In the summer of 1947, there were a number of UFO
sightings in the
United States. Sometime during the first week of July 1947, something
crashed near Roswell New Mexico.
W.W. "Mac" Brazel, a New Mexico rancher, saddled up his horse and
rode out with the son of neighbors Floyd and Loretta Proctor, to check on
the sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. As they rode
along, Brazel began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal
debris, scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, Brazel saw
that a shallow trench, several hundred feet long, had been gouged into
Brazel was struck by the unusual properties of the debris, and after
dragging a large piece of it to a shed, he took some of it over to show ,the
Proctors. Mrs. Proctor has recently ( as of June 1997) moved from the
ranch into a home nearer to town, but she remembers Mac showing up
with strange material.
The Proctors told Brazel that he might be holding wreckage from a UFO
or a government project, and that he should report the incident to the
sheriff. A day or two later, Mac drove into Roswell where he reported the
incident to Sheriff George Wilcox, who reported it to Intelligence Officer,
Major Jesse Marcel of the 509 Bomb Group, and for days thereafter, the
debris site was closed while the wreckage was cleared.
On July 8, 1947, a press release stating that the wreckage of a crashed
disk had been recovered was issued by the Commander of the 509th
Bomb Group at Roswell, Col. William Blanchard.
Hours later the first press release was rescinded and the second press
release stated that the 509th Bomb Group had mistakenly identified a
weather balloon as wreckage of a flying saucer.
Meanwhile, back in Roswell, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at
the Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon
from the morgue at the air field. It seems the Mortuary Officer needed to
get a hold of some small hermetically sealed coffins,and wanted
information about how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the
elements for a few days, without contaminating the tissue.
Glenn Dennis drove out to the base hospital later that evening where he
saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the
pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. Upon entering the
hospital he started to visit with a nurse he knew, when suddenly he was
threatened by military police and forced to leave.
The next day, Glenn Dennis met with the nurse. She told him about the
bodies and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few
days she was transferred to England, her whereabouts still unknown.
According to the research of Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle, in their
book, A History of UFO Crashes, from which the following account of the
Roswell Incident , in part, is based, the military had been watching an
unidentified flying object on radar for four days in southern New Mexico.
On the night of July 4, 1947, radar indicated that the object was down
around thirty to forty miles northwest of Roswell.
Eye witness William Woody, who lived east of Roswell, remembered
being outside with his father the night of July 4, 1947, when he saw a
brilliant object plunge to the ground. A couple of days later when Woody
and his father tried to locate the area of the crash, they were stopped by
military personnel, who had cordoned off the area.
Acting on the call from Sheriff Wilcox, Intelligence Officer, Major Jesse
Marcel was sent by Col. William Blanchard, to investigate Mac Brazel's
Marcel and Senior Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) agent, Captain
Sheridan Cavitt, followed a rancher off-road to his place. They spent the
night there and Marcel inspected a large piece of debris that Brazel had
dragged from the pasture.
Monday morning, July 7, 1947, Major Jesse Marcel took his first step onto
the debris field. Marcel would remark later that "something... must have
exploded above the ground and fell." As Brazel, Cavitt and Marcel
inspected the field, Marcel was able to "determine which direction it came
from, and which direction it was heading. It was in the pattern... you could
tell where it started out and where it ended by how it was thinned out..."
According to Marcel, the debris was "strewn over a wide area, I guess
maybe three-quarters of a mile long and a few hundred feet wide."
Scattered in the debris were small bits of metal that Marcel held a
cigarette lighter to, to see if it would burn. "I lit the cigarette lighter to some
of this stuff and it didn't burn", he said.
Along with the metal, Marcel described weightless I-beam-like structures
that were 3/8" x 1/4", none of them very long, that would neither bend nor
break. Some of these I-beams had indecipherable characters along the
length, in two colors. Marcel also described metal debris the thickness of
tin foil that was indestructible.
After gathering enough debris to fill his staff car, Maj. Marcel decided
stop by his home on the way back to the base so that he could show his
family the unusual debris. He'd never seen anything quite like it. "I didn't
know what we were picking up. I still don't know what it was...it could not
have been part of an aircraft, not part of any kind of weather balloon or
experimental balloon...I've seen rockets... sent up at the White Sands
Testing Grounds. It definitely was not part of an aircraft or missile or
Under hypnosis conducted by Dr. John Watkins in May of 1990, Jesse
Marcel Jr. remembered being awakened by his father that night and
following him outside to help carry in a large box filled with debris. Once
inside, they emptied the contents of the debris onto the kitchen floor.
Jesse Jr. described the lead foil and I-beams. Under hypnosis, he
recalled the writing on the I-beams as "Purple. Strange. Never saw
anything like it...Different geometric shapes, leaves and circles." Under
questioning, Jesse Jr. said the symbols were shiny purple and they were
small. There were many separate figures. This too, under hypnosis:
[Marcel Sr. was saying it was a flying saucer] "I ask him what a flying
saucer is. I don't know what a flying saucer is...It's a ship. [Dad's]
At 11:00 A.M Walter Haut, public relations officer, finished the press
release he'd been ordered to write, and gave copies of the release to the
two radio stations and both of the newspapers. By 2:26 P.M., the story
was out on the AP Wire:
"The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been
As calls began to pour into the base from all over the world, Lt. Robert
Shirkey watched as MP's carried loaded wreckage onto a C-54 from the
First Transport Unit.
To get a better look, Shirkey stepped around Col. Blanchard, who was
irritated with all of the calls coming into the base. Blanchard decided to
travel out to the debris field and left instructions that he'd gone on leave.
On the morning of July 8, Marcel reported what he'd found to Col.
Blanchard, showing him pieces of the wreckage, none of which looked
like anything Blanchard had ever seen. Blanchard then sent Marcel to
Carswell [Fort Worth Army Air Field] to see General Ramey,
Commanding Officer of the Eighth Air Force.
Marcel stated years later to Walter Haut that he'd taken some of the
debris into Ramey's office to show him what had been found. The
material was displayed on Ramey's desk for the general when he
Major Jessie Marcel died in 1986 believing what he found was NOT a weather balloon.
Upon his return, General Ramey wanted to see the exact location of the
debris field, so he and Marcel went to the map room down the hall - but
when they returned, the wreckage that had been placed on the desk was
gone and a weather balloon was spread out on the floor. Major Charles A.
Cashon took the now-famous photo of Marcel with the weather balloon, in
General Ramey's office.
It was then reported that General Ramey recognized the remains as part
of a weather balloon. Brigadier General Thomas DuBose, the chief of
staff of the Eighth Air Force said, "[It] was a cover story. The whole
balloon part of it. That was the part of the story we were told to give to the
public and news and that was it."
The military tried to convince the news media from that day forward that
the object found near Roswell was nothing more than a weather balloon.
July 9, as reports went out that the crashed object was actually a weather
balloon, clean-up crews were busily clearing the debris. Bud Payne, a
rancher at Corona, was trying to round up a stray when he was spotted
by military and carried off the Foster ranch, and Jud Roberts along with
Walt Whitmore were turned away as they approached the debris field.
As the wreckage was brought to the base, it was crated and stored in a
Back in town, Walt Witmore and Lyman Strickland saw their friend, Mac
Brazel, who was being escorted to the Roswell Daily Record by three
military officers. He ignored Witmore and Strickland, which was not at all
like Mac, and once he got to the Roswell Daily Record offices, he
changed his story. He now claimed to have found the debris on June 14.
Brazel also mentioned that he'd found weather observation devices on
two other occasions, but what he found this time was no weather balloon.
Later that afternoon, an officer from the base retrieved all of the copies
Haut's press release from the radio stations and newspaper offices.
The Las Vegas Review Journal, along with dozens of other newspapers,
carried the AP story:
"Reports of flying saucers whizzing through the sky fell off sharply today
as the army and the navy began a concentrated campaign to stop the
The story also reported that AAF Headquarters in Washington had
"delivered a blistering rebuke to officers at Roswell."