On July 2, 1947, during the evening, a flying saucer crashed on the Foster Ranch near Corona, New Mexico. The crash occurred during a severe thunderstorm. (The military base nearest the crash site is in Roswell, New Mexico; hence, Roswell is more closely associated with this event than Corona, even though Corona is closer to the crash site.)
On July 3, 1947, William “Mac” Brazil (rhymes with “frazzle”) and his 7-year-old neighbor Dee Proctor found the remains of the crashed flying saucer. Brazil was foreman of the Foster Ranch. The pieces were spread out over a large area, perhaps more than half a mile long. When Brazil drove Dee back home, he showed a piece of the wreckage to Dee’s parents, Floyd and Loretta Proctor. They all agreed the piece was unlike anything they had ever seen.
On July 6, 1947, Brazil showed pieces of the wreckage to Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox. Wilcox called Rowel Army AirField (AAF) and talked to Major Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer. Marcel drove to the sheriff’s office and inspected the wreckage. Marcel reported to his commanding officer, Colonel William “Butch” Blanchard. Blanchard ordered Marcel to get someone from the Counter Intelligence Corps, and to proceed to the ranch with Brazil, and to collect as much of the wreckage as they could load into their two vehicles.
Soon after this, military police arrived at the sheriff’s office, collected the wreckage Brazil had left there, and delivered the wreckage to Blanchard’s office. The wreckage was then flown to Eighth Air Force headquarters in Fort Worth, and from there to Washington.
Meanwhile, Marcel and Sheridan Cavitt of the Counter Intelligence Corps drove to the ranch with Mac Brazil. They arrived late in the evening. They spent the night in sleeping bags in a small out-building on the ranch, and in the morning proceeded to the crash site.
On July 7, 1947, Marcel and Cavitt collected wreckage from the crash site. After filling Cavitt’s vehicle with wreckage, Marcel told Cavitt to go on ahead, that Marcel would collect more wreckage, and they would meet later back at Roswell AAF. Marcel filled his vehicle with wreckage. On the way back to the airfield, Marcel stopped at home to show his wife and son the strange material he had found.
On July 7, 1947, around 4:00 PM, Lydia Sleppy at Roswell radio station KSWS began transmitting a story on the teletype machine regarding a crashed flying saucer out on the Foster Ranch. Transmission was interrupted, seemingly by the FBI.
On July 8, 1947, in the morning, Marcel and Cavitt arrived back at Roswell AAF with two carloads of wreckage. Marcel accompanied this wreckage, or most it, on a flight to Fort Worth AAF.
On July 8, 1947, around noon, Colonel Blanchard at Roswell AAF ordered Second Lieutenant Walter Haut to issue a press release telling the country that the Army had found the remains of a crashed a flying saucer. Haut was the public information officer for the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell AAF. Haut delivered the press release to Frank Joyce at radio station KGFL. Joyce waited long enough for Haut to return to the base, then called Haut there to confirm the story. Joyce then sent the story on the Western Union wire to the United Press bureau.
On July 8, 1947, in the afternoon, General Clemence McMullen in Washington spoke by telephone with Colonel (later Brigadier General) Thomas DuBose in Fort Worth, chief of staff to Eighth Air Force Commander General Roger Ramey. McMullen ordered DuBose to tell Ramey to quash the flying saucer story by creating a cover story, and to send some of the crash material immediately to Washington.
On July 8, 1947, in the afternoon, General Roger Ramey held a press conference at Eighth Air Force headquarters in Fort Worth in which he announced that what had crashed at Corona was a weather balloon, not a flying saucer. To make this story convincing he showed the press the remains of a damaged weather balloon that he claimed was the actual wreckage from the crash site. (Apparently, the obliging press did not ask why the Army hurriedly transported weather balloon wreckage to Fort Worth, Texas, site of the press conference, from the crash site in a remote area of New Mexico.)
The only newspapers that carried the initial flying saucer version of the story were evening papers from the Midwest to the West, including the Chicago Daily News, the Los Angeles Herald Express, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Roswell Daily Record. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune were morning papers and so carried only the cover-up story the next morning.
At some point, a large group of soldiers were sent to the debris field on the Foster Ranch, including a lot of MPs whose job was to limit access to the field. A wide search was launched well beyond the limits of the debris field. Within a day or two, a few miles from the debris field, the main body of the flying saucer was found, and a mile or two from that several bodies of small humanoids were found.
The military took Mac Brazil into custody for about a week, during which time he was seen on the streets of Roswell with a military escort. His behavior aroused the curiosity of friends when he passed them without any sign of recognition. Following this period of detention, Brazil repudiated his initial story.
[NB: In the sections of this document that contain testimony, all text not enclosed in brackets, like those that enclose this sentence, is verbatim testimony.]
[Loretta Proctor, Mac Brazil’s nearest neighbor, was one of the first to see pieces of the wreckage Brazil had found. She was interviewed in July 1990.]
[Mac] had this piece of material that he had picked up. He wanted to show it to us and wanted us to go down and see the rest of the debris or whatever, [but] we didn’t on account of the transportation and everything wasn’t too good. He didn’t get anybody to come out who was interested in it. The piece he brought looked like a kind of tan, light brown plastic. It was very lightweight, like balsa wood. It wasn’t a large piece, maybe about four inches long, maybe just a little larger than a pencil.
We cut on it with a knife and would hold a match on it, and it wouldn’t burn. We knew it wasn’t wood. It was smooth like plastic; it didn’t have real sharp corners, kind of like a dowel stick. Kind of dark tan. It didn’t have any grain, just smooth. I hadn’t seen anything like it.
[The following statement by Loretta Proctor suggests the possibility that Mac Brazil had been bribed to keep quiet.] I think that within that year, he had moved off the ranch and moved to Alamogordo or to Tularosa and he put in a locker there. That was before people had home freezers, and it was a large refrigerated building. You would buy beef and cut it up and put it in those lockers and you had a key to it and you could get your beef out when you wanted it. I think it would have been pretty expensive, and we kind of wondered how he could put it in with rancher’s wages.
[Here is what Loretta Proctor said on the American television program “Unsolved Mysteries”.]
Floyd [Loretta’s husband] and a neighbor was in Roswell and saw Mac surrounded by some of the Air Force people. And they walked right by them and Mac wouldn’t speak to them. They thought it was kind of funny, I guess, really wondered what he’d got into. And Mac, he wouldn’t talk about it after he come back home. But he did say that if he ever found something else he wouldn’t report it.
[Marian Strickland was a neighbor of Mac Brazil. She was interviewed in 1990.]
[Mac] made it plain he was not supposed to tell that there was any excitement about the material he found on the ranch. He was a man who had integrity. He definitely felt insulted and miss-used, and disrespected. He was worse than annoyed. He was definitely under some stress, and felt that he had been kicked around.
He was threatened that if he opened his mouth, he might get thrown in the backside of the jail. He gave that impression, definitely.
Bessie Brazil Schreiber
[Bessie Brazil Schreiber is Mac Brazil’s daughter. Here is her description of wreckage from the crash.]
[The material resembled] a sort of aluminum-like foil. Some of [these] pieces had a sort of tape stuck to them. Even though the stuff looked like tape, it could not be peeled off or removed at all. Some of these pieces had something like numbers and lettering on them, but there were no words we were able to make out. The figures were written out like you would write numbers in columns, but they didn’t look like the numbers we use at all.
[There was also] a piece of something made out of the same metal-like foil that looked like a pipe sleeve. About four inches across and equally long, with a flange on one end. [Also] what appeared to be pieces of heavily waxed paper.
William Brazil Jr.
[William Brazil Jr. is Mac Brazil’s son. Here is his description of wreckage from the crash.]
[One of the pieces looked like] something on the order of tinfoil, except that [it] wouldn’t tear…. You could wrinkle it and lay it back down and it immediately resumed its original shape… quite pliable, but you couldn’t crease or bend it like ordinary metal. Almost like a plastic, but definitely metallic. Dad once said that the Army had once told him it was not anything made by us.
[There was also] some threadlike material. It looked like silk, but was not silk, a very strong material [without] strands or fibers like silk would have. This was more like a wire, all one piece or substance.
[There were also] some wooden-like particles like balsa wood in weight, but a bit darker in color and much harder…. It was pliable but wouldn’t break. Weighed nothing, but you couldn’t scratch it with your fingernail. All I had was a few small bits. [There was no writing or markings on the pieces I had] but Dad did say one time that there were what he called “figures” on some of the pieces he found. He often referred to the petroglyphs, the ancient Indians drew on the rocks around here as “figures”, too, and I think that’s what he meant to compare them with.
[Here are other remarks by William Brazil Jr.]
My dad found this thing and he told me a little bit about it, not much, because the Air Force asked him to take an oath that he wouldn’t tell anybody in detail about it. He went to his grave and he never told anybody.
He was an old-time Western cowboy, and they didn’t do a lot of talking. My brother and I had just gone through World War II (him in the Army and me in the Navy) and needless to say, my dad was proud. Like he told me, “When you guys went in the service, you took an oath, and I took an oath not to tell.” The only thing he said was, “Well, there’s a big bunch of stuff, and there’s some tinfoil, some wood, and on some of that wood there was Japanese or Chinese figures.”
[At the time of the crash, William Brazil Jr. had been living and working in Albuquerque, but returned when his father was taken into custody and thus there was no one to run the ranch.]
I rode out there [the field where the wreckage was found] on the average of once a week, and I was riding through that area, I was looking. That’s why I found those little pieces.
Not over a dozen pieces. I’d say maybe eight different pieces. But there was only three [different] items involved: something on the order of balsa wood, something on the order of heavy-gauge monofilament fishing line, and a little piece of — it wasn’t tinfoil, it wasn’t lead foil — a piece about the size of my finger. Some of it was like balsa wood: real light and kind of neutral color, more of a tan. To the best of my memory, there wasn’t any grain in it. Couldn’t break it, it’d flex a little. I couldn’t whittle it with my pocketknife.
The “string”, I couldn’t break it. The only reason I noticed the tinfoil (I’m gonna call it tinfoil), I picked this stuff up and put it in my chaps pocket. Might be two or three days or a week before I took it out and put it in a cigar box. I happened to notice when I put that piece of foil in that box, and the damn thing just started unfolding and just flattened out. Then I got to playing with it. I’d fold it, crease it, lay it down and it’d unfold. It’s kinda weird. I couldn’t tear it. The color was in between tinfoil and lead foil, about the [thickness] of lead foil.
I was in Corona, in the bar, the pool hall. Sort of the meeting place, domino parlor…. That’s where everybody got together. Everybody was asking, they’d seen the papers (this was about a month after the crash) and I said, “Oh, I picked up a few little bits and pieces and fragments.” So, what are they? “I dunno.”
Then low and behold, here comes the military out to the ranch, a day or two later. I’m almost positive that the officer in charge, his name was Armstrong, a real nice guy. He had a [black] sergeant with him that was real nice. I think there was two other enlisted men. They said, “We understand your father found this weather balloon.” I said, “Well yeah.” “And we understand you found some bits and pieces.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve got a cigar box that’s got a few of them in there, down at the saddle shed.”
And this (I think he was a captain), and he said, “Well, we would like to take it with us.” I said, “Well…” And he smiled and he said, “Your father turned the rest of it over to us, and you know he’s under an oath not to tell. Well,” he said, “we came after those bits and pieces.” And I kind of smiled and said, “OK, you can have the stuff, I have no use for it at all.”
He said, “Well, have you examined it?” And I said, “Well, enough to know that I don’t know what the hell it is.” And he said, “We would rather you didn’t talk very much about it.”
[Glenn Dennis was a mortician in Roswell in 1947. His employer provided mortuary services for Roswell Army AirField. Dennis drove a combination hearse and ambulance for both civilian and military assignments. On July 9 or 10, 1947, Dennis got several phone calls from the Roswell AAF mortuary officer, who was more of an administrator than a mortuary technician. The officer wanted to know about hermetically sealed caskets (“What was the smallest one they could get?”), and about chemical solutions. Stanton Friedman interviewed Dennis in August 1989.]
This is what was so interesting. See this is why I feel like there was really something involved in this, because they didn’t want to do anything that was going to make an imbalance. They kept saying, “OK, what’s this going to do to the blood system, what’s this going to do to the tissue?” Then when they informed me that these bodies [had] laid out in the middle of July, in the middle of the prairie, I mean that body’s going to be as dark as your [blue] blazer there, and it’s going to be in bad shape. I was the one who suggested dry ice. I’d done that a time or two.
I talked to them four or five times in the afternoon. They would keep calling back and asking me different questions involving the body. What they were really after was how to move those bodies. They didn’t give me any indication they even had the bodies, or where they were. But they kept talking about these bodies, and I said, “What do the bodies look like?” And they said, “I don’t know, but I’ll tell you one thing: This happened some time ago.” The only thing that was mentioned was that they were exposed to the elements for several days.
I understand these bodies weren’t in the same location as where they found some of the others. They said the bodies weren’t in the vehicle itself; the bodies were separated by two or three miles from it. They talked about three different bodies: two of them mangled, one that was in pretty good shape.
[That evening, Dennis took a GI accident victim to the base infirmary, which was in the same building as the hospital and the mortuary. He walked the injured GI inside, then drove around to the back to see a pretty young Army Air Forces nurse he had recently gotten to know.]
There were two MPs standing right there, and I got out and started to go in. I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did if I hadn’t parked in the emergency area. They probably thought I was coming after somebody. The doors were open to the military ambulances and that’s where some wreckage was, and there was an MP on each side. I saw all the wreckage.
I don’t know what it was, but I knew there was something going on, and that’s when I first got an inclination that something was happening. What was so curious about it, was that in two of those ambulances was a deal that looked like [the bottom] half of a canoe. It didn’t look like aluminum. You know what stainless steel looks like when you put heat on it? How it’ll turn kinda purplish, with kind of a blue hue to it? [Dennis later said that he saw a row of unrecognizable symbols several inches high on the metal devices.] I just glanced in and kept going.
When I got inside, I noticed there was quite a bit of activity. When I went back into the lounge, there were “big birds” [high-ranking officers he didn’t recognize, though he was familiar with all the local medical people] everywhere. They were really shook up. So I went down the hall where I usually go, and I got down the hall just a little way and an MP met me right there. He wanted to know who the hell I was and where I was from, and what business did I have there? I explained who I was. Evidently he was under the impression that they called me to come out.
Anyway, I got past that and I went on in and then this is where I met the nurse. She was involved in this thing she was on duty. She told me, “How in the hell did you get in here?” I said, “I just walked in.” She said, “My God, you are going to get killed.” And I said, “They didn’t stop me.” I was going to the Coke machine to get us a Coke, and this big redheaded colonel said, “What’s that son of a bitch doing here?”
He hollered at the MPs and that’s when it hit the fan. These two MPs grabbed me by the arms and carried me clear outside. They carried me to the ambulance. I didn’t walk they carried me. And they told me to get my ass out of there. [They followed him back to the funeral home.]
About two or three hours later, they [called] and told me, “You open your mouth and you’ll be so far back in the jug they’ll have to shoot pinto beans [into you] with a bean shooter.” I just laughed and said, “Go to hell.”
[Dennis spoke with the nurse again the following day.]
She said there were three little bodies. Two of them were just mangled beyond everything, but there was one of them that was really in pretty good condition.
And she said, “Let me show you the difference between our anatomy and theirs. Really, what they looked like was ancient Chinese: small, fragile, no hair.” She said their noses didn’t protrude, the eyes were set pretty deep, and the ears were just little indentations. She said the anatomy of the arms was different, the upper arm was longer than the lower. They didn’t have thumbs, they had four different, she called them “tentacles”, I think. Didn’t have any fingernails. She then described how they had little things like suction cups on their fingertips.
I asked her were these men or women? [Were their] sex organs the same as ours? She said, “No, some were missing.” The first thing that decomposes on a body would be the brain, next the sex organs, especially in women. But she thought there had probably been something, some animals. Some of these bodies were badly mutilated.
She said they got the bodies out of those containers [the ones he had seen in the backs of the ambulances, on the way into the hospital]. See they weren’t at the crash site, they were about a mile or two from the crash site. She said they looked like they had their own little cabins. She said the lower portion, the abdomen and legs, was crushed, but the upper portion wasn’t that bad. She told me the head was larger and it was kind of like, the eyes were different.
[A few weeks later, Dennis heard from his father.]
“What the hell’d you get into? What kind of trouble are you in?” I said, “I’m not in any trouble.” And he said, “The hell you’re not. The sheriff [an old friend of the elder Dennis] said that the base personnel have been in and they want to know all about your background.”
[Barbara Dugger is the granddaughter of George and Inez Wilcox. George was the sheriff who Mac Brazil contacted after discovering the crashed flying saucer. Kevin Randle interviewed Barbara Dugger in 1991.]
[My grandmother said] “Don’t tell anybody. When the incident happened, the military police came to the jailhouse and told George and I that if we ever told anything about the incident, not only would we be killed, but our entire family would be killed.”
They called my grandfather and someone came and told him about this incident. He went out there to the site. There was a big burned area and he saw debris. It was in the evening. There were four space beings. Their heads were large. They wore suits like silk. One of the little men was alive. If she [Inez] said it happened, it happened.
[Regarding the death threat, Barbara said Inez said:] “They meant it, Barbara. They were not kidding.”
She said the event shocked him. He never wanted to be sheriff again after that. Grandmother ran for sheriff and was defeated. My grandmother was a very loyal citizen of the United States, and she thought it was in the best interest of the country not to talk about it.
[Frank Joyce worked at the radio station KGFL. He got a phone call from a man, presumably Mac Brazil, who reported wreckage on his ranch.]
He asked me what to do about it. I recommended he go to Roswell Army Air Base [sic].
The next thing I heard was that the PIO, [Lieutenant] Walter Haut, came into the station some time after I got this call. He handed me a news release printed on onionskin stationary and left immediately. I called him back at the base and said, “I suggest that you not release this type of story that says you have a flying saucer or flying disk.” He said, “No, it’s OK. I have the OK from the C.O. [Colonel Blanchard].”
I sent the release on the Western Union wire to the United Press bureau. After I returned to the station, there was a flash on the wire with the story: “The U.S. Army Air Corps [sic] says it has a flying disk.” They typed a paragraph or two, and then other people got on the wire and asked for more information. Then the phone calls started coming on and I referred them to [the airfield].
Then the wire stopped and just hummed. Then a phone call came in, and the caller identified himself as an officer at the Pentagon, and this man said some very bad things about what would happen to me. He was really pretty nasty. Finally, I got through to him: I said, “You’re talking about a release from the U.S. Army Air Corps.” Bang, the phone went dead, he was just gone.
Then [station owner Walt] Whitmore called me and said, “Frank, what’s going on down there?” He was quite upset. He asked, “Where did you get this story?” In the meantime, I got this [USAAF news] release and hid it, to have proof so no one could accuse me of making it up. Whitmore came in to the station and I gave him the release. He took it with him.
The next significant thing occurred in the evening. I got a call from [Mac] Brazil. He said we haven’t got this story right. I invited him over to the station. He arrived not long after sunset. He was alone, but I had the feeling that we were being watched. He said something about a weather balloon. I said, “Look, this is completely different than what you told me on the phone the other day about the little green men,” and that’s when he said, “No, they weren’t green.” I had the feeling he was under tremendous pressure. He said, “Our lives will never be the same again.”
[Lydia Sleppy was a Teletype operator at Roswell radio station KSWS. The event she describes below took place around 4:00 PM on July 7, 1947. She was interviewed in October 1990 by Stanton Friedman.]
We were Mutual Broadcasting and ABC, and if we had anything newsworthy, we would put it on the [Teletype] machine, and I was the one who did the typing. It was in my office. Mr. Tucker [Merle Tucker was the station owner] was in Washington DC trying to get an application approved for a station in El Paso, when this call came from John McBoyle [another KSWS staffer]. He told me he had something hot for the network. I said, “Give me a minute and I’ll get the assistant manager,” because if it was anything like that, I wanted one of them there while I was taking it down.
I went back and asked Mr. [Karl] Lambertz (he came up from the big Dallas station) if he would come up and watch. John was dictating and [Karl] was standing right at my shoulder. I got into it enough to know that it was a pretty big story, when the bell came on [signaling an interruption]. Typing came across: “This is the FBI, you will cease transmitting.”
I had my shorthand pad, and I turned around and told [Karl] that I had been cut off, but that I could take it in shorthand and then we could call it in to the network. I took it in shorthand, as John went on to give the story. He had seen them take the thing away. He’d been out there [presumably at the Foster ranch] when they took it away. And at that time, if I remember correctly, John said they were gonna load it up and take it to Texas. But when the planes came in, they were from Wright Field.
Walt Whitmore Jr.
[Walt Whitmore Jr. was the son of the owner of Roswell radio station KGFL. Here is his description of wreckage from the crash.]
[It was] very much like lead foil in appearance but could not be torn or cut at all. Extremely light in weight. Some small beams that appeared to be either wood or woodlike had a sort of writing on it which looked like numbers which had either been added or multiplied [in columns].
[Major Jesse Marcel was one of the first two military people to visit the Corona crash site. The other was Sheridan Cavitt, who to this day has refused to even acknowledge that he was there on the ranch with Marcel. Jesse Marcel died in 1982. He was interviewed in 1979.]
When we arrived at the crash site, it was amazing to see the vast amount of area it covered. It was nothing that hit the ground or exploded [on] the ground. It’s something that must have exploded above ground, traveling perhaps at a high rate of speed, we don’t know. But it scattered over an area of about three-quarters of a mile long, I would say, and fairly wide, several hundred feet wide. So we proceeded to pick up all the fragments we could find and load up our Jeep CarryAll. It was quite obvious to me, familiar with air activities, that it was not a weather balloon, nor was it an airplane or a missile. What it was, we didn’t know. We just picked up the fragments. It was something I had never seen before, and I was pretty familiar with all air activities. We loaded up the CarryAll but I wasn’t satisfied. I told Cavitt, “You drive this vehicle back to the base and I’ll go back out there and pick up as much as I can put in the car,”, which I did. But we picked up only a very small portion of the material that was there.
One thing that impressed me about the debris that we were referring to is the fact that a lot of it looked like parchment. A lot of it had a lot of little members [I-beams] with symbols that we had to call them hieroglyphics because I could not interpret them, they could not be read, they were just symbols, something that meant something and they were not all the same. The members that this was painted on — by the way, those symbols were pink and purple, and lavender was actually what it was. And so these little members could not be broken, could not be burned. I even tried to burn that. It would not burn. The same with the parchment we had.
But something that is more astounding is that the piece of metal that we brought back was so thin, just like the tinfoil in a pack of cigarette paper. I didn’t pay too much attention to that at first, until one of the GIs came to me and said, “You know the metal that was in there? I tried to bend that stuff and it won’t bend. I even tried it with a sledgehammer. You can’t make a dent on it.”
I didn’t go back to look at it myself again, because we were busy in the office and I had quite a bit of work to do. I am quite sure that this young fellow would not have lied to me about that, because he was a very truthful, very honest guy, so I accepted his word for that. So, beyond that, I didn’t actually see him hit the matter with a sledgehammer, but he said, “It’s definite that it cannot be bent and it’s so light that it doesn’t weigh anything.” And that was true of all the material that was brought up. It was so light that it weighed practically nothing.
This particular piece of metal was, I would say, about two feet long and perhaps a foot wide. See that stuff weighs nothing, it’s so thin, and it isn’t any thicker than the tinfoil in a pack of cigarettes. So I tried to bend the stuff, it wouldn’t bend. We even tried making a dent in it with a 16-pound sledgehammer, and there was still no dent in it. I didn’t have the time to go out there and find out more about it, because I had so much other work to do that I just let it go. It’s still a mystery to me as to what the whole thing was. Like I said before, I knew quite a bit about the material used in the air, but it was nothing I had seen before. And as of now, I still don’t know what it was. So that’s how it stands.
[Here is what Jesse Marcel said on the American television program “Unsolved Mysteries”.]
There were just fragments strewn all over the area, an area about three quarters of a mile long and several hundred feet wide. So we proceeded to pick up the parts.
I tried to bend the stuff and it would not bend. I even tried to burn it and it would not burn. That stuff weighs nothing. It’s not any thicker than tin foil in a pack of cigarettes. We even tried making a dent in it with a 16-pound sledgehammer, still no dent in it.
One thing I was certain of, being familiar with all our activities, that it was not a weather balloon, nor an aircraft, nor a missile. It was something else, which we didn’t know what it was.
Jesse Marcel Jr.
[Jesse Marcel Jr. is Major Jesse Marcel’s son. When Major Marcel returned from the Foster Ranch with a carload of wreckage from the crashed flying saucer, he stopped off at home to show his wife and his eleven-year old son what he had found. Jesse Jr. is now a medical doctor, an Army reserve helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam, and a qualified aircraft accident investigator.]
The crash and remnants of the device that I happened to see have left an imprint on my memory that can never be forgotten. The craft was not conventional in any sense of the word, in that the remains were most likely what was then known as a flying saucer that had apparently been stressed beyond its designed capabilities.
I’m basing this on the fact that many of the remnants, including I-beam pieces that were present, had strange hieroglyphic typewriting symbols across the inner surfaces, pink and purple, except that I don’t think there were any animal figures present as there are in true Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The remainder of the debris was just described as nondescript metallic debris, or just shredded fragments, but there was a fair amount of the intact I-beam members present. I only saw a small portion of the debris that was actually present at the crash site.
[Here is what Jesse Marcel Jr. said on the American television program “Unsolved Mysteries”.]
When [Dad] came back to the house he had a bunch of wreckage with him at the time, and he brought the wreckage into the house. Actually wakened my mother and myself out so we could view this, because it was so unusual. This was about two o’clock in the morning as I recall, and he spread it out so we could get some basic idea what it looked like, what it was….
We were all amazed by this debris that was there, primarily because we didn’t know what it was, you know, it was just the unknown….
This writing [on a short piece of I-beam] could be described as like hieroglyphics, Egyptian-type hieroglyphics, but not really. The symbols that were on the I-beams were more of a geometric-type configuration in various designs. It had a violet-purple type color and was actually an embossed part of the metal itself.
Years after this incident happened, we would talk privately among ourselves about what the possibilities of this, what this thing was. And I feel that we, well I know that we came to the conclusion it was not of earthly origin.
If I had not actually held pieces of it in my hand, I would not think that it would be possible. But because I happened to see this, that’s the only reason I believe it….
My dad said obviously it [the weather balloon story] was a cover-up story, it was not a weather balloon. He was a little disturbed about that, but he had his own security classification to protect. He could not really go public with, hey this is not the real thing, I mean this is not a weather balloon. So he had to keep that to himself.
[Second Lieutenant Walter Haut was a public information officer at Roswell AAF in 1947. Colonel Blanchard ordered Haut to issue a press release telling the country that the Army had found a flying saucer. Here is the text of Haut’s press release.]
The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the Intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County.
The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, who in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office.
Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home. It was inspected at Roswell Army AirField and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters.
[Here is what Haut said on the American television program “Unsolved Mysteries”.]
I took the release into town. And that was one of the things that Colonel Blanchard told me to do, take it into town, because if there was any validity to this, he didn’t want the news media to feel that we had jumped over their heads and were not cooperating with them.
[Here is what Haut said in an interview for an article in “Air and Space/Smithsonian” magazine, Sep-Oct 1992, when asked what he thought really happened back in 1947.]
I feel there was a crash of an extra-terrestrial vehicle near Corona.
[Bill Rickett was a Counter Intelligence Corps officer based in Roswell. He had an opportunity to examine some of the wreckage recovered from the Foster Ranch. He escorted DR Lincoln LaPaz, a meteor expert from the New Mexico Institute of Meteoritics, on a tour of the crash site and the surrounding area.]
[The material] was very strong and very light. You could bend it but couldn’t crease it. As far as I know, no one ever figured out what it was made of….
It was LaPaz’s job to try to find out what the speed and trajectory of the thing was. LaPaz was a world-renowned expert on trajectories of objects in the sky, especially meteors, and I was told to give him all the help I could.
At one point LaPaz interviewed the farmer [Mac Brazil]. I remember something coming up during their conversation about this fellow thinking that some of his animals had acted strangely after this thing happened. Dr. LaPaz seemed very interested in this for some reason.
LaPaz wanted to fly over the area, and this was arranged. He found one other spot where he felt this thing had touched down and then taken off again. The sand at this spot had been turned into a glass-like substance. We collected a box full of samples of this material. As I recall, there were some metal samples here, too, of that same sort of thin foil stuff. LaPaz sent this box off somewhere for study; I don’t know or recall where, but I never saw it again. This place was some miles from the other one.
LaPaz was very good at talking to people especially some of the local ranch hands that didn’t speak a lot of English. LaPaz spoke Spanish. I remember he found a couple of people who had seen two — I don’t know what to call them, UFOs I suppose — anyway, had seen two of these things fly over very slowly at a very low altitude on a date, in the evening, that he determined had been a day or two after the other one had blown up. These people said something about animals being affected, too….
Before he went back to Albuquerque, he told me that he was certain that this thing had gotten into trouble, that it had touched down for repairs, taken off again, and then exploded. He also felt certain there were more than one of these devices, and that the others had been looking for it. At least that’s what he said. He was positive the thing had malfunctioned.
The Air Force’s explanation that it was a balloon was totally untrue. It was not a balloon. I never did know for sure what its purpose was, but it wasn’t ours. I remember speculating with LaPaz that it might have been some higher civilization checking on us. LaPaz wasn’t against the idea, but he was going to leave speculations out of his report.
[F.B. was an Army Air Forces photographer stationed at Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington DC when he and fellow photographer A.K. were flown aboard a B-25 bomber to Roswell Army Air Field sometime during the second week of July 1947. F.B. was interviewed by Stanton Friedman.]
One morning they came in and they said, “Pack up your bags and we’ll have the cameras there, ready for you.” We didn’t know where we were going.
[After a few hours’ flight, they arrived at Roswell.] We got in a staff car with some of the gear they had brought along with us in trucks, and we headed out, about an hour and a half, we were heading north. We got out there [one of the crash sites in the Corona area] and there was a hell of allot of people out there, in a closed tent. You could hardly see anything inside the tent. They said, “Set your camera up to take a picture fifteen feet away.” A.K. got in a truck and headed out to where they were picking up pieces. All kinds of brass running around. And they were telling us what to do. Shoot this, shoot that. There was an officer in charge. He met us out there and he’d go into the tent and he’d come back and tell us, “OK.” He’d stand there right besides us and [say], “OK, take this picture.”
There were four bodies I could see when the flash went off, but you were almost blind because it was a beautiful day, sunny. You’d go in this tent, which was awful dark. That’s all I was taking, bodies. These bodies was under a canvas, and they’d open it up and you’d take a picture, flip out your flashbulb, put another one in [take another picture] and give him the film holder (each holder held two sheets of four-by-five inch cut film) and then you went to the next spot.
I guess there were ten to twelve officers, and when I got ready to go in, they’d all come out. The tent was about twenty by thirty foot. The bodies looked like they were lying on a tarp. One guy did all the instructions. He’d take a flashlight and he’d come down there. “See this flashlight?” Yes sir. “You’re in focus with it?” Yes sir. “Take a picture of this.” He’d take the flashlight away. We just moved around in a circle, taking pictures. Seemed to me [the bodies] were all just about identical. Dark complected. I remember they were thin, and it looked like they had too big of a head. I took thirty shots. I think I had about fifteen [film] holders. It smelled funny in there.
A.K. came back in a truck that was loaded down with debris. A lot of pieces sticking out that weren’t there when they took off. We got debriefed on the way back to the airport [Roswell Army AirField]. About four the next morning, they woke us, they took us to the mess hall, we ate, we got back on the B-25 and headed back. When we got back to Anacostia we got debriefed some more, by a lieutenant commander. [It was made clear to both F.B and A.K. that whatever they thought they saw in New Mexico, they hadn’t seen.]
[M/Sgt. Robert Porter was a B-29 flight engineer with the 830th Bomb Squadron. He happens to be Loretta Proctor’s brother. He was interviewed by Stanton Friedman.]
We flew these pieces. [Some officers in the crew] told us it was parts of a flying saucer. The packages were in wrapping paper, one triangle-shaped about two and a half feet across the bottom, the rest in smaller, shoebox-sized packages. [They were in] brown paper with tape. It was just like I picked up an empty package, very light. The loaded triangle-shaped package and three shoebox-sized packages would have fit into the trunk of a car.
On board were Lieutenant Colonel Payne Jennings [deputy commander of Roswell] and Major Marcel. Captain Anderson said it was from a flying saucer. We got to Fort Worth; they transferred [the packages] to a B-25 and took them to Wright [Field]. When we landed at [Fort Worth], Colonel Jennings told us to take care of maintenance, and after a guard was posted, we could eat lunch. We came back they told us they had transferred the material to a B-25. They told us it was a weather balloon. It WASN’T a weather balloon.
[First Lieutenant Robert Shirkey was assistant operations officer of the 509th Bomb Group. He was interviewed by Stanton Friedman.]
A call came in to have a B-29 ready to go as soon as possible. Where to? Forth Worth, on Colonel Blanchard’s directive. [I was] in the Operations Office when Colonel Blanchard arrived and asked if the airplane was ready. When told it was, Blanchard waved to somebody, and approximately five people came in the front door, down the hallway, and onto the ramp to climb into the airplane, carrying parts of the crashed flying saucer. I got a very short glimpse, asked Blanchard to turn sideways so [I] could see too. Saw them carrying pieces of metal. They had one piece that was eighteen by twenty-four inches, brushed stainless steel in color.
[S/Sgt. Robert Slusher was assigned to the 393rd Bomb Squadron. On or about July 9, 1947, he was on board a B-29 that carried a single crate from Roswell AAF to Fort Worth AAF. Also on board were four armed MPs. He said the crate was twelve feet long, five feet wide, and four feet high. Upon arrival at Fort Worth, the crate was loaded onto a flatbed weapons carrier and hauled off, accompanied by the MPs, who later rejoined the crew for the return flight. Robert Slusher was interviewed in 1991.]
[There was an implication that the contents of the crate was sensitive to air pressure, which suggests that the crate contained something other than pieces of metal. The plane flew at the unusually low altitude of four to five thousand feet. Usually on such a trip a B-29 flies at twenty-five thousand feet, as its cabin is pressurized and the B-29 flies better at high altitude. However, the bomb bay where the crate was stowed cannot be pressurized.]
The return flight was above twenty thousand feet, and the cabin was pressurized. The round trip took approximately three hours, fifteen minutes. The flight was unusual in that we flew there, dropped the cargo, and returned immediately. It was a hurried flight; normally we knew the day before there would be a flight.
There was a rumor that the crate had debris from the crash. Whether there were any bodies, I don’t know. The crate had been specially made; it had no markings.
[Robert Smith was a member of the First Air Transport Unit, which operated Douglas C-54 Skymaster four-engine cargo planes out of the Roswell AAF. He was interviewed in 1991.]
A lot of people began coming in all of a sudden because of the official investigation. Somebody said it was a plane crash, but we heard from a man in Roswell that it was not a plane crash, it was something else, a strange object. There was another indication that something serious was going on. One night, when we were coming back to Roswell, a convoy of trucks covered with canvas passed us. When they got to the [airfield] gate, they headed over to this hangar on the East End, which was rather unusual. The truck convoy had red lights and sirens.
My involvement in the incident was to help load crates of debris into the aircraft. We all became aware of the event when we went to the hangar on the East Side of the ramp. There were a lot of people in plain clothes all over the place. They were inspectors, but they were strangers on the base. When challenged, they replied they were here on Project so-and-so, and flashed a card, which was different from a military ID card.
We were taken to the hangar to load crates. There was a lot of farm dirt on the hangar floor. We loaded [the crates] on flatbeds and dollies. Each crate had to be checked as to width and height. We had to know which crates went on which plane. We loaded crates on three [or] four C-54s. We weren’t supposed to know their destination, but we were told they were headed north.
All I saw was a little piece of material. You could crumple it up, let it come out. You couldn’t crease it. One of our people put it in his pocket. The piece of debris I saw was two to three inches square. It was jagged. When you crumpled it up, it then laid back out. And when it did, it kind of crackled, making a sound like cellophane. It crackled when it was let out. There were no creases.
There were armed guards around during loading of our planes, which was unusual at Roswell. There was no way to get to the ramp except through armed guards. There were MPs on the outskirts, and our personnel were between them and the planes.
The largest [crate] was roughly twenty feet long, four to five feet high, and four to five feet wide. It took up an entire plane. It wasn’t that heavy, but it was a large volume. The rest of the crates were two or three feet long and two feet square or smaller. The sergeant who had the piece of material said [it was like] the material in the crates. The entire loading took at least six, perhaps eight hours. Lunch was brought to us, which was unusual. The crates were brought to us on flatbed dollies, which was also unusual.
Officially, we were told it was a crashed plane, but crashed planes usually were taken to the salvage yard, not flown out. I don’t think it was an experimental plane, because not too many people in that area was experimenting with planes. I’m convinced that what we loaded was a UFO that got into mechanical problems. Even with the most intelligent people, things go wrong.
[The C-54 into which I helped load the single twenty-foot crate] would have been Pappy Henderson’s. I remember seeing T/Sgt. Harbell Elzey, T/Sgt. Edward Bretherton, and S/Sgt. William Fortner.
Melvin Brown’s Daughter
[Sergeant Melvin Brown was a cook at Roswell AAF in 1947. One day, he was called out to help guard material retrieved from the Foster Ranch. His daughter Beverly was interviewed by Stanton Friedman in 1989.]
When we were young, he used to tell us stories about things that had happened to him when he was young. We got to know those stories by heart and would all say together, “Here we go again.”
Sometimes, but not too often, he used to say that he saw a man from outer space. That used to make us all giggle like mad. He said he had to stand guard duty outside a hangar where a crashed flying saucer was stored, and that his commanding officer said, “Come on, Brownie, let’s have a look inside.” But they didn’t see anything because it had all been packed up and [was] ready to be flown out to Texas.
He also said that one day all available men were grabbed and that they had to stand guard where a crashed disc had come down. Everything was being loaded onto trucks, and he couldn’t understand why some of the trucks had ice or something in them. He did not understand what they wanted to keep cold. Him and another guy had to ride in the back of one of the trucks, and although they were told that they could get into a lot of trouble if they took in too much of what was happening, they had a quick look under the covering and saw two dead bodies, alien bodies.
We really had to giggle at that bit. He said they were smaller than a normal man, about four feet, and had much larger heads than us, with slanted eyes, and that the bodies looked yellowish, a bit Asian-looking. We did not believe him when we were kids, but as I got older, I did kind of believe it. Once I asked him if he was scared by them, and he said, “Hell no, they looked nice, almost as though they would be friendly if they were alive.”
[Captain Oliver Wendell “Pappy” Henderson was stationed at Roswell AAF in 1947. He had flown thirty missions in B-24 Liberator bombers in Europe. He had participated in the postwar A-bomb tests in the Pacific and earned major commendations for his flying. Unfortunately, he died before any UFO investigator could interview him, but near the end of his life he old some of the people closest to him about what he had seen in July 1947.]
Pappy Henderson’s Wife
[Sappho Henderson was Pappy Henderson’s wife. She was interviewed by Stanton Friedman.]
We met during World War II when he flew with the 446th Bomb Squadron. He flew B-24s [on] thirty missions over Germany. After the war, he returned home and was then sent to Roswell. While stationed there, he ran the “Green Hornet Airline”, which involved flying C-54s and C-47s carrying VIPs, scientists, and materials from Roswell to the Pacific during the atom bomb tests. He had to have a Top Secret clearance for this responsibility.
In 1980 or 1981, he picked up a newspaper at a grocery store where we were living in San Diego. One article described the crash of a UFO outside Roswell, with the bodies of aliens discovered beside the craft. He pointed out the article to me and said, “I want you to read this article, because it’s a true story. I’m the pilot who flew the wreckage of the UFO to Dayton, Ohio [where Wright Field is]. I guess now that they’re putting it in the paper, I can tell you about this. I wanted to tell you for years.” Pappy never discussed his work because of his security clearance.
He described the beings as small with large heads for their size. He said the material that their suits were made of was different than anything he had ever seen. He said they looked strange. I believe he mentioned that the bodies had been packed in dry ice to preserve them.
[Here is what Sappho Henderson said on the American television program “Unsolved Mysteries”.]
My husband Oliver Henderson, otherwise known as “Pappy” in the Air Force, he was entrusted with many of this country’s top secrets. And they were safe with him. He never told anything that he wasn’t supposed to. And therefore it was 34 years after this incident happened that I heard about it….
My husband told me the bodies were smaller than human bodies. The heads were larger and the eyes were rather sunken and a little slanted. Clothing was of material unlike anything he had seen before. They were strange, they were not of this earth.
When my husband, who was a man of truth, who was trusted with 29 different Army aircraft planes, first pilot aircraft commander, tells me this story, I believed him.
Pappy Henderson’s Daughter
[Mary Kathryn Groode is Pappy Henderson’s daughter.] When I was growing up, he and I would often spend evenings looking at the stars. On one occasion, I asked him what he was looking for. He said, “I’m looking for flying saucers. They’re real, you know.”
In 1981, during a visit to my parents’ home, my father showed me a newspaper article, which described the crash of a UFO and the recovery of alien bodies outside Roswell, New Mexico. He told me that he saw the crashed craft and the alien bodies described in the article, and that he had flown the wreckage to Ohio. He described the alien beings as small and pale, with slanted eyes and large heads. He said they were humanoid looking, but different from us. I think he said there were three bodies.
He said the matter had been Top Secret and that he was not supposed to discuss it with anyone, but that he felt it was all right to tell me because it was in the newspaper.
Pappy Henderson’s Relatives
[Stanton Friedman spoke with Pappy Henderson’s son and cousin, both of whom told of having heard Pappy quietly tell his story after the newspaper article appeared.]
Pappy Henderson’s Friend #1
[John Kromschroeder is a dentist and a retired military officer. In 1977, Henderson told Kromschroeder that in 1947 he had transported wreckage and alien bodies. About a year later, Henderson showed Kromschroeder a piece of metal he had taken from the collection of wreckage. Kromschroeder and Henderson shared an interest in metallurgy. Kromschroeder was interviewed in 1990.]
I gave it a good, thorough looking-at and decided it was an alloy we are not familiar with. Gray, lustrous metal resembling aluminum, lighter in weight and much stiffer. [We couldn’t] bend it. Edges sharp and jagged.
Pappy Henderson’s Friend #2
[In 1982, Pappy Henderson met with several members of his old bomber crew during a reunion. One of these men was later interviewed.]
It was in his hotel room that he told us the story of the UFO and about his part. All we were told by Pappy is that he flew the plane to Wright Field. He definitely mentioned the bodies, but I don’t recall any details except that they were small and different. I was skeptical at first, but soon saw that Pappy was quite serious.
If what crashed was a weather balloon, there would have been no need for secrecy. According to the testimony, military officers admonished subordinates and civilians not to talk about what they saw.
If what crashed was a weather balloon, Major Marcel would have recognized the material Mac Brazil showed him as weather balloon material, and would not have journeyed far out on a remote sheep ranch with an officer from the Counter Intelligence Corps to examine the crash site.
The wreckage described by Marcel and others was too voluminous, and spread out over too large an area, to have been the wreckage of a crashed weather balloon.
There is no reason the Army would transport the wreckage of a weather balloon from the remote desert outside Corona first to Roswell AAF, then on to Fort Worth AAF.
Most of the witnesses who saw or handled the wreckage would have recognized the remains of a crashed weather balloon.
Secret Rocket or Airplane
If what crashed was any kind of secret military apparatus, one would expect at least some of the pieces to have recognizable letters or numbers on them. Many of the witnesses say that some of the wreckage bore a very strange kind of writing, but not one witness has said that any of the wreckage bore any recognizable symbols.
If what crashed was any kind of secret military apparatus, the Army would have said simply, “This is secret, and no more questions will be answered, period.” The Army would not have concocted the flying saucer and weather balloon stories. In 1947, Americans were less skeptical about the motives of their government, and the people of New Mexico, including journalists and other civilians, were dependent for their livelihood on secret military projects.
If what crashed was any kind of secret military apparatus, the Army would not have waited for a rancher to inform them of the crash before sending military personnel to examine the wreckage, five days after the crash.
Rockets and airplanes that were secret in 1947 are not secret now. If what crashed was a secret rocket or airplane, it would have been revealed as such years ago. (Incredibly, the Army is sticking to its weather balloon story, even though nobody believes it anymore.)
By July 1947, rockets launched from White Sands were fitted with self-destruct mechanisms so that an errant rocket could be destroyed before leaving the test range. The Corona crash site is about 75 miles from the nearest border of the test range.
They did not fly secret airplanes in New Mexico in 1947. There was plenty of room for that in California, where all the secret airplane projects were carried on.
There is no reason the Army would transport the wreckage of a crashed rocket or airplane to Fort Worth AAF, then to Wright AAF in Ohio. The wreckage of a secret rocket would stay in New Mexico, and the wreckage of a secret airplane would be sent back to California, if anywhere.
Most of the witnesses who saw or handled the wreckage would have recognized the remains of a crashed rocket or airplane.