Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Jesse Marcel, James McAndrew and Me

I recently had the chance to sit down with Colonel Jesse Marcel, Jr. (seen here) and we had a chance to talk about many things including some new stuff about the Roswell UFO case. Well, relatively new anyway.

Back in the mid-1990s, as the Air Force claimed to be investigating the Roswell UFO crash story, one of the officers, First Lieutenant (later captain) James McAndrew, called many of the witnesses and many of the investigators to talk with them. I spoke to him on a number of occasions and the tone was normally him trying to convince me to admit that I was only in it for the money. He told me that no one would think any less of me if that was the case. People would understand the motive.

I told him that I would have conducted the investigation and written the books if there had been no money involved. This was an important story and one that needed to be told. I pointed out that I had tapes of most of my interviews and that I would give him the telephone numbers of many of the important witnesses. This was all he needed to do to verify that what I reported was what they had said.

Yes, I fully understood that having taped interviews didn’t mean that the witnesses were telling the truth, but it would prove that I had reported accurately what I had been told. And yes, we tried to verify the information which is why I didn’t report about the former Air Force pilot who had been one of the alternate pilots on Air Force One, who had flown the aircraft when President Kennedy was on board, and that he had taken the president to see the bodies.

I found the pilot and yes, he had been an Air Force officer and yes, he had flown President Kennedy on Air Force One and yes he had seen an alien creature. However, he had not flown the president to a location to see alien bodies. He had been flying a fighter when he had seen a craft off his wing and inside the domed structure he had seen a creature. So, all the elements were there, they just didn’t add up to the whole that we had been told.

What was interesting about McAndrew was that he wasn’t interested in the tapes. He didn’t want to talk to the high-ranking military officers. He was more interested in telling me that he KNEW I was in it for the money. Not the truth but his belief.

Now, over the weekend, at the MUFON conference put on by the Illinois chapter of MUFON and hosted by Sam and Julie Maranto (seen here), I spent time with Jesse Marcel. It was late on the last day when the topic of McAndrew came up at the question and answer session held by all the presenters. I mentioned that McAndrew wanted me to flip and that he wasn’t interested in the tapes and telephone numbers of some of the key witnesses. I figured the Air Force didn’t want to be in the position of calling high-ranking officers, including one brigadier general, liars at best. This whole thing might suggest that the Air Force was lead by incompetents.

Jesse mentioned that McAndrew had called him several times and always pressed him on the details, suggesting mistakes. Jesse always told me that it hadn’t been a balloon. The debris he held and the debris he saw was not part of a balloon, or a balloon structure, or a Project Mogul array. It was strange stuff that was very lightweight and very strong. He didn’t know what it was.

Jesse then said at the end of the last call, McAndrew said, "Well, Colonel, we don’t know what you saw."

When you think about it, that’s an important statement. Here was McAndrew, trying to convince Jesse that he had seen parts of a Mogul array, trying to convince him of the new Air Force answer about the Roswell UFO crash, and finally admitting that he didn’t know what Jesse saw.

No, this doesn’t mean that McAndrew was conceding to Jesse that it was an alien spacecraft or anything else. It just means that McAndrew was admitting that he didn’t know what Jesse had seen (Jesse Marcel holding a replicate of one of the I-beams).

I will note here that the Air Force, in their investigation, did not report on all the interviews they had conducted with the researchers, with the witnesses and with the former and retired officers. Instead they focused on the members of Project Mogul, the civilians who launched the balloons in New Mexico, and Sheridan Cavitt, the Counter-intelligence Corps officer who lied about where he was in July 1947 but told the Air Force just what they wanted to hear.

And now we learn that the chief investigator told Jesse Marcel that he didn’t know what Jesse had seen. This seems to be a curious admission for the man. A moment of honesty hidden in all that governmental deceit.

Of course I know why they worked so hard to prove that Roswell was a balloon and not an alien craft. No matter what they said today, they were going to look bad and in any case they would be painting some top officials as liars. True, the lies might have been justified because of national security considerations, but they were lies nonetheless.

We have one new bit of information that doesn’t mean all that much in the overall picture, but does provide a glimpse into the background. The man who would be pushing the Mogul answer telling a witness that, "Colonel, we don’t know what you saw."


Lance said...

Maybe it was just a way of saying "We don't know what you are saying you saw."

Especially since his own father never saw, for instance, the I-beams that Jr. claimed to see (and was very clear about this).

But in Roswell-world, I-Beams sound more mysterious so the testimony of an adult is discredited in favor of that of a kid.

Some might call shenanigans on the cherry-picking done on the witness testimony but unfortunately that is the way the game is played.


cda said...

McAndrew's response to Marcel jr is what you would expect, no more or less. McAndrew told Marcel "we don't know what you saw". Meaning that at that moment McAndrew was unsure; later, when others were interviewed, Mogul documents found and the report was finalised McAndrew grew a bit more certain what Marcel saw. There is no need for any sinister interpretation of this contradiction. After all, neither McAndrew or Weaver would ever claim to be positively certain of their conclusions, would they?

Your account of Pres. Kennedy's visit to examine aliens is indeed interesting. It seems as if it answers Timothy Good's "impeccable source"
about this alleged occurrence as given in his book NEED TO KNOW p. 420 (in the chapter entitled "Star Wars").
In my view Tim constantly overrates his "impeccable sources". Fortunately you avoid this word. Are your sources as "impeccable" as Tim's?

Sometime perhaps you will comment on Anthony Bragalia's latest revelations about the Battelle scientist Howard Cross.

KRandle said...

Lance -

The I-beam that Jesse Jr. has, if looked at from a slightly different perspective doesn't really look like an I-beam. I've never been worried about this minor discrepancy between what father and son saw... both reported small members with some kind of "writing" on them. I just can't get worked up over this apparent "discrepancy."

Nor do I understand your "cherry-picking" comment. I thought I have always presented all the evidence that I had which explains why the skeptics know things about interviews that I conducted. Had I "cherry picked" all the information, I could have left those things out.


Timing is everything. My point here was that McAndrews was playing fast and loose with the information and both he and Weaver knew what the aswer was supposed to be before they started their research which explains why they present the Mogul civilians over their non-Mogul military counterparts.

The statement by McAndrew came in the last conversation that Jesse and McAndrew had... long after they settled on the Mogul answer because Jesse said that McAndrew was trying to push the Mogul answer on him. Jesse knew that he hadn't seen parts of a balloon.

I thought I had made it clear that what McAndrew said doesn't lead us to the extraterrestrial, but does say something about the investigation by the Air Force.

In the end, all I was saying here was that McAndrew was often disingenuous in his discussions with witnesses and investigators and that they had boxes of information and dozens of interviews they ignored. Talk about cherry picking you facts.


Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

From Linda Corley's 1981 interview with Sr. (as cited by Pflock in Roswell, page 163):

"Jesse didn't have that right to begin with...He said they looked like I-Beams. But it wasn't... Let me give you a cross section of what it looked like."

Sr. then drew a a rectangular cross section.

By cherry picking, I certainly didn't mean that you were withholding or hiding any parts of your research. Indeed, although I disagree with your conclusions, I recognize that you have always honestly conducted yourself (unlike MANY others in the field). In that sense you are one of the few people in the field who can be considered above reproach.

Instead I was referring to how you sometimes seem to be able to discount disconfirming evidence in your world view such as the above (and for instance, the way you are willing to assume that Sr. was wrong when he said TWICE that he was photographed with the real debris but he is always right when the testimony points to saucers).

Cherry picking may not have been the right term.

P.S. I would also like to hear your take on the IDIOTIC material recently published by Bragalia.



Bob Koford said...

Why don't YOU tell us what is idiotic about Mr. Bragalia's recent writings first?

I would like to know. Seems to me he's being pretty straight forward with what he's got.

cda said...

"Idiotic" may be too strong a word, but Bragalia has characterised Dr.Cross as leading a double life, exactly as Stan Friedman did with Dr Menzel. The implication is that Cross knew all about the metals found at Roswell but gave the opposite impression in his later writings and actions.
Menzel suddenly 'appeared' as a member of MJ-12, which Friedman exploited to the full. Will someone do a 'Menzel' on Cross and put him on another fictitious Roswell controlling committee?

Lance said...

Well, I am not sure that Kevin would like this comment section to hijacked with an unrelated discussion.

I will venture to mention that the mere title:


...of Bragalia's piece should raise some red flags among anyone who is not completely lost in the rapture of their UFO religion.



RRRGroup said...

But Bragalia has gathered more circumstantial evidence about the memory metal aspect of the Roswell debris, and Battelle's involvement than anyone else; that is, he's mustered time-lines, scientists involved, and apparent references to Roswell reports that have gone missing or have been suppressed.

What this will add up to is anyone's guess, and Nick Redfern thinks the whole Roswell thing is beyond reasonable explanation at this point.

Bragalia and Randle (among a few others) have to be given props for their dogged investigation and research, even if Roswell turns out to be nothing more than a story that has become encrusted by details that have been largely made up.


Bob Koford said...

I think that James McAndrew was admitting that he was not going to shake Colonel Marcel from telling the truth, as he remembered it.

And that truth is that it wasn't any reasonably easy to identify items he saw and held.

KRandle said...

Lance -

First, let me point out that I have been studying witness testimony lately with an eye on my paper to be presented at the MUFON Symposium in Denver. I mention this because some it impacts on the discussion here.

Both the Marcel's describe the "beam" as small and short and with some writing on the side. The problem comes from the term "I-beam." However, if you have ever looked at the mockup created for Jesse Marcel, Jr. by a New Mexico researcher and artist, you'd see that the cross piece is quite narrow. In other words, we could have something that is so small that Jesse Sr., didn't really notice the cross piece or, we could have something that Jesse Jr., thought of as an I-beam based on the lettering on the side. He thought of an I-beam but it really wasn't.

In other words, the overall descriptions of those particular members generally agree... including the writing on them. The point of contention is the term I-beam. I'm not sure that this discrepancy is of much importance.

I think we can agree that both Marcels described the member, they described the writing and it was this one detail on which they disagreed.

Given what I have been reading about eyewitness testimony... and human memory, this detail isn't of great significance. If, on the other hand, we had Jesse Jr. talking about something like that seen in the wreckage footage associated with the Alien Autopsy, well, then, we'd have a real problem.


David Rudiak said...

Both Marcel Sr. & Jr. described a small beam rectangular in cross-section with purplish embossed markings. Jr.'s description differed in saying the beam he examined seemed metallic while Sr. said wood-like in color, and Sr. & Jr. described different symbols. Sr. also tested the objects in the field, saying they were extremely lightweight, couldn't be broken or cut, though had some flexibility, and wouldn't burn.

I once asked Jesse Jr. in email why the differences, and he suggested possibly they were describing different pieces of material. (People examining plane crash debris would likewise describe different materials.)

Others have described similar beams or I-beams, metallic or woodlike:


Lt. Robert Shirkey: Small I-beam (definitely recalls flange) about 18"-24" long, with raised, dark-purplish/blackish markings. Described color of beam as being more whitish. Saw from a distance of about 3 feet.

Lt. Jack Trowbridge: Aluminum-like "girders" with "hieroglyphic-like" markings; seen at Marcel house when Marcel came back from the field.

Steven Lovekin: Said he received Pentagon briefing around 1960 where they brought out a metallic, "yardstick"-like piece with marking or encryption on it they were still trying to figure it out. Told it came from a crash in New Mexico.

Steve Lytle: Said his father was given the job of deciphering the markings on one of the I-beams.

Charles Schmid, Roswell resident: Said he made it out to ranch and handled wood-like beams that were very strong. They had strange pinkish markings that he compared to flowers, with green in between.

Bill Brazel: Found some short fragments of wood-like material of exceptional strength and hardness, very light. Couldn't mark it with a knife. No writing on his fragments.

Loretta Proctor, neighbor: Mack Brazel came over and showed a thin, short, wood-like piece in color (but more like a modern plastic, she said), which she compared to a pencil. They couldn't cut it with a knife and it wouldn't burn. No markings.

David Rudiak