A Curious Incident
An unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, sometime during the first week of July 1947. Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel said later he found debris from the crash as he and the son of Floyd and Loretta Proctor rode their horses out to check on sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. Brazel said that as they rode along, he began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal debris scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, he said, he saw a shallow trench several hundred feet long had been gouged into the ground. Brazel said he was struck by the unusual properties of the debris and, after dragging large pieces of it to a shed, he took some of it over to show the Proctors. Mrs. Proctor, who later moved from the ranch to a house closer to town, said she remembers Brazel showing up with the strange material. The Proctors told Brazel he might be holding wreckage from an alien spacecraft — a number of UFO sightings had been reported in the United States that summer — or a government project, and that he should report the incident to Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox.
A day or two later, Brazel drove into Roswell, the county seat, and reported the incident to Wilcox, who reported it to Maj. Jesse Marcel, intelligence officer for the 509th Bomb Group, stationed at Roswell Army Air Field. In their book, A History of UFO Crashes, UFO researchers Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle say their research shows military radar had been tracking an unidentified flying object in the skies over southern New Mexico for four days. On the night of July 4, 1947, radar indicated the object had gone down about 30-40 miles northwest of Roswell. The book says eyewitness William Woody, who lived east of Roswell, said he remembered being outside with his father the night of July 4, 1947, when he saw a brilliant object plunge to the ground. The debris site was closed for several days while the wreckage was cleared, and Schmitt and Randle say that when Woody and his father tried to locate the area of the crash they had seen, Woody said they were stopped by military personnel who ordered them out of the area.
Schmitt and Randle say Marcel, after receiving the call from Wilcox and subsequent orders from Col. William Blanchard, 509th commanding officer, went to investigate Brazel’s report. Marcel and Capt. Sheridan Cavitt, senior Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) agent, followed the rancher off-road to his place. They spent the night there and Marcel inspected a large piece of debris Brazel had dragged from the pasture. Monday morning, July 7, Marcel took his first step onto the debris field. Marcel would remark later that “something … must have exploded above the ground and fell.” As Brazel, Cavitt and Marcel inspected the field, Marcel was able to “determine which direction it came from, and which direction it was heading. It was in the pattern … you could tell where it started out and where it ended by how it was thinned out …”
According to Marcel, the debris was “strewn over a wide area, I guess maybe three-quarters of a mile long and a few hundred feet wide.” Scattered in the debris were small bits of metal that Marcel held a cigarette lighter to to see if it would burn. Along with the metal, Marcel described weightless “I”-beam-like structures that were three-eights inch by one-quarter inch, 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. Marcel also described metal debris the thickness of tinfoil that was indestructible. After gathering enough debris to fill his staff car, Marcel decided to stop by his home on the way back to the base so he could show his family the unusual debris.
Under hypnosis conducted by Dr. John Watkins in May 1990, Jesse Marcel Jr. remembered being awakened by his father that night and following him outside to help carry in a large box filled with debris. Once inside, they emptied the contents of the debris onto the kitchen floor. Jesse Jr. described the lead foil and “I”-beams. Under hypnosis, he recalled the writing on the “I”-beams as “Purple. Strange. Never saw anything like it … different geometric shapes, leaves and circles.”
Meanwhile, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon from the RAAF morgue. The base’s mortuary officer was trying to get hold of some small, hermetically sealed coffins and also wanted to know how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for a few days and avoid contaminating the tissue. Dennis later said that evening he drove to the base hospital, where he saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. He entered the hospital and was visiting with a nurse he knew when suddenly he was threatened by military police and forced to leave.
The next day, Dennis met with the nurse, who told him about bodies discovered with the wreckage and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few days she was transferred to England; her whereabouts remain unknown.
UFO or Fiction?
So what’s the truth? We’re not sure where we stand on the issue, but either way, the museum will be lots of fun!
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