The witness accounts of the Roswell UFO incident would transform Roswell from a forgotten incident to perhaps the most famous UFO case of all time.
In 1978, author Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Jesse Marcel who voiced his suspicion that debris he recovered on a ranch near Roswell in 1947 was "not of this world." Marcel and others gave descriptions of debris which seemed to be describing a similar set of objects. More spectacularly, numerous accounts of aliens and alien craft emerged as UFO researchers sought out and interviewed more people in connection with the 1947 incident.
Witness accounts of the debris described in 1947
Mac Brazel's interview
Mac Brazel, who discovered the debris which sparked the Roswell UFO incident, died in 1963, well before researchers started to interview witnesses to the incident. However, he was interviewed in 1947. In the interview he said he found "bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper and sticks."
Jesse Marcel's testimony
Jesse Marcel was approached by researchers from 1978 and he recounted details suggesting the debris Brazel had led him to was exotic. He believed the true nature of the debris was being suppressed by the military. His accounts were featured in the 1979 documentary, UFOs are Real, and in a 1980 National Enquirer article, which are largely responsible for making the Roswell incident famous by sparking renewed interest.
"There was all kinds of stuff - small beams about three eighths or a half inch square with some sort of hieroglyphics on them that nobody could decipher. These looked something like balsa wood, and were about the same weight, except that they were not wood at all. They were very hard, although flexible, and would not burn ..... One thing that impressed me about the debris was the fact that a lot of it looked like parchment. It had little numbers with symbols that we had to call hieroglyphics because I could not understand them. They could not be read, they were just like symbols, something that meant something, and they were not all the same, but the same general pattern, I would say. They were pink and purple. They looked like they were painted on. These little numbers could not be broken, could not be burned. I even took my cigarette lighter and tried to burn the material we found that resembled parchment and balsa, but it would not burn - wouldn't even smoke. But something that is even more astonishing is that the pieces of metal that we brought back were so thin, just like tinfoil in a packet of cigarettes. I didn't pay too much attention to that at first, until one of the boys came to me and said; "You know that metal that was in there? I tried to bend the stuff and it won't bend," I even tried it with a sledgehammer, You can't make a dent on it," Marcel said.
The Brazel and Marcel family testimony
Bessie Brazel, Mac's daughter, had helped recover the debris. "There was what appeared to be pieces of heavily waxed paper and a sort of aluminum-like foil. Some of these pieces had something like numbers and lettering on them, but there were no words that we were able to make out. Some of the metal-foil like pieces had a sort of tape stuck to them, and when these were held to the light they showed what looked like pastel flowers and designs. Even though the stuff looked like tape it could not be peeled off or removed at all. It was very light in weight but there sure was a lot of it." She also signed an affidavit that had additional descriptions: "The debris looked like pieces of a large balloon which had burst. The pieces were small, the largest I remember measuring was about the same as the diameter of a basketball. Most of it was a kind of double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like on the other. Both sides were grayish silver in color, the foil more silvery than the rubber, Sticks, like kite sticks, were attached to some of the pieces with a whitish tape. The foil-rubber material could not be torn like ordinary aluminum foil can be torn.
Son Bill Brazel Jr. confirmed some of what Bessie said: "There was some tinfoil and some wood and on some of the wood it had Japanese or Chinese figures." There was some wooden-like particles I picked up. These were like balsa wood in weight, but a bit darker in color and much harder. This stuff ..... weighed nothing, yet you couldn't scratch it with your fingernail like ordinary balsa, and you couldn't break it either.
Marcel's son Jesse Jr. also saw the debris. Marcel went home and showed the debris to his family. Marcel Jr. " [It was] 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." He would say elsewhere in a signed affidavit: "There were three categories of debris, a thick, foil like metallic gray substance, a brittle brownish-black plastic-like material, like Bakelite; and there were fragments of what appeared to be I-beams ..... On the inner surface of the I-beam, there appeared to be type of writing. This writing was a purple-violet hue, and it had an embossed appearance. The figures were composed of curved, geometric shapes. It had no resemblance to Russian, Japanese or any other foreign language. It resembled hieroglyphics, but it had no animal-like characters."
Sheridan Cavitt and Lewis Rickett's testimony
Sheridan Cavitt of the Roswell Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) was identified by Marcel as assisting him in investigating the crash and recovering debris, likely the 'man in plain clothes' mentioned by rancher Brazel in a contemporary article as accompanying Marcel and himself (CIC agents usually wore civilian clothes). He was interviewed in 1994 when the air Force investigated the allegations of a cover-up. In the interview, he said he had no memory of ever meeting Brazel or going out with Marcel, but said he went to the crash site with his CIC assistant Sgt. Lewis Rickett. Cavitt said the crash site was tiny, about the size of his living room or "20 feet square." It was a small amount of, as I recall, bamboo sticks, reflective sort of material that would, at first glance, you would think it was aluminum foil,something of that type and we gathered up some of it. I don't know whether we even tried to get all of it. It wasn't scattered; well, what I call, you know, extensively.
Rickett said Cavitt took him to a debris area the following day. He described an extensive cleanup of a large area involving many men, heavily guarded by MPs. He was allowed to handle a remaining piece of debris. "There was a slightly curved piece of metal, real light." "You could bend it but you couldn't crease it." "It was about six inches by twelve or fourteen inches. Very light. I crouched down and tried to snap it. My boss [Cavitt] laughs and said, 'smart guy, He's trying to do what we couldn't do.' I asked, "what in the hell is this stuff made out of?" It didn't feel like plastic and I never saw a piece of metal this thin that you couldn't break. This was the strangest material we had ever seen ..... there was talk about it not being from Earth."
In tomorrows Journal (Part 2) - Roswell and Fort Worth base witnesses - Material with exotic properties - Debris field descriptions.