"Always Telling the Truth Means Never Having to Remember Anything"
Editorials: Roswell Witnesses
By Dennis Balthaser
Another Side to Researchers and Witnesses
Recently I wrote a new lecture entitled "UFO Research: Sharing the Frustrations and Gratifications with the Public", in which I mentioned one of the gratification's being the friendships I've been able to develop with researchers and witnesses over the years. In many cases I was able to learn things about these people that I didn't know before. All of us have things in our lives that others may not know about and I'll try to leave the embarrassing or "bad ones" out of this editorial.
As an example in my own life, I recently realized that many individuals change occupations several times in their lives, and never really wind up having had an enjoyable career after many years of hard work. In my case, I have been extremely fortunate to have actually had 3 very rewarding careers. 3 years in the U.S. Army and 33 years with the Texas Department of Transportation for 36 years in civil engineering. Starting at about 15 years old I played music part time for 37 years, having had one band together for 29 years in El Paso, Texas. Finally, because of my current age, and what may be my last career, I have been interested and involved in UFO research for some 25 years. If you add them all together, it does not mean I'm 98 years old, since they all overlapped each other.
One of the most interesting things about doing this research as I do it, is getting to know the other researchers or witnesses better and learning about their other interests or talents.
In the case of some researchers, for years I was in awe of them for their knowledge and read their books to learn more. Eventually I had the opportunity to meet most of them, and discuss our research over dinner or in my home, and slowly began to realize that they are no different than other individuals and that we all have a common goal of finding the truth. Many of those relationships have developed into long lasting friendships that I cherish. I have been able to get to know them better and learn about their families and other interests. A few examples include Don Schmitt, who is an avid baseball player, probably with a short season since he lives in Wisconsin.
Another is Stanton Friedman, regardless of what he does, he also has a short season due to living in New Brunswick, Canada. Both of those gentlemen catered to my needs in '97, when I was intercepted by alleged U.S. Air Force, OSI agents in Oklahoma, while trying to obtain a piece of the metal from the Roswell craft. I confided my concerns (and fear) in them and they both responded with advice and suggestions for handling the situation. I'm indebted to them for that.
Historical Ufologist Wendy Connors and I have devoted many hours to doing research and interviews with witnesses, and have "broken bread" together on many occasions.
Researcher George Fawcett and his wife, graciously opened there home to me when I did a lecture in North Carolina, a few years ago. I guess the thing I'll always remember about George however, is when I carried 84 boxes and 8 file cabinets upstairs to the library when he donated his collection to the UFO museum in Roswell. After my back quit hurting, he told me I had the 8 file cabinets in the wrong order, and we've laughed about that many times.
There are many more researchers that I have been affiliated with over the years and I have tremendous respect for some of them, due to their commitment and dedication to the on going research of Ufology and consider them friends.
On the witness's side, words can't express my feelings for some of them, for they are the ones that have had to live with their knowledge for over 50 years. In some cases they can't share information because they are committed to not talking and won't. Perhaps that is why I feel honored when I have the opportunity to learn more about them as individuals. After all they have had lives much as you and I have had, with families, other interests, etc. Being involved in the Roswell Incident has made them a little different, because if it's all true they were involved in what will be the story of the millennium.
In the case of the gentlemen assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing in 1947, they had another event in their lives that really set them apart from others, being involved with the Atomic bomb.
In this editorial I'll share a few of the things I've learned about some of the witnesses that I've had the pleasure of knowing for several years.
• Frank Kauffman I believe was heavily involved with the Roswell Incident in Intelligence, (and I believe still is). He's accomplished at what he's been trained to do and every time I get close to obtaining information from him, he'll glare at me and say "you're the investigator---figure it out". I've been in his home and have seen the beautiful paintings that he's done as an excellent artist. So he has a side I didn't know about.
• Sheriff Wilcox's daughters, Elizabeth and Phyllis are two of my favorite people, having shared many remembrances of their Dad's experience in 1947, and how their mother cooked meals for the prisoner's, since the Wilcox residence was below the jail.
• Glenn Dennis, the mortician in 1947 is a sculptor and I've seen some of his western sculptures, and would classify them as some of the best I've ever seen. And in all due respect, I have listened to some of his stories about being a mortician, which would make a classic best selling book.
• Walter Haut, the PR officer at the base in 1947, who wrote the now famous article about having a "flying disc in our possession", was recently interviewed by Wendy Connors and myself. We wanted to know more about Walter and he was gracious enough to give us a detailed oral history of himself. We learned about him growing up in the Chicago area, attending a high school with 5000 students' back then. We also learned about his Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Medal for 30 some missions over Japan as a bombardier in a B-29.
I've talked with Bob Shirkey, the Assistant Flight Operations Officer in '47, who actually parachuted out of an airplane with his pet dog strapped to him. I won't go into the details of how the dog enjoyed it.
So amongst the frustrations, disappointments, politics and other set backs that get involved in doing UFO research, I have to say the friendships I've developed with other researchers and witnesses ranks high on the gratification side of doing research.
My style of research sometimes might appear as if I was trying to get at someone, but in reality that never enters into my research. I feel committed to finding the truth and that requires investigation, documentation and validation to succeed. I may not always agree with what a witness says, but if I've developed a friendship with that witness, the friendship will prevail, and hopefully the side benefit will be the truth.
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