Roswell and Nitinol, the Memory-Metal: A Response by Nick Redfern
Tony Bragalia's revelations concerning the possibility of a Nitinol connection to the Roswell story are highly intriguing.
However, at this stage I urge caution - not because I dispute that Tony has uncovered notable data on the early years of Nitinol research - he most assuredly has. And not because accounts of crashed UFOs have been made in connection with this story - they have: see, for example, the story of Elroy John Center as related by Tony.
The reason why I urge caution is that this is not the first time that a Nitinol connection has been made to Roswell. Indeed, I was provided with a story concerning crashed UFOs and Nitinol on February 20, 2004, and which was published in July 2005, in my book Body Snatchers in the Desert.
The purpose of this post is not to examine every aspect of Tony's report (I will leave that to others) but to highlight the fact that there is an alternative angle to this whole saga that few have thus far realized.
I will be the very first to readily admit that problematic is the fact the source of the story as related to me had no desire to speak on-the-record; and so, as a result, within the pages of Body Snatchers he was referred to as "The Colonel."
That does not mean, however, we should dismiss testimony just because it comes from a source that preferred to remain in the shadows. Anyone remember Deep-Throat?
So, for that reason, I present the following. My goal is not to state with utter certainty that the following data is correct and Tony is wrong (only if the relevant documentation that Tony is chasing down ultimately surfaces and confirms his suspicions, or fails to confirm them, will we be able to advance that argument in one direction or the other).
Rather, I present the data so people can see both sides of the coin.
The first thing I would have to say is that we can really only interpret the words of the Colonel with two scenarios in mind: (1) that his story is the truth; or (2) that his story is disinformation that was deliberately released in anticipation of someone like Tony eventually uncovering a Nitinol-crashed-UFO-Roswell connection.
The second thing I would say is that whether the story of the Colonel is true or not, the fact that he provided it to me 5 years ago, and it was originally published 4 years ago (long before this current Nitinol-Roswell development surfaced), does strongly suggest he had insider knowledge of something that connected Nitinol to the Roswell story and crashed UFOs - and which is now only just starting to surface on a wider and larger scale.
As you will now see, however, the Colonel's view on the Nitinol-crashed UFO issue actually takes some strange turns, and is ultimately shown to have nothing to do with real, literal crashed UFOs. Indeed, his position is one of a far more down-to-earth nature.
And, with that all said, here is the relevant extract from my book, Body Snatchers in the Desert:"
...according to the Colonel, in the early 1960s a Soviet spy known to be operating in Washington, D.C. was suspected of having received classified data from someone allied with the U.S. Army’s Foreign Technology Division (FTD).
"A plan was hatched to reveal some very specific but bogus information to the traitor that could be easily traced to the Soviet contact when it was duly passed on – thus identifying the traitor as well.
"The concocted story, states the Colonel, was that, in 1961, the FTD had got its hands on a quantity of strange, metallic debris from a crashed UFO that was being analyzed under cover of the strictest security.
"This story was duly and carefully leaked to the suspected Soviet sympathizer and, apparently, the ruse worked: the traitor passed on the information to his Russian handler and arrests were quickly and quietly made without any real secrets having been compromised.
"Interestingly the Colonel states that this led to rumors among officials that the Army’s FTD had gotten its hands on crashed UFO materials.
"Perhaps of relevance to this incident is the 1997 publication of one of the most controversial UFO books of all time: The Day After Roswell, co-written by Lt. Col. Philip J. Corso, who was a prime mover in the Army’s Foreign Technology Division in the early 1960s. Corso claimed that while he was with the FTD he had hands-on access to recovered debris from the Roswell crash of 1947 – debris that Corso asserted until his dying day was extraterrestrial in origin.
"The Colonel believes that, wittingly or unwittingly, Corso’s story can be traced back to the ruse laid down to smoke out the Soviets’ informant.
"The Colonel states that, in reality, the odd metal material that the FTD obtained and utilized in its operation was Nitinol.
"In 1961, Nitinol, which stands for Nickel Titanium Naval Ordnance Laboratory, was discovered to possess the unique property of having shape memory (returning to its original shape when heated), which a number of individuals claimed the recovered materials on the Brazel ranch possessed.
"The Colonel states that shortly afterwards a supply of Nitinol was presented to the FTD to begin smoking out the Soviet source with a crashed UFO story.
"How this all relates to the Corso story is not fully clear; but it is an intriguing slant on the whole controversy and it should be noted that it was during this precise time period in which Nitinol came to the fore, 1961-2, that Corso served with the FTD."
(Extracted from Body Snatchers in the Desert by Nick Redfern, published July 2005.)
That in essence is the story. But the big question remains: is it true? My answer is that I truthfully don't know. I have to remain balanced and agnostic.
But, I will say this: nobody, of course, doubts the existence of Nitinol. The big question is: were its origins (or at least its partial development) connected to the recovery of unusual materials from the Foster Ranch, New Mexico in the summer of 1947?
Should we consider the possibility that the stories and rumors of crashed UFOs and their connection to the development of Nitinol are not valid, but instead have their origins in an operation designed to smoke-out activities of an espionage-style nature?
At this stage it seems to me that we can say the following with certainty: (1) Tony has uncovered notable information on the early years of Nitinol research; (2) thus far - despite the fact that some of this research was undertaken in the late 1940s and early 1950s - nothing has surfaced that links these "Progress Reports" to the 1947 events at Roswell; and (3) comments have been made with respect to Nitinol in a crashed UFO context.
I do, however, wish to comment on Tony's words pertaining to Battelle scientist Elroy John Center. Tony says that Center: "...stated that he analyzed metal from a crashed UFO when he was employed by the Institute."
Tony also adds that Center confirmed his exposure to this metal came in "June of 1960."
And Tony also states that "Center understood that this debris material was retrieved by the US government from the earlier crash of a UFO."
The Colonel told me that the plan to smoke-out the Soviet spy with Nitinol and fabricated crashed UFO tales began in "the early 1960s." Center had access to unusual materials and was told the crashed UFO story in June of 1960: the time-frame is very close indeed.
Tony reports that Center "understood" that this material came from a crashed UFO.
"Understood" is a very interesting word to use. Does it mean Center was actually just told by someone else that the material was from a crashed UFO? Does it mean that this was the rumor flying around Battelle?
If "understood" means that Center saw hard, undeniable evidence of crashed UFOs and alien life, then all questions are answered.
But if "understood" means as I would interpret the usage of the word - something that Center was told and, as a result, then came to accept - then, really this is not that much different from the story of the Colonel, who stated that the Nitinol operation he had an awareness of "led to rumors among officials that the Army’s FTD had gotten its hands on crashed UFO materials."
If the Colonel's scenario is the correct one, we could argue that Center had access to a wholly terrestrial Nitinol-type material, but that this came to be associated with rumors of crashed UFOs - just like those that the Colonel said were in circulation in this time within the official world, as a result of the espionage-op.
I would stress that having been exposed to a Nitinol-crashed UFO story half-a-decade ago, I am deeply interested in these new revelations and documents, and remain open-minded on where it will all ultimately lead.
But whether these same revelations and documents will ultimately be shown to have anything to do with literal extraterrestrials who met their deaths in the New Mexico in the summer of 1947, or with some strange and convoluted Cold War operation, is an issue that I strongly suspect will remain open and unanswered for a long time.