Dec 08, 2019 I Nick Redfern

The Ongoing Controversy of the “Roswell Nurse” and Those Strange Bodies

When it comes to the matter of the Roswell affair of July 1947, just about everything is controversial. There are multiple theories for what happened. There are witnesses who are highly credible and those who are best forgotten. The U.S. government has changed its opinion on several occasions regarding what happened - or what didn't happen.  The tales of con-men, outright liars, and second- and third-hand abound. Numerous books have been written on the subject - and we're still no closer to getting a definitive answer. There's no doubt that one of the most controversial of all those who claimed knowledge of what happened (or of portions of what happened) was the late Glenn Dennis. At the time when everything went weird at Roswell in '47, Dennis was an embalmer (not a mortician, as so many have incorrectly described him - including Dennis himself, no less) at the local Ballard Funeral Home. He signed a sworn affidavit confirming something sensational - namely, that a nursing friend at the base had quietly admitted to him that a preliminary autopsy of a number of strange bodies had been conducted at the base hospital at the Roswell Army Air Field.

Dennis said: "She had gone to get supplies in a room where two doctors were performing a preliminary autopsy. The doctors said they needed her to take notes during the procedure. She said she had never smelled anything so horrible in her life, and the sight was the most gruesome she had ever seen. She said, 'This was something no one has ever seen.' As she spoke, I was concerned that she might go into shock.'" Dennis continued: "She drew me a diagram of the bodies, including an arm with a hand that had only four fingers; the doctors noted that on the end of the fingers were little pads resembling suction cups. She said the head was disproportionately large for the body; the eyes were deeply set; the skulls were flexible; the nose was concave with only two orifices; the mouth was a fine slit, and the doctors said there was heavy cartilage instead of teeth. The ears were only small orifices with flaps. They had no hair, and the skin was black - perhaps due to exposure in the sun. She gave me the drawings."

When Glenn Dennis' story began to surface approximately three decades ago, there was a great deal of excitement within the UFO research field - and particularly so in the arena of Roswell research. Things didn't stay like that, however. The biggest problem was that Dennis hemmed and hawed over the alleged real name of the nurse,. He came up with a variety of names, such as Naomi Marie Selff, Naomi Maria Selff, Naomi Self, and Naomi Sipes. Roswell researchers began to doubt the tale when they failed to find anyone (at the base) with a name anywhere near to those Dennis came up with. That was when the red flags flew. Big time, too. Maybe Dennis had never given anything that was remotely like the real name. Perhaps, it was suggested, the nurse was actually a composite - created by Dennis to protect several nurses who may have been on-site when the bodies were brought in and all hell broke loose. Today, most people in Roswell research totally discount Dennis' story - and for very understandable reasons, too. Roswell expert Kevin Randle, for example, says of Dennis' story that it is nothing but "...the fantasy of a man who had no real involvement other than he lived in Roswell in 1947."

I do wonder, though, if there could be a smidgen of truth to the story; that perhaps Dennis knew something of what happened, but that he handled the whole thing in such an awkward and controversial fashion that it led his claims to be discarded. So, in light of all this, you may wonder why I still think there might be a small number of facts buried in a story dominated by fiction and fantasy? I'll tell you. As you can learn online: "Maria is a feminine given name. It is given in many languages influenced by Latin Christianity [Catholic]. It has its origin as the feminine form of the Roman name Marius and, after Christianity religion has spread across the Roman empire, it became the Latinised form of the name of Miriam."

Kevin Randle told me a couple of days ago that Dennis started using the middle name of "Maria" for his nurse after he - Dennis - met with the late ufologist, Karl Pflock. So, we have a "Maria" in the story. And, it so happens that Maria (as the quote above shows) "...became the Latinised form of Miriam." Why is this important? Well, one of the primary candidates for who the nurse really might have been (if there even was a nurse, of course) was a woman named...Miriam Bush. Miriam was not actually a nurse: in 1947 she was an executive secretary at Roswell’s RAAF hospital. She worked for a medical officer, Lieutenant Colonel Harold Warne, and is said to have seen the bodies found on the Foster Ranch – specifically when they were brought into the confines of the hospital. They were, as nearly everyone claimed, small, damaged, and very unusual-looking.

This trauma-filled experience clearly affected Miriam to a huge degree. The whole thing was like an albatross around her neck. That huge, ominous bird never left her. Miriam Bush’s private life was a mess and she became alcoholic. And, in the late 1980s, Miriam became fearful that she was being watched and followed. She was found dead in a motel-room just outside of San Jose, California, in December 1989. A plastic bag was found around Miriam's head, and her arms were bruised and scratched. The verdict was suicide.

Dennis said that his nurse was a "good catholic girl." Could Dennis have known something after all? Did he choose to use the name of Maria in place of Miriam? And, using the fake name, did he hope that one day someone with a Catholic background might make a Maria-Miriam connection and finally realize who the real source was: Miriam Bush, perhaps? Dennis did, after all, make a Catholic comment, suggesting he may have known some Catholic lore. At the very least, this is all a strange and convoluted coincidence of names, which may very well be the case. But, I would suggest that more digging into all of this is still required.

And, finally, if you go down the anagram path you can find some interesting things. For example, "Naomi Marie Self" is an anagram of "Miriam Safe Lone." Which could mean Miriam's OK and alone. Or it may mean nothing!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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