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Cosmic Conspiracy: Six Decades of Government UFO Cover-Ups, Part One
(Vol. 16, No. 7, April 1994, pp. 34-40, 109)
By Dennis Stacy

Lightning flashed over Corona, New Mexico, and thunder rattled the thin windowpanes of the small shack where ranch foreman Mac Brazel slept. Brazel was used to summer thunderstorms, but he was suddenly brought wide awake by a loud explosion that set the dishes in the kitchen sink dancing. Sonofabitch, he thought to himself before sinking back to sleep, the sheep will be scattered halfway between hell and high water come dawn.
In the morning, Brazel rode out on horseback, accompanied by seven-year-old Timothy Proctor, to survey the damage. According to published accounts, Brazel and young Proctor stumbled across something unearthly--a field of tattered debris two to three hundred yards wide stretching some three-quarters of a mile in length. No rocket scientist, Brazel still realized he had something strange on his hands--so strange that he decided to haul several pieces of it into Roswell, some 75 miles distant, a day or two later.
For all its lightness, the debris in Brazel's pickup bed seemed remarkably durable. Sheriff George Wilcox reportedly took one look at it and called the military at Roswell Army Air Field, then home to the world's only atomic-bomb wing. Two officers from the base eventually arrived and agreed to accompany Brazel back to the debris field.
As a consequence of their investigation, a press release unique in the history of the American military appeared on the front page of the Roswell Daily Record for July 8, 1947. Authored by public-information officer Lt. Walter Haut and approved by base commander Col. William Blanchard, it admitted that the many rumors regarding UFOs "became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff's office of Chaves County."
Haut's noon press release circled the planet, reprinted in papers as far abroad as Germany and England, where it was picked up by the prestigious London Times. UFOs were real! Media calls poured in to the Roswell Daily Record and the local radio station, which had first broken the news, demanding additional details.
Four hours later and some 600 miles to the east in Fort Worth, Texas, Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey, commander of the Eighth Air Force, held a press conference to answer reporters' questions. Spread on the general's office floor were lumps of a blackened, rubberlike material and crumpled pieces of what looked like a flimsy tinfoil kite. Ramey posed for pictures, kneeling on his carpet with the material, as did Maj. Jesse Marcel, flown in from Roswell for the occasion. Alas, allowed the general, the Roswell incident was a simple case of mistaken identity; in reality, the so-called recovered flying disc was nothing more than a weather balloon with an attached radar reflector.
"Unfortunately, the media bought the Air Force cover-up hook, line, and sinker," asserts Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist and coauthor with aviation writer Don Berliner of Crash at Corona, one of three books written about Roswell. "The weather-balloon story went in the next morning's papers, the phone calls dropped off dramatically, and any chance of an immediate follow-up was effectively squelched."