Witness to the Forbidden
By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
Many consider the Roswell incident as the jumping off point for modern ufology. However those who were there at the beginning found that being a witness was more a curse than a gift.
William "Mack" Brazel, 48, worked as a foreman at the J.B. Foster sheep ranch located about 30 miles from the small town of Corona, New Mexico. The Brazel family lived in Tularosa, and Mack stayed in a shack without running water, electricity and a phone. The nearest neighbor was almost a dozen miles away.
At the beginning of July, 1947, he came across metallic debris spread over the scraggly grazing grounds in an area of about 200 yards. Besides being out of place, he saw that the sheep wouldn't cross the field where the strange material lay.
He packed a box with a sample, and told the Chavez County sheriff about his find. Brazel's main concern was to have the area cleaned. Sheriff Wilcox notified the personnel at Roswell Army Air Field.
Major Jesse Marcel and Captain Sheridan Cavitt went to view the debris the same day, and take it back to the base by July 8.
Colonel William Blanchard, the C.O. at Roswell issued a press release that claimed a "flying disk" had been found. No sooner had the press release been sent out then Brig. General Roger M. Ramey, his superior held a press conference in Fort Worth contesting the UFO version. Instead he described it "as the remnants of a ray wind target used to determine the direction and velocity of winds at high altitudes."
By July 9, newspapers were reporting the W. W. Brazel was sorry he had said anything about it. He couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. He said, "If I find anything else short of a bomb it's going to be hard to get me to talk."
However prior to this Mack Brazel had found weather balloons twice on the ranch grounds, and he stated, "I am sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon."
Brazel had no idea there had been reports of flying saucers throughout 43 states, for the past several weeks.
But there was more going on in the background than the conflict of what the debris was. The incident might have faded from the public's attention but those at the center of the discovery had their lives changed forever.
Mack Brazel was placed in military custody at the base between July 7 to 8. Some have wondered if any of the statements after this date were given by a coerced and frightened man. He was the only Roswell witness who was detained by the military. He was described as a man of few words, but his handshake was his bond.
The incident was forgotten until thirty-one years later when Major Jesse Marcel spoke out, and said the debris recovered at the ranch was "not from this Earth."
By then Mack Brazel had died in 1963, and his wife Maggie in 1975.
Mack's son, Bill was later interviewed by different ufologists included Stanton Friedman, and he said his dad told him very little about what happened at Roswell, and that he said nothing to his mother either. The only person he thought his father had confided in was his daughter-in-law Shirley, who died in 1996.
Mack's son believed his father took much of what he knew to the grave. There was no doubt he was bitter about being jailed for a week for what he thought was a good deed. His relatives believed Mack's reticence in sharing his experience is that he was sworn to secrecy for patriotic reasons. Others think that the military threatened his family.
Mack's youngest child, Vernon was 7 years old when the Roswell incident occurred. In 1958, he was reported to be serving on the fleet oiler USS Hassayampa as a gunners' mate third class in the Western Pacific. It's believed he saw the debris, and possibly alien bodies at the crash site. The incident was said to have affected him profoundly. He left the state as soon as he could, never to return, and it's been reported he even changed his name. He died in 1967 while living in Montana, allegedly by his own hand.
Another son Paul who worked for the J. B. Foster ranch where his father once did, died in 1997, but denied knowledge of any events.
Mack's neighbors described that prior to his visit to Corona to report his discovery, he had been excited and talkative about what he found. When he returned he wouldn't talk to anyone about it, and would just change the subject.
Another neighbor described where he saw Mack surrounded by about 7 military escorts as he walked down the street in Corona.
Even years after the incident Mack's response to any inquiries was terse and short.
In the book The Roswell Incident (1990) it describes where Mack said the debris came from an airborne explosion not a crash. The sparse vegetation was singed and the pieces were littered over a large area. The metal was different than anything he knew of which he could not cut, scratch or whittle with his knife.
Other witnesses said there was strange symbols on the metal. Mack said they looked like wiggles that were in pastel colors.
There has been conjecture if the military's quick response to Mack's find was that this was not the first time they had come across a similar scenario.
Frank Joyce was an announcer for KGFL in Roswell, he was the one that placed the story of Blanchard's description of a "captured disk" on the UP wire. Instead of being a story read only by Roswell residents, it made it around the world. In 1948, he left to Albuquerque never to return. He continued to work in television and radio. During a later interview, Joyce like Brazel, was reticent about saying too much. The subject that seemed the most verboten was information about seeing bodies.
Later Mack Brazel would tell close family and friends that letting the military authorities know about the debris field was the worst mistake he had ever made in his life.
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Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer