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The World’s Most Famous UFO Case: In Danger of Going Under?

For the last week, or thereabouts, I’ve written a number of articles on what really happened near to Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947. Today’s article is not on the Roswell case itself, or on what we know about the event, however. Rather, today’s article is very different: It covers my observations on how Ufology – as a community – addresses Roswell and how it may address it in the future. With that said, here we go: For the last few decades, Roswell has been Ufology’s number-one case. It’s a field of research that is always looking for proof that UFOs exist. And, by proof, I mean hard, solid evidence that can be examined and studied – if, of course, “they” would only “tell us the truth.” As I write this, more than seventy years have gone by since Kenneth Arnold kicked off the flying saucer controversy – after encountering a squadron of unidentified aerial vehicles near Mt. Rainier, Washington State. And, although we have masses of material, eye-witness testimony, photos, declassified files, etc., the fact is that we still don’t have hard evidence of – or definitive answers for – what UFOs actually are. Roswell, however, UFO researchers say, theoretically offers us those answers. If only, that is, we could uncover the bodies, the wreckage, the old files, and so on. And presuming, of course, that Roswell was an alien event and not something else. Such as something down-to-earth and which still has to remain hidden at all costs.

(Nick Redfern) The Legendary Crash Site Outside of Roswell, New Mexico

The fact is that Ufology is not just seeking hard, undeniable proof that UFOs exist. Much of Ufology is desperate to find pro-E.T. evidence for Roswell, chiefly so that all those decades of research won’t be seen as a waste of time. Those UFO researchers now in their sixties, seventies and eighties are faced with meeting the Grim Reaper before they get to see the doors to the “secret Roswell hangar”” opened wide.  For those researchers, the answers have to come, before it’s all too late. And they have to come soon. Roswell is to them what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab. So, for those who conclude that aliens crashed back in July 1947, the Roswell affair – with its large number of first-, second-, and third-hand witnesses, and with the government having changed its stance on what happened more than a couple of times – is the one that could really tip the scales. And, with the scales tipped, the world would know that the UFO community was right all along and it was all worth it. All thanks to Roswell. There’s very little doubt in my mind that when Ufologists see the word “Roswell” prominently referenced in a new online article, there’s an immediate sense of “Maybe, this time, we really have it nailed.”

There’s another reason why Roswell is so important, but from a very different perspective. It gets to the crux of this article. If, one day, Roswell is conclusively proven not to have been an extraterrestrial event – maybe, instead, some dark and murky domestic experiment of the kinds detailed in my two Roswell books – then I firmly believe that the UFO community will have a collective breakdown / meltdown of epic proportions and from which it will never recover. Shaking knees, breathing slowly into paper bags, stomach ulcers, antidepressants, and uncontrollable bladders will be commonplace. Don’t even get me started on out-of-control bowel movements. In that sense, Ufology is desperate to see Roswell confirmed as an extraterrestrial event. Ufology can barely consider Roswell as anything else. For so many, such a situation is utterly unthinkable. So, again, whenever Roswell pops up – and particularly so amid rumors that “something big” is coming – there is a dire and pressing need, and a desperate yearning, for something tangible. So, everyone clicks on the link, praying for the definitive breakthrough that has consistently failed to surface; the breakthrough that only “St. Roswell” can (maybe) deliver into Ufology’s eager hands.

Roswell has been elevated and championed as an E.T. event to such an incredible degree that it can – single-handedly – completely make or break Ufology. Forever. However you look at the case – and whatever your personal opinion on what happened in ’47 on the Foster Ranch – that’s why the incident remains so incredibly important. My personal view is that for Ufology it will be break and not make. Here’s why: Despite the words of the naysayers, and those who hope and pray I am wrong (which I’m not), the fact is there exists a large body of material that strongly supports the “secret experiment” theory. Such was the controversial and incriminating nature of the files and the experiments, they were buried decades ago – and they remain buried. Or, maybe, as I have suggested, all of that same incriminating data has been relegated to the furnace and the shredder. But, that doesn’t prevent a case from being made.

Although pro-UFO researchers and investigators make a big fuss about the discoveries on the Foster Ranch, they seldom highlight the fact that, prior to the events of early July 1947, rancher Mack Brazel found the remains of two weather-balloons on the property. That is an important thing to note, as is this: there is no doubt that much of the material scooped up by Brazel was very balloon-like. And, we know that balloons had fallen on the ranch previously. Military balloons. Twice. If that doesn’t strike you as being notable, well, it sure as shit should. In light of all this, few can deny that military devices – of varying degrees of secrecy – were dropping from the skies over New Mexico, in the late 1940s. Let’s see what else is on the table. Also in 1947, we have the following, found in FBI files declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act: “Special Agent S. W. Reynolds of the Liaison Section, while discussing the above captioned phenomena with Lieutenant Colonel Garrett of the Air Forces Intelligence, expressed the possibility that flying discs were, in fact, a very highly classified experiment of the Army or Navy [italics mine]. Mr. Reynolds was very much surprised when Colonel Garrett not only agreed that this was a possibility, but confidentially stated it was his personal opinion that such was a probability. Colonel Garrett indicated that a Mr. [name deleted], who is a scientist attached to the Air Forces Intelligence, was of the same opinion.”

From the 1970s, there are the recollections of John A. Price. In a nearby town, Hagerman, he encountered a group of unusual children: all roughly four- to four-and-a-half-feet in height, with large and hairless heads and tiny noses and ears. In the following decade, one of Price’s sources told him of people with strange appearances held at Fort Stanton, New Mexico: “There were some pretty deformed young men there, several of which could be of alien nature. We only went by what we were told; please don’t tell anyone. Mongoloid large heads, small ears, pin heads who could function and had shrill voices. They were supposed to be of incest, but from their looks – Outer-space.”

Now, let’s move into the 1990s, when things really started to heat up. In 1991, Leonard Stringfield published an account of strange bodies secretly flown to Los Alamos from late 1945 to 1947. From where? The rumor was from Japan. They were small corpses, with oversized heads and large eyes. Their skin was severely burned – as if they had been in some kind of accident. In this same time frame, and through 1993, John Keel was pursuing the Japanese connection to Roswell. Keel said:  “If such a project was launched, they would have selected the smallest, lightest volunteers available…It is also likely they might have expired during the trip…their complexions would have been very odd, discolored by the cold…If even one such volunteer balloonist attempted the trip and crashed, we would have the answer to all those rumors and legends which persist to this day.”

In 1997, – Roswell’s 50th anniversary – two interesting, and relevant, developments surfaced. One was the publication of Philip Corso’s book, The Day after Roswell, a book filled with controversy. Particularly notable is the fact that Corso was good friends with Major General Charles Willoughby, a central character in the secret program to get Japan’s Unit 731 files into the hands of the United States’ military. Also in 1997, Popular Mechanics magazine revealed that its staff had been tipped off to a forthcoming release of documents that would reveal the Japanese link to Roswell. As it happens, such files did not surface. That the magazine was given the story, however, suggests that behind the scenes someone in government wanted the story put into the public domain – even though they were thwarted from doing so. Or, maybe, they backed off due to fear and possible consequences of the deadly type. Both scenarios are equally plausible.

Between 2001 and 2004, I interviewed the people who provided the material that appeared in my Body Snatchers in the Desert book. Also in 2004, the original, printed manuscript of my book vanished from the offices of Simon & Schuster in New York – something that provoked a great deal of debate and concern. Months after the book was published, in the summer of 2005, Australian UFO authority, Keith Basterfield, revealed he had secured testimony from an Australian source who told him a near-identical story. Handicapped people, gigantic balloons, New Mexico, and secret projects – all of the key ingredients were there. The year 2005 was also revealing for two other reasons: (a) the coincidence of my book being published on June 21, 2005, and the fact that this was the very same day the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group began addressing further wartime Japanese war crimes, including those of Unit 731, and (b) that twenty-four hours later, I was contacted by a representative of the IWG, and who specifically expressed interest in Body Snatchers in the Desert.

None of this bodes well for those ufologists who are just begging for Roswell to have been a UFO event.

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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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