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Chapter 11: The Wild West

By Timothy Printy 1999

In the Roswell Incident, we are exposed to the first tales about alien bodies and crashed saucers. One would think it was near the Brazel ranch. However, this is not the case. One must travel to western New Mexico to the plains of San Agustin to find this site. Unfortunately, we are only given a general location. This was all based on stories told by Vern and Jean Maltais to eager investigators looking for any wild story to hook onto Roswell. According to the Maltais, Barney Barnett, a civil engineer who was a resident of Socorro, New Mexico, told them an incredible story in February 1950. According to the Maltais, Barney actually saw a crashed saucer, alien bodies, and (of course) the military moving in to cover all traces of the crash and bodies. Vern Maltai explains Barney’s story in the following manner:

I was out on assignment near Magdelena, New Mexico, one morning when light reflecting off some sort of large metallic object caught my eye... By the time I got there, I realized it wasn't a plane at all, but some sort of metallic, disc-shaped object about twenty-five or thirty feet across. While I was looking at it and trying to decide what it was, some other people came up from the other direction and began looking around it too. They told me they were a part of an archaeological research team from some eastern university [UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA] and that they too had first thought a plane had crashed...

I noticed they were standing around looking at some dead bodies that had fallen to the ground. I think there were others [dead bodies] in the machine, which was a kind of metallic instrument of some sort - a kind of disc. It was not big. It seemed to be made of a metal that looked like dirty stainless steel. The machine had been split open by explosion or impact.

I tried to get close to see what the bodies were like. They were all dead as far as I could see and there were bodies inside and outside the vehicle. The ones outside had been tossed out by the impact. They were like humans but they were not humans. The heads were round, the eyes were small, and they had no hair. The eyes were oddly spaced. They were quite small by our standards and their heads were larger in proportion to their bodies than ours. Their clothes seemed to be one-piece and gray in color. You couldn't see any zippers, belts, or buttons. They seemed to be all males and there were a number of them. I was close enough to touch them but I didn't - I was escorted away before I could look at them anymore.

While we were looking at them a military officer drove up in a truck with a driver and took control. He told everybody that the Army was taking over and to get out of the way… (Berlitz and Moore 60-61)

Vern described the military telling everyone to be quiet and not repeat the story to anyone because it was their "patriotic duty to remain silent" (Berlitz and Moore 61). It was Jean that identified the university and describes the object in similar terms as Vern, adding a few additional items, "The object was soon moved away from the crash site. They brought in a large truck. Whoever was involved with it asked the spectators to leave..." (Berlitz and Moore 61-64)

In all the Roswell tales, there are the archeologists, who always seem to show up unannounced. It is sort of a recurring theme but not because there may have been archeologists at the crash site. Because of this tale, all witnesses have inserted the archeologists into the story no matter where they were located. Despite all these diggers showing up, nobody can ever find an archeologist team, which happened to be in the right place at the right time to confirm the tale. It seems the Archeologists have to be there because that is part of the myth.

Next we hear from a man named J.F. Fleck, who knew Barney Barnett and was told one day by Barney, "You know those flying-saucer things they've been talking about Fleck...? Well, they're real" (Berlitz and Moore 67). Of course, Fleck was incredulous and disagreed at the time. However, on reflection, he now wonders if Barney wasn’t telling him the truth. When asked what date this was, he said it was the "early summer of 1947" (Berlitz and Moore 67).

Other witnesses are called in to further verify the story told by the Maltais. Alice Knight, Barnett's niece is quoted as stating, "...I don't recall the date...But they got nearly up to the UFO but it was close enough that you could see some creatures. He said they didn't look like human beings out there. And along came the government cars and trucks..." (HQ USAF 213). This sounds like the story all right but what is not told by Friedman is the diary Barnett’s wife maintained showed that he could not have been on the San Agustin plains that day because his wife's diary placed him in Pie Town on July 8, 1947. Eventually Randle and Schmitt rejected this tale because the diary put him away from any impact site including the San Agustin plains during the first few weeks of July. They also rejected it because it did not fit into their crashed saucer scenario. On the other hand, Friedman and Berlinner continue to accept the Maltais tale as evidence of a crash on the plains of San Agustin.

In 1997, the USAF issued their report on Roswell titled Case Closed. They attempted to link this story (and others) to actual events that occurred. In the 1950s, the USAF conducted high altitude parachute drops using test dummies. The story of alien bodies does have similarities to the recovery operations of these dummies. In his original interviews, Vern Maltais stated the aliens were "hairless... no eyebrows, no eyelashes, no hair" and the suit they wore was "one piece and gray in color" (HQ USAF 59). This fits the description of the Alderson test dummies used for high altitude test drops. These dummies wore gray suits, had no hair or eyebrows, and because of reuse, were often missing digits on their hands. In addition, sometimes the dummies did not separate from their suspension rack and fell to the ground with the rack. The result from the impact was the dummies were thrown about and sometimes limbs were lost, making them appear smaller than they actually were. Two negative points about this theory is that the Maltais state they heard the tale before any of these test drops occurred. Also, there were no test dummy drops on the San Agustin plains. However, there are plausible explanations for this. The first is the Maltais may have forgotten the dates they actually heard the story or may have seen a test drop in later years. Through imagination, forgetfulness, or even lying, they added the dummies into the scenario they told. By stating they heard it from another source would absolve them of obligations to prove the story. The second explanation was added by the USAF. They stated that many drops occurred near San Agustin Pass or Peak near the White Sands missile range. It is possible to mix the two areas up if you are speaking from experiences of long ago.

The whole Maltais story is hearsay and has no elements to track or verify. Nobody can even place Barney Barnett at the locations described during the correct time period. It appears the Maltais tale is simply an example of people eager to tell a wonderful story to gullible writers/investigators willing to believe anything that will support their pet scenarios.

Works Cited

Berlitz, Charles and William Moore. The Roswell Incident. New York: Berkley, 1988

HQ USAF. The Roswell Report: Case Closed. Washington: D.C., US Government, 1997

 

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