UFO Conjectures

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.


  • Charleston was once the rage, uh huh
    History has turned the page, uh huh
    The mini skirts the current thing, uh huh
    Teenybopper is our newborn king, uh huh

    The beat goes on, the beat goes on
    Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
    La de da de de, la de da de da

    The grocery store's the super mart, uh huh
    Little girls still break their hearts, uh huh
    And men still keep on marching off to war
    Electrically they keep a baseball score

    The beat goes on, the beat goes on
    Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
    La de da de de, la de da de da

    Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce
    Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss
    The cars keep going faster all the time
    Bums still cry "hey buddy, have you got a dime"

    The beat goes on....

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, May 28, 2009  

  • Fascinating stuff, Nick.

    By Blogger Mac, at Thursday, May 28, 2009  

  • Thanks for the info Nick.

    The fact that the dates match up is very interesting.

    By Blogger Unknown, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • The time line involved with research and development of Nitinol, together with all other facts connected to Roswell, represent proof positive. Are you suggesting Mac Brazel's account of finding the strange foil with memory properties was part of the government's attempt to smoke out a Soviet spy? This country has executed people on lesser evidence than that involved with the Roswell crash. The great number of coincidences far exceed the bounds of plausibility for it to be anything other than a crashed craft from which we gleaned much technical info.

    By Blogger sigeweald, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • sigeweald:

    Nope, I'm not suggesting at all that the 1947 event at Roswell itself had anything to do with smoking out a Soviet mole in the early 1960s.

    What I'm saying (or, rather, the source is saying) is that a spurious crashed UFO story was created in the early 1960s, in which Nitinol was used to try and convince certain players that the technology was from a crashed UFO.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • Tony Bragalia's story depends on two non-existent documents. Nick Redfern's story depends wholly on an anonymous Colonel. But Nick admits the Colonel's story may be disinformation. Tony led us to expect a new book (by him). Instead it is to be merely a new chapter in someone else's book.
    Now you know why some of us despair over Roswell....

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • Christopher [CDA]:

    We (you and I and a few others) despair about or over Roswell because the darn incident continues to be totally elusive, no matter how many "discoveries" show up.

    Something happened at Roswell, but that something is so botched by all the mucking around, that despair is appropriate, for sure.

    Mr. Bragalia, however, may have more to impart, so we may get another clue.

    And Nick Redfern isn't quite through with Roswell yet, so maybe he'll come up with something worthwhile.

    But you and I shouldn't hold our collective breaths.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • CDA/Rich:

    You're absolutely right: Roswell is something that creates despair - purely because it will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

    I try and remain open-minded as to if I was told the truth or deceived.

    But the fact is that the UFO community will accept NO answer for Roswell, the ETH aside.

    You may have seen my article comparing Roswell to the Jack the Ripper saga - namely, no matter what comes along, it will never provide a definitive, provable and undeniable answer.

    I'll keep looking, but I'm a realist, and have little faith at all that we will ever be able to put Roswell to rest - or have an actual answer that finally everyone agrees on.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • The post by Nick Redfern is also very coherent with what is known about "big picture." The Navy was actively engaged in using the UFO story to discredit the Air Force as part of an ongoing inter-service rivalry for funding, particularly acute between the end of WWII and the early phases of the Vietnam War. For more please see an excellent article by Robert P. Horstemeier available online at: http://www.sdonline.org/42/horstemeier.htm

    Eric Ouellet


    By Blogger Eric Ouellet, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • Eric:

    The U.S. Navy has always been at the heart of the UFO mystery -- as a researching unit and/or an instigator.

    Ufologists have errantly focussed on the Air Force.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 29, 2009  

  • Hi,
    Here is a further, more cogent explanation of my immediate reaction to this post by placing a circular set of lyrics in the context of history... as the critical assumptions toward as to why Roswell remains a enigmatic ruse is perhaps off kilter, as it is not UFOs in of themselves at all, but rather the concept of the technology as it was presented in relation to it's historical context, which infers to me a counter intelligence operation.


    Best Wishes

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, May 30, 2009  

  • [From an e-mail, 6/3/09]:

    To the editor

    If you require more detailed information about the nitinol-Roswell connection from the Australian researcher who conducted this work, please visit:


    The work from this researcher was used in the making of Anthony Bragalia’s chapter in Witness to Roswell (2009).

    If you have questions about this aspect of the research, please do not hesitate to contact us.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, June 03, 2009  

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