Jan 05, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Missing Files and the Roswell “UFO” Affair: Sanitizing and Skewing

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Roswell affair of July 1947 is that a significant number of military documents from that period - and from the old Roswell base too, no less - cannot be found. They're gone. Lost. Nowhere in sight. Like Elvis, they have left the building. You get the picture. Time and time again I have seen ufologists get very excited by the fact that all of those papers are now nowhere to be found. What annoys me, though, is when those same ufologists don't tell the full, correct story. Even when they know all too well what the truth really is. I'll show you what I mean by all of that. Back in 1995, the General Accounting Office (today, it's called the Government Accountability Office) said of this issue of the missing files: "In addition to unit history reports, we also searched for other government records on the Roswell crash. In this regard, the Chief Archivist for the National Personnel Records Center provided us with documentation indicating that (1) RAAF records such as finance and accounting, supplies, buildings and grounds, and other general administrative matters from March 1945 through December 1949 and (2) RAAF outgoing messages from October 1946 through December 1949 were destroyed [italics mine]."

Nick Redfern

When the GAO - quite reasonably, I should stress - demanded to know the reasons behind this eye-opening development of the vanished papers, they got an answer, as GAO files note: "According to this official [the Chief Archivist for the National Personnel Records Center], the document disposition form did not properly indicate the authority under which the disposal action was taken. The Center’s Chief Archivist stated that from his personal experience, many of the Air Force organizational records covering this time period were destroyed without entering a citation for the governing disposition authority. Our review of records control forms showing the destruction of other records - including outgoing RAAF messages for 1950 - supports the Chief Archivist’s viewpoint."

The unfortunate fact is that so many ufologists have been selective (as in very selective...) about how they present the story of those missing files. I would be far more impressed than I am right now if it was files just from July 1947 - the time-frame of the legendary incident. But, that's not the case at all. And it never has been. Some researchers would prefer you buy into their fantasies and their deliberately skewed, and edited, scenarios. Saying that files from the Roswell base in the summer of 1947 are now missing impresses many people. The reason why it impresses people is because it's absolutely true. It's unfortunate, however, that it's not the complete picture. As the GAO noted, the files that were missing covered the period from 1945 to 1950. They did not cover just a few days or weeks in July 1947. The fact that some of those missing files dated back two years before the incident had occurred and three years after it was all over, strongly suggest those same vanished files were not connected to the July 1947 mystery.

Nick Redfern

So, in other words, we have an explanation that does not include high-level conspiracy to explain the loss and destruction of files, but which says far more about how military bureaucracy worked seventy-four years ago. So, what’s my point in all of this? Well, this is my point: Yes, it certainly is intriguing to learn that half-a-decade of certain files are missing from the old Roswell Army Air Field. It may even be an issue that impacts on deep conspiracy to hide the full, true story of what occurred out on the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in 1947. But, at this point in the story, we just don't have enough data to say for sure that those vanished documents have a direct bearing (and a direct link) on the infamous incident.

One final, very important thing for you to ponder on: if the Roswell incident occurred totally out of the blue in the summer of 1947 - and without any kind of warning ahead - then why the hell would there be files on the case from two years earlier (1945)? The answer is very simple: there wouldn't be any 1945 files on the Roswell event. My conclusion: those missing files of 1945-1950, and the 1947 crash, were very likely two separate things. But, they were separate things that were twisted by ufologists who did their utmost to bolster their saucer-based scenarios.

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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