In the course of investigating many UFO cases, there are witnesses who come forward to tell their stories. Depending on the nature of the story or the investigator who hears it, that story might be added to the case file or might be rejected. Anne Robbins, widow of T/SGT Ernest Robbins, told her story, or rather her husband’s story after he died in January 2000. It related to Roswell and had all the necessary elements including the late night telephone call, a mysterious trip into the desert and a secret that was reluctantly shared.
The story was told at the Odessa Meteor Crater Museum in 2003. She said that they, meaning her and her husband, had been to a dinner party at the RAAF NCO Club and didn’t get home until 10:30. They hadn’t yet gone to sleep when she said that “everything outside had lit up like it was daylight… and we both assumed that
it was probably helicopters from the base with searchlights on.”
|Photocopy right by Kevin Randle.|
It wasn’t long before he received a telephone call ordering him out to the base. She said that she assumed there had been a plane crash somewhere but she didn’t know why they would call her husband. He was a sheet metal worker who repaired airplanes and had no skills related to an aircraft recovery operation.
He returned the next day in a wrinkled and wet uniform. He told her he had had to undergo a decontamination. When she asked him more, he said that he might as well tell her because it was going to be in the newspaper anyway. She said he told her, “A UFO crashed outside of Roswell.”
She pressed him for details. He said that the craft had looked like two saucers pressed together and that along the top saucer there were oblong windows all around it. There had been three passengers. Two had survived and one had been killed.
|Looking out at one of the cluster of craters near Odessa, Texas. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.|
While we overlook, for the moment, this original horrendous breach of security, Robbins then made it worse. Several days later he took her out to the crash site. All the debris was gone, as were the alien creatures, but there remained a burned spot in a perfect circle that “was so black that it was shiny. No normal fire could have made something like that.”
She wanted to know what happened to the craft but her husband told her he couldn’t tell her and to ask no more questions.
In the years that followed he never said much about the crash. While in high school, their son, Ronald, was writing a report on UFOs and asked about what had happened in Roswell. It would have been interesting to know about what year this was because anything much before 1980 wouldn’t contain much about Roswell. How would the son know to ask about Roswell if no one was actually talking about it?
According to Robbins, Ronald kept asking questions until her husband finally took a piece of paper and drew a “pear-shaped head with large black eyes.” He said that their skin was brown and he had seen no nose and no mouth.
Reporters attempted to reach Ronald but apparently failed. Anne Robbins said that it didn’t matter because he wouldn’t talk to them anyway. They did talk to the daughter who said, “All I remember was Dad was saying he was stationed in Roswell and that a UFO crashed there.” That isn’t very helpful.
We, of course, get the standard that the now long gone witness didn’t lie or embellish his tales and that he wasn’t given to pranks. She said that, if ordered to, he would not talk about matters he was told were secret… and yes, I see the contradiction here.
Before we get into that, let me address a few other issues, the first of which is that this information is all second hand. We have nothing from the man himself and were told that talking with his son would be useless. His daughter added nothing to the conversation that couldn’t have been said by anyone in the world. I will note that I am retired military and could tell family that a UFO crashed there but all of that comes from other sources. I saw nothing myself.
If I was going to chase footnotes, I could point out that the MUFON UFO Journal from May 2003, on page 3, carried an article about Robbins. But it is clear from that article that the information came from “Carlton Sowers” [sic], a reporter for the Dallas Observer, who apparently talked to Robbins at the opening of the Odessa Museum. The Dallas Observer seems to be a newspaper aimed at entertainment, meaning what there is to do in the Dallas/Fort Worth area rather than a paper filled with hard news. Everything then, goes back to Stowers and Anne Robbins.
One of the articles found on line at www.ufocasebook.com/roswell50years.html, provided additional information. It leads back to Carlton Stowers. He wrote, “For several nights, Roswell residents had reportedly seen a strange flying object in the night sky. Though no one would know about it for 30 years, two Franciscan Catholic nuns, working at the local St. Mary’s Hospital, even made notations in their diaries that as some time after 11 p.m. on July 7, 1947, they had seen a large flash in the night sky, assuming it to be a plane in distress.”
We all now know that story originated with an unreliable source and that the existence of the diaries has not been confirmed though it seemed to have been in the early 1990s. This is something that should be removed from the history of the Roswell case and reduced to a footnote.
Stowers mentioned Frank Kaufmann in the next paragraph describing him as a radar operator. We all now know that Kaufmann had no role in this, other than the introduction of false information and this is something else that should be reduced to a footnote in the history of the case.
Stowers followed this with the story of Jim Ragsdale who claimed to have seen bodies. Something that Stowers didn’t know is that Ragsdale would eventually claim that he walked down to the bodies to get a good look at them and would claim that they had helmets made of gold. I can think of very few things that are more useless than gold for helmets. Ragsdale’s testimony has been exposed as the lie it was and this should also be reduced to a footnote.
I mentioned all this because I wanted something out there that would provide the latest and best information about the case and these three items have been exposed as fraudulent. And yes, these were my witnesses and my claim about the diaries, but I really thought the diaries had been located and Walter Haut told me that Frank Kaufmann was reliable and Haut provided the lead to Ragsdale.
Which, of course, tells us nothing about Robbins’ tale of being called out to help in the recovery operation. Here’s what bothers me about all this. Robbins is not in the Yearbook, but remember Haut said 15 or 20% of those stationed at the base were not in the Yearbook. I have found no other reference to him in the proper time frame, which in all these sorts of cases is worrisome but rarely fatal.
In 1947 there were no helicopters assigned to the base and helicopters, though flying in that time frame, were more experimental than operational. The Atomic Blast, the base newspaper made a big deal out of a helicopter visiting a few months after the UFO crash.
Robbins’ tale of the decontamination procedure doesn’t seem right to me, but then this was 1947 and the procedures might have changed. However, it doesn’t seem right that he went through the procedure and then had his clothes returned to him. It would seem that he would have been issued new fatigues to reduce the possibility of spreading the contamination once the other procedures were complete, but I don’t know if that is accurate for the time.
I do know that Sheriff George Wilcox’s deputies did claim to have found a large burned area, but they said nothing about a craft and bodies, which would have still been there, given the timing. The large blackened area of glass, which would be an aftereffect of extreme heat probably would have been destroyed by the Army because it would be physical evidence, if it existed.
And there is a real problem with Robbins taking his wife to the scene. She, herself said that he would keep this a secret if told to but seems to have spilled the story to her within hours of his return home. Making it worse, he took her out to the crash site, violating more orders. That seems to be a major contradiction in what she said.
Robbins’ story doesn’t seem to have been picked up by any of the Roswell researchers. I do mention it briefly in Roswell Revisited, but give it only a couple of paragraphs with no real commentary about it. Although I do have a file for Robbins, I have not used this anecdote in any other book. Studying it carefully in today’s world with more evidence and information available, it is just another second-hand story that provided nothing new, but seems to have drawn on much of the information that had been published in the past. Tom Carey and Don Schmitt did interview her, but the story didn’t make it into their book.
This is, then, another of those tales that falls into the footnote category which means we need to acknowledge it but certainly not use it as any sort of evidence for a UFO crash. There is too much wrong here and without the story from a first-hand source, we are better off not mentioning it again.