UFO Conjectures

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Roswell Lacuna


The missing years of Jesus – from age 12 to about 30 – are not “documented” but there has been some speculation that he visited places far-flung from Judea; India and even England have been suggested, with circumstantial hints supporting those scenarios.

But things are quite different when it comes to the Roswell episode in July 1947. No one has a clue why the Roswell story absolutely disappeared for thirty years.

There was no mention – nothing at all, anywhere – about the incident from 1947 until 1978, when Stan Friedman opened the Roswell can of worms after being confronted with a tale about the so-called flying disk crash from a “witness” (Jesse Marcel, Sr.).


Our concern here is not what has transpired since 1978 but why there is no reference, none, to the Roswell “crash” during those intervening years, between 1947 and 1978.

We’ve scoured our vast batch of UFO magazines, newspaper clippings, and other UFO materials for some inkling of Roswell, and have, like others, found nothing.

This strikes us as particularly strange, if a flying saucer had actually crashed near Roswell, and its significant army base.

The canard that the people of 1947 were subservient to some amorphous military order(s) to keep silent about what supposedly transpired – a flying disk from another world crash near their community – is patently silly.

The people of Roswell, like others in the Southwest, were a hardy, non-wimpy breed – persons who came from hardscrabble stock, tough to the core, unlikely to be cowed by orders to keep their mouths shut – for 30 years.


And, as we’ve posted elsewhere, why did no one sneak a fragment of the alleged debris that was so wondrous in nature?

And why did no one take a photo of that wondrous debris, or the purported crash site, when cheap Kodak cameras were extant, and ubiquitous?

The thirty-year hiatus in information or recollection and reminiscences makes no behavioral sense.

Joseph Capp’s gung-ho support of Roswell witnesses belies the obeisant stance that these Capp-lauded witnesses undertook and maintained for over 30 years. Is such reserve concomitant with the lofty natures that Mr. Capp and others attribute to the panoply of witnesses who’ve surfaced after Mr. Friedman and a few others “broke” the Roswell story and the assumed cover-up?

The story, the witnesses, the resultant Roswell mythos don’t quite compute.

It’s that thirty-year absence of anything Roswell-related that undermines the hypothesis that extraterrestrial beings had a mishap in the desert near Roswell in 1947.

No one, with any American bravado or ethical behavior, would have kept quiet for 30 years, despite some vague warnings from military types. Many of whom would have moved on or died long before 1978 arrived.

This is what makes Roswell, for some of us, hard to swallow.


  • Anthony Bragalia replies:

    Roswell was mentioned many, many times before 1978!

    1) Flying Saucers on the Attack (Harold Wilkins 1954)
    2) Flying Saucer Review (Vol 1, No. 1 Spring 1955)
    3) UFOs-Serious Business (Frank Edwards 1966)
    4) Frank Edwards Public Lectures (October 27, 1955; April 28, 1956)
    5) The Flying Saucer Story (Brinsley LePour Trench, 1966)
    5) Saga Magazine (Winter 1974) (First mention of the "Lydia Sleppy" Roswell story)

    Additionally, in the 1957 "Contact with Space," Wilhelm Reich notes that on his way to Tucson for "weather experimentation" with his "cloudbuster" technology, he traveled through Roswell. He makes special note of Roswell, NM and that he spent time there working on "field observations" and noted the "imbalance" of "UFO energies."

    Another corroboration for pre-1978 Roswell mentions: A University of New Mexico professor related that in the mid-1960s he approached Loretta Proctor (whose ranch some of the crash debris was found) to conduct an archaelogical exploration. Loretta granted permission, but not without first telling him, "if you find anything unusual, let me know!" She then told him the story of the Summer of 1947...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 07, 2009  

  • But Tony, those references were devoid of the details that have encrusted the Roswell tale to date.

    Moreover, the people who have surfaced as witnesses have been a little enervated about what they saw.

    I would think that anyone who saw a UFO craft, or debris, and more importantly, alien bodies would be bit more excited or awed by what they experienced.

    The Roswell crowd was and is too subdued, psychologically, in the context of what they were privy to.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 07, 2009  

  • Anthony Bragalia is right about the pre-1978 references to Roswell. However, it is interesting to see how the Lydia Sleppy story has improved over time from when it first appeared in SAGA magazine to how it appeared in the pro-ET books. Notice how the 'FBI connection' was not in the original 1974 story (which was already nearly 30 years old by then). Also, in some of the accounts Anthony gives, the name 'Roswell' was not mentioned. But it can be safely inferred from the data that it was indeed this case.

    I am a bit puzzled by the claim of a Univ of New Mexico professor about an incident that allegedly took place in the mid-1960s. Did the professor actually make this claim in the mid-1960s, or did he make the claim post-1980 that he once met Loretta Proctor at the ranch in the mid-1960s? It makes a big difference which is correct, since in one case this guy knew about it for some 15 years before going public. What is the truth? More important: who is this professor? Why cannot we be told his name? Another thing: If Loretta Proctor was so certain of the date (1947) in the mid-1960s is it not very strange that this professor didn't inform Berlitz & Moore of his great news immediately their book came out. Moore & Friedman spent nearly 12 months from when they first met Marcel WITHOUT knowing the date of the episode. (Marcel could not recall; evidently the crash of an alien spacecraft was too trivial & unimportant for him to remember such things as a date & time!). I repeat: Who is, or was, this professor, and when (and to whom) did he relate his story?

    This anecdotal tale needs clearing up.

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • CDA:

    Tony Bragalia will surely respond to your points.

    Meanwhile, let me stress that the point of my posting was that the quiescence -- the subdued aftermath – of the Roswell “witnesses” doesn’t make sense if they had actually experienced some alien bodies, bizarre metal, and a strange craft, crumpled on the ground, with a military presence that shushed them, allegedly.

    It would seem that such a profound occurrence should provoke at least one other Roswell resident/witness besides Brazel to go screaming into the night, or to get in touch with some kind of media or a cop.

    Or, if they were afraid of the inferred military censorship (or worse), wouldn’t they have collected, surreptitiously, some evidence of what they saw and felt? Marcel didn’t have the presence of mind to keep some remnant(s) of the debris he collected?

    The Roswell community couldn’t have been made up, totally, of such sheep-like citizens, could it? Totally?

    The Roswell inferences that Tony provides are just that -- inferences, derived from the newspaper account which Edwards had archived.

    The Saga story appeared in 1974 – almost 30 years after the fact, and several years after the Edwards’ hints – from which Sleppy apparently concocted her account.

    It’s the lack of excitement, panic, and awe by the Roswell people if a flying saucer had actually landed in their backyard that diminishes the mythical event.

    After all, the government is supposedly much afraid of a societal panic if there is an extraterrestrial disclosure, right? That’s what some ufologists keep telling us. But the panic didn’t occur in Roswell – just a back-to-normal existence for the citizens of that community.

    Come on….


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • Anthony Bragalia replies...


    You bring up an excellent point. Although the Roswell event was unquestionably reported on in books and periodicals in the 1950s and 1960s...were involved or knowledgeable individuals privately discussing the crash pre-1978?

    Yes, they most certainly were. The UNM professor's name and complete story -as well as the recollections of many others- will be related by me later (and in far greater detail) on this blog. The examples are so numerous, it requires an article.

    Yet another 'teaser' example is lawyer William Brainerd of Roswell. A former mayor, Brainerd arrived in Roswell in 1953. He never heard a word about aliens or a UFO crash until a 1965 function for past commanders of the old Walker Army Air Field (former RAAF.) His story is compelling.

    It will be shown that -privately- many people talked about the Roswell crash (and its likely ET nature) prior to 1978. Anyone who has done any interviewing of individuals (as I have) of ranchers in the area know this: They are people of 'few words' (especially when it comes to the crash event) and they "look out" for, and are protective of, each other.

    I am uncertain what CDA is looking for. Does he believe that these individuals- in the 1950s/60s- should have come forward to the national press? Because people kept this knowledge private -until books began coming out on the subject- leads me to believe them.

    Before the event was 're-introduced' in a 1980 book, many had no corroboration for their stories. They may have felt that they did not know enough-or have proof- to come forward at that time. The many reasons that people did not come forward publicly on the matter until post 1978/80 will be examined in a future article.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • RRRG:
    Yes I accept your main thesis. What you say argues strongly against any ET happenings at or near Roswell. There was no panic and no subsequent interest because nobody at the time gave ETs a thought. It it up to Anthony to prove otherwise. We shall see.

    I await your articles. However already I detect a serious weakness, which is this: If you are to show that people were indeed talking about Roswell and ETs in the 50s, it is no good relying on testimony given post-1978. All you will be doing is repeating the endless kind of anecdotal testimony other writers/researchers have gathered. You must establish a known, verifiable (preferably written) account in a newspaper/magazine published at the time, i.e. in the 50s. The whole point of an extraordinary event (if that be what it was) is that people would talk about it continually at the time, and for months thereafter. It would not suddenly become a topic of conversation decades afterwards. Is there anything in the Roswell press, or radio/TV, during the late 1940s to indicate big interest, or in fact any interest, in the story? I can guarantee that if you had experienced a real ET event like this you would NOT be silent about it for 32 years (or even 5 years!) and then suddenly burst into the limelight with your story. Even if someone has verifiable testimony from 1965. this sounds far too long a time gap. Why did such people never notify APRO, NICAP or other interested parties? Further, there was the Scully crashed disc story of 1950 to focus people on the subject and cause confusion in people's minds in later years. (also in New Mexico, I should add).

    I think this witness reticence is, in essence, what RRR is saying. It just doesn't 'add up'.

    I await your articles with interest, and especially the name of this Univ of NM professor.

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • Okay, I'm totally confused here. Firstly, because it appears this blog is arguing with itself (is it not maintained by RRRGroup, who just commented on a post saying RRRGroup was incorrect?) Then I'm looking at comments saying by, who I assume was the original writer of the post, that there WERE people talking about Roswell pre-1978. So uh, what is the argument here exactly, and why contradict yourself so quickly? Maybe I'm misreading or missing something here...

    Either way, assuming I'm not watching the same person argue with himself, here's my two cents on this: why must we assume "more people" would come out about this story? Because the Roswell folk were "a hardy, non-wimpy breed – persons who came from hardscrabble stock, tough to the core" seems like an incredibly weak argument for many reasons. First of all, we're talking about 1947 here. An era where government trust was much much higher than we see in present day. I think many of these people would simply accept the government (whatever branch) had their best interests at heart, and if they told them to be quiet, "by-God there must be a good reason for them to". Secondly, even if not, we see even today that people which are considered "a hardy, non-wimpy breed – persons who came from hardscrabble stock, tough to the core" consistently go along with these types of orders: i.e. Republicans going along with the Patriot Act, claiming this was necessary to protect our country. Generally its the more liberal people that speak out against such measures, of which I doubt were present in high numbers in 1947 Roswell, NM. Thirdly, how many people even witnessed such an event that were non-military? I have a few relatives and friends in the military, and even on a side note in fraternities. They take their oaths of silence VERY seriously, no matter what the subject, trivial or important. So, I think we can assume that people speaking out on such things would most likely NOT be military (Marcel being an obvious and important exception). That leaves the non-military crowd to speak out. How many of those people actually were present at the event? From my limited knowledge of the story, only Mac Brazel and Sherrif Wilcox (who was told about it by Brazel) reported any knowledge at the time, so we can consider them at least credible witnesses. So, the people that could have spoke out DID, others who didn't until later kept their mouths shut for the reasons I gave above. I really think the argument that "more people should have came forward" is just faulty from the get go. On another note, I'd like to remind everyone that people are easily intimidated. If a cop can intimidate people into not speaking, think what a scary military wing could do with more authority to scare the bejeezus out of people. No, I think this argument is entirely faulty and not indicative of anything.

    By Blogger armakan01, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • Armakan01:

    The blog is by the RRRGROUP -- group!

    Those writng have different views; there is no party line that anyone is obligated to follow.

    The original post was written by Rich Reynolds.

    Contributor Anthony Bragalia took issue with Reynolds' hypothesis, and friend of the blog, CDA, took issue with Bragalia (and some of Reynolds' remarks).

    While not a free-for-all, the blog is an open forum, for civilized "ufologists" or persons who are interested in the UFO mystery.

    Does that help explain the seemingly contradictory elements?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • Now, Armakan01...

    Let me address your comments about the Roswellians.

    My point was that surely some Roswell person (or persons) would not be intimidated by the military, since the community must have had a few hardy, courageous souls -- even a few in the Army.

    If they actually saw or thought they saw visitors from outer space, they'd get the word out to the world, just as the protagonist in the 1950s movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers did....art imitating life in that instance.

    Not everyone is intimidated by cops, or authority figures, and some of us living in 1947 were not intimidated then, nor intimidated now.

    (I can name a dozen people whom I know to have stood up to authority figures in the 40s and 50s about issues less profound than a visit/crash of alien beings from another world.)

    Your argument is specious insofar as it makes a blanket statement about human behavior, or group think: there are always rebels against the mob, as was illustrated by Charles Dickens in "A Tale of Two Cities" which was less fiction than fact actually.

    That on one in or around Roswell spoke out when (or rather if) flying saucer creatures crashed their vehicle and were observed afterwards is hard to swallow.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 08, 2009  

  • Well, as far as my "group think" theories go, I don't think that's too unrealistic, as I pointed to other controversial issues in present day and how we have reacted as a population. Sure, there are dissenters, but do they really get the press that the mainstream versions of the stories get? Or even any at all? Really, I think it's the same as speaking out against things like 9/11 (being an inside job): to do so, even among close friends and peers, is basically social suicide. I think especially at a time when most people trusted the government, to say that they were lying about Roswell being a weather balloon and that it was E.T. was along those same lines, and people valued their honor and reputation much more in those days. Not to mention the idea of aliens/UFOs was even more taboo then, as far as if you believed it you believed in "little green men," which to most at the time was just silly.

    But, all my previous arguments aside: what would any Roswellians have to gain by continue to speak out about the incident? Those that knew about it did say something and it was reported by the papers: their account is already on record, and those people have told stories of being threatened by the government not to talk any more. Anyone else who would speak out about it is a secondary source at best, assuming all witnesses that were non-military came forward. Which, as testimony in that area matches up, I think we can conclude is a safe bet. So, all the primary sources can do is reiterate their own points already on record, while secondary sources can only re-quote the primary. In my view, for those involved that felt like they had the "true answer" to the situation, it would probably bring on a very helpless and powerless feeling that nothing more could be done, which I think also explains the lack of dialog. Anyway, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one: I just really don't see any evidence that shows more people knew than reported, or as Anthony Bragalia notes, there actually WAS dialog after the fact, so this argument is really a pretty moot point.

    Oh, and yes, that clears things up for me about who said what. Have you thought about using different nicknames for each poster to help remove some of this confusion? ;) Just a newb here getting used to the blog...

    By Blogger armakan01, at Monday, May 11, 2009  

  • Amarkan01:

    First off, we try to use actual names or postings here, unless I provide a view that is mine only [RR].

    Your other point about witnesses having presented their observations and then dropping the topic seems to fly in the face of the monumental aspect of a supposed flying saucer crash with aliens from another world or worlds.

    It reminds me of how those who witnessed Moses' miracles or those of Jesus (first hand) but still discounted what they had seen when it came time to "man up" as they say.

    That is, Jews saw great things, miraculous things (allegedly), but still hooted Moses and abandoned Jesus when He was arrested, and crucified.

    So maybe you're right about the Roswell people, but I'd like to think that someone who was a "witness" would have kept pummeling the story after 1947, not waiting for many years after to jump on the bandwagon,

    As CDA and I proclaim, such an event -- a saucer and beings from outer space -- was treated rather tepidly almost immediately after the incident.

    That doesn't seem to square with the magnitude of an ET episode, as Roswell believers have it.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, May 11, 2009  

  • Huh? NO MENTION BEFORE 1978?

    As other's have already pointed out, that was not the case.

    To add my two-cents worth: I was raised in a Chicago neighborhood, bastion of hard-headed, blue-collar "prove-it" types in those days.

    In my early teens (ca. 1960), UFO's and the Roswell event were common lore among us. It was always a popular topic at overnighters with Scouts or friends.

    Frankly, even my parents and other adults I knew at the time were not too sure the government was being forthcoming about "flying saucers." However, they had all been through WWII and had an attitude that the government could be trusted to make the right decision, even if they didn't tell us about it. They would cite the Manhattan Project, which they simply called "The Bomb," as an example of this "government as patriarch" attitude. (By 1978 the government's multiple lies about the execution of the Viet Nam War were becoming public, so that myth was shattered.)

    I recall reading a couple of paper-back books in the early 60's, long since forgotten, which featured this and other "strange occurrence" stories, including the buzzing of Truman's White House.

    Later, while working with a Chicago Tribune wire service in Chicago, I did several telephone interviews with J. Allan Hynek about UFO occurrences. He was at Northwestern University and our main source of quotes for such celestial activity. I mention this only to say I have more than a passing familiarity with the topic.

    If one is going to pose as a debunker, which given the lack of physical evidence should be easy to do, one should at least take a trip to the local library before making sweeping exclusionary claims.

    I am not telling you to stop your writing or debunking. We need to have much more public discourse on this and related subjects in my opinion. I am just suggesting that you be more careful in your statements in the future.

    No doubt you have already figured that out!


    By Blogger Urban1, at Wednesday, July 29, 2009  

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