It has been a matter of controversy, only on this blog, as one of the critics has demanded information about a footnote in The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell. I believe he suspected some deceit on my part, and I have refused to bow to his demand to answer his questions simply because I didn’t care for the tone of his comments on the blog, not to mention that I had supplied most of that information to him in the past. I had planned to hold off on this until we were ready to publish all our results, but that doesn’t seem to be close at hand, so, I decided to explain this here and now and address it in a footnote later, if we publish.
The offending paragraph, on page four of the hardback is, “In Roswell proper at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Franciscan Catholic nuns Mother Superior Mary Bernadette and Sister Capistrano making routine night observations, saw a brilliant light plunge to earth, due north of their location. They believed it was a disabled aircraft of some kind and recorded the passage in their logbook. The entry noted the sighting was late on the night of July 4, between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m.”
The footnote said, “Records held by the Franciscan Catholic nuns,” which, by the way, isn’t overly helpful.
So, what do I know now?
The information originated with Bill English, who had come to see a lecture by Don Schmitt and me in Alamogordo in the early 1990s. He approached Don after the lecture and told him about a nun, Sister Day, who was over in Roswell. He said that she had seen the diaries of the nuns mentioned above and gave him the information which he passed along to us. English, it seems, was a former Special Forces officer or so he claimed, and seemed to be a reliable source.
We were in Roswell the next day, or maybe a day later, and had a chance to chase this down. Sister Day was quite candid about what she had seen, and since information about the Roswell case was now being widely circulated, she remembered the entry quite well. She said that she had seen it herself, had told English about it, but that the diaries were no longer housed in Roswell. We’d have to follow the trail from there.
Since Don is Catholic, it seemed natural for him to follow up on this. He learned that the diaries have been sent to Oklahoma, and was in communication with church officials there in an attempt to find the right diaries. He talked to someone who said these records were in disarray. I believed that at some point the entry had been corroborated by church leaders, but neither Don nor I, had not seen it.
Using the information we had, based on what we had been told, I wrote the offending paragraph, but in the manuscript, the footnote is actually a little longer. Originally it said, “Records held by the Franciscan Catholic nuns as viewed by Sister Day.” Somehow that last bit was left out of the book… and yes, I had a chance to review the page proofs and didn’t catch the deletion.
Here’s what I know now. The records we want were sent from Oklahoma to Wisconsin, but we learned that they only went back to 1960. Where the diaries from 1947 are is, at the moment, the question that I can’t answer. We’re still trying to get that information.
Now for some of the other, worrisome, bits of this. Bill English, it seems, was not a Special Forces officer as he claimed, and if the documents I have seen from St. Louis Army Records Center are accurate, and this is the same guy, he was not an officer and not in Special Forces. That certainly taints any information that he supplied. That he was not an officer or in Special Forces does not change the underlying information because it was confirmed for us, by Sister Day.
At the time that the information was gathered, I was under the impression that some of the data we had was not known outside our small group. That is to say, our working hypothesis about the times and dates was known to a few people, but we weren’t being overly secretive about it. In other, clearer words, there were those outside our group who knew what dates and times we suspected as being accurate. Some of this information might even have been included in our lectures… and before anyone asks, we rarely wrote a script for those. We used the slides as our outline, spoke to them specifically as they appeared on the screen, and each lecture was different than the last.
English might have been aware of this information and it was English who provided the lead. We did talk to the nun, and she did give us the information. Don did attempt to verify it through the available records, and I thought that he had. That was my error.
In the end, this calamity of errors resulted in a footnote that seemed to suggest that I had seen the entry when I had not. The qualifier was left off, which I should have caught but did not. I should have been more careful in producing this bit of information, but then, I had three other sources for it, including a written record that supported it… That record, I’m sorry to say, was probably a forgery and is something that I now consider useless. The two other sources are still reliable.
In the end, here is where we are on this. I erred in not making sure we had the exact quote and could point to the exact place where the diary could be seen… and in the last twelve months of attempting to resolve this, have failed. I had a source who said she had seen the entry, remembered it because of the Roswell case, and because she was a nun, I had no reason to doubt her. If I had it to do over again, I would have made sure that it was understood that the information was reported to us, but that we had not seen the actual diary entry.
Here’s what I can say for certainty today. According to Sister Day, she saw what she was told were the diaries of Mother Superior Mary Bernadette and Sister Capistrano. She said that there was an entry in the diary about a bright light in the sky they believed to be a disabled aircraft. Sister Day believed this was on July 4, 1947.
The thing here is that as we work on our reinvestigation, this information, because of the initial source (English) is less credible would have been evaluated differently. We would give the benefit of the doubt to Sister Day, believing that she was accurately reporting what she saw, but until we could confirm it by finding the diaries ourselves, would be less forceful in our reporting of it. We would not overlook the possibility that English had contaminated the source before we had a chance to interview her. The diary entry would certainly answer that question.
But then, this was one of the purposes of the reinvestigation. See what has changed in the last decade or so, see what more has been learned, and see where we (and here, by we, I mean me) might have erred. This is the chance to correct those errors, look at everything closely with the magnifier of much better information, and see if we can reach some conclusions that would satisfy the majority of those who are interested in UFOs in general and Roswell in particular.