Jun 20, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Three Reasons Why Aliens Didn’t Crash at Roswell: Coffins, Missing Files and a Certain Memo

It's no secret that I don't believe aliens crashed outside of Roswell, New Mexico in July 1947. I've written two books on why, in my mind, we should be looking for answers that take us beyond tales of aliens and dead extraterrestrials. They are 2005's Body Snatchers in the Desert and 2017's The Roswell UFO Conspiracy. For many of those who believe aliens did come down on the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, they hang onto certain aspects of the Roswell story - aspects that seem to vindicate the tales of aliens. Today, though, I'm going to explain how and why some of the cornerstones of Roswell are actually nothing of the sort. I'll begin with the yarn of Glenn Dennis and those "little coffins" in which the alien bodies were supposedly stored. 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. One of the most memorable parts of Dennis’ tale is the claim that in the immediate aftermath of the crash, he was contacted by someone at the base. It was someone who wanted to know to if he – Dennis – had any small coffins. And, that’s what I want to address today.

I have always thought that Dennis’ story of the small coffins was planted – by the man himself – as a piece of dramatic story-telling and the pinnacle of his claims. If bodies were taken to the base – and I believe they were, but they weren't alien – having a military man bringing up the need for tiny coffins, and sharing the story with Dennis, makes no sense at all – and particularly so from the perspective of security. Maybe even of national security proportions. It only inflates the controversy even more. And, certainly, no-one on the base wanted that. The military would not have wanted to seed the story of small bodies in the mind of a local embalmer: who was a member of the public. Why would the military specifically ask Dennis for small coffins, when normal-sized would have done the job just as well? The answer is simple: they wouldn’t have done that. They would have operated in a very low-key fashion.Clearly, the tale of the "tiny coffins" is garbage and, for those who still hang onto the story, it's time to walk away from it. Forever.

Now, there's the saga of "the victims of the wreck." One of the most intriguing pieces of Roswell-based documentation is that which has become known as the "Ramey Memo." It is a single piece of paper and can be seen in a black-and-white photograph taken of Brigadier General Roger Ramey. In 1947, he was the head of the 8th Army Air Force, which operated out of Fort Worth, Texas. Ramey is a key part of the story, as he is holding the memo in question in his left hand; a memo which says something about Roswell. But, what? That’s the issue UFO researchers are unable to agree upon. A number of attempts have been made to decipher the memo. The first real attempt of any major significance was undertaken on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. In their massive 1994 report on the Roswell affair, the USAF stated that it sent the photo-collection to what was only referred to as a "national-level organization for digitizing and subsequent photo interpretation and analysis." The results, however, were disappointing, as that same unnamed organization informed the Air Force, on July 20, 1994, that even after careful digitizing, "the photos were of insufficient quality to visualize either of the details sought for analysis."

The crash site (Nick Redfern)

There is very little doubt that the memo includes the words "in the 'disc' they will ship." Far more controversially, David Rudiak concludes from his analysis that the words "operation at the ranch" and "the victims of the wreck" can also be seen. Roswell investigator Kevin Randle noted in 2015: "While ‘Victims of the wreck’ might not take us immediately to the extraterrestrial, it would certainly start us on the path." I'm particularly intrigued by that word, "victims." Let’s take a look at the definitions for "victim" that Merriam-Webster provides. They include: "one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent;" "one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions;" "one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment;" and "one that is tricked or duped" If the "human experiment" angle for Roswell is the correct one – as I believe it to be – then the terminology used by Merriam-Webster to define a "victim" is most apt. After all, there is no doubt that those used in the 1940s-era experiments were "adversely affected by a force or agent." Few would deny they were “injured, destroyed, or sacrificed."” And they were certainly "“subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment." Still on the matter of that controversial sentence in the Ramey Memo, there is the issue of the word "wreck." It seems very strange that such a word would have been used to describe what the military was assuring the media was just a flimsy weather-balloon.

Now, we come to another aspect of Roswell that many ufologists claim proves that aliens crashed, but that, as you'll see, doesn't stand up at all. When, in the 1990s, the Government Accountability Office (previously known as the General Accounting Office) was investigating Roswell, they found that a huge amount of documentation from the base was missing. Proof that aliens did crash? Nope. You have to look at the story carefully. If UFO/Roswell researchers wish to maintain that the missing files from 1947 point to a specific cover-up of the Roswell event - and Roswell occurred out of the blue in July of that year - then they have to provide a viable reason as to why documentation dating back as far as March 1945 was pulled too, and why additional documentation remains missing from as late as 1950. Saying that "the outgoing Roswell messages from July 1947 are missing" is absolutely true, and it opens eyes and it catches the attention of ufologists and Roswell disciples everywhere. Noting that, in reality, the files actually cover 1945 to 1950, and also cover general administrative issues at the base, is far less attention-grabbing.

Ironically, the fact that the files which have vanished (files which still cannot be found) span 1945 to 1950, actually adds weight to the idea that Roswell was a military experiment. Just about everyone I spoke with while writing Body Snatchers in the Desert told me that the human experimentation began in 1945 and ended in the late 1940s – with a few additional tests having occurred in the early fifties. Pulling 1945-era files for a one-off event that didn’t occur until the summer of 1947 makes zero sense. Pulling certain 1945-era files that might have compromised the handful of pre-Roswell experiments – had they reached the public domain, of course - makes perfect sense. The same goes for the decision to make the 1948-1950 files vanish, too. The fact is that six years of files are missing, not just files from the time of the Roswell crash. This is indicative of a fairly lengthy series of ongoing tests that had to be hidden – not the out-of-the-blue crash of one solitary alien spacecraft midway through 1947.

It should also be recalled that President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments revealed that “…a number of potentially important collections could not be located and were evidently lost or destroyed [italics mine]. Similarly, the Committee reveals, a number of those same document collections related to experiments undertaken in the fields of biomedicine, defense and space exploration; and in the great majority of these cases only fragmentary data remained. Where programs were legitimately kept secret for national security reasons, states the Committee, the government often did not create or maintain adequate records [italics mine], thereby preventing the public, and those most at risk, from learning the facts in a timely and complete fashion."  All of this is highly suggestive of an agenda to make Roswell go away – permanently. And to bury the extremely controversial "human experiment" angle of the incident.

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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