Mac Brazel would be shocked at how much his name is repeated these days. (Rodden 31)
Chapter 2: A MYSTERY ON THE RANCH
By Timothy Printy © 1999
William "Mac" Brazel worked at the Foster Ranch during the summer of 1947. The Foster Ranch was some 70 miles north of the town of Roswell and was a very remote location to the southeast of the town of Corona. It was "Mac", who found the debris from the crashed "disc". When and how he discovered the debris is disputed. His children tell much of the story about the discovery but even they do not agree on exactly what happened.
Bill Brazel was the oldest son and he tells the story that his father had been inside the ranch one evening when a thunderstorm passed thorough the area. He states, "Dad was in the ranch house with two of the younger kids late one evening when a terrible lightning storm came up" (Berlitz and Moore 85). During this storm, there was an unusual thunderclap or explosion. Initially the date is given as July 2 (to match with the Wilmots sighting) but in the book The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell, the date is changed to July 4 to more readily agree with other witness testimony. Bill never gives a hard date and one has to wonder exactly when it happened. The thunderstorm could give us a clue. According to Randle and Schmitt, there are records but nothing definitive. They quote meteorological records as stating, "It was hot and dry and there were sporadic thunderstorm in the region" (Randle and Schmitt, UFO 37). However, Randle and Schmitt are not quoting weather records for July 2 or July 4. They are summarizing the weather for the entire month of July! Karl Pflocks research revealed that there was no unusual weather in the region at the time of the supposed crash.
The next day, while making his rounds, Mac stumbled across a field of debris. According to Randle and Schmitt, Mac was out scouting out the ranch area because he "...planned to move livestock onto the fields that had received rain" (Randle and Schmitt, UFO 199). Bill has stated that the debris field was about a "1/4 mile long and several hundred feet wide" (Berlitz and Moore 86). He has also clarified that the field was oriented in an ENE to WSW direction, "He also said that from the way this wreckage was scattered, you could tell it was traveling 'an airline route to Socorro,' which is off to the southwest of the ranch" (Berlitz and Moore 86). As far as we can initially tell, there appeared to be little or no damage to the surrounding area:
One time I asked dad whether there was any burned spot on the ground where the wreckage was. He said no, but that he noticed on his second trip out there that some of the vegetation in the area seemed singed a bit at the tips - not burned, just singed. I don't recall seeing anything like that myself, but that's what he said. (Berlitz and Moore 91)
After examining the debris, it appears that Mac picked it all up and stowed it someplace because Bill states, "He went out there and he loaded it all up into his truck" (Randle and Schmitt , UFO 127).
Bills recollections tend to change with time. In the book UFO Crash at Roswell, there are added and revised details from Bills earlier interviews. Recall that he never mentions a gouge or markings on the ground. However, in the late 1980s he is now saying, "This thing made quite a track down through there. It took a year or two for it to grass back over and heal up" (Randle and Schmitt, UFO 130). Additionally, he now rotates the direction of the debris field by 45-90 degrees, "...he (Bill Brazel) talked about a gouge with the northwest - southeast orientation" (Randle and Schmitt , UFO 52). Finally, Bill no longer believes that any of the children were on the ranch at the time. Early on he made several references to Mac being at the Ranch with the younger children. Now Bill states nobody was with Mac, "Bill confirmed that his father had been living alone at the ranch headquarters while the rest of the family was living in Tularosa, New Mexico" (Randle and Schmitt , UFO 137). This is in direct contradiction to much of the evidence presented by contemporary accounts and his sister.
Bills younger sister, Bessie, is more consistent her recollections of the events. It is documented in the Roswell Daily Record, that Bessie was present when Mac recovered the debris and Bessie tells a slightly different story than Bill. According to Bessie, her father was afraid that the sheep would not water at the nearby water tank because of the debris field and he then got his family to help him pick up the material. Bessie describes the debris as follows:
There was what appeared to be pieces of heavily waxed paper and a sort of aluminum-like foil. Some of these pieces had something like numbers and lettering on them, but there were no words that we were able to make out. Some of the metal-foil like pieces had a sort of tape stuck to them, and when these were held to the light they showed what looked like pastel flowers or designs. Even though the stuff looked like tape it could not be peeled off or removed at all. It was very light in weight but there sure was a lot of it. (Berlitz and Moore 96)
Bessie signed an affidavit and stated the following:
(8) The debris looked like pieces of a LARGE BALLOON WHICH HAD BURST (Emphasis added by me). The pieces were small, the largest I remember measuring was about the same as the diameter of a basketball. Most of it was a kind of double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like on the other. Both sides were grayish silver in color, the foil more silvery than the rubber. Sticks, like kite sticks, were attached to some of the pieces with a whitish tape. The tape was about two or three inches wide and had flower-like designs on it. The flowers were faint, a variety of pastel colors, and reminded me of Japanese paintings in which the flowers are not all connected. I do not recall any other types of material or markings, nor do I remember seeing any gouges in the ground or any other signs that anything may have hit the ground hard.
(9) The foil-rubber material could not be torn like ordinary aluminum foil can be torn. I do not recall anything else about the strength or other properties of what we picked up. (Pflock 169)
Bill does confirm Bessies description of the debris by telling writers, "There was some tinfoil and some wood and on some of the wood it had Japanese or Chinese figures"(Randle and Schmitt , UFO 52).
Another person who was supposedly involved with the debris recovery was young William D. Proctor, who was seven when all this occurred. In the popular story told by the authors, young Proctor was with Mac when the debris was found. However, William does not recall the event and it is his mother, Loretta who states that Dee was there. As for William, Loretta states "...he cant remember where it was at and he cant remember what it looked like" (Randle and Schmitt , UFO 149).
Meanwhile, Loretta Proctor and her husband, Floyd, talked to Mac about the debris. Floyd stated, before he died:
He described the stuff as being very odd. He said whatever the junk was, it had designs on it that reminded him of Chinese and Japanese designs. It wasnt paper because he couldn't cut it with his knife, and the metal was different from anything he had ever seen. He said the designs looked like the kind of stuff you would find on firecracker wrapper some sort of figures done up in pastels, but not writing like we would do it. (Berlitz and Moore 92-93)
Loretta adds that Mac produced a bit of debris to show them. Her story changes over the years and Floyd never mentioned this before he died. According to Loretta, it was a small pencil shaped stick and, "I would say it was kind of brownish tan but you know that's been quite a long time. It looked like plastic, of course there wasn't plastic then but was kind of what it looked like" (Randle and Schmitt , UFO 148). This "dowel stick" as she referred to it was very difficult to damage. According to Randle and Schmitt, Loretta describes Mac and her husband trying to mark it: "Floyd tried to whittle on it with his knife but couldn't make a mark. Brazel held a match up to it to show that not only wouldn't it burn, it wouldn't even blacken" (Randle and Schmitt , Truth 32). Loretta also mentions that Mac saw other items that he did not bring with him:
...and there was some beams or something that kind of had pinkish-purple printing on it and some tape - I don't know whether he meant like freezer tape or some other type, I dont know what other kind of tape but he said it was some kind of tape that he couldnt get loose or cut. (Shawcross 12)
She also mentions the tape in her affidavit, confirming the claims of Bessie Brazel: " There was also something he described as tape which had printing on it. The color of the printing was a kind of purple..." (Pflock 166).
Lorraine Ferguson, Mac's sister, is briefly mentioned and she tends to describe things in a similar fashion. Although she never saw the debris, she did state:
Whatever he found it was all in pieces and some of it had some kind of unusual writing on it - Mac said it was like the kind of stuff you find all over Japanese or Chinese firecrackers; not really writing, just wiggles and such. Of course, he couldnt read it and neither could anybody else as far as I ever heard... (Berlitz and Moore 95)
Unfortunately, Mac Brazel never got to tell his story to the authors of the UFO crash books but he did do an interview with the Roswell Daily Record on the evening of July 8, 1947, which was published in the July 9th edition of the same paper. It gives a story that confirms the presence of Bessie Brazel and also is consistent with the story she told some forty years later:
Harassed Rancher who Located Saucer Sorry He Told About It
W. W. Brazel, 48, Lincoln county rancher living 30 miles southeast of Corona, today told his story of finding what the army at first described as a flying disk, but the publicity which attended his find caused him to add that if he ever found anything else short of a bomb he sure wasnt going to say anything about it.
Brazel was brought here late yesterday be W. E. Whitmore, of radio station KGFL, had his picture taken and gave an interview to the Record and Jason Kellahin, sent here from the Albuquerque bureau of the Associated Press to cover the story. The picture he posed for was sent out over AP telephoto wire sending machine specially set up in the Record office by R. D. Adair, AP wire chief sent here from Albuquerque for the sole purpose of getting out his picture and that of sheriff George Wilcox to whom Brazel originally gave information of his find.
Brazel related that on June 14 he and an 8 year-old son, Vernon, were about 7 or 8 miles from the ranch house of the J. B. Foster ranch, which he operates, when they came upon a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper and sticks.
At the time Brazel was in a hurry to get his round made and he did not pay much attention to it. But he did remark about what he had seen and on July 4 he, his wife, Vernon and a daughter Betty, age 14, went back to the spot and gathered up quite a bit of the debris.
The next day he first heard about the flying disks, and he wondered if what he had found might be the remnants of one of these.
Monday he came to town to sell some wool and while here he went to see Sheriff George Wilcox and "whispered kinda confidential like" that he might have found a flying disk.
Wilcox got in touch with the Roswell Army Air Field and Maj. Jesse A. Marcel and a man in plain clothes accompanied him home, where they picked up the rest of the pieces of the "disk" and went to his home to try and reconstruct it.
According to Brazel they simply could not reconstruct it at all. They tried to make a kite out of it, but could not do that and could not find any way to put it back together so that it would fit.
Then Major Marcel brought it to Roswell and that was the last he heard of it until the story broke that he had found a flying disk.
Brazel said that he did not see it fall from the sky and did not see it before it was torn up, so he did not know the size or shape it might have been, but he thought it might have been about as large as a table top. The balloon which held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been 12 feet long, he felt, measuring the distance by the size of the room in which he sat. The rubber was smoky gray in color and scattered over an area about 200 yards in diameter.
When the debris was gathered up the tinfoil, paper, tape, and sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated, the entire lot would have weighed maybe five pounds.
There was no sign of any metal in the area which might have been used for an engine and no sign of any propellers of any kind, although at least one paper fin had been glued onto some of the tinfoil.
There were no words to be found anywhere on the instrument, although there were letters on some of the parts. Considerable Scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed upon it had been used in the construction.
No strings or wires were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment may have been used.
Brazel said that he had previously found two weather observation balloons on the ranch, but that what he found this time did not in any way resemble either of these.
"I am sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon," he said. "But if I find anything else besides a bomb they are going to have a hard time getting me to say anything about it." (Brookesmith 158)
The date of June 14 is questioned widely by many of the pro-crash authors because it contradicts many stories told later on by other witnesses for the crash scenario. At least one witness, Lewis Rickett, claims that Mac Brazel gave a different date. However, contemporary accounts confirm the 14 June date. In the July 9th late edition of the Fort Worth Morning-Star Telegram, Photo-Journalist Jay Bond Johnson wrote, "he found the remains of the weather device scattered over a square mile of his property three weeks ago" (Klass What 5). Johnson may have gotten this information from Jesse Marcel (who is often quoted in the article) or taken it from the newswires because the Teletype news wires on July 8, 1947, at approximately 3:16 PM MT state:
SHERIFF GEORGE WILCOX (CORRECT) OF ROSWELL WAYS THAT THE DISC WAS FOUND ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO BY A RANCHER BY THE NAME OF W. W. BRIZELL ON THE FOSTER RANCH NEAR CORONA, ABOUT 75 MILES NORTHWEST OF ROSWELL NEAR THE CENTER OF MEXICO. (Pflock 140)
The time of the message is important because it was before Mac conducted his interview and comes from the Sheriff, who is repeating what Mac told him when they first discussed the material. It directly confirms Macs story about the date of recovery. Also, his description matches much of what was described by Bessie Brazel, Loretta Proctor (with the exception of the indestructible dowel stick), Floyd Proctor and Lorraine Fergusen. All of these individuals describe among the debris some tape with purple writing or flowers on it. This one item indicates that the debris was not from some form of alien spaceship. That is, unless, the aliens need to hold their spaceship together with tape. Mac must have felt that the material was not that special. He told Bessie that it was "just a bunch of garbage" (Pflock 170).
Looking at Frank Joyces Teletype messages, Sheriff Wilcox is quoted as saying, BRIZELL SAID HE DIDNT KNOW WHAT IT WAS, BUT AT FIRST IT APPEARED TO BE A WEATHER METER (Pflock 140). Why didnt he think it was a weather balloon? The reason is simple. Mac had only limited experience with weather balloons and what he found was not like the ones he had found before. The quantity of debris was more than just a simple weather balloon. He picked up the debris and then went into Corona, where he apparently talked to his brother-in-law, Hollis Wilson. This is where he heard about "flying discs/saucers" for the first time. Again, in the Fort Worth article, we discover,
Brazell, whose ranch is 30 miles from the nearest telephone and has no radio, knew nothing about flying disks when he found the broken remains of the weather device scattered over a square mile of land... On a trip to town at Corona, N.M., Saturday night, Brazell heard the first reference to the silver flying disks, Major Marcel related. (Klass, Real 18)
At the time, nobody knew what a "flying disc" was. There was a $3000 reward being offered for the remains of one. It is extremely probable that Mac thought the strange debris he picked up probably was from a "flying disc" and that he may be able to collect the reward. The Fort Worth article late edition describes how Mac responded: "Brazell hurried home, and bright and early Sunday, dug up the remnants of the kites and balloon Marcel continued, and on Monday headed for Roswell to report his find to the sheriff" (Klass What 5)
What now seems clear is that Mac Brazel had discovered the debris field in mid-June while performing routine checks around the ranch. Once the material appeared to interfere with his handling of the ranch, he took his family out to the field and they picked up all the debris. Mac appeared to be puzzled as to the origin of the materials and, while in Corona, discovered that it could be one of the flying disks everyone was talking about. He went home and decided to go into town and talk to the Sheriff about this mysterious device he had discovered.
Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley,1988
Brookesmith, Peter. UFO: The Government Files. New York: Barnes & Nobles, 1996.
Klass, Philip, "What Maj. Marcel Really said in Gen. Rameys Office On July 8, 1947." Skeptics UFO Newsletter, May 1999.
Klass, Philip. The REAL Roswell Crashed Saucer Cover-up. Amherst: Prometheus, 1997.
Pflock, Karl. Roswell in Perspective. Mt. Rainier: Fund for UFO Research, 1995.
Randle, Kevin and Donald Schmitt. The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: Avon, 1994.
---. UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: Avon, 1991.
Rodden, Jack. "The Ranchers Son." UFO Magazine and Phenomena Report November, 1998: 30-31.
Chapter 3 - Mac Takes a Drive
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