UFO Crash in Roswell, New Mexico
When it comes to the Roswell Incident of 1947, when a UFO allegedly crashed near Roswell, NM, it is hard to separate fact from fiction or fancy. There are no two identical accounts of the incident; each differs in when the UFO crashed, when it was found, who was involved and what happened once the military was called in.
But there are a few things that can be said with certainty. Sometime in the first few days of July 1947, W.W. “Mac” Brazel and a son of a neighbor rode out to a pasture near their home in Corona, NM. There had been a thunderstorm the night before and Brazel, a rancher, wanted to check on the sheep. What they found was a debris field that stretched almost three-fourths of a mile wide. The debris consisted of fragments of metal, and upon closer inspection Brazel noticed a shallow ditch that was a few hundred feet long.
Brazel was intrigued by the uniqueness of the debris, which did not seem to burn or cut, and took a piece to show his neighbors. His neighbors, Floyd and Loretta Proctor, were also intrigued and suggested that Brazel bring it to the local sheriff. On July 6th, Brazel made the 75-mile drive to Roswell to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff George Wilcox listened to Brazel’s story, inspected the piece of debris and decided that the best course of action was to call the military. The 509th Bomb Group was called in.
Several accounts state that Senior CounterIntelligence Corps (CIC) agent Captain Sheridan Cavitt and Intelligence Officer Major Jesse Marcel were sent to investigate Brazel’s findings. Others report that Colonel William Blanchard, commander of the 509th Bomb Group, accompanied them.
On July 7th, the military representatives examined the debris in the pasture for themselves. Marcel’s recollection of the scene was that there were small bits of metal interspersed in the debris that did not burn when he held a cigarette lighter to them. Marcel also observed “weightless I-beam-like structures that were 3/8”x1/4“, none of them very long, that would neither bend nor break. Some of these I-beams had indecipherable characters along the length, in two colors.” The military men filled their vehicle with samples of the debris to return to the army base.
The next day, a press release written by Lt. Walter G. Haut, Public Relations Officer at the Roswell Army Air Field, was sent to the two local radio stations and newspapers. The release read “The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been found.” A few hours later a new release was issued retracting the first announcement, saying that “…the 509th Bomb Group had mistakenly identified a weather balloon as wreckage of a flying saucer.”
This is where the facts begin to get cloudy, accounts begin to differ and many contending theories as to what had actually happened began to develop. Most of the theories about the Roswell Incident involve a wholesale government cover-up.
One cover-up theory begins with Marcel’s return to the air field. He brought the debris in to show his commanding officer. His CO was equally baffled by the unfamiliar materials and sent Marcel to the Fort Worth Army Air Field to show his finds to General Ramey, Commanding Officer of the Eighth Air Force. Marcel laid the debris on Ramey’s desk so the general could see the mysterious metal. Ramey looked at the metal, and asked Marcel to show him on the map (located in another room down the hall) where exactly the debris had been found. Marcel did so, but when they returned to Ramey’s office the debris that Marcel had placed on the desk was gone and in its place was a weather balloon.
An equally intriguing story recounted in the cover up theory lore is that of Glenn Dennis. Dennis was a mortician at the time of the alleged UFO crash (he later went on to co-found the UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, NM). Around the time that the military began to investigate the debris field found by Brazel, Dennis received a call from the Mortuary Officer. The officer inquired about acquiring a certain type of coffin, and also how to stop the decomposition of corpses that had been laying outside for a period of time. Later that day Dennis drove to the hospital on the air base and observed what looked like metal from wreckage in an ambulance. When he stopped to chat with a nurse he knew, he was forced to leave the base. The nurse visited him the next day, and during this visit drew Davis a picture of the corpses that the coffins were needed for. A few days later, the nurse was transferred to England and never heard from again.
It is easy to get caught up in these stories of a government conspiracy to cover-up the news of a UFO crash. Intriguing as this is, there are other theories that try to explain what happened in Roswell in July of 1947. Was the debris that Brazel found actually from a top-secret spy plane that the army was developing and testing? Was it actually the wreckage from a downed Soviet spy craft? Or was it merely a weather balloon, as the Army claimed? Something did crash in Roswell and since we do not have a definitive answer about what it actually was, it is in the true sense a UFO - an Unidentified Flying Object.
For additional information click here.
Note: Links to external sites will open in new browser windows and are not endorsed by The Cold War Museum.
The Cold War Museum
P.O. Box 861526
(7142 Lineweaver Road)
Vint Hill, VA 20187