UFO Conjecture(s)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crashed Roswell Flying Saucer(s)? Not so fast...


Paul Kimball has addressed the “crashed flying saucer” scenario of Roswell several times, most recently during a Kevin Smith radio show (Wednesday, 4/15/11) and at his blog, The Other Side of Truth.


Mr. Kimball’s thesis, if we understand him correctly, is that it seems unlikely that hypothetical extraterrestrial beings, able to traverse vast reaches of the Universe, time, or other dimensions would end up crashed on Earth (near Roswell) because of a mishap.

Kimball’s view makes sense, and counters the idea posed by Anthony Bragalia (here at this blog, just below) and ourselves (also here and elsewhere) that an unfortunate confluence of events brought down a flying disk that was recovered, perhaps, at or near Roswell.

Indeed, how could an interstellar ship escape all the dynamic vicissitudes of the Universe and then end up on the desert ground of New Mexico?


Mr. Bragalia presents a well-reasoned explanation in his blog posting (below), but his conjecture flies in the face of Mr. Kimball’s contrary assessment.

One can suggest that extraterrestrial beings may have come from a planet or world where such things as lightning, radar, or meteorological maelstroms do not exist and they encountered an environment that was totally foreign to them.

(This begs the question, of course, about their reconnoitering acumen or preliminary evaluation of Earth.)

Time travelers would know about Earth’s weather patterns or its radar facilities.


Inter-dimensional travelers, on the other hand, would not, and may come from a dimensional existence that has physics totally different from ours.


Visitors from galaxies far, far away would hardly make such frequent stops at Earth, letting all the other wonders of the Universe go unvisited, as we’ve argued elsewhere.

And if they should make Earth a continual stopping point, would they do so in craft so flimsy that crashes are an inevitability?


Mr. Kimball adopts the reasonable view, but does accept the possibility of a (Mac Tonnies) crypto-terrestrial crash.


We accept that something unusual happened near Roswell in 1947, something possibly extraterrestrial or, more reasonably (for us), something involving Earth’s military arm, such as a test flight gone wrong or a missile/balloon mishap that has become configured by a contrived extraterrestrial mythology, engineered by the likes of guys named Schmitt, Moore, Friedman, Randle, Berlitz, et al.


Either way, Paul Kimball’s assessment that a crash of an advanced extraterrestrial craft seems highly improbable, and unlikely goes to common sense which is in short supply amongst UFO aficionados


  • Hi Rich,

    I would only add that I've never accepted the possibility of a "cryptoterrestrial" crash... nor have I ever accepted Mac's cryptoterrestrial hypothesis as remotely likely (although one should always leave the door open for possibilities, in the face of a mystery). What I liked about Mac's book was his way of thinking, and the questions he asked, more than the answers... which was what I liked about Mac in general. Indeed, Mac didn't accept the CT explanation for Roswell (or anything else) either, although he was willing to give it a bit more credence than I did - for him, it was all an interesting thought experiment, more a critique of the way ufologists "think" than anything else.

    Otherwise, you have it quite right. What we have with the whole crashed-flying saucer meme is bad science fiction that pre-dates even the late 1940s in the literature - aliens from space in craft remarkably similar in every way to what we have, but slightly more advanced, who come here, act much as we do, and then crash - all over the place, if you believe the stories. The truth about UFOs, I have no doubt, is far more complex and mysterious - but I certainly understand the need of many people to reduce it all down to something they can understand. That's what we humans do, after all. In this case, however, as with so many others, it's the wrong answer.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, April 16, 2011  

  • Tonnies' cryptoterrestrial view, Paul, while way out there, is more amenable to UFO mishaps than the extraterrestrial view but, I agree, it doesn't answer the Roswell mystery, which isn't much of a mystery if one examines the "mythological" hypothesis, proposed, by us and others, like Gilles Fernandez and CDA.

    That said, Bragalia's litany of possibilities for a crash is not overly silly either, in that one can see how an alien race might run into unexpected conditions, conditions foreign to their civilizations history or environment.

    Roswell, as you, I, and Redfern see it, is a diversion -- one that takes all of us away from the inherent mystery of the UFO phenomenon.

    And this blog, like others, is complicit in that diversion, sad to say.

    To paraphrase The Godfather: Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, April 16, 2011  

  • Whatever the UFO phenomena represent and the arguable materiality of 'saucers,' many come to towards a conclusion that it's steeped in secrecy and deception. The crashed saucer element of the UFO mythology involves technological craft piloted by 'folk' from 'elsewhere.' These aviators are as physical and mortal as us...if the claims of dead bodies are to be accepted.

    With this in mind, would a technology dedicated to secrecy be crashing and leaving the debris and bodies to be found by those from whom they seek to remain hidden? In the hours prior to to the Roswell 'saucer crash' being recovered, why didn't they spirit away the evidence? Perhaps they don't have a policy of 'leave no man behind?' Who knows; maybe they panicked and ran off?

    To my mind, these points leave me unable to get excited by Roswell as a saucer crash.

    Although the core story doesn't make sense to me, Jesse Marcel's video testimony appears truthful and justifies the subsequent point-counterpoint of the guys who are dedicated to defining what occurred.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Saturday, April 16, 2011  

  • One can accept that Jesse Marcel, Jr. (who was a young boy at the time), is telling his story truthfully as far as he can recall it (and as Rich has pointed out, memory is a tricky thing, something almost always ignored by Roswell as WT proponents), and still look at the Roswell case as something other than an ET-related event, which I have no doubt is the real story.

    As I said on the Smith show, Roswell exists largely because people need answers, and some people, particularly in the United States (but elsewhere in the world, too), have a propensity to accept conspiracy and anti-government narratives for everything.

    Thus has "ufology" focused largely on the cover-up narrative since its beginning with the likes of Keyhoe, an outlook which truly jumped the proverbial shark in the late 1970s when the crashed flying saucer stories (and concomitant Cosmic Watergate meme) were resurrected.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, April 16, 2011  

  • If Roswell happened, it happened, and there is some awfully compelling evidence to suggest it has. If it didn't, there are still plenty of extraordinary cases that, while they may have had prosaic explanations slapped on them, seem to defy them or any others, other than ET/ID/TT.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Sunday, April 17, 2011  

  • If Roswell happened, it happened, and there is some awfully compelling evidence to suggest it has.

    Hi Frank,

    No-one has ever suggested that the first part of your statement isn't true - of course something happened. I think it was clearly explained by the USAF back in the 1990s (yes, the dreaded Project Mogul), but I understand why people who want to believe in crashed flying saucers and government conspiracies would ignore that explanation.

    As for the second part of your statement, there is no "awfully compelling" evidence for a crashed alien spacecraft. Evidence at that standard would consist of an actual spacecraft or alien, or at the very least some real physical evidence. Over 6 decades later, there is none presented, because there is none to find.

    Agreed, which is why all of the time wasted on Roswell has been, and will continue to be, to the detriment of serious research into the actual UFO phenomenon.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Sunday, April 17, 2011  

  • Hey Paul, I've caught a couple of your recent online interviews and you've done a very nice job on those, especially with that young couple a couple weeks back. The three of you had a really nice rapport going.

    I really never looked all that closely at Roswell until maybe 9-10 months ago, and I have to say, the closer I look, the more interesting it is.

    I haven't read every page of the USAF report, but I did read Sheridan Cavitt's interview closely and honestly found him less than persuasive. AFAIK, he is the only person there who said nothing happened.

    As far as something physical, I think you have to at least consider an entire industry, titanium, springing up from nowhere a year and a half after Roswell. Anthony's work led the way on this and I think there's more to it than just the nitinol/memory metal aspect, even though that in itself is significant.

    I'd like to know who gave the specific OK on getting it started and why. I know who it should have been, HS Truman, and I also know he was very tightfisted with his military budget. It was a source of contention between him and James Forrestal.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Sunday, April 17, 2011  

  • P.S.

    Before the final paragraph of my last comment, I meant to write:

    there are still plenty of extraordinary cases that, while they may have had prosaic explanations slapped on them, seem to defy them or any others, other than ET/ID/TT.

    That's what I was agreeing with.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Sunday, April 17, 2011  

  • Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the kind words. It's always fun to do radio, particularly with charming folks like Chip and Nicole at the Mind Cemetery.

    In terms of the technological developments, the answer is simple - human ingenuity, driven by the necessities of first WWII and then the Cold War. For example, alien space brothers didn't get us to the Moon - our desire to beat the Soviets there did, and a lot sooner than people just a few decades earlier could ever have realistically imagined. I think this is the point that people with an understanding of human history miss when they say, "oh, wow, all of this stuff just popped up -it must have been ET."

    These people also ignore the fact that technological advancement has always moved an exponential rate, i.e. the more advanced you get, the faster you can make the next leap. It's a complex thing to understand, and really does require one to look at the breadth of human history and experience, and try to grasp how things have always happened. When you do, nothing about post-WWII technological advances should come as a surprise, and there is definitely nothing about them that required alien involvement or technology.

    In earlier days, people looked at God, and claimed it was Him / Her / It helping us along; now it's space aliens. I'm not saying that there is no God, or that there are no space aliens - rather, I'm saying that we don't need them to help us invent new things. We never have.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Sunday, April 17, 2011  

  • Mr. Reynolds makes a very intriguing point:

    “Inter-dimensional travelers, on the other hand, would not, and may come from a dimensional existence that has physics totally different from ours.”

    Of course I believe that such travelers are ‘ET’ in the truest sense- they are at once extraterrestrial and extra-temporal. They can traverse the cosmos and dimensions, working outside of space-time.

    It may well be that some ET’s first flights were rather like ‘swimming in glue.’ Our atmosphere, frequencies and ‘plane of existence’ may have in some way been unfamiliar to them or difficult for them to navigate.

    When man attempts to traverse new territories (i.e. the deep oceans or outer space) he is often met with challenge and with disaster…


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 18, 2011  

  • As a bewildered agnostic of edicts..
    ell, more of the explicate creating the implicate, which is a sort of exercise in magical thinking as a pun on the uncertainty of binaries.

    Which side of the coin lands face up? This coin may have ten sides or no coin we can find to flip that works for us, or at least that seems to be the case..

    From the menu of a proverbial delicatessen of possibilities, there seems to be an compulsive obsessiveness to stick with the choices we are familiar with...

    IE, ourselves. Joe said this, Bob contradicted him. His memo said this and the program said something else. Of course it did, both the post editorial search for a coherent linear narrative in Roswell as well as it's mixed message seems to be an extraordinary editorial on how we approach the incommensurable, which is the essence of social culture more than the strange quirks science is finding daily in our consensus reality.

    A magic bullet, a simple answer in our own terms and concepts. Perhaps the answer is 37. Lol. Magic persists in our attempts to domesticate it and make it a vassal of materialism..Isnt that a key characteristic of all this hubub?

    My latest failed attempt at capturing this spell is we have fallen under the sway of proverbial beekeepers. We are cross pollinating everything in sight. We bring back material to a equally proverbial hive, which is the phenomenon. The latest buzz is all the thing..hee, hee.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • Bruce, you note:

    "...there seems to be an compulsive obsessiveness to stick with the choices we are familiar with..."

    I find that some UFO mavens have invested in the primary Roswell story -- the traditional recounting.

    And they visit web-sites and blogs, puking up the same old refutations or assents, never taking on new thinking or new approaches to the story -- mining or re-mining the now banal details.

    Yo don't do this, thankfully, nor does Anthony Bragalia (pretty much).

    And Nick Redfern looks at other possibilities for Roswell.

    But everyone else? They are immersed in the stale tale, and aren't imaginative or inventive.

    This is disappointing for some of us, and represents what's wrong with the study of UFOs nowadays.

    Thanks for your obtuse views; they are priceless.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • What I see is what we are talking about is perhaps not obtuse in that this is a task for historians, and a professional historian knows that the context of events is equally or more important than the protagonists. As a history, one of the main missing protagonists in this narrative is the KGB which I have yet to read a full accounting of as we only have one side of this event. The storms in space in relation to their severity in the atmosphere is no contest and these are only the ones we are aware of. It seems reasonable to consider an inter-dimensioned craft using a complex vectoring system navigating space time would require the proverbial equivalences of spacial radar, sonar ( sensing equipment) that could and would avoid ( just as we do) entering a hazardous area. Our craft are hit by lightning thousands of times yearly. The probability of this scenario is unlikely. It precludes our own capabilities at a primitive level.
    We have gone from a manned to unmanned space shuttle, we use remote telemetry, robotic craft, deep space spectrum wave analysis at a primitive level..so here we have a advanced civilization using already outmoded techniques to do what? This is not the 1950's, and everything about Roswell is steeped in the historical context of prevailing technologies and very human ambitions dictated by their time. What is astonishing to me is that this issue is blithely bypassed. Ufology has not grown with science. period.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • This idea of venturing into new pastures sounds OK. Nick Redfern did it with his Japanese prisoners scenario and Anthony Bragalia has got stuck into Nitinol.

    However, it is worth first posing one little question: Why is this story (Roswell) a mystery at all? Why does it need 'solving'? It is similar to the Bermuda Triangle affair. Is the Bermuda Triangle a real mystery or is it purely a manufactured mystery, put together by narrators decades after the said events?

    Flight 19, for example, became a mystery only after Donald Keyhoe & Vincent Gaddis, separately, made it into one. The US Navy's investigation never concluded that it was a great mystery. It was the subsequent authors who did. You do not have to pinpoint the exact cause of every aspect of an event to explain this event satisfactorily for science. Certain murder cases remain 'unsolved' in that some aspects do not admit of an easy answer or perhaps any answer. But the murder is still solved to the satisfaction of the authorities. You can go on asking whys and wherefores about tiny details forever: why this and why that, etc.

    With Roswell we have, or had, a slight mystery for a short period. An object was found, thought at first to be a 'flying disc'. Then it was adequately explained, and that was that. 30 years later two writers came along and turned it into a big 'mystery'. What happened in the intervening 30 years? Nothing! Nobody cared one iota. Yet suddenly all hell broke loose and we have this great conundrum, plus all the hullaballoo. There are real mysteries and there are phoney mysteries. As Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, let us stick to the real mysteries, please.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • BD:

    Indeed, the Roswell "flaw" lies in that 1947 context.

    As you and Paul Kimball see it, an advanced interplanetary or interstellar traveling race would not be subject to the rather mundane vicissitudes of Earth's weather and technical apparatuses, as the alleged Roswell craft were.

    That idea was the intent of my post here.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • As a footnote, the first lightning detector was based on an electrostatic device called the 'electric chimes' invented by Andrew Gordon in 1742.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • But CDA...

    Roswell has become a mystery, even if it wasn't one initially.

    It's irritating that a few berserk "ufologists" and opportunistic writers grasped the old story and made hay with it.

    But even acknowledging that, one has to concede that a new "monster" has been created out of the pieces of the original story which was, as you note, moribund for 30 years or so.

    So one has to correct the record, either by debunking the new incarnation or forensically seeking out what really happened, if anything, in 1947 near Roswell.

    That's where we are.

    New thinking has to be applied and new hypotheticals created, if one so desires.

    Sensible folks won't bother, but those (of us) obsessed by such nonsense, if they are going to pursue the matter, have to come up with something fresh.

    Milking the old details over and over again is futile, in the extreme.

    But new ideas should be welcome by those who can't get Roswell out of their hobby box.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • CDA:

    You wrote:

    Then it was adequately explained, and that was that. 30 years later two writers came along and turned it into a big 'mystery'.

    Not quite. I believe the Roswell story was finally explained when the US government finally released the details of Project Mogul, but that was almost 5 decades after the original event (and bogus weather balloon story), and almost 2 decades after Stan et al re-discovered the story. There was absolutely a mystery that, and the US government has no-one to blame but themselves for the mess that subsequently ensued, as civilian investigators made good faith efforts to get at the truth. That their narrative was even more flawed than the original weather balloon story is understandable, given what was a false initial explanation by the USAF.

    So I don't view the period between the late 1970s and the release of the USAF report in the mid 1990s as a waste at all. It's what's happened since, when people have ignored the truth about what happened, that's been the "problem".

    However, it's a "problem" that isn't really much of a problem anymore. Roswell is a part of American cultural history now for the vast majority of people, much like bell bottom jeans, disco and grunge (to name just a few things that I recall). Even within ufology, it isn't the center of attention, beyond a few blogs and websites, and the odd book and conference. Good luck trying to pitch a Roswell doc to a network, however.

    Most people have moved on.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, April 19, 2011  

  • "I think this is the point that people with an understanding of human history miss when they say, "oh, wow, all of this stuff just popped up -it must have been ET."

    Hey Paul,
    I try never to discount what motivated people can accomplish, but look at the environment of the day. A lot of scientists/engineers thought the sound barrier could not be cracked, especially after young Dehaviland disintegrated trying to crack it over in England. People who should have known thought it was impossible until it was proved in Oct 47.

    If Roswell was an alien crash, what could have come of it? The avionics and an interstellar propulsion system would have been far beyond our needs or capabilities to implement quickly, but we could have learned some of the design properties that allow UFOs their supersonic capabilities and figured out what it was made of. When you look at the hazy birth of the titanium industry, it raises questions worth asking.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, April 21, 2011  

  • Hi Frank,

    it raises questions worth asking.

    With the greatest respect, it doesn't for me.

    People have it backwards. Prove beyond any reasonable doubt that an alien spacecraft crashed, and then we may have something to discuss.

    But you can't point to technological advancements and say, "aha - well, that's a clear sign that we used crashed flying saucer tech".

    Well, you can say it, but no-one is ever going to listen. ;-)


    P.S. There is nothing that was discovered in the years during and after WWII that was beyond our ability to discover. Nothing.

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Thursday, April 21, 2011  

  • Hey Paul,

    All this UFO stuff is a huge field, so if Roswell doesn't grab you dig into what does. That's the way it's supposed to be. I certainly don't think beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard here though. This isn't a criminal legal case, or even a civil one. It's a mystery, a curiosity, at least to me, and it's one that sits right at the heart of the aspect of UFOs that is of the most interest to me and that's UFOs during the Truman Administration. It would be intellectually dishonest for me to ignore it.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • Greetings,
    It seems that Dee Proctor is SOOOOOOOOOOOO important to understand Roswell for Nick Redfern or A. Bragalia.
    How Dee Proctor have been introduced in your Roswell myth? When he is coming in your Gospels?
    By Who? Why? WHO have introduced Dee in the Roswell myth and WHY?
    Nick Redfern, Tony Bragalia, seriously....
    Dee is the..., or like, a key...
    The KEY to understand Roswell...
    *(Waking up)*.

    Well, I hope Tony B. or Nick R. will demonstrate how Dee P. must be the KEY... as Tony or Nick are advancing.

    By Blogger Gilles. F., at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • Gilles
    Have some patience. You will be kept updated with new news on this aspect of the story.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Monday, April 25, 2011  

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