What REALLY happened during Roswell crash? America’s most famous UFO case is thrust back into the…

One of America’s most famous UFO cases — if not, the most famous — has been thrust back into the spotlight, decades after the Air Force claimed to have solved it.

The Roswell incident of 1947 captured imaginations worldwide when the US Army Air Force issued a press release stating that it had recovered debris from a ‘flying disc.’

But less than 24 hours later, military officials reversed course, announcing that the debris had only come from a crashed weather balloon, sparking America’s fascination with UFOs and allegations of a government cover-up ever since. 

Last month, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, the Pentagon’s departing UFO chief, teased his office’s own conclusion: The Air Force’s 1994 report was correct. Roswell’s ‘flying saucer’ crash had just been debris from a top secret ‘Project Mogul’ spy balloon. 

But independent experts, including former NASA scientists, tell DailyMail.com that official documents, created by the very scientists who ran Project Mogul themselves, flatly contradict the government’s theory.

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick (left), the Pentagon’s departing UFO chief, previewed his office’s upcoming UFO report this January, in a lengthy podcast interview. His office, he said, plans to recycle a theory from an old Air Force report on the infamous Roswell UFO crash of 1947 (right), claiming that this legendary ‘flying disc’ was simply a mistaken US spy balloon

But on page 715 of the Air Force’s 881-page report on the Roswell crash, a transcribed journal entry by Project Mogul’s Field Operations Director, geophysicist Dr. Albert Crary, states that the key scheduled balloon launch never took place – and thus couldn’t be confused for a UFO 

Running from 1947 until early 1949, Project Mogul was an effort to track from a distance the sound waves generated by Soviet nuclear weapons tests.

But Mogul scientists struggled to develop a system of high-altitude balloons and sensors that could remain level within the right ‘sound channel’ about 50,000 feet above sea level, fighting often against bad weather and aviation safety issues.

In fact, one longtime NASA aerospace engineer — who conducted atmospheric balloon experiments not unlike Mogul — told DailyMail.com that the critical Mogul balloon launch in question never took place.

The engineer pointed to a June 4th, 1947 journal entry written by Project Mogul’s Field Operations Director, Dr. Albert P. Crary, which states: ‘No balloon flights again on account of clouds. Flew regular sonobuoy up in cluster of balloons.’

‘If he was just flying a rubber balloon cluster with a sonobuoy [a thin, three-foot-long, sonar device], it would go up and come down relatively quickly and never go too far,’ this NASA engineer, who wished to remain anonymous, explained to DailyMail.com.

‘In my opinion, that’s what Crary meant when he wrote ‘no balloon flights on account of clouds.” 

‘He meant no balloon flights that would take the train outside of military airspace.’

Dr. Crary’s journal, which is corroborated by Mogul’s official progress reports, indicate that there was no high-altitude balloon flight that fits both the Air Force investigation’s timeline and was also capable of traveling the roughly 87 miles north to the Roswell UFO’s crash site.

Dr. David Rudiak, a team member of the University of Texas at Arlington’s ‘Roswell UFO incident’ archival project, told DailyMail.com he agrees.

Two former NASA scientists – including one who conducted atmospheric balloon experiments for the US space agency – have revealed to DailyMail.com how Air Force records contradict the Pentagon’s Roswell theory. Above, NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building on Merritt Island, Florida

In the late 1990s, the US Air Force pointed to this aeroshell from a 1967 NASA Voyager-Mars space probe (above) as an explanation for the 1947 Roswell UFO crash, two decades prior

Dr. Rudiak scrutinized the Mogul balloon theory of the Roswell crash in partnership with Roswell skeptic and ex-NASA-Ames researcher Brad Sparks in the early 2000s.

Together they focused on the hypothetical flight path of the cancelled June 4th balloon flight, which had been calculated by the Air Force’s star witness from Mogul. 

They uncovered ‘numerous, grade-school type math errors‘ — in one instance ‘100 feet / 12 minutes = 350 feet-per-minute’ — which allowed the alleged Mogul flight to start and stop at just the right altitude to ride the wind toward the Roswell crash site.

Dr. Kirkpatrick’s appearance on the podcast, ‘In the Room with Peter Bergen,’ this January, was part of a media push that has seen the Pentagon UFO chief extend his feud with UFO whistleblower David Grusch into the pages of Scientific American and other media outlets

Nevertheless, in an interview with CNN analyst Peter Bergen this January, Dr. Kirkpatrick announced that his Pentagon UFO office would be doubling-down on the Air Force’s official Project Mogul balloon theory.

From July 2022 to the end of last year, Dr. Kirkpatrick served as the Pentagon’s first-ever director of its brand new All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), a congressionally mandated new group devoted to investigating military UFO cases.

‘Kirkpatrick says his office dug deep into Roswell,’ Bergen explained on his podcast.

‘Kirkpatrick and his team at AARO concluded that crashed Mogul balloons, recovery operations to retrieve downed Air Force dummies, and glimpses of the aftermath of that real plane crash,’ Bergen told listeners, ‘likely combined into a single narrative.’

Dr. Kirkpatrick’s take is a far cry from the testimony of Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) intelligence veteran Major Jesse Marcel who came forward in the late 1970s to say that the crash debris he witnessed in 1947 was ‘not anything of this earth.’

Maj. Marcel, his colleague Master Sergeant Bill Rickett who also inspected the debris field, and scores more who lived near the New Mexico base have told overlapping tales of a crashed craft, recovered ‘alien’ bodies and intimidation of witnesses.   

In the late 1990s, the Air Force also published this above image of a 1972 Viking space probe awaiting recovery at the White Sands Missile Range near Roswell as an explanation for the 1947 Roswell UFO crash that had been reported on 25 years prior

As the Air Force described their own Roswell investigation in 1994, their team ‘reviewed a monumental number of documents concerning a variety of events, including aircraft crashes, errant missile tests, and nuclear mishaps.’ (USAF PDF)

Each of these terrestrial events was combed through, they wrote, for ‘information that might help to explain peculiar tales of odd wreckage and alien bodies.’ 

But while the Air Force concluded that Project Mogul was the most likely explanation, records written in 1947 and 1948 by Mogul’s scientists themselves show that the suspected balloon flight had been grounded over serious safety concerns.

The cancelled Mogul balloon flight 

Debris from the Roswell crash was found 80 miles northwest of town by rancher ‘Mac’ Brazel and his son Vernon on June 14, 1947.

For the Brazels’ discovery to have been a mistaken Mogul balloon, according to the Air Force’s 1994 report, only one scheduled launch alluded to in the secret project’s official history could have fit the timeline: June 4th’s cancelled Flight #4.

But Mogul lead Dr. Crary’s journal entry on the scuttled launch (‘No balloon flights again on account of clouds’), transcribed for inclusion in the Air Force’s 1994 Roswell report, was also corroborated by Project Mogul’s official 1948 progress report.

Titled New York University Technical Report No. 1 Constant-Level Balloon (because Project Mogul’s cover story presented its classified tests as simple, NYU-led, science experiments), the report tellingly does not list Flight #4 in its summary

On page 610 of the US Air Force’s 1994 Roswell crash report, cancelled Flights #2 through #4 are omitted in the ‘NYU’ (Mogul) summary. But the report does document numerous instances of other crashed or lost Mogul balloons – evidence that only cancelled flights were omitted

The progress report documents numerous instances of crashed or lost balloons — suggesting that only a canceled flight, like Flight #4, would have been omitted. 

Ultimately, the Air Force’s 1994 Roswell report concluded that Flight #4 might have flown, thanks to the testimony of one of Dr. Crary’s junior partners on the secret project: an atmospheric scientist-in-training named Charles Moore.

While the lead author of the Air Force’s Roswell report, Colonel Richard Weaver, took Moore at his word, the now retired colonel has since come forward to emphasize that Moore’s nearly five-decade-old memories were by no means conclusive. 

Deep in the appendices of the Air Force’s Roswell findings, a June 4th journal entry by Project Mogul’s Field Operations Director, Dr. Albert P. Crary (above), states: ‘No balloon flights again on account of clouds’

‘Did we say it was 100-percent? Col. Weaver said on a 2020 podcast. ‘No way. We didn’t say that.’ 

Dr. Crary would go on to become the first man to ever traverse both the North and South poles. Above, Dr. Crary (center) after his team made the first landing of an airplane on an ice floe at the North Pole, May 3rd, 1952

Speaking to the podcast’s host, longtime Roswell researcher and former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Randle, Col. Weaver alluded cryptically to ‘politics and a lot of manipulation going on behind the scenes’ of his 1994 inquiry.

SUNY Albany physics professor Dr. Kevin Knuth, who spent four years at NASA-Ames studying distant gaseous nebulae in outer space, said he finds the Air Force’s findings even less conclusive.

‘As a scientist, I am skeptical of every claim that is made without evidence,’ Dr. Knuth told DailyMail.com after reviewing portions of the Air Force’s 1994 Roswell report.

‘I must be equally skeptical of a witness who claims that there was a crashed disk with alien bodies at Roswell, as I am of a witness that claims that Roswell was a result of the crash of a Project Mogul balloon.’ 

‘This is especially true because the first story that was officially released was ‘RAAF [Roswell Army Air Field] captures a Flying Saucer,” he added. 

While the RAAF public relations official who drafted that press release, 1st Lieutenant Walter Haut, told conflicting stories over the years, he ultimately stuck to that first, sensational saucer story with his family. 

‘Basically Dad said yes, he did see the bodies, yes he did see the craft and much more than that,’ Haut’s daughter, Julie Shuster, told Australian public broadcaster SBS in 2021.  

‘At one point I asked him about the size,’ Shuster continued, ‘and he said the craft was about 25 feet in diameter.’

1st Lt. Haut would sign a sworn affidavit affirming what he told his family before his death in 2005. And, over the years, Roswell mortician Glenn Dennis and others have come forward with claims of small dead ‘alien’ bodies recovered from the crash.

‘I received a call from the mortuary officer at the base,’ Dennis told Larry King Live in 2003, ‘asking me how many infant hermetically sealed caskets we had, three-and-a-half to four-feet, in stock.’

In June 1997, the Air Force released a second Roswell report, entitled ‘The Roswell Report, Case Closed.’ The 231-page report included this photo of a 1950s body bag containing a crash dummy which they contend was confused for alien victims from the crash of a flying saucer

SUNY Albany physics professor Dr. Kevin Knuth, who spent four years developing machine-learning algorithms at NASA-Ames, told DailyMail.com he is ‘skeptical’ of the Mogul theory. ‘The first story that was officially released was ‘RAAF captures a Flying Saucer,” he noted

Dedicated Roswell UFO researchers, including Lt. Col. Randle, have joined die-hard UFO skeptics in raising issues with both 1st Lt. Haut and Dennis‘s claims, however.

Many skeptics now believe that the cottage industry around the Roswell legend has tainted the claims of nearly every resident in the town with a story about the crash. 

But as Randle, Dr. Rudiak, and the ex-NASA researchers told DailyMail.com, the myriad flaws in the many sensational and unproven claims about Roswell are not alone proof that the Pentagon’s Mogul balloon theory is correct.

The hypothetical Mogul balloon ‘Flight #4’

To advance their Mogul theory in 1994, Col. Weaver and his Air Force co-investigators were left to rely on the testimony and opinions of the late Dr. Crary’s living subordinate, Prof. Moore, then a retired professor of atmospheric physics.

Working from Dr. Crary’s journal entries, Prof. Moore ‘opined’ according to the report, that the strange debris Mac Brazel, RAAF intel officer Maj. Marcel and others thought came from a crashed UFO was ‘most probably from Flight #4.’

Prof. Moore later coauthored a book, UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth, in which he used government wind data to plot a possible flight path for how Flight #4 might have made it to the crash site (a detail the Air Force skipped over).

DailyMail.com’s longtime NASA engineer, who has conducted atmospheric balloon tests, said Moore’s calculations include two extremely unlikely assumptions.

Those assumptions, the engineer said, are supported by ‘no documentary evidence.’

‘The Mogul team was operating under a Civil Aeronautics Administration (forerunner of the FAA) permit that allowed them to conduct flights under day, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions,’ the engineer said, a fact available in the 1994 Air Force report.

‘During my NASA research career, I funded and participated in 3 different high altitude balloon flights, and we always launched right at sunup, which would have been about 6:00am on June 4, 1947.’

To advance their Mogul theory in 1994, the Air Force relied on the memories of the late Dr. Crary’s living subordinate, then a retired professor of atmospheric physics, Prof. Charles Moore. Above, Prof. Moore looks at 1947 wind data given to him by retired Lt. Col. Kevin Randle

But to find wind data that could take his proposed Mogul balloon to the Roswell crash site, Prof. Moore assumed Flight #4 launched around 2:30am, in the dead of night and into the thick cloudbank that had concerned his boss, Dr. Crary.

The move would have been a violation of federal CAA air safety laws, conducted by rogue civilian scientists working on a covert program, right next to the only military air squadron in America, the 509th Bombardment Group, armed with atomic bombs.

Prof. Moore justified the assumption with the seemingly ambiguous passage in Dr. Crary’s journal entry, ‘Flew regular sonobuoy up in cluster of balloons.’

A longtime NASA aerospace engineer, who conducted atmospheric balloon experiments for the US space agency, told DailyMail.com that Prof. Moore’s case for the Mogul theory included two very unlikely assumptions. Above, Moore during the Project Mogul era

But DailyMail.com’s ex-NASA engineer, as well as Dr. Rudiak (a one-time biophysics researcher and doctor of optometry) and ex-NASA-Ames researcher Brad Sparks, all note that the listed balloon arrangement lacked key equipment for a flight to the crash site. 

‘There was no constant altitude controller on the balloon train on June 4,’ the ex-NASA engineer said. 

‘So the ground track that Moore calculated in order to get the balloons from Alamogordo [New Mexico] to the Foster Ranch [i.e. the Roswell crash site] is bogus.’ 

Confirming this, images of the AN/CRT-1 Sonobuoy used by Dr. Crary’s team, on pages 288-290 of the Air Force’s 1994 Roswell report, show a metal cylinder just shy of 3 feet in length. 

Dr. Rudiak noted that this small sonobuoy (a World War II-era radio and passive sonar device also used for hunting U-boats) and the neoprene (artificial rubber) balloons noted in the Air Force report, do not resemble any version of the Roswell wreckage. 

Images of the AN/CRT-1 Sonobuoy used by Dr. Crary’s team, in the Air Force’s 1994 Roswell report, show a metal cylinder just shy of 3 feet in length. Dr. Rudiak noted that this one small sonobuoy and the neoprene (artificial rubber) balloons do not resemble the Roswell wreckage

Prof. Moore justified the Mogul balloon theory with a cryptic passage in Dr. Crary’s journal, ‘Flew regular sonobuoy up in cluster of balloons.’ But an ex-NASA engineer told DailyMail.com, ‘a rubber balloon cluster with a sonobuoy […] would go up and come down relatively quickly’

Two conflicting accounts, of course, exist for the debris at the Roswell crash site. 

First, there are the electrifying and unusual accounts of otherworldly metal materials described by the Brazel family, Roswell army base intel officer Maj. Marcel, the base’s counter-intelligence Master Sgt. ‘Bill’ Rickett, and others.

And, second, there is the more prosaic crashed weather-balloon debris described under oath by Rickett’s superior, Captain Sheridan Cavitt — the debris Maj. Marcel has claimed he was forced to pose with before reporters as part of a cover up.

Neither version resembles Dr. Crary’s sonobuoy tied to a cluster of rubber balloons.

Lt. Col. Randle, who worked with Dr. Rudiak on the University of Texas at Arlington’s Roswell project, noted that the Air Force relied on Prof. Moore’s memories and a few second-hand accounts to theorize that foil-covered radar reflectors, called rawin targets, had gotten to the crash site.

‘If there were no rawin targets,’ Lt. Col. Randle told DailyMail.com, ‘then there wasn’t any large, metallic-looking wreckage to fool Brazel or Marcel.’ 

Dr. Rudiak added that the risky and illegal nighttime Mogul Flight #4, that Prof. Moore claims occurred, would have been of questionable scientific value to the project. 

‘These balloons were supposed to be constant-altitude controlled,’ as Dr. Rudiak told DailyMail.com. ‘That’s what they were trying to develop, which is why they were trying to accurately track them.’

‘They had up to four methods of tracking and two of them are optical, you know? They had telescopes on the ground, surveyor’s theodolites,’ he added, ‘and then they usually had a chase plane. […] If you send it up in the night, you lose those.’ 

‘And they had to track them to make sure they weren’t drifting into civilian air lanes.’

Dr. Crary’s sonobuoy tied to a cluster of rubber balloons does not resemble the sensational UFO accounts of Roswell, nor the more prosaic crashed weather balloon debris (above) described under oath by the Roswell base’s counterintelligence boss, Captain Sheridan Cavitt

Roswell base intel officer Major Jesse Marcel (left) has claimed he was forced to pose before reporters with weather-balloon debris he did not witness at the Roswell UFO crash site. Major Marcel was portrayed by actor Kyle MacLachlan in a 1994 Showtime original TV movie, Roswell

‘Grade-school type math errors’

But beyond Prof. Moore’s unusual assumptions for Flight #4, Dr. Rudiak and Sparks also found simple math errors in the retired scientist’s balloon flight calculations. 

The unusual errors — in one instance ‘100 feet / 12 minutes = 350 feet-per-minute’ — allowed Prof. Moore’s Flight #4 to repeatedly start and stop at just the right altitude to catch the changing winds toward the Roswell crash site. 

In one instance, Prof. Moore also estimated that the flight descended in a rapid ‘death dive‘ that does not match any other recorded Mogul balloon flight. 

Tim Printy, a scientific and technical consultant to the nonprofit Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, reviewed Sparks and Rudiak’s critiques of Moore’s calculations, describing Prof. Moore’s mathematical errors as real, but ‘minor.’ 

‘David Rudiak and Brad Sparks have pointed out that there are many errors with Professor Charles Moore’s published work on Flight #4,’ Printy wrote

‘When one checks the math in the tables, they are correct that there are some problems in Moore’s work that Moore should address.’ 

Although, Printy, a former US Navy nuclear reactor operator, was unconvinced these errors were significant, he noted, ‘Since I don’t have a degree in atmospheric physics, I can not speak with authority on this subject.’

Ultimately, according to Printy, Prof. Moore was ‘perfectly willing to let his work stand, math errors and all, with no comment.’ 

When Sparks and Dr. Rudiak attempted to correct Moore’s ‘mathematically faulty’ work themselves, Mogul’s alleged illegal night balloon, Flight #4, would have crashed 21 miles northeast of where the wreckage was actually found.

Lead author of the Air Force’s Roswell report, Col. Richard Weaver, came forward in 2020 to discuss ‘a lot of manipulation going on behind the scenes’ of his 1994 official Roswell inquiry. Above, an image promoting a 90s television program about the book ‘The Day after Roswell’

No ‘terrestrial explanation’ for Roswell, yet 

Departing AARO chief Dr. Kirkpatrick did not get bogged down in these specifics while endorsing the Mogul balloon theory on his podcast appearance in January. 

The laser-physicist, once dubbed ‘Dr. Evil’ by his Air Force colleagues, was quoted sticking to emotional and cultural explanations for 1947’s Roswell UFO media frenzy.  

‘Everybody’s still raw from the war,’ Dr. Kirkpatrick told host Peter Bergen.

‘There was also this fear coming out of World War II of being surprised, you know, the rockets that were shot into London.’

His appearance on Bergen’s podcast, ‘In the Room with Peter Bergen,’ has now extended the one-time CIA physicist’s feud with UFO whistleblower David Grusch into a protracted media campaign.

Dr. Kirkpatrick told Scientific American readers that ‘conspiracy-minded ‘whistleblowers’ had failed to cooperate with his UFO investigations — months after he also called Grusch’s congressional testimony on a hidden and illegal UFO crash retrieval program, delivered under oath, ‘insulting.’

With AARO’s Historical Record Report‘ on UFOs not yet public, Mogul skeptic Dr. Knuth told DailyMail.com he hopes the Pentagon UFO office might yet reveal it has unearthed more hard facts than the Air Force’s Roswell investigations of the 1990s. 

‘I can only hope that my fellow scientists at AARO will be equally skeptical,’ the SUNY Albany physicist said, ‘and not make any definitive statements without evidence.’

The Air Force’s Mogul balloon theory has been repeated as a fact of history by many major news media outlets, including Wired and Smithsonian magazines. Above, a sign directing Roswell, New Mexico visitors to the start of a ‘1947 UFO Crash Site Tour’ circa 1997

Tales of the Roswell UFO crash remain an unusual profit center for the small desert town. Above, El Paso, Texas residents – visiting Roswell’s International UFO Museum and Research Center in June of 2004 – take in a display replicating the long-alleged alien autopsy

DailyMail.com has reached out to the Pentagon’s designated press contact for all things AARO, Susan Gough, and will update this article if she or her team responds.

While AARO’s ‘Historical Record Report’ on UFOs is due to Congress this June, the indication from Dr. Kirkpatrick’s appearance on Bergen’s Audible original podcast suggests that the Pentagon plans to turn their report in early.

‘Certainly, there must be records of the recovery team, the army convoy that was involved, the C-54 transport plane, as well as an explanation of the military’s hyperbolic response,’ Dr. Knuth noted, ‘which involved detaining, questioning, and threatening civilians.’

Rancher ‘Mac’ Brazel, according to multiple interviews conducted by Lt. Col. Randle, was one such civilian.

Both Brazel’s neighbor Marian Strickland and Brazel’s son Bill told Randle in taped interviews that Mac had been detained for several days on the base. 

Randle also interviewed Major Edwin Easley, the provost marshal at the Roswell Army Air Field in 1947, who confirmed in untaped conversations that Brazel had been detained after reporting the crash.

Perhaps significantly, Brazel returned home from this alleged forced stay at the Roswell base’s ‘guest house’ regretting that he had come forward to report this UFO crash debris at all.

‘If I find anything else, besides a bomb,’ Brazel told the Roswell Daily Record, ‘they are going to have a hard time getting me to say anything about it.’ 

Retired Air Force Col. Weaver, who first put the US military’s official imprimatur on the Mogul balloon theory, said he still believes it is ‘the most logical explanation to account for this incident.’

‘I’m still going with what we found in 1994,’ Col. Weaver said in 2020. ‘That’s when my knowledge of what the Air Force has comes to an end.’

In recent years, the Air Force’s balloon theory has been repeated as a simple fact of history by many major news media outlets, including both Wired and Smithsonian magazines — as well as respected science communicators, including Bill Nye the Science Guy.

But for retired Lt. Col. Randle, of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Roswell project, the Mogul balloon explanation is simply too light on concrete evidence.

‘Everybody agrees something fell there,’ Randle told DailyMail.com. 

‘The thing I say is, ‘We do not have a terrestrial explanation for what fell at Roswell.” 

‘That doesn’t necessarily make it extraterrestrial. It just means we can’t explain it.’

America may never learn what really happened at Roswell, but its fascination with the case is sure to continue.

Por Ovnis

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