One of the starkest notes I have received about the History Channel’s History’s Greatest Mysteries, was the one that suggested the program had convinced the viewer that there was nothing alien about the Roswell UFO case. Rather than suggesting that there was a real mystery there, this correspondent believed that it had removed all the mystery from the case. I have to admit, I had some similar thoughts.
This means, that if I didn’t have a great deal of additional information, I could see where the program did nothing to advance the case. As but a single example, they bring up Project Mogul but neglect to point out that the culprit, Flight No. 4 had been cancelled. Only a cluster of balloons had been launched later in the day to lift a microphone high into the atmosphere to test its ability to detect the sounds of a large explosion. The cluster was not made up of the long array, didn’t contain the necessary rawin radar targets, and probably never actually left the confines of the White Sands Proving Ground. Such information was necessary to make an accurate assessment of the probability that Mogul was responsible for the debris found by Mack Brazel.
|Mogul balloons in flight.|
And, since they returned to Mogul in the last installment, and failed to mention that Flight No. 4 was not launched, as the documentation from the project director noted, I’ll mention it once again. The problem with saying that it was Flight No. 4, is that Flight No. 4 had been cancelled. You can read the various arguments, notes and documentation about it here:
For those who wish even more about the Mogul answer, just type Project Mogul into the search engine on the blog and it will provide a longer list of postings about Mogul. There is also a long appendix in Roswell in the 21st Century that lays all this out in one convenient place. Just click on the cover on the left side of the blog to take you right to the book.
Another, minor problem was that Jesse Marcel talked, on camera, in a segment filmed decades ago about a press conference in General Ramey’s office on July 8, 1947. He mentioned a bunch of microphones and reporters, but the truth is, there was but a single reporter and no evidence that he, the reporter, recorded anything. I will point out that I don’t consider this a lie, just someone attempting to remember a specific event thirty or forty years after the fact. I find myself in a similar dilemma as I put together, on the Vietnam Ground Zero blog, my experiences as a helicopter pilot and aircraft commander in Vietnam. I try to be accurate, but I’m just a little bit worried that some of the memories have been confabulated, meaning, after all these years, some of those memories are jumbled together. It’s not a lie, just a bit of confusion
I was astonished, and disappointed, that they trotted out Frank Kaufmann to make some sort comments about the alien nature of the discovery. Those who visit here regularly know that Frank Kaufmann had invented his involvement in the Roswell case. He had told us, all who would listen, that he had been a master sergeant trained in intelligence. When his true military career was discovered, we learned he had been a staff sergeant trained in administration. The documents he had presented to prove his intelligence background had been forged. He lied about who he was and what he had been doing. You can read more about Kaufmann here:
Once again, for those who wish more information, and to understand the evolution of the Kaufmann testimony, just type Frank Kaufmann into the search engine. There are even examples of the documents that he forged. Kaufmann had been thoroughly discredited and I’m astonished that they would use any footage of him spinning his wild tales.
And there was Glenn Dennis, whose tale unraveled when the nurse couldn’t be found. He spun a great story, but it was no truer than those told by Frank Kaufmann. The postings about Glenn Dennis can be found here (and they include links to other articles as well):
But the real point of the programs was to introduce what have been called Jesse Marcel’s Journal. This was a document found by the grandchildren among the papers left by Jesse Marcel. It covered the period that included the date of the crash of the object near Roswell, New Mexico.
As I have mentioned, last February I was in Fort Worth to film a segment on the Ramey Memo. Although I was there to talk about the Ramey Memo, I spent several hours in front of the camera talking about all aspects of the Roswell UFO crash case.
During the interview, the subject of Marcel’s Journal came up. I knew a little about it, of course, and there were some people that I could ask about it if I wanted to know more information. I reported everything I knew, until we reached February. Then, I was given additional information on the condition I would say nothing until the segment about the Journal aired.
I was told that the majority of the Journal contained nothing other than the mundane musings of someone who was keeping a journal. It ran from 1946 until 1948 or 49, so that it covered the critical days in 1947. It was filled with quotes from movies and books, and things like that but made no reference to the UFO crash. In fact, it seemed to skip over the critical days in July but there is nothing really significant in that. I mean, the Journal is not a daily record, but the periodic writings of the author.
There were areas that seemed to be in code. These, apparently, are the sections written in block lettering as opposed to cursive used in the majority of the Journal. We learned, during the program, that they had submitted the Journal to forensic analysis to test the paper and ink. Of course, both the paper and ink were from the proper time, meaning that the Journal was written at the times noted in it. Since we had a known provenance for the Journal, this seemed to be a wasted effort. No one really thought it was some kind of fake, given the way it was found.
The real revelation was when the Journal was given to a handwriting expert. She pointed out that whoever wrote the entries in cursive was the same person who wrote the sections written in block letters. The “code” then, maybe hidden in those musings because of the strange mixture in upper- and lower-case letters in those few pages of block printing. But then, it was noted, based on an analysis of the handwriting of Jesse Marcel and the writing in this Journal, that Marcel was not the author.
That seemed to suck some of the importance out of the Journal. While it was found in Marcel’s military records, we don’t know who wrote it or why. The thing that stuck me about it was that it appears to be quotes from various sources. This is something that aspiring writers do. Find a sentence or a paragraph or a saying that has some sort of appeal and copy it.
Later, using samples of handwriting by various officers, they attempted to match the handwriting of one of those officers to that in Journal. They keep suggesting that Patrick Saunders, the base adjutant in 1947, was the number two man on the base behind Colonel Blanchard. That simply is not accurate. Both Payne Jennings and Robert Barrowclough were the numbers two and three in Roswell at the time. There were eighteen lieutenant colonels assigned to the base in 1947, and each of them outranked Saunders. This doesn’t diminish his position, only clarifies it.
In letters sent to me, and supplied to the production company, Saunders’ daughter provided an insight into his role in Roswell in 1947. Saunders, according to what he said, had altered records, funded parts of the recovery operation by disguising the missions as navigational problems and cross-country training. That there was wreckage or bodies on the aircraft were unimportant in the accounting for the money spent. The training mission paid for the cost of moving people, equipment and wreckage around.
Ironically, the producers missed an obvious clue to the importance of what Saunders wrote, even as they used the samples of his handwriting to compare with the writing in the Journal. On the flyleaf to The Truth about UFO Crash at Roswell, Saunders wrote, “Here’s the truth and I still haven’t told anybody about anything!” He then signed it.
That page, labeled as “Damage Control,” contained a paragraph about what had happened in Roswell. It said:
Files were altered. So were personal records, along with assignments and various codings and code words. Changing serial numbers ensured that those searching later would not be able to locate those who were involved in the recovery. Individuals were brought into Roswell from Alamogordo, Albuquerque, and Los Alamos. The MPs were a special unit constructed of military police elements from Kirtland, Alamogordo, and Roswell. If the men didn’t know one another, or were separated after the event, they would be unable to compare notes, and that would make the secret easier to keep.
After the impact site was cleaned, the soldiers debriefed, and the bodies and the craft removed, silence fell. It would not be broken for almost forty-five years.
While they were looking for a code hidden in the journal, and gathering samples of the handwriting of some of the officers, they had Saunders verifying the information on that page and by extension, what was written in the book.
|Patrick Saunders' note on the flyleaf of|
The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell.
The other thing that struck me was the selection of the officers whose handwriting was used for comparisons. I think they selected those they did because they had samples of that handwriting. They didn’t, for example, find samples for James Breece, who worked directly for Marcel. I have wondered that if Marcel “inherited” the Journal as he was cleaning out his desk, or his office, when he was transferred. The Journal might have been left by one of those working in the Intelligence Office with Marcel.
I also have to wonder what the point was to bring in some of the other reported crashes. They provide nearly no other information about any of them, leaving the viewer with more unnecessary questions. The alleged crash, on the Plains of San Agustin comes down to a single witness that no UFO researcher ever interviewed. The tale is traced to Barney Barnett, but there is no corroboration for it. Every other person who talks about it, is second hand, with their information coming from Barnett.
There are several other things that could be mentioned here. For example, I have to wonder, as have others, when they recreated the Marcel photograph, why is the man wearing a Marine corporal’s uniform?
You also have to wonder who performed the fact check for the episode. There were lots of little mistakes that could easily have been corrected, had anyone asked a question or two. One of the things I would have pointed out is that anything Kaufmann said about the case was made up byKaufmann.
On the whole, I believe the show didn’t follow through on several key points. What was learned by Gene Cooper and this analysis of the Ramey Memo? All we had was the preliminary work done in Fort Worth. What was learned once he had an opportunity to analyze the Memo at length.
Who decided to bring in some of the “witnesses,” that were interviewed? Frank Kaufmann and Glenn Dennis were not involved regardless of what they claimed later in life. Each has been caught telling lies, and in Kaufmann’s case, forging documents.
In the next few days, I hope to get a transcript of Barbara Dugger’s interview up on this blog. This is the March 1991 interview that Don Schmitt and I conducted. Her story was not nearly as robust as it is now… and, of course, we have the written document created by Inez Wilcox about the Sheriff’s involvement.
And, finally, why didn’t they mention that Flight No. 4, according to the documentation had been cancelled? Without that flight, there was no Mogul array to scatter debris on the Brazel ranch… not to mention that Marcel, among many others, would have recognized the debris left by Mogul as neoprene balloons and radar targets and not something built on another planet.
The point is the show could have been so much better. Instead, we learned that Jesse Marcel didn’t write the Journal, Patrick Saunders’ important note was used for comparison purposes rather as a signed validation of much of the information of a cover up, and we don’t have a final word on the Ramey Memo... and this is just my preliminary thoughts.