Roswell’s Bizarre UFO Crash

By | August 31, 2019

– This week on BuzzFeed Unsolved, we investigate the Roswell incident, either the biggest UFO
cover-up of all time or just the biggest
misunderstanding of all time. Either way, 70 years later,
we’re still debating about it. This is the Holy Grail of
alien stories, in my opinion. – Yeah, it’s a buzzword. You hear it all the time. I don’t know all the gritty details. Desert, government, aliens, et cetera. – Alright, let’s get into it. – Spin a yarn, Tommy Bahama. – [Ryan] The year is 1947, a year that saw an unusually large wave of reported UFO sightings. In the last six months of 1947 alone, there were over 300
claims of UFO sightings. Among these, is the
infamous Roswell incident. Skeptics and believers alike
can agree on one thing: something crashed in the
fields of Foster Ranch located just northwest
of Roswell, New Mexico. Whether that something is
something extraordinary or mundane remains highly debated. You’re clearly on the skeptic side here, already going in, right? That’s a dumbass question. Of course you are, you’re fucking Shane. Alright. – Don’t try to paint me as a– – I’ll paint you however I want. – What? – I’ll paint the hell out
of you, however I want. – You paint me in your free time? – Yeah. (laughs) They’re good.
– Oh Jesus. – You want to see them? – Never. – [Ryan] Let’s go through
the official timeline as played out in the media
and through official reports from the US Air Force. Sometime before June 14th, a
crash occurred on Foster Ranch. On July 4th, a local
rancher named Mac Brazel visits the crash site to
pick up some of the debris. On July 7th, Mac Brazel decides
to take some of the debris to local sheriff George Wilcox. Wilcox then contacts
Colonel Butch Blanchard at the nearby military base,
the Roswell Army Airfield. This Roswell base was home to the elite 509th Bombardment Group,
which deployed atomic bombs at the end of World War II. Colonel Blanchard alerts his superior, General Roger W. Ramey, and
orders Major Jesse Marcel, the 509th’s intelligence officer, to assess the crash site
and recover the materials. – [Shane] So much bureaucracy here. – [Ryan] I mean, it’s the military. – You gotta call one guy,
he calls a different guy, who calls this guy, who orders
this guy to call that guy, and then that guy’s,
this is why information gets muddled in cases like these because you got this big
shitty chain of command. – It’s like a game of
telephone essentially, but it’s the military,
it’s a ladder structure. Of course, it’s gonna be that way. – Game of phones. – Oh my god.
– Good, huh? – No, that was terrible.
– It was good. – I’m actually upset right now. – Good. – [Ryan] Colonel Blanchard is briefed by intelligence officer
Marcel on his crash site visit and, on the morning of July 8th, consequently orders
public information officer Lieutenant Walter Haut
to issue a press release stating that they believe
they have a “flying saucer” in their possession. Soon after, the Roswell
Daily Record’s front page ran the headline, “Roswell Army Airfield captures flying saucer on
ranch in Roswell Region,” where they revealed no
details of “the flying disk.” That same day, the Air Force
strangely changes their story. General Ramey orders the crash remains to be taken to him in Fort Worth, Texas for his own personal inspection. He and his staff, including
a base weather officer, identify them as pieces
of a weather balloon and issue a subsequent press
release with the correction. A photo is taken in Ramey’s office of intelligence officer Marcel with the crash materials he misidentified. – [Shane] If you’re a higher-up, and you see this press release, and you’re like, “What the
fuck are, what is going on?” (Ryan laughs) “I gotta go clean this up now?” – [Ryan] Yeah, yeah. – [Shane] And I knew that we were pushing our big weather
balloons through that area. – [Ryan] Oh, I see what you’re saying. – [Shane} And I’m like, well
they’re not gonna believe me unless I bring in Carl, or
whatever the guy’s name. – [Ryan] And make him
sit next to his mistake. – [Shane] Bring in the weatherman, bring in the idiot rancher, and kinda rub his nose in it, like a– – [Ryan] I think it’s hilarious
that the officer they sent to go assess the crash, they made him sit and pose with all of the
materials in the office in the picture. – [Shane] “You sit here
for this photograph. “You know that’s a weather
balloon, you idiot.” (laughs) – [Ryan] The next day, on July
9th, the Roswell Daily Record runs another article with the headline, “Harassed rtncher who located
saucer sorry he told about it” in which Brazel reveals that
the supposed alien wreckage was merely “rubber strips, tinfoil, “a rather tough paper and sticks.” And with Ramey’s weather
balloon explanation being corroborated by
the case’s key witness, the world promptly forgets
about the Roswell incident for a while. Enter Stanton Friedman in 1978. Friedman was a nuclear physicist
and leading UFO researcher. In 1978, Friedman
interviewed Jesse Marcel, the then retired intelligence
officer from the 509th, who was ordered to go assess the wreckage of the Roswell incident. Marcel would fully reignite
the Roswell controversy, when he revealed that he still believed the wreckage was definitively
not a weather balloon. Here’s a quote from Major
Marcel, in a different interview, regarding the metal at the crash site. “It felt like you had
nothing in your hands. “It wasn’t any thicker than the foil “out of a pack of cigarettes. “But the thing about it that got me “is that you couldn’t even bend it, “you couldn’t dent it, “even a sledgehammer
would bounce off of it. “I knew that I had never seen
anything like that before.” He goes on to say, “It was
not anything from this earth, “that I’m quite sure of. “Being an intelligence officer, “I was familiar with
just about all materials “used in aircraft and/or air travel. “This was nothing like that.
It could not have been.” – [Shane] That was some
funky, funky metal. – [Ryan] I mean, they
took a sledgehammer to it. – [Shane] I like the sound of this metal. – [Ryan] Yeah, it sounds like I wanna get my hands on this metal. – I like that he’s given some
tactile descriptions here. It’s not just something wasn’t right. – It wouldn’t go unshining. – Yeah, he’s talking about the
weight of it, the feel of it. I like this. – [Ryan] After this admission, Friedman interviewed more witnesses, both civilian and military, and in the end, concluded
that they had been in massive cover-up of the
Roswell incident in 1947. A “cosmic watergate”. A cover-up that allegedly includes details of the crash site, the materials, the possible spacecraft and even alien bodies found at the scene. And with that, let’s get
into the two main theories. The first theory is that
the events at Roswell transpired as reported, and the alien wreck was
merely a weather balloon, as stated by the Air Force. When you look at the
physical evidence available, this appears to be what happened. Though, in 1994, the US
Air Force released a report admitting that there
was in fact a cover-up. However, it wasn’t a cover-up
of extraterrestrials, but instead, a cover-up of a
top secret military operation. The report states that the
remains found on Foster Ranch in 1947 were indeed the
remains of a weather balloon, but not any regular weather balloon. This balloon, was part of
a then top-secret program called Project Mogul. Project Mogul was conceived
up by Dr. Maurice Ewing, at Columbia University. He theorized that just
as underwater microphones could detect sound waves
produced by explosions, thousands of miles away, perhaps an airborne monitoring
system could do the same. Thus, as fears of nuclear war proliferated after World War II, and intensified at the
start of the Cold War, the top-secret airborne weather
balloons at Project Mogul, were launched to detect any nuclear tests carried out by the soviets. – Boy, that’s a big explanation. – Yeah, here’s the thing. If people are already
on you for a cover-up, I don’t think it’s a good
card to play to be like, “Oh, there was a cover-up, “that’s why we were acting so weird. “But it was this, not that. “Don’t look over there, look over here.” It’s the same thing. – Yeah, and also, it’s sort of they’re trying to have their cake and
eat it too, by saying, “There was a cover-up, “but it was just a real
nice weather balloon.” (laughs) “Like you’ve never seen, made out of “some real strange metal.” – Very shiny. – Oh, the shiniest weather
balloon you’ve ever seen. – [Ryan] Project Mogul’s
balloons were tested out at several locations around
the US and in the Pacific. And one of these locations
was over New Mexico, in the summer of 1947. Project Mogul balloons typically
measured over 650 feet long and had a tail on which various listening and sensory equipment was attached, which the military posits, could possibly be misidentified as a UFO. Interesting.
– [Shane] If it was 600 feet, it’s gonna be a huge pile of debris, there’s gonna be a lot
of weird shit there, you’re gonna be very confused. – [Ryan] At a glance, from far away, I’d be like, “Holy shit,
look at that field, “littered with debris-
– [Shane] No. – [Ryan] No, no, no, and I’d-
– [Shane] You would walk up to it and be like, “The end is nigh.” – [Ryan] (wheeze) No. – [Shane] You’d go running
through town, ringing a bell. “The Martians are here, “lock yourselves in your basements.” – [Ryan] What I would do
is, maybe I’d do that, running towards it. Then I’d get close and be like, “Oh, it’s fucking tongue
depressors and Elmer’s glue,” ’cause that’s what it
was, balsa wood sticks. – [Shane] You gotta keep it
light if you want it to float. – [Ryan] That’s not alien
materials, is what I’m getting at. I would obviously get close and be like, “Oh, this is just human’s shit.” In February of 1994, the general accounting
office of the US Congress, initiated an audit, at the request of New Mexico congressman,
Steve Schiff, a UFO skeptic, to locate all government records relating to the Roswell
incident and determine if these records were handled properly. The report was published by
the US Air Force in 1995, titled, “The Roswell
report: fact versus fiction “in the New Mexico desert.” The findings of the audit
supported the theory that debris found in
1947 was from a balloon used in Project Mogul, and
found no evidence that aliens or alien spacecraft were involved. The report concludes that
Marcel and Blanchard’s original flying saucer
press release was, in part, an overreaction, and
in part due to the fact that flying saucer was a new term that didn’t yet have a clear meaning. Bullshit. – [Shane] Uh, that’s fair. – [Ryan] Are you fucking kidding me? – So, flying saucer, at that point, didn’t necessarily mean space alien, it was just literally like, “That looks like the thing I put my tea on but it’s levitating.” Right? – What? You’re saying that they
didn’t know what they meant when they said flying saucer? – I mean, it hasn’t always
been in the national lexicon, there weren’t people in Ancient
Rome saying flying saucer. – [Ryan] In 1997, the Air
Force released another report titled, “The Roswell report: case closed,” in which they offered
this possible explanation for claims to alien bodies
found at the crash site. In the mid 1950s, the
military tested the effects of parachute jumping on humans, by dropping human-like
dummies over New Mexico. The dummies had latex or plastic skin, and could be mistaken per alien bodies by witnesses at the Roswell crash. But, if these dummy drops
were in the mid 1950s, how could this possibly
explain the Roswell incident, that preceded it by several years? The military has an answer for that, too. Air Force Colonel John
Haynes, explains that during the recounting
of events decades later, details “tend to become compressed,” suggesting, both he and the
Air Force, actually believe that witnesses are mixing up
events from the mid 1950s, with what was perhaps, the
most horrifying memories of their lives years earlier. – [Shane] Eh, we’ve all done it. – [Ryan] No. – [Shane] Right? – [Ryan] No, I mean, sure, if I’m trying to remember what I had for breakfast a year ago, yeah, I’m gonna be a little foggy on that. But, if I’m remembering that time I saw alien bodies thrown from a wreckage, I think I’m gonna
remember that quite clear and when it happened. Another discrepancy is the fact that the bodies are repeatedly
described as “little”, often four feet or less, yet the dummies used on these
drops were six feet tall. It’s unclear how this
contradiction is also an effect of time compression. That being said, one interesting
tidbit from the report, is the fact that, upon requesting files from the Roswell Air Force base, from the year of the
Roswell incident in 1947, it was found that all
records from that time, from January to October
1947 had been destroyed. And even more suspicious,
the person or organization that had destroyed these files, and the authority under
which they had done so, were not indicated. – [Shane] Well. – [Ryan] This is a reach. – [Shane] It’s a bit of a reach. – [Ryan] There it is,
that’s all I wanted to hear. – [Shane] No, it’s a bit of a reach. (Ryan laughs) No, no. Some of this is gonna be baloney, other bits I might not be so sure. – [Ryan] This one is certified fresh? – [Shane] (sniffs) Yeah,
I’ll take a bite of that. – (laughs) That’s a fresh cut. And with that, let’s get
into the second theory, that the Government engaged in a cover-up to hide knowledge of alien life. Actually, before I get into
it, I do have one more thing. – What’s? No, no, no. This is not usually part of the thing. What are you doing? Are you putting a tin foil hat? (laughs) – [Ryan] Before I get into this, I would like to preface
this theory with a fact that most of this is based off interviews with those who claimed to
have eyewitness testimony. The amount of witnesses is said
to be more than 600 people, ranging from civilian
to high-level military. Some details of these
stories vary between sources, so we’ve chosen to mainly
focus on interviews conducted by two respected researchers, named Thomas J. Carey
and Donald R. Schmitt, for their book, “Witness to Roswell, “Unmasking the 60-year cover-up.” And while most skeptics
will scoff at that notion, consider this: if there
are hundreds of witnesses to a murder, all recounting
similar details of the crime, would you doubt they
were telling the truth? – [Shane] I don’t know, I guess it depends on the circumstances. – [Ryan] No, there’s hundreds of people. – [Shane] (laughs) I just don’t want you to have any satisfaction. – [Ryan] You know I’m
making a good point there. If there’s hundreds of people– – [Shane] I’m not gonna give it to you. – [Ryan] No, you’re gonna give.. By saying, “I’m not giving
you the satisfaction,” means you internally
want to agree with that. – [Shane] If there’s only eyewitness proof and no actual proof of the murder? – [Ryan] Sure, if there’s five people. But if there’s six hundred that have high-level
military fucking people within that group… – [Shane] No blood though? No blood, no evidence, no nothing? – [Ryan] There’s 600 people,
why would they all lie? – The more riled up you get right now, the worse you come off,
because of this accessory. – Yeah, I realize..
– It’s really not helping. – I realize now that
this was a very bad call, I thought it would be really funny, but now I realize I look
like a fucking fool. Let’s begin by going
over suspicious details around the time of the crash. Particularly, the contradiction
between the official record and eye-witness testimony. When Mac Brazel took
some of the crash debris to the sheriff, debris that crash site witnesses
described as otherworldly, Brazel also reported immediately
something significant. According to a local radio personality, Frank Joyce, at the KGFL radio station, Brazel admitted that the
crash site was likely a UFO, and more importantly, that
there were alien bodies on the scene. According to Jud Roberts, a minority owner of KGFL radio station, this admission would be recorded later, but KGFL did not air the
interview due to phone calls from the FCC and US Senator Dennis Chavez urging them not to. – [Shane] If you got a crazy
guy still spouting lies, yeah, I’ll put a stop to him. – [Ryan] Or, you got a very
sane guy spouting truth. – [Shane] Yeah, or that. (Ryan laughs) – [Ryan] As detailed before,
the military would issue an incendiary press release,
saying they had a flying saucer only to correct themselves, a day later. Like the military,
Brazel would also recant any statements made
about UFOs at this time. According to researchers
Carey and Schmitt, shortly after Brazel’s new statements, neighbors said Brazel purchased
a brand new pickup truck, and left his job as a
rancher to start a business, in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Also suspicious in Carey
and Schmitt’s findings: on testimonies from
locals and Brazel’s family that revealed Brazel was
detained by the military around this time, further sugggesting that he could’ve been forced to recant his statements about UFOs. The military also
reportedly threatened locals to keep quiet, as well
as ransacked their homes for remaining crash site materials. This is corroborated by the
testimony of the foster daughter of Colonel Hunter G. Penn,
an Army Air Force officer, who’s supposedly admitted
to his foster daughter that he was tasked with enforcing
an “information blackout”, with a focus on the little bodies. He was authorized to use physical force and weaponry if necessary,
to get this accomplished. Another interesting contradiction was that Colonel Blanchard,
the superior to Major Marcel, who approved the initial
flying saucer press release, strangely went on leave after he issued the controversial release. However, according to
Lieutenant Colonel Joe Briley, who was a staff member
of Colonel Blanchard, the reported leave was actually a cover-up to allow Blanchard to
coordinate a cleanup operation of the crash site. – [Shane] I mean, if he
fucked up and was like, “Yeah, it’s UFOs,” and they were like, “No, it’s not UFOs, “you stupid piece of shit.” (Ryan laughs) “We’ll fix your mess. “Why don’t you take a little time off?” – [Ryan] “Why don’t you leave?” – [Shane] “Get your shit
together, get your life together.” – [Ryan] “Yeah, why don’t you leave?” so people could look at
that later and be like, “Why did he leave, after he
makes this weird announcement?” – [Shane] I don’t think they care. Again, I don’t think they care. – [Ryan] I mean, they should care if there’re people who
concentrate on details, is what I’m saying. Perhaps the key contradiction
is the photo taken in General Ramey’s office of the supposed crash site materials. A sealed statement, apparently written by
Roswell Army Airfield’s public information officer,
Lieutenant Walter G. Haut, which was only to be
opened after his death, claimed the photo taken in
Ramey’s office was a hoax. Haut wrote that the actual crash materials were substituted with
weather balloon materials, and then photographed with
Marcel, a fact that upset Marcel. Just to hammer home the
possibility of a cover-up, a man named Ben Games,
was a personal pilot, to then Major General Laurence C. Craigie, the Chief of the engineering
division at Wright field, the air force base commonly thought to be where the UFO and aliens
were transported and housed. According to Games’ testimony,
he flew Major General Craigie to Roswell, to examine the crash wreckage, and after a few hours, flew
General Craigie directly to DC to meet with President Truman. A few months later, Craigie
assumed the position of air force chief director of R&D, and perhaps, influenced
by what he saw at Roswell, founded Project Sign, the
first official investigation of UFOs by the US air force. – [Shane] You know, maybe
he got there and said, “This is obviously a weather balloon, “a UFO wouldn’t do this,
it’s not what UFOs are like.” And they were like, “Oh,
this guy knows a lot about “what UFOs aren’t.” – [Ryan] No. (laughs) No, you don’t- – [Shane] This guy’s got a
good eye for what isn’t a UFO. – [Ryan] So, you’re
saying they send someone out in the ocean and be like, “Oh man, I didn’t find Godzilla out here, “we should start a program
about finding about Godzilla.” – [Shane] I mean, clearly
he’s got a good eye for detecting what’s not bullshit. – [Ryan] Now that we’ve established the cover-up in timeline, let’s quickly go over
some of the controversial and fascinating details of this theory. Starting with the reported
alien bodies at the scene. The supposed witnesses are
consistent in their descriptions of the bodies as short in
stature, maybe 3.5 to four feet, with large heads, large
eyes, only holes for a nose, and a small slit for the mouth. Numerous military officials
have claimed to hear secondhand information of the bodies, or even see the aliens for themselves. To name a few, there’s First Lieutenant and public information
officer at the Roswell Base Walter G. Haut, retired Brigadier General Arthur E. Exon and Tech Sergeant Herschel Grice. Moving on to the spacecraft, according to Sergeant William C. Ennis, he was, at the time, a flight engineer of the 393rd bomb squadron, stationed in one of the
primary receiving hangars for the debris, called hangar P-3. For years, Sergeant
Ennis denied the crash, writing it off as a weather balloon, like the rest of the military. However, in 2008, Sergeant
Ennis changed his tune, admitting “It was a spaceship.
After all these years, “I still don’t know how that
ship flew, there was no engine. “Before I go, I’d like to know.” – Before I go, I gotta
know how their ship flew. With the honest– – I like to imagining him
talking to his grandson, “The ship had no wings, did you hear me? “I don’t know how it flew.” – Jimmy, I think that ship was bedeviled. – [Ryan] The craft was also confirmed in numerous other testimonies, notably by Lieutenant Walter Haut, who described in his affidavit
a ship Colonel Blanchard had shown to him that
roughly 12 to 15 feet long and windowless. To close this out, let’s move
on to the scattered debris from the crash site, which many claimed, included a mysterious material,
that was described as, “memory metal”. Some depth for more than two
dozen witnesses testimonies, ranging from military to civilian. The metal was said to be
weightless, smooth, thin, and could not be cut, scratched or burned. Though, the metal was able to
be temporarily manipulated. Here’s a quote from Roswell Army Airfield Sergeant Earl Fulford, “I picked it up, but once
in the palm of your hand, you could wad it up into a small ball. Then, when you let it go,
it would immediately assume its original shape in a second
or two, just like that.” This free-flowing quality of the metal was echoed amongst many testimonies. Retired Brigadier General,
Arthur E. Exon, said, “Some could be easily ripped or changed. There were other parts
of it that were very thin but awfully strong and couldn’t be dented with heavy hammers.” Exon also explained
that these observations were from his time as a Lieutenant
Colonel, when he was also an administration student in technology at Wright Field’s foreign
technology division, a division whose purpose was to reverse engineer foreign tech. Additionally, a memo
surfaced in the early 1980s, detailing a September
15, 1950 conversation between physicist Robert I. Sarbacher, a consultant with a US
Department of Defense Research and Development Board and
other government scientists. In the memo, Sarbacher
is said to have worked on a field reverse engineering
project, allegedly stating, “All we know is, we didn’t make them, and it’s pretty certain they
didn’t originate on the Earth.” – [Shane] That’s good. I love it. – [Ryan] I’m just… I think right now I’m just
punching the skeptics in the face over and over again. I’m slowly hammering away. One last point in favor of a cover-up. Let’s assume that the
military is telling the truth, and that the crash was indeed a fancy project mobile weather balloon. That still does not change
the fact that the remains found at the crash site were, apparently, “rubber strips, tinfoil, a
rather tough paper and sticks,” as stated by Brazel, in the
days after the story broke. The military has never said Brazel’s description was innacurate, and you can even see these
coming items in the photo in Ramey’s office. So, let’s assume, these were
in fact, the items found at the crash site, and
forget about the allure of the seemingly high-tech
project Mogul balloon. With that in mind, let’s
return to Major Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer tasked with evaluating the crash site. Marcel pointed out he was well-versed in “all materials used in
aircraft and/or air travel,” and was also a graduate
from the Army’s air force training command in radar technology. How could this man mistake
rubber strips and tin foil, per parts of an alien spaceship? Perhaps the answer lies in
a quote from Marcel himself. “All I could do is keep my
mouth shut and General Ramey was the one who told
the newsmen what it was, and to forget about it. It was nothing more than a
weather observation balloon. Of course, we both knew differently.” First of, I’d like to tune my
own horn a little bit here, and I’m gonna take this hat off now. I did say that this would
be the most compelling case I’ve ever made, and that you, for once, may believe what I’m saying is true. Is that not correct? – You did say that. (laughs) It is the most compelling
case you’ve ever made, but also, you’re in advantage
here because I already believe in extraterrestrials
and would not rule out that they have been to Earth. If that’s your total
satisfaction, if that’s what… Then great, you’ve done it, Ryan, you convinced me on a case
that I was already, you know, pretty lenient on. – Well, even though that’s
dripping with sarcasm, it’s definitely not genuine, I’ll take it. Score one for the Bergara, case closed. Leave my house town dunce. – Town dunce? – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Because I now believe the
things that you believe? – Oh shit. (laughs) – If you say so. – [Ryan] In the end, no physical evidence of extraterrestrials or their
tech has ever been found. In fact, two archeological digs
took place on Foster Ranch, in search of physical
evidence and found nothing, only proof that there was indeed a crash. It’s easy to see both sides, skeptics wonder how it’s
possible that the military could have been so
absolute in their cleanup and subsequent cover-up. Believers wonder how it’s
possible that there could be such consistent testimony
among hundreds of witnesses, down to small details of
something that, apparently, never happened. One thing is for sure,
what truly transpired near the sleepy town
of Roswell, New Mexico, will keep people debating. But for now, the answer
will remain unsolved. (mysterious music)

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