By Dennis BalthaserOne of the most important factors in doing UFO research to me is being able to confirm or verify the many accounts given by individuals supposedly involved in the 1947 Roswell Incident. So-called “first-hand witnesses” have continually come forward with claims that they were here, or saw this or that, or were told something, when in fact after carefully scrutinizing their information, they were not involved as they publicly had stated. Several examples come to mind. Unfortunately many of them have passed on, and we may never know the entire truth. It is possible however to check records and documents in an attempt to verify the information made public. I will herein give you some examples of a few of those individuals that continue to make this research difficult.
Jim Ragsdale became popular in the mid 1990’s with the promotion of a booklet and video of his account of the Roswell Incident promoted by the International UFO Museum and Research Center and published by Ragsdale Publications. Ragsdale died on July 1, 1995, and his accounts of what he witnessed remains clouded by several factors, most importantly being the fact that within the few years that he was interviewed (1993-1995), he gave two different accounts on signed affidavits about what he had witnessed. The location of his experience varied as well as what he saw. Consequently having two different affidavits created questions about his story, and the validity of his tale(s) may never be known. As with other so-called witnesses, Ragsdale’s story for some has become part of the 1947 Roswell Incident, and is another account that may or may not have been factual, as stated. Unless a substantial amount of information can be obtained about Ragsdale’s experience, I will leave it as not being valid in helping to resolve the Roswell Incident.
James Bond Johnson was the photographer for the Fort Worth Star Telegram newspaper who took the pictures in General Ramey’s office in July 1947 of the General, Col. DuBose and Major Marcel. There is, and has never been any dispute about the fact that he did take those pictures, which today are preserved in the University of Texas, Arlington Library. I had the good fortune of meeting Johnson and did an extensive interview with him about his involvement in 2001, as David Rudiak and Kevin Randle had previously done with him. Johnson for some unknown reason decided to elaborate on his involvement indicating he had given the paper to General Ramey that the General is holding in the photographs he took. Later Johnson indicated that perhaps he had not given the General that teletype, stating, “Obviously I was in error in that speculation”. He also indicated that he rummaged through the General’s office prior to General Ramey coming in to pose with the “debris”, opening the packages brought in by Major Marcel and arranging the material for his photo shoot. (As a researcher and having been in the military, I have a problem with that comment). When I first talked to Johnson he admitted that he knew very little about the Roswell Incident, but it appeared that as time went on he believed he was more involved, later having to backtrack some of his earlier statements. I remain convinced that James Bond Johnson did take the photographs in General Ramey’s office, but very little of his other involvement. I was honored when Johnson’s son Jerry informed me that my interview with his Dad was distributed at Johnson’s funeral for those attending the Memorial Service in March 2006.
Glenn Dennis, the mortician at Ballard Funeral home in 1947 has been interviewed hundreds of times and is still alive. I talked with Glenn daily during my 2-½ years as a volunteer at the UFO Museum between 1996 and 1998. His account has varied very little over the years, and Glenn is a witness that I wish would set the record straight while he still can. He has talked about the nurse at the base hospital that took notes during an examination of a recovered body and that she was transferred to Europe within days of the Incident, dieing in a plane crash. No record of that plane crash has ever been revealed. He gave several researchers a wrong name of the nurse, which after years of investigation produced no results, and finally admitted that he had given the researchers the wrong name to protect her. The “red-headed Captain” that supposedly threatened him while at the base infirmary has never been located. The drawing of an alien face and hands given to Glenn by the nurse at the officer’s club has been lost and cannot be found according to Glenn. These statements are of utmost importance in helping to resolve some of the mysteries surrounding the Roswell Incident, so I’m hopeful that he will provide the truth while he still can, or at least leave it for us in the future. I really want to believe Glenn, but validation is needed and only he can provide that.
Frank Kaufman died February 24, 2001, after coming to Roswell in 1942 in the military. Surprisingly, Frank (who was born in New York City) stayed in Roswell after his military time serving on the Roswell Chamber of Commerce for 14 years. After the Roswell Incident research began “heating up”, Frank also started heating up with many tales about his involvement, practically all which have been discredited since. I had breakfast with Frank on several occasions and it was his form of entertainment I suppose, to share one of his experiences with me and then stop when I questioned him, with a response like, “you’re the researcher---figure it out.” I remember one occasion when he and I and a few other researchers were filming a documentary at the Corn ranch site, (which he helped make famous), and I asked him to point to the exact location of the crash site and he crossed his arms and pointed in both directions. Frank provided researchers with a lot of documents, but never let us make copies and as we learned later, most were manipulated by him to make them appear official. Stanton Friedman was dubious of Frank’s comments for years before many of us other researchers were. At a meeting in Frank’s home in 1999, with Linda Moulton Howe, Don Schmitt, Stanton Friedman and myself after discovering that he had cancer, Frank finally admitted to Stanton that he had not gone to the crash site with Col. Blanchard or Major Marcel as he had proclaimed on many occasions in the past. Frank Kaufman was a master at deceiving some of us researchers and I’m sure enjoyed being such, but for now Frank is no longer a key figure in determining the truth about Roswell.
Lt. Colonel (not Colonel) Corso, in his widely read book “The Day After Roswell”, co-authored with Bill Birnes, made some extreme statements about his involvement in the Roswell Incident, as well as about his military career. After reading the book my immediate response was, where are the references in the back of the book to all these claims---there were none? I met Corso several times before he passed away July 16, 1998 at the age of 83, and found him interesting and cordial, but not willing to factually support his many claims. In a sworn statement to lawyer Peter Gersten, Corso claimed to have been a member of the NSC (National Security Council). There are no records that he ever belonged to or even attended any of their meetings. When Gersten asked Corso if he wanted to change that part of his sworn statement, he said no. As to his claim about helping industry develop the integrated circuit, it’s well known that Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments developed them in 1958, receiving the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2000 for that, BEFORE Corso joined General Trudeau at Army FTD in 1960. Corso claimed to have seen a body at Ft Riley enroute to Wright field in Dayton Ohio by truck, when all reports I’ve read over the years indicate the bodies were flown to Wright Field. Corso did have a distinguished military career and the book was an interesting read, but lacks any verification or support for the claims Corso made about his involvement with the Roswell Incident.
Fortunately there have been many and still are a few extremely respectable witnesses that were involved with the 1947 Roswell Incident such as Judd Roberts, Walter Haut, Major Jesse Marcel and his son Jesse Marcel Jr., rancher “Mack” Brazel and his son Bill Brazel, Loretta Proctor, Sheriff Wilcox and both of his daughters Phyllis and Elizabeth, and others whose accounts of their involvement can be verified. Time is however not on our side and the search for the truth continues. Information other than the truth must be discarded.
See Also: “Is Anyone Accountable for Records?”