Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Roswell Before Roswell
Marrs is a natural story teller, which gives his book a narrative hook that many UFOs books just don't have.
Even if you think UFOs are rot and nonsense, it's fun to read Marrs because he can spin a good yarn.
When Marrs gets to Roswell, (he starts on the moon, moves to the 1876 airship mystery and ancient aliens, and then heads for New Mexico), he goes into some detail about the Roswell that came before Roswell on June 24, 1947 on Maury Island in Washington State's Puget Sound.
(The Roswell story began a week later on Tuesday, July 1st, 1947.)
According to Marrs, the Maury Island incident began when:
"Harold A. Dahl, a harbor patrolman, reported that at 2:00 PM he--along with two crewman, his teenage son, and his dog--had guided his boat into a Maury Island bay to escape bad weather when they saw six doughnut shaped objects about two thousand feet in the air. They were described as gold and silver metallic objects approximately one hundred feet wide with a hole in the center and what appeared to be portholes around the perimeter and a dark hole underneath."
A small explosion in one of the UFOS caused hot slag to suddenly shower down from above, killing Dahl's dog and burning his son's arm. Dahl took some photos and upon his return gave his camera and some samples of the hot slag to his boss, Fred Lee Chrisman.
Although this incident is rarely discussed in UFO lore today (outside of Marrs' book), it is significant because Fred Lee Chrisman was a CIA guy whose weird little career linked him to all kinds of government disinformation campaigns over the course of many years.
When Kenneth Arnold (yes, that Kenneth Arnold) was dispatched to investigate the sighting, he found that the slag samples looked like ordinary rocks and that he wasn't able to see Dahl's son at all--the excuse was that the boy was in the hospital for his UFO burns. All the motel rooms in the town were filled up, yet someone had mysteriously prepaid for a room for Arnold in the best hotel.
The whole thing smelled, and when the small cargo plane on which the rocks were sent on their way to DC crashed for no apparent reason, the whole thing smelled even worse.
Marrs goes on to talk about how Arnold was never convinced that the Maury Island sighting was a hoax, even though the military ended up dismissing it easily, but what seemed clear to me on reading Marrs' speculations was that the US intelligence was mucking about with planted UFO stories well in advance of Roswell, and it was working out pretty well for them.
I have always thought that Roswell felt like a psychological operation and that the whole thing seemed planned in advance: the initial announcement that a saucer had been recovered, the quick retraction and lame weather balloon story, the subsequent rumors about alien bodies and reverse engineering: All designed to get people talking and keep them talking.
Look over there. Not over here.
In Melanie Klein's political critique The Shock Doctrine she talks about Nazi research into how to use shock to make prisoners more compliant and easier to control, and how the US government picked that research up and continued it after the war. Marrs talks a lot about the Nazis too, and how they seemed to have been working on a saucer shaped craft right before WWII ended.
What we do know for sure is that Roswell diverted the attention of the American populace away from weapons development and nuclear build up and toward little men from space. In fact, to this day UFOlogy is used effectively over and over again to divert attention away from military activities and government malfeasance.
For instance, whenever the public seems a little too itchy about biological warfare or covert military research of any kind, the Pentagon just leaks some tantalizing bit of info to Linda Moulton Howe about cattle mutilations and then retracts it, and boom! We're off to the races again.
I'm not saying that all UFOs are fake or made up by the US government.
But it seems clear to me that at least some of them are, and that the American public is still falling for it hook, line, and sinker.