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Did a UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947?

UFO crash in Roswell

UFO crash in Roswell

In 1947, a mysterious craft was found near Roswell, New Mexico.  The government said it was a weather balloon, but eyewitnesses believed it was a UFO. 

The story began in July of 1947, when a violent electrical storm swept over the desolate plains of South Central New Mexico.  At his remote ranch house, “Mac” Brazel patiently waited out the lightning and thunder when he heard a strange thunder clap.

Kevin D. Randle has written extensively on the Roswell UFO:

“The story is that Mac Brazel supposedly heard a loud crash at some point during the storm and didn’t know if it was related to the storm or not.  According to his son, Mac was on the range the next day, looking to see which fields may have gotten precipitation the night before.  And in his process of looking to see where the rain had come down, he found the debris field spread out near his ranch house.”

Something had crashed in one of Mac’s fields the night before.  According to Kevin Randle, the object was broken up beyond identification:

“The debris field was approximately three quarters of a mile long, maybe as much as two or three hundred feet in width. Scattered along there were bits and pieces of material we refuse to call… metal, because from the descriptions we have, it was more of a plastic- like material.  Very strong, very lightweight.  Pieces of it were described as being three or four feet long but as light as a feather, as thin as newspaper.  There were metal beams that were slightly flexible but very strong.”

Some of the metal pieces appeared to have strange qualities and unusual tensile properties.  The pieces could not be cut or burned.

The following Monday, Brazel reported his discovery to the Sheriff, who informed the nearby Roswell Army Air Base.  That afternoon, Mac Brazel led two Army intelligence officers to the crash site.  One of the officers was Major Jesse Marcel, Sr., whose primary duty was to investigate air accidents.  Even with his experience, Marcel was unable to identify the craft.  Marcel died in 1982, but before his death, he was interviewed about what he saw that day:

“It was just fragments strewn all over the area, an area of about three quarters of a mile long and several hundred feet wide.  So we proceeded to pick up the parts.  I tried to bend that stuff, it would not bend.  I even tried to burn  that, it would not burn.  See, that stuff weighs nothing.  It’s not any thicker than tin foil.  We even tried making a dent in it with a 16 pound sledgehammer.  I was certain… it was not a weather balloon, nor an aircraft, nor a missile.  It was something else which we didn’t know what it was.”

Late on the night of July 7th, Major Marcel loaded his car with the unusual debris and drove back to Roswell.  But before going to the base, he stopped by his home.  He wanted to show his family what he had found.  Jesse Marcel, Jr., was 11 at the time and remembered the strange material his father brought home:

“When he came back to the house, he had a bunch of wreckage with him and he brought the wreckage into the house.  Actually awakened my mother and myself out so we could view this because it’s so unusual.  It was about two o’clock in the morning.  He spread it out so he could get some basic idea of what it looked like, what it was.  We were all amazed by this debris that was there probably because we didn’t know what it was, you know just the unknown.”

The most remarkable fragment was a short piece of I-beam, which was covered with strange symbols and markings.  Jesse Marcel, Jr. was convinced the object was from another planet:

“This writing could be described as Egyptian hieroglyphics, but not really.  The symbols that were in the I-beams were more a geometric type configuration, in various designs.  It had a violet purple type color.  And was actually an embossed part of the metal itself.  Years after this incident happened, we would talk privately among ourselves about what the possibilities of… what this thing was, and I feel that we, well I know we came to the conclusion that it was not of earthly origin.”

Major Marcel took the wreckage to the Roswell base, where he was stationed.  That same morning, Colonel William Blanchard, the commanding officer in Roswell, made a crucial decision.  He went public with the story of Mac Brazel’s discovery.  Second Lieutenant Walter Haut was the Public Information Officer for the Roswell base at the time.  Colonel Blanchard ordered him to issue a press release, telling the country that the Army had found the wreckage of a flying saucer.  Second Lieutenant Haut never questioned his commanding officer’s orders:

“In 1947, when a colonel told a first lieutenant to do something, the first lieutenant did that.  There’s a little bit of difference.  You didn’t have any democracy back in 1947 in the military establishment.”

The press release was immediately picked up by newspapers across the country.  The story created an uproar.  Then surprisingly, that same day Barney Barnett of Socorro, New Mexico, discovered the wreckage of a similar UFO-like object.  Vern Maltais was a friend of Barney’s at the time of his discovery:

“Barney was just a real straight forward, just what you would call a real straight guy.  He wouldn’t… tell you one story out of color or nothing. That’s why I was really surprised when he related this information to me about a crashed saucer.  He told me that he come on this space ship. It was during the daytime.  It was an oval shape, and it had crashed and it had broken open. There was beings laying about, four beings laying on the ground, not in the… spaceship.  They were scattered not too far from the object. He did describe that their heads were larger than the bodies by proportion.  And they had some type of clothing on that looked a little bit different, not exactly like our spacesuits or that sort of thing.  But four were laying on the ground.”

Barney told Vern that he reached the crash site at about the same time as a group of archaeology students who had seen the wreckage from their nearby dig.  The military also discovered the second crash site after an aerial search, but arrived too late to properly secure the area.  Barney Barnett and the students had a clear and detailed look at the craft and its occupants.  But according to Vern Maltais, their story was hidden from the public:

“When the Army showed up, they immediately escorted these people from the scene and then at that time they give them a warning not to relay any information.  From that time on, Barney never mentioned it to anybody until the time that he told me about the thing.”

All efforts to track down the members of the archaeology dig have been unsuccessful.  While the Barnett story has only been told second hand, many believe there is too much supporting evidence to completely dismiss it. 

On July 8, 1947, newspapers across America published accounts that a UFO had supposedly crashed in New Mexico.  That same day, a cargo plane carrying the debris from the crash site arrived at an Air Base in Forth Worth, Texas.  Brigadier General Roger Ramey, was a high ranking Army Air Force official at Fort Worth.  Within hours, Ramey’s office issued a new press release stating that the material recovered in New Mexico was not a UFO, but was the wreckage of a U.S. Army weather balloon.

According to his son Jesse, Mac Brazel was immediately skeptical:

“My dad said obviously it was a cover up story.  It was not a weather balloon.  He was a little disturbed about that, but he had his own security classification to protect.  He could not really go public with hey, this is not a weather balloon.  So he had to keep that to himself.”

But the UFO incident was still very much alive for Mac Brazel.  At the time, a rumor surfaced that Mac was briefly detained at the Roswell Base until after the new press release had been circulated and accepted by the public.  When Mac returned to his ranch, all traces of the “Roswell Incident” had apparently been removed from the area.

In spite of circumstantial evidence, there was no real proof to dispute the Army’s statement that the wreckage was a weather balloon. Then, more than 30 years later, UFO researchers obtained a document containing, what they believed, was new evidence.  Known as the MJ-12 memo, this top secret document was mailed anonymously to a UFO researcher in 1984.   

The contents of the report stunned researchers.  It claimed that four small beings had been recovered from the crash site in Roswell.  All four were dead.  The report also stated that the news media was issued a cover story claiming the object had been a “misguided weather balloon.”  The government has consistently refused to comment on the MJ-12 memo, and there is still no proof of its origin.  But if this document and the other accounts from 1947 are true, then the question remains: Does the government have evidence of alien life?

Many years have passed since that hot summer night when a violent thunderstorm swept over the Brazel ranch.  The military declared that the remnants found in that remote field came from a downed weather balloon.  But the people who actually saw and held the wreckage disagree.  Perhaps it was an experimental aircraft that the military wanted to keep top-secret.  But perhaps, just perhaps, it was something else. 

UPDATE

For almost fifty years, the events that took place at Roswell and the official explanation that followed fueled suspicion of a cover-up.  The Air Force has always insisted that rumors of alien contact were just that—rumors.  But new witnesses have continued to come forward claiming that the Roswell story was true.  Of all the new accounts, the statement provided by a man named Glenn Dennis is too compelling to be ignored.

In 1947, Glenn Dennis was 22-years-old and just out of college.  That summer, he was working at a funeral home in Roswell.  Two days before the UFO story broke, Glenn received a strange phone call from the Roswell Air Base: 

“He was wanting to know what size hermetically sealed baby caskets do we have, did we have specifically three feet six inches, or did we have, maybe no larger than a four-foot, hermetically sealed casket.”

That afternoon, Glenn was called to transport an injured airman to the Roswell base.  When he arrived, he was surprised to find the base infirmary surrounded by military police.  Two ambulances parked at the curb immediately caught Glenn’s attention:

“I looked in through the ambulance, and I saw quite a bit of wreckage of some type.  It looked like stainless steel that had come in contact with a high degree of heat.  It was a purplish-bluish color.  I noticed one large piece of the wreckage did look like there was some Egyptian hieroglyphics.  The confusion at that day that I was out there was so great, that I don’t think anyone really knew what the other man was doing.  Then I don’t think they even knew each other.  I think they were brought in from different military bases or whatever.”

According to Glenn, one of the officers told him not to repeat what he saw:

“Two MPs came up and said, ‘Sir, we have to escort you back to your mortuary.’  And that’s when he said look mister, somebody be picking your bones out of the sand if you go starting a lot of rumors.”

As Glenn was being escorted from the Roswell infirmary by the two MPs, a group of doctors stumbled out of a storeroom overcome by noxious fumes.  With them was a nurse, who Glenn recognized.  Hoping to find an explanation for the strange events at the base, Glenn Dennis asked the nurse if she would meet with him.  The next day, the nurse agreed on the condition that Glenn never reveal her identity.  According to Glen, the nurse told him she was ordered to take notes during an alien autopsy:

“She said… they were doing a partial autopsy.  There was a crash bag that was open, and there was two very mutilated, very small bodies…. The head was very large, the eyes were set back, they didn’t have the earlobes or anything.  There was like two canals, like two ear canals.  There was only two orifices… there was no teeth.”

In all, the nurse claimed to have seen three bodies.  She was adamant that none of the bodies were earthly in origin.  Glenn never saw the nurse again.  A few weeks later, rumors circulated that she had died in a plane crash after being transferred out of the country.  To this day, Glenn remains convinced that the details of her story are true: 

“There had to be some type of a body present.  There had to be something there.  I don’t think the nurse lied about it because I don’t think she knew how to lie in the first place.  And I just think something happened very unusual and… I doubt very seriously if the world will ever know what happened.”

The air force has claimed that the “alien bodies” were actually dummies that were part of a “parachute test”.  Perhaps one day we’ll find conclusive evidence of UFO’s.  Until that time the events at Roswell, New Mexico, will remain one of the most compelling UFO mysteries ever reported.