"Always Telling the Truth Means Never Having to Remember Anything"

-Dennis Balthaser


Editorials: Roswell Witnesses

By Dennis Balthaser

Roswell Information continues after 60 years


As we grow older, several things in our physical and mental being start to change; sometimes without our knowledge, and sometimes obviously with it (as in our physical appearance). Memory loss is one of those changes that I have been studying for several months now as it relates to some of the witnesses of the Roswell Incident.


One of the most difficult situations facing a researcher during a witness interview is in determining if the witness is suffering actual memory loss, or whether they are concealing or covering up information. The main reason a witness may conceal or cover up information is due to commitments the witness made to the military. If he does talk about certain things he remembers, he might feel that he is placing his or his family's safety at risk. Would that concealment or cover up be necessary for a balloon or crash test dummies for all these years? I hardly think so.


I have talked to many witnesses on the telephone who were stationed in Roswell in July 1947 and they tell me they were not stationed here. In most cases when I tell them that I'm looking at their photograph in the 1947 Roswell Army Airfield Yearbook, and tell them what squadron or group they were in while assigned to the RAAF, they decide to agree with me that they were in fact here. As a rule, witnesses will also state that they don't know anything about the incident, so our conversations do not progress much until it is established that they were in fact stationed here in July 1947.


Other problems encountered with witnesses who may have some memory loss, is that they embellish or alter their original information as the years pass. Even though every person involved in the incident in 1947 feels that they know what they saw or heard at the time, in some cases their original statements are augmented or reduced. Sometimes a witness' factual and first hand information has been infected with other information. This can occur when they haven't talked about an incident for many years, or when they confuse recently released information with their own experience. Due to the fact that these memory issues have involved several key witnesses, I have begun to study memory loss in more detail. Memory loss is a real fact of life, but there is a great difference between real memory loss and concealing or covering up information. That's the tough part for us researchers---learning to discern the difference. Some information can be verified through Freedom of Information Act requests, but we have to depend on the witness' accounts for first hand information in many cases and their memory plays an extremely important part in that.


As we all know, the research and investigation of the Roswell Incident didn't start until the late 1970s, 30 years after the incident. Many of us would be hard pressed to remember details of certain events happening that long ago. I guess an individuals current age has something to do with it too, because for some of us, our memory appears to get worse as we get older.


In my case there are certain things that have transpired in the past 30 years that I still vividly remember. Such as; where I was, and what I was doing when President Kennedy's assassination was announced, when George Wallace was shot and wounded, and when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. The Roswell witnesses are 15 to 20 years older than I am, so will I still remember these things 20 years from now? I don't know the answer to that. It's now been 53 years since the incident happened and I can assure you I do not remember anything that happened or what I was doing when I was 6 years old, 53 years ago.


The details of the Roswell Incident have always appeared to me, to be of such importance that anyone involved couldn't possibly forget those details. Maybe that’s not true and some of the witnesses really can't remember certain things. That’s why it's so important for us to get all the information we can, as soon as we can.


I have communicated by email on many occasions with James Bond Johnson, who took the photographs in General Ramey's office at Fort Worth, Texas in July 1947. One of those photographs is what many of us would call today, "the smoking gun". The message that General Ramey is holding in his hand in one of the photographs is currently being analyzed, and most of us believe that without a doubt, the words "victims of the wreck" is part of that message. (Weather and Mogul balloons did not have victims when they crashed.)


Mr. Johnson, was a staff reporter for the Fort Worth Star Telegram newspaper in 1947, and he was assigned to take the photos in General Ramey's office. He has told me that he took the pictures of General Ramey, General Ramey and Col. DuBose together, and the photo of Major Jessie Marcel. He does not remember ever meeting or seeing Major Marcel in the General's office that day. The photo of Major Marcel was published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram July 9, 1947, and as far as Mr. Bond knows, he was the only reporter from the Star Telegram to take photographs in Ramey's office that afternoon, some 53 years ago.


We have no idea at this point, who took the photo of Warrant Officer Irving Newton, of the base weather office at Carswell (Fort Worth Army Air Field), posing with a weather balloon and its radar reflector. My assumption is that an Army Air Force photographer took it. Bond Johnson told me that he asked Newton who took his photo and he doesn't recall--- in fact he couldn't remember if the photographer was in a military uniform or not. Again, my opinion in this instance is that Mr. Johnson, (a civilian newspaper reporter) does not remember if he took Marcel's photo, but probably did, and Newton, (an Army Air Force Warrant Officer, assigned to General Ramey's base in Fort Worth, Texas) is part of the cover up.


Those two individual's accounts appear to me, to be good examples of real memory loss, concealment and cover up.


The University of Texas at Arlington has the original photographs obtained from the Fort Worth Star Telegram newspaper, and it appears James Bond Johnson took the photos he says he took, including Major Marcel, even though he doesn't recall meeting Marcel. The good news is that one of those photographs he took that day in 1947 shows General Ramey holding the message that may be the final word in defining the Roswell Incident.


In my research, I've had other witnesses tell me they can't remember certain facts, so we'll continue to look for witnesses, interview them when possible, and hopefully obtain factual information--- all the while being alert, to determine if it is memory loss or concealment.


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