Who is the dummy? Roswell: Case closed revisited
Ever since the USAF released it’s report “Case Closed” in June of 1997, I have seen some misrepresentations of what the report has stated. Both of the USAF reports can be found at http://contrails.iit.edu/history/roswell/ and can be read for free. It is not like the report is unavailable.
The 1997 report, unlike it’s 1994 counterpart, is a much easier read. It’s pages document some very interesting USAF history that is worth reading about even if one was not interested in the Roswell
One of the most popular questions asked by individuals is, “Why did the USAF bother presenting a second report?” Some proponents suggested that the USAF even “changed” the explanation
from a project MOGUL balloon to test dummies because the MOGUL explanation was not accepted. This is a myth created and/or accepted by certain members of the UFO community, who chose not to read the report. The reason the USAF submitted the second report is explained in the report itself. The first reason is that the request by the General Accounting Office (GAO) asked them to look into their records. It was this request
that revealed the project MOGUL records discussed in the 1994 report. In addition to the MOGUL records, other projects were discovered that could also have been misinterpreted as spaceship/body recovery operations. It was the discovery
of these projects that inspired the USAF to write the second report.
In a side note, Captain James McAndrew
also added that his group felt that some stories being told by witnesses were gross misinterpretations and/or lies about tragic events where USAF members
were killed. The authors of the report
felt that taking advantage of such tragic events for personal gain was heinous
in nature and they desired to set the record straight on that matter.
Another reason for the report was that McAndrew and his team felt the activities were important enough to bring to the public eye because they represented important
moments in USAF history. Indeed many of these events are fascinating and one has to develop a deep respect for many of the individuals involved. To me, Kittinger jumping out of a balloon from an altitude of over 100,000 feet and Lt. Col Strapp riding a rocket sled is something
that is to be admired.
Dummy launch/recovery operations
The section about the “crashed test dummies” was interesting in that it was preceded by the authors describing their investigation process. UFO proponents
suggest there is no way the dummies
could have been misinterpreted as alien bodies. However, McAndrew describes what they were looking for after they had examined the alien body witness testimony used by the authors themselves:
An activity that, if viewed from a dis•
tance, would appear unusual.
An activity of which the exact date is • not known.
An activity that took place in two rural • areas of New Mexico
An activity that involved a type of aer•
ial vehicle with dolls or dummies that had four fingers, were bald, and wore one piece gray suits.
An activity that required recovery by • numerous military personnel and an assortment of vehicles that included a wrecker, a six-by-six, and a weapons carrier.1
The operation High dive/Excelsior tests fit this scenario well. Now, I don’t totally agree with the conclusions but McAndrew
did explain the methodology employed.
For some reason, UFO proponents
ignored this section of the report and seem to think that McAndrew had arrived at his conclusion before examining
any records. What is important to note is that the USAF was not describing people seeing these dummies up close but people viewing the operations from some distance away. When one examines the operations as described in the report, they do bear a resemblance to the stories
told by the various witnesses to alien body and crashed spaceship recoveries.
Shortly after the report was issued in 1997, Ray Madson, a retired USAF officer who was the project officer for operation High dive/Excelsior, stepped forward and proclaimed to the media the study was false because the project was never classified.
Madson obviously never read the report because it states in the report:
Countering claims of a cover-up, Air Force projects that used anthropomorphic dummies
and human subjects were unclassified
and widely publicized in numerous newspaper and magazine stories, books, and television reports.2
Madson also proclaimed that he knew Roswell involved alien bodies because he heard rumors while he was stationed at Wright-Patterson. Well, these rumors had
been around for some time and nobody can ever pinpoint where they started but my guess is their origins are from Frank Scully’s book, where he stated the USAF had recovered a crashed spaceship in Aztec,
New Mexico in the late 1940s. Most people would assume that the “craft” was sent to Wright-Patterson field. An event involving security and transport of materials
could easily start rumors about the secretive delivery of something to the base. Once the Scully book was published,
it would not take much for that ‘something” to turn into an alien spaceship!
Despite all these rumors flying around, the heads of Project Bluebook and Sign were oblivious to them. Doctor
Hynek, who worked with Bluebook and Grudge, was equally clueless. Why didn’t they report these rumors floating about and pursue them? Madson’s belief is based on nothing but unsubstantiated stories and hearsay.
Recently, Anthony Braglia interviewed retired Lt. Col. Roy Madson’s and resurrected
this old story. Of course, Madson restated much of what he said in 1997 but now he states that he did not like McAndrew and that McAndrew twisted what he stated in the report. Madson’s affidavit is in the report and it states:
I served for twenty five years in the Air Force and most of those years were in the aeromedicai
field. I participated in the space program and the highly classified early stages of the U-2 program. Never during this time were “aliens” or “flying saucers” a part of any project. There were, however, countless achievements by the Air Force in aerospace medicine that were the result of dedicated scientific research. It seems likely to me that someone could have mistaken
our anthropomorphic dummies for something that they were not. 3
I could not find any reference in the report
where McAndrew directly stated that Madson said they could confuse the dummies for alien bodies. If Madson did not agree with the statement above, he should have made it clear in his affidavit or not bothered to sign the statement. I also find it interesting that he did not include the statement about all those “rumors” he heard over the years in the affidavit.
Madson also added that each dummy had a reward tag on it. Bragalia and Kenin Randle seemed to think this was important
enough to repeat. This seems to imply that this was not mentioned in the report. Again, it appears that nobody bothered to read the report because it clearly states this as well.
Also. recovery notices promising a $25 reward
were taped to an exposed portion of a dummy. 4
The point of the matter is there is little that Madson has to offer other than to fuel conspiracy-minded Roswell proponents
with information that was available
in the report. His personal opinions of McAndrew (as well as Randle’s) are just “opinions”. Opinions are like “noses”. Everyone
has them and they all smell.
It is important to note McAndrew drew his conclusions not on what Madson told him but from the information that all the participants gave. There are at least two anecdotal accounts of people reporting that civilians DID misperceive a dummy recovery as a real body or person. I think Madson, as well as the proponents who write these inaccurate reports, need to sit down and read what the report says and not what their mind wants them to believe.
Dennis and the nurse
The final section of the report had to do with incidents mostly described by Glenn Dennis. The work done here was very good in tracking down potential candidates for Dennis’ story.
The actual people found that fit Dennis’ descriptions turned out to be mix of individuals
who were at the base between 1947 and 1960. When Dennis decided to create his tale, he probably drew on memories of these people he might have met over the years.
As for the alien bodies part of the story, McAndrew identified the most likely source of this tale. A plane crash in 1956 had killed 11 AF personnel in the resultant
fire. The bodies were badly burned and mangled. Much of what transpired bears a resemblance to the story told by Dennis including the foul odors associated
with the remains.
McAndrew’s contention was that it was wrong for people to take advantage of an incident were brave men serving their country perished. If Dennis used this incident
as a blueprint for his tall tale, it belittles
the men who perished. The authors of the various books also bear some responsibility
for giving Dennis a platform without even questioning his story.
You won’t hear this from the proponents, who think, or want everyone to think, this report is all about crash dummies. The Glenn Dennis story was dismissed by 1996 but his story was one of the key components of the Roswell story for many years prior to that. Sloppy research and the desire to accept any story about
alien bodies prevented him from being exposed as the liar that he was. The USAF report just put the final nail in that coffin.
Writing about the report in 2003, Bernard D. Gildenberg wrote the following about the dummy recovery operations:
People happening across dummy recovery
or balloon launching events would have seen a good deal of unusual military activity out in the middle of nowhere, usually
from a considerable distance....The argument of Case Closed in a nutshell is that people who saw these real operations
might well have recollected them as alien spaceship recoveries 30 or 40 years later-- under the influence of popular media
UFO culture, and prompted by television
programs hunting for anyone who had witnessed suspicious activities. 5
We already know the stories told by the witnesses in the report were lies but these kinds of tall tales are usually generated
based on some sort of knowledge. It is possible that one or more of the original
body recovery stories were created based on seeing or hearing about these operations. Once the story about the recovery
had been published, others could borrow from the story line to give their version of what they “saw” in 1947.
The proponents version exposed
Speaking of the proponents, they had personal reasons to malign the 1997 report. Stanton Friedman and Don Berlinner
were portrayed as conspiracy-minded UFO nuts who chose to ignore any information provided by Charles Moore and Bernard Gildenberg. Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt were embarrassed
by the report as well. In the 1994 report some of their claims were exposed
as false. Now we discover that the testimony of Jim Ragsdale was slightly altered in a book claiming to be the “Truth” in order to remove any mention of the word “dummies” (note: these are the excerpts from the interview and not the entire transcript):
Ragsdale: ...but it was either DUMMIES (My emphasis) or bodies or something laying there...
Ragsdale: Yeah...and I’m sure that was bodies...either bodies or DUMMIES (My emphasis)...
Schmitt: Why do you say DUMMIES (My emphasis)?
Ragsdale: The federal government could have been doing something because they didn’t want anyone to know what this was ...THEY WAS USING DUMMIES (My emphasis) in those damned things...they could use remote control.6
However, the following is the exchange published in the The truth about the UFO crash at Roswell:
...bodies or something laying there. They looked like bodies. They weren’t very long...four or five foot long at the most. 7
Why would Randle and Schmitt edit the testimony so the word “dummy” did not appear in the book? These are the same people who consistently accuse the USAF and debunkers of deception. He without “sin”.....
Proponents also like to proclaim that in 1997, the witness testimonies used in the USAF report had already been shown to be fabricated. This is true but the work on the report had begun before 1997 and, at that time, these individuals were considered the primary witnesses to a UFO crash and alien bodies. The two major books on the subject were written
with these witnesses as the stars! It wasn’t until late 1995 that they became suspect. As late as October 1995, Randle was still suggesting in the MUFON journal
that Ragsdale’s original story had truth to it because it had been verified by others. By the time the report was finally published, most of these same witnesses
were considered unreliable. Perhaps McAndrew should have kept up with the ever changing landscape of Roswell witnesses.
The constant fighting between Friedman and Randle made it difficult to decide which witnesses were trustworthy
and which were not. One thing is for sure, the USAF was not going to state that a specific person was blatantly lying. They gave all of them an alternate explanation as to why their stories were incorrect.
It is interesting to note that Dennis Balthasar
still finds Glenn Dennis credible and Dennis was the president of the Roswell
UFO museum in 1998. According to one source, Stanton Friedman still believed
Gerald Anderson as late as 1998! The idea that everyone considered these witnesses unreliable in 1997 is not completely
The cornerstone of the Roswell “incident”
was built on Marcel’s story and held up by Haut and a few others. The Alien body witnesses all arrived later and were used to shore up the structure of the Roswell myth. Since then, almost all of the original first hand body witnesses have become considered unreliable. So, is the case really closed?
As each witness’ credibility is destroyed, two more are found with even wilder tales based on the blueprint that had been established by the previous witnesses.
This is why they are found credible
by the proponents. They sound so similar, they appear to corroborate each other. Totally ignored is the possibility that the witnesses are just repeating the stories told by others with their own personal
touches thrown in to the mix. As long as there are those that want to believe
these unsubstantiated stories, the case will never be closed.
Notes and references
1. HQ USAF. The Roswell Report: Case Closed. Washington: D.C., US Government,
1997 p. 15
2. ibid. p. 26
3. ibid. p. 181
4. ibid. p. 31
5. Gildenberg, Bernard D. . “A Roswell requiem.”
Skeptic, Vol. 10 No. 1 2003. p. 71.
6. HQ USAF. The Roswell Report: Case Closed. Washington: D.C., US Government,
1997 p. 216-218
7. Randle, Kevin and Donald Schmitt. The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell.
New York: Avon, 1994. p. 9
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2009