In Karl Pflock’s anti-Roswell book, Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, we learn, on page 145, that Charles Moore (Seen here), one of the project engineers, didn’t even know the name of the project until 1992 when Robert Todd told him. It makes it sound as if Mogul was quite important and that it was so highly classified that it’s not surprising that the officers and men at Roswell didn’t know a thing about it.
I have reported, in the past, that Moore told me that he, along with a couple of others traveled from Alamogordo to Roswell to ask for assistance in tracking the balloon arrays. This would mean that there were officers and men at Roswell who did know about the project and what it was. And given the way the military works, at least one of those officers would have also been involved in the recovery on the Foster (Brazel) ranch and would have identified it.
And even if that wasn’t true, we also know that the Mogul people were required to issue NOTAMs, that is, Notices to Airmen, about the launches so that had this been what had been found, one of the men, probably the operations officer, would have suggested that the debris was actually one of these balloons, had it been.
Now we have even more evidence about this. Writing on Errol Bruce Knapp’s UFO UpDates, Brad Sparks tells us that Moore knew the name of the project long before Robert Todd told him what it was. Sparks gives us a look at a letter that was written in 1949, which was unclassified and which mentions Project Mogul by name. So, even the name of the Project was not classified.
The letter can be found at:
In the letter, dated May 12, 1949, Robert B. McLaughlin is describing, for James A. Van Allen (seen here), that C. B. Moore, yes, our Charles Moore, who he was. He then writes, "In addition to this, he had been head of Project Mogul for the Air Force."
I suppose you could say that Moore was unaware of the letter but according to Brad Sparks, Moore had received a courtesy copy and the copy that Sparks reproduced came from Moore’s own files. So, it would seem that Moore knew the name long before Robert Todd told him what it was.
Even more impressive, are the diary notes written by Dr. Albert Crary, chief of the project and reproduced by the Air Force in their massive The Roswell Report released in 1995. In Section 17, Journal Transcripts, Albert P. Crary, April 2 1946 - May 8, 1946 and December 2, 1946 - August 16, 1947, we can see that on December 11, 1946... "Equipment from Johns Hopkins Unicersity (sic) transferred to MOGUL plane..."
On December 12, Crary noted, "C-54 unloaded warhead material first then all MOGUL eqpt (sic) which went to North Hangar." (See below.)
I’ve seen Jesse Marcel, Sr., the air intelligence officer at Roswell called a liar and worse over just these sorts of things. We can now document that Moore knew the name even as he insisted that neither he nor any of the others knew it in 1947. Clearly that statement is not accurate.
What we learn from all this is that even the name wasn’t all that important. While the ultimate purpose might have been classified, it is quite clear that not even the name was. Crary puts in it his diary and then McLaughlin writes about it in an unclassified letter, of which Moore has a copy.
So, once again, we can ask the question... How is it that these balloons, which were not classified, in a project with an unclassified name, could be mistaken for something extraterrestrial? The simple answer is, "They couldn’t."
And now we have more evidence that the situation in 1947 is not what we have been told by the Air Force and others. That makes Mogul and even less likely answer.
Thank you for that informative article. As we can plainly see by what happened in Stephenville UFO witnesses are not as stupid as the scientist and debunkers claim. Also we can safely say Major Jessie Marcel was not that dumb also. I could never imagine in my head that this could have been mistaken for a MOGUL. It is interesting to note that sheep eat weather balloons. Instead of the sheep being afraid they would called dinner and Mack would have had some dead sheep on his hands.
I believe the MJ12 was used to distract further investigations on Roswell itself. Brad Sparks did a great job...but his reasons for why they did it just don't add up. I was born in 1943 I worked with balsa wood for building all types of stuff. There is no way I would ever mistake balsa wood for anything but balsa wood, after I pick it up and handled it.
I hope we never forget Roswell many people kept their oaths till they died and Jessie and the other offer spirits remind us never to give up. You do all UFO witnesses a service by continuing to probe, and release information on this subject, please don't give up.
UFO Media Matters
You ask: "How is it that these balloons,which were not classified, in a project with an unclassified name, could be mistaken for something extraterrestrial?"
Your answer is "They couldn't".
You are perfectly correct. They couldn't and didn't. Please name someone (anybody) who mistook the debris for something extraterrestrial in 1947.
(By this I mean those witnesses who spoke in 1947,not those who 30-40 years later tried to recall what they said or thought in 1947).
That's absurd. They were silenced, so they couldn't speak about it for 30 years plus.
You have highlighted one of the big 'cultural differences' between Roswell believers & skeptics. I do not accept any of the 'silencing' claims, but even if they were true the only concept of what an ET craft looked like (in 1947) came from the realms of SF. Since the crashed object bore no resemblance to anything depicted in SF, why would anyone mistake the debris for an ET craft? Even today, an ET craft is unknown to science (apart from our own of course).
Christopher Allan's disingenuous question deserves an answer for the benefit of more open-minded readers.
I am neither a Roswell "believer" (sic) nor a "skeptic" (sic) -- a simplistic formulation if ever there was one -- but a confirmed agnostic, but I do know something about what witnesses were thinking in July 1947. They were not thinking about ET visitors, unless they were mystics or Fortean Society members. The military people involved in the early Roswell investigation of the wreckage (which is what's being discussed here, not allegations of bodies) do not answer to either description.
As I show in my paper "The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in the Early UFO Age" (published in a University Press of Kansas book in 2000), the alien-visitation interpretation of the UFO phenomenon only slowly gained acceptance. It doesn't even show up in the first Gallup poll, taken in August 1947, which surveyed popular views of flying saucers. Early witnesses tended to think they had seen secret aircraft (Ken Arnold's initial impression, for example), or they had no opinion at all beyond puzzlement.
The reactions of Roswell military personnel are perfectly predictable to any historically minded observer. Strawman arguments like Allan's have the unfortunate effect -- from the dismissive perspective he claims to favor -- of giving strength to the ET interpretation simply because they are so demonstrably false.
The point of my posting was to confirm that Kevin's answer to his own question is correct. There is no reason to suppose that any of the military or civilian witnesses at the time ever thought the debris was from an ET craft. They might, possibly, have considered the idea in later years, we cannot say. As I wrote before, I do believe that Marcel, Cavitt, Brazel and maybe the sherriff probably did identify the object for what it was but did have slight doubts. These doubts were caused by Brazel overhearing something about 'flying discs' in a bar in Corona, plus of course Haut's press release which focused everyone's mind on the possibility that a strange 'disc' (not ET craft) had been recovered. Once the press release went out, the debris had to be forwarded to 'higher headquarters' by official demand.
The fact that the debris was tentatively identified by those who recovered it in no way implies that they realised the exact nature of it or its purpose.
To answer Joseph Capp, who is saying the witnesses such as Marcel were dumb or stupid? There is nothing published at the time to indicate any of the witnesses, military or civilian, were genuinely fooled by the recovered object (they even tried to assemble some of the pieces into a kite). But there was that idiotic press release (by someone who never saw the stuff) which lit the fuse and caused all the commotion.
Again, even the Air Force acknowledged -- decades later, of course -- that witnesses (just as they'd insisted all along, notwithstanding derision from self-styled skeptics who, let us recall, first championed the AF's original ordinary-weather-balloon identification) were indeed intimidated into silence. That's why they kept their awareness of the peculiar nature of the wreckage to themselves and family and friends.
That the strange nature of the material stuck in witnesses' memories for so long is one of the enduring mysteries of the Roswell incident. If one has to choose whom to credit here, I think any sensible observer would take their side -- they were there, after all -- as opposed to the airy speculations of a hostile critic who conjures up hypothetical (and unfalsifiable) scenarios from across the Atlantic.
I have my own problems with the ET interpretation of the event, but I have no trouble acknowledging what is surely obvious: that the Roswell incident constitutes a genuine mystery of the early Cold War, and that it is so far resistant to facile would-be explanations representing themselves as prosaic.
My own suspicion is that the true solution continues to elude us. Some of the reason I think that is the weakness of "skeptics'" arguments which presume a massive conspiracy of idiots and liars. That's no more plausible than the contentions of extreme advocates on the other side.
What could possibly be wrong with conceding the obvious: that interesting, even potentially significant questions remain? That doesn't commit us to anything except further investigation. Meantime, why claim certainty when none exists?
Why would anyone mistake the debris for an ET craft if it didn't resemble anything from sci-fi? LOL, the material was obviously artificial, yet it was wholly unlike anything produced on Earth. Put two and two together.
cda summarily dismisses the press release, but...if "everybody" recognized the debris for what cda says it supposedly was (crashed weather balloon), then why was the press release issued? Do we assume that Haut wrote it up because of what he heard from the townspeople? I don't think so!
No, the press release is the smoking gun, in my opinion. Haut would not have put it out without confirmation from his superiors.
The material as described at the time was certainly not "wholly unlike anything produced on earth" Even the material as described 3 or 4 decades later was not "wholly unlike...". Different people described it in different ways. Those who described it as unearthly were clearly influenced by the intervening years of UFOs, flying saucers and the general idea of ETH. Those who described it in more prosaic terms were not so influenced. I repeat: nobody knew then or knows now what an true ET craft looks like. And nobody, even the most experienced USAF military personnel, could possibly know about all types of aerial craft produced here on earth. Hence the strong likelihood that those who handled the debris feared that, if not a US balloon/radar target, the object might be Russian in origin. Hence the demand to send it to Wright Pat for analysis.
Bob Barbanes says Haut would never have put out his release without confirmation or permission from above. According to Moore in "The Roswell Incident" this is exactly what he did. And according to contemporary reports, he was severely rebuked for doing so. (But I agree there remains some doubt over the authorization of this press release).
Just imagine how close the world must have come to annihilation in July 1947. The personnel, prominently including the chief intelligence officer, at Roswell -- which housed atomic bombs and therefore held the fate of the human race in its hands -- were such blithering idiots that they failed to recognize even the most banal, ordinary material. Just think: the remains of a balloon, mistaken for something extraordinary with all kinds of unsettling national-security implications, may have threatened World War III. Where did the U.S. military find these morons, and why did it put them in the most sensitive imaginable place? And what kind of lunacy led to the decision to threaten and silence witnesses who saw ... the remains of a balloon?
What a story. It's amazing indeed that all post-World War II historians appear to have missed it. I've encountered it in no Cold War history I've ever read, and I'm something of a Cold War history buff. Whole books have been written on episodes that could have sparked World War III, and all those scholars are oblivious to this one, certainly among the most dramatic of all. Weirdly, only UFO skeptics seem to know about it.
Or, on the other hand, maybe those so-called skeptics don't really believe what they're claiming, either. And if they continue to insist that they really, really do believe it, surely the Roswell incident could not have been the only such fantastic misidentification committed by these clowns at that place and time. Given the magnitude of the error, it could hardly have been sui generis.
So let's have other examples, please. Unless, of course, no other examples can be demonstrated, in which case we will be forced to conclude that theirs is just another case of special pleading. In other words, skeptic ideologues up to their usual rhetorical tricks.
Incidentally, "wholly unlike anything produced on earth" is a flawed, meaningless argument. Even ET material would have at least some elements in common with its terrestrial counterpart, just as daylight discs have elements in common with terrestrial aircraft (along, of course, with radical differences). The Roswell material was highly unusual, and that's interesting enough, and part of the continuing puzzle of the case. But let's not get carried away with the rhetoric.
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