Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lt. John (Jack) Trowbridge and Roswell

In the early 1990s, we, meaning Don Schmitt, Stan Friedman and I were having a debate with John Keel about what had fallen in Roswell. He was suggesting it was a Fugo Balloon, that is, a Japanese Balloon Bomb. Research quickly disproved this, though Keel did hang onto the answer longer than I thought necessary. He did write one thing that was important. In the January 1991 issue of Fate, on page 67, Keel wrote, “I suppose by 1999 there will be thousands of Roswell witnesses from that long-gone era.”

Turns out that Keel was right about this. You might ask yourself, “But why bring it up now, some twenty-five years later?”

It is because, as many of you know, I have just completed a book about the Roswell case as it exists in the 21st century, and though I tried to get to everything, there is just so much that I missed a few things. One of those was the testimony of
Lt. John P. Trowbridge
the late First Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Colonel) John P. “Jack” Trowbridge. He had been assigned to the 509th Bomb Group in 1947 and in 2007 he said that he was one of the intelligence officers working with Major Jesse Marcel. He claimed that he had handled the “memory metal” debris that some have mentioned in the past.

He also claimed that he had been over at the Marcel’s to play bridge that night in July 1947 but Jesse wasn’t there at the time. It was fairly late in the evening when they broke up the game because Marcel finally had returned. They apparently went outside to see what Marcel had brought home.

He told Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern at their UFO Mystic blog, “It was aluminum in appearance, there were fragments of aircraft-skin or whatever the thing was, and also some girders, with pictures of… hieroglyphic-like things on it. I took them to be… you know… who knows?... [I]t was interesting. I could get my hand on the material. And the material had some peculiar properties… For example they looked like [Hershey bar] wrappings [very thin foil]… But you squeezed it up in your hands as hard as you could, you let it go, and it returned… to the original shape. Instantly!”

He went on to claim that Marcel brought in some of the debris the next day and they all played with it and then went back to work. Later in the day they were told that nothing had happened and they should not talk about it.

According to that article and then to his obituary, he had been the last known survivor to personally have inspected the debris. This was “a secret he kept for 50 years.”

And I say nonsense. It is the proof of Keel’s theory that more and more people would come forward to tell their tales of seeing the alien debris or the bodies of the alien creatures as time passed.

We know, based on the testimony of Jesse Marcel, Sr., Jesse Marcel, Jr., and Viaud Marcel that this bridge game didn’t happen because none of them ever mentioned it. Jesse Jr. told me, as he did many others, that his father woke him up to show him the debris. He never mentioned other people being there that night or seeing the memory metal that Trowbridge mentioned. His mother didn’t report that either and when Jesse Sr. was interviewed by Linda Corley, there was no mention of any of this.

I have searched through the 509th Unit Histories for the summer of 1947 and I could find no reference to Trowbridge as part of the intelligence section. To be fair, few names were mentioned in those various reports, so it is possible that he was assigned to intelligence but simply not mentioned. I do know that he was assigned to the Headquarters, but then those who had jobs at the group level or in the supporting organizations such as the JAG, or Finance were assigned there for purposes of accounting, pay and the like.

Given the lack of mention of many of the things that Trowbridge claimed, that no one suggested a bridge party on that night, that his account varies from those given by the Marcels, and that he has some of the other facts wrong, I find this account to be unreliable. It is as John Keel said so long ago. There are many people coming forward with their tales of seeing the bodies, seeing the craft or handling the debris, and unless there is some form of corroboration, these stories should be rejected.


PO said...

Unfortunately it is hard to accept ANY "eye witness" accounts, particularly regarding something that happened so long ago. Two key reasons are 1) there was so much intentional disinformation put out by official representatives of the govt or military (likely to obfuscate potential leaks of classified projects or hardware of standard Cold War nature) that it's impossible to clear the noise from the actual signal; 2) eye witness testimony is THE most unreliable evidence that can be presented, in court or anywhere else.

Recent scientific research on false memory and even on the nature of memory itself has clearly demonstrated that memories are NOT a recording of events in the vein of video recordings. In fact, every time you recall a memory, your mind literally changes it. The odd take away from the research is that the least often recalled memories are those that will hold most closely to what actually happened. The more often you replay/recall a memory, the more it changes from the actual event! Add to this decades and you can literally have memories of events that never happened! Your mind interprets events and creates memories in a manner that is relevant to personal issues of social development, status, and survival. That is their evolutionary utility. They are created and altered to best fit with your past experiences and learning, not to provide a high fidelity recording of events.

On the other hand, this research is unequivocal on these facts as they pertain to the average person. I'd be very interested to know to what extent it applies to those few with true "photographic" memory. As far as I know, no such comparative research has yet been conducted. Next, we just need some witnesses who do have actual photographic memory. Tall order.

Brian B said...

Kevin is correct for rejecting Trowbridge's testimony. All of us should be.

Not just because of the inaccuracies Trowbridge offers, but also because of Keel's well thought out prediction.

Keel implied that before long far too many people would choose to deliberately insert themselves into the Roswell story whether they were involved or not.

Present day events support this. Carey and Schmitt recently published yet another book on the subject, this one entitled "Children of Roswell".

The publisher's description says:

"This is not just another book about Roswell. It’s not about any of the events surrounding one of the most famous UFO incidents of all time. It’s not even about any of the men or women involved in the recovery of a spaceship and its crew in the summer of 1947." now we need to read up on people who had NOTHING to do with the event as "witnesses" but who "experienced" something thus adding to the volume of testimony.

Apparently some investigators incorrectly believe the "volume" of testimony collected over the years sufficiently outweighs any concern over the "quality" of the testimony offered.

In simpler terms, some ET proponents believe proof of alien visitation rests in a child's game of "I got more witnesses than you do.."

This perhaps coupled with the unscientific formula employed in game "Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon", but in this scenario the "bacon" isn't Kevin, it's Roswell.

Let's ignore whether or not the testimony is credible and consistent with others. If someone said they were a "witness" then accept whatever they say as proof. I mean if the children and the children of the children of the witnesses experienced "something" then clearly this PROVES an alien crash, right?

Even Rudiak's website supports Trowbridge's testimony as factual evidence:

To watch Trowbridge's un-incredible testimony in his own words see the interview below:

KRandle said...

All -

I wouldn't say that Keel's comment was well thought out; I would say that it was a throw away line in a longer article suggesting that Fugo Balloons were responsible for the Roswell debris.

I think I would give David's web site a pass on this, meaning that he was merely reporting what Trowbridge said in a taped interview. Yes, David has a pro-alien stand, and Trowbridge's statements are out there (in both the sense that it is available on the Internet and in the sense that they are far out).

cda said...

Further to Brian's writing:

If Trowbridge did not attend Marcel's bridge party that night when the debris was brought in, then where did he get the story of Marcel bringing in the debris?

Answer: he got it from reading and hearing about the case over the intervening years. And how many books did he read or people did he talk to? It is up to investigators/writers to find out. The same applies to any and every 'witness' involved in the case.

As far as I know, no attempt has ever been made by any of the writers to ascertain how much their 'witnesses' knew about the case through knowledge gained during the intervening years. If a witness said they "were there", then they were there. Or were they? Investigators seem to think that because numerous people say much the same thing, then this 'thing' actually happened. If they are genuine independent witnesses this is obviously better than if they are not, but problems still remain due to the wide publicity given to the whole affair from 1980 onwards.

KRandle said...


When we began the investigation, we assumed that most of those we were talking to had little knowledge of the case other than people like Bill Brazel and Loretta Proctor. We believed that the people in Roswell would have an idea of what was reported to have happened because we knew that the newspaper had covered some UFO stuff and because it was about Roswell, those in Roswell would take an interest. The Roswell Incident was a rather bare-bones description, so the contamination wasn't wide spread. So, in early 1989, as we began, we knew that some of the people had been interviewed before and some had not. Those who had been interviewed were better informed about the story...

As the investigation continued, we knew that others would become aware of the story or the various elements of it. One of the things I did attempt to learn was just how much they had heard before we called them. Those who came forward were, of course, those who had heard about the case and that was why we made such an effort to find people ourselves. Those that we found might have heard something, but they just weren't that in tune with the various levels of the tale.

As we moved deeper into it, it became clear that everyone we had talked to had heard about it. Take Richard Harris, the finance guy. I was the first to talk to him, but as I have pointed out, he had a book case full of books about UFOs and believed MJ-12 to be real. At least he didn't claim to see the bodies, only that Walter Haut had offered him the chance to see them... which, BTW, was a real violation of military protocol.

So, the answer is, very few of the people we talked to were independent of one another. Almost all had seen or heard something, which is one of the reasons I attempted to learn if Friedman had recorded the interviews with Marcel. They could be very important. But we know that some people embellished their tales, some tried to tell us the truth as they best remembered it, and some just made it the hell up.

Mr. Sweepy said...

Kevin, I think your post is a good one for another reason. While your specialty has been Roswell, (and I think you have done a wonderful job over the decades finding and tracking down those who were or might have been involved in the Roswell crash) the bigger picture is how many more people who have direct knowledge of UFO's. I am not just thinking about Roswell but all other crashes, craft retrievals, and material researches since then. The true numbers are in the hundreds if not thousands of both military and civilians who could come forward and chose not to.

In reading about the Roswell witnesses over the years, a few researchers like yourself and one or two others would track down a great witness and then dead end for while until a new witness came along. Then that witness would add more to the story but another dead period would happen again.

The one think that hasn't happen in the UFO community is any kind of real organized marketing type of campaign to find new witnesses. We all know they are out there, the question is getting them to find the courage to come forward. I will go one step further and say that there might even be a small number of people who have physical evidence in their possession that haven't come forward out of fear.

A marketing campaign for witnesses can start with a simple social media connection. I can tell you that I have been contacted by a number of very interesting people in the advertising world that I never heard of but have became interested in my professional work. I think the same can happen within the UFO community.

Brian B said...

@ Craig who wrote:

"The true numbers are in the hundreds if not thousands of both military and civilians who could come forward and chose not to."

1) The Disclosure Project attempted this more than once and came up empty on the numbers or (specifically) more verifiable Roswell information.

2) Those supposed "crashes" largely took place decades ago - not one today we know about - so most witnesses have either passed on or would likely be too elderly. Their testimony would have to come largely from second or third hand witnesses which isn't very good.

3) As for "thousands" being out there I don't think so. Yes thousands of people report things but in at least 80% of the cases these are explainable. The true "unexplainable" are < 10%, so the numbers just aren't there.

"A marketing campaign for witnesses can start with a simple social media connection."

1) Weeding out the "crazies" would be time consuming and costly. Too many pranksters to wade through in the event a social media campaign were initiated. And what about people like Steven Greer who has abandoned petitioning the government in favor of selling excursions where he teaches people to be first hand witnesses and alien contactees? How do we classify the testimony of artificially produced witnesses like those who claim they conjure up glowing alien orbs?

2) User stats say most elderly people don't use social media, so again the call would be to second or third hand witnesses which isn't really helpful as verbal testimony.

"......there might even be a small number of people who have physical evidence in their possession....."

1) This seems more viable than your other suggestions. People hand down family momentos and aerlooms that have meaning or significance.

2) Unfortunately many times family members simply discard artifacts in haste without thinking, so any debris might have already been tossed.

3) Artifacts can be tested as physical evidence. If they are tied to a person who can be placed at an event this often produces solid provenience.

4) A social media campaign for authentic photos, diaries, documents, fuselage parts, etc. would be doable.

5) I think if anyone has concerns it's not about ridicule, but of security and desire to be compensated. If you had Rockefeller, Opra Winfrey, Warren Buffet, George Lucas, etc. backing a financial reward with their billions of dollars, there would be a much better chance that authentic examples might surface that can be analyzed by credible labs. There are 536 Billionaires in the US. I would select financial backers who are known public figures (liked by most) who are also UFO advocates.

6) By all means I would reject submission of any ancient alien artifacts, mummies, skulls, or skeletal remains.

cda said...

But Craig, the other side of the coin is that those people who do possess actual hardware, or who claim to, would have come forward by now. These people have nothing to fear; after all what is there to fear by presenting a new scientific discovery (of intelligent ET life or of a genuine ET device) if you possessed such? The scientific world awaits you and has been doing so for decades.

ETHers always tell us that these things have to be hushed up, for some indeterminate length of time, by the military. But in fact no such 'hush up' regulations exist. I say this with confidence until and unless someone produces written directives that clearly says otherwise.

Instead, all we get is junk and phoney hardware that leads nowhere.

There is also the global implication. Think of the prestige the US would have in announcing it to the world, instead of running the risk of another country getting in first with the discovery. Surely, if UFOs are crashing to earth, it is not just in the USA.

james tankersley said...

if something highly classified by another country were to fall in our militaries hands, do you think they would reveal that find to that country especialy one like Iran who breed rabid terrorists and madman dictators who place no value on human rights and individual freedoms? OF COURSE NOT! now imagine what would happen if something from another world were to crash on earth ( and in my opinion already has many times before). THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL THEY WOULD DISCLOSE THAT KIND OF INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC FOR OBVIOUS NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS.

cda said...


I see. So should extraterrestrial intelligent life present itself on earth, and happen to fall into the hands of the US military, there is no way we, i.e. the public and the scientific community, would EVER learn of it. A preposterous notion.

But by all means take that view if you wish to. It is your choice.

Now what do you think would happen should the same ET life fall into the hands of a civilian group, without the military even knowing about it? Would these civilians be free to inform the rest of the world?

Cast your mind back to the Mars meteorite of 1996. NASA (prematurely as it turned out) announced it when they thought fit to do so. They did NOT need, or seek, military approval.

Mr. Sweepy said...

Brian, CDA, Kevin
Your comments, ideas and knowledge about all the subjects discussed, is greatly impressive and appreciative. Many could take a few lessons from your experience.

Here is a little background about my original comment. I have been involved in major marketing projects for over 30 years. This includes working on the USFL Football proposal, Casino Gaming expansion and now the owner of the very large website. (You can look up my user name for more information) Marketing in general is both short term and long term. Getting people to volunteer information and or materials about above top secret is not a easy decision. It is very emotional for many reasons. Then there is fear and personal security about coming forward. Last, all of these people (in the USA) are American Patriots and may even feel that they are betraying our country.

All the above reasons stated and more is why finding these people, no matter which crash event it is, is why marketing campaign target human emotions and feelings more than the product.

Yes, there are crazies, non-believers and the disinformation crowd to deal with. However this is a much weaker group than 20 years ago for sure. There are more believers now. The question is getting to the right people about anything where there is UFO material handling or touching of or written material. Note that MUFON can handle the eye witness and simple photo investigations. I am referring to much more.

I think asking the different UFO information sites to support a private contact page along with a Twitter contact page is a start. I think the key is personal security is the most important item to the people who have the information. I am sure you guys have better ideas about this than I do. But this is a starting point. At some point bring in the press and ask for their help. I personally put out over 40 press releases about my company and they have been picked up by major newspapers. I have never seen a regular series of PR stories about the latest UFO sightings and to ask for the public's help. This is the kind of campaign I am referring to but it will take a long time. Yes, we will lose some witnesses due to old age and death. However I see this as a starting point.

Thank you for your time again and comments.

Don Maor said...

cda said:

"I see. So should extraterrestrial intelligent life present itself on earth, and happen to fall into the hands of the US military, there is no way we, i.e. the public and the scientific community, would EVER learn of it. A preposterous notion."

Here I agree with you CDA. You are completely right. That's the reason why we already know that aliens are here. The already existing lot of Roswell military and civilian witnesses of bodies and of strange materials indeed demonstrate that such a secret is nearly impossible to keep under wraps.

cda said...

Don Maor:

If you know aliens are here, please spread the word among those who matter most, i.e. the astronomers/scientists who have been searching for ET life for many decades, and come up with zilch.

It is not people like me and others on this blog that you have to convince. It is the scientific world, NASA, National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society, other national & international scientific bodies and so on.

Just spread that word. (And use the MJ-12 papers if necessary). So far you and your kind have got precisely nowhere. I wonder why.

TheDimov said...

I also think Trowbridge's testimony seems false. His video recollection seemed to me over-exaggerated and simply a stitch up of other's testimonies. It makes you wonder though.. why do they do it, if indeed it is false testimony? I guess perhaps its because they know they are in their final days, and perhaps desperately wished they were a part of something their comrades were, and so jump on the bandwagon before it's too late.

Brian B said...

@ Don -

Your point doesn't prove aliens have visited anyone Don. You need physical evidence which there is none substantial enough to convince the world (and specifically those that matter).

I can tell you the tooth fairy exists and many parents would agree with me.

Don Maor said...


My point was NOT related to demonstrating that aliens exist, I was just agreeing with CDA.
I am really not interested in speculasting about the belief systems of your family.

Don Maor said...

CDA reasonably suggested:

"It is not people like me and others on this blog that you have to convince. It is the scientific world, NASA, National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society, other national & international scientific bodies and so on.

Just spread that word. (And use the MJ-12 papers if necessary). So far you and your kind have got precisely nowhere. I wonder why."

Thanks for the comments CDA. I am doing that, and generally agree with your suggestions, except for details such as (1) using the MJ-12 papers and (2) that I have got precisely nowhere.

Unknown said...

@ Brian

You state that "You need physical evidence which there is none substantial enough to convince the world (and specifically those that matter)".

The most substantial physical evidence for UFOs stems from the thoroughly chemically analysed case of the Delphos Landing Report, in which I was personally involved and have written a book:

The presence of a chemiluminescent compound was corroborated by subsequent analysis of the ring soil at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio. The physical and chemical characteristics of the soil firmly place this case into the 'unexplained' category (in terms of prosaic explanations) but actually fit extremely well with the multiple witness description of the reported UFO, so I would be interested to hear your take on it.

Unknown said...

Re: Trowbridge - please check "Msgt Lewis Rickett interviewed by Mark Rodeghier - Jan 1990" p 10. In intellilgence, Rickett mentions: Marcel was Wing Intelligence, Don Yeager was Squadron Intelligence and they also had "a fellow by the name of Trowbridge." Thank you, Charles Walthall
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KRandle said...

Unknown -

Didn't say that Trowbridge was not in Roswell at the time... said that his tale of playing bridge at the Marcel house when Marcel came home probably wasn't true. Neither Jesse Jr. or Viaud Marcel said anything about a bridge game on that night.