Thursday, July 03, 2008

On The Road To Roswell 2008: A Discussion With Donald Burleson

Donald Burleson
By Thomas Horn

Tom HornEditors note: This is part of a special series of Raiders News Network interviews focusing on the 61st Anniversary of the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico UFO Incident. RNN is joined by Donald Burleson, New Mexico State Director of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, and author of "UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe."

RNN: Donald, thank you for once again participating in the Road to Roswell. Of course this series involves the subject of UFOs and related phenomena. You have said in your book The Golden Age of UFOs that sometimes the old “classic” UFO cases are the best. Why is that?

BURLESON: The old cases from the late 1940s through, say, the late 1950s, or even a bit later, are often the best because they happened in a different age, in some ways a more ‘innocent’ age if I can put it that way. If someone has a photo purporting to be of a UFO from back then, it’s pretty hard for that to have been faked so well that modern computer image analysis couldn’t tell. Half a century ago the technology for faking things didn’t exist the way it does today.

RNN: You’re speaking at this year’s UFO Festival in Roswell on some of the old cases you’ve worked on, particularly the Lubbock Lights and the Levelland, Texas case. Why those?

BURLESON:Those are extremely important UFO cases for a number of reasons. There were numerous witnesses, for one thing, and official denial and silly cover stories for another.

RNN: What kind of official denial or cover stories?

BURLESON: In the case of the Lubbock Lights—and I have new witnesses from all over west Texas who saw these things in late August of 1951—the government and military people said the lights were the reflection of streetlamps on the bottoms of ducks. Never mind that I have a new witness who saw them out in the country where there were no lights, and never mind that I’ve estimated the airspeed of the objects at between 1,300 and 1,600 miles per hour, a bit too fast for ducks unless you shoot them out of a cannon.

RNN: What about Levelland?

BURLESON: In Levelland, Texas, on the night of November 2-3, 1957, a large oval object landed on the roadways around the town in several spots and was seen by several motorists, as well as by Sheriff Weir Clem. The government and military people said that this one was ‘ball lighting,’ but told the sheriff to ‘drop it’ and in fact warned him in very harsh terms never to talk about what he had seen. Pretty strange if all these people saw was lightning.

RNN: How do you know they threatened the sheriff?

BURLESON: Well, in effect I reopened the case, when my wife Mollie and I spend several days there finding new witnesses, and as part of this process I located and interviewed one of Sheriff Clem’s daughters, who told me in no uncertain terms that they told her father to keep his mouth shut if he knew what was good for him.

RNN: So you feel that both these cases are strongly supported by witnesses, and not likely to be hoaxes or ordinary circumstances misinterpreted?

BURLESON: That’s exactly right. In the end we have a choice in the field of UFO studies. We can believe the government cover stories, or we can believe well-correlated, thoughtful testimony of intelligent witnesses. I’ll vote for the witnesses.

RNN: In your estimation are there modern UFO cases that may be as important as these old classic cases?

BURLESON: In spite of the fact that we have to be very careful about what we believe nowadays, I would say yes, there are still very important and very well-attested cases happening. Certainly in 1997 the Phoenix Lights would be a prime example. Another would be the Stephenville, Texas sightings of January 8, 2008. Both of these cases had many hundreds of witnesses, and the events described can’t be mundanely explained away, even though the authorities have tried. They insult our intelligence by trying to do that.

RNN: Three years ago during the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, a Los Angeles County prosecutor who investigated her case said the he wanted a new autopsy done on the Hollywood sex symbol because large doses of barbiturates found in her body may have been administered "by someone else." John Miner, 86, told the Los Angeles Times that Monroe's psychologist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, had allowed him to listen to secret audiotapes made by the star during one of her therapy sessions just before her death and that a "key revelation of the alleged tapes" was that "Monroe was not depressed." She was in fact anything but suicidal according to Minor--very happy, and actively planning her future. What did Minor believe happened to Monroe? He wasn't exactly saying, but he indicated she had been "suicided" by the CIA. You are the one man who may know the real story behind Marilyn Monroe's death and whether or not Miner was right, or partly right, since you wrote the book titled "UFOs AND THE MURDER OF MARILYN MONROE". What first suggested to you that the death of Marilyn Monroe was connected to UFO secrecy?

BURLESON: It was the now famous Marilyn Monroe CIA memo, which has circulated for a number of years now since its being released by FOIA request.

RNN: The infamous libido of the Kennedy boys, as well as in a bigger sense how often other famous men have gotten in trouble over beautiful women, is nothing new. Why else would foreign and domestic government intelligence agencies spend so much time and money recruiting femme fatales as spies in order to bring us dumb men down, right? But the purported CIA document you have mentioned in the past, dated 3 August 1962, which surfaced in the early 1990’s may reveal that Marilyn Monroe was 'suicided' over something even more intimate; her knowledge of the Roswell UFO crash and the recovery of alien bodies -- information she allegedly was told during pillow talk with John F. Kennedy. If you can, tell us what this document actually says and also whether the legitimacy of the document has ever been authenticated.

BURLESON: Basically it says that the government is worried about John Kennedy's having told Marilyn classified information, and given that it mentions the President's visit to a secret air base to view "things from outer space," it's clear that that means UFO information. Yes, the CIA document has been authenticated -- I tricked the CIA into authenticating it themselves, because I put in a FOIA request for Marilyn's wiretap transcripts, and when the CIA refused to release them (or even admit they had them) I filed an appeal based on the famous memo, and the appeal was accepted, which would be clearly contrary to Agency policy if they didn't themselves recognize the memo as legitimately one of their own as I had specified.

RNN: Following Vatican chief astronomer Father Jose Gabriel Funes interview saying it's okay for Catholics to believe in Aliens, Tom Horn wrote an article called Is the Vatican easing humanity toward alien disclosure? In it he pointed out how Funes was just the latest in a string of Vatican authorities including Guy Consolmagno, Monsignor Corrado Balducci, the now deceased Father Malachi Martin and others who in recent history provided carefully crafted language that almost seems to be designed to help church faithful face the possibility of ET contact. Consolmagno went so far as to the say the chances of finding ET are now better than not. Do you think the Vatican has ET evidence of some kind or knows that governments do and that it will someday be released?

BURLESON: It's conceivable. The Vatican is a vast fortress of secrecy itself in many ways, and it's pretty nearly as hard to know what's going on there as it is what's going on in black-budget government outfits.

RNN: In the several interviews we have done with Jesse Marcel Jr. on radio and news print, we asked him a question that often comes up about UFOs and religion. Jesse is a devout Catholic and like some of the high profile church astronomers that have been in the news recently talking about the possibility of intelligent alien life, he agrees that contact with extraterrestrials or some other proof of their existence is not in conflict with church's teachings. Have you given any thought to this question concerning the spiritual or psychological ramifications of what Roswell may represent with regard to people's religious ideas?

BURLESON: I'm an atheist myself and have never had any conflict between UFOlogy and any other corners of my mind, but frankly I don't see why religious people should have any conflict either. It may be psychologically somewhat unsettling, though, for some, if we end up having to admit, universally, that we're a young and relatively undeveloped species compared to some of our visitors.

RNN: What do you make of the latest Indiana Jones film and its ties to Roswell.

BURLESON: I haven't seen the film yet, but in general filmmakers do sometimes seem to have interesting inside tracks, somehow. The classic film THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL for example uses the character-name "General Cutler," and it's interesting that someone in that production must have been aware that there really was a UFO-involved Cutler (a former general) on the Truman and Eisenhower staffs.

RNN: Well then I won't ruin the film by telling you the plot, but it does involve Roswell and 1947. Have you worked on the Roswell case itself?

BURLESON: Yes, I've done decipherment work on the famous Ramey Memo, have interviewed witnesses, and have done mathematical-physics trajectory studies of the crash.

RNN: What do you see for the future, in the field of UFO studies?

BURLESON: As a professional mathematician, I'm delighted to see the whole field of UFO studies moving very solidly in the direction of scientific rigor. I've always been one of the "hard science" guys in this field, and I'm glad to see us moving away from mysticism and nonsense and into disciplined fields of study. UFOlogy deserves to be thought of as a respectable science itself, and that's coming.

RNN: Are you giving a lecture during the Roswell Festival this year? If so, tell us what it's about and when and where people can hear it.

BURLESON: Yes, I'm doing a talk on July 4th (don't know what time of day yet) titled "Lubbock, Levelland, Roswell, and the Reality of Extraterrestrial Visitation." I've been privileged to work on some of these classic cases, and I want to describe some of what I've been able to find out, via a PowerPoint slide show.

RNN: Donald, thanks for taking time to discuss this research with us during The Road To Roswell 2008 series. Please tell us how people can learn more about your research.

BURLESON: Go to my publisher website where you can see some of my books, and also some mathematical research I've been engaged in.

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