Philip Klass, (seen on the left) in one of his attempts to undermine the research being done into the Roswell case, has presented theories that can't be substantiated. He has taken rumor and speculation and attempted to turn it into a thought provoking piece on why the memories of witnesses and the testimonies of those witnesses should be ignored. But Klass, in writing his article, has ignored the documents and the testimony that fly in the face of his beliefs.
Using the debates between Donald Schmitt and Kevin Randle, and Jaime Shandera and William Moore as the springboard, Klass writes, "The controversy has served to demonstrate how fragile and uncertain are the 40+ year old recollections of surviving principals -- which is hardly surprising."
Klass continues, writing, "Seven different photos have been located which were taken in Gen. Ramey's (Brigadier Roger Ramey, commanding officer of the Eighth Air Force) office on the late afternoon/early evening of July 8, 1947, and two of them show Ramey and Col. DuBose (later Brigadier General Thomas J. DuBose) examining the debris. All photos show the same debris. Moore/Shandera claim this is the same debris recovered by Marcel (Major Jesse A. Marcel) from the Brazel (W.W. Mac [sic] Brazel) ranch and that photos show the remains of a crashed saucer. Randle/Schmitt disagree and say the photos show the remains of a balloon-borne radar tracking device which Gen. Ramey substituted for the authentic debris."
To this point, Klass has provided the reader with an accurate account of the situation. The facts, as outlined are correct. However, Klass then makes the assumption that is not true. He writes, "The fact that all seven photos taken in Ramey's office show the same debris challenges the credibility of Maj. Jesse Marcel's 30+ year old recollections which form the cornerstone of the Roswell crashed saucer myth, at least for Moore, Friedman and Shandera."
These facts do not challenge Marcel's recollections, but Moore's reporting of those recollections. That is the subtle, yet real, difference here that is missed by Klass and the other debunkers.
Klass continues, writing, "According to Moore's book [The Roswell Incident], when Marcel (now deceased) was interviewed in the late 1970s, he said that 'one photo (taken in Ramey's office showing Marcel examining the debris) was pieces of the actual stuff we found. It was not a staged photo. Later, they cleared out our wreckage and substituted some of their own. Then they allowed more photos.' Yet all of the photos taken in Ramey's office on July 8, 1947, including two (not one) with Marcel, clearly show the same debris."
The problem isn’
t with Marcel, but with Moore’s reporting of the incident. In fact, Moore provides us with three versions of that one interview, one published in his book, one circulated a couple of years ago, and another in Focus, his publication.
But we can take this one step farther. Marcel, (seen on the left in one of the pictures taken inside Ramey's office) when shown a copy of one of the photos printed in The Roswell Incident, reported, "No. No. That picture was staged. That's not the stuff I brought home." This is a fact overlooked or ignored by the debunker camp.
A disinterested third party, Johnny Mann, reported that. His interest was only in learning the truth and is not a party to the so-called dispute. The exchange between Mann and Marcel was witnessed by another man, Julian Krajewski.
In fact, Marcel said as much on audio tape. Linda Corley had a chance to interview Marcel in 1980. During that interview, Marcel told Corley that the photographs did not show the material that he had found on the ranch. They were staged photographs. Please remember that. Marcel said that the material in the photographs was not the material he found on the ranch and that claim is on audio tape and has been reviewed by others.
The point of the dispute is not Marcel's memory then, but the reporting of his testimony. Moore has yet to offer the true version of the statement. We do have testimony, from a variety of witnesses, including those who showed Marcel the pictures that refutes both Moore's claim and Klass' assumption. We should not, then, condemn Marcel's 30+ year memory for facts that come from third parties.
Switching gears, Klass moves on to Colonel Thomas J. DuBose (on the left)the Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force in 19
47. Klass reports, "In Dec. 1990 issue of Focus, Shandera's article includes what he says are verbatim quotes from two interviews with DuBose -- one by telephone and one in person when he recently visited DuBose at his home in Florida. After asking DuBose if he had read the Moore/Shandera articles that Shandera had earlier sent to him, and if he had 'studied the (Ramey office) pictures', DuBose reportedly replied: 'Yes, and I studied the pictures very carefully.' When Shandera asked if DuBose recognized the material, DuBose reportedly replied: 'Oh yes. That's the material that Marcel brought in to Fort Worth from Roswell.'"
Klass continues, writing, "But Randle and Schmitt got a conflicting response when DuBose was interviewed earlier – on August 10, 1990. The interview was videotaped and hypnosis was used to try to enhance DuBose's 40+ year old recollections. In this interview, DuBose said that the material photographed in Ramey's office was NOT the debris that Marcel brought, i.e. that bogus material had been substituted. But then Shandera visited DuBose and asked him if there had been a switch, DuBose reportedly replied: 'Oh, bull! That material was never switched.'"
Kal Korff weighs in on this argument himself. Although he doesn’t say that the quotes are verbatim, he writes to suggest just that. No where does he say that the quotes attributed to DuBose come from Shandera’s memory of the interview and not from tapes or notes.
Korff wrote, "In a revealing interview he granted to UFO research and television producer Jamie [sic] 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 Jamie H. Shandera and the initials ‘GTD’ denote Gen.Thomas DuBose:
JHS: There are two researchers (Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle) who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey’s office had been swtiched and that you men had a weather balloon there.
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 damn good eyesight - well, it was better back then than it is now - and I was there, and I had charge of that material, and it was never switched [Emphasis added.]
Korff goes on with this, writing, "In a third interview conducted a couple of weeks later by Shandera while visiting DuBose’s home in Florida, the general related the following details:
JHS: Now as to this Roswell business - let’s begin with when Jesse Marcel came
over from Roswell with this material.
GTD: Yes. Well, as best I can recall, I met the airplane that came in from Roswell and I took a canvas mail pouch with this debris over to General Ramey’s office...
JHS: Did you see additional debris on the plane?
GTD: No, I was just handed this canvas mail pouch with the stuff in it, and [I] headed straight to Roger’s [General Ramey’s] office. [Emphasis added.]
JHS: Now again, these other researchers (Schmitt, Randle and Friedman) are saying that you guys switched this stuff and that this stuff was some kind of a weather balloon, and that you did that to fool the press and the press never saw the real stuff.
Again, the controversy isn't about 40 year old memories of a witness but about the reporting of those memories by two separate groups. It is interesting that Shandera's reporting is in direct conflict with what was reported first in The Roswell Incident and later by me.
It is also important to point out that according to both General and Mrs. DuBose, Shandera neither recorded the interview nor took notes when he talked to them in Florida. We have Shandera's unsubstantiated claim that DuBose said the debris in Ramey's office was the real debris, which is consistent with the story that Shandera and Moore were pushing at that time, but that is not consistent with the independent testimony of the witnesses, or with the documentation available.
Korff noted that this dialogue was taken from an article that Bill Moore and Jaime Shandera wrote for the MUFON UFO Journal. Although he requires me to produce some kind of verification for what I write, Shandera seems to get a pass from him. He just quotes from the article, as if that is a final authority, never mentioning that there is no corroboration for Shandera’s version in either taped interviews or notes taken at the time.
Other the other hand, we have supplied copies of the video-taped interviews to The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, the MUFON UFO Journal and the Fund for UFO Research. We have quoted exactly from that tape. Shandera and Moore have yet to offer independent and disinterested third parties copies of their tapes of their interviews. If they would do so, then the question about the debris in Ramey's office could be cleared up.
We asked DuBose pointedly if he had ever seen the Roswell debris and he responded, "NEVER!" After the Shandera interview was published, we asked him again, if he had ever seen the real debris and again he answered, "NO!"
This could be construed as just another debate between two factions, ours and theirs with no way to resolve it. However, we aren't the only ones to whom DuBose spoke. Billy Cox, a writer for Florida Today at the time, interviewed DuBose for an article he wrote in the November 24, 1991 edition of the newspaper. Cox reported that DuBose told him essentially the same story that he told us. 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 dated September 30, 1991, Cox wrote, "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 (seen on the left with Don Schmitt). 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. 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. Shandera had called Ecker, telling him that he would arrange for Ecker to interview DuBose. Ecker, however, didn't wait and called DuBose on his own. DuBose then offered our 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 our 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 moment. Left alone to sort out the details, the correct version of events bubbles to the surface.
Klass, and later Korff, ignore this because it simply doesn’t fit with their view of the situation. If there was no switch, then we have prima facie evidence that what was found was a balloon and it doesn’t matter if it was Mogul or anything else. On the other hand, if the debris was switched, then what we see in the pictures is not what Marcel found and the door is again opened.
It should also be noted that DuBose hasn't actually changed his testimony at all. The real confusion comes from his statement that the debris on the floor in Ramey's office was not switched. We had suggested that the debris Marcel brought to Ramey's office was switched with the balloon. Dubose said that the debris on the floor wasn't switched. That statement is correct. The debris on the floor was not switched. It was always a balloon. The real debris was never on the floor in Ramey’s office, contrary to what has been reported by others.
I could go into a longer explanation of the situation in Ramey's office on July 8, 1947, but have done so in the November/December 1990 issue of The International UFO Reporter and the April 1991 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal. Both publications provided detailed accounts of those critical hours, including a long listing of sources used in the preparation of the articles. It is interesting to note that Shandera and Moore quote sources but never supply copies of the tapes or transcripts to independent third parties. I have done both
Klass, as he continues his analysis of the story, then makes the same mistake that Shandera has made. He confuses two flights with one. He writes, "When he (Don Schmitt) asked DuBose if he had seen 'the actual debris' brought by Marcel, DuBose replied: 'Never.' He claimed the real debris was contained in a plastic bag which was 'tied with a wire seal around the top.' which was flown to Washington, D.C. in a B-25 or B-26. (Marcel, interviewed in the late 1970s, recalled the debris was flown to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in a B-29.)"
DuBose, when interviewed by us, was talking of the a single flight from Roswell which was probably made late on Sunday July 6, 1947. That flight held some of the debris brought into the Chaves County Sheriff's Office by Mack Brazel. Then, two days later, Marcel and the B-29 flew on to Fort Worth. There is no discrepancy here, just a misinterpretation of the facts by an outsider who has confused them.
But Klass is not content to leave it there. He reports, "One indication of the 89-year old DuBose's flawed memory is that when Schmitt asked if Shandera had visited his home a few months earlier to interview him, DuBose said Shandera had not. But when Schmitt asked Mrs. DuBose, she confirmed that Shandera had indeed visited their house for an interview."
The conclusion, which Klass is so impressed with that he typed it in all caps, boldface, and underlined it, is, "Thus, while Moore/Shandera debate with Randle/Schmitt over which of DuBose's recollections of events that occurred more than 40 years ago is correct, DuBose demonstrated for Schmitt that he could not remember a visit and interview by Shandera which had occurred only a few months earlier."
Ignoring the fact that long term memory is better than short term, and that the elderly often display perfect memories of long ago events while being unable to remember what they had for breakfast, let's examine that whole statement by Klass.
First, DuBose remembered the interview, but not the name of the interviewer. That's a far cry from Klass' claim that DuBose didn't remember the interview.
Second, the real question is not which of DuBose's recollections of the events are accurate, but which version reported by others, is correct. DuBose's recollections have not changed. Once again, I have made copies of the tapes available to disinterested third parties for review. Shandera/Moore have yet to do that. While I prove our claims, we must accept what they say without corroboration.
Klass does give us an answer, of sorts, to the question of which version is correct. Klass points out, "Randle/Schmitt managed to locate and interview the reporter for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
-- J. Bond Johnson -- who had taken at least several of the photos in Ramey's office. According to their taped interview, Johnson said he then doubted that he had photographed the authentic recovered debris. But several months later, when
Johnson was interviewed by Shandera, he changed his account and said that he was confident that his photos did show the actual debris that Marcel brought to Fort Worth (General Ramey, crouched and Colonel DuBose in one of Johnson's photographs)."
Here is an opportunity to examine the methods and techniques used by Shandera. There is a wealth of documentation that can't be altered. Johnson left a legacy of writings in the newspaper so that we can compare his original story with what he is saying today.
What we learn is that Johnson's first version of the events, that he saw and photographed the bogus debris, and that the cover story of a balloon was in place before he arrived at Ramey's office, is correct. After talking to Shandera/Moore, Johnson's story changed. (For a complete analysis, see the November/December 1990 International UFO Reporter.)
It boils down to Shandera's version of events against that given and documented by outside sources. Shandera's version is at odds with both my tapes and the newspaper articles written (including one by Johnson and published the next day in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in the right time frame.)
In fact, further evidence of Shandera's altering facts appears in Shandera's published version of what Irving Newton, one of Ramey's weather officers, said and did in Ramey's office. Shandera, writing in the MUFON UFO Journal suggested that Newton had changed his story after I had interviewed him, but a complete review of his testimony published in The Roswell Incident, shows that Newton's testimony is consistent throughout all interviews with the exception of the new data written by Shandera. (For a complete analysis, see the MUFON UFO Journal, April 1991.)
So Klass seizes on the changes in testimony, condemning the witnesses, claiming that forty year old memories are flawed. But the problem is not the memories of the witnesses, but the reporting of their testimony by third parties. In fact, it is a single individual, Shandera, who is causing the trouble in this case. It is Shandera who is saying that I have been wrong. It is Shandera who has altered and misreported DuBose's testimony, it is Moore and Shandera who have created the controversy over the Marcel interview, and it is Shandera against Newton. I offer copies of the tapes, the documentation, and the transcripts to independent third parties to prove my veracity while the others offer nothing other than their opinions and versions of the events.
Klass, trying to prove that Roswell was something mundane, probably a balloon, reports everything that raises the remotest question, but never tells the full story. He stops short. Klass, it seems, is treating this as a debate and not as a search for the truth.
At the end of his discussion of the Roswell events, he writes, "As reported in the July 9, 1947 edition of the Roswell newspaper, Brazel was quoted as saying, 'when the debris was gathered up the tinfoil, paper, tape and sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated, the entire lot would have weighed maybe some five pounds.' Brazel was quoted as saying there was 'considerable Scotch tape and some tape with flowers had been used in the construction. No strings or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment may have been used.' (Curious construction techniques for a very advanced ET society to use in building spacecraft intended to traverse jillions of miles.)"
But what Klass never reports, though I have told him about it repeatedly, was that Brazel was escorted to that interview by Army officers. There are six separate witnesses who saw Brazel in downtown Roswell. They were surprised by Brazel's refusal to acknowledge them, and the fact that there were three officers with him.
Klass, when I pointed that out, said that maybe it was easier for the officers to drive Brazel into town than for them to give him directions to the newspaper office. Three military officers drove Brazel into town so that he could be interviewed because it was easier than telling him, "Drive out the front gate, stay on Main Street, and the newspaper office will be on the right."
Paul McEvoy, an editor at the newspaper said that Brazel was obviously under duress as he told his "new" story. Friends commented on Brazel's lack of friendliness while he was in town. No, Brazel was taken to the office to tell a new story. The one that the military wanted him to tell.
But even so, Brazel slipped in a statement that was duly reported in the Roswell Daily Record, but ignored by Klass. In it, Brazel said, "I am sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon."
Klass completes his report asking, "How would Ramey (who never talked to Brazel) know what kind of bogus material to use to replicate the description that Brazel would give to the Roswell newspaper? And how would Ramey be able to find and obtain such 'look-alike' material so quickly??"
But Klass, as does Korff, overlooks the testimony of others. DuBose suggested that debris had been in Fort Worth at least two days before Ramey made his press release. Ramey was in communications with Colonel Blanchard in Roswell, as well as SAC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Orders from the top had trickled down through the chain of command. Ramey knew what to say, and probably obtained the balloon from his own weather station. It didn't matter what Brazel had seen because Brazel's statements to the newspaper the next day were fed to him by the military. He repeated what he had been told because the military was there watching him.
The answer to the first part of the question is that Ramey knew what Brazel would say because he had read the script. It wasn't Brazel telling the truth at the newspaper office, but telling the reporters what he had been told to tell them.
And the answer to the second part is that they had been working on this for more than three days. Ramey, as well as many others, had already seen the debris.
The major problem is that Shandera, and at times his partner, Moore, are trying to confuse the Roswell issue. They publish statements that are in direct contradiction with statements they have published in the past. They have reinterviewed witnesses and then claim that there are changes in the testimony.
Klass, wanting to destroy the Roswell testimony, uses these supposed discrepancies to refute the good work being done. He claims that witnesses can't be relied on to remember accurately events of more than forty years ago. In fact, Klass has admitted that his job is to debuke UFO reports. Not investigate them to learn the truth, but to debuke them regardless of what that truth might be.
Klass continues to misinterpret facts. In his May 1994 Skeptics UFO Newsletter
, he suggests that "Mrs. Frankie Rowe, who R/S [Randle/Schmitt] (erroneously) refer to as a 'firsthand witness,'..." Yet he is aware that she said that she had ha
ndled a piece of metallic debris brought to the Roswell Fire Department by a state trooper. That makes her a first-hand witness to part of the story.
Klass (centered on the left with two of his fans) also reports that "If a crashed saucer had been found 40 miles south of the debris field found on the Brazel ranch, the 'retrieval team' surely would have spent many days searching along the 40-mile flight path between the two sites, looking for more debris and perhaps even an ET who might have parachuted to safety. Yet no such search effort is reported by R/S's 'witnesses.'"
Klass is assuming that because we, or our witnesses, reported no such effort, it is a flaw in the story. It is true that none reported such an effort immediately after the event, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, only that those we have interviewed were not participants in it. The only legitimate conclusion to be drawn is that it hasn't been reported, not that it didn't happen.
Klass, in his conclusions, writes, "And Kevin Randle, who formerly served in the Army and later in the Air Force Reserve, enjoys Government benefits as a veteran. MORE AND MORE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE FIT TOGETHER."
I have never understood what Klass was implying here. That I’m some sort of government agent attempting to expose the truth about the crash. Wouldn’t it make more sense if I was arguing that there was no cover-up?
When I responded that I currently receive no government benefits at the time as alleged by Klass, Klass responded, "It is regrettable that you fail to reply to question I pose. In my letter of April 29 , I asked: 'Do you enjoy absolutely NO present or potential future benefits for having served in Vietnam?' (Emphasis added here.) Your evasive answer is: 'I currently enjoy no benefits...' (Emphasis added.)"
In response, I said that I had used the qualifier because the laws are subject to change and my military status was subject to change. At that time, I didn’t anticipate a war in Iraq or that I would be a part of the military force engaged there. I wrote, "There are no benefits that I receive today, nor are there any for which I am eligible. The question is without relevance."
Yet when I asked Klass what his military service had been, he responded writing, "I served 60 years with AFOSI, which included short stints as a B-17 pilot over Europe, a B-29 pilot over Japan, an F-86 pilot over Korea and an A-10 pilot in Vietnam." I had tried to answer Klass' question honestly. In response to my legitimate question about Klass' military service, I was treated to a sarcastic reply.
Here’s where we are on this. We are treated to his analysis of the facts, but as we've seen, the conclusions drawn are not accurate. He leaves out that which doesn't conform to his opinions, and attempts to discredit testimony by claiming the memories are nearly fifty years old and can't be trusted to be reliable. His purpose is not to get at the truth, but to persuade others that there was no UFO crash. But a scientific investigation is a search for the truth and not an endorsement of a particular agenda. Here we see what is really going on, and once aware of it, can examine all the information in the light of that knowledge.
And that, really, is what we all should be doing.