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. 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, did 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. 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. 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. It was on this trip that he told the sheriff what he had found. I think we all went into two with him, but I am not certain about this, 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.) 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 Mitchell 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 said 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 military vehicles. That means that the testimony of Jesse Marcel was in error. It also means that Sheridan Cavitt and his testimony is in error, if we accept that of Bessie.
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 eat 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. 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 both Marcel and Cavitt, one who thought it was a spacecraft and one who said it was a balloon. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you come down on, there is testimony to contradict what Bessie remembers. She is stand alone on this.
Bessie also said that her father didn’t return to Roswell a day or so later 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.
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.
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.
Bill Brazel, Bessie’s older brother told me that he saw an article about his father in one of the Albuquerque newspapers 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 an 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.
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, if it was only a balloon?
What this means, simply, is that there are a number of witnesses and a 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.
I’m sure that Bessie was trying to help and I’m equally sure that she is mistaken about these events. There are too many facts and too many witnesses who contradict her story. It is possible that she is right and everyone else is wrong, but it’s not very likely.