I still don’t know what it was…it could not have been part of an aircraft, not part of any kind of weather balloon or experimental balloon…I’ve seen rockets… sent up at the White Sands Testing Grounds. It definitely was not part of an aircraft or missile or rocket.”

On July 8, 1947, a press release stating that the wreckage of a crashed disk had been recovered was issued by the Commander of the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell, Col. William Blanchard. At 11:00 A.M Walter Haut, public relations officer, finished the press release he’d been ordered to write, and gave copies of the release to the two radio stations and both of the newspapers. By 2:26 P.M., the story was out on the AP Wire: “The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been found” As calls began to pour into the base from all over the world, what was a flying saucer turns into a balloon.

Just what happened next will always remain murky. The air base is sealed off, they took Brazel into custody and military police close some roads.

That same day they found a second crash site two and 1/2 miles southeast of the first. Barney Barnett and 4 archaeologists had stumbled onto the new site a few minutes before the military had arrived there. At the site they pretended to have found a “pretty good sized metallic dull gray object” and 4 small alien bodies. They were 4 to 5 feet tall, with large pear shaped heads, small bodies and skinny arms and legs. They had two large eyes, no ears and no hair. Their skin was pinkish grey and leathery. They were wearing a one-piece grey suits. The civilians were escorted out of the area when the military arrived. Robert Shirkey watched as MP’s carried loaded wreckage onto a C-54 from the First Transport Unit. To get a better look, Shirkey stepped around Col. Blanchard, who was irritated with all of the calls coming into the base.

Blanchard decided to travel out to the debris field and left instructions that he’d gone on leave. On the morning of July 8, Marcel reported what he’d found to Col. Blanchard, showing him pieces of the wreckage, none of which looked like anything Blanchard had ever seen. Blanchard then sent Marcel to Carswell [Fort Worth Army Air Field] to see General Ramey, Commanding Officer of the Eighth Air Force. Marcel stated years later to Walter Haut that he’d taken some of the debris into Ramey’s office to show him what had been found. The material was displayed on Ramey’s desk for the general when he returned. Upon his return, General Ramey wanted to see the exact location of the debris field, so he and Marcel went to the map room down the hall – but when they returned, the wreckage that had been placed on the desk was gone and a weather balloon was spread out on the floor. Major Charles A. Cashon took the now-famous photo of Marcel with the weather balloon, in General Ramey’s office. Brigadier General Thomas DuBose, the chief of staff of the Eighth Air Force said,

It was a cover story.  Hours later the first press release was rescinded and the second press release stated that the 509th Bomb Group had mistakenly identified a weather balloon as wreckage of a flying saucer. Brazel went to the radio station along with militaries and told Frank Joyce that he saw a weather balloon, supporting the denial. He left again with the military and didn’t get back to his ranch until around July 15. Mac Brazel spends over a week in military custody. After his release, he doesn’t say anything to anyone for a long time. The FBI squelches a radio station’s report. Every scrap of the mysterious wreckage is removed. Roswell receives a series of visitors from Washington and other military installations, and some very unfriendly statements are made to the sheriff and other locals, encouraging them to forget various things they’ve seen and heard.

Alien bodies

Meanwhile, back in Roswell, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at the Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon from the morgue at the airfield. It seems the Mortuary Officer needed to get a hold of some small hermetically sealed coffins, and wanted information about how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for a few days, without contaminating the tissue. Glenn Dennis drove out to the base hospital later that evening where he saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. Upon entering the hospital he started to visit with a nurse he knew, when suddenly he was threatened by military police and forced to leave.

The next day, Glenn Dennis met with the nurse. She told him about the bodies and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few days she was transferred to England and strangely was killed a few months later in a car accident.

The Incident remained closed and the public and UFO research organizations at large accepted the weather balloon story until 1970 when Jesse A. Marcel broke the silence and told his part in the story.

Where is the Truth?

The case has been extensively researched by Stanton Friedman and independently by the team of Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt for the purpose of their book, A History of UFO Crashes. Even the military had been watching an unidentified flying object on radar for four days in southern New Mexico.

On the night of July 4, 1947, radar indicated that the object was down around thirty to forty miles northwest of Roswell. Between them they have discovered around 200 witnesses who claim to have been involved in the recovery or subsequent handling of the Roswell material.

Researcher John Keel has suggested that the Roswell material might be the remains of a Japanese Feugo balloon, a balloon with a bomb attached launched towards the USA during World War 2. These were still being discovered in remote parts of the USA in the late 1940s.

For almost fifty years stories have persisted that a flying saucer, piloted by extra-terrestrial beings, crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The fact that military reports at first confirmed, then denied this story, caused suspicions to become a real myth.

In 1994 at the request of US Senator Steven Schiff the General Audit Office started an inquiry into the incident and subsequent cover-up. The GAO required the US Air Force to reopen the enquiry. The focus of the GAO probe, initiated at the request of a member of Congress, was to determine if the US Air Force, or any other US government agency, possessed information on the alleged crash and recovery of an extraterrestrial vehicle and its alien occupants near Roswell, N.M. in July 1947.

The 1994 Air Force Denial

After a nine-month study, the 1994 Air Force report concluded that the predecessor to the US Air Force, the US Army Air Forces, recovered debris from an Army Air Forces balloon-borne research project code named MOGUL. Records located describing research carried out under the MOGUL project, most of which were never classified (and publicly available) were collected, provided to GAO, and published in one volume for ease of access for the general public. This report discusses the results of this exhaustive research and identifies the likely sources of the claims of “alien bodies” at Roswell.

Contrary to allegations, many of the accounts appear to be descriptions of unclassified and widely publicized Air Force scientific achievements. Other descriptions of “bodies” appear to be actual incidents in which Air Force members were killed or injured in the line of duty. Many UFO investigators remain unconvinced by this explanation.

Roswell crash site

The conclusions are:

Air Force activities which occurred over a period of many years have been consolidated and are now represented to have occurred in two or three days in July 1947.

“Aliens,ยป observed in the New Mexico desert were actually anthropomorphic test dummies that were carried aloft by US Air Force high altitude balloons for scientific research.

The “unusual” military activities in the New Mexico desert were high altitude research balloon launch and recovery operations. Reports of military units that always seemed to arrive shortly after the crash of a flying saucer to retrieve the saucer and “crew,” were actually accurate descriptions of Air Force personnel engaged in anthropomorphic dummy recovery operations.

Claims of “alien bodies” at the Roswell Army Air Field hospital were most likely a combination of two separate incidents:

1/ a 1956 KC-97 aircraft accident in which 11 Air Force members lost their lives; and,

2/ a 1959 manned balloon mishap in which two Air Force pilots were injured. This report is based on thoroughly documented research supported by official records, technical reports, film footage, photographs, and interviews with individuals who were involved in these events.