Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roswell Dream Team - A Brief Update

By examining a little of the material about the Roswell case, and here I mean a combination of documentation and testimony, we can draw a couple of conclusions in a limited way. I will note that I hold all the documentation for this, meaning I have copies of the relevant material, and I conducted the interviews with the witnesses, which include recordings of the conversations.

Here’s what we know and what we can prove.

According to the mythology of Roswell, the officers at Roswell were so confused by the Mogul arrays, they didn’t know that what they had were mere weather balloons and rawin radar reflectors. They flew the material to Fort Worth, their higher headquarters, where a low-ranking weather officer identified it all as nothing more than a balloon and foil-like rawin.

The problem here is that the timing doesn’t really work out if we believe that the men at Roswell didn’t know what they had until they got to Fort Worth. That would mean that the men in Fort Worth would be unable to identify it until the stuff arrived.

According to the time lines it was at 5:30 p.m. local time that the Dallas Morning News interviewed Major E. M. Kirton. According to the newspaper, the material found in Roswell was nothing more than a weather balloon.

But it was 6:00 p. m. local time that Warrant Officer Irving Newton (seen here with the rawin radar reflector) reported for duty, according to what he told me. The telephone in the office rang and he was ordered to report to Brigadier General Ramey’s office. He said that he was alone in the office and that he couldn’t leave. Ramey himself then called and told Newton, “to get your ass over here now. Use a car and if you don’t have one, take the first one with the keys in it,” according to what Newton said.

When he arrived, a colonel briefed him in the hallway (and if I was going to speculate here, I’d say that would be Colonel Thomas DuBose (later brigadier general), the Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force). Newton said that he didn’t remember who it was but that the message had been clear. “These officers from Roswell think they have found a flying saucer, but the general thinks it’s a weather balloon. He wants you to take a look.”

At that point, you might say, the air went out of the Roswell saucer. Nothing more than a weather balloon and a rawin radar target. Newton identified it as ordered and there is no question that the material, spread out on the floor, is the remains of a weather balloon and a radar target. From the photographs available, that is quite clear.

Okay, you say. So what?

How is it that Major Kirton could identify the material as a balloon before Newton arrived on duty, was called to Ramey’s office, and then identified it as a balloon? How did Kirton know this, at least, thirty minutes before anyone else supposedly knew?

Or is it that the cover story had already been decided upon and the actors in that little play were given their scripts. Kirton read from his, but he was more than thirty minutes too early. He should have said that the material was in Ramey’s office and it would be looked at by various experts...

In fact, why is it that only Newton was called forward to identify the material? Doesn’t this suggest that the fix was in?

And on a related point, while rereading the newspaper (specifically The Boston Herald of July 9, 1947) articles, I came across a statement by Brigader General Donald N. Yates, who in 1947 was the chief of the Army Air Forces weather service. He said, about the weather balloon and rawin radar targets, that only a very few of them are used daily, at some points where some specific project requires highly accurate wind information from extreme altitudes.

I mention this for two reasons. One is that in a letter to me, Newton used similar wording. He wrote, in 1995 I might add, that “The rawin target and balloon in question, was only used at limited locations...”

The suggestion here was that they were unusual and it wouldn’t be difficult for the men at Roswell to confuse this debris for something more exotic... except, the rawins and balloons were used at Operation Crosswords. These were the atomic tests in the Pacific in 1946, carried out with crews from the 509th, so the men at Roswell might well have been familiar with the look of the rawins.

And, second, there is the find from Circleville Ohio, as reported around the country in the days prior to the announcement from Roswell. Here a farmer found a weather balloon and rawin target in his field, but knew what it was. He took it to the sheriff, who knew what it was, and it was displayed in the window of the local newspaper, where, apparently everyone else knew what it was. Oh, they couldn’t have told you it was a rawin, but they would have told you that the object was a weather balloon and something attached to it.

Yet the guys in Roswell couldn’t identify it, even though they had the balloon envelop and the torn up target on display in Ramey’s office... and no one explained why the rawin was so torn up.

The real point here is that the timing was off, based on the documentation and testimony available. The timing of the announcements make it sound as if the answer was prepared before Newton arrived to give it. He was the window dressing. The expert who had worked with the rawins and the balloons and would know what it was. And the press, who ever they were (Newton mentioned several reporters) took that answer, as did Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter, J. Bond Johnson, and returned to their city rooms. In a couple of hours, it was reported that the Roswell debris was a “weather forecasting device.”

And that was the end of it... for more than thirty years.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chris Rutkowski Joins the Team

The Roswell Dream Team has expanded again. This time Chris Rutkowski (seen below), a well-known Canadian researcher has joined us.

We wanted to bring in someone with a skeptical bent but not someone who was rabidly anti-extraterrestrial. We wanted someone with an open mind, who would point out where we might have slipped off the rails, but not someone who would assume that we were wrong simply because there is no possibility of alien visitation. It is a fine line to walk, but we believe that Chris can walk that line.

Chris himself said, “Although I've been called both a skeptic and a believer (depending on whether you're hearing it from a ‘true believer’ or a skeptic), I tend to think of myself as an objective cynic. I sit on the fence when it comes to the question whether or not some UFOs are alien spacecraft. (The pointy slats are painful, but they can be endured.)”

About the Roswell crash case, Chris said, “I think we're a long way from declaring Roswell an ‘alien’ incident. True, according to some witnesses, the material recovered was unlike anything they had seen, and there certainly was an attempt by the military to cover up or obfuscate information about the event. It's a matter of speculation as to whether or not the material recovered was non-terrestrial in origin, since we don't have any on hand to test.”

He cautioned, and rightly so, that “We're relying on decades-old testimony in some cases, and more recently on memories of family members who may or may not recall with any accuracy statements or events from long ago. Furthermore, some military witnesses may still be reluctant to talk and some may still adhere to their military code of secrecy.”

Chris did provide us with some background information that is probably of interest to all. He wrote in a recent email to me, “My background in astronomy and education (BSc and MEd, respectively) fits well with my interest in science education, particularly when it comes to astronomy-related topics. I have greatly enjoyed showing people Jupiter's moons through small telescopes at public star fests, and telling them stories about how constellations got their names. And yes, the topic of UFOs falls under this broad category of astronomy-related subjects, although by history, not accurately. Astronomers are no better equipped than stock market analysts when it comes to dealing with objects reportedly moving low over witnesses' heads and over airports.”

Chris and Donna Rutkowski.
And he is not a newcomer to the world of UFO investigation. He told me, “... I've been investigating reports of UFOs since the 1970s. I've also been writing about cases and theories since about that time. With many hundreds of case investigations under my belt, I can say that there does not seem to be a single simple explanation for all reports. They're not all hoaxes or misidentifications of stars and meteors. They're not collective illusions. There's a residual percentage of cases which have enough data and detail to explain them as aircraft, stars, planets, balloons, etc., except they are not.”

The plan is to share everything with Chris and get his take on the importance of the information, the evidence, and the thinking involved. Chris said that he liked the idea of a “cold case” investigation and thought with Roswell it was something that was long overdue.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tony Bragalia Joins Roswell Dream Team

The response to the announcement of the creation of a “Dream Team” has been met with nearly unanimous approval. There have been the detractors, but there will always be detractors... Nothing can be done about that, other than to say, we haven’t completed the team, and why not wait for the results before you condemn the research.

Tony Bragalia, who is known to many of us as a tireless researcher and who has an interest in a wide range of topics inside Ufology, has agreed to come on board as a consulting researcher. He’ll be working with us as we begin our new research into the Roswell case.

We all have worked with Tony on a variety of investigations. He and I collaborated on a review of the Mac Magruder story that was given to researchers by Magruder’s sons. We tried to find out when Magruder would have reported for duty at the Air War College and if he would have been available to travel to Wright Field for some sort of involvement in the research about the Roswell crash.

The reason I remember this well was because I was in Des Moines after the Iowa National Guard had been activated for duty during the devastating floods in 2008 (yes, we’re still recovering from that but you’d never know by all the news coverage of it). We shared information over the Internet, backing up each other’s findings.

The thing here is that we all don’t agree on some aspects of the case. Tony and I learned that Magruder wouldn’t have made it to Ohio until April 1948 as part of his training, which seemed to suggest Magruder wouldn’t have been deeply involved. He and I agreed, but Don and Tom do not... though it is a relatively small point and one we will revisit during the investigation.

Tom, Don and I don’t agree with Tony’s conclusion that students from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology were responsible for the hoax in Socorro. Tony believes, based on some documentation and an interview with some that the landing was a trick played on Lonnie Zamora, though he might not have been the target. We, Tom, Don, and I think the evidence of a hoax is weak.

I mention these things just to show that we all are not in agreement on everything. It is a team of researchers who have their own opinions and read the evidence as individuals rather than by committee. This divergence of opinion should allow us to consider many different aspects and solutions as we attempt to put all this together.

I will note here that this is not the whole team. Other invitations have been issued and we plan to build a team of people that is diverse in opinion and complete in scope. There will be more announcements later.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files - Revisited

I got to thinking some more about the Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files video of a UFO crash at the White Sands Missile Range and found it strange that they had not spoken to anyone who worked there. I know that during different aspects of my research, whether into the treasure hidden in Victorio Peak (no, I don’t think there is one) to other aspects of the UFO phenomenon, the Public Affairs Office had always been courteous. So I sent them a note asking about this.

Monte Marlin, of that office, replied quickly to me. He said that he once had a email response prepared that he sent out to all that asked about the tape, which struck me as a smart thing to do. It also struck me that for him to do that, it meant that there were others who also asked the question about the footage which isn’t a bad thing. I mean there were enough people asking about the validity of the tape that he felt compelled to create a generic response to save himself some time. (The missile park at White Sands seen below.)

He suggested that this particular test was part of “an infrared shot of a Navy missile test...The high powered optics tests are part and parcel of our test mission here at the missile range. The data we collect belongs to our ‘customers,’ the weapons developers and is used for technical purposes. Once in awhile the clips make their way to the general public...”

Marlin also noted, “There are many, many launch areas and instrumentation sites on this enormous missile range. It is not uncommon to see poles in video footage. The poles may carry cabling related to the test or some poles have markings so that when we look at the footage, we can measure time/space distance.”

Which I found interesting because one of the experiments they ran on Paranormal Files was an attempt to duplicate the footage using an array of cables. It suggests that they had talked to the PAO, understood how some of the tests were conducted, but that wouldn’t have been very dramatic on TV. So, they just passed on that and ran their test.

This, I think answers one of the questions about the show... but hey, don’t get the wrong idea. I enjoy it. They have done some very useful experiments and solved some interesting mysteries. In this specific case, I think the answer was handed to them but they had thirty minutes to fill. Talking to a guy in an office isn’t nearly as exciting as running experiments in the desert, especially when you get to blow up a model rocket.