The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ROSWELL DEBRIS CONFIRMED AS EXTRATERRESTRIAL: Lab Located, Scientists Named by Anthony Bragalia


Newly discovered documents reveal that in the months immediately following the purported 1947 UFO crash at Roswell, secret government studies began on a material that was previously unknown to science. The "memory metal" that was studied precisely matches some of the debris material reported by several witnesses to the crash. Evidence shows that -under military direction- these unique metal studies were undertaken by a contracted laboratory that possessed advanced technical capabilities that the U.S. government itself did not have at the time. A former high-level scientist employed by the involved laboratory has offered a confession that he was tasked to study the crashed UFO material. Information provided by two U.S. Air Force Generals also offers direct support for this discovery.

The documents suggest that after the crash, the US government attempted to develop a unique material that is today referred to as memory metal. This shape-recovery alloy was reported by several witnesses to the Roswell crash in the summer of 1947. The lightweight "morphing" material was able to be crumpled or deformed and then return itself instantly and seamlessly to its original state. The metallurgical discoveries that resulted from these studies were then "seeded" for further technology development to other government agencies (including NASA) and through a series of military contracts to universities and industry.

The laboratory contracted by Wright Patterson Air Force Base to perform these studies was Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH. It has been credibly reported that Wright Patterson Air Force Base was the very base where the Roswell UFO debris was flown after the crash.





Recently obtained documents reveal that these studies for Wright Patterson were conducted at Battelle under the direction of Dr. Howard C. Cross. In the late 1940's, H.C Cross was Battelle's expert scientist in exotic metallurgy and Titanium alloy research.

Curiously –although he was a research metallurgist- Cross was also Battelle’s "point person" in later studies on UFOs that Battelle conducted in the early 1950's for the U.S. Air Force's official UFO study, Project Bluebook. Cross is likely an author of Project Bluebook's still-missing Report Number 13. He is also the author of a strange letter from Battelle to Wright Patterson known as "The Pentacle" memo. Dr. Cross' historic role will be detailed in a forthcoming article.

Founded in 1929, Battelle is engaged in research, development and commercialization of technological innovation. They specialize in materials science and engineering, life sciences, energy science and national security. Battelle contract operates many of our country's National Laboratories. This includes some of the U.S.'s most sensitive installations such as Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore and Brookhaven laboratories. Battelle is headquartered in proximity to Wright Patterson- and remains one of the nation's leading defense contractors. Their metallurgical capabilities and technical talent continue to be recognized as world-class.

The full story of the Roswell-Battelle connection is related in the newly published sequel book "Witness to Roswell" (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2009) by Tom Carey and Don Schmitt in chapter contributions made by this author. Scientific citations, references and report images are also included in this updated edition.




The direct connection between the Roswell debris and the Battelle studies is revealed in a material known as Nitinol.

Nitinol is a specially processed combination of Nickel and Titanium, or NiTi. It displays many of the very same properties and physical characteristics as some of the crash debris materials that was reported at Roswell. Both are memory metals that "remember" their original shape and both are extremely lightweight. The materials are reported to have similar color, possess a high fatigue strength and are able to withstand extreme high heat.

Today Nitinol is incorporated in items as far-ranging as medical implants and bendable eyeglass frames. It is produced in many forms including sheet, wire and coil. Newer "intelligent metal" systems are being studied by NASA in the creation of bendable or flappable wings, as self-actuators and as a "self-healing" outer hull "skin" for spacecraft. It is believed that the memory metal found at Roswell came from the outer structures of a downed extraterrestrial spacecraft.

The earliest known combination of Titanium and Nickel reported in the scientific literature was in 1939 by two Europeans. However, this crude sample was a "by-product" of research entirely unrelated to the study of Nitinol. Its "memory metal" potential was not sought or noted. The scientists would have been unable to purify Titanium to sufficient levels at that time-and they would not have known about the energy requirement needed to create the "morphing" effect.

The next time that we see the unique combination of Titanium and Nickel emerge in science is by military scientists associated with Naval Intelligence at the US. Naval Ordnance Lab. It was there that Nitinol was "officially" created in the early 1960s. But Nitinol's "official" history –including the date and reasons for discovery- is conflicting. More on this murky history will be detailed in a future article. Recently gained information suggests that it was in fact Battelle's metallurgist and UFO researcher Dr. Howard Cross who "fed" the US Navy information (including the “phase diagram” and details on Titanium processing) that is required to create Nitinol.

Research by this author has confirmed that Nitinol studies actually began at Battelle immediately after the Roswell crash -and not in the early 1960s. And it was Wright Patterson (the base where the crash material was flown) that contracted this secret work.

This confirmation is given in a brief footnote found in a study by one of Nitinol's "official" inventors at the U.S. Naval Lab. In that military report on Nitinol, the author footnotes a 1949 Battelle study which clearly pertains to the refinement of Titanium and Nickel. The citation relates to a "phase diagram" that examines states of matter and how the two metals could be successfully alloyed. If processed in the right way, the result is Nitinol memory metal. It is possible that the “official” co-inventors of Nitinol were unaware that the memory metal’s impetus was to be found in the study of the Roswell debris- or perhaps not.

Only three other references to this Titanium and Nickel memory metal report by Battelle have ever been found. In each case, they appear only as buried footnotes- and only in metals studies which were themselves conducted under U.S. military auspice. In one case this included having a "Project Monitor" present from Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
A historical analysis of the scientific literature shows that no other alloys had ever been studied by the U.S. military as a potential "memory metal" prior to this late 1940's time frame -and Battelle's Wright Patterson study contract.

Wright Patterson needed Battelle to accomplish this work. Much of the reason for this is because Battelle had something that Wright Patterson did not- an advanced arc furnace that was capable of melting and refining Titanium to the purity required to make memory metal.

The history of Titanium (which is required to make Nitinol) is itself also very revealing. We learn through review of the literature that, according to Encyclopedia Britannica: "After 1947, Titanium changed from a laboratory curiosity to an important structural metal." According to the Industrial Arts Index, the number of science abstracts published on Titanium spiked dramatically from 1946 (and prior years) as compared to abstracts on Titanium written after 1947. In Rand Corporation's 1962 abstract "The Titanium Decade" we learn that: "A far larger Titanium industry arose from the point of view of production capacity than was needed to produce the material that was actually used in aircraft. The time period of 1948-1958 involved virtually all of the costs." An astonishing $2.5 billion (in today's dollars) was spent on Titanium research by the US government in the years immediately following 1947.



The Battelle memory metal report is titled "Second Progress Report on Contract AF33 (038)-3736" and was completed for Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1949. It is authored by C.M. Craighead, F. Fawn and L.W. Eastwood. It appears to be part of a series of such contracts conducted through the early 1950s. Interestingly, the scientists who authored the report were very closely associated with Battelle's chief Titanium metallurgist (and later, Battelle's UFO researcher for Project Bluebook) Dr. Howard Cross, previously mentioned. The scientists went on to author reports on exotic metallurgy that related to such areas as "metal and superplasticity," "metal transformation," and "metal microstructures."

Based on the sections of the studies that were found that reference this Battelle report- we know that this “progress report” offers the first “phase diagram” ever produced to attempt to successfully alloy Titanium and Nickel. This would be required to make memory metal. We can also infer that it examined refinement of Titanium to high purity levels. High purity Titanium is required to create the shape-recovery effect.

No references have ever been located to something that must surely exist- Battelle's "First Progress Report" on the memory metal. While the Second Progress Report (completed in 1949) refers to techniques to process the alloy, the First Progress Report (authored in 1947 or 1948) probably relates to the actual analysis of "Roswellian" memory metal.

Although Nitinol is not identical to the Roswell debris material, it represents our best attempts at re-creation of the found memory metal. The impetus for this "shape-recovery" metallurgical research has to be the crash debris discovered at Roswell in the summer of 1947.


A year long effort was made by this author to locate Battelle's First and Second Progress Reports on memory metal. Though footnotes have been located to the reports in military sponsored studies on memory metal, access to the actual reports remains impossible.

Battelle's own Historian/Librarian was unable to locate the documents. In a later follow-up call to Battelle, Sarasota Herald Tribune reporter Billy Cox was told that Battelle is still unable to find the report and that it remains a "mystery." Likewise, Wright Patterson Air Force Base's own Archivist and Manager of its Special Collections was unable to locate the documents. Both librarians from each organization worked together to find them. They are baffled and suggest that it may mean that the reports were destroyed (though there is no record of this) or that they may remain highly classified.

The U.S. DOD's Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) is the master repository of our nation's military-sponsored technical reports and studies. Their database also fails to locate the Battelle reports. Finally, with the guidance of reporter Billy Cox, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Secretary of the Air Force/WPAFB was filed by this author. Information has yet to be provided that is responsive to this request.

It is hoped that the Second Progress Report will one day be located. This is because if it does contain "phase diagrams" for the alloying of Nickel and Titanium- it will confirm the work on memory metal. It would strongly suggest that shape-recovery alloys were precisely what Battelle was attempting to create for the military in the time period directly after the Roswell crash. The likelihood that the First Progress Report by Battelle on memory metal will ever be found is even more remote.


In an interview conducted in the 1990's, former Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Brigadier General Arthur Exon confirmed the existence of the Roswell metal reports. Exon, the Base Commander of Wright Patterson in the 1960s, related that he was privy to some of the details on the composition of the crash debris and the variety of tests that were performed on it. Astonishingly, Exon stated of the debris: "It was Titanium and some other metal they knew about, and the processing was somehow different." Of course, special "processing" of Titanium and the “other metal” that “they knew about” (Nickel) is required to create Nitinol.

Exon added tellingly, "And it wouldn't surprise me if the material wasn't still around, certainly the reports are." Exon was likely referring to the Battelle Progress Reports on memory metal done for Wright Patterson in the late 1940's.

General Arthur Exon:


Air Force General George Schulgen (who led Intelligence at the Pentagon at the time of the Roswell incident) authored a previously-marked “secret” draft memo on the flying saucer issue on October 30, 1947- about four months after the crash.

In the verified version of this memo is found a section entitled "Items of Construction." Schulgen instructs his officers to be aware of flying objects and their materials of construction. He specifically notes the "unusual fabrication methods to achieve extreme lightweight" and that the material is of a "composite construction...using various combinations of metals."

Schulgen is describing precisely some of the very characteristics of Nitinol. Just like the Roswell debris material, it is an "extreme lightweight" intermetallic alloy. As a novel "composite construction," it is created by an "unusual fabrication" method that "uses a combination of metals"- perhaps like Titanium and Nickel.

General Shulgen’s 1947 Memo:


U.S. Pentagon 1947:



Battelle scientist Elroy John Center has stated that he analyzed metal from a crashed UFO when he was employed by the Institute. Center was a Senior Research Chemist who worked for Battelle for nearly two decades, from 1939 to 1957. This has been confirmed by both his University of Michigan alumni files and by the location of scientific papers that he authored during his employment while at Battelle.

A graduate Chemical Engineer, Center authored papers that appeared in highly technical journals. His areas of research included the chemical testing of metals; the microdetermination of metals in alloys; and the spectroscopic analysis of unique materials. Center was likely involved in early analysis of the Roswell debris. A groundbreaking metals analysis technique that Center developed has been found cited in studies related to the “polygraphic determination of Titanium” in alloys. Specially-selected Titanium is required to create the Roswell-like "memory metal" Nitinol.

Center's family members confirm that he had an intense interest in UFOs and the extraterrestrial. In May of 1992, noted historical researcher Dr. Irena Scott of Columbus, OH (herself a former Battelle scientist) interviewed a close professional associate of Elroy Center. Elroy had privately related to him in June of 1960 that while he was employed at Battelle he had been involved in a very strange laboratory project. Center said that earlier he had been tasked by his superiors to assist on a highly-classified Battelle study that was contracted by the government. He said that the project involved work on a very unusual material. Center understood that this debris material was retrieved by the US government from the earlier crash of a UFO. Center referred to the item he studied as a "piece." He explained that this "piece" was not something with which anyone was familiar. He also said that the debris had been inscribed with strange symbols that he called "glyphics." Similar markings have of course been reported by some of the witnesses to the Roswell crash debris. Center stopped short of providing any further details. The Battelle scientist passed away in 1991.


Forthcoming details on the Battelle-Roswell Connection will document:

- Battelle metallurgist Dr. Howard Cross' other secret studies on UFO sightings and UFO debris

- The identities of Battelle's Wright Patterson "paymasters"

- Bizarre "mental influence" tests conducted on Nitinol by the US military and NASA using purported psychics to "morph" the material with “mind energy”

- Why “morphing” may be the key to the UFO mystery

- How today's research on "intelligent metals" and "adaptable metals" is guided by NASA, the US military and Battelle



The Battelle-Roswell Connection is fast becoming established. Its implications are profound. In 1947 a spacecraft not of earth - whose materials of construction were unknown to science- fell from the sky to forever change history.