In the last few days I have been in communication with a number of friends about the Roswell case and what I have discovered in my reinvestigation of it. At one point I had mentioned that the description of the gouge on the debris field was problematic because there was only Bill Brazel who had reported it. The response was there were three other witnesses who had described the gouge complete with a list of sources for the information.
|Bill Brazel stands on the Debris
Field. Photo copyright by Kevin
Switching gears now, I mention that as you all know, I have been chasing footnotes to see if we can reduce it to the original source as a way of confirming that the information has been accurately reported. I have done this to several others and now it seems that it is my turn.
To bring those two divergent thoughts together, it was pointed out that Jesse Marcel had talked about the gouge and a friend quoted UFO Crash at Roswell, page 50 as his source. It said, “Marcel said that it was about three-quarters of a mile long and two to three hundred feet across with a gouge at the top end of it that was about five hundred feet long and ten feet wide.”
The footnote took me to Len Stringfield’s UFO Crash/Retrieval Syndrome which was published by MUFON in 1980. The footnote didn’t give a page number in that document but I found it was entry Case A-10 on page 16. Stringfield does name Marcel and tells us that Stringfield and Marcel had served in the same areas in the Pacific Theater during the WW II.
He then wrote, “The debris of an apparent metallic aerial device, or craft, that had exploded in the air, or crashed, was first made known by a sheep rancher… There he had found many metal fragments and what appeared to be ‘parchment’ strew in a 1-mile-square area.”
A very liberal interpretation of that could be that there had been some sort of disturbance to the soil, and when connected to what Bill Brazel had said, might be an accurate description. Marcel never actually said anything about seeing a gouge, so this is apparently a little of that literary license that has no place in this sort of report.
Looking at the newspaper articles published in 1947, there are a variety of sizes given for the debris field and Brazel, in one of those news stories agreed with the size as given by Marcel. While all that is interesting, it doesn’t give us a gouge in the middle of the field.
Robin Adair, who worked for the Associated Press in 1947, and in opposition with what Jason Kellahin claimed in a separate interview of what the two of them had experienced, said that he had flown over the area. Adair said that they were kept at a distance by soldiers waving them off and feared that those on the ground might fire on their aircraft if they got too close. He did, however, suggest a gouge without actually using that term. He said there were burned places and added, “I remember four indications… it was rather hard to line them up from the plane.”
He said, “It wasn’t too distinct – one – among the grass that was about a foot high or maybe a little more it wasn’t too distinguishable but you could tell something had been there.”
Later he said, “You couldn’t see them too good from the air – how deep they were or anything but apparently the way it cut into them whatever hit the ground…”
According to the taped interview, conducted by Don Schmitt, Adair never said that he’d seen a gouge in the sense that Brazel has seen one. To him it looked as if something had skipped creating a series of depressions (I’m trying to avoid the word gouge here to provide a somewhat more neutral impression) that, looked at from ground level would have resembled a longer cut in the soil. Frankly, it seems that he was talking about something that could be interpreted as a gouge.
Brigadier General Arthur Exon said that he had flown over the locations some months after the event. I’m not sure why he would have done that or why he would remember, but he did talk about seeing the crash sites. He wrote to me in November, 1991, that he remembered “auto tracks leading to the pivotal sites and obvious gouges in the terrain.”
He wrote about them as “gouges” which seems to confirm what Adair had said and both men were flying over the area which might explain why they used the plural when Brazel spoke in the singular.
|Bud Payne describing his observations on the same bit
of high desert as identified by Bill Brazel.
Finally, there was Bud Payne who eventually became a judge in Lincoln County. He blundered into the area chasing some livestock that gotten away from him. In an interview with him in January 1990, he took a number of us including Don Schmitt, Paul Davids and me to the debris field that he had seen. Although the interview was not recorded, my notes say that he did say there had been a gouge, and we were standing on the same bit of New Mexico high desert that Bill Brazel had pointed out to us some months earlier.
In looking back through my notes, transcripts, and other documentation, I found references to a gouge or gouges in the terrain that seemed to back up the original descriptions given by Bill Brazel. Granted, the interviews were conducted decades after the event, and the survey of newspaper articles which sometimes provided a description of the debris field did not seem to mention a gouge or gouges. The point here is that there are multiple sources for the idea of a gouge, even if that description wasn’t universal.
This was also about chasing footnotes, and the reference I used as a source for the information about Marcel came from the monograph that Len Stringfield published in 1980. The important sentence here said, “The area was thoroughly checked, he [Marcel] said, but no fresh impact depressions were found in the sand.”
Bob Pratt interviewed Marcel about a year later, in December 1979 and while his interest was in talking about debris, Marcel did say, “One thing I did notice – nothing actually hit the ground, bounced on the ground. It was something that must have exploded above the ground and fell.”
While it could be argued, somewhat lamely, that those impact depressions aren’t the same thing as a long gouge, Marcel seemed to be telling both Stringfield and Pratt that he had seen no gouge.
I don’t know how that line “Marcel said that it was about three-quarters of a mile long and two to three hundred feet across with a gouge at the top end of it that was about five hundred feet long and ten feet wide,” got inserted into the text. It’s not in quotation marks which means it was an interpretation of what Marcel had said. The probable answer is that it was a combination of what both Brazel and Marcel had said, which means the description is somewhat correct, based on those testimonies, but it isn’t accurate.
A better statement might have been “Marcel said that it was about three-quarters of a mile long and two to three hundred feet across and Brazel mentioned a gouge at the top end of it that was about five hundred feet long and ten feet wide.”
It turns out that the statement attributed to Marcel is one that is not found in the source I quoted. In fact, it’s not found in any of the sources I was able to access here over the last few days. The information attributed to Marcel is incorrect and the footnote is inaccurate.
I have now found references to disturbances to the soil, and I have found that Marcel never talked about a gouge. The information here is now accurate and the sources are attributed properly. I can only hope that these clarifications will make their way into the Roswell discussions.