LAS CRUCES -- What Roswell residents thought were hairless extraterrestrials who crashed to earth in July 1947 were just dummies used in 1950s parachuting experiments, according to a report the Air Force plans to release soon.
The report will try to address complaints that a 1994 Air Force report, which explained alleged flying saucer debris as the remains of top-secret high-altitude balloons, did not explain away reported sightings of alien bodies.
The new report, drafted by Air Force historian Capt. James McAndrew, will suggest that purported witnesses have confused the 1947 incident with late 1950s tests. It will say the so-called saucer crash victims were dummies dropped from the sky, said Philip Klass of Washington, D.C., publisher of Skeptics UFO Newsletter.
News of the report comes two weeks before the 50th anniversary celebration in Roswell, which is expected to attract thousands of visitors.
Klass, who spoke to McAndrew about the report, said: "He is inclined to believe that some stories told by some witnesses may be fundamentally honest attempts to recall what they saw, but they mistook dummies for extraterrestrials."
Though the report has not been issued, it already is being scoffed at by researchers and others, who say it is far less than a bombshell putting the Roswell crash legend to rest. The report is based on Air Force records.
"What it (the report) is going to do is undermine public belief in our
government, because it is such a silly story," said Dean Crosbie,
director of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell.
"It's sad that officials think the masses of the public are
unintelligent and can't think. It's almost insulting that officials
actually believe the American public will fall for this kind of story."
"It's sad that officials think the masses of the public are unintelligent and can't think. It's almost insulting that officials actually believe the American public will fall for this kind of story."
Charles Moore, a retired professor of physics at New Mexico Tech University in Socorro, said he read the draft report recently at an aeronautics conference in San Francisco, where he met McAndrew. Moore, who worked on a top secret 1947 project involving high-altitude balloons designed to detect Soviet nuclear tests, said he is inclined to believe the fuzzy memory theory and that the witness accounts are not reliable.
"Very clearly, there were no dummies, no manned balloon flights (in 1947). We just carried instruments under the long-range detection program, what is now called Project Mogul, into the ... atmosphere," Moore said. "The Air Force has been very concerned about being responsive, and when our balloon activities were explained, people were very unhappy that the anecdotal stories about bodies hadn't been accounted for."
But Frank Kaufmann, 80, who was a civilian assigned to an intelligence unit at the then-Roswell Air Field in July 1947, says he knows what he saw, and they weren't dummies.
Recently, Kaufmann recounted what he did see when he and several other intelligence officers investigated the impact site of a glowing object: The aliens "didn't have any of these big eyes or horns or anything else or spiny fingers. They were very good-looking people, ash-colored faces and skin. About 5 feet 4, 5 feet 5. Eyes a little more pronounced, a little bit larger. Small ears, small nose. Fine features. Hairless. There were five. They had a very tight, almost a wet suit, silver colored. ... One was thrown out of the craft itself."
Kaufmann said he has no doubt that his encounter occurred in July 1947. "The military can say whatever they want. I have no jurisdiction over them," Kaufmann said Thursday. "There's not a doubt in my mind. I haven't gone senile yet."
Air Force spokesman Maj. Guy Thompson said the report is being "worked through channels" and that there is no firm release date. McAndrew, reached in Virginia, said he did not care to comment on his report at this time.
But Klass, a UFO skeptic who believes many of those who claim to have witnessed something otherworldly in 1947 are spinning tall tales, said he would recommend the Air Force not release the report.
"It is not a strong enough theory to try to explain some of the statements of the quote-unquote key witnesses," Klass said. "In my opinion, this report will not convince any flying saucer believers, and in fact, I suspect they will accuse the Air Force of trying to cover up and divert attention from the crashed saucer."