In the early 1990s, we, meaning Don Schmitt, Stan Friedman and I were having a debate with John Keel about what had fallen in Roswell. He was suggesting it was a Fugo Balloon, that is, a Japanese Balloon Bomb. Research quickly disproved this, though Keel did hang onto the answer longer than I thought necessary. He did write one thing that was important. In the January 1991 issue of Fate, on page 67, Keel wrote, “I suppose by 1999 there will be thousands of Roswell witnesses from that long-gone era.”
Turns out that Keel was right about this. You might ask yourself, “But why bring it up now, some twenty-five years later?”
It is because, as many of you know, I have just completed a book about the Roswell case as it exists in the 21st century, and though I tried to get to everything, there is just so much that I missed a few things. One of those was the testimony of
the late First Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Colonel) John P. “Jack”
Trowbridge. He had been assigned to the 509th Bomb Group in 1947 and
in 2007 he said that he was one of the intelligence officers working with Major
Jesse Marcel. He claimed that he had handled the “memory metal” debris that
some have mentioned in the past.
|Lt. John P. Trowbridge|
He also claimed that he had been over at the Marcel’s to play bridge that night in July 1947 but Jesse wasn’t there at the time. It was fairly late in the evening when they broke up the game because Marcel finally had returned. They apparently went outside to see what Marcel had brought home.
He told Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern at their UFO Mystic blog, “It was aluminum in appearance, there were fragments of aircraft-skin or whatever the thing was, and also some girders, with pictures of… hieroglyphic-like things on it. I took them to be… you know… who knows?... [I]t was interesting. I could get my hand on the material. And the material had some peculiar properties… For example they looked like [Hershey bar] wrappings [very thin foil]… But you squeezed it up in your hands as hard as you could, you let it go, and it returned… to the original shape. Instantly!”
He went on to claim that Marcel brought in some of the debris the next day and they all played with it and then went back to work. Later in the day they were told that nothing had happened and they should not talk about it.
According to that article and then to his obituary, he had been the last known survivor to personally have inspected the debris. This was “a secret he kept for 50 years.”
And I say nonsense. It is the proof of Keel’s theory that more and more people would come forward to tell their tales of seeing the alien debris or the bodies of the alien creatures as time passed.
We know, based on the testimony of Jesse Marcel, Sr., Jesse Marcel, Jr., and Viaud Marcel that this bridge game didn’t happen because none of them ever mentioned it. Jesse Jr. told me, as he did many others, that his father woke him up to show him the debris. He never mentioned other people being there that night or seeing the memory metal that Trowbridge mentioned. His mother didn’t report that either and when Jesse Sr. was interviewed by Linda Corley, there was no mention of any of this.
I have searched through the 509th Unit Histories for the summer of 1947 and I could find no reference to Trowbridge as part of the intelligence section. To be fair, few names were mentioned in those various reports, so it is possible that he was assigned to intelligence but simply not mentioned. I do know that he was assigned to the Headquarters, but then those who had jobs at the group level or in the supporting organizations such as the JAG, or Finance were assigned there for purposes of accounting, pay and the like.
Given the lack of mention of many of the things that Trowbridge claimed, that no one suggested a bridge party on that night, that his account varies from those given by the Marcels, and that he has some of the other facts wrong, I find this account to be unreliable. It is as John Keel said so long ago. There are many people coming forward with their tales of seeing the bodies, seeing the craft or handling the debris, and unless there is some form of corroboration, these stories should be rejected.