Transformation of Ufology, part 1
UFO Idols with feet of clay
Matt Graeber

PART ONE: UFO Idols with Feet of Clay

There has been a great deal written about the ’ Transformational Effects’ of the UFO experience upon the observers and the interfacers with alien creatures. Many times these incidents are alleged to have produced an enhanced form of spiritual awakening, heightened awareness, or a realisation of one’s cosmic connection with the universe and its many intelligent life forms. In extreme instances, the UFO experience is even said to have produced “Hybrid” half-human and half-alien beings that are presently walking amongst us.

This folly is further expanded by a form of unbridled one-upmanship, in which stories are routinely topped by more outlandish and embellished yarns, and we even find that not only have some fellows claimed to have discovered and identified more than 86 separate alien species presently visiting our planet but, there is an American abduction expert who proclaims that the “Greys” (small statured bulbous-headed alien creatures), actually absorb life-sustaining nutrients in the air through their skin.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, the expert doesn’t mention the rather delicate matter of how the Greys might un-absorb their body’s waste materials. Perhaps, they don’t, and that’s why they smell so horrid on the numerous military base’s autopsy tables!?

But, rather than rehashing the claims and the counter-claims which these many yarns have provoked from the saucer zealots, UFO enthusiasts, sceptics and debunkers – I will discuss the “Transformation of Facts” that the unobjective UFOlogists quite often bring to fore concerning their misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the significance of their truly poor quality reports.

It was then that I first realized that pointed questions and opposing points of view were not very welcome within the established UFO group community… 

Example No.1  (A blast from the past!)

I attended a UFO conference which was held in a high school auditorium at Pottstown, Pa. back in the early 70′s, and the director of the UFO group speaking at the event presented a number of photographic slides of purported UFOs for the audience to view. Many of the photos were images from rather old cases and were frequently written about by the popular UFO authors of the day. However, several were new to me and I found myself particularly interested in one slide that featured a pair of copper-coloured disks flying in tight formation amidst the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky.

The disks were photographed from an approximate angle of about 40-45 degrees, and showed the pair of identical copper-coloured craft from the bottom with a pronounced leading and side edge. I was taken by the fact that this photo was very clear, well-cantered in the frame, and did not have any distortion which might have been attributed to the craft’s movement, camera movement, or the blurred, fuzzy and slightly out-of-focus character of many other UFO photos also being displayed.

When the speaker’s presentation ended, and the lights were rekindled in the school’s auditorium there was a question and answer period in which inquiries were fielded by the speaker. At one point during this period, I raised my hand and asked the speaker if he might share a bit more information about the photo of the copper-coloured UFOs with us. He readily admitted that he didn’t know very much about the photo’s origin except that it came from a small village in South America.

I asked if he could tell us something about credibility the person who took the photo, when it was taken, where it might have been taken and how it ended up in the assortment of photos he had presented. The speaker seemed to be a little stunned by my questions and replied that the photographer is unknown and presumably died in a mudslide that destroyed his entire village.

The speaker didn’t know the name of the village or, the date of the disaster. He also didn’t know when the photo was taken. So, it would be virtually impossible to link the photo to a mudslide catastrophe that was published in newspapers somewhere in South America without at least knowing the approximate location or year of the incident. Even with knowing that, it would still be an investigative stretch to assume one positively knew anything about the reliability of the photos themselves.

When I mentioned the fact that these photos were probably not the best examples for audience presentation, an obviously annoyed lady seated in the front of the auditorium challenged my statement with a rather vehement remark. It was then that I first realized that pointed questions, and opposing points of view were not very welcome within the established UFO group community. (i.e., it appeared that many of the conference attendees hadn’t come to learn anything. They just wanted their preconceived beliefs on UFOs to be confirmed and/or bolstered by the presenters).

Interestingly, I had collected coins as a youngster, and suspected that these copper discs were actually coin planchets that hadn’t been struck at the mint. (viz, American Revolution period large cents), for both appeared to have well-defined nicks along their outer edges, much like circulated coins viewed under magnification. I never got to mention this to the speaker, who shrugged off my questions by proclaiming that “he thought” the photos were interesting and that’s why he presented them at the conference. In other words, the UFO photos were not investigated for authenticity and photographer credibility before being presented to the audience.

I later reproduced the appearance of the UFO photo, by placing two large cents on a piece of transparent Plexiglas and viewed them from a similar angle with the sky as the background. The result was astonishingly similar to the mysterious South American photo shown at the Pottstown conference. This was the first of many disappointing experiences with the fawning group enthusiasts and their leadership I would have during my eight year stint as the director of UFORIC the Philadelphia-based UFO Report & Information Center, 1972-80. (Although, I’ve been semi-active in the field for the last 33 years). 

EXAMPLE No.2 (Implants anyone?)

I attended a speaking engagement at a gathering of the Society of American Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1976 – in which I was to follow an elderly gentleman who had been researching UFO reports for decades. As I entered the dining room of the hall I encountered a young man assisting the primary speaker (we’ll call him Mr.Compton), who was quite visually handicapped and poking about in a upright dining room cabinet which doubled as the speaker’s podium and had a microphone affixed to it’s top. Inside the cabinet small oil and vinegar bottles were stored before being placed on the dining tables with the dinner salads.

Although the young man was repeatedly telling the speaker that only vinegar and oil bottles were stored in the cabinet, the legally blind speaker persisted in rummaging about in the cabinet as if looking for something else to be there. (It was quite strange and an oddly-amusing affair). I do not recall learning what Mr. Compton actually thought might have been nestled within the cabinet.

As the speaker finally settled down behind the podium and the microphone was adjusted to his satisfaction, the lights in the dining room dimmed and the slide presentation and the experts lecture simultaneously began. The first slide was a photo of an unfurled American flag. Mr. Compton said, “I always show this slide first because I believe in truth!” A voice from somewhere the darkness chimed in with something about “leaping tall buildings in a single bound” but, Mr. Compton didn’t seem to be distracted by this comical comment as he continued, “I’ve been investigating UFO reports for many years, and let me make it perfectly clear… I’m no contactee! However, I do know a few, and if you listen to what I have to say you will be endowed by the friendly saucers and able to protect yourself from the hostiles”

Then a barrage of slides was shown in rapid succession with a quick explanation concerning the photographer/witnesses credibility and the date and location of the alleged incident. Many of the photos were quite old and were obviously borrowed from UFO books and group journals. Most were poorly centred in the frame, blurry and of quite distant or small objects.(Were they insects on the wing, birds, Frisbees or alien space ships, stars or planets, it was quite difficult for anyone to tell with any degree of certainty).

Then Mr. Compton warned the audience of the dangers of approaching the Globe, Football-shaped and Bee Hive-like UFOs and how to thwart their attacks with a common hand-held flashlight. Apparently, one could also use the flashlight to perform a ‘UFO Friendship Test’, which was fully explained in Mr. Compton’s 32 page pocket-sized booklet which was on sale in the rear of the hall.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of Mr. Compton’s presentation concerned his revelations concerning a middle-aged woman (Mrs. Brotmann), who was out walking her beagle puppy at sunset on a summer’s eve when she was struck down by fleeting a 2.5 to 3 inch diameter UFO.

According to Compton, Mrs Brotmann had just been bending over while adjusting her puppy’s collar and as she was starting to straighten up she was shocked to see the tiny UFO flying straight towards her face. She tried to take evasive action but, the glowing UFO was travelling so fast that it hit her squarely in the forehead knocking her to the ground, lodging itself in her brain! A bit dazed and bewildered Mrs Brotmann finally regained her composure and was amazed to realize that there wasn’t a mark on her face to show where the UFO had entered her cranium. Amazingly, after this incident Mr Brotmann’s IQ was greatly enhanced and according Mr Compton she is now an engineer (Type not specified).

Would it be a stretch of sceptical speculation to point out that the flag slide and the ‘engineer’ connection in the Mrs. Brotmann story seems to be a bit ‘American’ Society of Mechanical and Electrical ‘Engineers’ directed!?

An obviously concerned lady seated near the podium asked Mr Compton if he had taken Mrs Brotmann to the hospital to have x-rays taken of her head injury. Compton quickly replied that he wanted to do so but, Mrs Brotmann flatly refused treatment because of the voices in her head. Apparently, these were the voices of the UFO operators who did not want their presence publicly revealed. Moreover, the x-rays would be lethal to the tiny Venusians who reportedly have been visiting Earth since the dawning of mankind.

This was the very first of the many so-called implant stories I’ve heard of over the years. Compton dates the alleged incident to the early fifties. Naturally, I was quite shocked by the character of Mr. Compton’s presentation and followed up with a rather capsulized talk on investigative methods employed at UFORIC. After this experience I decide to avoid public speaking engagements on UFOs, press interviews and I rarely participated in radio talk show programming on the phenomenon. However, I did answer questions from the public over the phone at UFORIC because we were in fact, a UFO ‘report and information’ centre.

While the above may sound too bizarre to be a factual account, I can assure you that it is quite factual, and that even stranger/wilder yarns are presented at many UFO conferences and websites. So, is there any wonder why mainstream scientists feel that something is not quite right about these wacky UFO experts and enthusiasts? Is there not a reason to suspect that they avoid and ignore the subject for fear of being associated with the kooks and crack pots who have always populated the largely unchecked and totally unregulated Ufological landscape.

Moreover, why is it that if someone does question the validity of a reported incident, the UFO groups generally do not appreciate and applaud that individual’s objectivity and tenaciousness – rather, they label him or her a sceptic and debunker while leaping to the defence of many less than credible eyewitnesses and fantasy-prone self-proclaimed UFO experts who bandy these yarns about.

All this while the so-called serious ufologists have never proven that UFOs actually exist in the nuts and bolts sense of the word in 60 years of intensive inquiry, by thousands of group members and field investigators- not to mention the combined efforts of hundreds of professional consultants in the disciplines of metallurgy, psychology, optics, astronomy, biology, etc. etc.

Moreover these same groups invite Abduction Experts. Implant Researchers and Reversed Engineering promoters to their conferences to speak about aliens absorbing nutrients through their skin, telepathic communiqués from benevolent alien races, and the mass production of hybrid babies aboard colossal motherships which are reportedly laden with human foetuses in liquid-filled jars. (What utter and nonsensical drivel!)

What are we to think of these deluded folks who inflict themselves and their half-baked theories upon the unsuspecting public, the all-to-eager UFO group members and press with “wild” and completely “bogus” UFO tales? What are we to think of so-called serious research UFO group leaders who stand by and permit these same individuals to thrust themselves upon their membership? I actually came across a fellow (we’ll call him Fred), who had achieved some degree of acclaim in UFO circles with his outrageous crashed saucer investigations, alleged alien and MIB encounters, not to mention his own abduction report. Fred was actually an individual dealing with serious mental heath issues.

Yet, Fred and the small group he is an important member of has a growing internet following consisting of many young people who are Yahoo members, and quite a number of senior citizens who are interested in the group’s specialized senior services, such as prayer groups for those with spiritual, emotional and physical wants and needs.

Additionally, Fred had proudly posted information about his own improving mental health status and active MH volunteer contributions on the internet for all to read yet, other UFO researchers continually posted his UFO stories and reports at their sites, often thanking Fred for his contribution to ‘serious ufology’. Fred was even the focus of an article in a leading European UFO magazine. Obviously, all had taken his reports at face value and never looked into the matter of his health and veracity before listing such hokum as credible UFO sightings and alien encounters reports.

I guess that a schizophrenic could have a reliable sighting experience but, how would one be able to establish such a report as factual vs. hallucinatory in nature?

So, the question immediately arises, who is at fault here? The mental patient or the shoddy UFO researcher’s who post such potentially delusional material for UFO enthusiasts to read and readily accept as reliable data? Even the very best computer virus scans and firewalls cannot protect a serious researcher’s UFO database from that sort of contamination.


The entire alien affair reminded me of a time as a youngster, when I first saw an authentic ‘Jackolope’ at a hunting lodge. From what I later learned a taxidermist was producing the spoof-creature (A jack rabbit with small horns) for hunters who wanted to bamboozle less-experienced sportsmen in their group

EXAMPLE No.3 (The fossil remains of Mythical Creatures and Saucer Pilots).

In a 1996 book on the discovery of many mythical creature fossils, a Texas fellow, said to be a palaeontologist, is suspected of actually sculpting and otherwise fabricating the so-called skeletal remains of mythical creatures, which included mermaids from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, leprechauns and several other creative works. Although the books titled clearly identified it as being about the discovery of  ‘mythical’ creatures, one of the major UFO group leaders of the day was so may captivated by a photograph of the alleged skeletal remains of a small creature that was imbedded in a concave plaster of Paris cast. (Sort of like a little alien on the half-shell).

The ufologist thought that the skeletal remains closely resembled those of a downed saucer pilot who reportedly crashed his spacecraft just prior to the turn of the 20th century at Aurora, Texas. Indeed, a UFO report involving the landing of two cigar-shaped objects at Ledonia, Texas was reported to have happened on April 16th 1897, and the Aurora crash (about a hundred miles away) was said to have occurred the following day. The fossil find story was cautiously but, favourably promoted in the UFO group’s journal where it received wide attention by the membership. After all, if the group’s leader thinks there’s something to this story. Well, there must be something to it.

As time passed, and the story started to unravel, the group leader decided to retire albeit, without ever fully-acknowledging that he’d been mistaken about the significance of the bogus alien fossil finding at Ledonia. Jim Moseley of the zany UFO newsletter Saucer Smear, had been gently chiding the ‘Czar’ as he called the group leader about the bogus fossil; and I even drew a cartoon concerning the controversy which compared the fossil to that of Warner Brothers cartoon character ‘Marvin the Martian’, who as you may recall is actually Bugs Bunny’s outer-space nemesis.

The entire alien creature fossil affair reminded me of a time as a youngster, when I first saw an authentic ‘Jackolope’ at a hunting lodge. From what I later learned a taxidermist was producing the spoof-creature (A jack rabbit with small horns) for fun-loving hunters who wanted to bamboozle their sons and younger, less-experienced sportsmen in their group. It’s the hunter’s equivalent of “Snipe Hunting” with young boy scouts at camp for the first time.

So if we find such ‘ufoology’ flourishing at the very top of the heap in the sub cultural community of Saucerdom or (Saucerdumb), take your pick. One wonders, how deeply might such a malady infect the group’s internet list membership and the independent serious UFOlogists who look to these groups and lists for database resources? 

EXAMPLE No.4 (On the Demise of 20th Century Style Ufology)

While hearing from a researcher about the recent ‘Mexican Roswell’ report”, nd the sad state of contemporary ufology in general, the subject of the Carbondale, Pa. 1974 UFO crash came up. He was somewhat amazed to learn that a small group from Wisconsin had managed to revive the long-ago hoax, and was currently claiming it to be a genuine saucer crash that was covered up by the military and the government. In fact, they wanted people to think ‘Carbondale/Roswell’, since they believed the case was actually much more significant than Roswell, and had many more reliable eyewitnesses. (Claims which are not only completely incorrect, they’re absolutely ridiculous too!).

This group ( BUFO), is headed by an aggressive internet impresario (Mary Sutherland), who not only dabbles in saucers but, also operates an online match-making service and prayer services for those in need, while also featuring psychic readings for those daring enough to peek into their future, at very reasonable rate of just $2.95 per minute. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg on her UFO and paranormal internet enterprises which include an abductee support group and an array of items for sale at her online store and Gift Shoppe in scenic Burlington, Wisconsin.

The serious UFO researcher, who had long been studying a particular variety of UFO sighting seemed to be somewhat dismayed that all this was going on while most of the fellows he had been contacting on ’ The List’ probably felt that the Carbondale case was indeed a complete and clumsy hoax. Additionally, the Wisconsin group had established a dominate presence on the net at the <carbondale, pa. UFO crash> site, and was even skilfully promoting their crash and cover up yarns on internet radio (audio) and TV (video) links.

Of course, there is a so-called Mexican Roswell, the Kecksberg, Pa. incident which is often touted a Pennsylvania’s Roswell. The Carbondale, Pa. hoax which the Wisconsin group is actively attempting to turn into a Roswell tourist and entertainment industry – and of course, even the Rendlesham Forest case is being foolishly called the UK’s Roswell.

It seems that if you prefix or suffix the name of any downed or un-downed saucer story with the word ‘Roswell’, the story automatically takes on an added dose of mystery, conspiracy and authenticity which far over-shadows any amount of obviously embarrassing evidence that might dismiss the entire incident as a fabrication or misidentification.

For many in the UFO community, Roswell is the line in the sand over which brutally vehement controversy rages. There is little middle ground on the topic, either you believe or you do not! If you do not, you are labelled a sceptic, a debunker and someone who has simply gone over to the other side.

Even though I never publicly said I do not believe the Roswell incident is very accurately portrayed in the vast saucer literature. I have become something of a piranha in the field simply because I questioned the veracity of two alleged star eyewitnesses concerning the Roswell incident. (Both of whom were later discredited and believed to have been discredited by other proponent UFO researchers).

Continue to Part Two >>>


Aztec, that terribly romantic yet horribly aromatic desert bloom is in flower again!
Michael McClellan and Matt Graeber

First published in Magonia 89, August 2005

The 1948 Aztec, NM downed UFO retrieval story is one of saucerdom’s legends that seems to have defied all the attempts to explain it away as a clumsy and very obvious hoax. However, the many “resurrections” of this story, in various forms, is just about as remarkable and interesting as the original tale itself. In fact, one fellow on the internet describes it as the “Dracula” of saucerdom which simply will not die no matter how may stakes are driven through its heart.

First touted by two con men who actually were convicted of their fraudulent schemes (perpetrated in connection with the alleged UFO incident, reversed ET engineering devices, and the rediscovery of the Rangely Oil Fields in Colorado), the story has been revised, fine-tuned and sporadically presented to an unsuspecting American public and uncautious media people.

Like the Roswell, NM, UFO incident, The city of Aztec now has its own festival celebrating the non-incident’s anniversary; and has even managed to build a brand new library (costing 1.9 million dollars) from the tourist monies spent at the nation’s other alledged place of alien demise. As one sceptical Texan* aptly put it, “Yeah, that’s mighty big bucks in those crash sites of imagination…mighty big bucks indeed!”

Interestingly, rumours on the internet proclaim that plans are underway to memorialize the Carbondale, PA saucer crash of 1974 at a “Mysteries Museum” to be established somewhere in Lackawanna County, PA. The Carbondale crash doesn’t boast of alien bodies but, it reportedly has lots of saucers flitting in and out of inter-dimensional gateways (or vortices) in the area.

As one realizes, memories fade quickly in normal life, and even more quickly in the land of the UFO subculture. The question is whether or not the faded memories are genuine, or if they are “conveniently selective” to the numerous “hucksters” of the Aztec story.

It would not serve us well to simply name the individuals involved in the present-day rehashing of this continuing UFO myth. Nor, would it be overly enlightening to revisit the original 1950 Frank Scully book on the incident and show how distorted even it has become. This article is dedicated to the memory and researches of Michael McClellan who spent a great deal of time investigating the Aztec incident as it was presented in 1974 by Robert Spencer Carr, a retired professor of mass communications at the University of Southern Florida. So, I will not whip out my ol’ aerosol can of agent orange and attempt to defoliate the dense forest of UFOOLogy that IS the Aztec story of today.

 Rather, I will take you back 30 years, to a time when my dear departed friend Mike McClellan methodically investigated the then 27 year old Aztec downed saucer yarn. Mike had written several articles for magazines and the APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Center) journal during the mid-seventies on the Aztec case and I’m happy that this draft from one of those essays has survived for Magonia’s readers to peruse and enjoy..

So, here’s what Mike had to say (unedited and unabridged) regarding his inquiry into the Aztec, New Mexico flying saucer retrieval story and the charlatan who was then bandying it about the country. Mike was a member of both APRO and UFORIC at the time. (Commentaries in italics are mine.)

Aztec, Michael McClellan 1975

The obituary columns of our daily newspapers alphabetically list the demise of individuals who, unless celebrities, are noteworthy of no more than an inch or so of space declaring that their existence of being had departed its mortal shell. The shell decays and disappears. For a brief moment in time, lives are disrupted – however, soon return to normal. Death temporarily takes a back seat. Mortal matters take precedence over memories.

Probably the most famous and remembered death is that of Jesus Christ’s. From that point historians may argue over the second most important death in the world. Most likely they would never be in agreement. Or is it possible that the second to the thirteenth important and historical deaths may have occurred very recently? Even in our century? In fact, could they have occurred twenty-seven years ago? According to Robert Spencer Carr, a retired professor, they may have.

At a press conference in 1974, Carr revealed information which either surpasses all other news of our day or is the fantasy of an imaginative mind comparable to Isaac Asimov or Gene Rodenberry (Star Trek).

My primary encounter with Carr’s story was while I was stirring coffee and listening to an excited secretary tell about a spaceship which had reportedly crashed in a desert area. Lifeless alien occupants had been removed from the craft and preserved. She had heard the story on the radio and, while not sure of the details, thought that it recently occurred. 

Robert Spencer Carr was a kindly old gent who looked very much like a Kentucky Colonel. He had the ability to tell his story so convincingly that he appeared on numerous syndicated radio and TV talk shows. He also lectured at quite a number of universities throughout the country and caused something of a stir in the UFO community too.

 With the intention of reaching the crux of the story, I began an investigation. If there was any hint of truth to the account it must be the news story of the century. This, according to Carr, who has known of the incident for some twenty-five years during which time he been an undercover investigator for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).

Fearing possible ridicule, embarrassment, and loss of credibility with students and associates which would jeopardize his position, he decided to remain silent until he recently retired as professor of mass communications at the University of South Florida. Carr says the year was 1948, the month February, the day probably the 13th.

Three radar stations were tracking an unknown at 90,000 feet altitude. The stations were located at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Colorado, and Northern Colorado. The object was making 18,000 knots per hour which is really quite fast even in those days. It stopped at about 10,000 feet where it went out of control, circled, and fluttered helplessly to the ground.

Because three radar stations were involved, triangulation was possible and showed that the object had touched down three miles west of Aztec, New Mexico, south of the Colorado line. The landing was a soft one, the craft being on automatic pilot. A tripod extended from the craft and the extraterrestrial ship came to rest on the desert.

Law enforcement officers, including local sheriffs, rushed to the scene.(According to Carr, the old timers there remember the incident very well.) The lawmen, guns drawn, approached the thirty foot saucer-shaped disc and looked inside the craft. That moment could have only been electrifying as the officers saw through a hole the size of a thumb in the dome of the craft. Twelve little men slumped over their instruments.

The aliens had died from decompression, probably due to the hole; a death probably similar to that of the recent Russian cosmonaut’s misfortune. Shortly after the landing, military aircraft began appearing in the area. The roads to the area were cordoned off by air police. Residents from as far as Farmington, New Mexico journeyed to the area, their curiously aroused by the unusual number of planes.

As one can immediately see, this story has elements quite similar to that of the Roswell UFO Incident which, at the time of Mike’s writing, were not yet revealed to Stanton Friedman by Retired Major Jesse Marcel who was the Intelligence Officer at the Roswell Army Air Force base in 1947.

Officials managed to get the door of the spacecraft open and the twelve bodies were removed. They were all males, their weight ranging from eighty to ninety pounds. Their build was fairly muscular and solid. They had light hair of varying shades, their eyes were blue. They all wore the same dress, a blue uniform with no insignia .

Carr’s descriptions of the aliens is not a carbon or should I say Xerox copy of the Roswell extraterrestrial cadavers, but there are some similarities.

The alien bodies were loaded aboard an airplane and flown to Edwards Air Force Base as was their saucer. They were later moved to Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton,Ohio where Carr alledges they remain. One of the bodies was selected for autopsy and six surgeons were flown in from Washington, D.C. A middle range specimen was chosen and his organs laid out on a table.

This senario also has Roswell similarities which include the unexplained ablity of the military to load a spacecraft that is reportedly wider in diameter than the opening of any then-existing aircraft’s side, rear cargo, or bomb-bay doors.

The blood type was “O” and the genes and chromosones would have matched with those of Earth women. Verification of the incident is offered by Carr. He was at his job in Florida some years back when he overheard a biologist (who was a member of an elite inner circle of knowledgables) read a report to Carr’s chief describing characterististics of the aliens. The biologist, incidently, is now deceased.

Carr has spoken personally with an officer who was present in Aztec when the extraterrestrial bodies were removed from thier vehicle. The officer assisted with the measuring, weighing, and loading of the little men.

A military nurse who was present at the autopsy told Carr when he spoke with her that she knew of no reason why she should take the secret to her grave. She was seventy-three years old when she made her revelation to Carr. Unfortunately, Carr is unable to reveal the names of the people with whom he had spoken. Their identities cannot be revealed, since doing so would cause them irreparible damage.

The introduction of the mysterious nurse in Carr’s story predates the report of a similar person in the Roswell “star-eyewitness” Glenn Dennis’ story..

Luckily, Carr was a security guard who spent three or six months of his service guarding hanger #18 at Wright Patterson. (On one radio interview Carr stated three months. He told me six months.)

Carr told Mike that his sergeant’s name at Wright Patterson was Arthur Bray.

Bray is a retired master sergeant; he was with the Air Police prior to to his retirement in 1970 and was an eyewitness to the storage of the bodies. Carr related that Bray “Had the key to the (hanger) door and let people in and out.”

Bray fled to Canada and subsequently returned to a Midwest State. Unluckily, the only Arthur Bray there turned out to be an Army man who retired in 1940. He had no knowledge of the incident and was never stationed at Wright Patterson.

Mike spent quite a bit of time and money on this investigation and I even came across an Arthur Bray of Canada in late 1974 who was a UFO researcher. When I asked him about being a sergeant at Wright Patterson he just laughed and said he was unaware of Carr’s usage of the name Arthur Bray in his saucer story. The Canadian Mr.Bray and I shared investigative data on a UFO/Pickup truck pursuit case that reportedly occurred in Ottawa on the night of Nov. 8th,1973. The case received wide publicity in the U.S. and Canada. Mr.Bray was the first researcher to interview the witnesses.

In addition, says Carr, there are several hundred other people who have the inside information. They consist of academic men, anthropologists, aeronautical engineers, Army intelligence officers, electronics experts, metallurgists. and so the list goes. Again, no names are available and Mr. Carr is the only individual who has dared to surface with the incredible story.

Truman was most assuredly informed of the incident but, according to Carr, never came to see the space craft or its occupants. What he actually knew is moot, since he is no longer available for comment. Moreover, Carr stated that Eisenhower saw the ship and its occupants in April after his inauguration. As Carr relates, Eisenhower was at Palm Springs, California. Using a golf outing as a ploy, he boarded a helicopter and was flown to view the remains.

The president decided the American public was not yet ready for a disclosure of such gravity and the discovery remained top secret.

This, too, smacks of the Roswellian folklore that many have come to know and embrace as fact. But, in one account, Truman did view the craft and the alien bodies; and Eisenhower was the one who feigned a golf outing and disappeared for 12 hours to not only see the aliens, he allegedly made a deal with living extraterrestrials at nearby Muroc, Air Force Base. His alleged twelve-hour absence from the prying eyes of reporters was attributed to a bogus emergency visit to a dentist’s office.

Carr advises that forty reporters knew of Eisenhower’s flight and were there to see him leave in the helicopter. Apparently, he feels that the presence of the reporters and their witnessing of his departure lends credibility to his yarn. The names of the reporters have not yet been revealed. Even if they are we have proof that Ike took a ride in a helicopter, nothing more. The bodies are now in cryonic suspension, a sophisticated form of freezing, somewhere in Wright Patterson.

Where did Carr acquire his original information? As he explained, he received a manuscript of a book prior to publication from Frank Scully. Scully was a writer for a magazine “Variety” and devoted an entire chapter of his book, “BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS” (published in 1950 by Henry Holt and Company) to the incident. By his own words, Carr says the Frank Scully story is true. Let us briefly examine Scully’s story.


In 1949 Scully relates that he had learned of a man whom he elcts to call 'Mr Gee'. The name is a pseudonym.

In 1949 Scully relates that he had learned of a man whom he elects to call “Dr.Gee”. The name is a psuedonym the reason for which we shall later learn. Dr.Gee was a government scientist engaged in magnetic research. His credentials consisted of several degrees from higher institutions among which were Armour Institute, University of Berlin, and Creighton University.

Dr.Gee told Scully the story of the first flying saucer to land in the United States. (One had landed in the Sahara Desert before this.) He knew firsthand because he was called upon by the government and assigned to go to the crash site and examine the space craft, together with several other magnetic scientists.

The UFO had been detected by two telescopes , its position determined, and its touch-down site estimated. It was found east of Aztec, New Mexico in a high-plains area which was very rocky.

The scientists decided to observe first and watch for two days. Nothing appeared to happen inside the craft, and the men felt that approach was safe for further investigation. No door was apparent, and the outer skin had no markings. There was, however, a broken porthole. The porthole appeared to be glass, but when the scientists examined it closely, it was different from any other glass known in this country.

The scientists rammed a hole through the defective porthole and looked inside. They counted sixteen bodies. They ranged in height from thirty -six to forty-two inches. As the scientists probed and prodded, they touched a knob which caused the ship’s door to spring open. The little bodies were removed and laid out on the ground. One scientist remarked that their dress was similar to the 1890′s style.

The bodies were perfectly normal, not being midgets. Their skin, however, was charred a dark colour , resembling that of chocolate. The bodies must have been burned, speculated Gee, by air rushing in through the defective porthole or by some other propulsion or pressure malfunction . They were killed by burns or the bends. Dr.Gee said that the point in space at which the little men met their fate had not been determined.

Gee thought the little men probably came from Venus. That was more likely than Mars because inhabitants of Mars would probably be three or four times larger than humans. He said that some of them had been dissected and, except for their size, they appeared to be perfectly normal human beings. Age was judged to be thirty-five to forty years, according to Earth standards. Their teeth were in perfect condition with no cavities or fillings.

Their clothing was dark blue with metal buttons. There were no insignias on the sleeves or caps. Food wafers were found in the ship and given to guinea pigs. The animals seemed to thrive on them. Water was also found, however, it was twice as heavy as normal water. The doctors noted that some water in Norway was similar.

Dr.Gee was not yet through with his astounding revelations. Not only was an alien space ship recovered but, rather, three! There was even a fourth, but that one got away before the scientists could even photograph it. The second space ship which landed in nearly the same condition as the first had its door open. The sixteen little bodies inside were not charred or burned. Medical opinion was that these bodies, when found, had not been dead for much more than two or three hours.

It had landed near a proving ground in Arizona. It was smaller than the first, being only seventy-two feet in diameter. (The first was ninety-nine and 99/100 feet in diameter.) The third ship landed in Paradise Valley above Phoenix, Arizona. There were only two crew members inside. One humanoid was halfway out the door and the other was seated within. Again, both were dead. This ship was thirty-six feet in diameter.

Enter Silas Mason Newton.

Newton was a close associate of Dr.Gee’s (an oil millionaire, according to Robert Carr) who wanted to see the ships. Alas, by this time government secrecy had intervened and Newton was out of luck. Dr.Gee had, however, secured a tubeless radio, some small discs, gears, and other assorted devices which had been taken from the the space ships.

The story now takes on elements of “Reversed Engineering Possibilities”, which clearly predate the Col. Philip Corso’s “Reversed Engineering” claims that captured the imaginations of many Roswellian UFOlogists more than three decades later.

 The ratio of the gears was an enigma to earth engineers, defying more than 150 tests to break down their metal. There was no play in the gears and they did not appear to be lubricated. Dr.Gee constructed an antenna for the radio and was able to receive a sort of high “C” hourly, at fifteen minutes past the hour.

“The Philadelphia Inquirer” newspaper carried an article on page four of its July 28th, 1952 issue describing more details on the Scully story which it received from “True Magazine”. On March 8th, 1950, according to the Inquirer, Newton spoke to an elementary science class at the University of Denver. Half the class apparently believed the story by Newton of Dr.Gee’s discoveries. The story was out!

At one of Newton’s con game appearances on campus, his talk was suddenly cut short by Dr.Gee who excitedly pointed to his wrist warch and bellowed, “Great Scott, we’ve got to get to the airport!” Newton hurriedly gathered his papers and dashed out the door as students and faculity looked on. Some would-be investor in the auditorium asked, “What was that fellows name”, and another person replied,”I think it was Scott something”.

Interestingly, with the advent of the Internet, this and many other UFO crash stories have grown into something of a sub-cultural cottage industry. I discovered that “aztec, nm. ufo crash” produced 128 pages of postings to examine, while Roswell had 644. Carbondale, PA. had a scant 10, as did Spitsbergen, Norway. While Kingman, Arizona was represented by 28 pages to scroll upon. Curiously, Kecksberg, PA displayed just 3 pages even though it had received national exposure on TV’s very popular “Unsolved Mysteries” program. The date of my very cursory internet survey was May 13,2005.


Silas Mason Newton

Interestingly, when Scully’s book was published, all of the principals in chapter twelve seemed to mysteriously drop out of sight. J. P. Cahn of the San Francisco Chronicle on an assignment for True magazine decided to put Newton’s lecture to the test. He found that Scully and Newton were acquainted and were, in fact, friends. Scully admitted that all of his information was second- hand, but he did seem to sincerely believe Newton.

A meeting was set up and the three – Scully, Newton, and Cahn – met at Scully’s home. After what may have been small talk, Newton produced a hankerchief and dumped from it some metal objects. Two of the objects were gears. Two were what appeared to be small metal discs. The gears were not similar, although the discs matched. They were unmarked with the exception of surface scratches.

Before the meeting was over, Newton briefly showed Cahn a photograph of an object which had a resemblance of an umbrella lying on its side. He hinted that people would pay a good deal of money to see something like that. Newton refused to part with the objects he had shown Cahn and further refused to reveal Dr.Gee’s true identity.

Cahn investigated Newton’s background and, as far as he could determine, the whole Newton Oil Company was two small offices connected by a waiting room. Newton had boasted of rediscovering the Rangely oil fields in Colorado. When Cahn researched this misinformation with Richard D. White, Exploration Superintendent for a subsidiary of Standard Oil Company of California, he was told that Newton brought a lot of people out in big cars. With regard to rediscovering Rangely, it was so much baloney.

More background checks found Newton with a record for larceny in New York. The complaint had been discharged. However, in another case, Newton was discovered to have been involved with shady stock practices. Now more determined to get to the bottom of the entire story, Cahn arranged a meeting with Newton and told him that $10,000.00 had been authorized to be put in escrow with another $25,000.00 to be paid upon publication of Newton’s story as soon as reasonable proof was produced. Cahn had, beforehand, counterfeited a disc similar to those Newton had shown to him and was able to make a switch. Newton didn’t know the difference when, after appearing to examine them, Cahn handed them back to Newton.

The discs were reported to have been subjected to 10,000 degrees heat in Dr.Gee’s laboratory without melting. The metal disc kidnapped by Cahn was taken to Stanford University for an analysis. It was plain aluminium , 99.5 percent pure, and the type used in making nothing more than pots and pans. It, incidentally, melted at the Stanford University at 657 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scully finally admitted to Cahn that the mysterious Dr.Gee was none other than Dr. Leo A. Gebauer, with whom he had been in telephone contact a number of times. Not yet completely satisfied, Cahn took a trip to Arizona where he confronted Mr. Gebauer. Cahn discovered that instead of holding the alleged degrees mentioned by Scully, he held only an electrical engineering degree from Louis Institute of Technology in Chicago.

In addition, Cahn found that from 1943 to 1945 when Dr.Gee was supposed to have been heading 1,700 scientists on secret government work (according to Scully in his book) he was actually chief of AiResearch Co. in Phoenix and Los Angeles. His job was to keep the lab machinery going as a kind of maintenance man.

The discrepancies between Scully’s story and Carr’s are numerous and obvious. While Scully says that the Aztec bodies were charred and burnt, Professor Carr implies that they were fairly fresh. Scully clearly says in his book that there were thirty-four little bodies; while Carr recognizes that there was another crashed ship besides the one in Aztec. He says there were only burned remains in the other crash and no entire life forms. Were there thirty-four bodies? Or, were there twelve?

Coral Lorenzen, Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization (APRO) spoke with Sheriff Dan Sullivan of Aztec, New Mexico recently. According to Mrs. Lorenzen, “I personally talked to … Sullivan …and he told me that since the story broke, he’s had deputies out combing the area for any information which would prove or disprove Carr’s claims. His own father was sheriff at the time and had no recollection of a crash, aircraft being in the area, or anything else that would support Carr’s claims”. Nothing has been found.

This writer interviewed several highly reliable “old-timers” from Aztec. Deputy Sheriff Bruce Sullivan, Dan Sullivan’s brother, also works out of Aztec. Bruce Sullivan would have been seventeen or eighteen years old and attending the Aztec High School during this alleged incident. He has lived in Aztec all his life and “Never knew or heard anything about it”.

The deputy said that his department has received many phone calls about the alleged incident but he personally knows nothing about it. His father was sheriff at the time and never mentioned it. If it had happened, he knows that his father would have mentioned it. This may lead to a little confusion as to what sheriffs went out to the craft and examined it with drawn guns.

Lyle McWilliams has been around Aztec for a good number of years. He has been in business, according to his own testimony, “Ever since I’ve been old enough” and was about thirty-two years old in 1948. He recalls nothing of the incident except for the original claim and has always treated it as a joke. He feels that the story may have been revived for “ulterior motives”. Bruce Sullivan and Lyle McWilliams are neither believers nor disbelievers in UFOs.

Marguerite Knowlton has lived near Hart Canyon (the alleged scene of the crash) since 1946 and is sixty years old. Nothing to her knowledge transpired in the canyon. Mrs. Knowlton suggested that I talk with George Brown who owned the Aztec Newspaper in 1948. From my conversation with him, he impressed me as someone who must have been a colourful individual. He recalled a tongue-in-cheek article he had written for the newspaper years ago describing his abduction by little green men from space.

Brown had been in Aztec for seventy years. He ran the paper for forty-four years. “Nobody could have gotten in there and out (Hart Canyon) without attracting a lot of attention. It’s rough country and there’s only one nsrsid16528600 highway in there”. Brown stated emphatically that the road had never been travelled by anyone. He became intoxicated enough with the story to speak with what he estimates to be over one hundred people including cowboys, indeed, lawmen, and ranchers. None of them recalls the UFO landing or subsequent military movement.

If anyone had motive to make good use of the Aztec story, Mr. Brown would head the list. Instead, no sensational accounts of the landing appeared in the paper. Had the story been true, no newsman worth his salt would have passed such an opportunity.

The Robert Spencer Carr story parallels that of a very old, thinly worn, tattered shoe. It has been kicked around for years. Every so often, someone takes this old shoe out of a dark corner in the closet. He dyes it a new colour, waxes and buffs it to a high gloss. New heels and soles are added. Bright new shoestrings once again tie it together. The old shoe becomes a new version to fit the present modern-day style. More useage is gotten from it. It is used until it is worn out. After it has served its purpose, it returns to the closet until someone again decides the time has come for a new version.

While our present-day “throw-away” society probably wouldn’t go through the bother and expense of refurbishing an old pair of shoes, back when Mike wrote this article it was a common, but declining, practice to do so. Nevertheless, the analogy is ” absolutely correct” in regard to the sporatic refurbishing of the Aztec story over the years by Robert Spencer Carr (1973-74), Willian Steinman and Wendelle Stevens(1986), Linda Mouton Howe and Art Bell (1998), and most recently by Stanton Friedman, whom for an additional twenty-five dollars above the cost of his DVD on the case, will personally autograph your copy of it. Of course, there are numerous additional offerings of the story on the ever Wild and Wacky Web.

Those who have seen or talked with Carr must be impressed with his fatherly-like patience. He appears to be a kindly man with a purity of purpose. He would have us believe his motives are no more than to make contact with the superior intelligences fequenting our Earthly air space.

He abhors the “lurid sensationalism – the vulgar sensationalism” that the media has afforded him. Yet, he is lecturing frequently at Florida universities and has appeared, according to his own statistics, on 144 radio shows, 33 television appearances, and 50 newspaper interviews; in addition to a well-attended symposium he recently held in Florida. His new book on UFOs is near completion and is forthcoming. He employs an agent to book his lectures.

Carr’s brainchild is a plan to lure the UFOs to a safe landing place in New Mexico close to Los Alamos. He plans to do this using decoy flying saucers, signal images, and other devices to coax the extraterrestrials to an Earthly visit. He wants presidential initiative aimed at setting up an official meeting with the aliens on a mountain top to find out what they want.

Modern-day UFO coaxers like Dr. Steven Greer’s group also attempt to lure UFOs with light signals and telepathy – while famed abductee Betty Hill had a property ringed with lights to attract UFOs to a landing. Of course, the sci-fi motion picture “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” (1977) featured contact with aliens on a mountain top in the state of Wyoming.

He (Carr) envisions Kissinger sitting at a card table with intergalactic envoys lashing out agreement details. Carr, who is without a doctorate and yet advertises himself as “Dr.Carr” at his symposium, remind me of a space age, one man medicine show peddling his miracle cure-all bottle of elixir with the aid of electronic communication.

Although he claims to be a NICAP investigator, the director tells me that while he may have been in years past, he is now a only a member. A ten dollar bill will purchase annual membership for anyone. At the time I spooke with the director, he told me that a letter was being prepared to Carr warning him to stop the use of NICAP’s name in connection with his “Little Men” story. The director reminded me that Carr’s membership is also revocable and excommunication the next step if deemed necessary.

As one New England* Ufologist aptly put it, “That sounds kinda serious!”

In the final analysis, I may be found to have been too harsh on Carr. Perhaps he subscribes to “the end justifies the means” philosophy which unfortunately requires building a solid house on a foundation of silt and sand. There is a heavy moral here. UFOs are an unknown phenomena. They do exist. Files of investigative organizations are bursting with evidence of UFOs. Reliable witnesses, photographs, physical evidence, burn marks, and landing impressions bear mute testimony to their existance.

Whether they be Klass-type plasmas or Menzolian temperature inversions. Whether they are from an unknown dimension or hallucinations of Jungian minds conjuring round, flattened, illuminated objects projected by the mind’s eye into space. Or, whether they are real, tangible, solid objects controlled by intelligent minds who have developed a mode on galactic travel technologically-advanced that the embryonic Earthly mind of science cannot even begin to conceive of their workings. THE UFO PHENOMENON EXISTS! It is real and apparently does not prefer to go away.

Without qualification, no real “rally ’round the flag” kind of scientific study has ever been mustered. APRO has existed for nearly a quarter of a century; and for that same period, the founders have painstakingly devoted nsrsid16528600 their lives to resolve this enigma. Other organizations have devoted endless hours of esearch – still no answer.

Why no answer? No money! The civilian organizations have attempted to function by means of membership dues and subscriptions. Their entire income is a mere pittance compared to recent funding by the U.S. government to study the antics of frisbees or research butterflies.

At the time of this article’s writing, many UFO groups were attempting to chide and instigate a re-evaluation of the UFO situation by the federal government. The U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book (1951-1969) program was believed to be riddled with errors and the Condon Committee’s efforts (1966-1968) were suspected of negative bias, too.

Every government subsidized programme for the research of UFOs has been one with a negative mind to start. The researchers began the study already knowing the answer: “Insufficient Evidence”. Insufficient evidence to continue the study. But the evidence continues to rear its head and cry out, “I am here!”

Young organizations such as UFORIC attempt new studies with new ideas. Good ideas. The result? The necessary scientic minds and the funds with which to complete the work and the project are not there. The point is, the federal government must be the one to initiate the study. But, the committee, if one is ever to exist, must be free and unshackled from political pressures whether Democrat or Republican, Army or Navy.

Of course, there will be those who will remind us of the poverty and starvation which needs to be first resolved; and their ancestors in Spain where finances were made available to Christopher Columbus and the prudish decried the foolish waste of funds to send sailors and ships to their doom at the edge of the flat Earth.

Everyone knew no more continents existed. But the queen possessed two very valuable and perhaps rare conditions of mind, wisdom, and foresight. Would that our leaders would learn from our four hundred year old history lesson.

Mike and I had several discussions concerning funding matters and it was agreed that government funding would probably never be realized without some sort of strings being attached in one way or another. Of course, the raising of privately-donated researh funds using an aggressive internet campaign was completely unimaginable in 1974.

 Interestingly, the FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research) group which had depended on private contibutions for it’s survival, recently made an urgent appeal for contributions to avoid bankruptcy. A portion of the group’s notice appeared in Jim Moseley’s “Saucer Smear” newsletter recently (Vol.52 No.4, May 1,2005). It read, “The dearth of serious interest in UFOs on the part of the public, the press, and the scientific community deepens; as does the financial bind in which the Fund finds itself.

 The long-term, near-total absence of the subject in the major news media cannot help give the impression that either UFOs are no longer being seen or that the mystery of their nature has been solved. Neither conclusion is even close to correct. The stack of genuinely baffling, unexplained cases continues to grow.

The source of major funding have faded away, and so individuals will have to carry a larger part of the load. Barring an unexpected influx of funds, we will soon be on the brink of bankruptcy…(Of course, it might also be a fact that the number of baby-boomer “Nuts and Bolts” enthusiasts are dwindling, while the new age “Abduction Buffs” believe they already know what UFOs are, who’s flying them, and why they’re visiting our planet… So, what’s to fund?)

Robert Spencer Carr’s story, from the first press release to the mass communication interviews, smells of hoax. Mr.Carr may be absolutely sincere in his gospel of the twelve little bodies. Be that as it may, Professor Carr managed to focus national attention on himself and his space elixir, proving a very valuable point.

He has proven that many years of diligent efforts by sincere and dedicated UFO researchers continue to go unnoticed by both the news media and the scientific community in general. On the other hand, a sensational, unfounded, unproven, and undocumented, fabricated new version of an old fairy tale hoax demands attention.

The public, with the unwitting aide of the media, is bilked and exploited. The elusive dignity and serious interest which the subject requires and deserves loses ground to the carnival atmosphere of the latest side-show story. Still, the phenomenon remains and nsrsid16528600 continues to require dignified attention. Perhaps proper attention may be purchased with constant unending pressure on key, high-position, elected representatives beginning with our President.

World Wars, Korea, Viet-Nam, and Middle East Crises will appear and fade. The UFOs patiently remain, quietly going about their unknown business almost as if they are waiting for mankind to say with a united voice, “Who are you? Why are you here?” Because we are man, our very nature insatiably, but respectfully, demands an answer! “We will know why!”

In the 1800′s, William Stanley Jevons wrote, “True science will not deny the existence of things because they cannot be weighed and measured. It will, rather, lead us to believe that the wonders and subtleties of possible existence surpass all that our mortal powers allow us to clearly perceive. We must ignore no existence whatever. We may variously interpret or explain its meaning and origin; but, if a phenomena does exist, it demands some kind of explanation.

Jevons’ (A leading English economist and logician) quote was Mike’s choice of a philosophy to enbrace regarding his investigations of the UFO phenomena. Mike did so for for a number of years as both an APRO and UFORIC field investigator. He left both UFO groups about a year and a half after writing this paper.

Jim Moseley’s Saucer Smear Vol.45, No.5 June 5th, 1998 informs us that, “In 1984 your ‘Smear’ editor, together with two friends, interviewed Carr at his luxurious retirement house in Clearwater, Florida. By that time Carr had quieted down about Azyec, but was claiming that spaceships were frequently landing on the water right in front of his oceanfront home, and that the occupants came inside his home to chat with him.Few people know about this story, as he only told it privately. He asked us not to print it until after his death, and we kept our promise…nsrsid6498786

A nurse who accompanied us at our 1984 Carr interview felt that he was hallucinating because of a specific physical disability. However, the more likely answer came from Carr’s son, who contacted us by mail shorty after his father’s death, in about 1996. In essence, the son said that his father had a lifetime habit of making up stories in order to get attention and to be more interesting. This indeed seems to have been the case.

Regarding, Mike McClellan; he had also assisted me (unofficially) with several investigations of UFO incidents and one crop circle report in 1992. I believe that this article was published in 1975 under the title, “The UFO Crash of 1948 was a Hoax”. Mike McClellan has certainly left us a valuable and persuasive contribution towards a better understanding of how (in UFOlogy) a bad seed planted in 1950 can bear bitter fruit fifty-five years after the root of that plant should have died up and simply blown away.. But, then again, those New Mexican desert plants are a very hearty species, indeed.

*All quotes in this article identified with an asterisk were actually statements uttered by one or more of my multiple personalities, and not by anyone presently residing in Texas or New England. I figure, why the UFO crash experts should be the only ones to have colorful “anonymous informants” at their beck and call.


UFO Crash Retrievals – A Developing Myth
John Harney

From Magonia 58, January 1997

What lies at the core of the growing number of UFO crash retrieval stories? John Harney checks out three widely reported cases to see if there is substance behind the stories

Ufology as a separate field of study depends on the hypothesis that some UFO reports are genuine descriptions or instrumental records of objects or phenomena unknown to modern science, It is generally agreed that the vast majority of UFO reports are wrongly interpreted sightings of objects such as aircraft or meteors, for many of the stranger reports, convincing psychological explanations are available. 

Many ufologists have always been convinced that a small percentage of UFO reports are sightings of craft from other planets. It is not acceptable to them to say that because most reports can be attributed to more mundane causes, then the remainder can also be, given sufficient information. 

Such ufologists hove a desperate craving for unequivocal physical evidence which would prove their case. Some of these people are keen on science and technology. They have little time for myths, unless they can be given rational, literal interpretations. They also have little taste for UFO abduction stories. They see the purpose of ufology as the general acknowledgement of the reality of alien spacecraft surveying our planet. They are not interested in giving psychotherapy to people who apparently believe that they are constantly being abducted from their bedrooms through solid walls into enormous glowing craft which are unaccountably invisible to their neighbours. Such things are the stuff of dreams and delusions; their space people may have advanced technology but they are not to be granted any magical powers such as those possessed by the characters in fantasy novels. 

Stories of crashed saucers which leave wreckage and occupants, dead or alive, have been around for a long time, in various forms. The American 1897 airship wave is a familiar example. The problem is that all these stories lack credibility, and investigations have revealed that, while some witnesses were undoubtedly sincere but mistaken, most of the stories were simply crude hoaxes.

Then came Roswell. As the story developed it was quickly seen as a boon to the nuts-and-bolts ufologists, tired of vague lights in the sky and accounts of life on other worlds received by telepathy or other occult means. A physical object had crashed, its substance was not of this world, and it did not dissolve into nothingness when picked up. Therefore it must still exist, hidden away on some US Air Force base. The final proof. 

This makes it seem simple. Just exert enough political pressure and the sensational truth will eventually be revealed. However, it is not so simple. 

Although the Roswell case is undoubtedly based on a real incident involving the recovery of the wreckage of something from a ranch near Corona, New Mexico in July 1947, it received only brief, if widespread, publicity at the time. After the bizarre press release about a flying disc being recovered caused a worldwide sensation, the cover story designed to damp things down – that it was, after all, only a weather balloon with a radar target attached – was generally accepted (at least by those whose opinions on such things mattered) and the story died. It was mentioned by Frank Edwards in his book flying Saucers – Serious Business (1), but it was apparently not publicly discussed again until the late 1970s, when Jesse A. Marcel, who had been the intelligence officer at the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell in 1947, decided to publicise his version of the affair. 

This resulted in a reawakening of interest and investigations by ufologists gradually became more intensive and better organised. Eventually a very detailed story emerged and was published in various books, articles, reports and television documentaries. 

This publicity stimulated many ufologists to probe old cases which seemed somewhat similar, but had not been taken very seriously. This process unearthed details which had not appeared in the original reports, such as the alleged recovery of the bodies of aliens, as well as wreckage. Many other, often trivial, details emerged and I hope to demonstrate that crash retrieval stories, as they are now discussed, tend to fall into a pattern, which takes the Roswell accounts as a model.From the Roswell story we can extract a number of motifs, many of which are not essential to the story, but can be seen to be repeated in accounts of other incidents. It is interesting to note that other crash retrieval stories are compared with Roswell; so far as many ufologists are concerned this is the standard by which they are assessed. 

Crash retrieval stories, as I have said, are remarkable for the absence of accounts of paranormal or visionary experiences which are involved in so many UFO reports, But do they form coherent or consistent narratives with their own internal logic? Do they, when closely scrutinised, make any kind of sense? I don’t think so. 

Let us look at two other cases as well as Roswell and we shall see that it would be quite crazy to interpret them as evidence of alien visitors crashing their saucers but perfectly reasonable to see them as part of a developing myth within the framework of UFO reports, beliefs and criticism by sceptics. 

Although the Roswell object was almost certainly not a weather balloon, and there are serious doubts about the recent suggestion that it may have been a much larger balloon carrying equipment designed to monitor, distant atomic explosions (Project Mogul), it could have been some other secret military device. There wasn’t much more to the story until rumours of aliens, dead or alive, being recovered from another crash site began to emerge. According to some reports it was only a few miles away, but the most detailed accounts gave it as being on the Plains of San Augustin, more than 150 miles away. However, some pretty compelling evidence has been presented that this story is untrue. (2)Various accounts of the recovery of the aliens allege that those still alive offered no resistance to capture, being unarmed and quite helpless, but they were cruelly treated by the military. This is a theme which recurs in other crash retrieval stories. 

According to the Roswell reports, a considerable amount of time elapsed before the aliens were captured. This raises an obvious problem of internal logic if we choose to believe such stories. We are apparently supposed to believe that the organisers of such missions to Earth send craft into our atmosphere which use some advanced means of propulsion, but are somewhat less mechanically reliable than our airliners. The aliens, being somewhat backward in the technology of automation, remote control and remote sensing, have to pilot the craft themselves. If they crash, there are no back-up craft to rescue them; they simply have to wait for the inevitable arrival of the military and shipment to some secret base where their bodies are dissected or, if still alive, they are incarcerated indefinitely.

It can be argued that there is much confusion and uncertainty about Roswell because the events happened so long ago. More recent reports should provide a clearer picture. But do they? Take the incident in North Wales in January 1974, for example. At 8.34 in the evening of 23 January a violent explosion was heard in the area of Bala and Llandrillo, followed by an earth tremor which was was strong enough to be recorded at Edinburgh University. Witnesses reported seeing lights around a nearby mountain. It was at first thought that an aircraft had crashed on the mountain, but the Royal Air Force (RAF), which sent a team to search the mountain, later said that there had been no crash and they had been looking for debris from a meteor fall. (3) However, it was said that the area around the mountain was sealed off for several days and that even the police were not allowed there. The media failed to follow up the story and when Jenny Randles attempted to investigate it she found the local people unwilling to discuss it. (4) 

At this point the story, whilst intriguing and rather puzzling (why would the RAF want to go looking for meteorites?) was hardly a crash retrieval case. Like Roswell, the story died when the media accepted official explanations. 

Almost 20 years later, ufologist Margaret Fry moved to North Wales and began to unearth a number of witnesses, one of them being a nurse who said that she hod driven to the mountain with her two daughters on that night because she thought that an aircraft had crashed. She claimed to have seen a large, circular object, glowing orange, on the ground, but no evidence of bodies or wreckage. She also claimed that she was stopped by police and military personnel, who ordered her to leave the area. (5) 

Perhaps it should be mentioned that Margaret Fry has been interested in UFOs for many years and has made ‘countless sightings’. Perhaps it should also be mentioned, as it has been by Jenny Randles, that the brilliant meteor seen crossing North Wales on the night in question was timed at 9.58, more than an hour after the explosion. (7) 

Confused? So am I. But there’s more. Tony Dodd (one of Britain’s most active UFO investigators) hasrecently published on article covering much the same ground as covered by Jenny Randles. (8) But he goes on to reveal that a witness, described as a retired Army officer, has come forward to claim that alien bodies were retrieved from the scene. This man claimed that he was ordered to drive to Llandderfel (near the area in question), with four other soldiers, where they loaded ‘two large oblong boxes’ into their vehicle and were ordered to take them directly to the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down, Wiltshire. When they got there, the boxes were opened in their presence to reveal the bodies of alien beings. Other soldiers had also transported aliens to Porton Down, but these were alive. 

The ex-soldier claimed to have arrived in North Wales on 20 January 1974 and the bodies were delivered to Porton Down some time the next day. But, wait a minute. Dodd gives us the time of the explosion – 8.39 p.m. – as well as the year and the month, but for some reason he omits the date. I wonder why? Perhaps it is because of the difficulty of resolving the paradox of the aliens arriving at Porton Down on 21 January, two days before their saucer crashed on 23 January. 

Anyway, we have no reason to believe this ridiculous tale. For instance, if soldiers were delivering some secret cargo and it was not considered necessary or desirable to tell them what it was while they were transporting it, is it even conceivable that it would be revealed to them when they had safely delivered it and their task was completed? Of course not. It is a pack of lies, but it is an important part of the crash retrieval myth: crashed saucers usually have aliens in them.Another point. As one of the principal witnesses claimed to have seen an apparently undamaged saucer on the ground and others have claimed to have seen one take off, there must have been at least two involved. There must also be wreckage and I eagerly await the inevitable yarns about the people who picked up chunks of it only to have it confiscated by military authorities just as they were about to have it analysed. It is inevitable – well, almost inevitable – because it is one of the more important motifs of the developing myth. 


The Varginha 'alien' as depicted on the cover of the Brazilian magazine 'UFO. The caption reads 'Alien captured alive in Minas Gerais'

It is all very unsatisfactory. If only we had a crash retrieval which took place recently in a place where there were lots of people around to see what occurred. Then the Truth would surely be revealed. How about a suburb of a large town? Well, it’s actually happened, that is if you can believe the reports. In Brazil, arguably the most saucer-infested country on earth. 


On 20 January 1996, at about 3.30 p.m. three girls walking home through Jardim Andere, a suburb of Varginha (9) saw a strange creature, humanoid in appearance, with brown skin. It was about 1.6 metres tall, had three humps on its head and large bright red eyes. It was naked and apparently had no genitals, nipples or navel. The girls were terrified and ran to the home of two of them, where they told their mother. The story spread rapidly and when ufologists Vitorio Pacaccini and Ubirajara Franca Rodrigues began to investigate they found that witnesses spoke of there being at least two aliens, both of which were captured by the local fire service, the army, or both together. These beings were allegedly taken to a local hospital, but did not survive and their bodies were later moved elsewhere. 

During the previous night there had been a sighting of a submarine-shaped UFO, about the size of a small bus, flying at about 5 metres above the ground and emitting smoke or vapour, at a farm about 10 km from Jardim Andere. The witnesses had been alerted by noises from the farm animals. 

The first detailed account of the case which I saw was an article by Graham Birdsall, based on information he had received when he went to a UFO conference in Curitiba, Brazil in June and met Pacaccini and Rodrigues. (10) I have also read many reports and comments which have been published on the Internet. (11) With so many witnesses and such intensive investigation by experienced ufologists one would have expected a coherent story to have emerged by now, nearly a year after the events. 

The reports are a confusing mixture of eyewitness testimony, rumour and speculation. The army, police, fire service and hospital authorities allegedly involved in the capture and removal of the aliens deny everything. 

It is said that one of the bodies was taken to the University of Campinas, where an autopsy was carried out by Dr Fortunate Badan Palhares (who is apparently famous for having carried out the autopsy on the Nazi, Mengele). Dr Palhares denies this, of course. According to another report eight aliens were captured. One was dead, two were injured and one later died, and five were uninjured. Another report alleges that the six living aliens were flown from Campinas Airport in a Brazilian air force plane to Sao Paulo, There they were ‘marched aboard’ (!) a US Air Force transport plane and flown to Albrook Air Force Base in Panama. 

The Brazilian ufologists insist that the confusion is caused by a great international cover-up operation but that in the case of Varginha they arrived on the scene too quickly for it to be fully effective as it usually is. Authorities involved are ordered to deny that anything unusual hashappened, and witnesses are silenced by threats or bribes. 

For those who want to believe in crash retrievals there are a number of serious logical problems. The most important one is this; if there are only a handful of cases, this would seem highly unlikely to most people, but not impossible. However, if it is thought that UFO crashes are by no means rare, then it would be impossible to conceal the truth for very long. It is also hard to imagine aliens flying around in such unreliable craft. Or do they crash them deliberately? 

One way of getting around this problem is to say or imply that there are very few UFO crashes, This is the approach taken by Kevin D. Randle, who devotes a book to listing UFO crash reports, labelling all but a few of them as hoaxes. (12) The alternative is to say that governments are in collusion with the aliens, and that the aliens are operating in such a way as to enable them to continue concealing the truth from the public. However, this does not deal with the problem of the crashes. 

All this does not mean that UFO crash retrieval reports are based on nothing at all. Normally there is some unusual event which somehow sets in motion a process of rumour and speculation. The crashed UFO myth has by now received so much publicity that it is readily available to provide a framework for the elaboration of such reports. Pathological liars and publicity seekers are always available to provide further amazing information. The myth can be broken down into motifs, which can then be modified and reassembled to provide the details of different crash retrieval stories. I here present a tentative list of the usual motifs, in the hope that others will develop it more fully, so that we end up with a model for a typical crash retrieval and thus know what to look for in future reports. 

The crash retrieval report usually seems to develop from some central event, to which the above motifs are added as investigation and discussion get under way. In the Roswell Case this was the finding of wreckage on his ranch by Mac Brazel. In the North Wales case it was the sound of a violent explosion, followed by an earth tremor. In the Varginha case, it was the sighting of something which they took to be ‘the devil’ which frightened three girls walking home through a suburban street. It is quite likely that there is no connection between these three cases, but the myth took over and the stories were built up from the motifs by a pick-and-mix process. 

All of this is not to decry the hard work put into investigations by many ufologists. It is not their investigations that are at fault but their absurd theory of clapped-out saucers full of helpless aliens.



  • The precursor; e.g. something seen in the sky, an explosion heard, or mysterious object tracked by radar
  • Crashed UFO; almost always in a remote placeAliens, dead or alive, in or near crashed UFO
  • Arrival of military
  • Civilians expelled from crash area
  • Aliens cruelly treated by military
  • Aliens helpless and unarmed, and apparently not very intelligent
  • Military personnel sworn to secrecy
  • Civilian witnesses threatened or bribed to keep silent
  • Authorities give unconvincing cover story to media
  • Authorities remove all wreckage from crash site, usually on a flat truck covered with a tarpaulin
  • Witnesses pick up bits of wreckage but authorities always recover all of it from them
  • US Air Force nearly always get involved, sometimes allegedly by putting pressure on government of country where crash occurs
  • Long after event, persons contact ufologists to claim they were involved in recovery operation
  • Such persons claim to have seen alien bodies or worked on UFO wreckage.
  • Official photographs, films or videos of aliens which are never made available or are obvious fakes 





  1. Edwards, Frank. Flying Saucers – Serious Business, New York, Bantam Books, 1966.
  2. A good summary of this story and the reasons for disbelieving it are given in: Randles, Kevin D. History of UFO Crashes, New York, Avon Books, 1995, p.28-58
  3. Randles, Jenny. UFO Retrievals, London, Blandford, 1995, p. 112-121
  4. A high proportion of the people in that area speak Welsh. I believe that a Welsh-speaking investigator would have been able to obtain more information from them.
  5. Randles, op. cit.
  6. Randles, Jenny. ‘Britain’s Roswell?’, Sightings, 1,3, (1966), pp.10-15
  7. If any readers have any information as to the truth or accuracy of these timings, would they kindly let us know.
  8. Dodd, tony, ‘UFO Crash in North Wales?’, UFO Magazine, Sept/Oct 1996, pp.34-37. (This is the British UFO Magazine, not to be confused with at least two others with the same title).
  9. Varginha is located at 210, 33″S, 450 25″W.
  10. Birdsall, Graham W. ‘Incident at Varginha’, UFO Magazine, op.cit. 8-13, 57-59, 66.
  11. I am grateful to Mark pilkington for obtaining these reports.
  12. Randle, Kevin D., op.cit.






In the most recent number of Northern UFO News (157, Autumn 1996), Jenny Randles returns to the subject of the 1974 Llandrillo incident. She considers the possibility that the original incident may have been caused by the crash of an RAF plane carrying a nuclear weapon, and the UFO connection was introduced as deliberate ‘disinformation’. ‘Disinformation’ is a popular recourse by ufologists when they find that their cherished cases are fasting apart in their hands. The idea that military authorities have deliberately used and promoted UFO rumours to discourage journalists has been put forward to explain aspects of the Roswell and Rendlesham cases which do not fit conveniently in the crashed spaceship theory. In both cases a supposed nuclear accident has been suggested as the root of the story.

When asked by US and German TV companies for her views on the `recovered bodies’ at Llandrillo, Randles replied “I told all of the TV companies… that I was not about to help the government cover up the truth about this incident by acting as a disinformation agent on their behalf.” — John Rimmer.



Roswell: The Search for the ‘Real’ UFO
John Harney

Magonia 41, November 1991

Most European ufologists have long since given up naive interpretations of UFO reports in favour of psychological explanations. The Americans, however, are not satisfied with this; they want the space aliens and they are determined to persuade us of their reality.

For many years they have argued that many abduction cases are real experiences — not real in the sense that the abductees really believe the events happened to them as reported, but interactions with real extraterrestrials (ETs). Yet another book on this theme by Raymond Fowler, about Betty Andreasson, has recently been published. (1) The theme and general treatment will be too familiar to most of our readers to be worth summarising here. But another recent book, by Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt, marks a new approach to the ETs. (2)

This book is about the Roswell incident of July 1947. Much nonsense has already been written about it, but Randle and Schmitt have made valiant attempts to cut out the lies and fantasies, and to try to arrive at the truth by tracing and interviewing as many witnesses as possible, as well as searching contemporary newspaper reports and other written records. Their work is very far away indeed from armchair ufology, as a great deal of time, money and effort has been invested in it.

The official explanation appears to be that some wreckage picked up on a ranch near Corona New Mexico, was, after some initial confusion, identified as a weather balloon with a radar reflector attached to it. The authors argue convincingly that this explanation is absurd, and was advanced to conceal the true nature of the wreckage. So far, so sensible. But the authors go on to insist that the wreckage was that of a crashed saucer from some other planet, which contained pilots, of the type generally known as the Greys.

Now there is nothing inherently absurd in the idea that a piloted device from another planet might crash while surveying the Earth. The reasons why such stories are not generally taken seriously are: the lack of physical evidence; and the rather incoherent nature of the reports of such alleged incidents. The reports investigated by Randle and Schmitt concern two apparent crashes. The first lot of wreckage to be discovered was scattered in small pieces over a large area; the second crash site was allegedly found a few days later, a few miles south-east of the first one. This consisted of a somewhat battered saucer with the decomposing bodies of three (four?) ETs lying beside it.

The weather balloon explanation was released before the discovery of the second site, apparently in an attempt to damp down the excitement caused by the initial official news release announcing that a ‘flying disc’ had been recovered. To avoid getting hopelessly confused, it is convenient to consider the two crash sites separately. The wreckage was said to have been taken to Roswell, then flown to Fort Worth. There a reporter was invited to take pictures of wreckage scattered about the office of Brigadier General Roger Ramey.

Reporters were told that this wreckage was the remains of a weather balloon rig. It certainly looks like a device known as a corner reflector – the pieces are the right sizes and shapes – although why it has apparently been trampled on and torn to shreds is not made clear, even though it is a rather flimsy object. Now, unlike most photographs concerning UFOs these appear to be genuine. If the stuff which appears in the photos is the same stuff that was brought from Corona to Roswell and then flown to Fort Worth, then one wonders what all the fuss was about. Major Marcel stated, many years later, that some of the original stuff was laid out in Ramey’s office, but while he and the general were out of the room for a short time, someone switched it for the ruined radar target. Unfortunately, Marcel is also said to have stated that the stuff he was photographed holding in Ramey’s office was the real stuff. (3)

Also, according to an interview published in Mufon UFO Journal (4), Colonel DuBose (Ramey’s chief of staff) said that the wreckage was not switched, and the genuine stuff appears in the photographs. The weather balloon cover story was devised later. If this is true it means that the saucers are cleverly designed to assume the appearance of battered weather balloon rigs if they should crash. There are numerous other disagreements, but all those who claimed to have been involved in the recovery of the wreckage stated that there was a great deal of it, far too much to have been something attached to a balloon.

There is even more confusion over the authors’ attempts to unravel the reports of the bodies of ETs recovered from a second crash site, a few miles from the first, according to their findings, but much farther away according to other accounts. The controversy over where the ETs were found, and in what condition is continuing, with the recent publication of details about a new witness to the alleged incident.(5) According to the Randle and Schmitt version there were three decaying bodies; and according to the other versions there were four ETs, two dead, one badly injured, and one uninjured. Descriptions, apart from minor details, fit in with other accounts of the ‘Greys’, as described in various American abductee stories.

So what really happened at Corona, New Mexico, in July 1947? Randle and Schmitt argue that an alien spacecraft with ETs aboard crashed, and that the bodies and widely scattered debris – all of it – were recovered by the US Army, taken to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and that this evidence has been kept under conditions of close secrecy from that day to this. The authors give evidence of incidents being kept secret for many years, but these concern matters over which the government has some control, such as the testing of military aircraft or weapons. In the case of visitors from outer space, they might hush up such an incident only to have the aliens landing in Washington next day asking for the bodies to be handed back.

The authors’ efforts should not be belittled, though. They have obviously tried very hard to get at the truth of the matter, and they intend to continue their work. If they could put the ET to one side and try to look for more reasonable explanations of this incident, they might eventually find the true, but perhaps not very exciting, solution to the mystery.



  1. FOWLER, Raymond E. The Watcher The secret design behind UFO abductions. New York, Bantam Books, 1991
  2. RANDLE, Kevin D. and SCHMITT, Donald R. UFO Crash at Roswell. New York, Avon Books, 1991
  3. SHANDERA, Jaime H. and MOORE, William L,’3 Hours that shook the Press’, MUFON UFO Journal, No. 269, September 1990.
  4. SHANDERA, Jaime H. ‘New Revelations about Roswell Wreckage: A General Speaks Up’, MUFON UFO Journal, No. 273, January 1991
  5. O’BRIEN, Mike ‘New Witness to San Agustin Crash’, MUFON UFO Journal, No. 275, March 1991


These books may be ordered from Amazon by clicking on the cover image

UFO Crashes: An Emergent Pattern. Gareth Medway

From Magonia Supplement, June 2001

I have come to doubt whether it is possible to draw any conclusions from individual UFO reports. It may be, however, that a group of reports considered collectively can reveal something significant. As briefly as possible, I shall try to show this with the example of UFO crash stories.

It was on 14 June 1947 that William Brazel, a farmer near Roswell, New Mexico, found a lot of silvery wreckage on his land.(1) At first he did nothing, but on 8 July, following news reports of flying saucers in the area, it occurred to him that this might be one of them, and he reported it to the sheriff, who passed it on to the Air Force, who told the press that the mystery of the flying discs would now be solved. According to the official report, however, when they got there it proved to be merely a balloon. This they declared at a press conference, and the incident was totally forgotten for over thirty years. Their initial announcement suggests that, if they had captured an alien spacecraft, they would have said so.

Nonetheless, persistent rumour, at least in California, had it that a saucer had indeed crashed and that the Air Force were busily learning the secrets of its technology: a 1949 memo by Meade Layne of the Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (an organisation mainly devoted to recording channelled messages from “The Etherians”, as they called the ufonauts) reported that two scientists, one of them “Dr Weisberg, a physics professor from a California university” had seen a crashed disc with six dead occupants.

The source of Layne’s information is unclear, but soon people started to talk. In February 1950 Barney Barnett of Socorro, New Mexico, told some visiting friends that when working near Magdalena, New Mexico (nowhere near Roswell) he had chanced across a crashed metallic disc, 25 to 30 feet across, with dead bodies of small humanoids around it. Some archaeologists also saw it. Then the military turned up and ordered them all away.(2) This sequence of events was the template for many subsequent stories.

silas nwtonOn 8 March 1950 a lecture was given to students at the University of Denver, Colorado, by a mysterious man who claimed that a saucer had crashed at Aztec, New Mexico (hundreds of miles from both Roswell and Socorro), in the spring of 1948. The man was later identified as Silas Newton (left), and his testimony was used as the basis for one of the first UFO books, Behind the Flying Saucers, by Frank Scully. Silas Newton was a partner with one “Dr Gee”, who claimed that later two other saucers had crashed in Arizona, and that he had been privileged to examine all three. The first two both had a (dead) crew of sixteen, the third only two. He believed they came from Venus. Dr Gee claimed to be a magnetic scientist, though what he said on the subject (“there are 1,257 magnetic lines of force to the square centimetre”(3)) was utter drivel.

denverpostScully also described how Gee and Newton had developed a magnetic device which could detect underground oil deposits. Two years later, this led to their arrest on a charge of fraud. They had been trying to sell their device for $800,000, but according to police it was “a worthless piece of war surplus equipment” that they had bought for $4.50.(4)

In the spring of 1952 one Bill Devlin was told by a soldier he met on a train from Philadelphia to Washington that he had been one of three drivers who took the remains of a saucer, along with “sixteen or so” small bodies, from Aztec, New Mexico, to Fort Riley, Kansas.(5) This is the other main type of crash story, the military man who was there after the civilians were cleared away, and who is sworn to secrecy by frightful penalties, though willing to violate it to casual acquaintances. His story of a saucer at Aztec with sixteen small bodies is consistent with that in Scully’s book, though since this had become a bestseller, it is hardly independent confirmation.

In February 1954 President Eisenhower went on a golfing holiday in Palm Springs, California. On 20 February he went off leaving his entourage behind, and the press corps started speculating wildly as to where he might have gone. In the evening a press secretary explained that he had had to make an emergency trip to a dentist. This did not satisfy the rumour mongers, who quickly put it about that that the President had secretly gone to Edwards Air Force Base to view a crashed flying saucer. Sure enough, three months later Meade Layne received a letter from a man named Gerald Light, who claimed to have visited the base himself and seen no fewer than five different alien craft that the Air Force was studying.(6)

silphoBadly piloted UFOs kept on crashing, so it was said, in among other places Arizona, California, Montana, Pennsylvania, British Heligoland, Spitzbergen, Mexico, Sweden and Brazil. Invariably the local military picked up the pieces, except in the case of a four-foot saucer (left) that fell on Silpho Moor near Scarborough, Yorkshire, which was bought from the finder by a civilian and put on display in a local fish and chip shop.(7) Though such stories went out of fashion in the sixties, in the seventies Leonard Stringfield renamed them “retrievals of the third kind”, and, having thus put the subject on a scientific basis, began a collection of anecdotes: he learned for instance of a room in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, “in which several small humanoids were preserved in a glass case”; two disc-shaped craft at Wright-Patterson, with four small bodies preserved in chemicals; and the 1953 crash of an oval object near Kingman, Arizona, in which was a dead four-foot tall alien.(8) By the end of the decade he had accumulated nineteen retrieval stories, all different.

According to one tale, in the late 1940s, the photographer Nicholas von Poppen (d. 1975) had been flown to ‘Los Alamos’ airfield, where he was paid to photograph a flying saucer, 30 feet in diameter, which still had four dead aliens, dressed in shiny black one-piece outfits, in their seats in front of a control board. The only problem is that there was no air base at Los Alamos; obviously, he was told that was where he was as part of the cover-up.(9)

The problem, for the rigidly scientific ufologist, was that the witnesses did not fully confirm each other’s stories. In general terms they agreed that alien spacecraft had crashed and come into the possession of the military; but the crash sites were all different, the bodies (varying in number from one up to sixteen) and the wreckage were supposed to be stored in a variety of Air Force bases and other places, and where dates were given they did not match up. Yet soon this was to change.

Jesse Marcel, one of the officers who had picked up the wreckage from Brazel’s farm, used to talk about the incident, stating that he believed that the object had indeed been an extraterrestrial spacecraft. When Stanton T. Friedman was interviewed on TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on 21 February 1978, to promote his lecture tour “Flying Saucers Are Real”, a friend of Marcel’s who worked there mentioned him. Friedman often heard “Stories of acquaintances who claimed to know someone who worked with a guy who said he knows where the bodies of a ‘flying saucer’ crew are stored”, but was always unable to follow them up.(10) This was different, a real man who had handled the wreckage.

Later that year Friedman also heard about Barney Barnett. He passed both stories on to William Moore, who then needed a subject to form a sequel to the bestseller he had co-written with Charles Berlitz, The Philadelphia Experiment. A crashed UFO was suitably sensational. Asked in an interview by Gray Barker if he was investigating saucer crashes, Moore was reticent, but said: “If I were working on this, I would take one particular rumor, one of the more persistent ones, and devote all my investigative efforts to that one case.”(11)

Though the original newspaper reports, and an interview with Marcel, were not nearly enough to fill a book, they were padded out with crashed saucer rumours generally, glossing over the discrepancies with regard to dates and places. They were able to bring in Barney Barnett’s claims by suggesting that the saucer had exploded over Roswell, leaving the wreckage that was found on Brazel’s farm, but that most of it travelled another 125 miles to crash near Socorro. (Or perhaps, in a variant of the urban legend, there were at that time only two UFOs in the whole of the New Mexico airspace, and they collided with each other.) Eisenhower’s 1954 disappearance could have been to view the Roswell saucer, they suggested, failing to explain why it was seven years before the President took an interest.

The Roswell Incident was indeed a bestseller, so much so that the subject has dominated ufology ever since. Suddenly, lots more witnesses (and people who had heard the confessions of witnesses since deceased) came forward with their Roswell, 1947, stories, which none of them had ever felt the need to tell before, enabling the publication of a whole series of subsequent books. Frankie Rowe said her fireman father told her he had been on the way back from a fire when he came across the crash, and saw “two little corpses and one person running around”. Iris Foster, of Taco, New Mexico, said one “Cactus Jack” had told her of seeing a round object and four little bodies. More than one archaeologist, who had been out looking for evidence of early American settlements, testified: “I was there and saw everything.” Jim Ragsdale, who was there with his girlfriend, saw the craft and several small beings, but, “While observing the scene, we watched as a military convoy arrived and secured the scene. As a result of the convoy’s appearance we quickly fled the area.” So did the others.(12)

If all these people are telling the truth, then we have to assume that a flying saucer crashed in a semi-desert region, and for four weeks no one chanced to go near it but the farmer on whose land it was. Then, suddenly, a whole crowd of people, who were in the vicinity for a variety of reasons, archaelogists, courting couples and so on, all happened to converge on the wreckage by pure accident. Just then the army arrived, preventing them from getting any proof. Such synchronicity would be a remarkable anomalous phenomenon in itself.

In 1979 Sergeant (as he had been in 1947) Melvin E. Brown read the Daily Mirror’s review of The Roswell Incident, and told his family – he had married an Englishwoman and lived in the UK – “I was there. Everything in the article is true.”(13) This would be rather more compelling if he had told his family the story before it had appeared in a national newspaper. It will have been observed that, whilst no pattern emerges if one takes the alleged dates of these crashes, there is a definite pattern if one takes the dates on which the various stories are first known to have been told.

The different accounts still do not agree: most say that the craft was a disc, but Frank Kaufmann (who claimed to have detected the crash on radar from White Sands) claimed it was wedge shaped, and that there were four corpses and one living being – others say three corpses, two corpses and one alive, three corpses and one living, and so on and so forth.

Space does not permit me to deal with the claims of Philip Corso and others to have been employed to ‘back engineer’ the wreckage, but I have often wondered at a technology that enables the Greys to navigate safely across nine trillion miles of void from Zeta Reticuli, only to smash into the ground on arrival. Perhaps at this very moment American saucers, built in Area 51, are crashlanding near military bases on the aliens’ home planet.



1. Roswell Daily Record, 9 July (evening) 1947, quoted by Klass, Philip J., The Real Roswell Crashed Saucer Coverup, Prometheus Books, 1997, 20-21. The date of the initial discovery is often given, wrongly, as 5 July.
2. Berlitz, Charles, and William Moore, The Roswell Incident, Granada, 1980, 97-98, 57-63
3. Scully, Frank, Behind the Flying Saucers, Victor Gollancz, 1950, 163
4. Jacobs, David Michael, The UFO Controversy in America, Signet, 1976, 51
5. Berliz and Moore, op. cit., 108-109
6. Good, Timothy, Alien Liaison, Century, 1991, 56-58
7. Randles, Jenny, UFO Retrievals, Blandford, 1995, chapter 4
8. Stringfield, Leonard H., Situation Red: The UFO Siege, Sphere, 1978, 190-195
9. Berlitz and Moore, op. cit., 99-101
10. Berliner, Don, and Stanton T. Friedman, Crash at Corona, Marlowe, New York, 1997, 9
11. Gray Barker’s Newsletter, issue 9, December 1979
12. See for instance Hesemann, Michael, and Philip Mantle, Beyond Roswell, Michael O’Mara Books, 1997, 42-50
13. Ibid., 50-51