Thursday, March 12, 2009

Roswell Firemen and the Double Standard

The double standard in UFO research is alive and well in Roswell. Tony Bragalia reports on what he and I learned from talking with one of the Roswell Firemen, and the first skeptical comment is that we can’t trust the memories of the old. The man shared with us his recollections of what happened in 1947 but he’s old (and fairly crotchety) so we can ignore this. His memories are all jumbled together, confused, confabulated, incoherent, and not based in reality.

First, let’s examine exactly what he told to Tony and what he told to me. He said that there had been no run out to the UFO crash site by the Roswell Fire Department. He didn’t say they didn’t make runs outside the city limits because we know that isn’t true. He said that there had been no run by the fire department for this specific event. Not that crash didn’t happen, but that they made no fire run.

Why not? A colonel from the base (though I suspect it might have been an officer of a lower grade simply because there weren’t that many colonels in Roswell, though the Roswell Fire Marshal was a lieutenant colonel) came out and ordered them not to go. Later the City Manager did the same thing by ordering the firemen not to discuss the events.

It also seems that the men of the Roswell Army Air Field fire department did respond to the crash. It was this fire department that went out to the site, and not the civilians.

When I spoke the to man, he was reluctant to talk, and if I approached a question from a slightly different angle he would tell me that he had already answered that question. This told me that he was still sharp at age 90 and that his mind had not faded as some might suggest.

One point that I made in an earlier post was this man had been interviewed by Karl Pflock, and his testimony had been used to discredit Frankie Rowe. When I asked if he knew Dan Dwyer, Frankie Rowe’s father, he said that he had. He said that Dan was a fireman (removing, again, this skeptical claim that it had been proven that Frankie Rowe’s father was not a fireman... why do I think that someone tried to find a fireman in that frame with the last name Rowe, never thinking that Frankie Rowe had once been Frankie Dwyer and when she married took her husband’s name?)

It was at this point the man told me, as he had Tony, that the colonel had come into the department to order them not to go, but that Frankie’s father, in his personal car (or POV for those of you with a military mind set) drove to the site. He said that Dan had told him the site was cordoned by armed guards, but that Dwyer had gotten close enough to see the craft. In other words, corroboration for Frankie Rowe.

Second, let’s talk about this double standard. We are told to be careful of information obtained from the very old. We are told of diseases of the mind that cause confusion in the elderly. We are told how they jumble their memories together and that we can ignore what they say, especially if it concerns the crash of an alien spacecraft.

On the other hand, these same skeptics have no trouble accepting the memories of the old if those memories conform to what they believe. Take Charles Moore, for example (and I don’t mean to pick on him, but the best example includes him). Moore is believed when he talks of the mythical Mogul Flight No. 4. We all know it happened because Moore told us he remembered losing track of the balloons up around Arabella and he was intrigued by the strange names of the places in New Mexico. So, contrary to the record that suggests Flight No. 4 was cancelled, and contrary to the information that the first successful flight in New Mexico was No. 5, we know there was a Flight No. 4 because Moore remembered losing track of it near Arabella.

So, why are these fifty and sixty-year-old memories of Moore accepted and those of the fireman rejected? How is it that Moore’s memory remained intact and that of the fireman has been jumbled by age and the publicity surrounding the Roswell crash? Why do we accept Moore’s claim of losing track of a flight near Arabella that we can’t establish took place but reject the information that corroborates the testimony of other witnesses?

Here’s the real point, however. Both Tony and I have interviewed a man who was in the Roswell Fire Department in July 1947. He said that they were told by a military representative told them not to go out there. He said that he was told the base fire department would handle it. He said that he learned, from Dwyer, that the craft was strange... suggesting that it was an unknown object from someplace else.

He has corroborated much of what Frankie Rowe said which means we can dispense with calling her a liar. She might be mistaken, she might be wrong, but she’s not a liar. Others are saying the same things she said so that her story is no longer stand alone (though her sister had corroborated part of it long ago). She has been vindicated.

Where do we go now? Well, I have the names of some of those who served in the base fire department and the search for them will begin. Of course, I realize that we are now more than sixty years from the event and the men who served in various capacities on the base would likely be in their late 80s and into their 90s, but we might get lucky. And we know of a couple of other places to begin searching for information. We now just have to take that step.


Bob Koford said...

Thanks for sticking to it. There is just no other way, whether anyone else likes it or not.

This would seem to confirm the far-surpassing-abilities memory foil, as well.

After what magic number of individual testimonies do extreme skeptics begin to turn their mind-wheels, and realize it couldn't have been something mundane? Although, really, why do I bother asking?

cda said...

I wrote my piece on the RRR blog. I'll repeat it in part. True, Moore's distant memories are suspect just as your fireman's are. You have added nothing useful to the already plentiful anecdotal testimony by including this fireman's testimony. It confirms nothing at all, since he may have gleaned his story from earlier readings on the Roswell case. Can you disprove this? No I cannot prove my contention, but it is certainly more than a possibility.

We are to believe that some colonel from RAAF came to the fire station and ordered the fire department not to go out to a fire that (if it took place at all) was on civilian property! And the City Manager then ordered his own men not to discuss the events. I wonder: did this manager know the events himself? And if so, how did he acquire his knowledge? It all sounds like a tall story, based on things this fireman has heard via the Roswell gossip trail.

I suggest you try and ascertain how much Roswell lore this fireman was exposed to before you met him,in the years post-1980.

While at it, you might try and discover whether the civilian fire dept, either then or now, ever takes its orders from the military in the case of a fire on private property.

RRRGroup said...

As usual, CDA makes valid, sensible points.

He's not being obnoxious. He's presenting possibilities that Roswell believers refuse to consider.


hoveringobject said...

At this point, I whole heartedly disagree. CDA reminds me of the Black Knight from Monty Python & The Holy Grail who insists on continuing the fight despite the fact he no longer has any limbs? 'Tis but a scratch.

KRandle said...


My points were simply this... You have said that Mogul is a viable explanation because Charles Moore remembered the array fell off the radar near Arabella (or more accurately, they lost track of it near Arabella). This is from his memory alone and there is no documentation to substantiate it.

When the latest on the Fire Fighter surfaced, you rejected it saying the memories are too old to be reliable. Double standard.

My second point was not that the Frankie Rowe testimony had been proved accurate, but that it had been corroborated by another source. Granted, it's a decade after the fact, but I said nothing to the witness to suggest anything to him. I merely asked if he knew Dan Dwyer and he told me that Dwyer had told him that he had gone out there. This means, to me, that Frankie Rowe didn't invent the story... Her father might have, but she didn't. She related what she had been told. So we could stop calling her a liar (well, not us, but some of those who have). We just have to remember it doesn't prove there was a crash.

And yes, given the situation at the time, meaning Roswell in 1947, and given that if something from the base had crashed, and especially if that crash had involved secret equipment, I can see officers of the base telling the local civilians that there would be no reason to go out there. I can see the local fire department allowing the base to handle it because it wouldn't cost them anything and saved them the trouble. Do I know of other examples? Yes, the Buckley Naval Air Station putting out a vacant house fire that was outside their base perimeter but on the landing path for aircraft. No civilian fire department visible. Buckley was first on the scene.

To recap... If the Fire Fighter is rejected because of age and contamination, then so is Charles Moore. Remember Bill Moore interviewed him for his 1980 book and I didn't get to Charles Moore for a decade more (Yes I did that on purpose). Frankie Rowe's story has been corroborated which means only that we can stop smearing her for telling it. And, military fire departments will react to events on civilian property depending on the circumstances.

cda said...

I made it clear that Moore's memory is just as suspect as that of the fireman. If I accept the Mogul explanation it is nothing to do with what Moore 'remembers' about Arabela, but more to do with how the Mogul flight program and description of the debris fits in reasonably well. (I say reasonably not perfectly).
And despite the 'mythical' (your words) flight 4, we know a launch took place early that morning, time unknown, equipment unknown. Moreover that flight was never recovered, or there is no record that it was. Something was launched and that something very likely landed in the neighborhood of the ranch. Beyond that we cannot say.

I am not guilty of double standards. Moore's memory may well be faulty on some of the details. But we do know he was a big part of the project.

My comments on the Roswell fire dept are valid. Had there been a crash or fire of any kind, the first thing any civilian witness would do is to call the fire dept and the police at once. They might also have called the USAF (if they knew of the RAAF base's existence) but it is inconceivable that some colonel or any other officer would visit the fire dept and instruct them to 'stay away'. I am afraid your fireman is embellishing his tale too much for comfort. And I am still wondering what contact he had with the Roswell story before you met him. What articles, books, TV shows, films, etc did he see? Do you know the answer?

cda said...

One little matter: Frankie Rowe claimed some AF officer made death threats to her and the family. Death threats to children??
Is this story (from Rowe herself) really credible?

She claimed she was 12 at the time. I wonder: did Frankie go to the same school as Jesse Marcel jr, who handled lots of the stuff and was about the same age? No death threats made against him,were there? I wonder if she ever meet him afterwards, say in the 1980s.

starman said...

IIRC archeologists at the scene called the sheriff but there was no need to call the FD because there wasn't any fire. After hearing of the crash Dwyer went there on his own, and was told to leave. Some officer--not necessarily a colonel--may have gone to the FD to make sure the rest of them didn't go there too. Why wouldn't Frankie have been threatened? The idea was to silence witnesses whoever they were. Frightening children with threats of dire consequences is common in this society. Look at the "burn in hell" nonsense in religious classes.

KRandle said...


Frankie, in her very first interviews, said that she was told if she told what she knew the family would end up in Orchard Park, a prisoner of war camp south of Roswell. Later, as she was questioned, the intensity of the threats escalated.

At the moment, I'm not arguing for the credibility of her story (though I believe it credible) I'm saying that she's not a liar as some have labeled her. Mistaken, possibly. Have embellished the level of the threats. Maybe. Inadvertantly. Lied about it. No.

No, she and Jesse Marcel didn't go to the same school. Jesse lived in town and she lived out in the country. Nice try though.

doug said...

On a completely unrelated note, it just occurred to me that "Roswell Firemen and the Double Standard" would be an awesome band name. Mind if I use it someday? I promise to credit you with its creation ;]

drjon said...

Keep up the good work. Someone's got to, and it obviously won't be the Skeptoids.