Thursday, January 12, 2017

The "Harassed Rancher" Roswell Article

Over at UFO Conjectures, hosted by Rich Reynolds, he reproduces the July 9, 1947, newspaper, article from the Roswell Daily Record, “Harassed Rancher Who Located ‘Saucer’ Sorry He Told About It,” suggesting that this is the final nail in the Roswell coffin. But I say, “Not so fast.” There are some disturbing things in that article, things that make no sense when you think about them.

According to the article, “Brazel related that on June 14 he and an 8-year-old son, Vernon were about 7 or 8 miles from the ranch house of the J.B. Foster ranch, which he operates, when they came upon a large area of bright wreckage made up on [sic] rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather rough paper and sticks.”

Okay, there is nothing extraordinary here and it sounds for all the world like the remnants of one of the Mogul balloon arrays that were being launched in June and July from Alamogordo. The article also suggests that “on July 4 he, his wife, Vernon and a daughter Betty [actually Bessie], age 14, went back to the spot and gathered up quite a bit of the debris.”

I’ll just overlook the fact that this seems to be a strange thing to have done on July 4, rather than say, June 15, or July 3. I’ll just move on.

Brazel, then on July 7, according to the Daily Record, visited with Sheriff George Wilcox and mentioned he might have had found one of the flying disks. Wilcox called out to the air base and eventually Jesse Marcel “and a man in plain clothes [Sheridan Cavitt]” arrived and they all, meaning Brazel, Marcel and Cavitt drove to the ranch. They gathered up the rest of it and “…tried to make a kite out of it but could not do that and could not find any way to put it back together so that it would fit.”

Now we get a few specifics about size of this debris. He didn’t see it fall or before it was torn up, “so he did not know the size or shape it might have been, but he though it might have been about as large as a table top. The balloon which held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been about 12 feet long… The rubber was smoky gray and scattered over an area about 200 yards in diameter.”

We learn, “When the debris was gathered up the tinfoil, paper, tape, and the sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated the entire lot would have weighed maybe five pounds.”

According to the newspaper there were no words to be found, although there were letters on some of the parts. Considerable scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed on it had been used in the construction. No string or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment had been used.

Before we look at the final two paragraphs of the article, which do have some relevance, let’s talk about what we know here. If Brazel went to the Sheriff’s Office on Monday, and if, as Marcel said, he was eating lunch when he got the call, then we know that all this took place in the afternoon. According to the best information available, Brazel, Marcel and Cavitt didn’t leave Roswell until late afternoon, maybe as late as four or four-thirty, and if the drive to the ranch took three hours (which is the time it takes on the modern roads today) then the questions become, “When did they gather the material, where did they take it to attempt to put it together, and how did Marcel get back to Roswell in time to meet with Colonel William Blanchard, the base commander by 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 8?” The timing simply doesn’t work because they would have arrived at the ranch about dusk and couldn’t have gathered the material in the dark and do the other things suggested by the newspaper, not to mention that the debris had already been gathered.

But let’s back up even a little more. Bill Brazel said that his father had taken some of the debris into town to show the sheriff. If this is true, and the material that Mack Brazel had found was as described in the newspaper, why did Marcel and Cavitt drive out to the ranch? Wouldn’t one of them, if not both of them, recognize the debris as mundane? Why go to the ranch at all? Brazel, along with family members, had apparently collected it all on July 4, again according to the newspaper. There was nothing to see in the field, and since there were samples of it in the Sheriff’s Office, there was no need to drive to the ranch to see what would have been an empty field.

If we believe this article, neither Marcel nor Cavitt recognized the material that Brazel brought into town. Cavitt, on the other hand, told Colonel Richard Weaver that he had recognized the debris in the field as a balloon as soon as he saw it laying out there. He didn’t explain why he hadn’t bothered to mention this to Marcel at the time or to Blanchard when he got back to Roswell.

If we look at the descriptions about the amount of material, there doesn’t seem to be all that much. Not a field filled with debris, but a small area that had been cleaned by the Brazel family. There was absolutely no reason to pursue this any further. There wasn’t a problem with who would clean it up because the family had already done that. In fact, at one time Bessie Brazel claimed that they had collected it all into three or four burlap bags and stored it under the porch of the ranch house.

The debris displayed in General Ramey's
office, July 8, 1947.
Had this been a Mogul array, there would have been evidence of more than a single balloon; there would have been multiple rawin targets (if you follow the illustration for Flight No. 2, but Flight No. 5 had no rawin targets), lots of cord to link it all, and given the size of the arrays, they probably would have been spread out over more than 200 yards. The descriptions given in the newspaper (and the photographs taken in Fort Worth) were more consistent with a single balloon and a single rawin, not a complete array with multiple balloons and multiple rawins.

When we get to the last two paragraphs, more trouble develops. Brazel said, according to the newspaper, that he had found two weather-observation balloons on the ranch but what he had found didn’t resemble them. He said, “I’m sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon.”

Of course, had it been Mogul, this was technically accurate because the function of Mogul was not weather observation. But, the Mogul arrays were made up of neoprene weather balloons and possibly some rawin radar targets, cord linking all the balloons together in a long line, sonobuoys to detect the sounds of detonation of atomic bombs, and devices to attempt to keep the balloons aloft. These would “dribble” out the sand of the ballast as the balloons began to descend.

The point is that if we read the article, it raises more questions than it answers, suggests that there was no reason for Marcel and Cavitt to drive to the ranch, suggests a time line that is impossible given the timing and the distances, provides a description of a single balloon and single target, exactly what appears in the photographs taken in General Roger Ramey’s office on the afternoon of July 8.

In other words, there is actually nothing in this article that eliminates any of the answers for the Roswell crash including both Mogul and the alien, and nothing in it to support any of the answers. It is a self-contradictory document that obscures more than it reveals. As evidence, it does nothing for either side of the argument. While skeptics can point to the description of the debris and say that it is a balloon the believers can point to the last two paragraphs and say that Brazel would have recognized the debris as a balloon had that been what it was. This is just another of the inexplicable items that pop up in this tale.


TheDimov said...

When I first read the article my very first thought was that they were obviously trying to make Brazel look like an idiot, and were trying to placate the reading audience but doing it in a kind of confronting but transparent sort of way, sort of like 'yeah, sure we are lying but what are you gonna do about it??'. The Roswell Report had that same kind of smug arrogance but took it several degrees further, and in fact if these kinds of things *didn't* exist I would tend to be more disinterested, but things like this article only serve to pique my interest.

I think the reason they have gotten away with it for so long, if indeed it was a crashed alien craft, is simply because most of the stuff recovered was so completely unremarkable; indeed when Mrs Marcel was sweeping up the stuff from her kitchen floor she said in her interview with her husband that if Jesse hadn't told her otherwise she would have not thought anything else of it at the time because it just resembled a load of rubbish. She simply seemed to agree with everything her husband told her.

..and so we just keep going round in circles with this infuriating mystery. But my gut feeling is, it has been what the papers and military have told us that has made the mystery more alluring. Because they come across as liars - and terrible ones at that - and have also arrogantly admitted to cover-ups not once but twice. Its the arrogance that they have purveyed that has been the biggest red flag of all for me. They couldn't even be bothered to have lied properly. They enjoyed the game they were playing too much.

David Rudiak said...

Brazel RDR story: “No strings or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment may have been used. ... at least one paper fin had been glued onto some of the tinfoil.”

A statement that ALONE is a spike in the very heart of the Flight #4 Mogul balloon theory (the balloon that never was), allegedly a multi-balloon, multi-radar-target, multi-parachute, instrument-carrying, hard-drinking balloon train, allegedly 600 feet in length, and strung all together with SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS of high strength balloon twine and other balloon rigging. How can the strung-together balloon train come down en masse to form a large debris field, yet the balloon rigging COMPLETELY VANISHES? To not see the logical absurity of such a scenario requires a very high level of psychological denial and magical/uncritical/unscientific thinking.

This was not unnoticed by USAF Roswell “investigator” Lt. James McAndrew when he interviewed Mogulist Charles Moore, asking him if the rigging could have disintegrated in the sun. Moore said he didn’t think so, at which point McAndrew swept this devastating contradiction to the Mogul theory under the rug and never brought it up again. Why do you suppose McAndrew did that? Maybe because he was AFOSI or counterintelligence, and they were desperately trying to come up with something mundane to explain what Brazel found, no matter how preposterous or nonexistent it was.

I might add that even if Brazel had found an actual radar target and even assuming that the rigging used to secure the target to the rest of the balloon or balloon train had snapped, the three eyelet/paper fins used for attachments should still have had remnant knotted rigging. To think otherwise requires more magical thinking (or use of strong drugs), because you have to then assume the magic balloon had knots that stayed knotted for hours while the balloon flew, but then untied themselves upon landing, and the rigging all mysteriously vanished.

However, using the usual debunker tool of invoking Occam’s razor, the absurdities are all SIMPLY resolved if there never was such a balloon (much less a complete Mogul train). No balloon, no rigging. SIMPLE! What about the balloon debris Brazel did describe? Simply explained as Brazel being given a cover story to recite to the press while in military custody. That also completely agrees with various witness testimony, such as provost marshal Easley who admitted to Kevin that they indeed held Brazel at the base under armed guard. Or Brazel’s son Bill that the military held his father against his will for several days. In other words, a coerced witness.

And like a good simple Occam theory of fewest assumptions, this has the added bonus of fully agreeing with another fact—there is a complete ABSENCE of official documentation that there ever was a Mogul Flight #4, instead being a complete blank in project summaries. The real Flight #5, on the other hand, is well-documented, stated to be the FIRST such flight in N.M. in project summaries and also in several official histories of flight, including on the NASA website.

Nice simple theory (Flight #4 never existed, official balloon stories then and now were cover stories) that explains all, including other serious contradictions in Brazel’s story with the official balloon theory. (perhaps more posts detailing these)

KRandle said...

David -

This wasn't meant to be another argument against Project Mogul because such arguments gain no traction regardless of the side you take. This was merely pointing out that a suggestion that this argument, that the article, proves there was nothing extraordinary about what fell, does no such thing. It is filled with contradictions. But I really don't wish to engage in another long winded Mogul discussion.

Pink said...

"Hard-drinking balloon train..." Phenomenal description. Made me actually laugh out loud. Great comments!