Mar 02, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Roswell UFO Mystery: Missing Files That Just Might Help Us Solve Things (Or Not…)

On July 28, 1995, the U.S. Government Accountability Office's report on the Roswell affair surfaced from its National Security and International Affairs Division. The GAO’s report did not provide any smoking-guns – such as old B&W photos of dead bodies and wreckage at the crash-site on the Foster Ranch, New Mexico. The report did, however, provide something interesting and controversial. And it's something that has been misinterpreted for years. During the course of their search for records to try and better understand what had taken place at Roswell in early July 1947, the GAO learned that the entire outgoing messages from the Roswell Army Air Field generated during the period that the event occurred were missing. Vanished. Gone. And under circumstances that could not be fully determined and proved. Nor could the year in which the files went missing be confirmed. Maybe the late-forties. Maybe the fifties. The seventies? Who knows?

Hangar 18 Dead Aliens
(Nick Redfern)

This, inevitably and very understandably, led certain Roswell researchers to proclaim that this was evidence of a significant event of UFO proportions having occurred. An event which certain elements of officialdom were determined to keep forever hidden from the populace, the media, and the UFO research community - and possibly, even, from anyone else in government who might dare to come looking, such as investigators of the GAO. Maybe, that’s precisely what happened. But, the story is not quite as straightforward as that. Matters are seldom straightforward when it comes to Roswell. Time and again, I have heard UFO researchers say, words to the effect of: "Because the 1947 files are missing, this must mean the government or the Air Force pulled them years ago, so no-one could get the files on the aliens." Sure, that's not impossible. But, there is another issue. The files in question that are unavailable to us do not cover just the key period of the Roswell affair. Rather, they extend as far back as March 1945 and as late as 1950.

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(Nick Redfern) The late Karl Pflock, who was both a Ufologist and an employee of the CIA. He went after the puzzle of the missing Roswell files from the mid-1940s to the early-1950s. Pflock failed.

We are led to believe that if aliens crashed a couple of hours’ drive from Roswell, then it was an event that occurred out of the blue, with little or no advance notice, and certainly not something that had been anticipated for a significant period of time. So, that being the case, why the need to pull files from as early as March 1945 to hide something that is said to have occurred, without much warning (if any at all), in the summer of 1947? Proponents of the notion that aliens crashed not too far from the city of Roswell might say that the government was just being overly careful, and wanted to make sure that (a) nothing was left behind, and (b) nothing had been misplaced in an earlier collection of material, or indeed, within a later collection of material, possibly held in secure safes at the base. So, they chose the best and quickest option available to them and scooped up pretty much everything that covered approximately two years or so before, and up to two-and-a-half years after the crash. And, maybe, that is exactly what happened.

On the other hand, one can make a valid argument that the vanished files issue has no bearing on Roswell from an extraterrestrial perspective, because the documents that are missing include papers dating from two years before the event even took place. This also offers a theory (and, granted, that’s all it is) that there was another reason for the large-scale loss of material that the GAO sought to uncover. Let’s see what the GAO had to say about this matter of missing messages in its 1995 report: "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."

When the GAO demanded to know the reasons behind this development, 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." So, in other words, we have an explanation that does not include high-level conspiracy to explain the loss and destruction of files, but that says far more about bureaucracy. So, what’s my point in all this? Well, this is my point: Yes, it certainly is intriguing that half-a-decade of certain files are missing from the old Roswell Army Air Field, and it may even be an issue of deep conspiracy to hide the remains of dead aliens and their craft. But, why would files from 1945 be removed from the base, when the Roswell event didn't go down until July 1947? As is always the case with Roswell, the affair gets more and more tangled.

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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