Case File: Roswell UFO Crash
Location: Roswell, New Mexico
Date: July 2, 1947
Description: Founded in 1891, Roswell is a city in the county seat of Chaves County in the southeast New Mexico, United States. The center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution and petroleum production, it is also the home of the New Mexico Military Institute. The Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located a few miles northeast of the city on the Pecos River, and the Bottomless Lakes State Park is located twelve miles east of Roswell on U.S. 380. In recent years, Roswell has become a mecca for UFO enthusiasts.
History: On the night of June 13, 1947, a violent electric storm swept over the plains of Roswell, New Mexico. As rancher Mac Brazel waited out the storm in his house, he heard an explosion that sounded much different than the usual thunderclap. According to his son, the next morning, Mac went to the nearby fields to see where the rain had hit. While there, he found the debris field of an unknown object, broken beyond identification. The debris field was 3/4 mile long and 200 feet in width. Scattered along the field were pieces of plastic-like metal, about three feet long and as thin as newspaper, and strong flexible beams. Some of the metallic pieces had strange qualities and unusual tensile properties.
Later that day, Mac went to his neighbors, Floyd and Loretta Proctor, who lived about ten miles away. He told them about the debris field and brought one of the pieces with him. Although they tried to do several things to it (such as cutting and burning it), the object was unchanged. The Proctors urged Mac to go to the authorities. He went to the sheriff the next Monday; the sheriff, in turn, informed the local military base.
That afternoon, Mac led two army intelligence officers to the crash site. One of the officers was Major Jesse Marcel Sr., an experienced combat pilot, whose peacetime job was investigate air accidents. Despite his experience, Marcel was unable to identify what kind of craft it was. Marcel died in 1982, but before his death, he was interviewed for a UFO documentary. He said that there was just fragments strewn across an area that was 3/4 mile long and several hundred yards wide. He tried to burn it, bend it, and even hit it with a sledgehammer, but none of that worked. One thing that he was certain of was that it was not a weather balloon, airplane, or any kind of craft he knew.
Late on the night of July 7, Marcel drove back to Roswell, his car loaded down with the unusual remains found at the ranch. Before going to the base, he stopped by his home to show his family what he had found. His son Jesse Marcel Jr. saw and handled the debris that night. He found that on one beam there were strange markings that appeared to be hieroglyphics. However, Marcel Jr. did not believe that they were Egyptian hieroglyphics. He described the symbols as a type of geometric configuration in various designs. It had a violet-type color and was actually an embossed part of the metal itself. The Marcels were convinced that it was not of Earthly origin.
After showing the debris to his family, Marcel Sr. brought it to the Roswell base. The following morning, it is believed that the debris was flown to Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio. Along the way, it apparently stopped at Carswell Air Base in Fort Worth, Texas. That same morning, Colonel William Blanchard, the commanding officer, went public about the story by Mac Brazel and the UFO that he had located. Second Lieutenant Walter Haut was a public information officer for the 509th Airborne Divison. Colonel Blanchard ordered him to issue a press release, telling the country how the Army had found a flying saucer.
The press release read, in part: The many rumors regarding the flying disk became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Squadron was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disk through the cooperation of a local rancher. Under Blanchard's instruction, Haut took the releases into town to show that they were cooperating with the townspeople. *The story was quickly picked up by media across the country.
That same day, Barney Barnett, an engineer for the Soil Conservation Service, made an astonishing discovery while driving near Socorro. He found an oval-shaped spaceship that had crashed and broken open. There were four deceased beings located on the ground near the craft. Their heads looked larger than normal and they had strange spacesuits on. At that same time, a group of archaeology students arrived at the site after seeing it near their dig.
Shortly afterwards, the military arrived after learning of the second crash site. However, it was too late for them to secure the area. They told Barney and the students to leave the scene and not tell the story to anybody. Barney kept quiet about the story until years later, when he told it to his friend Vern Maltais. To this day, none of the archaeology students have ever been found. Although the story was only told second-hand by Vern because Barney had died in 1969, the circumstantial evidence found makes many believe that the story is credible.
On July 8, 1947, the story of the discovery of a UFO in Roswell hit newspaper stands worldwide. According to some investigators, that same day, a cargo plane carrying the debris arrived at an airbase in Fort Worth, Texas. Soon afterwards, the army received information that another crash site and bodies had been found. Fort Worth Brigadier General Roger Rainey's office issued a new press release soon after, claiming that the wreckage was not a UFO, but instead a US Army weather balloon. Marcel Jr. claimed that his father was certain that the wreckage was not from a weather balloon; however, he had to keep that information to himself at the time due to security reasons.
Meanwhile, some reports said that Mac Brazel was held at the Roswell base until the new cover story was put out. In downtown Roswell, Floyd Proctor saw Mac; however, Mac appeared to be unwilling or unable to acknowledge him. At the time, he was surrounded by several men in military clothing. By the time he returned to his ranch, all traces of the debris had been taken from there to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Investigators believe that some of the bodies and debris were taken to other places after arriving in Ohio, but that others are still there. However, there was only circumstantial evidence to say that something other than a weather balloon crashed into the field in Roswell until thirty years later.
UFO researchers found a document that allegedly proves that the Roswell incident actually happened. In 1984, a top secret document, known as the "MJ12 memo", was anonymously sent to a researcher. The MJ12 was a group of twelve people that was supposedly hired by the government to get rid of the debris and help cover up the incident. In part, it read: On 07 July, 1947, a secret operation was begun to assure the recovery of the wreckage...Aerial reconnaissance discovered that four small, human like beings had apparently ejected from the craft...About two miles east of the wreckage site. All four were dead...Civilian and military witnesses in the area were debriefed, and news reporters were given the effective cover story that the object had been a misguided weather balloon.
The government continues to refuses to comment on the MJ12 memo. If we are to believe the memo and the other sightings, we are to believe the possibility that the government located life from another world, and then covered it up. Apart from Barney Barnett, only one man claims to have seen the alien bodies, Oliver "Pappy" Henderson. His wife Sappho claims that he never told anything that he wasn't supposed to, and he did not tell anything about what he had seen until thirty four years later, in 1981.
Oliver was the pilot who flew the first pieces of wreckage out of Roswell, and he told Sappho that despite the military denials, the incident actually happened. He told her that the bodies were smaller than humans, but the heads and eyes were much larger, and the clothing was of strange material that he had never seen before. It has been more than sixty years since the object apparently crashed in Roswell, but to this day, nobody is certain what the object truly was or where it came from.
Background: Roswell is a city in New Mexico that had a population of about 14,000 in 1947. The city has become very famous due to the UFO incident. Several local merchants have used the story of the crash to attract Ufologists and science fiction enthusiasts.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the September 20, 1989 episode; the update aired as a part of the September 18, 1994 episode.
Results: Unresolved. Several witnesses have since come forward claiming that what happened at Roswell was true, and one of those people was Glenn Dennis. In 1947, Glenn was twenty-two, just out of college, and working as a mortician's assistant in Roswell. Two days before the UFO story became public, Glenn received a strange phone call from the Roswell air base. The male caller asked him what sized baby caskets they had.
Later that day, Glenn had to transport an airman to the air base and was surprised to find that the base's infirmary was surrounded several MPs. Glenn looked into an ambulance and saw strange wreckage that was blue and purple in color. The wreckage also appeared to have hieroglyphics on it. Glenn claimed that there was a great amount of confusion that day at the base, and that when he asked if they needed any help, a military man ordered him to be escorted back to the mortuary. Another man told Glenn to not tell anyone about this or "they'll be picking out your bones from the sand".
Suddenly, a group of people came out of one room, one of which was a nurse that Glenn knew. She said that he needed to get out of there or else he would get in trouble. She, along with the other people from the room, were coughing and appeared to be ill. The next day, Glenn talked to the nurse; she told him that he could tell her story as long as he would not reveal her name.
She told him that they were doing a partial autopsy on bodies of small beings; at first, she thought they were children. However, she later realized that they were aliens. The doctor then used forceps to show the arm of the body; it had four fingers with suction cups. There were no ears, but instead strange cartilage and other things on the body. In all, the nurse claimed to have seen three bodies in total, and none of them were human.
The next day, Glenn unfolded the newspaper on the desk, and it was the infamous article. Glenn never saw the nurse again; a few weeks later, he heard that she had died in a plane crash after being transferred out of the country. To this day, Glenn is convinced that her story is true, even though she was never located. Many are convinced that the Roswell incident began the UFO cover up conspiracy done by the government.
Six hundred miles west of Roswell, there is a secret military base known as "Area 51". It is not seen on any map, and even though it can be seen from a ridge by the naked eye, the military claims that it does not exist. It has apparently been there since the 1960s, and it is site where advanced military aircraft have been tested there at night. Bob Lazar claimed that he had worked at a site near Area 51, and that he had worked with UFOs and that the government has them hidden. Bob claims that in March of 1989, he witnessed the test flight of a UFO by the government. Some believe that Bob is a fraud, while others are certain that he is genuine, and that there are other witnesses who claimed to have seen the UFOs as well.
When Unsolved Mysteries asked the government about Area 51, they denied that the base existed. Bob believes that the secrecy is not just hiding alien spacecraft, but also the aliens. To this day, nobody knows what really happened in Roswell back in 1947, nor if Area 51 or the government may have been involved.
However, during the 1990s, the U.S. Military published two reports (one in 1994 and one in 1997) reportedly disclosing the true source of the mysterious object that crashed in Mac Brazel's field. According to the military, the object was actually a nuclear test surveillance balloon from Project Mogul. The balloon was used to search high in the Earth's atmosphere for reverberations from nuclear-test blasts on the other side of the world. The object's true identity was not revealed at the time because of the secrecy surrounding the project. In the second report, the military also addressed the reported sightings of alien bodies, believing that they were either hoaxes, crash test dummies from Operation High Dive, or innocently transformed memories of military accidents. Despite the reports, some researchers still believe that the incident has yet to be fully explained.
Sadly, most of those interviewed for the segment have since passed away: Mac Brazel's neighbor Loretta Proctor died in 2013 at the age of ninety-eight; Jesse Marcel Jr. died in 2013 at the age of seventy-six; First Lieutenant Walter Haut died in 2005 at the age of eighty-three; UFO researcher Stanton Friedman died in 2019 at the age of eighty-four; Oliver Henderson's wife Sappho died in 2012 at the age of ninety-one; and Glenn Dennis died in 2015 at the age of ninety.
- Roswell at Unsolved.com
- Roswell UFO on Wikipedia
- Roswell at History.com
- Roswell incident at Britannica
- Wreckage in the Desert Was Odd but Not Alien - September 18, 1994
- Report on Roswell 'UFO crash' due soon - June 18, 1997
- Air Force debunks Roswell UFO story - June 24, 1997
- Roswell UFO Crash: There Were 2 Crashes, Not 1, Says Ex-Air Force Official - August 6, 2012
- After 66 years, the Roswell UFO incident belongs to the ages - July 8, 2013
- Roswell author who said he handled UFO crash debris dies at 76 - August 28, 2013
- In 1947, A High-Altitude Balloon Crash Landed in Roswell. The Aliens Never Left - July 5, 2017
- The Roswell Incident at 70: Facts, Not Myths - November 1, 2017
- What Really Happened at Roswell? - December 17, 2019
- Army officer's secret journal could offer new clues about the UFO crash in Roswell in 1947 - December 11, 2020
- Roswell UFO crash: What is the truth behind the 'flying saucer' incident? - May 5, 2021
- Loretta Proctor Interview at ABQ Journal
- Loretta Proctor, Oliver and Sappho Henderson at Find a Grave