Friday, October 09, 2015

Chester Barton and Roswell

It seems that we keep coming back to some of the same tired questions. No matter what is presented in the way of testimony, it seems that someone has an objection
Chester Barton in 1947.
to it. Lately it has been the idea that all the witnesses were contaminated by the publicity surrounding the Roswell case. Even when I was the first to talk with a witness, the comment seems to be that they had heard about or read about or seen something about the UFO crash so that their testimony is “born” contaminated.

In August 1995, Joe Stefula, who seems to be a skeptic for the alien visitation solution for Roswell was drawn into the investigation because, according to him, “I was retired, and Roswell seemed a chance to ‘play detective’ once again.”

Although he had been given a list of names by a fellow researcher, William P. LaParl, he had learned that most were dead but he did manage to “get Chester P. Barton on the telephone.”

Barton, though only a first lieutenant in 1947 had actually joined the Army in 1929 as an enlisted man. He was assigned to the 509th Bomb Group and he served in the Army until 1954 when retired as a captain. According to Stefula, Barton “Had read none of the books, seen none of the TV programs and seemed entirely unaware of the controversy.”

Yes, I know. It does seem strange that a guy who had been assigned to the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell in 1947 would be so completely unware of the stories about the UFO crash. I was watching Bar Rescue a few months ago when they renovated a bar near Fort Bragg and one of the pictures of military operations they hung on the wall in the background was from the 116th Assault Helicopter Company. I knew this because I recognized the insignia on the nose of the aircraft and I had been assigned to that unit. This was in the background and sort of flashed by but I caught it… Barton said he was oblivious to all that had been said about Roswell in 1947. I guess some people just don’t pay close attention.

Barton said that he had been ordered to report to Major Edwin Easley, who, as we all know, was the provost marshal in 1947. Easley told him to head out to the crash site to find out what was going on. He took a jeep carryall and drove out, taking about forty-five minutes to get there. He said that he passed through a checkpoint and the guards were apparently from the 1395th MP Company which was stationed at Roswell.

He said that he was never really close to the wreckage. He saw parts that he believed were from a B-29 and that there was a burned area associated with the wreckage which suggests this was not out on the Brazel ranch (okay, Foster ranch). He said that no piece he could see was identifiable as parts of an airplane. He picked up nothing because the MPs warned him about possible radiation contamination which might have been a way of convincing people not to handle the wreckage.

He made a verbal report to Easley and there was nothing in writing. Easley told him to forget about the incident but he was not required to sign anything or given a verbal oath for secrecy. Just Easley’s comment about forgetting about it.

Barton, it seems, believed that what had happened was a B-29 crashed that had been carrying atomic bombs. He didn’t see any wreckage he recognized and I have never found an aircraft accident, whether experimental, civilian or military that crashed near Roswell at that time.

While Barton did not participate in the clean-up, he did drive out to the field, did see wreckage and formed his opinion on what had happened. He mentioned there wasn’t enough wreckage if it had been a B-29 unless it had broken up or that some of it had already been removed from the field. The Air Force, during their mid-1990s investigation determined that there was no aircraft accident that would account for the wreckage which eliminates Barton’s belief that it was a B-29.

But the point here is that people want to hear from others who were in the field and talked about what they saw. Barton is just another voice who saw something strange in 1947, didn’t get close enough to see if the wreckage was extremely unusual but did provide some information about the distance to the impact site, did mention debris, did suggest a burned area and that he wasn’t supposed to talk about it. Just another voice that provided a little in the way of first-hand testimony. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Decline and Fall of Ufology

I think that the high point in Ufology was July 1997 when the fiftieth anniversary of the Roswell UFO crash was celebrated. I think that the low point, probably the lowest since June 1947 and Arnold’s sighting was May 5, 2015 when the fiasco of the Not Roswell Slides was presented to the world. This is underscored with many of the UFO documentaries that now populate the cable channel landscape.

The one that I’m thinking of, which I mentioned in another post that will probably annoy most of MUFON and the people in Kingman, Arizona, dealt partially with the
Kingman, Arizona, crash, the MJ-12 SOM 1-01, and a few other ancillary issues. It was the Kingman crash that caught my attention because I have done a great deal of research into this case and frankly, I believe it to be a hoax started by Arthur Stansel.

For those who wish to see an evolution of this case, or rather the evolution in my thinking about it see:

The point here is that Hangar 1 came up with some new information which may or may not have come from Stansel. It was not clear, at least to me, who the source was on this. In this new version, Stansel or someone reported that men in some sort of protective gear had entered the craft. They rushed out, all of them sick and vomiting, which, had I been on the scene would have been frightening. Why were they sick? Have I been contaminated? Is it fatal?

From that point they explained how the disk, whatever it was, had been floated down the Colorado River after retrieval. Kingman is about 90 miles south of Las Vegas and standing between Las Vegas and Kingman is the Hoover Dam. I’m not sure how they got the disc to the river and why they thought this was the best way to recover it, but that’s the claim.

Here’s the point. This case is virtually single witness. There are others who claim to have knowledge of it, but that all comes from hearing the story told by others. And Stansel is not a good witness. His educational background seems to be solid, friends who knew him believed him to be honest, and his assignments put him into the Kingman area, meaning simply he was working north of Las Vegas at the time, so he could have been involved.

But as you can read yourselves in those previous posts, he told a couple of versions of this tale. Some of what he said seems to discredit parts of his story. More importantly, he said that he had lied to the first investigators (who were teenagers with an interest in UFOs) and he said that when he drank, he tended to expand and embellish his stories.

To support the reality of the Kingman crash, they trotted out the SOM 1-01 which is supposed to be the MJ-12 Group Special Operations Manual. Oh, they mentioned frequently that it was controversial, but the language and the tone told us that the controversy was unimportant. The manual contained instructions about the recovery, retrieval and shipping of alien debris. It also suggests that these retrievals be covered by suggesting those in charge say that the debris was from a satellite… but, in 1954, when the manual was created, it didn’t say who had been launching these satellites. This is merely a single example of the flaws that surround the manual.

It struck me as odd that you’d use a controversial manual to support the case for an alien spacecraft crash which is also controversial. The manual arrived in the mail for Don Berliner who himself has said it was a hoax. There is no provenance for it and it violates some of the standards in place in 1954 for such documents. None of this makes any difference to the true believers because they know the manual is authentic.

Finally, to prove their case, they resorted to interviewing Cliff Stone as one of the whistleblowers about alien visitation. You can read about him here:

There is a follow up article about Stone from Dr. Michael Salla, but Stone sinks his own boat with his tales of derring-do in Vietnam. In one of those ridiculous tales he talks about how he would sneak out of the camp, crawling through the wire to engage the enemy on his own. This was a recipe for suicide. Stone served in Vietnam as a clerk and not a combat soldier.

The point is that the episode here was filled with information that was faulty, untrue, fabricated, unverified and unsupported by any facts. It was written in such a way as to suggest that while the authorities might deny it; those at MUFON were telling us all the truth. Just never mind that they had no real evidence for their truth and that their witnesses were less than credible.

And that is why Ufology is in rapid decline. It is not about the research, it is not about finding answers for the unexplained cases and no alien visitation does not answer all the questions… there are many answers.  This is about ratings and making money. When solid evidence for a solution of a case is presented, there are always those out there who will scream cover up, that those offering answers are in the employ of the CIA, the Air Force or even MJ-12 as a way of hiding the truth but these programs often ignore those explanations as they underscore the alien nature of the reports. Alternatives are not offered.

But nothing will change as long as there is an audience for the UFO documentaries that have no truth in them, an audience for speakers who are clearly inventing their tales and people who buy books that do not provide solid information. We are stuck in the dark ages and I don’t see us climbing into the light any time soon.

Oh, for those who can’t deduce what I meant here… Kingman is a hoax and the single first-hand witness said that he lied about the details. The SOM 1-01 manual is a hoax and it provides us with no useful information. Many of the whistleblowers who are invited to tell their tales simply don’t have the credentials they claimed, weren’t in the positions they claimed, or have exaggerated their knowledge. All of this creates the problems for those of us who are more interested in the truth than in validating our own belief structures.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Next Not Roswell Slides Chapter

One of the reasons that the posts here appear on an irregular basis is that I wait for some sort of inspiration to hit. I had put up the post on the size of the debris field with the idea to do the same with descriptions of the debris, or which officers said what about the crash and the like. Rich Reynolds also chastised me for not answering his question about UFO movies and I wanted to do something with the Hangar One nonsense about the Kingman UFO crash which I figured would alienate most of MUFON and the entire population of Kingman. Today, however, a question that I had no answer for appears to have an answer.

I had wondered why Tom Carey had so tenaciously held onto the idea that the image in the Not Roswell Slides was an alien creature. I wondered why Don Schmitt seemed to vacillate between understanding the image was an unfortunate child and it was actually something alien. Given the evidence and documentation, it seemed that the image’s identity was obvious to anyone who looked at it dispassionately, at the other photographs available of that mummy and at the documentation that surrounded its discovery, recovery and display in museums in Colorado and Arizona.

Today, I have the answer in the form of a new book by them, and Jaime Maussan, as part of the BeWitness project or whatever they called it. I’m not going to publish the link because this is not a book that should be in any serious library besides it is currently only available in Spanish. It reminds me of the continuing series of books and programs on the Bermuda Triangle after Lawrence Kusche wrote The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved. It did, in its pages, produce an intelligent and viable solution to the questions asked about the Triangle and seems to be ignored in most documentaries about that nonsense.

We are in the same place with the Not Roswell Slides. The identity of the image has been well established yet we are subjected to another “analysis” of that image based only on what is shown in the pictures and not on an examination of the remains. I suspect they will reject the research done by others that is in conflict with what they say, will trot out the same experts to endorse their original opinions, and continue to promote this as some sort of evidence of alien visitation.

Yes, I am making this prediction on nothing more than the fact the book is available as an ebook (in Spanish for nearly 20 bucks) and one that I have no intention of buying… and yes again, it is difficult to “review” a book without actually reading it, but then I do know the story of how all this came about and what the evidence supporting their conclusions are. Unless this is an expose on how they were duped into supporting the idea that the image was of an alien creature this new ebook will not reflect any sort of reality. If it is just an outgrowth of the fiasco in Mexico City, this marks the further decline in what we now laughingly call Ufology. I thought we had hit bottom in the hours after Mexico City but I see that I was wrong.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Size of the Debris Field

Since I posted the article that suggested that Bessie Brazel’s testimony might be in error and that it was contradicted by that given by so many others, we have been all over the board. Nearly everyone was selecting that data which tended to support their position and ignore everything else. So, I thought I would take some of those points and provide the data available about them. I realize that some of you are so far to one side or the other that any sort of compromise is impossible, but for those who are interested in all the information, I will try to publish a series of articles that look at some aspect of this case.

First, I’ll tackle the size of the debris field because it seems to range from a square mile down to an area about 200 feet in diameter. That’s quite a big difference, and I know that we’ll never reach a consensus, but heck; we might have a little fun and learn something by accident.

The testimonies given after 1978 which is when Jesse Marcel, Sr. was identified as having recovered pieces of a flying saucer provide some of the data. Marcel himself told Bill Moore (The Roswell Incident, p. 63) that it was “about three quarters of a mile long and a couple of hundred feet wide.”

Stan Friedman, in his book, Crash at Corona (p.10) wrote of Marcel’s description, “The area covered with wreckage was roughly three quarters of a mile long and several hundred yards wide.”

Moore also quotes Walt Whitmore, Jr. as giving a description. Whitmore hadn’t seen the field before the Army cleaned it up, according to his testimony at that time. Moore wrote (p. 89), “Several days later Whitmore, Jr., ventured out to the site and found a stretch of about 175 – 200 yards of pastureland uprooted in a sort of fan-like pattern with most of the damage at the narrowest part of the fan.”

Whitmore told Karl Pflock (p. 154), “The debris covered a fan- or roughly triangle-shaped area, which was about 10 or 12 feet wide at what I thought was the top end. From there it extended about 100 to 150 feet, widening out to about 150 feet at the base. This area was covered with many, many bits of material.”

Bill Brazel, who hadn’t seen the debris in the field except for the small pieces he said he had found, also talked of a gouge that ran through the pasture. He said that it was narrow at one end spread out toward the center and then narrowed again. Although he didn’t give us a length of the gouge, he eventually took us to what he thought of as the top of the gouge. Later, during the CUFOS archaeological dig there, we measured down from that point, about three quarters of a mile, placing little flags along the way.

Flags placed to show the gouge during the CUFOS
archaeological dig in the early 1990s.
Bud Payne, who was a judge in New Mexico, said that he had been out to the debris field but had been turned back by the military cordon. He did get close to it and this would be irrelevant, except he took me out to the location he thought was the debris field. When he stopped his vehicle and we got out, I nearly stepped on one of those little flags we had placed there. We have attempted to gather them all but had missed the last one. Payne took me to the same three quarter of a mile stretch of New Mexico desert and through this provided, to a degree, the size of the field.

And, of course, there is the testimony in the affidavit signed by Bessie Brazel. She said, “There was a lot of debris scattered sparsely over an area that seems to me now to have about the size of a football field [or about an acre].”

The most widely quoted size of the field is that given by Marcel. It can be found in a number of books but as noted here, it is traceable to that interview supplied to Bill Moore.

We are told, of course, that these memories are decades old and might be unreliable. Studies of memory and how it works suggest that confabulation (as opposed to lying) can often fill in gaps in memory, that each time a memory is accessed it is subject to alteration, and sometimes the memories simply no longer exist, yet the witness (I can think of no other word that fits here because they were involved in 1947) as he or she concentrates begins to put together a story that seems plausible.

We do have quite a few newspaper stories that were written in 1947, literally within hours of some of the men walking the fields, so that their memories should be clear and accurate. I say this knowing full well that some of the information given to the reporters was less than accurate and some of it that was published had been misunderstood.

The Roswell Daily Record, for example, reported, “The rubber [from the debris] was smoky gray in color and scattered over an area about 200 yards in diameter.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in a later edition of their “Disc-overy Near Roswell Identified as Weather Balloon by FWAAF Officer,” reported, “Brazell [sic], whose ranch is 30 miles from the nearest telephone and has no radio, knew nothing about flying discs when he found the broken remains of the weather device scattered over a square mile of his land.”

The Albuquerque Tribune, in a story attributed to Jason Kellahin on July 9 reported, “Scattered with the materials over an area about 200 yards across were pieces of gray rubber.”

What does this tell us about the size of the debris field? Not much, actually. Those who wish to believe it was small, have several sources they can quote. Cavitt, in his interview with Colonel Richard Weaver didn’t provide a very vivid account of the size. He said that it was about twenty feet, but the statements were somewhat confusing. He might have been describing what he suspected was the size of the object or he might have been describing the distribution of the debris. He told Weaver, “Some here, some here, some here. No concentration of it. No marks on the ground, dug up, anything hidden or anything like that, just out on the territory around the bottom of New Mexico…” 

I don’t believe Whitmore’s testimony on this is reliable but suspect there was some collusion between Max Littell of the Roswell museum and Whitmore to come up with some debris, no matter what it was. They talked about creating a display in Roswell, but I don’t believe that Littell had thought that through. If Whitmore’s debris were pieces of a balloon, as he suggested to Pflock, then the mystique of the Roswell case eroded at that point and not many people would drive out of the way to look at a museum dedicated to a weather balloon.

Whitmore had told Moore that the site had been cleaned before he got there but contradicted that when he told Pflock that he saw the debris and even claimed to have some of it. The debris had been locked in his safe deposit box, but when the box grew too full, he moved the debris to his “junk room.” Although searches were made, nothing was ever found. It was just one more bit of debris that vanished.

There is Jesse Marcel’s testimony about the size of the field which he gave after 1978, but there is one story that provides some corroboration which was published in 1947. In Linda Corley’s book, Marcel said, “It was about a mile long and several hundred feet wide of debris.”

Brazel, according to one newspaper account agreed with that size, saying it was scattered over a square mile of the land. This was in a story other than the one written by J. Bond Johnson.

Returning to the Roswell Daily Record, Brazel, it seems, was saying that the debris field was about 200 yards in diameter and the Albuquerque Tribune changed the wording to 200 yards across which is not quite the same thing but is close. The by-line on the Albuquerque Tribune story, as noted, was by Kellahin, so he was apparently working from his notes made in Roswell.

All this means is that if you are a skeptic, you have some evidence that the size of the debris field was relatively small. If you are a believer, you have some evidence that the debris field is relatively large. You have the majority of the testimonies suggesting a large field from the record after 1978 but Bessie Brazel suggests it was about 100 yards by 50 yards, or about the size of a football field.

Or, in other words, this is a wash. Whatever side you come down on, there is testimony to support it. Not exactly a profound finding but just an observation that suggests there are facts for everyone to cherry pick.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ramey Memo Update

The best case of provenance that I have ever seen is the Ramey Memo. We have a picture of Ramey holding the document, we have been able to interview the photographer, and we know the date on which it was taken because we have not only a dated document that was transmitted with the picture, but it appeared in newspapers around the country the next day. The only point of dispute is what the memo actually says. Parts of it are easily read and others are obscured to the point where it is sometimes just a best guess. If the memo could be completely deciphered it might provide a clue about what fell near Roswell and would be some of the best documentation available.
This might be the first time that the entire negative'
has been printed in decades. Photo copyright
University of Texas at Arlington, Special Collections.

The answer always seemed tantalizing close but just out of reach. The ability of equipment and software to pull information off the photograph just wasn’t good enough to do it in the 1990s. Scans had been made years ago from the original negatives but newer equipment and better software might have changed all that. Martin Dreyer, a researcher living in New Zealand, was interested in the memo and believed that modern equipment might be able to pull something new from the negative. He began to work toward that aim.

For almost two years, he talked to various experts in photography, software and those who had great experience in recovering information hidden in photographic negatives. The consensus seemed to be that it would be possible to extract more and better information from the memo using a variety of these new and modern techniques.

The next step was to learn if the University of Texas at Arlington Special Collections would allow the negative to be subjected to another round of scrutiny. Although interested in learning what might be found, they were also concerned with the process. They didn’t want to damage negative any further. The handling of it as well as subjecting it to scans in the past caused it to acquire some scratches and a little dirt but they were assured that this new analysis would be nondestructive.

Brenda S. McClurkin was the contact at UTA and provided a great deal of assistance in getting the permissions to have the negative scanned using a variety of techniques and equipment. She arranged for the use of photographic microscope at UTA that could read the negative.

At the end of April 2015 David Rudiak traveled to the Dallas – Fort Worth area and to the University of Texas at Arlington. Working with those at UTA, as well as some independent experts in photography and forensic analysis, they made dozens of new scans under a variety of conditions hoping to clarify the memo enough that a consensus of the wording could be formed. Some of the letters were lost in the debris on the negative and in the fact that the memo was slightly folded and parts of it were not directly facing the camera. Had J. Bond Johnson, the original photographer, been a foot closer the image might have been easily resolved.

It had been hoped that the new techniques would produce immediate results but that didn’t happen. The photographic process used only cleaned up the memo marginally. There was no new and great revelation. That suggested that the application of software was needed, which, unfortunately could lead to claims that the image had been manipulated to produce specific results.

After the disappointment with the results, and after seeing the results of the Roswell Slides Research Group’s success in reading the placard in front of the image on those slides, it was decided to open the analysis to a wider audience. The original idea had been to release the best results with all the information about the resolution of the image but now that moved into a new arena. With the cooperation of those at UTA, and at their suggestion, the best of the scans will be posted to various locations on the Internet, and as soon as possible to this blog along with the links to those other images.

Again, the work has been less than spectacular. It seems that the image has been cleaned up to a small degree but not to the point where what are considered the critical areas could be read.  Work is continuing, but it is painstakingly slow and as mentioned, disappointing. The hope now is that if the images are put up in open source that the same thing that happened with the (Not) Roswell Slides can be accomplished with the Ramey memo. Maybe someone will have the right software or have a new idea about the way to attack this that will allow the memo to be read. At the moment we are not much closer to a solution than we were. It is still just beyond our grasp. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New UFO Documentary including Commentary on the Roswell Slides

This last summer I participated in a UFO documentary via Skype that dealt with some of the latest issues in the field, including what had happened with the Roswell Slides. We discussed the fallout from that and how it will affect UFO research in the future.  The film will premiere at London’s West End on September 24 and I mention this in case some of our colleagues in England wish to see it. For those who wish additional information, here are some of the links:

For the record, because some people believe that there is no motivation in the UFO but money, I was not paid for my participation, I didn’t get a free trip to London, and had to use my own electricity to power my computer so that I could be interviewed via Skype.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bessie Brazel Schreiber and the Roswell Crash

The skeptics believe they have a slam dunk on the Roswell, coming at us with information that simply is not proven as we look at it. Much of it is single witness that we are accused of not mentioning and often contradicts that given by many others. One of the best examples of this is the testimony provided by Bessie Brazel, who seems to have been a very nice woman but who stood nearly alone in her testimony for many years.

In the early 1990s, the Fund for UFO Research, FUFOR, initiated a program to gather testimony and affidavits from Roswell witnesses. Naturally, one of those was Bessie Brazel Schreiber. In her affidavit, she said:

William W. “Mack” Brazel was my father. In 1947, when I was 14, he was the manager of the Foster Ranch in Lincoln County, New Mexico, near Corona. Our family had a home in Tularosa, when my mother, my younger brother Vernon, and I lived during the school year. The three of us spent the summers on the Foster place with dad.

In July 1947, right around the Fourth, dad found a lot of debris scattered over a pasture some distance from the house we lived in on the ranch. None of us was riding with him when he found the material, and I do not remember anyone else being with him. He told us about it when he came in at the end of the day.

Dad was concerned because the debris was near a surface-water stock tank. He thought having it blowing around would scare the sheep and they would not water. So, a day or two later, he, Vernon and I went to the site to pick up the material. We went on horseback and took several feed sacks to collect the debris. I do not recall just how far the site was from the house, but the ride out there took some time.

There as a lot of debris scattered sparsely over an area that seems to me now to have about the size of a football field [or about an acre]. There may have been additional material spread out more widely by the wind, which was blowing quite strongly.

The debris looked like pieces of a large balloon which had burst [When balloons burst do they shatter into dozens or hundreds of tiny bits?]. The pieces were small, the largest were small, the largest I remember measuring about the same as the diameter of a basketball. Most of it was a kind of double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like on the other. Both sides were grayish silver in color, the foil more silvery than the rubber. Sticks, like kite sticks, were three inches wide and had flower-like designs on it. The “flowers” were faint, a variety of pastel colors, and reminded me of Japanese paintings in which the flowers are not all connected. I do not recall any other types of material or markings, nor do I remember seeing gouges in the ground or any other signs that anything may have hit the ground hard.

The foil-rubber material could not be torn like ordinary aluminum foil can be torn [A small bit of information that the debunkers tend to overlook]. I do not recall anything else about the strength or other properties of what we picked up.

We spent several hours collecting the debris and putting it in sacks. I believe we filled about three sacks, and we took them back to the ranch house. We speculated a bit about what the material could be. I remember dad saying “Oh, it’s just a bunch of garbage.”

Soon after, dad went to Roswell to order winter feed [which is not what the newspaper articles claimed]. It was on this trip that he told the sheriff what he had found. I think we all went into town with him, but I am not certain about this [which is another fact often overlooked], as he made two or three trips to Roswell about that time, and we did not go on all of them. (In those days, it was an all-day trip, leaving very early in the morning and returning after dark. [Please note the travel time given by someone who made the trips.]) I am quite sure that it was no more than a day trip, and I do not remember dad taking any overnight or longer trips away from the ranch around that time.

Within a day or two, several military people came to the ranch. There may have been as many as 15 of them. One or two officers spoke with dad and mom, while the rest of us waited. No one spoke with Vernon and me. Since I seem to recall that the military were on the ranch most of a day, they may have gone out to where we picked up the material. I am not sure about this, one way or the other, but I do remember they took the sacks of debris with them.

Although it is certainly possible, I do not recall anyone finding any more of the material later. Dad’s comment on the whole business was, “They made one hell of a hullabaloo out of nothing.”

Since she gave that affidavit, she has been interviewed by others. The story told to them is substantially the same as that in the affidavit, though, when interviewed by John Kirby and Don Newman on March 8, 1995, she told them, “I wasn’t terribly excited or interested in it [the debris recovery] when it happened and I haven’t really gotten any more interested in it.”

She did say that her father had found the debris sometime before July 4 and that she, her father and her brother Vernon, collected it. She said, “We had three or four sacks... we stuffed the sacks and tied [them] to the saddle... Dad just stuck it [the sacks of debris] under the steps.”

It was the following week that her father took the debris into Roswell. She confirmed to Kirby and Newman that she, her mother and brother had gone with him. While he was in the sheriff’s office, they were in a nearby park. She said, “He was there quite a while because it was late afternoon or early evening when we started back to the ranch.”

According to her, when they returned, they were not followed by any civilian or military vehicles. That means that the testimony of Jesse Marcel was in error if we accept this. It also means that Sheridan Cavitt and his testimony is in error, if we accept this.

The Debris Field as identified by Bill Brazel as it appeared in the early 1990s.
She said, “They didn’t go with us. They came up, I don’t know, if it was the next day or a couple of days later.”

She also said that they had cleaned the field and picked up all the debris. She said that they had it all. There was nothing for Marcel or Cavitt to see when they went to the field. In fact, in talking with ranchers in the area about this debris, whether from a Mogul balloon array or an alien spacecraft, I learned that they would not allow this sort of thing to remain out there. The animals had a habit of eating things like that as part of their grazing and if the animals ate it, it would make them sick. Brazel would clean it up as quickly as possible.

If we believe Bessie, then her father did not clean it up right away, but did within a couple of days. She said that it took several hours and that she and her brother Vernon had helped. Yet, we know that when Marcel arrived, there was a large field filled with debris. And, if we want to reject the testimony of Marcel, there is Cavitt. While his description of the debris field suggests it was smaller than that suggested by Marcel, he still said there was debris out there for them to find and for him to identify as the remains of a balloon.

So, Bessie’s story is contradicted by Marcel and Cavitt, one who later thought it was a spacecraft and one who said it was a balloon after saying he had never been involved in a balloon recovery. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you come down on, there is testimony to contradict what Bessie remembers about the cleaning of the debris field. She is stand alone on this.

Bessie also said that her father didn’t return to Roswell a day or so after his initial trip and there is nothing in her affidavit to suggest otherwise. She added, telling Kirby and Newman that if he had gone to Roswell and didn’t return for three or four days, there would have been hell to pay. There was no reason for him to return to Roswell after they all had gone there earlier in the week especially if the Army had arrived to take charge of the debris stored under the steps.

But once again, there is evidence that such is not the case. First, and probably best, is the article that appeared in the Roswell Daily Record on July 9. Mack Brazel was photographed while there. He gave an interview to two AP reporters at the newspaper office in Roswell. Clearly, he returned to Roswell at some point. Bessie’s memory of the events is wrong about his not returning as documented in the newspapers.

Major Edwin Easley was the provost marshal in Roswell in 1947. He told me that Mack Brazel had been held in the guest house for several days. Brazel said he was in jail and I suppose that if you’re not allowed to leave without escort and that the doors are locked, then being in the guest house is about the same thing. This information was corroborated by a number of Brazel’s neighbors.

Bill Brazel, Bessie’s older brother told me that he saw an article about his father in one of
Brazel on the front page of the newspaper.
the Albuquerque newspapers [Kal Korff incorrectly claims that there were no pictures of Mack or articles about him on the front pages of any of the newspapers at the time] and realized that his father needed help. When Bill arrived at the ranch, his father was not there and didn’t return for three or four days. In fact, according to Bill, there was no one at the ranch at that time.

Neighbors like Marian Strickland told me that Mack had complained to her about being held in jail. Although she didn’t see Mack until after the events, she did say that he sat in her kitchen complaining about being held in Roswell. While there is some second-hand aspect in this, Strickland was telling me that Mack complained to her and her husband that he had been held in Roswell.

Walt Whitmore, Jr., son of the KGFL radio’s majority owner, told me that he had run into Brazel early in the morning after Brazel spent the night at his father’s house. This was before Brazel was taken out to the base. Whitmore claims that Brazel told him about the debris and Whitmore said that he then drove out there to see the field. He claimed to have picked up some of the debris, which he said was part of a balloon. He kept it for years, he said, but when the time came to produce it, he could not. This information was in conflict with what he told to Bill Moore and published in The Roswell Incident. I will note here that I do not find this testimony to be reliable but mention it because it puts Brazel overnight in Roswell.

Here’s another important point. Bessie said that she recognized the material as a balloon. So, we have a 14-year-old girl who knows a balloon when she sees one, but the air intelligence officer, not to mention several others, are incapable of this. If the material was so readily identifiable to some, especially civilians, why were so many in the military fooled? And why the high powered effort to recover it and get samples of it to Fort Worth if it was only a balloon?

But she told Bill Moore when he asked her if it was some sort of a weather balloon, she said:

No, it was definitely not a balloon. We had seen weather balloons quite a lot – both on the ground and in the air. We had even found a couple of the Japanese-style balloons that come down in the area once. [This might be a reference to the Japanese balloon bombs of World War II but there is no evidence that one ever landed in New Mexico, which is strange since they had landed in the states all around New Mexico.] We also picked up a couple of those thin rubber balloons with instrument packages. This was nothing like that. I have never seen anything resembling this sort of thing before – or since… We never found any pieces of it –afterwards – after the military was there…

Karl Pflock suggested that Bill Brazel had corroborated that the family was at the ranch at the time, implying that they participated in the cleanup. He wrote:

In a 1979 interview, Bessie Schreiber’s older brother Bill recalled other members of his family being on the ranch with his father at the time the debris fell there. “Dad,” he said, “was in the ranch house with two of the younger kids [presumably Bessie and Vernon [insertion made by Pflock]] late on evening when a terrible lightning stormy came up… [T]he next morning while riding out over the pasture to check on some sheep, he came across this collection of wreckage.” Bill mentioned specifically that, on the way to Roswell with some of the debris, his father dropped off the children with their mother in Tularosa.

This means, simply, that while Bessie and Vernon might have been on the ranch for the thunderstorm, they did not accompany him into Roswell, weren’t there when the military came back with Mack and wasn’t there for the cleanup that took place later. Bill Brazel certainly does nothing to corroborate that Bessie or Vernon were there for the events in the following days.

There are a number of witnesses and newspaper articles that shows that Mack was in Roswell overnight. It means that Bessie’s memories of July 1947 agree with nothing else. It means that when all the evidence is aligned against a specific claim, we must reject the claim even if some of the evidence is from the decades old memories.

This takes another turn sometime later, and I’m sure the allegation will be hurled that the UFO researchers pressed her into recanting her story at that time. She told Don Schmitt and Tom Carey, “It was another occurrence altogether. I had helped my dad gather up weather balloons on a number of occasions. I have come to the conclusion that what my dad found back at that time was something else altogether.” They added, “It is accepted that she and her brother Vernon were at the ranch at the time of the incident, but the ranch house was almost 10 miles from the debris field …” Her brother, Bill, referring to the debris field said, “She wasn’t even there.”

While we are aware of the testimony, and while I’m sure that she was sincere in what she said, it is clear that she was mistaken. When we compare the written record with her testimony, we can see the errors. If the conflict in the testimony was just between Bessie and her brother, Bill, we would have a “he said/she said” argument, but others who were there corroborate what her brother said. Then, we have her recanting the testimony, which by itself, should eliminate it from the record. But the real point here is that we did investigate her claims, did make sure she was interviewed, and have provided information about it. She wasn’t ignored, just found to be in conflict with too much other information that was corroborated.

Photographs copyright by Kevin Randle.