During a thunderstorm on the night of 2nd July 1947, Mac Brazel a rancher from near Corona, New Mexico heard a loud crash. The next day he went out horseback riding with Timothy Proctor, the son of a neighbour and came upon a field with debris scattered about. It is often overlooked that there were other reports of UFOs in the Roswell and Corona area on that night.
The debris field was 3/4 of a mile long and 300 feet wide. It was oriented in a northwest to southeast direction. There was a gouge in the northwest side of the debris field that was 500 feet long and 10 feet wide. The debris on the field mostly consisted of I-beams and parchment like, paper-thin pieces of metal material. The material was very light in weight, a dull grey in colour, and most pieces were 6 to 7 inches in length. Some pieces that were even thinner than paper could not be broken in half, cut or burnt.
Mac Brazel collected several pieces of the debris and went back to his ranch. On July 6, Brazel went into Roswell to report what he had seen and to show a piece of the debris to Sheriff Wilcox. The sheriff decided to call the local air base. During this time Frank Joyce called in from the local radio station to see if anything newsworthy was happening around town. Brazel gave him the information about what he had found.
Major Jesse A. Marcel and a few other military personnel arrived from the base only a few minutes after the sheriff had finished talking to the people at the base. Brazel and the military personnel left and returned to the base. Later that day Brazel, Marcel and Lewis Cavitt went back to the Ranch. The next morning (July 7) they went to the crash site. The military retrieved some of the debris and returned to Roswell, arriving back late in the evening.
On July 8, the military came back and sealed off the area. They took Brazel into custody. According to some accounts, that same day they found a second crash site two and 1/2 miles southeast of the first. Barney Barnett and 4 archaeologists had stumbled onto the new site a few minutes before the military had arrived there. At the site they found a “pretty good sized metallic dull grey object” and 4 small alien bodies. They were 4 to 5 feet tall, with large pear shaped heads, small bodies and skinny arms and legs. They had two large eyes, no ears and no hair. Their skin was pinkish grey and leathery. They were wearing a one piece grey suits. The civilians were escorted out of the area when the military arrived. In a recent book updating his work on the Roswell events Kevin Randle makes a case for the military being aware of the ‘second’ site before Brazel arrived with his material.
On July 9th the military escorted Brazel to the radio station, there he was interviewed on air by Frank Joyce and stated that he saw a weather balloon. He left again with the military and didn’t get back to his ranch until around July 15. As he left Brazel commented to Joyce “Those little green men, well they are not green”. In none of the published accounts of the Roswell incident is there mention that anything other than bits of foil and small cross-section beams being recovered from the Foster Ranch where Brazel farmed. If Brazel had seen bodies of some description he must have seen them elsewhere.
Later when asked about what had happened Brazel said he had given an oath and could not talk about it. However it is strange that the military should detain Brazel for a week, when he was clearly co-operating on 9th July and, at least publicly, accepted the crashed balloon story.
The Incident remained closed and the public and UFO research organisations at large accepted the weather balloon story until 1970 when Jesse A. Marcel broke the silence and told his part in the story.
The case has been extensively researched by Stanton Friedman and independently by the team of Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt. Between them they have discovered around 200 witnesses who claim to have been involved in the recovery or subsequent handling of the Roswell material. Researcher John Keel has suggested that the Roswell material might be the remains of a Japanese Feugo balloon, a balloon with a bomb attached launched towards the USA during World War 2. These were still being discovered in remote parts of the USA in the late 1940s.
In 1994 at the request of US Senator Steven Schiff the General Audit Office started an inquiry into the incident and subsequent cover-up. The GAO required the US Air Force to reopen the inquiry. After a nine-month study the Air Force announced that the Roswell object had not been a weather balloon but a balloon involved in a top-secret project to study Soviet atomic explosions (Project Mogul). Many UFO investigators remain unconvinced by this explanation.
Timothy Good in Above Top Secret states that shortly after the Roswell incident Marcel was promoted to Lt. Col. and transferred to work on a project to detect fallout from Soviet atomic explosions in the upper atmosphere [? Project Mogul]. If Marcel later worked on Mogul he should have been able to identify what he recovered in 1947 as one of the projects balloons and, if he had, it is unlikely he would have come forward in later years. Some people have held that it was due to the secret nature of the Mogul project that the US Army Airforce could not give this as the true explanation at the time. There have been many accounts of the balloons used in the Mogul project being described over the intervening years, so there would have been plenty of opportunity to correct the Roswell report.
In summer 1993 British businessman Ray Santilli came forward saying he had obtained a quantity of 16mm film of the Roswell recovery operation. It was not until early 1995 that a video transfer of some portions of the material was shown to UFO investigators. This film is highly controversial and remains under investigation. It must be remembered that all physical evidence should be considered in relation to the testimony of the witness. At the time of writing researchers had not been allowed access to the original photographer. Since Ray Santilli came forward, other alleged Roswell films have also emerged. (See The Roswell Film below)