The 1947 UFO controversy of Roswell, N.M. is like a bad penny: It keeps turning up.
The legend, rehashed by conspiracy theorists in countless
documentaries, revolves around allegations that an unusual object fell
from the sky -- an object so bizarre that the U.S. Air Force issued a
press release that a flying saucer had crashed.
That story was quickly recanted, creating what would become one of the greatest urban legends in American history.
Until now, most debunkers doubted that there was even one crash. Now,
in an exclusive interview, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard French
told The Huffington Post that there were actually two crashes.
This revelation is especially remarkable considering that French was known in the past to debunk UFO stories.
"There were actually two crashes at Roswell, which most people don't
know," French told HuffPost. "The first one was shot down by an
experimental U.S. airplane that was flying out of White Sands, N.M., and
it shot what was effectively an electronic pulse-type weapon that
disabled and took away all the controls of the UFO, and that's why it
French -- an Air Force pilot who was in Alamagordo, N.M., in 1947,
being tested in an altitude chamber, an annual requirement for rated
officers -- was very specific in how the military allegedly brought down
what he believes was a spacecraft from another world.
"When they hit it with that electromagnetic pulse -- bingo! -- there
goes all their electronics and, consequently, the UFO was
uncontrollable," said French, who flew hundreds of combat missions in
Korea and Southeast Asia, and who held several positions working for
Another retired officer doubts French's story.
"No chance! Zero chance!" said Army Col. John Alexander,
whose own top-secret clearance gave him access in the 1980s to official
documents and UFO accounts. He created a top-level group of government
officials and scientists who determined that, while UFOs are real, they
couldn't find evidence of an official cover-up.
"In the 1980s, I was the guy developing all of the pulse-power
weapons systems. We couldn't have done it then. In the 60s, they had a
laser system, but your range was extremely limited, and we didn't have
operational laser weapons in that time frame," said Alexander, who is
working to get amnesty for military personnel who wish to talk about their UFO experiences.
Except for the initial newspaper headline declaring the military had
captured a flying saucer outside of Roswell, the Air Force closed the
books on Roswell, claiming that the true identity of the object was a
high-altitude surveillance balloon, code-named "Mogul."
But after eyewitnesses -- including numerous military personnel --
began to tell stories of their participation in an alleged cover-up of
the Roswell incident, some researchers insisted that it was, in fact, an
alien ship that crashed at Roswell.
Watch this video of Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. Richard French
French says he was told about the UFO "shootdown" by another military
officer -- a confidential source -- from White Sands Proving Grounds,
an area of the New Mexico desert where the U.S. military tested many
His source told French there was a second UFO crash near Roswell a few days after the first one.
"It was within a few miles of where the original crash was," French
said. "We think that the reason they were in there at that time was to
try and recover parts and any survivors of the first crash. I'm
[referring to] the people from outer space -- the guys whose UFO it
While French offered no further details on what he says was a second UFO crash, he teased something else.
"I had seen photographs of parts of the UFO that had inscriptions on
it that looked like it was in an Arabic language -- it was like a part
number on each one of them. They were photographs in a folder that I
just thumbed through."
That's an interesting parallel to the recent story of ex-CIA agent Chase Brandon, who claimed he found a box at CIA headquarters in the 1990s -- a box labeled "Roswell."
Brandon told HuffPost he looked in the box and went through written
materials and photographs confirming his suspicions that the object
which crashed at Roswell, "was a craft that clearly did not come from
That story set off a fury of controversy between those who believed and didn't believe Brandon's story.
Watch this 1997 news report on the Air Force's 'Case Closed: Final Report on the Roswell Crash'
And now we have French, who served more than 27 years in the
military, including as an investigator and debunker for the Air Force's
famous study of UFOs, known as Project Blue Book, which began in 1947.
"I'm one of the authors of Project Blue Book, and started with the
Air Force Office of Special Investigations, stationed in Spokane, Wash.
One of the duties I had in 1952 was to debunk UFO stories," French said.
"In other words, if someone had a UFO sighting, I and another agent
would try to come up with some logical explanation for this strange
aerial appearance. Most of the reports were from civilians than
military. We gave our analysis and tried to debunk it by saying it was
swamp fog or that the thing they saw was actually hanging on wires. It
went up through channels all the way to the presidential level."
But why was French ordered to debunk UFO reports in the first place?
"They never give you an explanation, but I'll tell you what my
analysis of it is: If they accepted the fact that there are creatures
coming to Earth from other universes or from wherever, it basically
would destroy religions, and the fact that our military's helpless
against them would destroy the reputation of the military," French said.
"You're talking about military, national defense and religious
As it often turns out with eye-opening UFO stories, it comes down to who you believe.
is a 30-year veteran UFO investigative reporter who recently spent time
with French and is trying to uncover more facts about the information
the former Military Intelligence officer would have us believe.
"We did a search and found his name on an official Air Force page that confirmed he was a combat pilot, but that page had nothing to do with UFOs," Huneeus, editor of Open Minds Magazine, told HuffPost.
"My reservations are about some of the claims that he makes, and
because of his age, his memory isn't as good as it used to be," Huneeus
said. "It's clear to me that he's fairly well read on the subject of
UFOs, or he might have heard stories or talked to people. So, I'm trying
to separate exactly what he lived and saw directly from what he heard
Sixty years after French began investigating UFOs for Project Blue Book, he still thinks there's a cover-up.
"It's going on today. There's no question about it. I've listened to
their denials many times and, at that time, I was in direct opposition
to their position. In my mind, there wasn't any question that UFOs were