Once in a while (okay, more often than that) I engage in the beating of the dead horse and an opportunity for that arose today (February 25). It is my opinion that few thinking people actually believe the Project Mogul explanation for what fell near Roswell, but I have found some interesting things about this as I was researching another question and having been inspired by the Smithsonian’s latest “Ask an Expert.” I’m not sure what this Roger Launius is an expert in but clearly it is not the history of UFOs. He makes some elementary mistakes suggesting, for example, that Kenneth Arnold saw one flying saucer, crediting him with the creation of the term. He takes the American-centric view that this UFO craze started with Arnold, overlooking the Foo Fighters and the Ghost Rockets as I outlined in Government UFO Secrets which is a not subtle way to plug the book. And he was unaware that an unofficial investigation began in December 1946 at Wright Field so that it had been collecting this “aerial phenomena” data for months before Arnold entered the scene.
Anyway, he buys into the Project Mogul explanation and like too many he buys the Air Force document, their huge report that has very little relevance to the Roswell case (hundreds of pages are devoted to all sorts of reports on balloon flights) that “explains” the Roswell crash. He apparently was unaware that Flight No. 4 had been cancelled, that Brazel (whose name he mispronounces) was in the field where the debris was found nearly every other day so that the debris would have been found long before Brazel took it to the sheriff had that been true and that the configuration for the array used in the diagram does not match the configuration of the flights in New Mexico, no matter what Charles Moore claimed. In fact, we can see some of this deception in the Executive Summary of that massive report. I found the following statement on page 26. “Doctor Spilhaus, Professor Moore, and certain other members of the group were aware of the actual purpose of the project, but they did not know of the project nickname at the time.”
This struck me as silly. If you have a highly classified project and you can accomplish your mission without explaining the ultimate purpose to a bunch of civilians who are doing the “grunt” work with no need to know, it seems silly to compromise that mission by sharing information that is irrelevant to their goal. I mean, there was no reason for those in New Mexico working on what Moore was careful to claim was the New York University Balloon Project to know that it was to spy on the Soviets. They could have just as easily been told they needed the constant level balloons to measure radiation in the upper atmosphere so that they might better protect pilots of aircraft flying at those altitudes and later to astronauts as the orbited the Earth (if they were thinking that far ahead in 1947). Or they were engaged in attempts to study the “Jet Stream” which was not well understood in 1947.
I believe that the statement was the result of Moore saying, repeatedly, that he didn’t know the name of the project until Robert Todd told him in 1992 or thereabouts. However, the idea that those in New Mexico didn’t know the name is demonstrably false. All anyone had to do was flip back to Dr. Albert Crary’s diary that is published in the same massive report. You can read Crary referencing the “Mogul equipment” and the like on several occasions. The name wasn’t important, it was the ultimate purpose that was classified… and the research going on in New Mexico was anything but classified (though the recorded data was, for some reason, classified).
Taking this just one step farther, on page 27, the report tells us, “However, on July 10, 1947, following the Ramey press conference, the Alamogordo News published an article with photographs demonstrating multiple balloon and targets at the same location as the NYU group operated from at [sic] Alamogordo Army Air Field. Professor Moore expressed surprise at seeing this since his was the only balloon test group in the area. He stated, ‘It appears that there was some type of umbrella cover story to protect our work with Mogul.’”
Yeah, well, this doesn’t quite agree with what he had told me when I showed him the picture before the Air Force entered the case. He pointed to the ladder in one of those pictures and said that he had bought it with petty cash because they needed it to launch the balloons. So, he was aware of the demonstration in Alamogordo and while he might not have participated in it himself, it is clear that the Mogul equipment was being used.
You might ask, “What does this all prove?” And, who really cares for all this minutia? Well, I just thought it was it somewhat interesting because it demonstrates a willingness to accept anything said by those who claim it was a balloon and not a spacecraft. Many are quick to condemn the decades old memories of the witnesses who had talked about the crash, but accept without question those who say it was a balloon. Here, clearly, Moore’s recollections of the events are in error, documented error, but are accepted without question. And this lack of critical thinking is exhibited throughout Launius’ expert opinion.
Launius showed this to us in his video explanation of the Roswell case. If you have an interest in seeing it, it can be found here: