Little Bits of History

What a Tangled Web

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 8, 2015
Roswell Army Air Field's press release

Roswell captured something

July 8, 1947: Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) issues a press release. Something had crashed near a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. The US Army Air Forces were conducting top secret tests and were not able to give out totally accurate information lest they give away their secret Project Mogul. They were testing microphones attached to high altitude balloons. The purpose was to detect sound waves which were generated by Soviet atomic bomb tests. The project began in 1947 and ended in 1949 when a network of seismic detectors and air sampling techniques came into use. They were both easier to deploy and operate and were substantially cheaper.

Public information officer Walter Haut issued a press release from RAAF on this date. It was said that people from the field’s 509’s Operations Group had recovered a “flying disc” which had crashed. They did not want to have to say that it was a nuclear test monitoring device. Later in the day, Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force Roger Ramey  said it  was a weather balloon. Also supplied were debris from the wreckage – foil, rubber, and wood – consistent with the weather balloon description. The story died the next day and the government felt they had successfully hidden Project Mogul and could still monitor Soviet nuclear testing. The event faded from memory – for about 30 years.

Between 1978 and the early 1990s may UFO researchers looked into the crash near Roswell. Many interviews were held with those who claimed to have been witness to or somehow connected to the events which took place in 1947. Hundreds of documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act. Leaks came forth from the mysterious Majestic 12. The UFO experts came to the conclusion that an alien ship and not a weather balloon had crashed in New Mexico. As more claims came to the media’s attention, the interest of the average American increased. By the mid-1990s, the majority of Americans believed an alien ship had landed at Roswell and the government was keeping it a secret.

UFO interest began in 1978 when nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman interviewed Jesse Marcel, the only person known to have accompanied the recovered material from the crash site to Fort Worth. This renewed interest in the case and the first conspiracy book came out in 1980. Charles Berlitz and William Moore released The Roswell Incident which was their third conspiracy book. More books followed and as Americans became more concerned about a cover-up, the General Accounting Office launched an inquiry. The debris was found to be part of Project Mogul. The idea of recovered alien bodies was laid at the feet of psychology and the innocently transformed memories of anthropomorphic dummies used for things like Operation High Dive. UFO proponents fail to believe the government’s claims and remain convinced of alien visitation.

We have no proof, But if we extrapolate, based on the best information we have available to us, we have to come to the conclusion that … other life probably exists out there and perhaps in many places. – Neil Armstrong

Statistically it’s a certainty there are hugely advanced civilizations, intelligences, life forms out there. I believe they’re so advanced they’re even doing interstellar travel. I believe it’s possible they even came here. – Astronaut Storey Musgrove

Unknown objects are operating under intelligent control… It is imperative that we learn where UFO’s come from and what their purpose is. – Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter Director, Central Intelligence Agency 1947-1950

We all know UFOs are real. All we need to ask is where are they from. – Dr. Edgar Mitchell

Also on this day: The Wall Street Journal – In 1889, The Wall Street Journal began publication.
Con Man – In 1898, Soapy Smith was gunned down.
Bear Market – In 1932, the markets hit their lowest point during the Great Depression.
Our Lady of Kazan – In 1579, an iconic painting was discovered.
The End – In 2011, the Space Shuttle program was retired.

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Majestic 12

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 24, 2013
Harry S Truman

Harry S Truman

September 24, 1947: Harry S Truman did not form a secret society. On July 7, 1947 something crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico. Personnel from Roswell Army Air Field recovered debris from a top-secret research balloon – or an alien spacecraft with possible crew members alive and well. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) have been sighted since mankind first looked up into the sky. Some were comets, meteors, or unknown and rarely visible planets. Others were omens, angels, and various other-worldly phenomenons.

It is alleged that the President formed a secret committee comprised of military leaders, government officials, and of course, scientists. Their mission was to gather information and protect the nation from alien harm. It is suggested that Dr. Vannevar Bush and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal were the driving force behind the group’s origin. The 12 core members were all deceased by the time the Majestic 12 was revealed by astute researchers gaining access to the “Top Secret” papers.

The 12 members were said to be helped by other noted scientist of the time – e.g. Oppenheimer, Einstein, and von Braun. The men listed as members of the group did look into various claims of UFO sightings. Several books were written – giving evidence supporting Earthlings creativity and increasing scientific knowledge, but no known contact with alien life forms. They were men who were responsible for the country’s safety and as the arms and space race blossomed, were keenly aware of the disturbances. It was their job to watch the skies (and other possible routes for invasion).

At the time of the “discovery” there was an outcry from the public of government cover-up. Supporting documentation was produced by Jamie Shandera (a ufologist) and William Moore (Roswell researcher). Further investigation by outsiders revealed Moore’s involvement in trying to procure bogus documentation supporting alien existence from various sources – from nuclear physicist Stanton T. Friedman to National Enquirer reporter Bob Pratt. The FBI has examined all documentation provided and due to formatting inconsistencies and errors with dating, have labeled them fraudulent.

“It’s a very typical UFO sighting. Carter said it changed color and, in the physical report, described it as being about the size of the moon. And he saw it with about twenty-five other people.” – Dwight Schultz

“I don’t mind UFO’s and ghost stories, it’s just that I tend to give value to the storyteller rather than to the story itself.” – Robert Stack

“I’ll tell you, too, that’s starting to depress me about UFO’s, about the fact that they cross galaxies, or wherever they come from to visit us, and always end up in places like Fife, Alabama. Maybe these are not super-intelligent beings, man.” – Bill Hicks

“I don’t believe in the UFO mythology but I find it fascinating. Episodically, I find it fascinating.” – Ken MacLeod

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: UFO conspiracy theories argue that evidence of unidentified flying objects as well as extraterrestrial visitors are being suppressed by government entities globally. The “proof” for these accusations is often totally nonexistent or at best very thin. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry does not subscribe to a cover-up. However, there are some well-credentialed people who do claim there has been a cover-up of intentional dismissal on the subject of UFOs and extraterrestrial visits, at least by the US government. There have been claims that the White House has suppressed, ignored, or marginalized reports from generals, pilots, and other government officials. Some claim this is to facilitate the abduction of humans by the aliens.

Also on this day: Powerful Serve; Best Backhand – In 1938, John Donald Budge became the first tennis player to win the Grand Slam of tennis.
Devil’s Tower – In 1906, this landmark was declared a National Monument.
Byzantine – In 1180, Manuel I Komnenos died.