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Bio-Warfare, the Roswell Affair and a Japanese Connection

“Bacteriological Warfare in the United States” is a fascinating FBI document that was declassified into the public domain in 2006, via the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. It covers the years 1941 to 1950. Notably, of the file’s original 1,783 pages, no less than 1,074 were firmly withheld from declassification by the FBI (since 2006, however, more of those pages have surfaced). The file reveals a wealth of illuminating and disturbing data on animal disease and death, and their potential, theoretical links to bacteriological warfare and sabotage by enemy nations and individuals. In a strange and winding way, the story the file tells has a bearing on the theme of this book. Much of the dossier is focused on a series of mysterious and suspicious outbreaks of disease – and attendant death – in Lincoln County, New Mexico in the 1940s, which is the very same county where the Roswell event occurred in early July 1947. Not only that, as will soon become clear, there is even a Japanese balloon link to the Lincoln County outbreak.

In late 1950, the New Mexico State Public Health Laboratory sent a memo to the FBI which read as follows: “Possibly some of you saw headlines in newspapers published in the States during August, such as ‘Black Death Stirs Albuquerque,’ ‘Black Plague Hits Two in New Mexico,’ and ‘Dark Age Plague Found in Two.’ It is unfortunate that we must still seriously discuss plague, for we already know so much about its cause and mode of spread; but as long as such headlines do occur, it is necessary that we who are interested in Public Health and Preventive Medicine do seriously consider plague and acquaint ourselves with the plague of today, its prevalence, and its potentialities.”

Nick Redfern

The FBI was particularly worried about the New Mexico outbreaks and recorded the following: “The New Mexico Public Health Authority has been on the alert for cases of plague since 1938 when the U.S. Public Health Service first reported plague in the wild rodents of one of our counties. There was no suggestion of human infection until August 1, 1949, when the Laboratory received a request for aid in the diagnosis of two cases. A slide made from material aspirated from an axillary bubo [swelling of the lymph nodes] of a ten-year-old boy of Taos County was first received. Late on August 1, 1949, the pathologist at the Veteran’s Hospital in Albuquerque called stating that a man from Placitas, Sandoval County, had been admitted to the hospital and his clinical symptoms resembled plague. The cases were from areas 200 miles apart with no connection. The little boy of Taos probably received his infection from a bit of a flea escaped from the body of a prairie dog which he killed by throwing a stone. The man from Sandoval probably received his infection from fleas from ground squirrels that he had killed while working on his farm.

“These two New Mexico cases of human plague are good examples of what might be expected considering the reservoir of plague infection in the wild rodents of the western states. Very possibly there are undiagnosed human cases in New Mexico and other states with widely scattered population.” A further document from this particular collection of formerly classified papers provides this: “Since this report was written, a 7 ½ year-old-boy in Lincoln County died, possibly of plague. The boy was taken to a physician at Fort Stanton, November 4. Apparently he was not in a very serious condition and was sent home. He was returned to the Fort Stanton Hospital November 5 in the morning; his temperature was somewhat higher; by noon he was markedly worse, and by 2:30 he was dead. A post mortem examination was made and the doctor in charge diagnosed the case as being bubonic plague with pneumonic and septicemic complications. Portions of the organs were sent to [name deleted] at the Western Communicable Disease Laboratory in San Francisco; and he confirmed the child was probably infected by ectoparasites from tree squirrels. A clear history could not be obtained, but dead tree squirrels were found in the barn and near the dwelling of this child.”

As a result of all this disturbing activity, the FBI turned its attention towards securing as many newspaper articles as possible that had been published on the subject of plague and other, potentially fatal, conditions in New Mexico. There was, for example, “Lea Rabbits Suspected Bubonic Plague Carriers,” which appeared in the pages of the Albuquerque Journal on June 21, 1950. Now, we come to an even more eye-opening series of revelations on this issue. So concerned was the FBI by these various outbreaks of plague in New Mexico in 1949, J. Edgar Hoover took secret steps to share all of the pertinent medical data – and media articles, too – with a fistful of agencies of the government and the military. They included the U.S. Air Force’s Director of Special Investigations, the Director of Naval Intelligence, the Acting Director of the Division of Security of the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Director of the CIA. The most important point of all will now be revealed. It demonstrates precisely why a wide and varied body of intelligence agencies were carefully, and secretly, monitoring this situation.

Polyethylene hot air balloon

Additional files on this issue surfaced after the FBI’s release of material in 2006; this time, from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. There was a school of thought within certain factions of the AFOSI that while the plague deaths very likely resulted from flea bites and attacks by infected animals, the plague itself may have been deliberately released in Lincoln County, New Mexico, by nothing less than…a Japanese balloon. Probably in 1945, it was surmised – which was when the Fugo raids were at their height. The theory was that due to the small, isolated, human populations in some of the areas where plague broke out, it may have taken several years before the plague took hold in the animal population and then jumped to people – and also a couple of years for the wreckage to be found in the massive wilds of New Mexico. The shared, secret files also reveal that some authorities believed – years later and with the benefit of hindsight – that the initial outbreak in Lincoln County was caused by the Hantavirus, which was first acknowledged by the West in the early 1950s and at the height of the Korean War.

Of greatest importance, however, is a document titled “Japanese Balloon Raids – 1945” which was found in the archives of what, in the 1940s, was called Camp Detrick. Today, it goes by the name of Fort Detrick. Located in Maryland, the facility is at the forefront of research into bacteriological warfare, chemical warfare, and lethal viruses. The document postulates that in 1945 a Japanese Fugo balloon came down somewhere in Lincoln County and unleashed a deadly cargo of plague-infected insects – such as fleas – and which eventually took hold, leading to the unfortunate death of the young boy at Fort Stanton, four years later.

Now, we come to another aspect of the Fort Stanton connection. Moving into the 1970s and the 1980s, we have intriguing information from John A. Price, of the Roswell-based UFO Enigma Museum, and the author of a 1997 non-fiction book, Roswell: A Quest for the Truth. On one particular day in 1978, Price – who was employed as a roofer at the time – was working outside on a particular property in Hagerman. It’s a town situated approximately twenty-four miles from Roswell. The property held a number of physically handicapped children – this much was clear to Price, as several such children exited the property and stood on the patio, watching him as he worked. He thought, “this must be a home for the mentally impaired.” That was not all, however. Price had more to say: “Suddenly, I almost choked on my coffee as two more children, or at least I think they were children, walked out and stood behind the others.” According to Price, they were all around four- to four-and-a-half-feet in height. They had oversized, hairless heads, and their ears and noses were noticeably smaller than normal for a young child. Things came to a sudden end when, Price recalls, “a lady came to the door and ushered the kids back into the house.” He did not see them again.

More than a decade later, Price received a letter from “an acquaintance” who he had known for some time. Price said: ““In the letter he told me that the aliens I was looking for were at Fort Stanton.” For those who may not know, Fort Stanton is a facility that, during the Second World War, held a number of Japanese “enemy aliens” (as they were termed) and is barely spitting distance away from the Foster Ranch. As this, and the data in my 2017 book, The Roswell UFO Conspiracy, shows, there is a complicated connection between all of these issues: handicapped people; secret, high-altitude balloons; and top secret post-Second Wold War programs to bring German and Japanese personnel into the USA. A grim story is getting even more so.

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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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