Jul 13, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Roswell: A Sinister Beginning and How I Got Involved

My previous article was on the matter of the Roswell UFO incident of July 1947 and why I conclude that the almost legendary event was really a top secret military experiment. But, how did I get into this "experiment" angle of Roswell? Well, that's the theme of today's article. Back in 1998, I wrote a book titled The FBI Files. It told the story of the Bureau’s involvement in the UFO phenomenon, contactee cases, the alleged Aztec, New Mexico UFO crash of 1948, the cattle mutilation mystery, and even FBI records on the sinister Men in Black. Chapter Four of the book was titled “The Oak Ridge Invasion,” a reference to the name of an atomic energy facility situated in Tennessee. As so often happens when I write a book, people who personally know something of its contents or subject-matter will contact me and share the relevant information. And that is precisely what happened with regard to that specific chapter of my book. It was a study of FBI files that had been declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act and which described various UFO encounters at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

(Nick Redfern)

One of the people who contacted me – by letter, via the London, England-based publisher of The FBI Files, Simon & Schuster - was an elderly woman who worked at Oak Ridge in 1947, and who had read my book. She added that she had some information that I was sure to find of deep interest, but which she preferred to tell me about specifically in person. Well, as I was living in the U.K. at that time, there wasn’t much of a chance of me meeting up with her at any time soon – which is exactly what I told her. I couldn’t persuade her to put her revelations onto paper. Nor would she share them with me over the telephone. And, she wasn’t on email – not a massive number of old folks were online in 1998, I am guessing. So, for a couple of years it was a case of her story not just stalling, but coming to a complete halt. That is, until the summer of 2001.

I moved to the United States to live in early 2001, and, in the summer, I traveled around much of the west coast – chiefly to do a series of lectures for various UFO groups in California. I put out a feeler to that same old lady, explaining my new circumstances and asking if we could now, finally, talk about the UFO secrets that had fallen into her lap. Well, that would be just fine, she said. On July 28, 2001 I hung out with the then-seventy-nine-year-old woman: we had lunch in a Los Angeles restaurant and chatted extensively. She was driven to the restaurant by a family member, a much younger man who seemed to be equally as worried and concerned as she was. Nevertheless, she agreed to share what she knew, providing that her name was never published. So, I sat back and I listened. Carefully and amazed. I referred to her in the book as the Black Widow. When we met, and knowing that she had read The FBI Files, my natural assumption was that she wanted to tell me something about UFO encounters at the Oak Ridge facility. Makes sense, right? No. I was wrong: what she actually wanted to share with me was certain information that, if provable, would radically alter the face of Ufology and blow the Roswell case right out of the water.

(Nick Redfern) At the ranch where all the mystery took place

As we ate, I wondered, with a fair degree of excitement: what the hell have I got myself into? It wasn’t long before I had the answer to that loaded question. The Black Widow, born in 1922, had been in the employ of Oak Ridge from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s. While there, and on three occasions between May and July 1947, she saw a number of unusual-looking bodies brought to the facility – and under stringent security. Some of them looked like regular Japanese people, she said. Others, however, displayed the signs of certain medical conditions: dwarfism, oversized heads, and bulging eyes. A few of the bodies were extensively damaged – as if they had been involved in violent accidents, which, as it happens, proved to be the case. In all, fifteen such bodies were brought to Oak Ridge under great secrecy, I was told; all of them were reportedly used – against their wills - in certain high-altitude, balloon-based experiments in New Mexico, one of which led to the Roswell “UFO crash” legend. Or, became a part of the massive cover-up is probably far more correct. The Black Widow said: “Those bodies – the Roswell bodies – they weren’t aliens."

The Black Widow added she didn't know anything at all about how these people were brought to the United States, but she heard at Oak Ridge that some of them were in the United States in late 1945 and brought over with Japanese doctors and Operation Paperclip  scumbags who had been doing similar, dark experiments. That’s when some of this began.” The story continued that at least some of the people used in the tests were American prisoners given the opportunity to cut the lengths of their sentences – if, that is, they were willing to take a chance and take part in the dicey experiments. Reportedly, a number did take the bait, but failed to survive the flights. Some of the handicapped people did not come from Japan, but from “hospitals and “asylums” in the United States. All of the material evidence was said to have been eventually destroyed – chiefly because the operations didn’t provide much in the way of results, and because of the outright illegality of the experiments. Everything, the Black Widow said, was hidden beneath a mass of fabricated tales of flying saucers and little men from the stars. She doubted that anything of any significance still existed – certainly not the bodies or the huge balloons, and probably not even the old records, that she believed were burned to oblivion to ensure nothing could ever be proved, decades later. Unless, however, some of them were preserved for secret, historical purposes, that is not at all impossible. I hope they were. If not, it may be impossible to conclusively prove anything about Roswell – ever.

(Nick Redfern)

There was one other aspect of the Black Widow’s story that needs to be addressed: it was the overwhelming fear she exhibited at our meeting. It was ever-present throughout our 2001 lunch; it was undeniable. She tried to disguise that fear with smiles and laughter, but she was certainly no Oscar-winning Hollywood actor. That’s for sure. Seeing through her façade was like seeing through freshly polished glass. In Body Snatchers in the Desert I said that she “possessed the sad and somewhat sunken eyes of a person with the weight of the world on her shoulders." She was clearly looking for someone to speak with; but, equally, she was very concerned about the ramifications of doing so, ‘if the government finds out.’” Interestingly, the Black Widow made a mention to me of a long-retired nurse from Roswell who had died under extremely questionable circumstances “a few years ago.”  I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s highly possible that she was referring to a woman named Miriam Bush. Miriam was not actually a nurse: in 1947 she was an executive secretary at Roswell’s RAAF hospital. She worked for a medical officer, Lieutenant Colonel Harold Warne, and saw the bodies found on the Foster Ranch – specifically when they were brought into the confines of the hospital. They were, as nearly everyone claimed, small, damaged, and unusual-looking. This trauma-filled experience clearly affected Miriam to a huge degree. The whole thing was like an albatross around her neck. That huge, ominous bird never left her.

Miriam’s private life was a big mess and, as a result, she became alcoholic – as did, by the way, both Major Jesse Marcel and Dee Proctor; a sign, perhaps of the tremendous burden of hiding what they may have known. And, in the late 1980s, Miriam became fearful that she was being watched and followed. She was. Miriam Bush was found dead in a motel-room just outside of San Jose, California, in December 1989. A plastic bag was around her head and her arms were bruised and scratched. The verdict? Suicide. Yes, really. When the story of Miriam Bush surfaced - years after I spoke with the Black Widow, and also a couple of years after Body Snatchers in the Desert was published – my mind instantly swung back to the Black Widow’s comments relative to the highly suspicious death of a certain “nurse” from Roswell. Was it Miriam Bush? I don’t know. But, logically, it would make sense. If so, though, how did the Black Widow know this? After all, Miriam Bush was based at Roswell, New Mexico and the Black Widow worked in Tennessee. I have no answer to that question; I wish I did. But, I do know that the Black Widow’s major concern about speaking on the record was the fear that she would finish up like the woman from Roswell; a woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in 1947, and who paid for it with her life, years later. And, that is how I came to follow the story of the "secret experiments of Roswell." And much more of a grim nature.

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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