By Michael Lindemann
[July 15, 1996] -- I visited Roswell, New Mexico, over the July 4th holiday to attend a UFO conference. On this, my first visit to the legendary "UFO capital of the United States," I discovered that the hottest topic among the assembled researchers, including key staffers at Roswell's International UFO Museum, centered on the location of "the other crash site." I learned that there are two main contenders in this controversy -- two possible sites separated by dozens of miles, each supported by key witnesses, earnest research and sensational claims.
Everyone agrees that strange wreckage was found on the Foster Ranch, some seventy miles northwest of Roswell, by then-manager Mac Brazel in early July, 1947. The location of that site, and the basic narrative concerning the discovery, are not in dispute. However, that site yielded no more than scraps of metal and other materials, and recent research suggests that at least some of that material was probably of human making -- perhaps from the crash of a so-called Project Mogul balloon, or perhaps even planted by counterintelligence agents to confuse the claim of legitimate alien artifacts.
While the Brazel debris field remains significant to the Roswell incident, claims of a second site are more significant. At the alleged second site, researchers believe, the military recovered a largely intact flying craft, as well as four or more bodies. But many details of this "second site" remain mired in uncertainty.
One of the two main candidates for the second site is on a ranch owned by a man named Hub Corn, about 30 miles due north of Roswell, just off Highway 285. Researchers Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt, co-authors of two books on the Roswell incident, along with forensic artist William McDonald, are among the top proponents of this site. They claim to have located the exact point where a craft of very unusual design came to rest, up against an arroyo or low cliff face.
Not long from now, the well known model-maker Testors Corporation will release a plastic scale model of a "Roswell alien spacecraft" based on research and drawings by William McDonald. This craft looks quite a bit like an exotic jet airplane, and not at all like a typical "flying saucer." McDonald says several eyewitnesses have confirmed that this is an accurate depiction of the craft found at the Hub Corn ranch, and that its shape and technical characteristics prove the U.S. military learned many lessons in aerospace design from alien technology.
But did an alien craft actually land on Hub Corn's ranch? Not according to proponents of the other contending crash site, notably Max Littell and other key staffers at Roswell's International UFO Museum and Research Center. According to Littell, the real site is near the old Pine Lodge in Lincoln National Forest, on the lower northern flank of the Capitan Mountains, approximately 53 miles west and north of Roswell and about 32 miles south of the Brazel debris field.
Here again, a very exact place has been found. A specific rock is said to have stopped the descending craft in its tracks, causing the rock to split in an odd way on impact. This site also shows indications of trees being sheared by something coming down from above. There is also testimony of various local ranchers and even two nuns that tend to support this site. But the main evidence is the testimony of one man, truck driver James Ragsdale, who died on July 1, 1995 of cancer, only five days after videotaping an extensive statement about his finding of the craft and four bodies at this site.
Similarly, claims concerning the Hub Corn site rest largely on the testimony of one man, Frank Kaufman. His supporters say Kaufman was a high-ranking secret military operative in 1947 and was officially involved in the recovery of the craft and bodies. But other people -- notably Glenn Dennis, the mortician whose own testimony is the strongest evidence for bodies at Roswell -- say that Frank Kaufman's testimony is unreliable. Researcher Karl Pflock, author of a controversial 1994 report titled "Roswell in Perspective," says he found Kaufman's testimony to be completely unconvincing.
But James Ragsdale is not exactly a model witness either. He was a self-admitted alcoholic -- Glenn Dennis recalls driving Ragsdale to the hospital several times to recover from delirium tremens -- and he was engaged in an illicit affair with a married woman on the night in 1947 when they "saw the saucer." Yet, despite this, the manner in which Ragsdale finally told his story carried a tone of desperation and pathos that made a strong impression on all who heard it, including his grown daughter, Judy Ragsdale Lott, who was taken completely by surprise.
Ragsdale had come to live with Judy in the late stages of his terminal illness. She said later that she and her father had gone many times to a campground in the forest near Pine Lodge, but he had never told her why this particular place held such fascination for him. According to his deathbed testimony, Ragsdale and his daughter had often camped on the very spot where he had found the alien vehicle in 1947.
Furthermore, Ragsdale said the married woman he had been with on that fateful occasion died a short time later in a suspicious car accident. Both he and she had taken samples of wreckage from the site, he said, and she had been carrying hers with her on the day of the accident. Her pieces of wreckage were not found, however. Then Ragsdale's own house was ransacked, and his pieces of wreckage likewise disappeared. From that day on, Ragsdale told his daughter, he feared for his life, and for the safety of his family. That was the reason he never talked about the alien craft until he was near death.
A sidebar to the discussion of competing crash sites is the question of whether one or perhaps two mystery aircraft were involved. Noted researcher Stanton Friedman has long argued that there were two craft. But he also thinks the second craft landed somewhere on the Plains of San Agustin, far to the west of the other proposed sites. Now, however, other researchers are also speculating on two craft -- possibly one that disintegrated totally over the Foster Ranch, and another that crash-landed at the "second site."
On the other hand, some proponents of the one-craft theory suggest that a lot of the wreckage found at the Brazel site was actually planted after the fact by the military to confuse anyone who stumbled upon it, and to provide "plausible deniability" later on. This theory says that a lot of the Brazel wreckage actually DID come from such things as weather balloons, though some might also have come from a genuine alien craft in the process of breaking apart.
Another element in the controversy centers on who, if anyone, might profit financially from the Roswell incident. The International UFO Museum is mostly a volunteer operation that accepts donations but doesn't charge at the door -- though, with more than 100,000 visitors to date, they could have made a tidy sum charging even a small entry fee. The museum does include a store that sells books, videos and souvenirs, but no one is likely to get rich from that level of commerce.
Proceeds from the Ragsdale videotape are to be split 50/50 between the UFO Museum and a trust fund set up for Ragsdale's nine grandchildren. This video could sell several thousand copies; but in the world of high finance, this is still small change.
Rancher Hub Corn is making a modest profit by charging $15 a head for anyone who wants to visit the alleged crash site on his land. His defenders say that the fee is the only thing that deters countless people from hounding him constantly. He also charges -- and occasionally gets -- $100 from any news crew that wants to film the site.
Probably the people most likely to profit financially from Roswell in the near term are those associated with the Testors model of the alleged alien craft, including artist McDonald, authors Randle and Schmitt, and Testors management. It is anticipated that several tens of thousands of kits may be sold, probably at about $20 each, during the next several years.
Returning to the main controversy, it seems clear that the two sides are not very friendly toward each other. Randle, Schmitt, McDonald et al think that Ragsdale changed his story shortly before dying, perhaps hoping to get some money for his family, or because of political pressure of some kind. Ragsdale's supporters stress the unreliability of Frank Kaufman; but they also note the curious fact that, although Hub Corn seems happy to charge money for visits to his site, neither he nor any of his close neighbors claim to recollect any strange activities on their land during the summer of 1947. But, according to Glenn Dennis, there are ranchers farther away, in the direction of the Ragsdale site, who DO claim to recall odd goings-on that July 4 weekend -- military convoys, road closures, rumors of things in the sky.
After listening intently to proponents of the two competing theories, I found myself unready to decide who was more likely to be correct. Though there is more detail in each theory than I've recorded here, there is not a final and decisive element recommending one site over the other. Like so much else in the study of UFOs, this controversy cannot yet be resolved. However, I do feel that a second site was found, and that one or the other of these two sites might be the real thing. It is even possible that something real occurred in both locations.
Will we ever discover, beyond any reasonable doubt, what was really found at Roswell, and where? I do remain hopeful. But the last eyewitnesses are dying off, and researchers may soon find themselves permanently at a loss for further evidence, until or unless "the government" finally shares whatever secrets it might hold.
Original file name: .CNI - Roswell 2nd site 7.12
This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.