UFO Conjectures

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Roswell's Liars?


Scientific American used this in an article about Liars in America:

Mark Twain wrote more than a century ago: "Everybody lies ... every day, every hour, awake, asleep, in his dreams, in his joy, in his mourning. If he keeps his tongue still his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude will convey deception. Deceit is fundamental to the human condition."

What spurred me to look for material on liars and lying was a reference to Eli Benjamin (a pseudonym) at Kevin Randle’s blog.

The citation was a YouTube video of Eli Benjamin claiming to Richard Dolan that he (Benjamin) had transported alien bodies from the alleged 1947 Roswell flying disk crash.

Here’s the video link:

Does Mr. Benjamin seem credible? Yes, he does, in a way. (His response to Mr. Dolan is hesitant, but that is to be expected, as what he alleges he saw would still provide a traumatic aftermath, even sixty years later.)

While we have always, like Gilles Fernandez and CDA,  had caveats about Roswell witness memory, we have to ask, Were and are such witnesses sociopathic liars, one and all?

Is or was there a confluence of deceit endemic to Roswell residents?

Could there be so many liars (or mentally confused) concentrated in that one area of the United States?

Mark Twain would have  thought so, but is such a concentration of memory-challenged or outright liars possible, for the Roswell vicinity?

That so many persons would be memory corrupt or out-and-out liars seems statistically outlandish.

Is their a psychological mechanism that could account for overwhelming deception or confabulation?

Yes, mass hysteria, which we’ve addressed a number of times, earlier here and elsewhere.

But even such an etiology for a massive memory flaw or outright deception, despite Twain’s observation, strikes us as improbable, unlikely, if one accepts the general decency of people.

Looking at Roswell witness testimony through the lens of ufology skews our acceptance of that testimony.

Ufologists, by and large, alter Roswell or UFO witness testimony by virtue (or vice) of their biases and ineptitude.

Ufologists are not professional interviewers or even have journalistic acumen, generally. They have corrupted witness testimony with leading questions and stupidly considered preferences that they’ve brought to the table when interviewing Roswell or UFO witnesses.

Kevin Randle’s book about his early years as a UFO researcher or investigator provides ample evidence, first-hand acknowledgement of the botched vicissitudes of UFO interviewing.

CDA has often noted how Stanton Friedman seems to have corrupted the early Marcel story.

And even in the Benjamin YouTube video, you can see how Richard Dolan leads Benjamin to a story of extraterrestrial alien bodies on medical gurneys.

So, objective observation of Roswell or UFO testimony is warped by the messy interviewing of incompetent ufologists.

But that aside, is it possible that all of the Roswell stories are faked or were/are conceived by influences of a hysterical kind?

It seems unlikely but isn’t impossible.

The matter needs a thorough examination or a total dismissal if one is satisfied that the whole Roswell story stems from a relatively minor incident that has mushroomed into a mythos that is so ingrained in the American psyche that it matters not what the reality or truth is.

For us, the UFO mystery transcends Roswell. It, the UFO enigma, is akin to, but much more than, what Carl Jung saw it as.

Jung was on the right track, but didn’t go into the matter quite as much as it required.

After all, Jung, like all sensible persons, knew that UFOs were and are peripheral to life, in the practical, meaningful sense.



  • Rich, a good post! You've tentatively underscored key points in the "investigative" process: PAST RESEARCHER have effectively poisoned the witness well! I see this constantly in the cases that have interest me ie, Hastings and Salas Malmstrom claims.

    People see and hear things, but in what context?

    It's been my personal experience (when on active duty in AF) that the rumor mill is/was most active minus facts. Would not be surprising with Roswell.

    As far as Roswell, can anything be had after 60 years of trampling on the perceived evidence and witnesses trotted out on a frequent basis to support old and new theories and with the story line changing with the wind?

    At least with the JFK conspiracy theories we have half baked theories attempting to show LBJ cavorting with strippers and hookers whispering his allegedly involvement. Could Roswell be that far...?

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Sunday, September 09, 2012  

  • My theory on lying (totally non-scientific) is that there must be something in it for the person who fibs. You intend to gain some advantage or prevent some embarasement. Now at least some of these old Roswell servicemen with alleged first-hand experiences don't seem to have any obvious reason to lie. Most come forth very reluctantly; they tell their stories very quietly and matter of fact; many don't even want their name mentioned. Surely there is no money in it for them. Some appear fearful as if, after all of this time, something bad could still happen if they talk. Could they be lying? Sure. Could they have misunderstood what they claim to have seen? Absolutely; that can't be ruled out. But their insistence on the fact they they had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and were warned not to talk is, perhaps, indicative of truth as they understand it.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Sunday, September 09, 2012  

  • The literature on lying, Dominick, has examples of lies without any overt reason for doing so.

    It's a psychopathology.

    But could so many persons, veterans among them, be pathological? It seems unlikely.

    However, the fear of losing pensions is a cop-out, addressed by Tony Bragalia and us earlier here.

    The psycho-social element in the Roswell witness oeuvre needs a real study by professionals, not UFO tyros (or us).


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, September 09, 2012  

  • The Roswell cast of characters continues to remain fluid. The existence of some can’t be verified (the autopsy nurse), but their hearsay stories are accepted as true. Some come forward in their twilight years with deathbed confessions or books (the latter always raising suspicion as to motive). Others have been discredited by the very Ufologists who originally supported them.

    I agree Roswell is a sociological/anthropological/psychological (not extraterrestrial) phenomenon. Its waters were tainted almost 40 years ago now with the resurrection of a long forgotten military misidentification by overzealous, and in some cases, downright batty Ufologists seeking The Holy Grail (or extra cash).

    How much the questionable behavior of said Ufologists has influenced, over time, the beliefs and faulty memories of current and former denizens of both the base and the town seems a very valid study question; one that you correctly reason should be tackled by a social science discipline and totally divorced from Ufology.

    Roswell continues to remind me of some aboriginal community that has tailored its folklore to meet the expectations of the anthropologists who’ve come to study it – an example of the participant observer phenomenon.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Sunday, September 09, 2012  

  • PG:

    You provide a brilliant veneer to the whole Roswell story.

    Your commentary is right on the mark!



    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, September 09, 2012  

  • RR:

    Much of what you said is addressed in the book by Saler, Ziegler and Moore. It shows how the myth grows. In the Roswell case it doesn't really matter how many 'witnesses' there are or were. The thing you can guarantee is that the passage of time has eradicated much of their memory. This is coupled with lots of incentive to be 'part of the story' decades later, and hence embellish things. It need not be for monetary gain at all.

    There comes a time when these people, despite being sincere, are confabulating what they knew at the time (which may be nothing at all) with what they have heard on the rumor mill many years later. And the more the books, articles, films and TV/radio shows appear, the more gossip they pick up and expand upon. If so-and-so wasn't there, then a friend or relative was, and if this friend or relative was not actually there then his son, daughter or maybe another friend was, and so on.

    And anyone in the military always has the perfect excuse for his own failing memory - he was sworn to secrecy. And so he was, but in much more general terms about his service. (There is no clause dealing with ET visits, either then or now!)

    Someone relating something they thought they saw or heard about, in say, 1947 or 1948, is in reality relating something they first heard of post-1978 when the story 'took off' as it were.

    But the book above covers most of this, and more.

    One day, maybe (and it's a big maybe) someone qualified person will produce a book entitled "Roswell, the Anatomy of a Myth". However, don't expect it to sell any copies at this late stage. Which is why no-one is likely to undertake such a task.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Christopher:

    Yes, there often is no real incentive to lie except to get that Warholian 15 minutes of fame.

    What is baffling to me is the large amount of persons so inclined to lie or confabulate, all in one small, inconsequential geographic area.

    It's a kind of epidemic, like that at Salem in the 1700s or the convent in Loudun (1634).

    The tulip craze (1637) that wiped out speculators also comes to mind as an "incident" where people just lost their senses.

    But, as you surmise, Roswell is on the backburner for science and academia, even the U.S. military.

    It's only alive because of a few Roswell die-hards (Kevin Randle, David Rudiak among them....and us to a much smaller extent I'm sorry to admit.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • The reason why so many lied or confabulated within one geographical area is that this area was the area covered by the investigators. Had these investigators concentrated on, say, the Mantell affair, they would have located just as many such 'witnesses' in Kentucky & Tennessee as they did in NM (probably more).

    Here is one example: Melvin Brown. He is living in London in the late 1970s, married to a British woman.

    He comes across an article in a tabloid reviewing the Roswell Incident book. He then shouts to his two daughters "I was there!". Yes, he served at Roswell covering the '47 period. HE WAS THERE! He recalls it all, he saw the bodies, recalls the stench, etc. (Never mind that he was long ago sworn to secrecy about it). He can tell his kids, surely.

    Therefafter, unable to contain himself, he tells the whole tale to his daughters, in several stages, full of a lot of padding and embellishment. Then one day one daughter tells an interviewer (I forget which) that her dad actually began telling this tale soon after the moon landings, i.e. long before this book review ever appeared. The story has thus mushroomed. The two sisters differ on some of the details, but so what? HE WAS THERE! is the important thing. And forever after, he always will 'have been there'.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Guys, the story is "alive" for a number of good reasons, not the least of which is that the Army/Airforce itself said that it had captured a flying saucer! Has it ever said that before or since? And then, as RR says, we have this interesting case of "geographic confabulation" among service people with no obvious reason to support an ET story. Hysterical young girls in Salem, with obvious incentives to lie, hardly correlates with what happened (allegedly) with professionals at the only nuclear air base in 1947.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • CDA:

    The tentacles of hysteria reach far.

    The need to be noticed, to exist in a notable way, has become a part of society.

    Appearing on television, even only to wave at a camera, vindicates one's existence.

    Some of the more blatant ufologists need vindication as much (or more) than the hoi polloi.

    Roswell gives them that, they think.

    "Being in Roswell" as a participant or researcher makes one a part of history....a bogus history, surely, but at least something.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Here is an alternate scenario that came to mind based on Vallee's hypothetical opinion of what occurred at Rendlesham that is somewhere between the truth and a lie. His opinion is that all of those involved were intentionally hoaxed by the military. He saw this as a test as well as experiment in regard to the performance of their duties. I find this doubtful but somewhat interesting.
    However, the idea that if you are going to plant the idea that something was captured when it was not, it would be akin to a staged play with only a comparatively very few "in the know" Witnesses were intentionally deceived which explains their claim of seeing things that have no evidential anchor in the actual event. They were not lying, and they were not telling the truth. Again, I think this was staged to ferret out the heavily infiltrated ( at that time) U.S intelligence network, and I have little doubt that the "legendary" counter espionage maven, J.A Angleton, if anyone knew or pulled the strings, he certainly knew about it. I think the wrong questions are being asked.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Dominick:

    Your point about the Army Air Force putting forth that Press Release stating it captured a "flying disk" is an intriguing element of the Roswell story....the progenitor, and a good one, for a concrete reality.

    We've dealt with this, over the years, that PR thrust, and find it fascinating.

    No one has adequately answered why Haut's release designated that a flying disk was found.

    It comes out of the blue, literally even.

    Something happened near Roswell in 1947; something out of the ordinary.

    What that was remains unclear.

    Perhaps Kevin Randle's "Dream Team" will uncover the real incident.

    That said, one has to deal with the memories and accounts of witnesses; accounts that don't gel or are obvious confabulations, mixed in with, maybe, bona fide memories or testimony.

    The incident is so muddied, however, that getting at the core truth -- whatever it may be -- is daunting in the extreme.

    Roswell is a UFO itch that seem immune to alleviating scratching.

    It buggers many, including me, but I can let it go completely if need be -- or so I think....


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    The mish-mash of 1947, known as the Roswell incident, is too much like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta to be a covert staging by U.S. intelligence (an oxymoron, certainly).

    The whole episode, initially, is farcical on its face.

    That it became even more silly after 1978, when UFO investigators got their hands on it, adds to the merriment.

    You give to much credence to agencies that have a reputation for botching their creative endeavors; the Bay of Pigs comes to mind.

    Something happened near Roswell, and it wasn't an ET accident or an intelligence scenario gone astray.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • I always love Purlgirrl's comments!

    Some nice discussion above from everyone.



    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • "No one has adequately answered why Haut's release designated that a flying disk was found."

    This is the fault of the original investigators Moore and Friedman, nobody else.

    Assuming Haut's memory was still OK after 32 years (a big assumption) the very first question they should have put to him was: "Why did you issue this release saying a flying disc had been found?" He could then have replied: "Because I was told to", or something similar.

    Perhaps they did ask him but we have never seen his response. The problem is that both initial investigators had by then got it into their heads that something ET had crashed. So their interview was biased towards that. Haut had never seen the object anyway.

    So you are right: we still don't know the answer, but a very likely answer is that the base wanted to be the 'firstest with the mostest', or a rush to judgment, i.e. after 2 weeks of sightings to be the first with the news that an actual flying disc had been captured. Marvellous publicity. And why not? Anyway, that is my answer.

    But that is certainly NOT the answer you'll get from ET diehards.
    Oh no, it is much more complicated than that, involving decoys, shills, cover-ups and goodness knows what.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Hello,

    Very interesting comments! (at least for my modest person ^^).

    I share at 100% that for me, Saler, Ziegler & Moore book " UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth" is THE unescapable book to read regarding Roswell, mainly cause the approach taken (a different perspective, paraphrasing and playing with Kevin's blog title).
    There is my book too, probably better, but well, only in French (auto-derision and joking, of course, friends).

    Around two years before, Paul Kimball "exhumed" an very rare 2001 interview he made with Miter Benson Saler. Magnific gift I think for the fellow interested by the controversy. I enjoyed it! Here for the part one: http://tosot.podbean.com/2010/04/24/benson-saler-roswell-and-the-making-of-a-modern-myth-part-i/

    Secondly, I'am "amazed" too by how the interview protocoles are (and were) conduced by the investigators. It is not only for an hyper-criticism purpose, but seriously, that's not how Historians, Ethnologists, Criminologists, etc conduce an interview with potential witnesses. Mister Dolan one with Mister E. Benjamin is one of them. That's awesome... No, that's ufology.

    For two years at least, I defend and promote the "Cognitive Interview" technic, at least to minimize several well known effects potentialy biaising and ruining interview, and this in several UFO French places. ie: here concerning possible lyers or pranksers (it is Rich blog entry purpose, no?) :

    For Roswell, it is too late of course, at the decharge of the invstigators. But it could be great if "field ufologists" take a look on such technic(s) for future cases, because, without offense, when they produce the whole interview, we can say it have been badly conduced (ie question - inconsciously - guiding to whished answer, inconscious reinforcements, etc). A disaster!
    Without offense too, it seems we have already discussed this point when Mister Anthony Bragalia produced "Alfred O’Donnell" interview, the Annie Jacobsen's Source.

    //aly, I should give many cents to have been a little Mouse watching when Mister Friedman approached Jessie Marcel, and to follow the different pre-book release meetings, the different interactions, the phone conversations, what is quoted, what is not quoted, etc. Ho yes, it could be something.

    Well nothing new under the Sun: I have the impression to repeat what was already "co-signed", "co-debatted" in our past blog "debates".

    Christopher wrote better than me, as I think we are "channeling" together - sic - regarding this particular aspect of the Roswell myth and "witnesses" (However, it is a pity he is a Brit ^^).

    I wait modestly and with patience the new "findings" of our famous Roswell DreamTeam, reading time to time the "news" in Kevin Randle's blog, Tony one's too. Or here.

    But to be frank, I have a strange "dejà-vu" impression.

    I think the "solution" (if it comes a definitive one a day, I doubt of it) will not come from these protagonists of the so-called DreamTeam with all due respect.

    For example, Robert Todd considered it was PROBABLY in one of two files containers destroyed cause the burning of Saint-Louis Archives in 1963 (sorry by memories only, not sure of the date). I mean that maybe a day, historiographical documents will surfaced. Who knows?

    All the best from here,


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Thanks, Gilles...

    Don't make too much of CDA being a Brit; his country took on France a while back (1415) and subsumed the culture. (You are actually a Brit, with a different accent.)

    Stanton Friedman has always been too enthusiastic about the ET explanation for UFOs (and Roswell, of course).

    His objectivity is nil....a great guy, just not really containing a scientific mind.

    I'm just now re-reading Jung's Modern Man in Search of a Soul, and have found some things apropos of UFOs and Roswell, although neither cited specifically, of course.

    I'll provide thoughts upcoming...,


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • RR:

    Yes indeed the great (?) Battle of Agincourt.


    You can take it as 100% certain that soon after Friedman first spoke to Marcel on the phone he supplied him with loads of his research papers on UFOs, all ET biased of course. Probably followed up with other pro-ET material.

    But you will NOT find mention of this in Friedman's own papers or books. Strange isn't it?

    I have no doubt that STF supplied each and every witness he interviewed with his ET-biased UFO papers.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Friedman, among others, corrupted the UFO data base and witness testimony, inadvertently of course, but the result is the same: contaminated memories, stories, and interpretations.

    This is the "tragedy" of Roswell and UFOs generally.

    Inept UFO "investigators" placing a spin on UFO events and sightings that had nothing to do with the enigma itself, intrinsically.

    UFO purists are chagrinned.

    Skeptics are appalled.

    And the corrupters go about their lives unchastened and sainted by sycophants,


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Christopher,

    For your poor knowledge, 1415 Agincourt battle is ONLY a fictional battle in order to serve William Shakespeare's Henry V play. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely accidental... (ôô)

    More seriously, yes. I'm led to believe that STF provided/supplied many his personal view on the question and I have been always interested to have cue, notes etc. regarding such pre-book released interactions between Jesse Marcel etc. and STF team. I dream...

    We could remember again, ie and among other things, Jesse Marcel was in first page of the Roswell newspaper when he served, but he have had no one "clipping" when STF approached him for an event of its "magnitude" (to follow the Roswell's mythmakers version/hypothesis), no one personnal pre-1978 notes, diary, records. NADA.
    It is the same for many (all) the Roswell witnesses...

    Wait? I think our DreamTeam could invoke ad hoc a sort of Freudian Psychological Repression due how the event was so traumatic for them, Jesse was moked and humiliated by the Evil Roger M. Ramey, after all (following the ETH proponents version).

    I think it was Ziegler who wrote in the book cited previously:

    "The central motif of the Roswell myth is that a Malevolent Monster (The Gouvernment) has sequestered an item essential to Humankind (wisdom of transcendental nature, ie., evidence based knowledge that we are not alone in the Universe). The culture Hero (the ufologist) circumvents the Monster and (by investigatory process) releases the essential item (Wisdom) for Humanking."



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, September 10, 2012  

  • Rich
    As I said I was doubtful about Vallee's speculations on the Rendlesham incident, does not equate to that I think they suffice for Roswell. Pathological lying is seldom compartmentalized to one confabulation ( Roswell ) versus lying about this or that easily. That is to say unless one has a reason to misdirect the listener based on wanting outcome A instead of B. While we disagree as to the counter intelligence nature of the event, mine is only a suspicion based on the sort of games being played then and now in the name of "national interest" which is not a will of the wisp. Secrets can be kept and those which still remain classified are in thousands yearly( as the late Sen Patrick Moynihan examined in his book "Secrecy") as this climate and mindset go all the way back to WW2. Roswell is most likely to be a strictly terrestrial game that was played those who had very vested interests in the Cold War. Now you see it now you don't. Plausible deniability and planting a maybe seems to be the point..Oops we were mistaken about extraterrestrial craft, it was a balloon. I think everyone swallowed the same red pill meant for those "dirty commies." Maybe not.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, September 12, 2012  

  • Bruce,

    I just find it hard to believe that such inane machinations took place and take place, although I know they have and do.

    As Shakespeare's Puck said, "What fools these mortals be."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 12, 2012  

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