At the most recent MUFON Symposium, I had a chance to talk with Ron Regehr (seen here), who, at one time was working with the late J. Bond Johnson. Now I had seen Regehr at other conferences, but I had never brought up Johnson and neither had Regehr. This time I asked some questions about this and got an interesting answer or two.
Johnson was the reporter/photographer from the Fort Worth Star–Telegram who had taken the pictures of Brigadier General Roger Ramey in his office with what was alleged to be the debris found outside of Roswell, New Mexico. Given the style of the pictures, it seemed that Johnson had taken six. Two of Roger Ramey, two of Ramey and his chief of staff Colonel Thomas DuBose (seen next) and two of Major Jesse Marcel (seen last). A seventh picture, of Warrant Officer Irving Newton was taken by someone else at a later time.
Johnson had, at one point, claimed that only he had been in Ramey’s office and only he had taken pictures. He seemed to be hung up on this and suggested that the picture of Newton didn’t count and that it hadn’t appeared in any newspapers. This would prove to be wrong, though Johnson seemed to have a difficult time understanding this.
Johnson told me, during our first interviews he was confused by the photograph of Marcel. He didn’t think he had taken it, yet the negative was in an envelop with a picture of Ramey. Many of us, including Johnson, concluded that he must have taken the pictures, but didn’t remember doing it.
Not so, Regehr told me. He said that photo analysis suggested the picture was taken with a different lens than those of Ramey and Ramey and DuBose. The difference in the lens size was so insignificant that it made no sense for Johnson to have switched lenses to photograph Marcel.
That meant a third photographer in the room at some point. Johnson was one, another who took two pictures of Marcel, and because the negatives ended up in the same envelop, that would suggest the photographer was from the Star–Telegram... though that makes little sense. They already had the pictures of Ramey and Ramey and DuBose so why send someone else out there to take two of Marcel.
And, of course, the picture of Irving Newton, which is so different from all the others it is obviously from a different photographer and a different camera.
What does this bit of minutia mean? Well, we have, in the past, come across information that suggested that the material on the floor in Ramey’s office got there before Marcel arrived with the stuff from Roswell. Johnson said that he was the first photographer out there and I have no reason to discount that.
So, Johnson took four pictures of the stuff and went back to the newspaper. Marcel arrived and someone else took pictures of him with the stuff, which were printed all over the next day. Later, Newton arrived, identified the weather balloon... after the Dallas Morning News had talked to Major Kirton who said it was a weather balloon, and someone took his picture.
But the point here is that Regehr said that his analysis of the pictures of Marcel showed that there was a third photographer who has never been identified. Interestingly, Regehr told me that Johnson, once he had seen the math, believed Regehr.
I confess I don’t know if this is an important addition to the Roswell story, but it certainly is an interesting one. It suggests a time frame for the photographs in Ramey’s office, and coupled to other information, suggests the balloon arrived before Marcel, which might be the most important outgrowth of this. A suggestion of duplicity by the Army Air Forces, but one that remains, at the moment, speculation.