by e-mail on 13 April 1995 with Dr. C. Scott Littleton
Alright, so here's the story behind this interview. For my history class I had to write a paper on an event in the twentieth century & do an interview with someone about it. So I picked UFOs in 1947.
QRD – what do you believe happened in roswell in the summer of 1947?
Scott – all the evidence suggests that an extraterrestrial vehicle crashed there, & the debris plus several alien bodies were recovered by the US military & transported elsewhere after a cursory examination, both in the field & at roswell army air force base (this was shortly before the air force came into existence).
QRD – do you think it's possible what was found was really a weather balloon & just originally mistaken for a flying saucer?
Scott – no, despite recent attempts by the air force to explain both the debris & the secrecy by asserting that the object was a high altitude balloon designed to monitor soviet nuclear experiments, i.e., "Project Moghul."
QRD – if you do believe there is an attempt by the gov't for a cover up, why do you think we've managed to learn anything at all? do you think the roswell story is a cover for something even larger?
Scott – some of the witnesses, including the late Jesse Marcel, PIO officer at roswell at the time, have insisted that the original estimate, i.e., that it was of ET origin, was in fact correct. apparently many witnesses were intimidated by the government, told not to say anything, etc., on pain of prosecution. but in recent years (since ca. the late 70's) many, like the son of rancher Mac Brazel, on whose property the crash occurred, have come forward. of extreme importance is the man who was the local undertaker's assistant at the time & who observed the chaos on the base & managed to speak to an army nurse who actually handled one of the alien bodies in the course of an autopsy.
QRD – where did you obtain the knowledge you have of the roswell incident?
Scott – from a variety of books & articles, as well as from the internet & Unsolved Mysteries.
QRD – I have read that the material the ufo was made of was thin like aluminum foil & able to be crumpled, but not ripped or torn & always reformed back to its original shape. is this your understanding?
Scott – this has been claimed, especially by Barzel's son (I forget his name). it's entirely possible. we've since invented such substances, though I sometimes wonder just how "independent" that invention (mid-60's) really was.
QRD – the gov't. has said in the past that they would release any information on ufo's that wouldn't cause a national outbreak & some files have been released, do you think a lot of material is still classified? do you think the gov't. may be justified to keep it as such?
Scott – the key phrase in most official gov't. pronouncements on ufo's is that they bear "no threat to national security." that was the conclusion reached by the Condon Committee & the official reason why "Blue Book" went out of business in 1970. I'm sure a number of people in the intelligence community, including the members of MJ-12, if it does in fact exist, do feel that we lesser mortals might panic if we knew the whole truth. there's also the idea that it might adversely affect traditional religious beliefs – which is probably true. nevertheless, I enthusiastically support the effort to force full disclosure, letting the chips fall where they may. so what if traditional religions fall by the wayside; so much the better! I think we can handle the truth & begin to figure out realistic strategies for coping with the fact that we've been a "colony" for lo these many millennia. of course, those who deal with the aliens probably have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, but every colonial regime has its turncoats & sell-outs. (remember the old south vietnamese gov't.? Diem, et al., who supported first the french & then licked out boots?) this is a factor that I haven't seen discussed all that much.
QRD – why do you think the number of ufo sightings grew so high in the summer of 1947. do you think it started before or after the alleged craft at roswell &/or just after the article was found on it in the paper?
Scott – there seems to have been an increase in general ufo activity immediately following the successful detonation of the first atomic device in new mexico in 1945. I suspect that they decided to focus in on this latest development in "native" technology, crude as it may have been by their standards. indeed, that's perhaps why new mexico has had more sightings than any other state. los alamos, white sands, etc., must have been targeted for special attention. there's a theory that several ufo crashes in the late 40's & 50's (both in the US & elsewhere) resulted from the effects of our radar, which seems to have jammed their navigation systems. it's also speculated that this was why they decide to make clandestine contact with our military & give them the technology that would avoid this problem. thus the original deal may have been forged, part of which is a pledge of secrecy from our side. this may be why the gov't. has done its best to marginalize serious ufo investigations by people like Hynek & Vallee & most recently John Mack at harvard. there may be some threat from "their" side here that keeps MJ-12 or whatever from revealing the truth. again, this is speculative – but it's an educated speculation, I think.
QRD – why do you think people seemed so willing to believe in ufo's in 1947? do you think the article denying the roswell crash as a ufo has helped lead to some skepticism today?
Scott – I think that in 1947 the authorities had a bull by the tail, as it were, & didn't know how to respond. but the impetus to secrecy, forged in the Manhattan Project, had become part of the culture by then, & a lid was clamped on, after some initial indecision (i.e., the first press release, which spoke of an "extraterrestrial craft" (or words to that effect)). then, if I'm right, came the secret contact (ca. 1953-54) & the lid came down hard, coupled by disinformation campaigns (support for people like Menzel & Klass) & systematic ridicule.
QRD – when if ever do you think the real truth about the ufo sightings in 1947 will be known to the general public?
Scott – god only knows.... again, if I'm right in my speculations, it may be a long while. what could short-circuit the process is something akin to the Pentagon Papers, an irrefutable document leaked to the press by someone equivalent to David Ellsberg in the intelligence community. also, it's conceivable that one of "them" might defect & make his/hers/its presence known. Every known human community has its share of rebels, & I doubt that the ETs are free from them, despite their vast technological superiority. indeed, I suspect that some of our most famous mythological figures including Lucifer, Prometheus, & the aztec divinity Quetzacoatl reflect dissidents among our ET colonial masters who tried to pass along elements of their technology, but who were stopped before they could do too much "damage." in this connection, I think the basic ET policy has been a sort of "prime directive" a la Star Trek, that is, a rule prohibiting interference in our cultures save for experiment & systematic DNA harvesting for some purpose known only to the "masters." but I think also this rule has been violated more than once in the course of the ten or twelve millennia they've been in control of this planet (my best guess), so it could happen again....
Scott – oh, BTW my title, for what it's worth, is professor of anthropology at Occidental college (los angeles). I'm an expert in japanese mythology, as well as the origin & distribution of the Arthurian & holy grail legends & am co-author (with Linda A. Malcor) of From Scyhtia to Camelot (Garland, 1994). I've never published anything professionally on ufo's, but plan to do so in the near future. I have written a serious novel on the subject, reflecting some of the things I've mentioned, that I'm trying to market; wish me luck!
"I think we're property...." – Charles