On July 8, 1947 the Roswell Daily Record reported the Army Air Force was in possession of a "flying disc" which crashed on local ranch land some time during the previous seven days. That information had come from a press release issued by the Roswell Army Air Force Base (later known as Walker AFB) in Roswell, NM. The release went national and international causing a lot of excitement. Then, the Army Air Force changed their story. They said that it was a weather balloon that crashed on the ranch. They held a press conference and displayed a busted up balloon. That's quite a leap to jump from a "flying disc" to a weather balloon. Their cover story fell apart over the years as witnesses to the event and the aftermath came forward. One of those witnesses was Glenn Dennis.
Dennis worked at a local mortuary and was told to bring all the child size coffens they had on hand to the Roswell AAB. When he arrived at the Base hospital he witnessed a flurry of activity. A nurse he knew told him to leave right away. Her message was one of urgency. Everyone's interest focused around an examination room where odd bodies recovered from the crash were being inspected. The nurse later met Dennis for coffee and told him the bodies were not human and like nothing she had seen before. On his way out of the hospital Glenn was stopped by a stern looking AF security Sgt. He told Dennis that if he said anything about what he saw while he was on the Base that day they would find him dead out in the desert. Dennis did eventually tell his story and helped establish the Roswell UFO Museum before he died in 2015. I spoke with him a few times over the years and Glenn attended a lecture I gave on the topic in Roswell. After I finished speaking he was kind enough to tell those present that he thought my presentation was the best and most accurate he had ever seen or heard.
I began visiting Roswell in the 1980s. At that time the town looked at the alledged 1947 UFO crash as more of an embarrassment than anything else. The first time I asked a police officer if he knew how to get to the crash site, he politely told me there was no UFO crash and pointed me in the direction of the quickest way out of town. I did not come all the way from New York City to fail. I located the chamber of commerce and a kind woman gave me a pamplet that the town gave to tourists. It had just one paragraph about the UFO crash which basically said the government thought a UFO crashed near Roswell, but it turned out to be a weather balloon. We talked for a bit and I was fortunate that she did not accept the cover up story any more than I did. As fate would have it, she knew some first and second hand witnesses that I could meet.
Among those I spoke to on that first visit was a gentleman who had been a member of the Roswell Fire Department in 1947. He had quite a story to tell! Shortly after the crash the fire department responded to what some thought was a crashed aircraft. When the fire truck arrived on the scene they found something that looked like a large broken piece of an even larger disc shaped object. In short order they realized it was hovering a few feet above the ground without any apparent source of propulsion. As concerned as they were astounded, the crew decided to wrap hoses and some chains they had around the thing and use the fire truck to pull it back to town. As they did, it continued to hover. As soon as they got into town people marvelled at the sight of this object hovering above the road as it was pulled towards the fire department. One or two of the crew stayed behind to look for more debris. One used his own vehicle to get there so they had transportation.
The crew stopped in front of the fire department. While some unwrapped the hoses and chains from around the object, others went in to call the Base assuming they would know what to do with this thing. Meanwhile, a small crowd gathered to have a look at the strange object. In short order a group of military personnel came and took the object to the Base. I was the first to report this amazing story which later become part of an HBO Documentary titled, UFOs: What's Going On? Over the years others have verified the story including Frankie Rowe who was twelve at the time. She was the daughter of a fireman I did not meet named Dan Dwyer. He told her the story adding that a living creature was later recovered from that area. Contrary to other accounts, the hovering object was not found at the main crash site where so many small pieces of odd debris were found. That secondary site was likely the result of the object exploding at a low altitude, then falling down to earth over a wide area.
1947 was a busy year for major UFO events. On June 21, 1947 the Maury Island incident occurred which included another possible explosion of a UFO and an abundance of debris left behind. A tech savvy person once told me that the government was using radar and radio frequencies that accidently or purposely caused UFOs to malfunction. Such radar was being used at Roswell and other places were UFOs either crashed or landed suddenly. On June 24, 1947 a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold saw a group of objects flying at tremendous speeds near Mount Rainier in the State of Washington. He said they looked like saucers broken in half and moved like stones skipping across the water. A reporter misquoted him and the term "flying saucers" was born. The term UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) was created by the Air Force in 1952 to cover a wide variety of unexplained aerial phenomenon.
By the late 1980s the 1947 UFO Crash became more of a fact than a fantasy. Roswell began to embrace the 1947 crash and started welcoming UFO tourists. The crash site was marked by a banner, and later a stone and metal marker. Two UFO Museums opened and a fictional TV series called "Roswell" did well in the ratings. Several popular books on the event came out and some politicians began to question the validity of the weather balloon story. The U.S. Government responded to all this renewed interest and pressure with several silly explanations. Admitting that the weather balloon was not actually true, a spokesperson labeled as the head of the Pentagon told the press that what crashed was a balloon with radar reflecting material attached. It was part of a secret program called Project Mogul. He explained the stories about bodies by saying that crash test dummies had come down from high altitudes.
Almost immdiately these silly explanations fell apart. The real material found on a ranch near Roswell was not like the material from Mogul. It was thin and metallic, but strong and flame resistant. Someone at the fire house tried to burn it, but it wouldn't burn. They tried hitting it with a sledgehammer and that did no damage. The crash test dummy story also failed when it turned out that program had not even begun until long after the crash. Best of all, the spokesperson who was referred to as the "head" of the Pentegon was in charge of supplies. If you needed toilet paper he was the guy who would approve that request. Exit weather balloons, Mogul balloons and test test dummies. Enter the Satelloon!
The Satelloon was a huge inflatable spacecraft carried into low orbit by a rocket. It was a NASA project designed to put a number of simple, communication satellites into orbit as quickly as possible to compeat with the Soviets who were jumping ahead of the USA in space by leaps and bounds. Several researchers began to push this as a possible explanation for the Roswell event in the early 1990s. Now it is bring resurrected yet again. The problem is that the years are all wrong. There is no evidence that this program existed at all in 1947. The few launches that took place happened in the early1960s. And, like all the other ridiculous explanations for the 1947 UFO Crash, this one ignores all the credible witnesses and evidence which points to an extraterrestrial object and non-human bodies recovered from the crash.