Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Be A Dummy

Back in the summer of 1997, when the Roswell, New Mexico incident was all the news (due to the fact that the case - involving who knows what - was then precisely 50 years old), the U.S. Air Force came out with a somewhat bizarre and still-controversial report suggesting that the alleged "alien bodies" found outside of Roswell were actually crash-test-dummies used in high-altitude experiments.

The theory provoked a wealth of debate within the domain of Ufology, and even the mainstream media addressed the scenario with some doubt when it was demonstrated by eagle-eyed sleuths that the dummy tests didn't even begin until 1952 - five years after Roswell occurred!

No wonder the debate continues to rage.

Anyway, for those who are interested, you can find one of the dummies in question on display at the UFO Museum at Roswell - and here it is (this photo was taken by me 6 or 7 years ago).

But, there is one interesting (to me anyway!) thing about the crash-test dummy story that very rarely - if ever - gets touched upon.

I have heard UFO researchers say time and again that it would be absurd to imagine that people could mistake dummies for aliens - chiefly because the dummies were all six-footers (or thereabouts), and the bodies at Roswell were only from three to five-feet in height.

And, I agree that the dummy scenario does not solve whatever it was that did or did not happen at Roswell.

But (yep, another but!), the dummy on display at the UFO Museum is not a six-footer. It's probably around five-foot-two or -three, or maybe an inch or two more. I'm six-foot-tall, and I tower over the one in the museum display!

So, even though I am not in the slightest bit persuaded by the theory that the Roswell bodies were dummies, contrary to what many UFO researchers have claimed, the dummies were not all big "guys."

That's one of the issues I have with many facets of Ufology (and Forteana in general): certain incorrect statements (such as this one about the dummies, the "95 per cent of all UFOs can be explained" statement, the "alien abductions began with Betty and Barney Hill" assertion, and the "Kenneth Arnold coined the term Flying Saucer" claim, etc, etc) are trotted out time and again, and without any independent attempt to confirm the statement.

Why? Easy! Because someone else said it, and someone else said it before them, and so on and so on. And it's easy and lazy not to do one's own research - for many.

So, no, in my view the dummies of Roswell are not the bodies of Roswell. And the dummies were certainly not dwarf-like in size. But, they were not all 6-footers either. In fact, nowhere near. If you don't believe me, go to Roswell, and have your photo taken next to the town's resident dummy.

If people want to say something about UFOs, and UFO events, they should investigate them. They should not be relying on what someone else said and simply assume its fully correct. Don't, in other words, be a dummy.


  1. A few days ago I looked at this photo from the September 1935 issue, page 416 of Popular Mechanics, titled: "Parachute, Pneumatic Shock Absorber and Rods at Side Protect Patient When Cage Drops from Plane"
    The magazine is on Google Books.

    This was only a model but they actually tested it using a baby doll for a dummy. Seeing this, I couldn't help but think about the supposed Roswell dummies and what could be their actual shape and size. Thank you for the article!

  2. Maybe the 6-foot number relates to the height of the dummies after they are fully dressed with customary pilot boots and helmets?

    In any case, it would be dumb —see what I did there?— to conduct crash tests using mannequins that are all the same shape and size, since your personnel is not going to be so homogeneous.

    I remember how confusing it was when the Air Force made that Postscriptum on their 'investigation' in 97. Adding the dummies made no sense, since it only acknowledge the wilder stories about witnesses that claimed to have seen the alien bodies. It was like trying to put out a fire with gasoline... so maybe some people feared the Roswell story would eventually died out?

  3. Stiver:

    Thanks again for the tip on this. I have turned it into a blog post at my Roswell blog:

    1. You are welcome, Nick. Thanks for sharing the picture on your blogs. And I agree with ilfakiro - your work is brilliant.

  4. I agree with your main point. Too many in the field just take what has been passed down over the years without ever looking at it with a critical eye. I cringe when I hear many of the "truths"from buffs who have just taken something passed down by word of mouth, printed in My Weekly Reader, or poor investigation, and treat it as if it is fact.

  5. After their first report (1995) the USAF were 'got at' by critics who said they completely ignored the 'bodies' aspect; thus they produced their sequel two years later. I think it was a way of avoiding calling any of the witnesses to the bodies a liar. The report did made some sense but was well short of a credible answer to the 'alien bodies' claims.

    The fact that they had to 'change' the timescales is hardly much of a weakness. Plenty of witnesses can get dates wrong after 40+ years. It was the desire to avoid labelling anyone as a liar that was, I believe, the main reason for this flawed 1997 report.

  6. CDA:

    I dont view that as an impossible scenario.

    However, "the desire to avoid labelling anyone as a liar," as you worded it only works if a significant body of people were pushing the USAF to comment on the bodies. They weren't however; not even outside of Ufology, such as in the media.

    And, in the 1994 Mogul report, Colonel Weaver said: "It should also be noted here that there was little mentioned in this report about the recovery of the so-called 'alien bodies.' The recovered wreckage was from a Project Mogul balloon. There were no 'alien' passengers therein."

    The USAF could easily have left things like that re the no bodies statement in relation to Mogul balloons not having crews.

    Not wanting to people (in some cases, retired military people) look like liars is understandable. But, it only makes sense if masses of people were pushing the USAF for a statement on the bodies. But they were not.

    Even the UFO research community was pretty much (in that time frame) debating the Mogul theory just in magazines etc, and without a large-scale demand to the USAF about the bodies claims.

    So, the mystery is why the USAF felt the need to explain the bodies in 1997, when as Colonel Weaver's words show, they clearly didn't feel the need to explain the bodies three years earlier, in 1994.

    Something (conspiratorial or not) happened between 1994 and 1997 that made the USAF decide to address the bodies angle. That's the mystery still.

  7. CDA:

    One other thing re this issue: When the Mogul report and the GAO report came out in 1994, they were the result of pushes by New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff.

    There was no large-scale political push to address Roswell (in terms of bodies) after the publication of the GAO report and the USAF Mogul report.

    That the USAF felt the need to explain the bodies in 97 is as curious as to why the felt the need to readdress Roswell in 94.

    Contrary to what many people (even in Ufology) think, the USAF was not mandated or directed to write a report on Mogul, or even to come up with a Roswell explanation and promote it.

    Rather, according to the GAO investigation, the USAF was supposed to search all its relevant archives, and turn anything document-based that was uncovered over to the GAO, and which would then appear in the GAO's report.

    The USAF, however, decided to jump the gun and write its own Roswell report (on Mogul) which did not please certain players in the GAO who were expecting the USAF to do what every other agency did - namely, search its archives and reply that they had or had not found anything, and if the former, hand it over.

  8. Had the USAF merely replied that they had zilch on Roswell (as the other agencies did), it would have left the GAO with literally nothing to say. Thus they would have issued a virtually empty report. And how would such a report have been received by the UFO community? As another cover-up of course.

    But it was all declared a cover-up anyway, by the 'Roswell was ET' brigade! This means, in effect, that all those agencies were either lying or VERY negligent in not locating the myriad of documents the ET brigade claimed they had stashed away.

    The USAF had to issue something of substance the first time, but the follow-up did, and does, seem a bit contrived and unnecessary. Its only result was to give the ETHers another opportunity to ridicule the whole thing. Which is exactly what they did.

    But whatever the USAF or the GAO did, short of admitting there were indeed massive volumes of top secret documents on the case and producing them, they were sitting targets for the ETHers.

  9. CDA:

    You say:

    "Had the USAF merely replied that they had zilch on Roswell (as the other agencies did), it would have left the GAO with literally nothing to say. Thus they would have issued a virtually empty report. And how would such a report have been received by the UFO community? As another cover-up of course."

    But so what? The UFO community already believed there was a cover-up. You seem to be taking the stance that the UFO community is some powerful force of people that worried the USAF, to the point where the USAF felt the need to explain Roswell.

    Do you really think the USAF was worried by a small community like us, and what we think?!

    You also say: "But whatever the USAF or the GAO did, short of admitting there were indeed massive volumes of top secret documents on the case and producing them, they were sitting targets for the ETHers."

    But, again, so what? Sadly for us in the UFO research community, for the most part no-one outside of our fairly small confines listens to us.

    Indeed, the only reason why the GAO/USAF got involved was because of Congressman Schiff, not because of anything the UFO research community ever did.

    In other words, nothing the UFO community has done influenced the GAO or the USAF. Schiff influenced them (or forced them, by default, depending on your opinion).

    So, when you say, the USAF and GAO "were sitting targets for the ETHers," so what?

    In the 14 years that passed (from 1980 to 1994) between publication of The Roswell Incident by Berlitz & Moore and the publication date of the Mogul report, the USAF never cared (or felt the need to comment on) what the UFO community said then.

    So why should they have cared if they were "sitting targets" in our sights in 1994 or 1997?

    The answer is: they wouldn't, because they never had been previously.

    So, that's one of the reasons why I feel there is a cover-up of Roswell:

    I suspect the USAF knew something (maybe all) of what happened at Roswell, got antsy and concerned by Schiff's digging (as opposed to the research community's digging), and so they decided to beat the GAO to the finish line by issuing its own Mogul story to, ahem, deflate anything the GAO might have found - which turned out to be nothing beyond a couple of scraps of paper like the FBI 1947 teletype.

    Schiff and the GAO had a very real potential to find something if it existed - hence the concern and the need for an explanation.

    The USAF knew that the UFO research community, with no access to archives, and no ability to demand agencies search their files for any evidence (the GAO's powers extend far beyond FOIA), could not take the case much further beyond witness testimony - which is true even now. All we do is argue about Roswell's merits or otherwise.

    Schiff and the GAO kick-started a scrambling to explain things. And indeed, remember this: when the GAO received the USAF report, the GAO wrapped up its investigation quickly.

    The Mogul explanation did not just offer an explanation. By default, it also said: "This is the answer; now go away." Which may have been the desired result of the USAF. If so, it worked. Aside for in the eyes of the UFO research field, who the USAF astutely knows is limited in what it can ferret out of government, and who it cares little about anyway, for that very reason.

    The USAF made no attempt to explain Roswell away when any of the Schmidtt-Randle books were published, or Moore's papers, or Stan Friedman's Crash at Corona. Because none of them - even if they had the answers - could provide hard evidence or potentially probe deep into the heart of massive archives.

    Schiff had the clout to demand that happened, and the GAO had the power to do it. The result: a panicky USAF needing a quick explanation to placate Schiff and get the GAO to go away.

  10. nick, your analysis on Gao/Usaf/Ufo community is absolutely Brilliant!


  11. Your analysis of the politics involved hit the target squarely and your comments to CDA also struck me how the dialog ( the give and take) really fleshed out the context of how this event was managed by the parties involved. Although not specifically addressing the Roswell issue, the general "extraterrestrial theory" has some equally odd dead zones such as several astronauts going on record in that regard ( to the affirmative side of ET theory) which has been nullified strangely. What do you attribute this to? It seemed like a hot potato turned into a dead on arrival revelation or series of them.

  12. Bruce:

    Sometimes, at least (but, granted, not all the time) I kind of view things as if there is some sort of "battle" going on within government (and I use the word "government" as a catch-all term for various bodies within officialdom) where we see internal sabre-rattling on the part of those who want the truth (whatever the truth may be!) withheld, and others who are keen to see it in the public domain.

    And, sometimes, I view these choice bits of data that surface - such as astronaut statements - along the lines of someone sharing data, not just to inform us of a few thing, but to also subtly "give the finger" to those holding the secrets.

    In other words, to a degree, I think, these revelations are as much about informing us as they are about sending a message to the keepers of the secret.

  13. Nick
    You might be interested in this excerpt regarding the other focus of attention, the memory metal.
    If the link does not work, I can send another.

  14. Thanks Bruce! I'll check that out.

  15. Mr. Redfern, I've been following UFO reports for better than 60 years and if memory serves me I believe there were statements, reports and articles in all manner of "news" media for four or five years prior to the 50th anniversary (1997).
    With all the hype in the media, UFO groups, and Congressman Schiffs probe into the Roswell crash, the Air Force tried to diffuse the situation with their first publication, "THE ROSWELL REPORT, the Air Forces official investigation into the Roswell Crash" (I believe this was the title) published by Barnes & Nobel.
    Then about 2 or 3 years later. just prior to the big events scheduled to take place in Roswell in 1997 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of THE ROSWELL CRASH, the Air Force issued "THE ROSWELL CRASH...CASE CLOSED", also put out by Barnes & Nobel...
    The major media have followed the Robertson Panel's suggestions since 1953, with very few reporters questioning why. This bothers me.
    All we have learned from the Roswell Crash is...
    1) The Air Force spokesperson's can only report things AS THEY ARE TOLD
    by their superiors.
    2) Whoever is in charge of the information will LIE and distribute
    disinformation at every opportunity.
    3) Without HONEST reporting such as you have presented in your books
    the truth will never be known.
    Thanks for the good work!