The story I was telling family about Thanksgiving. This would make a great crypto-puzzle if I can track down the original.
ALBUQUERQUE - While he told the world that a weather balloon went down in Roswell, an Army general had in his hand a memo telling Pentagon brass of a UFO crash with "victims," according to a new television documentary.
A computer analysis of that memo, held by Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey during a July 1947 press briefing, is the "smoking gun" of the Roswell Incident, researchers say in the documentary being broadcast today on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Using a digital photo scanner to enlarge and enhance words printed on the folded piece of paper Ramey held, and using another computer program to select the most likely words, researcher David Rudiak, who has a Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley, found two key phrases: "the victims of the wreck" and "in the 'disc' they will ship."
With the textual study plus University of New Mexico archaeological findings from one of three alleged UFO crash sites, science fiction seeks to close the gap with fact, producers say.
A photograph taken July 8, 1947, in Fort Worth, Texas, by James Bond Johnson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows Ramey clutching a communiqué to Washington, D.C., while he displays a deflated weather balloon just hours after other Army officers in Roswell had reported a UFO crash.
It was one of a series of inconsistent military reports about the incident, which has become part of American mythology.
"Unless national security is at stake, there is absolutely no reason to keep this information from the public," said Thomas Vitale, a Sci-Fi Channel vice president. "Whatever crashed at Roswell, let us know what the truth is."
The Air Force had responded to a 1994 call from the late U.S. Rep. Steve Schiff, R-N.M., by saying it had no information on the Roswell Incident. Schiff, an Air Force reserve judge advocate general's officer, then took his query to the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
In 1997, the Air Force acknowledged the weather balloon had been a false cover story, but a new story also was called into question. In a report written by Lt. William McAndrew, the Air Force suggested reports of alien bodies in the wreckage must have originated because of a crash-test program in which mannequins were dropped from balloons. The mannequins did not come close to matching 1947 descriptions of alien bodies, and the crash-test program was not introduced until 1953, Rudiak said.
Sci-Fi, guided by long-time Roswell UFO researchers Tom Carey and Don Schmitt, commissioned William Doleman, an archaeologist with UNM's Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, to excavate the alleged initial crash contact point on the ranch where the late Mack Brazel worked as foreman.
Doleman said he knows little about the Roswell Incident but agreed to excavate the site using purely scientific methods because it is "culturally significant" and because so much of what is circulated about the Roswell crash landing is based on hearsay. What was needed, Doleman said, was physical evidence.
"So this project is a very bold step by people who claim to know what happened and where it happened," Doleman said. "What makes it bold is they were willing to go out there and look for physical evidence."
Details of the excavation are being kept confidential until after today's premiere. But Doleman said he agrees "that obviously something happened in July 1947 in south-eastern New Mexico." After his work there, though, he said, "I'm still uncertain" about UFOs and alien beings.
The documentary will introduce some witnesses who have not been heard from publicly before, attesting to the existence of alien bodies in the wreckage of the "flying disc," Carey said by phone from his home in Pennsylvania.
"This is where we loaded the bodies," he quotes one New Mexico witness, Robert Slusher, as saying. Slusher, among those appearing in the documentary, was part of a B-29 crew that he said loaded bodies up through the plane's bomb bay at the Roswell Army Airfield.
Three victims were supposedly recovered from the final crash site, and a team of archaeologists, coincidentally, were in the area doing research on ancient Indians at the time, Carey said. Among them was Curry Holden, an archaeologist from Texas Tech in Lubbock, whom Carey located in 1992.
"Curry Holden said he saw everything - the craft and the bodies," Carey said. Holden died a few months later.
Carey, an investigator for a private corporation, said he started looking into Roswell 12 years ago "as a hobby."
But it became more than that. And now, he said, he and Schmitt are in a race against time, as witnesses become scarcer.