FBI Memo Does Not Prove Aliens Crash Landed in Roswell

by Nancy Atkinson on April 12, 2011

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The Guy Hottel FBI memo.

A 1950 FBI memo is creating some recent buzz by UFO supporters who say this provides “smoking gun” evidence that the US government recovered a crashed alien ship and bodies in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The memo, found on the FBI vault website and dated March 22, 1950 reports that an informant related information about three flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico along with three bodies of human shape, but only 3 feet tall, and dressed in metallic cloth.

So, does this “newly found” and “secret” memo confirm what UFO supporters have believed for years, that the government covered up a landing by aliens in Roswell?

Sorry, no.

While the memo is genuine – written up by FBI special agent Guy Hottel, (you can see it on the FBI Vault website) it is not new, is not secret and does not have anything to do a supposed crash by an alien ship in Roswell, New Mexico.

The memo is not classified, as was reported by some websites, and has actually been discussed by UFO supporters for years, having been released in 1976 by the FBI. Even Robert Hastings, the guy who believes UFOs are shutting down nuclear reactors posted a comment on a UFO website that he has been discussing this memo in his talks since 1981.

So, the memo is certainly not new.

Also, the memo is not a secret FBI report, but a third-hand account from agent Hottel reporting what an Air Force investigator was told by an “informant.”

Lastly, as Benjamin Radford points out in his post on Live Science, “ the description in the memo of three ‘flying saucers…circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter,’ does not match the 1947 Roswell crash at all. Roswell eyewitnesses described finding lightweight metallic debris scattered in a field—not three intact 50-foot saucers holding nine dead alien bodies.”

In fact, Radford goes on, this memo does not refer to Roswell, but instead to a reported UFO crash in another small New Mexico town called Aztec in March 1948. The supposed crash was made famous by journalist Frank Scully who wrote for Variety magazine and wrote specifically about the Aztec crash in 1949. However, in 1952, it was revealed by another reporter that Scully had been hoaxed by a con man named Silas Newton, who fabricated the entire story in hopes of making money from the deal. Newton was arrested and convicted of fraud.

So, nothing new has been “revealed” by this old memo which very likely describes Newton’s account of an event that has since been proven to be a complete fabrication.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE April 12, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Roswell that ends well. ;-)

mastercope April 13, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Oh well just proves they will not release anything that can not easily explained away. So sad that we the people would react with all abandon and act like crazies if the real deal is released. ” What is this strange device, When I touch it it gives forth a sound “

marlon April 13, 2011 at 1:56 AM

you know, even an actual alien placed right infront of you will not convince you because you have eyes that cannot see, nose that cannot smell, ears that cannot hear, etc… etc… Even if Jesus Christ will show you and let you touch his hands, you will still not believe because you are an unbeliever. i think you are an illuminati, arent you?

platomica April 13, 2011 at 12:02 PM

wait… wait! jesus also was an alien??

dohhhh…

Olaf April 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Since when is touching someone hands proof of jesus?

SmaSh April 13, 2011 at 3:32 AM

Well, no one said that the Roswell crash had 3 intact ships that were recovered. This is an assumption that you made or that you understood by reading the memo. The memo never said they were captured intact. Yes debris was found and those who kept debris had them confiscated by the MP or the army.

This cannot be the Aztec crash because in that crash, it was said that there were 16 alien bodies that were recovered. This story might have been a hoax but most importantly, this memo is regarding the Roswell crash and NOT the Aztec crash.

Please, watch and learn more about the Roswell crash :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DXvwJOuv7M : 2 hours about Roswell, LOTS of witnesses.

to learn more about the Aztec crash:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qAHicFzqj8&list=SL : 56 mins about the Aztec crash

StockportJambo April 13, 2011 at 8:43 AM

Let the debunking commence!

Jim Krug April 13, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Despite presenting themselves as an objective news source, the Universe Today has gotten all too predictable.

This position in this article surprises me 0%. The only thing that does surprise me is that it’s Nancy Atkinson that wrote it. I thought she was one of the better writers here.

JIm

Astrofiend April 13, 2011 at 1:30 PM

What – predictable in reporting actual, you know, science? If you want UFO news, there’s plenty of tin foil hat websites around that can make stuff up for you to read. It’ll keep you going for the rest of your life no doubt.

And re: Nancy – I’m sure she won’t lose too much sleep over this.

Moonshine April 13, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Jim,your kind of responce to Nancy artical is rather COLD! I see her as a good writer and has a good hearted sense of humor between the lines..
Rather you beleave in UFO’s or something close,shows that you have the ability to open your mind to ideas of what is out there in the Universe.
A little variety doesn’t hurt,and if you don’t like it,change the channel !

NoAstronomer April 13, 2011 at 1:15 PM

It’s also worth pointing out that the FBI is one of the worst handlers of intelligence on the planet. They probably have memos debating the existence of Russell’s Teapot.

Mike.

Lawrence B. Crowell April 13, 2011 at 2:31 PM

The statement above that “Jesus is an alien” is in part true. These things, such as apparitions, ghostly visions, UFOs, grey aliens and … , are related to each other by the psychology of human beings. We tend to project ourselves onto the world, we project ourselves into fictional characters, and we tend to see events in the world as due to the action of various agents or conscious entities. Most people when they hear something at night in the dark ask, “who was that?,” rather than “what was that?” The grey alien, previously called little green men, are a space aged version of ancient and medieval ideas of angels or avatar manifestations of gods and so forth.

There is absolutely no scientific reason to think any of this stuff is real. The sightings and claims have a very slow signal to noise ratio. In other words there is no clear data, and much of these claims tend to be anecdotal. Of course the world is awfully complicated and there will always be things observed which defy explanation, at least initially, but they also present no concluding reason to think these things are due to extra terrestrial intelligent visitors.

LC

Aqua April 13, 2011 at 7:01 PM

It is the consistency of the reports of angelic visitations or demons and dragons through recorded history that raises my eyebrows. Some of the myths surrounding Pre-Babylonian even Indus River Valley civilizations are quite tantalizing! Angels that warn of catastrophic events to come and take actions to preserve knowledge on high ground…. There are some very interesting descriptions of these beings – fuming vapors and fire with strangely shaped half man, half fish bodies… Consistency through history and cross culturally!

Aqua April 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM

…half man, half fish… Now THAT’s a neat job? i.e. Gardener wanted… must be a GOOD SWIMMER and like fish. Must have multiplel interspecies communication skills, be ready to travel and be salt water tolerant. 3/4 of this planet await you!

Torbjorn Larsson OM April 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Why would consistency be surprising? We _know_ that humans are pattern searching, so prediction of everything from religion (miracle men) to pseudoreligion (gray men) to conspiracies (non-moon landing men) are bound to be confirmed. And so they are; the surprising thing would be if there were no such tall tales at all.

The consistency is (mostly) all in your own head, btw. Granted, there are also memes of myths (gods, floods, half-and-half bodies et cetera). But the pattern search applies to the result of pattern search as well.

starcastle2011 April 13, 2011 at 2:37 PM

I just visited the Roswell Museum and then the Caverns at Carlsbad. My impression of these sites are as follows: Roswell UFO Museum: Never has so much money been made over something that never happened. Carlsbad Caverns: Never has so little money been made over one of the most impressive places on (really under the) Earth. Give it up UFO’ers. There ain’t no warp factor one.

Nafin April 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Did you just knock the Aclubierre drive? the door is that way…

To the UFOers, keeping an open mind means believing that there could be life on other planets, its just absolutely crazy to think that any form of life that developed on another planet would A) choose to observe us without making contact, B) expend the resources to get out here only to carry on such a study for decades/centuries and C) in all that time never once show up clearly on any of our instruments, I don’t care how advanced your culture is, space is big, moving through it takes time, our radar is sophisticated enough to track micro asteroids in orbit, even if they were transparent to our instruments they would have an observable effect on their surroundings.

To put it in Ferengi terms, there’s just no profit in buzzing planets.

Aqua April 13, 2011 at 6:51 PM

You know… IF high powered radar systems interrupted the flight of alien spacecraft.. you’d really be on to something!

Crewvy April 13, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Roswell UFO Museum: Never has so much money been made over something that never happened.

Well a distant second place after the Christian religion,at least.

JeffM April 14, 2011 at 4:36 AM

Just another account of someone who said they saw a UFO. Where is the proof? where are the pictures? I could post that I saw little green men yesterday and I could get a lot of people to believe me. This would not make it true. Although I do believe there is life on other planets. I do not believe they have visited us. If they had they would more than likley have wiped us out instead of just observing. Any civilization with the ability to travel faster than light, ( and according to Einstein this is not possible anyway) would be highly competitive and would take us for everything we have. Look at the evidence of conquering nations in our own history. It is about survival and in order to survive you must get what you need or die. Any alien race traveling in the cosmos would be a surviving race not the utopian race we find in the Star Trek universe. They would be more intent on taking what they want because they can then “making friends”. Superior races usually conquer not live peacefully. I hope I am wrong if and when we are visited, but if we found an inferior race we would conquer it too. Roswell just didn’t happen……

Uncle Fred April 14, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Problem is, there is really nothing worth coming all the way here to take. All the raw materials found on Earth can be accessed in greater supply and ease of access just about anywhere in the galaxy. It would be like traveling from New York to Seattle on foot just to buy a jug of milk.

We are likely valuable only as an intellectual curiosity. That’s a lot of energy expended for research purposes.

Mr Mike April 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

@ Uncle Fred

I rather like the milk in Seattle over the milk in New York.

But… I don’t see an alien saying, for example:
“I have tastes which I need to expand, life I need to live larger, and an over bulging wallet to pay for it all. Why shouldn’t I do my post-doc on earth; these nearly proto-sapiens on this planet do not make for a great choice in fulfilling our needs for any but the least demanding of us — but you work with what you got I am told.”

But really, I am not at all convinced we have been visited by extra-solar beings. It is amusing to contemplate from time to time and the many speculative fiction books and articles trace a weary path trod by many to this door of knowledge regarding “Are there others like us?” much as my feet have trod that path.

My conclusion remains:
The reasoning used to gain a proper perspective to see the forest past the trees on the edge of a clearing require a clearing, there is no clearing here–only large fir trees blocking our view of any deciduous forest beyond.

We might know there must be other trees, looking strange to our eye and acting on the world around them in different way to what we see around us but we can not see that which we posit to any degree of assurance. This is a fir farm we are inhabiting after all.

I wonder if alien trees have hemi-parasite sorta-bush growing within them as our trees have in the many types of mistletoe which afflict our planet. So much has been said in our world’s mythology re this plant, likening it to some divine source in almost every instance, a gift from above us. Maybe that is the true alien amongst us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistletoe

Mike C

wjwbudro April 15, 2011 at 5:36 PM

“To serve man”

Gerald May 11, 2011 at 2:06 AM

i just glanced at the pdf from the fbi site, and it does seem to mention that the “weather balloon” was probably a victim of a “lucky shot” from the most advanced radar we had in the country at that time, due to the proximity to our fledgling nuclear capability stored there. (i’ve heard that surmised before also)

but if i may be so bold, i would like to suggest that a 1947 crash in N.M. may be the very least of our problems, and way too soon.

BTW, anyone know if Bernard Haisch ever drops in?

TIA

Jerry

Koowie May 13, 2011 at 2:19 AM

Roswell is so dis proven. Let’s move on.

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