Sunday, October 07, 2007

Semantics and Melvin Brown

In the last few days, I have been involved in a couple of discussions over what has amounted to little more than semantics. People have been concerned about what some words mean and the usage of them. One way to illustrate all of this is to look at the story provided by Beverly Bean, whose father, Melvin Brown told family about his involvement in the Roswell case.

I am using the short section about the Melvin Brown that appeared in Roswell Revisited to help clarify this point. I believe that people reading The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell understood perfectly that we hadn’t interviewed Brown himself, but that the information came from family members we did interview. The footnotes provided the information about how we had gathered the data. In fact, it is clear from other sections of the book that the information didn’t come from Brown himself, but from his daughters and wife. Only those with half a brain didn’t get it and there are plenty of people out there like that.

Here’s where we are on this aspect of the case. I wrote in Roswell Revisited that Beverly Bean is a pleasant English woman, who told researchers about her father, Sergeant Melvin Brown (Yearbook picture seen here), who had been stationed at Roswell in 1947. Unlike some of those who have told stories about Roswell, Brown is in the Yearbook (just like a high school yearbook that contains the pictures of about 80% of everyone assigned to the base) that Walter Haut created in 1947. It is a document that allows us to verify that a soldier did, in fact, serve at Roswell during the critical period without having to gather information from the records center in St. Louis.

Like so many of the others, Brown didn’t tell his story to investigators and it didn’t surface until after Jesse Marcel began talking of the crash in 1978. Interestingly, one of the documents offered by Bean to prove her father served in Roswell was an order with several names on it including Jesse Marcel.

In a video-taped interview conducted in England by Brad Radcliff on January 4, 1991, Bean said, "Dad used to tell us this story and he didn’t tell us often."

He told his daughter, according to what she said on tape, that he "had to go out into the desert. All available men were grabbed and they all went out into the desert in trucks where a crashed saucer had come down."

Brown and another soldier whose name he never gave to his daughter, were pulled aside for guard duty. They were told not to look under the tarp in the truck, but Bean said, laughing, that the minute someone tells you that, the first thing you do is take a look. She said that he dad told her, "He and this other guy lifted up the tarpaulin or something..."

She said that she and her sister now argue about the number of alien creatures under the tarp. Bean says it was two, but her sister insists that it was three. No matter now. The point is that Brown described the creatures for them.

According to her, "He said they were smaller than us, not more than four foot tall... much larger heads than we have. Slanted eyes and [the skin was] yellowish."

Bean wondered if he had been scared but he said that he wasn’t. He thought they had nice faces and they looked as if they would have been friendly. According to Bean, he repeated that as often as he told the story, which, over the years was fewer than a dozen times.

Bean, of course, sometimes pestered him for more information. After the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in 1977, she asked him about the movie and how authentic it might be. He said that it was the biggest load of crap he’d ever seen and not like the real thing at all. When she tried to learn more, he told her, "That’s all I can tell you. I can’t tell you anymore."

The late Karl Pflock, in his book, Roswell, Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, complained that Bean’s story was second hand and that neither her sister nor her mother would comment on it. Pflock had to know that both the mother and the other daughter had confirmed the tale because he had access to the video tapes of those 1991 interviews. He is right about this being a tale told by the daughters and wife of the man who lived it. There is nothing that can be done about that. By the time Brown’s name surfaced in the investigation, he had died from complications of various lung diseases, but it is not true that his wife or other daughter refused to talk.

Ada Brown (seen here) added little to the complex tale told by Beverly Bean when she was interviewed on video tape in 1991. She merely confirmed that she too had heard about the crash over the years and that it was something from another world. She seemed a little uncomfortable sharing a secret left by her husband.

Bean’s sister, Harriet Kercher (seen below), on January 4, 1991, was also interviewed on video tape. She had heard her father tell his tales a couple of times when Beverly was there, but there was one incident when Beverly was absent and her father gave her just a little more information.

Kercher, in her early teens said that she was with friends when she saw something flash by. Her friends saw it too, and then, in the distance, that something reappeared and seemed to be coming at them. Kercher said they were frightened by that shiny object but they weren’t far from her house so they ran there, slamming the door behind them.

Her father met them and asked them why they seemed to be in such a panic. Kercher said that her father, after hearing the tale of the shining object, told her, "It’s nothing to be frightened about."
The friends didn’t understand, exactly, what he meant and he told them about the crashed flying saucer, saying that there were a few bodies on it. He provided few new details. He just made it clear that there was something about the creatures that suggested to him that they were not to be feared.

But, as Pflock said, these were second-hand reports and they could be the misinterpretation of the original story... It is not proof, or even a suggestion of proof of something extraterrestrial.

What this shows, simply, as that I have been fair with the reporting of this story. It is clear from this that Brown told us nothing himself. In my previous books, it was clear that Brown had died before any of us had a chance to interview him. By lifting quotes out of context it looks as if I had tried to mislead the reader. The truth is, all the information was there for the reader so that he or she could decide the merits of the information for him or herself.

For those who are interested, I have a few hardback copies of The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell available. It listed for $19.95, but I’ll sell them for a mere ten bucks (plus the shipping and handling because I won’t pay the postage and the cost of the envelopes... just five dollars)...

And for those interested, Roswell Revisited is available now from either Glade Press, PO Box 460, Lakeville, MN for 12.95 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling...

Or from me for the same price and shipping and handling...

Or take both for $20.00 and still for the $5.00 shipping and handling. You can find me at:

Kevin D. Randle
PO Box 10934
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410

11 comments:

Bob Koford said...

Thank you, again, for posting your updates, and providing for discourse.

I believe cases like the Roswell case are important because there are several important documents in the Air Force's "Blue Book' material which both hint at, but also clearly point to several sightings of "unknown" objects crashing to the ground. Further pieces of information, save for one, or two mentioned later in time, dealing with the the discovery, and recovery of these objects are NOT in the files.

For instance, in the now well-known "errant rocket" affair (the Oct 12, 1947, not the May incident)we know from the files that it was NOT an errant rocket or missile. We also know from the information that General Homer declared it, in the end, a "meteor"...but there were sovereignty issues in the mix, as well.

In the end, without a case which has multiple witnesses, who can fill in details that are unknown to the investigator prior to the investigation, cases such as these will probably remain an unknown. But there is always a chance, when folks like yourself, or Ryan Wood, or any other investigator might be able to turn something new up.

There are several cases in the Blue Book material, referring to crashed "objects", which beg for further investigation, as they could show a more direct connection to programs in the Air Defense culture, which is of interest to me.

Thanks again,
Bob.

CDA said...

Kevin:

You write that all the information (about the Melvin Brown interviews) is there for readers to decide on the value of his story for themselves.

No it is not.

Timothy Good, in his book "Alien Liaison" p.86-7 tells how he first interviewed Beverly Bean in Jan to March 1988, well before you or Brad Radcliff did. Also, Tim makes it clear that Brown first related the story to his daughters in the late 1970s (in fact it was almost certainly 1980), after Brown had read something in the London "Daily Mirror" about the Roswell case (I am pretty certain this was a review or article about the Roswell Incident book, published in 1980). This is at variance with your own claim in "UFO Crash at Roswell" p.96 that Brown began telling his daughters during the time "when Americans first landed on the moon" (i.e. 8 to 10 years earlier).

So when exactly did Beverly Bean first hear the 'Roswell story'? Do you know? How old was she at the time? How old was her sister? Just little kids maybe?

You have omitted all mention of Tim Good's involvement. How did Brown's story travel from Tim to you ? According to Tim (but I cannot recall exactly where he said it) he passed his interview notes to Len Stringfield. So it seems to have reached you through a few intermediate persons. Who were they?

Who is Brad Radcliff?

Why do you refer to Brown telling Bev Bean whilst "on his deathbed"? (your book p.96). He died in 1986, according to Tim Good. Yet he first told his daughters in c. 1980. Except that you yourself said it was during the moon landings!

Confusion here. Your response please.

Please also shed some light on the daughters' ages at the time, if you can.

I cannot help thinking Brown embellished his Roswell tale to his daughters as a joke. But I concede we can never know for certain.

I love the quote in Tim's book, from Bev Bean about her dad: "He was a smashing bloke and loved his country". Does this make him a reliable witness or just a story teller? Any other "smashing blokes" involved with Roswell? Does the US military have any serving 'blokes' at all?

CDA

CDA said...

Further to my comments on that 'smashing bloke' Melvin Brown. After seeing that article in 1980 the most obvious step to take was to contact the authors (Moore & Berlitz) and tell them his great news. He would then have been a first-hand witness. Since he did not die until 1986 he had six years to add his testimony to the Roswell case, and be a confirming witness.

Instead he chose to tell his daughters the tale and it was 8 years later (!) before they in turn got in touch with Tim Good.

Utterly amazing! What a way to treat an earth-shattering event in which he (Brown) was directly involved. In fact he could have contacted any of the numerous US UFO groups (NICAP, APRO, MUFON) long before then anyway. He did not need the Berlitz-Moore book to rekindle his memory, assuming the event meant anything to him.

Instead he tells his kids a few bedtime tales. What a great witness. What a 'smashing bloke'.
What a shambles!

If there is any part of the Roswell legend that resembles a children's fairy tale, Melvin Brown's story is one that qualifies best.

CDA

Jack said...

cda -

If I had a UFO/alien encounter, I certainly wouldn't go looking for publicity when I know people like you would scrutinize every little word that comes out of my mouth. And to make it even worse, the great majority of people would begin to think of me as a local laughingstock or village idiot.

It's really a no-win situation, so it's perfectly reasonable to assume that someone like Melvin Brown wouldn't seek out some UFO investigators, especially if he was legally obliged to remain silent.

Then again, those that do seek out publicity are probably full of $hit.

KRandle said...

Good Morning, CDA -

According to the video taped interview that I have with Beverley Bean, the story as I have related it is the story as she told Brad Radcliffe. He is a friend of Don Schmitt who agreed to conduct the interviews with Bean, her sister and her mother. The entire interview is on video tape.

I am not responsible for what Tim Good has written, his interviews with anyone, nor can I answer questions about how he conducted his interviews and obtained his information. To get those answers you must go to him.

The information that I have on Bean, et. al. did not come from Good and therefore felt on obligation to mention him. My only discussion with him was a quick one in which he exampled the Roswell Yearbook and assured me that his witness (Brown) was in there.

On his deathbed, Brown related to his daughters some of the Roswell case. He kept telling them there was money in an account in Roswell and he wanted to make sure they got it. He told them about the Roswell crash... while most of what he said was not a revelation, it was a reafirmation of the story.

So, according to the information I have from the source, she first heard the story as I have related it. I really don't want to speculate about what Good was told, but it seems a good explanation is that she mentioned the story in relation to publication of Moore's book because that was just the latest time her father mentioned it.

I do grow tired of your insistence that the world respond to stimuli in the way you believe they would. Moore publishes his book and you believe that Brown and others should have responded by writing to Moore or by calling the newspapers.

Sorry, I just don't buy that. Brown told his family about it but felt no obligation to go further with the story. That you don't like this response is really your problem and not particularly relevent to the discussion.

Pappy Henderson, after seeing the article in, I believe, the National Enquirer, didn't contact the newspaper but merely told his wife and later a few close friends what he knew. Not everyone runs to the newspaper with a their additions to a story, regardless of what you believe.

And, just because you don't believe the story is no reason to assassinate the character of Melvin Brown. Maybe he embellished a tale and maybe he related it as best he could, but you don't really have to attack his daughter's statement about what she thought of her father. In today's world it is refreshing to hear a daughter say nice things about her father.

CDA said...

Melvin Brown claims to have been present at Roswell in July 1947. He provided proof of this to his daughter Beverley Bean, and this was displayed in Timothy Good's book. So far so good.

We cannot say for certain what Brown's reaction to first reading about the story in 1980 (i.e. 32 years later) would have been. But given the nature of the event that Brown, the Roswell Incident authors, and you yourself, claim it was (namely, an ET visit to our planet), put yourself in Brown's position. What would you have done?

Would you have merely made a note of it and told your daughters the story, little by little, embellishing it at times, or would you have immediately contacted the authors (Berlitz & Moore)
and shouted from the rooftops: "I was there and can confirm everything you say"? I know what I would have done, but perhaps you and Brown would act differently. (Of course Brown had every opportunity to notify the various UFO investigation groups long before 1980 anyway, but that it is another matter).

Forget the 'oath of silence' (if such ever existed). The story was out, via the Moore/Berlitz book. Brown was a first-hand witness (so he claims). He had nothing to lose, and a lot to gain, and there was no need for secrecy at this stage as Marcel & others had already let the secret out. If Brown had anything of value to contribute I would certainly expect him to contribute it there and then, and NOT simply tell the story to his daughters (be they teenage or younger) bit by bit, building it into a quite a tale. As I said before, he could have made a useful first-hand witness instead of a secondhand one.

The account Brown gives, or the account Bev Bean gives, is not the kind of story I would expect from someone who had genuine first-hand knowledge of an earth shattering event such as the official discovery of ETs on planet earth.

You may disagree, but that is my position, and I am certain the vast majority of scientific opinion would agree.

Brown had plenty of time to do this (5 or 6 years) but he chose not to.

Had he done so, this would have been a useful, though far from conclusive, step towards supporting the ET claim for Roswell. It would have been something more than merely gossip.

A firsthand witness is always preferable to a secondhand one. Of course he might even then (like Kaufman & Anderson) have turned out to be of dubious value, but at least you and others, as investigators, would have had something better to go on than you have.

I have my own theory of the Brown-Bean story and its probable timeline, but it would be too much to document here. And you would be quite at liberty to reject it, as you certainly would.

And as with Brown or any other witness, the complete lack of hard evidence remains, and always will.

By the way, I was not impugning Brown's character, just joking a bit about his daughter's use of the phrase "a smashing bloke".
In the US this would presumably translate into "A swell guy".

CDA

Jack said...

Melvin Brown's generation, the "Greatest Generation" that fought in World War II, were a different breed I think.

My grandfather fought in World War II and was shot 7 times in France (and survived). He never talked about the war. Ever. In fact, he never really talked about anything substantial at all.

Same situation with my other grandparents. Emotions and feelings were never expressed. They bottled everything up because outward appearances were everything. For reasons I won't get into, I suspect this sort of tight-lipped behavior was pretty pervasive for that generation.

So if I were to put myself in the shoes of someone from that generation, I wouldn't even be able to fathom how he/she might react because he/she likely would be coming from a completely different mindset and hold completely opposite values.

starman said...

The Kercher story is especially interesting and IMO lends further support to the Roswell thesis in The Truth about UFOs and Aliens.

Friend of Mike Brown said...

I have been trying to contact Beverly or Harriet through researchers for some time now without any luck. All I can state is that if they had a brother named Mike Brown (Never been in print) that was in 6th grade in 1970-71 time period and their dad was in the service at that time and they lived in Nothern Michigan for a brief time (Never in print) then I should be able to confirm a small part of their story.

I could give more details if what I stated is true. Otherwise maybe all I heard was a kid's tale about his dad from some other Brown family that just moved into Michigan from New Mexico at that time (1970).

freeasthewind@earthlink.net

Friend of Mike Brown said...

The bottom line is this. Although it goes against the common knowledge of the researchers, Melvin Brown had a son name Mike. Why it has never been mention during interviews is a real mystery. This fact could be verified by some old records somewhere or by people that knew the family.

Friend of Mike Brown said...

This is not a hoax. I strongly believe I met Melvin Brown and his family in 1971. I would like to be proven right or wrong over this matter. There is not one researcher that has been in contact with them for the last 15 years or so. I will give more details to researchers but for the public, the following describes my contact with this family.

http://helendagner.com/viewtopic.php?t=6317