Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Roswell Chronology

The chronology of the events outside of Roswell is sometimes very confusing, as bob koford noted in his questions about the Bessie Brazel involvement in the recovery of what she said was a weather balloon. The problem is that we must base some of the chronology on speculation because there are discrepancies in the published record, there are conflicting statements made by witnesses, and there is a confusion caused by the personal agendas of Roswell authors and the point of view of the Air Force.

If we are dealing with a Project Mogul explanation, we probably should start the chronology before Mack Brazel finds anything on his ranch. We need to start with the balloon experiments in Alamogordo.

June 4, 1947 - According to the diary kept be Dr. Albert Crary, the man in charge of the balloon experiments in New Mexico: Out to Tularosa Range and fired charges between 00 and 06 this am. No balloon flight again on account of clouds. Flew regular sonobuoy up in cluster of balloons and had good luck on receiver on ground but poor on plane. Out with Thompson pm. Shot charges from 1800 to 2400.

So we have contradictory accounts here in the only documented source. Charles Moore, who was with Crary on these tests wrote, "My examination of his original handwritten entries suggests that he copied from other notes; the entries from June 2 through the first half of June 5 appear to have been written in one sitting with the same pencil and without any corrections or false starts."

This is really unhelpful because the key Mogul launch is that of Flight No. 4, that is, the June 4 launch. The remains of the other balloon launches were recovered or spotted. The next possible culprit, Flight No. 9, turns out was not a viable alternative, leaving, for the Project Mogul crowd, only Flight No. 4.

What this means is that the flight, which Moore said he remembered got close to Arabella, NM, and which he used winds aloft data to attempt to plot a course some fifty years later, might have come down on the Brazel (Foster) ranch. It would have fallen late on June 4 or early on June 5. It must be stated here that Moore’s calculations take it no closer than 17 miles of the recovery area which, of course, only puts it in the area and not down where Brazel found debris.

June 14, 1947 - According to the article published in the Roswell Daily Record, Brazel said that he and his 8-year-old son were on the range some seven or eight miles from the ranch house when they found the debris.

This suggests that Brazel discovered the material three weeks before he reported it to the sheriff. What doesn’t make sense here is why he would leave it in the field for three weeks, then clean it up himself and then report it to the sheriff.

July 4, 1947 - Brazel, quoted in the Roswell Daily Record, said that he, his wife, son Vernon and 14-year-old daughter Bessie (identified as Betty in the newspaper) went out to the range and cleaned up the debris.

Bill Brazel, who at the time lived in Albuquerque says that the family was in Tularosa because when he arrived at the ranch, no one was there. He was there for a couple of days or so before his father returned from Roswell.

July 6, 1947 - Brazel traveled to Roswell and told local authorities of the debris, according to the time lines developed by various UFO researchers. According to wire service stories dated July 8, "Sheriff [George] Wilcox [Chaves County Sheriff] says the rancher does not have a telephone, and that he did not report finding the disc until the day before yesterday [meaning July 6 here].

This seems to document the Sunday trip by Brazel into Roswell even though later newspaper articles suggest that he didn’t drive into town until Monday, July 7.

July 6, 1947 - Major Jesse Marcel is called by the sheriff and eventually drives out to the ranch with Brazel to see the debris. Marcel would say that he went out with Captain Sheridan Cavitt, who would deny this and then confirm it.Marcel would later say he didn’t know what it was.

July 8, 1947 - Walt Whitmore, Sr., majority owner of KGFL apparently drove out to find Brazel and took him back to Roswell. There he was interviewed at length.

Jud Roberts, the minority owner of the station told various investigators and researchers that they had an hour long recording of Brazel, but before they could broadcast it, they were ordered not to. That recording has long since disappeared.

July 8, 1947 - There are a number of wire service stories. Frank Joyce, who worked at KGFL radio in Roswell at the time, kept teletype messages so that we can see what was being said over the wire.

July 9, 1947 - the Roswell Daily Record supplies office space so that two reporters from the Associated Press can interview Brazel.

Here are the problems. According to ranchers, they wouldn’t leave the debris in the field once they found it because the livestock would eat it and that could prove fatal. They would have picked it up. So, if Brazel had found it on June 14 (which, BTW negates Mogul Flight No. 9), he would have had it cleaned up around that date.

There is conflicting data about the timing of Brazel’s first trip into Roswell. This really isn’t a major concern. We have the story, told by Marcel, of remaining overnight at the Brazel ranch. Bessie Brazel said no to that. Mary Cavitt said no, basing that on her opinion that if her husband had just arrived in Roswell and then was gone overnight, she’d remember.

Clearly Brazel was in Roswell on the evening of July 8 and on July 9. He provided his story to the reporters in Roswell, there are pictures of him there, and there are witnesses to his presence there. There is no reason to reject this idea even though Bessie said that her father did not remain overnight in Roswell.

Both Bill Brazel, who drove from Albuquerque to Corona, and Major Edwin Easley, the provost marshal, said that Mack remained at the base for a number of days. Neighbors report that Mack complained about being held on the base.

This then, provides a chronology of events that might help put it all into perspective. We all can see the problems. We have conflicting data from documents, from witnesses, and from various investigators, researchers and governmental officials. It seems that everyone who comments on this has some sort of agenda so all we can do is attempt to put together the best information we can.
(Be sure to watch for Roswell Revisited, coming from Fate this summer.)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Project Blue Book - Exposed

(Note: A number of years ago, I wrote a book called Project Blue Book - Exposed. It was an examination of cases that had been buried in the Blue Book files for years. Some were quite interesting, including reports of alien creatures. Many more were just misidentifications of natural or human created objects. I looked at the whole range of cases and then selected those that were representative and that would provide a perspective of that investigation. One of the chapters (one of the shorter ones), January 17, 1969: One of the Last of the Unidentifieds, is reproduced here.)

In an example of how the Air Force can’t win for losing, I thought we’d take a look at one of the last cases submitted to Project Blue Book that was labeled unidentified. The Project record (seen below at the left) card stated, "The most likely stimulus was a helicopter with an unusual lighting system. However, a check of the four airports in the area revealed that three definitely did not have any helo activity and the other had destroyed flight records for that date and was therefore unable to say if any helicopter activity originated from their airfield that night. It is also possible that a light aircraft such as an aerial advertiser, the Goodyear blimp, or an aircraft doing infrared photography may have been the stimulus of the sighting. However, because it has not been definitely established that an aircraft of this type was in the area, the sighting is being carried as unidentified."

If that isn’t a load of double-talk, I don’t know what it would be. It might be a helicopter, but we can’t find any records that one was flying that night and in that location. It might be an advertising plane, but there are no records of it, and, at the time of the sighting, about four in the morning, who would be awake to see the thing anyway? It might be the Goodyear blimp, but there are no records that the Goodyear blimp was anywhere near the location of the sighting. Or it might have been an aircraft doing infrared photography, but, again, there are no records to support that suggestion.

Using this same logic, we could suggest it was the space shuttle, though none had been built in 1969. Maybe it was an advance design fighter plane that had a single test flight. Maybe it was an Apollo capsule re-entering the atmosphere, but there are no records of such a flight. Besides, at four in the morning, NASA would miss the best TV audiences.

The case began at 3:24 a.m. on January 17, 1969 in Crittenden, Virginia when Roman K. Lupton was awakened by an unusual sound. He said it was like an electric motor about to go bad. His wife said that she, too, could hear the same, somewhat annoying hum.

According to Lupton, "I went to the bedroom window... looked in the direction of the sound for a few seconds before it came into sight... I watched this object with lights all around the bottom move slowly forward with an up-and-down motion which was also slow, 30 miles per hour, varying not more than 25 feet up and down. It went forward over yard light in my neighbor’s yard next door, a little further forward and started in a banking left turn with the same speed and motion as before. At this point the object seems to tilt and turn instead of changing elevation - except for this banking motion it was the same as it had been previously... At this time as it was turning the blinking light was clearest and possibly could have been the first time I saw it... At this point it went out of sight."

Lupton said that he had seen a series of windows around the bottom of the UFO that were all brightly lighted except one in the rear that blinked. The windows were rectangular and appeared translucent. They allowed the light out but Lupton couldn’t see in, and each seemed to be surrounded by a glow or haze. Lupton could see the center of the craft in the light and said that it was solid, apparently metallic, and reflected some of the light.

Lupton asked his wife if she had seen the object and she said she had. Next he called the operator in Smithfield and was startled when she said that she could hear the sound in the background.

When the noise faded out, Lupton decided that he should alert someone in authority and finally asked the operator to place a call to Langley Air Force Base. He was connected to an airman who took the UFO report.

The next day, Lupton tried to find the operator that he had talked to hoping to establish some corroboration but failed to find her. Finally, on January 22, he spoke to the supervisor who told him that the only thing the operator could have heard was some kind of aircraft. Lupton insisted, but the supervisor was equally insistent. The supervisor refused to supply the name of the operator or even let him talk to her.

Also on January 17, Lupton decided to try find others who might have heard the noise. According to Lupton, "When I got home I started looking for someone... The wife [of his next door neighbor]... remembered her mother saying she had heard something. Sure enough the lady and her three-year-old granddaughter both had heard it. The lady [Louise Bailey] stated ‘it had awakened the girl [Robin Harvill] and both were frightened,’ but the lady did not look out of her window to see what was making the sound... She also stated that ‘it sounded as if it were coming through the roof.’"

The next day, Lupton did the same thing and found another neighbor who said that she had heard the sound. Adrienne Carron (or Corbor, it’s spelled both ways in the Air Force file) said that "the sound was loud and varying and it was coming from almost right on the roof top" and it also frightened her four-year-old daughter, Evelyn.

In the letter that Lupton wrote to the Air Force about the experience, he listed all those who had heard the sound. What is interesting about the list is that the Air Force officers who reviewed the file left in all the names except a Sunday-school teacher, and a hint that someone else had reported the sound to Langley AFB.

The Air Force eventually decided to investigate the case. Almost two months after Lupton filed his report which included the standard Air Force Form 117, that is the UFO form, a NICAP form, a post card, and a road map, the Air Force got into it. Lieutenant Colonel Everett M. Worthington wrote, "After discussing this sighting with Mr. Lupton, I attempted to bring into focus the similarity between his UFO sighting and a jet-powered helicopter. He was not receptive to this line of reasoning."

On April 7, after Lieutenant Colonel Worthington had completed his investigation and suggested a helicopter, Lieutenant Colonel Hector Quintanilla (then chief of Project Blue Book) wrote to a number of agencies around the Crittenden, Virginia area asking if they had any helicopter traffic flying at that time of the morning. All the agencies except one responded they had no traffic in the area. The lone exception was the FAA which reported that such records were destroyed after fifteen days. They didn’t know if there had been any helicopter traffic in the area because they no longer had their records.

The response from Fort Eutis was the most interesting. Not only didn’t they have helicopters flying, Lurlene Martin, the flight scheduling clerk at Felker Army Air Field, said that poor weather conditions had grounded all their aircraft at 9:30 p.m. and they did not resume flying until the following morning. That would seem to suggest poor weather throughout the region that would have kept all helicopter, and other aviation activity such as flying advertisements on the ground.

This one note, in the files, could be quite important only because it suggests that the weather was bad. The poor weather could have been localized and therefore not apply to a larger region. Air Force investigators didn’t bother to find out. They had decided that Lupton saw a helicopter and tried to convince him of it.

The other question is, "If it had been a helicopter, what kind was it?" There was obviously a strange lighting configuration, and it would seem to me, that an investigation could have attacked the problem from that direction. Had they been able to locate a helicopter with a strange lighting configuration on it, that would have gone a long way to solving the case. Even if they couldn’t prove the aircraft was flying at the time of the sighting, the configuration of the lights would have been persuasive evidence. However, there is no indication in the file that the Air Force investigators even tried to do that.

In the end, we are left with a case where one man and his wife apparently saw a strange object and about a dozen others heard the sound it made. That would, of course, rule out hallucination. It does not prove that Lupton saw a flying saucer, just that he did see something strange.

It is too bad that the one of last unidentified UFO sightings in the Project Blue Book files had to be so non spectacular. There were no photographs, radar tracks, or movies taken. It was just a sighting in the early morning caused by a low-flying, and very noisy object.

What might be more important in this is the reaction of the military. Rather than investigate the case, they spent their time trying to convince the witness he had seen a helicopter when the evidence showed that no helicopters were flying in his area at the time of the sighting. And even with those negative results, they noted on the Project Card that a helicopter was the most likely answer.

To that, all I can say is, "Did I miss something?"

And now for the sales pitch. I have a limited number of the hardback copies of the book, Project Blue Book - Exposed, that originally sold for $22.95. For those interested in a copy, I would send it to you for just $10.00 plus shipping and handling of $5.00 (yeah, you have to pay the postage and for the envelop, but hey, you get the book for less than half price and if you tell me how you’d like it inscribed, why, I’d even sign it). For those interested, send a check or money order to:

Kevin Randle
PO Box 10934
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410-0934


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Warren Smith: UFO Investigator or Hoaxster

Removed at the request of the original author.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The DuBose Affidavit

In the last few days, those on the UFO UpDates list have been talking about the affidavit made by Colonel (later brigadier general) Thomas DuBose (seen at the left), who had been the Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force in 1947. DuBose, along with Brigadier General (later lieutenant general) Roger Ramey were photographed with a balloon remains in Ramey’s office that was supposedly what was found at Roswell.

On September 9, 1991, when DuBose was 90, he provided an affidavit for the Fund for UFO Research. Since many have asked about it, I decided to publish it here. It says:

(1) My Name is Thomas Jefferson DuBose.

(2) My address is redacted.

(3) I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1959 with the rank of Brigadier General.

(4) In July 1947, I was stationed at Fort Worth Army Air Field [later Carswell Air Force Base] in Fort Worth, Texas. I served as Chief of Staff to Major General (sic) Roger Ramey, Commander, Eighth Air Force. I had the rank of Colonel.

(5) In early July, I received a phone call from Gen. Clements McMullen, Deputy Commander, Strategic Air Command. He asked what we knew about the object which had been recovered outside Roswell, New Mexico, as reported by the press. I called Col. William Blanchard, Commander of the Roswell Army Air Field and directed him to send the material in a sealed container to me at Fort Worth. I so informed Gen. McMullen.

(6) After the plane from Roswell arrived with the material, I asked the Base Commander, Col. Al Clark to take possession of the material and to personally transport it in a B-26 to Gen. McMullen in Washington, D.C. I notified Gen. McMullen, and he told me he would send the material by personal courier to Benjamin Chidlaw, Commanding General of the Air Material Command at Wright Field [later Wright-Patterson AFB]. The entire operation was conducted under the strictest secrecy.

(7) The material shown in the photographs taken in Gen. Ramey’s office was a weather balloon (Ramey crouched, with DuBose seated and the wather balloon). The weather balloon explanation for the material was a cover story to divert the attention of the press.

(8) I have not been paid anything of value to make this statement, which is the truth to the best of my recollection.

It was signed and dated by DuBose. His signature was witnessed by three people, including a notary public which made this a sworn affidavit.

For those interested a photo of the affidavit follows.

(And for those interested, look for Roswell Revisited, an examination of some of the latest information about the Roswell case, coming from Galde Press this summer.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bessie Brazel and the Roswell Case

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 and contradicts that given by many others. One of the best examples of this is the testimony provided by Bessie Brazel, who seems to be a very nice woman but who stands nearly alone in her testimony.

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.
For a more comprehensive look at the latest information about the Roswell case, watch for Roswell Revisited, a book length examination of the case, coming this summer.