Mention the word 'Roswell' to most people, and one thing will automatically pop into their head: 'Crashed UFO'. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force says the "flying disc" recovered in July 1947 was actually the wreckage of a high-altitude balloon used in a top secret government experiment called Project Mogul, built to detect Soviet nuclear weapon tests. But new findings by researcher Nick Redfern suggest that neither of these explanations hold the real answer to the Roswell mystery. Instead, he believes that something very sinister, and very human, is at the heart of the case.
Redfern first presented his highly controversial theory in 2005, in his book Body Snatchers in the Desert. In short, over the course of a number of years he was informed by several sources that the 'Roswell Incident' was actually one of seven or eight ill-fated experiments on human subjects who were used in a range of secret, balloon-based flights. What's more, the humans involved were not volunteers - rather, they were Japanese prisoners-of-war and/or handicapped people secretly removed from asylums and mental hospitals.
Since the 2005 publication of Body Snatchers, Nick has come across a number of new (and older) leads which support this shocking theory, which he's just published in an article in the Daily Grail's Fortean anthology series Darklore (Volume 3), titled "Body Snatchers: Before and Beyond". I spoke to Nick about the new research and discoveries, and the Roswell topic in general, earlier this week. Rather than edit the discussion down, here's the full transcript (after the obligatory Darklore links):
Purchasing information for Darklore Volume 3:
- Amazon US Limited Edition Hardcover
- Amazon US Paperback
- Amazon UK Limited Edition Hardcover
- Amazon UK Paperback
TDG: Thanks for talking with us Nick. It's been almost 4 years since the publication of Body Snatchers. What's been the reaction to the book in that time, and how does the information in this new Darklore article - based on new revelations, and a review of previous research - affect your original conclusions?
NR: The reaction to the publication of the book is exactly what I predicted and knew it would be: namely that a very small percentage of the UFO community would view the data as possibly offering some insight into the mystery of Roswell, and perhaps even an answer. Others would dismiss it because its conclusions were not in accord with their own conclusions that were based upon their own, personal research. I actually have no problem with that angle at all. Here's what I mean: if, for example, someone like Stan Friedman or Kevin Randle undertakes deep, personal research and comes to a conclusion that is different to mine, but we can then sit down and rationally debate it, that's completely cool, and that's precisely how it should be. A lot of people assume me and Stan are bitter foes! Of course we're not. Stan strongly disagrees with me, but last time we had lunch together (pizza in Halifax, Canada) it didn't stop us hanging out, having a genial chat, but still agreeing to disagree on Roswell.
But there is also (as there always is within ufology and within every single aspect of Forteana) a not-insignificant number of people who simply do not want Roswell to be anything other than alien, and whose blood-pressure sky-rockets when anyone dares to spoil their turf. It spoils the excitement and destroys belief systems, in other words. Too bad. Anyone whose Roswell conclusions are driven by emotion, plain belief and an "I want Roswell to be alien" approach is way off course. Personally, I think the new data - such as that relating to official documents concerning Unit 731 and Japanese balloon-flights in not just New Mexico, but at Lincoln County, NM, too - is very important, and for several reasons. One: it adds to the general scenario given to me half a decade or more ago. And, two: who could have predicted back in 2005 that official files with a specific Unit 731/Lincoln County link would surface several years later? For me at least, that adds weight to the claims of a Japanese connection to Roswell.
TDG: The standard debunking line on Roswell is now the USAF's Project Mogul explanation (along with the tangential 'bodies' explanation being crash test dummies from experiments in the '50s). Why should this explanation be rejected in favour of more 'exotic' theories?
NR: Well, I'm not sure that the theory outlined to me is actually that exotic. For example, of the 7 or 8 experiments I was told were undertaken in New Mexico that had a Japanese link, most were just high-altitude type experiments using very large balloon arrays, but with people on board. In other words, aside from one very rudimentary experiment that was linked with the Nuclear Energy for Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) people, everything was balloon-based and glider-based experimentation, and not anything really advanced or exotic technology-wise. So, just like Mogul ironically, these balloons themselves weren't classified - it was what the controversial nature of what they were allegedly being used for that was classified: namely, high-altitude flights to determine various effects on the human-body. And, as one of the sources who I interviewed for the book told me: what better way to hide a classified balloon-based experiment, than by hiding it behind another classified balloon-based experiment?
Ironically, all the people I interviewed agreed with the USAF stance that Roswell involved a secret balloon flight. But it was the nature of the secret balloon activity (Mogul vs Japanese) that they disagreed upon. As for the crash-test dummies: I think even a lot of the outright skeptics were puzzled by that theory. My own view is that the "dummy" report actually only served to make people (even the media) think that something else really was being hidden.
TDG: One of the things you mention in your new article is a striking report from the 'West Oregonian' from late 1947. Can you let us know more about this, and how it relates to Roswell?
NR: Yes, this is an interesting one, because it deals with the recovery of two "paper balloons" in early 1947, and a third that had a "metal instrument" attached, and that contained "mysterious oriental-like inscriptions." This sounds very Roswell-like, but very Japanese Fugo-balloon-like too. In other words, we do have stories of balloon recoveries where strange inscriptions were found on them - also in 1947 - but where they were indeed just balloons. To not see a Roswell similarity here is simply avoiding the data.
TDG: You also point out that an article in Popular Mechanics debunking Roswell tends to support your conclusions regarding the bodies allegedly found at Roswell. What exactly did the PM article say?
NR: Basically, the PM article said they they had been told of a forthcoming release of documents that would tell of an equivalent to the controversial "Operation Paperclip" (in which German scientists were brought to the US post-WW2 to continue their work). This equivalent was supposedly linked to Japanese scientists and technology. The theory was that this might explain the events at Roswell in a Japanese context - possibly involving a hybrid device: a large balloon and a Horten-type aircraft. Interestingly, this hybrid angle was one also told to me - but around 7 years after the PM article appeared.
TDG: Who was Dr Lincoln La Paz, and why is he important to the Roswell incident?
NR: La Paz was a mathematician whose interests shifted from ballistics during the Second World War to the study of meteorites. At a time when meteorites were widely viewed as curiosities, La Paz had the vision to recognize their scientific significance, established the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, and described numerous new meteorites, many of which he had personally recovered for the outstanding meteorite collection at the University.
La Paz has been linked with Roswell as someone who was involved in assessing the trajectory and impact of the object, with an implication that the object had ET origins. However, La Paz was also deeply involved (in New Mexico, no less) in WW2 in assessing the threat posed by (and assessing the technology - such as it was) Japan's original Fugo balloons. So, if you wanted to get an expert opinion on why one of these new Japanese balloons might have crashed in New Mexico, what better person to ask than someone who worked on studying the earlier Japanese balloons of WW2 - and in New Mexico, too.
TDG: Many researchers who have dug into this field have encountered what appear to be 'psy-ops' of various descriptions - be it opened mail, strange communications etc. Any indications that you're in the spotlight now?
NR: Well, many researchers who felt that the data in the book was disinformation firmly did believe that I have been the victim of a psy-op, and probably still do believe that. And, as I have always said, I can never deny that as a possibility. I have to be open (and have been - both privately and publicly, such as at UFO Updates) to that possibility. But here's my argument against it: first, when I was approached with the Japanese scenario, the USAF already had its Mogul and Dummy scenarios in place for several years. So, why bring in yet another scenario that now makes the Mogul and Dummy stories seem like cover-stories? That defies logic, and only makes people even more suspicious about what happened at Roswell. Second: despite what some people have said without checking the facts: key aspects of this Japanese angle to Roswell were out there long before my book was published. In other words, despite what some have said and written, this is not "Nick Redfern's theory." As my article in your new Darklore volume demonstrates, my book was certainly the most extensive revelation in this area, but such tales were told more than a decade before my book was even published. I still get the occasional "old-timer" phone-call or email that has a bearing on the Japanese angle of Roswell, quite a bit of which I haven't published, as I'm still researching it. It could be argued, of course, that this might be a continuation of a psy-op - if it is indeed a psy-op, of course!
TDG: This new article provides more support for something sinister, albeit very human in providence, as being at the heart of the Roswell incident. Will you continue searching for the truth, or is it now too far back in the mists of time for any definite answer to ever present itself?
NR: I'll never ever stop looking because - whatever the truth of Roswell - the case is at the absolute heart of ufology. And the implications for ufology, if the truth ever surfaces to where we can actually prove something, are huge. And here's why: the UFO community has built up Roswell to be the Holy Grail of ufology. Now, if Roswell is one day proven to be alien, then the community can indeed proudly stand up and say "We got it right." But, if Roswell is one day proven to be non-alien, then I predict much of modern day ufology will collapse, as will much of the "scene." And by the "scene," I mean the lecture-circuit, the conferences, the magazines etc.
To continue in this vein: if the McMinville photos were proven to be hoaxes, would ufology collapse? Nope. If the Mantell case was 100 percent proven to be non-UFO related, would ufology collapse? Nope. Same for just about any other currently unexplained case. And why is that? I'll tell you: none of those cases have been given superstar status of the type upon which much of ufology now stands or falls. That is ufology's biggest ever mistake: making Roswell a make-or-break case for the subject. I actually don't think this has even been done consciously or deliberately, however. But the fact is there will be truly massive disillusionment within ufology if Roswell falls. In fact, I do not even believe that the ETH will survive within modern-day ufology if Roswell falls - the stakes reallly are that high, in my opinion. But, so what? At the end of the day, it shouldn't matter if the "good old days" of ufology vanish. Getting the truth is all that should matter.
Do I think we will ever get the Roswell truth? Well, we may actually have it in one of the above-scenarios of ET, Japanese tests, or Mogul; but the problem is we can't definitely prove it. The only way that can really happen is for an official announcement to be made that all the previous stories were lies and "here's the truth." But even that won't work, and here's why: if the Government says that yes, it has now located documents showing that the Japanese angle is correct, the UFO community will say it's just another cover story to hide the UFO angle. The hardcore UFO community will never accept any explanation from the Government on Roswell unless it vindicates the ETH - ever. That's a fact - but an unfortunate one that is driven by emotion and a dread of feeling that they have wasted their lives on something that actually has zero to do with "real" UFOs; but everything to do with the way the subject may have been manipulated to hide a darker secret. Look at Paul Bennewitz and how the official world shamefully used the UFO subject in that caper. It's not unknown for Ufology - and ufologists - to be used like puppets on a string for other reasons. So, yes: I will continue - and I am continuing - to investigate all the Roswell-Japanese threads that come to me. But do I think a firm, undeniable vindication for that scenario will ever surface? It may; but at the end of the it's completely irrelevant because Ufology (as a collective group) will continue to disbelieve it - because it's not supportive of the "dead aliens in the desert" scenario. So, in that sense at least, no: Roswell will never ever be resolved. Just like Jack the Ripper, just like the JFK assassination.
More information about Darklore, including sample articles, can be found at the Darklore website..
Previously on TDG: