Since this point comes up periodically, I thought it time to deal with it. There are those who suggest that there was nothing about a crash mentioned in the 1947 newspapers and other documentation. The claim is that no one was really talking about a crash until Stan Friedman and Bill Moore put the idea into the heads of the witnesses with their leading questions and their enthusiasm for the crashed saucer tales.
To refute this idea, we need to look at the rather sparse history of tales of the Roswell crash. Oh, and we’ll overlook the tales of the Aztec crash here, though it can be argued that this story, which began appearing in 1948 and was published in Behind the Flying Saucers in 1950 prove that talk of spacecraft crashes in New Mexico predated the Roswell revelations by Jesse Marcel, Sr., in 1978. Even Time got into the act with a story about recovered alien bodies in 1950, but the source of that was the reports by Frank Scully and of Aztec. The Hottel memo to the FBI about flying saucer crashes in that same era suggests that the story was widespread, but we’ll just ignore that to explore Roswell.
In the Winter 1974 issue of Saga’s UFO Report, B. Ann Slate and Stan Friedman, wrote about the Roswell crash. The two paragraphs buried deep in the article said:
During that same time in New Mexico, a woman with a responsible position at a radio station received a call from the station manager. He had been out checking reports of a UFO which had crashed in a field and was trying to track down the rumor that pieces of the object were supposedly stored in a local barn. In his excited call to the newsroom, the station manager verified the UFO crash report, and also claimed he had seen metallic pieces of the UFO being carried into a waiting Air Force plane which was destined for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
As the woman began typing out the fantastic news over the teletype to their other two radio stations, a line appeared in the middle of her text, tapped in from somewhere, with the official order: “Do not continue this transmission!”
Okay, there is a lot wrong here because the information you might really want to see, rather than this unattributed tale, are names, dates and locations. Without that there isn’t much of value. But then investigation in other arenas have lead back to this and we all now know that the woman was Lydia Sleppy, she worked for Merle Tucker at his fledgling New Mexico radio network and she was talking about the Roswell crash. The reporter talking to Sleppy was Johnny McBoyle who, when I talked to him so much later, sort of confirmed the story for me.
Before the skeptics rush to point all this out, Sleppy’s order to not transmit mentions nothing about the FBI though when I talked to her, she said the FBI had ordered her to stop typing… and yes, we can all discuss the foibles of human memory again, or we can just look at the point being made here which is that this story pre-dates Marcel’s revelations by four years and she certainly wasn’t influenced by all that discussion. She interjected the crashed UFO into the tale without prompting by anyone.
This isn’t the only documented evidence of a discussion of Roswell prior to Marcel. In 1966, Frank Edwards published Flying Saucers – Serious Business. In chapter four, “Pick Up the Pieces,” he wrote:
There are such difficult cases as the rancher near Roswell, New Mexico, who phoned the Sheriff that a blazing disc-shaped object had passed over his house at low altitude and had crashed and burned on a hillside within view of the house. The sheriff called the military; the military came on the double quick. Newsmen were not permitted in the area. A week later, however, the government released a photograph of a service man holding up a box kite with an aluminum disc about the size of a large pie plate dangling from the bottom of the kite. This, the official report explained, was a device borne aloft on the kite and used to test radar gear by bouncing signals off the pie plate. And this, we were told, was the sort of thing that had so excited the rancher. We were NOT [emphasis in original] told, however, how the alleged kite caught fire – nor why the military cordoned off the area while they inspected the wreckage of a burned-out kite with a non-inflammable pie plate tied to it.
Again, there is quite a bit wrong here and I’m not going to bother with it. The point is here are the basics of the story printed in 1966, or more than a decade before Marcel told his story to Friedman and then Len Stringfield. We know, of course,
that the rancher was Mack Brazel, he didn’t telephone the sheriff but
went to visit him, he couldn’t see the flaming wreckage from the house and in
fact, there is no mention of a flaming disk at all in any of the accounts or by
Bill Brazel. But the basics are here.
|Mack Brazel in 1947.|
Yes, but this was published nearly two decades after the events. What about news reports from 1947? While I have found none in my hasty search (and if they are out there, I’m sure David Rudiak will chime in), there are stories that suggest a crash. For example, the Oregon Journal (which also carried a picture of Brazel smoking a cigar) reported, “Headquarters of the Eighth army air force at Fort Worth, Texas, announced that the wreckage of a tin-foil covered object found on a New Mexico ranch were nothing more than the remnants of a weather observation balloon.”
While the story doesn’t use the word “crash” it does say “wreckage” and that implies a crash of some kind. It trots out the official explanation which, in fact, explains nothing. But the point is that there is talk of wreckage which certainly puts the idea of a crash in the minds of those who might have read it back there in 1947.
For those who believe that the officers at Roswell wouldn’t be reading the Oregon Journal, that article was from the United Press which means it was a wire service story. Looking further I found the same line in the Phoenix Gazette. If Phoenix isn’t close enough, the same story ran in the Albuquerque Tribune. That is a newspaper that could easily have been seen by some at Roswell.
This, I believe, eliminates the theory that the idea of a crash was somehow created after Jesse Marcel had talked to researchers in 1978. The idea was in play in 1947 unless someone wishes to dispute the idea that wreckage suggests a crash. I have been able to provide documentation for that idea that precedes Marcel’s statements to Friedman and Stringfield and that the documentation extends back to 1947. This doesn’t prove that what fell and was recovered was a spaceship but it does prove that the idea that something crashed had been in play from the very beginning.