EDITOR NOTE: Stanton T. Friedman was a nuclear physicist and professional ufologist who resided in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He was the original civilian investigator of the Roswell UFO incident. He passed away May 13, 2019. Dr. Jesse A. Marcel Jr. of Helena died unexpectedly at his home on Aug. 23, 2013, at the age of 76. Working with Stanton Friedman, Marcel Jr. gave hundreds of lectures, radio and television interviews, and published a 2007 book titled “The Roswell Legacy,” which attested to what he and his father had witnessed during the famous Roswell UFO case of July 1947. The following interviews are two of their last with Dr. Thomas Horn.
HORN: Stanton, Roswell is the preeminent story of ufology. Some say whatever occurred near Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947 will never be known. Others like you disagree on some levels. You and Bill Moore brought this story to light many years ago. This is the most appropriate place to start this interview, so please tell us how that happened.
STAN: I first heard of Roswell in the early 1970s from a woman named Lydia Sleppy whose son was a forest ranger in California. He had had a good sighting. My associate (Bobbi Ann Slate Gironda, long deceased) and I spoke with him and he suggested we talk to his mother who had had a good sighting near Albuquerque. We did speak to her and after she told us about the sighting, she mentioned that when she had been working at an Albuquerque Radio Station in the late 1940s, she was asked to type the story coming in from a broadcaster at their Roswell affiliate station for a newswire. He dictated how a flying saucer had been recovered and was being sent to Wright Field. Part way through the story the bell went off on the machine she was using to put the story on the news wire. The FBI instructed her not to continue the transmission. She remembered the names of some of the people and I located several, but came to a dead end. I should stress that New Mexico was a hotbed of classified Research and Development activities and certainly it was expected that there would be spies and counter intelligence concerns.
In 1978 I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at a TV station to do three interviews before my lecture “Flying Saucers ARE Real!” that evening at Louisiana State University. I had done two, but the third reporter was nowhere to be found. The station manager was giving me coffee, looking at his watch, and was embarrassed as he knew the person who had brought me to the station and I had other things to do. Out of the blue he told me that the person I ought to talk to was Jesse Marcel over in Houma, Louisiana. I asked, “Who is he?” He answered, “Oh, he handled wreckage of a flying saucer when he was in the military. We are old Ham radio buddies.” The reporter finally showed up and I was busy the rest of the day. Next day from the Airport I called information and then spoke with Jesse who told me his story. This is described in detail in Crash at Corona: The Definitive Story of the Roswell Incident by Don Berliner and myself. Jesse didn’t have a precise date. I shared the story with Bill Moore (we had known each other in Pittsburgh, years before). I also saw him months later in Minnesota the day after meeting with Vern and Jean Maltaise of Bemidji, MN, who told me a story of their friend Barney Barnett who had come across a crashed saucer and strange bodies in New Mexico. Bill had a 3rd story (From the Flying Saucer Review) about an English actor named Hughie Green who heard a story on the radio about a New Mexico crashed saucer when driving from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. He could pin down a date (early July, 1947). Bill went to the U. of Minnesota Library and found the stories in newspapers in the periodicals department. These gave us an independent check on Jesse’s story and the names of many more people. By 1980 we had located 62 people. That is when the first Roswell book The Roswell Incident by Bill Moore and Charles Berlitz was published. Bill and I did 90% of the research. By 1986 we had published several more articles and the total was up to 92. This was all before the internet made searching a lot easier and cheaper. I instigated, and was in, the Unsolved Mysteries NBC TV program about Roswell in 1989. It was well done and was seen by 28 million people.
Many others have joined in, some of the noisy negativists from their armchairs, and, of course, the government has issued two large reports full of misrepresentation and anti-UFO propaganda. I am still checking on some leads…and correcting the false information put out by the noisy negativists.
HORN: In 1984, a Hollywood movie producer named James Shandera was investigating the UFO phenomena and received an anonymously mailed package of 35-mm film. It supposedly contained images of a top-secret government report, later named the “Majestic Twelve” (or “MJ-12”) documents. You wound up with these documents. Tell us about that, and do you still believe some of the Majestic 12 documents are genuine?
STAN: I had introduced Jaime to Bill Moore while I was living in California and worked with Jaime and Bill briefly on a fictional movie that didn’t get very far in 1980 before I moved from California to New Brunswick, Canada. Jaime and Bill worked closely together, saw each other often and worked with several insiders. We kept in touch by phone and during my travels. The film had two identical sets of 8 negatives each. The document was classified TOP SECRET/MAJIC. The title on the first page is “Briefing Document: Operation Majestic 12” Prepared for President Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, 18 November, 1952. I was notified about its receipt and we cooperated on trying to determine whether the original two documents, the briefing and p.8, a memo from President Truman to Secretary of Defense Forrestal (Sept. 24, 1947) authorizing Operation Majestic 12, were genuine. Another brief Top Secret Restricted document, a memo, July 14, 1954, from Robert Cutler to General Nathan Twining, one of the MJ-12 members, was discovered at the National Archives. A very important part of my research dealt with my very surprising finding that Dr. Donald Menzel, who was an astronomy Professor at Harvard and had written 3 anti-UFO books, and who was listed as an MJ-12 member, actually led a double life doing highly classified work for decades for the NSA [National Security Association], the CIA, and 30 companies.
My book TOP SECRET/MAJIC gives the whole story and demonstrates that none of the myriad of anti-MJ-12 arguments stand up to careful scrutiny based on my visits to 20 archives and my 14 years of work on classified programs. It also demonstrates that there are a number of phony MJ-12 documents out there as well.
HORN: I talked with Jesse Marcel Jr. again not long ago. He does not buy the Mogul/balloon explanation about Roswell. What’s your take on this?
STAN: The ridiculous MOGUL explanation put forth by Colonel Richard Weaver simply doesn’t stand up to careful review as is noted in Crash at Corona and in several other of my papers. That his specialty is disinformation becomes quite clear. Mogul doesn’t cut it. The materials don’t match witness descriptions in terms of the characteristics and the quantity. Dr. David Rudiak at his website shows that no Mogul balloon could have landed on the Brazel ranch. Engineer Robert Galganski shows the amount of material is a total mismatch. If it doesn’t fit, one must acquit.
HORN: Could the crash-test dummies explain reports of alien bodies?
STAN: This attempt to explain the bodies observed by witnesses to the Roswell crashes is certainly one of the silliest of many totally false explanations put forth by government propagandists in a long history of such nonsense. There are 3 major problems with it:
- All were dropped in 1953 or later; a minimum of 6 years after the Roswell crash. Last I heard, nobody had invented time travel, even for crash test dummies.
- I met with Colonel Madson, who had been in charge of that program. For the tests to be meaningful, he noted that the dummies were 6’ tall and weighed 175 pounds to match pilots. There was no way to morph them down to 4 foot tall skinny little guys with four fingers and big heads.
- The Air Force report uses the same map of test drop locations three times. There were no dummy drops near either of the 2 crash sites (Brazel Ranch and Plains of San Agustin).
HORN: So you believe the government is covering up the truth about flying saucers?
STAN: It isn’t a question of belief. One needs only to look at the multitude of lies over 60 year period of time, as well as the blacked out UFO documents from the CIA [and] the whited out UFO documents from the NSA (156 pages) on which one can only read one or two sentences.
HORN: Now let’s turn to some technical questions. Doesn’t relativity prevent interstellar travel?
STAN: Of course not. Time slows down as things approach the speed of light. This has been demonstrated. At 99.99% of the speed of light it only takes 6 months pilot time to go 37 light years. I worked on nuclear fusion propulsion systems in 1961. Using the right isotopes of hydrogen and helium one can eject charged particles having 10 million times as much energy per particle as in a chemical rocket.
HORN: Wouldn’t it take too much energy to get to another galaxy?
STAN: Who cares? Andromeda is over 2 million light years away. But within just 55 light years of Earth there are about 2000 stars of which roughly 50 are very similar to the sun. If I need a loaf of bread for dinner I don’t worry about going to that great bakery in Sydney, Australia, or even one in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I go to the supermarket 2 miles away. The amount of energy required depends on the details of the trip. One astronomer calculating the required initial launch weight of a rocket able to get a man to the moon and back was too high by a factor of 300 Million. One thing he neglected was cosmic freeloading, letting mother nature do much of the work as we do on all our deep space flights. Astronomers have very little knowledge of space travel.
HORN: What technique might be used to move around in the atmosphere the way saucers are reported to?
STAN: One of Friedman’s laws is that technological progress comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way. Lasers aren’t just better light bulbs. The nuclear fission rockets I helped test almost 40 years ago are not just better chemical rockets. Entirely different physics in both cases. As I noted in my 1968 Congressional testimony, an attractive approach is magnetoaerodynamics similar to the electromagnetic submarine successfully tested in the mid 1960s by Dr. Stewart Way, but replacing seawater, an electrically conducting fluid, with ionized air another one. One technical-report literature search I had done noted 900 references; more than 90% were classified. Gets around all the problems of highspeed flight in the atmosphere.
HORN: Here’s a big question I’m personally interested in. Where do you think these visitors originate?
STAN: The only UFO case that I know of that provides an answer is the fascinating abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in New Hampshire in September, 1961. Betty described a star map (model) under hypnosis. She drew it as a post hypnotic suggestion by the skilled psychiatrist hypnotist Dr. Benjamin Simon. It is in the first book The Interrupted Journey. A brilliant woman named Marjorie Fish built 25 models of the local galactic neighborhood and was able to determine that the base stars in the map were Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli in the Southern sky constellation of Reticulum. They are unique being the closest to each other pair of sun-like stars in our neighborhood. They are only 39.2 light years from here and only 1/8th of a light year apart from each other, and a billion years older than the sun. The work is described in detail in the book: Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience by Kathleen Marden (Betty’s niece) and myself. We deal with the objections to both the case and the star map work. Not surprisingly none of the critics accurately described either.
Interview with Colonel Jesse Marcel Jr.:[i]
HORN: Jesse, it’s good to talk to you again. As the only man alive whom the government admits handled material from the debris field in 1947, material your dad let you and your mother see as he stopped off at home on his way back to the base, how did that night affect you? It changed the course of ufology and put Roswell and your family on the map.
MARCEL: It was then that I came to believe that our civilization was not alone certainly in the galaxy and that we were in fact being visited by others more advanced because they could get here from wherever they come from. I took it to mean that we were being studied from a scientifically curious race just as we would be curious about other life forms on our planet.
HORN: During the 1947 Roswell event, Colonel [William “Butch”] Blanchard authorized a press release saying the military had recovered a flying disc. I assume he had some facts about what was recovered before he allowed the press release.
MARCEL: Certainly he had been briefed by my dad as to the true nature of the debris and that it represented an artifact from elsewhere which went along with all of the unusual sightings seen in the skies at that time.
HORN: Your father was ordered to load the debris onto a B-29, which was then flown to Wright Field, where Gen. Roger Ramey took over. Correct?
MARCEL: He took a small representative portion of the debris for General Ramey’s inspection and I am convinced that he realized that this was too big of a story to be unleashed on the public at that time.
HORN: What happened then?
MARCEL: My dad was told to participate in the cover story. And when he came home he sat my mother and myself down and said in no uncertain terms that we were never to discuss what we had seen. I later recalled him stating that he was part of the cover up.
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OVER 10 YEARS IN THE MAKING! DOCUMENTARY FEATURES PENTAGON INSIDERS, SCIENTISTS, THEOLOGY EXPERTS ON UFOS AND THE COMING GREAT DELUSION (COMING IN AUGUST)
HORN: Let me ask something more personal. What were your dad’s qualifications to evaluate a crash site?
MARCEL: He was the intelligence officer for the 509th and had training in aircraft accident investigation and in addition he had gone to radar school so he was familiar with the types of radar targets used on weather balloons etc. He was a natural to have been sent out on the initial investigation of the debris.
HORN: The material your dad brought home—tell us what you saw.
MARCEL: He had pre-positioned the debris on the kitchen floor so my mother and I could realize the unusual nature of the debris. What we saw was something certainly different from mundane material. I have described the debris itself many times so I don’t know if you want that repeated here.
(NOTE: Jesse Marcel Jr.’s first-published recollection of the debris was that they were composed of “foil-like stuff, very thin, metallic-like but not metal, and very tough. There was also some structural-like material too—beams and so on. Also a quantity of black plastic material which looked organic in nature.… Imprinted along the edge of some of the beam remnants there were hieroglyphic-type characters. I recently questioned my father about this, and he recalled seeing these characters also and even described them as being a pink or purplish-pink color. Egyptian hieroglyphics would be a close visual description of the characters seen, except I don’t think there were any animal figures present as there are in true Egyptian hieroglyphics.”[ii])
HORN: You are a military man, too. Have you ever seen anything that matches those materials?
MARCEL: As a flight surgeon, I was trained myself in aircraft accident investigations and have never seen anything that would match the debris.
HORN: What about the theory that this was a Mogul balloon?
MARCEL: A balloon is a balloon and the Mogul balloon had a classified mission, but it used off the shelf materials that were not unique.
HORN: Did you ever see the movie Roswell? Were you and the other events portrayed accurately in it?
MARCEL: For the most part it reflected what happened, there was of course some poetic license in depicting the event.
HORN: Last year in McMinnville, you told me an interesting story about a trip to Washington, DC, where you wound up in the dungeons of the Capitol building talking to somebody I believe was later identified as Dick D’Amato, an aide to Sen. Robert Byrd, who wanted to know where the Roswell UFO debris was. Tell us that story.
MARCEL: It was there that I was told that the event was not fiction. I am sorry that Mr. D’Amato’s name came out because hopefully this would not cause any difficulties for him. [NOTE: To this day, Jesse Marcel doesn’t know how the participants in Washington, DC, knew where he would be at that particular time. When he arrived at his motel, there was a message waiting for him on the phone in his room. It was from Dick D’Amato. He wanted to meet with Jesse the following day at 1:00 p.m. in a certain room at the Capitol building. Jesse felt uneasy, but agreed to go to the meeting. On arrival, he was ushered into D’Amato’s office, who got right down to business. He wanted to talk to Jesse about Roswell, and he asked if he would be more comfortable “in a secure room.” When Jesse explained that he wouldn’t be saying anything he hadn’t said before, D’Amato pressed the idea of the alternate meeting area, explaining, “Well, maybe I want to tell you something you don’t already know.” Leaving the office, they proceeded to the secure room where no listening devices existed, in an area Jesse described as “the dungeons of the Capitol building.” They sat at a table where Jesse noticed a book about alien abductions, UFO technology, and Roswell. D’Amato tapped on the book with his finger and said outright, “This is not fiction.” He continued talking for a while and then asked him if he knew where the material recovered from the Roswell ranch was being kept. Jesse found the question curious and said, “No. Don’t you?” D’Amato’s answer was as enigmatic as the question, so Jesse responded with an inquiry of his own: “If extraterrestrial activity is real, and you guys know it, when is the government planning official disclosure of what really happened at Roswell?” D’Amato said, “If it was up to me, we’d be doing it now” (as told to Tom Horn by Jesse Marcel Jr. in a personal 2006 interview; at that time, Jesse did not use Mr. D’Amato’s name).]
HORN: A lot of people are saying we are getting close to an official disclosure event from either the US government or maybe the United Nations concerning some evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Other people point to the discovery of extra solar planets like Gliese 581 that was found recently that might be able to sustain life. What can you tell us, or what do you suspect, with regard to official disclosure?
MARCEL: It just confirms what I already knew. It is only a question of time before a radio signal will be picked up by the SETI team, and that will probably be the catalyst for our government to make the big announcement. (emphasis added)
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[i] Jesse Marcel Jr. (colonel and the only man whom the US government admits handled material from the Roswell debris field in 1947, when his father let him and his mother to see fragments of the crash material as he stopped off at home on his way back to the base), in discussion over personal email communication with the author, Thomas R. Horn, between 2011–2012.
[ii] Charles Berlitz and William Moore, The Roswell Incident (New York, NY: Berkley, 1988), 78–80.