Since it has been brought up here in the last couple of days, and since we might have beaten the Roswell Slides issue to death, at least for the time being, I thought we might look at the Plains of San Agustin crash scenario once again. Remember, to disagree with me doesn’t make you a liar, just someone with a different opinion. When you don’t bother with searching all aspects of an event, then you become an advocate for that event. I have looked into this case for a long time, and given everything that I have found, I simply cannot shoe horn it into a July 1947 time frame.
You might say that this story begins when Stan Friedman met a couple, Vern and Jean Maltais, in Bemidji, Minnesota, on October 24, 1978. They wanted to tell him of Barney Barnett and a UFO crash that Barnett had told them about many years earlier. He related the tale in his book, Top Secret Majic on pages 18 – 19.
According to Friedman, they were told by Barnett he had found a flying saucer crashed with four bodies lying around it. The military arrived and told Barnett and members of an archaeological team to leave the area. Friedman wrote, “They had no date for the Barnett story.” Please note here that Stan is making this claim about the lack of a date when first told this tale.
Later, however, the date was narrowed down when Vern and Jean Maltais told Bill Moore they visited the Barnetts in February, 1950 (See The Roswell Incident, pages 53 – 58). It was during this visit that Barnett said that he had seen the crashed saucer. Jean Maltais, when asked where the craft had crashed, said, “…I don’t exactly, recall. It was somewhere out of Socorro. He may have said exactly, but I don’t recall. I remember he said it was prairie – ‘the Flats’ is the way he put it… Barney traveled all over New Mexico, but did most of his work directly west of Socorro.”
According to what the Maltais told Moore during his interview with them, Barnett was out on assignment near Magdalena, New Mexico, which is west of Socorro. The story was that Barnett thought at first it was a plane crash but when he got closer, crossing a little more than mile of desert, he saw that it was a saucer-shaped craft, twenty-five or thirty feet in diameter. It was a flash of sunlight from the metallic craft that caught his attention.
Maltais said that Barnett saw some bodies. They were dead, according to what Barnett told Maltais. There were bodies both inside and out, and Barnett said that the ones outside had been tossed out by the impact. He described them as being like humans but they weren’t human. The heads were pair shaped, their arms and legs were skinny, the eyes were small and they had no hair. They were smaller than humans and the heads were larger than those on human bodies.
There were other witnesses there, according to what Maltais heard and what he told me during interviews in August, 1989 and July 1990. These were archaeologists who had been working nearby and apparently had seen the object fall the night before. Barnett seemed to think they were from an eastern university, but Moore reported they were from the University of Pennsylvania. These witnesses have never been located though searches for them have been made.
Not long after Barnett arrived, the military turned up, and took over. They condoned the area and escorted everyone off the site after warning them not to talk about it.
Barnett apparently didn’t keep the secret very long according to others interviewed. In 1947, J. F. “Fleck” Danley was Barnett’s boss. Bill Moore asked Danley about the story. Danley said that Barnett had come into the office one day and said that the flying saucers were real. Danley had been in a bad mood on that day, said that the flying saucers weren’t real and he wasn’t interested in discussing it further. But Danley, thinking about it, felt bad, so he asked him about it sometime later. Danley said Barnett mentioned something about the “Flats” but couldn’t remember much else including when this conversation might have taken place.
Moore returned to the topic four months later and again talked to Danley. At that time Danley said that he remembered the date and was sure that it was sometime early in the summer of 1947. In interviews I conducted with Danley in October 1990 and June 1991, he suggested that he didn’t have a clear memory of when Barnett had told him about the crashed saucer, and in fact, didn’t have a clear idea where Barnett had been on the day he told Danley about the saucer.
Danley mentioned that Barnett was a soil conservation engineer who worked out of Socorro and a satellite office in Magdalena. He did mention that Barnett occasionally made it into Lincoln County, New Mexico but that was rare. Please notice that it was Danley that provided the information that Barnett occasionally got into Lincoln County, in which Corona and the Foster ranch are located. Interestingly, Danley remembered Barnett said something about Carrizozo when he mentioned this in a May 14, 1991 interview. He said that Barnett told him about the crash but he didn’t remember him saying anything about bodies or creatures. Please note that Danley said that Barnett didn’t say a thing about bodies… yes that is redundant, but necessary.
To make this even more complicated, Friedman said that he had “reinterviewed Danley and several others who knew Barney in 1990 [clearly Friedman means he interviewed the people in 1990 and not that they knew Barnett in 1990] and again was told ‘in the Plains.’” Of course, many of those people said “the Flats,” which Friedman, with some justification, translated into the Plains.
These were not the conclusions of others. Jaime Shandera, at the UFO Expo West in Los Angeles on May 11, 1991, was lecturing about the Plains of San Agustin. According to information supplied by Antonio Huneeus and Javier Sierra Shandera had this to say:
The people that supposedly found stuff in Socorro did not find stuff in Socorro. The party of archaeological people and the Barney Barnett part of the story; they were at the Corona site, not in Socorro. I know [this is] the way you understand it because it’s the way it’s always been written and even the way it was written in The Roswell Incident. That’s wrong. There is new evidence that it was all in the Corona site. The way it happened was this – there were not two sites that were more than one hundred miles or so apart … and the so-called Roswell site was just outside of Corona. The archaeologists and Barney Barnett part of it, that was over in Corona. There was no person that found anything in San Agustin.
There were others who talked to Barnett about the case. Stan Friedman interviewed a military reserve officer from New York, William Leed who said that in “the early 1960s,” a fellow officer had told him about Barnett. Leed arranged to go to New Mexico soon after to talk to Barnett about the crash.
Leed did hear the story from Barnett, thought that Barnett was sincere and was impressed that Barnett wouldn’t talk to him until Leed showed him a military ID. Leed made it clear that he was there on a personal quest and this had nothing to do with the military or official business.
There is nowhere in the various interviews with Leed that provide a date or a location. It is assumed that the date is early July, often on the second, and the location is out on the Plains, not far south of Highway 60. Friedman wrote of this meeting between Leed and Barnett, “No reason to think it was other than ‘on the Plains,’ but offers no quotes suggesting that Leed believed this.
In the 1990s, Friedman placed an ad in the Socorro newspaper, asking for anyone who had information about the Barnett story to contact him. One of those who did was Harold Baca who in the 1960s lived across the street from Barnett. He said that as he helped Ruth Barnett take care of an ailing Barnett, he heard about the crashed flying saucer from Barney who was convinced that his cancer was the result of breathing contaminated air near the wrecked saucer and the bodies, at least that is what Baca told me in an interview in June 1991. Baca seemed to think that it had happened “out on the plains.”
Friedman found addition witnesses who suggested that Barnett had said that he was on the Plains. These included the late Marvin Ake, who said he had heard the story “many years earlier, but provided no date and an unidentified and retired postmistress from Datil who said the saucer had been trucked through Magdalena at night.
Others in the area also remembered discussion of a flying saucer crash on the Plains, but some of them couldn’t remember if they had heard about it in the late 1940s, or sometime after the publication of The Roswell Incident. That was what Johnny Foard told me during an interview on February 9, 1992.
The problem with all this is that Barnett died in 1969 before anyone was talking about flying saucer crashes in New Mexico in 1947 other than mentioning the Aztec case. The interviews are all with people attempting to remember what was said decades earlier and give it some sort of time frame. The contamination of the witnesses can be seen in the evolution of their stories. Vern and Jean Maltais, for example, and according to what Friedman has written, had no date for the story. It wasn’t until later that they seemed to narrow it down and that it could be suggested as July 1947.
The same thing is seen with Fleck Danley. He did not have a time frame or a solid location for the crash until after he had talked to researchers. Other witnesses were vague saying that Barnett had said it was twenty years earlier (Baca) who talked to Barnett about it in 1968 so it provides something of a time frame but one that is still vague.
Then there are people who were on the Plains in July 1947 and said nothing happened. Herbert Dick was one of them. He was excavating the Bat Cave beginning on July 1, 1947, according to a letter I believe was uncovered by Art Campbell in a Harvard archive. The Bat Cave is situated on the eastern side of the Plains with a panorama view from Datil to Horse Springs. If something had fallen and then been recovered in early July 1947, Dick was in a position to see it. We know this because they were excavating the human habitation in the Bat Cave, which means they were near the entrance, and their camp site was on the only flat piece of ground near the cave and facing west. But, according to Dick, they saw nothing.
One other interesting point. In a communication I had with Dick he said that he was not a big fan of the government. If he had seen anything, he wouldn’t keep it a secret. He would tell, but unfortunately, he hadn’t seen anything.
It is for these reasons, that is the lack of first-hand corroboration of the Barnett tale, the inability of the first people to talk of what Barnett said to provide a location and date and that the only source of the information is Barnett that I say, with confidence, that nothing happened there in July 1947.