Let’s chase a footnote or two, something we haven’t done for a while. I was reading a paper that was discussing the debris displayed on the floor in Brigadier General Roger Ramey’s office. Photographs of the debris were found decades ago and some of the
negatives are housed in the Special Collections in the library
at the University of Texas at Arlington. It is clear in the uncropped
photographs that the material on the floor of Ramey’s office is a weather
balloon and the torn-up remnants of a rawin reflector. The discussion was that
the material shown there had been switched from the real debris that Major
Jesse Marcel had brought from Roswell. In this latest analysis, it was said
that the debris had not been switched, which, of course, means that a weather
balloon had been brought from Roswell by Marcel. You can read about this here:
|Brigadier General Roger Ramey and|
Thomas DuBose (seated) looking at
the material on the floor in
The specific quote in that paper concerning all this is, “Decades later, during an interview, DuBose was asked if the original debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched with the remnants of a weather balloon [as Marcel had claimed]. DuBose answered that the material was never switched.”
Footnotes in that article, lead us to Kal Korff. That specific quote is in the middle of information that was attributed to Korff in an article that appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer Volume 21.4, found at:
Specifically, the quote is this:
Q. There are two researchers ([Don] Schmitt and Randle) [parenthetical statement in the original] who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there in its place.
A. [DuBose] Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
Q. So what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought from Roswell?
A. That’s absolutely right.
Later, to reinforce this idea, Korff in that same article wrote:
Q. Did you get a chance to read the material and look at the pictures?
A. Yes, and I studied the pictures very carefully.
Q. Do you recognize that material?
A. Oh yes. That’s the material that Marcel brought into Fort Worth from Roswell.
Given the way the article is structured and the information provided, that would be the end of the trail. Korff provided no footnotes or references for the quoted material, only that DuBose denied the material had been switched. It leaves the impression that Korff might have conducted the interview, though that is not said anywhere in the article. We just have DuBose quoted as the source with no information on how those quotes were gathered.
That might have been a problem for someone not immersed in the Roswell minutia who wished to chase footnotes. I know, however, where the quotes come from originally. They appeared in Korff’s less than accurate account of his alleged investigation into the Roswell case. He wrote on page 129 of the hardback edition of his crummy book:
In a revealing interview he granted to UFO researcher and television producer Jamie Shandera, DuBose put to rest the “mystery” of the so-called substituted wreckage and has exposed it for what it is – another Major Marcel myth! The initials “JHS” stand for Jaime Shandera and the initials “GTD” denote Gen. Thomas DuBose.
In this version, which now gives us more information about who conducted the interview (including the initials of the participants rather than a “Q” and “A”), Korff wrote:
JHS. There are two researchers (Schmitt and Randle) [parenthetical statement in the original] who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there in its place.
GTD. Oh Bull! That material was never switched!
JHS. So what you’re saying is that the material in General Ramey’s office was the actual debris brought from Roswell?
GTD. That’s absolutely right.
JHS: Could General Ramey or someone else have ordered a switch without you knowing it?
GTD: I have dame good eyesight – well, it was better back then than it is now – and I was there, and I had charge of the material, and it was never switched. [Emphasis added] [by Korff in the original].
You’ll note that this is the same interview that appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer. The footnotes in the book take us to Focus, Volume 5, (New Series) dated June 30, 1990. It was also published in the MUFON UFO Journal, No. 273, in January 1991. The quotes are the same in all these various locations, so that we have traced the original back to interviews conducted by Shandera.
Here’s what we learn about those interviews. “…Gen. DuBose was recently interviewed first by telephone and later at his home by Fair Witness Project [Bill Moore’s organization to investigate UFOs] Board member Jaime Shandera.”
We now know who gathered the information, when it was gathered (meaning late 1990 and early 1991), and what it is claimed to have been said. But, unlike many of these chasing footnotes articles, there is more to the story. I have a great deal of other information that affects how this all plays out and it was information available to anyone who looked for more than just their confirming evidence...
First, according to both General and Mrs. DuBose, Shandera neither recorded the conversation held at the DuBose home, nor did he take notes. We’re left with only Shandera’s claims of what was said, and the information in quotation marks is more likely a paraphrase than actual quotes. There is no way to verify the accuracy of the quotes.
Although Shandera has been asked, he apparently did not record the telephone conversation either. He has never suggested that he took any notes during that conversation, so, once again, we have no way to verify the veracity of his claims.
On the other hand, DuBose was interviewed in Florida by Don Schmitt and Stan Friedman on August 10, 1991. That interview was recorded on video tape so that a record of DuBose’s exact words is available for review. In that interview, DuBose was asked pointedly if he had ever seen the Roswell debris and he responded, "NEVER!" That means, quite clearly, that the debris in Ramey’s office was not what had been brought from Roswell.
After the Shandera interview was published, DuBose was again interviewed and asked if he had ever seen the real debris and again he answered, "NO!" And, again, that refutes the information that is traced back to a single source, which is Shandera.
This could be construed as just another debate between two factions with no way to resolve it. However, DuBose spoke to others when asked about this particular point. Billy Cox, at the time a writer for Florida Today interviewed DuBose for an article he wrote for the November 24, 1991, edition of the newspaper. Cox reported that DuBose told him essentially the same story that he told the others except Shandera. Here was a disinterested third-party reporting on the same set of circumstances, but he didn't get Shandera's version of the events.
In a letter Cox send me dated September 30, 1991:
I was aware of the recent controversy generated by an interview he (DuBose) had with Jaime Shandera, during which he stated that the display debris at Fort Worth was genuine UFO wreckage and not a weather balloon, as he had previously stated. But I chose not to complicate matters by asking him to illuminate what he had told Shandera; instead, I simply asked him, without pressure, to recall events as he remembered them...he seemed especially adamant about his role in the Roswell case. While he stated that he didn't think the debris was extraterrestrial in nature (though he had no facts to support his opinion), he was insistent that the material that Ramey displayed for the press was in fact a weather balloon, and that he had personally transferred the real stuff in a lead-lined mail pouch to a courier going to Washington ...I can only conclude that the Shandera interview was the end result of the confusion that might occur when someone attempts to press a narrow point of view upon a 90-year-old man. I had no ambiguity in my mind that Mr. DuBose was telling me the truth.
Cox isn't the only one to hear that version of events from DuBose. Kris Palmer, a former researcher with NBC's Unsolved Mysteries reported much the same thing in 1991. When she spoke with DuBose, he told her that the real debris had gone on to Washington in a sealed pouch and that a weather balloon had been on the floor in General Ramey's office.
But the most enlightening of the interviews comes from Don Ecker formerly of UFO magazine and now the host of Dark Matters Radio on KGRA digital radio. Shandera had called Ecker, telling him that he would arrange for Ecker to interview DuBose about this issue. Ecker, however, didn't wait and called DuBose on his own. DuBose then offered the weather balloon/switch version of events. When Ecker reported that to Shandera, Shandera said for him to wait. He'd talk to DuBose.
After Shandera talked to DuBose, he called Ecker and said, "Now call him." DuBose then said that the debris on the floor hadn't been switched and that it was the stuff that Marcel had brought from Roswell. It should be pointed out here that Palmer called DuBose after all this took place. Without Shandera there to prime the pump, DuBose told weather balloon/switch version of events. It was only after close questioning by Shandera could that version be heard. It is not unlike a skillful attorney badgering a witness in a volatile trial. Under the stress of the interview and the close questioning, the witness can be confused for a period of time. Left alone to sort out the details, the correct version of events bubbles to the surface.
The point here is that sometimes following the footnotes to their source isn’t enough. You have to explore other avenues of information to ensure that the footnotes are accurate. In this case, because I’m immersed in the minutia of Roswell, I knew where to look for the additional information and that additional information paints a different picture than that found if you only followed the footnotes to Korff.