This story actually begins in July 2011 when Tom Carey, Don Schmitt and I were all at the Roswell Festival. Tom suggested that he and I head over to Church’s Fried Chicken for lunch and I’m not one to refuse an invitation for Church’s. At lunch Tom said that he had been thinking about doing a sort of ultimate Roswell book and wondered if I was interested in that.
I said that I was, but didn’t mention that I had contacted a publisher about just such a book a couple of months earlier. I hadn’t heard back and thought this might present a problem if the publisher made some sort of offer especially since Tom and I had agreed that my name would go first on a hardback, if I could arrange that and his first if we went with his publisher. We hadn’t discussed the possibility of a book by a publisher who would produce a trade paperback.
We made some tentative plans but Tom said that he needed to finish a book with Don about Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. At this point that wasn’t much of a hurtle since we had nothing on paper and we had only just started the idea. The important points here were that we were going to work on a book about Roswell and it would be just the two of us.
Sometime later, after we all had left Roswell, Tom emailed me that he had told Don about the project because he felt some loyalty toward Don and Don had lots of media contacts (Too bad that loyalty didn’t work in the other direction). Since he had told Don about the book, there was nothing much that I could do at that point. In the meantime there were others brought into the project; Tony Bragalia and David Rudiak, both who had some important skills and resources. I worried about how we would split up the credit on the book and knew that publishers didn’t like three names on a book cover and we had moved beyond that.
Nothing much was done, other than my publisher wanted something a little more all-encompassing than a book about a single case so we figured out something else. I was also contacted by a hardback publisher from a prestigious house who was interested in the Roswell book. Everything seemed to be working out.
In July 2012 we were all again in Roswell, and we met late at night in the hotel’s breakfast area to talk about the book project. I mentioned that for this to work that we would need some additional information, some new witnesses, something that would set this book apart from the others. Tom and Don nodded their agreement but said nothing else about that. Remember, this is July 2012.
There was one other thing that I mentioned then and it was the nun’s diary. The story had been told to Don and me by an ex-Special Forces (Green Beret) officer and a woman who might have been a nun or who was still a nun and who verified the existence of the diary and what was written in it. Because these were Catholic nuns and I didn’t know the customs and courtesies of the Catholic Church, this was an avenue for Don to explore which he did (though he had apparently suggested to Tom that I had investigated it). I mentioned at the book meeting that this was something we should corroborate because it was a document created at the time that would provide some very important evidence. No one was going to dispute the provenance because it was held by the church and a photograph of the page would provide the evidence.
Lance Moody got his panties in a bunch over this, but I really wasn’t interested in that. He would have to wait for the investigation to play out and I wasn’t about to be stampeded into something because someone else wanted an immediate answer. I was confident I had it but I now wanted to be sure... Then I learned that the Special Forces officer had been a PFC when in the Army, wasn’t a Green Beret, and hadn’t been in Vietnam which shot his credibility all to hell. And I learned that the diaries had been traced to Oklahoma City and while I had believed they had been seen and verified, such was not the case. Once I learned where they were and arrangements could be made, I’d go look at them myself (and I practiced with my IPad photographing documents). I pushed and learned the diaries had been moved to Wisconsin, which was good, but that they only went back to 1960 which was bad. I asked questions, was told many things, but in the end, I don’t know where the diaries are, I don’t know what they say, and I don’t know if they even exist. Lance got his answer because it seemed that the book was not getting written as fast as I would like and I finally had an answer which would have appeared in the book, if we had written it.
Then in February 2013, Rich Reynolds published a column about some slides that had surfaced showing a body from the Roswell crash but we, meaning the team assembled for the reinvestigation, couldn’t talk about it because of some sort of a nondisclosure agreement that had been signed. I knew nothing of the slides and I had signed no such agreement. Nick Redfern seemed to be the source on this and since I know Nick, I called him to ask about it. He told me that the slides had been found when a woman had been cleaning out a house for an estate sale (though now we learn that it might have been a house that was about to be demolished). She had sent the slides to her brother and he eventually got in touch with Tom and Don (or Dew, after finding the slides sought out Tom and Don, whatever). The owner of the slides, before she died had been Hilda Ray, though I believe that Nick only knew her husband’s name at the time, which is, of course, Bernerd.
Nick said that the information came from a man who lived in Texas and who had been in Midland sometime earlier. He had overheard a conversation between two others talking about the slides and he thought that Nick might be interested. Well, that sounded a little nebulous, meaning only that someone overheard someone talking about slides of an alien creature and assumed that Nick would be interested and provided him with the information. No names except Ray, who had been a geologist in the Permian Basin which covered the territory between Midland and Roswell as well as a lot of other places, had been mentioned. This was all well and good, but I didn’t believe it and sent out an email to my colleagues on the team. Imagine my surprise when I learned that much of it was true. They had slides. They had been found during an estate sale. The family who had owned them was the Rays and they were now in the hands of someone else who had required a nondisclosure agreement before he would go any further in the investigative process. At least that was the story that I got at that time.
At this point I wanted to publish what I knew but also knew that if I did, the owner of the slides would assume that either Don or Tom had told me in violation of their agreement and that could really screw up the deal (which now doesn’t seem all that important.…I should have published what I knew and how I learned it and let the chips fall where they may). Since Tom was deeply involved I believed there was no need for me to inject myself into the investigation. I trusted that I would be told everything I needed to know as things progressed. That wasn’t actually the case, but there was nothing more for me to do about the slides without risking the whole deal for Tom and Don. Ah, loyalty in one direction… when will I learn?
At one point in early 2013, Tom called and told me a little more about the investigation. I learned what they were doing to validate the slides, meaning they were attempting to scientifically prove that the slides had been exposed in 1947 or thereabouts and wasn’t some kind of modern hoax. I believed that the chemical composition of the developing process would have changed as well as the composition of the film stock at some time after the 1940s. All that could be dated and would provide some evidence that the slides were real in the sense that they had been taken in the 1940s and showed an image that was not some sort of artificial construct made in the last couple of years. That wouldn’t mean that the image was of an alien creature only that this was not some sort of a modern hoax.
I asked Tom if I could see the slides but he said, “No.” There was that pesky nondisclosure agreement that he had signed and they weren’t letting anyone see them. That made sense and I didn’t have to see the slides right then anyway. They were doing what I would have been doing in an attempt to validate the slides. The only thing that wasn’t clear was who had actually taken them and if it was either of the Rays, then there was a major problem because neither of them were available for questioning and it wasn’t clear that they had taken them, only that they had copies.
In the meantime I was working on some of the book. I wrote the long appendix about MJ-12 because I thought it was a part of the story that had to be told, but that it shouldn’t be in the main part of the book. It ended up over 20,000 words with 180 footnotes. I wrote an appendix about Project Mogul, again because it was part of the story but it shouldn’t be part of the book. I believe that it removes Mogul from the case because, simply, Flight No. 4 was cancelled and the cluster of balloons flown later that day was just three or four balloons with a microphone and not one of the long arrays.
Tom was still busy with the Wright Field book so I undertook some of the earlier chapters as well… I sent those on to Tom, got his comments, but he was still busy with that other book. At the same time we were interviewing people who had been on the base in 1947, but we were now talking to the low-ranking end of the spectrum because those of a higher rank had been older in 1947 and most of them were gone. Don supplied some telephone numbers and I called a woman who lived on a ranch out near Corona. She told me that there was a diary available, but it was in one of the out buildings that was filled with the debris of several people. It was lost somewhere in there along with the snakes and the scorpions. Here, at last, was someone who talking of a diary written in the right time frame even if it was guarded by snakes and scorpions.
I called Tom and he told me that he’d already seen the out building and that he and Don had already been there and talked to the woman. She and her family smoked all the time so it seemed that the house was filled with a heavy blue haze and that apparently no one ever emptied an ashtray. Tom had seen the out buildings, plural, and they were filled from ground to ceiling with all sorts of boxes, furniture, broken machines, trash, and anything else you might think of. The least of the problems were the scorpions. I’m not sure why Don supplied the phone number but it seemed to be a dead end.
Tom finished the book about Wright Field but we still made no progress on our book, other than what I had done. I warned that the window was closing and we might lose the opportunity, but that didn’t have much effect. And I learned there was quite a bit of material about Roswell in the new book which wouldn’t help us with the sale of the new one. That was, of course, their decision and I had nothing to do with it or say about it other than to suggest that the publisher might see it as a liability.
In the meantime Reynolds was publishing updates on the slide investigation but he wasn’t getting the information from me. Tony Bragalia had an article about the slides, complete with the Rays’ names in Philip Mantle’s UFO emagazine’s first issue in 2013. So the information was getting out.
At this time it was becoming clear to me that this book project wasn’t going work. The window for the book was closing and we weren’t getting anywhere with it. This slide thing was taking more of Tom and Don’s time and everything seemed to be geared toward it. I wasn’t learning anything about the slides. The book project was dying so that I finally gave up on it.
At that time people thinking that I was on the inside were asking me questions about these slides. When they asked me about them, I said that I wasn’t part of that investigation. This was the truth. I did know some things that weren’t wider knowledge, but thought that information belonged to Tom and Don to release. Instead, I get labeled a liar. I think at this point it’s clear that I had no part in the investigation and that my questions to them went mostly unanswered. I’m no longer sure what Tom’s motivation for asking me to assist in a book about Roswell was, but it is clear to me that as time went on, his motivations changed. Somehow our working together on an important book took a backseat to the circus that is now the Roswell Slides.
If I asked questions about the slides, the refrain was much the same. They couldn’t tell me anything about it but I know that wasn’t the whole truth. Remember, back in 2012 when we had the book meeting? They said nothing about the slides then and you could suggest that it was because of the nondisclosure agreement.… except they had a paper copy of one of the slides with them and showed that to David Rudiak. Apparently they could disclose what they knew to him, but not to me. And, don’t forget, it was Tom who asked me to join him in the book project and then invited in Don without consulting me first. I was sort of stuck with that invitation but I also wondered if his invitation to Don had more to do with the slides than anything else.
The other problem was that as we all learned more about these slides, it began to sound like Alien Autopsy Light. Not a big video production like the Alien Autopsy, just two little slides that showed an unusual creature that for some reason every one of them assumed to be an alien and because the slides seemed to have been taken in the late 1940s that it was from Roswell. That would mean the slides were real, but that doesn’t mean it was of an alien creature either and frankly I’m not sure why that connection was made other than the dating of the slides to the late 1940s. It all seems somewhat problematic to me.
Although I wasn’t being included in the investigation and had no input into what they were doing, I was learning a little about it. From the very beginning I was worried about the lack of provenance. How were they going to establish a connection to Roswell if they didn’t really know who had taken the pictures? Like the rest of you, I have learned that the connection to the Rays might even be more nebulous than we thought. Adam Dew has written that Hilda had died in 1988 and the slides discovered when emptying out a garage (or attic) of a house outside of Sedona in 1998. That means the chain of custody is broken as well. Who owned the house for the ten years between Hilda’s death and the clean out... or is that some sort of a typo, which would confound the whole process regardless. Then we learn that they sat around for another ten years or so and that the sister of the man who now owns (or owned) them gave them to her brother (unless, of course, Dew now owns the slides though an arrangement with Dew. Is this getting complicated enough for you?) And let’s not forget that after the Mexico City circus, there is a chance that the slides will sell for a pile of money.
There is an additional problem here. The slides were found with those that apparently belonged to the Rays but there is actually nothing to connect them to the Rays. All the slides that belonged to them, if we believe what we have been told, were arranged carefully and many, if not all the others, were marked. These were not. They were separate and hidden in an envelope, which, if you think about it, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Here we are with no provenance and a broken chain of custody. While they might have been taken in the late 1940s, the material about the Rays might be completely irrelevant. Discussion of their high level contacts, or the lack thereof, is also irrelevant. That they have pictures of Eisenhower in this general’s uniform (and in one of them, the picture is reversed because the ribbons are on the wrong side) only means that they managed to take pictures of Eisenhower. In today’s world, how many people who had no real connections have pictures of a high level member of the military or the government. A picture or two of Eisenhower or Sammy Snead doesn’t really suggest high level connections. Hell I have pictures of me with David Letterman in Baghdad and of Larry King in the deserts of Nevada... not to mention pictures of one of our Senators.
None of that explains how the Rays would have been able to obtain a picture of an alien creature. We all agree that if there was a crash and alien bodies were recovered, it would all be highly classified. I can think of no plausible scenario in which civilians, no matter how highly connected, would have had the opportunity to see, let alone photograph the body of an alien creature and get out of the room with their camera and film intact.
Most of us have only seen a poor quality copy of one slide. There is little detail visible, but there is enough to suggest what might have been photographed is a mummy, probably from South or Central America.… or could it be a body buried in the desert Southwest that was mummified by the weather. And, that provides an opportunity for the Rays, or some other civilian, to photograph what was found. Yes, I know that they all say it isn’t a mummy and claim once we see the high quality slide, we’ll all agree. But we haven’t seen them and if there are pictures of mummies that match, to a certain degree that body in the slide, then it is going to be a hard sell to convince many that it isn’t a terrestrially based mummy as opposed to some alien creature.
But here’s the thing. Without knowing who took the pictures, without knowing where they were taken, and with a range of when the film might have been exposed and developed, there is a major hole in the story. In the end, all that is really known is that there are two slides of an unusual creature that some believe to be alien, but without all the information, without a photographer to interview, and without additional information, such as a tissue sample with a proper chain of custody and evidence, all there is are the two slides and the circus atmosphere that is developing. Unless Tom and Don have some additional information, and from what Adam Dew is saying they don’t, then this will end badly unless there is a pile of money to be shared by them all.