UFO Conjecture(s)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Roswell: What if the Air Force Doesn't Actually Know? by Nick Redfern


There can be few people within the Ufological arena who are unaware of the United States Air Force's view on what did - or, indeed, did not - happen in the desert outside of Roswell, New Mexico in July 1947.

The USAF's reports of 1994 and 1997 spell out the Air Force's position perfectly and graphically.

Commenting on the Air Force's report on Roswell, in 1995 the General Accounting Office advised the late New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff (who, in the spring of 1993, had begun to make inquiries with the Defense Department in an attempt to determine the truth surrounding certain aspects of the Roswell controversy) that while it now seemed unlikely that the weather balloon explanation for Roswell was correct, the Air Force had come to yet another conclusion in its attempt to lay the mystery of Roswell to rest.

Secret Balloons

According to the GAO:

"DOD informed us that the U.S. Air Force report of July 1994, entitled Report of Air Force Research Regarding the Roswell Incident, represents the extent of DOD records or information concerning the Roswell crash.

"The Air Force report concluded that there was no dispute that something happened near Roswell in July 1947 and that all available official materials indicated the most likely source of the wreckage recovered was one of the project MOGUL balloon trains.


"At the time of the Roswell crash, project MOGUL was a highly classified U.S. effort to determine the state of Soviet nuclear weapons research using balloons that carried radar reflectors and acoustic sensors."

And what of the reports of unusual bodies allegedly recovered, too?

In its 1994 report, the USAF pretty much dismissed the matter with the following, brief statement:

“It should also be noted here that there was little mentioned in this report about the recovery of the so-called ‘alien bodies.’ [T]he recovered wreckage was from a Project Mogul balloon. There were no ‘alien’ passengers therein.”

That stance was to change drastically in 1997, however.

Dummies in the Desert


Entitled The Roswell Report: Case Closed, the Air Force’s second report on the New Mexico events of 1947 was published in the summer of 1997 and marked the 50th anniversary of the incident at Roswell.

The report did little to dampen the notoriety surrounding the case, however. Indeed, the question of why the Air Force had concluded that there was a pressing need on its part to explain the reports of unusual bodies found in New Mexico, when it could have summarily dismissed them as hoaxes or modern-day folklore, arguably only heightened the interest in what did or did not occur.

The second Air Force report on Roswell was written by Captain James McAndrew, an Intelligence Applications Officer assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force Declassification and Review Team at the Pentagon who had served special tours of duty with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The report, which focused practically all of its 231-pages on the alleged recovery of the strange bodies, essentially concluded that:

“'Aliens' observed in the New Mexico desert were probably anthropomorphic test dummies that were carried aloft by U.S. Air Force high altitude balloons for scientific research.


"The 'unusual' military activities in the New Mexico desert were high altitude research balloon launch and recovery operations. The reports of military units that always seemed to arrive shortly after the crash of a flying saucer to retrieve the saucer and 'crew,' were actually accurate descriptions of Air Force personnel engaged in anthropomorphic dummy recovery operations."

Of course, this raised the blood-pressure levels - and the outrage - of the collective Roswell research community to stratospheric levels, amid claims that the Mogul and crash-test dummy reports were nothing less than officially-orchestrated operations designed to specifically demolish the claims that aliens met their deaths on the Foster Ranch all those years ago.

But what if this wasn't a cover-up?

What if there is another explanation?

Before you question whether or not I have well and truly flipped my daily-shaved lid, let's look at things a bit closer.

Justified Criticisms

Although it's fair to say that Kevin Randle and I disagree to a highly significant degree on what may have happened at Roswell 62 years ago, I do agree with him on one point (well, actually, I agree with him on quite a few points - but one is sufficient and relevant for this posting); namely that the Air Force utterly failed to take Randle up on his offer to make his interview materials available to the Air Force.

The reason: so that they might speak with some of the senior military personnel who had been involved in the Roswell affair to varying degrees, and who might be willing to speak out, clarify a few things, and even - perhaps - help to clear up the unholy mess once and for all.

It was not to be, however: instead, the USAF seemed determined to go with Mogul. Too bad that one of the Air Force's star-interviewees was the enigmatic Sheridan Cavitt, whose description to the USAF of the debris he saw and collected resembled a gigantic Mogul array just about as much as I resemble a fucking giraffe!

A Hidden Secret or a Lost Secret?

Although many people who dismiss the Mogul and crash-test dummy scenarios are firmly of the belief that the Air Force knows the real ET truth of Roswell and systematically hid it from one and all, that may not actually be the case.

There is always a tendency (consciously or otherwise) to dismiss out-of-hand anything that comes out of the mouth of officialdom when claims of conspiracy and cover-up abound - and sometimes with much justification, too.

But what if the USAF is as much in the dark as everyone else, and the Mogul and crash-test dummy reports were genuine attempts to turn up something solid - but that, ultimately, failed to do so?

Let's first look at things from the perspective of my Body Snatchers in the Desert book.


When I discussed the chances of actually finding official documentation to confirm the scenario as presented in my book, I was bluntly told by one of the interviewees: “I guarantee you won’t find any files on this. Those people aren’t going to leave tracks...It will have been destroyed years ago – the documents, photographs, the bodies are all gone."

And, of course, since the story as related to me was just focused upon high-altitude balloons, Japanese POWs, and gliders based on the designs of the Horten brothers, it seems reasonable to assume that there would be no real point in preserving this material for decades - there would be no point because there was nothing unique about it.

Filling a "secret hangar" with broken gliders, shredded balloons and the decaying (or even preserved) remains of Japanese people would be utterly absurd, and would serve no purpose at all - which is exactly what I was told.

Furthermore, as I was informed that questions were asked at the time about the legality of these alleged test-flights, all the documentation was said to have been destroyed decades ago to protect the guilty.

Now, it could of course be reasonably argued that I was carefully lied to, and in a fashion that was designed to make me (and other Roswell researchers) specifically think: "Well, there's nothing left to find now, so what's the point in looking?"

On the other hand, if the story as related to me was genuine - and all evidence of the events at Roswell was indeed utterly destroyed years ago to protect those involved in a series of shocking early-Cold War-era experiments - then there may well indeed be absolutely nothing left to find today, at all; aside from the memories of an ever-dwindling group of old men and women.

Even Kevin Randle acknowledged the scenario outlined above, even though he did not agree with it.


In his article Roswell Explained - Again, which appeared in Fate in September 2005, Kevin wrote:

"Redfern has suggested that his answer makes sense because he can find no documentation to support it. He reasons, with some logic, that those conducting the experiments, knowing that they were illegal, destroyed the evidence when they finished. The files were shredded, the remains of the craft were dismantled and burned, and those with knowledge were cautioned never to mention it to anyone."


Kevin continued:

"Redfern tells us that an extraterrestrial craft would not lend itself to such a cover-up. Because the biological samples (alien bodies), the craft, and its components were unique, they would be preserved so that information could be gathered from them as our technology advanced. Indeed, logic argues in favor of this scenario: destruction of everything related to the case if it was an illegal experiment and preservation if it was extraterrestrial."

So, in other words, here's where things are at: the USAF acknowledges that it could find no documentation to support the weather-balloon scenario of the summer of 1947.

It even concedes that no smoking-gun was ever found that definitively vindicated the Mogul and crash-test dummy scenarios.

And, if Roswell was indeed a classified test of the type outlined to me, then all the evidence was destroyed years ago.

So, that leaves only one chance of ever finding something tangible, and that is if Roswell was extraterrestrial.

But, even if ET did indeed have the bad-luck to slam into the ground on the Foster Ranch back in 1947, that does not mean that today's Air Force should have any real awareness of this matter - and it doesn't mean they are sitting on (and choosing to hide behind a Mogul and crash-test dummy smokescreen) countless files on alien autopsies, memory metal analysis, and crash analysis reports.

Let's say ET did crash at Roswell; that decades ago the material evidence was removed to a secure location; and that from thereon it was overseen and managed by a select group - invitation into which was, and still is, practically non-existent.

Would the Air Force of today even know?

Maybe not.

Trying to Understand the Air Force

So here's where I am at today: we should indeed be justifiably outraged and puzzled that the USAF summarily chose not to interview the various military old-timers (Cavitt and a couple of others aside) who could have shed much-welcome light on the whole affair. And there are sound reasons for dismissing the Mogul and crash-test dummy scenarios.

But, whether ET or secret-experiment, I wonder if the USAF (whether via word-of-mouth or institutional memory) secretly knows - or, perhaps more likely, secretly suspects - what actually happened at Roswell...but can't prove it, and maybe - deep down - doesn't even want to prove it.

And, as a result, rather than interview an absolute wealth of people (most of who, 15 years later, are now either deceased or in fading health) who could have answered important questions, the USAF chose not to go down the path of potentially compromising a still-active Top Secret operation (designed to hide the alien truth), or uncovering a dark, domestic Cold War secret akin to Body Snatchers, and instead elected to go with the far-less-controversial Mogul and the dummies.

Perhaps the Air Force's decision to go with Mogul and the crash-test dummies wasn't part of an effort to bury the real story, of which many believe it was hiding (and continues to hide) deep knowledge.

Perhaps the Air Force's decision not to interview Randle's sources was not prompted by some huge conspiracy. Perhaps it was all based upon fear and apprehension of what they might have found - of a truly controversial nature, terrestrial or extraterrestrial - had they dared to dig any deeper...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Manipulating the Crashed UFO Scene by Nick Redfern


Have UFOs crashed to earth?

Was Roswell "real"?

Have alien bodies been retrieved and autopsied?

Many people certainly believe so. Even I ("The Scourge Of Roswell") used to believe so.

And there's something else, too; something surprising: key elements of the official world want you to believe that UFOs have crashed. They're pleased you believe. They rub their hands together in secret glee as they congratulate themselves on a job well-done.

Yes: it's truly ironic that those same key elements may well be up to their collective necks in crashed UFO tales - but there's a possibility that none of them may have any basis in literal UFO reality whatsoever.

Instead, there is good evidence that the collective UFO research community may have been the unwitting victim of a huge con-trick; one designed to (a) hide classified military ops under a crashed UFO banner; and (b) control and manipulate a group of people (namely us) that the official world perceives as being (at times, at least) troublesome and a potential threat to national security.

So, with that said, where do we begin? Where else: the early years of the UFO, the 1940s.

Psychological Saucers

It’s worth noting (mainly because few have bothered to note it, or to understand and appreciate the significance of the matter) that one of the “Recommendations” of a lengthy Technical Report prepared by the Air Force’s flying saucer study, Project Grudge, way back in August 1949, states: “That Psychological Warfare Division and other governmental agencies interested in psychological warfare be informed of the results of this study.”

The Department of Defense’s official definition of psychological warfare is: “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.”

As the above Grudge revelations show, way back when in the formative years of Ufology, certain players were looking to understand how the subject could be used psychologically.

Saucers and the CIA

A 1952 document from then-CIA director Walter B. Smith to the Director of the Psychological Strategy Board, titled “Flying Saucers,” states:

“I am today transmitting to the National Security Council a proposal in which it is concluded that the problems connected with unidentified flying objects appear to have implications for psychological warfare as well as for intelligence and operations. I suggest that we discuss at an early board meeting the possible offensive or defensive utilization of these phenomena for psychological warfare purposes.”

According to Gerald Haines, historian for the National Security Agency and the CIA, in the early 1950s, “The CIA…searched the Soviet press for UFO reports, but found none, causing the group to conclude that the absence of reports had to have been the result of deliberate Soviet Government policy. The group also envisioned the USSR’s possible use of UFOs as a psychological warfare tool. [My italics.] In addition, they worried that, if the US air warning system should be deliberately overloaded by UFO sightings, the Soviets might gain a surprise advantage in any nuclear attack. Because of the tense Cold War situation and increased Soviet capabilities, the CIA Study Group saw serious national security concerns in the flying saucer situation. The group believed that the Soviets could use UFO reports to touch off mass hysteria and panic in the United States. The group also believed that the Soviets might use UFO sightings to overload the US air warning system so that it could not distinguish real targets from phantom UFOs.”

Significantly, the CIA Study Group “did find that continued emphasis on UFO reporting might threaten ‘the orderly functioning’ of the government by clogging the channels of communication with irrelevant reports and by inducing ‘hysterical mass behavior’ harmful to constituted authority. The panel also worried that potential enemies contemplating an attack on the United States might exploit the UFO phenomena and use them to disrupt US air defenses.”

This, in essence, is the CIA’s official stance with respect to the UFO puzzle. The CIA was most concerned about the way in which the Soviets might exploit the UFO subject as a tool of psychological warfare and spread bogus UFO accounts to clog intelligence channels.

In other words, it was not UFOs per se that particularly interested or alarmed the CIA, but the way in which the subject itself could be manipulated for other, more novel purposes.

As we shall now see, it was during these formative years that the American intelligence community began to realize how it, too might make use of the crashed UFO mystery to further muddy the waters concerning the incidents in New Mexico in 1947.

And so it was that, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, several crashed UFO tales surfaced – all of which bore the hallmarks of official involvement, both in their creation and dissemination.

The Aztec Affair


Aztec player, the notorious Silas Newton

Next to the so-called Roswell Incident of July 1947, certainly the most talked-about “UFO crash” of all is that which is alleged to have occurred in the vicinity of Aztec, New Mexico, in 1948.

According to information related to the author Frank Scully in the late 1940s, and subsequently published in his best-selling 1950 book, Behind the Flying Saucers, the wreckage of four alien spacecraft, and no fewer than 34 alien bodies, had been recovered by American authorities as a result of a number of separate incidents in 1947 and 1948, and were being studied under cover of the utmost secrecy at defense establishments in the United States.

Scully was willing to admit that the bulk of his information had come from two primary sources: Silas Mason Newton, who was described in a 1941 FBI report as a ‘wholly unethical businessman,’ and one ‘Dr. Gee’, the name given to protect eight scientists, all of whom had supposedly divulged various details of the crashes to Newton and Scully. According to Scully’s sources one such UFO was found in Hart Canyon, near the town of Aztec, in March 1948.

After the Aztec saucer had crashed, said Scully, it was found essentially intact by elements of the military that gained access to the object via a fractured porthole. Inside they found the bodies of no fewer than sixteen small, human-like creatures, all slightly charred and undoubtedly dead. The UFO was then dismantled and the bodies of the crew were transferred to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio for study.

At the time of its release, Scully’s book caused a major sensation. In both 1952 and 1953, however, J. P. Cahn, a reporter who had previously worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, authored two detailed exposes, which cast serious doubt on the claims of Newton and ‘Dr. Gee’ – identified not as ‘eight scientists’ but as one Leo Gebauer, who had a background as equally dubious as that of Newton.

Yet, as the years have shown, the Aztec crashed UFO incident refuses to roll over and die – indeed it has now spawned a whole industry.

Even today, the Aztec story continues to perplex and intrigue: a fascinating piece of documentary evidence relative to the Aztec case surfaced in the late 1990s, thanks to the late investigative author Karl Pflock – and it is one that may ultimately shed more light on the psychological warfare angle of the crashed UFO mystery.

“In 1998, under curious circumstances,” stated Pflock, “I was made privy to a fascinating document about one of the most controversial cases of the Golden Age of Flying Saucers, the so-called Aztec crash of 1948. I had little more than passing interest in the case until 1998, when a source, who insists on complete anonymity, showed me a handwritten testament, set down by the key player in this amazing, often amusing, truth-is-stranger-than-fiction episode.

“[I]t seems that what I was shown was…something penned by sly old Silas Newton, but what can we say about the veracity of its content? After the Denver Post revealed he was Scientist X, Newton received two visitors at his Newton Oil Company office in Denver. These men claimed to be with a highly secret U.S. Government entity, which they refused to name. Were they Air Force OSI agents, who Newton hyped into something more mysterious? Newton writes, ‘They grilled me, tried to poke holes in my story. Had no trouble doing it and laughed in my face about the scientific mistakes I made. They never said so, but I could tell they were trying to find out if I really knew anything about flying saucers that had landed. Did not take those fellows long to decide I did not. But I sure knew they did.’”

Pflock expands further and the tale becomes decidedly intriguing:

“Newton’s visitors told him they knew he was pulling a scam and then gave him what may have been the surprise of his life. ‘Those fellows said they wanted me to keep it up, keep telling the flying saucer story and that they and the people they worked for would look out for me and for Leo. I could just go on doing what I always did and not worry about it.’”

Pflock asks:

“Did the U.S. Government or someone associated with it use Newton to discredit the idea of crashed flying saucers so a real captured saucer or saucers could be more easily kept under wraps? Was this actually nothing to do with real saucers but instead some sort of psychological warfare operation?” [My italics.]

Klondike and the Crown

And then there is Operation Klondike. Following the collapse of Nazi Germany, several of Hungary’s national treasures, including the Crown of St. Stephen, were handed over to the United States military for safekeeping. They were duly delivered, in the early 1950s, to Fort Knox in an elaborate operation code-named Klondike. The treasure was eventually returned to Hungary in 1978.

This would be just another story of political intrigue were it not for one strange fact: according to a memorandum in the State Department, the soldiers designated to guard the treasure were told that the boxes contained “the wings and engine of a flying saucer.”

This type of misinformation may well have been common. “Is it effective?” asked researcher William Moore. “Certainly in the Klondike situation it was, because unsubstantiated stories about parts of a flying saucer being stored at Fort Knox continue to be part of the UFO crash/retrieval rumor mill to this very day. How many other similar rumors have a similar origin is anybody's guess.”

The Spitzbergen Saucer That Wasn't

For many years, tales have circulated to the effect that in the early 1950’s a UFO crashed on the island of Spitzbergen, Norway, and, under circumstances similar to those that allegedly occurred at both Aztec and Roswell, was recovered along with its deceased alien crew.

On March 22, 1968, the State Department forwarded to a host of official bodies within the American intelligence community (including the CIA, the National Security Agency and Army Intelligence) a translation of a March 12, 1968 news article titled “Flying Saucers? They’re A Myth!” that had been written by Viillen Lyustiberg, science editor of the Novosti Press Agency in Russia and that included a small mention of the Spitzbergen allegations.

The relevant section of the article stated: “An abandoned silvery disc was found in the deep rock coal seams in Norwegian coal mines on Spitzbergen. It was pierced and marked by micrometeor impacts and bore all traces of having performed a long space voyage. It was sent for analysis to the Pentagon and disappeared there.”

The CIA, Army, State Department and NSA have all declassified their files pertaining to their apparent interest in Soviet news articles on UFOs in general and the Spitzbergen event in particular.

However, the NSA’s copy of the document differs significantly from those of its allied agencies. On the NSA’s copy, someone had circled the specific section of the article that referred to the Spitzbergen crash with the word “PLANT.”

This, again, would seem to suggest that this was a faked crashed UFO story, purposefully planted by persons currently unknown but known to the all-powerful National Security Agency.

Monkeys in the Desert?


The 10th of 11 atomic-tests that comprised Operation Upshot-Knothole

And, finally, there is Kingman.

For years, interesting stories and accounts have circulated concerning the crash of a UFO at Kingman, Arizona in 1953 - and at the height of Operation Upshot-Knothole: a series of eleven nuclear test shots conducted over the border at the Nevada Test Site.

Perhaps a UFO really did crash at Kingman; however, I have uncovered files showing that in the same precise time-frame (and specifically as part of the Upshot-Knothole tests), the military was secretly test-flying drone aircraft in the area with monkeys on-board.

Might such a drone have crashed? Either by accident or design, was a crashed UFO story created to hide the security aspects of the affair?

While the image of an unmanned drone aircraft packed with a “crew” of monkeys flying across – and ultimately crashing in – the deserts of the southwest might sound laughable and bizarre in the extreme, official papers establishing that such tests were indeed undertaken have surfaced.

A document titled Early Cloud Penetration, dated January 27, 1956, and prepared by the Air Research and Development Command at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, states in part:

“In the event of nuclear warfare the AF is confronted with two special problems. First is the hazard to flight crews who may be forced to fly through an atomic cloud. Second is the hazard to ground crews who maintain the aircraft after it has flown through the cloud…In the 1953 Upshot-Knothole tests, monkeys were used so that experiments could be conducted on larger animals nearer the size of man. QF-80 drone aircraft were used, their speed more nearly approximating that of current operational aircraft.”

And that's just the 1940s and 1950s.

In the near future, I will do a follow-up post to this one that offers similar revelations pertaining to later, alleged UFO crashes.

You may disagree with me, and that is of course your right to do so. However, it seems to me that - for years - the crashed UFO community has been well and truly played, manipulated, and even controlled.

The trick to overcoming this is to throw out your belief systems and start fresh, with no preconceived ideas about crashed UFOs, and no emotion-driven need to believe in wrecked saucers, dead aliens, underground cryogenic chambers filled with ET body-parts, and all the rest.

Do that, be totally unbiased, and you may find some surprising facts about the origins of certain crashed UFO events.

Whether this will please you, dismay you, or cause you to throw out all your files and walk away from the subject remains to be seen, of course...


Project Grudge Technical Report No. 102-AC 49/15-100, Lt. H.W. Smith and Mr. G.W. Towles, Air Materiel Command, 1949.

JCS Pub 1, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs 1947-90, Gerald K. Haines, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 1, No. 1, Central Intelligence Agency.

The Day After Aztec, Karl Pflock, self-published.

Behind the Flying Saucers, Frank Scully, Henry Holt Publishers, 1950.

UFO Crash at Aztec, William Steinman & Wendelle Stevens, UFO Photo Archives, 1987.

Far Out, No. 1, 1992.

Flying Saucers? They’re a Myth! Viillen Lyustiberg.

Air Research and Development Command, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Early Cloud Penetration, 27 January 1956 .