Archive for the ‘historical’ category

History’s Greatest Mysteries, Roswell: Parts 2 & 3

January 2, 2021


Happy New Year, intrepid explorers!  History’s Greatest Mysteries on the History channel has now devoted three episodes to their investigation of the Roswell incident in 1947, and for the sake of conciseness and brevity, I’m going to combine discussion of S1, Ep. 6 and 7 here, as they represent fully four hours of airtime.


The second episode in the series (S1 Ep. 6) was titled, Roswell: The First Witness – The Memo. The investigation by History Channel was headed by former CIA operative Ben Smith, who did provide some new or at least lesser known information. For one thing, two sites are involved in the Roswell incident, one the “debris field” on the rancher’s land, and the other an impact site 25 miles away where the alleged UFO finally came to rest after “skimming” the intervening distance like a stone in a damaged condition. The impact site is where it really gets interesting as there were said to be both debris and alien bodies located there.  General Ramey referred to in the episode title is seen in photos as holding a folded memo that may have referenced bodies recovered.


Now Jesse Marcel, the first government witness on the site, claimed in a 1980 TV interview that he had been forced to lie about Roswell. A body language expert consulted on the footage did not find Jesse Marcel’s testimony to be deceptive, and said that he believed what he was saying. Other officers have testified as well to the presence of alien bodies, which were spirited away by the government to Hanger 84. The Ballard Funeral Home in the area contended to have provided three child-sized coffins for the transport of said remains, but were rebuffed in their efforts for further information. The military attributed a disc supposedly recovered as a misidentified Mogul weather balloon, and this remains the standard official explanation.


Jesse Marcel’s journal was found by a handwriting specialist not to be written by Jesse himself, yet it was considered important enough to him that it was carefully preserved for decades among his possessions. Cryptographers failed to discern any decipherable “code” in the journal, although the presence of a private encryption code remains possible, one which may have been developed by and was known to only someone in Jesse’s “inner circle” in the 509th bomber group. Efforts to identify who that person might have been were stymied by limited samples of handwriting available known to be that of specific people; in some cases, only a signature was available and confirmed.

The third episode in the series (S1 Ep7) titled Roswell: The First Witness – The Writer looked at the interactions of Jesse Marcel with his family and others that he trusted, revealing that he told the same story with the same details to such individuals. He was open with his grandchildren and cousins, and even drew a picture of an alien that he had supposedly seen. That picture did not survive, but a family member drew a picture of the picture, the image resembling a classic “alien gray.”  Pieces of debris had reportedly been stashed in a water heater in the house that Jesse occupied at the time, but that house has since been sold outside of the family, and its new owners would not permit inspection of the property when approached by the investigative team; one can hardly blame them.  Upon viewing the debris field wreckage, Jesse repeatedly told others that it was “not of this world.”

The final episode also incorporated consultations with an accident site investigator, who felt that whatever crashed into the terrain wasn’t lightweight, and that “scarring” of the ground observed couldn’t have come from a weather balloon. Strange magnetic signatures were found in the area of the crash site, which could have been caused by a plastic or neoprene layer, which would favor the weather balloon explanation. Alien “bodies” and their removal reported by local people had been explained away by the government as experimental crash test dummies dropped from aircraft to research pilot exit and survival procedures.

A private but earnest UFO investigator in New Mexico who had studied the phenomena for 20 years contended that seven UFO crashes had occurred in the general area over several years due to high powered radar in use in the area by the military base that caused short circuits or something similar in the unknown craft.  His father had owned the bar where the rancher had initially come following discovery of the debris on his fields. The private investigator had joined a team combing the sites in question and had samples of unknown debris, but a piece taken for analysis could not be determined to be otherworldly. 


While it could not be conclusively determined who wrote the journal possessed by Jesse Marcel, the base adjutant Patrick Saunders seemed to be a likely candidate. He was in charge of assigning troops to clean up the debris field, and his daughter when interviewed said he knew that the debris wasn’t a weather balloon. Her father was also described as being involved in the subsequent cover-up and even file alteration.


Why then had so many people possibly participated in apparent misrepresentations and a cover-up? Government threats reported to their careers, safety, and even families were powerful motivators. Military people tend as well to have a strong sense of duty, of obeying superiors, and of protecting the country. As Jesse Marcel is reported to have repeatedly said, “there are things that this world is not ready for.” 

While no physical evidence of a UFO incursion or any “smoking guns” were found in the investigation, regardless of personal beliefs one is left with the impression that many key players in the Roswell incident carried a great and terrible secret about which they were both troubled and conflicted…

 

History’s Greatest Mysteries – Roswell: The First Witness – The Journal

December 15, 2020


The History’s Greatest Mysteries series is for me a mixed bag, with some episodes being captivating, and others less so unless you have a riveting personal interest in the topic under consideration such as D.B. Cooper or John Wilkes Booth.  The individual episodes are all rather expanded by most television standards for similar fare, clocking in at a movie-length two hours. Still, when the topic gets around to possibly new information on Roswell, the mother of all UFO sagas, my interest is definitely piqued, and I’m along for the ride.  That ride began with the Season 1, Episode 5 episode of History’s Greatest Mysteries titled, Roswell:  The First Witness – The Journal.

While what happened that July morning in 1947 in New Mexico will likely always be controversial and probably unknowable, we are left with the fact of rancher Bill Brazel finding his field littered with a massive amount of strange and unusual wreckage.  He wondered whose responsibility it would be to clean the wreckage up, and noted that his livestock avoided the debris field.  We animals have instincts about such things, ‘ya know! The rancher presented some of the wreckage to sheriff George Wilcox, who suggested reporting it to the military.

The first official military man on the crash scene was Jesse A. Marcel, an intelligence officer, who privately is reported to have thought that the debris was not of this world, and showed pieces of it to his wife and son, apparently retaining some.  The metal pieces were light but strong, and had shape-retaining characteristics when efforts were made to crush them.  Fiber optic-type filaments were also recovered that were unknown at the time, as were I-beam items with strange, hieroglyphic-type inscriptions on them. While the local authorities initially leaked stories that the military had a “disc” in its possession, the story was soon recanted and replaced by a government military version that the wreckage was nothing more than fragments of a weather balloon.  Jesse Marcel was reportedly sworn to secrecy by the military, and forced to participate in a cover-up.  Local residents were also reportedly warned to keep quiet about the incident or be charged with treason; surviving locals of the time continue to be tight-lipped, but generally convey that there’s more to the incident than the official account; they won’t talk, but will give you under the table a name of someone who will.  Mac Brazel, the son of the rancher, was said to have been forced to give up what crash debris he possessed, and to keep quiet or face imprisonment.  Agents appearing for retained debris reportedly said they wouldn’t take it from the family, but wouldn’t leave without it.  

Now Jesse Marcel kept a private handwritten journal which was cryptic, with speculation made that it may have held coded clues as to what actually transpired in the Roswell investigation.  The History Channel investigative team led by Ben Smith, a former CIA operative, consulted a forensic document examiner, who found that the document was genuine, and entirely written by Marcel. 

Using a magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar, team geophysicists investigated the Roswell debris field scene, finding a patch of ground with a high magnetic reading, a distinct anomaly. In a future upcoming episode, possible hidden clues in the journal and other questions regarding the Roswell incident will be further considered.  The History Channel investigation is hampered by incident details being strewn over three generations of people, with many key players being deceased and hard evidence not available. Whatever beliefs one may have about the veracity of the government’s account of Roswell, the eyes of Jesse Marcel as he poses with the “weather balloon wreckage” in the vintage photograph below appear to speak volumes…