A Private Tour of Roswell With a UFO Expert Looking for the Truth
Article by Eric Gumeny July 23, 2019 (syfy.com)
• Dennis Balthaser is a UFO researcher and author, and a long-time resident of Roswell, New Mexico. He is an expert on the details of the Roswell UFO crash of 1947. Several years ago, Balthaser began to offer private tours of nearby areas of interest pertaining to the Roswell crash. He expected doing 3 or 4 tours a month. His current schedule is ten tours a week, and he books up fast.
• Balthaser says that the city of Roswell has embraced its notoriety in a way that few other places have. Or, at least that’s what Roswell wants you think. Balthaser suggests that the city’s tourist campaign, gift shops, and constant reminders of aliens are an illusion. The city is more interested in selling t-shirts than preserving history, says Balthaser. The annual UFO Festival with its parade, costume contest, and concert is a “circus” – all spectacle and no substance. Balthaser doesn’t have time for a show. He is only interested in the truth of the UFO incident, which the US government has covered up.
• The first stop on Balthaser’s tour was the offices of the Roswell Daily Record, the newspaper that (on July 8th, 1947) published the first report of a downed UFO, and then, the very next day, published a retraction. Balthaser tells of the rancher, Mack Brazel, who found the debris in the desert outside the city proper. Prior to the UFO crash, Brazel had a side business returning downed weather balloons to authorities for a reward. So he was very familiar with weather balloons. And he knew that what he brought to Roswell’s sheriff, George Wilcox, was not a balloon. Wilcox called the military. The military authorities threatened the sheriff, confiscated the debris, and locked Brazel up in jail for five days. The newspaper’s retraction said that the debris was from a downed weather balloon.
• The next stop was at the Chaves County Courthouse, which was the site of the sheriff’s office in 1947. Sheriff Wilcox lived there with his family. His wife cooked for the prisoners. This was where Brazel brought the crash debris. Wilcox let his daughters play with the strange material – a metal sheet that could be crushed, but would reform in seconds. After handing the debris over to the Army, the military police came back to threaten the little girls to remain quiet. Balthaser has never forgiven them for that. The old sheriff’s office was demolished sometime around 1997 to build the new courthouse. But there is no plaque or sign indicating that it was once there. “Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?” said Balthaser. “Almost like they want the sheriff’s office to be forgotten.”
• The next stop was the funeral home where the mortician, Glenn Dennis, was a civilian witness to the 1947 incident. Dennis was a close friend of Balthaser before his death. On that day, Dennis had driven a soldier injured in a motorcycle accident to the Roswell Army Airfield military hospital where he saw hunks of metal being loaded into ambulances by military personnel he didn’t recognize. He was immediately stopped by an Army captain who threatened him that if he ever talked about this, they will “never find your bones in the desert.” The next day, Dennis received a call from the Army hospital, inquiring about embalming fluids and child-sized coffins. Soon after that, a nurse whom Dennis knew from the hospital was reported to have been relocated, and then, according to Dennis, to have died. Balthaser believes the story was concocted to protect the nurse who was said to have seen the saucer’s alien occupants.
• The next stop was a military housing complex where the Army Airfield was once located. A large house still remains there, which was the home to Colonel William H. Blanchard, the guy who forced the Roswell Daily Record to retract the original flying saucer crash article in 1947. Balthaser notes that after the incident, Blanchard was promoted to ‘assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff’ at the Pentagon, and became a four-star general by the age of 50. He also noted that Blanchard sent a Christmas card to Walter Haut – the public information officer who retracted his original story of the UFO crash – every single year for twenty years until Blanchard’s death. Balthaser thinks that this was the general’s way of keeping track of Haut and where he lived.
• They then arrived at the spot where the Army hospital once stood. Balthaser said that the city had demolished the hospital building to make room for a real estate developer. But there is no development there. In fact, only a water tower and Hanger 84, where the crash ‘debris’ was temporarily stored, are the only relics from 1947 that have not been destroyed and paved over.
• As they drive through the city of Roswell, Balthaser points out that the abundance of aliens depicted throughout the town, from lamp posts to a Dunkin’ Donuts statue, are all painted bright green, along with the city’s logo and tourist t-shirts. But the rancher, Brazel; the mortician, Haut; and the Army nurse all reported that the small aliens were grey, not green. Balthaser suspects that this is part of the cover-up and re-branding of the incident.
• Balthaser has less interest in promoting a conspiracy theory as he has in determining just what rattled his friends so badly, so many years ago. He noted that “you don’t threaten people over weather balloons”. These people stayed scared to their very deathbeds. And he finds it strange that today the City of Roswell brands itself after an extraterrestrial incident while systematically erasing all evidence of it.
• [Editor’s Note] Could this Army nurse that was “relocated” have been Matilda O’Donnell MacElroy, who is the subject of Lawrence R. Spencer’s book, “Alien Interview”? In the book, Matilda claims to have been present at the site of the crashed flying saucer outside of Roswell, and that one of the four small Grey alien occupants had survived. This alien chose Matilda to attempt to communicate with, and the military brass ordered her to keep notes during a handful of interviews that she conducted with the Grey. To her surprise, she was allowed to keep these notes. After retiring from the Army, Matilda remained quiet throughout her life. But she was determined to share her notes with Lawrence Spencer before she died, which delved into the origin of plant and animal life on the planet, the human species, the Earth itself, and our place in the universe. She felt that mankind needed to know the answers to important questions contained in her notes and the book, including what other intelligent species inhabit the universe, and the devastating consequences to humanity if we ignore the message that the extraterrestrials are attempting to communicate to us.
The city of Roswell, New Mexico, knows exactly why you’re here. From the International UFO Museum and Research Center, to the enormous “little green man” holding up a Dunkin’ Donuts sign, to the alien-faced streetlights along downtown’s main drag, the city embraces its notoriety and novelty in a way that few other places have. Even its official motto, “We Believe,” all but admits to the veracity of the infamous “Roswell UFO Incident” of 1947, when a flying saucer was alleged to have crash-landed in the desert beyond the city limits before the government promptly covered it up.
Or, at least, that’s what Roswell wants you think that it thinks.
To hear author and UFO researcher Dennis Balthaser tell it, the tourist campaign and the gift shops are all a sleight of hand, an illusion, a way to keep folks from looking too deeply at the truth. The city, he says, is more interested in selling t-shirts than preserving history. He refers to the recent UFO Festival — an annual parade, costume contest, and concert, this year headlined by Billy Ray Cyrus — as a “circus,” all spectacle and no substance.
Balthaser doesn’t have time for a show — he, like so many of us, is after the truth.
I meet Balthaser in an otherwise empty parking lot. He’s an older, unassuming man, standing in the shade of a tree and leaning against the hood of his SUV. His white cowboy hat is pulled low as he waits for me. He greets me with a nod, extends his hand.
He started offering tours of Roswell a few years ago, as a counter to the growing commercialization of the city’s history, with the expectation of running three, maybe four a month. His current schedule is ten tours a week, and he books up fast. I’m not even the first tourist he’s picked up today.
We start with the conspiracy right away: the first stop is the offices of the Roswell Daily Record, the newspaper that published the first report of a downed UFO, and then, the very next day, published the retraction. He tells the tale of the rancher, Mack Brazel, who found the debris in the desert outside the city proper, then brought it to Roswell’s sheriff. Brazel, I’m told, had a profitable side-hustle turning in downed weather balloons for a reward — he knew what one looked like. This, obviously, wasn’t that. The sheriff, George Wilcox, didn’t know what he was looking at either, so he called the military. Then the lawman got threatened. The rancher ends up in jail for five days. The military confiscated the debris.
Balthaser and I are sitting in a parking lot across the street from the Record as he recounts the story, the two of us eyeing the newspaper building like spies on a stakeout. He pulls out a binder, with reproductions of both front pages – the one about the Roswell Army Air Force “capturing” a flying saucer, and the one about the weather balloon.
“Twelve hours and the whole story changes.” He lowers his sunglasses at me, raises an eyebrow. “That’s a little suspicious, don’t you think?”
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Chaves County Courthouse, Colonel William H. Blanchard, Dennis Balthaser, George Wilcox, Glenn Dennis, Hanger 84, Mack Brazel, Matilda O'Donnell MacElroy, podcast, Roswell Army Airfield, Roswell Daily Record, Roswell New Mexico, Roswell UFO crash of 1947, UFO Festival, weather balloons